View Full Version : The Completely Customized D20 system (Classes)

2009-04-19, 10:31 PM
I started working towards a goal to shatter the wealth/level relation that is kept throughout most of the other D20 systems as well as provide a system where a CR1 monster can still impact a Level 20 character, even if minimalistically. Magic is also greatly reduced in this system, providing more unique effects than destructive or directly offensive effects. This is all based, roughly, on the 3.x D20 system.

The Following is the Class System

The Completely Customized Class:

HD: No Longer based on Class, but rather by race, all humanoid races are a D8 HD.

The Class is broken down into four groups:
Base Attack
Base Defense

There are three ranks to each group; 0-1-2
{table] |Rank 0|Rank 1|Rank2
Base Attack|1/2 HD|3/4 HD|Full HD
Base Defense|1/3HD|1/3HD+2|1/3HD+4
Saves|1 strong|2 strong|3 strong[/table]

Each character is giving 4 ranks at character to creation, to add where they please.

The reason for the Base Defense score is that armor no longer applies to the Armor Class of a character. Instead, Armor is now strictly damage reduction. Also, magic items will be greatly reduced in their effectiveness, and at this point, I do not forsee any magical armor in my system that adds to AC. The only current way to increase AC is through Dex, Feats, or Dodge. Debating on whether shields add AC or DR.

At this moment, there are approximately the same amount of the skills as in the D&D 3.5 system, perhaps a couple less. Int does NOT grant additional skill points. Also, a character chooses class skills equal to double their skill point selection.

Spells... The vancian spell system I no longer use, though I'm not a fan of the MMORPG feel of the 4.0 system. Spells are being changed to a combination of skills and feats, with the feats granting spell groups, and the casting of them, as well as reaching the feat prereqs, are done through the skill system.
Also, instead of Spell Slots or Spells/period, I'm using an approach that spells drain HP* for each of their uses, to show the exhaustion of characters as they spend their own life energy to bend the laws of reality around them.

Oh, and feats are granted at every level except 5, 11, and 17. I am trying to reproduce most class abilities and through feats and feat chains, thus allowing a player to build an infinite number of "classes".

I realize this is a really rough sketch, but any kind of feedback would be greatly appreciated.

[EDIT] Built the table

2009-04-20, 09:58 PM
So wizards have the same HP as frontline fighters, or raging barbarians?

I can see a wizard grabbing Base Attack 2 + Skills 2, granting then high-bonus touch attacks with their entire spell selection. (And yes, such a character would use primarily ranged touch spells.) Also, simply making touch attacks harder will hurt "normal" wizards who just stay at just Base Attack 0. If you're switching all magic to savings throws, realize that everyone will have access to the Evasion/Improved Evasion feats.

What's to stop me from just taking Base Defense 2 + Saves 2 + buffing feats? And before you say it: yes, this is a common spellcaster setup. I'm sure that CoDZilla or Batman Wizard would love to have a Monk's AC and saves.

Why armor as DR? Yes, I realize this seems like a "silly" question, but realize that HP/AC/DR is a game mechanic that doesn't necessarily translate to the real world. After all, different weapons work against different armors. A heavy war pick punches right through heavy armor like tinfoil, but I doubt ignoring DR with a 1d10 two-handed weapon is a good idea.

2009-04-21, 12:42 AM
I guess I should outline the basis of my ideas for spellcasting...

I agree with most of your arguements, but there are no "spell levels" in this system.

The spell system idea that I have set up are based in 8 different Spell Skills, each skill is associated with one of the eight different schools.

Also, to gain access to spells and use the Spell Skills, you must select feats to gain spell groups. There are multiple, for lack of a better word, levels of these feats, but you need to select the basic feat before the intermediate feat and so on; just like Weapon Focus leads to Weapon Specialization leads to Improved Weapon Focus, etc.

There are three basic spell feats, each based on either Int, Wis, or Cha. The Int Feat allows you to take Spell Feats that have effects related to the caster, Wis has effects for allies, and Cha has effects for opponents or unwilling targets. Each of the basic feats allow you to cast the simplest of spells from the Spell Skills.

After that, there are Spell Feats that grant more spell effects with the use of each of the spell skills. Right now I have three levels of feats (Apprentice, Expert, and Master) per Basic Feat per Skill. In other words, to gain every spell group in the game, you must spend twenty-seven feats to do it (3 Basic, 8 Apprentice (1/skill), 8 Expert, 8 Master), as well as spend the skill points to be able to cast the spells.
I know it is impossible under this system to gain every spell, but in D&D, I don't know of a class that allows you to gain every level of spell in Wizard, Cleric, and Psionic spell casting groups.

Each Apprentice, Expert, and Master feat have three spell groups, one related to each of the Basic Feats. To use a spell group, you must have the appropriate Basic Spell Feat. Also, to gain the Expert Feat, you must have the appropriate Apprentice Feat, and Master needs the Expert. Also, you must have enough ranks in the associated Spell School.
For Example::

Expert Evoker [Spell Feat]
Prerequistes: Apprentice Evoker, any one Basic Spell Feat, Evocation Skill rank 12.
Benefit: You gain access to the following Spell Groups, provided that you have the associated Basic Spell Feat.
((((Effects still under construction))))

Also, every spell is cast similar to the Epic Spells in D&D, where it requires a "Spellcraft" DC check to cast, but there is no Spellcraft. Instead, you use on of the eight Spell Skills that is associated with the spell you are trying to cast. In addition, every spell can be modified, similar to the Psionic Augmentation ability that many of their Powers have, but augmenting a spell increases the DC and may also increase the cost of the spell (spells require HP to cast).

I realize that this is a complete overhaul of the system. Maybe I should finish the entire first draft of the system, then post it for review. I was just attempting to do it in steps as I worked it as well as preventing an extremely long post, but I realize now that no one will probably be able to understand in bits and pieces.

Still, if you have any constructive criticism with what I've got going so far, even if it is "Yes, you need to finish it before any thoughts can be given" I would apprectiate it.

2009-04-21, 12:50 AM
And to address the Armor is DR...

I wanted AC to be a reflection more of a character's ability to dodge and turn blows rather than it just be a build up of items. Again, I'm trying to break the wealth - level relationship.

Instead, similar to how through various feats you can improve your ability to attack, I'm building new feats that are similar that can build up a higher defense.

Since at this current moment I'm getting rid of the +X enhancements to weapons and armor, my goal is to make defense and offense more due to the build of a character rather than the items they are carrying.

And yes, I realize that Armor in RL applications works differently against various weapons. For the sake of simplicity, right now I'm just having armor give a generic X/-- DR, though if I truly wanted to make it more complicated, I could give armor such as a Chain Shirt DR 2/Piercing... though I'm still trying to see how complicated this system may or may not be.

I don't believe my new system is more complicated than the old, just its a whole new system... with a very loose beginning in the D20 SRD.

2009-04-21, 05:42 AM
I realize that this is a complete overhaul of the system. Maybe I should finish the entire first draft of the system, then post it for review. I was just attempting to do it in steps as I worked it as well as preventing an extremely long post, but I realize now that no one will probably be able to understand in bits and pieces.

Don't. Megaposts get ignored more often than not, especially fully homebrewed systems (unless it's something quite exotic or you've a reputation of good hbing). The sad fact is, a whole LOT of gamers want to do what you're trying so there's been a lot of threads like this one (L is for low magic and/or power HB systems). Upside, there's always an audience interested. Downside, "been there done that" effect (coupled with megaposts, a recipe for dead threads). You're likely to get at most 5 people interested in an average hbed system thread, which drops exponentially with megaposts.

Also, spoiler tags are your friend.

As for your system: nice.

