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 STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)

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Chris24601
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PostSubject: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:54 pm

So, like I've mentioned previously, I've got enough free time to either work on a game project or to talk about a game project on the forums, but not both. Given my silence here it should be rather obvious where I've been.

So, update time. The player section (How to Play, Species, Backgrounds, Classes, Equipment, Task Resolution) was finally wrapped up (barring spelling and clarification fixes) about three weeks ago and work has progressed to the threats (monsters, traps, hazards, diseases), GM Section and default setting region.

One reason for the delay was that a couple of things had to go completely back to the drawing board and rebuilt from scratch. The concept of twelve classes, each with multiple roles got squashed due to feedback and replaced with twenty classes, each with a single role, but with even more flexibility than the previous model.

There are ten Skilled Classes (acrobat, beastmaster, brigand, captain, defender, ravager, sentinel, sharpshooter, sidekick and skirmisher) each with option for Strong (strength and heavy armor), Swift (dexterity and lighter armor) or Berserker (strength and soak points) for their primary ability and an option for Daring (charisma), Tactical (intelligence) or Wary (wisdom) for their secondary ability.

Ex. a Strong Tactical Captain would be a STR/INT-based Enabler (a leader in 4E) who wears heavy armor and can use his INT modifier to improve Aid Offense and Aid Defense actions. By contrast a Swift Daring Captain would be a DEX/CHA-based Enabler who uses lighter armor and can use Create Diversion and Gain Advantage multiple times in an encounter without penalty.

Then there are ten are Spellcasting Classes (abjurer, benedictor, enhancer, interdictor, maledictor, shifter, spellbinder, transcendent, summoner and warden) each with the option to draw their power from Arcane (gadgeteer, sorcerer and wizard), Astral (faithful and militant), Primal (cunning, insightful, potent and swift) or Rune (strong or swift like the skilled classes with a secondary of arcane, astral or primal).

If you could make a character under the previous versions I've shared, you can still make that character, but a whole bunch more options also opened up in the process.

Based on feedback one of my goals in the class restructuring was to completely eliminate the familiar D&D class names precisely because there was WAY too much baggage associated with them (i.e. "I want to build a bow-using fighter." "That's a ranger in 4E." "No, I want a FIGHTER."). Using fresh names has seemed in testing to let people pick what they actually want instead of being caught up in the specific name from an old edition of D&D.

- - - - -

Another major change was a move to flatter math. The monster threat to XP level just was not scaling properly and the tendency even by me, who knew the rules, to use monsters with the same level as the party made the scaling of hit and defenses largely meaningless. It also played hell with my combat balancing math and complicated my plans for mass combat rules down the line.

So as a result, attack bonuses only scale about two points over 15 levels and, with specializations, defenses can scale about the same amount. What does scale though is hit points and damage dealt. While all attacks gain a damage bonus equal to your level, proficient weapons gain an additional +1/2 level bonus on top of that.

Another side-effect is that it also made the monster entries much easier to read because I could give them a set level with a "Level Adjustment" entry at the bottom.

- - - - -

Going along with the flatter math the movement rules got cleaned up. Climb, Jump and Swim became set values with a check needed only if the terrain difficulty exceeded your ability to enter it (i.e. a character with climb 2 could enter a square of difficult climbing surface with no problem, but would need to make a check if entering a square of challenging climbing surface).

This also led to some consolidation of skills as several of the 4E hold-overs ended up relegated to nothing but knowledge checks or just a single task (ex. Extra Effort under Athletics for climb/jump/swim/lifting). So Athletics and Endurance got merged and renamed "Fitness", Insight got merged with Perception and History, Religion and Streetwise got merged into "Culture."

The skill list is now... Acrobatics (Dex), Arcana (Int), Bluff (Cha), Culture (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Engineering (Int), Fitness (Con), Heal (Wis), Intimidation (Cha), Nature (Wis), Perception (Wis) and Stealth (Dex) with a typical character being proficient in three and getting a +2 bonus to three others.

- - - - -

So if you want to see how the player-side rules look at this point (its got a few pieces of artwork in place to give an idea of how an actual entry is going to look, but the majority will come from the eventual kickstarter) I have a link to it HERE.

If you do, let me know what you think. While I'm in the monster section it takes a LOT less effort (the monster math is as uniform as in 4E so its mostly coming up with interesting power combos) I've actually got the time to check message boards on a regular basis for a while.

I've got a 4E to Terrors & Tactics conversion guide I'm working on too (i.e. which 4E Race matches which T&T Species and which 4E Class matches which T&T Background/Class), but its still one revision back so I'll have to post that later.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:59 pm

sounds like fun happenings!

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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: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:26 pm

So, here's that conversion guide I mentioned...

The listed options are the current “best fits” for the 4E versions of these concepts in the Terrors & Tactics rules. “—” indicates no good fit for the 4E version in the current rules.

