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Minimizing math while also balancing the "Siege Engine" 
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Henchman

Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:05 am
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Post Minimizing math while also balancing the "Siege Engine"
Hello all!

Edit : This post covers levels 1-12. A later post in this same thread covers Levels 1-22. ;)

Introduction :
I am an experienced old-school DM/GM and i have been running 1st edition campaigns for about 26 years. I have recently started playing C&C and i am very happy with the game. It gives me the feel of 1st edition that i need while at the same time giving my players a system that feels more modern. Its the perfect compromise. Its a bonus that it works with all of my old material.

I only had 1 issue with C&C and i feel that i have a great option and now i want to share that with whoever is interested. :)

Background :
I do not like picking an arbitrary number for a challenge. I did not find a good balance with the 18/12 split with a CL of 0-10. Either it was to easy or it was to hard and it felt arbitrary. The CL i chose would affect the outcome by 0-50%. That makes me feel that i decide the success of a task more than the rules/dice. I also have a hard time picturing challenges as levels or adversaries. I love the core concept but i would like more defined challenge levels.

Way forward :
I am much more comfortable with picking a difficulty level by name than by number. Having those names converted to static numbers also meant that it would be possible to write an adventure with challenges defined by names and having them work with characters of different levels without modification.
So i decided upon Normal, Hard and Heroic difficulty. I skipped "Easy" because no roll should be needed for an "Easy" task. ;) The variation in the chance of success comes from a combination of one of these "difficulty levels" and the "attribute bonus" and "level" of the character. I will supply a pre-calculated "Challenge Class" for each of these three "difficulty levels" depending on the party level in a table bellow.

Normal : This would be the common challenges. Things like picking a lock, hiding in shadows in a dungeon, pushing a heavy boulder or deciphering a language with the same origin as ones own.

Hard : This would be the more uncommon challenges. Like picking a high quality lock in dim light. Hiding in shadows in a well lit hallway. Forcing open a barred door. Deciphering a forgotten language of unknown origin.

Heroic : This would be the rare heroic moments. The long-shot heroic deeds that can change the fate of the campaign. This would be picking a lock made by a master locksmith. Swinging on a rope across a chasm at the same time as grabbing a thrown item in mid air. holding back the trapped ceiling that is otherwise slowly going to crush the party.

I did the math and could not make these three levels of difficulty line up so that the level of the character and the prime vs non-prime attributes balanced out in a good way. So i switched to a "Challenge base" of 16 and a +4 bonus for Prime attributes to even out the statistics and fill the "gap". This worked wonders for the math and for the difference between prime vs non-prime attributes. I kept the assumption from the CKG that at level 1 with a 0 attribute modifier, a prime attribute should have a 50% chance at a "normal" task and the non-prime attribute should have a 20% chance at that same task (it came out to 30% for me).
I also made sure that the characters level improved the chances of success at a steady pace without outpacing the challenges and without the CL going in lockstep with the characters level eliminating the feeling of character improvement.

The best thing of all! At the start of a session i just have to make ONE single lookup. I lookup the average level of the party on my small table and i get three "Challenge Classes" (challenge base + challenge level) already calculated for each of these three difficulties. So when we play i just have to decide if the task is Normal, Hard or Heroic and that gives me the exact number needed. The player rolls 1d20 and adds +4 for prime, attribute bonus and level and i just compare the result to either the normal, hard or heroic number. :D

So to get to the point. Here is the finished table that i use in our campaign. At the start of the session i only grab the three numbers for the average level of the party and off we go. No calculating "Challenge Class" at the table, no 12 or 18, no nothing. Just roll vs the number of the corresponding difficulty. Whenever needed i can still use the level of an NPC as a CL using a CB of 16 if i want to. All other saves and checks from the Rules are unchanged (using a CB of 16 and a prime bonus of +4).

To use this table you would have to use the "challenge base" of 16 with the +4 bonus for a prime attribute and +0 for a non-prime attribute.
The "challenge base" is not needed. The "challenge classes" come pre-calculated in the table bellow.

Image

For me. Running C&C became easier then ever and it feels less arbitrary and more fair. A hard challenge is always hard while at the same time letting characters progress in skill. I don't have to do any math for each attribute check. I don't have to know if the attribute was prime and i don't have to know the value of the CB or the CL.
All i need to know is : Average party level is 4, Normal = 17, Hard = 20, Heroic = 23.
That is all i need during play for everything to balance out the way i want.

