Monday, June 17, 2013

Floating A Crazy Balloon

So here is the idea.

You are standing on the threshold of a cave.  You are a fighter.  These are your weapons.  You are alone.

You are in no way required to enter the cave.  You are in no way required to take any specific action.  If you take an action which is not directly aggressive, you increase the likelihood that something will take an aggressive action towards you, and that you will be surprised.

If you move into the cave, or into the wilderness, you will find monsters.  If you kill the monsters, you will get treasure.

You explain in the comments post what you do.  Time is measured in actions, not in minutes or hours.

Everyone can play.

I put up a post that describes the initial situation.  Everyone who wishes to play must answer their particular action within 24 hours of my posting the initial situation.

All those who enter the cave would then be given a post of what is in the cave.  All those who descend from the cave would be given a post of what is in the wilderness.  I will write as many different kinds of posts as there are decisions made.  "Rounds" will equal one action taken by every participating person.  Thus, all the persons in the cave will be given one action, all the persons in the wilderness will be given one action, and when everyone has taken an action, we will start again for everyone.

You have to kill to live, to get treasure and magic items, ordinary D&D.  The format is AD&D, my combat system.  If you're not familiar with my combat system, I will help you ... but familiarity with my combat system will be a plus.

You have to roll dice live to determine if you hit, what damage you do, etc.  You have to have a camera and you have to post your die rolls on you-tube.  Here is an example:

To discourage cheating, I will be rolling dice at the beginning of each round called a 'standard' die.  This die will work thusly.

Suppose you need to hit AC 4 and you have a THACO of 20.  Normally, this would mean you have to roll a 16 or better on a d20 to hit.  Whatever number I roll on the standard die, however, that is the NEW 20.  So if I roll a 12, then '12' is the '20'.  This would mean you would have to roll an 8 to 12 in order to hit AC 4.

If I rolled a 3 on the standard die, then you would need to roll a 19, 20, 1, 2 or 3 in order to hit AC 4.  These rolls will also be posted on youtube.

Why am I interested in discouraging cheating?  Because I plan to give a $50 prize to the last person standing.

I will give this from my own funds.  It will not cost a dime to play.


If you do not post your action within 24 hours of the time stamp on my post, then you are disqualified and you have lost.

If you die because you have failed to stop a monster killing you, you have lost.

If your die roll on you-tube is not legible, or if at any time the die you have rolled moves off camera, then that die roll is discounted.  I suggest you roll in some sort of container as I have done, so that the entire movement of the die can be filmed.

I am not ready to run this contest.  I have not considered every possibility, and I want suggestions.  But I think it can be reasonably argued that many, many people could play at one time.  Time between rounds will depend upon my ability to manage however many people are playing.  A 24 hour minimum warning will be given before the next round is posted, and of course you'd have 24 hours after that to answer.

I think there would need to be possible choices that would enable people to PVP.  Such pairings would teleport persons temporarily to a neutral plane of existence, and the winner returned to their starting place.

I think I'd like to award 10 times the normal experience I usually offer, to allow people a reasonable chance of going up a level.

All persons would run the same basic fighter, randomly rolled, with four weapons already chosen, etc.

Encounters both in the dungeon and in the wilderness would be rolled using the Dungeon random tables, divided by level, found in the Dungeon Master's Guide.  Probably, the wilderness would be designated as one level higher than the beginning cave in the dungeon.

I don't want to pre-create a dungeon.  I would rather create a set of tables which then the players had to try their luck against.

I also don't want any set list of possible actions.  I want people to be able to innovate; I'd certainly want them to be able to parley.  Unfortunately, I do tend to think this is ultimately going to come down to luck.

Everyone who went into the cave would experience the same encounter/results.  Everyone who went into the wilderness would experience the same encounter/results.  You'd only start to locate unique things when you shook off others and were able to go your own way.

If you killed an orc in a room this round, and others weren't able to, but they were still alive and fighting, whereas you had succeeded, then you would move on the next round, while they would remain behind.

You could ask me questions via email or a separate comment section before taking your action.

It is a bit like the movie Next, if you've seen that.  Specifically, this scene.

All right, what haven't I thought of?


Right off, short rolling does occur to me.  Part of the reason I want to see it on camera is because I know people will cheat ... and throwing the dice from a half an inch up is one way (short rolling).

Trust me, if I need other people to judge your rolls, everyone competing will be there to help me keep you honest.


Arduin said...

I haven't got a webcam, so I can't Youtube, but is there any particular reason a person couldn't film, say, thirty odd-die rolls, and just show the acceptable results?

I'll have to bow out of this contest, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing it in action.

Arduin said...

Oh wait, I'm dumb, ha, figured it out. Thorough reading, Arduin, learn it.

Alexis Smolensk said...

If you don't know in advance what the standard die is, what result do you try for?

I would create the standard die and keep the youtube vid private until AFTER the round had been played. It wouldn't be revealed initially.

Justin Kennedy said...

An interesting idea, to be sure.

Seems relatively straightforward, especially with the quick lives of low-level fighters in this game, but I suppose I shouldn't overlook the ability of monetary rewards to bring out the, ahem, cleverness of the people in regards to poking holes in the rules.

What char-gen methods will we flies be using to enter this web?

Alexis Smolensk said...

I generate one character and everyone plays it.

Kyle said...

Seems interesting. I would probably play just for the sheer fun of it, to see how far up the ladder I could get.

