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 How would YOU build 5e?

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doctorbadwolf
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PostSubject: How would YOU build 5e?    Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:24 am

Ok, so maybe you'd make a 4.5 instead of a true 5e. Maybe you'd make a 5e that's more satisfying for players of 4e. Maybe something else. Let's discuss!

First question:

Would you make a full on new edition, or a 4.5 mid edition?


Would you try for some of the goals of Next? (Modularity, a band of complexity, reduction of number treadmill)

List your main design goals, with brief explanations.

Throw out your ideas, but try to avoid gargantuan text walls, or at least give a summary if you're gonna write a novel. :PI wrote a huge amount of stuff, so I made each point have a skim-able summary up front. use whatever format works for you, but you get the idea, I hope.

I'll start with the second post.


Last edited by doctorbadwolf on Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:25 am

Ok, here goes!


reserved

I'd go ahead and make a new edition. A year ago, I'd have said 4.5, but at this point, might as well go for broke.

Some of the same goals as Next would guide the design team, but so would some of the important goals of 4e, like balance and solid, robust game math, and not having a bunch of extraneous subsystems.


  • Modularity at the level of distinct choice points when possible, optional rules modules when needed. (at least two ways to handle skills, for instance.) This means that when we want to provide support for tactical and non tactical play, we make sure each class has options for both styles of play built in, rather than having a tactical combat module.
  • Improvisation support that's player and DM friendly, and works with, rather than just ignores, existing powers, skills and other options, but also provides support for going beyond what the books touch on.
  • Depth of Options without redundancy. Making backgrounds and themes integral to the system, having Class, Race, Power Source, Role, Weapon, Skill, etc powers and talents and general ones that anyone can take will kill most of the redundancy, reducing the number of powers, and space they take up in the books, without losing any Option Depth.
  • Simple Base Math, with a much less steep treadmill. From skills to Accuracy and Damage, the treadmill effect needs to be decreased. Not quite to the extent of Next's Bounded Accuracy, but still to something much smaller than what exists in 4e. First step is getting rid of half level bonuses to anything, ever. Maybe a bonus every four levels, when you get your stat boosts. Second step, kill untyped bonuses, with fire, twice.
  • Balance classes and races, in all "pillars" and at all levels groups. (every single option at every single level is prolly unrealistic) We're going for about the efficacy band that 4e would have if multiattacking wasn't broken (ignoring monster math, for the moment), and vampires, binders and bladesingers didn't exist, basically. Every race and class should feel comfortable playing at the same table, efficacy wise.
  • Welcome everyone to the game. Sounds simple, but there's a lot of legwork here. Next is doing it wrong, IMO, but a 4e esque 5e could do it right. The modularity point would help, as would the improv, and simple math. Also, check out Talents, changes to healing surges, etc.


I'll highlight the biggest things I'd change for the new edition. It turned into a long list, but each one gives a basic idea up front so you can skim and get the gist.

(this was down the list, but I realized other things didn't make sense without this, so I moved it. Too lazy to re-number)
X) Talents. There should be a ton fewer powers and feats, but there will also be Talents, which add class feature-like options to your character. These are available at levels when you can pick a new power. Some upgrade existing powers, or provide a new class feature that's comperable to the sort of power you would otherwise choose. Not all are class specific, just like with powers.

Again, this provides modularity of playstyle, without having to deal with actual distinct modules. If you want to play a more oldschool game, you can choose powers like cleave and power attack, stances and/or Talents instead of powers. Each class has a couple templates for quick play.

1) Everyone would have more healing surges.

  a)Encounter powers would instead cost a healing surge, and some feats/talents would have ways to upgrade powers that would cost a healing surge.

  b)Daily powers would also cost a healing surge, but would be more limited than encounter powers. Both would be renamed, probably.

  c) Surge-less healing would be very rare.


2) Absolutely no untyped bonuses. Ever.

3) Powers. Every power that essentially has a bunch of identical iterations is given a broad category that anyone that should have access to that power has access to.

 a) Class powers are either more distinct, or become Power Source, Weapon, Skill, or some other category powers.

  b) New power categories would include Tactical, which would be miscellaneous weapon based combat powers that really anyone should have access to, like Cleave and Power Attack.

4) Arcane would be split into a couple power sources. Probably Arcane and Eldritch. maybe one more, depending on how things shake out.

  a)Eldritch would include Warlock, Assassin, Binder (which would be it's own class, with complete rework), maybe Necromancer or some kind of witch doctor, Hexblade (melee/midrange weapon and magic using controller)

  b)Bladesinger concept would simply be built into the Wizard, via weapon using powers, with a Bladesinger Theme to round it out, or allow players to build one using a different Gish class.

5) All martial classes would have powers that afford players a more old school experience, without the need for a subclass. You could choose multiple uses of power attack, cleave, etc, and choose Stance daily powers so that your character is mostly playing like an old school fighter or rogue, or pick distinct powers for the more 4e feel.

  a) A rogue build or subclass would allow for a fully nonmagical controller. Possibly a fighter build/sublcass as well. Probably two rogues. Sneak Attack would apply conditions instead of adding damage, for these rogues.
    a1) Grenadier would use grenades and traps, with options for alchemical stuff. Would MC naturally with the Artificer class.
    a2) Knife Thrower would use close bursts, mid range attacks, mobillity and interrupts to apply most control effects, and do stuff like interrupting an attack to throw an enemy into another, or out of attack range (thus denying it's action).

6) The game math would be meticulously combed through to ensure that multi-attacking, charging, and single big damage attacks (high [w]s or mid [w]+class feature are all competitive damage strategies, and the reliance on huge damage numbers would be greatly reduced.

  a) Monster HP would be much less than in 4e, damage numbers a good bit smaller, and strikers would have much stronger secondary roles. And more of them would have leader as a secondary role. If it worked better, strikers might go away with most classes having way to build up big damage numbers, but the game will probably be more fun with distinct damage focused characters as a mainline option.

7) The one class one role paradigm wouldn't return. Clerics could trade healing for blasting, and just not be leaders, or Paladins could play as either leaders of defenders. The game would still be oriented toward having one each of the four roles, but each class would have more freedom in terms of role.

Cool Die, treadmill, die. IMO, Next hasn't killed the treadmill, or even weakened it. It's just put the whole weight of it on damage, instead of sharing it between damage and accuracy. Accuracy would go up a bit more than it does in Next right now, but still definitely less than in 4e, and damage/hp would scale less than in either edition.

9) More of the powers a given players has would be utility powers. This is strongly tied to the next point.

10) the page 42 improv rules would take up a whole chapter, and would be in the PHB. Then, further guidelines for dealing with improv would be in the DMG. This would include building encounters that use combat and non combat elements (mixing combat and skill challenges, in other words), using skills to boost powers, doing things entirely uncovered by the rules (and the healing surge cost for non at will powers would make balancing that much easier. if it seems more powerful than most encounter powers, make it also more situational, etc.)

One benefit of this is that it will make having a lot of powers far less important. Your class powers and features should give a solid basis from which to improv, and there's a cost built into the system for anything more powerful than an at-will. If it's barely more powerful than an atwill, and it's really situational, it shouldn't cost HS. Obviously this would be the thing that would take the most playtesting and fine tuning, other than the difference in math from previous editions.

11) Skill revamp. See lettered points. DCs have less of a treadmill.

  a) I'd be open to a handful more skills in the system, but not too many. No more than Star Wars Saga has, for instance.

  b) Knowledge would have easy to use ways to impact combat. A Tactics skill would be added. Instead of monster knowledge, it would provide knowledge of how groups of monsters operate, and the like. Heal could be used as a move action or something (more action cost than someone with a healing power) to let someone spend a healing surge, with no bonus. A careful party with a couple people trained in healing, and someone who could gather components to make healing poultices (easier to forage, but less effective than healing potions) could get by without a healer, but they'd have to take care.

  c) All classes would get the same number of trained skills. Some would have more broad class skill lists. Class skill lists would be small, and would simply provide a bonus to skill checks if you're trained in that skill, but you can train any skill. You get X skill points per level. Skill ranks always cost the same number of points, let's say 1. Multiclassing has no effect on skill cost, ever. You do gain a new Class skill when you multiclass, chosen from the new class's list.

        example: If Acrobatics is on your Class Skill List, and you train it, you get a +2 Acrobatics on top of your ranks.

