Monday, April 27, 2020

XP loss Rate, Training and Conditioning, Overcoming Weaknesses

If one believes all skills need maintenance, then XP has a shelf life.
That over time our ability to get XP will be hampered by age, obligations, and changes in its costs and circumstance. If one believes that in a GAME or SYSTEM people can only keep what they use (in abilities) then there is a cost to maintain XP or it can be modeled that we lose XP over time.

To know the XP Loss Rate then I have to consider what would be the XP Gain Rate.

Game mechanics influenced by recent studies into Mindfulness, and how it is reinforced lessons in Khaneman's Thinking Fast and Slow, and Dan Ariely's Series about Behavioral Science and Economics. Plus that I'm an Anki User and long time blogger and how in practice this is how I've come to view the world.

Work Rule of Thumb (Not D&D but I will use it as Benchmarks).
In my line of work, I have qualitative measures of what 1 year to 10 years of work experience means. Typically there is a "WALL" when people hit 10 years where it becomes the same thing. Where they either choose to escalate and advance, like taking on management responsibilities, or they are stuck there or even degrade. Around this time people who started working in their 20s start asking some scarry questions about their life choices.

So what if XP is forgotten over time. I'm using years since its easier to model it this way than months. I'm imagining characters in a Lost Mine of Phandelver (LMOP).

XP is gone in 2 yearsMAX TOTAL
Year 1Year 2Year 3

not enough for level 6. At certain ages what was Last year is really emotional distance to an event. the way a strong emotional event feels just like yesterday always, while last week's trivial events can't be remembered or a lifetime ago. By year 3 LMOP is getting old. 

While Fast when you look at it in a Real-World XP and Forgetting Curve, this actually models the mindsets of D&D adventurers. 2 years in the same place is "Long" for an adventurer.

XP expires 3 years
Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5MAX XP

Not enough for level 6. The character starts feeling they are running in place by year 4, probably doubting themselves. The XP loss is doable. Being level 5 in LMOP may mean other Threats in the Area and the Level of the NPCs doesn't present a challenge.

  • What if PCs need NPCs to train them? What if XP is training based and Adventures are Economic or Material Rewards? 
  • If PCs train then the amount of KNOWLEDGE and XP in the Area determines the XP they advance in Training. A City with many similar professionals holding a larger body of knowledge has more advancement opportunities than a small town or fortified village. 

XP expires in 4 yearsTOTAL
Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Year 6Year 7
Able to Reaches Level 6 in Year 4 BUT, realizes they are not growing by the year 5. Its probably they are not doing the same thing from year 2 to year 4, but they can be noticed that their lives are not as threatened.

  • How about experienced Adventurers who retired? They probably level down or spend 50% of their time on Skill Maintenance? If you "retired" with an economic safety net (money) so that the character doesn't need to work 80 hour weeks then they can probably be performing maintenance.  

LevelXPProf BonusXP for Next Level

Mental Model - Time and Conditioning.

Christian Camerons "The last Greek" came out in Audiobook and I'm reminded about how much Conditioning and Training is more about Time and Conditioning instead of Gender Talents.
The age old debate about "Men" being physically superior was brought up in the book. In light of the recent (early this year) Online argument around Andrew Klaven comes to mind - and the crucial elements are:

  1. definitions of Scope of Combat. Weapon Combat, Wrestling, Long marches, operations, etc... does physical strength matter? 
  2. How does equipment, tactics, and medium of warfare change the importance of Gender traits. 
I realize for those who Train - TRAINING matters. of course without Training pure physical superiority matters. So already you can see a difference in Definitions and Assumptions that will cause an argument. I won't go into Andrew Klaven's off-handed comment but go into - Time and Conditioning and how it makes a big difference. 

What if - I take someone from the Adult Self-Reliant Population. Let's say that's 20% of the population, as the rest are Children and Infirmed Adults (including the Elderly). If I get 5% and convert their Economic Support activities into Purely Training and Conditioning? 

Its not quite Kumail Nanjiani physical transformation or anyone who's done any physical transformation. Drills and Feedback of Simulations and Exercises rewire everything. Even for those of us who'se best years are behind us, we know what 2 weeks will do to us when we can push our Cardio a lot harder without worrying about the Kids and spouses and getting rest and feedback will do to our bodies and mind. 

