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Thread: New 3.5 Variant

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    Default New 3.5 Variant

    Okay I've mentioned a few times that I'm working on a 3.5 variant. Unfortunately I've been busy and within the next two weeks I've got 4 or 5 mid terms, so yeah. I'll get the fighter posted soon but here is a general overview of the ideas I've been toying around with. None of its final... I'm still working out the kinks. This project will likely take me a long time. This list is not comprehensive, I may have forgot some things I'm still working on.
    1. General Changes, in no particular order

    Hit points increased. The following is what I'm thinking: Either 4, 8, or 12 hit points per level (depending on class), doubled at first level, + Constitution Score at 1st level, + Constitution Modifier at every level thereafter.

    In the vein of the above, toughness will now be a feat chain (as in 3.0 splat books) that provide significant and generally worthwhile hit point bonuses (for casters between double-triple hit points if they take the whole chain), but because the bonuses are static it will be necessary to buy every feat in the chain to maintain usefulness at high levels.

    Classes now go from levels 1-30, although 21-30 is still considered epic. 31+ will use special rules not yet determined, but the only NPCs at that level are things like Archfiends, Celestial Paragons, Elemental Lords, Eldritch Abominations, and Deities. Player Characters can reach those levels if they want, but I presume most games will not go that high.

    Characters will have less attacks. Full BAB characters will get additional attacks at 11th and 21st levels. Maximum number of attacks possible will be 8, which is using superior two-weapon fighting with a haste effect, but most characters will have 3 or 4 at 30th level depending on whether they have a haste effect (and they should).

    Weapons now deal more damage in the hands of higher level characters. This way weapon choice will be more important.

    AC works a little differently. All characters have a Defense bonus like the one in UA and armor instead grants DR. Shields still improve AC, and are more useful now because they are one of the few things that do (a lot of bonuses are getting nixed). Natural Armor will also become damage reduction; there will be a division between hard to hit creatures and those who simply have high DR.

    Saves will be more like AC, static numbers that are rolled against. This is primarily for the benefit of spellcasters, who will now get to roll to hit instead of the monster rolling to see if it got hit. Alternatively it might be like the player's roll all the dice variant in UA, I'm not sure yet. I'm actually leaning towards the later.
    Immunities of any sort are rarer. Generally only creatures directly composed of a particular energy (fire elementals for fire, undead for negative/necromantic, etc.) are immune to that energy and generally heal from it. A gold dragon, for example, would not be immune to fire, though it would probably have resistance. Conversely resistances (and DR) will be more common, both for enemies and for PCs, and will be important for survival against high damaging foes.

    Magic items now have requirements for use. The limiting factor on magic items will not be WBL but a combination of these requirements and the fact that all magic items will either fill a slot or require a free hand to use.

    Due to the above magic item crafting is now an effect of the craft skill that doesn't require any feats or any xp expenditure. It could be a great money maker for the PCs but since WBL is no longer an issue that's fine.

    For that matter higher level magic items are probably not for sale in most campaigns (up to DM) but now it is a simple matter of having at least one character in the party with the craft skill and obtaining the appropriate reagents, so you can avoid the magic mart world without screwing your players.

    Skills will be condensed. In general everyone will get at least 4 + int modifier skill points per level and have larger skill lists (I'm considering nixing class skill lists altogether, tell me what you think about that).

    Racial abilities improve with level, and there are also racial feats.

    There will be three methods of multiclassing: Multiclassing, which is just like 3.5 multiclassing, Dual-Classing, which is taking multiple classes at once and is similar to pre 3e multiclassing, and Muticlass Feats, which are similar to but more powerful than the multiclass feats in 4e. You can only use one method for a given class; eg you could not Multiclass as a Fighter and then gain a multiclass feat for the Fighter.

    2. Spellcasters, in no particular order

    Caster Level now equal to Character Level, making multiclassing easier

    Different Casters use different methods of casting (eg prepared, spontaneous, spell points etc.)

    Following included in core: Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric, Druid (possibly a PRC), Warlock, Psion, probably not wilder (5-7 spellcasting classes)

    All spellcasters will have means to "recover" their spent spells without having to rest for 8 hours, although that remains the most effective means of recovery.

    All spells will be augmentable in a similar manner to psionic powers, which will also help multiclassing

    Save or Die spells will now deal Necromantic Damage (which replaces negative energy damage) instead of killing outright; essentially fortitude version of evocation spells.