Could do more, like extra skill points for higher ability scores, where you can only spend those extra points in skills that are tied to the ability score, etc, but that's the basic idea above. Obviously you get a bunch at level one. Also, background and theme give bonuses to skills like Class Skills. To keep it simple, they add skills to your Class Skill List.

12) The whole game progresses in power at the same rate, every level.

  a) Levels 20-30 don't go bat crap crazy automatically. Instead, you can choose a second theme at level 20, many of which are geared toward being a Lord and all that sort of thing. You start to get more/bigger class feature options (see 13) that deal with kingdom building, but you also get some of that stuff in earlier levels. Mostly, your class and other features simply progress at the same escalation rate as before. however:

  b) There is an Epic Play module. It replaces the second Theme with an Epic Destiny, and includes some other features that escalate the power acceleration rate to what people expect from Epic Play. This module doesn't directly touch your class, for the most part, and can be applied anytime after, say, 15th level.

13) Feats and multiclassing: Feats are less important. When they provide a strait mechanical improvement, it's situational or pretty specific. Most of the time, they're more roleplaying, non combat stuff. Weapon feats provide small and/or situational bonuses with a weapon, and allow access to weapon specific powers and talents for that weapon. Multiclass feats provide a new Class Skill chosen from the new class list, and allow access to powers and talents from the new class. Some options in many classes are marked non multiclass, if necessary for balance. Maybe they simply require extra investment, or don't "unlock" unless you've already taken X options from that class. Another thing that would need tuning via playtest.



Adding a new thing to the OP. List your main design goals!

Obviously, there's gotta be more, but those are the things I can think of right now, that are important or exiting to me.
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:43 pm

I did some work on an alternate 5e with some other people, but since that project seems stillborn (I haven't heard back from anyone in months) I figure I'll share some of my initial concepts here...

* * * * *

Design Element: Ability Scores

            I’d drop the 3-18 style abilities in favor of just using the ability modifier as the ability score (i.e. Strength 3 instead of Strength 16 or 17). Even better would be to make the lowest possible player modifier (-1 in 4E) into the new “0” (i.e. instead of running from -1 to +5, you’d instead run from 0 to 6).

Instead of things like half-level increases, I think we could take a cue from several computer RPGs and instead have far more frequent stat bumps. If you want a more or less 4E style feel I’d shoot for +1 to three stats every even level and +1 to all stats every odd level. The latter replaces the haf-level bump, the former covers the 4E stat bumps and the enhancement/item/feat bumps as well (so you don’t need any feats or items that just give simple bonuses to tasks or attacks/damage... its handled by the stat bumps).

Design Element: Resource Points as balancing element and throttle

            The concept here is that we give each ability a resource cost (either universal or split by power source… mana, edge, faith, etc.). The DM and/or players then decide on which Resource module they wish to use. Some examples would be…

            Ex. Daily Vancian Module: All resource points are recovered after a long rest. You spend these resource points to prepare your daily allotment of spells as a process that requires X period of time.


            Ex. At-Will Only Module: You get only 1/X the number of resource points (where X is the assumed average number of combat rounds in a day), but your pool refreshes at the (start/end) of each of your turns (obviously you would not want to take any talent with a resource point cost greater than your pool if this module was in place.

            Ex. 4E Module: You spend your resource points each time you level up to select your array of powers. If you spend X (where X is the expected number of encounters in a day) times the power’s cost you can use it as an encounter power, otherwise it is a daily power. Each time you gain a level you may re-assign some percentage of your resource points to another power (i.e. retraining).

            Ex. Daily Spell Point Module: All resource points are recovered after a long rest. You spend resource points from your pool each time you use a power.

            Ex. Encounter Spell Point Module: You get only 1/X the number of resource points (where X is the expected number of encounters per day), but they recover entirely after a short rest.       

            Ex. Hybrid Spell Point Module: Your resource point pool is only half that of the Daily Spell Point module, but it recovers over the course of the day at a rate of X per (insert time period or condition here… short rest, hour, each time a foe you’ve cursed dies, etc.).

            So if you wanted a pre-4E style game you just give the spellcasters the Daily Vancian module and the non-spellcasters the At-Will only module (and Sorcerers/Psions the Daily Spell Point Module if you’re doing psionics or a 3e game). If you wanted a 4E style game you’d use the 4E module.

            The BEST part is that, if you balance these modules properly against each other, you can actually use ALL of the systems together at the same table if you desired.

            So as to not show favoritism to one play style or the other I’d suggest that the default Resource Point system be one of the three Spell Point Modules. My first choice would be for the Hybrid module with a short rest (for narrative games) or one hour (for simulationist games) because of its ability to emulate the feel of AED without actually BEING AED.

* * * * *

            The resource points can also be used as a throttle by setting them higher or lower. One could even extend said throttle to monsters (by having monsters use some sort of encounter-level resource points and/or modifying their hit points/damage relative to the player’s resource points.

            Ex. High-Fantasy Tactical Combat Module: Players get double the normal amount of resource points, but monsters get twice the normal number of hit points.

            Ex. Gritty Quick Combat Module: Players get half the normal amount of resource points, but monsters only have half the normal number of hit points.


Design Element: Modularity through swappable “talent trees.”


  1. All characters use the same basic advancement structure of picking an option from sets of talent trees each time they level (ex. at levels 2, 4, 6, etc. you pick an option from your available combat trees and at levels 3, 5, 7, etc.  you pick an option from your available non-combat trees).

  2. Rank options within the trees by tier (ex. heroic, paragon, epic, but it could be anything) with the requirement of needing one or more “heroic” tier options before you can select a “paragon” tier option from that tree.

  3. Balance each ability within each tier by some metric (such as average damage per round over the course of an x-round day) so that picking any given option will increase their ability by roughly the same amount.

  4. Using the metric you can include any mix of daily powers, encounter, at-will, or just modify existing class features or powers in a tree in any given combination (i.e. you could have an AED tree with a mix of abilities, you could have a vancian all D tree or the “I hit it with my sword tree” with nothing but modifiers to basic attacks.

  5. Additional elements such as expanded racial features (ex. dragonborn eventually getting wings), backgrounds, paragon paths and epic destinies would just add additional talent trees to choose options from. They increase breadth without adding more power to the character.

  6. Multi-classing would involve selecting features from another class’ talent tree (one could shift ALL class features into talent trees that are part of initial talent selections to prevent dipping problems).

  7. DMs who want a specific feel can allow whichever trees they wish to get the feel they want. 



Design Element: Hit Point Threshold

            A typical PC (i.e. Striker or Leader level) at level 1 gets a total hit point pool of 60+Con modifier and gain 7+Con modifier per level, but will drop unconscious if they take more than their Threshold (about 20+Con modifier + 5 per level) in a single encounter (the pain or exhaustion is too great). Defender and Controller type classes would have more or less as appropriate.

            Various relatively inexpensive talents will allow characters to improve their hit point threshold for the duration of the encounter (i.e. inspirational healing and basically spending a healing surge in reverse) and possibly recovering a handful of actual hit points in the process while a few expensive magic-only talents would actually allow you to actually recover hit points during the course of the day (i.e. surgeless healing). Note that clerics are also inspirational figures of their faith and so should have a mix of inspirational and surgeless healing in their talent trees.

            Various modules could then adjust the rate of hit point levels and recovery (an encounter-based game might refresh to full every short rest while an old-school logistical fantasy Vietnam might set actual hit points down to the threshold (which would also disable “inspirational healing” since it only moves the threshold rather than adding hit points and leave only magical “surgeless healing” as a viable method of healing).


Experimental Design Element: Reduce the DM’s workload even further by having the players roll everything.


  1. Monsters use static values for attack, damage, and defenses. PC’s use dice+modifiers for attacking, damage, and defenses.

