4ENCLAVE

A new home for the 4th Edition of the Worlds Oldest Roleplaying Game
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  GalleryGallery  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  RegisterRegister  Log in  

Share | 
 

 Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
AuthorMessage
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:07 pm

So, as I mentioned elsewhere, I've been kicking around some notions for throwing my hat into the retro-clone ring for 4E. The big thing for me though is that I don't want to so much 'clone' 4E as do what 4E did itself... namely push the mechanics forward and clean them up a bit more.

So here's my design concepts and I'd love some input on them.

1) Encounter-based design: I want to push the design away from the concept of daily powers and into an entirely at-will/encounter resource structure with only 'heroic surges' as a daily resource. In addition to healing, heroic surges will also be useable as action points and to recharge encounter powers. The expected math would be built around spending 1/3 of your heroic surges per encounter and gaining a surge after every milestone.

2) Ability bonuses replace ability scores: The 8-20 ability scores were relics from previous editions they couldn't quite bring themselves to eliminate. The only thing ability scores applied to directly in 4E were starting hit points and encumbrance. Both of those can be adjusted to use a starting ability score of -1 to 5 with little difficulty and remove a level of needless complexity from the system (i.e. instead of starting hit points being were 10 + a Con score of 8-20, the revised math would be 20 + twice a Con score of -1 to 5). This goes part and parcel with my fourth goal.

3) Collapse the levels: I want to collapse the benefits gained over the course of 30 levels down to 15. This should work out to each character gaining a new power (or power upgrade) and a new feat at every level (though I'd probably include the option to expand it back out to 30+ levels in a manner similar to 13th Age). It also serves a critical purpose in my fourth and fifth goals.

4) Simplified math: I intend to replace a number of various bonuses; enhancement, feat, item and half-level; with a single easy to remember and calculate bonus... your level. The underlying math for any check (attack, ability, skill) would be 1d20+ability score+level. The underlying math of every static value (defenses, passive skill values) would be 10+ability score+level. Certain miscellaneous mods would be applied to various traits (proficiency bonus to weapon attacks, skill bonus to skill checks, armor bonus to AC, etc.). Even damage would be based largely on a formula of 'damage dice + ability score + level'.

Under this system, magic items would be mostly level neutral... providing properties (ex. inflicting fire damage) or powers, but not bonuses to attacks, damage, defenses, etc. Similarly, weapon feats would be about providing conditional bonuses and additional effects to attacks rather than increasing accuracy, damage or defenses.

The only "downside" I see to this system is that you would not have stat bumps as you leveled (the math for them would already be part of the +level bonus) so certain mechanics based on stats improving over time (ex. carrying capacity or striker damage features based on secondary ability scores) would need to either be adjusted in the basic math (striker damage features) or other means of improvement provided (a feat to improve your carrying capacity for example). Its not insurmountable, but some might not like the inability to tailor your ability scores after character creation.

5) Make monsters viable longer: With player and monster attacks and defenses falling into a smaller window, more of them should remain viable for a longer period of time. If my monster distribution is relatively even level-wise and a viable level difference for challenges of +/-4 then from level 4 through level 12 around 50% of the monsters in the bestiary would be viable challenges for the PC's.

Ideally, however, I'd like the system to use more 'level agnostic' monsters. The concept here would be to apply the same '+level' build elements to the monsters with pre-designed level-up buffs (ex. a monster might gain an additional encounter power when used at level 6+) so that if your story calls for orcs to be villains throughout, they can be leveled up without needing to do anything other than adding the desired level to the indicated stats.

6) Alternate Cosmology: I want to build in a cosmology with a feel closer to the World Axis than the Great Wheel. Unfortunately, I cannot use the World Axis proper, but I've been working on an alternative that produces similar results.

I am currently calling it the 'Heliocentric' Universe. At the center of the Cosmology is The Source... a force of pure infinite unbridled power that radiates out into universe. According to legend, souls are forged there and return to the Source when they die to be reborn (though no one can say for certain as only the purest spirit can enter the Source... lesser matter is annihilated instantly).

As the energy becomes more distant from The Source, it begins to take on more differentiated forms; fire, earth, water, air, lightning, ice... essentially a stand-in for the Elemental Chaos in which the first spirit beings emerged (the greatest of which, the primordials, take the forms of elemental dragons). The primal power source calls upon these spirits as its allies and claim the mortal races are merely spirits in a mortal shell.

At a still greater distance from the Source the matter and energy is able to congeal and become worlds. Each of these worlds reflects a portion of the Source's power into one or more motes of power representing different facets of itself. These are the divine realms where the gods and other divine beings came to be and the Fey are native to one such realm (Fey would be a subtype of Immortal in this cosmology).

The world also casts a shadow and this cold dark echo is where restless souls flock to avoid returning to the Source as they naturally would. Undead and other shadowy creatures reside in the Shadow World and slip into the mortal realms through the dark places.

Beyond the emanations of the Source lays the Abyss... the Outer Darkness where incomprehensible alien beings find their eons-long slumbers disturbed by the light of Creation and send their nightmares (demons and aberrations... collectively referred to as Outsiders) to try and tear down Creation so they can again slumber in peace. Some take control of elemental detritus at the edge of creation to form misshapen bodies for themselves to launch their invasions. Others find it easier to enter Creation where the light does not shine and so slip into the Shadow World where they take on forms of undeath and darkness.

The Arcane power source taps into the energies of one or more of these realms through study or blood while paying allegiance to no higher power. This often leads to them being alternately feared for their unchecked power and admired for their ability to wrest that power from creation by their own will and not subservience to another.

-------

Anyway, that's where I'm at with my pre-development concepts. Thoughts and comments are more than welcome.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:52 am

Figured I'd share my latest design concept for the fighter. While it may not have been obvious from my initial rundown, I am pulling design concepts as much or more from Essentials as from the pre-Essentials material and the Knight and Slayer are the root for my Fighter build.

But that doesn't mean I'm not making significant improvements to the design. Personally, I LOVE the idea of the fighter (and other martial classes) relying upon combat stances for their attacks, but what was missing from the Knight and Slayer was the pre-Essentials flexibility with encounter attacks... power strike was just more damage.

Then an idea hit me. Give each at-will stance its own power strike. For example... The 'Hindering Harrier' stance in my notes slows any target you hit with a basic attack, but when you use Power Strike with it, instead of extra damage the target is immobilized. Other stances would slide, daze, reduce defenses, etc. when power strike was used with them and should give my fighter as much flexibility as the original fighter while still allowing for the simplicity of the knight/slayer if desired.

----------

Here's where I'm at on Heroic Surges. They replace healing surges, action points and failed death saves and are spent as follows.

Healing: When a power allows it you can spend a heroic surge to regain 1/4 of your hit points.
Extra Actions: 1/encounter you can spend a surge to gain an extra standard action.
Avoid Death: each time you fail a death save, you lose a heroic surge. If you fail a death save when you have no heroic surges remaining, you die.
Use Expended Power: You can use an expended encounter power by spending a heroic surge to do so (this means you could use 'second wind' for a second time in an encounter by expending two surges... one to regain the use and one for the actual healing).
Extend Power: You can spend a heroic surge to extend the duration of any ongoing effects from one of your powers until the end of the next turn.

Most classes will start with two extra surges (to cover failed death saves) compared to the 4E version, while defenders will start with three extra surges and characters will gain one heroic surge after each encounter.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Garthanos
Moderator
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 931
Join date : 2013-05-25
Location : Nebraska

Character sheet
Name: Garthanos
Class: Arcadian Knight
Race: Auld Worlder

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:06 am

yay!

Note doesn't sound clone as much as descendent... which is what I approve of most.

_________________
Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.dyasdesigns.com/kingsmagic.html
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:59 pm

Well, it is a clone in the general sense of I'm not going to reinvent things from 4E that already work well, but yes... descendent is probably a better term for it overall.

My biggest hang-up at the moment is stat-bumps and how I currently need them to scale to keep certain power effects and benefits simple, but don't want them to scale for attacks and defenses.

Right now, my thinking is that I could add a scaling bonus that adds into anything that references a given ability score except attack rolls/defenses, but the wording is very clunky for that at the moment and I may need to add a couple of keyword terms into the mix to simplify things. For example, I might change the power lines for "hit" and "miss" into Effect(hit) and Effect(miss) so that I could then say the bonus applies to stats used for ANY effect line.

To get another idea of where my ideas are leading me, I've got another concept for the fighter (possibly all martials or even all classes depending) that I came up with when trying to smooth out the damage curves (so that equal level monsters remain consistently dangerous instead of variably dangerous) was the concept of replacing the power strike/encounter powers entirely with a 'power point' pool (currently called 'martial focus') that is spent to add extra damage and other effects to an attack. Right now my thinking is that classes that use this feature would gain 1 focus per level and be able to spend 1 focus/tier on any given attack (with a couple of other benefits allowing you to spend it for things other than damage).

My thinking is that if it works for all the classes then each power source would get its own resource pool (divine blessings, primal essence, arcane reserves) and hybrid/multi-class options would be balanced out using those pools with (i.e. a hybrid fighter/wizard 8 would have 4 martial focus and 4 arcane reserves and be able to spend 2 points; 2 of one or 1 of each; on any given attack).

I'm also pondering adding a specific 0-level to each class for those who want the 'newbie' experience. +0 to all checks and only at-will effects since you would have 0 'focus' as well.

