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 Post subject: quick non-combat quests
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:01 pm


Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:13 pm
Posts: 162
So I recently ran into an issue where my players didn't like how much combat I planned out, specifically each and every single one of my hooks involved combat either upfront or in the eventual conclusion. In my defense, most of the hooks I used were right out of the book... But it didn't change that I was indeed lacking in purely skill based resolutions, or purely non-combat ones, so I came up with an idea to generate quick quests:

Literally just use a random number generator to "roll" on the community compiled "book of skills" and "roll" again for x# of skills listed on any random page.

The ultimate resolution to a NPC's problem will be a successful skill roll, but if failed (or lacking in skill), the players could still try to figure out a solution via roleplay or alternative skill solutions; if the players are still unable to solve the task then the NPC will mention someone who can help... But obviously that next NPC will have their own problem (re-roll next skill challenge).

Now the main issue here is that this method is "wide as an ocean, deep as a puddle". I'll need some kind of meta narrative to actually string all of these skill checks together, especially if the players have a high% chance. My current idea is have a town ban the group from interacting with the place, perhaps they're mistaken for a gang or the last batch of adventurers really rubbed the town the wrong way. If the players want to take advantage of the resources in this location, they'll have to prove themselves worthy. Obviously, in a barter only town, I could also use this method for all general transactions.

Anyway, I figured I'd run this by you guys for better ways of implementing this method of quest generation.

Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:00 pm

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Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:17 am
Posts: 65
I agree, using a single skill roll as a possible solution to a problem can be, as you said, "wide as the ocean and deep as puddle."

Let me ask first, why are you focusing on randomly generating tasks like some endless-dungeon side-quest simulation?

If the player characters truly need to "prove themselves worthy" in your campaign, why not construct non-combat tasks specific to each player character?

Yes, tasks could be as mudane as standard MMO filler side-quests ( chopping firewood or hunting animals for meat), but throw in a moral dilema or interesting bit of role-play to spice it up. A tag-along NPC that has a bit of hero-worship going on, or the only land with the resources needed isn't really the town's to take, requiring negotiation with neighbors/fey/dragon/religous cult.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:46 pm

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Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:01 pm
Posts: 193
Location: Montana
I don't know how you set up your world, but if there is a place that I expect the players to spend some time, I will generate a bunch of npcs. I will give each one at least something they like and dislike to give me a little bit of a handle on who they are, give them a bit of personality, decide what rivalries or friendships exist among these npcs, and then decide what their base outlook would be on a group like the bunch of PCs showing up. That base outlook will change based on how the PCs present themselves, because "first impressions" and all that.

What challenges does this community face? What has happened that they don't trust the PCs? Once you have some idea of what drives the npcs, it should be fairly simple to decide what sorts of actions on part of the PCs will have a positive (or negative) affect. Different NPCs may have different goals and desires, meaning that different actions may mean different things to each one (or to different factions of npcs). I tend to use skills as influencers. A charm or trust roll might get people to pay more attention when they want to ignore the PC. A good public speaking roll may get people that disagree with a PC to at least consider what they are saying even though they (most likely) still disagree. If people are doing something that is more teamwork (like repairing buildings), I generally don't require a roll. The time and labor put in is enough. Most likely there will be a member of the town with more knowledge that would be in charge anyway, though there can definitely be chance for drama if you do require rolls and the PCs fail.

Basically, what I would say is step back and build a community to which the PCs are strangers. If you know how the community works, what their needs, wants, and difficulties are, you will be able to work out what the PCs can do to interact. And, if things go well, the actions of the PCs may give you plenty of ideas on how to challenge them.

I'm not sure if any of that rambling is worth anything to you or not. I tend to run fairly "sandboxy", low combat games, and that is how I approach things. Know the npcs well enough to know how they will respond to things, and let the pcs loose.

Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:28 pm


Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:13 pm
Posts: 162
So just to clarify, I want to get back into running some sandboxy games. A while ago I gave up on running them and started running specific encounters, one shots, and games like that. It really isn't an issue for me to adhoc together something interesting, so long as I have a base idea to work with.

I want to stay away from the concept of a hub world (as suggested here) as, from both the perspective of a player and GM, characters get lost in the wilderness all the time.

Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:26 am

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Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2000 1:01 am
Posts: 17124
Location: Eastvale, calif
take package from one side of town to the other while avoiding traffic, and people trying to take the package from you.

Okay so mostly non-combat, but with enough skill rolls so players are feeling like they are doing something.


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