  2. Distributing the dice rolls out to the players speeds up how long they take (“an orc attacks you, you, and you. Roll defense against DC 15.”) while the DM only needs to focus on monster tactics and their current health/status each turn.

  3. A margin of success/failure damage system (ex. a weak monster might inflict 1 damage for every two points the player fails their defense roll by, while stronger monsters might be 1:1, 2:1, 5:1 or more) or a damage reduction roll (much like the old Next parry option) would eliminate the need for the DM to slow things down by rolling damage as well. MoS/F could also be used for determining durations for status effects/conditions (just replace point of damage with round of duration)

  4. If the option uses MoS/F for damage, then it is easy to switch out whichever parts you want for feel purposes (add 10 to any variable stat to make it static or subtract 10 from any static stat to make it a variable stat... or just include both as “Refex 15 (+5)” in the monster section with the players recording whichever is appropriate on their character sheets). This allows for the old edition attacks roll/spells save, 4E style everyone attacks or GM’s roll everything style play all in one easy to adjust system.

 

Some actual number crunching…

            In order to work out the game’s math we need to work out the basic “feel” elements in terms of the average encounter (we need a baseline to be able to judge deviations from it caused by rules modules and play style choices).
_________________________________

            For me, the baseline encounter should be 5 PC’s against 5 standard equal-level monsters. The PC’s and the monsters should be using moderate focus-fire… which I define as 2-3 PCs attacking one monster at a time while the others attack 1-2 other monsters and 2-3 monsters targeting 1 PC while the other monsters attack 1-2 other PC’s.

            Each monster takes 2-3 hits to put down while PC’s can take about 4 hits from a monster before dropping. With a 60% hit rate on both sides the fight would last about 5 rounds with a monster likely being dropped by the PC’s during each round of combat (which creates a sense of progress for the players as monsters are removed from the battle).

            By the end of the fight the PC’s should have used all their encounter resources, 25% of their daily resources (if any) and be down to just one-third of their overall encounter-level hit points (i.e. you might have one player dropped, one down by 75%, one down by 50%, and two undamaged… surges or some other type of daily resource would then be consumed to restore them to full for the next encounter) if they haven’t used any healing during the encounter.

            With this baseline the party should be out of daily-level resources after their fourth encounter of the day. Thus the baseline expectations for balancing resource expenditure should be built around 4 encounters of 5 rounds each or 20 combat rounds per day.

_________________________________


Now let’s start turning that into numbers…

Starting Propositions…

1) We are using the 3e/4E-style ability mods (i.e. ‒1 to +5 with PC’s expected to have a +3 to +5 in their key ability score) with a +4 modifier being the expected key ability modifier.

2) We are using the typical weapon damage dice (i.e. 1d4 to 1d10 for simple weapons and high accuracy martial weapons and 1d6 to 1d12 for high damage martial weapons).

3) Characters should gain +1 to hit and damage per level due to ability increases.

4) The hit rate for high damage martial weapons is roughly 60% against a typical even-level opponent while an accurate martial weapon is roughly 65% against the same foe.


            This gives us a typical basic attack damage of between 1d10+4 (9.5) for a one-handed high damage martial weapon and 1d12+4 (10.5) for a two-handed high damage martial weapon at level one. A max damage hit (such as a basic critical hit) would inflict 14 and 16 damage respectively. For ease of math at this point, let’s average those out to 10 points of damage per regular hit and 15 points of damage for a basic critical hit.

            With the expected hit rate over 5 rounds that works out to each PC hitting about 3 times per encounter for a total of about 30 damage at level one. So for a monster to survive those three hits from a basic attack it’s going to need a bit less than 30 hit points at level one (I’d shoot for around 22-25 so that two above average damage rolls will drop it while four to five really crappy damage rolls will still drop it).

            With basic attack damage increasing at a rate of 1 per hit per level, this also means that monsters will need around 3 additional hit points per level to keep up with the increasing damage of PC’s basic attacks.

_________________________________

Campaign-Level Module: Resource/Monster Potence

            The above values do not take any resource expenditure into account and the degree to which they play a role in combat length is an important aspect of being able to model a particular feel for the monsters.

            This is also what I’d call a campaign-level module, because it’s not something that be left to an individual player without completely skewing the balance of the game (emulating certain styles of play may require skewing the balance, but that’s something the group needs to decide, not individual players).

            There are two main axes involved in working out modules for this stage.

            The first axis is to what degree resource expenditure should increase the PC’s damage output. If doing just basic attacks generates 30 damage per encounter, what should the output be when the expected amount of resources are used? 45? 60? 90?

            An important point here is that, while it stretches the encounter length, mitigating enemy damage through various means (party buffs, enemy debuffs, healing, etc.) keeps PC’s up longer, which gives them more attacks before they drop which increases their overall encounter damage potential (i.e. if healing effects can keep the party up for ten rounds instead of five, then you’ve just doubled the damage they can dish out during the encounter). As such, buffing, debuffing and healing can all be measured in terms of their effect on the damage per encounter numbers as described above.

            The second axis is to what degree resource expenditure is accounted for in the monster survival math. If it is not accounted for at all, then resource expenditure doubling the party’s damage will halve the length of the combat to about 2.5 rounds with each player hitting about 1.5 times per encounter. On the other side, if you increase the monster’s hit points by the same percentage as the resources increase player output then you keep the encounter length exactly the same (if the damage output is increased to 60 then a standard first level monster will need 40-50 hit points to survive 2-3 hits). At the extreme you could also overcompensate for resource expenditure to make combats last longer than the expected length (though once the expected resources are burned up, that could quickly turn into a slugfest of basic attacks).

            The first thing we need to establish here is a baseline so that our module math can work. My thinking here is that the baseline is that the expected resource expenditure should increase the party’s encounter damage output by 50% (be it through increased accuracy, multiple targets, increased damage, etc.) to about 45 per encounter (about 9 dps or 15 per hit) at first level and monsters math is fully adjusted to account for it (i.e. 33-37 hit points at level one, plus about 4-5/level) so that a monster should drop with 3-4 hits with basic attacks, but could be dropped in 2-3 hits by expending the expected amount of resource points in the encounter.

_________________________________


            With baselines for encounters per day, encounter length and potence of resources we can now start comparing different resource models by using 1 extra damage point per encounter as the value for 1 resource point (hereby shortened to RP).

            If we use a baseline 4 encounters of 5 rounds each we get the following numbers for the different resource modules to get to the needed extra damage values…

1)         Encounter Spell-Point (ESP): 15 RP +3/2 levels; recharges with a short rest.

2)         Daily Spell-Point (DSP): 60 RP +6/level; recharges with a long rest.

3)         At-Will (AW): 3 RP +3/10 levels; recharges each round.

4)         Hybrid Spell-Point (HSP): 30 RP +3/level; recharges 10 RP +1/level with a short rest.

5)         4E Powers (4E): 10 RP +1/level to purchase encounter powers, and 20 RP +2/level to purchase daily powers. When you level up, you can choose to lose one of your chosen powers and apply the refunded points to another power.

6)         Vancian Preparation (VP): 60 RP +6/level; In addition to an effective basic attack, each morning can prepare spells from your spellbook with a total value of no more than your RP each day and can add additional spells to your spellbook by expending [value to be determined] gold pieces per RP of the spell in raw materials (special inks, quills, et cetera) in addition to those gained from leveling.


            All of the modules above will completely balance out at the end of the fourth encounter. The ESP and AW will always balance with each other so long as the encounter is of the expected strength. Likewise the DSP and VP will always balance with each other.

            HSP and 4E will outperform ESP and AW on short days, while falling behind them on long days, but conversely it will outperform DSP and VP on long days while falling behind on short days.

            What follows are a series of tables comparing RP use for each of the modules during different encounter length days. The numbers presume they expend their resources as evenly as possible over each of the encounters.


