[D&D 4E/FATE] Translating compels into D&D 4E

edited December 2009 in Story Games
Manual of the PlanesThe Bright Beauty has a further effect on sentient creatures. Blood responds to the enchantment of the Feywild. Just as the native creatures of the Fey embody extremes of passions and power, visitors begin to behave as pure, truer versions of themselves. Bold heroes become reckless, friends become lovers, and rivalries devolve into knife fights. Although adventurers never love control, they must constantly fight the Feywild's call to the wild, the free, and unrestrained within.
OMG, right? A journey through the Feywild should so totally let you play that out! But with 4E, rules as written, you'll always have the player who insists that his character can just shrug it off.

FATE Aspects seems perfect for this kind of situation, but compels only work because you've got Fate points. Do you think that Action Points could serve this purpose? Or would Action Points moving around so freely break the game? What if Action Points could do other things, like give you a +2 bonus to a roll, or let you reroll? I suspect that would create too much of a problem. A commenter on this blog post about bennies in Savage Worlds agrees that Action Points wouldn't work for this, and instead suggests inventing a new currency like "Hero Points" to serve this purpose. Since even the DMG advises a +2/-2 modifier for any miscellaneous factor not otherwise covered, spending a point for that seems like a good fit. Perhaps you can also use one to get combat advantage on someone (something any rogue would love)?

I can't say I feel entirely comfortable with either option: using Action Points seems like it might break the game, whereas inventing something new seems too complex. Any other ideas?

Comments

  • I'd be tempted to use a Quest, either Minor or Major.
  • Action points won't break the game, unless one player has a character specifically built to use them at a higher efficiency than the other characters.
  • From the linked post:

    "Regarding questions about 4E & action points: Action points are not the same as bennies and I would strongly advise against messing with the rules because what you will quickly discover is that PCs will absolutely demolish their opponents in only a round or two if given access to more action points. Instead of saving their APs to help with the big bad guy, what you are very likely to find is that they'll have enough to spend one on nearly every encounter and that means that they can really stack up the damage in a single round. Mike Mearls talks about the AP problems they had in playtesting in one of the GenCon podcasts (I think it was The Tome)."

    This is a non-issue, given that a major and consistent concern about 4E fights is that they are too long. Making a fight shorter is not unbalancing, provided that the relative contribution of each player to that victory remains equitable. If the fight lasts 15 minutes rather than 45 minutes, then you get to have more fights in a night. Given the math behind 4E, though, I cannot imagine that freer access to APs would turn a 10-round fight into a 1-round fight. You can easily test this: suppose your party has unlimited access to APs, and see what happens.
  • You can actually just use D6's as tokens, an "use" them to add a d6 to any roll. Nice and tactile, but simple.

    -Rob D.
  • I run a 4e game and recently when PC's were all captured and transported to Feywild used that text above (slightly morphed for my campaign) and laid out the following stick and carrot:

    - you do not get the benefits of milestones unless by each milestone you have demonstrated the Feywild's influence on your PC (we were in a very narratey phase between combats);
    - relatedly in the upcoming skill challenge where you try to escape the prison camp (metagame, we all know that's coming), you can bring back in what you narrated to demonstrate that for a +2 bonus at any point.

    This got some great stuff from a very "traditional, we'll play anything with D&D brand on it but won't budge to anything else" group.

    The duty-bound serjeant/cleric reveals his wanderlust, the call to go out there and explore even if it means getting lost, when speaks to his personal history and refusal to both join the family business or become the dutiful priest others wanted;

    The dwarf has a near allergic reaction, being lost in a haze of rage at his captors, imagining (maybe) what is being said (he doesn't understand their language but somehow...) [brought in later where he distracts captors with his caged fury while someone picks locks];

    The elf stumbles when a captor pulls his chain and falls face first into the earth of the feywild, breathing it in, becoming as one, hearing high-pitched voices calling to him;

    The wizard with a fey lover who he keeps secret (metagame everyone knows) starts spouting foolish spontaneous poetry about her meaning his comrades now know about her and we find out he's a closet romantic (he's the youngest PC in group and played as a bit less mature etc., the D'Artagnan among the Musketeers)

    Rob
  • But with 4E, rules as written, you'll always have the player who insists that his character can just shrug it off.
    Just to be clear, you realize that with FATE, rules as written, you'll always have the player who insists that his character can just shrug off the Compel, right?

