Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Draz74's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Utah
    Gender
    Male

    Default Minimalist houserules to balance Core Classes

    Yeah, I know, it's been done before, many times, but I thought I'd take a shot at it anyway ...

    What are the minimum, simplest changes we could make to balance out the base classes of D&D? I'm assuming Core-Only classes and abilities except where otherwise stated, because that leaves us with a lot fewer abuses to worry about (as well as a lot fewer classes!). I'm also avoiding making any changes to the underlying system, in this post, even though I hate Vancian magic and would love a simple, balanced way to convert spellcasters to something else.

    I guess at high levels melee classes will still be noticably lame compared to casters, but hopefully this will take the make the differential less painful.

    Barbarian: Relatively well-balanced, and keeps getting abilities through all 20 levels. No changes seem very needed.

    Bard: Consensus seems to be that the Bard is underpowered, but only a tiny bit. (Except for people who don't realize that he can keep using Bard Song while doing other things, as long as he takes a standard action to initiate the song. They think the Bard is very underpowered.) Also that, if he is supposed to be a jack-of-all-trades, he fails rather miserably at the "tank" role, and he is also rather lacking in defenses overall. Therefore I suggest bumping his Hit Die up to d8.

    Cleric: Remove proficiency with heavy armor. (It can still be added to the War domain, I suppose.)
    Nerf the spell Divine Power. Instead of granting extra BAB, it now adds a +1 luck bonus to attack rolls for every 4 caster levels the Cleric has. (This means that it no longer stacks with Divine Favor, and no longer grants iterative attacks.)
    The DCs of Cleric spells are now based on the Cleric's Charisma instead of his Wisdom. This should give him a little more MAD to deal with, like the Favored Soul.

    Druid: Use the Shapechange variant from the PHBII.
    Since the Animal Companion is good flavor, let's add it back in, but weakened: it now works the same as the Ranger's Animal Companion in the standard rules. (Effective druid level = 1/2 druid level; ability starts at 4th level.)
    Druid Hit Die is reduced to d6.

    Fighter: All feats from the PHBII that are designated Bonus Fighter Feats are allowed, even though non-Core feats are mostly not allowed. (Other characters can take these feats, too, if they qualify for them. But this will benefit Fighters more than anyone else.)

    Monk: The main thing needed to fix the monk is to introduce magic Gloves that allow the monk to enchant its unarmed strike with all the normal enchantments that weapons can have (including enhancement bonuses), while still letting them keep their special unarmed damage values.
    Monks also now gain 6+Int skill points per level.
    The Monk's multiclassing restriction is removed.

    Paladin: The paladin's Detect Evil ability now only detects evil auras of Strong or Overwhelming power. It can be extended to detect Moderate auras if the paladin concentrates on it for 1 full minute. If the Paladin wants to detect evil rapidly, he must use it in spell form (the unmodified Detect Evil spell is added to the Paladin spell list).
    The Paladin is not penalized for associating with those who violate his principles, as long as he does not condone their offensive actions.
    The Paladin's Bonus Spells and Spell save DCs are now based on Charisma. A Wisdom score of (10+spell level) is still required. (Unlike other MAD-inducing house rules, this one is actually meant to be benficial, as most paladins have higher Charisma than Wisdom.)
    The Paladin's multiclassing restriction is removed.

    Ranger: The Ranger's Combat Style feats are replaced by any bonus feats from the Fighter list for which the Ranger qualifies. These feats still only function if the ranger is not under a medium or heavy load.
    The Ranger's Animal Companion is determined as if his effective druid level were (Ranger Level -2) instead of 1/2-Ranger Level.

    Rogue: The Rogue is unchanged. It's unfortunate that this leaves him with two "dead levels," but hey ...

    Sorcerer: The Sorcerer gains Eschew Materials as a bonus feat at first level.
    The Sorcerer's spell DCs are now based on Intelligence rather than Charisma. Bring on the MAD for full casters.
    The Sorcerer gains 4+Int skill points per level. He adds the following to his list of class skills: Disguise, Intimidate, Knowledge (the planes), Knowledge (religion), Sense Motive.
    The Sorcerer does not lose any XP if his familiar is killed.
    (Note: Flavor-wise, the Sorcerer should be very similar to what the Warlock is like in a non-Core-only game. I never did feel comfortable with the "dragon heritage" flavor, which isn't supported mechanically in Core anyway.)

    Wizard: The Wizard's spell DCs are now based on Wisdom instead of Intelligence.
    The Wizard does not gain a familiar.

