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 I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)

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Honorbound
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:02 am

It looks like you're caught in a catch-22. If the scaling die idea only really works at levels 1, 6 and 11 as you said, with the other 12 levels falling behind, then there's no real point. The other option, scrapping the scaling dice and just increasing the damage per level results in the damage dice becoming irrelevant at higher levels - I can see why you dislike that solution.


I don't have the math expertise to refine either idea the way you need, so it's off to the Crazy Ideas Theater for an alternate angle:

If you still want to keep the scaling damage dice idea, perhaps you could switch to a tier-based damage/HP progression instead of a level-based progression, so that you cut out the scaling problems of the 2-5, 7-10, and 12-15 levels altogether.

As a second crazy idea, you could simply ditch the scaling damage dice/hp altogether and stick with the damage dice and HP that the level one characters get and communicate scaling only through the attacks, defenses, and skills.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:13 am

The tier based is an option. Not my favorite, but none of the ones I've developed so far are either.

The issue with the second option is that it makes low leveled critters very swingy and harder to balance. One thing 5e did do right is that scaling damage/hp is actually easier to balance out than scaling attacks/defenses. That's because the larger pool of hit points lets you more easily absorb the fluke rolls from weak critters that are way higher than the average damage, while a series of fluke rolls (those times when the DM's dice are on fire) when attack/defense are the only variables will cause a band of lucky goblins to TPK a 12th level party because each hit is doing as much as any other monster.

Having slept on it, I think one possible fix to the scaling dice is to not make them scale with tier, but use them in place of either the +1 to damage at 3, 8 and 13 that I gave several of the classes (mostly to line up with the 5, 15 and 25 damage bumps many of the E-classes got in lieu of dailies) and then drop the hit point values to 6/8/10 per level as discussed previously so that the increase in damage per level is down to 2/level.

The advantage over the per tier scaling dice is that while its still not as smooth as an even +X per level, it minimizes the shortfall and lets you get ahead of the average for a couple levels as well (versus always playing catchup with the bump coming only at 6 and 12). The downside is I'll probably need to reign in the damage values on weapons/implements (d12's would probably give too much of a bump and d4's are probably not nearly enough... not that many builds would even be using daggers as anything other than a last ditch weapon anyway) and maybe even dropping superior weapons entirely (or make superior weapons into ones with more properties rather than more accuracy/damage than their military kin).

If this is the route I go though, I think I'll follow the 'every edition but 3e' approach of doing monsters differently... at least for the playtest versions.

Because I don't have time to design a different set of monsters for all 15 levels at this stage (once the math is solid that'll be goal though) I designed the initial batch of monsters as level agnostic with base values and 'per level' or '+level' modifiers to their stats. I don't mind the playtest monsters doing pretty much 'average' damage so a flat +2/level damage bump (maybe +3/level for brutes) will work fine at this stage.

I still don't particularly LIKE this idea I just outlined, but its the best I've come up with at this stage. More ideal to me would be something where the damage value does increase smoothly (ex. +2/level) but then transforms from a static bonus into extra dice once the static bonus gets big enough. The problem being that such a system would be WAY too complex... and probably needlessly so.

So long as you get a damage bump every level with occasional bigger bumps from more dice most people probably won't even notice the +2 to -2 variance in damage per hit vs. target HP compared to a perfectly smooth progression. This may indeed be a case where my desire for the 'perfect' is making me doubt what could be a 'good enough' solution to the problem.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Fri Feb 13, 2015 12:44 pm

Yeah, I didn't think to account for hot dice rolls in the second option, which is really ironic, since the last 4e campaign I played in, the DM had evil dice.

With your option, would that involve just replacing the damage increase option on the classes that get the 3/8/13 damage bonus, like the fighter and ranger, or are the classes that don't get a normal 3/8/13 bonus, like the rogue and wizard, getting in on it?

Reigning in the damage dice variance wouldn't be bad at all. I wouldn't miss the d4 at all, for example. As for the d12, you could put it at the very end of your weapon damage chart, replacing that 2d6 (brutal 1) superior weapon, if you do decide to keep the superior weapons' damage increase.

Your solution of converting large-enough static bonuses to damage dice would be a pain in the rear, as you pointed out. You'd have to make a conversion chart for each type of die, which is really more trouble than it's worth.

