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lordabdul

Seasonal adventures vs pseudo real time

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Hey there! I'm still slowly figuring out my plans for an upcoming RQG campaign -- most likely something around the Red Cow/11L campaign books but with some slightly modified Broken Tower and/or Cattle Raid thrown in at the beginning. One of the main concerns I have is the default "seasonal adventures" mode that RQG is modeled around.

I know that, based on my player's knack for getting in unnecessary additional trouble, there are always loose ends after an adventure, regardless of how simple and straightforward it was. When you combine that with my GMing style, where I absolutely love exploring the consequences of the characters' actions, you end up with a lot of follow up adventures that pile up one after the other.

So I'm wondering:

- How incompatible that is with the default "seasonal adventures" assumption in the rulebook? For instance, you run Broken Tower and there's some loose ends about whether any NPC escaped back to the Greydog clan and what they will say or do. How do people deal with that? Do they resolve it only the next season, making that next season's adventure about the consequences? Or do they combine it with the next season's adventure? (it's a new storyline, but it factors in where the Greydogs are based on last season's actions) Or do they resolve it all in a summary/non-played way, like "so here's what's happening during the rest of the season" (with maybe a couple of broad skill rolls to figure out how things go, but without playing it per se as an adventure) and then it's all (mostly) wrapped up?

- If I was to go with pseudo-real-time gameplay, what kind of problem would encounter? For instance, say I play a few adventures per season... it's not totally real-time because I would definitely ellipse a few days here or a week there for traveling back, resting, praying, training, talking to clan elders and waiting for them to deliberate, etc... but we might pop back into adventure mode for when the players want or are ordered to go spy on the Greydogs, or when some Greydogs messengers come in with a blood feud declaration or asking for reparations for the death of their members, or whatever, and then that might kickstart a related adventure right away because the players want to play through that themselves. One of the first problem I can think of is the replenishing of Rune Points, since you have to wait for a holy day for that. This means that, compared to a group that sticks to seasonal adventures, a group that does pseudo-real-time adventures can use less Rune Magic per encounters... but on the other hand, that might be pretty cool since (just as in the KoDP game) the players might figure that they have to wait until after this or that holy day to do a raid because they need Orlanth's favours or something. Did anybody do that? Or did anybody tweak Rune Magic grants to make it less hard on the players?  Anything else besides Rune Magic that might be a problem with a pseudo-real-time campaign?

Thoughts? Feedback from experience? All will be appreciated!

Edited by lordabdul

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One Adventure per season doesn't mean one session per season, IMO. If you look at Sartar Kingdom of Heroes, the Ernalsulva chapters covered one season each, with some spacing between the adventures there, too. The adventures would be quite a few sessions using RQG, I'd expect.

If you have dealt with the Tusk Riders, the exploratory visit to Pig Hollow may be part of that adventure, although the resolution with the prominent denizen of Pig Hollow will likely be postponed to a later season.

Your players will probably be eager to renew used rune points before facing off a major opponent like that. If the party has a temple they can use freely (like the one in Apple Lane), they can have additional worship services/sacrifices to re-fuel. Natural healing will require some out-time between encounters, too.

Over-ticking can be nasty for players. No matter how often you used your sword, it only gets one experience check, and to work that off requires some down-time, too. If you keep rushing them on and on, they will end up with all their skills ticked but none raised.

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1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

How incompatible that is with the default "seasonal adventures" assumption in the rulebook?

Don't worry about it! My games tend towards a more continuous flow, and I love to tie in holy days, seasonal events, celestial events, and the like into what's going on. 

Quote

For instance, you run Broken Tower and there's some loose ends about whether any NPC escaped back to the Greydog clan and what they will say or do. How do people deal with that?

I'd just play forward at whatever pace seemed natural. E.g. they've been back a week, and suddenly they are called to the Queen's Hall in Clearwine. When they arrive, they find a group of Greydogs there.... 

Or perhaps it takes the Greydogs much a season to figure out what happened to Danakos. Or Idrima starts plaguing the lands nearby. 

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

If I was to go with pseudo-real-time gameplay, what kind of problem would encounter? For instance, say I play a few adventures per season...

The things that you want to account for are:

1) experience rolls - any period of reflection should work fine for that whether 2 days, a week, or a season.

