View Full Version : Systemic Shift - Making 3.5 encounter-based

2011-08-01, 02:18 AM
This began with me considering the idea of an RPG wherein health and mana refreshed at the end of every fight. Between that statement and the threat title, you probably know where this is going.

As a sweeping change to 3.5, I propose that all character-based resources refresh entirely at the end of an encounter - while this does have the unfortunate side-effect of making things a little more game-y (clever roleplayers could work around the awkwardness of refreshing HP before each encounter, I'd imagine) I think the positives outweigh that.

For one, this all but eliminates the 10-minute work day. When the casters get their spells back after every encounter (more on them shortly) there's no need for such things. It helps the flow of events move more smoothly with the narrative rather than with the party's resources.

Next, this would help balance casters. Obviously you can't just insert them into a system like this without exploding their power. The simplest fix would be to simply radically reduce the number of spell slots they have available. Since the spells filling these slots refresh at the end of every encounter, this doesn't hurt spellcasters as much as it could, but forces them to make more particular choices regarding what spells they take. I haven't ironed out the particulars of these class fixes, but I think this has real potential to narrow the gap in a big way. Yes, giving per-encounter access to, say, Gate seems really crazy, but that's more of a failure of the spell than the system in particular.

Additionally, this gives the DM a predictable level to balance encounters against. Rather than needing to consider an entire day's worth of fights when planning what to throw against the party, every encounter can be designed to challenge them to the full extent of their capabilities. This may have the side effect of making in-combat healing... relevant at all.

Yes, this idea is still in the infant stages, but I'd like to get some opinions and ideas at this early stage. So please, comments, questions, anything that comes to mind, I'd love to hear it.

2011-08-01, 10:40 AM
What about utility abilities? When does my Wizard's Feather Fall regenerate? Environmental effects? What happens when a rock falls on me? It's not a fight, so I don't heal immediately after. How about damage from a Forced March, or a disease? How are those handled?

There are many ways to use resources outside of combat. So how does this system cope with those?