Like: HP by race, "classes" (you realize it's actually point buy, yes?), no vancian, narrow AC distribution, skeleton of magic system, weakening of Xmas trees

*Use defenses of 4E and not saves. It's the best thing since THAC0 shift.
*No tables. Resist the temptation.
*Finalize melee combat first. Add ranged later. Keep magic for last.
*Armor as DR is a fundamental design decision. Think carefully on that. Plate wearers will likely be invulnerable to daggers, unless (Plate: DR 5 vs slash/crush) which is complicated.
*Shields provide AC.
*You don't have to use standard DnD stats.
*Stats are meaningless in DnD. It's modifiers that count. You can safely reduce to Str +x, Dex -y,...
*Finally, search these boards. There's gotta be at least 14 thousand (give or take a few) threads about this exact concept. See what others have done before (good artists inspire, great artists steal). And don't necromance such threads if possible.
[shameless promotion]Find G6 thread by Djinn in Tonic, it's got a lot of stuff about magic as feats[/shameless promotion]

Final final advice, keep working on it (and start using it as soon as you can). Owning a fully HBed personal system is one of the definitive signs of being a creative DM.

2009-04-21, 05:54 AM
*Use defenses of 4E and not saves. It's the best thing since THAC0 shift.

It's also just about as substantial as the THAC0 shift.

Seriously, THAC0 to BAB was going from subtraction to addition.

Saves to Defenses was going from one person rolling the dice to another person.

I can understand not liking specific parts of a system, but these changes are negligible, and while they doubtlessly have an effect, they're drowned by the plethorae of other changes.

Vorpal word
2009-04-21, 06:39 AM
If the AC is no longer based on armour, wouldn't it be better to call it "Evasion"?

But the overall system seems interesting. I was trying to make a blend of v3.5 and v4 myself (called it v3.75 :smallbiggrin:), but people gave up on the thread quickly. Very interesting idea with the "feats can do everything" approach.

So by 30th level a character could have all the spells in the game... or are there epic spells?

2009-04-21, 05:33 PM
Shields should be added to the AC, I agree.


The base stats also have an effect in this new system, not just the bonus. For example, my HP system is different, which also changes how criticals work.

Every character has Health Points and Wound Points. Health points are what increases with every level and are drained through combat, exhausting excercises, and casting of spells. Wound Points are equal to the character's base Constitution Score after Racial modifiers. These points represent the actual damage dealt to the character's body. Critical Hits deal Wound damage as well as normal damage, and the amount of damage is dependent on the weapons Critical Score (similar to the Crit Modifier of 3.x).

i.e. A Longsword has a damage range of d8+Str Modifier and has a Crit Score of 1. When a character deals a critical strike against his opponent, he deals D8+str Hp damage, and deals 1 Wound damage.

If a character runs out of HP, then all remaining damage is converted into wound damage. Wound damage takes a much longer time to heal, is harder to heal through magical means, and inflicts penalties upon a character depending how much damage s/he has taken.


As far as epic level progression, yes it is potential to gain all pre-built spells groups by level 30. (A character still would not gain feats every 6 levels after 17... 23,29,35 etc.) However, I am purposely trying to make this system as skeletal as possible so that it can stand on its own, but also allow for characters to create their own spell groups and feats, of course all such spell groups would have to gain DM approval. Until I have a semi-finished spell system ready for critiqueing, though, I can't get any further detailed than that.


I find the Defenses (4.0) and Saves (3.x) interchangable. In fact, in my 3.5x gaming group, we have rid ourselves of the Static DC's, and instead subtracted 10 from all DC's and added a D20 roll.


This may make me sound completely naive, which I can blame on the fact that my gaming group has been the same six people for the past five years, but what is a "Xmas Tree"?

2009-04-22, 05:39 AM
In the dawn of DnD, there were tables. Then THAC0 was made and there was much rejoicing. Years ago, THAC0 had some plastic surgery that got rid of subtraction. People rejoiced (bashers of "dumbing down" be damned). Recently, saves had such plastic surgery as well. And why is it awesome? Because though statistical results are unaffected, amount of rolling has reduced significantly. No longer will DM roll for each of the 128 goblins in the fireball's area. When added up, such time saving is likely to result in an extra encounter (especially in a battle heavy session). Plus, anything to decrease the nonessential workload of the DM...
(though you might inexplicably be enjoying extra dice rolls seeing the removal of static DCs, in which case saves are fine)

I've spent way too much time on online forums... "Christmas Tree Effect (http://img340.imageshack.us/img340/552/imbamagelg1.jpg)" is the tendency of high level DnD/CRPG/MMORPG characters to be covered from head to toe with various magical items most of which glow and twinkle with ridiculous colors and auras.

While WP is clear enough, you might want to define HP more clearly, if only to explain just how the hell it heals naturally and especially magically. Just a little blurb (an abstract combination of freshness and general combat skill indicating the ability to protect oneself from harm that is drained as a character strains himself by engaging in combat, doing strenuous physical activities or using magic) should suffice.

2009-04-22, 10:21 AM
Alright, bad news first. The way you set up your first post is terrible. Use a table.

Now onto the good news. This is brilliant, levels of magic feats are really cool, and the system is good overall. That said, I would change a few things, or rather make additions.

First, defense, have it scale similarly to offense, but one step behind. So if R1 bought 3/4 offense, it should buy 1/2 defense. A shield would then make up the difference, to make them valuable again.

Armor as damage reduction is a good system, but it tends to lose out at higher levels. What you could do is have it scale with level, seeing as hit points is mostly mitigating damage anyways.

You should probably also have various martial feats for defense and attack, particularly defense. Take a look at the shifts system in my signature for example.

I would also suggest taking a look at other systems, just to see what is there. Fudge and Savage worlds are free, Gurps has a free light version, as does Riddle of Steel, and Burning Wheel is cheap and has some of the most brilliant ideas I have ever seen for fantasy.

On magic, I would suggest not using PHB spells at all. Instead have each feat grant a few "spells" which can be heavily modified, with additional feats granting additional modifications. So instead of evoker someone might take the feat "Spirit Summons". Which would look kind of like this:

Spirit Summons
Prerequisite: None
Benefit: Anybody with the Spirit Summons feat may make a DC 10 Magic check to summon an incorporeal spirit with 10 of each ability, and a move speed of 30 feet, except for strength and constitution, and one hit die. Additional abilities cost as shown below.
Additional Hit Die: +4 DC/Hit Die
Additional +10 move speed: +3 DC/+10 move speed
Additional point of ability: +1 DC/Ability
Four skill points: +1 DC/Four Skill Points
A spell: +DC of the spell.
Normal: You can't summon spirits.

Then for combat magic you might have something along the lines of "Energy Magic". Which would look something like this.

Energy Magic I
Prerequisite: None
Benefit: Anybody with the Energy Magic feat may make a DC 10 Magic check to inflict 1d6 generic energy damage to one target of their choice. A reflex save dodges. Additional abilities cost as shown below.
Additional Target Within 5 feet of Primary Target: +4 DC
Additional 5 feet of Target Distance: +2*DC
Increased Damage Die: +2 DC

So if you wanted to summon a spirit with an energy magic spell that did 1d8 damage to 2 targets within 5 feet of each other, had 2 hit dice, and 4 skill points of magic, it would be a DC 21 Magic check. However, summoning a spirit with 1 hit die, 18 int, and 4 skill points in a relevant craft or knowledge skill, it would only be a DC 19 Magic check.

Want to do a specific type of energy damage, give energy auras, energy defense, or summon a physical being. Start shelling out more feats, physical beings take a feat or two beyond the spirits, energy auras and resistance would be Energy Magic III, and Energy Magic II respectively.

2009-04-22, 09:57 PM
Okay, cnsvnc, consider your description of HP stolen :smalltongue:, that's almost exactly what I was attempting to go for.

Yeah, sorry about the format. I just recently found the help faq with vbCodes, which has been driving me nuts due to my lack of knowledge in this whole forum thing.