I have no problem with doing monsters differently than PCs. Like you said, every edition but third did it, and they had a reason for it: the monsters are filling different roles than the player characters, so it's expected that they would have different crunch. I think the 3e designers forgot this fact. Speaking of monsters, if I were you, I'd simply keep the level-agnostic design for all the monsters, simply to save the DM a step in converting low-level monsters for a high-level campaign, and vice versa.

It may not be a perfect solution, but it's a workable one.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:22 pm

Yeah, everyone would get the extra dice at 3/8/13 not just those that currently get the bonuses. The only things not getting in on that would be a couple of attack powers that don't actually deal damage to begin with (ex. Command and Web being the only two I can think of off the top of my head)..

One benefit this change could have is that because the increased damage dice is something of a benefit on its own I can smooth out the fighter's respective role-based damage features to +1/2 level to Reactive Strikes or Damage Rolls instead of "gain +X damage at 3/8/13" that was mostly done to provide some type of concrete benefit to those levels.

The biggest issue with dropping the 1d4 is what to do with daggers. As a simple weapon I could see a case for them being +2/1d6 weapons while short swords are +3/1d6 weapons... but its certainly a possibility.

The main reason I'm leaning towards giving the monsters specific levels is because one of the best things about 4E's monsters were that you could just open up the book to the right page and go and while level agnostic monsters may be more efficient in terms of book space, they require just enough work in adding in the level related items to take away that 'grab and go' element that 4E had with its monsters.

ETA: One other minor bit as I'm actually toying with the numbers. I think I may have to drop the 6/level hit point category, at least from the PC's. Starting with 18 hit points when the average damage from a first level critter is about 10 points is just a bit too squishy for my tastes and 12 points vs. 24 hit points, 14 vs. 30 hp and 16 vs. 36 hp aren't much better... especially when the hit rate on the squishies by monsters is closer to 60% vs. the 50% for slayers/enablers and 40% for guardians. As such, I'm going to bump the hit points for mages and the controller classes up to the same 16+8/level hit points that everything but Guardians gets.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:53 pm

Thanks for the clarification on the damage dice.

Having the dagger be +2/1d6 could work, like you said. After all, some knives practically qualify as short swords (Bowie knives, I'm looking at you).

I like the Best of Both Worlds option - it's a little more work on your end, but it's more convenient for the target audience.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:56 am

So far the number of classes that would be required to use daggers as anything but a backup weapon is non-existent (wizards and spellblades can use daggers as implements, but they get their own damage die based on the class for that purpose) so I could go either way on the dagger. Mechanically a d4 dagger is no more than 4 less average damage than a short sword while keeping the improved accuracy (+3 vs. +2) and there are plenty of +2/d6 offhand thrown weapons already (the handaxe and javelin for example). Improved accuracy could be a valid tradeoff if you're limited to simple weapons.

In thinking about it further, I'm not sure I actually need to kill the d12's either for basically the inverse reason. You're always sacrificing a shield/offhand and either accuracy or a utility choice to get a d12 damage die and it really only nets you a total of 4 extra damage at level 13+ by doing so. Light blade specialization grants almost as much against any flat-footed opponent (which is pretty easy to get) with slightly less opportunity cost.

And Best of Both Worlds option it is. The nice thing on my end is that 90% of BoBW option is just cut and paste along with my monster stat template. The only thing that needs to change are any powers gained in later tiers and even that's not THAT much of an issue as I'm trying to keep most of the standard monster designs to at-will effects to minimize the tracking needed for them (the GM has to track several monsters at once versus only needing to track one PC, why make it harder than it needs to be). Only elites and solos will really have powers that need to be tracked (and not even all of those).

ETA: Here's how the Ogre Champion is shaping up... I'm putting things on separate lines here to make it easier to read.

OGRE CHAMPION (LARGE SHADOW HUMANOID ELITE STRIKER [LEADER])
Initiative +level
Perception +3+level (Darkvision)
Speed 6 squares
Hit Points 40+20/level
Defenses AC 15+level; Fort 14+level, Reflex 11+level, Will 14+level; Resist Shadow
Reactive Strike: 8+level damage.

