Thursday, March 17, 2011

Serious 3.x/Pathfinder/4e Question

So character construction is a mini-game unto itself. A billion options as you gain levels.

"Balance" is a design priority.

Accumulated treasure and magic items are factored into this whole "balance" deal.

Combat is tactical and uses a grid.

Tournament play goes way way back in this hobby.


Why don't WotC and/or Paizo run tournaments where groups of players battle other groups of players?

It seems to me to be the one thing that new D&D would excel at over old D&D.

The setup could be something like:

Players sign up as a group.

First round brackets start with low level characters, finals are high level characters.

The number of players per group of course needs to be static, according to whatever the rules used considers standard (4 for 3.x/Pathfinder, 5 for 4e, right?)

Each round the players are assigned a random pregenerated party of the appropriate level, with the characters from that party randomly assigned to the players. The terrain is randomly rolled by the Referee (HAH!) from 10 or 12 or 20 possibilities on hand.


This would reward groups who are experienced playing together and comfortable playing with a wide range of characters since you never know what race or class you're going to be each round.

If you do this at, say, GenCon, the winners could get prizes and major bragging rights as The World Champions of D&D/Pathfinder.

Or do they already do this and I'm just way out of the loop?


  1. We ran about 60 Pathfinder Society tables through a multi-round PVP arena at PaizoCon two years ago.

    It ended with a mother murdering her son's character (he cried).

    It was pretty fun, I think, for just about everyone but the kid.

    --Erik Mona
    Paizo Publishing

  2. Sorry, 60 players, not 60 tables.

  3. We proposed a I Hit It With My Axe v. Penny Arcade con duel.

    They were scared.

  4. @Mr. Mona: Epic! Make a movie out of it! ;)

    At our p&p we played a few times pvp in an arena when not enough players were attending. Very funny out of contuinity fights... I think this could work.

  5. They ran both a Team (3 players) PvP and a PvP event at Strategicon. They were marathon events that usually ran at least 12-13 hours and were played pretty much over night. That was back in the 3e days and all of the games were set at around level 18-20 ish. Very crazy stuff, especially with the way they adjudicated xp and gp being bought with the same currency. some lvl 15 fighters really wrecked everyone up with their vorpal, keen, falchions ;P but I think the Lvl 20 Druids ended up taking home the bacon

  6. I remember of a guy over at an italian forum about D&D (mostly 3rd+) who organized a similar arena using AD&D 2e + Options. I found it... weird.

  7. I would think a PvP focus would be a good marketing gimmick for new powers and classes books.

    I mean, if you're doing the standard RPG setup, "Do I really need the book? We've done without it up til now and the game plays fine..."

    But if it's "Wow, if I get this new Cutlery & Crockpots book I can take a level of Line Chef and get those two feats and buy a Ginsu Blade and I'll TOTALLY beat George's ass when we play next week!"

    Sort of like how Magic and Warhammer do it. Buying stuff to beat your friends...

    It might also open up all the monster races as PCs.

    "OK, I'm a Red Dragon Fighter, you're an Earth Elemental Cleric, you're a Beholder Monk, and you're a Flumph Assassin. FIGHT!"

    (Is this the ultimate in armchair generalship or what? :D)

  8. My friend told me about doing something like this at a convention, but everyone 'built' their characters rather than being randomly assigned one.

  9. I've played in tournaments were PC groups were pitted against each other in multi-player head to head competition, only need a few wimpy monsters and a few tough monsters the PCs will ruin each other in quick order. Bit that was in a shop and not an official paizo/wotc thingie.
    It largest had about 11 Dm's/Refs and about 60 players running all over about a dozen tables set up with town and dungeon terrain, it was a blast.

  10. I've often thought that such a tourney would be the best use of the 4E ruleset. I think that the idea is perfect.

    Oh, and sirlarkins--thanks for that link. Laughed myself out of my chair.

  11. I've seen some guys running PC vs. PC Gladiator Arenas w/ 4e at D&D Meet-ups.

  12. It's been ages since I "lent" my 4e books to one of my players, so I can't doublecheck this now, and it's possible that my info is utterly out of date anyway, but -- I've been told that the way the math is set up in 4e makes this somewhat impractical. PCs and monsters aren't built the same way -- monsters are supposed to have relatively equal damage outputs to PCs of a given level, so the game guarantees PC victory through stacks of healing surges. Against a party of other PCs rather than monsters, dropping all your dailies and encounter powers on the other party won't chew through all their hit-points, so at the end of the day it turns into the two groups trading at-will attacks.

    With 3e/Pathfinder it should be more practical (and obviously is in practice, re: the first comment), since PCs and monsters are built on the same principles, so you're just facing an otherwise normal encounter tough enough that it's likely to be deadly.