View Full Version : Tailoring Powerhouses, Boosting Weaker Classes

2007-06-17, 11:26 PM
I'm writing out the rules and basis for a Sandstorm campaign/worldset I'm working on (The Infinite Wastes of Nalal, yet to be released) and I'm making some house rules. I just finished the Egyptian pantheon (Nalal's gods sort of copied the Mulhorandis', it's a long story). I had to really mess around with the list Sandstorm provided but it's cool now. It's really interesting, there's a mechanic called Evershift (which is how they were able to copy the gods, and then some) which is going to be a big factor in survival. I really like what I'm doing so far, but that'll have to be showcased at a later date (probably as a PDF, though I curse Adobe into the ground).

So what I want to do is break down the following DnD constants:

Two-Handed Weapon Warrior
Battle-Ready Cleric
Omni Wizard

I see a lot of these types, and I'd like to see less.

For Number 1, I really want to see dual-wielding and sword-and-board rather than two-handed-hit-them-with-the-biggest-piece-of-metal-you-can-find combat. I'm not sure what to do exactly; such as knocking down the Strength modifier or altering Power Attack. This is especially important because I'd like to see some style with exotic weapons like the khopesh or manople (which is scientifically impossible to find a picture of). I don't think I'd touch the Frenzied Berserker (which is on my allowed PrC list, gathered from the first four Complete books) if some is really into smashing. Perhaps a cumulative -2 penalty to attack rolls on full-attacks with a two-handed weapon due to momentum?

Now to handle it more correctly, I should do this via the campaign's mechanics. It should be hard to manage a two-handed weapon in the heat, so perhaps it adds a -2 penalty to heat-based saves while doing so. And for every level of wind, a -1 penalty on attack rolls (up to the point where the wind picks them up and tosses them around)? Fatigue should be a big problem, the same goes for heavy armor in the desert.

Number 2 is something I've been wavering on. I don't exactly want a Cloistered Cleric, but I want the cleric to have less of a presence in melee without the call for divine assistance. So I'm thinking light or medium armor only with light shields. But in return I want them to have more of a presence in desert affairs via turning/rebuking, so perhaps they can switch their undead one for the turning/rebuking ability of another domain their deity has. Taking the same domain provides a +2 bonus to turning checks. This would be useful for the Fire, Water, or Thirst domains.

Number 3 is something I wanted to do for a while: specialist-only wizards. They can use the UA variants to substitute out familiars and such. Maybe the ability to remove one of the restricted schools by sacrificing a bonus feat.

And for things I'd like to see more of:


Both of these classes seem to have their issues, but I'd like to definitely see them get some use. Unfortunately I don't have much input on the matter. I'd make it so that Paladins of extreme alignments are allowed (UA). But after a certain level the dead levels catch up ("Remove Disease 1/week? Hurrah!!!") and with the Scion of Tem-Et-Nu (or Scion of Isis, as it is now), I'd like to see the Paladin with a little more Oomph, so I'll poke around the forums for now. And the same goes for the Monk, though I have an urge to combine it with the Kensai class.

Tor the Fallen
2007-06-18, 12:04 AM
Ways to fix the two-handing:
Make it so (like in 3.0) power attack only gives you +1 to damage, regardless of how many arms you swing with.
Remove shock trooper.
Have shields grant their AC bonus to touch attacks as well.

Specialist wizards is a good call, though you may want to tailor their spell selection a little. Some spells should be higher level (rope trick, ray of enfeeblement), some shouldn't be there (polymorph, namely) and some need serious nerfing (teleport, scry). I'd recommend making teleport have a costly material component.

I'd bump sorceror's skills from 2/level to 4/level, and add some variant classes. Since it's a desert campaign, a sorc that comes from Bedouin-like tribes would have survival as a class spell, perhaps have a familiar with the burrow ability. I would even go so far as to give sorcerors "domains", spells they learn at each level that's appropriate to their origin, where they got their magic powers, etc.

There's a good paladin variant on wizards' boards.

Monks.... Full BAB? Maybe let them move and flurry in the same round (yikes!)?

2007-06-18, 01:25 AM
I've allready made the first few steps to balancing arcane casters, the first is my Arcanist (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46322) class, which helps to eliminate some of the problums of preparation casting (it shouldn't exist), and prestige classing (you need to lose something for a PrC to be balanced but a PrC that losses caster levels won't be played, this classes losses spell slots and spells known without loseing caster levels. The next step is to make all combat classes martial adepts, lets face it, a class that gets access to a large list of magic-like abilities will always be better then one who doesn't. The last thing is that the wizard spell list needs to be dramatically altered.

The same things can be done to balance divine casters.

As for warriors, I agree something needs to be done. My purposed fix is to make it so a characters shield bonus is equal to half their strength bonus(rounded up) plus the shields normal bonus, and allow shield bonuses to add to touch AC. This allows characters with shield to get a significan't higher AC, the same amount as the extra damage a 2H wielder gets. For TWF i suggest letting them get the half strength bonus to AC if they don't make an attack with their off-hand weapon, and not have it function for touch AC. Also the TWF feat should allow as many attacks with your off hand as you have base attacks with your main hand, and allow two attacks as a standard action.

2007-06-18, 01:43 AM
The easiest ways to reduce the prevalence of two-handed melee machines are:
1. Revert to 3.0 power attack, get rid of the doubling
2. Remove the two-handed bonus to disarms (minor, but very annoying for a guy with a shortsword)
3. Remove the Animated shield enchant. Make 'em give up 7 AC to use it.

To encourage two-weapon fighting styles,
1. Allow ToB swordsages (Desert Wind fits easily, Tiger Fang adds TWF bonuses)
2. Make TWF include Improved, Greater etc.
3. Allow power attacks on light weapons.

2007-06-18, 03:19 AM
Promote TWF: Feat that allows dex bonus to counter TWF attack penalty. Reduce Power Attack bonus to +1.5 for Two Handed, +1 for Normal One Handed, +.5 for Light Off hand (light main hand is still +1).

Promote more Shield use: Remove access to animated shields. Give players good shields as monster loot early on. Or a deflect arrows'ish melee deflection feat that can be used if not flanked.

Unsure of how to limit the CoDzilla / UtilityMage stuff.

2007-06-18, 05:47 AM
From a swordsperson's standpoint, it doesn't necessarily make much sense to penalize two-handed weapons excessively on account of heat. Two-handed weapons aren't really that much heavier than one-handed (you can handle a two-handed sword for instance with one hand, even make a couple of swings if needs be, but it's the extra leverage of a wider grip that makes them effective), and perhaps even less strenuous as the weight is supported by both hands. Though it would make sense to slightly nerf Power Attack, since anyone who's ever fought with a sword can tell you that swinging in wide arcs and with all your muscular might only gets you killed and hampers your blows. The reason being, that when you swing with muscle foremost, your muscles slow the speed of the strike, making it less effective. To strike effectively the blow must be as relaxed as possible, allowing speed and the momentum of the blade to do the damage.

You could also rule that two-handed weapons get an increased power attack bonus only when using them to sunder. This also makes historical sense, since greatblades were primarily used by light-armoured soldiers as a countermeasure to pike formations. By chopping the pikes into bits, that is.

For problem number 2 I'd suggest making you clerics resemble more the Shugenja, which makes more sense in many ways. Or for a really wacky tune, go 1st ed and limit a cleric's spell level progression and spells per day to that of a bard. Of course, a mechanic-friendly solution would be to keep counsel with your players and describe what clerics in your campaign should do, what equipment they're expected to use (not all priests should carry platemails just because they technically speaking could). And a personal favourite of mine: design spell lists for each of your gods, and rule that spells from outside the list are not available to the cleric. In my reasoning it makes no sense that all clerics of all gods are taught the exact same prayers.

More suggestions when find the time. Hopefully at least some of this is useful.

2007-06-18, 06:51 AM
Specialist wizards is a good call, though you may want to tailor their spell selection a little. Some spells should be higher level (rope trick, ray of enfeeblement), some shouldn't be there (polymorph, namely) and some need serious nerfing (teleport, scry). I'd recommend making teleport have a costly material component.

I am not allowing many location based magics as the plane is constantly moving under your feet, whether you realize it or not. If you move to far away from a suitable reference point, say hello to the Infinite part of the Infinite Wastes. That said, teleportation (teleport, greater teleport, planeshift) are difficult to use unless you take some levels in Wayfarer Guide (which negates this difficulty).

This same effect might screw up scrying, which could give you an entirely different view than what you expected. This might also interfere with rope trick (which I never really liked to begin with).

As for polymorph, I'd limit it in that you have to have killed the creature first and make the max CR equal to half caster level. Even then, I'd probably cut polymorph or use the Giant's rules on the matter (probably the latter, keeping the possibility of polymorphing into a scorpion, for instance). The Evershift affects chaotic, transmutation, and location based spells, so it wouldn't be too far off to say that it screws up polymorph much like teleportation.

Spells that are getting axed are shapechange and some of the raise spells. I want less of that "Dang, he's dead. Now we've got to pony up some diamonds" and more "Wow, he's gone for good... Dibs on the sword", or something like that... :smallbiggrin:

And no Divine Metamagic.

Hmm, and the Shugenja point is pretty interesting. Perhaps I could make it Wizards -> Wu Jen, and Clerics -> Shugenja?

I want to keep the books to Core + Complete (which I consider just about Core) + Sandstorm. So no ToB, which I have never read before (though I should). Maybe Heroes of Battle if I plan on having some kind of epic sand battle going on. Marruspawn armies! They've been changed into 'divine minions' which heads representative of the name of each Egyptian god; Thoth has Ibis Marruspawn, Sobek has crocodile-headed Marruspawn, etc. And I made it that the Marru is the pantheon. With Ammut as the Marruspawn Abomination.

As for sorceror, I think 4 skill points plus Know(nature) and Survival make more sense (I'll probably add a feat to make Know(nature) and Survival class skills anyway). And for the monk, I think full BAB (I've always wondered why it didn't have it to begin with) but I've used a few and it's a pain to try and penetrate DR (so maybe a scaling DR penetration ability?).

2007-06-18, 07:58 AM
Your polymorph tune gave me an idea: what if you require the caster to have a trophy or totem of sorts of the intended creature? (EDIT: As an additional Focus, that is.) Want to turn into a dragon? Then be prepared to lug around a dragon skull, for instance. Could be fun, make the players think twice and add some flavor.

As for Paladins, you could consider giving them bonus Exalted Feats on certain levels. They're not game-breaking, but add some flexibility and a little extra oomph.

One way to address the two-handed problem is to limit their availability. Weapons are, after all a relfection of the culture that uses them. If they have no particular use for large weapons, why should they go through the trouble of manufacturing or inventing them? If the only big guns available are longspears (For which I'd withhold the using of Power Attack. Power Thrust sounds like something they try to make you buy in spam e-mails.) and war-clubs, it might take some of the wind off their sails. Or restrict their use to certain social elements. Executioners, perhaps.

2007-06-18, 08:51 AM
Yeah that's true. Can't wield it if it doesn't exist (maybe accessible only to sandshaping)... I'd really like to see Sandstorm's exotic weapons shine, so maybe a free Exotic Weapon Proficiency for Fighters and some melee types?

Human Paragon 3
2007-06-18, 10:05 AM
Shujenja might be a great cleric substitute for your campaign. Doesn't he get the abillity to sense elements (like water, for instance)? Very useful in the desert.

Favored soul might be a good addition as well.

2007-06-18, 10:14 AM
An Egyptian-themed Shugenja would be awesome. I'd add in the choice for Sand as their element.

Yeah, I was thinking Favored Soul.

I'm using Fax's How-It-Should-Be Paladin instead of the original Paladin, because I consider him pretty much Core. :smallbiggrin:

For Power Attack, how about it only gets to be used for a number of attacks (making a full attack uses multiple ones) per encounter equal to Strength modifier?

2007-06-18, 10:35 AM
For sword-n-board, the best things I've found you can do to make it more appealing are:
Outright ban animated shields. They don't exist. They can't be made. This makes THF a compromise.
Boost the effectiveness of the shield itself, such as by allowing Shield Mastery benefits (extra +x to your AC when you're using your shield and not flat-footed), granting more than the normal shield bonus when you use Expertise, fight defensively or total defense, and so on.
Grant additional feats/abilities that can be used when you sword-n-board, similar to some of the knight's abilities - e.g. defend your buddy, prevent that guy from getting any AoOs this round, etc.

Making THF and TWF power attack equivalent is also good - e.g. two-handed weapon = x1.5, one-handed = x1, light = x0.5. I use this, it doesn't break anything :amused:

2007-06-18, 10:47 AM
Yeah... I totaly agree with the idea to reduce power attacks effectiveness. To think of it, there is no much sense on increasing power attack's damage while 2 handed... I guess you are giving up as much precision with a one handed as you are with a 2 handed, so why it increases? Momentum? Dunno... I prefer some rules as they were in 3.0...

Hmmm Paladins in the wastelands? Kingdon of Heavens... Crusades... Give the Pally 4 skills per lvl and Survival.

2007-06-18, 01:21 PM
Alright, so changes I'm still looking over, considering the new stuff is:

Power Attack, Sword-and-Board, and TWF (using Complete and Core feats)

TWF includes ITWF and GTWF, as they reach the proper BAB
Power Attack: x1.5 for 2-handed, x1 for one-handed, and x0.5 for light
No animated shields
Shield AC applies to touch attacks
Special access to the shield feats from PHBII.
+1 to shield's AC for every two shield-based feats (except ones focusing on bashing)
-1 to TWF penalties for every two TWF feats (such as ITWD). When the initial penalty is negated, as it would be for a tempest, the offhand attack accumulates a +1 bonus for every two.
Total defense action with a shield provides Deflect Arrow.

Shugenja and Wu Jen entirely replace Cleric and Wizard (change the oriental theme to desert/egyptian)

I've heard they are underpowered.
How can I integrate Sandstorm spells into this? Advanced Learning or custom spell lists?

2007-06-18, 05:54 PM
If you want to boost paladins, key their casting off Cha rather than Wis, which then allows them to dump Wis, so they're only reliant on 3 stats. Possibly give them some fighter bonus feats every so often at later levels (7ish onwards)

2007-06-18, 06:08 PM
My wife suggested the following wizard nerf:

Wizards start at level 1 able to cast spells from 2 schools of choice. Each level, they get 2 school-points they can spend to up their max spell level in any school. They're still limited by standard spells per day. So, at level 2, they can have 4 schools they can cast level 1 spells in; at level 3 they can have 2 schools at level 2 and 2 more at level 1; at level 4 they can have 4 schools at level 2 or 3 schools at level 2 and 2 more at level 1.

Essentially, wizards could keep four schools maxed out and not be able to cast spells from any other school at any level, or they could keep fewer schools maxed out and be able to cast from more schools at lower levels.

This doesn't completely eliminate broken spells or combos from the game, but it does force the player to choose which particular broken spells they'll have access to.

2007-06-18, 06:20 PM
For Number 1, I really want to see dual-wielding
Make it less feat intensive.

Regardless of what house rules you try to introduce sword and board places defense over offense and that just plain doesn't make much sense if you can't force opponents to attack you (knight) and you are already the hardest person in the party to take down in melee because you likely have the most hit points. If you are too hard to hit/kill in melee all you will accomplish is that you are left till last.

Now to handle it more correctly, I should do this via the campaign's mechanics. It should be hard to manage a two-handed weapon in the heat, so perhaps it adds a -2 penalty to heat-based saves while doing so. And for every level of wind, a -1 penalty on attack rolls (up to the point where the wind picks them up and tosses them around)? Fatigue should be a big problem, the same goes for heavy armor in the desert.
All of it silly, how does a weapon do anything to your ability to withstand heat? How does it catch wind to any appreciable degree? How does it fatigue you to carry it around in a sheath? And finally how is that any different from having two weapons which you would wield one handed?


They essentially need to be rebuild from the ground up.

2007-06-18, 06:26 PM
Well, the shugenja is a really restricted sorcerer with some divine spells. You can't get anywhere near the flexibility of a cleric or even a favored soul. On the other hand, they can get access to some wiz/sor spells. They're to restricted for my taste.

The Wu Jen is baisically a wizard with some extra spells to choose from. Their spell list is divided into the elements, which really only shows which spells they get their +1 CL favored element on. Instead of the bonus feats they get some free metamagic on specific spells in exchange for RP restrictions. Bonus feats are more widely useful, but there are some wu jen spells that are pretty strong, and the metamagic can probably be abused in some way.

So, yes, they are a little less powerful, but they are still full casters, which counts for a lot.

On sword and board: I've gotten the feeling that aside from extra defense (which doesn't help if they enemy can just charge past you and kill the wizard), IRL a shield lets you knock the foe's weapon aside and get past their guard. So, you need a feat that let's you use a shield bash of some sort to lower the opponent's AC. But that would probably end up being ridiculous.

2007-06-18, 08:23 PM
10 level class.

1: Aura of good, Detect Evil, Smite 1/day
2: Divine Grace, Lay on Hands
3: Aura of Courage, Divine Health
4: Turn Undead, Remove Disease 1/week
5: Smite Evil 2/day, Mount
6: Remove Disease 2/week
7: Smite Evil 3/day
8: Remove Disease 3/week
9: Smite Evil 4/day
10: Smite Evil 5/day, Remove Disease 5/week

Spells: (Per-day based on Wis, Resists based on Cha).

Lvl 1 2 3 4
1 - - - -
2 0 - - -
3 1 - - -
4 1 0 - -
5 1 1 - -
6 1 1 0 -
7 2 1 1 0
8 2 2 1 1
9 3 2 2 2
10 3 3 3 3

Saves: Full Fort and Will saves, weak Reflex.

Monk: Full BaB.

Flurry table:

1 -1/-1
2 0/0
3 1/1
4 2/2
5 4/4
6 5/5/0
7 6/6/1
8 7/7/2
9 9/9/4
10 10/10/5
11 11/11/11/6/1
12 12/12/12/7/2
13 13/13/13/8/3
14 14/14/14/9/4
15 15/15/15/10/5
16 16/16/16/11/6/1
17 17/17/17/12/7/2
18 18/18/18/13/8/3
19 19/19/19/14/9/4
20 20/20/20/15/10/5

Weapons: A monk may substitute her unarmed damage when using any special monk weapon.

Two-weapon fighting: a Flurry cannot be used with two-weapon fighting feats or combat options.

Power Attack and Strength:
Weapons deliver Str bonus as follows:
2-Handed: 2x str
1-Handed: 1.5x str
Light: 1x str 0.5x dex
Off-hand: (str+dex)/2

This includes penalties.

Power attack involves reducing your str bonus to-hit for str bonus to-damage. If you have +5 str bonus, you can lose up to +5 of it.

Style feats:
You can take a focus/spec feat in "Longsword with offhand Shortsword" that only applies when you have both weapons equipped.

Weapon Finess:
You can use Finess whenver you want with any light or finessable weapon -- no feat required.

You must take the feat to use it with any non-finessable weapon (so you can take weapon finess: longsword). Unless it is a two-handed finessable weapon, you must be able to use the weapon in one-hand to take Weapon Finess with it.

When using Finess, your damage bonus changes to:
2-handed: 1x str 1x dex
1-handed/light: .5x str 1x dex
off-hand: (str+dex)/2

Dex bonus offsets TWF penalty without feats. It starts at -4/-4. So if you have 16 dex, that's -1/-1 when TWF. 18+ dex takes no penalty TWF with a light weapon in offhand.

The extra -2 penalty for using a non-light weapon in offhand requires a feat to eliminate.

The TWF feat itself grants you:
<1> Iterative attacks if you get'm. (otherwise you can only do 1).
<2> The ability to do a follow-up attack when doing a non-full attack: if you hit with your first hit, you get to roll an attack with your offhand.

One cannot use TWF without a second weapon being wielded in a hand -- armor spikes do not TWF make. You can TWF with a shield (but see the Shield Block rules) or a double-weapon.

Shield Block:
Characters with shields get 1 shield block at +1 BaB, and another every +5 BaB.

Roll your BaB+str+shield bonus against the attacker's attack roll. If you win, you gain (shield bonus+str)/- DR against that attack. Each block after the first is at an additional -5.

Shield Block does not work with animated shields, and every attack with your shield consumes a Shield Block.

Shield block with a buckler can be finessed without a feat: replace str with (str+dex)/2 in the above equations. Light shields can be finsesed with a feat. Medium or larger shields cannot be finessed.

Shield Blocks work against ray spells, but they only block the damage component.

[Feat] Shield Cover:
You may conume a Shield Block against attacks that pass within your reach of a standard weapon.

Treat this as a Shield Block, but against an attack on someone else.

Wizards and Sorcerers:
Each is a 10 level class. Wizards get a bonus metamagic feat every odd level.

Sorcerers have the Wizard weapon proficiency list.

Wizard: Level X wizard requires Level X sorcerer. You must have the innate talent.
Sorcerer: Level X sorcerer requires character level X*2-1.

So a Level 5 sorcerer must be at least Level 9.

Arcane magic uses your character level, not your caster level, to determine spell power.

Cha: bonus sorcerer spells and saves.
Int: bonus wizard spells and saves.

Sorcerer spell progression is advanced 1 level (so a L 1 sorcerer has the spells/day and known of a L 2 core sorcerer).
Wizard spell progression is advanced 2 levels (so a L 1 wizard has the spells/day of a L 3 core Wizard).

Wizard spells must be read from a copy of the spell: these copies contain hints that are required to push the magic out. A wizard may keep (wizard level+int bonus) spells instantly findable. These spells may be changed out any time the wizard could "take 10" on a search roll.

Other spells must be found and syncronized with the Wizard's current state: d20+int bonus vs 10+level of the spell, using a full-round action that provokes an AoO.

Sorcerer spells known may be changed for an expendature of 100 xp and 1 day per level of the spell and a source for the new magic (an item that casts a sufficiently similar spell, a scroll and access to read magic, or knowing it a a Wizard etc).

Metamagic feats may be applied to either Sorcerer of Wizard spells without turning their casting into full-round actions.

Use the Bard spell progression for both known and cast. Changing Miracles (spells) requires 1 day of prayer and fasting per level of the spell, and a sacrafice of 100 gp * character level * spell level worth of materials. One must be aware of the miracle before changing it out (see someone cast it and succeed at a theology roll, find it on a scroll, or find a related effect via a divine magical item/ability). Spells gained from leveling up are free, however.

Use character level to determine spell power, not caster level.

Int determines bonus spells/known.
Cha determines bonus spells/day.
Wis determines spell saves.

All magic can be defeated with enough will: Magic is nothing but shadow.

As a full-round action (that is taken automatically while disabled by magic):
Roll (cha mod)+(resisters CR) vs (caster's CR)+(casters spell save stat).

On success, that magical effect no longer has influence over the resistor or his actions. This lets an Archer shoot through a wall of wind, a Warrior strike through a shield spell, or a Charmed person to break free.

Charmed individuals will only try to break free if you propose something that they wouldn't do without the Charm effect, or they detect/see you harming people they are friendly with normally.

Each failure grants a -1 cumulative penalty to trying again.

The caster of the spell can feel that someone is opposing that particular spell and is trying to penetrate it.


How is that?

A section on the cost of magic spells is also needed.

Note that you use the character's undebuffed charisma to shrug off magical effects.

2007-06-18, 08:51 PM
Resulting wizard+sorcerer class:

Sorc Wiz Max Spell level (modification/core wizard)
1 2 0 1/1
2 2 3 2/1
3 3 3 2/2
4 3 4 2/2
5 4 4 2/3
6 4 5 3/3
7 5 5 3/4
8 5 6 3/4
9 6 6 3/5
10 6 7 4/5
11 7 7 4/6
12 7 8 4/6
13 8 8 4/7
14 8 9 5/7
15 9 9 5/8
16 9 10 5/8
17 10 10 5/9
18 10 11 6/9
19 11 11 6/9
20 11 12 6/9

Notice that from L 1 to 4, this Wizard is stronger than the core Wiz/Sorc.
At L 5 and 6, it is probably stronger than the core Sorc.
At L 7+ it gets weaker.

This produces a power curve closer to melee characters. :)

Hybrid Sorcerers are encouraged by this system as well, as your caster level scales with your character level, and you aren't falling nearly as far behind the "pure" caster's spell progression.

The Sorcerer class is basically a bloodline style class -- you have the innate magical potential needed to cast spells. Choosing to develop it is the Wizard path.

Odds are some spells will still have to be banned -- I'd ban transportation magic: any spell that grants improved movement is removed. Any spell that transports the a prime material being over a dimensional barrier (like rope trick), or creates an extra-dimensional space, is also banned.

Over-powered status spells are delt with by the "you can shrug off magic if you have enough will" effect. This should include spells like "ray of exaustion".

2007-06-19, 05:01 AM
I seriously like your two-weapon fighting tune, Maerok. It makes it less feat-intensive without making it overly powerful at low levels. Do same for Two-Weapon defense, and it's a beautiful wrap.

As for Wu-Jen spells, do the same as you were planning on doing to for the Shugenja. Of course, it would require a custom spell list, but flavor is always worth the trouble. I can't remember what the Wu-Jen "schools" were exactly called, but add in Sand (or something to that effect), and with a little bit of tailoring they're ready for action.

