Friday, 23 January 2009

Not So Much Forward As Back...

The Jump subsystem of the Atheltics skill came up over the weekend. It all started excitingly enough -- troglodytes dug in behind a barricade about to retreat back into their lair, dwarven Fighter frustrated at not being able to engage -- and ended up with me in a cold sweat as I flashed back to the very worst moments I've had to endure while DM'ing 3rd Edition.

Okay 'endure' is harsh. It's not like I was crossing the Antarctic. 3E did though become famous though for certain exception-based subsystems that, to put it mildly, could bring the game to a grinding halt (Grapple being the most obvious). 4E has made great strides towards eliminating these problems, so much so in fact that cracking open the rule-book at the table has become something of a rarity. Not so, the Atheltics skill. Vertical distance! Horizontal distance! Running start! Standing start!

It's all a bit painful really. Surely this could have been collapsed down into a simple 'Easy/Medium/Hard' DC, and the DM asked to make a judgement as to which category the jump fell (ha-ha) into? As it is, it arrests the game, forces rule-books open, and on top of that makes the DM decide *exactly* how high his sodding barricade is... none of which are conducive to his overall contentment rating!

1 comment:

butterslices said...

In this instance I would do exactly what you mentioned, I would simply assign a DC relative to the player (jumping over a barricade will be naturally harder for smaller characters for example) and let the players skill and luck set his fate!