4E Race: T&T Equivalent
Dragonborn: Dragon (Dragon-man)
Dwarf: Dwarf (Unaugmented)
Eladrin: High Elf
Elf: Common Elf
Half-Elf: Human (Half-elf)
Halfling: Low Elf
Human: Human
Tiefling: Malfean (Ember)
Deva: Avatar (humanoid)
Gnome: Gnome
Goliath: Earth Giant (Runt)
Half-Orc: Human (Half-orc)
Shifter: Beast-man (wolfen)
Githzeri: Elf (dark w. cantrips)
Minotaur: Beast-man (minotaur)
Shardmind: Golem
Wilden: Avatar (plant humanoid)
Bladeling: Mutant (bladeling)
Bugbear: Beast-Man (darkvision, oversized)
Bullywug: Beast-Man (aquatic, water breath)
Changeling: Elf (changeling option)
Drow: Low Elf (dark)
Duergar: Mutant (bizarre eyes/weapons)
Genasi: Human (half-giant)
Githyanki: Elf (dark w. cantrips)
Gnoll: Beast-man (darkvision, weapons)
Goblin: Beast-man (small, darkvision, shifty)
Hamadryad: Avatar (plant humanoid)
Hengeyokai: Beastman (lycanthrope)
Hobgoblin: Beast-man (darkvision, pain)
Kalashtar: Human (half-elf w. cantrips)
Kenku: Beast-man (flight, shadowy)
Kobold: Beast-man (kobold)
Mul: Human (half-dwarf)
Orc: Beast-man (charger, darkvision)
Pixie: Avatar (sprite)
Satyr: Avatar (beast humanoid)
Shadar-Kai: Halfling (ignore small)
Shade: Halfling (ignore small)
Thri-Kreen: Mutant (extra arms/power legs)
Warforged: Golem
Revenant: —
Vryloka: —

4E Class: T&T Background and Class
Cleric/Warpriest: Religious Benedictor (astral)
Fighter/Knight: Military Defender
Paladin/Cavalier: Religious Abjurer (militant astral w. challenge)
Ranger/Scout: Barbarian Skirmisher
Rogue/Thief: Outlaw Brigand
Warlock: Arcanist Maledictor (faithful astral w. sanctions)
Warlord: Military Captain
Wizard/Mage: Arcanist Spellbinder (arcane wizard w. minor spells)
Avenger: Religious Ravager (swift)
Barbarian: Barbarian Shifter (potent primal; totem form)
Bard: Entertainer Enabler (arcane sorcery)
Druid: Religious Spellbinder (primal w. skinchanger primal utility)
Invoker: Religious Interdictor (astral)
Shaman: Religious Benedictor (primal)
Sorcerer: Arcanist Maledictor (arcane sorcery w. minor spells)
Warden: Barbarian Warden (potent primal; hybrid form)
Ardent: Commoner Enhancer (arcane sorcery)
Battlemind: Military Abjurer (arcane sorcery)
Monk: Monastic Acrobat or Skirmisher
Psion: Arcanist Spellbinder (arcane sorcery; force or psychic innate magic w. minor spells)
Runepriest: Religious Enhancer (rune - astral)
Seeker/Hunter: Barbarian Sharpshooter
Artificer: Artisan Enhancer (arcane gadgeteer)
Assassin: Monastic Transcendent (arcane sorcery)
Berserker: Barbarian Defender (berserker)
Binder: Arcanist Interdictor (astral faithful)
Blackguard: Religious Ravager (strong)
Bladesinger: Arcanist Spellbinder (rune - swift arcane)
Elementalist: Arcanist Maledictor (arcane sorcery with minor spells)
Executioner: Monastic Brigand (swift)
Hexblade: Arcanist Maledictor (rune - swift astral w. sanctions)
Protector Druid: Religious Summoner (primal)
Sentinel Druid: Religious Enhancer (primal w. beastmaster multiclass specialization)
Skald: Entertainer Captain (daring)
Slayer: Military Ravager
Swordmage: Military Abjurer (rune - arcane w. wards)
Vampire: —

So basically, unless you're undead, there is an analogue to be found for anything 4E in T&T.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:11 am

Terrors and Tactics eh... I have this Tunnels and Trolls bit running through my head over a T&T game context Wink

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“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: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:13 am

Nice looking document by the way!!!

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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: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:32 am

Thanks, I've put a fair amount of time into the layout. Right now my plans are either a landscape oriented book (so it takes up less depth on the table during play) or an Essentials style book.

A part of me thinks the Essentials style would be the better way to go, but I'd almost certainly have to split it into two books if I did because it would effectively double the page count. The player section above would be 250 pages before artwork and probably about 310-330 pages with artwork while the 4E Rules Compendium is 319 pages and anything much thicker than that would be ungainly.

I'd probably have to duplicate a few things for a separate "GM's Guide" (i.e. the How to Play and Task Resolution sections) for ease of reference and at least the bulk of it would be monsters and traps/hazards which tends to sell fairly well as supplements go anyway. But I'm not sure I really want the 'core product' to be split up like that.