  • Just to be clear, you realize that with FATE, rules as written, you'll always have the player who insists that his character can just shrug off the Compel, right?
    I think that's the point: rewarding those who go along with the stated fictional situation while not punishing those who prioritize their own control over their PC.



    If you give out extra Action Points, then just increase the XP budget for encounters in the Feywild (and as always, the entire point of most combats is for the PCs to walk right over them). As stated, unless one character is especially built towards using APs effectively, then everyone would benefit roughly equally. Actually, since humans benefit most from APs, you could have a situation where humans are more susceptible to the Feywild's call than other PCs are, like how humans are more susceptible to the lure of the One Ring. Which is IMHO a neat emergent mechanic.
  • Posted By: RogerI'd be tempted to use a Quest, either Minor or Major.
    I don't follow. How would a Quest entice a player to "give in"?
    Posted By: EricYou can easily test this: suppose your party has unlimited access to APs, and see what happens.
    Well, first, milestones would cease to matter. That makes it very tempting to take an extended rest after each encounter, so you use your daily powers in each encounter, which I know from experience makes even the toughest encounter a cake-walk.

    Secondly, you can still only use one Action Point per encounter. And actually, since you start with one Action Point at the end of an extended rest ... wow, yeah, the more I think about it, the more broken it seems.

    This would make it imperative to keep the party from resting for very long. I'll have to have someone or something on their tail at all times, or a clock always ticking, something in-game to keep them moving from one encounter to the next without an extended rest, because I've taken away any mechanical reason to keep going. Or, pin other benefits to milestones. (Like what, I wonder?)
    Posted By: Rob DonoghueYou can actually just use D6's as tokens, an "use" them to add a d6 to any roll. Nice and tactile, but simple.
    Oooh, 'tis indeed....
    Posted By: RogerJust to be clear, you realize that with FATE, rules as written, you'll always have the player who insists that his character can just shrug off the Compel, right?
    At least until he runs out of Fate points. But, as Mr. Teapot said, I like it precisely because it gives players a choice, and more importantly, a meaningful choice. As pure, freeform RP, they have every reason to resist, because I've asked them to do something foolish, or something that will compromise them or weaken them somehow. You might accept if you as a player want to see what happens to your character, but does driving a wedge between player and character motivations like that help the game? I don't know that it does. FATE's Aspects, on the other hand, give it a lot of the same logic that tempts us in real life. We only have so much willpower to resist so many things that tempt us; do I indulge now, despite the ramifications, or do I try to hold strong? Player and character motivations can align, even when you you take the GM up on the offer of that compel, because you haven't just screwed your character over without any benefit. You've made a calculated choice.
    Posted By: Mr. TeapotActually, since humans benefit most from APs, you could have a situation where humans are more susceptible to the Feywild's call than other PCs are, like how humans are more susceptible to the lure of the One Ring. Which is IMHO a neat emergent mechanic.
    That does work out pretty neat, doesn't it? Still, it seems like the Action Points could still break in some terrible ways.
  • Posted By: jasonPosted By: RogerI'd be tempted to use a Quest, either Minor or Major.
    I don't follow. How would a Quest entice a player to "give in"?

    Something like this:

    QUEST: Begin to behave as pure, truer versions of yourself. 5000 XP.

    You either want the XP or you don't.
  • Posted By: RogerYou either want the XP or you don't.
    Hmmm. Though I can almost hear the complaining now, "What do you mean I didn't play a pure, truer version of myself! I looked at her wistfully for a full ten seconds! Gimme my XP!"