    How does that sound? Does anything seem majorly lacking? Is it unfair for the Druid to avoid MAD casting when every other full caster has to deal with it? (I would have given the Druid MAD too, but flavor-wise, it doesn't seem appropriate to require either Int or Cha for him.) Do Wizards still "win" too badly?
    You can call me Draz.
    Trophies:
    Spoiler
    Show

    Also of note:

    I'm back to working on converting Red Hand of Doom to 5e.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Northamptonshire, UK

    Default Re: Minimalist houserules to balance Core Classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Draz74 View Post
    Monk: The main thing needed to fix the monk is to introduce magic Gloves that allow the monk to enchant its unarmed strike with all the normal enchantments that weapons can have (including enhancement bonuses), while still letting them keep their special unarmed damage values.
    Monks also now gain 6+Int skill points per level.
    What about giving them a once-per-day Magic Fang-style ability to enchant their unarmed attacks beyond the Ki Strike power that they have? That feels more flavourific to me - with Monks, it's all about self-reliance rather than items.

    The Paladin is not penalized for associating with those who violate his principles, as long as he does not condone their offensive actions.
    I don't like this one, sorry. The trouble is the current rules are a little too vague as to what this means. We need to rule what it means to "associate"!
    The Paladin shouldn't get let off with condemning the evil actions of his fellows - there should be an active attempt to change their behaviour. This ought to take the form of preventing companions from doing evil whenever possible, counselling companions who have done evil deeds (perhaps leading confession or prayers for a set amount of time). In this article, the Giant talks about paladins and their restrictive codes, and how to role-play with that (in the section titled "Decide to React Differently").

    Rogue: The Rogue is unchanged. It's unfortunate that this leaves him with two "dead levels," but hey ...
    The Rogue is left with a gap at high level which I think needs to be filled. Worst of all, the Rogue doesn't get access to Hide in Plain Sight, while other classes do. A selection of abilities needs to be invented for the top level Rogue - I've been thinking about these:
    Hide in Plain Sight
    Perfect Feint - make a Sneak Attack as a full attack action (giving up multiple attacks) without needing to make a Bluff check.
    Uncanny Trap Sense - a passive Search check (like elves get for secret doors) on traps within 5 feet.
    Sneak Attack Speciality - choose from Undead, Constructs, etc: Rogue can now Sneak Attack those monster types.

    Just suggestions - what do you think?

    Everything else seems sensible enough and probably would make the game feel more balanced and fair. It's always best to play test new rules: make up characters at several levels and try them out against monsters and traps and other challenges of the right CR.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Hannes's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Tallinn, Estonia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Minimalist houserules to balance Core Classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Altair_the_Vexed View Post
    Sneak Attack Speciality - choose from Undead, Constructs, etc: Rogue can now Sneak Attack those monster types.

    You know why they can't sneak attack them? Think logically... Sure, you can chop a zombie's arm off, but will it stop him? Same with constructs.
    Avatar by Threeshades

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Northamptonshire, UK

    Default Re: Minimalist houserules to balance Core Classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Hannes View Post
    You know why they can't sneak attack them? Think logically... Sure, you can chop a zombie's arm off, but will it stop him? Same with constructs.
    Yes, I know.
    But a 20th Level Rogue maybe ought to be able to do amazing stuff like that.

    I mean, if a Monk gets to be so zen he actually become a non-humanoid spirit being, and a Ranger becomes so great at woodcraft she can hide in Plain Sight, why can't a top level Rogue backstab a Lich?

    I'm only suggesting that the Rogue gets to select one monster type that's normally not Sneak Attackable and through amazing skill and experience, is able to affect it as though it had vital parts.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location

    Default Re: Minimalist houserules to balance Core Classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Altair_the_Vexed View Post
    I'm only suggesting that the Rogue gets to select one monster type that's normally not Sneak Attackable and through amazing skill and experience, is able to affect it as though it had vital parts.
    I actually like this. I've always considered the rule as saying not that the crit-immune/sneak attack-immune creatures don't *have* vulnerable points, just that they're not ones that the rogue is familiar with, having studied how to put the hurt on beings with recognizable nervous systems and such.

    I think it's reasonable and non-game-breaking to say that a 20th level rogue could have studied constructs enough to know that, say, iron golems have a weakness in their joint structure or that shattering the spine of a lich at its mystical chakra points will disrupt the magics holding it together.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Middle of Somewhere
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Minimalist houserules to balance Core Classes

    In one of our campaigns, we ruled monks could get their fists enchanted like any other weapon. We implemented these through magic tattoos they basically cost just as much as the standard enchantment with a 300 GP cost addition (to fill in for the masterwork cost) to cover tattooing supplies. The only downside monks had was there was no real way to conceal their fists, as the tattoos always had a noticible glow (equivilant to about candle light).
    My Creations

    Base Classes
    The Gun Mage
    The True Sorcerer
    The Kineticist

    GENERATION 14: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig and add 1 to the generation. social experiment.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •