Heroics Writ Small
Posted by Doug on May 13, 2009
Off and on over the last week, I’ve been playing—for lack of a better word—the Dungeons & Dragons Tiny Adventures Facebook app. The “gameplay” is simple (almost to the point of being nonexistent): you pick your character, name it, and then send it out on adventures. In each adventure, there are between six and fifteen encounters, during which one of your character’s skills will be tested by generating a more-or-less random number between 1 and 20, adding whatever relevent modifiers your character has, and then comparing that to a target number. If the target number is met or exceeded, you succeed in the encounter, and gain a good chunk of experience, gold, and sometimes an item; if not, you fail in the encounter, you take a significant amount of damage, gain a little experience and a little gold, and rarely an item. Once you start an adventure, the only control you have is over when your character uses the potions they have (if they have potions). There is no strategy, no tactics; if you have friends who are also playing, they can “buff” your character (giving a bonus on the tests). It’s like a slightly more sophisticated version of Progress Quest.
But it’s rather addictive. Earlier, I managed to “retire” my first character, and begun a second. What did I gain? Nothing. It’s a time-waster, but it is amusing, in its own way.
While somewhat amusing, the Tiny Adventures isn’t what I was expecting or wanting out of Wizards of the Coast. The Character Builder is worth the subscription to Dungeons & Dragons Insider by itself, but where is that character visualizer they were showing demos of last year? Where is the virtual game table? Probably, they encountered some nontrivial problems on the programming side of things; whatever the case may be, these unfinished projects seem to on a back burner, and instead, they make this Facebook app. Most annoying. I more or less ignored Facebook before this—I’ve never found a need for social networking sites like this—and now I more or less ignore all of Facebook except the Tiny Adventures.
A time-waster it might be, but it certainly gets me thinking about the possibilities available in a proper game of D&D…like my as-of-yet unfinished “Dungeons Rove the Lands” mini-campaign, which is probably going to end up requiring drawing a very elaborate map, probably using MapTools, and custom-building at least a dozen different epic-level monster types. Quite a lot of work…heh, one of the things I loved about the Fourth Edition of D&D was the fact that it is easier to custom-build monsters (just give them what they need: no less, no more), but even still, I sit down to whip something together, and I find a lot of things distracting me…
Like my Tiny Adventurer.