As I see it the main Pros of the Landscape layout are;
- All the core rules in one book.
- Nice solid hardcover with good sized pictures.
- No particular cons.

The Pros of the Digest layout are;
- Less expensive (softcover is the expectation for digest size).
- Easier to lug around (players would only need to bring the "Player's Guide")
- Single column digest format would look better on tablets and other e-readers.
- Supplemental books could be shorter since they'd be in the same format.

The Cons of the Digest layout though are;
- All the core rules NOT in one book (which has only really worked for D&D).
- A good chunk of your audience only needs half the product (as a pragmatic matter, a single book lets you be reimbursed equally for all the work that went into the project... the multi-book puts diminishing returns on the GM-facing material I'm currently working on).

So, that decision is an ongoing process and probably the part of the design I could most use feedback on.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:14 pm

Oh you have some fun bits... 

Dragon with a humanoid morphic form gets a thumbs up for style

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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: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:48 am

Thanks. Part of the goal was to open up a lot of more traditional characters from stories to be available as PC's. Like the silver dragon disguised as an elven huntress in the original Dragonlance novels and there's no reason that a system shouldn't be able to accommodate such a dragon as a PC.

The same goes for stories like Eragon or Dragonheart or, heck, with a bit of refluffing, even "How to Train Your Dragon" (Toothless would definitely be a PC even if most of the other dragons probably fall more under the 'loyal steed' utility).

A balanced set of rules is only useful if it can represent something players are interested in working with and ensemble fantasy series where you can have your required oddball misfit (the dragon, the sprite, the talking animal, the giant, etc.) but still have everyone pull their weight is definitely what I'm aiming for.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:05 am

One aspect I consider for something like the Dragon is the element that was thrown around a lot in 4e ... even a pixie with limited flight could changed the environment of the game and potential challenges and balance massively.

A level one Harry Potter has a flying broom from which he with his Quidditch feat could engage in rather athletic combat ready flight. AND 4e wasnt geared up for flying mounts for quite a few levels. Though there was a trick for a player to get flight at pretty low levels by transformig into an innocuous flying animal. 

The number of challenges undermined by having some of these abilities early on could be pretty largeit can dramatically affect what stories may be told.

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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: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:10 am

Which is why it costs a main/standard action or focus/encounter to use flight every round. Basically, the dragon can attack, fly or burn a limited resource to do both on any given round. As they level up they can spend more focus to make it only cost a minor action and at level 11+ (which would be epic tier in 4E) they can spend about half their Focus pool to be able to fly as a free action... more or less corresponding to the availability of flight via other means to other PC's.

Part of why this project has taken so much longer than I planned is because I did take the time to take those matters into account for things. Along with the punishing action costs, flight is also a reason why practically every opponent I've designed so far has a ranged attack of some type if it makes even the slightest bit of sense (all the humanoids do... its mainly animals that do not).
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:31 am

Chris24601 wrote:
Which is why it costs a main/standard action or focus/encounter to use flight every round. Basically, the dragon can attack, fly or burn a limited resource to do both on any given round. As they level up they can spend more focus to make it only cost a minor action and at level 11+ (which would be epic tier in 4E) they can spend about half their Focus pool to be able to fly as a free action... more or less corresponding to the availability of flight via other means to other PC's.

Part of why this project has taken so much longer than I planned is because I did take the time to take those matters into account for things. Along with the punishing action costs, flight is also a reason why practically every opponent I've designed so far has a ranged attack of some type if it makes even the slightest bit of sense (all the humanoids do... its mainly animals that do not).
Nods the action cost for flying certainly can help keep it under control. 

Given how valuable ranged is in the real world and mechanically/tactically, game designers almost HAVE to use genre supporting tricks for "melee only" characters because they are part of the genre ie allowing the awesome kensei to deflect missiles for instance

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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: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:12 am

My solution is sorta the real world one of, no one is 100% melee exclusive. Even the most melee focused knight is going to have been taught how to throw a spear or fire a crossbow to down a boar or other game on a hunt and while it may not be AS effective as melee, many of the attacks that knight can select work with ranged weapons as easily as melee ones.

Another point worth mentioning is that I've been encouraged by a couple of the play testers to include a sidebar in the player creation overview about 'going plaid' (i.e. Ludicrous Speed). The default setting and available options are way above the level that a lot of fantasy games would even consider. Off the top of my head the only other RPG's I know of that would let you start the game as a dragon or giant are Rifts and Mutants & Masterminds, but that's just the start really.

I recently incorporated a sidebar in the equipment section titled 'where are the siege engines?' because when you take the availability of magic into account no one would ever think to invent them. Who needs an ungainly catapult manned by half-a-dozen men that can get off a shot per minute or less when a single wizard or gadgeteer or high priest (or just a bowman whose weapon has the destructive property) can lob magical projectiles with enough force to damage castle walls every six seconds or bring in an Arcanist with the Transmutation utility who can turn a whole wall section into water with a single action? (I do include guidelines for siege engines at the end of the section for if a GM wants to run a low/no magic setting using the rules, but in the default setting they're not really a thing).

