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Gan The Grey
2010-05-05, 04:26 PM
As I grow into my DMing shoes, I am becoming more and more intrigued by random situations and the outcomes thereof. I'm getting bored with DM fiat. I find it much more interesting to throw the dice and see where they lie.

However, because I don't want to bore my players with endless die rolling, I'm looking for a more elegant solution to NPC battles than either deciding the outcome based on my own preference, or rolling out each round of combat for each individual combatant.

What sort of formula could I use to determine which NPC's win a battle? What aspects of the NPC's should I take into account? CR, HP, weapon and armor quality, magic items...I figure this would generally apply to non-pc class opponents, to keep it simple. Ideas?

AslanCross
2010-05-05, 04:30 PM
Depending on the number of combatants, assign numbers to each and roll dice to determine who wins/stays alive? If there's just two of them, flip a coin. The PCs don't have to know what AC the combatants have or how much HP they have left or whatever. If the PCs are supposed to fight the victor, then just put the victor at a percentage of max HP depending on how powerful it is compared to the loser.

I'm not a fan of putting everything into a formula especially if it doesn't directly apply to the PCs. The worst thing that could happen is that the PCs just shrug and walk away, which strikes me as having wasted time with that.

Lin Bayaseda
2010-05-05, 04:34 PM
There's nothing wrong with DM fiat if it doesn't affect the PCs directly. If the NPC hired assassin tries to assassinate the NPC prince, just decide whether he succeeds or fails. If you really want the PCs believe there was no DM fiat involved, pretend there was a formula.

Unless of course the PCs are hired guards for the prince, in which case it does affect them directly.

Gan The Grey
2010-05-05, 04:36 PM
There's nothing wrong with DM fiat if it doesn't affect the PCs directly. If the NPC hired assassin tries to assassinate the NPC prince, just decide whether he succeeds or fails. If you really want the PCs believe there was no DM fiat involved, pretend there was a formula.

Unless of course the PCs are hired guards for the prince, in which case it does affect them directly.

To quote myself:

I'm getting bored with DM fiat. I find it much more interesting to throw the dice and see where they lie.

Eldariel
2010-05-05, 05:00 PM
I actually often do roll out the combats outside the game (that is, between sessions), and see what happens. Solitaire D&D, if you will. :smallbiggrin: Of course, if the encounter happens in front of the players, that's a different matter, but if it happens off-screen and there's a session break before PCs learn of the outcome and its consequences, I'll roll it out. Adds a nice random factor to the game world.

Of course, sometimes when I don't feel like it, I'll just compare their abilities, the combat scenario (who has the initiative, how far away they engage, what other powers are present in the scenario and how they match up numerically against one another) and determine the winner based on the likely winner (though most common outcome is "X escaped").

Skrizzy
2010-05-05, 05:10 PM
Right, so I assume you want a system where you randomly generate the forces, and then simulate them fighting, where you don't just play each fighter in combat, but you still want some randomization.

I am currently working on a no dm style of play and the encounter generation works great for the first part.

Encounter generation:

Step one: Create a deck that where each card has a role and numbers 1-3, make sure there is 2 of each number.

Step two (the long one): Create spreadsheets that correspond to possible forces and what each role could be at each level. For instance, the town guard would have pikemen, the attacking orcs would have barbarians. Make sure that you have at least 1 monster selected for each role at each level.

Step three: Role 1d6 and draw that many cards from the deck, this determines the size and makeup of the first force, repeat for the second.
Rule of 1: Rolling a 1 means that you get solo fighters in place of regular.

Simulation:

Match each force 1 to 1 and then 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 if needed. Find the average role for each fighter to hit its target(s) and the average damage. Find the total damage done assuming 20 attacks with 1 to 20 results. Ensure that you also assume that each special ability hits once. Higher total damage wins. In cases of 2 vs 1 add the 2 attack totals together. Re-match up each monster until the combat is over.

Status Effects: The easiest thing to do about status effects on attacks is to ignore them, but that makes controllers impossibly weak, give bonus damage for status effects.

If you want a bit of randomness, roll 1d10 and multiply the attack totals by 1.(1d10).

Once everything is resolved, take the remaining fighters and reduce their hp by a percent based on rounds of simulation.

This method takes a lot more set up time, and there are of course ways to add more variance and speed things up. Excel will be your best friend while running this sim.