2) time to have a holy day to replenish Rune points - this is probably the most important one.  I, and my players, track the calendar to see when and where they go to have a Worship service. And how does that fit with whatever adventure is starting up? Orlanth and Ernalda temples are easy to find in Sartar, and a reasonable size temple (e.g. at Clearwine) will have weekly holy day events (in addition to the seasonal events). Yelmalio? You need to go to Runegate (assuming the Elmal worshippers will tolerate them) or the Sun Dome Temple. The latter may be 2-3 days each way, so much of a week is needed for downtime.  Other small cults can be problematic (though I tend to offer options - e.g. our Donandar entertainer can use the Skovari shrine in Ernalda temples or the Drogarsi shrine at Orlanth temples).  They may have to choose though, and that creates interesting tension (and also forces them to think about the consequences of Rune Point usage).

3) training and research time - you can work around by just extending the training time needed.

4) time to earn your living - for farmers (and indeed others in a Sartarite community), planting during Seaseason and harvesting during Earthseason are critical times. This is a natural conflict for them - so force them to choose between adventure and community support. Something will be detrimentally impacted.

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

but on the other hand, that might be pretty cool since (just as in the KoDP game) the players might figure that they have to wait until after this or that holy day to do a raid because they need Orlanth's favours or something. Did anybody do that?

Yes. Favorable omens, blessings, etc. all come into play in my game.

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

Or did anybody tweak Rune Magic grants to make it less hard on the players?

Nope! But they can always sacrifice more POW the next holy day to have more Rune Points available.

I do let the adventurers gain experience, including POW gain rolls, in whatever downtime there is though. When the session ends, or at the start of the next, they should get those. And if there are multiple adventures during a given season, then they have the opportunity for more experience rolls.

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53 minutes ago, Joerg said:

One Adventure per season doesn't mean one session per season

I didn't say that either -- running, say, Broken Tower, might take 3 or 4 game sessions with my group.

54 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Your players will probably be eager to renew used rune points before facing off a major opponent like that. If the party has a temple they can use freely (like the one in Apple Lane), they can have additional worship services/sacrifices to re-fuel.

Yeah that might be the way I do it -- prepare in advance a list of shrines/temples/etc. they might know (or not) about, give them a Gloranthan calendar where they can track their characters' holy days, etc.

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3 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

The things that you want to account for are:

Great, exactly the type of information I was looking for, thanks!

 

5 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

When the session ends, or at the start of the next, they should get those

Oh wait, you actually let them roll for experience and such between each session? Or did you mean between each adventure?

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17 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Oh wait, you actually let them roll for experience and such between each session? Or did you mean between each adventure?

I would say: It depends!

Enough time should have passed, so that the characters could the things they experienced "let sink in". THEN they deserve the experience rolls. If you play an adventure, but some time from one session to another has passed it qualifies IMHO for an experience roll. If just the session is over, but the next session of that adventures begins without any time has passed, then i wouldn´t give them experience rolls. 

 

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46 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Oh wait, you actually let them roll for experience and such between each session? Or did you mean between each adventure?

As my games these days are all play-by-post, the "session" = the adventure (or a significant sub-portion). If I was running face-too-face, it would generally be by adventure (bearing in mind though that my individual sessions were usually 10-12 hours long, so typically did finish the adventure).

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11 hours ago, lordabdul said:

One of the first problem I can think of is the replenishing of Rune Points, since you have to wait for a holy day for that.

This has come up in my game, and something important to remember is that adventurers can gain back RP by participating in an associated cult's holy day. Part of my player handouts are the last page of the GM's pack calendar--the whole year on one page--and a typed list of their cult's holy days, and the seasonal holy days of their associated cults. Also, a few cults (Ernalda & Issaries off the top of my head, maybe Eiritha as well?) have a minor holy day weekly, giving members of those cults more opportunities than others to replenish RP. Orlanth gets two seasonal holy days (one fixed, one floating), and has a ton of associated cults, as befits the king of the gods, whereas Humakt has none as the god of separation and Death, and only gets RP back on his seasonal holy day. If most of your party worship deities with many associated cults, it's easier to maintain ongoing play.

My own game's somewhere between seasonal and ongoing. Ideally it's seasonal, but as you mentioned/worried about enough screwy stuff happens that it's pretty much a constant stream of nonsense, bouncing between broad narrative strokes and shorter actual "adventures." Ex, my campaign's set in Pavis, so the broad strokes are marketplace stuff, what each player's basically doing as their day-to-day life (going around the table asking a sentence or two, for flavor/fluff more than challenges), hearing rumors and events, and we moved into more "adventure" time when the party decided to try helping Belvani reclaim rulership of Sun Dome Temple.