STANDARD ACTIONS
Waraxe (At-Will): Melee 2; 5+level vs. AC; 1d10+5+3/level damage, push the target 1 square and shift 1 to an adjacent square.
Heavy Javelins (At-Will): Range 10/20; 5+level vs. AC; 1d10+5+2/level damage.
Sweeping Rampage (At-Will; 1/round): Make a Waraxe attack. After resolving its effects, make a second Waraxe attack against a different target.

MINOR ACTIONS
Consume the Weak (At-Will): The ogre reduces an adjacent allied creature to 0 hit points and regains 10/tier hit points.
Into the Fray (At-Will): The ogre or 1 ally/tier can shift 2 squares or move 4 squares.
Walk it Off (At-Will): The ogre or 1 ally/tier can make a recovery check against a condition affecting it.

ABILITIES
Ability Scores STR 5 CON 3 DEX 0 INT 0 WIS 3 CHA 4
Proficiencies Athletics 10+level, Intimidate 9+level, Stealth 0+level (5+level in dim-light or darkness).
Shadow-walker By concentrating for 1 minute in total darkness the ogre and any creatures it is touching can enter or leave the Shadow World. It arrives at a location corresponding to where it left.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:39 pm

The statblock itself looks nice and simple: no clutter, no unnecessary information. I like how you ordered the information in order from most to least relevant. I love the flavor of Consume the Weak - it's a simple mechanic, but it does more than any other feature in the statblock to describe the nature of the ogre in question.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:19 pm

I'm glad you approve.

Without further ado, here's the latest update. 4e Legacy Project Build File

Of particular note;
- I've clarified ability proficiencies, modified focus costs and added an automatic success option to focus expenditures.
- Adjusted weapon/implement damage as previously discussed and added a universal 'hindered attack' action.
- Added Halfling and Gnome races and filled in the Golem's warrior benefit.
- Adjusted Hit Points and Focus values across all classes and did some minor tweaks to the classes based off the changes above (ex. smoothing out the Slayer damage bonuses for the Fighter).
- Added the Spellblade and Gadgeteer classes.
- Filled in more powers under the Arcanist and Religious backgrounds.
- Added the Skills section.
- Added nine monsters for playtesting (goblin archer, goblin skulker, goblin thug, orc warrior, orc soldier, ogre champion, human necromancer, zombie brawler and ember demon besieger).

Let me all know what you think... comments are welcomed and encouraged as always.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:12 am

So... unexpected side-effect of changing the damage numbers around I just caught (along with a typo under the slayer spellblade damage (it should be +1/2 level not +level) is that the ranger/scout's damage is WAY too good due to basically getting a full second attack... even when using the 1d6 scale weapons the class is designed to.

At the same time the main reason for denying the ability to spend focus on the Rapid attacks dwindles with the ability to use focus to bump damage taken away so its level 5 and 10 features are less interesting.

I need to do a little reworking, because I really like being able to make two, basically identical attacks rather than needing to track which is the standard and which is the minor... so I'm thinking that the scout will get some special damage scaling rules for dual wielding or using a load free ranged weapon (likely increasing the die types along a scale instead of just adding additional dice... increasing each die by two types... d6 to d10 or d8 to d12... would be in the ballpark).
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:56 am

First off, I just want to say that I love your formatting, especially in the way you organized it. The last pdf was a hodgepodge of notes (as you said), but this is much easier to sort through. I also like the completion checklist you put at the beginning, showing what we have left to look forward to. By the way, good idea on the names of the primal classes. You've neatly sidestepped the “druid can do everything” issue by making each of its components – leader role/enabling, summoning, and shapeshifting – as different roles.

Other Notes:

I've been wondering this for a while, but never got around to mentioning it (because I'm a bum): do the martial stances still apply to reactive strikes, as you originally proposed, or is that solely an intermediate heavy blade specialization now?

With the sorcerer, are you still doing the “increase damage at certain levels” as in the previous pdf? With the striker and berserker fighters and the sorcerous blade spellblade, you switched to “focus ability score plus half-level” notation for the extra damage. I was just wondering if the sorcerer was a special case.

Again, the gnomes have some neat flavor – they and the halflings have a neat duology going for them: the gnomes representing the natural event of a child's birth and the resultant joy, while the halflings represent the wholly unnatural death of a child, leaving behind a haunting grief. Psychologically, it's going to be hard for players to get into their heads, from a roleplaying perspective, but some folks live for the challenge.