Its not even just rewarding to the Trainee - its rewarding to the Trainer as his knowledge of his expertise is Tested with every new Trainee and their unique circumstances and mindset. Making a principle work with the Different Mental models every Student has and different physical characteristic combinations of different students produce knowledge. 

Give them 2 weeks per increment of review of the Qualitative Changes and its remarkable. If they were in their teens of 15, 20s, 30s, or even 40s and 50s it would be an interesting transformation. 

The changes people undergo in Conditions and Training - the Qualitative Changes of starting from Zero.  Add to that the Escalating Challenging Environment and Peers who draw and contribute to your group's Body of Knowledge in Years. What you have are both Physical and Mental artifacts that make anyone's humble median abilities exceptional.  

How people Overcome their weaknesses and build Strategies that manage weaknesses is remarkable. My first experience of this is learning the difference of RANGED combat of Airsoft and FPS vs melee combat. That how I move and my combat awareness is a subtle but huge statistical change of my survivability per game. Physically I'm pretty much the same, but how I move - peeking out, hug the profile, as well as Infer from Indirect movement of my surroundings is such a fundamental change when I first hunkered down and don't know what's happening.  The reason people dont get killed so easily in Fire-arms warfare is that 

layer one - they dont get hit, 
layer two - they can't be found, 
layer three - if they are found they are displaced
layer four - every movement they take seizes or takes ground from the adversary, limiting the adversaries time to eliminate you
Layer five - we deny the adversary the advantage or their strengths. 

At this Fourth Layer or 5th Layer- where we're taking strategic advantages from each other the battle is fought. Where you win even before you fired your shot. This is how people OVERCOME weaknesses and make counter-strategies. I'm surprised people think in Direct Combat when life and so much of combat is the more complicated part of the position and gaining the advantage. When they go directly to the assumptions of Head-to-Head combat - its embedded sense of privilege where the Battle Field is always where "I have the advantage". My mental paradigm of combat conditions will never be my adversary's, and thinking up options in my battlefield of choice is wasted effort - as to the main problem of choosing the battlefield.  

from XP loss rate to reflect Skill Maintenance > XP Loss Rate > training and Conditioning > how people spend their time with Training and Conditioning to develop many other strategies to overcome their weaknesses. And how Unpredictable and Unique and interesting these strategies can be.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Test Characters: Fighter as Baseline, Long Lived Races Amnesia

The Fighter is the Baseline

So I should balance the Professions and Specialists against this. From the looks of things I'm going to have to Defer a lot of Abilities and space them out.

Specialized Abilities (like Fighting Style) need some notation. You'll notice [X-Y] notation. X is the level its available. If there is a Y this means its part of a set of options. I plan to make abilities like Fighting Style. A set of options. This set of rules is basically like Taking the Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, and Rogue and making them into - something for more like fighting board game. 

Note the following Changes on the Mechanics* You see Numbers in Parenthesis to mark Conditions and Effects. I don't normally read "prose" anymore I usually prefer reading Bulleted Items where Ideas are as Discrete as Possible so that less is left to interpretation and

2 weapon fighting[1-1]. (1) Roll both Weapon Damage Dice during attack rolls, (2) but choose one. (3) Roll effects Die, (4) on a Successful Effects Roll, the Character can keep both Damage dice results. (5) Note you don’t add a second strength damage modifier. 
Great weapon fighting [1-2]. Damage advantage when using a 2-handed Weapon.
Protection[1-3]. (1) When wielding a Shield or Reach weapon. (2) On successful attack impose a disadvantage (3) on an Adversary’s attack against the adjacent Allies or Oneself.  (4) On a Successful Ready against Attack (5)  impose a Damage Disadvantage to the Adversary along with the Damage.  (7) On a Successful Defend impose a Damage Disadvantage to the Adversaries affected.
Dueling [1-4]. On the Character’s turn choose an Adversary - Increase Proficiency modifier by 2 against that Adversary, reduce Proficiency modifier by 2 to all other adversaries (this lowers the character’s defense). 
Ranged Speciality [1-5]. Increase Ranged Proficiency Modifier by 2.

Second Wind[1]. For this encounter, reduce the Wound Condition Penalty by 2. recover this ability after a Long Rest. 
Action Surge [2]. Declare a second action, on a successful difficulty roll, include the outcome to the result. 
Martial Archetype: Champion [3]. on a 16 to 18 check effects die for critical. 
Attribute Increase [4]
Extra Attack [5]. check the effects die for secondary attacks hitting (allows dealing damage to a second target when facing superior numbers). 