Another factor to keep in mind is adventures which take a long time in-game. In my experience, this has mostly happened with traveling to a location. For example, in my game the Dragonrise just happened, and the party volunteered to go investigate. Which means they need to cross Prax and get over there, which will take at least a week or two. That's time when most adventurers won't be able to find a temple to worship at for Rune Points. And then the trip back...

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I've always rejected the seasonal thing as a needlessly intrusive from the designside.   Why compel campaigns to frame their gameplay like that? 

I know the 'imagined" world for RQG is meant to be much more "textured" than murderhobos stamping around running dungeons for loot, but I think there's a vast gulf of playable space between "you only get to do one thing a season, ergo maybe 40-80 adventures in the span of an entire character's life" and the daily murderhobo thing.

Then again it may not much matter: My players currently have been on the same adventure for IRL 6 months of bi-weekly play, btw.

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10 hours ago, Crel said:

This has come up in my game, and something important to remember is that adventurers can gain back RP by participating in an associated cult's holy day

Ah right, thanks for the advice, especially about Humakti followers. I'll check back on all those cults and dates so I can give appropriate recommendations to my players when they create their characters.

10 hours ago, Crel said:

My own game's somewhere between seasonal and ongoing. Ideally it's seasonal, but as you mentioned/worried about enough screwy stuff happens that it's pretty much a constant stream of nonsense, bouncing between broad narrative strokes and shorter actual "adventures."

Cool, good to know I'm not the only one :)  I think that, besides the players wanting to replenish their Rune Points before heading off on an adventure again, you make a good point that they might also want to work a bit at whatever occupation they have, just so they can earn enough money and, possibly, support their relatives and dependents. If an adventure didn't bring enough loot, too, they might have to work a bit to get enough stuff to offer/sacrifice to their deities... which, in itself, can also occasionally be a short adventure!

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Let's not forget the weather! Some seasons are great for getting out and getting your adventurer on. Other seasons are for staying at home and sleeping in all day!

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4 hours ago, styopa said:

I've always rejected the seasonal thing as a needlessly intrusive from the designside.   Why compel campaigns to frame their gameplay like that? 

There's no compulsion. It's presented as the default, no more. I like the encouragement to spread the game out a little, to relax from worrying about what the characters are doing every day of every week that we got kind of stuck doing in previous games. Those were murder-hobo games though.

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On 6/23/2019 at 4:32 PM, lordabdul said:

Great, exactly the type of information I was looking for, thanks!

 

Oh wait, you actually let them roll for experience and such between each session? Or did you mean between each adventure?

I do it between story arcs/adventures - but allow multiple arcs per season if it makes sense. Usually experience rolls every 3-4 sessions. 

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On 6/24/2019 at 1:05 PM, PhilHibbs said:

There's no compulsion. It's presented as the default, no more. I like the encouragement to spread the game out a little, to relax from worrying about what the characters are doing every day of every week that we got kind of stuck doing in previous games.

Yeah I do appreciate that it's merely suggested, but it's still worth checking what it means if you don't follow that suggestion, especially since playtesting might have focused on seasonal adventuring and might have therefore missed some little problems when you don't follow the suggestion -- which is why I made this thread.

I also like that it does indeed encourage to look at (and play) the broad "heroic saga" of the characters as opposed to the day to day grind of the murderhobo, but, ironically enough, if you read through Vasana's Saga in RQG, it reads a lot more like what some of us in this thread are doing or planning on doing. For instance, the first several chapters of 1926 Fire Season contain, as far as I can tell, at least 3 different scenarios (or what I would myself call "scenarios") chained together with some ellipses in between for travel/resting/waiting for tribal leaders to decide something in Boldhome/etc. Not quite the "one adventure per season", but that's fine, I really enjoyed these boxed texts, they really do an excellent job setting the tone of Gloranthan gameplay.

Edited by lordabdul

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5 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Yeah I do appreciate that it's merely suggested, but it's still worth checking what it means if you don't follow that suggestion, especially since playtesting might have focused on seasonal adventuring and might have therefore missed some little problems when you don't follow the suggestion -- which is why I made this thread.

Given that most RuneQuest games have historically had a fluid day to day structure with a week of rest needed for experience checks, I don't expect there to be any gotchas with running RQG at that pace. I think the only thing that you will have to play around with is whether the characters get the free skill checks during the seasonal down-time.

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i have completely changed the rules about skill increase and training. I hate the idea of "seasonal adventure" and have a totally fluid campaign, played day by day. I have the skill checks tested once a season (at the end, if there is a reasonable time to spend in this) and have framed others advances so they know that there are some skill in use that will grow anyway even if they dont mark the box.

