Friday, March 18, 2016

Escalation Die and Recharge Time

  I have crazy ideas all the time, here's another one inspired by 13th Age. In that game you use an Escalation Die, a d6 that does not start in play, but at the beginning of each subsequent turn increases by 1. The value of the die is added to the players' to-hit rolls.
  I like this mechanic a lot. It speeds up combat, something any d20 based system could use, and it tracks the length of the fight (to a point) and you can play off it in all sorts of ways.
  Something I hate in 13th Age is recharging effects. All abilities are either at-will, require a recharge roll after the battle (so maybe your ring feels like protecting you again, maybe not), can be used once every battle or used once every day. It is a wonky system that has no basis in "fictional reality" just a timing mechanic inherited from D&D 4th edition.
  But what if there were two dice? The Escalation Die goes up every turn, but the second Recharge Die goes down every turn? The catch, recharging magic items (and maybe some spells and abilities) spends recharge points after the fight?
  Now we have a nicely conflicted resource. High escalation die helps you take on the bigger monsters - but you have no recharge points to re-power your magic items and abilities. Quicker fights usually mean taking more risks though. And if you could always use recharge points- say, no recoveries, instead reach recharge point can heal 1d4 HP (you catch your breath and treat your wounds)- now everybody can benefit from having them. A short rest could be something like 10 recharge points. A low powered magic effect might need 2-3 recharge, bigger ones 4-5.
  This could even be associated - say that magic items store magic energy and discharge it to produce the item's effect. So you have to rest and meditate to channel energy back into the item (being inanimate it can't recharge itself)?
  I could kind of see this in non-combat too. The faster you persuade the guard or travel the more time you have to look around or the fewer enemies to face. Resource points could also be a counter for the pacing of the story - reinforcing how important time is (and it should be).
  Not sure about the nuts and bolts to implement this, but it sounds like a neat idea to me.

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