Let’s speak about RPG cities. And City Mode. And an eensy weensy, tiny widdle pwoblem I bumped into not too long ago whereas constructing a city. For City Mode.
The issue? I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
Once I began penning this City Mode s$&%, I assumed I had all of it discovered. Nicely, I assumed I had it principally discovered. Found out sufficient. And I figured I’d use my not too long ago reincarnated AOWG to work the remainder out earlier than I needed to write the subsequent City Mode article. The one whereby I really clarify what a City Mode city seems like. Constructing my very own City Mode city would let me take the nebulous s$&% I assumed I knew and make it right into a concrete factor.
Now, don’t panic. This ain’t the catastrophe it seems like. It’s not like I don’t know easy methods to City Mode in any respect. And I’m not canceling the collection. It simply took me some further time to work out the issue. And repair it. And if I hadn’t put my AOWG on maintain for well being causes, I’d have gotten it carried out sooner.
However get it carried out I did. Which is why I’m penning this at present. This right here’s one other Supplemental Bulls$&% article about City Mode. It’s about how nobody is aware of easy methods to deal with Coaching. And why that’s an essential factor to know. And why I had to determine easy methods to deal with it proper.
Phrase of warning, although? This right here’s one other incomplete system. It’s the beginning of one thing I’ll want to totally codify later. It’s codified sufficient to get by way of the City Mode factor. However I’ll come again and recodify it extra as soon as I’ve completed this City Mode factor, okay?
Sorry. That is simply how my silly mind works typically.
A very long time in the past — I don’t keep in mind when — I argued that coaching’s good for fantasy roleplaying video games. I don’t imply it’s good to coach folks to run video games. Although that would be good. I imply it’s good for fantasy RPGs if the characters should spend downtime between adventures coaching. That’s to say, it’s good if degree positive aspects aren’t automated. When a personality earns sufficient XP to cross a degree threshold, they’ve acquired to return to a civilized locale and spend money and time turning that worldly adventuring expertise into enhanced abilities and talents. Coaching.
From a story and gameplay perspective, Coaching does lots of good for the sport. Sufficient to simply stability the truth that it requires a bit extra bookkeeping and that gamers hate it. I’m not going to waste time explaining this s$&% once more although. I do know I’ve defined it earlier than. I simply can’t discover it anyplace.
Let’s simply faux I’ve acquired numerous good causes for saying Coaching’s higher than Not Coaching, okay?
When you concentrate on it, Coaching is the form of de facto middle of the City Mode orbit. It’s one thing the gamers need, one thing they’ll solely get in City, and one thing that forces them to work together with City. Often. If the characters degree up each two or three adventures, meaning they’ve acquired to Practice at the least that always. Proper?
As such, Coaching helps you construct City Mode cities. Whenever you get all the way down to it, a city’s only a container for all of the s$&% you wish to occur in City Mode, proper? Identical to a dungeon’s a container for monsters and puzzles and treasures, a city’s only a place the place Growth and Interplay occur and Info is obtained and all that different City Mode crap. Proper? Constructing a City Mode city’s really about taking all that crap and turning them into places and characters the gamers can work together with.
Whenever you construct a City Mode city, you’ve acquired to ensure it supplies all of the s$&% the gamers want, proper? And also you’ve acquired to current that s$%& as issues on the planet. Nicely, a type of issues is Coaching. The issue is, none of you appears to know what Coaching seems like. And admittedly, neither did I.
However I do now…
Right here’s the factor: I’ve fielded lots of questions on Coaching since I began singing its praises. Particularly in my supporters solely Discord server. And one factor I’ve found is that you just’ve all acquired a extremely restricted understanding of Coaching. Particularly, y’all conflate Coaching with mentoring. Or apprenticeship. Or one-on-one instruction. An professional— a Coach — educates a much less professional up-and-comer — a PC — in a given ability set. Teaches them new abilities, methods, and strategies.
The issue with that view is that each City Mode city should comprise a high-level Barbarian, a high-level Bard, a high-level Cleric, a high-level Druid, a high-level… you get the f$&%ing image. You want a coach for each class in each City Mode city. Or at the least one for each class within the social gathering. The World of Warcraft method.
