Darths & Droids


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Episode 2294: We’ve Been Working Off the Railroad


Many roleplaying games these days use tactical maps for combat situations. The GM and players will position miniature figures or tokens on the map to indicate the locations of combatants, and then apply board-game-like rules to govern things such as movement, facing, range, line of sight, line of fire, which opponents are within attacking range, and so on.

One disadvantage of this approach is that it can make the combat seem so much like a board game that players forget it's a roleplaying game, and they can do things that aren't written in the rules. Just because the rules don't explicitly say that you can climb a statue and swing on a chandelier, that doesn't mean you can't do it.

If you're playing a game like this and combat always seems to come down to selecting your move from a list of pre-defined actions, then try mixing it up a little and getting more creative with your roleplaying during combat.

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Hmmmm. Without having any clue as to what the campaign could be, I think they made the right choices for Pete's campaign as well. It'd be really cool to have it be a call-back to the campaign that started the Darths & Droids comic, but I don't recall if Lord of the Rings has been mentioned as existing or otherwise. It's a fairly wild open setting but also has the main characters go on a journey to destroy a magic item instead of trying to take over the world with it.

Anyway, I wonder if Pete might have just realized that other people might have different goals or ideas about what "winning" entails. Heck, maybe since the players that weren't Pete thought it was a sandbox, they just wandered around (after lots and lots of planning) without even trying to succeed at taking over anything which completely confounded what Pete thought was going to happen. Kind of like game designers assuming players will go a certain direction without putting any rails down to ensure that would happen, and then the players turn around, climb a cliff, and run off into the wild blue yonder instead.


GM: While you’re weighing that up, this might be a good time to stop for tonight.
Allan: What about the huge space battle?!
GM: That’s another reason to wait until next week. I’ll need time to prepare the tactical map.
C-3PO: Do we really want to give Pete time to drastically re-evaluate moral implications? Remember what happened in his game?
Rey: It was your fault! You didn’t follow the campaign plan.
General Hux: You said it was a sandbox where we could do anything we wanted. No pre-ordained plot.
Rey: There were several optimal strategies leading ultimately to world domination. They should have been obvious as soon as you thought about how to win! I still don’t know why you didn’t use them.
BB-8: Let’s see. Winning your way, or confounding your expectations for the next year...
BB-8: In hindsight, I think we made the right choices.

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Published: Tuesday, 11 April, 2023; 02:11:13 PDT.
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