    Save or Suck spells nerfed but still useful.

    Arcane spellcasters will have some access to healing spells (divine casters still better however).

    Schools will be reworked.

    School specialization will no longer involve banning schools, but will instead be one of several options for wizards at first level that grant them special abilities (not bonus spells, which was too powerful).

    Sorcerers will receive different bonuses depending on their heritage.

    Warlocks will receive different bonuses depending on whom they made their pact for magical powers with (although the term carries negative connotations, there could be for example Warlocks who get their powers from Celestial Paragons)

    Clerics will now have more limited spells lists. There will be a "general" cleric spell list and a number of "domain" lists. They can learn extra spells with feats however.

    Clerics can be either a champion of a cause or a follower of a deity.

    Druids may or may not be made into a Cleric Prestige class.

    Psions will be incorporated into the spellcasting system (psionic powers will be listed alongside spells for example, and there is no difference between say Psionic Plane Shift and regular old Plane Shift; only the latter still exists), but still cast (manifest) in their own way.

    Wilders will probably be nixed. They aren't anything important.

    Sorcerers will know more spells and in general be more versatile than before, though Wizards will remain the most versatile spellcaster. Sorcerers and Wizards will have slightly different spell lists.

    Utility spells (transport, divination, raise dead, etc.) do not have to be prepared ahead of time because they already have a long casting time (ie preparation is the act of casting most of the spell so you only have to finish it during combat, but utility spells don't work that way). Utility spells work differently for classes such as Sorcerer with a set number of spells known.

    Damage focused spells are now almost exclusively either evocation (for elemental/energy damage) or necromancy (for spells that drain life force). Conjuration has few or no damage spells. Most damage spells have secondary effects like the orbs in CA or the psionic energy attacks. Fire spells will typically do the most damage and starts fires, Acid spells are DOT and may cause poison or disease (which are also getting reworked), Cold spells Slow or Freeze but only for a round, Lightning spells have the longest range and may stun or paralyze for a round, and Sonic spells tend to Deafen or stun and do less damage because they are harder to resist. Force spells generally do less damage than other spells and have no secondary effect but are almost impossible to resist or dodge. Most area effect spells can now exclude allies.

    3. Other Classes

    Fighters are the most similar to what they were before. The main changes are that they get even more bonus feats and can swap out their bonus feats 1/day. The fighter's thing has always been that he had no real special abilities but was the best in combat. I'm trying to stick to that by giving him nothing but Fighter bonus feats, which are all combat oriented. I am not, however, opposed to the Fighter having nice things. Some Fighter bonus feats may give him outright supernatural powers. But the point is I'm not trying to redefine the fighter, just make him better.

    Rogues are still in the planning stages. I'm thinking giving them different ways to set off sneak attack besides just flanking (perhaps some abilities that make the target flat-footed) and also allowing sneak attack to be replaced by something other than +damage. Some of the alternate attacks would work just fine on creatures immune to sneak attack. Cutting down on the number of monsters that are randomly immune to sneak attack would be good too.

    Monks I have no idea. With the creation of a new Unarmed Combat feat chain for the Fighter I'm not sure what the Monk's role is anymore.

    Paladins might be made into a prestige class. Rather, multiple prestige classes, at least three: Paladin (LG), Avenger (CG), and Blackguard (Any E). Instead of granting their own spellcasting they will grant Cleric spellcasting that would stack with actual Cleric levels. Smite would be made more interesting as well, and Lay on Hands/Remove Disease would be made more useful. The typical entry would be either Fighter, Cleric, or Cleric/Fighter.

    Ranger would have both archery and two weapon combat styles. It might also be made into a PRC.

    Swashbuckler/Duelist would also be included, but might be a PRC.

    Barbarian is definitely not a PRC. I'm thinking when a Barbarian enters a Rage they get a certain number of rage points. Each round they have to spend some (probably just 1) to stay in rage and they gain several abilities that use rage points. They will also gain DR, energy resistances, and the toughness feat chain as bonus feats. The result is that in their Rage they can do all kinds of cool things, but outside it they are just really tough Fighters with no bonus feats.

    Bard might be a PRC.

    There may be a Knight class that represents that Archetype, although that is already represented by Fighter and Paladin pretty well. It might a PRC, the NG or LN version of the Paladin.