The warrior golem's benefit is quite frankly perfect for it, though why I never thought to suggest it when reviewing the last pdf is beyond me.

I noticed in the Outlaw background that you had two different utilities with the same effect: Ambush Awareness and Properly Paranoid, both of them giving +2/3/4 bonus to Passive Perception against people making Stealth checks against them.

Gadgeteer Critique

The magitech flavor behind the class is something that the artificer only partially went into, given the nature of the power set-up. Here, with your minor-action enabler features, a gadgeteer player can be the  technomancer that they always wanted, without having to rely on daily powers (I love 4e, but I never cared for the daily powers).

By the way, I assume that the projector implements you mention are a way to play a crossbow or wand-wielding gadgeteer without having to build in fifty different implements.

Also, I love the realization of your self-forged artificer build. It's a perfect demonstration of the artificer-as-striker concept, and quite frankly, magitech cyborgs (or Iron Man, if a player is so inclined) are way too cool to be tossed aside because some grognard doesn't want it cluttering up “their” D&D. I originally thought that Int/Con would be the best way to run this build, but when I thought of the Iron Man version of the self-forged, it hit me: The only reason that self-surgery would be required is if the player wanted to fluff it that way.

The attack spells are inspired in terms of fluff: Force Net and Acidic Oil are the perfect powers for someone who likes to troll his DM, and Morale Booster is an excellent argument against the “hit points as meat points” doctrine.

Spellblade Critique

I'm a self-admitted battlemage fan – as in fanatic – so this is where most of my comments are going to fall.

First, I noticed that the Sorcerous Blade is for the most part a copy of the Sorcerer itself, since you moved the hexblade's “conjure weapon” theme into the class's general benefits. I can see why you did it, since the warder's mantle is also generated via magic. By the way, awesome renaming there: it makes a simple AC deficit elimination feature sound way cooler than it has any right to, like the character has a cloak made of magic.

Now, an area of concern: you have the guardian fighter's punishment feature, guardian aura, trigger in response to an attack roll, while the blade warder's guardian's ward only triggers when an enemy damages your ally. Combined with the +2 increase in an ally's defenses, and the two pieces of the ward work against each other, whereas the guardian's aura's taunt and reactive strike work in concert. If an  enemy under guardian's aura misses an attack against your ally, he's still going to eat a reactive strike, whereas there's no punishment if a monster under a guardian's ward misses your ally.

The reason that a relative 4e novice like me can talk about this is that in the only 4e campaign that I ever played in, I played an aegis of assault swordmage, whose aegis was phrased in the same way, and let me tell you, that mark did not trigger often enough. Talk to the folks on 4e's charop boards, and they'll tell you the same thing. This is a big part of the reason that the aegis of assault and aegis of ensnarement swordmages flopped while the aegis of shielding swordmage did well. Your own spellblade prototype in the Essentials article was able to trigger against attack rolls, hit or miss.

If you're worried about balance against the guardian fighter, and if your martial stances don't apply to reactive strikes – as I asked about above, I would recommend the following: have the damage portion of guardian's ward activate in response to an attack roll, and have the bladespell activate if the enemy's attack is successful.

Also, names. If you're worried about Hasbro legal, I would recommend changing the terminology for  the spellblade's attack spells, as well as the bladespell eyebite, since that one is a warlock power. I don't know whether a 3.x version exists under the OGL, but if I were you, I wouldn't chance it. I suggest changing eyebite to veiling flourish or something along those lines. As for bladespells, you could change them to arcane maneuvers, spell maneuvers, spell strikes or whatever else you can come up with.

That's not to say that you did a bad job: far from it. The focus ability score selections both make sense. The Int/Cha version is awesome, because you're using your character's knowledge of arcane magic to manifest his very will as weapons, literally. The Int/Con version works as well, in that his wards are a manifestation of his physical toughness. I would have preferred an Int/Str combination, but really, after putting +1 in Str to keep him in partial armor, the rest is superfluous, while Con as a focus score nets the spellblade extra heroic surges.

I may have complained about using the word bladespell, but the bladespells themselves are awesome. Acidic Assault, Blizzard Blade, Shocking Sword, Dragging Hand, Eyebite, and Transposing Strike may be obvious, but by God, they do what a player expects when he or she activates them. Foresight Strike, Grasping Gremlins, and Toxic Transmutation are creative applications of alternate schools of magic, showing that a spellblade doesn't have to be an evoker, even if a third of his bladespells are evocation-based.

