View Full Version : Incomparables in every day interactions [D&D 3.5]

2012-07-26, 01:34 PM
So there's this idea that interesting but balanced mechanical choices come from things that are incomparable. If its a choice between doing 12 damage with fire or cold, thats (mechanically) uninteresting since the end result is the same in most cases. On the other hand, a choice between preventing someone from moving versus preventing them from speaking versus moving them forcibly remains interesting even if it is balanced.

So how about a design that incorporates incomparables in very common mechanical interactions. For instance, lets say every class gets a class feature that allows them to add up to X points to a saving throw after they have seen the result of their roll, but at a cost. The cost could be different for each class (or each source of this ability, since we don't need to strictly keep it to classes). For instance:

Fighter's Luck: A fighter lives on the edge of death, as they fight right up in the face of their enemies. A lucky strike could end them, or just leave them barely hanging on to life. The best realize that it is not luck, but skill and instinct that protects them. Constant brushes with death can turn one into a creature of instinct rather than intellect though. A fighter can call upon Fighter's Luck to add up to a +4 bonus to a saving throw after they've rolled it. For each point that they add, they must continue to fight for one round, even if there are no more enemies. They do not need to attack companions, but they're basically convinced the battle isn't yet over and cannot take non-violent actions.

Wizard's Trick: Wizards have a nearly endless bag of tricks they collect over the course of their career. Many of these are one-use, things saved for times of need. A wizard may use such a trick to survive a rough situation, but doing so consumes their resources: they may add up to a +4 bonus to a saving throw after they've rolled it, but then must replenish their bag of tricks: the next set of consumable items they create or find (a number of separate items equal to points spent) each lose one charge. In the case of scrolls, the topmost spell is lost; for potions, the entire potion is used.

Monk's Zen: Monks feel the flow of everything around them and can act in perfect ways to avoid harm. They may add up to a +4 bonus to a saving throw, but each point they add in this way requires of them perfect action in the following moments - they must sacrifice either their move or standard action for the next set of rounds equal to the number of points spent engaging in this process.

Things like that. Rogues might spend money for the bonus, while Sorcerors might suffer backlash and Paladins would be required to perform an appropriate set of observances within the next day or whatever.