-----

Here's where I'm at with classes/sources/roles. The power sources (which I will probably end up calling origins) will be arcane, divine, martial and primal (psionics would be just a sub-set of arcane). Role-wise the terms I'm currently using are Controller, Enabler, Guardian and Slayer (which one maps to which 4E role should be pretty obvious). Here's my rough outline of planned classes (names in quotes are especially subject to change)...

Martial
-Fighter... builds include the Knight and Harrier (Guardians), Striker and Berserker (Slayers).
-Rogue... builds include Thief, Assassin and Ranger (Slayers) and the 'Hunter' (Controller).
-'Skald'... builds include the Sidekick, Captain, and the arcane Beguiler (all Enablers).

Arcane
These are based largely on my Essentials Options classes and will have further options based on whether the magic comes from study, bloodline or pact.
-Mage... controller or slayer depending on school choice (elemental schools will allow for elementalist-style sorcerers as well).
-Spellblade... guardian and slayer builds.
-Gadgeteer... enabler.

Divine
-Cleric... builds include Templar (melee enabler), Priest (ranged enabler) and Theurge (controller).
-Paladin... builds include 'Cavalier' (guardian) and Inquisitor (slayer).

Primal
-Druid... builds include the 'Sentinel' (enabler) and 'Protector' (controller).
-Shifter... shape-shifting based class with 'Warden' (guardian) and 'Predator' (slayer) builds.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Honorbound
Heroic Adventurer
Heroic Adventurer


Posts : 106
Join date : 2013-11-12

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:52 pm

Your first post is nothing but awesome: I wish that 4e itself was encounter-based and that we didn't have to chase magic items, feat taxes, etc. to keep up with the monsters. Using the ability bonuses makes sense and cuts out the middle man, which is always nice.

Collapsing the levels not only allows you to serve your goals, it means a little less work for you. I'm curious, are you simply cutting each tier's number of levels in half, or are you shortening Paragon/Epic, or some combination?

The cosmology is rather good, answering questions that the world axis cosmology left blank. I'm curious as to where the mundane world falls in relation to the divine realms and if it's a literal universe or if we're talking different dimensions/planes arranged this way.

The problem with the martial at-will stances is that they take a minor action to activate, which is rather clunky compared to the standard action at-will attack model. That said, one benefit of keying at-wills off of basic attacks is the lack of redundancy in each power's attack or damage line on the character sheet. You don't need the same information repeating itself and taking up much-needed space on the sheet. One solution could be to base the at-will attacks off of the Hunter Ranger's at-wills, where you have a standard action power that has you make a basic attack that, if it hits, you get an additional effect.

You can easily add a line in each at-will about how spending martial focus or its equivalent upgrades/alters the at-wills effect.

Your class/role/source set-up very concise and covers almost all the archetypes you see in the big four power sources. The Divine and Primal sources are especially concise, narrowed down to just two classes.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
C4
Heroic Adventurer
Heroic Adventurer
avatar

Posts : 98
Join date : 2013-09-13

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:13 pm

Hi Chris, your thoughts mirror many of my own!

I like your alternate cosmology; I don't think I've ever read anything like it. sunny 

Chris24601 wrote:
My biggest hang-up at the moment is stat-bumps and how I currently need them to scale to keep certain power effects and benefits simple, but don't want them to scale for attacks and defenses.
I've found a way to solve this dilemma -- admittedly it does emphasize the difference between ability bonuses, but I think that the results are worth it. No ability boosts after 1st level, and a simple way to dial the game's 'math slope' up or down!

_________________
Points of Light: Tactical combat, grand adventure, fine game balance, distinctive options, streamlined rules, zero-to-hero advancement, and a young and fresh fantasy world!

PoL is a work-in-progress, so feel free to let me know what you think. Smile
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://complete4th.wordpress.com
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:36 am

Honorbound wrote:
Collapsing the levels not only allows you to serve your goals, it means a little less work for you. I'm curious, are you simply cutting each tier's number of levels in half, or are you shortening Paragon/Epic, or some combination?

Its mostly cutting each tier in half, but its worth noting that for avoiding any 'protected terms' issues they'll probably be re-named into something akin to 'adventurer, champion, immortal' or something similar so that the threats for levels 6-10 won't necessarily be the same as what 4E considers paragon-tier threats.

The main reason for not moving the relation of the tiers is to keep the math flowing smoothly, certain benefits will improved 'by tier' and so need to arrive with mathematical regularity since the monster scaling of attack, defense, damage and hit points will be scaling linearly with level.

It is also critical to note for clarity that the reduction in levels does not correspond to a reduction in benefits relative to 4E. A 10th level character in this system would have options comparable to a 20th level 4E character. Mostly it just means that the even level benefits (feat choice, +1 to attacks/defenses/skills, utility powers) and odd level benefits (new attack powers) happen as part of the same level advancement instead of being separated out into two distinct levels.

One of the supplemental rules will allow DM's to split the 15 levels up into effectively a 30 level (powers/benefits at odd levels and level bonus/feat at even levels) or even 60 level (powers, benefits, level bonus and feat each as a separate level) game much like how 13th Age splits up its 10 levels into multiple mini-advancements.

Quote :
The cosmology is rather good, answering questions that the world axis cosmology left blank. I'm curious as to where the mundane world falls in relation to the divine realms and if it's a literal universe or if we're talking different dimensions/planes arranged this way.

The answer to whether its a literal universe or different dimensions is that it's both. To explain, I'm a HUGE fan of 'Mage the Ascension' and one of the key points of its cosmology is that things have a physical and spiritual presence at the same time. So while the Moon IS a giant hunk of rock orbiting our world, that is just the physical manifestation of the spiritual realm of Arcadia (home of the Fae) which overlaps our own world.

The Source is spiritually/dimensionally the origin of all energy in the cosmos and that spiritual truth is physically manifested in the world by the Sun. Various elemental realms closer to The Source would have physical manifestations in the Mortal world as the 'inner planets' of the World's solar system. Astrologers and students of magic study the movements of these bodies looking for signs and portents because the physical movements of these manifestations echo their movements in the spiritual realms.

As to the divine realms... think of the World as a giant mirror ball and each facet represents some aspect of the world... concrete elements like Storms or the Earth or more esoteric concepts like Justice or Strength. 'Light' from The Source reflects off of these facets and that reflected light creates a spiritual realm that embodies that concept and that is where the gods and other divine beings who embodies those concepts come from. These realms physically manifest as the stars (think of it like light reflecting off of a mirror ball onto the dome of the sky).

In other words, the divine realms only exist because they are a reflection of some aspect of the mortal world. The more important that aspect the greater the reflection. This is why the gods and their mortal followers end up in conflict with each other; when Justice prevails the realm of Justice becomes stronger, when Tyranny reigns so too does the realm of Tyranny.

The Fey Realm (currently called Arcadia) is a particularly large mote related to dreams/nightmares that has a physical manifestation as the Moon. The High Elves are true immortals native to the realm while the common elves are those who've traded some of their immortality to reside fully in the Mortal World.

As it relates to the concept of reflections and shadows, my current thinking is that Elves are the reflection of mortal humans while Orcs are the shadows of mortal humans. This is why those two races in particular can mate with mortal humans and have offspring (half-elves and half-orcs) that reflect a bit of the otherworlds from which one of their parents arose while other races cannot.

As I've been further fleshing out the cosmology, one of the things that emerged was basically a variation of the Dawn War... a conflict between primordial spirits devoted to protecting the cosmos (and particularly the Mortal World) as it naturally emanated from The Source and those who wished to twist the cosmos for their own ends, essentially supplanting The Source as the architect of creation). The ones who protected the cosmos won the war (although only barely) and are the spirit allies of the Primal power source. Those who wished to twist the cosmos were cast out into the abyss of the Outer Darkness where they survive by gathering elemental detritus to form realms in their own dark images (reflected in the mortal world as the 'outer planets') from which they seek revenge upon creation. They are known as demons (as opposed to the devils who are divine servants of the World's darker aspects/gods) and are the enemies of all who inhabit creation.

Hopefully all that makes some degree of sense.

Quote :
The problem with the martial at-will stances is that they take a minor action to activate, which is rather clunky compared to the standard action at-will attack model. That said, one benefit of keying at-wills off of basic attacks is the lack of redundancy in each power's attack or damage line on the character sheet.

One of the reason I like stances is that they augment ALL basic attacks while they're active, including granted and opportunity attacks. The Hunter's at-wills don't allow that.

That said, there's also no reason why the martial stances have to be minor actions in my system. They could just as easily be free actions on your turn with a limitation of 'you can only activate one stance per round.' This would eliminate the competition with other minor actions while still limiting the change of stance to 'once on your turn' which was the de facto effect of making them minor actions in 4E.

C4 wrote:
I've found a way to solve this dilemma -- admittedly it does emphasize the difference between ability bonuses, but I think that the results are worth it. No ability boosts after 1st level, and a simple way to dial the game's 'math slope' up or down!

Right now my best solution is essentially giving each class certain Ability Proficiencies (side-bar... I've also changed the nomenclature from 'trained skills' to 'skill proficiencies' so that checks are almost invariably dice+ability+proficiency+level) and using the following text;

Level 4,7,11,14: Ability Proficiency
You gain a +1 proficiency bonus to any benefit, damage or other effect that is based on one of your proficient abilities.