This is a world where flying mounts and air ships and spells that allow line of sight teleportation are all, if not common, available enough that a would be rulers needs to account for them in their defenses. So either lavish palaces not intended for defense at all with a handy escape teleportation portal (making a focused attack not worth it since the targets can be evacuated so easily), bunker-like strongholds built into mountainsides or straight up fantastic structures (a castle with no external windows and a crystal dome of one-way glass over a central courtyard).

And the character combinations can be equally out there. One player decided they wanted to be a labor golem with the artistan background with the creation utility and the arcane/gadgeteer version of a beast-form warden with the large and improved speed form abilities. Unconventional, but nothing crazy on its own.

Until the player said "Transform and Roll Out!" and created a 'wagon' (i.e. a trailer) just before entering 'beast form' (which, since he was a golem, the player said he would have tires instead of legs) and could pull 1125 lb. with a ground speed of 7 paces. He'd use creation again upon returning to normal form to summon a heavy projector (i.e. a 'blaster rifle') or melee weapon as needed.

By the rules its balanced (there are several other species/background/class combos that could pull off similar effects), but its just so 'gonzo' and 'out there' and 'silly' that you, as GM, feel tempted to just say no out of hand.

That's when you have to remember the setting is NOT medieval Europe, but a place with flying castles and ships, golems and beast-men created through magic for specific purposes, dwarves with mechanical arms and kobolds with lightning guns riding on the backs of wyverns and acknowledge that the setting 'went plaid' about twenty exits back.

So long as everyone is having fun I just have to say... "Roll Out!"
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:09 am

Chris24601 wrote:
My solution is sorta the real world one of, no one is 100% melee exclusive. Even the most melee focused knight is going to have been taught how to throw a spear or fire a crossbow to down a boar or other game on a hunt and while it may not be AS effective as melee, many of the attacks that knight can select work with ranged weapons as easily as melee ones.
The realistic solution does have an ease factor. However Boar spears had cross bars because the damn thing could run up the spear and still  gore the user (ie not a throwing tool) and it was considered a honorable form of hunting because it was personal bravery and close range against a mighty beast. And crossbows were frowned on by European church. Never the less the Archer Samurai was very real and realism would definitely have knights with squires who didnt care about honor so much protecting them using that crossbow.  The Paladin would be the pure melee knight and divine blessings might protect them from ignominious attack (ie ranged weaponry).

 There are enough archetypes I feel need to be really heavily and almost exclusivelly melee I am comfortable giving them specific gifts to deal with or induce enemies into needing/wanting to melee them.

I am designing a Grand Master training that is geared around the Sword Sensei (if the combatant doesnt use ranged attacks they can be pretty close to immune to mook level ranged attacks and take a bite out of ranged attacks that are more potent)

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ParryingBullets

for the epic version


Chris24601
Another point worth mentioning is that I've been encouraged by a couple of the play testers to include a sidebar in the player creation overview about 'going plaid' (i.e. Ludicrous Speed). The default setting and available options are way above the level that a lot of fantasy games would even consider. Off the top of my head the only other RPG's I know of that would let you start the game as a dragon or giant are Rifts and Mutants & Masterminds, but that's just the start really.

I recently incorporated a sidebar in the equipment section titled 'where are the siege engines?' because when you take the availability of magic into account no one would ever think to invent them. Who needs an ungainly catapult manned by half-a-dozen men that can get off a shot per minute or less when a single wizard or gadgeteer or high priest (or just a bowman whose weapon has the destructive property) can lob magical projectiles with enough force to damage castle walls every six seconds or bring in an Arcanist with the Transmutation utility who can turn a whole wall section into water with a single action? (I do include guidelines for siege engines at the end of the section for if a GM wants to run a low/no magic setting using the rules, but in the default setting they're not really a thing). 

IRL There were people having rituals performed and special cornerstones to protect from demons (but what if those really worked could you then melt a wall with a spell? or might other means be required or would individuals need to find and disable the cornerstones with rituals ) and in theory kings magics which made bound things they owned specific to themselves ... perhaps fate would not allow castles walls to "fall" if the rightful kings health and strength remained hale and strong.  So people would be attempting to gather a hair from the appropriate nobles head so a distant sorcery could break the health that protected etc... 

A part of me wants homage to myth and legend.

Totally not criticizing your methods just mentioning other approaches to the conundrum of magic mixing with medieval flavor.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:38 am

Bradley would be a Monastic Ravager with the Deflect Arrows (which actually works against all ranged attacks, even spells) and Fast Movement Utilities in Terrors & Tactics. Inexorable Ravager lets him ignore all movement impairing conditions so long as he's moving closer to the target of their Ravager's Mark. He could have all those abilities by level 3.