Total RP Burned During a Day by Different Resource Usage Types


HSP/4E (30+10/rest)

DSP/VC (60)

ESP (15+15/rest)

AW (3/round)

1 Encounter Day

-30 (60 damage)

-60 (90 damage)

-15 (45 damage)

-15 (45 damage)

2 Encounter Day

  -Encounter 1

-20 (+10 = 20 left)

-30 (30 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 2

-20

-30

-15

-15

  -Daily Total

-40 (100 damage)

-60 (120 damage)

-30 (90 damage)

-30 (90 damage)

3 Encounter Day

  -Encounter 1

-20 (+10 = 20 left)

-20 (40 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 2

-15 (+10 = 15 left)

-20 (20 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 3

-15

-20

-15

-15

  -Daily Total

-50 (140 damage)

-60 (150 damage)

-45 (135 damage)

-45 (135 damage)

4 Encounter Day

  -Encounter 1

-15 (+10 = 25 left)

-15 (45 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 2

-15 (+10 = 20 left)

-15 (30 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 3

-15 (+10 = 15 left)

-15 (15 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 4

-15

-15

-15

-15

  -Daily Total

-60 (180 damage)

-60 (180 damage)

-60 (180 damage)

-60 (180 damage)

5 Encounter Day

  -Encounter 1

-15 (+10 = 25 left)

-12 (48 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 2

-15 (+10 = 20 left)

-12 (36 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 3

-15 (+10 = 15 left)

-12 (24 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 4

-15 (+10 = 10 left)

-12 (12 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 5

-10

-12

-15

-15

  -Daily Total

-70 (220 damage)

-60 (210 damage)

-75 (225 damage)

-75 (225 damage)

6 Encounter Day

  -Encounter 1

-15 (+10 = 25 left)

-10 (50 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 2

-15 (+10 = 20 left)

-10 (40 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 3

-15 (+10 = 15 left)

-10 (30 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 4

-15 (+10 = 10 left)

-10 (20 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 5

-10 (+10 = 10 left)

-10 (10 left)

-15 (+15 = 15 left)

-15

  -Encounter 6

-10

-10

-15

-15

  -Daily Total

-80 (260 damage)

-60 (240 damage)

-90 (270 damage)

-90 (270 damage)

 

            The greatest deviation in RP expenditure by far occurs in the one encounter day where the DSP and VP modules inflict 100% more damage than the ESP or AW modules (90 vs. 45).

            By contrast, during a six encounter day the ESP and AW modules only outperforms the DSP/VP modules by about 12.5% (270 vs. 240) due largely to the basic attack damage that all characters would be able to inflict regardless of the resource module they use.

            Within the 3-5 encounters per day range the largest deviations in performance are within about 10% of each other, which I feel is a more than acceptable margin for power performance.

_________________________________


Sample Heroic Tier Talent Tree (Revised)

            With these numbers in mind here is a revised bare-bones talent tree and how each resource type would use it. For ease of use the included examples will only be variations on damage since that’s what I used to calculate possible RP values. Also included is an explanation for the talent’s RP cost.

Big-Damage Talent Tree (Heroic Tier)

1.    Mighty Smash (3 RP): Stat vs. AC; 2[W] + Stat damage (an extra weapon die adds 4.5 to 6.5 extra damage per hit and with a 60% hit rate it will adds about 3 damage to the PC’s encounter damage total… hence the cost of 3).

2.    Improved Mighty Smash (6 RP; requires Mighty Smash): the damage increases to 3[W] + Stat damage.

3.    Supreme Smash (9 RP; requires Improved Mighty Smash): the damage increases to 4[W] + Stat damage.

4.    Power Strike (5 RP): when you hit with a basic attack, add 1[W] extra damage to the hit (since it only triggers on a hit, an average of 5 extra damage costs 5 RP).

5.    Accurate Attack (3 RP): Stat +2 vs. AC; 1[W] + Stat damage (a 10% increase in the hit rate adds about 1 dpr at level one and about 4 dpr at level 30 so we average the extremes out to 2.5 and then round up to the still reasonable price of 3 RP).

6.    Dual Strike (6 RP): make a second basic attack as a free action. The damage bonus to this attack is limited to +5 (a 60% chance to inflict an average of extra 10 damage at level one is worth 6 RP, the damage cap is in place to due to increasing amount of damage that derives from your stat vs. the weapon dice).

7.    Improved Dual Strike (9 RP; requires dual strike and level 6+): make a second basic attack as a free action. The damage bonus to this attack is limited to +10 (a 60% chance to inflict an average of extra 15 damage at level one is worth 9 RP).

8.    Iterative Attack (3 RP): make a second basic attack with a -5 to the attack roll as a free action. The damage bonus of this attack is limited to +5 (a 35% chance to inflict 10 extra damage is worth about 3.5 RP… rounded down to 3 RP).

9.    Sweeping Strike (12 RP): make two extra basic attacks as a free action. The damage bonus of these attacks is limited to +5.


        Let’s presume that a starting character gets three talents (and since this is the only tree available they’ll all be coming from this tree).

         Encounter Spell-Point: With 15 RP to spend each battle, this character grabs the Mighty Smash talent since he can use it for 5 consecutive rounds before having to fall back on basic attacks. He also takes Accurate Attack to help him hit difficult targets when needed and Dual Strike for helping him deal with multiple opponents at once or to finish off a nearly defeated opponent.

         Daily Spell-Point (DSP): With only 60 RP for entire day, the character grabs Power Strike, so he need only spend RP on an assured hit during a long day. He also picks up Sweeping Strike for quickly dispatching foes on a shorter days and Mighty Smash as a prerequisite to Improved and Mighty Smash which he wants for big single-target damage.

         At-Will (AW): Since he can only spend 3 RP in a round, this character picks up Mighty Smash to improve his damage output, Accurate Attack when he needs to hit more often and Iterative Attack for when he wants to gamble on even more damage than Mighty Smash can provide.

         Hybrid Spell-Point (HSP): With a pool of 30 RP that only recharges 10 per short rest, this character takes a couple of low cost powers, Mighty Smash and Accurate Attack that they use a total of three times per encounter before dipping into their deeper reserves and Sweeping Strike for when they need to pull out all the stops.

         4E Powers (4E): The character spends their encounter RP on two Power Strikes and then spends their daily RP on a sweeping strike and a dual strike (if more trees were available they’d be able to hit their 20 RP value exactly, but this is only a demonstration).

         Vancian Preparation (VP): The character spends 24 of their 60 RP to prepare two Sweeping Strikes, 18 more on three Dual Strikes, and the remaining 18 on six Mighty Smashes. They can use each prepared talent/spell once this day. The character could also acquire some of the additional talents by spending X gp per RP of the talent.


          As the characters go up in level, their increasing resource pools will allow them to use bigger powers more often. By level 11 the 4E character will have enough RP to be able to select sweeping strike as an encounter power instead of a daily power (they would also have access to even more potent powers that could only be afforded as daily powers) and the At-Will character could be using dual strikes or an improved mighty smash every round.
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:37 pm

pretty interesting stuff.

I like that we're pointing in almost opposite directions. lol
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:19 pm

I adjusted 4e for some mechanical fixes and a bit looser rules on certain aspects. Most of the changes can be seen in minor detail the "What are your houserules" thread. I could expand if anyone is interested enough for the thicker details, but I just don't have the time right now.
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:17 am

Wow, Chris, you went all in. I can't compete with that but I'll throw in my two copper:

- 5e's Basic Premise: To create an edition that could appeal to all the fans. And where a 1e fan can sit together with a 4e fan and both play the same game without sacrificing anything from either of their favorite editions.

- My thoughts: Whether I like it or not the big goal for 5e is to unite players of all editions (Which it isn't doing). I think the goal itself is worthy of applause but it will, in the end, get WotC no where when it comes to uniting the fans. They are focusing far to much on the nitty gritty of the mechanics (the modular rules), and not enough on what anyone is actually wanting. Not to mention they took and step back into old mechanics that were typically broken and needed a break anyway. And here is the next big problem...

- 5e's Biggest Problem (as of now): Next's biggest problem as of now is that it is trying to cater to way too many playstyles. Which, I'm sorry to tell you will never work if you want the game to have a strong rules system. In trying to incorporate all of the editions playstyles and feels (which they are doing poorly) they are creating fairly large gaps in the core of the system itself; they know this too! That's why they are trying to fill these holes with modular rules. But what I think they are failing to notice is that all these modular rules are really just shiny houserules that wont necessarily be used in everyone's game thus making it hard for players of 5e to play in other 5e games without it feeling different or weird because a lack of or extra rules.

