Designer Talk: APL and Fair Fights

A short bit about Average Party Level, “fair” fights against a group of NPCs of the same level as the PCs, and what the game’s math expects of these encounters.

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5 thoughts on “Designer Talk: APL and Fair Fights

  1. Playing organized play for years (living greyhawk and PFS) makes this point pretty clear. It really does come down to the style of play, and if you’re playing with the expectation of the characters surviving to play through the story, or if you’re playing a game where the world is what it is, and characters may or may not survive, depending on their choices. That’s a pretty fundamental difference.

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  2. Pingback: Five Moons RPG: It’s a Team Game | Sean K Reynolds

  3. It concerns me that it looks like you’re going to be using a rough equivalent to 3rd edition’s Encounter system. As the problems to that have been fairly well documented in the past, to which that system churns out to be not that reliable. While it does save space on monster manual, and I at times have difficulties filling an encounter with multiple foes of different types, having a single monster vs. Party, has been shown to produce encounters not as challenging. While I get its “skewed in favor of the players” and that’s good, I would think it better to encourage a system where the party is fighting multiple foes, not one.

    What I had liked about 4th edition’s Encounter system is that ye would have Party vs party equivalent of foes, so while ganging up likely happened, least presented multiple foes that’d challenge you in that equation (nevermind RNG issues & little/no guide to what constituted as level appropriate abilities considering its stilted leveling paradigm). Its unfortunate that fighting a team of foes is a big climax encounter, as that means we either get “ganged up on” single enemies, or “whiffing group of minions”, something already got in 3rd edition & not as exciting. Though genre wise, there are scenes where group of BA NPC’s is a big fight worth remembering, opposed to being a regular thing, so I guess the justification in that regard, just looks like may be repeating flaws of 3rd edition once more.

    Speaking of, my second concern was it looks like you’re returning to “Wealth By level’ when ye gave out Loot in Gold value. I don’t intend to argue the numbers themselves (uneeded & prone to change I’d assume), but it has been something of a pain to track & keep relevant, especially for new DM’s. For bringing in those new folk, keeping a rule that’s not going to help them seems like a bad idea, as well that it implies that we “need” the Loot, despite one of your design goals for the game. In that regard, I hope you’ll reconsider a better system for wealth that isn’t a pain to track, and ensure that we don’t get required RNG bonuses from swag, but actual abilities*, so that PC’s stay relevant when assassin’s break into their bedchambers while PC’s are naked (Conan, The Phoenix on the Sword came to mind as a scene like to see doable).

    *You can do both of course, just want to make sure they don’t have to choose one or the other, as you’ll find them picking the numbers, boring as they are (design encourages behavior after all)

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    • {It concerns me that it looks like you’re going to be using a rough equivalent to 3rd edition’s Encounter system.}

      Hmm, I don’t see where I’m saying that at all. I posted this video back in April, long before I had announced Five Moons, and I was specifically talking about the APL/CR encounter math of D&D 3E and Pathfinder.

      {While I get its “skewed in favor of the players” and that’s good, I would think it better to encourage a system where the party is fighting multiple foes, not one.}

      I agree, but (again) I don’t see where I was suggesting that “one monster vs. a group of PCs” should be the norm. (In fact, I have plans for a way to make the action economy for GM-controlled creatures change in response to how many PCs are against them).

      {Speaking of, my second concern was it looks like you’re returning to “Wealth By level’ when ye gave out Loot in Gold value.}

      Again, I’m not “returning to” anything, this was specifically a discussion of Pathfinder.

      {ensure that we don’t get required RNG bonuses from swag}

      Well, one of the stated goals of Five Moons is “Make characters less dependent upon their gear to survive and succeed.” 🙂

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