A Peek Behind The Scenes
Running off the Rails episodes are not scripted. However, we do use notes and an outline quite heavily to keep us on track.
Typically, before we record, Ariel and I will sit down and speak off mic for a bit about an idea or "thesis" that we have. We ask each other questions about these ideas, digging until we feel like we actually have something to say. We often times start off disagreeing, but through these conversations arrive at a more balanced synthesis that we do agree on.
Here are the episode notes for Season 3, Episode 8, released on August 1st, 2023, "D&D Decisions are Dull | Using Video Games to Create Fun Choices."
Wizards has been trying to expand decisions available to martials for a long time, but they almost always offer these choices as feats rather than expanding the basic rules. This must be in the name of simplicity, players choose to adopt additional rules.
However, most of the time these feats only further serve to pigeonhole martials into using a specific weapon over and over.
Many of these feats are also very natural ways the world should work, rather than expertise a specific character might pick up. For example, the charger feat is really just a mechanic for momentum. And could add some extra decision-making for your martial characters’ movement. These feats might fit better as rules for your whole game than rules for one player. (going for haymakers/precision shots (new players always ask about aiming for an eyeball) with great weapon master/sharpshooter could be a good rule for more fun decision-making as well. Can make the penalty -7 to make it more balanced)
Give all character classes that would be able to choose a single fighting style, all the weapon type-based fighting styles.
Damage Type (Slashing, Bludgeoning, Piercing)
It’s not SUPER important that trade-offs that we give weapons by damage type are realistic, just that the choice to use one over the other matters.
Piercing: We imagine ourselves as a surgical striker, compared to the longsword or the hammer, we are not content with making contact with non-vitals, we need to find a vital to dispatch the opponent.
+1 to Hit
Every time we hit with an attack, but do not crit, your crit window increases by 1 to a maximum increase equal to our proficiency score. Scoring a crit resets the window.
Bludgeoning: Fantasy, we want to do reliable damage to slow-moving, well-armored targets.
Bludgeoning AC = AC - Proficiency Score + Dex
Assassin 15 -> 15
Jarlaxle Baenre 24 -> 25 (prof 5, Dex 6)
Adult Red Dragon 19 -> 13
Slashing: Fantasy, we want to be more balanced. We want to maneuver well, and strike at extremities well, we are hedging with a sword to be well-rounded.
+2 to weapon damage
Your AC increases by +1
If there is only one creature within melee range of you, once per round when that creature misses every attack it makes against you, you may make a weapon attack against it without using your reaction.
Before you make a melee attack with a heavy weapon that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack hits, you add +10 to the attack's damage.
Soft and Hard Counters
Use Pathfinder Resistance
Half damage reduced is too much, resistance should equal Prof Score.
Weapon Triangle (Fire Emblem)
Piercing +2 to hit -> Bludgeoning +2 to hit -> Slashing +2 to hit Piercing -> …
Magic Type Triangle
Just like Pokemon, give your caster an appropriate typing.
Life Cleric should be Divine.
Oath of Ancients Paladin decides whether they are Primal OR Divine when they take their subclass
Old One Warlock would be Eldritch
Eldritch beats Arcane
Arcane beats Primal
Primal beats Divine
Divine beats Eldritch
Getting a -2 to saving throws against weakness and +2 to hit armor class against weakness
Advantage on counterspell roll if it's the same type or beaten by…
(in my game I’ve already used homebrew rule “if you know the spell you’re trying to counter, you get advantage”)
Advantage on Dispel Magic
Hands and Throws
Choose a Number of Weapons for the Day
After a long rest choosing the weapons that you will be proficient with today.
Choose a hand of Weapons after a long rest (prof score)
For all of those weapons you gain the use of that weapon’s specific fighting style for the day.
Archery fighting style, and free switching of that equipment
If you are using a longsword one handed, you get +2 to damage.
Diverse Weapon Options
If we want players to choose more diverse hands and throws we need sufficient options
Is it Magic?
Right now the magic weapon quality is SO potent that you have to use your highest + magic weapon always.
We should break up the qualities of + to hit, + to
Mythril: Double your proficiency to decide if you hit.
Adamantine: Adamantine to overcome resistance.
Silvered: Fiends and Undead take extra damage.