Conversely the Defender has a taunt that pulls a creature (or all creatures for 1 focus) adjacent to it even if its 20-40 feet away (depending on level) and Brigands, Captains and Sidekicks can all use "Walk it Off" to end movement impairing conditions on themselves before moving to attack.

So there are definitely options for what you're looking for.

* * * * *

The problem with the special cornerstones angle is that it gets way too close to the crappy 'Anti-Magic Field' stuff from pre-4E where, in order to give certain things a chance to shine, you had to make magic absolutely worthless against it. Its just 'must have a magic weapon with this many pluses to fight this creature' in reverse.

Magic can certainly make the walls tougher (that's what the exotic materials option under structures is for), but invulnerable to magic just so there have to be giant lumbering siege engines? No way. Heck, the only immunities I've even used in the monster section so far are to Petrify (gorgons) and Flanking (swarms). Even fire elementals aren't immune to fire in my rules.

And while 'medieval' is certainly one way you could flavor a setting, in my head the golems, airships and gadgeteering implements (particularly projectors) definitely lean more in the direction of 'steampunk', but even THAT doesn't quite cut it.

The best description for the setting would be post-post-apocalyptic schizo-tech. Barbarians with bronze weapons whose shamans invoke the primal spirits over there, a Lord overseeing his manor with heavily armored knights over there and a bustling city with steam-powered carriages over there. Only the barbarians have a guy living among them who's scavenged a pair of lightning gauntlets from the ruins the tribe lives in and the heavily armored knights ride giant lizards.

In truth probably the best single media source that sums up my view of the Fallen Earth setting would probably be THIS.



You could probably also throw "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" and "Blackstar" into the hopper as well.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:05 am

Chris24601 wrote:

Magic can certainly make the walls tougher (that's what the exotic materials option under structures is for), but invulnerable to magic just so there have to be giant lumbering siege engines? No way.  

Agreed and seige engines arent necessarily a setting desirable not really... the wall enhancements might fortify against them too. The  walls however I very much think are desired ... and the ease of flying over walls or bypassing them basically means a natural repercussion of "no we do not have walls anymore. "

In the stories McGuffins tend to be useful for inspiring a quest branch and not beyond that (and the must have magic to defeat this is often not like that but tries to be)
I think one of the things I am thinking about adventures where the abilities of few can have an impact on the big story.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:42 am

Chris24601 wrote:
Bradley would be a Monastic Ravager with the Deflect Arrows (which actually works against all ranged attacks, even spells) and Fast Movement Utilities in Terrors & Tactics. Inexorable Ravager lets him ignore all movement impairing conditions so long as he's moving closer to the target of their Ravager's Mark. He could have all those abilities by level 3.
level 3, in 4e is even the level of the heroic tier GMT I made for the missile deflection
Chris24601 wrote:

Conversely the Defender has a taunt that pulls a creature (or all creatures for 1 focus) adjacent to it even if its 20-40 feet away (depending on level) and Brigands, Captains and Sidekicks can all use "Walk it Off" to end movement impairing conditions on themselves before moving to attack.

So there are definitely options for what you're looking for.

I have a thread on here where I ramble about Flying it was largely about appreciating how much power is tied up in that flight.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:15 pm

Garthanos wrote:
Agreed and seige engines arent necessarily a setting desirable not really... the wall enhancements might fortify against them too. The  walls however I very much think are desired ... and the ease of flying over walls or bypassing them basically means a natural  repercussion of "no we do not have walls anymore."
Or it means the repercussion of "We have guarded roofs now."

Essentially, my thinking is that castles would more like modern day strongholds where any open air areas aren't intended to be part of the stronghold's primary defenses. So you might have a wooden palisade around some out-buildings to keep out wild animals and the random bandits, but in the case of an aerial attack force, the populace is pulled back into a stocked fallout shelter type arrangement inside the main stronghold where every major access point (including from the roof) is a choke-point (i.e. the only way in is a narrow and easily defended passage akin to having to run down a hallway with a steel-plated machine gun nest at the far end) and overlapping 'gun' ports with good line of sight along major approaches allow the defenders to aim at both ground and aerial attackers.

My thinking too is that arcanists with the dispel magic and creation utilities would be fairly typical members of any castle's defense force with a running battle between the 'sappers' who would use transmutation magic and destructive magic to breach the walls while the defenders use dispel magic against the transmutations and creation to form stop-gap barricades in any breaches formed and a pretty standard tactic in siege warfare would be to eliminate those casters by various means (lure them out or send in adventurers to target them) so they can't continue to shore up the defenses if they can't just overwhelm their dispel and repair abilities with sheer weight of numbers.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:19 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
Garthanos wrote:
Agreed and seige engines arent necessarily a setting desirable not really... the wall enhancements might fortify against them too. The  walls however I very much think are desired ... and the ease of flying over walls or bypassing them basically means a natural  repercussion of "no we do not have walls anymore."
Or it means the repercussion of "We have guarded roofs now."

