Saturday, December 31, 2011

RPG Thoughts: Maths Vs. Rule of Cool

Apparently someone has noticed that I've been placing random labels in my blog posts. Excellent. My plan to conquer the internet is working. Slowly but surely. Muahahaha!

Anyway, I have a topic, Maths vs. The Rule of Cool. For me, this is something that I take very seriously. I love tinkering with systems and rules to get the most bang for my buck. I spent all of last week looking over spell dimensions for Wall of Stone, Stone Shape, and Animate Object to figure out something. I use the Math inherent in the system to do something cool. One of these days, I'm going to post up my plans for those spells. That's me.

My kids on the other hand, are totally different ball of wax. They don't care so much for the math. They want to do cool things, and they want to have cool things happen in their games. That's the great thing about new gamers, they just want to do the awesome thing, not necessarily the right thing in the situation.

So a bit of a campaign update. I had locked them up in a dungeon that they managed to escape from. Now, since the Spelljammer campaign has landed in Forgotten Realms, there were certain things that I wanted to include to make a signature FR adventure.

1. An extraordinarily high level NPC.
2. Drow and the underdark.
3. Zhents.

Now, I had already decided that the people who had captured them were Drow, and one of their fellow prisoners was Drizzt Do'urden. Haven't worked in the Zhents yet. Now, the kids were totally unimpressed with the name drop. Which took me by surprise, but totally shouldn't have, since they haven't read the hundreds of novels that have him as a main character.

So, I missed out on the Rule of Cool for them. My normal group would have been overjoyed. I had an ace up my sleeve though. Looking through the D20srd, I found something neat, an Ettin Skeleton. A two headed skeleton was cool, but not cool enough. Here's where I went against my natural inclination to make a more memorable session.

To make the two-headed skeleton cooler, I decided to extend the rib cage down to the hip bones, with a cage door. Inside the 'rib cage', I put a bunch of dwarves. So the Ettin skelly would open the door, and then throw on of it's captives at the kids. Literal dwarf tossing. It was funny in a horrible un-politically correct way.

Technically, an Ettin Skeleton is a Large creature, and a dwarf is a Medium creature. At best a Large creature could fit ONE dwarf in its rib cage. However, Rule of Cool trumped rules in this one case. It was fun, the kids enjoyed killing it slowly while the NPC Drizzt killed off the other one that was there just for him.

The whole time they kept doing cool stuff. The halfling tried to use a grappling hook to scale the thing, and the elf got grabbed and tossed at his friend. Would this have happened with strict rules intrpretation? Probably not. Would the kids have had as many laughs with it? No, most likely not.

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