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


(Twitch: InvoluntarilyHuman) #102

Speaking as one of said viewers, I can certainly agree with Umbra that I would like to see more ‘good’ happen to the party, but I think any criticism directed towards you or the way you’re running this campaign is very misplaced and confused. If anything, you’ve been more than fair as it is, more-so than what most people realize I’d wager, where any more would just be honest hand-holding of which I can’t honestly think of anything that would turn me off quicker.

I do want to see more favorable outcomes happen for the party, especially when too many less than desirable events start building up such as they have, but that’s honestly all on them. The vast majority of ‘bad’ things that happen to them, or just the lack of ‘good’ things for that matter, are quite honestly damn-near entirely due to the poor or hasty, and sometimes the complete lack-of, choices or decisions made by the party members. In many instances the party was given numerous (and sometimes glaringly obvious) ‘outs’, but they pretty much ignored all of them, so that’s all on them at this point. If smoother sailing and more bountiful catches is wished to be had, then they need to start making better and more thoughtful decisions. It’s really as simple as that.

All that said, this reminds me of the question; Would you rather have good things happen, or interesting things? Personally, I’ll take interesting any day! As frustrated as I am by some of the decisions (and thus outcomes) by the party as of late, I’m still excited to see what happens next! It’s never too late to turn things around and I’m interested to see just how they attempt to pull that off.

Don’t ever change, Adam! I love the way you run this campaign. It’s fair, balanced, punishing at times, forgiving at others, while most importantly being consistently exciting and interesting! Who cares if less than desirable outcomes happen so long as you’re on the edge of your seat!

Edit: And while I agree with others that maybe a perception check or some such would have been fair when Dan decided to start placing his entire inventory into the Bag of Devouring, I also don’t think it was unfair to do nothing because at some point the player has to take rightful responsibility too. I mean, Adam did say “It APPEARS to be a Bag of Holding”, not “It IS a Bag of Holding.” I remember literally yelling at my screen when Dan made that choice! lol. Test it, man! You don’t actually know what it is! But sometimes lessons are learned the hard way. :shrug:

(Twitch: eyearcana) #103

It wasn’t, he was wearing it.

(AdamKoebel) #104

Yeah, to be clear - Ramus didn’t strip naked and shove his clothes and holy symbol in the bag. He’s described his symbol before as being around his neck so it wouldn’t make sense he’d take it off. It’s all good.

(profnesbitt) #105

The mental image of Ramus getting so excited about a bag of holding that he strips down to put everything in it is pretty great though.

(Delemon2) #106

Just got caught up, amazing episode, they keep getting better and better!

A note for the future, the spell Spirit Guardians requires you to designate people you can see that will not be affected by it, so casting it blind is bad. I’ve had a character accidentally killed by this when our mage made me invisible so I couldn’t get targeted and then our cleric did Spirit Guardians but couldn’t see me so I died to the damage.

(AdamKoebel) #107

Good call! I didn’t think of that.

(Joshkie1973) #108

The party does seem to be cursed in the Chines since of, “May you live in intetesting times!”

(profnesbitt) #109

Somewhat unrelated to this episode but related to the lore discovered about the people Utrix protected, its looking like Wizard’s next book is going to add the gith (among others) to player character races. Pretty fitting timing for what seems like a “volo’s style” book focused on more cosmic entities.

(Rinion87) #110

That does make a bit more sense, yes!

(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.