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

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Garthanos
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:48 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
Quote :
The chainmail and mace bearing healer and miracle worker?? ... nyeh its fairly obvious where the miracles of the cleric were inspired from but those who performed them were not heavily armored ... it seems a misfire, however -
Those chaplains who bore the holy relics into the middle of battles so as to sway their outcome were most certainly as armored as their contemporaries. The notion of them going unarmored would be as silly to the people of the day as us expecting a modern military chaplain to go into a war zone without a flack jacket and helmet. .

I was of course referring to those who had miracles attributed to them...

Yes a Warlord with religious training actually makes a pretty fair priest of Odin too... perhaps add rituals for a grade of magic.

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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.
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:53 am

Garthanos wrote:
Yes a Warlord with religious training actually makes a pretty fair priest of Odin too... perhaps add rituals for a grade of magic.
For those who want such things there's going to be a "Religious Order" background that would model that pretty closely.

Backgrounds are also how I'm enabling a few concepts that didn't fit quite so cleanly into the basic class structure.

One of the two biggies in terms of 'iconic' classes is being built into the "Monastic" background that covers the elements of the D&D monk and allows not just slayers, but guardian, controller and enabler monks as well. It also doesn't lock them into any one power source, so you could have divine monks, arcane monks, martial monks or even primal monks depending on the world you're setting up.

Another iconic class shifted into background status is the Barbarian (which was a culture, not homogenous bands of rage monsters)... allowing for barbarian fighters, rangers, rogues and even mages and gadgeteers (think Hiccup from HtTYD).

It should be noted too that, as of now, there isn't going to be a distinct 'Psionic' power source. Mostly likely its going to end up being a sub-set of the arcane power source (alongside the study, bloodline and pact sources of arcane power) with the Psion being a subset of Mage and the Psychic Warrior/Battlemind and Soulknife concepts being subsets of the Spellblade while the Ardent is essentially a Skald-build of the Rogue with the "Monastic" background instead of the "Arcane Scholar" background applied.
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:49 pm

Yesterday I brought you the general layout for the divine classes so today I thought I'd give you an idea of how the domains were shaping up.

I started out by looking at some of the more well-known real pantheons to look at the sort of things that were commonly found in them and then put them through the filter of 'usefulness to an adventurer' that was mentioned in the 4E development book (i.e. gods of agriculture are common in real world pantheons, but their priests aren't likely to go on adventurers) to add enough onto such concepts to make their portfolios cover things that adventurers would find useful.

Here's what I've got at this stage;

- King of the Gods; patron of civilization, rulership and law and associated with the sun and summer.
- The Harvest Queen; patron of plants, animals and earth and associated with autumn.
- God of the Forge; patron of knowledge, creation and fire.
- Lady of Dreams; patroness of arcane magic, the fey and dreams and associated with the moon.
- The Sky Knight; patron of honor, protectors and storms.
- Goddess of Compassion; patroness of love, endurance, healing and associated with spring.
- The Reaper of Souls; patron of fate, death, cold and associated with winter.
- Lady Luck; patroness of luck, divination and rogues.
- The Sea God; patron of the sea, strength and travelers (including sailors).

After getting these mostly good (or at least necessary as in the case of death) deities mapped out I then started looking at their opposite numbers, what I've taken to calling the 'Dark Stars' for the time being and may end up akin to the devil lords of 4E while the fallen and cast-out primordials are in line with 4E's demons. I don't have specific domains for them yet and in some cases don't have much beyond a single word describing them yet; but here's the list for the Dark Stars;

- King of the Gods' opposite number would be a god of tyranny (unjust rule) and strife.
- The Harvest Queen's opposite I'm currently calling 'The Mother of Monsters.'
- God of the Forge's opposite is the patron of destruction and barbarism/ignorance.
- Lady of Dreams' opposite would the Lord of Nightmares and essentially the leader of the Unseelie Court.
- The Sky Knight's opposite would care only for vengeance and war for war's sake.
- Goddess of Compassion's opposite would be a goddess of pain and suffering and hatred.
- The Reaper of Souls' opposite is patron of undeath, plague and pestilence.
- Lady Luck's opposite would be the patron of madness and misfortune.
- The Sea God's opposite has only one word associated with it currently... Leviathan.

So that's where things sit on that front right now. What I'm mucking around with right now is whether I should design the divine classes around individual domains (ex. sun, civilization and rulership as three separate choices with say, two options associated with each domain) or whether I should build it around a deity as a whole (ex. The King of the Gods would have have six options related to sun, rulership and civilization).

The advantage of the first option is that it is easy to create new deities that match one's own setting, while the advantage of the second is that some of the domains are easier to translate into effects than others (sun/radiant damage and rulership/command effects vs. the less distinct 'civilization') and so the design could focus on the easier to translate elements instead of having to invent powers for the less concrete aspects.

While my ideal is the first option, I suspect the second is going to be a more plausible goal in terms of development time.
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:37 pm

I approve making Barbarian a background option its just more sensible.

Always thought fighters made great barbarians - I generalized Battlerager vigor..  so that the gain in temp hp could reflect differing things depending on the stat... plus some personality reflecting triggers. For instance add an empathy based option so that when an ally was attacked you gained temp hit points. (ie even more defendery heroic rage)

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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.
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:48 am

Ever since I first saw the barbarian class I always thought it should just be class neutral. I would say that even rage should be a separate non-class specific mechanic all together. Perhaps a feat, or a replaceable class feature, available to all classes. Each with slightly different effects, and triggers depending on the class of course.

The Barbarian background could relate more towards tribal life and such. Natural things (real vague I know), shamanistic ritual casting, farming, herbology, etc.

I'm not sure if this was covered fully, but... Were you reworking the structure and design of backgrounds? I thought there was some talk about them becoming more akin to themes. I hope so. The extra skill and language thing was dreadfully boring.

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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:00 am

My backgrounds are indeed going to be inline with 4E's themes (4E's backgrounds were just built into the class skill lists as three from class skills plus any one other).

Right now the plan is that backgrounds will grant four benefits over the course of heroic and early paragon tier and provide utility power options all the way up the line. The Barbarian background currently includes improved speed, easier flanking, skill bonuses to nature and perception and access to spirit gifts (i.e. primal themed cantrips). Their utilities range from a 'bloodied determination' (spend a heroic surge to gain regeneration while bloodied and not dying until the end of the encounter) to skinchanging to herbal medicine to a variation on the 3e barbarian's trapsense/uncanny dodge (essentially a 'burn 1 focus to act normally during a surprise round) to an actual 'berserker rage' (become flat-footed and deal extra damage... and works for any class; think sorcerous berserker or a paladin's divine wrath).
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:25 am

Chris24601 wrote:
My backgrounds are indeed going to be inline with 4E's themes (4E's backgrounds were just built into the class skill lists as three from class skills plus any one other).

Right now the plan is that backgrounds will grant four benefits over the course of heroic and early paragon tier and provide utility power options all the way up the line. The Barbarian background currently includes improved speed, easier flanking, skill bonuses to nature and perception and access to spirit gifts (i.e. primal themed cantrips). Their utilities range from a 'bloodied determination' (spend a heroic surge to gain regeneration while bloodied and not dying until the end of the encounter) to skinchanging to herbal medicine to a variation on the 3e barbarian's trapsense/uncanny dodge (essentially a 'burn 1 focus to act normally during a surprise round) to an actual 'berserker rage' (become flat-footed and deal extra damage... and works for any class; think sorcerous berserker or a paladin's divine wrath).

What is a "focus"?

I also like that you are trying to achieve a balance in between combat abilities and non-combat abilities. That was one of my biggest gripes with early 4e class design. Every power, every paragon path, ever epic destiny seemed to somehow pertain directly to combat no matter how flavorful, utilitarian, and cool the fluff made it sound. Sure, there were a few odd ones out, but it was mostly combat focused power design.

