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SowZ
2011-07-28, 04:46 PM
(Made this thread in another part of the forum but thought maybe it would be more appropriate here.)

If you like quick and dirty character creation, this is not for you. This is to add a little bit of balance to the party as well as give extra options both for optimization and flair. Characters made using this system will be more powerful then using standard rules. It also fits into settings where magical ability is not just researched but innate/genetic.

All players may choose (DM approved) LA+0 races
All players may choose any martial class (barbarian, fighter, monk, rogue) or NPC class
All players have a minimum of 20 points for point buy
Starting gold is rolled normally as a first level character with an extra +50 gold for each point of positive Charisma modifier, +25 for each point of positive Intelligence modifier, -10 for each point of negative Charisma modifier, and -5 for each point of negative Intelligence modifier

Every character gets 5 character points. They may be spent on different things.

One character point may be spent on:
-An extra five points to spend during point buy
-The ability to level up (starting level or future levels) in any partial caster class (Bard, Paladin, Psychic Warrior, Ranger, Soulknife, Wilder)
-An ancestral weapon (a single masterwork weapon whose magical abilities may only be used by the player or the players blood relatives. The weapon may not be enchanted. When the player reaches levels two and five the weapon gains a random minor enchantment. At levels nine and fourteen the weapon gains a random medium enchantment. At level twenty the weapon gains a random major enchantment. For roleplaying purposes, these enchantments aren't being gained but instead revealed.)
-An affinity for business (double starting gold and a permanent +2 bonus to barter checks)
-A (DM approved) LA+1 race that multiplies starting gold by 1.5

Two character points may be spent on:
-An extra ten points to spend during point buy
-A level enhancement (the character starts out at level two and gains experience fast enough to usually keep them about one level higher than other party members) that also doubles the amount of starting gold
-The ability to level up, (starting level or future levels,) in any arcane caster class (Sorcerer, Wizard)
-A (DM approved) LA+2 race that double the amount of starting gold

Three character points may be spent on:
-An extra fifteen points to spend during point buy
-The ability to level up (starting level or future levels) in any divine or psionic caster class (Cleric, Druid, Psion)
- A (DM approved) LA+3 race that also triples the amount of starting gold

Four character points may be spent on:
-The ability to attract a cohort (as per the Leadership feat) with a non-elite array and martial/NPC class levels two levels below the character
-A strong level enhancement (the character starts out at level three and gains experience fast enough to usually keep them about two levels higher than other party members) that also quadruples the amount of starting gold

If starting gold is multiplied more than once, don't compound. Add all the multipliers together first. So doubling twice is quadrupling, doubling and tripling is pentupling, etc.

Feedback, advice, criticisms, are all welcome. I am not the first to use character points for LA races and bonus levels, (I first saw that on the internet,) but I don't know of anyone who uses them quite like I do.

DeAnno
2011-07-28, 05:43 PM
Soulknife shouldn't count as a partial caster. They don't actually cast spells and are awful enough already, they probably deserve to be left alone. Paladin and Ranger are low enough casting that it barely matters as well, neither is significantly more tweakable than the martial classes (Ranger, Paladin, Fighter, Rogue, Monk, and Barbarian are all Tier (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1002.0) IV and V).

Can four points not be spent on 20 extra point buy points, or five on 25? Spending CPs on PB points seems like a relatively weak option, and PB gives diminishing returns already, so I don't think that'd overpower things.

Ancestral Weapons have the potential to be awful if they randomly select bad enchantments, I'd let the player choose what they manifest. Also, do they ever get an enhancement bonus? A weapon needs at least +1 by RAW to get anything else. If I were to implement such a feature, I'd structure it like this:

Level 2: +1 Enhancement
Level 5: +1 bonus ability
Level 9: +2 bonus ability
Level 14: +2 bonus ability
Level 20: +5 bonus ability (Total enchantment is now Epic @ +11)

Whenever you get new bonus abilities, you can spend all or any of it on raw + enhancement. For example, A Weapon could be +1 at level 2, +1 Flaming (+1 cost) at level 5, and +2 Flaming (+1) Frost (+1) at level 9.

Affinity for business doesn't seem to scale very well unless barter checks are very important in your game. I'm not sure how to fix this without knowing how you play, but consider making it easier to track down rare items with this as well.

In general, juxtaposing free LA vs free levels vs better classes is sort of an interesting idea. My intuition is that the "best" strategy is to play a Level+1 +1LA Wizard, but I like how it gives people who want to play mundane classes in low-medium OP games a bit of a boost.

SowZ
2011-07-28, 06:16 PM
Soulknife shouldn't count as a partial caster. They don't actually cast spells and are awful enough already, they probably deserve to be left alone. Paladin and Ranger are low enough casting that it barely matters as well, neither is significantly more tweakable than the martial classes (Ranger, Paladin, Fighter, Rogue, Monk, and Barbarian are all Tier (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1002.0) IV and V).

Can four points not be spent on 20 extra point buy points, or five on 25? Spending CPs on PB points seems like a relatively weak option, and PB gives diminishing returns already, so I don't think that'd overpower things.

Ancestral Weapons have the potential to be awful if they randomly select bad enchantments, I'd let the player choose what they manifest. Also, do they ever get an enhancement bonus? A weapon needs at least +1 by RAW to get anything else. If I were to implement such a feature, I'd structure it like this:

Level 2: +1 Enhancement
Level 5: +1 bonus ability
Level 9: +2 bonus ability
Level 14: +2 bonus ability
Level 20: +5 bonus ability (Total enchantment is now Epic @ +11)

Whenever you get new bonus abilities, you can spend all or any of it on raw + enhancement. For example, A Weapon could be +1 at level 2, +1 Flaming (+1 cost) at level 5, and +2 Flaming (+1) Frost (+1) at level 9.

Affinity for business doesn't seem to scale very well unless barter checks are very important in your game. I'm not sure how to fix this without knowing how you play, but consider making it easier to track down rare items with this as well.

In general, juxtaposing free LA vs free levels vs better classes is sort of an interesting idea. My intuition is that the "best" strategy is to play a Level+1 +1LA Wizard, but I like how it gives people who want to play mundane classes in low-medium OP games a bit of a boost.

You bring up some good points. I know that I can do more with a fighter then a Paladin. And seeing as Rangers don't even get spells until level four and even then the max spell level is low, I should probably make them both free to play as. I made soulknifes partial casters because the point of partial caster was more, 'do your abilities require magic' more then do you cast spells. But for game balance purposes, it is unfair to make someone pay for Soulknife.

Just about any full caster will use their leftover 2-3 points on a level enhancement. But I don't mind that. I limited point buy because 45 point buy not only sounded absurd but would be a por choice of point allocation. But I suppose if someone wants a 14-16 score in everything they should be able to choose it. I limited LA at 3 because at LA4 you start seeing things like stone giants, unbodied, and pixies that have abilities or stat bonuses that starting characters just shouldn't have.

Perhaps the business one could also give the player a business that they can invest in to increase its size throughout their travels that gives them a monthly salary?

I considered giving the character the option of how to manifest the ancestral weapons powers and perhaps I should. (It would suck to get a merciful, vicous blade for many character types,) I wondered if this would up the cost to 2? Considering how much money would be saved in the long run...

DeAnno
2011-07-28, 06:28 PM
These CPs are pretty valuable, I'm not sure that even a great deal of saved money on the weapon can be worth something as big as 1 HD (or it would need to be a ridiculous weapon for it to be so, something much better than what it is now).

SowZ
2011-07-28, 06:33 PM
These CPs are pretty valuable, I'm not sure that even a great deal of saved money on the weapon can be worth something as big as 1 HD (or it would need to be a ridiculous weapon for it to be so, something much better than what it is now).

Yeah, your right, you can't really place monetary value on them. They work for me since I am considered a pretty brutal DM with a resonably high mortality rate, anyway, so the players need every bone I can throw them. Factor in that I usually run low magic settings, too... But I wanted advice on how to improve the system and I am already getting some. So far it is working. If others want to adopt it or change it to fit their play style, too, then great!

Amurion
2011-07-28, 10:23 PM
I like the flexibility that you could take away points to make things tougher for the players, so starting with 3 instead of 5. Or removing or adding more options for what you can spend those points on. Using a certain number of them, a player could start with a sizable keep, or something equivalent as a base with an income, or maybe even save them as sort of divine interaction.

137ben
2011-07-29, 08:06 PM
The main issue I see with this is that you are assuming that partial casters are better than non-casters, and that divine/psion are better than arcane casters, which is frequently not true. Since someone is going to link you to the tier system eventually, I might as well do it now:
Here (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?PHPSESSID=fut930ehdtmcakmvdgt12ljbb6&topic=5293) it is. As you can see, psion is actually worse than both wizard and cleric, but about equal with favored soul and sorcerer.
A better system might be to make the default tier 6, and allow a player to spend 1 CP to increase the maximum tier they are allowed to play (so by spending all 5 CPs, they could still play a wizard).

Also,
A (DM approved) LA+1 race that multiplies starting gold by 1.5

I hope this doesn't mean that the player suffers all the negative side effects of LA, as these are usually considered to out-way the benefits (for LA 1 races it is sometimes fine, but an LA 5 race is almost always a poor choice). You should clarify that this is free level adjustment--it does not increase your ECL. Even with that cleared up, there are still plenty of disadvantages to having several racial HD. Perhaps racial HD obtained in this manner give the benefits of having more HD without the disadvantages.

