Tuesday, May 22, 2012

4e, The "Delve Format" and Good Advice

Over at the Fearless DM, the FDM writes about 4e and "what its really about".  Character Optimization.  Fine.  Tried that in 3e and Exalted (ugh).  Not my bag -- probably why I don't play 4e.

Anyway, within his post he gives this bit of advice --

The real lesson of the Delve Format (and my experience at Origins) is this: no matter what the delve format was trying to do- the battles don’t play themselves. And Good DMing has to do with more than just knowing the rules. 
1. If you want to do weak Dms a favor, give them less crap to worry about.Because they can’t manage it. 
2. And if you want to do great Dms a favor, give them less crap to deal with. Because they can do a better job just by being free from the restrictions.  
Either way, less, less, less.  (emphasis mine)
Good advice.

Which would you rather run?  This --
 Or this?

A6 80'x110'x40' H Overrun with 20 spriders (sic - or is it?). 1/2 HD 1-3-2-2-4-1-2-3-3-1 HTK,AC 4 non-poisonous 1/bite. Cobwebs slow movement 1/2 normal. Six Zombies;2 HD, 8-4-7-13-15-6 HTK, AC 8, 1-8/hit, thumping on dead rat.
Or even this?
190. BADGERS. The gnomes in #189 have trained thesebadgers as pets and will use them in combat ifnecessary. Three badgers (6, 8, 10 h.p.). 


burnedfx said...

I'm believe your question is rhetorical (option 2!), but looking at the 4E option, I do like the little part that mentions "Illumination."

Granted, that's two words, right before you are slammed with an onslaught of information that leaves nothing to the imagination.

Have an illumination prompt would be cool in option 2. ;]

Maybe one could average all the DC checks in that "delve" and condense the encounter into a single die roll!

Roll above DC X to win D&D!

Aaron E. Steele said...

the last one is best. Man, those 4e maps and the set-ups just shout out combat. blerg.

Marcus Swims said...

Option #3. You could probably cut out the HP too. :)

Erin Smale said...

Option 2 is the right mix for me - just enough stats that I don't have to check the books, and suitably vague descriptions that let me run the encounter however I want.

I'm not really familiar with 4e, which is probably why I'm so taken aback by the example. I can't imagine running a by-the-book encounter, especially given the variable of PC input.

Ain't no module gonna tell me how to run my game. No sir.