That's one of the reasons that I really started to embrace Essentials design. It kept a lot of the combat designed powers that I did enjoy but also attempted to add powers and class features that didn't necessarily only apply to combat. Like the Skald's Signs of Influence, Druid Wilderness Knacks, Ranger Wilderness Knacks, potent Wizard utilities, Thieves increased skills and tricks, proper animal companions. A strange, yet cool, Vampire Class (which should've just been a theme or background), that had quite a few cool abilites. The useful Druid utilities that gave you bonuses to things in and out of combat.

Who knows... Maybe I'm just crazy. Maybe they don't have more out of combat options. If they don't, then they sure do a better job of highlighting them.

I do wish rituals would've been supported in Essentials though. But the lack of rituals is also how we got some of the really powerful cleric, druid, and wizard powers.

Will the backgrounds only give benefits through the Heroic tier, or will they continue up through Paragon and Epic? I feel like at east increasing the amount of benefits and perhaps spreading them out to higher tiers would definitely give you the feel that you're character is constantly progressing in not only his class abilities but background ones too. But I also get that themes essentially played the part of the "Heroic Path". And by the time that you reach Paragon tier your "background" is pretty much just a background.

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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:33 am

Sorry, just ignore that part about spreading out background abilities. I just read your previous post on that. I'm still trying to catch up on everything.

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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Aug 26, 2014 1:22 pm

Felorn Gloryaxe wrote:
What is a "focus"?
Focus is the term I'm using at the moment to label the fuel for your encounter-level benefits.

It got its start as a fighter exclusive feature (Martial Focus) and as I started expanding it out into other classes in place of defined encounter powers I had originally intended to have different names based on which power source your class belonged to (arcane reserves, divine favor, primal power) and where the expenditure would be limited to traits with the appropriate keywords (ex. you could spend martial focus on any martial attack, but not on an arcane attack), but as I started developing races with abilities that also needed to consume encounter-level resources (dragon's breath for example) I pulled back from distinctive resources and into a universal 'focus' resource.

I'm not adverse to some other name for it, but I've found it's a good generic term for both martial and magical abilities where something like mana or endurance (which should have nothing to do with your ability to pray for a miracle or call on a spirit ally for aid) simply didn't quite fit. I suppose 'Reserves' would be another okay term, but 'focus' is shorter so I'm sticking with it for the time being.

Quote :
I also like that you are trying to achieve a balance in between combat abilities and non-combat abilities. That was one of my biggest gripes with early 4e class design. Every power, every paragon path, ever epic destiny seemed to somehow pertain directly to combat no matter how flavorful, utilitarian, and cool the fluff made it sound. Sure, there were a few odd ones out, but it was mostly combat focused power design.

My design goal is that every class should get the power source equivalent of a wizard's cantrips. Right now I'm assembling lists of cantrips (arcane), orisons (divine), talents (martial) and spirit gifts (primal) for each of the power sources. Different backgrounds will give you access to different lists (the 'Religious Order' background will let you pick 'orisons' in addition to the ones your class would normally allow) or even different benefits entirely (the 'Nobility' background gets some very 'signs of influence' type benefit options). A few backgrounds might even provide a bonus one if it particularly fits the concept (the 'Craftsman' background would grant you the choice of one of the 'craft' benefits as its initial benefit).

The plan right now is for characters to start with three such benefits and then pick up one additional in the final level of each tier (5, 10 and 15) for a total of six. There will probably also be a feat to let you select more if you desire.

As to the spread over which the backgrounds provide benefits, right now the schedule is, I believe 1, 2, 4 and 6. I cut it off there for two reasons... one feel and the other strictly mechanical. My primary reason was the mechanical one. I had too many benefits per level stacking up in late paragon and epic so I needed something to cut out by early paragon to make room for them. I chose backgrounds to cut out because, at least to me, it makes sense that, after a certain point, where you came from is less important than where you are now and where you want to go in the future. Thus having the benefits of your background taper down to just utility power choices past early paragon made sense from a 'feel' standpoint.
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Aug 26, 2014 1:48 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
Felorn Gloryaxe wrote:
What is a "focus"?
Focus is the term I'm using at the moment to label the fuel for your encounter-level benefits.

It got its start as a fighter exclusive feature (Martial Focus) and as I started expanding it out into other classes in place of defined encounter powers I had originally intended to have different names based on which power source your class belonged to (arcane reserves, divine favor, primal power) and where the expenditure would be limited to traits with the appropriate keywords (ex. you could spend martial focus on any martial attack, but not on an arcane attack), but as I started developing races with abilities that also needed to consume encounter-level resources (dragon's breath for example) I pulled back from distinctive resources and into a universal 'focus' resource.


It almost sounds like a similar system that I'm using for the point based classes that I'm designing. I went back and instead of each class having a individual type of point (fighter = stamina, wizards = mana, cleric = faith, etc.), that they would regain in various ways, I unified them and called them Power Points. You will basically expend power points to augment your attacks and turn what would be a normal basic attack into the equivalent of a encounter or daily power.

Will dailies also run off of focus?

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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:14 pm

To the extent that there ARE dailies (I am putting much more focus on encounter-level effects) they will be running off heroic surges (which are basically a combination of healing surges, action points and failed death saves).

The gist of the design is that all encounter-level benefits run off focus while all daily-level benefits run off of surges. To keep both from being burned up in a single action/encounter there are scaling 'burn limits' in place that keep from spending more than X focus per action and no more than Y surges per encounter.

Focus recovers completely after a short rest. You regain 1 surge after each successful encounter (i.e. you can't stack short rests to regain more) and all your surges after an extended rest. During an encounter you can also burn a surge to regain focus equal to your burn limit (though this counts against your surge burn limit which detemines how much you can heal during the encounter so use with caution).
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:12 am

Okay, I'd like to get some input on healing. Encounter-level healing needs to be limited in some fashion, but the 4E style of granting a limited number of healing powers runs counter to my 'all encounter-level powers are fueled by focus rather than specific limits to their use'.

While I COULD just set a limit on how many times a leader can use 'healing word' in an encounter, it feels somewhat crude and inelegant. A cleaner solution I'm thinking is to shift the limited healing burden over onto the target by changing my surge 'burn limit' from only applying to non-healing uses of heroic surges to covering ALL uses of heroic surges (with failed death saves simply burning off surges with no regard to the limit one way or the other).

Since these surges are also used for action points and similar benefits, it creates a tactical decision point on whether it is better to spend that surge for an extra action early in the fight or to save it for extra healing if the encounter swings badly against you.

So, what happens if you've reached your encounter limit on surges but still need to be healed? I've got two options I'm weighing.

The first is that once you reach your encounter surge limit, you can still be healed, but the surge cost is doubled (i.e. burn two surges to regain one surge's worth of hit points). This option is potentially easier at the encounter level, but more taxing on the daily level.

The second is that once you reach your encounter surge limit, the only healing you can receive is the 'bonus healing' from a healing power and even then, only up to your bloodied value. In 4E terms, if a 1st level warlord used his inspiring word on a target with no surges, they'd only regain the 1d6 bonus hit points and those points would only apply up to your bloodied value. This makes power expenditures to heal the target more costly (in both actions and focus needed) and makes the encounter more difficult, but does not have that great an effect on the daily level resources.

Of these two, I lean towards the second because it keeps the difficulties at the encounter-level where they'll affect a party equally whether they have one encounter a day or five, but I'm open to suggestions.

In terms of this though, I'm going to need to set realistic surge 'encounter burn limits' and to that end, I would like to hear, in your experience, how many surges do defenders in your games burn during an encounter and are there any types of characters that seem to burn way more or less than this (ex. anecdotally I've found that ranged types seem to burn far fewer surges to the point that, after four encounters, our wizard might be down only one while our fighter is running on fumes... by contrast, unless they've been hording it for a known big bad final encounter, the wizard is usually out of dailies by that point while the fighter might have a couple still left).