Each class would then have a list of proficient abilities. The fighter, for example, currently has "Strength and choice of Constitution or Dexterity." I'm not sure if that's going to actually work exactly like I intend it to, but that's where its at currently.

---------

On an unrelated note, here's my ability score generation system at the moment.

-Five abilities start at 0, one of choice starts at -1.
-You have 12 points to spend on abilities.
-It costs 1 point for +1, 3 points for +2, 5 points for +3 and 9 points for +4
-Raising the -1 to +0 costs 1 point, then uses the costs above from there.

The distributions should fall pretty much in line with the standard 4E type arrays with (+4, +2, +0, +0, +0, -1), (+3, +3, +1, +1, +0, -1) and (+3, +2, +2, +1, +0, -1) being the most common distributions.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Honorbound
Heroic Adventurer
Heroic Adventurer


Posts : 106
Join date : 2013-11-12

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:10 am

The Cosmology: So, the celestial bodies of the universe, the stars, moon, and sun, are all just physical manifestations of the supernatural planes of existence? That does clarify things a lot. Thanks.

At-Will Stances: I see your point - you could allow the opportunity attacks and granted attacks to apply to any single-target standard-action at-will, but at that point, it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. Your way of doing at-will stances would certainly work very well.

Your ability score generation looks like it works fine. Does it include racial ability score bonuses?
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Duskweaver
0th-Level Adventurer
0th-Level Adventurer
avatar

Posts : 64
Join date : 2013-06-14
Age : 35
Location : Et In Arcadia Ego

Character sheet
Name: Duskweaver
Class: Invoker
Race: Eladrin

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:15 am

Re. Cosmology, your approach pretty much mirrors how I describe things when I DM 4e (your 'giant mirror-ball' analogy is exactly how I describe the birth of the gods).

I strongly suggest you read R. Scott Bakker's Second Apocalypse series for some cool and very compatible ideas about the nature of objective reality vs. the more subjective 'spiritual' realm (which he outright calls 'The Outside'); the nature of gods as "the God broken into a thousand warring fragments" (and how they differ - or don't! - from demons); various ways in which the Outside influences the World and vice versa (particularly the idea of topoi - regions where historical events of massive emotional trauma have weakened the barriers between the World and the Outside, allowing powerful ghosts to enter the World and "bring their Hell with them" - contrasted with 'Anarcane Ground', where "God dreams more lucidly" so that sorcery is impossible); and the nature of magic (and religious scripture) as a language-based method of controlling the fundamental meaning of reality.

EDIT: I also suggest that, since you're calling your Moon/Feywild-equivalent 'Arcadia' you actually use 'arcadian' as the official name for eladrin/high elves, to distinguish them from regular elves.

_________________
"My flying carpet is full of elves."
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:44 am

Honorbound wrote:
The Cosmology: So, the celestial bodies of the universe, the stars, moon, and sun, are all just physical manifestations of the supernatural planes of existence? That does clarify things a lot. Thanks.
No problem. The thing I like most about the physical manifestations angle is that it makes astrology, signs and portents and similar readings of the stars and seasons definitively supernatural and so it can be worked into plots. If the movements of the dark planet of Typhon will cause it to eclipse the star of Justice in five days, it means that you've got five days to prepare for an attack by demonic beasts upon a justly governed realm.

Quote :
At-Will Stances: I see your point - you could allow the opportunity attacks and granted attacks to apply to any single-target standard-action at-will, but at that point, it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. Your way of doing at-will stances would certainly work very well.

Here's a couple of the stances I have currently in their slightly different layout (the power layout could be considered IP if followed too closely). Fighters gain 1 Focus per level and during a single turn can spend up to 1 per tier.

Arcing Cleave
At-Will Free 1/round * Fighter, Martial, Stance, Utility
Stance: When you hit with a basic melee weapon attack, one other enemy adjacent to you takes damage equal to your Constitution.
Focus: When you hit, each point of focus spent lets you either deal damage equal to your Constitution to an additional enemy within reach or deal 1(W) extra damage to the primary target.

Isolated Assault
At-Will Free 1/round * Fighter, Martial, Stance, Utility
Stance: You gain a +4/6/8 (by tier) bonus to basic melee weapon damage rolls against a target that has no creatures adjacent to it other than you.
Focus: When you hit, each point of focus spent lets you either deal 1(W) extra damage to the target or to slide the target into any square adjacent to you before dealing damage.

Quote :
Your ability score generation looks like it works fine. Does it include racial ability score bonuses?
Yup, currently +1 to one and +1 to a choice of 2 more just like 4E. Some of the specific bonuses are going to be a bit different though. For example, being native to one of the divine realms, the high elves will have +1 Cha, +1 to Wis or Str so that they can easily do well with ANY of the divine classes (as opposed to the Int, Dex or Cha that Eladrin have).

Here's my current iterations of the big three (note that racial skill bonuses are always +2 so just the skills themselves are mentioned as yet another step away from 4E layouts).

Human
Origin: Natural
Ability Scores: +1 to one of choice.
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Normal
Languages: Common + one of choice.
Skill Bonus: Two of choice or proficiency in one skill of choice.
Adaptable: Gain one feat you meet the prerequisites for.
Heroic: +1 racial bonus to attack rolls, defenses and saving throws.

Dwarf
Origin: Natural
Ability Scores: +1 Con, +1 Str or Wis
Size: Medium
Speed: 5 squares
Vision: Low-light
Languages: Common, Dwarven
Skill Bonuses: Endurance, Engineering
Encumbered Speed: You move at full speed when in heavy armor or carrying a heavy load.
Poison Resistant: You have resistance to poison damage equal to your Constitution plus your level.
Resilience: Using second wind is a minor action for you.
Stocky: Reduce forced moves by 1 square and can make saving throw to avoid being knocked prone.

Elf
Origin: Immortal
Ability Scores: +1 Dex, +1 Wis or Cha
Size: Medium
Speed: 7 squares
Vision: Low-light
Languages: Common, Elven
Skill Bonuses: Nature, Perception
Elven Alacrity: You can roll twice for initiative and use either result.
Group Alertness: Non-elf allies within 5 gain +1 bonus to initiative checks.
Wild Step: You ignore difficult terrain when you shift.

The race I'm messing with most right now is my potential replacement for the Dragonborn. While I could always reskin them as Dragon-kin or something, first I'm going to see if I can't reskin them entirely with something even better... actual dragons (albeit lesser ones).

Right now, I'm picturing a medium-sized quadrapedal variety (think Smaug in the Hobbit films for basic layout) since that would limit their ability to use conventional weapons while flying. I'm thinking they'd start as a hatchling and start with a limited flight where they have to land at the end of each turn or crash and then get overland flight (i.e. the kind useful only for travel not combat) in the mid-tier. Some of their racial abilities would be natural weapons/armor that scales (pun intended) to the class they've taken.

For example, the basic dragon natural weapons would be +2 proficiency and deal 1d8 damage; if it took a class that granted martial melee weapons the proficiency bonus would increase to +3. Its scales would provide an armor bonus equal to the most proficient armor it can wear (though it also suffers equivalent armor penalties) and if it is proficient with shields it can use its wings as the best type of shield it is proficient in. I'm still working out the breath weapon, but my current thinking is that it will have a single target variety that is equivalent to a crossbow (i.e. reload minor) and can burn its class resource (focus, arcane reserves) to use an AoE version of its breath weapon.

If it can balance properly, I think it'd be a truly unique addition to the setting and really help set it apart.

Duskweaver wrote:
Re. Cosmology, your approach pretty much mirrors how I describe things when I DM 4e (your 'giant mirror-ball' analogy is exactly how I describe the birth of the gods).
I like that it gives the gods a reason to fight with each other that isn't directly about worshipers. If the only thing that matters is increasing the power of their facet of reality, it makes sense that the God of Slaughter would spend his armies of worshipers like cannon fodder because its not the number of worshipers that matters... its the slaughter they cause that grows his strength.

Quote :
I strongly suggest you read R. Scott Bakker's Second Apocalypse series for some cool and very compatible ideas about the nature of objective reality vs. the more subjective 'spiritual' realm (which he outright calls 'The Outside');
I'll add it to my list. Thanks for the suggestion.

Quote :
the nature of gods as "the God broken into a thousand warring fragments" (and how they differ - or don't! - from demons);
One of the things I'm going for with my cosmology is a distinction between the pantheistic divine power source (the many gods of the reflected aspects) and the monotheistic primal power source (i.e. The Source as supreme creator and and the primordial spirits as allies in protecting The Source's creation) and flipping some of the traditional associations of culture and religion (i.e. the civilized Christians vs. the barbaric pagans) to see if some interesting archetypes can emerge from the array.

I'm even toying with the idea that humans are decidedly NOT the dominant power of the world... their mighty advanced civilization collapsed so utterly that it drove them back to the stone age for a time and in the vacuum, other powers from other realms (the elves and orcs?) stepped into the mix. Perhaps the humans have become a bronze/iron age tribal society living in the ruins of their once great cities, following the primal powers and making up for a lack of numbers with a disproportionate number of heroes while the elves are the beacon of civilization who worship the divine powers?

The bottom line in all these random thoughts about cosmology and world-building is that I'm looking for ways to make the world associated with the game rules more interesting than 'generic fantasy world number twenty-seven' in addition to a place where its EASY to adventure in (ex. a lost advanced civilization = lots of dungeons full of cool loot and ancient monsters right beneath the feet of the human tribes). Yeah, most people will just homebrew their own world, but if the world attached is interesting and has ideas to poach from more people might want to check it out even if they never get around to actually playing it.