    Flipping through the DMG2, I found a sidebar on p. 13, where Robin Laws (I think he wrote most of this chapter) suggests applying a condition called "Distracted" to characters who stray too far from their motivations. I think this could work really well for players who want to ignore the call of the Bright Beauty, too.
  • Posted By: Mr. TeapotActually, since humans benefit most from APs, you could have a situation where humans are more susceptible to the Feywild's call than other PCs are, like how humans are more susceptible to the lure of the One Ring. Which is IMHO a neat emergent mechanic.
    Well that's nice to see. I believe one of 4e conceits for humanity was that it was "more corruptable" than the other races. So score one for the 4e design team.
  • Yeah, you might get whining; I think you'd get the same whining whether you're handing out XP or FATE points.
  • edited December 2009
    Barring feats, the best use of an action point is likely to be the option to take an extra standard attack. If everyone does this under the best circumstances, they essentially get an extra turn. Combat is thus shortened by 1 round. I don't see how shortening all combats by 1 round is particularly problematic.

    The extended-rest vs. milestone issue is a non-issue, since it is always advantageous to take an extended rest if the fiction allows it and you have Dailies that are actually better than your At-Wills and Encounters. The players already get more AP by taking lots of extended rests vs. shooting for Milestones. If anything, having more AP decreases the relative benefit of an extended rest, since getting one more of a thing is a beneficial in proportion to the thing's scarcity. As APs become less scarce, the advantage of getting one more AP from an extended rest is decreased.

    Anyway, the thing is to actually run the numbers. If you see a 20% decrease in average combat time in this case for your actual party, then the only question that remains is whether you're okay with this or whether you take Mr. Teapot's advice and increase the XP budget.

    At the end of the day, though, making everyone in the party more powerful is unlikely to upset your players, even if some benefit more than others. Remember the truism of PvE vs. PvP: In PvP, a buff to one is a nerf to the rest. In PvE, a buff to one is a buff to all.
  • Posted By: LudantoPosted By: Mr. TeapotActually, since humans benefit most from APs, you could have a situation where humans are more susceptible to the Feywild's call than other PCs are, like how humans are more susceptible to the lure of the One Ring. Which is IMHO a neat emergent mechanic.
    Well that's nice to see. I believe one of 4e conceits for humanity was that it was "more corruptable" than the other races. So score one for the 4e design team.
    This is indeed awesome.
  • Posted By: EricBarring feats, the best use of an action point is likely to be the option to take an extra standard attack. If everyone does this under the best circumstances, they essentially get an extra turn. Combat is thus shortened by 1 round. I don't see how shortening all combats by 1 round is particularly problematic.
    Oh, I like shorter combats. In fact, I've started planning this campaign in part due to my excitement about all that tasty stuff in DMG2, including a bunch of stuff on how not all combats need to end in death (with the added bonus, they don't take as long, so you can have more of them).
    Posted By: EricIf anything, having more AP decreases the relative benefit of an extended rest, since getting one more of a thing is a beneficial in proportion to the thing's scarcity.
    Hmmm, good point.
  • Posted By: EricIf anything, having more AP decreases the relative benefit of an extended rest, since getting one more of a thing is a beneficial in proportion to the thing's scarcity.
    The reward for Extended Rest isn't APs, it's refreshing Daily powers. APs are a reward for not resting.
  • Posted By: Ludanto
    The reward for Extended Rest isn't APs, it's refreshing Daily powers. APs are a reward fornotresting.
    ...that you get more of by resting than by not resting.
  • Posted By: jason
    Hmmm. Though I can almost hear the complaining now, "What do you mean I didn't play a pure, truer version of myself! I looked at her wistfully for a full ten seconds! Gimme my XP!"
    You could make it more concrete, then. Possibly even make these minor quests up on the fly: "I'll give you 100XP (or whatever the quest reward is at their level) if you make an unwise bargain with the mysterious old woman who lives in the feywild swamp" or, when two PCs are expressing friendship "I'll give you 100XP to both if one of your characters decides to make the relationship romantic in nature" or the like.
  • I thought that the rules say that you get your action point back by resting. This, it seems to me, makes milestones completely irrelevant, unless GM fiat is preventing resting. It's been a while since I read the rules, though, so it might be that I'm misremembering.