Right now my thought is 3/4/5 (by tier) surges per encounter. Maybe guardians need to be able to spend an extra per encounter (perhaps with an 'only to heal' limitation) while controllers may be able to get by on one less. Maybe it needs to be 3 from 1-7 and 4 from 8-15 (mirroring the point where leaders get their third 'healing word'). I could also see a case for making it a bit variable (ex. 1/4 your total surges, rounding down).

I only have my own group's experiences and what the math tells me to go on through... any additional observations, even anecdotal ones could be helpful in coming up with better numbers.
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:58 pm

So, I'm looking at ways to streamline my design and one of the things I've mentioned is that I'm moving towards swapping out the descriptions of a lot of powers away from basically repeating a basic attack with one or two things different to one that simply references the modifications to a basic attack when its made (ex. make a melee basic attack and, if you hit, push the target 1 square and then shift 1 square into a square it occupied).

But now I'm debating if I shouldn't take that just a bit further. Most classes' powers seem to have the exact same attack bonus and the exact damage bonus, with only the targets, targeted defense, number of dice and additional effects changing from power to power.

So I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better design to simply make 'Attack bonus' and 'Damage Bonus' its own thing where it get calculated once just like your AC or other defenses and then gets referenced by your powers the same way defenses are (i.e. Attack vs. Reflex).

Realistically, you'd need separate calculations for each weapon or implement used, but generally speaking you're looking at only one, maybe two, attack/damage sets for most characters (a wizard would only need the numbers for their chosen implement, a fighter might need the numbers for a melee and a ranged weapon, a cleric might need numbers for their melee weapon and holy symbol).

It might be worth doing, or maybe not... I'm just experimenting with ways to make the process run smoother.
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:40 am

I like that idea. With this, you greatly reduce the amount of redundancy in the character sheet. I noticed when playing my assault swordmage that I had a lot of redundant attack and damage calculations on the power cards sheet, at least four or five repeats of the same information.

It also separates your creation from official 4e, which is a good thing in terms of establishing product identity and avoiding cease-and-desist letters.

One way I would recommend doing it is for weapons to have the base calculation for targeting Fortitude/Reflex/Will and have a section below it adding on the proficiency bonus for attacks against AC.
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:24 am

Except that, in 4E, weapon attacks (i.e. those with the weapon keyword) do use the weapon's proficiency bonus regardless of whether they attack AC or one of the NADs. That's one of the reasons why a weapon attack against a NAD is considered so good... its basically a +2 to the attack roll. Only when a weapons is used as an implement for an implement attack does it not gain that bonus.

To that end, I'm thinking I could get away with just three categories; melee, ranged, and implement. Spellblades and Paladins uses their weapon as their implement so they'd need to calculate it once as a melee weapon and once as an implement.

Characters who use many different types of weapons would obviously need additional lines on the sheet for them, but I can't see much beyond a main melee weapon, a backup or offhand melee weapon, a ranged weapon and a dagger (four weapons total) on any sort of regular basis, especially since 4E dumped the 3E 'golf bag' of special materials to overcome resistance approach.

Right now I'm seeing five lines for each weapon/implement; attack bonus, damage die, damage bonus, critical dice (how many extra damage dice get rolled on a crit) and special properties (ex. brutal, special damage type, etc.).
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:20 pm

Wow, it's been a while since I played.
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:18 am

Hey, I somewhat know the feeling. We were playing with a LOT of house rules for awhile designed to streamline our combats and recently decided to go back to 'as written' because of how certain things were interacting. They were great ideas, but really needed to built into the core engine to run without problems.

Some of those design elements (streamlined bonuses, encounter-level focus, burning resources to use powers, tighter math to keep monsters useful longer) have definitely played a role in my design.

An another note, since I brought it up, I am looking at some alternatives in terms of critical hits. I really like the basis of 4E (i.e. max damage) but I always found the added dice to be a bit clunky... Especially with enhancement bonuses removed from the mechanics.