Two of my favorites that I want to call out are warding assault and thermal thrust. Warding assault is exactly the effect that a swordmage should have had, either that or something like the battlemind's conductive defense. Seriously, the fact that the freaking artificer got a version of that effect in the form of static shock and the swordmage didn't drove me nuts.

Last but not least, thermal thrust is brilliant. It's good for defenders, matches up with what you expect of a fire power, and the mental image is gleefully awesome. It's an instant “stop, drop, and roll” for the enemy. Or if you apply a little focus, you set the terrain on fire or blast the enemy across the room. It's beautiful.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:02 am

Honorbound wrote:
I've been wondering this for a while, but never got around to mentioning it (because I'm a bum): do the martial stances still apply to reactive strikes, as you originally proposed, or is that solely an intermediate heavy blade specialization now?
I'll be honest and say I haven't quite decided (the same goes for the default timing of when you spend focus to boost an attack... before the attack roll or after?). Despite the better organization, this is still the NOTE stage of the design. That said, I did pretty much pull the 'apply stance effects out of the fighter's reactive strikes' at this stage of the design largely because a third of the stances wouldn't do anything or would become rather problematic if used that way... +1 to hit and targets fortitude don't do anything because RS's are effects with no attack roll, nor does STR damage on a miss, and -2 to hit +4/6/8 damage is just problematic without the hit roll.

Quote :
With the sorcerer, are you still doing the “increase damage at certain levels” as in the previous pdf? With the striker and berserker fighters and the sorcerous blade spellblade, you switched to “focus ability score plus half-level” notation for the extra damage. I was just wondering if the sorcerer was a special case.
Its actually not so special. The Rogue and the Gadgeteer also gain their slayer damage bonuses at levels 5, 10 and 15 (which is half the current classes) and the Ranger is just flat out a special (and currently problematic) case due to it getting its slayer damage boost via an extra attack.

What the fighter and spellblade (and likely the Shifter and Paladin) have in common is that their guardian role features are less level-based in terms of their benefits and so their slayer role features don't have to have specific levels for damage gain so that a formula (+1/2 level) can be used instead of keying to specific levels.

Quote :
I noticed in the Outlaw background that you had two different utilities with the same effect: Ambush Awareness and Properly Paranoid, both of them giving +2/3/4 bonus to Passive Perception against people making Stealth checks against them.
That is a solid OOPS on my part. I'll have to replace one of those with another option... I'm thinking Ambush Awareness gets replaced because 'Properly Paranoid' just sounds more fun.

Quote :
By the way, I assume that the projector implements you mention are a way to play a crossbow or wand-wielding gadgeteer without having to build in fifty different implements.
It could be a crossbow, it could be a wand, it could be a steampunk musket or sci-fi blaster. The main point is that it's a hand-held device that projects your effects at a target (or targets).

Quote :
Now, an area of concern: you have the guardian fighter's punishment feature, guardian aura, trigger in response to an attack roll, while the blade warder's guardian's ward only triggers when an enemy damages your ally. Combined with the +2 increase in an ally's defenses, and the two pieces of the ward work against each other, whereas the guardian's aura's taunt and reactive strike work in concert. If an  enemy under guardian's aura misses an attack against your ally, he's still going to eat a reactive strike, whereas there's no punishment if a monster under a guardian's ward misses your ally.

The reason that a relative 4e novice like me can talk about this is that in the only 4e campaign that I ever played in, I played an aegis of assault swordmage, whose aegis was phrased in the same way, and let me tell you, that mark did not trigger often enough. Talk to the folks on 4e's charop boards, and they'll tell you the same thing. This is a big part of the reason that the aegis of assault and aegis of ensnarement swordmages flopped while the aegis of shielding swordmage did well. Your own spellblade prototype in the Essentials article was able to trigger against attack rolls, hit or miss.

If you're worried about balance against the guardian fighter, and if your martial stances don't apply to reactive strikes – as I asked about above, I would recommend the following: have the damage portion of guardian's ward activate in response to an attack roll, and have the bladespell activate if the enemy's attack is successful.
The big thing I was trying to balance out was the benefits of range (a fighter has to be wielding a ranged weapon to make reactive strikes if the target of a guardian's taunt is not adjacent to them... the spellblade can put his ward on any ally within 10 squares while still wielding their primary weapon) and that the ward's effect isn't a reaction (i.e. even if the spellblade is dazzled, dazed, etc. the ward still goes off)... plus the Essentials Options version's issue with some of the bladespells being able to completely negate an attack if they triggered in response to an attack roll. Overcompensation on my part is a definite possibility here so I'll definitely take another look.

ETA: After looking it over I decided to balance the range and extra effects from the blade spells with slightly reduced damage (the acidic assault stance will put it back into line with the fighter's reactive strikes if pure damage is desired) and change the wording to 'attacks' instead of 'deals damage' as follows...

Guardian’s Ward: Minor Action / Melee 10 / choose 1 blade spell you know. 1/2/4 (by tier) allies gain +2 to their defenses and, if an enemy attacks them, that enemy suffers INT+your level damage plus the effects of the chosen blade spell after the attack is resolved (ENT). Any blade spell effect that would apply to you, instead applies to the targeted ally. You may not spend focus on these blade spell effects.

Quote :
Also, names. If you're worried about Hasbro legal, I would recommend changing the terminology for  the spellblade's attack spells, as well as the bladespell eyebite, since that one is a warlock power. I don't know whether a 3.x version exists under the OGL, but if I were you, I wouldn't chance it. I suggest changing eyebite to veiling flourish or something along those lines. As for bladespells, you could change them to arcane maneuvers, spell maneuvers, spell strikes or whatever else you can come up with.
Eyebite is safely in the OGL (it's a 3.5e 6th level Sorcerer/Wizard spell) and I'll see about the bladespells. I'm less worried about the names of things confined to single classes, especially if the presentation and effects are significantly different (i.e. these modify your basic weapon attacks like a stance rather than shoot out at different targets when you hit with a basic weapon attack). Still, the names of different things are definitely on my watch list both due to potential legal issues (though simply adding a space so they're 'blade spells' makes them sufficiently generic that I should be covered) and because some terminology might be better (ex. I've debated changing hit points to 'stamina' simply to make it easier for people to wrap their heads around them not being meat points).
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:27 pm

Yeah, with the way things stand right now, it would be better to leave the fighter's reactive strikes as plain damage without that intermediate weapon specialty.

Re: damage bonuses: okay, I see now. Makes perfect sense.

Ambush Awareness vs Properly Paranoid: I like your choice. There's a reason that the latter is the name of a trope on tvtropes.

Re: the gadgeteer's projector. That sounds like all kinds of fun.

Re: Guardian's Ward. Looking back at it, the ward resembles a paladin's divine challenge or divine sanction than anything a 4e swordmage would have wielded. I can definitely see a need for the damage reduction if the bladespells apply to the triggering enemy. Heck, it's not like it's that big of a damage difference from reactive strike, which is 3 + Str + 1/2 level compared to Int + level. Maybe two points at the most? By the way, thanks for the rephrasing of the trigger mechanism - this ensures that not only does the ward go off more often, but that the timing of the damage + effect is clear. Nice work, man.

As for nomenclature, I would go with stamina points, with a sidebar explaining what they are versus hit points.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:04 am

The one downside to calling it stamina is that 'hp' is such a universally recognized abbreviation whereas 'stam' or 'sta' or worse 'sp' (for stamina points or silver pieces) are not nearly so efficient.

In other news, after running a whole bunch of math (one of the advantages of 15 levels is you don't have to look at nearly so much) I've concluded that, so long as the ranger's rapid attacks are limited to +3/1d6 or +2/1d8 damage weapons the damage values will be within a point or two of the sorcerer and spellblade slayer and be fine. As part of fixing the damage values I also removed the 1/turn restriction on the rogue's sneak attack and changed the damage to +1D extra damage so it applies to every attack you make so long as you're targeting a flat-footed target.

The only funky bit in it is that because the scout, sorcerer and sorcerous blade get their slayer damage bonus from using their minor actions (meaning they don't get it any round they're dazed or need their minor action for something else, nor when they spend an heroic surge for an extra action) I've given those classes about a +25% damage bump over the striker, berserker, thief, brigand and self-forged gadgeteer whose bonuses apply to their standard attacks (so they still get the bonus when dazed or using their minor action for something on their turn and get the damage bump to any bonus attacks they make using heroic surges or granted by an enabler).

