View Full Version : Brainstorming on a 3.5ish homebrew system

2008-06-22, 11:56 PM
In my spare time I've been doodling with various overhauls to the 3.5e system. Yes, I am quite aware that some people (http://www.wizards.com) have already beaten me to it (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=products/dndacc/217367200). At first glance 4e looks to be a very solidly system, but even though it appears to be less flawed than 3.5e it is not exactly what I am looking for. I have every belief that I will eventually get around to playing 4e and that I will enjoy it, but to my tastes it is far from being the end-all, be-all of games.

On the other hand, I have no idea as to whether this 3.5e overhaul project will ever bear fruit, but I enjoy tinkering for its own sake, so I am not exacly losing anything in the effort.

First item: combat structure. Martial characters in out-of-the-box 3.5e generally aren't especially interesting to play, in my experience. Essentially you can attack, full attack, or charge--and at higher levels, if you're not getting a full attack or charge (preferably both, via Pounce cheese) you're probably not contributing an awful lot. There are some interesting alternatives such as bull rush and overrun, but these tend to be very heavily situational, and are not very productive unless you sink feats into them to specialize.

So. A few problems:
-Martial characters may get extra attacks allowing them to attempt to keep pace with the spell-slingers... but if they can't get a full attack in, they're stuck.
-Alternate attack options such as bull rush or overrun tend to be heavily subpar, since using them costs you your standard action and means you get no attacks.

Looking at these two problems, a partial solution presents itself: make bull rush and overrun non-actions performed as part of movement. Even if you have to spend your move action getting into position, you can do more with your turn than just walk up and attack.

My concept so far works something like this: as a level 1 character, you get up to 2 attacks per turn (I have considered dubbing these "attack points" to make the point more explicit that these are discrete units). As a standard action, you spend an attack to make a single physical attack (or a disarm/trip/sunder); using any standard or full round action reduces your available attacks by 1. As a full round action, you can make up to one attack (/disarm/trip/sunder) with each weapon you possess (primary, off-hand, and natural weapons). As part of movement, you can make an overrun or bull rush attempt. As a move action, you can make a feint (no Improved Feint necessary).

Having a BAB of +6 or higher gives you a third attack per turn, +11 gives you a fourth, +16 gives you a fifth. If you full attack, these work as normal for iterative attacks. Similarly, effects such as haste or the monk's flurry of blows give you extra attacks which you can add to a full attack or spend however else you wish.

So, some examples:
-A paladin uses a move action to confront an orc threatening the party's wizard and bull rushes him out of the way as part of his move (1st attack), then attacks with his longsword (2nd and final attack).
-A rogue uses a full round action to attack with both her shortsword and off-hand dagger (both 1st and 2nd attacks).
-A monk using Flurry of Blows spends a move action to bull rush a goblin (1st attack), then overrun and knock it down as part of the same movement (2nd attack), then uses her standard action to punch the goblin while it's down (3rd and final attack).
-A 16th-level barbarian charges into a group of drow, overrunning four drow fighters (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th attacks) then slashing at the drow priest leading them (5th attack).

-Martial characters have more opportunity to make use of the extra attacks they're entitled to, even if they can't get full attacks
-More tactical options in combat without blowing your standard action

-More complicated (too much?), particularly when things like Improved TWF start getting thrown into the mix
-More actions means more rolling and slower combat rounds (I may have to streamline Bull Rush and Overrun rules a tad)
-Giving fighters some extra Bull Rush/Overrun attempts is still not going to put them on equal footing with the likes of Time Stop

Unsolved questions:
-How should attacks of opportunity work? Would there be a pool of "attacks" and a separate pool of "attacks of opportunity" (problematic with Combat Reflexes, may require a change in nomenclature)--if so, would there be any spillover (unused attacks can be used as extra attacks of opportunity) or would the two be strictly divided? I have been toying with the idea of more feats powered by attacks of opportunity/round, so this could have a substantial impact.