Integrating Codex into other systems: An ongoing process

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  • #2664
    HumaniTyrant
    Participant

    I will keep updating this post with my experiences as a GM regarding integrating elements of the Codex into different systems I currently run regularly (namely DnD 5e and Mörk Borg)

    Why am I doing this?
    1) Because I love the toolbox idea of Codex and I like to make things hard for myself.
    2) I think that the Codec as a system is an invaluable innovative system for storytelling combat and facilitating actions that are otherwise lost in the process.
    3) I want to test the compatibility and adaptability of the game with other games.
    4) My ultimate goal is to pull the old bait and switch in an ongoing campaign. I have tried it before going from AD&D to 3rd or from 3.5 to 4 in long term campaigns. Having a setting that really fits with the playstyle suggested in Codex will hopefully allow me to slowly ease players into it until all they want is more Codex feats.

    Where are we now with my playing group:
    Having just finished a large story arc I told my group (three players: Barbarian, Tavern Brawler, Sorceress) that I will incorporate elements of Codex in the game aiming for it to become the dominant system in the long run for the next arc. The most important thing was that players trust my process and I promised that if it turns into a negative experience for any of them I am happy to revert back into standard 5e (with the addition of simple codified rules I have added for depth).

    For two sessions we simply tested weapons rules. We started with the two melee characters converting into more “Codex”, choosing feats etc. We decided not to convert the spellcaster yet. The first session where we started incorporating the core of the Codex rules was a harmless tutorial: some brawling some downtime in a friendly environment (longest time that the Barbarian did not rage/and or kill something). To learn the rules and to see how they fair in an asymmetrical encounter of a more DnD-esque nature I designed a compartmentalized encounter with a a coven of hags. The sorceress isolated a hag and they had their magic fight, which fun and all but irrelevant to Codex, and the other two with the addition of a warrior PC dealt with the other two. I had already asked the players to read rules and form a few potential courses of action beforehand, an element that I believe it is essential for groups to maximize potential. Now my observations from this fight:
    – The use of melee rules, even as a framework made the player’s roleplay combat better, they wanted to describe how they move, how they shift their weapons etc. Mind you that of my players ironically only the sorceress is a martial arts practitioner.
    – They instantly started exploiting the situation in a clever way. They instantly felt that they had to collaborate to gain advantage and facilitate the tactics of each other even more than usually. I do not expect that every party or that all players will do this, I am lucky to have some good ones, but some rules really guide you to collaborate in order to maximize impact.
    – The brawler ringen-ed the shit out of one of the hags.
    – Best moment came when the fighter went in a bind with the hag’s claws and he used fuhlen to win it.
    – KEY POINT: The only noticeable imbalance is that even stronger foes need some martial feats to upgrade them otherwise aspects of combat might get significantly easier.
    – Players really benefit from precisely knowing the rules of their comrades. Not in a vague manner. What made a huge difference in that last encounter was that the players had actually chatted beforehand about rules and abilities. This generated some awesome synergies without seeing magic anywhere.

    Things to do: We will start using Superno extensively from next session, I already have given a weird low magic, occulty undertone to the campaign so I reckon it will be easy thematically but challenging to balance it out. We have a two-week break during which I need to make more alchemies on how to shift more into Codex. My plan is every other session to be introducing an element via sneaky tutorial encounters.

    Overall, I think that 5e is a really easy gateway to Codex. Frankly it is such a simple system (5e) that it is easy to spice it up with different elements and then push more to that direction. If you have comments, recommendations, I would love to hear your thoughts.

    I’ll keep posting my scattered thoughts about my attempt to integrate a martial playstyle into DnD.

    PS. Next week I am running a two-shot for Mork Borg and I intend to give access to the weapons from Codex. This will most likely make a super-lethal game even worse, so I reckon they will fit right in.

    #2666
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Great writeup Human Tyrant! Feel free to post about the Mork Borg game too if you feel like it, I am a big fan of that game.

    Definitely agree regarding villains needing a few Martial Feats. Some GMs have complained that it can become a bit more of a workload for them keeping track of it all, so one needs to strike a balance. A partly working together efficiently definitely becomes extraordinarily lethal.

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