The other thing I've discovered is that the Acrobat needs some serious love and attention because it is NOT good at its job at all (until level 6+ the scout can deal out just as much control as the Acrobat while also doing damage) and that compared to the sorcerer/spellblade's slayer roles the scout needs just a little more 'effect' to go along with its damage (I'm thinking something mobility related since NONE of the ranger's at-will attacks improve their mobility in any way because the other role is controller). So that's going to be my focus for the next day or so, after which I'll update the PDF with the most recent changes applied.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:33 pm

If I may ask, How in the world is this even tangentially related to 4e?
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:19 pm

Its a 4E 'retro-clone' akin to the 'points of light' and 'gods & heroes' projects earlier on this board (it just doesn't have a fancy name). It grew directly out of trying to create a replacement for 4E (given that 4E was no longer being supported by WotC), but needing to change some things to steer clear of intellectual property rights.

The initial pitch from which this has grown can be found, here and the original seeds for the project grew out of this 4E article I developed for a 4E fanzine.

Despite the differences to format, the game is designed play very much like 4E does, and is based on the concept of running 4E through the same sort of 'optimization pass' D&D went through in going from 3.5 to 4E. Its still got the six ability scores, hit points and martial healing, surges/action points, AC and NAD's, Standard/Minor and Movement action economy, a nearly identical skill list, power sources and roles, backgrounds/themes, attack and utility powers, encounter-based resources, 'save ends' as a duration mechanic and class designs based on being able to replicate the feel of just about every 4E class in the game (minus the psionic ones... even vampires are a stretch goal).

In fact, even the levels many of the benefits are gained at correspond to 4E... just halved (for example, you get utilities at levels 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11 and 13... corresponding to levels 2, 6, 10, 12 [paragon path], 16, 22 and 26 [epic destiny]).

Think of it as an attempt to produce a new edition of D&D based on evolving the 4E system. That's how its related to 4E.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:50 pm

Are you looking for a name? Heroic Legends?

_________________
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.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:30 pm

I'm almost thinking of playing up the greatest strength of 4E that I'm trying to carry over and do something like 'Terrors & Tactics' (TNT for short) or focus more on the setting for a name... say 'Legacies of the Fallen Earth'. I'd LOVE to play with the name by having it be something like 'Fourth Earth' (abbreviated 4E), but I think WotC legal would be all over me for that.

I've got the Ranger issues worked out and after a few other related tweeks should have a revised PDF out in the next day or two.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:49 pm

I always thought 4e's greatest strength was actually the way it does skill challenges to be honest. So a name like "Masters" or "Trials and Tribulations" or as 4e itself hearkens back to its origins as a war simulator maybe "Fantastic Skirmishes"
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:33 pm

Chris24601: Why not both? Terrors and Tactics: Legacies of the Fallen Earth sounds pretty good to me.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:15 am

Adventures in the 4th Epoch?
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:50 am

Update time.

First off, the project now has a name (and a logo) combining two of my potential titles as suggested by Honorbound. Going forward I'm calling the project Terrors & Tactics: Legacies of the Fallen Earth or just T&T (or TNT) for short.

As a side-bar, I also came up with Tales & Tactics as a potentially even stronger title, but Tales n' Tactics is the title of an indie video game and Tails and Tactics is the title of a furry themed card game... and even if my design is in a different medium and no one is likely to ever confuse the two projects, its close enough that I don't wanna have any potential IP fight... so Terrors & Tactics it is.

Added in this revision are cleanups to the Acrobat and Scout builds for the Ranger class (along with the fixes only discussed here for the Spellblade), getting the Arcanist background completely filled in (which helped fill in the Religious and Monastic background further), the addition of a Multi-classing utility power selection (under universal utilities) and the SHIFTER class.

You can find the whole thing HERE.

**********

In terms of development, I'm currently working on the Shaman class and the only major hiccup I've had is that its shared class feature (an aura rather like the chaplain's mantles or sentinel's auras from my Essentals Options article) lend their alternate role to being a Controller rather than a slayer.