Quote :
EDIT: I also suggest that, since you're calling your Moon/Feywild-equivalent 'Arcadia' you actually use 'arcadian' as the official name for eladrin/high elves, to distinguish them from regular elves.
Done and done. I was thinking 'Sidhe' (pronounced Shee) but 'Arcadian' is definitely easier for most people to sound out phonetically (which is always a plus). The only issue would be if there are any other natives from Arcadia available as player races (gnomes for example) since the term Arcadian could be applied to them too. Then again, calling themselves Arcadians and insisting that 'lesser races' be called something else gives you an automatic 'arrogant bastard' hook to hang cultural elements off of so I think overall its a net win to use Arcadian over something more specific.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Duskweaver
0th-Level Adventurer
0th-Level Adventurer
avatar

Posts : 64
Join date : 2013-06-14
Age : 35
Location : Et In Arcadia Ego

Character sheet
Name: Duskweaver
Class: Invoker
Race: Eladrin

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:57 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
a distinction between the pantheistic divine power source (the many gods of the reflected aspects) and the monotheistic primal power source (i.e. The Source as supreme creator and and the primordial spirits as allies in protecting The Source's creation)
Oddly enough, the first trilogy of the Second Apocalypse series is set during a holy war predicated upon this exact distinction. The monotheistic Fanim worship the transcendent 'Solitary God' and believe all the other 'divine' entities of the Outside are just lying demons. The pantheistic Inrithi believe that God is immanent in the World and can best be worshipped through the Hundred Gods (each an aspect representing a particular concept such as War, Hope or Birth) and their Thousand Temples. The Fanim began as a heretic offshoot of Inrithism, which was itself an evolution of the earlier (and perhaps originally animist) Kiunnat tradition which saw the gods as entirely independent entities, with the God as more of a metaphor for when the gods occasionally shared a single purpose.

The series has a very good wiki site, if you want the Cliff's Notes version.

_________________
"My flying carpet is full of elves."
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:58 pm

Duskweaver wrote:
The series has a very good wiki site, if you want the Cliff's Notes version.
Thank you for the link. It definitely helped me to put my cosmology into perspective. After looking at the material on the Wiki I can pretty definitely say that while there might be a few superficial similarities, my cosmology and Bakker's are near absolute inversions of each other in terms of which elements are the causes and which are the effects.

From the Wiki...
Quote :
In Meta-Analytics, Ajencis argues that it is the relation between subject and object, desire and reality, that underwrites the structure of existence. The World, he argues, is simply the point of maximal objectivity, the plane where the desires of individual souls are helpless before circumstance (because it is fixed by the desire of the God of Gods).
There's no subjectively in the structure of my proposed cosmos. There IS a Source at the heart of creation that is the ultimate wellspring of all matter and energy in the cosmos and it has a definitive physical manifestation in the world as the Sun. There may be debate between the agents of the divine and the primal powers as to whether The Source is an unfathomable supreme being or merely a natural phenomena akin to the Big Bang, but there is no subjectivity to its existence or position within the cosmos nor that it is visible in the sky of the Mortal World as its Sun. It is an objectively provable fact of the cosmos.

Likewise, there is a specific star in the heavens that is the physical manifestation of the divine realm of Justice and the size of the realm, brightness of the star and the power of the god who inhabits it directly corresponds to the degree to which there is justice in the Mortal World.

This is an important point and distinct difference. From my reading on the cosmology of Second Apocalypse Justice only exists because there is a god of justice who wills it to exist in the world and his realm reflects the god's desire for justice whereas in my cosmos there is only a god and realm of Justice because justice already exists in the world and is reflected as a divine realm, god and servitors that embody the concept of Justice. Cause and effect in my cosmology are the exact opposite of Bakker's cosmology in this regard.

ETA: I think the best term to describe my cosmology would be 'representational' rather than 'subjective'. Subjective implies that the nature of it changes depending on the observer or location it observed from. A representational cosmos though implies that the things man sees with his naked eyes are representations of greater truths. The Moon is a representation of the realm of Arcadia in the Mortal World... if both an Arcadian and a human got in a rocket ship and flew there it would be a big hunk of rock orbiting the world (or perhaps not... perhaps 'dimensional' portals are just VERY long range teleportation portals... different in magnitude, but not in kind). Likewise, if both entered the realm of Arcadia through a Fey crossroad or portal they'd both experience Arcadia in the same way.

I will also be the first to admit that the reasoning behind this is as much about the ease of using the setting in play (every member of the party experiencing the same thing in the same place is a definite plus) as it is about my own personal preference for an objective (if supernatural) reality.

Quote :
This is what makes piety and devotion so important: the more favour an individual can secure in the Outside (primarily through the worship of gods and the honouring of ancestors), the greater the chance of finding bliss in the afterlife.

The souls of the dead in my cosmology have three primary paths...

Those with strong faith in the divine powers find their souls drawn to the realms of the gods they followed most strongly in life and there receive their eternal reward as a favored servant of their deity.

The souls of those without strong faith but good morals and those who faithfully follow the primal powers return to The Source. What happens next is unknown as only pure spirit can exist within The Source. Some believe The Source is an infinite paradise where the soul finds union with the supreme being while others believe the Source recycles the souls, in whole or in part, back into the Mortal World to live life again and again. The most cynical believe that is only the energy of the soul that is recycled and that the person who was is destroyed or consumed forever by The Source (this view is commonly, though far from universally, found among those who choose to devote themselves to the gods of the divine realms in order to avoid such a fate).

By far the most horrible fate awaits those whose lack of faith, fear of death and/or unresolved passions pull their soul into the Shadow World where becomes one of the undead. These lost souls hide from the light of The Source and exist as mockeries of life that must sustain themselves on the life energy of the living lest they fade away entirely (though the ability of the undead to linger as the slightest scrap of a soul waiting for the opportunity to feed should never be discounted).
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:55 pm

So, two design elements to run by you guys today.

The first is conditions. Given the problematic nature of certain conditions (stunned most notably) I think I should avail myself of the easiest possible solution to the problem and simply CHANGE the definition of stunned to something that hinders without completely shutting things down.

Right now I'm thinking that the best solution would be to stage the conditions in such a way as to simultaneously make action removal more difficult while also making stacking effects through teamwork more rewarding. For example, give a name to the condition of not being able to take off-turn actions (distracted perhaps), and make dazed into -1 action + no OA's, change stunned to -2 actions + no OA's, and then finally have a 'held' condition for no actions at all. Each time you're hit with the same effect it pushes you to the next step further along the track (i.e. being hit by two dazed effects makes you 'stunned', being hit by two stuns makes you 'held'). Dominated and Petrified could follow similar tracks.

The key design element here would be to create no effects that 'hold' outright... make it something that always has to be built towards in order to achieve complete turn removal.

By the same token I could see replacing the slowed condition with simply outright penalties to speed with the immobilized condition occurring when your speed is reduced to zero (this would also eliminate the non-OGL slowed condition from the list of conditions... helping to reduce the 4E IP relations).

------

So, races. Realistically, I don't think its practical to have more than 8-12 in the initial product which means the ones I do choose to include first need to be quite iconic and/or distinctive. So the question comes down to which ones to include and which to leave out.

A related element is that, if possible, I'd really like to avoid overpopulating the world with sapient species. Multiple realms of origin helps mitigate this somewhat if many of the races are from those realms, but each race needs a reason why it is in the world beyond they've always been a part of D&D related worlds.

Certain mainstays are obvious; Humans, Elves, Dwarves. The mixed race half-elf and half-orc are pretty iconic in and of themselves and I've already mentioned Arcadians/High Elves and Dragons as potential races and Hellborn (i.e. tieflings) also seem like a no-brainer.

That's eight right there, which leaves maybe 4 additional races to fill the ranks. I know halflings and gnomes are old traditional races, but I'm hard-pressed to include both with only four slots open and I'll admit that halflings run headlong into my 'too many natural sapient races' issue (especially since you're going to need some sort of sapient monster races like goblins, orcs and the like).

I will also say that, in my opinion, to not be ridiculously small, halflings would have be nearly the size of the T'rung pygmy people (average male height of 4'6") I'd be hard-pressed to even label halflings as anything other very short humans without some sort of distinctive physiological difference or alternate realm of origin. Gnomes on the other hand I could see being some sort of Fey reflection of Dwarves in the same way that Elves are the Fey reflection of humans (and perhaps goblins are the shadow reflection of the dwarves).

A big one (pun intended) I'm leaning towards having is some type of elemental giant (although giant in this case would mean the extreme upper end of Medium... 8-9 feet tall and 400-600 pounds) combining traits akin to both the Genasi and Goliaths (the elemental part being more important than the Giant part... since the tallest man on record was nearly 9 feet in height and weighed about 450 lb. so without the elemental hook they'd just be big humans).

A race of beast men is another one I'm leaning towards (with numerous sub-species) even though its bumping my 'too many sapients' line. That's because they're extremely distinct (minotaurs, proud warrior lion-men, wolf-men, etc.) and because such half-man/half-beasts are easy candidate for some sort of magical (rather than evolutionary) origin (perhaps created as slave labor by an ancient empire).

The final one on my 'definite maybe' list is some type of clockwork/golem/automata 'race' again likely created by an ancient empire because, like the beast men, playing as essentially a fantasy robot holds a great deal of appeal to a non-trivial percentage of people.

