Feb 04 2015

MMP#142 – Encumbrance, What is it good for

      1. 142-Encumbrance-What-is-it-good-for.mp3

142 – Encumbrance, What is it good for?

iIPNV9aqUYrGsHey Folks. Today we’re lugging stuff around just to prove that we can, or at least that encumbrance might not be the dog of a rule everyone thinks it is. We also do that listener feedback thing and chat about the games we’ve been playing in the gameroom. Enjoy and feel free to leave us your feedback.

Time Stamps

0:56 – Lobby

10:51 – Game of the Week: Monster of the Week

12:56 – Extradimentional Social Media Depository

Golden Geek Awards

31:07 – Gameroom

56:56 – Workshop: Encumbrance, What is it good for.


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  1. Christopher Mathieu

    Your mention of a heist game reminded me of a GMing technique that I came up with years ago, but have never had a chance to actually play. It turns out that this idea ties into some of the encumbrace issues you mentioned. I’d like your input.

    A classic trope in heist movies and TV shows is the planning stage. In most shows, you see alternating scenes between the planning stage (usually in a large, open room, with one or more maps of the target location), and the actual heist. In some cases, an obstacle arises — a guard in front of a door, or a unique lock — and the protagonists have accounted for it; they have something to distract the guard, or a forged ID card to bypass the lock. In other parts, an unforeseen event gets in the way: a guard takes an unexpected turn on his patrol, or the owner of the facility is in his office after-hours. At these times, the protagonists have to do some frantic improvisation, possibly using tools they threw together at the last minute.

    In an RPG, you usually see this played out linearly. The players gather some information, get a map or two (maybe), and then try to improv their way through the heist. I’ve had the idea of running a heist scenario in the same way it’s handled in movies and TV.

    Here’s how it would work:
    • The PCs start by laying out a rough plan, but they aren’t required to cover every detail or contingency. Instead, they allocate — ahead of time — how much time and money (or other resources) they devote toward information-gathering, and buying or creating tools.
    • When the heist begins, any obstacles that they planned for — or get past with the tools they brought — are handled normally. (If a door has a keypad lock, and someone brought a tool to bypass it, they do so.)
    • For anything unplanned, the group has to expend some of the time/resources they allocated ahead of time, depending on what they decide is needed to get around it. Someone may decide they brought along a disguise to mimic the captain of the guard, which requires some money (to get the kit) and some time (to get the captain’s appearance). Copying a key might require some time (to steal a key) or money (to buy a copying kit).
    • In play, you alternate between scenes in the planning room, allowing the players to discuss what they anticipate, and on-site scenes to actually play these out. If they run out of allocated time or money, they can no longer use that resource on-site.

  2. mrm1138

    There are some good ideas in this podcast,—Dungeon World’s inventory system sounds like a good alternative to D&D’s—but overall I have to say that, unless WotC introduces a good app that can keep track of these things, I think I’m just going to have to stick to my current “within reason” model.

  3. Dr. Suess

    Hey guys! Phil, you’re awesome! For future reference guys, can we get an exact timestamp on when the listed topic starts. I went more than halfway through the podcast and still didn’t find the encumbrance discussion. Feels like that old TV trick where you have to watch 90% of the show to see what was on the teaser.

    I’ll try again next podcast.

    1. Chris Sniezak

      Hey Dr. Suess. Sorry about that. I put time stamps in the show notes but I forgot to label the workshop with the Encumbrance discussion. It has been updated but just so you know the encumbrance discussion starts at 56:56.

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