The campaign is in balazar, the party is mixed (balazarings and dragon pass refugees) so they have an automatic skill check for both the balazar tongue and trade talk, since they are speaking both of these and the language grows on top of the eventual checked box for use of it in stressful situations.

Once reaching the highest value between the character this feature will not be available anymore, they have to find someone to study it properly or just use the skill in a critical situation.

also, since the season is a long period, i have them "re-check" 4 skills of their choice even if they have already an experience check there. So they first check the exp mark (if there is any) then they can test it again that skill increase as they have another exp mark (from this are exempt all combat and magic skills and the players need to come up with some convincing story about that supplemental skill checks: since they are always travelling in dangerous grounds, for example survival is a skill they can "re-check", as all the perception skills and some comunication and agility skills if they have some good story for those)

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I prefer the continual flow rather than discreet stories every season.

However I think rolling Skill Checks at the end of every season sounds fair, otherwise the characters would be advancing too quickly. This wasn't an issue in RQ3 and esp in RQ2 due to the low starting skills for characters. But RQG lets you make quite proficient characters right from the start, so advancing quickly may have it's challenges from a GM perspective..

You may want to grant bonus Skill Check opportunities during the interim as a result of something significant during game play, but I wouldn't make them the norm.

Skill Check opportunities every season sounds like a reasonable pace.

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In RQ3, you could get 4 successful checks a season, maybe more. Adventure for a week, then take a week off to do skill checks. Then adventure for another week, then a week off, etc. If your adventures take less than a week you might be able to cram in more.

Maybe that belongs on the munchkinnery thread.

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

In RQ3, you could get 4 successful checks a season, maybe more. Adventure for a week, then take a week off to do skill checks. Then adventure for another week, then a week off, etc. If your adventures take less than a week you might be able to cram in more.

Maybe that belongs on the munchkinnery thread.

Exact, and even with those 4 checks, skills were long to reach the needed 90%. With RQG, learning and training is slower than with RQIII, so I would not even reduce the progression rate by reducing the experience check rate.

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7 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

In RQ3, you could get 4 successful checks a season, maybe more. Adventure for a week, then take a week off to do skill checks. Then adventure for another week, then a week off, etc. If your adventures take less than a week you might be able to cram in more.

Maybe that belongs on the munchkinnery thread.

Of course one of the fundamental mathematical beauties of the RQ canon has always been the diminishing returns of the learning by experience system.  The smoothing function is really beautiful.

The ultimate difference between the skill gain speed for 4 checks a season and 1 check a season is probably less than you think.  The former is certainly not 4x the latter.  I used to have a sheet that would calculate the number of skill gain rolls needed to go from skill X to skill Y with a certain bonus mod, but can't put my hand on it right now.

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52 minutes ago, styopa said:

Of course one of the fundamental mathematical beauties of the RQ canon has always been the diminishing returns of the learning by experience system.  The smoothing function is really beautiful.

The ultimate difference between the skill gain speed for 4 checks a season and 1 check a season is probably less than you think.  The former is certainly not 4x the latter.  I used to have a sheet that would calculate the number of skill gain rolls needed to go from skill X to skill Y with a certain bonus mod, but can't put my hand on it right now.

Once you are within your category modifier of 100, it is linear with the frequency of checks. The returns stop diminishing.

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

The ultimate difference between the skill gain speed for 4 checks a season and 1 check a season is probably less than you think.  The former is certainly not 4x the latter.  I used to have a sheet that would calculate the number of skill gain rolls needed to go from skill X to skill Y with a certain bonus mod, but can't put my hand on it right now.

The number of successful checks is directly correlated to the number of attempts. Yes, your roll for increasing the skill gets worse as you advance, but with four rolls per season your character will still advance four times as fast at that level as a character with only one roll per season at that level.To put it into math, at 70% unmodified skill and +10% skill category bonus you have a 60% chance to miss a single roll, but only about a 13% chance to miss four of them. At 90% unmodified skill you have an 80% chance to miss a single roll, but a less than 40% chance to miss four.

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34 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Once you are within your category modifier of 100, it is linear with the frequency of checks. The returns stop diminishing.

talent over training...? Or talent extending training... Interesting

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16 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

talent over training...? Or talent extending training... Interesting

Basically there comes the point when training your relevant raisable characteristics to the thresholds gives quicker results than training the skills directly. But then, unless he has fallen victim to the Shakes, a Rune Lord with 90% weapon skill is quite unlikely to have reached that with an abysmal DEX - at some point, skill training becomes undistinguishable from characteristic training.

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