Monday, September 28, 2009

Achievements in Gaming

4th Edition has caused me to rethink a lot of things about the way I play D&D, and other RPGs in general. In particular, I've spent a lot of time thinking about things people have said about 4th Edition's resemblance to video games in general, and MMOs like World of Warcraft in specific. I also have an Xbox 360, and so sometimes I think about what I can do to bring the two together. After reading through a number of message boards, I think I've found something I like.

Achievements, for the 360, and for WoW, are something I feel almost compelled to get when I play a game. I like the idea that I have achieved something special in a game, especially if it involves a degree of skill or finding something secret. There are something like 900+ achievements in WoW, and I have acquired about half of them. So I was intrigued when I started reading on some message boards that people were trying to implement achievements in their 4th Edition games.

Initially, it sounds like something of a useless idea - there are no real points to gain in 4th Edition, and no real community to show your score off to. But as I thought about it, there are things you could definitely do to make achievements fun and possibly even useful in a D&D game. For one, if one player earns a cool achievement, it might be something to brag about with the other players, and give the PCs more minor goals to work towards. It might also give an opportunity for the DM to hand out some minor, temporary benefits when an achievement is gained - perhaps something like an action point. Particularly worthy achievements might give the PC something to tell others about; an achievement for finishing off opponents in a certain way might translate into a nickname or other honorific.

Courtesy of a thread on ([4E] Achievements, branstorming), here are a few interesting and fun-sounding ideas for achievements.

Till the Break of Dawn - Inflict any condition or ongoing damage that a saving throw can end on an enemy in the first round of combat and keep the effect on the enemy until the encounter ends.
Only a Flesh Wound - Fail two death saving throws in a single encounter and survive the encounter.
Can't Touch This: As a warden, succeed on at least two saving throws on your turn.
Something For Every Occasion: As a bard, use powers or class features from at least three different classes in a single encounter.
Burning Up Inside: As a sorcerer, hit at least three enemies with a single attack which includes a damage type that you have resistance to.
This One's Mine: As a ranger, place your Hunter's Quarry on a non-minion enemy in the first round of an encounter. At the end of the encounter, if that enemy is dead and none of your allies dealt damage to that enemy, you gain this achievement.
Never Knew What Hit 'Em: As a rogue or assassin, inflict the killing blow on a target that is not aware of your presence.
Persistent: Miss with a Reliable power at least three times in a single encounter.
I'm Sorry, Did I Break Your Concentration? - Drop a foe with an Opportunity Attack due to using a ranged or area attack.
With my Tea Cup - Kill a minion with an improvised weapon.
Over 9000! - Hit with a Daily Attack power, with at least three positive effects on your character.
De-fense, Rah Rah Rah - End your turn surrounded by 8 enemies, and survive until the start of your next turn.
Ninja Run - Hit an enemy with a melee attack after starting your turn at least 14 squares away.
Stay Down- Knock a single enemy prone three times in one encounter.
God-botherer (Cleric)- perform 3 heal or religion checks in one encounter.
Antivenom: As a dwarf or warforged, succeed on three saving throws against poison effects in a single encounter.
Hardcore: Choose not to take a short rest after three consecutive encounters.
My Name is Inigo Montoya...: The PC makes a witty comment for each attack he attempts in a single encounter.

Really, the variety of achievements is limited only by the creativity of the people playing. A snappy name, though, is key.

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