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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Post Newbie working on a Homebrew - Looking for Advice, Critique, and Suggestions

    Thanks for dropping in and taking a look, the quick synopsis is this;
    I've got this massive world in my head that I'm eager to bring to life, after years of it languishing unexpressed it occurred to me that d&d would actually be an incredible way to share it. Mentioned it to a few friends and their all really exited. So I've got players, I've got a world, and I've got motivation. Only the slightest of hitches at this point, I've never played, let alone DMed, a tabletop RPG in my life.

    The Plea
    So perhaps you see why I'm posting looking for advice. I hope this is the right place to ask for critique and advice, as best I could tell it was the right board and the community seems friendly so here goes.

    First and foremost, I need a base to work from. At the suggestion of a friend I've been working from 4e, but the more googleing I've done the less certain I am of that choice. I've spent the last week or so with a butchers cleaver and a bottle of home-brew hacking chunks out of systems and replacing them with my own. I'm getting really close to setting up demo sessions to test out my mechanics, but once I start balancing and fine tuning switching the foundation will become a much more onerous task. So if I'm going to switch this is the time.

    With the intent of heavy modification as well as being new to all this what would be a good foundation to work from? Would 3.5 be better? What about all the other systems out there? I'm worried in part about 4e having a closed license? I'm not really clear on what that's about, but various forums as directed to by google (such a reliable wealth of never contradictory information) make it sounds like it would be legally trickier to share what I make it if proves to be enjoyable, which is a major turnoff.

    Homebrew Changes
    I'll try to condense all the major changes / new systems here into a quick little section.

    Magic
    -The Surge, waves of chaotic wild magic that at random intervals wash over the campaigns setting. Approximately two a day, though fairly random and possibly created / withheld for story reasons. 1d12 each hour to see if one hits, they recharge most magical devices, the unpredictability is meant to add a risk/reward mechanic in how you spend your energy. Save it and have a Surge render your conservatism moot, use it and risk no surge leaving your big guns offline for days.

    -Stripping out all magic or magic like classes; working from 4e Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, and Warlord are what remained

    -Adding wide access to (mostly damage dealing) spells for players and NPCs in the form of single use items that recharge with the Surge. Re-balancing / creating spells as a result

    Races
    -Stripping out all races besides human, replacing with two "sub races"

    -Arcanotech Augmented, mechanical limbs / body parts running off magic, minor stat bonuses when operational as passives, spend a percent of the energy powering them for temp bonuses (1d4 strength for 3 rounds from an arm as example). If they ever run out of energy they become dead weight and cause massive stat penalties.

    -Surge Warped, strange mutations widely varying effects and stats, mostly used as NPCs. This one is pretty much DMs discretion on what to do with it. Mutated limbs, enhanced senses, toxic skin. Typically these things are countered by harsh Charisma and social Skill penalties. Nobody wants to talk to the guy with a the squid arm.

    Airships
    -Airships, because their awesome. Heavy focus on Airship combat, using AC and DR to represent agility vs durability. Small fast wooden ships have high AC low/no DR, hard to hit bit if the blow lands they break pretty easily. Heavy slow metal ships are in turn a lot easier to hit, but actually damaging them is quite the chore.

    -Airships AC/DR values, as well as the damage on mounted weapons are substantially inflated, the idea being that while that 7 foot long ballista bolt might do some damage your arrow probably wont.

    -Adding new player skills for airships, currently looking at four, Deckhand(Str), Gunnery(Dex), Maintenance(Int), Piloting(Cha).

    Misc
    -No gods in the standard d&d sense. Religion exists but no miracles or favor or anything like that.

    -Limited magical healing, no magic potions of suddenly I feel much better, sustaining damage is a serious problem.

    -If sticking with 4e healing surges act as adrenalin, push past the pain, at combat end some damage re-applied, can only be used in combat.


    The Campaign
    My intended campaign style is quite loose on objectives. While there is a vague overall goal, I intend the path there to be modular. Most "progression" will be gated by economy; upgrading the players airship as the biggest, but buying new equipment and all the rest as well. How the party earns money is up to them.

    I'm working on setting up hub cities around my map, each with one or two small quests / dungeons associated to start out, as well as trade goods. Along with these I'm cooking up generic encounters that can be run into while traveling based on the region of the desert the party chooses to cross. Bandits, Slavers, Smugglers, desert Creatures and so on. These can be evolved later, maybe that difficulty 2 generic pirate ship you popped a few weeks ago was piloted by the bandit chiefs son and now he's out for revenge. Dangerous routs yield higher profits, risk vs rewards, all that.