Lots of you’ve got identified that’s actually contrived. It strains credulity and verisimilitude and all these different fancy methods of claiming it makes for a dumb-a$&, gamey world. And I agree. Me? I see Coaching in another way. And I’ve stated so. The issue is, I haven’t been in a position to say precisely how I see Coaching. As a result of I’ve been handwaving the entire thing in my very own recreation.
Right here’s the factor: again within the Darkish Days, I used to be an accountant. And to maintain training, accountants — like many professionals — needed to do one thing referred to as Ongoing Skilled Growth or OPD. Aside from simply, you already know, being an accountant, you needed to spend a sure period of time networking at conferences and taking lessons and learning journals and even instructing programs. You needed to immerse your self within the occupation.
That is actually widespread s$&%. Most professions and trades have comparable necessities. Even skilled athletes don’t simply play video games. They work out, apply, drill, run performs, work with trainers and coaches, and so forth.
The purpose of OPD isn’t simply to study new stuff. A few of it’s. Tax legal guidelines change yearly and there’s new developments in each subject. However even when there’s nothing new to study, it’s nonetheless helpful to immerse your self in a skillset with out really exercising it within the high-pressure scenario of a Tremendous Bowl Sport or an IRS audit. It’s about synthesis. It’s about absorbing. It’s about constructing contacts. It’s about seeing issues from completely different views. It’s about experimenting and attempting s$&% out. It’s about deepening your connection to your skilled and recharging your skilled batteries earlier than the subsequent tax season.
PCs aren’t apprentices. Possibly at first degree they form of are, however they’re not. They’re consultants of their fields. Professionals. Journeymen at the least. They know what they’re doing properly sufficient to operate in high-pressure conditions. So coaching and apply between adventures aren’t a lot about studying the abilities as it’s synthesizing and evolving and experimenting and connecting. It’s Ongoing Skilled Growth.
A fighter doesn’t want somebody to show him to make a whirlwind strike. He simply wants an opportunity to apply the factor he by chance did towards the ogre that was form of a whirlwind strike to see if he can do it persistently and pull it out at any time when the chips are down. A wizard doesn’t want somebody to show him easy methods to forged a fireball. He is aware of easy methods to throw fireplace already. Given time and a few analysis materials, he can work out the system. A cleric simply wants time to mirror on his experiences and his connection to his god. Discover some peace, middle himself, meditate, mirror, and reconnect to the beliefs that make him who he’s.
Thus, the Offended view of Coaching is a reasonably private one. Each character does Coaching in another way. For this reason the Offended Method to Coaching has up to now been handwaving that s$&%. I simply say, “okay, you go off and do Coaching.”
From a City Mode perspective, the Offended Method to Coaching completely f$&%ing sucks. Critically. It sucks worse than the World of Warcraft one coach per class method. And that’s why I used to be struggling to construct a City.
As I stated above, Coaching’s a helpful Townbuilding instrument. As a result of the necessity for Coaching supplies gamers with a vacation spot. A aim. When the gamers hit City, they go searching for sure issues, proper? Locations to sleep, locations to eat, locations to promote loot, locations to purchase potions, and locations to Practice. And people locations — these Important Providers — principally work a Townbuilding guidelines. They’re the locations you already know the PCs are going first. So that they’re the primary locations you construct.
However on the checklist of Important Providers, Coaching’s particular. Inns and blacksmiths and leatherworkers and apothecaries are enjoyable little locations to create and populate. However they’re impersonal. They ain’t keyed to any particular character or position. Not the best way Coaching is. Coaching services don’t simply present Coaching. They supply role-specific interactions. They supply results in particular sources. Even journey hooks tailor-made to particular roles. Coaching anchors particular person character roles within the City in a approach few different locations do.
See why handwaving this s$&% sucks? It doesn’t offer you — the GM — something particular to construct locations round and it doesn’t give the gamers something to go searching for. See, if the gamers don’t know what Coaching really seems like — on the planet — they’ll’t really search for it. And if the gamers don’t know what they’re searching for, they don’t know easy methods to discover City. If Coaching is an summary, handwaved factor characters go off and do, the world interplay begins and ends with, “I’m going Practice.”