    As for how to express that Feywild thing in play, I'd probably make it an external influence that characters can resist, not a source of extra bonuses. There is no need to bribe players into playing along when you can just force their characters to do what you want of them.
  • Posted By: Eero TuovinenI thought that the rules say that you get your action point back by resting. This, it seems to me, makes milestones completely irrelevant, unless GM fiat is preventing resting. It's been a while since I read the rules, though, so it might be that I'm misremembering.
    You are correct; Ludanto's statement was in error. From the PHB:
    Page 286
    ✦ You start with 1 action point. (Monsters usually have
    no action points.)
    ✦ You gain 1 action point when you reach a milestone
    (page 259).
    ✦ After you take an extended rest (page 263), you lose
    any unspent action points, but you start fresh with 1
    action point.
    Thus, since you can only spend 1 AP per encounter, taking an extended rest after every encounter ensures the maximum AP usage possible, barring feats or other abilities that might grant extra uses. Combined with the refresh of Dailies and other limited-use resources that come with an extended rest, this is the source of the "5 Minute Workday" paradigm in 4E. Thus, as you say, the only effective deterrent to taking an extended rest after every battle is in-fiction consequences, or (less charitably) GM fiat.
  • Posted By: Mr. TeapotPosted By: Ludanto
    The reward for Extended Rest isn't APs, it's refreshing Daily powers. APs are a reward fornotresting.
    ...that you get more of by resting than by not resting.
    I sometimes wonder if there was some error in version here - like, the game seems to expect that APs are a resource that you might want to have a lot of, even though you can't use them at a very high rate. Perhaps, in earlier design iterations, APs flowed more readily in and out of the player's pool. This seems to tie in with the "AP balancing issues" discussed by Mr. Mearls.
  • edited December 2009
    Regarding carrots vs. sticks:

    I'm a fan of carrots, like APs, XP, etc. If you use a stick - resist the influence or do crazy shit! - then my incentive is to try to arrange things such that I never do crazy shit. A journey in the Feywild thus may actually produce less crazy shit than in a normal game. In contrast, if you use a carrot - succumb to the influence and do crazy shit to get prizes! - then my incentive is to do lots of crazy shit. A journey in the Feywild thus is more likely to be remembered as being batshit crazy compared to a normal game.

    Anyway, that's one gamist's perspective.

    edit: as Eero points out, this is nominally using incentives to undermine challenge-based play, so use at your own risk.
  • I usually agree with Eric in these D&D threads, even if he sometimes has quite absolute views. I'm with you here as well regarding the carrots and sticks, although we might also consider this: why would we want player characters to do crazy shit? It seems to me that it's equally valid to see them take smart preparations ("I'll enter Feywild blind to avoid its influence." or whatever) and avoid any problems. Or, we might take the description at face value and accept that the Feywild won't normally make player characters go crazy - perhaps it'll just give a +2 to charm magic or something.

    I suppose that I don't see Compels working here too well because I don't quite understand the desire to have characters enact player-originated crazy shit in D&D - what's the point of having the players provide both the adversity and the solutions? Fourth edition is mucho confusing as to what you should be doing with it, of course, so maybe it makes sense if you're not working from a challenge-based paradigm at all. I've been thinking lately that I should write a blog post or some such about the GNS agenda of 4th edition D&D, it seems so confusing at times. I'm actually half convinced that the dominant paradigm of the game is actually genre-focus Sim (with dungeoneering as the genre), and all these Story Games threads are just efforts at drifting that into something resembling Narrativism.
  • edited December 2009
    Eero: your statements are entirely reasonable, and I can do nothing but agree. To the extent that Jason seems to want to encourage player buy-in on the crazy shit front, carrots seem the way to go, but you're spot-on in that this goes straight against the obvious direction of challenge-based play. +2 to charm magic would be right in line with what previous editions have done with this sort of plane (heightened magic for planar-aligned effects), so that also seems solid.

