This is pt 2 on the topic of movement. Part 1 can be found here.
I’d like a system that can handle tactical movement too. If I make a battle map, I want movement to be as natural as possible. I could assign a ft to inch ratio and we could pull our the measuring tapes like in table-skirmish games, but I’m not quite interested in failed charges and guessing ranges. As I stated in my design goals, I want to speed up combat, not slow it down with measuring every move.
So, I want a battle grid. I never quite understood why squares were used instead of hexagons. I’ll use a hex grid for the game to make movement a bit more natural around the board. I just need an appropriate scale per hex. There are some conflicting design issues here.
Small scale: You can have lots of action and movement even in smaller areas. Size categories make a little more sense. It’s harder to completely block someone’s movement.
Large Scale: You can fit larger-scaled battles on your table. You can start to approximate outdoor encounter distances.
I’d like if there was some variation of speed between characters. Like one character is definitively faster than another. I’m not sure why this was never modeled into d&d. I suppose different members of a unit were marching together… and that’s why we get racial and armor penalties as modifiers to speed – and that is it.
Dexterity is usually the fall-back to measure for speed tests, but mechanically it doesn’t have any impact on how far you can move. If you’re a human, you move 30 ft with your move action – no matter what. You can double move, or jog, or run, or what have you – but you’re basically able to only travel the same speed as any other human. You’re ONLY slower if you’re heavily armored, heavily encumbered (if using encumbrance rules), or you happen to have chosen a race that has very short legs.
I remember when I first started reading the rules for d&d 3e, and pretige classes were introduced into the game. There had been special classes you had to “qualify” for before, but nothing quite so modular and free-form. I remember a friend of mine and I sitting down and realizing that the prestige classes were a great opportunity to flesh out our own campaign. As the campaign progressed, each player’s character discovered some kind of organization or style that lead to the creation of entirely custom prestige classes for each one, and truth be told it felt epic.
I could play a game where power progression was slow. I wonder how different the game would be if you didn’t gain levels as a reward, and instead you simply explored, or “unlocked” areas of the world. I don’t think many people would enjoy that, and it would be very dependent on an imaginative GM who could weave a world around you that you wanted to explore. That’s a lot of pressure. I think we’ll have some power progression in Lost Worlds, but the question is of scale. What should a “level” provide. How often will you level, and do you have a hard cap or do you taper out at some point?
Classic versions of d&d have only a handful of classes. Newer RPGs either have lots of classes, or they have no classes at all, and you pick or buy powers/traits with some sort of build currency. The players have pretty clearly communicated their desire to have lots of build options, so the old-school option here is out. I don’t see much reason for tightly restricting player class options besides a lack of creativity or a lack of time to play-test balance. I’m pretty squarely in the second camp, so if I’m going to meet my customization goals, I’ll have to trust my game design instincts, feedback from written drafts, and hope that my players will understand if something needs to be changed during play.
I don’t much like the mechanic of healing.
First of all, it stretches my immersion in the game to think about people getting hacked up with swords and axes and fangs and fire, and then walk up to a cleric after the battle and you’re right as rain. You can keep at it all day long or until your cleric’s god (whom you don’t even worship) stops granting minor miracles for the day. To take it a step further, try imaging a world where gods really did offer those kinds of miracles to their worshipers. People would be insanely religious. Take today’s religious activists and multiply by several orders of magnitude. Imagine clerics who could simply cure the sick, cure diseases, cure the wounded, and even raise the dead! Why bother with assassinations – surely the King can afford a resurrection or two.
It’s hard to get too far down the road of designing an RPG without discussing the action resolution mechanic. Having played almost exclusively D20 games, it’s hard to imagine using something else, but I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about this lately.