Houserule: Expenditure of encounter/daily powers.

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Houserule: Expenditure of encounter/daily powers.

Post  Neubert on Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:27 am

A thread yesterday on the ENworld boards prompted me to do an actual writeup of a system that popped into my mind a while back, when reading posts about "grindspace" (fights that dragged out even though the battle was decided) and the issue many players had with using an encounter or daily power and then miss.
There are many elaborate systems out there, which either describes how a power can recharge later in the fight, or is simply not used. My system covers the latter.
My highest priority, however, was to make it simple. This is what I thought of:
When using a encounter power, if the attack roll comes up as a natural 1-4, the power is not spent. The same counts for daily powers, except they are not spent on a natural 1 or 2.
How big the range should be (20% chance to not spend an encounter, and 10% for a daily) might be too high/low, but that is easily changeable.

Using this, there are no extra rolls, it is simply a look at the attack roll.
It is not a system without faults though (as I said, it was just an idea).
First of all, it hinges on the fact that players actually miss on a natural roll of 1-4 (and if they don't, I would suggest they are fighting opponent way below their level). Also, I wanted to create the system so missed powers had a chance not to be spent, rather than an actual recharge.

- What happens if there are more than one attack roll (AoE for instance)?
Maybe look at the first roll, or to see if there were no hits at all, using the power?

- Powers with the "Reliable" keyword needs to be compensated.
This I have no answer to currently. I did think of giving a cumulative +2 to hit with the power, if it is both reliable and the player rolls the natural 1-4 / 1-2. I have no idea if that would be fair or balanced though.

- What about powers with miss effects?
My suggestion would probably be to let the player decide between not having used the power or get the miss effect (I suppose this would be the same for powers with just "Effect").

- What if it is a power with no attack roll?
If there are no attack roll, I would assume it always work. In the case powers exist where the power might not work, but doesn't have an attack roll, then possibly just roll a d20 to see if it is spent.


In my head it all seems quite elegant, but I hope for some critique/opinions/ideas for the above mentioned issues - and of course the system in general.

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Re: Houserule: Expenditure of encounter/daily powers.

Post  Admin on Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:18 am

Your idea is pretty interesting, it definitely makes me think. My comments:

1. Mechanically speaking, nothing will go wrong with the system if a roll of 4 is still enough to hit. The chance of recharge is still exactly 20%. The same is true of powers that do half damage on a miss - it would be mathematically fair to still recharge on 1-4. In these cases, it might feel a little weird that a "4" is potentially the best roll you can get. But then, your system already feels a little weird in that "1" is a better roll than "5". As far as the underlying mathematical reality is concerned, nothing is broken and the powers retain essentially the same mathematical balance.

2. For reliable powers, if you want to keep the powers with the same game balance, I think the logical thing to do would be to recharge on a roll of 17-20. Since reliable powers are already protected from missing, you might as well just switch to giving a bonus for hitting.

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Re: Houserule: Expenditure of encounter/daily powers.

Post  Neubert on Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:53 am

I'll attest to the system being a little weird, but it was also not intended to "make sense" in the game world.
One "flavor" explanation someone suggested to me was this:

Extravagantly Poor Performance
You perform so badly your opponent doesn't even notice you tried the exploit or your spell was interrupted so soon that the secondary components were left untouched.

So that is one way to explain it, though I don't have any issues with not having any reason except to help out the players a little and reduce grind.


In regards to reliable powers, it obviously increases the complexity of the house rule when some powers behave differently.
I seem to remember having looked at a few different powers and it seemed to me like a reliable power was worth about 1[w], so another option could be to exchange the reliable keyword for that, or perhaps give it a miss effect.
Your suggestion is logical as you say, but the questions is if it wouldn't award taking reliable powers too much. Think about rolling a 20 with a daily! The reason this suggestion "rubs me the wrong way" is that I wanted to limit the "damage" a miss did, rather than award hitting.


Edit:
I just looked over the Avenger from PHB2. Their "Oath of Enmity" gives them the ability to roll twice against an opponent and use either result. This might pose a problem. One option would be for only the first roll to count (though it seems like there are no "first" and "second" roll - both dice are rolled at the same time), but then the Avenger might still hit with the second and not have spent his power. Instead, the best solution might be to force the player to define two dice as "first" and "second", and if a power does not hit, then look to the first roll to see if the power is spent or not.
Actually, this could have come up with just PHB1 as well I believe, as I am fairly sure there are some powers that allow you to roll two dice and take either result.


Quick second edit:
Hmm, I have to think about how this is affected by rerolls, such as the elf's racial encounter power.. Maybe it would be better to use hits instead of misses for determining if a power is spent or not?


Last edited by Neubert on Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:56 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : New rolling rules for the Avenger.)

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Re: Houserule: Expenditure of encounter/daily powers.

Post  Admin on Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:20 pm

It seems like the main purpose of this rule would be to make the players happier by allowing them to hit a lot more with their cool powers, and generally balancing out the luck. I'm not sure it would have more than a small effect on "the grind". It doesn't affect the fundamental issue of running out of powers at the end of the combat. You will have more powers to use, but you will still run completely out of powers with no hope of recharge. And you will have to fight against tougher monsters to compensate for making the players more powerful.

For something like Oath of Emnity, forcing them to choose which die will count, but only allowing it to count if the power misses, is a harsh penalty that reduces the chances of getting to use the power again by about half (essentially reducing the bonus you get from having the ability compared to not having the ability). You can do this, of course, but if you want to affect the game balance less you can simply allow the power to recharge if it misses, but either die is a 1-4. This is not as great as it might sound - the absolute chance of recharge is less than 20% unless the number needed to hit is greater than 13, which isn't very common.

I don't object to the rule being "weird". I make lots of weird rules! I'm always willing to use a rule that is a little non-intuitive in order to make the game play better. However, the fact that a rule feels odd certainly has to be listed among the pros and cons. I was just pointing out that the rule proposes a certain (small) level of weirdness in order to achieve certain game effects. Allowing a daily power to do half damage and get reused, or allowing a power to hit on a 4 and get reused, raises the "weirdness level", but has further desirable properties of mathematical fairness. Or you can rebalance all the daily powers that do half damage on miss, which lowers the weirdness level but greatly raises the complexity level.

I just realized, though, that the issue of trying to apply this rule to the actual daily powers in the PHB is too complex for any sort of quick fix. The daily powers already have rules to make missing less bad. Some of these are simple, but some are quite complex are hard to dismiss. If your power allows you to fly up to the target, do you get to keep flying around the battle field every turn as long as you are incompetent? What about the Effect lines of the powers? There are a lot of complex questions about these. So in all likelihood, you either have to make some fixed rules like you were suggesting and accept that the balance of the powers won't stay the same, or recraft each power to be designed and balanced with this new rule in mind.

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Re: Houserule: Expenditure of encounter/daily powers.

Post  Neubert on Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:54 pm

Admin wrote:It seems like the main purpose of this rule would be to make the players happier by allowing them to hit a lot more with their cool powers, and generally balancing out the luck.
You're right. I remember plenty of complaints about missing with an encounter/daily and I guess the grind mentioned in my first post was secondary.

I think I will let this house rule rest for a little, so I can mull it and your comments over in my head. It does need some changes/ironing out, if I still find that I want to use it. It does become more complicated as I look at it, but as you say, there is no easy fix.

Instead, I might post my idea for changes to the PHB2 defenses (if it is indeed a math-fix, the jury is still out on that one) or my works on making removing magic items/making them more rare.
I am not certain how valid either of the two are however, as my math-fu is not what it used to be.

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