    Genre-focused Sim is as good a guess as any I've heard, though Delve Night organized 4E play is essentially story-free wargame skirmish scenarios. Maybe 4E's campaign mode is genre Sim and its short form mode is friendly-tournament Gamism? Labels aside, I think those are two very popular play modes.
  • Just a quick note:

    "Once per Day: After you finish an extended rest, you have to wait 12 hours before you can begin another one."

    ...is the in-game mechanic that prevents the '5-minute workday.'

    Any well-designed group of encounters is going to give the PCS a reason to keep moving anyway; the worry about multiple extended rests is an artifact of older version of D&D that I don't think present nearly as much of a problem in the current iteration.

    I have found that APs are a very nice reward for between-game writing. It means that the players with time ge a little bonus but not one that directly affects advancement, a carrot, rather than, say, an xp reward, which though it looks like a carrot, is really a stick for the PCs who don't want to (or can't... one of our players' wives had a baby just a couple months ago...) do extra work between games.

    Has anyone thought of using the Skill Challenge mechanics for this? I'd need to think about how that might work, but they're the closest thing to non-combat narrative control over the PCs that a DM has short of plain fiat.

    From a Story Game perspective, this effect sounds very much like what Summerland works towards as a core mechanic of the setting. I love the look of it, and have read through but not played it. Does anyone have any impressions on how it works in actual play (and anything form it that might be hacked for D&D?)

    -Jim C.
  • I think I would do two things:

    In combat, I'd write up a Hazard or Trap that targetted Will. Forcing movement to make a basic melee attack, lowering defenses for a bonus to attacks, maybe access to some kind of crazy encounter power, those sorts of things. It would depend on the specific nature of the Feywild environment; places ruled by the Eladrin would have a different effect than somewhere under the influence of the Fomorians.

    If the moon is out, you could attack everyone with Moon Frenzy.

    Out of combat, I'd keep the flavour text in mind when playing NPCs and determining the effects of failed skill checks.
  • Yet another thought: Oh man, how about the disease track mechanic. Both ends are "terminal" conditions, so it might encourage a certain amount of brinksmanship in trying to stay in that sweet zone... hmmm.
  • edited December 2009
    Posted By: Jim CrockerJust a quick note:

    "Once per Day: After you finish an extended rest, you have to wait 12 hours before you can begin another one."

    ...is the in-game mechanic that prevents the '5-minute workday.'
    This is, in fact, the precise mechanic that creates the '5-minute-workday' rather than the '10-minute-workday' that you would get if you could benefit from an extended rest twice in one day. In that scenario, you would have two 5-minute encounters per day rather than one, and hence a '10-minute-workday.' With proper timing, a hypothetical '15-minute-workday' could be possible.

    I have yet to see any hard-coded core rules that prevent this, but you are correct insomuch as 4E focuses more strongly on skirmish battles rather than meticulous dungeon exploration. This creates a somewhat easier in-fiction environment to support fast-paced encounters. Note that many official Delve Night events must be completed under a number of set restrictions, both real-time restrictions and in-game restrictions, that prevent the use of the 5-minute workday. That's something they had to explicitly rule in for the Delve Night events.