Now onto the main reason for this post...

My Ideas for creating 5e


(These are in no particular order)

Disclaimer: My 5e would be very similar to 4e (in terms of mechanics), but not a 4.5 exactly

1. Designing a game that could appeal to many people: I think the first thing I would do if I was designing 5e would be to design a game that could appeal to your current fans (the 4e fans), while still being able to claim back old fans, and get new players. So that would require incorporating things from old editions into the new game. That would mean finding each thing each edition did right.

What I feel each edition did right


OD&D, B/X, 1e, and 2e


- I think the first few editions/versions of D&D really did settings and lore right. It may just be me but the lore of the settings and all of the monsters was, and still is great. They provided all sorts of information that really made the world feel real.

3rd, and 3.5


- Character Customization. What else can i really say? I love the way 3e handled multiclassing. It allowed practically any character you could think of. Not to mention 3e had a pretty comprehensive skill system. 

4th Edition


- 4th edition had by far some of the best mechanics to date. They are simple, and elegant. Yet complex enough to do with them whatever you want. Each class was pretty fun play. And DMing was actually fun for the casual gamer, it didn't require hours of pouring through books to run a game.

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

2. I would eradicate the playtest: I think play testing a game should come later down the line when the finished product is near ready. Not just as soon as you get an idea about a game. Plus trying to work so many people's ideas/nerd rage into a system just creates a big nasty stew of mechanics.

3. Decide on a main system: I of course would choose base it more on the 4e d20 system as I said I feel that it is the easiest edition to run. 

4. Have plenty of unique options for each class: Basically a lot like what 4e did but not have so many powers feel similar in effect (Though there were some 4e powers that didn't feel similar to others). I really like having different options for each class and not limiting them to only those choices, which IMO was problem in other editions. If Tim was playing a rogue, and Bob was playing a rogue, other than Ability scores, skills/proficiencies, and RP stuff, they were the same. Which in 4e was eliminated because you could choose different things at level up. 

5. Provide modular rules only in places where its needed: In the current 5e modular rules make up almost all of the game because according to the playtest even feats, and some other typically core stuff is optional which will create large gaps in between peoples games, basically, no game will be built upon the same foundation, and organized play will be near impossible. Whether people like to admit it or not having a good stable core makes the game run smoother. It would be frustrating to play in someone else's game just to figure out this, this, and that has been removed from the game because the degree of modularity the rules support. Examples of modular rules would include: Crafting, a few different skill systems (like Badwolf said), and ways to handle small combat details such as AoO, Flanking, weapon speed and type, and initiative.

6. Reintroduce Rituals: Rituals didn't get near the attention they deserved in 4e. The separation of combat spells and out of co,bat spells was of course a big shock for people from previous editions. And I think that if there was a bigger emphasis on rituals and they were actually pushed at spell casters we would have seen much more use of them and much more support. Also I would work in Salla's Ritual Houserule that I slightly modified.

7. Don't pull a 4e: What I mean by this is don't pull a 4e launch. The launch of 4e was horrible in the sense that WotC made sure they mocked previous editions in 4e's trailer. Simply state that the game is evolving and tell the audience why they should consider switching, not just that they should.

8. Rework some math from 4e: Since I already stated I would base most of the games core on 4e I must say I would rework some math. First I would remove the whole +1/2 level to everything. I feel that the scaling is useless in the end and it is just a waste of time. It makes it to where the world can become completely unbelievable in the sense that a orc just can't hurt you unless he is brought to your level. Plus it would simplify skill checks to where you don't need 101 DCs on a chart.

9. This would fall more into the modular section but I would reintroduce "save or" effects. They are in 4e, but they feel weak and near impossible for monsters to pull off.

10. Skill Revamp (Similar to Badwolf's): Using the 4e skill system. I would rework the skills a little more including allowing them to have more combat uses such as using endurance to get temporary damage reduction. I would also put a handful of new skills into the game, while still keeping the 4e skills. These skills could include Profession, Common Sense ( For those times when the player needs a clue in areas where the answer should be obvious), more passive skills, etc. As well as the ability to take 20 again. As many have also said I would give the players a certain amount of skills to train in other that putting limiting them to class. 

11. Powers: I would keep a similar structure of powers (Like in Essentials) but I would probably limit the amount of powers classes could get, but also allowing them to keep powers as they level instead of training them away. Classes would also get more utilities than in 4e. And there would be more utilitarian and skill utilities.

12. Re-design the 4e books design and writing style: I've actually covered this in another thread here, but basically I hate how bland 4e is when it comes to reading it. It feels very sterile and almost too clean. I would probably go with a more 3e style of writing, without the flashy design 3e had (I've met some people who can't read the 3e books because the background colors and the text colors are too similar).



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

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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:47 pm

Wow, excellent efforts so far, Chris, Badwolf, and Falorn
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:06 pm

Thanks for the compliment, and reminding me to work on my list more Shaman. And welcome to the forum! Smile

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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:07 pm

Thanks Falorn, I just saw the link to this site today and thought I'd jump over
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:01 pm

Shamanstarr wrote:
Wow, excellent efforts so far, Chris, Badwolf, and Falorn

Thanks! And let me second Falorn's welcome. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:36 am

I've done an outline of what I would have 5e look like:

First of all levels would go from 1-20 with "Heroic" running to 9th level, "Paragon" running to 18th level, and "Epic" simply being the last 2 levels of play before the character's apotheosis. If people want to invent some sort of "Mythic" play beyond that I'd consider that out of scope of a core system. There are several reasons for this design decision:

1) Epic is too long. There can only be so much material IMHO for "you must save the universe!" sort of play. At a certain point that over-the-top entirely open-ended stuff will just get stale. In ever campaign I've been involved in at Epic the whole Epic part just lasted too long. I see it as the capstone of a game, one last titanic adventure in which the PCs have achieved their full potential and then they're done.

2) 4e has too many levels worth of 'crap'. Basically the designers were forced to find things to fill up 30 levels with. This leads to an excessive bloat of minor power increases. Whole levels of powers which basically just exist because level 23 needs to have some more powers. Instead focus on quality over quantity, and the easiest way to do this is to simply remove excess levels. The 4e progression can then be compressed into 20 levels, each of which delivers better.

3) It goes a long ways towards fixing the issues with math scaling diverging out of the range of the d20. 4e Epic has math issues. Skills in particular simply reach a point where the divergence has become so high that a hard DC check is impossible unless you specialize and trivial if you do. With only 20 levels this is less of an issue.

4) Its traditional. I may not have any great need to slavishly emulate D&D of the past, but I see no reason to avoid tradition when it coincides with good game design.

Next I would unify most character elements into one 'boon' system. Instead of having separate pools of powers, feats, items, and class features I would have one system of boons. These would be divided between major and minor boons. Major boons would be distributed according to guidelines (IE characters would be expected to acquire them at a rate of say 1 per level, the exact rate being determined by testing). Minor boons would be less critical things, consumables, minor items, small character bonuses which are too limited or simply not useful enough to warrant spending a measured resource on. Minor boons simply exist in whatever numbers are dictated by the plot and desires of the game participants, much like magic items existed in AD&D. There might also be a third category of boon, the "Story Boon", something like an artifact or something. This sort of thing would probably be highly unique and tailored to the character and situation. Potentially all PCs might have one such thing by the time they reach Epic level, but this is an area for experimentation.

The boon system provides a high degree of flexibility to the game. Instead of needing large numbers of mechanisms for 'MCing' and endless variations on basically the same theme which exist in 4e simply because some element of the game only works for class X or race Y and so has to be recapitulated in a slightly different form 12 times there need only in my game be a single element which does a specific thing. It can be applied to any character as needed to produce the results which are desired. This of course doesn't preclude 'chains' of boons or other sorts of prerequisites, etc. I would however emphasize that such restrictions are advisory, not absolute.