*Changes to Mechanics
  1. One-Side-Rolls. no interruptions. one roll per turn (Characters can simplify 1 roll for a Group; effects die determines how many additional attacks hit). 
    1. Costly Failure means taking Damage threats. 
    2. Defense = Lethality. which also means that Ranged Defense is your ability to avoid getting hit. 
    3. Defense Margin. Defense = proficiency modifier. The amount of Failure that doesnt result into being hit. Regular Failure. Shields Increase this Value. 
    4. Costly Success. On a Regular Failure the Option to have a Costly Success. the outcomes of the Success while taking damage. 
    5. Trying to Simplify it to One action per turn, dealing with Actions and Effect as "added Scope" or added Effect. 
    6. Successful Attack is defined as a Clean Hit. regular failure is missing, and a Costly Failure is taking damage. 
  2. Bell Curve Random Number Generator. Using a 3d6 for Rolls (Less Wild Result).
    1. Using the Effects Die. Rolling a D20 along with the 3d6, and the d20 is used for various things like Confirming Criticals, Effecting Additional Targets, if Additional Attacks Hit. etc... 
  3. Limited Modifiers. Dice + Proficiency Modifier + Stat Modifier + COndition
    1. Con Modifier Reduces Condition Penalty
    2. Difficulty (DCs) also have this Limitation: broken down to Scope and Odds. 
      1. Odds is a Difficulty Modifier when facing Superior Numbers (or having Superior Numbers lowers the Difficulty IF you're rolling for a group). 
  4. Armor Reduces Damage. about 50% their AC modifier. 
  5. Defending has a Roll. Considering doubling Proficiency modifier when attempting a Defend action. 
  6. Damage Advantage or Disadvantage. Rolling additional damage dice and getting the better or worse one. 
  7. Simplified Modifier to Stat. Stat is 10+ modifier. So a +4 modifier is a 14 and not an 18-19. 
  8. Condition Mechanics. Having death spiral effects in the game. Encumbrance and Wound Threshold 
    1. Which ever is the worse puts the character at that Condition. A dwarf with +3 Con modifier and 13 for Wounds. A dwarf can carry more without penalty and take more damage without taking that much penalty. In a Death Spiral. Armors like Full Lamellar and Scale Armor (Armor 8) 60kg (with Armor as a Primary Proficiency this counts as 30kg)
    2. Mooks, Mobs, Minions - only take 1-3 levels of Wounds. Tougher foes have higher. Role-playing that Minions, Mooks and Mobs have more to lose (their life) and will give up after 1-3 levels of damage. While some Bosses and Mini-Bosses can afford to take more risk. 
    3. Problem (WIP) Hit dice does not Increase. 4th level can take as much Damage as 1st level. Should high levels mean more damage? 

Long-Lived Races Amnesia

I'm an Anki Users , I subscribe to the science regarding how memory works in Spaced Repetition (See also Supermemo's Articles about memory stabilization). I've also experienced it as an Multi-Media Artist and Wannabe Game designer going into the Family business. So its not far fetched for me to sometimes feel like I'm waking up in some kind of Amnesia where I can go into great detail about my Art Techniques and 3d Modeling, which was not so long ago  (2005-2008).

Imagining a more basic living and having learned to forget an irrelevant past is like forgetting I wanted and trained to be an Artist but because it was far harder than I could endure I chose to go into the family biz.  A dwarf or Elf, or Half elf who was once some great Manor or Mine holder becoming an Adventurer or a homesteader in some distance frontier.

Resettling conquered peoples was a practice in Rome, and goes back to even before First Empires of Sargon (lessons from Ancient Empires before Alexander; the City States of Mesopotamia). If a character can live for hundreds of years I can imagine having been transformed every time (like the movie The Man from earth)  what is immortality when our brains still pretty much the same brain from a hundred thousand years ago. Our sense of time is still distorted.

Elves and Dwarves are seemingly finding themselves in different lives. There is a lot of Tragic roleplaying there - forgotten lives (loves and losses) for Elves, and Long grudges for Dwarves. Especially if you get the "Man from Earth" type of migration where elves are moved around.