So that's my current list of races and their origins at the moment;
-Arcadian (High Elf) - Immortal (Fey)
-Beast-man - Natural (Created)
-Dragon - Elemental
-Dwarf - Natural
-Elf - Immortal (Fey)
-Giant - Elemental
-Gnome - Immortal (Fey)
-Golem - Natural (Created)
-Half-Elf - Natural/Immortal (half-breed)
-Half-Orc - Natural/Shadow (half-breed)
-Hellborn - Natural/Immortal (half-breed)
-Human - Natural

If anyone has any additional suggestions I could easily be persuaded to add a few more to the list (or perhaps collapse the half-elf/orc into racial variants of humans). I'm particularly open to suggestions for a distinctive Shadow race (i.e. not orcs/goblins/grey-skinned humans).
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Honorbound
Heroic Adventurer
Heroic Adventurer


Posts : 106
Join date : 2013-11-12

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:19 am

So, you're implementing a version of condition tracks? Sounds cool to me. C4 had the same idea, and great minds think alike.

By the way, I like your proposed races. They hit all the highlights while ditching some superfluous concepts (halflings, goliaths). Combining Genasi and Goliaths was particularly inspired.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:16 am

Honorbound wrote:
So, you're implementing a version of condition tracks? Sounds cool to me. C4 had the same idea, and great minds think alike.
My suspicion is that the path is one of convergent evolution (i.e. the process of adapting to a given environment leads to similar features developing in unrelated species). In this case its intersecting path of avoiding IP rights issues (some key conditions used by 4E are missing from the d20SRD) and the desire for elegant design.

The easiest way to reinsert the two key missing conditions; weakened and slowed; while steering away from the explicit 4E IP (not that the conditions alone would likely be enough to cause issues, but the more you do borrow the more likely there will be a problem) is to simply use scaling penalties to damage and speed (and if the damage math is reasonably tight, as it is in 4E, this is pretty easy to accomplish; in my system currently, inflicting a penalty to damage equal to an Ability score + your level would be roughly on par with halving the average damage a standard monster could inflict in a turn).

Once you've applied de facto scaling conditions to speed and damage, using similiar scales for actions (-1 dazed, -2 stunned, -3 held) is a natural corollary that, if applied to every other category of conditions makes the whole range feel more natural.

Quote :
By the way, I like your proposed races. They hit all the highlights while ditching some superfluous concepts (halflings, goliaths). Combining Genasi and Goliaths was particularly inspired.
Thank you. Given my cosmology, I needed a playable elemental themed humanoid race, but Genasi are definitely NOT in the SRD (ironically, Tieflings ARE, so I could theoretically use that name with no issues... though I prefer the term Hellborn better as its more evocative outside of the realm of D&D).

After struggling with concepts such as making the dwarves specifically elemental for awhile, I realized that while I had a couple of potential small races (I had considered goblins and possibly kobolds in addition to halflings and gnomes) I really did not have any BIG races and that's when the notion of 'giants' hit me as a way to solve two problems at once. The SRD even gives me stereotypical ones whose names I can use outright (Stone, Fire, Frost, Storm... maybe Hill and Cloud too, but definitely the first four).

A couple of the racial features I'm planning to give to giants are increased carrying capacity (either +X pounds or outright doubled depending on how balanced it feels) and a racial bonus to Strength checks (but not Athletics checks, attacks or damage), so that they feel STRONG without throwing off the combat math.

Regarding dropping halflings, I'll probably merge several of their stereotypical elements into the gnome for those who want to play a halfling type character (perhaps halfling is a slang term for gnomes just like was for Hobbits in Tolkien's books). I did have one concept for halflings that might be interesting to develop make them worthy of inclusion in their own right. That would be basing them more off the variant from BIRTHRIGHT where the name 'halfling' came less from their stature and more from their ability to slip into and out of Shadow World which they were native to (i.e. they were half in the light and half in the shadow)... making the halflings natives of the Shadow World with racial abilities allowing the to shift back and forth from the Mortal to the Shadow World would certainly be a hook worthy of adding them back into the mix of races, but to be honest, I'm still holding out hope that a stronger-themed 'shadow race' will emerge from my musing or from suggestions to fill that role.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:15 pm

So, I've been refining my races and classes a bit and here's the latest developments.

First, I've refined the class list down to 12 choices (three per power source), though there's a twist. Each class is going to offer a choice of two roles; Slayer and one of Controller, Enabler or Guardian. Here's the current breakdowns;

Martial
-Fighter: Slayer (great weapon and barbarian) and Guardian (knight and harrier)
-Ranger: Slayer (scout) and Controller (hunter)
-Rogue: Slayer (thief and assassin) and Enabler (sidekick, skald/warlord and arcane bard)

Arcane
-Mage: Controller and Slayer (depends on school choices)
-Spellblade: Slayer (think Hexblade) and Guardian (swordmage-y)
-Gadgeteer: Slayer and Enabler (the slayer version is still theoretical at this stage)

Divine
-Cleric: Slayer (inquisitor/avenger) and Enabler (warpriest or laser cleric)
-Paladin: Slayer (blackguard) and Guardian (default paladin-y goodness)
-Theurge: Slayer (blaster type) and Controller (Invoker-ish)

Primal
-Druid: Slayer and Controller (both summoning based)
-Shaman: Slayer and Enabler (both animal/spirit companion based)
-Shifter: Slayer and Guardian (both wild shape/warden guardian forms based)

If the fighter is any indication, there should be nearly 40 distinct class builds available between these twelve classes (the Fighter has four specific builds; knight, harrier, striker and berserker; before you even take weapon choice into account for example).

---------------

As I outlined yesterday there will also be, at this point, 12 races to start (so 144 combinations before you even get into the variant builds) and I've got their ability bonuses tentatively worked out so there's at least one (and half the time two) race that can provide bonuses to the primary and second abilities for any class.

Here's the current races and their current ability breakdowns (which are a bit different than those of 4E in several cases);

-Arcadian - +1 Charisma, +1 Wisdom or Strength (ideal for all divine classes)
-Beast-man - +1 Strength or Dexterity, +1 Constitution or Wisdom (bit a twist to allow as many beast types as possible in a single race)
-Dragon - +1 Strength, +1 Intelligence or Charisma
-Dwarf - +1 Constitution, +1 Strength or Intelligence (so they can easily make solid gadgeteers and spellblades... or should that be spellhammers for them)
-Elf - +1 Dexterity, +1 Intelligence or Wisdom (While it ended up matching the 4E variety exactly, it was more due to no other race having a good fit for Dex+Int and none of the other stats making any more sense)
-Giant - +1 Strength, +1 Constitution or Wisdom
-Gnome - +1 Charisma, +1 Dexterity or Intelligence
-Golem - +1 Intelligence, +1 Constitution or Wisdom (there were too many strong races as it was and the idea that a 'robot' would have superior memory worked as well as anything... the secondaries make it a top choice for any arcane class; which fits with the idea that they may have been created magically themselves.
-Half-Elf - +1 Charisma, +1 Dexterity or Constitution (while the hybrid vigor concept implied by the 4e version was cool, the placement of the bard-style build in the rogue class made a version that either got hybrid vigor OR the improved agility of their elven parent a better choice)
-Half-Orc - +1 Dexterity, +1 Strength or Constitution (ended up matching the 4E version mostly due Dragons and Giants already having Strength + two other choices; plus I'm there's something about linking Dexterity for Stealth to a Shadow-related race that's appealing).
-Hellborn - +1 Constitution, +1 Charisma or Wisdom (I ended up as Con primary because fierce discrimination against the descendents of the infernal would lead to a sort of natural selection where the toughest would be most likely to survive and have descendents. Charisma and Wisdom allow them to make use of either Divine power, often as servants of dark gods, or with Arcane power derived from a Pact or Bloodline)
-Human - +1 to one of choice (as always, the adaptable ones)

Comments are, as always, welcome and encouraged.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:28 pm

So, I spent the day working on Races... not all are complete, but here's what I've got so far. Comments are, as always, welcomed.

Arcadian (High Elf)
Origin: Immortal
Ability Scores: +1 Cha, +1 Str or Wis
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Low-light
Languages: Common, Elven
Skill Bonuses: Religion, History and training in one of choice.
Arcadian Jaunt: When making an attack, you can spend 1 focus to teleport your speed as a free action before or after making the attack roll.
Divine Spark: Gain 1 cantrip of choice.
Inhuman Grace: +1 racial bonus to Reflex

Beast-Men
Origin: Natural
Ability Scores: +1 Str or Dex, +1 to Con or Wis
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Low-light
Languages: Common and one of choice.
Skill Bonuses: Two of choice.
Beast Traits: You gain two of the following traits, which reflect the bestial features of your sub-species;
-Aquatic: You gain a swim speed equal to your speed.
-Blindsight: You gain blindsight with a range of 2 squares.
-Charger: You gain a +2 bonus to speed when you charge.
-Climber: You gain a climb speed equal to half your speed.
-Darkvision: You gain darkvision.
-Flight: If you are carrying no more than a light load and not wielding a weapon, implement or shield, you can use either or both of your standard and move actions each to fly up to your speed, but if you don’t use your standard action to fly you must land at the end of your turn or fall.
-Improved Speed: Your speed improves to 7 squares.
-Jumper: You gain a +5 racial bonus to jump checks and make all jump checks as if you had a running start.
-Natural Weaponry (Heavy): Select one weapon group. You have a natural melee weapon that is considered to be of that group with a +2 proficiency bonus and that deals 1d10 damage.
-Natural Weaponry (Light): Select one weapon group. You have a natural melee weapon that is considered to be of that group with a +3 proficiency bonus and that deals 1d8 damage.
-Natural Weaponry (Off-hand): Select one weapon group. You have a natural melee weapon that is considered to be of that type with a +3 proficiency bonus, deals 1d6 damage and has the off-hand weapon property. You can use this weapon for both your primary and offhand attacks simultaneously.
-Water-breathing: You can breathe underwater.

