Weapon Training (Page 16)

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Ze Groupe
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Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by Ze Groupe » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:29 am

Hi Design Team,

Suddenly hand waiving the -4 for 0 lvl characters screams poor design i think. If you want the game to be harsh to lvl 0 characters then let it be so! They all still have 1 weapon they can use trained. :twisted:

To suddenly go, "hey we have this rule that applies to the rest of the game but we pretend it doesnt exist here because it doesn't fit for the first 3 hours of game play" is not the solution.

Cheers.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by finarvyn » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:47 am

In playtest, 0-level characters die quickly and painfully already. Giving then an additonal minus in combat makes them die a bit too fast.

In one playtest, we started with 12 0-level characters and nearly had a TPK in the first encounter.

I agree that waiving the negative seems sort of "metagame" based, but it works well.
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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by Ze Groupe » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:14 am

It may work, i have no doubt of that, but it screams poor design. There must be a better way, even giving 0 lvl characters more HP would be better than arbitrarily removing a rule which is then included in the rest of the game. The current method is both unintuitive and confusing.

Or, give some GM advice about making 0 lvl adventures short and simple, with suitable opponents so as to limit TPK's? Even that would be better in my opinion.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by kataskicana » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:43 am

I think the idea is to let the 0 level pcs use any weapons they can get their hands on in the first session... it shouldn't be much... but if the son of the duke who had a longsword gets dropped... someone else can pick it up and use it instead of their rusty dagger. If you applied a -4 then thats not going to happen and it should... you'd pick up the sword, right??

I don't think you'll see people choosing to not level up and stay level 0 because the no -4 is so broken!

Also... when there are only 5 of the starting 15 PCs left... and the guy holding the longsword isn't the one who brought it... guess what... that guy is well on his way to being a level 1 fighter... where he will not have a -4 penalty but will get an action dice and MDoAs!

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by viktor_haag » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:14 pm

I don't mind the no lack of training penalty for 0 lvl PCs, because really it measures a character's level of competence in comparison to their trained competence levels. But then there is an odd bump between 0 and 1st level. Why not have the no training penalty be "subtract your level if untrained, maximum -5" or max -4 or whatever you want the max untrained penalty to be. This seems counter intuitive but really just tracks the relative misery untrained skill imposes compared to one's standard competence. And it is easy to remember... 8)

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by Sizzaxe » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:18 pm

Initially I had no real problems as I read this over, and I still don't have problems with waiving it to reduce the possibility of instant 0 lvl death instead of just a quick 0 level death. But it does does beg an in-game explanation for a 0 level pc being better than a 1st level pc when fighting untrained.

I mean yes, overall a 1st lvl pc is better, but it seems like an unnecessary penalty to have to take a -4 after 1st level. But I trust the playtests to date. Maybe I'll try it both ways in playtest and see what I think.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by jmucchiello » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:27 pm

Just change the untrained penalty to -2.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by kataskicana » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:49 pm

I see it as a matter of focus. Joe (level 0 - future level 1 wizard) might use a weapon at level 0 and not have a penalty with it. THe question is why is he then -4 with it at level 1? Well... instead of doing that hard work as a (roll d30 for occupation) he now exclusively deals in the matters arcane and has for some time. Not to mention those large bits of metal that were ok before he sold his soul bother him now... make it hard to concentrate on fighting!

If you look at the weapons allowed by class the lists are not has restrictive as the AD&D days. I don't see it coming up hardly at all - if ever.

Honestly if a level 4 wizard with 6 HPs and no armor has the balls to go toe to toe with something in melee I might be tempted to wave off the -4... obviously he is hopped up on adrenaline or has gone berserk and has 'crazy' strength!

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by goodmangames » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:58 pm

This may sound like a weird comment so let this digest a bit but...DCC RPG is meant to be played. My primary interest is in creating a game that is fun to play. (Note that this is not always the goal of RPG authors...)

With that preface, let it be said that the game is a heck of a lot more fun if the 0-level characters can actually hit their opponents. Most 0-level characters start with a lousy weapon (club or dagger) but eventually have the opportunity to grab something else (longsword when the noble dies, etc.). When I applied the -4 in the early games, the 0-level characters would never hit anything...or the players would make a decision to stick with the club rather than take the longsword. Doesn't make any sense! And not as much fun! So I removed that rule and the games were a lot more fun.

So my recommendation would be, balance the game design principles against game play. Play a 0-level game with the -4 penalty, then play one without. Let me know which is more fun. :) And I'm definitely open to other, better ideas on how to do the "weapon training" rules once you've given it a shot...I just want to make sure they still leave the game fun to play, and are very easy to remember and execute.