In the case of constructing, working, and enjoying in City, Coaching’s essential. Means too f$&%ing essential to handwave and summary away. However the World of Warcraft class coach in each City method sucks from a story and worldbuilding perspective. Thankfully, as I famous, it’s the product of a restricted view of Coaching as mentorship and instruction. If you happen to take the broader view — Coaching as Ongoing Skilled Growth — that it’s about synthesis, experimentation, reflection, interplay, and deepening one’s connection to at least one’s abilities in non-life-or-death conditions, then possibly there’s a approach cut up the distinction.
Good promote, proper? Come on. after I say, “possibly there’s a strategy to get all the pieces you need…” you already know what’s coming subsequent. “There’s a approach! And I discovered it!”
Nicely, guess what? There’s a approach! And I discovered it!
The bottom line is to interrupt Coaching down into completely different lessons. Not recreation lessons. Classification lessons. Sorts of Coaching which are particular sufficient that the GM can construct characters, places, and interactions round however not so particular to a bind the GM into offering a category coach in each City. Classifications that may be linked to character lessons and backgrounds and proficiencies. However not, like, one-for-one hyperlinks.
So, first, listed below are Offended’s 5 Coaching Modes.
Educational coaching contains analysis, examine, experimentation, instruction, and session with consultants. It’s the form of s$&% PCs do in libraries and labs and archives or with sages and students. Cash spent on educational coaching buys workplace provides, experimental reagents, and consumable supplies. It acquires books and tools. And it pays charges or bribes to entry non-public e-book collections or pays students and consultants for his or her time.
It’s additionally the form of s$&% PCs can do on their very own with their very own lab tools and e-book collections, particularly if they’ve a protected place to construct a lab or library over time.
Martial coaching contains train, bodily conditioning, sparring, goal apply, drills, types, martial instruction, and even brawling or pit combating. Any bodily exercise that builds muscle, coordination, reflexes, and that form of crap. Most cities have areas put aside for conscript militia coaching and train and barracks for navy coaching. And pleasant outsiders could also be welcome to take part. That’s placing apart issues like back-alley brawling circles, gymnasiums, and monasteries. And cash spent on martial coaching can purchase entry to such services in addition to coaching companions. It additionally buys and maintains apply tools, which breaks incessantly, and covers charges to purchase into avenue fights.
PCs may interact in martial coaching on their very own. All they want is an open area. However the extra tools they’ve acquired — like dummies and archery buttes and loopy mechanical obstacles — the higher they’ll prepare.
Networking coaching includes interacting with others. And that may take lots of types. Professionals — like criminals and artisans — hang around with different professionals, particularly in guild halls, and commerce gossip, skilled secrets and techniques, rumors, leads, and entry to supplies. However networking isn’t nearly spending time with members of your personal occupation. Criminals profit from rubbing shoulders with trustworthy residents like retailers, members of regulation enforcement, and upper-class sorts. Minstrels and performers get lots of inspiration by chatting with vacationers and mercenaries and sailors. They study information from overseas lands and listen to new tales. Clergymen deepen their connection to the divine by ministering to their flock. By going amongst the folks. All that s$&% constitutes networking.
Cash spent on networking principally will get spent in dribs and drabs on meals and drinks and items and bribes and finders charges and dues and that form of s$&%.
By its nature, networking coaching ain’t the form of factor a PC can do with out a neighborhood round them. However there’s a distinction between networking with an expert group — a performing troupe or a guild — or simply networking with of us about city. And a PC with a pleasant home can host sufficient occasions to carry the networking to them.
Sensible coaching is much more various than networking coaching. It includes training a skillset. Wilderness survival, for instance, or artisanship or housebreaking or con artistry. Principally, it’s participating in a occupation. What’s the distinction between doing that s$&% as Coaching and as a part of an journey? In a phrase: security. Committing a couple of minor crimes round City with a gang is way safer than delving dungeons filled with monsters. And searching within the native forest with a couple of buddies isn’t the identical as trekking throughout the Sludgewater Swamp for every week attempting to maintain the social gathering’s fool gnome bard alive. In fact, searching and housebreaking are extra harmful than placing in some hours on the smith’s guild filling orders.
As a result of sensible coaching varies from ability set to ability set, so does the cash spent and services wanted.
Ritual coaching is about ceremonies, vigils, rites, meditation, reflection, arcana, and spirituality. It’s about connecting with one thing. A deity, a supernatural pressure, an excellent, ki, chi, no matter. Clergymen spend days in prayer and meditation and mirror on the scriptures. Knights sit vigils and reaffirm oaths. Monks quick and meditate. Warlocks conceal in basements with their cultist buddies inhaling hallucinogenic vapors and listening to heavy metallic. That form of s$&%.
Cash spent on ritual coaching clearly pays for ritual supplies. However it could actually additionally pay for entry to ritual areas. Both within the type of charges or within the type of donations.
PCs can interact in ritual coaching on their very own simply sufficient, supplied they’ll get lengthy hours of security, quiet, and privateness. And so they can undoubtedly profit from establishing their very own sacred areas and ritual services.
And that’s it! That’s the Offended Method to Coaching! Superior, proper?
F$&% no! In fact it’s not superior! I do know it’s not. It’s simply 5 little descriptive key phrases. However actually, that’s all I would like it to be. All you want it to be. A minimum of for now.
Look, I used to be simply attempting to make a Townbuilding instrument. A bit of guidelines a GM may use to inventory a City Mode city with Important Providers and describe them on the planet. These 5 key phrases do precisely that. All you must do is assign every PC one or two Coaching Modes — primarily based on their class, background, and abilities — and construct folks and locations the place the PCs can interact in them. Which is all I’m doing proper now.
Really, I’m assigning every of my PCs — properly, I’m working with every of my gamers to assign every of my PCs — a major and a secondary Coaching Mode they’ll use to degree up. One they profit from probably the most and one they’ll accept in a pinch.
And that ought to get your noggin’ joggin’.
I don’t know if you happen to seen, however there’s a much bigger factor right here. I preserve differentiating s$&%. Drawing traces between issues. Like, I talked about how PCs can prepare on their very own or prepare with others. And the way they may construct their very own services. And the way some sorts of coaching carry further dangers that others don’t. And I’m differentiating between major and secondary Coaching Modes.
Clearly, I’ve acquired fancy plans and pants to match.
This complete Coaching factor might be far more fascinating. When you outline one thing — even if you happen to solely outline it simply definitively sufficient — you may differentiate it. As soon as you may differentiate it, you may construct selections and techniques and instruments and penalties round it.
Think about there’s a cleric in my recreation that advantages primarily from Ritual Coaching however may profit from Networking. Proselytizing. Tending the flock. Doing good works for the folks. And suppose, in my recreation, Coaching works higher in established services with different professionals. Coaching in your lonesome is at all times worse. Acquired it?
Up to now, this cleric has at all times cloistered himself in temples to his god wherever he goes. However now, he’s in a city with no temple to his god. Does he worship in non-public, organising a bit shrine in his inn room, or does he exit among the many folks and community? Would possibly he get completely different advantages from every alternative? Would possibly there be a tradeoff?
Once I began making noises about this Coaching s$&%, somebody in my supporters solely Discord server requested how the hell I’d even differentiate completely different sorts of Coaching. The very fact is, I already do. In my AOWG, I deal with solo coaching and mentored coaching in another way. A few of the advantages are fairly particular to D&D 3.5, but when a PC Trains with a mentor as a substitute of on their very own to achieve a degree, they acquire a ten% XP bonus on their strategy to the subsequent degree. They study sooner till they degree up once more.
And that’s simply with me handwaving this Coaching s$&%. With this method, I can differentiate Coaching Modes in all kinds of the way. Some require extra time or much less time. Some are cheaper. Some are costlier. And possibly that varies relying on the place the PCs are. Some won’t even be accessible in each locale. For this reason everybody should have two Coaching Modes.
Some Coaching Modes would possibly present further advantages. Educational coaching would possibly present further info or journey hooks or entry to non-core spells from my secret library of sourcebooks. Skilled coaching supplies the possibility to generate income on the aspect. Some Coaching Modes carry dangers. Like arrest or damage. However the payoffs for these are most likely higher.
By defining Coaching the best way, I’ve, I’ve all of the sudden acquired a bunch of little hooks I can dangle City Mode s$&% on. However not so many who it’s unmanageable. However I have to tinker and fiddle now. See what I can actually do.
The purpose is, yeah, that is all… for now. It’s sufficient to construct City round. And that’s the purpose. However is there an Offended Method to Coaching coming down the pipeline? You guess your a$& there’s.