Skill for Card Games

While the Condensed skill list seems to me to be (and its Core predecessor to have been) comprehensive enough to cover nearly all ‘adventuring’ activities with little to no alterations required, I have encountered a case for which I’m unsure which of the skills would be appropriate to use. That case in question involves the competence at playing card or similar games with a significant cerebral element, such as Bridge, Sabacc, Poker and the like (as opposed to games that are pure or nearly pure chance with no skill involved). And it’s one that I expect to come up in a campaign for reasons of both PC personalities and campaign genre.

Ways of Creating an Advantage are pretty obvious – Empathy/Deceive for noticing/concealing tells, Burglary for cheating, Academics for leveraging the knowledge of the meta etc. But what about the main contest? What skill from the Default List makes the most sense to apply for actually being competent at the technical, practical side of playing the game (not the surrounding auxiliary topics used for Advantages), and what is the reasoning behind the choice?

Choices that I considered but am inclined see as off are: Will, because its bizarre provision of also covering intense cerebral effort seems to have been discontinued with the transition from Core to Condensed (one of the few unannounced major changes); Academics, because it seems very theoretical; Burglary, because that one’s description implies it would cover an illicit approach to winning, not a fair one. But maybe my reasoning is flawed and one of the choices is more applicable than it seems to me. Or maybe I’m overlooking a different but more appropriate option.

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What is the reason Adventurers League games don’t allow DMG variant rules, such as Flanking?

Our home games have been running with the Variant Rule: Flanking while playing on a grid. It came to a surprise to us, when we first played in the Adventurer’s League, that Flanking is not allowed in AL play.

I’m considering adapting the no-flanking rule in our home games now, and was wondering what comment or statements WotC have said about why they don’t allow flanking in AL. I am hoping to gain insight on which to base a decision.

To be clear, I’m not looking for an answer on whether I should or should not allow flanking (this would obviously differ from table to table), neither am I inviting speculation as to the reason why AL doesn’t allow it. I am looking for a WotC-representative (or similar) commentary on why the DMG rule variants, especially flanking, is not allowed in organized Adventurer’s League play.

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Authentication for LAN Multiplayer Games

I’m working on the authentication scheme for a multiplayer game using only C++ and SLD2.

It’s an RPG with a kind of complicated character-group/permadeath scheme, and world-instances are intended to be hosted by the players. So it matters that players have exclusive access to controlling their characters. I want players to be allowed to save the current state of a multiplayer world instance, close it, and come back to it later, or set up their own dedicated world instance for them and their friends to join/quit/rejoin at will. Absent player characters will simply not be present in the world until their creator returns

Servers will be hosted by player-computers. I’m not planning to set this up with a dedicated hole-punching or identity server, so players will just be playing with people who they intentionally connect to. I don’t want to deal with encryption, so I’m not planning to require passwords to log in. I figure since there’s no formal identity server and no encryption, passwords might do more harm than good. Player character names will change over the course of the game, and I don’t necessarily mind if two players have the same username.

Here’s my current authentication strategy:

When a player creates an account on his game instance, the account will just consist of a username and an automatically generated (random) UUID. The username and UUID will be stored in a SQLite file that the user can copy onto any computer with this game installed, and access their unique account. The username and a naively hashed UUID will be stored in a connection log on every server that the player connects to (so the server can assign them to the right character when they log back in). I recognize this means that programmers who know what they’re doing will be able to hack each other’s accounts, but I’m not convinced that I should really be concerned about that in the case of this particular game.

Here are my questions:

  • Is copying the file too much to expect from users who want to switch computers?
  • Can you guys think of any potential issues with this, other than what I’ve already pointed out?
  • Is there a better (common) way to achieve what I’m trying to do?

Thanks!

How do role-playing games avoid lame duck scenarios?

This is effectively the reverse of How can I end combat quickly when the outcome is inevitable?

Lame duck scenarios in game design occur when a player cannot win, but the game isn’t over yet. They’re obviously undesirable, and good game design would seek to minimize it.

I’m interested to see how role-playing games avoid these scenarios, because they seem especially vulnerable to it. After all, even if the odds are against the players are insurmountable, it can take several rounds before the player’s HP actually reaches zero, and they still have to “decide” what to do in those rounds (inverted commas because they’re actually dead, they just haven’t died yet).

Examples of the scenarios I’m thinking of:

  • The scenario given in this question. After the player attempts to shoot the men on horseback, it becomes a 5-on-1 fight. The DM still said “roll dice”, but that seems pointless, since realistically the player’s not making it out alive.
  • Five players attempt to attack five monsters, which does not sound like a stupid thing to do, but the players roll an ungodly amount of misses while the monsters roll an ungodly amount of critical hits, and kill three players.

Basically, anything which in a video game would make the player bring up the “load game” button.

How do role-playing games handle and/or avoid these situations? Some guesses:

  • DM decides to go easy on the players. After the critical hits kill three players the DM encourages the survivors to run, and then lets them run without pursuing (even if it makes zero sense story-wise). (Sounds contrived)
  • DM decides to directly influence the dice. “Wait a moment this is horribly unlucky for you, we’ll pretend this dice actually rolled __ and you survive.” (Sounds even more contrived)
  • DM says “derp, I guess you guys are all dead, next game?” (This might be beyond the realm of reason)
  • DM engineers a real “load game” button, restarting the fight and effectively bringing the three slain players back to life. (But if this is permissible, wouldn’t the quest always succeed?)

Games with with strong settings that are more lighthearted (or at least not so bleak) [closed]

I’m hoping to compile a list of middle crunch games with strong settings that are more lighthearted (while still having some dangers and consequences). Lots of rpgs today seem cool, but come with settings that I don’t want to live in as a player or contribute to as the GM (stuff like Shadow of the Demon Lord, Belly of the Beast, and Mutant: Year Zero).

Obviously settings can be ignored/changed, but I’m curious what other games are out there on the level of say Ryuutama. (Not looking for dedicated comedy games, micro games, or generic systems please)

What are the differences in styles of play for the various Warhammer 40k games?

We’re looking at starting up a campaign in the 40k system, using one of the following as a main set. It seems like the breakdown is:

  1. Rogue Trader — Ship And Crew Making Money
  2. Dark Heresy — Crew takes orders from NPC ‘captain’, used as do-boys.
  3. Deathwatch — Space Marines; the ‘dungeon crawl’ of the system, as social/intrigue/detective are de-emphasized in favor of “IN THE EMPERORS NAME!”

Is there any significant difference in the way that these various types play out? Any reason to recommend one over the other aside from their slightly different motivations / party makeups? Any one of these have a much more enthusiastic following than the other, for a good reason?

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