Essentially, my thinking is that castles would more like modern day strongholds

To my thinking real modern day strongholds are underground bomb shelters no roofs and often uncertain locations or ahem hidden among very civilian domiciles with the hope the enemy will not attack them.

Prisons are an example of modern construction that often seems quite castle like...


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“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: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:52 am

Well, the stronghold for the biggest city (c. 15,000 people)' in the default setting is actually built into the side of a cliff face (its a coastal city adjacent to a Nile-sized river making it a natural trade hub for everything up river with the rest of the world). It was literally an arcane 'fallout shelter' that about a thousand survivors rode out the Cataclysm in.

The third largest city* is centered around a similar bunker and associated dwarven mines in the western mountain ridge of the valley that the default setting occupies. The fourth is based around a third bunker at the upper edge of the valley where the river plunges down a couple hundred feet (the bunker itself is behind the waterfall and the whole structure may have once been a dam or hydro-generator that became a waterfall when the machinery shut down and the lake behind the dam backed up until it overflowed).

The magitech from the Second Empire in those bunkers (called Stormhold, Ironhold and Riverhold respectively... collectively the region is called the Holdlands) gave those few thousand survivors an edge that let them grow over the next three centuries into relatively stable points of civilization in an ocean of monster-filled wilds (the map I'm building up is 225 x 135 miles... the largest of the four 'civilized' areas is about 50x50 miles and roughly three quarters of the map is ruin-filled wilds where a barbarian tribe, forgotten monastery or isolated freehold of a few hundred souls is the only 'civilization' you'll find for a hundred miles.

So yeah, I think bomb shelter-like strongholds are probably a pretty accurate assessment of what I'm going for in the setting.

* The second largest city was formed by a group of elves ripped from Arcadia by the Cataclysm and deposited in the wilds of the Holdlands. Their initial advantage was their astral magic and much larger initial numbers (c. 60,000) which allowed them to establish a powerful city-state and surrounding towns in the early days after the Cataclysm, but their inability to reproduce past their initial amount led to them being overtaken by Stormhold in population about a century ago.

Stormhold and its surrounding towns and farming communities total about 250,000 people spread over about a day's ride by either horse or boat from the city (about 25 miles each way along the coast and 50 miles up-river. Barring some disaster it will probably reach half a million within the next half-century. Ironhold is over a hundred miles from Stormhold with the most direct route leading dangerously close to the Great Salt Marsh and its many dangers. Riverhold is nearly two-hundred miles from Stormhold along the marginally safer river, but the mile wide river is home to both river monsters and pirates so its not exactly a pleasure cruise either. The river route also takes it past the Black Spire (and the town that grew up in its shadow called Darkhold), a miles tall structure said to date to the time of the Demon Empire (some legends state its even older) and filled with all manner of monsters and treasures of ages past.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:50 pm

And now I want to run a short Mini-Campaign in the World of Thundarr.

GF

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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:13 pm

Always found Thundarr to be inspirational

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri May 12, 2017 8:12 pm

I've been looking over the document for a while now, and I just want to say that if you make it to print with this, it will be to 4e what 4e was to D&D: revolutionary. The way you've opened up the class archetypes, by nesting the combat role within each power source and having that work as the class, and doing it better than any of the abortive 4e heartbreakers I've seen, is nothing short of astonishing.

I love how you recategorized the various caster classes as sub-divisions of a single spellcasting source, yet still let the mechanics make each origin unique. The choices within each "sub-origin" allow for far more ability score combinations, and this is without even considering the newly-separate combat role mechanics. Now, anyone who wants to be a cleric or paladin can build to taste, and the nesting of the combat roles within the power source allows for an intuitive path towards the player's design goal. The same praise goes towards the skilled classes, since the combination of combat focus and combat style can capture anything D&D has produced, and more.

The backgrounds and utilities aren't really anything new, aside from the condensed skill list, which works rather well, I think. Some folks might question the lack of Strength skills, but once they see a Strength-based character actually use its newfound move speeds (neat mechanics, by the way), they'll understand. Besides, the new ability score substitutions offer a lot more flexibility in what skills a character can truly specialize in.

As for races, the Avatar is a very useful expansion of the Sprite concept in the last few documents, allowing for more than just a pixie look-alike. The Dwarf is finally unique in a setting, and the Malfean does a better job of being a tiefling than the tiefling did, both in terms of mechanics and lore. I'm definitely curious to see more of the setting beyond the bird's eye view stuff you've already outlined. The setting so far looks like it fits together really well and looks like a lot of fun to play in.

Just a couple of questions: The skill proficiency section, just before the detailed section on skills looks like outdated information from when the skill list was sixteen skills, not twelve - it states that characters get four skills, not three, and that humans can replace their bonus skill with a +2 to 2 skills, not 3. All of this is contradicted by information in the rest of the document - I know I sound pedantic for pointing that out, but it just came to my attention. Also, in the universal utility section, both Spiritual Prodigy and Intuitive Arcana allow you to use Wisdom for Arcana instead of Intelligence. I assume that Intuitive Arcana was supposed to allow Charisma? Finally, where is a character's surge value defined? I looked through the document and couldn't find a definition for it.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:25 pm

Let this slide a bit because I've been busy with re-formatting and editing, but I'm glad you liked it.

