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Gaming Encounters

This is a response to Denis' blog.

Here is the apparent problem with lots of RPG games: the encounters can favor either combat or exploration skills and characters that are good at one tend to be bad at the other so supposedly on type of character is bored during combat encounters and vice versa.

Denis proposes that players use two characters. It's a neat idea. 

I was thinking about how lots of RPGs degenerate into dice-rolling combat and "I want xp" fests. I liked the idea (also from Denis' blog) to only give xp for treasure that you spend on wasted stuff, like a wine, women and song. ("Brave, brave sir Robbin, sir Robin ran away...")

But I remembered an idea I had a while back when I was considering what would make a good rpg game. I though that it was interesting that you had monks in RPG that are anything but monk-like, are really just fighters with less hair and bare fists. 

I realized that part of the reason for this is that there was no incentive to avoid a battle. Ever. So if you have an imminently weak fighter, you rely on the fighters for those encounters and you become one of the support staff: a healer or a aerial bomber/mage type. Well what if there was an incentive for a fighter not to fight and still generate xp? 

So I conceptualized that the "Monk" type characters be given a bonus for winning an encounter without fighting. Then I though, the "Rogue" types should have that too. Trickery, seduction, avoidance and all manner of interesting role-play can come into hand if you are trying to avoid combat, even if you are one of those martial character types. The bonus should be fairly large, like a 10% but not just on the encounter but on the whole day's session. And it stacks... Yeah it would lead to some fast climbing of some classes but then, the role-play would be so much richer. 

Another idea that I'll incorporate into my RPG world is that even combat classes should have some exploration qualities. One of which, "climbing" is I think ever forgotten in dungeon design.  I played the Conan MMORPG, and climbing was a key skill for thieves as it'd give you access to treasure in towers, but also fighters who could climb to new areas and discovers new enemies to fight.


  1. I agree that every class, even Fighters (or Soldier-types in modern/sci-fi RPGs) should have some non-combat skills to bring to the table.

    One of the big things that seems hard for newer gamers to grok these days is that a lot of the original generation of RPGs just assumed that any character could do just about anything a normal person could do.

    It didn't need to be part of the rules, it was just assumed to be common sense. If a person of average strength could climb a cliff face (I know several rock climbers who are fit but not exactly ripped), then so can the average strength adventurer.

    Back when I was weening myself off of D&D 3, I read Robert Fisher's website (now located here: ) and his ideas especially about Thief skills really helped me come around to the idea that basic skills can be assumed.

    Everyone can look for traps. Everyone can try to hide. Everyone can attempt to climb. Thieves just get chances to succeed in situations where the others are nearly certain to fail.

    Anyway, I like your ideas for re-doing the Monk as the competent combatant who seeks to avoid/prevent/end combat peacefully. Different, interesting, challenging, and very kung fu.


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