A closer look at the Dynamic Roleplaying System: Encounters
January 21, 2014
Today’s topic is going to be about how the Dynamic Roleplaying System will handle encounters.
Encounters are events that the characters will come across on their journeys and are split into four specific categories. Combat Encounters (CE), Social Encounters (SE) and the Puzzle Encounters (PE) are explained in more detail below.
Combat Encounters (CE): A combat encounter is when a character either starts a fight or is forced to join one. The size of a combat encounter is entirely up to the story teller, with the numbers and strength of the opponent adjusting the difficulty of the encounter as well as the rewards.
Example: The characters are wandering through the woods after hearing reports of cattle being stolen from the nearby town. After traveling through the woods for an hour, the group is suddenly attacked by a large band of goblins that leap from some well-camouflaged holes in the ground. As the players are being actively attacked they are drawn into a combat encounter.
Social Encounters (SE): A social encounter is when the character is forced to fight with word play and wit and can usually lead to winning or losing the aid of non-player characters as well as helping the characters gain other insights and information on their journeys.
Example: While sneaking through the town at night the players are stopped by a town guard who demands to know where the group is going. In an attempt to avoid a fight the players can try and reason with the guard by either lying to him, trying to bribe him or any other way they can think of that does not involve any offensive actions on their part.
Puzzle Encounters (PE): Puzzle encounters are when the characters are presented with a challenge where they can neither talk nor fight their way out of; a puzzle encounter can consist of anything from the characters encountering a trap or a raging river they need to cross. The purpose of these encounters is to encourage the players to come up with clever ways of bypassing these obstacles: the more intricate the event, the better the rewards.
Example: The characters come across a vast river that they need to cross and the bridge lies in ruins. As some of the players are unable to swim, this presents a situation where the players will need to decide how they will get across to the other side.
Do the characters that can swim risk taking the others across? Or is one of the characters a carpenter who is able to build a makeshift raft?
In addition to this, each type of encounter is dealt with in a different way, though it is possible for quick-witted characters to change a parlay into a fight, or turn a fight into a truce. This can be accomplished by the players using their skills to their advantage, such as using Intimidate to scare the bandits into not attacking or using Diplomacy to talk the soldiers into not attacking the characters, and so on.
Finally, in addition to the normal encounters players can also find themselves involved in an Event Encounter (EE).
Event Encounter (EE): Event encounters are larger events and normally accompany a critical twist in the story, such as the revelation of a villain, the death of an ally or any other type of devious plot twist the storyteller wishes to unleash on the characters. The main difference of the event encounter to the normal encounter is that event encounters normally consist of several normal encounters combined together.
Example: At the end of the stone corridor stand a large pair of black iron bound doors. As you pry open the doors you find yourself looking upon a large well-lit chamber decorated in ancient tapestries and art. Arcane symbols glow upon the floor and beyond them, sat upon an Obsidian throne, sits a sorcerer with two large armoured figures to his side.
Unlike the other encounters this encounter involves several different encounters: firstly, the presence of the villain and his henchmen will be the precursor to a combat encounter, and secondly, the magically warded floor would apply a puzzle encounter element in the form of a complication to the player’s abilities.
Because of their difficulty, the rewards from an event encounter are normally much higher than a normal encounter.
We will go into the encounters mechanics at a later time, but for now we look forward to hearing your opinions on this part of the Dynamic Roleplaying System.
As with all the posts this week these announcements are merely to demonstrate the mechanics we are looking to incorporate into the finished system and to collect feedback for when we move onto the next stage of the games development.