Thanks,
Joseph
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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by finarvyn » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:05 pm

Ze Groupe wrote:It may work, i have no doubt of that, but it screams poor design.
Seems kind of harsh. Have you played a 0-level session yet? :?
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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by nanstreet » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:23 pm

Why not scrap the -4 penalty altogether, for 0-levels and for classed characters? Just have untrained weapons do a reduced damage die and use a worse crit table. That way if anybody wants to hit someone over the head with a chair or fence with a fireplace poker or try to backstab the king in the garden with a trowel or pick up the Duke's son's sword after he bite's the dust, there's a just as good chance to hit but the damage won't be as phenominal as it would if a weapon the character was trained in was used.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by shadewest » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:27 pm

Let's broaden that suggestion a bit. In general, it might be more in the spirit of the system to reduce the action die, rather than impose a numerical penalty. It's an innovative mechanic, use it liberally!
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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by goodmangames » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:38 pm

You know... I really like that idea of reducing the action die. I'll have to think on that...
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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by stacktrace » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:55 pm

I respect that the game is meant to be played, though this hand waved rule also seemed strange.

Though, what really is the point of weapon training?

To prevent Mages and Thieves from using Two Handed Swords and Polearms and reflect a Diety's favored weapons?

That seems to be the main consequences of the rule as it currently is. Yes, there are other weapons unusable by non-Warriors, but the classes can also use an equivalent or better weapon, so there is no real balance reason.

You could easily get rid of the whole idea of weapon training without affecting the rules. Instead:

-Thieves cannot backstab with two handed weapons
-Clerics gain a -4 (or d16) when attacking with a weapon not favored by their diety or from their occupation to represent the diety's disfavor (while occupation weapon is an exception because their early lives were guided by the diety, so it was by diety's will that they pick up that particular weapon for some unknown purpose)
-Mages require a hand free to cast spells, as such two handed weapons cannot be properly wielded for proper defense during rounds in which they cast, causing a reduction in AC. The staff is an exception as it can still provide defense one handed.

Ok, I admit that last one is a little rough, I am sure others could do better.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by muherd » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:03 am

I like changing the die type as well, since it will apply throughout all levels. As an aside, I'm reading these boards and find myself second guessing which is the "Action" and which is the "Attack" die.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by blizack » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:10 am

stacktrace wrote:I respect that the game is meant to be played, though this hand waved rule also seemed strange.

Though, what really is the point of weapon training?

To prevent Mages and Thieves from using Two Handed Swords and Polearms and reflect a Diety's favored weapons?

That seems to be the main consequences of the rule as it currently is. Yes, there are other weapons unusable by non-Warriors, but the classes can also use an equivalent or better weapon, so there is no real balance reason.

You could easily get rid of the whole idea of weapon training without affecting the rules. Instead:

-Thieves cannot backstab with two handed weapons
-Clerics gain a -4 (or d16) when attacking with a weapon not favored by their diety or from their occupation to represent the diety's disfavor (while occupation weapon is an exception because their early lives were guided by the diety, so it was by diety's will that they pick up that particular weapon for some unknown purpose)
-Mages require a hand free to cast spells, as such two handed weapons cannot be properly wielded for proper defense during rounds in which they cast, causing a reduction in AC. The staff is an exception as it can still provide defense one handed.

Ok, I admit that last one is a little rough, I am sure others could do better.
I was thinking of trying something along these lines, too. It seems more elegant than listing specific allowed weapons for each class. It seems strange to say that wizards can use "usual list of old-school magic-user weapons plus longsword, because that's what Gandalf had" and instead just say all classes can use all weapons, with some specific restrictions.

One thing I played around with is the idea that all classes can use all weapons, but unless the character is a fighter, the damage can't exceed their hit die type. In other words, a wizard can use a longsword, but he'll only inflict 1d4 damage when doing so. It lets players give their character the weapon they want without outshining the fighter as the guy who is really a weapon master.

If you really wanted to get crazy you could give fighters the ability to bump up the damage dice of weapons, but I think that's probably going too far.
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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by Kruvil » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:15 am

I also like the idea getting rid of weapon training and replacing it by saying certain class abilities don't work with certain weapons.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by bholmes4 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:06 am

blizack wrote: One thing I played around with is the idea that all classes can use all weapons, but unless the character is a fighter, the damage can't exceed their hit die type. In other words, a wizard can use a longsword, but he'll only inflict 1d4 damage when doing so. It lets players give their character the weapon they want without outshining the fighter as the guy who is really a weapon master.
This is roughly what I was going to suggest but make the maximum base weapon damage: Wizards (1-6 dmg)/ Halflings, Clerics and Thieves (1-8 dmg)/ Warriors, Dwarves, Elves (no limit).

