Have I mentioned the Rumors of War Relaunch Project FUNDED?
See for yourself!

The new comic has started!

Going over everything I’ve been reading about the last week would be difficult and time-consuming. I’m just going to launch into this subject without any more background — just this disclaimer. Have fun!

So, the first thing I thought about with regard to that cute “three options, choose two” necessary drawback difficulty thing was that invisibility was too specific. What I needed was “undetectable.” I’m not sure if it’s related to “unavoidable” yet. Let’s move forward as though they’re different.

One of the ideas I eventually built into encounters because I was tired of some factors on the player side determining outcomes was, “Monsters Go First.”

I dropped initiative rolls because my players maximized their initiative modifiers and wiped out all the immediate threats. It was brilliant. Effective. And boring.

I got to thinking about real-time strategy games and military tactics. Small units using force multipliers to effectively increase their size. I’ve been trying to figure out how best to incorporate force multiplies in a simple, meaningful way.

Fake difficulty might be that way.

Let’s take “Initiative” for example. Striking first can be really effective — that’s where lightning-fast attacks can be the most effective. A straightforward countermeasure can be decoys, which can easily become a character niche.

The Wikipedia page for “Force Multiplication” provides the following list:
– Deception
– Experience/Training
– Morale
– Recruitment
– Reputation
– Strategy
– Tactics
– Technology
– Terrain
– Weather

I think “initiative” is probably one of those things that falls under strategy and/or tactics. I think there ought to be an element of “no fair” in every encounter (trap or otherwise) that forces the PCs to think outside the box.

Maybe the “Difficulty” score can be rolled on a 2d6 table to accommodate for this. All things may be equal in an encounter before difficulty — meaning an equal PC to monster ration, and all monsters are the same level as the PCs.

The Difficulty may be rolled at the beginning of an encounter to determine a condition under which the PCs may be forced to improvise. It might be something as simple as the monsters getting a few extra guys, or as complex as perhaps two overlapping encounters with different “win” conditions.

Maybe the most difficult one is “unwinnable.”

Here’s an initial list I will modify as I think of things:
– Unavoidable
– Undetectable (initiative)
– Unwinnable (overwhelming)