2007-06-19, 01:05 PM
A way to place the deaths of characters in the hands of Players:

Destiny Levels:
Each Destiny Level grants +1 HP, 1 extra HP "under zero", and 1 DestinyPoint per adventure. Every 5 levels you gain +1 to all saves. You also gain a stat boost from Destiny Levels as follows:

1 +1 to 1 stat
2 +1 to 2 stats
3 +1 to 3 stats
4 +1 to 4 stats
5 +1 to 5 stats
6 +1 to all stats
7 +2 to 1 stat +1 to the rest
8 +2 to 2 stats +1 to the rest
9 +2 to 3 stats +1 to the rest
10 +2 to 4 stats +1 to the rest
11 +2 to 5 stats +1 to the rest
12 +2 to all stats
13 +3 to 1 stat +2 to the rest
14 +3 to 2 stats +2 to the rest
15 +3 to 3 stats +2 to the rest
16 +3 to 4 stats +2 to the rest
17 +3 to 5 stats +2 to the rest
18 +3 to all stats
19 +4 to 1 stat +3 to the rest
20 +4 to 2 stats +3 to the rest

These are inherit bonuses, and do not stack with manuals of health or the like. These are in addition to the usual character stat bonuses.

So a character with 10 Destiny levels has +2 to 4 stats and +1 to the remaining 2.

A DestinyPoint lets you cause any roll to be rerolled, be it to-hit or damage. You can burn as many as you want to make someone reroll many many times.

You can sacrafice a Destiny Level (not a point, a full level) to avoid death for a character or overcome a given obstacle. You can be swallowed by a Red Dragon, encased in a force cage, or dropped from the back of a dragon 200' up -- then you burn a Destiny Level, and you will survive, break the force cage, or otherwise win.

It is a deus ex machina thing: players can, at any point, say "I want to win this contest", and they will. It just costs them.

If you die, your Destiny Level is carried over onto your new character. This encourages accepting death -- dieing costs less than avoiding death!

Your entire party gains Destiny Levels at a rate determined by the DM. You don't accumulate XP, rather "congradulations, you defended Helm's deep. Gain a Destiny Level.

How's that for a mechanic?

2007-06-19, 09:26 PM
That's all pretty cool, and I'll definitely pick and choose among them. Especially the monk and power attack/finesse stuff. I think I'd rather boost melee-types than knock down casters.

What I'm thinking is to limit spellcasting PrCs:
Any spellcasting prestige class only continues spellcasting on every even level, unless the original progression was worse (adds up to less in the end).

Mystic Theurge would be an exception, because they already get pretty beat up. But Fochulan Lyrist probably gets the half-progression.

For weaker prestige classes that don't add as many new abilities, they advance their spellcasting on the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 9th levels. Bard's taking prestige classes receive this progression rather than half.

2007-06-20, 12:24 AM
I agree with rolling up TWF into one Feat, I would even grant it for free to Melee Classes.

Turning Power Attack down the way you describe is going to really favour Two Weapon Fighters, in my opinion, especially those with Quick Draw.

The most effective way to make Weapon and Shield desirable, in my opinion, is to create a Feat that allows a Shield user to negate a single Melee or Ranged Attack per round (but not Sunder Attempts).

Here's some discussion about such a move: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=43960

With regards to the Cleric, consider using the Spontaneous Divine Spell Casters (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/spontaneousDivineCasters.htm) Variant.

2007-06-20, 11:22 AM
And I just thought of something... Should the Bounding Assault feats from PHBII that let you take extra attacks on a spring attack all be wrapped up into one? Two Weapon Spring Attack? So that at +5, you can add one attack from the off-hand weapon. At +10, you can add two...

2007-06-20, 11:57 AM
Well, the thing about Feats that add Iterative attack is that they have diminishing returns. Part of the reason the TWF tree sucks is because Feat A is worth more than Feat B, which is worth more than Feat C, which is worth more than Feat D. So for example, TWF is getting -5, -10 and -15 to Attack, on top of the -2 or worse for Two Weapon Fighting in the first place. Same goes for Bounding Assault and such.

Two Weapon Spring Attack doesn't really need to be improved, but it wouldn't be a big deal to allow extra Iterative Attacks.