Thus if a wizard uses a Longsword he hits for 1-6 damage whereas a Warrior does 1-8 damage with the same weapon. If the sword is a magical sword +3, the Wizard does (1-6)+3, the Warrior (1-8)+3. Simple, easy and doesn't require all kinds of extra rules/restrictions. If the concern is a magical Two-Handed Sword (with unbalancing abilities) finding it's way in to a wizard's hand, just make that item reject them as owners. If it's a non-magic variety who cares? It still only does 1-6 damage for them.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by Sizzaxe » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:20 am

goodmangames wrote:This may sound like a weird comment so let this digest a bit but...DCC RPG is meant to be played. My primary interest is in creating a game that is fun to play. (Note that this is not always the goal of RPG authors...)

... So I removed that rule and the games were a lot more fun.

So my recommendation would be, balance the game design principles against game play. Play a 0-level game with the -4 penalty, then play one without. Let me know which is more fun. :) And I'm definitely open to other, better ideas on how to do the "weapon training" rules once you've given it a shot...I just want to make sure they still leave the game fun to play, and are very easy to remember and execute.

Thanks,
Joseph
You know what, after reading Joseph's explanation, I'm going to give it a try both ways and see. I have never played a 0 lvl session before (first one this Saturday!!). Alot about the pc funnel and 0 lvl play is loosely designed anyway--such as the the training gap from lvl 0 to lvl 1. But the rules make a strong appeal to start this way, and promise that it's a key element of DCC play. I'm going to go for it as is. And the -4 penalty seems like a minor thing to overlook in order to gain something potentially much more valuable.

Joseph and his playtesters to date are all saying that the 0 lvl -4 skip was an intentional and mindful decision. I can live with and trust that. I'll post my experiences with it after Saturday.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by TwystedSpyder » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:41 am

blizack wrote: I was thinking of trying something along these lines, too. It seems more elegant than listing specific allowed weapons for each class. It seems strange to say that wizards can use "usual list of old-school magic-user weapons plus longsword, because that's what Gandalf had" and instead just say all classes can use all weapons, with some specific restrictions.

One thing I played around with is the idea that all classes can use all weapons, but unless the character is a fighter, the damage can't exceed their hit die type. In other words, a wizard can use a longsword, but he'll only inflict 1d4 damage when doing so. It lets players give their character the weapon they want without outshining the fighter as the guy who is really a weapon master.

If you really wanted to get crazy you could give fighters the ability to bump up the damage dice of weapons, but I think that's probably going too far.
I like this, blizack. A lot.

Prepping to run this for Free RPG day at my favorite gaming store and this waive the -4 rule for lvl 0 also stuck out for me. There doesn't seem that there would be anything wrong with it in play, but it doesn't seem to mesh with the rest of the game design.

The idea of reduced weapon effectiveness instead of an attack roll penalty seems like a slick way of addressing some of those thematic hurdles we've had with some of those old school rules restrictions back in the day. Basing it on hit dice seems perfectly ballanced and simple as well.

I wonder how it would really effect play, though. I'll have to try several of these methods in playtesting.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by numenetics » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:35 am

Not having penalties at 0 was really fun for us last night, and I love getting to say "You are equally incompetent with all weapons." In the context of the level 0 pitchforks and torches it feels right.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by jmucchiello » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:41 am

I still think it is simpler to reduce the penalty to -2.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by meinvt » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:09 pm

Registered to chime in with support for the "no weapon penalty" route. Instead make class specific requirements and limitations. Some combination of penalties to hit, limitations on damage, and penalties on ability use with different weapons that are driven by the individual class descriptions.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by Michael Pfaff » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:01 am

nanstreet wrote:Why not scrap the -4 penalty altogether, for 0-levels and for classed characters? Just have untrained weapons do a reduced damage die and use a worse crit table. That way if anybody wants to hit someone over the head with a chair or fence with a fireplace poker or try to backstab the king in the garden with a trowel or pick up the Duke's son's sword after he bite's the dust, there's a just as good chance to hit but the damage won't be as phenominal as it would if a weapon the character was trained in was used.
I really love this idea.

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Re: Weapon Training (Page 16)

Post by jmucchiello » Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:05 am

+d14

Doing less damage at 0 level is far less likely to cause a TPK (since they aren't fighting 2 or more HD creatures at 0-level, right?) than hitting less often. I think the reduced damage die for being untrained works and works throughout all levels of the game.

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