Dragon
Origin: Primordial
Ability Scores: +1 Str, +1 Int or Cha
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Low-Light
Languages: Common, Draconic.
Skill Bonuses: Arcana, Insight
Breath Weapon: You gain a breath weapon and proficiency with it. It is a ranged weapon with the following properties; Range 10, targets Reflex, deals 1d10 damage of the type determined by your Energy Affinity (see below) and has the load minor property. If you have proficiency with military ranged weapons the damage increases to 1d12. When making a ranged basic attack, you can spend 1/2/3 (by tier) focus to instead target a ranged burst 1 and deal 1(W) damage per focus spent plus your highest ability score to each target you hit.
Energy Affinity: Pick one damage type (such as acid or fire) other than untyped. You gain Resist 5/10/15 (by tier) to that damage type and your breath weapon deals damage of that type.
Flight: If you are carrying no more than a light load and not wielding a weapon, implement or shield, you can use either or both of your standard and move actions each to fly up to your speed, but if you don’t use your standard action to fly you must land at the end of your turn or fall.
Natural Armor: You gain an armor bonus to AC equivalent to the heaviest form of armor you are proficient with, but also suffer the check and speed penalties of that armor type, though they may be negated through feats normally. You may voluntarily forego gaining any armor proficiency to avoid such penalties if desired).
In addition your wings can act as and can be used for shields of any type with you are proficient, though you do not gain this benefit while you are in flight.
Natural Weapons: You gain a +2 proficiency bonus with your natural weapons and can inflict 1d8 damage with them. If you have proficiency with military melee weapons the proficiency bonus increases to +3. If you do not have proficiency with shields the damage is increased to 1d10 (you may voluntarily forego shield proficiency to retain this benefit). Your bite is considered a pick, your claws light blades and your tail a flail for purposes of feats.

Dwarf
Origin: Natural
Ability Scores: +1 Con, +1 Str or Int
Size: Medium
Speed: 5 squares
Vision: Low-light
Languages: Common, Dwarven
Skill Bonuses: Endurance, Engineering
Encumbered Speed: Your speed is not reduced by heavy armor or while carrying a heavy load.
Resilience: Using second wind is a minor action for you.
Stubborn: +1 racial bonus to Will.
Sure-Footed: You have Resist 1 to forced movement and can make a saving throw to resist being knocked prone as a free action.

Elf
Origin: Immortal
Ability Scores: +1 Dex, +1 Int or Wis
Size: Medium
Speed: 7 squares
Vision: Low-light
Languages: Common, Elven
Skill Bonuses: Nature, Perception
Allied Alertness: Non-elf allies within 5 squares of you gain a +1 racial bonus to initiative checks.
Elven Alacrity: You can roll twice for initiative and use either result.
Wild Step: You ignore difficult terrain when you shift.

Giant
Origin: Primordial
Ability Scores: +1 Str, +1 Con or Wis
Size: Medium
Speed: 7 squares
Vision: Low-light
Languages: Common, Giant.
Skill Bonuses: Athletics, Endurance
Elemental Affinity: Pick one of the following; Fire, Frost, Storm or Stone. You gain Resist 5/10/15 (by tier) to the type of damage associated with that element and, when you hit with an attack, you can spend 1/2/3 (by tier) focus to inflict 5 extra damage to the target of the type associated with the element per focus spent.
The type of damage resisted and inflicted are as follows; Fire (resist and inflict fire damage), Frost (resist and inflict cold damage), Storm (resist and inflict storm damage), Stone (resist ongoing damage and inflict untyped damage).
Giant Strength: You gain a +5 racial bonus to Strength checks (but not Athletics checks, attack rolls or to damage) and can carry twice as much as your Strength would normally allow without being encumbered.

Half-Elf
Origin: Natural
Ability Scores: +1 Cha, +1 Con or Dex
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Low-light
Languages: Common, Elven + one of choice.
Skill Bonuses: Two of choice.
Versatile: Gain one multi-class feat of your choice and you can choose class-specific multiclass feats from more than one class.

Half-Orc
Origin: Natural
Ability Scores: +1 Dex, +1 Str or Con
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Darkvision
Languages: Common, Shadow.
Skill Bonuses: Athletics, Stealth.
Shadow-touched: You gain a +5 racial bonus to Stealth checks while in dim light or darkness and gain Resist 3/6/9 (by tier) to necrotic damage.

Human
Origin: Natural
Ability Scores: +1 to one of choice.
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Normal
Languages: Common + one of choice.
Skill Bonus: Two of choice or proficiency in one skill of choice.
Adaptable: Gain one feat you meet the prerequisites for.
Heroic: +1 racial bonus to attack rolls, defenses and saving throws.

I hope to have the mechanics for Gnomes, Golems and Hellborn complete by tomorrow and then finish off the fighter to start giving you an idea of how classes are going to work.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Garthanos
Moderator
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 931
Join date : 2013-05-25
Location : Nebraska

Character sheet
Name: Garthanos
Class: Arcadian Knight
Race: Auld Worlder

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:03 pm

Interesting... I am certainly liking elements of that, humans and dragon and giant in particular.

I tend to visualize dragons taking human or elf form for interactive purposes...

_________________
Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.dyasdesigns.com/kingsmagic.html
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:38 am

Garthanos wrote:
I tend to visualize dragons taking human or elf form for interactive purposes...
That will likely be an available racial utility power for dragons, yes.

Speaking of... that's as good a segueway into something I was planning to bring up today anyway; universal benefits. Specifically the benefits that all characters receive as they level up regardless of race, class or background (yes, background is a thing... I'll get into that shortly too).

Anyway, as it sits in the design, here are the so-called 'universal' benefits that all characters receive;

Level Bonus: Characters add their level to all attack, ability and skill checks, to all defenses and to damage inflicted by your attacks.

Focus: You gain Focus equal to your level. When you make an attack, you can spend one focus per turn on the effects granted by your class to augment the attack. At 6th level you can spend two per turn and at 11th level you can spend three per turn. Certain class features will allow you to spend focus over and above this limit. Features that allow this will list the expenditure as spending ‘extra focus.’

Utility Powers: At 1st level you gain a utility power of your level or less that you qualify for due to your background, class or race. You gain an additional utility power of your level or less at 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 11th levels.

Ability Proficiency: Choose two ability scores. At 4th level you gain a +1 proficiency bonus to any benefit, damage or other effect that is based on one of those ability scores. This bonus improves to +2 at 7th level, +3 at 11th level and to +4 at 14th level.

-------

As mentioned above, there are currently going to be backgrounds in the system, but they're not going to be the 4E backgrounds... those got taken care of by fixing the number of class skills and the skill lists. Specifically, each class gets three choices from their class skill list and one skill of choice. Certain build choices might add a skill to the list or even outright, but at the bare minimum every class will have four trained skills and one that doesn't have to come from the class skill list at all.

So instead, backgrounds are going to be my version of themes. I don't have them fully fleshed out yet, but one of the key parts is that each background will be providing a list of utility powers for the player. The core concept I'm shooting for is that your class will only provide 2-3 choices for utility powers at any given level while your background and race will contribute 2-4 more choices per level.

-------

Also pretty obviously above, I'm switching from encounter attacks to focus-powered boosts for encounter resources (with heroic surges as daily resources). The main reason is that the design of the fighter REALLY benefited from making the encounter resources more graduated while taking up a LOT less room. If you allow the expenditure of 1 focus to immobilize a target and 1 focus per extra weapon die you add to the damage then you don't need to design multiple separate encounter powers with their own unique names and fluff that are basically just different variations of a basic attack with immobilize and more weapon dice, you just need the immobilize option and the extra damage option and a means of limiting how much focus can be spent on an attack at a given level.

The other reason I'm leaning in this direction though is that the more the core mechanics deviate from the AEDU structure, the more of the peripheral terms I'll be able to use without falling into the 'product identity' trap and incurring the wrath of WotC because a LOT of them are super-useful and descriptive... particularly terms like Minor Actions, Utility Powers, Primal, Push/Pull/Slide, Shift, Slowed and Weakened. Being able to use these elements without having to do a clunky rename of them just to make sure all my terms are different is more useful to me than keeping the much more readily identifiable power structures which I think could be improved on.

I will admit, it does make spamming an issue, but from my observations, the people who like to spam powers gravitate to spammable classes like the psionic classes and various E-classes while people who don't like to spam will look for more creative options. The trick with such a design is to balance the elements so that one particular repeated use element is not universally better than all the other options.

Currently, utility powers are still running as at-will and encounter abilities. I'd like to shift those to a resource cost as well, but it'd have to be something other than focus as I don't want to cross the streams on attack/utility... I've seen where that leads in other systems... and I worry that it would be unnecessarily complex (having just 1 encounter-based and 1 daily resource to track is clean design... 2 separate encounter-based resources and a daily resource is less so). Perhaps set the limiter on crossing the streams at the focus spent per turn level would work, but it might be tricky.