An example of what i would have in front of me during a typical session of our C&C campaign. ;)
Image

To back up the validity of my chosen solution i provide my math below. It shows how the characters chance of success improve as they gain levels. It shows the effect of attribute modifiers on these chances and it shows the difference between prime and non-prime attributes.
This massive table is ONLY supplied for showing the underlying math. This is NOT needed during play. Only the above list of level vs difficulty is used during play. ;)
Image

The math behind this solution assumes that characters are retired after level 12. We don't play characters of a higher level. I have posted a similar table in this thread that covers levels 1 - 22 for anyone running a campaign with a wider span of levels.

Thanks to TLG for a great game and thanks to the great community.
I hope this helps anyone that feels the same way that i do.
Happy gaming. ;)


Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:48 am
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Post Re: Pre-Calculated "Challenge Class". Easier task resolution
Nice analysis of the numbers, and welcome to the boards! :D

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Marv / Finarvyn
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Just discovered Amazing Adventures and loving it!
MA1E WardenMaster - Killing Characters since 1976, MA4E Playtester in 2006.
C&C Playtester in 2003, OD&D player since 1975


Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:24 pm
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Henchman

Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:05 am
Posts: 4
Post Re: Pre-Calculated "Challenge Class". Faster task resolution
Thank you Finarvyn. :D

It seems like a wonderful community.
I thought that i would take this chance to also show how our custom character sheet works in tandem with the above system. Our sheet lists the characters attributes and attribute modifiers as is common on most sheets but it also has a "check" value for each attribute, right there on the sheet. These are pre-calculated modifiers for attribute checks. I think i have seen this on other sheets available online and it works wonders together with the simple system above.

The player only needs to add 1 number to his roll and the CK just uses the number of the chosen difficulty without any calculation required. We feel that it works out great. Everything runs so smooth. :D

So when a player wants his character to do something like, tipping over an old column to slow down the approaching Orc hoard. I as the CK could decide that that is a Hard challenge (19 for level 1). The player would then roll 1d20 and simply add the bonus in the "check" field for his characters STR attribute without having to make any further calculation.

One roll, adding One number and comparing to One pre-calculated number. Could not be simpler. And all without modifying the "Siege Engine" in any major way and keeping compatibility intact.

Image


Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:24 pm
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Henchman

Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:05 am
Posts: 4
Post Re: Pre-Calculated "Challenge Class". Faster task resolution
I made another version of the table that we use. This one spreads the "challenge levels" across 22 levels instead of 12.
This was made to make this method of three pre-defined difficulty levels available to CKs running campaigns with a wider span of levels.

This version also requires the use of a "Challenge Base" of 16 with a +4 Bonus for Prime attributes. ;)
Here is the table of pre-calculated "Challenge Class" values for level 1-22. Used during play. :D
Image

Here is the huge table with the underlying math. This is NOT needed unless you are curious about the math behind the numbers in
the table above. ;)
Image


Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:34 am
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Mist Elf
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Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2018 12:32 pm
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Post Re: Minimizing math while also balancing the "Siege Engine"
Cool, I like your style...


Fri Nov 29, 2019 11:10 am
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Henchman

Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:05 am
Posts: 4
Post Re: Minimizing math while also balancing the "Siege Engine"
Thank you soloplayer. I am glad you like it.
I hope as many people as possible will find this useful. I would be glad to generate an additional level 1-22 table for anyone who feels that my table has to little challenge or is to "easy".

While running my campaign i never ever fudge a result and i never hold back on consequences of a failure. But i also always give the characters some kind of chance for success. So i find these tables perfectly balanced but if anyone would like to use a table with more challenging values without having to do all of the maths i could make one.
When i made the level 1-22 table i finalized my excel sheet so that it automatically generates all of the % statistics.


Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:50 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:37 pm
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Post Re: Minimizing math while also balancing the "Siege Engine"
Very cool bits of math and helpful. I'm in your camp fully, I like numbers.... and things get wonky as you go up in level I fear... consider pulling this together and publishing it in the Domesday magazine? send me a PM and I'll shoot you some emails to the editor to submit and get your great work published to a broader audience and longer lasting storage

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Wow, Another Natural One! You guys are a sink hole for luck. Stay away from my dice.


Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:12 pm
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