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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    So I'm planning on DMing a game in the near future. After enough time seeing how overpowered the PHB magic system is, I've become sick of it. I'd like to take this game to higher levels, but without the horrible caster/other disparity normally found there. I'm really annoyed with the inbalance inherent in the system.

    So I'm not using the normal arcane/divine magic system. Psionics will be the main replacement. Melee classes will get Tome of Battle as an option with the normal Complete series choices. And I'm also looking at adding Tome of Magic classes so that the caster options aren't so limited. So I have two main questions here.

    Will psionics and ToB give a balance between the casters and meleers?

    What parts of ToM are balanced with psionics/ToB? Binders look quite balanced and fun, but I'm not sure about Truenamers or Shadowmancers, (especially Shadowmancers, who look like they have some overpowered spells).
    Last edited by ClericofPhwarrr; 2007-05-24 at 04:18 PM.
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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    The general consensus, so far as I've seen regarding the Shadowcasters, is that mysteries are largely inferior to PHB spells; the number of powerful, breakable options is greatly reduced and a caster has fewer attempts at each per day. Truenamers are generally regarded as weaker than wizards and their ilk, unless the DM allows for some truly cheesey combos to pump Truespeaking into the stratosphere. Barring such things, they're largely seen as the peer of the warlock.

    I'd love to see a psionics/martial adept/binder/truespeaker campaign; I'm largely indifferent about the Shadowcaster.

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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Don't worry about Shadowmancers; they do have a few good spells, but their extremely limited use and selection will balance this out a lot. In fact, the shadowcasters will likely be overshadowed by the other classes. They're still a lot of fun, though.

    Which mysteries were you worried about?

    Psionics and Tome of Battle are probably pretty balanced. Binders fit well into the curve there, too. Truenamers... need a good reworking, because as it is they're usually fairly bad and occasionally overpowered.
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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by ClericofPhwarrr View Post
    Will psionics and ToB give a balance between the casters and meleers?
    Yes. Absolutely yes. I would also recommend allowing Magic of Incarnum (no, not a caster book) to give options to those who don't like ToB.

    What parts of ToM are balanced with psionics/ToB? Binders look quite balanced and fun, but I'm not sure about Truenamers or Shadowmancers, (especially Shadowmancers, who look like they have some overpowered spells).
    Shadowcasters seem overpowered, but you have to realize that they have far less versatility than even a sorceror. Their mystery selection is incredibly limited--particularly with their forced need to branch out into multiple paths to learn higher-level mysteries--and they're unable to apply metamagic frequently. They're actually quite balanced (and some say that they're very weak).

    Truenamers also seem strong, until you realize how incredibly ridiculous the casting DCs can get. (15 + 2*CR) is incredibly difficult to hit at higher levels without serious twinkage. I personally houserule (15 + 3*Utterance Level) for the cast DC, altering the skill itself to not allow bonuses from outside sources (except for ability modifiers).

    Also, I hope you realize that you're going to have a very gritty world without any curative magic (besides the Truenamer's powers and some self-only psionic powers). I would recommend providing a feat that gives the Paladin's Lay on Hands (or better, the Dragon Shaman's Touch of Vitality), probably doing Class Level * Cha mod or Wis mod.
    Last edited by Fax Celestis; 2007-05-24 at 04:29 PM.

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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Psionics and Tome of Battle are very well-balanced against each other (splashing a little psionics onto your Tome of Battle character is, however, delicious), and the Binder can compete if built well but will lag behind if made poorly. Shadowcasters are.. well, I have have seen one played, but the word on the internet street is that they're on the weak side, but they are spellcasteresque; I have seen a number of suggested "fixes", including by the author of that section of the Tome of Magic, largely revolving around making them more useful at low levels.
    Truenamers are not particularily playable.

    Tome of Battle is also on the same level as specialized or secondary spellcasters--the Dread Necromancer, the Beguiler, the Favored Soul, the Spirit Shaman, the Shugenja, and so on, so you would be fairly safe including them.