The option I'm leaning towards most at the moment is something super-simple... a critical hit deals maximum damage plus your level. Admittedly this is less than the average provided by bonus dice, but as a core to build from its a clean and solid base.
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:28 am

Do weapons even need to have proficiency bonuses? It always felt like an unnecessary and inelegant kludge to me in 4e. There's no real reason why a longsword and a magic wand, or a sword-thrust and a spell attack, need to have different 'to hit' numbers. Making AC arbitrarily 2-3 points higher than other defenses and then making up for that with an equally arbitrary 'bonus' to weapon attacks just seems silly to me.

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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:33 am

AC wasn't arbitrarily 2-3 points higher though... it was higher because armor had to have some kind of effect. Light armor provides a bonus to AC on top of your existing Dex/Int as do shields (it should be noted that the only classes in 4E that really got shield proficiencies did not have Dex or Int as a primary or secondary ability score so that the Shield Bonus to Reflex tended to more bring that defense up to par rather than make it exceedingly good). The +2-3 proficiency bonus to attack rolls with weapons is specifically to make up for the armor bonus.

The alternatives that that are to either...
A) Turn armor into class feature/fluff, which I'm not all that fond of... I think 13th Age took things a bit too far in terms of making armor and weapons generic.
B) Do something needlessly complex like 3E did with max Dex bonuses to AC based on what type of armor you wore... with the problem there being that to make the math work without the weapon proficiency bonuses you'd have to limit the Dex/Int bonus to no more than what you could get from from a maxed-out Dex/Int score and then figure out what to do with shields as well... meaning there's NEVER a reason for a rogue or ranger or wizard or spellblade or gadgeteer to ever wear armor of any kind.

There are also some other advantages to having the proficiency bonus too... it separates someone who's had training with a weapon from those who don't without have to have an equally inelegant penalty for non-proficiency*. That I'm also using various proficiency bonuses for skills (trained was a 4E-ism, so I'm going with proficiency) to differentiate between trained and untrained skills which makes the bonus for training in a weapon feel like less of a kludge (both improve your odds on a d20 check to succeed with something you're trained in).

*It should be noted that the bonus for proficiency with an implement is that you can actually use it to channel magic through and not just as a mundane stick, snow globe or religious pendant.

That's why, at least as currently designed, the game needs a proficiency bonus for weapons and why AC is a couple points higher than your NAD's (if it helps, you might think of it as a proficiency bonus to AC since you need to proficient in the armor to use it effectively).
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:56 am

I guess if you're applying the concept of a 'proficiency bonus' more widely than just for weapons, then it makes sense.

Personally, I much prefer the way 13th Age handles weapons and armour. But you don't so... Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:55 am

The thing I didn't like about 13th Age's weapons and armor is they were completely and utterly generic. I want the use of a battleaxe to feel different from a longsword and both to feel different from a flail... which in 13th Age would all just be a 1d8 damage with no special features at all. It just throws away an entire level of customization.

I want weapon choices to be ways to open up tactical options... Its easier to push with a bludgeon, trip with a flail and pierce armor with a pick. Heavy blades favor defensive strikes while light blades work best when your target is flat-footed. Its an extra layer of customization layered on top of a fighter's stances or a spellblade's wards or a paladin's prayers.

For the same reason, I'm making distinctions between accurate wands, defensive staves and potent orbs. Your choice of implement helps flavor your magic just as your weapon flavors your fighting style.
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:58 pm

You could probably genericize armor and distinguish weapons by giving them different properties (perhaps related to their old 4e feats).
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:18 am

One idea I did have a few years back when attempting to build my own homebrew RPG system was to have different weapons distinguished by features tied not to the weapon-as-item but to the character's training with that weapon.

So a longsword, a morningstar and a battleaxe would have been mechanically identical for a character not specially trained in their use: just a one-handed melee weapon. But as a character became more skilled with a longsword, she'd get better at parrying enemy attacks while wielding one. As she got better with the morningstar, she'd make enemy armour less effective when she hit with it. And as she improved her skill with the battleaxe, she'd do more damage when using it.

I'm not sure how you'd port something like that into your system, if indeed you'd even want to. I do occasionally think vaguely about designing some homebrew feats to port it into 13th Age, though. It's one of the few bits of my homebrew system I actually ever felt reasonably happy with.