So, for the more intellectual stuff: Who would have to manage the bookkeeping of the character you are playing? Would that be on your end, or would you expect us to keep either a blog, or a public google doc spread sheet or something similar?

And is there any thought of doing more than this initial round, if this experiment succeeds?

Scarbrow said...

First question: I would prefer a system like this: Secure Dice. I can't Youtube while I'm at work, and I can't guarantee to be able to answer in 24 hours if I can't use work time. Another option would be Rolz. Or Dicelog.

Second question: If, say, seven people go into the cave, and there is an orc in there (just one) and all of them attack him, do you roll initiative? and if such, is that counted as a full action? And if such, wouldn't it be preferable that you could throw some dice on your end and save everybody a day for rolls such as those?

Third question: I don't fully understand this phrase: "If you killed an orc in a room this round, and others weren't able to, but they were still alive and fighting, whereas you had succeeded, then you would move on the next round, while they would remain behind" But you previously said: "Thus, all the persons in the cave will be given one action, all the persons in the wilderness will be given one action, and when everyone has taken an action, we will start again for everyone.". So what happens with the orc and me? I kill it, that's an action, right. Do I get the new post/situation at that moment, or do I wait for everybody else to get their action resolved?

Very interesting

JD said...

Nice idea. Especially with setting a new THAC0 every time. Alas I think, with this method it's unnecessary for players to show their attack rolls. There is no way to cheat, if you don't know the highest possible roll. Same goes for damage, saves or ability checks. I don't know if you allow critical hits, but I guess, if you do, double damage would suffice for that. Should work for PvE at least, PvP is a different thing altogether (and sounds a bit off, considering the characters are not aware of each other). If you set new values for those dice needed and publish them after everybody wrote their results, it should be as good as seeing them roll it at the table. Or am I missing something?

Slow players would have an advantage over those doing fast progress, if they'd be allowed to see what faster players are doing.

But I'm not yet clear about how and where you'd post or what kind of continuity you're aiming for. Like, for instance, the revealed map could be different for every player (which would avoid people knowing where to go for a challenge and where not to)or the same (making the players actions comparable and gives everybody the same challenge, which would be a bit more fair in a contest).

I'm looking forward to see where all this is headed.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Well, I said it was crazy.

For the present, I'm taking the whole idea back to the drawing board.

I think there is a way to do this. Sadly, yes, those people who could not organize themselves because of work or circumstances or whatever would in fact be pushed out and fail to win. If we were doing one of those things where you had to keep your hands on a car until the last person was left, and someone complained they had to go to work, that would not be the contest's problem.

But ... people don't understand what I'm saying, and in general I have my doubts that its rational anyway. I said in the last post I tend to reach too far. Perhaps this is just such a case, and I should forget it.

Anonymous said...

What if you took a finite number of players, say 10 or 20, and dropped them each at different points of the same map instead? The map would also need to be finite and you'd have to do more work at the outset giving each a unique starting point, but the upside is that while each player could still use the same, pre-generated character there would be more variables introduced early, players could be made aware of one another and PvP (or making alliances) would make more sense in this context. This would take some of the luck out of the equation, but the hand on the car contest analogy would still apply.

I probably wouldn't be able to play either, for reasons similar to those already stated above, but I'd be interested in following along should this idea make it off the drawing board. It's like a D&D Survivor. You could even make the map an island hex-crawl...

Eric said...

Just pregenerate a thousand d4 through d20 rolls for each player in Excel, then go through 'em in order as rolls are called for. If we don't trust you and the Excel random number generator, then why bother with the exercise?

Butch said...

I'd also love to play but I'm not sure how I could handle the mechanics of rolling a die and uploading it to YouTube within a 24-hour timeframe. Crazy but it's true. I'm pretty much online only while I'm at work, and while they're pretty lenient with the sites I visit, I don't want to push it.

But I understand that with real money on the table, there's a real possibility (or even a guarantee) of people cheating. Heck, even WITHOUT money on the table, some people will cheat. So you need to do something.

I'd much rather just trust you to roll my die for me, or as Eric said, letting Excel do it for both of us.

But I question why put $50 on the table? I think it'd be fun without the cash prize. Or maybe give away a copy of your book. If someone already has it, they can give it to a friend.

Kyle said...

I think you may have been reaching a tad far with this, Alexis, but I actually like this idea. I think you could pull it off.

The way I see it working, and if I am interpreting what you have laid out properly so far, is that it is almost a Quantum D&D. The participating players would only be making choices and dice rolls for the PC, to which you would respond with appropriate posts. Players A, B, and C want to head left down the passageway; D wants to go right; E decides to check for traps, and F starts looking for a secret door. Cue 4 different posts for the different quantum choices, and let the next round of decisions begin.

Finally, the only tweak I would give to this idea is that PvP should not be able to happen. As above, you are only making choices and dice rolls, trying to stay alive and climb the ladder.

Alexis Smolensk said...

It took me about five minutes to upload the roll to youtube; took me longer, actually, to decide what dish to roll the dice in.

But ... for all these reasons, yes, I'm reconsidering. The reason for the money was to avoid the sort of silliness that occurred with the poll-driven combat thing I did some years ago, where people who just didn't care sent the thief off on a ridiculous suicide mission.

Money has a way of making people care about things.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Ah, Kyle, you've got it. Yes, that was the general idea.

The pvp element was just so that occasionally people would take each other out and thin the herd. I wasn't going to give any limit to how many people, theoretically, could play ... what if I started with 200?

Alexis Smolensk said...

For those who may have subscribed to this comment thread, I've put up a new post on the subject.