To answer your questions; yeah, the 4 skill bit is an outdated artifact I missed in the skill rebuild. I just corrected the error in the document.

Similarly, Surge Value is another artifact of when I was using a specific number for regaining hit points. After some playtesting where the surge value was generally too low, I dropped it and allows surges spent for healing to flat out restore half your maximum hit points.

Intuitive Arcana IS supposed to be Wisdom (intuition is one of my common descriptors for things related to Wisdom), but Spiritual Prodigy was an outright glitch from when the Religion skill got split up and merged into Arcana and Culture. The original intent was to allow Primal priestly types to have a decent religion check... but using either Wisdom or Charisma for a Culture check is iffy to me.

My fix for that is to redo that entire utility into "Astral Prodigy" which allows CHA to be used for Arcana checks.

* * * * * *

On the design level, after some feedback, the Avatars ate my Giants and took their stuff. By that I mean that the Avatar's fluff was proving awkward to the setting; they were essentially incorruptible pure pureness who deigned enter the world in order to save mankind. That's always made it rather problematic how to have things like thorn-wielding dryads and similar nature spirits out in the wilds whose first inclination is to kill all intruders on sight.

It was also rather contrived that to keep the religious ambiguity in place (without that ambiguity the entire Astral path is objectively wrong) incarnated avatars lost part of their intelligence and couldn't quite explain the truths they basically embody.

Giants on the other hand had AWESOME fluff in that they're the spirits who were too cowardly to pick a side and got exiled to the world until they could prove themselves worthy. A few might be on their original life, but the vast majority have been reincarnated countless times in the last six thousand years since the end of the Demon Empire and so know the stories of their origins more as passed down legends than anything certain and some even join the Astral faiths because they view it as a better fate than a return to the mythical primal realms which might never come.

So the two species got merged with the Giant's fluff for the most part. The avatar's elemental affinity picked up the attack parts of the giants and the Giant is now a form (like humanoid, beast and sprite) available to Avatars. Mechanically the only thing the giants lose is that WIS is now a required bonus stat for them, but gain a Beast Giant option.

The best part for me as the world creator though is that any type of incarnate nature spirit can now be friend, foe or neutral to the heroes of the story with their own motivations and goals and form communities and alliances in the world.

This has way more to do with the fluff than the mechanics though... with the options added to the Avatar you could ALMOST build a dragon in a mechanical sense, but the dragon's fluff is interesting enough to warrant being its own species while the avatar really needed the punch of the Giant's past folly to make it feel like it fits the rest of the setting.

Oh... and I have a MAP (still being edited, but this gives an idea) and a COVER to the first book now;





Stormhold is the largest city of the region with 15,000 people and the surrounding towns and villages total 250,000 people. Ironhold is the next largest at 10,000 people with the surrounding area supporting 100,000. Riverhold is third at 8000 and the surrounding area supporting 80,000.

El-Phara is the Elven kingdom and while it started out strong at 6000 in its capitol and 60,000 in towns and villages, its inability to really grow its population has allowed the three human realms which started at only a thousand or so survivors each 300 years ago to surpass them.

Most of the wilderness is littered with ruins of the overgrown ruins of Second Empire, the only points of civilization in the vast majority of the area are the barbarian tribes living amidst those same ruins. Total population density of the wilds is less than one person per square mile (and those grouped into tribes of 50-200 so you could cross a hundred miles and not come within a mile of another sapient soul).

One of the biggest roles for adventurers in this world is in expanding the realms of civilization. The civilized areas are nearly at saturation in terms of the population they can support, so new lands are needed to be settled. Just a few miles beyond the borders of the civilized lands lay ancient ruins filled treasures and raw materials (a lot of medieval construction used the stones of old Roman buildings instead of quarrying new stone) to aid that effort, but those ruins and the wilds surrounding them are filled with all manner of terrible monsters.

Those with the courage and resourcefulness to clear an area stand a good chance of become its vassal lords who will, in time, need heroes of their own vassals to clear further into the wilds (which is why roughly 80% of the map is unsettled wilds).

Other places where adventurers are needed are the Black Spire, a ruin so old some say it pre-dates the Demon Empire itself that is more a mile square at its base, towers ten miles into the sky and, supposedly, an equal depth into the earth. Its so enormous it has never entirely been mapped (some explorers have spent lifetimes just uncovering everything there is to find on a single floor of thousands), no one knows who built it or why and every theory is crazier than the last.

Then there's the Deep (my version of the Underdark). The upper levels are merely the endless tunnels that ran under and between the cities of the old Empire, but the lower levels are vast chambers miles across from the days when the dwarves still slaved under their demonic masters. Long forgotten secrets lay buried in the depths where arcane magic is rumored to have been born.