Basically, I've got three possible design routes and I'd like some input on which way you think would be the best approach...
1) Leave utility powers as is... i.e. individually tracked at-will or 1/encounter abilities.
2) Use a separate resource for attack and utility powers and accept the less elegant tracking (ex. focus/reserves/heroic surges) for the improved balance.
3) Use a single encounter resource pool for all powers, but set a limit on how much could be spent on attacks per turn and then tune combat length so that if you did not use any utility powers you would often have encounter resources left over when the fight was finished and be depleted of more daily resources than if you'd burned some of your encounter resources on utilities (ex. burning 1 encounter resource to turn a hit into a miss means you have to spend one less daily daily resource to recover your hit points after the fight).

----------

As a final design note of the day, I'm done with the basic mechanics of the races (utility powers are on hold until I finalize the resource structure) and there were a few minor changes to the races.

Most notably, gnomes were dropped as a race. In their place the common elves returned to their earlier edition size of 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall so that the short end of their race would be the size I would have made halflings (High Elves would remain 5.5 to 6.5 feet tall) and I added elemental sprites in their place. Gnome/halfling related abilities will be available to the elves through racial feats and/or utility powers.

Also of note is that I have no plans to make orcs or goblins into playable races. In the attached setting they're going to be depicted as soulless barely sapient rage-filled shadows of men/dwarves that behave as irredeemable monsters. I will likely include stats in the monster section for using them as playable races in other settings where they're intended to be more civilized, but I really think a good fantasy world needs a few irredeemable humanoid monsters and orcs and goblins are the classics of the genre.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:16 am

Daily update time.

For now I'm running with a unified encounter resource scheme. You gain two focus per level, but can only spend 1 focus per tier per action. With an expected encounter length of 4 rounds this means your focus will exceed your number of standard actions in an encounter by 3rd level and you'll need to spend focus on utilities or see it go to waste.

The biggest advantage to this approach is that, so long as I stick to constrained metrics for the usefulness of at-will abilities and what each point of focus provides, the characters will end up more or less balanced in terms of power even if a particular combo of race, class and background has fewer options than another (note that this would be due to something like a pyromancer mage and a dragon both letting you spend focus to add extra fire damage to an attack rather than some options having fewer actual choices than the others). Adding new powers to a character just adds options.

--------

Backgrounds are starting to shape up. Structurally they're going to provide a benefit at levels 1, 3, 5 and 7 and a utility power choice at 1, 3, 5, 8 and 11 (so one more benefit and two more power choices than a 4E theme would provide).

As with race and classes, I'm shooting for about 12 backgrounds. The current list consists of; Barbarian, Courtier, Craftsman, Laborer, Merchant, Military, Nobility, Nomad, Outlaw, Religious, Sailor and Scholar.

So between race, class, role and background there should be nearly 3500 different builds before we even get to subclasses (the fighter has two per role for example) and power choices. Those are the type of numbers I want to see when it comes to providing options in this project.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:13 am

Today's update brought to you by the letter C... for conditions.

Since my game concept is going to have to rely on the OGL/SRD and the good grace of being distinct enough from 4E to not bring the wrath of Hasbro down on me, I'm going to be using some slightly different conditions or terms for certain 4E mainstays.

Keywords and conditions are probably the two best advances from 4E and they're definitely one of the main things I'm going to be keeping around. Fortunately for me, many of the 4E conditions also appear in the SRD so there's really only a couple I have to worry about re-naming/re-formatting (combat advantage, weakened, dominated, slowed, immobilized and restrained) and those are such self-evident terms that I think the case could easily be made that I could have derived the term without even glancing at the 4E product (i.e. calling a condition where you can't move 'immobilized' is self-evident).

That said, along with some necessary name changes, I think the game could benefit from some streamlining and addition of a few more conditions to make power presentation easier. Here are some things I'm looking at;

Blinded/Concealed: I want to line up grades of visual impairment with light/heavy/total obscurement and levels of concealment so that the effects can be applied simply (i.e. instead of having to list a power's effect as 'the target treats all creatures as lightly obscured' it would instead be shortened to 'the target is partially blinded'. If someone has a better term for blinded or better grades than partially/severely/totally blinded I am more than open to suggestions.

Checked and Tethered: Checked is a fun and often overlooked condition from the 3.5SRD that seems like a perfect fit for a 4E game; you cannot move closer to X (a target a square, a direction) until the condition ends. Why such a lovely tactical effect wasn't built into 4E at the condition level I'll never know, but I'm adding it to my conditions along with an opposite number of my own... tethered; you cannot move further away from X until the condition ends.

Dazzled, Dazed, Stunned and Held: All three are in the SRD and I'm re-purposing them into a chain of stacking effects; Dazzled will be the condition of not being able to make reactions (I'm lumping Opportunity and Immediate effects into a once per TURN reaction for ease of tracking with interrupt being changed into a keyword). Dazed, Stunned and Held will be -1/2/3 actions respectively. Hitting a target with a second effect of the same strength while the first effect is still active bumps the condition up one step until one of the effects ends (so two dazed effects will stun a target and two stuns will hold a target).

Controlled: This will be replacing 'dominated' as a condition and due to the changes in the system it needed to be rewritten anyway to 'the target is stunned and the controller chooses the target's action on its turn (you cannot use any action that spends focus or heroic surges).

Fatigued: Fatigued is one of those annoying fiddly conditions in 3.5, but the term works great for a generic condition that generally impairs the target; you take a -2 penalty to attack rolls and defenses. It's definitely faster than saying 'the target is -2 to attacks and grants combat advantage.'

Flat-footed: Combat advantage was a big thing in 4E and Advantage/Disadvantage is a huge deal in 5E so 'advantage' is a term I want to avoid if it all possible. So, unless I come up with something better, 'flat-footed' is the term I'm going to be using in place of 'grants combat advantage' and will be presented as inflicting -2 to defenses on the target instead of granting +2 to attack rolls against the target. That it's also quicker to write and say than 'grants combat advantage' is also a huge plus in my book.

Slowed: Slowed is a self-evident condition, but to keep things distinct, I'm changing the effect from 'maximum speed is 2' to 'your speed is halved' (shifting is still normal since that's not actually based on your speed). As the only race with a speed of less than 6, dwarves will be getting a racial ability to round any speed penalties UP instead of down).

Shaken: Shaken a fear-effect that inflicts -2 to attack rolls right out of the SRD. It is flat-out replacing the rattled condition.

Taunted: Marked is another of the big 4E specific terms that I'd like to avoid using; So I'm running with 'taunted' instead. Honestly, I think the term feels more natural than marked (I taunt the enemies so they focus on me instead of my allies) and so its a win-win for me.

----------------

I'm also starting to firm up my actual power layouts. For awhile I had considered actually presenting powers in paragraph form (ex. Melee Basic Attack: as a standard action you can target one enemy within your weapon's reach and make a STR vs. AC attack, dealing 1(W) + STR damage if you hit) simply because the format would be so different from 4E that claiming IP infringement on the basis of layout would be next to impossible.

But in the end, the need for clearly defined keywords and easy to read powers trumped my need for a completely different layout (throwing 'Keywords: Attack, Martial, Weapon' onto the end of a paragraph just looked clunky). Instead I'm just going to have to make the layouts as different as practical while still conveying the information I need.

One good thing in terms of this is that, with my powers all either being at-will or running off focus and/or surges I won't have to use color-coding for the powers, which all on its own will help with keeping them distinct from the 4E powers.

Another thing I'm doing to differentiate from 4E is going a bit more jargon/abbreviation heavy. The opening glossary will have abbreviations for a large number of things (some more obvious than others). Using STR, CON, DEX, INT, WIS, CHA in place of the spelled out versions, using (ENT), (SNT), (EoE) and (SAVE) for durations (end of your next turn, start of your next turn, end of the encounter and save ends respectively), MBA/RBA for melee and ranged basic attacks.

A lot of those have been shorthand on the forums for years, but they were never used directly in 4E and every little bit of difference helps the case. Another one that's unfortunately all but required is to not include flavor-text in the power layout.

Here's a few examples of my current layouts;

Melee Basic Attack (MBA)
Use/Keywords:
Standard / Basic Attack, Weapon
Target/Range: One creature / Melee weapon
Attack/Hit: STR vs. AC / 1(W) + STR damage.

Reactive Strike
Use/Keywords:
Reaction / Basic Attack, Weapon
Trigger: An adjacent target makes a ranged attack or leaves a square without shifting.
Target/Range: Triggering creature / Melee weapon
Effect: The target takes 3 + STR + ½ level damage.
Special: If you use an ability other than STR for MBA’s, use it in place of Strength.

Second Wind
Use/Keywords:
Move or Standard (1/encounter) + 1 Surge / Healing, Utility
Effect: You spend a heroic surge to regain hit points. If you spend a standard action, you also gain +2 to your defenses (ENT).

Grant Recovery
Use/Keywords: Minor + 1/2/3 Focus / Healing, Utility
Target/Range: You or one creature / Melee 5
Effect: The target can spend a heroic surge to regain hit points. If it has no surges remaining and is dying, it instead is restored to 1 hp. For each additional focus spent the range increases by 5 and the hit points regained increases by 10.

------------

Another distinct difference from 4E that you can see above is 'Reactive Strike' which will be replacing Opportunity Attacks in the system. One of the elements that is claimed to slow down combats is off-turn actions. Personally, I think off-turn actions help spice up the game, but at the same time that doesn't mean we can't streamline them where possible.

The single biggest slowdown is when someone's reaction allows them to make an entire attack. While not a issue when players are on the ball, when a table is already struggling with players whose turns bog down the game, it makes it even worse by giving them de facto extra turns.

So my solution was to use the likes of Magic Missile and Divine Sanction as the basis for resolving 'opportunity attacks'. Instead of rolling them, they become a sort of 'aura' that players and GM's can plan their turns around without slowing things down too much. Instead of 'is making a ranged attack worth the risk of being hit for damage... if yes, then have other people make attack/damage rolls' it becomes 'is making a ranged attack worth taking X damage... if yes, then take damage and continue the turn.'

Incidentally, the damage value is scaled to the damage of an unmodified basic attack hitting 60% of the time (the hit rate for a PC vs. an even-level monster's average AC). Characters with the Guardian role will have ways to augment this effect further (in addition to being able to punish for violating a taunt or for shifting) to make them extremely effective at creating catch-22 suck-fests for their opponents.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Garthanos
Moderator
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 931
Join date : 2013-05-25
Location : Nebraska

Character sheet
Name: Garthanos
Class: Arcadian Knight
Race: Auld Worlder

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:33 pm

I am liking it... tethered and checked - very interesting.

Taunted isn't bad though I see marking as disrupting/threatening the enemy as much or more.

Ie they are Threatened and Disrupted

_________________
Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.dyasdesigns.com/kingsmagic.html
Felorn Gloryaxe
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer
avatar

Posts : 367
Join date : 2013-05-16
Location : United States

Character sheet
Name: Felorn Gloryaxe
Class: Fighter
Race: Dwarf

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:04 am

@Chris24601

I'm not sure if you've gotten quite this far in the design process, but have you got an idea on how saves will work? Seeing your conditions reminded me of 13th Age and it's improved (IMO) saving throw system. It's just simple as 4e's but can be less forgiving that 4e's static 10+ on a d20.

_________________

D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.” - H. P. Lovecraft

Like a Star @ heaven
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:36 pm

I'm leaning towards keeping the default 10+ system because saving throws are meant to be more of a duration counter than anything else and the 16+ hard saves are a bit too nasty for my tastes. With just a 25% chance of success at the end of each round in what should be a four-round combat it risks potentially knocking someone out of the fight for an entirely encounter.

If I were to implement grades of saves I'd probably set them to more like 8/10/12 than the 6/11/16 that 13th Age uses and set the save DC off the Monster rather than specific effects. Feat and other options would fall into the same range limits as well.

Honestly, if I had my druthers and could work out all the balance issues to my satisfaction, I'd drop saves entirely and set the duration based off the attack's margin of success (ex. 1 round if you beat the target defense by 0-4, 2 rounds if you beat it by 5-9, or 3 rounds if you beat it by 10+). I'd need to figure out how to make the sequential fail effects work (ex. petrification) without screwing over a PC due to a single bad roll (vs. the cascade failure required in 4E), but if I can work that out it might be a viable alternative to look at.

For now though, presume the default 4E save on 10+ system is in place, with hard limits placed on race/class/theme benefits and feats that would push the saves below 8+ or above a 12+, even for Solos (Monster Vault offered much better alternatives for Solo's to get around such things than massive save bonuses).
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Chris24601
Epic Adventurer
Epic Adventurer


Posts : 446
Join date : 2013-05-17
Age : 43
Location : Fort Wayne, IN

Character sheet
Name:
Class:
Race:

PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:38 am

So, over the weekend I started wrestling with class ability scores and I could definitely use some input because I might be running a bit too far afield of what people might be looking for in a 'retro-clone'.

First off is Constitution. Right now its a de facto secondary ability for every class because it determines how many heroic surges you get and heroic surges don't just govern healing, they're used for action points and to activate daily powers as well. More Constitution over what you need to heal yourself means more daily powers uses which I'm trying to balance out so that its not more useful in and of itself than having a different secondary ability score at the same potency.

The net result of that though is that I can't use Constitution as a secondary ability for any of the classes since that would essentially double-stack the improved surges with improved rider effects.

For example, right now starting with a Con of +4 and applying an ability proficiency to it would net a character SIX more heroic surges than someone who only put a +2 into their Con and didn't improve it. That's on par with being able to use one-and-a-half extra daily powers per encounter.

By contrast, a slayer fighter who put a +4 into Dex and applied ability proficiency to it would be adding about six extra damage per hit (about 20 extra damage per combat) compared to one who only put a +2 into Dex and didn't improve it.

Right now those two options are within spitting distance of each other in terms of effectiveness (i.e. both will add about the same amount of damage output over the course of a typical day). But if I designed a class that gave extra riders for having a good Con score then it would totally outperform the option based on Dexterity.

I could always remove the ability proficiency applying to your number of heroic surges, and then just keep the benefits of Con-based riders a bit less than what riders from other stats provide to balance it... but there's a part of me that likes the simplicity of having Con being a universal option for buffing characters in a way the normal riders don't (i.e. more daily resources).

Let's just say that I am exceptionally open to suggestions on this one and its a question I need to have resolved before I can get too much further in terms of design.

-------------

By a similar token in terms of issues I need to resolve before pushing the design much further, the second one is where my need for a balanced design is pushing up against some sacred cows involving certain classes using certain abilities.

Specifically, in working up the class outlines based on 4E, it quickly became apparent that there was an overabundance of Wisdom-based classes, which were six of my choices (i.e. divine and primal), while Intelligence and Charisma were only really primary abilities for Arcane classes, which accounted for only three of my classes.

My initial thought was to have the arcane classes essentially become V-classes with a choice between study, bloodline or pact determining whether you used Intelligence or Charisma for your primary. Besides the general sloppiness of it being a V-class to begin with, the decision also really hampered the secondary ability choices because if you used Wisdom as a secondary, anyone who picked Charisma based casting would end up having both their good abilities applying to the same defense, you couldn't use Dex for the same reason, Constitution can't be used either which leaves Strength... which for a wizard makes zero sense.

The only solution to the issue of having every stat (except Con) play a key role with more than a single class was to change up some of the traditional casting attributes for the classes.
  -Arcane power might derive a power boost from force of personality or insight, but it always needs a keen mind to direct it. The primary ability for all arcane classes will be Intelligence.
  -Divine power relies on your personal connection to an anthropomorphic representation of an aspect of reality and being able to sway the hearts and minds of people in order to grow its influence in the world. Thus, Charisma will be the primary ability for all the divine classes.
  -Primal power relies upon listening to primal spirits and insight into the ebbs and flows of the natural world. The primary ability for the primal classes will be Wisdom.

This also lets every class be an A class, which is a much better design build to begin with (as mentioned previously, though not listed, Constitution should be a viable secondary choice for any class as well.

Here's how its currently shaking out (note that many sub-build names are placeholders and based on the 4E class they're meant to most closely resemble);
Fighter: Str (primary) + Dex (harrier, striker, berserker) or Wis (knight)
Ranger: Dex (primary) + Wis (hunter, scout) or Str (Aragorn-style combat)
Rogue: Dex (primary) + Cha (thief, sidekick, skald) or Str (brigand)

Mage: Int (primary) + Wis (wizard, evoker) or Cha (sorcerer, warlock)
Spellblade: Int (primary) + Str (swordmage) or Cha (hexblade)
Gadgeteer: Int (primary) + Wis (enabler) or Str (self-forged slayer)

Cleric: Cha (primary) + Int (priest, blaster priest) or Str (warpriest, templar)
Paladin: Cha (primary) + Str (classic paladin) or Dex (inquisitor/avenger)
Theurge: Cha (primary) + Int (currently an "I" class due to neither Str nor Dex lining up with a blaster-ish slayer version)

Druid: Wis (primary) + Int (controller) or Dex (slayer)
Shaman: Wis (primary) + Int (enabler) or Str (animal companion themed slayer)
Shifter: Wis (primary) + Str (guardian) or Dex (slayer)

I'm looking for three main avenues of input;

1) Should I partially or completely separate heroic surges from Constitution so I can use it as a possible primary/secondary stat? Should I perhaps slay another sacred cow and invent a seventh stat (luck? edge?) solely for determining heroic surges so as to allow Con to be used for riders without affecting the balance between extra surges and improved defenses/riders?

2) Is going the direction of Cha-based divine classes and Int-based sorcerers/warlocks something you'd be okay with or would you rather see more traditional ability arrangements?

3) Many of the choices for secondary abilities were necessitated by the mechanics of using abilities from different defenses and Con being unavailable as an 'official' secondary ability. Would you be okay with some builds having less optimal stat combinations (Dex+Int, Cha+Wis) for the sake of 'feel' (ex. the priest being a Cha+Wis build)?

I do have answers to all these (see my layouts above), but they're more like a 51/49 split in terms of whether I'm happy or unhappy with them and it wouldn't take much to sway me down a different path (whereas my choice of which classes to include and how I'm splitting them out into builds/sub-classes is more like a 90/10 split in terms of my satisfaction... with how best to include the monk being about the only thing that's keeping it from being 100%).
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   

Back to top Go down
 
Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 5Go to page : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
4ENCLAVE :: 4th Edition :: 4e General Discussion-
Jump to: