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 My 4e Clone: Points of Light

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C4
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:44 pm

Garthanos wrote:
Perhaps if a Points of Light seems pushing into product identity territory - You might derive off of it.
maybe something like "Beacon of Heroes"
Yeah, something with a similar vibe would be nice.

Alternatively, I recently saw a post on rpgnet by someone who is hoping for a 4e clone called Fourskin, which I think is almost funny enough to use.

Almost. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:53 pm

thanson02 wrote:

To C4:  I didn't see yet, but did you bring up the World Cosmology you are using or are you planning on introducing multiple models?  I saw references to the Feywild and the Shadowfell, but not much else.  Also I have not been on the forms for a while, so I am a bit behind on what is going on and catching up.  Smile

Originally I had intended to simply use the World Axis cosmology with the serial numbers filed off -- I renamed the Feywild and Shadowfell as Faerie and Sibylie, and I really like those planes -- but thanks to Chris' advice, I'm going to invent an entirely new cosmology. I haven't begun writing it -- or hardly any fluff, really -- as of yet.

I recently added racial ability bonuses back in and added a few additional races -- a couple of the genies and wild folk really need a couple racial traits each, and I'm looking for suggestions! -- and I'm currently editing text and formatting everywhere to avoid copyright issues.
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:12 pm

C4 wrote:

Originally I had intended to simply use the World Axis cosmology with the serial numbers filed off
That might be called Norse Cosmology... hehehe.

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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: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:08 am

'Kay, I'm mostly done readjusting terminology -- geez, this has been the least fun thing ever about this project!

Now to write some feats -- I could use some help here, because feats are the least interesting part of the game for me. Which feats do you feel are the best designed? What kind of feats do you like the best, conceptually or mechanically? Which do you wish had been better? I'm focusing on Adventurous (heroic) tier feats at the moment, but I'll keep higher-tier feat ideas in mind.

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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:40 am

Regarding "Points of Light", there are two OSR products with that title and they havent had any issues.

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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:37 pm

Hm, true, but they're also clearly not cloning anything; from the RPG drive thru blurbs, they're system-neutral settings books.

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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:53 am

C4 wrote:
Hm, true, but they're also clearly not cloning anything; from the RPG drive thru blurbs, they're system-neutral settings books.

I think however as Points of Light was a setting in 4e as well... not a reference to the Game System. In some sense 'other settings' may be more of an infringement.

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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: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:43 am

I've been going back and forth with myself, trying to decide if it's worth keeping class vs. non-class skills as a thing, so I'd like your opinion. The way I see it, the existence of class skills serves three purposes:

1. Class skills reinforce traditional archetypes. This purpose isn't very convincing for me though, as those archetypes can be somewhat subjective, and it ends up almost necessitating things like backgrounds to answer questions like "Well what if my fighter was a thieving street urchin before being taken in and trained by Sword Master Dolgar?"

2. A list of class skills may make life easier for new players by reducing the number of chargen options. I'm not particularly convinced of this one either, and in any case, a 'suggested skills' list for each class would serve the same purpose.

3. Class skills remove a player's temptation to always pick the same skills. I've found that some players will always take the skills that are generally useful to every adventurer -- Perception, Stealth, and Insight. And this is the one that I go over and over in my head. In the past I've simply added everything except Perception and Stealth to all 4e skill lists -- classes that already have P and S still have them -- but the omission of 2-3 skills from even most skill lists hardly seems to justify class skills as a thing.

One idea I'm tossing around in my head is to use class skill lists just to reserve 1-2 skills for each role. Like P and S for strikers, Heal for leaders, Endurance for defenders, ??? for controllers. Anywho, well, what do you think?
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:30 pm

I'd ditch class skills. Some traditional archetypes don't get jack for skills, and as you said, the archetypes are subjective.

For Perception, I remember one house rule on Enworld that let you use Streetwise, Nature, or Dungeoneering in Perception's place in the appropriate environment, like say Streetwise in urban areas, Nature in the wild, and Dungeoneering while underground. This could exist alongside Perception or replace it entirely the way that the lore skills (Arcana, Religion, History) are separate.

As for Stealth, I have no idea.
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Sat Jun 21, 2014 4:41 pm

Hm, so Perception works everywhere, but you can substitute other skills in appropriate circumstances? That's an interesting house rule!

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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Sat Jun 21, 2014 5:30 pm

How about splitting the difference and have a class skill list with 'one of choice' being an option. This lets any character have any one skill if it makes sense for the character, but it doesn't let them have every one of the 'good' skills unless the class already has most of them already. It also does away with a lot of the need for the background system as it exists in 4E proper.
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:25 pm

I agree that is a very cool houserule.

as far as class skills go, I would take them out at least if they are only given by class.

one thing I have though would be cool is if you had themes be a bigger deal then they are now in 4e, and they are 80% fluff (so you would need alot of them to cover your bases) then they could add to your class skill list.
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:34 am

I want to say that Garthanos commented in that thread and came up with it, but I don't remember off the top of my head. I can't claim to have invented it.

I do like the idea of themes having more of a connection to skills. Perhaps you could choose your skills that came from a pool that drew on your class and your theme? A Fighter could have access to Athletics, Endurance, Intimidate, etc, while a Scholar would have Religion, Arcana, History, or other knowledge-based skills, and you could pick four or five skills from the combined list.
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:03 am

Chris24601 wrote:
How about splitting the difference and have a class skill list with 'one of choice' being an option. This lets any character have any one skill if it makes sense for the character, but it doesn't let them have every one of the 'good' skills unless the class already has most of them already. It also does away with a lot of the need for the background system as it exists in 4E proper.

This was my first thought to the question of class skills. I never really like the class skill restrictions, but totally agree that lifting them completely creates a potential problem. One of the reasons I always like playing eladrin is that I can grab any skill I want with eladrin education. Why the heck can't my ranger be an expect in arcana?
And I wouldn't see this as negating the benefit of eladrin education because they still get another extra skill on top of it all.

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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:54 pm

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone! I'm going to write down these great ideas for possible future reference, but for now I'm simply going to drop the class vs. non-class distinction. I may revisit the topic sometime in the future, when I ask you to play/theory test my first ten levels!

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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:08 am

Recently I've been inspired to revisit the idea of scaling encounter and daily powers so that the game doesn't need so darn many of them. (Some of which are simply scaled-up versions of lower-level powers to begin with.) Though I didn't initially realize it, this is a difficult thing to do well, but I think I've finally found an elegant solution:

Instead of PCs gaining two encounter and two daily powers per tier, and needing to retrain old ones away starting at 13th level, they gain just one of each per tier. No retraining. (Unless a player wants to, of course!) I'll have to rejigger the character advancement table, but there are enough goodies that I can just avoid dead levels.

This means that PCs still end up with 2/4/4/7 by 30th level, but the accumulation of powers will be more gradual. Monster HP have already been trimmed down, so combat length shouldn't be an issue. It also means that there's no real need to categorize attack powers by level, which is a huge deal to me because it means I don't have to write nearly so many of them!

So my questions are:

  • Am I missing some problem that I should be seeing with this idea?
  • Would you want attack powers to be tied directly to PPs and EDs, or would you want them in larger a la carte power lists?


(I should mention two things that are already different about powers: 1) 1st level encounter and daily powers come in tightly thematic build-bundles, and 2) Power pools will be by power source rather than class.)
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:21 pm

if you mean having one list for each class (or power source) and letting everyone pick a new one from the list when they reach a certain level then the problem would be that you would just get worse and worse powers as you level.

when you get your first encounter power you pick the best, then you pick the second best, then the third best. so instead of getting a cool and good power when you level you get that power that was not good enough 5 levels ago. when you get to epic you might stop caring what powers you get altogether, after all how good could a power be if you decided three times not to pick it?
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:00 am

C4 wrote:
Recently I've been inspired to revisit the idea of scaling encounter and daily powers so that the game doesn't need so darn many of them. (Some of which are simply scaled-up versions of lower-level powers to begin with.) Though I didn't initially realize it, this is a difficult thing to do well, but I think I've finally found an elegant solution:

Instead of PCs gaining two encounter and two daily powers per tier, and needing to retrain old ones away starting at 13th level, they gain just one of each per tier. No retraining. (Unless a player wants to, of course!) I'll have to rejigger the character advancement table, but there are enough goodies that I can just avoid dead levels.

This means that PCs still end up with 2/4/4/7 by 30th level, but the accumulation of powers will be more gradual. Monster HP have already been trimmed down, so combat length shouldn't be an issue. It also means that there's no real need to categorize attack powers by level, which is a huge deal to me because it means I don't have to write nearly so many of them!

I would tread carefully with this idea. Lower level powers are meant to work best in lower levels (with a few exceptions of course). Unless a power is designed to scale into higher tiers, keeping lower tier powers with each tier shift is pointless, and when players will retrain anyway, taking the need away doesn't really do much to help.

C4 wrote:
2) Power pools will be by power source rather than class.)

Bad idea, at least as a catch all for every power. Classes build differences between what one character and another can do, creating areas of specialization with the types of powers they have available to them. If you'd like to bundle powers together like this, doing it by Role would be a better idea than by Power Source, but I wouldn't recommend it as something to do for all powers. Class powers are part of what makes class choice meaningful. After all, why be an Artificer if a Bard can do the same stuff?
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Thu Sep 18, 2014 2:01 pm

ToeSama wrote:

Bad idea, at least as a catch all for every power. Classes build differences between what one character and another can do, creating areas of specialization with the types of powers they have available to them. If you'd like to bundle powers together like this, doing it by Role would be a better idea than by Power Source, but I wouldn't recommend it as something to do for all powers. Class powers are part of what makes class choice meaningful. After all, why be an Artificer if a Bard can do the same stuff?

I agree, I would not be against having a generic list for each power sources, then a smaller list for each class. the source lists would be like skill powers, made to be good for a wide variety of classes and characters. but each class does need its own list not doing so means your class features have to be crazy powerful because they will the only thing that gives your class identity.
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:27 am

ToeSama wrote:
Bad idea, at least as a catch all for every power. Classes build differences between what one character and another can do, creating areas of specialization with the types of powers they have available to them.
You could solve this problem with class/role-specific riders, or even with class features that interact with the powers in various ways.

E.g. A sorcerer's 'fireball' does extra damage, and maybe sets people on fire. A wizard's 'fireball' just does basic damage but lays down a zone that damages enemies that move through it. A bard's 'fireball' is an illusion that does psychic instead of fire damage and sends the survivors running in fear. An artificer's 'fireball' only targets enemies, but gives allies in the area a fiery aura.

Quote :
After all, why be an Artificer if a Bard can do the same stuff?
Personally, I would be completely OK with bards and artificers being distinguished solely by fluff/in-game description rather than mechanics. Honestly, the mechanics of the 4e artificer don't feel distinctly 'artificery' to me anyway. A bard who concentrates on magic item buffs rather than charms and illusions, and uses Int instead of Cha would make just as good an artificer, IMO.

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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:16 am

Duskweaver wrote:
You could solve this problem with class/role-specific riders, or even with class features that interact with the powers in various ways.

E.g. A sorcerer's 'fireball' does extra damage, and maybe sets people on fire. A wizard's 'fireball' just does basic damage but lays down a zone that damages enemies that move through it. A bard's 'fireball' is an illusion that does psychic instead of fire damage and sends the survivors running in fear. An artificer's 'fireball' only targets enemies, but gives allies in the area a fiery aura.

This works as an example, but the simple fact is that not all powers should be treated this way. Some powers are best served as class specific to help build class identity. Fireball is a general catch all spell, but a Sorcerer (that is, an Arcane Striker) shouldn't really have access to the same facets that a Bard or Wizard (that is, an Arcane Leader or Controller) has access too. Role provides insight on character strengths, and to this, source based powers should be fairly simple in their function, where as class and role powers should provide specifics and specialties.

I will admit, I like the idea of powers that take class into account for extra riders, but it shouldn't be a blanket mechanic to be used by all powers.

Duskweaver wrote:
Personally, I would be completely OK with bards and artificers being distinguished solely by fluff/in-game description rather than mechanics. Honestly, the mechanics of the 4e artificer don't feel distinctly 'artificery' to me anyway. A bard who concentrates on magic item buffs rather than charms and illusions, and uses Int instead of Cha would make just as good an artificer, IMO.

The flavor is mutable already though. I could play a Monk and call it a Wizard if I wanted. But the Monk and the Wizard are distinct by their mechanical applications. Mutable fluff is fine, but if you want to let a Monk do all things a Wizard does on a mechanical level, you've stopped playing a Monk.

Balancing 4e powers to be more open is completely different from balancing 4e powers to fit a classless system.
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:43 am

ToeSama wrote:
Balancing 4e powers to be more open is completely different from balancing 4e powers to fit a classless system.
I will definitely agree with this. It's hard enough balancing factors for the classes I'm working on in my not-so-retroclone where a class can either be a defender or striker, controller or striker, or a leader or striker. The only reason I could even go that far is because the primary striker feature is just 'more damage' and because I specifically created a distinct 'controller' feature that was not just baked into their powers.

Even so, the striker version of the mage has a definite secondary of controller (i.e. more rider effects on the target compared to say a rogue) and the striker version of the fighter has echoes of being defender-ish (at-wills that can be used to hinder a target's movement for example). Which is actually a good thing as it keeps all the strikers (there are twelve variants; one for each class) from feeling alike.
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:49 pm

Duskweaver wrote:

You could solve this problem with class/role-specific riders, or even with class features that interact with the powers in various ways.