    Finally, I'm not sure what to name this new system. I don't want anything like "D20(insert random letter here)". The only thing I can come up with is Myths and Monsters, which doesn't seem to be taken (I actually had other, better ideas, but they were taken) but I'm not sure if that's a good name. Any help on that front would be greatly appreciated.

    Edit: Things I forgot:

    Cantrips will have unlimited use.

    Arcane Spell Failure Chance will probably be nixed. It wasn't really a disadvantage anyways.

    I will probably add a class similar to the MH Marshal or the 4e Warlord.

    Spellcasting will be much simplified

    Some sort of mechanic to allow spellcasters to bypass antimagic fields if they are poweful enough (perhaps a CL check instead of complete negation).

    Edit #2: Psychic Warrior will also be a class. Mindblade will be rolled into Psychic Warrior or made into a feat tree.
    Last edited by Drolyt; 2010-02-15 at 06:09 PM.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    I got lazy and stopped reading at some point...

    Will hit points gained at first level be changed if your Constitution score rises?
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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Quote Originally Posted by Temotei221 View Post
    I got lazy and stopped reading at some point...

    Will hit points gained at first level be changed if your Constitution score rises?
    I see no reason why not.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    I think class skill lists should be kept, if not for fluff reasons then to prevent UMD abuse by casters that are already way more powerful.

    PS-You might want to break up the text above a little more. It is rather difficult to read as is.
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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Quote Originally Posted by ArcanistSupreme View Post
    I think class skill lists should be kept, if not for fluff reasons then to prevent UMD abuse by casters that are already way more powerful.

    PS-You might want to break up the text above a little more. It is rather difficult to read as is.
    I'll try to fix the list. Also spellcasters are going to be toned down quite a bit, so I'm not sure UMD abuse will be an issue. I'm thinking of putting a limit on how many scrolls/wands/staffs you can use per day, since without WBL you can just craft as many as you desire.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Is it easier to read this way? Also, forgotten from the original post: Feats completely redone (much more useful, particularly for fighters and the like) and I think Ranger will be a base class, even though it seems like it could be a prestige class.
    Last edited by Drolyt; 2010-02-15 at 03:37 PM.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Can't answer on balance without specifics, and this is already a big mess. It will take phenomenal luck or powers of estimation to pull off so many untested changes without merely making things worse and more complicated. Please have pity on your gaming group's sanity and try something simple yet more specific and clear, if only to test out several changes a few at a time.
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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Can't answer on balance without specifics, and this is already a big mess. It will take phenomenal luck or powers of estimation to pull off so many untested changes without merely making things worse and more complicated. Please have pity on your gaming group's sanity and try something simple yet more specific and clear, if only to test out several changes a few at a time.
    This is a rather long term plan, I'm starting out with redoing the classes, then I will implement (or not, if they turn out to be bad ideas) the other changes one by one.
    Edit: Think of it as a preview.
    Last edited by Drolyt; 2010-02-15 at 04:03 PM.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Very ambitious. A lot of your changes seem like they will bring 3.5 closer to 4E.

    Monk, Paladin, Ranger, and possibly Bard make sense as PrC's or build choices rather than unique classes.

    Are to-hit bonuses going to scale similarly, i.e. combat classes get +1 to hit every level? If so, with reductions in AC, it seems like miss chance will get even better, and high level fights will be "did you roll a 1?" "no" "roll damage". Defense bonus will help somewhat, but without significant reduction on the amount of things that can be done to increase to-hit people simply won't miss often.

    Your plan to balance magic items is to require the PC's to make their own, which reduces their chances of getting more powerful stuff than they should have? Interesting, but there are other things to do with wealth. For example, I might want to hire an army to go fight that dragon. It will be an expensive proposition, and OOC I'd know that I shouldn't get much or any XP for an easy fight, but it strains verisimilitude if PC's get all this money they can't use.

    The utility of skills in 3.5 is variable. After low levels only specialized builds want Climb or Jump, but 5 ranks in Balance are nice until you can fly 24/7; Tumble is great to have some ranks in, Concentration is very useful for spellcasters, Spot/Listen are losing an arms race with Hide/Move Silently, and UMD is the best skill. I would suggest removing UMD (class feature instead if you love it), making Tumble DC's scale somehow, changing how Balance works with Grease and marbles and such, and some consolidation.