    The bottom line is you need in-fiction motivation, new rules, or some motivation around the table (let's see how many fights we can do in a row! Our best yet is 9 straight!).
  • edited December 2009
    Posted By: RogerYet another thought: Oh man, how about thedisease trackmechanic. Both ends are "terminal" conditions, so it might encourage a certain amount of brinksmanship in trying to stay in that sweet zone... hmmm.
    This seems very promising. The conservative player stays towards the the middle, gaining only minor benefits and penalties from the Feywild while working to avoid further risk. The aggressive player goes for the big payoff, despite much higher risk, and enjoys greater benefits while operating under increasingly heavy penalties.

    For example, you have a 0-4 rating. 0 means you are utteraly banal, and the Feywild attempts to reject you with extreme prejudice. 4 means you are being of the Feywild utterly, and would have to be forcibly extracted. You roll your rating in Wild Dice (d6's) on one type of d20 roll per point of rating, adding the highest to your d20 result. Thus, a player with rating 3 would roll 3d6 on three different types of d20 roll, say Attacks, Saves, and Skill Checks, and apply the highest of the 3d6 to the results of these rolls (I believe that a rating of 4 lets you apply your Wild Dice to all possible d20 rolls). If you fail the roll, however, then the DM gets 1 AP for every Wild Dice that came up as a "1." The DM may use these APs against you only, but may apply them to any Feywild NPC. In additional to their normal applications, Feywild NPCs may have additional ways to spend APs.

    Anyway, just an idea. The basic result is that a person with rating 1 gains a minor benefit at minor risk. A person with rating 3 gains a bigger benefit at a bigger risk. Failing tasks also becomes tied to the Feywild itself, which would presumably be worked into the fiction.

    You might need to have more separate categories of d20 roll. Perhaps At-Will attacks and Encounter/Daily attacks could be separated, for example.
  • Okay, yet another thought: The Concordance mechanism from Artifacts. Provides a bit more granularity than diseases.

    So you've got your table of what causes Concordance to increase or decrease, and a table of the effects of each level.

    Yeah, treating the Feywild as one big-ass Artifact might be feasible.
  • The "artifact" idea is neat as it provides a sliding up and down scale.

    The end result should be motivating people to behave "like fey" and perhaps be "you become a fey", with steps along it being fey subtype, access to 'fey step', etc.

    Part of what the mechanism also does is explain "why the fey behave like they do".
  • This would be a pretty substantial change to make just to awesomify the Feywild, but if it were me, I'd switch to using the Sweet20 system (which bolts Shadow of Yesterday-style keys onto D&D), and ask the players to create temporary Feywild keys that tie in with that effect. It's a carrot and a flag.
  • Posted By: torkThis would be a pretty substantial change to make just to awesomify the Feywild, but if it were me, I'd switch to using theSweet20system (which bolts Shadow of Yesterday-style keys onto D&D), and ask the players to create temporary Feywild keys that tie in with that effect. It's a carrot and a flag.
    Or just introduce Keys into D&D4th.

    Be like "Alright, the Feywild Craziness kind of works like a Quest, except that... here: pick one of these six Quest Keys, and whenever you do the action listed on the card (once per scene), take 20 XP. You can get rid of the Feywild Craziness with a Ritual, and doing so will earn you 50 XP... but then it's gone and you don't get another and your XP tapping is OVER."

    It's like a Quest, but immediate and player governed, which I think avoids the issues that Jason had with just using Quests:
    Posted By: jason
    Hmmm. Though I can almost hear the complaining now, "What do you mean I didn't play a pure, truer version of myself! I looked at her wistfully for a full ten seconds! Gimme my XP!"
  • I introduced a thing in 4E called +1 tokens. You get one every time you miss by 1. But you have to inject some cooler color narration about how exactly you missed the monster—it's worked wonders to make combat more evocative, because it comes up just often enough to make it interesting; trying to make every swing interesting would lead straight to Narration Fatigue-ville.

    You can hoard them, and spend as many of them at a time as you want, to avoid a miss result—but again, when you spend them, you must describe your character doing something flashy and cool.

    I think +1 token carrots would be great for compels. I may try this. Thanks, S-G!