E.g. A sorcerer's 'fireball' does extra damage, and maybe sets people on fire. A wizard's 'fireball' just does basic damage but lays down a zone that damages enemies that move through it. A bard's 'fireball' is an illusion that does psychic instead of fire damage and sends the survivors running in fear. An artificer's 'fireball' only targets enemies, but gives allies in the area a fiery aura.

you might as well make different powers at that point. it would be easier to write two powers then have one power change from being a fireball to a AOE illusion attack.

Duskweaver wrote:
After all, why be an Artificer if a Bard can do the same stuff?

Personally, I would be completely OK with bards and artificers being distinguished solely by fluff/in-game description rather than mechanics. Honestly, the mechanics of the 4e artificer don't feel distinctly 'artificery' to me anyway. A bard who concentrates on magic item buffs rather than charms and illusions, and uses Int instead of Cha would make just as good an artificer, IMO.

at that point you might as well just not have both classes.
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:42 am

spock42 wrote:
if you mean having one list for each class (or power source) and letting everyone pick a new one from the list when they reach a certain level then the problem would be that you would just get worse and worse powers as you level.

when you get your first encounter power you pick the best, then you pick the second best, then the third best. so instead of getting a cool and good power when you level you get that power that was not good enough 5 levels ago. when you get to epic you might stop caring what powers you get altogether, after all how good could a power be if you decided three times not to pick it?

There are a few possible answers to that. One is that different powers might appeal to a player at different levels. This could be due to acquisition of certain feats, items, synergistic class or theme features, etc. Another option is to bin powers by tier. Even in the most degenerate case there would be one 'best power' at each tier and you'd pick it. Third some powers might start strong but not scale as well as others, changing their appeal over the levels.
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PostSubject: Re: My 4e Clone: Points of Light   Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:55 am

ToeSama wrote:
C4 wrote:
Recently I've been inspired to revisit the idea of scaling encounter and daily powers so that the game doesn't need so darn many of them. (Some of which are simply scaled-up versions of lower-level powers to begin with.) Though I didn't initially realize it, this is a difficult thing to do well, but I think I've finally found an elegant solution:

Instead of PCs gaining two encounter and two daily powers per tier, and needing to retrain old ones away starting at 13th level, they gain just one of each per tier. No retraining. (Unless a player wants to, of course!) I'll have to rejigger the character advancement table, but there are enough goodies that I can just avoid dead levels.

This means that PCs still end up with 2/4/4/7 by 30th level, but the accumulation of powers will be more gradual. Monster HP have already been trimmed down, so combat length shouldn't be an issue. It also means that there's no real need to categorize attack powers by level, which is a huge deal to me because it means I don't have to write nearly so many of them!

I would tread carefully with this idea. Lower level powers are meant to work best in lower levels (with a few exceptions of course). Unless a power is designed to scale into higher tiers, keeping lower tier powers with each tier shift is pointless, and when players will retrain anyway, taking the need away doesn't really do much to help.

C4 wrote:
2) Power pools will be by power source rather than class.)

Bad idea, at least as a catch all for every power. Classes build differences between what one character and another can do, creating areas of specialization with the types of powers they have available to them. If you'd like to bundle powers together like this, doing it by Role would be a better idea than by Power Source, but I wouldn't recommend it as something to do for all powers. Class powers are part of what makes class choice meaningful. After all, why be an Artificer if a Bard can do the same stuff?

I hate the idea of binning powers by role. Its utterly unthematic and gamist. What do a bard and a rune priest have in common that they would share a power? Or a fighter and a swordmage? Thematically power source is a MUCH MUCH stronger binning choice.

How you would do this is you would move most of the role function into one or more class features which would interact with the theme powers. This can be relatively straightforward. For instance a ranger gets his HQ die, making any power he uses a higher damage power (and he'll certainly leverage that with martial power selections that provide multi-attacks and other ways to get that die more often). Each striker can easily have a 'damage boost' that is particular to that class, and most of them already have pretty good options there, divine sanction, HQ, Warlock's Curse, etc etc etc.

Obviously there will be at least some limited class power list for some, if not all, classes. Here you may find some powers which can provide other options. I'd imagine the wizard for instance would have a bunch of unique controllery powers. This makes classes a lot more flexible too because each build has a choice of either 'doubling down' on its own role via class powers or emphasizing its power source more and probably building a secondary role via an MC feat perhaps or something like that. Best of all each power in the source list gains a different character, becomes almost a different power, in the hands of each class, whereas if you go with role powers all you do is embue each role in a few 'controller' or 'striker' powers that make each member of that role more vanilla.

I'd fully expect that for each class/build there would probably be some 'standout' powers within your source's list that would be naturally attractive due to some specific synergy with your class/role, but that's of course already true in 4e. I don't think source based power lists would make choices any more predetermined than they are now, if things are written carefully.
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My 4e Clone: Points of Light
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