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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    Also, I hope you realize that you're going to have a very gritty world without any curative magic (besides the Truenamer's powers and some self-only psionic powers).
    Empathic transfer followed by those self-only psionic powers is also an option.
    Last edited by Jasdoif; 2007-05-24 at 04:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    Also, I hope you realize that you're going to have a very gritty world without any curative magic (besides the Truenamer's powers and some self-only psionic powers). I would recommend providing a feat that gives the Paladin's Lay on Hands (or better, the Dragon Shaman's Touch of Vitality), probably doing Class Level * Cha mod or Wis mod.
    Bah. When you get used to d20 Modern and games where nobody wants to play a cleric healing stops being important.
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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Glad to hear this would work. Some notes:

    I understand Incarnum is pretty balanced, but I don't enjoy using it.

    A gritty world is more what I'm looking for. Though there's a surprising amount of healing available: Crusader during battle, Truenamer after, psionic self-healing/empathic transfer, and Ardents. I'd also allow CW-style pallys and rangers (though why people would take them over Crusader/Swordsage I don't know). In fact, restricting the Truenamer so that everyone couldn't be healed for free after every confrontation might be in order.

    And GryffonDurime, I'll give you a pm when the recruitment thread is up, though I have no clue when that'll be.
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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by ClericofPhwarrr View Post
    In fact, restricting the Truenamer so that everyone couldn't be healed for free after every confrontation might be in order.
    Remember the Law of Resistance: every time you speak an utterance, the DC increases by 2.

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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    Remember the Law of Resistance: every time you speak an utterance, the DC increases by 2.
    Meaning that the Truenamer will quickly reach a point where the check becomes absolutely impossible to make.

    Hmm...what effect will this have on your proposed world's economy of mystic goods, then? When you throw out Arcane and Divine magic, you have to ask yourself what types of items and equipment need conversion to psionic or the like, what simply gets thrown out, and what's simply a question of a change in name. Because, for example, I don't believe there are (by RAW) any psionic items that confer stat bonuses...which could add greatly to the feel of your world, but could also prove irksome.

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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    Remember the Law of Resistance: every time you speak an utterance, the DC increases by 2.
    Missed that. That does tend to fix things.

    Quote Originally Posted by GryffonDurime
    Hmm...what effect will this have on your proposed world's economy of mystic goods, then? When you throw out Arcane and Divine magic, you have to ask yourself what types of items and equipment need conversion to psionic or the like, what simply gets thrown out, and what's simply a question of a change in name. Because, for example, I don't believe there are (by RAW) any psionic items that confer stat bonuses...which could add greatly to the feel of your world, but could also prove irksome.
    Some stuff will be converted, some stuff thrown out, and some stuff homebrewed. I'm still debating as to whether magic goods will be in such abundance that every household has them to a limited degree (not Eberron, but along that train of thought) or whether they'll be so rare that a simple +4 stat booster is an enormous boon. I also intend to use personalized legacy items, possibly even more than one per player. Since I'm in a game where arcane magic items are not allowed (though psionic and divine magic items are), I'm getting a feel for what works.
    Last edited by ClericofPhwarrr; 2007-05-24 at 08:08 PM.
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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Hmm...to that end, what about the Psionic Artificer? A simple enough variant, but helps to explain where all the hoozits and whatzits come from.

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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by GryffonDurime View Post
    Hmm...to that end, what about the Psionic Artificer? A simple enough variant, but helps to explain where all the hoozits and whatzits come from.
    Is this just a converted Artificer, or is it found somewhere particular? I've skimmed briefly over the Artificer class, but have never been in a game with one.
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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by ClericofPhwarrr View Post
    Is this just a converted Artificer, or is it found somewhere particular? I've skimmed briefly over the Artificer class, but have never been in a game with one.
    The variations are listed officially in Magic of Eberron, but really the changes are obvious: Use Magic Item becomes Use Psionic Item, Wand becomes Dorje, Wondrous Item becomes Universal Item, Scroll becomes Power Stone, ad nauseum.

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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Somehow I think if the plan is to make a more balanced game...putting artificers in there might be a bad idea.