    Besides legacy reasons, is there any particular reason you want 7 spellcaster types? I could see wizard, sorcerer, and psion. Then make a divine version of each, if you like the division between divine and arcane magic. You could instead require lower level spells to take higher level spells in paths, like the Tome of Battle does. So you could have a Healing path, a Evocation path, a Teleportation path, a Metamagic (Abjuration) path, a Protection path, etc. I'm not sure on the exact division or number of paths here, but it would let you use fewer classes to do more things without letting every wizard be able to cast Heal and True Res without significant investment.

    Warlocks... they're weird. They do magic like classes that are limited in uses per day and so are generally allowed different abilities than purely martial or skill types. This is easy to unbalance. I wouldn't spend too much time on them.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Im already doing something like this... perhaps if we joined forces? I would love to share with you my salin project information I have recorded so far. Its a bit of a mess, but two minds working on a simular goal is better then one eh?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glimbur View Post
    Very ambitious. A lot of your changes seem like they will bring 3.5 closer to 4E.

    Monk, Paladin, Ranger, and possibly Bard make sense as PrC's or build choices rather than unique classes.

    Are to-hit bonuses going to scale similarly, i.e. combat classes get +1 to hit every level? If so, with reductions in AC, it seems like miss chance will get even better, and high level fights will be "did you roll a 1?" "no" "roll damage". Defense bonus will help somewhat, but without significant reduction on the amount of things that can be done to increase to-hit people simply won't miss often.

    Your plan to balance magic items is to require the PC's to make their own, which reduces their chances of getting more powerful stuff than they should have? Interesting, but there are other things to do with wealth. For example, I might want to hire an army to go fight that dragon. It will be an expensive proposition, and OOC I'd know that I shouldn't get much or any XP for an easy fight, but it strains verisimilitude if PC's get all this money they can't use.

    The utility of skills in 3.5 is variable. After low levels only specialized builds want Climb or Jump, but 5 ranks in Balance are nice until you can fly 24/7; Tumble is great to have some ranks in, Concentration is very useful for spellcasters, Spot/Listen are losing an arms race with Hide/Move Silently, and UMD is the best skill. I would suggest removing UMD (class feature instead if you love it), making Tumble DC's scale somehow, changing how Balance works with Grease and marbles and such, and some consolidation.

    Besides legacy reasons, is there any particular reason you want 7 spellcaster types? I could see wizard, sorcerer, and psion. Then make a divine version of each, if you like the division between divine and arcane magic. You could instead require lower level spells to take higher level spells in paths, like the Tome of Battle does. So you could have a Healing path, a Evocation path, a Teleportation path, a Metamagic (Abjuration) path, a Protection path, etc. I'm not sure on the exact division or number of paths here, but it would let you use fewer classes to do more things without letting every wizard be able to cast Heal and True Res without significant investment.

    Warlocks... they're weird. They do magic like classes that are limited in uses per day and so are generally allowed different abilities than purely martial or skill types. This is easy to unbalance. I wouldn't spend too much time on them.
    1. In some ways it will be more like 4e, in others I plan to make it closer to older editions.
    2. Combat classes will continue to get +1 to hit each level, but the defense bonus each class gets will be higher than that in UA, so it evens out. There will probably also be less ways to increase your attack roll.
    3. Well, my plan to limit magic items to limit what items you can use. WBL can be completely ignored. For example, a +5 sword might have a requirement of +20 BAB or something, or a cape of flying might have a requirement of 10th level.
    4. Hmm, the idea is to have each class represent a different archetype. As follows: wizard is the studious guy who actually learns magic, psion is the guy who's mind is so powerful he can alter reality with it, sorcerer is born with magic, warlock makes a pact for magic, cleric worships a deity or cause for magic, druid is essentially a cleric of nature, which is why I was thinking it should be a PRC like in BD&D, and wilder... serves no purpose and should be axed. So, axe wilder and roll warlock into sorcerer/cleric depending on the background, make druid a prc, and that leaves us with just 4 classes that can represent pretty much any archetype. Is that better? I'll take your other suggestions into consideration.
    5. I think I'll just get rid of warlocks. I wasn't sure what to do with them, I just wanted the archetype, but I think sorcerer can cover that.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    I didn't see it beforehand, but it does look very clear now.

    The first (BIG) point I notice is the major HP increase. HP bloat is a large problem in 3.5e, and a major contributing factor to making melee/blasting no longer effective. How are you planning to compensate for a character potentially having 40+10/level HP?

    How (or why) is level 21 epic? In what way are levels 21-30 any different than levels 11-20?

    How do 3/4 BAB fighters, such as the Swordsage or Psychic Warrior, get multiple attacks? Do they get multiple attacks? Are they going to be buffed up to 1/1 BAB, or will they be permanently restricted to 1 attack/round because of it?

    Just to point out: damage in 3.5e is concerned far more with bonuses, whether it be +10d6 from the rogue or +40 from the fighter, than with weapon size. The only exception would be stacking multiple size changes to get fistfulls of dice for each attack. I think this might need changing if you want the weapon dice to be significant in the system.

    Armor-damage reduction sounds like it will just make the HP bloat worse, as now even more damage needs to be dealt to kill something. Again, a change (increase) in the weapon damage may take care of this, but it will need to be a significantly large increase.

    For utility spells, you might want to consider allowing "spellbook casting." As in, you can cast directly from your spellbook/prayer beads/whatever, although it takes many times longer than usual. Most wizards won't mind taking 10 minutes to cast Magnificant Mansion for the night, but it makes casting a 10-round Fireball out of your spellbook unpractical. It still has the problem of spellbook-casting buffs before each group of encounters, though.

    That's about all I can think of at this point. Best of luck with your as-of-yet-unnamed project, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    I didn't see it beforehand, but it does look very clear now.

    The first (BIG) point I notice is the major HP increase. HP bloat is a large problem in 3.5e, and a major contributing factor to making melee/blasting no longer effective. How are you planning to compensate for a character potentially having 40+10/level HP?

    How (or why) is level 21 epic? In what way are levels 21-30 any different than levels 11-20?

    How do 3/4 BAB fighters, such as the Swordsage or Psychic Warrior, get multiple attacks? Do they get multiple attacks? Are they going to be buffed up to 1/1 BAB, or will they be permanently restricted to 1 attack/round because of it?

    Just to point out: damage in 3.5e is concerned far more with bonuses, whether it be +10d6 from the rogue or +40 from the fighter, than with weapon size. The only exception would be stacking multiple size changes to get fistfulls of dice for each attack. I think this might need changing if you want the weapon dice to be significant in the system.

    Armor-damage reduction sounds like it will just make the HP bloat worse, as now even more damage needs to be dealt to kill something. Again, a change (increase) in the weapon damage may take care of this, but it will need to be a significantly large increase.

    For utility spells, you might want to consider allowing "spellbook casting." As in, you can cast directly from your spellbook/prayer beads/whatever, although it takes many times longer than usual. Most wizards won't mind taking 10 minutes to cast Magnificant Mansion for the night, but it makes casting a 10-round Fireball out of your spellbook unpractical. It still has the problem of spellbook-casting buffs before each group of encounters, though.

    That's about all I can think of at this point. Best of luck with your as-of-yet-unnamed project, though.
    1. On HP bloat: first, the main reason is to make combat last longer. It goes too fast for my taste. I probably shouldn't have listed that one first, since it is one I'm not entirely sure about. At any rate one of my goals (which I should probably put down in a list of goals) is that knocking a guy's hit points down becomes the only way to kill him. Save or suck spells will also be weakened, many of them by limited durations which will make them less useful against opponents with lots of hp. For example, sleep will work more or less like it already did, but it will be less powerful simply because killing an enemy in one round, even if it is asleep, will not be feasible, and after one round of free attacks they can wake up. In sleeps case I will probably also make it single target.

    2. 21-30 is in no way different from 1-20. I'm calling it epic for legacy purposes. Well, it's epic in that your foes are epic. Only deity level foes are higher than 30 after all.

    3. I haven't decided yet, but for now let's say 3/4 base attack characters would receive an additional attacks at levels 15 and 28, when their BAB matches up.

    4. I haven't decided exactly, but I think that the dice currently listed on weapons will be what die you roll. As melee characters go up in level they will roll more than one die. For example, take longsword (should be called arming sword), which deals 1d8 damage. Now it will only deal that much damage at low levels. At higher levels it will deal 2d8 damage, then 3d8 damage, and so on. I'm not sure how much damage is appropriate yet.

    5. Like I said, I want combat to take longer. Higher level attacks will probably deal more damage than they do now though.

    6. That's more or less what I was thinking. Also buffs are going to be cut way back, especially with the WBL changes they won't always be that useful. The problem is for casters that use other mechanics than preparation, although at the moment it looks like that will only be Sorcerers and Psions, since I'm axing Wilder and Warlock and making Bard and Druid PRCs.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Quote Originally Posted by Drolyt View Post
    1. On HP bloat: first, the main reason is to make combat last longer. It goes too fast for my taste.
    Ah, I see. Do you mind if I ask for a few examples of how combat goes in your games? Because that's a rather unusual request (from what I've seen) and most of the too-short combat complains I've heard had a problem in encounter design. The 3.5e method of "one big bad guy" is actually quite terrible and the #1 case of single-turn victories; the 4e method of including large groups (at least the size of the party) makes battles longer and much more interesting.

    Also, remember that HP bloat happens on both ends of the spectrum. If the wizard has 780 HP, then he isn't going to mind the ogre smacking him for 30 damage, or even 80 damage. He will also freely dump several castings of Acid Fog on the entire battlefield, knowing that he'll survive the 120d6 damage a round and that the party cleric has renewable healing available.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drolyt View Post
    2. 21-30 is in no way different from 1-20. I'm calling it epic for legacy purposes. Well, it's epic in that your foes are epic. Only deity level foes are higher than 30 after all.
    Fair enough, although I think it's just delaying the 3.5e epic level problem for another 10 levels. I prefer to thing of "epic level" to be something significant which should be allowed only at DM discretion. After all, the difference between level 15 and level 35 is 20 levels; the difference between mortals and deities should be significatly more than that. (At least, I feel so.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Drolyt View Post
    3. I haven't decided yet, but for now let's say 3/4 base attack characters would receive an additional attacks at levels 15 and 28, when their BAB matches up.
    Note that these classes have 3/4 BAB because they possess powers the standard Fighter does not, which are supposed to make up for the +5 BAB difference. Delaying extra attacks - which sound more important in this system - will seriously set back such classes. (Monk could fall in this category too, potentially.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Drolyt View Post
    4. I haven't decided exactly, but I think that the dice currently listed on weapons will be what die you roll. As melee characters go up in level they will roll more than one die.
    Weapon damage sounds like it will need testing once the system is in place to determine what is appropriate. I'd think 1[W] every five levels (to use a 4e term), but again, that assumes you want most combats to wrap up within 10 rounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drolyt View Post
    6. That's more or less what I was thinking. Also buffs are going to be cut way back, especially with the WBL changes they won't always be that useful. The problem is for casters that use other mechanics than preparation, although at the moment it looks like that will only be Sorcerers and Psions, since I'm axing Wilder and Warlock and making Bard and Druid PRCs.
    Perhaps, rather than using Wizard/Cleric/Sorcerer/Psion, you would be better off using classes like "Prepared Caster", "Spontaneous Caster", "At-will Caster" and "Psionic Caster"? That seems to be close to what you are trying, effectively cutting down the casting classes into one of each casting type.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    ok general advise on re-working 3.5;

    1. Go Slow. something as simple as changing how BAB works changes the game, We Penny Dreadfuls have been working on something for nearly half a year and we're only now getting towards the point where we're confident it A) works, B) fit for people who aren't us to understand.

    2. Test, Test, then test some more; seriously, sometime's simple mechanic can blow up in your face, see 3.5 fixed Skill DCs, and all the abuse therein.

    3. Be ready to abandon some ideas. Not all Ideas are created equal, some might seem good at the start, but if you later start struggling to make it work, it might not be worth it. See any Seed based casting.
    Last edited by 9mm; 2010-02-15 at 06:05 PM.
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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    Ah, I see. Do you mind if I ask for a few examples of how combat goes in your games? Because that's a rather unusual request (from what I've seen) and most of the too-short combat complains I've heard had a problem in encounter design. The 3.5e method of "one big bad guy" is actually quite terrible and the #1 case of single-turn victories; the 4e method of including large groups (at least the size of the party) makes battles longer and much more interesting.

    Also, remember that HP bloat happens on both ends of the spectrum. If the wizard has 780 HP, then he isn't going to mind the ogre smacking him for 30 damage, or even 80 damage. He will also freely dump several castings of Acid Fog on the entire battlefield, knowing that he'll survive the 120d6 damage a round and that the party cleric has renewable healing available.


