Opinions on a "restricted campaign" "free nonofficial mechanic" please

11 posts / 0 new
Last post

In the near future I'll be DMing an all Rogue/Assassin (Hybrid and multiclass ok, but with no Arcane, Divine, or Primal) only starting L9 (5 players)
Most of the players are a little concerned about first/second round misses.

To compensate for this I thought maybe, I'd give them all a second action point, but it has a specific use.

They can expend it before using a power to get a +2 to hit and damage but grant combat advantage to all adjacent to them when using it until the end of their next turn.
Alternatively, it can be used as an Immediate Reaction (yes this does count as thier Immediate Action for the round) for the first Miss of a round to re-roll the attack. No bonuses, grant combat advantage to all enemies until the end of the encounter.

I don't intend encounters to last more than 3 or 4 rounds max if they all hit consitantly, so I think a re-roll is well worth granting CA for a few rounds

Thoughts? Too harsh? Too soft?
What's their concern, exactly? That some or all of them might miss on their first and second attacks? Aren't there feat, power, and item choices they can make to minimize that? Or have they done that already?

A rogue/assassin game strikes me as the perfect opportunity to make the game less about toe-to-toe combat and more about hit-and-fade encounters designed to minimize contact and to complete the precision operation they're engaged in. If they miss their first two attacks, then they, more and any other class, should be able to extricate themselves, escape and strike again.

So, I don't think there's anything wrong with your idea, I just don't see the need for it.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I think it's more to do with the fact they don't see it as fun if their ineffective as a striker in one or two rounds one or two rounds. One of the players is an optimiser of the truest sense. He hates, and I don't use the term lightly, tabletop war games as theres an element of chance in the dice roll (as much as I tell him you stack the odds in exactly the same way as you do in D&D he won't accept the vagueries).
It may also be as I have warned them in advance that a toe-to-toe will go very badly for them, especially as they have been refused access to healers. I want them to think about how they'll role play their skills to set up the combat rather than just rushing in, but I think it's scared them more than made them think.
I'll discuss it with them at Sunday's session whilst I'm blocking nasties from getting into the centre of the squishy strikers and cnontrollers. 
I'm normally a player, the DM has dreamed of playng this type of campaign for years so I offered to DM so he could play.
I'm relatively new to the game and the group. The optimiser and I have only just managed, after a year or so, to get the others to see the value of a balanced party with support roles, not just strikers (ie the optimised party) and so maybe that's what's worrying them too, we've both been saying for ages that a party geared to do only dealing damage will come unstuck with a few misses.
I hope to balance the encounters so this won't happen, but with this additional mech I can make guards and targets of assassination missions a bit harder, the guards they really shopuld be sneaking past, a bit tougher, yet not wipe them out in an instant should they fail their skill checks etc  
Thinking about it, I may try and work up a "fade away" mechanic. Something that maybe if they attack from concealmeant and miss, they don't give away their position if they expend the point, or if they fail a sneak, they can leg it and try again, rather than promoting combat with a bonus to attack?
I wiil be running a "training" session first so that they can get a feel for the characters, and I can get a feel for DMing.
Glad to hear my first attempt at House Ruling seems balanced, if unnecessary.
Thanks for the comments    
I see.

A couple pieces of advice then:

1: Don't optimize the fights. Favor brutes and things with low perception scores. It sounds like they want to get off on how quickly they take down enemies, so if you make something that is relatively easy for them to hit then they'll probably be happier.

2: Give your enemies a goal other than killing the PCs. If the PCs are infiltrating and assassinating, then obviously the enemies just really want to stop them, but give it just a little more thought. What if the guards were instructed not to put up a fight to the death, but to escape and trigger an alert with each alert making future enemies tougher, or with three alerts meaning that the objective is unachievable, a la Splinter Cell? Then, if they miss their first two attacks, all it really means (at least initially) is that the enemies are more likely to get away and complicate their mission. It's not insurmountable, but it's harder and the game doesn't just grind to a complete halt.

Or, the enemy could be conducting hit-and-fade of their own. Or maybe they're setting alchemical charges around a structure and even if they're killed someone might be able to arm the devices. Etc. Think beyond kill-or-be-killed.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Why the limitations, out of curiosity?
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
That's actually along the lines I was thinking for the campaign.
The addition was more for their pice of mind, with the penalties to stop it being an incentive.
I was hoping to keep the concept of teh missions a bit under my hat, whilst at the same time giving them warning that certain behaviours will result in a messy end, but what I think I've actually done is scare them into thinking that each encounter is a 2-3 round life or death sniper battle, where-as the the encounters will be hit and fades teh result of which set up the overall campaign position with the campaign being a life and death sniper battle, with the campaign "boss" for want of a better term vying for position with them for that killer strike.

I think an open and honest discussion with them outlining the campaign concept is in order. I think the mystery has become more worry rather than building a bit of excitement as was intended. 
What's their concern, exactly? That some or all of them might miss on their first and second attacks? Aren't there feat, power, and item choices they can make to minimize that? Or have they done that already?