I completely agree with the scaling of the defense score. So it would probably look like this (also testing the table code)

{table] |Rank 0|Rank 1|Rank 2
Base Defense |1/3 HD|1/2 HD|3/4 HD[/table]

I don't see how DR would lose out at higher levels, with magical equipment that enhances stats and damage being all but removed from the game.
Although I can foresee a problem with the higher level battles taking longer due to the high hp values and less damage being dealt... although I believe I can solve that with WP system; where at higher levels there could be more ways to directly affect your opponents Wounds rather than Health (seriously debating on changing that to Stamina for confusion reasons).

With spells, I never planned on using the spells from the PHB other than for ideas and names. The following is an example of the basic abjuration spells that I have already built, but not yet play tested.
For clarification, I call the Magic in this system Mana, and Spells are Talents.

Abjuration Spells From Apprentice Abjurer Feats
From the Bender's FeatInterference (Abjuration Talent)
Base Skill DC: 10
Health Cost: 2 HP
Effect: Target one creature within 30 ft. Target must succeed a Fortitude Save of 10 or suffers a -1 penalty to attack and defense scores for 1 round.
Increase Targetís DC by 1: +2DC per point increased
Increase Talentís Duration: +1DC/+1HP per additional round.
Increase Attack/Defense Penalty by 1 (Max. = -3): +2DC/+3HP per increase.

From the Mystic's Feat Alarm (Abjuration Talent)
Base Skill DC: 10
Stamina Cost: 1 SP
Effect: You create an area with a radius of 15 ft surrounding yourself. Any creature that moves into this area after you create it will become known to you. If you are asleep, you will be awoken. The effect lasts for 4 hours.
Increase the Radius by 5 ft. (Max 50 ft); +1 DC
Audible Alarm: Starting radius of 15ft; +2DC/+2SP.

Increase radius of sound by 5ft (Max 50 ft); +2DC.
Cast upon target object instead of self; +2DC/+2SP.
Increase Duration by 1 hour (Max 12); +2DC/+1SP
From the Disciple's Feat Resistance (Abjuration Talent)
Base Skill DC: 10
Stamina Cost: 2 SP
Effect: Grant one of your saves a +1 bonus for one minute.
Increase Mana Bonus to a Maximum of +5: +2DC/+2SP per increase.
Include Multiple Saves: +4DC/+4SP per additional save.

As mentioned earlier, I have it so that all the spells (talents) are broken down into three major categories, with each based on either Int, Wis, or Cha.
Bender; based on foes = Cha Caster
Mystic; based on friendlies = Wis Caster
Disciple; based on self = Int Caster
The feats are broken down this way as far as prerequisites, and also explains which stat modifier is used when using a Mana Skill.

The current plan is that every Spell Feat will actually grant three seperate spells.


I like the idea of the Shifts for combat. Going to try to incorporate that into my current group to see how it works.

2009-04-23, 12:56 AM
I'm liking the spells. That said, you might consider a "feedback" cost, which hits HP if the spell fizzles. Still, they are worlds beyond what Wotc put out, the system is beautiful. I'm seeing the ability to deal more damage at higher levels make DR less impressive, but if its as removed as you said, then that changes everything. But I can't say for sure until I see the finished thing.

The table is easy to read, and very nicely done, professional looking. This looks like a solid system. One thing I would very strongly advise right now is taking a look at the generic, craft your own spell magic systems. However, that said you do want to avoid a generic magic system, so throwing in possible risks for various schools could work. Right now, for example, I'm running a game where magic can be thrown around at will, its not tiring, and easy magic isn't going to drain you. However, every spell cast gives an opportunity for hostile spirits, other mages, psychic monsters, etc. to attack. Magic is also extremely dangerous to be on the receiving end of if the effects are hostile.

Feel free to include Shifts if you want, and modify them as you will. But if you do, could you possibly include a note in the finished version saying where the idea came from?

To end on a positive note. Great job so far, I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.

2009-04-23, 01:22 AM
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5727144#post5727144 Awesome thread. Made an idiot of myself in it, but still awesome.