    Matt
  • Posted By: torkThis would be a pretty substantial change to make just to awesomify the Feywild, but if it were me, I'd switch to using theSweet20system (which bolts Shadow of Yesterday-style keys onto D&D), and ask the players to create temporary Feywild keys that tie in with that effect. It's a carrot and a flag.
    At that point, I'd just use a different system while in the Feywild, then revert back to DnD when they get back to the material world. That's what I did in the past, and it worked pretty well and helped emphasize how different the other planes of existence seemed.
  • Posted By: Mr. Teapot
    At that point, I'd just use a different system while in the Feywild, then revert back to DnD when they get back to the material world. That's what I did in the past, and it worked pretty well and helped emphasize how different the other planes of existence seemed.
    Understandable, but for what it's worth, I'm currently playing in a 4E game that has just switched over to Sweet20 for XP, and the effects have been immediate and awesome.
  • Posted By: Ericthis is the source of the "5 Minute Workday" paradigm in 4E. Thus, as you say, the only effective deterrent to taking an extended rest after every battle is in-fiction consequences, or (less charitably) GM fiat.
    The "5-minute workday" came from previous editions. If anything, 4E has taken some steps to alleviate that (even if it obviously hasn't totally solved it). Action points played a role in that: if you're in your second encounter of the day, you might want to take an extended rest to recover your dailies, but you get another AP from the milestone, which gives you some reason to keep pressing on. Encounter and at-will powers also helped address this, since it meant that magic-users could keep on going.

    But even with this, as you point out, there's not much reason to not take an extended rest after each encounter, in terms of mechanics.
    Posted By: EricI'm a fan of carrots, like APs, XP, etc. If you use a stick - resist the influence or do crazy shit! - then my incentive is to try to arrange things such that I never do crazy shit. A journey in the Feywild thus may actually produce less crazy shit than in a normal game. In contrast, if you use a carrot - succumb to the influence and do crazy shit to get prizes! - then my incentive is to do lots of crazy shit. A journey in the Feywild thus is more likely to be remembered as being batshit crazy compared to a normal game.
    Agreed.
    Posted By: Eero TuovinenI suppose that I don't see Compels working here too well because I don't quite understand the desire to have characters enact player-originated crazy shit in D&D - what's the point of having the players provide both the adversity and the solutions? Fourth edition is mucho confusing as to what you should be doing with it, of course, so maybe it makes sense if you're not working from a challenge-based paradigm at all
    I definitely see 4E as overcoming a series of challenges. The Feywild presents a particular set of challenges. I watched Spirited Away finally a few nights ago. Now, if I leave a bunch of delicious food out in a 4E game, my players know every bit as well as my wife & I knew watching the movie that eating it would be a bad idea. But how many fairy stories start off with that kind of temptation? It's not a challenge to ask you whether or not somebody else should give in to temptation, so to make it a challenge, you've got to make it tempting not just for the character, but for the player. If you can do that, the Feywild becomes a challenge of illusions and temptations like it should be, not just a nest of traps that you, as a player, can spot pretty obviously, because you know that you're playing a game.
    Posted By: Jim CrockerAny well-designed group of encounters is going to give the PCS a reason to keep moving anyway; the worry about multiple extended rests is an artifact of older version of D&D that I don't think present nearly as much of a problem in the current iteration.
    They've done some things to alleviate it, though my current campaign has suffered from it. Then again, I try to make each night's story a more-or-less self-contained story, or at least a recognizable chapter in the story. Now that we're in the paragon tier, we may not have time to do more than one or two combats in a night. As a result, we don't see a lot of milestones.