He said something along the lines of "If an encounter lasts longer than 2 or 3 turns you'll be in big trouble". If you miss your first 2 attacks, it sounded like you wouldn't get a third... I'd personally rather build towards making sure I hit and kill something as quick as possible, then fade into the shadows (if there is more than 1 target I need to take down alone for example) than miss twice and "leg it".

My concern really is if my hit rate is 75%, that means 1 in 4 encounters i'll screw up the "surprise" attack.

At level 9, I find it hard to spot many feats that give more than +1 to hit. Which is why I wanted to take multiclass into Avenger so I could Oath those two turns (since he originally said no Primal or Arcane, since adding Divine). I think the above mechanic sounds good, since all I care is that I hit, and I'll probably save it for the Re-Roll every time.

With the character I've built, both Utility powers are skill based, rather than combat based, and the character I helped my brother make is similar.
He said something along the lines of "If an encounter lasts longer than 2 or 3 turns you'll be in big trouble". If you miss your first 2 attacks, it sounded like you wouldn't get a third... I'd personally rather build towards making sure I hit and kill something as quick as possible, then fade into the shadows (if there is more than 1 target I need to take down alone for example) than miss twice and "leg it".

Sure, "rather," but you have to consider contingencies. Given that you're rogues and assassins you're well-equipped to take down enemies quickly, but if you don't then yeah, you're in trouble. Fortunately, those classes are also well-equipped to "leg it" when things don't go their way. Seems thoughtless not to take advantage of that, given your concern, rather than the DM having to resort to houserules to keep you alive.

The advice I gave above will also minimize the killing of the PCs, but it's within the rules and plausibly realistic.

My concern really is if my hit rate is 75%, that means 1 in 4 encounters i'll screw up the "surprise" attack.

Only once in every 16 encounters will you miss your first two attacks, and there's effectively no chance every one of you will miss in the surprise round. But knowing that, it should be easy to compensate for any foul ups. If the group's first two surprise round attacks miss, the rest of the attacks can be with powers that help set the enemy up for the first regular round.

Also a hit rate of 75% is ridiculous. Oh, I'm sure it's legal, but it's hard for me to have much respect for it.

At level 9, I find it hard to spot many feats that give more than +1 to hit.

That's by design. So, take feats that make it easier to get combat advantage, or take powers that bestow defense penalties, etc. There are probably even items that would come in handy.

With the character I've built, both Utility powers are skill based, rather than combat based, and the character I helped my brother make is similar.

Sure, fine, and good luck to you. It can certainly work, but when it fails it's likely to fail hard, unless your DM gives the monsters some other goal than killing you.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Sure, "rather," but you have to consider contingencies. Given that you're rogues and assassins you're well-equipped to take down enemies quickly, but if you don't then yeah, you're in trouble. Fortunately, those classes are also well-equipped to "leg it" when things don't go their way. Seems thoughtless not to take advantage of that, given your concern, rather than the DM having to resort to houserules to keep you alive.

The advice I gave above will also minimize the killing of the PCs, but it's within the rules and plausibly realistic.



With the impression of "After 3 rounds you'll all die if you haven't won", I can imagine a number of scenarios
1) Jump out and kill stuff, by 3 rounds we've killed them out
2) Jump out and fail to do enough damage
3) Screw up the surprise, still win by 3 rounds
4) Screw up the surprise, fail to do enough damage.

And the real worry was 4 happening too much.

It was only really on Sunday it was explained that avoiding and bypassing enemies would be a viable if not prefered option a lot of the times. So visions of having to wade through room after room of enemies, and on fight 12 missing and getting ripped apart started to dissappear.

Infact, i'm thinking of remaking my character, since it sounds like a feat that gives me +2 to Stealth is better than one that gives me +2 to damage.

Basically we misunderstood what was going to happen.


Also a hit rate of 75% is ridiculous. Oh, I'm sure it's legal, but it's hard for me to have much respect for it.



75% was a figure I just made up, in specific light to your comment that we can already improve our to hit with feats, equipment, etc. Also 75% is easier to say 1 in 4 than saying 65% is # in #. Having never played as high as level 9, I wouldn't even know if 75% is possible, nevermind the fact I wouldn't want to spend more than 1 or 2 feats on it.
Only once in every 16 encounters will you miss your first two attacks, and there's effectively no chance every one of you will miss in the surprise round. But knowing that, it should be easy to compensate for any foul ups. If the group's first two surprise round attacks miss, the rest of the attacks can be with powers that help set the enemy up for the first regular round.

Also a hit rate of 75% is ridiculous. Oh, I'm sure it's legal, but it's hard for me to have much respect for it.



What, really?


It's extremely easy for an accuracy-focused character to get their hit rate to 75%.  In paragon or epic tier, 95% hit rate isn't out of the question.

It requires a lot of focus on accuracy, and you give up stuff for it, and it isn't always the right thing to do.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
Sounds to me like the answer is 'loosen your campaign restrictions to allow for a wider variety of characters and roles'.  Members of any class can be 'roguish', after all.  If you want all the PCs to have Stealth trained, just require that instead of requiring everybody to be rogues or assassins, via background or Skill Training or Multiclass feat or whatever.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.