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September 22, 2007 / jadettman

D20 Conflict Resolution

Lately I’ve been thinking about combat resolution versus non-combat resolution in D20 games and why are they different.

Now, it seems rather obvious to me that the reason combat resolution is so much more complicated in D&D/D20 is because of the game’s roots in wargaming, which is the same reason that gaining levels is all about killing things and taking their stuff. Sure, the game has other elements to it but, really, they are just afterthoughts to combat.

So, rather than leave non-combat elements as afterthoughts, why not extrapolate out combat mechanics as generic conflict resolution mechanics?

Difficulty Checks already mirror AC/Defense but, currently, most non-combat situations only have 1 Hit Point. Need to pick the lock? DC25. If you roll well, you beat the lock. If you roll poorly, you don’t. Simple. Now, what if we give that lock 10 HP? Suddenly, there is a little more tension in the situation. Or, at least, the possibility of tension if you need to pick that lock in a hurry.

Of course, extrapolating everything out to the complexity of combat will make everything more . . . complex. Which means that everything will take more time to resolve.

That sounds like it could get annoying. Hmm, I’m going to have to think about this more.

Also, now that I think about it, this is probably how Burning Wheel ended up with it’s Duel of Wits mechanics.


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