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37

Yes, player characters can cast their spells at any time unless something explicitly prevents them from doing so. Players can cast spells any time they want as long as it's their turn, they have a spell slot available (if the spell needs one; most non-cantrip spells do), and they can provide the verbal, somatic, and/or material requirements. This does, in ...


20

D&D 4e has Skill Challenges whereby the group has to succeed at multiple skill checks (the number depending on the difficulty) before accumulating 3 failures. The choice of skills boils down to whatever the players can justify. The Essentials red box (spoilers ahead!) has a nice example in the prewritten adventure "Talking to the Dragon" which gives ...


15

Various systems have extended rules for social conflicts. For example: The Dying Earth RPG has a back-and-forth dice-rolling mechanic. I say something, I roll to see whether I convince you; you reply, you roll to see whether you convince me. Skulduggery uses the same mechanics. Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits mechanics frames social conflict similarly to ...


14

There is nothing explicit within 4e's rules against using powers out of combat.. Some powers, such as the Executioner (Assassin)'s class dailies, have out of combat uses for the power written on the card. Further more, 4e allows you to choose whether you are dealing lethal or non-lethal damage if you damage an enemy to 0 hp without any penalties to you as a ...


13

My group, at least does not handle social interactions this way. Instead of what you listed above, we usually do: PC: I want to parley with the ambassador of the neighboring kingdom, about sending troops to help against the invasion. GM: You go to the ambassador and he looks unconvinced. After all, there is [situation] in their country that is ...


13

The DMG gives you several alternate XP/leveling options on pages 260-261. You may benefit from "milestone" leveling rather than doling out XP per encounter. Thus characters level up when they accomplish story specific events, so the exact path they take isn't dependent on being murder hobos. You can also get rid of XP altogether and just level characters up ...


11

Remember that in D&D, damage is very nebulous - and in 4E particularly so: You reduce it not to kill but to defeat - whether through imprisonment, eternal slumber, knocking them unconscious or, ok, murder. Additionally, your damage reflects your skill - it increases as your experience increases. As such, you can decide to deal less damage than your ...


11

Actually, there are non-combat techniques, and in GURPS 4th edition they are covered together with combat ones (starting on page 229 of "Characters" volume). In the basic set there are just some examples, such as Lifesaving (a Swimming technique), which has a starting score of Swimming-5, and a few more. These techniques have a default value given by a ...


11

In the 5e DMG on page 261 there are Noncombat Challenges You use the DC required and the risk involved lieu of CR as a guideline to the difficulty level and then use the combat encounter guidelines to assign the exact amount of XP. The author recommend that XP only be awarded when there is a meaningful risk of failure. Note that risk does not have to mean ...


10

Yes, such games exist. There are many, actually! I've personally played at least two or three systems that match your description. Among the thousands of RPGs out there, a good handful of them use no randomisation, or use randomisation other than dice (like drawing cards from a deck or tokens from a pouch). Many, many RPGs --diced or not-- don't use ...


9

Stalker0 developed the Obsidian skill challenge to address what he saw as faults with the D&D 4E skill challenge system. Here you have the thread and PDF at enworld (registration required). Quoting from the first page: Consider using the Obsidian System if you believe in the following: Players should always be included in skill challenges, ...


8

One of my favourite mechanics is Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits - see a pdf that Luke makes available (direct link here). It's something like a reflavoured and tweaked version of its combat system, and the "social combat" aspect is interesting in and of itself, but there also are interesting differences. For instance, it's aimed at convincing everyone around ...


8

Just use combat rounds This battle is against time. Have characters roll initiative and proceed in order, describing their actions according to the chart Actions in Combat. It's perfectly acceptable to explain to the players beforehand that this is not a combat encounter and that you're using combat mechanics to simulate a ticking clock, especially if they'...


7

All walls are passable, all mountains easily circumvented, all mundane enemies easily slain, every weather condition easily changed, every thought and alignment easily scryed, masses of people charmed at no cost. All of these things are extremely mundane. When you're dealing with Epic characters, you need a proper Epic setting, with proper Epic ...


