A New Sweet20, or, What can the games we play contribute to Dungeons & Dragons?

edited April 2013 in Story Games
I wasn't around in those days, but in 2004 it seems Clinton R Nixon started a project called 'Sweet20'. The plan seems to have been that modules from Sweet20 could be applied piecemeal to D&D 3E, or with all the modules you could play without D&D 3E altogether.

The only module that I can find is experience, which was based on Keys from The Shadow of Yesterday (you might know them from Lady Blackbird). But it got me thinking: there's been nine years of new RPGs since TSOY; what could they contribute to D&D?

The one thought that came straight away to me seems like a cop out, but here it is:

In Love in the Time of Seið, players can choose what the places look like, choosing from three options. I think that would be a cool approach for magic items and monsters.

THE MEDUSA

The medusa is:

A writhing mass of snake heads that slides onto the heads of virgins and controls them.

A snake-tailed monstrosity, hooded and fork-tongued, with snakes for hair.

A statuesque woman dressed in a wine-dark robe, with an aura of coral snakes about her head.

Comments

  • Dungeon World?
  • I would like to see more of these ideas.
  • Dungeon World?
    I really like Dungeon World.

    But it's not what I'm looking for here - at least, not in its entirety. Which parts of Dungeon World's design would you port across into D&D? And how would you do it as a module so it remains compatible with the rest of D&D?
  • Bonds for sure. Just make the xp for resolving a bond worth whatever system of xp you are using in D&D. Heck, for that matter, port the whole experience system: 7+level to advance, xp for bonds, alignment, exploration, fighting monsters and getting lootz and resolving bonds and of course when you fail a roll.
  • Modular rules thingies are my jam at the moment.

    You should check out the game I just posted Tonight We Slay a Dragon or Die in the Attempt. The rules for character creation would work great for D&D. They give you a party of characters with clear roles, a shared purpose, and things to talk to each other about.

    I had a few other things I posted a long time ago, specifically for D&D. I'll see if I can dig them up.
  • Tiered resolution mechanics would be my number one module, for sure. No good reason to waste a player's turn on a failed roll, not in 2013.
  • OMG Chris, you were born after 2004?!!?!

    It's probably very telling that my first thought was "which D&D" and my second was "and what do you mean by contribute?"

    I got a thing in my head a lot like that list of medusa thing. Eerie.
  • A friend has ported Burning Wheel's Beliefs (with a bit of TSoY's keys) to Pathfinder. You get luck points ("AP") from following beliefs or finishing belief-based-goals, and burn them for +2's on rolls. Putting an AP into a roll is a step towards improve the stat for that roll (base attack bonus, caster level, or skill) and once you've got your next-levels-worth in all of these you actually go up to that level.

    Still a lot of rough edges, and not sure it's balanced yet - haven't done the math, and in any case hard to model effect of skill progression because there are so many options. May move to a simpler model where spending AP just gets you XP and we use the normal leveling rules.
  • Some other games that come to mind:

    * Red Box Hack/Old School Hack
    * Storming the Wizard's Tower
    * That D&D hack of Danger Patrol (it's somewhere on this forum, can't remember if it was Danger Dungeon or Dungeon Patrol or something like that)

    Personally? I'd love to see a D&D re-skin of the Monsterhearts rules. I think that would be hot.
  • OMG Chris, you were born after 2004?!!?!

    It's probably very telling that my first thought was "which D&D" and my second was "and what do you mean by contribute?"

    I got a thing in my head a lot like that list of medusa thing. Eerie.
    Haha, not born after 2004 - but not playing anything other than D&D 3E (and seriously baffled that anyone would use anything other than the d20 System: 'Do people not understand that it's streamlined?!').