The city of Darkhaven is probably Adventurer central in the region; laying just across the river from (and often in the shadow of) the Black Spire with access points to the Deep and on the borders of the realms controlled by Stormhold its where every aspiring adventurer looking to strike it rich heads eventually. Despite a population of only 5000, its economy is tailored specifically towards serving said adventurers (think of it like a rough and tumble gold rush town where you can see giants and dragons walking openly in the streets while halfling gangs skulk in the shadows while arcanists and artisans sell their wares to people from every corner of Old Praetoria (and a few from beyond... though most of the truly foreign traffic is more often found at Stormhold).

The plan right now is for the core system to be two perfect bound 6x9 books (approx 320 pages each); the Player's Guide and the GM's Guide. Expansions will be 250-ish pages and cover similar interesting regions of the setting rather than presenting any sort of grand "this is the entire planet" level of detail.

If it does well the first expansion will be "The Blood Wastes of Bestia" covering the lands to the west of Old Praetoria where a civilization of Beastmen fights a war against legions of the dead rising from the Blood Wastes (think egyptian themed beastmen riding giant scorpions and beetles fighting mummified gnoll sorcerers ensconced in pyramids commanding legions of sun-desiccated zombies and sand golems). The plan is for it to include mechanics for mass combat and shadow-themed PC options (I've got the shadow spellcasting path designed already and its quite fun) and of course plenty of monsters and NPCs and plots native to the region.

After that will probably be "The Endless Archipelago" with more in depth naval rules and pirate/islander themes for PCs. After that, we'll see where the interest is... maybe North past Winterhaven or East to the Sun Empire and Star Kingdoms or to the wilds of Arcadia or the demon realms of the Outer Darkness.
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:09 pm

The surge value bit is very interesting. It means that characters have to spend fewer surges on healing, allowing them to use the surges for their other intended purposes. I know that Gamma World did something similar with your second wind restoring half your hit points, ony without healing surges even existing (or something like that - it's been a while since I looked at the Gamma World 7e rules, which I don't even own).

With regards to edits, something else to look at is the Abjurer, whose ward deals Int + 2 damage. I think you meant the character's Focus score damage.

After you mentioned the avatar vs the giant, I'm sitting here wondering why the level of overlap that the two races have didn't leap out at me - probably too much ogling of the classes. Your note about the avatars' existence removing the ambiguity of the Astral gods reminded me of another possible faith - arcanists who worship the great creator, but view the astral gods as pretenders and primal spirits as riding his coattails. With the avatar taking the giant's fluff, you've allowed for a choice.

I love your new Old Praetoria region. It clicks on several levels - you explained why the elves, with their superior initial numbers, weren't able to use their head start to rule the region, you've provided a reason for adventurers to exist while emphasizing the Points of Light part of the Nentir Vale that didn't get much play. Here, I can picture a barbarian warrior wandering the ruins of the past age, with a haunting, melancholy theme (such as Panoramic, from Book of Eli) playing in the background.

The Deeps tying back into the Demon Empire makes that particular area fit in with the setting's history in a way that only 4e's version of the Underdark did.

Finally, I like your cover a lot - it takes your best character art and puts it front and center. If I were you, I'd stand by for someone to complain about the malfean woman, but that's the nature of our culture these days - somebody's always complaining about something. I'm not bashing it or trying to concern troll you, I'm just saying - be aware.

Edit: how has the transcendent's level bonus to damage been working out?
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PostSubject: Re: STILL Not Dead (Terrors & Tactics Updade)   Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:23 pm

Given that Erin'yi (the malfean woman) is one of the iconics who kinda exemplifies the best of the malfeans (faithful primal practitioner whose bounced back from tragedy to be a hero) and the reactions I've gotten from the three women in my home game are that Erin'yi looks badass I'm not tooconcerned. The best way to deal with the SJW types is just own the downside... "Erin'yi is a powerful attractive women who isn't ashamed of her body. Why are you ashamed of her body?" Own the downside and they can't really touch you.

And yup, Abjurer using INT is another glitch, but Focus grows with level so the stat should instead be your casting score +2/level.

Religion indeed got more interesting and one I had added that is basically like you're describing oulf be deism... belief that a supreme being created the universe, but then left it to run on its own and is no longer involved in the affairs of Creation. That is actually a position held by a number of the Arcanists.

There's also the atheist posistion held by some arcanists who believe that all the gods, spirits and demons are just ancient arcane programs (possibly associated with whoever built the Black Spire) left running in the Arcane Web for so long that they have gained sapience and are playing a con-job on humanity.

As to the description of the barbarian prowling through the wreckage of a bygone age, my vision of the Second Empire was very much a sci-fi themed magitech place (I also present arcane magic as something that could very well be 'sufficiently advanced technology').

Anyway, here are a couple pieces of artwork that really inspired my vision of the world; particularly the lost ruins in the wilderness that adventurers would be exploring (and barbarian tribes living in the shadows of)...







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