SowZ
2011-07-29, 09:59 PM
The main issue I see with this is that you are assuming that partial casters are better than non-casters, and that divine/psion are better than arcane casters, which is frequently not true. Since someone is going to link you to the tier system eventually, I might as well do it now:
Here (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?PHPSESSID=fut930ehdtmcakmvdgt12ljbb6&topic=5293) it is. As you can see, psion is actually worse than both wizard and cleric, but about equal with favored soul and sorcerer.
A better system might be to make the default tier 6, and allow a player to spend 1 CP to increase the maximum tier they are allowed to play (so by spending all 5 CPs, they could still play a wizard).

Also,
I hope this doesn't mean that the player suffers all the negative side effects of LA, as these are usually considered to out-way the benefits (for LA 1 races it is sometimes fine, but an LA 5 race is almost always a poor choice). You should clarify that this is free level adjustment--it does not increase your ECL. Even with that cleared up, there are still plenty of disadvantages to having several racial HD. Perhaps racial HD obtained in this manner give the benefits of having more HD without the disadvantages.

I'm pretty familiar with character tiers. Anyone who wants to modify the system may do so as they see fit and according to how it works in their campaign setting. Psions aren't better then wizards in combat but the ability to enslave many CR20 monsters with 75% success rate at level 10 with decent optimization is nothing to blink at. While there are ways for a DM to get around this, in a world with very little psionics at all, (the world I use,) there aren't many ways to defend against psionics. And if combat is brutal enough that fighting is usually the last resort, (as I like it,) the Psions ability to come up with so many easy non-combat solutions earlier or easier then, say, a wizard, makes them more valuable.

Of course different things work better for different DMing styles. If psionics is common enough that defenses for it are not too rare, or the game is pretty combat heavy, psionics aren't usually quite as powerful. Your solution of tiers would probably work better for most people or if I ever ran a high magic campaign, (though I think I would make the default tier 4 or 5 rather then six. The last thing I want is to encourage people to play Samurai...)

This is best used in a low magic setting/low psionics setting, which improves the power of certain casters as compared to others. While a well optimized/high level wizard can fight armies, I don't think it is hard to argue that Druids and Clerics are more powerful at the lower levels. (With a tough DM, getting a Wizard past level 5 is usually going to be harder then doing the same with someone who can shapeshift/heal or wear heavy armor/heal. With decent HD, too.) I like rewarding the squishy guys if they can make it that long. Fairly unlikely with some DMs... *cough-me-cough*

Level enhancements and LAs do not count towards XP to get to the next level. This makes them very powerful but as long as players are still being challenged I don't mind. I should clarify that. Also, I haven't done it in the past but I think you are on to something as far as taking away monstrous HD penalties... I should change that... Yeah.

137ben
2011-07-29, 10:27 PM
I'm pretty familiar with character tiers. Anyone who wants to modify the system may do so as they see fit and according to how it works in their campaign setting. Psions aren't better then wizards in combat but the ability to enslave many CR20 monsters with 75% success rate at level 10 with decent optimization is nothing to blink at. While there are ways for a DM to get around this, in a world with very little psionics at all, (the world I use,) there aren't many ways to defend against psionics. And if combat is brutal enough that fighting is usually the last resort, (as I like it,) the Psions ability to come up with so many easy non-combat solutions earlier or easier then, say, a wizard, makes them more valuable.

Of course different things work better for different DMing styles. If psionics is common enough that defenses for it are not too rare, or the game is pretty combat heavy, psionics aren't usually quite as powerful. Your solution of tiers would probably work better for most people or if I ever ran a high magic campaign, (though I think I would make the default tier 4 or 5 rather then six. The last thing I want is to encourage people to play Samurai...)

This is best used in a low magic setting/low psionics setting, which improves the power of certain casters as compared to others. While a well optimized/high level wizard can fight armies, I don't think it is hard to argue that Druids and Clerics are more powerful at the lower levels. (With a tough DM, getting a Wizard past level 5 is usually going to be harder then doing the same with someone who can shapeshift/heal or wear heavy armor/heal. With decent HD, too.) I like rewarding the squishy guys if they can make it that long. Fairly unlikely with some DMs... *cough-me-cough*

Level enhancements and LAs do not count towards XP to get to the next level. This makes them very powerful but as long as players are still being challenged I don't mind. I should clarify that. Also, I haven't done it in the past but I think you are on to something as far as taking away monstrous HD penalties... I should change that... Yeah.

Fair points. I have relatively limited experience with psionics (I've played games with enemy psychics, and mostly just in an Eberron game, but have no experience dealing with psionic PCs), so my assumptions about psion's power was based primarily on their tiering...
I agree that wizards are monstrously underpowered at low levels, when even their best spells are barely better than a martial character's abilities.

My idea of making the base tier 6 was simply that you would have to dish out all of your CP to play a tier 1 (otherwise, you could play a tier 1 and still have an extra CP, meaning that your potential power under this system is even better than a RAW tier 1:smalleek:)