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    Default Flattening the power curve

    Over on enworld here, there's a rather interesting tangent for flattening the power curve. In summary...

    * Reduce all class BAB by 1/2 level. In effect, full BAB classes become 1/2, 3/4 BAB classes become 1/4, and 1/2 BAB classes become 0.
    * Reduce all monster AC values by 1/2 their CR.

    That only covers part of the overall equation. There are three different aspects of the triangle to consider... PCs, NPCs, and monsters. Each has an attack and defence factor (ie. BAB and AC), and each of which must be flattened in order to maintain balance.

    For monsters, reducing both BAB and AC by 1/2 CR works. There are probably some anomalies to be worked out from monster ACs that have no logical way to be reduced. This could be fixed either by reducing the racial Dex (thus reducing AC), reducing hp by 5% per point of AC substituted (again, issues may arise), or creating monster species-specific rules for specific weaknesses. This requires a lot of case-by-case working, but it's not impossible.

    For PCs and NPCs, the class-based BAB reductions work fine. Reducing the effective AC is a problem though. The obvious approach would be to reduce the AC benefit provided by armour, but that is far from level-dependent. Other than that, the only solution I can only see is making magic armour bonuses much rarer. This does scale with level in the correct manner, but isn't quite satisfying, since it doesn't allow for different campaign (high vs low magic) styles.

    Anyone have any ideas?
    Last edited by Ashtagon; 2009-12-30 at 02:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Flattening the power curve

    Casters get spells at slower rates.

    Level 2 spells require level 5, level 3 requires level 9, level 4 = 13, level 5 = 17, and level 6 spells are reserved for epic characters.

    I'd suggest just dropping BAB by 1/4, if you really want to drop it.
    Last edited by Siosilvar; 2009-12-30 at 02:41 PM.
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    Default Re: Flattening the power curve

    So... What about the bard? 1/4th BAB, 3rd level spells and fewer skill points than a rogue?

    I don't think the answer to balancing 3.5 is ruining everyone's stuff.

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    Default Re: Flattening the power curve

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroNumerous View Post
    So... What about the bard? 1/4th BAB, 3rd level spells and fewer skill points than a rogue?

    I don't think the answer to balancing 3.5 is ruining everyone's stuff.
    Bard song becomes much more important when a +1 actually means something. At least that's one possible rationale.

    [hr]Honestly? If you intend to do this, you should probably just make all-new classes, maybe even tweak the system.
    Last edited by Siosilvar; 2009-12-30 at 02:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Flattening the power curve

    k, thread seems to have gone off at a tangent.

    I'm specifically NOT looking at how casters would be adjusted. I have my own plans for this, which are way out of left field. I'm purely concentrating on martial combat, not arcane/divine stuff.

    The bard would indeed become a 1/4 BAB class (as would any class that under RAW is 3/4).

    Second, this change is NOT aimed at "balancing" the rules set, although I have other plans to achieve that goal. Rather, this change is aimed at flattening the power curve, so that a mid-level character (say, 6th or so) can't laugh at the threat posed posed by three dozen 1st level members of the town guard.

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    Default Re: Flattening the power curve

    E6 seems to have done a pretty good job of that already.
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    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Default Re: Flattening the power curve

    Quote Originally Posted by Siosilvar View Post
    Bard song becomes much more important when a +1 actually means something. At least that's one possible rationale.
    So a bard stands there and sings. He can contribute nothing else. Hardly fair or fun. Hell, bards currently get spell levels at 3rd, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th and 17th without Charisma bonuses. Using your idea, the bard uses 0th level spells until 5th level. He won't get 2nd level spells until 11th and finally gets 3rd level spells at 17th. All of which are long, long, long after their usefulness has ended.

    His BAB isn't any different than a rogue's, but the rogue has extra damage sources that make his hits mean something. The bard? Deals weapon damage(+STR if he's in melee). The bad thing is: 6th level wizard spells are still going to ruin the **** of a fighter. The 7th+ level spells are just icing, but when one Mass Suggestion ends a fight or a BBEG is rendered into a laughing stock with Bestow Curse... Well, nothing actually changes.

    As I said: I don't think balance comes at the cost of ruining everyone's ****.

