B/X Essentials: Evasion and Pursuit "Control Panel"

I mentioned recently that I've been working on tweaking the structure of B/X Essentials: Core Rules for the deluxe books that we're going to crowd-fund next year. One thing I'm focusing on is restructuring the rules of the game into a series of "control panels" (© Ben Milton): two-page spreads containing all the rules required for a certain topic or mode of play.

In the previous post, I showed work-in-progress layouts for the three main adventuring "modes" of B/X: dungeoneering, wilderness adventuring, and seafaring. Today, I'd like to show a similar work-in-progress layout for the evasion and pursuit "control panel".

The Original Chase Rules
First of all, I think it's helpful to show the chase rules from the current B/X Essentials: Core Rules. These rules are also laid out as a control panel, though more or less by chance -- the rules just happened to fit exactly on two pages.


The New Evasion and Pursuit Rules
Now, let's look at the new control panel from the work-in-progress deluxe book. (The layout is still a little rough; I'm just presenting it here to show how the structure has changed -- see below.)


Things to note, comparing the original and the new spread:

  1. The new spread is structured quite differently. The original was written in a more "wall of text" fashion, which I'm now trying to avoid. The text on the new spread is broken down into bullet points, making it far easier and quicker to parse out the required information. This structure is designed specifically to aid use at the table.
  2. The new spread presents a more accurate rendition of these rules as found in the original Basic/Expert sets. In the original spread, the rules for evasion (i.e. avoiding an encounter before it occurs) and pursuit (i.e. being chased) were kind of melded together. The clearly drawn distinction between these two separate procedures helps clarify the way these rules are used in play.
  3. A little piece of errata has been fixed in the new spread: the explanation of ships closing in during a pursuit was wrong. (Of course, all known errata will be fixed in the new editions of the books. So if you spot any, be sure to let me know!)
  4. Some bits and pieces of information that were present on the original spread are not present on the new one: for example, the statement about group movement rate, and the rules about when evasion can occur. These bits have been moved to higher level locations: the rules on general movement and the rules for encounters, respectively, for those two examples.
Feedback welcome!

20 comments:

  1. I like this a lot. Big improvement in usability.

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  2. Don’t know why but I can’t seem to post a comment without using my google account. Anyway, this is amazing. I love this thing I already loved even more.

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    1. Great to hear!

      I learned a lot over the course of the 18 months it took me to write the first 5 BXE books, so it's great to have the opportunity now to go back and improve the work that I did on the earlier books in the series.

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  3. Wow. The new version is just so much cleaner to read.

    I am very much looking forward to this "deluxe version" :)

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  4. I think the single spread design is great. Tons of useful information right where it's need it.

    A couple other design observations/questions:

    In the tables, I find the green color used for the background on every other row to be a bit too distracting. It creates, in my opinion, a little too much visual noise. Maybe tone it down a little so it still sets off the row, but is more subtle?

    Some rules state a 3-in-6 chance and other rules state a 50% chance. What criteria do you use to determine how you express odds?

    Hope these questions aren't too off-topic. Like everyone else in the world, I'm designing my own game and am truly curious how other designers think about these issues.

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    1. Hey Kevin, thanks for your thoughts!

      About the table design: I'm probably going to do a bit of a rework on the visual design of the books before publication, so this is something I'll bear in mind. (A few other people have mentioned this before.)

      About 3-in-6 vs 50%: good question! Usually (always?) I've simply followed the original rules in their use of a % vs an X-in-6 chance.

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    2. Fair enough. Thanks for the answer.

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  5. The percentages increase as the number of pursuers increase in the Wilderness Evasion Base Chance table which seems odd if its the chance of escaping. Should it be the chance of capture?

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    1. Nope. This is a point that is arguably weird, but I'm merely following the rules as presented in the original Expert set, which says:
      "Though it might seem strange that it is easier to evade larger groups of opponents, the explanation is simple. A large group of creatures makes much more noise and is easier to identify (and avoid) than a small group. Also, if a large group remains together, they must travel at the speed of the slowest member. If the large group sends out small parties to scout or pursue, these will be more difficult to evade."

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    2. It is odd. The optimal strategy is to always send a single pursuer into the wilderness. But I get it, you're playing the B/X hand we were dealt.

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  6. I agree withe the other commentors - much clearer and cleaner in the new bullet point layout. Looks great and I can't wait for the KS!

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  7. Aloso, the bullet points are excellent aids to new and befuddled (like me sometimes) players. They point to possibilities. There is a strong case (lawyering and slowing play) for not having a rule book at the table. This is a reason to actually have it right there and welcome.

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  8. Great to hear universal support for the new structure!

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  9. Yeah man this is really streamlined, very nice. Super love that you kept space for the art! I feel like B/X Essentials is going be the bedrock of many OSR games to come, a standard reference to tie it all together.

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  10. Great interview that features BX Essentials is the latest episode (3) of The Megadungeon Podcast.
    Hope you're going well.

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  11. I was a little worried when I saw that the bulletins in this control panel are in bold and italics. in the past control panels they were just bold

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    1. Ha, really? They're all super rough (in fact just made for the blog posts, not actually for the real books), so I'm not surprised there are inconsistencies.

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  12. This angers me...I will need to buy the core rules again :)
    Looks fantastic, I will look forward to it.

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  13. Excited for this. Will a stand-alone print version be made available?

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    1. Yep, this blog post is about work on the revised B/X Essentials: Core Rules.

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