    In this new campaign I'm planning (which will have a lot of Feywild, hence this thread), I'm planning on (a) finding ways to make combats shorter (leaning pretty heavily on some of the ideas in DMG2 for that), and (b) getting more comfortable with ending the night mid-dungeon.
    Posted By: Jim CrockerHas anyone thought of using the Skill Challenge mechanics for this? I'd need to think about how that might work, but they're the closest thing to non-combat narrative control over the PCs that a DM has short of plain fiat.
    Yes! It seems to scream for a skill challenge, but I don't know what it would be.
    Posted By: RogerYeah, treating the Feywild as one big-ass Artifact might be feasible.
    Duuuuude, you just blew my fruggin' mind.
    Posted By: torkThis would be a pretty substantial change to make just to awesomify the Feywild, but if it were me, I'd switch to using theSweet20system (which bolts Shadow of Yesterday-style keys onto D&D), and ask the players to create temporary Feywild keys that tie in with that effect. It's a carrot and a flag.
    Yeah, I pitched Sweet20 to them, and it was unanimously rejected.
    Posted By: DeliveratorI introduced a thing in 4E called +1 tokens.
    Kind of like the "Hero Points" that this commenter suggested.
  • It occurs to me that it would be pretty fun to put a big plate of delicious frosted cupcakes or a hot, fresh apple pie on the table at the same time the PCs are tempted.

    Tell the players that anyone who wants some can, but it means their PCs have also given in (with whatever consequences that entails). Make noises, grin, lick your fingers, and complement the genius pastry chef as you watch them squirm.

    -Jim C.
  • I'd do the fairy food thing in D&D as an ability check or a skill challenge, myself. I'd begin it by telling the players that this is fairy food, and yes, your characters are likely going to get screwed if they eat it. Then we'd make various rolls to find out whether they do it anyway, due to how the characters presumably don't know/remember about this fairy food thing, and thus might fall for it, especially if their natural suspicion were being overridden by the supernatural deliciousness of the food.

    The reason for doing it this simply is that I find suckering the players with gotchas like this pretty simple-minded, frankly. Classics like fairy food are often cliches in execution if you have to try to pass them over for an audience that is well aware of the rules of this sort of thing; you're only going to make it work in rather contrived conditions. Gastronomic temptation is not going to be a proper challenge for player judgment in a game that doesn't make starvation or enjoyment of food an issue, so this sort of thing is going to seem stilted in D&D, anyway. So overall the most natural way of handling it is to tell the players what's up, and resolve the thing with various ability checks. Just like a succubus or nymph temptation attack, really.

    If I wanted to make eating fairy food a genuine conundrum for D&D players, I'd have to institute some rules for eating, something that'd actually make the decision to not eat have an impact. Perhaps having an extended rest required eating heartily to replenish your strength as well. With this house rule it becomes a simple matter of getting the characters to lose their food supply to make eating fairy food a real risk and an interesting choice for the players: a party that has lost its food supplies is down in its strength and comes to a fairy orchard or some such. The players might well suspect that fairy food will screw them over, but they don't know, as the party sage fails his lore check and the GM has never indicated anything either way in this campaign. And if they don't eat, who knows when they're going to get that extended rest they need to replenish their resources. This way the players would actually have something to think about and an interesting choice to make.
  • Posted By: Jim CrockerIt occurs to me that it would be pretty fun to put a big plate of delicious frosted cupcakes or a hot, fresh apple pie on the table at the same time the PCs are tempted.
    There's an entire game system (QAGS) based off of tempting players with food, but it's hard to get treats that are actually good enough to be genuinely tempting.
  • I decided to keep it very D&D: an attack vs. Will, and if I win, I get to declare something the Bright Beauty compels you to do. If you ignore it, you suffer the Distracted condition (DMG2, p. 13). At the end of each extended rest, you can make a saving roll to see if you shrug it off; or, you can get rid of it by succumbing to the temptation.

    I think that strikes a good balance—it doesn't deprive players of their free will, but it still lets them really start to feel the pull of the Feywild. After a few days of missed saving rolls resulting in them granting combat advantage and taking a -2 to all rolls, we should get to see some of the good, crazy, fey stuff. Remember that Star Trek episode where Sulu started fencing? Yeah, that kind of stuff.
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