    On the other hand, they might not be as powerful without wizards and clerics around to imitate. I guess it depends on what you let them do.
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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    You could just say that most of the arcane and divine full casters traveled to the outlands thousands of years ago for (Insert high level plot point here) and they can't come back to the material plane for more than a day per level at a time (they have to stay back in the outlands for an equal amount of time).

    There. You now have all the magic items you could ever want in the game, you have a very valid reason for no full casters on the material plane (no one to teach the wizards, sorcerers don't exist/have been weeded out of the bloodline/are the ancestors of the other casting types and have evolved, and the gods are blocked from giving clerics power on the material plane (perhaps it deals with that plot point).

    You can use wizards and other full casters as NPC's and BBEG's in the end game fairly easily (they may not be present in body often but they have a large hand in material plane stuff) as well.
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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    You could just say that most of the arcane and divine full casters traveled to the outlands thousands of years ago for (Insert high level plot point here) and they can't come back to the material plane for more than a day per level at a time (they have to stay back in the outlands for an equal amount of time).

    There. You now have all the magic items you could ever want in the game, you have a very valid reason for no full casters on the material plane (no one to teach the wizards, sorcerers don't exist/have been weeded out of the bloodline/are the ancestors of the other casting types and have evolved, and the gods are blocked from giving clerics power on the material plane (perhaps it deals with that plot point).

    You can use wizards and other full casters as NPC's and BBEG's in the end game fairly easily (they may not be present in body often but they have a large hand in material plane stuff) as well.
    I see that done a lot, but honestly? I'd rather see the interesting developments of a world COMPLETELY free of Arcana and the Divine.

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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by GryffonDurime View Post
    I see that done a lot, but honestly? I'd rather see the interesting developments of a world COMPLETELY free of Arcana and the Divine.
    So...D20 modern then?
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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    It's been free for say 10,000 years. Pretty much completely free.

    Most people wouldn't even know that wizards had ever existed. Perhaps they are permanently blocked from getting to the material plane (epic spell that shields the world from that stuff wouldn't be to hard to make).

    so psions can plane shift to sigl and pick up magic items but the mages can't get to the prime material. People with their level of magic are blocked from the world.

    To compensate for the loss of magic the races evolved psionics over a hundred thousand years or so, and to combat this the previously magical races (such as dragons) evolved as well.

    Play completely without transparency and it could be very fun.
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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    An easy way to get magic items in is to allow Warlocks. They're balanced with the rest, and can create any magic item.

    I'm actually working out a campaign where the only magic users are Binders and Warlocks, though I dropped Buer to a 1st level vestige and let Warlocks heal with eldritch blasts, healing 1d3 points of damage for every 1d6 damage they would normally be able to do.

    JaronK

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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Im currently running a non-magic, psionics only game and everything seems to be running smoothly. I made up a base class version of the sangehirn presented in the Mind's Eye articles for healing and have psionic artificers for saturating the world with psionic items.

    As for the power of the psionic artificer, it appears to me atleast so far that without Perisist and other metamagic feats available in psionic varieties that they are deffinately less powerful than they're magic using kin.

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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    See, now, in this respect it's really more a flavor choice than a mechanics choice, but the prospect of a world that has never had arcane or divine magic just seems to be the most interesting prospect to me, at least.

    Inviting Sigil into the mix in homebrew settings is generally just asking for the degregation of any sense of wonder you've built up about your own world. And like I said, in most cases the conversion of Wondrous to Universal item is a matter of name and flavor: oh, this Headband of Intellect? It's now a third eye of mental awakening.

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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    An easy way to get magic items in is to allow Warlocks. They're balanced with the rest, and can create any magic item.

    I'm actually working out a campaign where the only magic users are Binders and Warlocks, though I dropped Buer to a 1st level vestige and let Warlocks heal with eldritch blasts, healing 1d3 points of damage for every 1d6 damage they would normally be able to do.

    JaronK
    I forgot about that ability of the warlock. That solves the magic item issues.

    As for Sigil, just make it any epic, extraplanar, city of your choice.