    EDIT:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Second, this change is NOT aimed at "balancing" the rules set, although I have other plans to achieve that goal. Rather, this change is aimed at flattening the power curve, so that a mid-level character (say, 6th or so) can't laugh at the threat posed posed by three dozen 1st level members of the town guard.
    Frankly: If you want to weaken your players for no reason other than lethality, you are playing the wrong game. Might I suggest something else inherently lethal such as Heroic Mortals in Exalted, CoC or Dragon Age PNP? My advice assumes, of course, that your players actively want to play weakened characters rather than you simply wanting to nerf them for your own reasons. I can, however, say that your system does not work without removing large sections of D&D's base assumptions. Namely: Manually rebalancing everything for weakened casters and effectively removing all of the levels above 10.

    In fact, Flickerdart suggested E6. I'd try looking at that first.
    Last edited by ZeroNumerous; 2009-12-30 at 02:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Flattening the power curve

    How does taking away some of the fighter's nice-ish things flatten the power curve?
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    Default Re: Flattening the power curve

    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoose87 View Post
    How does taking away some of the fighter's nice-ish things flatten the power curve?
    Because it's taking away from all classes (and monsters) equally.

    If this were the only change, it would make magic disproportionately more powerful and thus fighters would appear weaker overall, but I also have plans for magic (plans which belong in a separate thread). And yes, I have plans for giving the fighter class (and other purely martial classes) extra toys too. That isn't the focus of this thread either.

    Right now, what I need is something that would reduce AC by the same amount that also scales with level as the BAB reduction does.

    In fact, Flickerdart suggested E6. I'd try looking at that first.
    Ultimately, my plan is to have something that approximates a lot of e6, but with the fun spread over 20 levels instead of 6 (and yes, I know e6 allows you to spend xp up the wazoo to buy feats etc even once you've reached level 6).
    Last edited by Ashtagon; 2009-12-30 at 03:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Flattening the power curve

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroNumerous View Post
    So a bard stands there and sings. He can contribute nothing else. Hardly fair or fun. Hell, bards currently get spell levels at 3rd, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th and 17th without Charisma bonuses. Using your idea, the bard uses 0th level spells until 5th level. He won't get 2nd level spells until 11th and finally gets 3rd level spells at 17th. All of which are long, long, long after their usefulness has ended.

    His BAB isn't any different than a rogue's, but the rogue has extra damage sources that make his hits mean something. The bard? Deals weapon damage(+STR if he's in melee). The bad thing is: 6th level wizard spells are still going to ruin the **** of a fighter. The 7th+ level spells are just icing, but when one Mass Suggestion ends a fight or a BBEG is rendered into a laughing stock with Bestow Curse... Well, nothing actually changes.

    As I said: I don't think balance comes at the cost of ruining everyone's ****.
    I never said it was a good idea.
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    Default Re: Flattening the power curve

    The point of the currect BAB system is to make it more difficult for low-level characters to fight (actually, to hit) high-level opponents. Attempting to "flatten in out" implies wanting everything from CR 1 to CR 20 to be hit with the same basic roll.

    The first thing it does is weaken higher CR encounters (since they have less relative AC) and strengthens lower CR encounters (since they have more relative AC). It also produces some unusual interaction with Power Attack and Combat Expertise, as they are both dependant on BAB. It also causes funny issues with prestige class qualifications, as +5 BAB no longer means the same thing.

    What it does not do is make low-level fighters more of a threat. Player AC is based off wealth, not level, so it continues to scale reguardless of BAB. A level 1 warrior still can't hit someone in Full Plate + Large Shield, and now any commoner, even one at level 20, is in the same position. You could lower the AC provided by armor, but then you have the strange issue where the heaviest armor available only provides a +5 bonus.

    Basically, if you're planning on "flattening the to-hit curve" then I'm afraid it will need a major revision to do so.

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    Default Re: Flattening the power curve

    Hmm... and what is the purpose of this rule? Slow down progression?

    Without the mentioned rules for magic, this thing simply mutilates what was left of the meelers, as they now sucks more than ever, and casters still don't care abot BAB, and are still powerful.

    I've pondered about something like once, though, making the characters be able to progress up to 40th level. Technically, you advance in 40 levels what you would advance in 20, adding access to epic level feats at "10th" level, and making each "level" take longer to advance (needing 2 levels to reach a "normal" 1 level).

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