7

The thing to realize about 4e is, it's a combat system. 90% of it is to do with fighting, which is why the aren't any rules for integrating powers into other parts of the game. This is not to say you can't use them outside of combat at all, but that you'd have to rely on your own (and GM's) judgement. So there's nothing wrong with discarding damage in ...


7

There are a lot of games that treat non-combat actions with complexity and sophistication. As mentioned by others, some games have specific subsystems for noncombat conflicts, like Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits: A set of options like Point, Rebuttal, and Obfuscate, with the position you're arguing assigned a hitpoint total. Other games employ a universal ...


7

Do you know systems where non-combat parts of the game are covered more deeply by the rules, and are more sophisticated than only requiring one skill check? How are these situations handled? There are many games that do this; some are mentioned above. I'd also add to that list games where violent combat isn't even an option. Black and Green Games'...


7

Also you can check out A Song of Ice and Fire RPG as well as John Wick's Houses of the Blooded. Since I am a big fan of Wick's work, I advise the latter. It IS awesome. They are both beautiful about that kind of thing. The social combat system in SIFRP is equivalent to the physical combat system - in recognition of the fact that the books it's modeling have ...


7

An answer to this question was posted on the Pokemon Tabletop adventures board by a user named Domo. Based on what he's said, the main problems for the GM lies in the uselessness of Status effects because of the trainers actions, with only Burn or Poison remaining as an effective tool for the GM to combat Trainer interference with. He also goes into action ...


7

Similar to how you can take an action outside of combat, you can also take bonus actions (assuming of course, they are available). There are some noteworthy exceptions, specifically that if the bonus action has requirements they must be met. For instance, you could only parry if someone was attacking you. If you were casting a spell as a bonus action you ...


7

You can also award XP based on how important the non combat event was toward progressing the general adventure. A technique I have found to work fairly well is to take the party's average level as a base CR. Tiny inconsequential events (ex: talking to a shopkeeper in character) are worth CR minus 2 as an experience award. Moderate events (ex: finding an ...


6

How about just using the same combat rules? F'r'ex, let's say that you're...oh, I don't know, trying to charm the merchant's wife so that you'll get a good deal on...I dunno, grain. MAGIC grain. If you're playing D&D, you might roll 1d20 + CHA mod, against 10 + her INT mod. A success lets you roll 1d6 (maybe 1d8 if you're a thief or bard) plus CHA or ...


5

Yes, games like that exist. There are many of them. You may wonder how such a game works, and how it differs from freeform improvisational collaborative storytelling. To that end, I offer a modern, exemplary game of the type you are describing: Hillfolk The game system that drives Hillfolk is called the DramaSystem, by noted designer Robin D. Laws, and ...


4

Burning Wheel and Burning Empires: Duel of Wits is a separate combat system focused on narrative handling of convincing a third party by the two opposed sides. It's fun, but very stylized. Mechanically, it's a redress of the combat system. Damage isnt wounds, but to a stat (disposition) generated by skill roll at start of conflict. Mouse Guard: One Conflict ...


4

Traditionally, experience comes from encounters, not necessarily combat. Much like real life, if you get yourself into a very difficult encounter with something or someone, then however it ended, you will probably walk away with some experience. In other words, your group could choose to have a strong role-play game, with less focus on combat but where ...


3

GURPS Martial Arts (for GURPS 3R) introduced maneuvers to me; it only exemplified them for combat, but noted they could be used for any skills at the GM's option. IIRC, Compedium or Compendium 2 included several non-combat maneuvers, as well, but I don't have them to hand to check.


3

At Will published a series called Serious Skills that discusses each 4E skill in depth, including many ways each can be used, strengths, weaknesses, related backgrounds, and so on. It should be essential reading for almost anybody, but is especially useful in the context of low-combat play.


3

I suspect that it's not just combat, but any physical action that needs to be systematised. So combat, jumping, climbing, craft skills, stuff like that; it's stuff the player can't do but the player can. Any time there's a mismatch, you have to create a system. Social and intellectual rolls can be mostly handled by players -- deduction, politics, argument, ...


3

It depends whether you are just talking about D&D or not. In most variants of D&D, combat is what most of the rules revolve around, with only complex skill checks or skill challenges providing more in depth meat to other activities (social, investigation, etc.) Some people prefer this and like handling those other things via player-GM interaction ...



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