    In my next game I have all the outer realms and extraplanar stuff (yes even Sigil) but it won't affect anything.

    The Material plane is made up of a universe as large as ours in real life. The empire takes up only about a hundred thousand star systems worth of that space. Various other entities control another couple million star systems. The rest is unknown space. The gods don't interfere in affairs in the empire for one simple reason, fear. They grant magic to clerics and work to win converts but they don't intervene.
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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Ah yes, Warlocks. They might end up being the only arcane casters allowed in (along with bards, whom I'm thinking about adjusting for this; Naming Magic seems similar enough flavor-wise to bardic music for bards to get some access to it. Alternatively, the Thoughtsinger seems fairly balanced; anyone care to give their thoughts on it?).

    Then again, changing the flavor of magic items might be more rewarding in the long-term. As for allowing Sigil, as handy as it can be to some campaigns, I doubt I'll be using it in any games I run for quite some time.

    Thanks for all the ideas and suggestions so far.
    Last edited by ClericofPhwarrr; 2007-05-24 at 08:56 PM.
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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    I don't have a lot of personal experience with Psionics, but from what I have read, this seems like it would work out to be pretty well-balanced.

    Though, I will say it seems sort of odd for warlocks to be creating magic items. They can create them as if they knew the spell with a UMD check, right? But if those spells don't exist in the first place, because there are no arcane casters (unless you go with Tippy's idea), then what exactly are you emulating?

    I guess you can change around the flavor to be less mimicry and more "imbue with personal power," but as written, the flavor seems kind of odd.

    Either way, I'm also very interested in this game. ^^ Would you mind telling us when the recruitment thread goes up?


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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Yeah, I am interested as well.

    How do you feel about 20,000 year old Elan psions running around?
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    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sornas
    Either way, I'm also very interested in this game. ^^ Would you mind telling us when the recruitment thread goes up?
    Of course. *Makes note of 3 people to pm*

    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy
    How do you feel about 20,000 year old Elan psions running around?
    They're welcome aboard.

    Note for those interested: until I figure everything out, the only stuff I've decided on is a homebrew world, heavy RP, starting at levels 1-3, and the previous stuff mentioned. (Besides, if I say any more, this thread will be in the wrong forum.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by lillitheris
    As for my personal choice, I might just worship ClericofPhwarrr.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoorex
    Phwarrr is amazing and also my god.

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    Drystan in Karanblade
    Veryn in the Maacain Invasion. Veryn's Sliver, by Talfrey:
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    Tyro in the Maacain Invasion

    Avatar by Abardam.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Troll in the Playground
     
    NEO|Phyte's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Eberron
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    You can add another person to your list
    Not sure what I'd be, but I've got some ideas.
    Man this thing was full of outdated stuff.
    Swoop Falcon
    I make(made?) avatars! Last updated 12-23-2008. Requests not unwelcome. Last request 01-12-2010.
    Avatar by me.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Emperor Tippy's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Earth

    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    Yeah, I'm thinking Psion.

    How do you feel about 32 point buy or higher?

    It's fairly easy to add points, but its a pain to take them away.

    I would much prefer level 3 to level 1 (how do you explain a 20,000 year old Psion who is level 1? and level 1 is boring).

    How do you feel about adding plot points to your backround?
    People who think Tippy equals win.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Clearly, this is because Tippy equals Win.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sunken Valley View Post
    Tippy=Win
    Quote Originally Posted by Gavinfoxx View Post
    Wow... Tippy, you equal win.
    Quote Originally Posted by Immabozo View Post
    Tippy, I knew, in the back of my mind, that you would have the answer. Why? Cause you win. That's why.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mithril Leaf View Post
    Alright. I finally surrender. Tippy, you do in fact equal win. You have claimed the position of being my idol.

    Quote Originally Posted by Someone who shall remain anonymous
    This post contains 100% Tippy thought. May contain dangerous amounts of ludicrousness and/or awesomeness.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Gralamin's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Default Re: Psionics+ToB+ToM = A balanced game?

    This makes sense, and sounds balanced from how you've described it. Great job.[/back on topic]

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