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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:47 am

Well, there will definitely be feats to do those things, but I also like some of the base variations in things like accuracy and damage too. The idea that you start out choosing a longsword because you favor accuracy or a battleaxe because you want more damage can help shape a concept initially before feats are even chosen.

One of the amusing things about the varied proficiency bonus too is that it means its actually slightly easier to for someone untrained in weapons to use a battleaxe (only 10% behind someone trained in it) than a longsword or rapier (15% behind someone trained in it).

-------

On another note, one of my other decisions in terms of mechanics has to do with reigning in a bit of the unreality of hit points in certain situations. Namely all those time you might plunge hundreds of feet, get up and brush yourself off an walk away unharmed, or fall into a pool of acid/lava or otherwise be exposed to something that by rights should kill virtually anyone but because it deals a set amount of hit point damage, does not.

But I my solution is rather the opposite of most. I'm NOT putting in some sort of 'massive damage/instant death' rule... because those are no fun. Instead, whenever you fail a save against forced movement into something that would cause you to take more damage than your bloodied value, you don't actually fall in... instead simply lose a heroic surge and end up prone just outside what would have caused that damage (the edge of the cliff, edge of the pool of lava, etc.).

Basically, its a variation on my initial thought that I'd remove the three fails and you're dead of death saves with 'each failed save costs you a heroic surge' and the hoped for result of this mechanic is that PC's and major monsters can't just be taken out of the fight by one failed save knocking them into some treacherous piece of terrain... instead they're able to maintain their grip just on the edge of total destruction until their deepest reserves of stamina/luck (i.e. heroic surges) run out.
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PostSubject: Re: Throwing my hat into the 4E retro-clone ring.   Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:00 pm

A little design update this afternoon. I thought I'd share how the martial classes are shaping up in terms of design.

The first thing of note is that I'm trying to find at least one common through-point for each of the power sources and for the Martial classes its going to be their use of stances to modify their attacks.

The underlying structure for each of the martial classes is that they'll start with two stances, which will also include extra effects you can pull off while in that stance by spending differing amounts of focus on it (ex. Shifting Skirmisher: While in this stance, when you hit an enemy with a melee weapon attack, you can shift 1 square as a free action. Each point of focus spent lets you deal 1W extra damage to the target or to pull any enemies within 2 squares that you choose into the closest square to it that is also adjacent to you). You gain an additional stance at levels 4 and 9 (for a total of 4 stances).

At levels 2, 7, 12 and 14 you'll also get an extra focus option for one of your stances based on your chosen role (improving Shifting Skirmisher as a guardian would allow you to spend focus to increase your shift distance/pull range, while a slayer gains the option to spend focus to deal X damage to each adjacent target).

This element will be consistent across the Martial classes, though the specific stances with vary from class to class (the fighter's stances will lean more guardian, the ranger's a bit more controller and the rogue's a bit more enabler).

Most of the Fighter's role-related elements are wrapped up in their standard action attacks/reactions, but the Ranger and Rogue both use their minor actions to reflect their roles.

For the Ranger, the controller-build will be able to spend their minor actions to load 'trick ammunition' that will affect their targets whether their attacks hit or miss (applying a slow effect via a 'sticky shot' or turning an attack into a ranged blast by loading multiple shots for example). Meanwhile the slayer builds will either be able to use their minor action to make a second attack with their offhand weapon or grant their beast companion an attack (improved stances for beast-masters would grant special options to these beast attacks) as their means of hitting the slayer role's damage targets.

For the Rogue, the slayer versions' minor actions will allow them to pull off various tricks that allow them to get an edge over their opponents (including setting up a sneak attack) while the enabler versions will gain 'tactics', minor actions that buff their allies.

As with my working out the divine classes, the level of armor is going to vary from sub-build to sub-build (ex. Knights get plate armor while Harriers get only light armors and a defense bonus) with light armor and heavy armor options for all three classes (the Rogue has the 'Brigand' and 'Warlord' sub-builds for example).

So that's a bit of a status update on how the guts of the mechanics are working themselves out.
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