    Yeah, any D&D is fine by me. 'Contribute'? That's harder to pin down. I guess I'd say 'Improve the play experience for you, without changing the fundamentals of the game'. So Scrape's tiered success is cool, I think you could make a module that gave tiered successes that would fit well with the rest of the game. If he'd said 'Delete the skills chapter. Insert the second page of GHOST/ECHO', I'd feel a bit cheated.
    Some other games that come to mind:

    * Storming the Wizard's Tower
    In fact, Vincent did adapt the monster creation rules from this for D&D.
    You should check out the game I just posted Tonight We Slay a Dragon or Die in the Attempt. The rules for character creation would work great for D&D. They give you a party of characters with clear roles, a shared purpose, and things to talk to each other about.
    Interesting. Choosing options gives me a bit of a Poison'd vibe.
  • edited April 2013
    Well then, I play old school d&d, and the two things that bug me most are: the accounting of xp and the length of combats.

    I understand the reason for xp the way it is and I know why it works best for the way we play, I just don't like the complicated math and accounting, so there's no good fix for that, really. But combat, way too often, is about standing around hacking away to see who takes more damage faster. We still have tactical stuff, and there's plenty of nail-biting tension all over the place (especially when the "killer DM" is running the game), but I still find it too slow with not enough effective options other than attacking, or using a spell or magic item.

    So my World of Algol thing was basically me using Apocalypse World to run old school D&D. For my particular style of DMing, it worked great. The one player who loves over the top scams and always tries to hoodwink NPCs got to be more effective at it, and since in that first game I started them off with AW-equivalent weaponry, at the end of four sessions they had literally obliterated my semi-mega-dungeon. It was probably faster than Dungeon World, too, because I used AW-style harm and then reduced that capacity in the later, more-hacked version.

    Probably the one downfall is that because combats went faster, the PCs moved through the dungeon faster, and because the DM has to show up with a finished dungeon, that means more prep time. If I were to run this kind of game even every two weeks, I don't think I would be able to keep up. This, incidentally, is a non-negotiable part of the essence of old school d&d for me, so switching to the AW/DW style where you make things up during the game isn't an option.
  • edited April 2013
    Yes, sadly nothing beats a good ol prep. Sadly, because it takes a lot of time to prepare for a session and not everything gets used (tough it can be recicled for later) and even then players might go and find a good reason and way to avoid entirely whatever you prepped. And then you can't just do all the prep for your campaign in one seat, you'll need to prepare most stuff only for the next session cause you won't know what will happen then.

    And boy d20's math makes that laborious if not complicated (though not impossible, I admit). So I always pick any system with simple prep over d20 any day, or hack my own like I'm doing right now.

    The other option of course is to do prep on one seat and railroad like a god. Which isn't as a bad experience as it may sound to some people, if you've got a GM good at that. That detailed prep certainly pays a lot.

    Uh, but the point is about contribution: I'd say it depends on what do you want to add to the game. You don't like combats taking so long? Other than houseruling, you'll need an entirely different system, sorry. An you'll be taking tactical gaming (but not tactical thinking) out of it. You don't like it being so lethal or want more acting from the players? Rip off the Aiki chits system pron Tenra Bansho and use it like story points
  • Railroading isn't an option either, because the players are exploring a location, not pursuing adventure goals and fighting opponents. I guess the dungeon could be linear, but players who are cool with the GM saying "this is the only dungeon I've got prepped so this is the dungeon you're going into tonight" will still get bored by that.

    For the last few years I mostly dealt with this by running mostly one-page dungeons. They don't always tend to tie together into a coherent setting or campaign, though. Stuff like threat countdowns (fronts and dangers in Dungeon World) are good for adding that, although if you don't have time to prep dungeons, you likely don't have time to prep countdowns either.
  • The place I first posted these doesn't exist anymore, but here's an old idea I had called Say Yes or Face the Dungeon.
  • The place I first posted these doesn't exist anymore, but here's an old idea I had called Say Yes or Face the Dungeon.
    I love it! The one thing that gives me pause is the stakes-setting. Is there a way to do the same dungeon-as-conflict-resolution without drawing the players out of the fiction to negotiate stakes? (Others' opinions on stakes-setting may vary of course - feel free to convince me otherwise in whispers or whatever).
Sign In or Register to comment.