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[COURT OF SWORDS // E60 Q&A] The Wheel is a Game of Chance


(Zonnza) #111

Just some thoughts/feedback on postshow comments and ur new exp system (which i love the 3 goal thing, worked great in SWN swan song).

In the postshow, u talked about the flexability u get with throwing cool stuff at the players knowing they can choose to fight it or run.

The trend so far seems like they take the safer route and run, but when they do fight and win (like the slaad), then they kind of just get no exp for taking up a risk. Maybe still let them get some form of exp for stuff they do decide to fight? Gives them another “is this risk worth the reward” to ask themselves before going into a fight.

It also seems like the levels are going by a bit slower now, so the few times they do take the risk and win an encounter, it will help them level a bit faster. Since I personally think it feels like they should be maybe a bit higher level (something like jp and zeke being 1-2 lvls higher while maybe berg and ramus 0-1)

I love the show, keep up the great work ya’ll!

(0Guest) #112

I wholeheartedly agree with the thought that currently there is a slight issue with combat. When playing according to the default rules when only combat gives XP, there is no mechanical incentive for RP, which was an issue. Goal driven XP rewards has fixed that problem, but removing XP from combat encounters might have introduced another one. DnD, at least rules wise, is primarily focused on combat, but now the only reward for engaging in combat has been removed. Which means that currently fighting can lead to 1) death, 2) depletion of resources 3) nothing (as in, overcoming the encounter without losing anything), and always takes a lot of time, at least 1-2 hours. The only instance where combat leads to rewards is in Lairs, where the group can get a chance of magic items. What it boils down to, currently, the primary focus of the system has no benefits when engaging with it and can only result in bad outcomes.

Maybe a resolution could be to have meaningful encounters (like the mentioned Slaad) be “mini quests” to be resolved. This would mean that the party shouldn’t view every NPC like a bag of XP to be plundered, but also mean that should they be put in a position where escaping combat is near impossible, engaging in it wouln’t be a punishment without any benefits.

Edit. When mentioning rewards, I intentionally ignore gold, as it is a functionally worthless thing, the group lost “some thousands” of gold in the bag debacle and I doubt they will miss it at all.

(AdamKoebel) #113

I’m absolutely down with combat related quests or goals, but they can’t just be tacked on before a fight. A fight without a goal attached is meaningless, which is by design!

(Twitch: eyearcana) #114

I think you should reconsider giving half or 1/3 value of combat encounters to the players. I think that’s what he was getting at rather than setting a goal. Have XP comes from two different things. It would make it more well rounded. This is just an opinion, still respect whatever you do.

(seassnake) #115

I dont think there needs to be a change. If the players get a quest/set a goal to clear a bandit camp because they have a reason then they get XP. If they kill a bunch of bandits for no reason then more fool them. There should be character goals driving play and this system enforces that.

(Olf_Himself) #116

In my opinion the current problem with XP isn’t how it’s given but that they players keep changing their goals without fulfilling them.
They’ll never get any XP if they just change them each episode.
I really think they should all dedicate at least one of the quest slots for a goal they can complete that episode, like how it was in Mirrorshades.

(profnesbitt) #117

I think the new goal system is working out amazingly and a big part of it I think is the adherence to giving 0 exp for combat if it wasn’t a goal. If any exp is on the table for non goals there will always be the back of the mind inkling for the players to think “hey maybe I should just kill them for xp”.
One thing that I do think could help out with the less fight intensive style, is allowing creative “not by the book uses for combat abilities” that still fit the flavor of the abilities if not the exact rules of it. Outside of a very few sub classes the majority of their abilities are for combat specifically and very few give special social abilities. Maybe establishing social parallels of their class abilities could help with this. For example if Berg wanted to expend a use of his rage he could get advantage on an intimidation check in a conversation and it would be based on strength instead of charisma in this instant. This is probably more on the players to come up with than on Adam. The purifying of the Basin on Adams Roll20 D&D show is a good example of using the flavor of players resources to accomplish things out of combat. The funny thing is in my exp new players are better at this than players that know the class abilities in and out. New players don’t seem to be as constrained to the letter of the law of their abilities and tend to try more out of the box things. One of the best examples I ever heard about this was something along the lines of enemies were coming down a corridor, the glass macguffin was falling to the ground and the players each could do one thing. The cleric slammed the door shut. The fighter (a new player) said he wanted to catch the falling macguffin and then bar the now closed door. He was told to choose one of those things. He sat for a moment looked at his sheet and said “I haven’t used my action surge yet, can I use it to do both. “ I thought this was a perfect application of the flavor of a fighter being able to push himself every once in a while past the limits of other classes. This sort of stuff isn’t necessarily for court of swords because you all put in such good RP work but was just a few thoughts and feedback I had. Excited for the next episode.

