During our campaign, I’ve been experimenting with a few ways to speed up game play so as to have more actual play time vs time spent dealing with goods. Here are a few ways I have found that have worked well so far:
- Treasure- Anyone who has played Skyrim knows that after taking so many random pieces of crap that you are eventually just going to sell off anyways, it’s a lot easier to just convert it over to gold (or even better, gems) for the party to carry. If you are a DM who is going to be particular about carrying capacity, gems are great. Gold adds up over time, especially if you are taking a bunch of loot and putting it strictly as gold. Here’s an example of using this for a random encounter:
The party finishes mopping up the floor of 5 hobgoblins, all who were using morningstars (approx. value of 5 gp for this example). The encounter also calls for treasure of 60 gp based on a treasure chart that the DM is using along with D-percentile dice. Instead of taking the treasure of 60 gp + 5 morningstars, the party just takes 60gp + 5(5gp)= 85 gp. The result is much easier to carry, saves us a trip to the market for the strict purpose of selling goods, and therefore saves us a good 15 minutes of game time after factoring in distractions and such.
2. Combat- I’ve seen quite a few ways on how to minimize combat time, and honestly, I’m still playing around with this one. With multiple enemies, one best practice is to roll initiative for all of them (like if you have a bunch of zombies), and set their initiative to be the same for them all. Yes, it does make for less diverse combat as you have big gaps where the party attacks and then the enemy attacks, but the key thing to remember is that the rounds are supposed to be happening nearly simultaneously. This idea is borrowed mostly from the large army battle mechanic and scaled down to our individual encounter. Another option is making a group roll vs enemy roll, and the party can plan their attack strategy each round, choosing the action order, which allows for more sneak attacks and use of specific feats and abilities. While this sounds great, I feel that this can also take away from the random aspect that the dice create in the game. Also, I am a firm believer that while in battle, strategy must be planned ahead of time or communicated in turn to allow for role playing within combat. Metagaming=bad.
3. Foregoing rules- Pen and paper RPG’s are made on the idea that the DM is the guy that controls the game and how it all works out in the end. Pathfinder decided that it wanted to fix the “broken” mechanics that people griped about for years with D&D 3.0/3.5 and put their own mechanics into effect. However, house rules are ranked above rules written in the book. It doesn’t matter if they are written on a pizza box lid or if they are just common group knowledge, house rules are the rules of the game. The DM is one who decides what’s going to work and what’s not. Sometimes, he/she can decide that something is far too powerful and use “DM magic” to nix those plans without any rhyme or reason. I use this a lot just to 1. simplify things and 2. keep the story going in the right direction. The nice thing about playing in a world full of imagination and magic….there’s always a spell for that.
If you want to play an RPG to use mechanics to your advantage, play a video game. If you want imagination and fun, play Pathfinder.
Chock is the (self-proclaimed) RPG guru for The Forge Herald. While not being an uber-nerd or being a slave to the man, he’s spending time with his family or scuba diving.
© 2016, Randy Schmidt. All rights reserved.