The driving force of boons would be STORY. Where recent (since 2e option books basically) versions of D&D have focused heavily on players picking the specific options for their characters from menus of items, '5e' would move back more towards the story-driven style of early D&D. Characters would advance by virtue of level alone, but only in terms of potential. Beyond that the player would seek out and create their fate within the context of the game instead of in some sort of separate character building sub-game. If you want to make your next boon a 'power' which lets you knock your enemies on their ass and daze them then you better find some teacher, tome of knowledge, powerful being to pact with, or legendary item, etc. to get that boon. There can always be fairly generic boons, possibly basic +N magic item type things which PCs can make or acquire fairly easily, but the good stuff comes from growing your character, engaging in the story and the world, from play.

In other respects I'm fairly OK with 4e mechanical systems as-is. I'd get rid of the 'Arcane' power source and simply note 'Arcana' as a class of knowledge, things that PCs need to find and which are considered boons. There would certainly be the 4 great archetype classes, but I think they would be recast more in their original forms. In other words you didn't in OD&D need 'barbarian', 'ranger', 'paladin', etc because it was up to the player and the DM to simply extrapolate, to make the character match with a concept by how it was played, by what happened to the character, etc. In OD&D a 'barbarian' was just a fighter who came from some tribe somewhere instead of from a castle. In '5e' there would be a whole framework of boons to guide the further development of this character. However, I think there's nothing wrong with having some 'kits', 'subclasses', 'themes', whatever you want to call them which provide a little bit of baseline. This is where you could explicitly call out your barbarians and such. Each such 'kit' can provide some sort of starting boons (say a major boon and a couple minor ones) which allow the character's concept to be achieved efficiently (IE you can get the barbarian "wear minimal armor without sacking your defence" mechanism so you can emulate fantasy barbarians).

Generally beyond this I'd pretty much just stick with 4e rules technology. I don't find anything particularly wrong with it. The presentation can be updated to make it more interesting and seem less formulaic, SCs can be finally rewritten somewhat, perhaps incorporating some more modern game mechanics. I'd streamline combat mostly just by limiting the number of choices which slow the game down and make the different elements simpler and easier to use at the table. By giving the people at the table more control over the nature of character elements each table can decide for itself if they will deal with the more fiddly powers and whatnot or just go for simple bonuses and straightforward damage increases. If players want to do things like build characters that have poop for combat prowess they can pretty much do that too if they want. OTOH each class will have available a series of boons which synergize well with its basic concept and class features, so it will be pretty obvious how to build your archetype.

Reflavoring and changing effect/damage types and such will be elevated clearly to a first-class mechanic. Boons can frequently be described as having various forms. It won't be necessary to have 12 different feats which all end up being a damage bonus or whatever. These can be added for thematic purposes, but the basic straightforward repertoire of commonly used options can be quite generic. A +1 to-hit could be described as an item, a new form of training, a blessing from the god of battle, etc.
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:29 pm

I would rather have thirty levels, and have every single level scale in power at the same rate, 1-30, instead of the whole "in epic, your character starts breaking the rules", and have epic instead be a layer you add to the game optionally, at pretty much any level you want.

some people want to play cosmic heroes for ten levels or more. I know groups that like to only play paragon and epic. They shouldn't be left out in the cold.
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Sun Jun 30, 2013 2:30 pm

doctorbadwolf wrote:
I would rather have thirty levels, and have every single level scale in power at the same rate, 1-30, instead of the whole "in epic, your character starts breaking the rules", and have epic instead be a layer you add to the game optionally, at pretty much any level you want.

some people want to play cosmic heroes for ten levels or more. I know groups that like to only play paragon and epic. They shouldn't be left out in the cold.

30 levels is just too much. It distorts the system. Frankly though, if you want to play a more 'out there' game at whatever levels that's fine, just introduce boons of a more fantastical nature, define more fantastical tasks as having reachable DCs, etc. There's really nothing which stops this from working. I just frankly don't find 30 levels to be the optimum design.
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:11 pm

I think 30 levels is too much for core. I would have preferred a Epic Levels handbook that extended the game even further, say level 21-40, 40 being ruler of the universe *sarcasm*... I really think the sweet spot for D&D is in the first 10 levels. I also agree that higher levels really did mess with 4e's math. I think 4e relied to heavily on +1/2 level to everything. I think that is was bad design to make it as big on a number as 1/2 your level. I think it would have been better if there was no bonuses dependent on level, or that it was only +1/4, or +1/3 (1/3 would be better) your level. Because that would keep a steady improvement of numbers but not have them at the ridiculous amount that 4e does. Perhaps it could be used for different styles of play. +1/2 for High Fantasy, +1/3 for Mid-Fantasy, and +1/4 for Low Fantasy...

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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:19 pm

I could have gone for 1/3 lvs or even 1/4, both would work fine. Even High Fantasy. A lot of people though want D&D to keep building even past 30 or 40 levels. I know people who played AD&D up to 50th level and beyond (of course, there wasn't much power gain past 20th, if you remember from AD&D) and many people want to see the levels expanded out to 100...Me personally, I'm happy with the tiers as they are presented in 4e, yes, the math starts to break down, but by the time the PCs have played up to that level, your pretty used to your characters and DMing them, and its much much easier to adjust on the fly. Wouldn't piss Me off if they tightened up the math, but I'm also fine with the way it was in 4e. Paragon Tier I think ran smooth as silk and would call it the Sweet Spot of 4e personally
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:26 pm

AbdulAlhazred wrote:
doctorbadwolf wrote:
I would rather have thirty levels, and have every single level scale in power at the same rate, 1-30, instead of the whole "in epic, your character starts breaking the rules", and have epic instead be a layer you add to the game optionally, at pretty much any level you want.

some people want to play cosmic heroes for ten levels or more. I know groups that like to only play paragon and epic. They shouldn't be left out in the cold.

30 levels is just too much. It distorts the system. Frankly though, if you want to play a more 'out there' game at whatever levels that's fine, just introduce boons of a more fantastical nature, define more fantastical tasks as having reachable DCs, etc. There's really nothing which stops this from working. I just frankly don't find 30 levels to be the optimum design.

Not really. Just reduce the basic math scaling, which needs to be done anyway. And people who don't see the point of lvl 21+ can just not use them.

The main reason that Epic is so weird in 4e is that it's intentionally designed to embrace the game breaking nature that high level play has had in the past. EDs ramped up player ability far more than PPs did, items got crazier, etc. None of that is inherent to levels 21-30, though. Those are things the designers intentionally did to the system.
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:49 pm

Shamanstarr wrote:
I could have gone for 1/3 lvs or even 1/4, both would work fine. Even High Fantasy. A lot of people though want D&D to keep building even past 30 or 40 levels. I know people who played AD&D up to 50th level and beyond (of course, there wasn't much power gain past 20th, if you remember from AD&D) and many people want to see the levels expanded out to 100...Me personally, I'm happy with the tiers as they are presented in 4e, yes, the math starts to break down, but by the time the PCs have played up to that level, your pretty used to your characters and DMing them, and its much much easier to adjust on the fly. Wouldn't piss Me off if they tightened up the math, but I'm also fine with the way it was in 4e. Paragon Tier I think ran smooth as silk and would call it the Sweet Spot of 4e personally
I personally don't care how long D&D goes into higher levels. I prefer the game at lower levels as the PCs actually feel more like Adventurers rather than mortal, gods. Though some basic rules for designing high level stuff including powers, monsters, and adventures would be cool.

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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:52 pm

doctorbadwolf wrote:
AbdulAlhazred wrote:
doctorbadwolf wrote:
I would rather have thirty levels, and have every single level scale in power at the same rate, 1-30, instead of the whole "in epic, your character starts breaking the rules", and have epic instead be a layer you add to the game optionally, at pretty much any level you want.

some people want to play cosmic heroes for ten levels or more. I know groups that like to only play paragon and epic. They shouldn't be left out in the cold.

30 levels is just too much. It distorts the system. Frankly though, if you want to play a more 'out there' game at whatever levels that's fine, just introduce boons of a more fantastical nature, define more fantastical tasks as having reachable DCs, etc. There's really nothing which stops this from working. I just frankly don't find 30 levels to be the optimum design.