    Fair enough, although I think it's just delaying the 3.5e epic level problem for another 10 levels. I prefer to thing of "epic level" to be something significant which should be allowed only at DM discretion. After all, the difference between level 15 and level 35 is 20 levels; the difference between mortals and deities should be significatly more than that. (At least, I feel so.)


    Note that these classes have 3/4 BAB because they possess powers the standard Fighter does not, which are supposed to make up for the +5 BAB difference. Delaying extra attacks - which sound more important in this system - will seriously set back such classes. (Monk could fall in this category too, potentially.)


    Weapon damage sounds like it will need testing once the system is in place to determine what is appropriate. I'd think 1[W] every five levels (to use a 4e term), but again, that assumes you want most combats to wrap up within 10 rounds.


    Perhaps, rather than using Wizard/Cleric/Sorcerer/Psion, you would be better off using classes like "Prepared Caster", "Spontaneous Caster", "At-will Caster" and "Psionic Caster"? That seems to be close to what you are trying, effectively cutting down the casting classes into one of each casting type.
    1. In my games? It really depends how optimized the party is, but what I'm referring is when combat ends in 1-3 rounds, which only happens in more optimized parties (usually). That's pretty easy with simple optimization, even in core. Take an empowered lightning bolt or fireball, cast at 10th level, dealing 15d6 damage, or 52.5 damage on average, half on a successful save. A party of 4 sorcerers could do between 105 and 210 damage on average depending on how the opponent saves. Lowest possible damage is 30, highest 360. A Bebilith is CR 10 but has a very high chance of dying from such an attack, in one round. Also they are area attacks so multiple enemies in no way helps. On the other hand take a charging Paladin with spirited charge, again core only, Strength a mere 21. With a +2 lance the Paladin will deal 3d8+21 or 34.5 on average, assuming he hits. Since he would have a +20 (assuming Weapon Focus) to hit that's a mere 10% miss chance, so let's call it 31 damage average. 4 such Paladins would deal 124 damage. If they all also used smite evil they would only miss on a 1 and would almost surely kill the enemy in one turn.

    2. Epic rules will be completely different from how it works in 3e. I haven't decided exactly. Level 31+ will only be available in some campaigns, it's effectively like the immortals of BD&D, things such as level no longer matter.

    3. Monk's should have full BAB anyways, I don't know why they don't. At any rate they will get more attacks than any other character barring two-weapon fighting. As for other 3/4 progression classes, I'm not sure yet. It will require more testing when I actually get to that stage. At this point I can't really say what would be balanced.

    4. Yeah, damage would work something like that.

    5. I'm not sure. I'm more interested in the archetypes than the mechanics, although I'm also giving them different mechanics since some people find that interesting.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Quote Originally Posted by 9mm View Post
    ok general advise on re-working 3.5;

    1. Go Slow. something as simple as changing how BAB works changes the game, We Penny Dreadfuls have been working on something for nearly half a year and we're only now getting towards the point where we're confident it A) works, B) fit for people who aren't us to understand.

    2. Test, Test, then test some more; seriously, sometime's simple mechanic can blow up in your face, see 3.5 fixed Skill DCs, and all the abuse therein.

    3. Be ready to abandon some ideas. Not all Ideas are created equal, some might seem good at the start, but if you later start struggling to make it work, it might not be worth it. See any Seed based casting.
    All good advice. My plan is to tackle it like writing a computer program; a good outline first of all, then work in steps. I'll change one thing at a time, then make sure it works. What I'm describing is what I'm building up to; not everything will be as I explained here. Some things will be abandoned, or just plain altered beyond recognition. Do note, however, that this is supposed to be largely a "new edition" with changes that I think will make the game better. It is not a fundamental change of how the system works, like the changes from 2e to 3e or 3e to 4e. I think that was one of the problems of seed based casting; there isn't anything previous to work off of. More than that, I could have told anybody before hand that writing something adaptable like seed based casting would be very difficult. There's a reason the original designers thought hundreds of pages of spells that were barely different was easier than such a system and why such systems are rarely seen in video games and hyped up when they are. I'm going to try and make this system as modable as possible, but I'm going to try and second guess the most obvious builds and work from there.
    Edit: Also, can I get a link to this penny dreadful thing?
    Last edited by Drolyt; 2010-02-15 at 06:16 PM.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    On Characters higher than 30th level: This will probably be the last thing I work on, so don't expect any concrete rules anytime soon, but I'm thinking something like the Immortals rules from BD&D. Basically in order to transcend mortal existence after 30th level (36th in BD&D, 30th in my system) you basically rewrite your character using the "Immortals" rules, taking the "Immortal" class. A 1st level immortal is more powerful than any individual mortal and can progress a number of additional levels (becoming increasingly ridiculously powerful). How did going above 20th level work in AD&D, or was it even possible?

    Edit: This also explains why I would consider 21st-30th level to be "Epic". It doesn't follow any special rules like 3.5 Epic Levels, but it is the same power tier. 31+ is deity level.
    Last edited by Drolyt; 2010-02-15 at 07:07 PM.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Some interesting stuff. Some questions:

    You thought about using something from Tome of Battle? Fighters could get their bonus feats at even levels, and learn maneuvers at odd levels. I'm trying to work out something like that.

    Spell points: Something funny, WotC thougth that increasing costs to blastingspells would balance the apparent more casting wizards get. You think it would make sense to do the other way around (increasing costs for non-blaster spells, maybe allow healing be alway cast at full power too)?

    Other than that, I can say a lot of your changes are inspired in 4E.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Quote Originally Posted by Roderick_BR View Post
    Some interesting stuff. Some questions:

    You thought about using something from Tome of Battle? Fighters could get their bonus feats at even levels, and learn maneuvers at odd levels. I'm trying to work out something like that.

    Spell points: Something funny, WotC thougth that increasing costs to blastingspells would balance the apparent more casting wizards get. You think it would make sense to do the other way around (increasing costs for non-blaster spells, maybe allow healing be alway cast at full power too)?

    Other than that, I can say a lot of your changes are inspired in 4E.
    Definitely some 4e inspiration, but some of it I actually got from previous editions (like Druid being a PRC: it was originally a special sub-class a neutral Cleric could take at 9th level, or at least it was in BD&D; at any rate it makes more sense to me as a PRC. Same goes for Bard being a PRC). As for Tome of Battle, I want the entire thing to be OGL, so no Tome of Battle per se. Some feats might have abilities inspired by maneuvers though; as I said, I'm not against Fighters having nice things and some Fighter bonus feats might be outright supernatural. As for the spell points thing, I'm not sure which classes will even use them yet (maybe Sorcerer, maybe Psion), but I'll probably make it so you don't have to spend extra points for spells to scale.

    Also, any thoughts on a good name? Do people really think Myths and Monsters is good, or are there simply no comments?

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Im actually going the opposite direction with you in terms of classes for my own project. Im actually adding more base classes.

    Fighter, Rogue, Martial Artist, Blackguard, Paladin, Ranger, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Shaper, Wizard, Sorcerer, Druid, Incarnate, Shaman, Speaker, Warmage, Wilder, Witch (/Warlock), Witchward, Swashbuckler, Beguiler, Artifcer.

    -shrug- Gives more variety and spice of life, eh? I could give more detailed explinations of the classes, but many of them are paired - wizard/sorcerer, cleric/shaper, druid/incarnate, shaman/speaker, warmage/wilder, witch/witchward.

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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Quote Originally Posted by Drolyt View Post
    How did going above 20th level work in AD&D, or was it even possible?
    Ah, something I can answer.

    It was entirely possible, but nothing special happened. Magic-users and clerics got even more spells (MUs had 9/9/9/9/9/7/7/7/7 at 29th level IIRC), as did illusionists (druids are a special case; the heirophant druids went up to 26th level, and did really weird things). Assassins and Monks were already capped at 14th and 17th respectively. Everyone else... not much happened. It's really kind of anticlimactic.
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    Default Re: New 3.5 Variant

    Quote Originally Posted by Random_person View Post
    Ah, something I can answer.

    It was entirely possible, but nothing special happened. Magic-users and clerics got even more spells (MUs had 9/9/9/9/9/7/7/7/7 at 29th level IIRC), as did illusionists (druids are a special case; the heirophant druids went up to 26th level, and did really weird things). Assassins and Monks were already capped at 14th and 17th respectively. Everyone else... not much happened. It's really kind of anticlimactic.
    Oh. Something BD&D did better than (actually I think there were a lot of those). With Wrath of the Immortals you can basically start adventuring all over again but this time as an immortal. There's a whole new set of rules that is fairly balanced.

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