    The benefit I anticipate in this is that I need less material starting out. My hope is that my experience will grow along side the parties and by the time their ready for it I'll be more confident in setting up complicated encounters and dungeons. I can also add new content I create to preexisting locations as the party travels. Do they start to establish a boring repetitive trade route safely farming up gold? As they approach the settlement plumes of smoke fills the air and the ragged patched hulls of slaver ships are seen anchored above the chaos!



    In Closing
    Well that's the (now even more) condensed version of things. So while the most pressing matter is settling on a base system from which to carve my world I'm looking for any advice or suggestions you might have.

    And if anyone is interested the google docs below go into great detail, if anyone is bored enough to sift through them I'd love to hear what you think
    Lore - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...it?usp=sharing
    Mechanics - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...it?usp=sharing
    Map - http://i.imgur.com/rYDecoJ.png
    Last edited by Sero; 2014-08-05 at 05:18 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Newbie working on a Homebrew - Looking for Advice, Critique, and Suggestions

    People use preexisting systems like various editions of DnD so they don't have to spend time and effort making their own. Making your own system is also cool but needs a whole bunch of extra work, especially for a new victihobbyist. The one thing you don't need to worry is the licence thing. You can do whatever when you're running your games or posting about them, use one as is, mash a few systems together or heavily modify one. Doesn't matter so long as your game is running well.

    As for actual running of games, you're gonna have to jump in and try your hand. You can only learn to play tabletop RPGs if you play tabletop RPGs. While being a player in someone else's game might be easier for a first timer, DMing for the first time isn't anything to be scared of either, especially with a whole group of newcomers.

    Lastly, very few people actually read giant walls of text about someone's homebrew campaigns/projects posted in online forums. Your summary here was a good idea, I've looked at it and generally looks like a nice game to me. I think 3.5 would be more suitable to heavy modifying than 4 but my grasp of DnD has decayed to point of nonexistence. Either way, don't expect much commentary about your large scale homebrew projects from internets as a general rule. You're much more likely to get advice about generalities (such as stuff I wrote) or specific critique of one thing (such as various homebrew threads), because internet has a general attention span of -3 seconds and they're unlikely to spend the time needed to read through giant walls of text (unless they're very pretty walls of text).
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Default Re: Newbie working on a Homebrew - Looking for Advice, Critique, and Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by cnsvnc View Post
    People use preexisting systems like various editions of DnD so they don't have to spend time and effort making their own. Making your own system is also cool but needs a whole bunch of extra work, especially for a new victihobbyist. The one thing you don't need to worry is the licence thing. You can do whatever when you're running your games or posting about them, use one as is, mash a few systems together or heavily modify one. Doesn't matter so long as your game is running well.
    If nothing else I've got the free time right now and I'm confident that I'm stubbornly bullheaded enough but yeah I'm starting to see why not everyone goes this route. I ran into the licence stuff when I was trying to find a character generator. I needed a few quick mid level characters for a test run of some mechanics, only to find out that none of the third party software seemed to supported 4e because of the license.


    Quote Originally Posted by cnsvnc View Post
    As for actual running of games, you're gonna have to jump in and try your hand. You can only learn to play tabletop RPGs if you play tabletop RPGs. While being a player in someone else's game might be easier for a first timer, DMing for the first time isn't anything to be scared of either, especially with a whole group of newcomers.
    I'm not to terribly worried on this count, everyone involved knows I'm new to it so I have some slack there. My larger concern is just not being familiar with power-curves and similar balance issue. I'd like to try for if possible a smooth difficulty curve, and with the amount of systems I'm messing with I have the feeling that it's going to get pretty messy at some point. But I hope to iron out most of that in testing sessions. The major block their being settling on a system to base off of.

    Quote Originally Posted by cnsvnc View Post
    Lastly, very few people actually read giant walls of text about someone's homebrew campaigns/projects posted in online forums. Your summary here was a good idea, I've looked at it and generally looks like a nice game to me. I think 3.5 would be more suitable to heavy modifying than 4 but my grasp of DnD has decayed to point of nonexistence. Either way, don't expect much commentary about your large scale homebrew projects from internets as a general rule. You're much more likely to get advice about generalities (such as stuff I wrote) or specific critique of one thing (such as various homebrew threads), because internet has a general attention span of -3 seconds and they're unlikely to spend the time needed to read through giant walls of text (unless they're very pretty walls of text).
    Noted and changed, the post should hopefully be a lot more easily digested now.

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