(Twitch: eyearcana) #118

Yes this seems to exacerbate it. If there was some combat XP at least they would be moving somewhat. And no I don’t think it would push to just kill stuff since it’s such a small amount of XP.

(profnesbitt) #119

I could definitely see implementing overcoming a challenge experience points being useful. How would you do experience if you started from square one? For example if there are hostile creatures or creatures that will become hostile through normal actions I would say if the players fight them and win they get full exp. if they persuade/barter/etc their way out they get full or a portion of exp. if they run they should still get some fraction of exp too imo but it gets dangerous here. To use the Balor example from the show running from it was pretty much the only way to overcome that challenge but if you gave them full exp for that they would each have gotten 7,333 exp which is a lot from just running from something that’s too strong. Sorry for rambling. It’s an interesting discussion to have and with this group I don’t think giving them exp for fights would cause them to fight for no reason, some groups this would be an issue with a goal based exp system but most likely not this one. The problem I see with the current method (and I don’t really think it’s much of a problem at all they all do great work and Adam has built an amazingly entertaining world) and I believe you alluded to it was that while fights are exciting they also take a lot of time proportionally and for them to spend 2-3 hours in a fight and then not get any experience sometimes comes off as “wasted time” for progress for the viewers (I can’t say whether the cast feels this way I assume they don’t).

I will say this goal based system and this cast is perfect to add instincts for the players and give experience based on their instincts getting them into trouble. For example Berg could have “when I am called a slave I rage”. If Berg doing this instinct changes a situation to make their lives more difficult or goals more difficult to accomplish award some exp for it. Ramus or Kalimat could have something involving “When I see someone with something nice attempt to obtain it”. If they succeed at getting it without any consequences then good they get the item and no exp. But if trying to get the item fucks things up for them or someone else in the party in the process award exp. I will say if their instinct gets more than just themselves in trouble experience should be split between all party members whose life was made more difficult. This could be a good way for them to continue “progressing” when it’s taking longer for more weighty goals to be accomplished. Sorry for another very long post I just really enjoy this show, the direction it’s headed in, and discussing game hacks in general.

(Twitch: eyearcana) #120

I honestly don’t even know. It could just be a case of the player’s still need more time to learn the system to get a better handle on it? I mean they really haven’t been using it too long yet.

(AdamKoebel) #121

My intention here is that the narrative looks like this;


and what I hope is like…


etc. so like, there’s a chance that we might see


if I give out XP for fighting we’ll see


See how one of those is a non-narrative element?

Fighting is meant to be a means to an end, like THE PARTY |MONSTERS| SURIVIVAL, when it occurs, if it occurs at all, and sometimes the goals look like THE PARTY |???| THEIR GOALS where the middle bit, the thing in the way, might be something to overcome with fighting or guile or trickery or diplomacy, that’s up to the players.

(UmbraSanctum) #122

Agreed; good point. I think Adam made a good call circumventing that issue. It’s a hard thing to resist when you look at your sheet and see most tools pointing to violence.

Now this, this is interesting. It reminds me of the inspiration system for the Character’s personality traits, flaws, bonds and etc. I wonder if Adam would think it might be fun to implement a way that these things could augment or boost exp that a character receives for a goal, or have some other impact. Like static, passive social modifiers that describe basic things about the character that have some impact in game to help make up for the slowing of exp due to combat no longer being the primary source. I might implement something like this in my games in any case. Cool idea.

(profnesbitt) #123

Thanks. This idea was stolen from a similar method to how they did Mirrorshades which I believe was inspired by how Burning Wheel works.

(JimB0b0) #124

I think the real problem is that the players currently aren’t experienced with setting good goals. This causes a lot of the courses they naturally pursue while playing their characters to feel unrewarding. I think the best solution is to just continue with the system at hand, but maybe try to do more coaching on what good goals could be, which I know you already are doing. The new system is causing a lot of discussion(interest). So, in my mind, it seems it is currently a success. I said earlier, right after the show, that I am tired of the tower shadowing so much, but yall never cease to entertain. Keep up the good work! p.s. I am soo excited for the live-live show

(Twitch: Brooster) #125

I have to agree with this last. Perhaps encouraging the players to set upon a plan for each session before setting goals would help to eliminate some of the goals that end up wasted; sometimes, I feel like setting goals at the beginning of the session is a challenge because the cast is a bit foggy on the details of what is going on right at the beginning. Maybe tentative goals should be set the end of the session to be reviewed at the beginning of the next?

Also, the three-goal limit is a bit frustrating. And while big goals paying off big worked well in Swan Song, that was a different system and a different world, and I feel like the cast sometimes gives up on big, worthwhile goals after the story takes a detour. Perhaps only being able to receive experience for completing three goals in a session, but having the ability to “float” the bigger ones (just in case they end up resolving during that session). Alternately, it might be worth taking some time with players to detail how to comminute those epic goals such that they pay out more regularly.

I was also intrigued by the suggestion earlier by profnesbitt that the instinct (inspiration) system might be adapted to the goal system. i.e., taking a serious risk that challenges your character in pursuit of a goal might be grounds for an incremental XP reward. Ramus attempting to resurrect Xeridas despite the fact that everyone was retreating is not quite enough to qualify, because there were potential benefits to success that were worth the risk, but had he, say, interposed himself between Xeridas and the Hezrou, then had he survived doing so (given that he had no guarantee that would have been either effective or survivable), I’d say that was worth 10% of the XP of the goal as a total. On the other hand, doing so would have been completely out of character, which negates the validity of the example. I’m struggling to think of a better one.

The flip side to this, which is invisible to us, is that Adam is likely calibrating the XP to the difficulty both ahead of time and in the moment: had Ramus succeeded in saving Xeridas in that fashion, the XP reward may have been substantially greater than resurrecting Xeridas would in straits less dire.

As things stand, I feel like gaming the goal system is going to be necessary, which seems like it could cheapen it a mite in the long run. The big one that always sticks out to me is Mr. Sicarian’s goal of defeating Mr. Titan. If any experience was derived from that, it never played in the campaign.

…Although, come to think of it, I’ll bet that’s why he got the Thunder Gun and Power Armor, which was effectively a big-time level-up. Actually, I’ve changed my mind. I think we’re a bit too caught up in the numbers. I’ll bet Adam will continue to insert effective power-ups (Berg’s arm, Ramus’s fire resistance) into the game regardless of levels, which will in turn make level-ups more significant and memorable. The system is fine, never mind. Sorry for the stream of consciousness post.

(suchacrap) #126

with how random some episodes seem to develop and the inability of players to make goals that can be accomplished short term ,i feel like they are not getting the xp to level according to what they accomplish.

you thought about the idea to let them switch out a goal during break, just so they can adjust to what random shit is happening around them. maybe adjust the xp given for this goal so it can’t be powergamed.

just an idea that popped up in my head, would love to hear your thoughts

(Joshkie1973) #127

@AdamKoebel riffing on this post how about or why not just having both long term (1?) and short term (3?) goals.

Short term being what they want to accomplish this session and long term might be for goals that might take or should be taken over multiple sessions and be character defining or altering.


(notNOTjack) #128

Heheheh… the change of heart after all of that made me laugh :smiley:

And you are totally right, Adam has effectively, through narrative instead of levelling, distributed a couple of boons that have powered-up the characters, and that happened even before the revamp of the show.

(notNOTjack) #129

I feel it’s working fine as it is. The players are getting used to it and adapting their goals to be easier to accomplish or shorter term endeavours.

It’s true that this tendency could lead the players to stop subscribing their big meaningful goals but at the same time they also might be realising that they generally only accomplish one or, less frequently, two short term goals per session and decide they can very well keep one of the goals as a long term one.

But truth be told I might not be exactly the kind of viewer that would have an issue with the xp system in place. I not only don’t feel this need that some of the viewers here appear to have for regular and speedy power growth, I don’t care much for the completely narrative detached, inorganic, levelling system of D&D, I also tend to appreciate more (for the PCs and not so much the setting) the less outlandish, maybe low-fantasy, feel of the lower levels of D&D. So my opinion on the matter might not be much to go on.

(ZHermZ) #130