I should note this isn't necessarily a problem in and of itself, but it IS a significant deviation from the other power sources (which had one each of guardian, controller and enabler and then alternate slayer builds for each). Plus, blasting people directly with primal energies is really only an option to fit into the Shaman (the Summoner being a pet class and the Shifter being melee based). I'd LIKE the Shaman's (and the cleric's) enabler features to be a bit different from rogue and gadgeteers (who both use a similar mechanic despite different effects/fluff associated with it) though and maybe the shaman (and likely the cleric) having alternate roles as controllers instead of slayers is going to have to be part of that trade-off.

Such a change though would put the position of the Theurge (the divine ranged controller/slayer) into a bit of question. The primal summoner has a distinct enough control aspect (pets) vs. what the shaman's 'hexer' build could potentially be (inverting the buffs of the aura into a penalizing aura against your enemies... +X to defense for allies from the 'medicine man' becomes -X to defense for enemies from the 'hexer') that I'm not too concerned about either of them stepping on each other's toes. The Divine source though has always been a bit muddied for me with range ending up as the primary distinguishing factor.

So... what do you think? Should the primal (and possibly divine) class builds be guardian/melee slayer (Shifter/Paladin), enabler/aura controller (Shaman/Cleric) and ranged controller/ranged slayer (Summoner/Theurge)? Or should I figure out how to keep the same balance as the other power sources (i.e. guardian/slayer, controller/slayer, enabler/slayer)?

Input is, as always, welcome.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:38 pm

For Primal, I would keep the guardian/slayer, enabler/slayer, and controller/slayer dynamic, since each primal class has a different theme (shapeshifting, summoning, and blessing/cursing), and keeping the old dynamic would allow you to have each class fulfill its role or go for straight damage. Besides, as you pointed out, the only way to do a straight primal blaster would be in the form of a slayer shaman.

Divine, though, I have no idea. Like you said, that power source has always been very muddied. There's not much separating a cleric and a theurge, just like there wasn't much separating a cleric and invoker in 4e. The paladin can be separated by the simple fact that it wields weapons, but the other two are a stretch.

Going back to fiction isn't much help, at least for me, since the only explicitly divine characters that I've read about, the Knights of the Cross in the Dresden Files, are paladins.

A really wacky idea could be to rename the theurge as the cleric and have the divine leader be an oracle who uses his or her visions to guide the party to victory. Such a class would be like your sidekick build, a lazy divine class, if you will.

I don't see any problem with the aura-based leaders dealing extra damage to whatever poor unfortunate soul happens to be in said aura.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:15 pm

The main issue I have is the Shaman's primary enabler tool is their aura (which buffs their allies)... I'd hate to have to devote so much design space to the enabler side only to have 'and the Hexer does extra damage with their attack powers' be the slayer feature. That just feels like a waste and uninspired compared to the Rogue/Gadgeteer feature flip from self to group buffs (the Hexer concept just doesn't support self-buffing as the feature trade-off... they're about hexing the enemy).

I suppose I could always drop the auras and hexer from the shaman concept so that self/ally-buffing would work the same as for the Gadgeteer and Rogue... but then all my enablers end up being more or less exactly the same mechanically (whereas the Fighter has his Guardian Aura, the Spellblade his wards and the Shifter his roar... and the Ranger has their 'fistful of arrows' and more damage, the Mage has their minor spells and the Summoner is going to have summoned pets to distinguish the way they control things).

What I'll probably do is put the Shaman on the back-burner for a bit while I hammer out the Summoner and maybe even the Paladin and Theurge and hopefully some type of answer will have arisen by then.

As another side-bar; if anyone has any particular type of monster they'd like to see, let me know. I wanna add another half-dozen or so critters for testing with for my next update and they may as well be ones people wanna see.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:56 am

After sleeping on it, I think a possible solution to the striker Shaman (and likely the striker cleric) is for the build to be a bit like the 4E warlock... a weaker striker with a relatively strong controller secondary (with the ability to inflict vulnerability to fire, cold or storm as some of their aura options, plus auras that lower defenses and one that deals outright damage actually put the shaman into the range of a slayer's damage output... albeit in a more AoE fashion).
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PostSubject: Re: I'm not actually dead (4E legacy project update)   Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:47 pm

My only concern with that is that the warlock was considered one of the weaker strikers, barely capable of fulfilling its job as a striker as compared to the rogue, ranger, or barbarian. I'd have to see what the shaman's looked like.
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