Not really. Just reduce the basic math scaling, which needs to be done anyway. And people who don't see the point of lvl 21+ can just not use them.

The main reason that Epic is so weird in 4e is that it's intentionally designed to embrace the game breaking nature that high level play has had in the past. EDs ramped up player ability far more than PPs did, items got crazier, etc. None of that is inherent to levels 21-30, though. Those are things the designers intentionally did to the system.

Yes, Epic was completely crazy. The ability to just spring back to life after dying is ridiculous... But kinda cool. Epic levels most certainly has its place in D&D as its always been there, but, I feel like its never had the proper support for it to be part of the core system.

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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:10 pm

Felorn Gloryaxe wrote:
I think 30 levels is too much for core. I would have preferred a Epic Levels handbook that extended the game even further, say level 21-40, 40 being ruler of the universe *sarcasm*... I really think the sweet spot for D&D is in the first 10 levels. I also agree that higher levels really did mess with 4e's math. I think 4e relied to heavily on +1/2 level to everything. I think that is was bad design to make it as big on a number as 1/2 your level. I think it would have been better if there was no bonuses dependent on level, or that it was only +1/4, or +1/3 (1/3 would be better) your level. Because that would keep a steady improvement of numbers but not have them at the ridiculous amount that 4e does. Perhaps it could be used for different styles of play. +1/2 for High Fantasy, +1/3 for Mid-Fantasy, and +1/4 for Low Fantasy...

+1/2 level is actually NOT too much. In AD&D the progression was +1 PER LEVEL for fighters, +2/3 levels for clerics, and +1/2 levels for rogues. Only the casters had worse than in 4e and there was no reason AT ALL for an AD&D caster to ever make a melee attack past level 1 where they're only +1 behind a fighter. Its not the steepness of the progression that is the problem, it is the LENGTH of it, and the fact that half of it comes from things which are not certain and which require the player to build to or the DM to allow for (or you need inherent bonus for that). Its the way its implemented combined with the fact that it goes on for 30 levels that creates problems for people. Instead it should be 20 levels, just ditch enhancement bonus entirely (there can be a +1 to-hit bonus boon or two in there for people to have fun with, but that's all that's really needed). So, I would envisage 20 levels, with a total of 6 points of stat bonus (+3) and a 'spare' +1, for a total of +14 over 20 levels, which WAY less than an AD&D fighter would expect (something like +3 extra from STR item, +3 from a magic item, and +20 from levels, for ALMOST double what my proposed '5e' would provide).

I really haven't looked carefully at the progressions in DDN lately, but I have a sneaking suspicion they're unlikely to be much less than this, as when you dip much below +.75/level you run into either severe curve design issues or really severe HP/Damage output bloat. Its all tied together, you can't simply cut one thing drastically without tweaking another. Notice how 4e, with its +1/level curve, well below AD&D, had to also include a large amount more hit points at higher levels (this also has to do with how AC works in the 2 systems, but still it is SOMEWHAT curve related). DDN has some rather interesting problems at high levels too which I don't think they've worked out yet (and may have a real hard time with).
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:17 am

It is too much when it counts towards everything... Say a level 6 fighter comes along. He has a +3 to AC, +3 to Fort, +3 to Reflex, +3 to Will, +3 to Attacks, +3 to damage, +3 to every skill, and +3 to ability score modifiers. A lot of the stuff is meaningless. It really just complicates the system and makes lower level things obsolete to higher level. The 1/2 level plague also effects critter, and in some cases its full level. The way it currently works is just fine. I just feel the game would run smoother if it wasn't there.

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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:13 am

Felorn Gloryaxe wrote:
It is too much when it counts towards everything... Say a level 6 fighter comes along. He has a +3 to AC, +3 to Fort, +3 to Reflex, +3 to Will, +3 to Attacks, +3 to damage, +3 to every skill, and +3 to ability score modifiers. A lot of the stuff is meaningless. It really just complicates the system and makes lower level things obsolete to higher level. The 1/2 level plague also effects critter, and in some cases its full level. The way it currently works is just fine. I just feel the game would run smoother if it wasn't there.

It is that way for good reasons though. Again, look at older editions. In AD&D while AC was not tied to level it might as well have been. Any fighter who couldn't must the AC to make some fierce higher level monster's blows miss at least SOME of the time was unlikely to be effective, and such characters almost universally possessed things like magic plate armor, magic shields, and often rings of protection. Even without a ring armor itself gave a bonus to many saves. This was expected gear progression and it would be quite routine for a PC's AC to progress from something like 5 at level 1 to -2 at level 10, a progression of almost 1 point per level. Additionally saves also are level based. It is true that 4e breaks from AD&D in having level adds to its skill system (the systems are also different in other ways, but generally somewhat equivalent). OTOH NWPs are gained per level and CAN be used to add bonuses to existing NWP slots, so you can accomplish the same thing. I also agree that AD&D lacks a coherent rule for 'DC' progression, though in a few places it is stated that higher level situations may be more difficult (IE there is a lock chart with higher level locks on it, and higher level poisons quite often come with penalties, etc). The reasons for this kind of progression are simple, it allows the PCs to naturally outdistance lower level situations and helps drive the game forward. You can invent some contrived corner-case situations where it bothers some people (there are also ways to narrate these which are usually quite acceptable for the small number of times this will ever come up).

So, IMHO the half-level bonus is just a nice simplification of a lot of older rules which were confusing, required a lot of math, and didn't really amount to much different from half-level. The old system also left higher level PCs in a sort of weird place. They were "super powered" in a sense, they could take all sorts of damage and dish out all sorts of damage, wield all sorts of crazy magic etc, but they couldn't do anything else extraordinary. Want to leap over a chasm? Meh, that peasant over there can do it as well, no Chucullain's in this bunch! The very possibility was precluded in AD&D's system, either anyone could make absurd leaps and such or nobody could, the only distinguishing possibility was more magic, and as a consequence PCs were like hat racks. I personally want a system where my character's awesome can come from within, where Cargorn can leap 80' to the base of the battlement and attack the demons just because he's that bad assed, and not because he's wearing rings and armors and helms and all that crap.
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:23 am

AbdulAlhazred wrote:
Felorn Gloryaxe wrote:
I think 30 levels is too much for core. I would have preferred a Epic Levels handbook that extended the game even further, say level 21-40, 40 being ruler of the universe *sarcasm*... I really think the sweet spot for D&D is in the first 10 levels. I also agree that higher levels really did mess with 4e's math. I think 4e relied to heavily on +1/2 level to everything. I think that is was bad design to make it as big on a number as 1/2 your level. I think it would have been better if there was no bonuses dependent on level, or that it was only +1/4, or +1/3 (1/3 would be better) your level. Because that would keep a steady improvement of numbers but not have them at the ridiculous amount that 4e does. Perhaps it could be used for different styles of play. +1/2 for High Fantasy, +1/3 for Mid-Fantasy, and +1/4 for Low Fantasy...

+1/2 level is actually NOT too much. In AD&D the progression was +1 PER LEVEL for fighters, +2/3 levels for clerics, and +1/2 levels for rogues. Only the casters had worse than in 4e and there was no reason AT ALL for an AD&D caster to ever make a melee attack past level 1 where they're only +1 behind a fighter. Its not the steepness of the progression that is the problem, it is the LENGTH of it, and the fact that half of it comes from things which are not certain and which require the player to build to or the DM to allow for (or you need inherent bonus for that). Its the way its implemented combined with the fact that it goes on for 30 levels that creates problems for people. Instead it should be 20 levels, just ditch enhancement bonus entirely (there can be a +1 to-hit bonus boon or two in there for people to have fun with, but that's all that's really needed). So, I would envisage 20 levels, with a total of 6 points of stat bonus (+3) and a 'spare' +1, for a total of +14 over 20 levels, which WAY less than an AD&D fighter would expect (something like +3 extra from STR item, +3 from a magic item, and +20 from levels, for ALMOST double what my proposed '5e' would provide).

