Through 5th edition (and 5.5), the T&T rulebook included a simple procedure for determining a monster's reaction when it meets delvers in the dungeon. The idea was you roll 2 dice (6-siders, obviously), and refer to a table. A low roll meant the reaction was hostile, and a high roll might mean the reaction was friendly, or the monster simply flees.
Today, I noticed the Deluxe edition doesn't refer to monster reactions at all in 367 pages. That makes me think it was only included from the beginning as a callback to D&D, instead of something the Phoenix group actually used.
What about you? Is it something you've used before? Did it just get in your way, or do you find any charm in it?
Last Edit: Feb 15, 2018 19:03:37 GMT -5 by gaptooth
I tend to start with a default position expected of the encounter…
A few years ago I read Play Unsafe by Graham Walmsley (print here). At first I found it affirmed some of principles behind my best role-playing experiences that I never quite put my finger on before. But since then, it has slowly and cumulatively changed the way I prep and play and use my prep as a GM. Different games lend themselves more or less to different techniques the book covers too, and that's the way I use them—more or less.
But one thing that has changed my play more than anything else, on both sides of the table, is Walmsley's counsel to "be obvious". That is, don't hammer your brain to be clever or entertaining. The most clever and entertaining stuff will happen when you just say what is obvious at every turn. Because doing the next thing that is obvious to you will keep the fiction moving, and foster the creative flow.
That idea might be obvious to everyone else, but I read a lot of blogs by clever people, filled with clever GMing advice. Before I read Play Unsafe, this was creating high expectations of my creativity and cleverness at the table. But the advice to be obvious helped me ease off, which is always a better disposition for creativity.
So your comment about starting with the default position expected of the encounter deserves to be underscored. When I wrote about using modifiers ±0–4 for the reaction roll, that is exactly where the modifiers come from: the default position expected of the encounter.
Adding the reaction roll to that was a way of saying to the fiction, "surprise me". The surprising action has always been part of the attraction of role-playing for me—as opposed to, say, writing a story. There is a tension between being obvious and being surprised, but they aren't absolutely contrary. After all, once the reaction is determined you can ask, "Why would they react like this?" Then go with the obvious answer.
I think when writing a solo adventure it is often a good way of making an encounter more interesting and increasing re-playability.
That's a cool idea that never occurred to me!
I'm guessing you would use it when the book calls for a "wandering monster"-type encounter, and not during the set-piece encounters where the text tells you "You meet a bloodthirsty demon who charges at you with slashing claws—FIGHT TO THE DEATH!"?
I used it for a set piece monster, a cowardly goblin, he may run for it, or may fight you. For a wandering monster it may result in lots of dice rolling just for the monster to run off. For a set peice it means you might have to fight to get what you want, or talk, or chase.
Post by unclecranky on Nov 14, 2018 22:15:56 GMT -5
I've used it a lot over the years - mostly to freak out players. Think back to my critters, guys, then realize what happens when a Meufyrd or a Bigfoot of mine decides it wants to "parley" with the party - much less the Wiz Tick or Fairy Flea.