I really haven't looked carefully at the progressions in DDN lately, but I have a sneaking suspicion they're unlikely to be much less than this, as when you dip much below +.75/level you run into either severe curve design issues or really severe HP/Damage output bloat. Its all tied together, you can't simply cut one thing drastically without tweaking another. Notice how 4e, with its +1/level curve, well below AD&D, had to also include a large amount more hit points at higher levels (this also has to do with how AC works in the 2 systems, but still it is SOMEWHAT curve related). DDN has some rather interesting problems at high levels too which I don't think they've worked out yet (and may have a real hard time with).

I'd not mind that progression, though I'd also be fine with even less. And I don't think there's any need to increase the HP/damage scale when you decrease the Attack/AC scale, like they did in Next. The damage and HP scale so much in Next that they might as well not have changed the accuracy treadmill at all, really. There's still just as severe a treadmill, in the end.

Felorn Gloryaxe wrote:
Quote :

The main reason that Epic is so weird in 4e is that it's intentionally designed to embrace the game breaking nature that high level play has had in the past. EDs ramped up player ability far more than PPs did, items got crazier, etc. None of that is inherent to levels 21-30, though. Those are things the designers intentionally did to the system.

Yes, Epic was completely crazy. The ability to just spring back to life after dying is ridiculous... But kinda cool. Epic levels most certainly has its place in D&D as its always been there, but, I feel like its never had the proper support for it to be part of the core system.

That's why I want 30 levels, with none of them being Epic, and then an optional "layer" you can add to the game that makes both PCs and enemies "Epic", maybe changing general rules along the way, etc. Basically, turn Epic into a game mode, instead of a set of levels, without depriving those of us who want as many levels as possible what we want. Because sometimes I want to start a campaign with experienced heroes who already have a reputation, contacts, etc and all the responsibility that comes with, and I want the rules to play like what we're describing (thus, differently than starting at low level), without having to play shorter campaigns.


The thing about math scaling, though, going back to that, is that if you reduce accuracy and damage scaling while making the system, you can (and should) also reduce AC and HP scaling while you're at it. So, I'm not sure how relevant ADnD is, since it was just another system with a lot of scaling, but it's possible to build a system with moderate to low scaling.
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:31 am

I think AD&D is relevant. It is a good touchstone for the classic D&D power curve, which IMHO is a big part of the flavor of D&D. While 4e for instance uses somewhat different math it achieves pretty close to the same scaling. Its tighter, but that's another discussion. A flatter system will give a less exciting feeling of adventurers advancing to the greatest challenges and becoming heroes and legends. I'd just note that the trend has been to go from mostly scaling to-hit and AC to more scaling of HP and more controlled bonuses. You could go back the other way somewhat, but if all you do is cut back on bonus scaling AND on hit points you will end up with a system where the higher level guys are not much different from the lower level guys. You'll then have to lean a lot on items and 'powers' of whatever sort. It becomes a considerably different feel of game, though it would certainly be able to contain many aspects of D&D.

Obviously there are a good number of different ways to potentially tweak things and redesign things. Its interesting. I guess in the end though it doesn't matter much as DDN is where the game is going. Personally I'm just going to stick with 4e. I'm disappointed there won't be a 4.5/5e that follows on from it, but that's life, I can live with the bugs in 4e.
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:38 pm

Well I am building my own 5e/4.5 right now. I'm scrapping a lot of the existing material but retaining the basic class/power structure. My main goals are:

1) Eliminate bloat and traps. That's fairly easy to accomplish by making each class a little broader and trying to balance options at each level. Also, powers scale with level, which eliminates the need to create nearly identical versions of lower-level powers.

2) More flavor. I want each class to have a more distinct flavor, but I also don't want to restrict the ability of players to reflavor classes as needed. Each power source draws classes together more closely through powers and features that can be chosen by any class belonging to that power source. Martial classes rely on stances and maneuvers, warlocks have pact powers, etc. The game still measures the units in squares, but I call them paces instead.

3) Aesthetic changes. Some changes have no real impact on the game itself but I'm making them anyway. I never liked the term "powers" so I'm changing it to feats. A feat represents something you actively do, like a power, unlike the static benefits granted by most 4e feats. Traits will be the new term for feats. Healing Surges are not Heroic Reserves to better represent a character drawing on his inner reserves of strength and will to keep pushing and help get rid of the idea that it represents some sort of magical regeneration.

4) Optional modules. One of the things I loved about 2e was that there were so many optional modules that even without houserules and homebrew material, no two groups ran the same game.

5) Simplification. I want to streamline the game where possible. Many classes have an "easy mode" (a set of simple default options that make them like Essentials classes except that they can be swapped to create more complex characters). Also since powers scale, a character can keep the same ones for his entire career (adding new ones as appropriate of course) if the player so chooses. Also, because all powers will be equal at whatever level the character is at, there's no more of 1 encounter of level X, 1 encounter of level Y, now swap out one so you can power up to level Z. If your character is level 10, he can have any powers of level 10 or less. And finally, I got rid of ability scores/ability modifiers. Now your ability score IS your ability modifier.
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PostSubject: Re: How would YOU build 5e?    Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:08 pm

bone_naga wrote:
Well I am building my own 5e/4.5 right now. I'm scrapping a lot of the existing material but retaining the basic class/power structure. My main goals are:

1) Eliminate bloat and traps. That's fairly easy to accomplish by making each class a little broader and trying to balance options at each level. Also, powers scale with level, which eliminates the need to create nearly identical versions of lower-level powers.

2) More flavor. I want each class to have a more distinct flavor, but I also don't want to restrict the ability of players to reflavor classes as needed. Each power source draws classes together more closely through powers and features that can be chosen by any class belonging to that power source. Martial classes rely on stances and maneuvers, warlocks have pact powers, etc. The game still measures the units in squares, but I call them paces instead.

3) Aesthetic changes. Some changes have no real impact on the game itself but I'm making them anyway. I never liked the term "powers" so I'm changing it to feats. A feat represents something you actively do, like a power, unlike the static benefits granted by most 4e feats. Traits will be the new term for feats. Healing Surges are not Heroic Reserves to better represent a character drawing on his inner reserves of strength and will to keep pushing and help get rid of the idea that it represents some sort of magical regeneration.

4) Optional modules. One of the things I loved about 2e was that there were so many optional modules that even without houserules and homebrew material, no two groups ran the same game.

5) Simplification. I want to streamline the game where possible. Many classes have an "easy mode" (a set of simple default options that make them like Essentials classes except that they can be swapped to create more complex characters). Also since powers scale, a character can keep the same ones for his entire career (adding new ones as appropriate of course) if the player so chooses. Also, because all powers will be equal at whatever level the character is at, there's no more of 1 encounter of level X, 1 encounter of level Y, now swap out one so you can power up to level Z. If your character is level 10, he can have any powers of level 10 or less. And finally, I got rid of ability scores/ability modifiers. Now your ability score IS your ability modifier.

Yeah, I agree with you on point one for sure, I've had the same thought. It not only means less need to swap but less power bloat in the game altogether. I also recommend per-source pools of powers. In other words ALL martial PCs can draw from a common core power pool. Class features can be designed to modulate how they work (IE a fighter might add some sort of effect which enhances the defender role, where a rogue would have SA, giving it more of a striker cast). Of course you'd still have class-specific powers. I estimate with scalable powers, some trimming, a 20 level progression, and pooled power lists you can reduce the game from almost 10k powers to perhaps as little as 500, which is in the ballpark of what earlier editions had in effect. By itself this is a significant simplification.

I also agree there should be overall a view towards simplification. Wherever possible combat mechanics, powers, etc should be redesigned in the direction of streamlining play. I think Essentials has proven that 'tiered' complexity can work, you can have a Slayer alongside a Weaponmaster and it will work. With the benefit of writing this as an integrated design from day one it can be more elegantly achieved.

Not sure I care one way or the other about the terms 'power' vs 'feat'. OTOH I've also advocated the removal of the strict distinction between the two, so 'feat' would certainly work. Given that I'd call everything a 'boon' then all these terms are available to reflect different sub-types.
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