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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default My subsystem ideas

    Subsystems. They work best when you have more than one class to play with them. They come in many degrees of complexity and strength. Sometimes, they run on existing rules being applied in different ways. Sometimes, they are entirely new. Sometimes, they are just a boring rehash of an existing setup.

    I have some ideas for subsystems. I'll start with just Truespeech, because I think that 3.X skill tricks that cost skill points are a neat way to work skillcasting that anyone can grab, but Experts can become PC worthy off of.

    Fully skill-based, partially fluff-wise grammar-based, Truesnaming(3.X/Pathfinder): The idea here is to render the entirety of Truenaming into a single skill, so any character can grab it by just dumping skill points into it. Having it as a class skill is needed to make it your character's "thing," what the character focuses on, but anyone can have basic stuff grabbed with a small investment of skill points.

    IIRC, skill tricks in 3.X require you to spend 2 skill points to get them. Maybe that was Pathfinder, but the point is that you can use Skill Points to buy stuff you do with skillcasting. This is important because the idea is to turn everything into part of the skill, including your selection of things you can do in the first place. This makes it so that you dump immense amounts of skill points into getting far with it, but part of the point of the rendition is that you are building the effects with the Truespeech words, with the ability to get extremely precise by stacking targeting conditions at the cost of screwing the DC.

    Edit(replaced large chunk of section on April 19th, 2017): Okay, after some discussion, the ideas have changed. Namely, rather than adding Words reducing the resulting DC, the check result is the number of "points" you get to power the stuff you are doing with that check. Additionally, there'd be a cap on how high a check can actually be at given levels.

    The basic outline version of the check cap is something like HD*(2+2/3)+30. What this means is that your maximum check result is two and two-thirds your hit dice plus thirty. The reason for this is that the dice roll is 1-20, so you have a flat 20 cap from the roll. Then, you have Intelligence, which caps at a +4 modifier for standard level 1 characters. Then, you have skill ranks, which max out at HD+3 for a class skill, and Intelligence increases, which I ballparked as one extra point of modifier every three levels. Then I doubled everything except starting Intelligence Modifier and the dice itself. This resulted in the equation of (HD+3)*2+(HD/3)*2+4+20, which collapses down to the above equation that has HD as the sole variable. Which is important because HD is one of the hardest things to pump in the game.

    Now, for the way it all works, let's use an ad-hoc Word pair: Ray and Fire. Let's say that Ray lets us make a ranged touch attack with a range increment of 5 feet for every two "points" we put into it, and Fire gives us 1d6 Fire damage for every four "points" we put into it, all at level 1. The maximum check result for one hit dice is 33 points. Well, actually the math says 32 and one third, but we round that up. At any rate, assuming we have a +13 modifier and rolled a nat 20, we can achieve a maximum damage of 8d6, but that leaves us with half a square for the range increment because the range is actually counted out as per-point because this is a thought experiment to ad-hoc balance. Which means that each square is a -2 to the accuracy. If we trade one damage die, we get 7d6 damage and a 12.5 ft range increment, getting a -2 penalty for every five squares away an enemy is.

    This is a lot of damage for an at-will at level one, and is a respectable range. But you have to get a total check result of 33 to have it. You get a maximum of +4 for skill ranks and +4 for intelligence unless you have racial modifiers. Meaning you still need another +5 from somewhere. And that only gets you to the cap when you roll a nat 20. So the cap is doing it's job of being not-easy to reach and isn't scaling nearly well enough for the bare basics to keep up, as it only goes up by two and two-thirds each HD. Which isn't enough for a damage die per level on this example version of Fire. So your power has to come from the combinations that turn stuff crazy to rely on it.

    But there's a barrier to that: There's limits to how many Words can be used in a particular action. One Word for Swift or Immediate Actions, Two Words for Move Actions and three Words for Standard Actions. Full-round gets six Words and two checks for how many points you get, letting you get twice the cap. Really ad-hoc, I need to do a lot of number checking to make sure it all works out. Half the reason for the numbers posted above was to check the cap's interactions with ad-hoc Words that I came up with for the sake of example, and I changed the numbers to make it less crazy. For the sake of further example, if you keep the 12.5 range increment, your average damage from the above word-pair, assuming 4 skill ranks and 18 Intelligence, will be a grand total of 11.375.

    Another limiter is that I'll probably be including some of the limitations that the Truenamer got hit with to further restrain the power of the at-will nature of it. Like the one that increased the DC for Truenamer being turned into a check-lowering thing that encourages focusing on self-buffs and encounter enders, stuff that you ought to use fairly infrequently. This makes it so that the above average damage drops by 0.875 per use per point that the penalty gives. Which will probably be a -2 penalty per use because the number of effects using single points will likely be rather small.

    Spirit Magic: This idea is complicated. It's sort of an overarching setup for the 4e Primal power source, but doesn't rely on the nature of 4e mechanics, or anything D&D related for that matter. There's four main parts of the idea. "Spirit lists" restricting them by class/character type might be in order, due to different classes needing different abilities and having different themes. Granted, one can always use the idea behind subdomains to have subset picks of Spirits, acting like archetypes/AFCs/variants for the Spirit in question that you can tie the lists to to keep the right type of abilities given to each class.

    The most basic is the simple number changes and passive/at-will abilities, mostly focused on melee/gish fighting on the typical ones, with some being focused on more rare things like ranged combat or straight magic bonuses(largely because most systems don't feel like magic users need supportive options from lists normally reserved for gishes and melee characters). This is where your "always on" stuff and stuff for Totem Barbarian type classes/abilities ends up in, along with the staple abilities used by various characters.

    Then you have the "casting" setup of it, which could potentially vary from Spirit to Spirit. Like, in 3.PF, there might be some Spirits granting outright Vancian casting with a specified slot and spell progression system, while others might be giving you stuff like Spheres of Magic or Tome of Battle. Some classes can hot swap Spirits, but have restrictions to keep them from "lol infinite spells." Basically, you have this part specifically for casters, and have it set up as such, including Gish-compatible variations fitting the theme of the Spirit.

    The third thing is the actual, actively-there Spirit. It's basically a fixed-progression Cohort or always-relevant Animal Companion, getting abilities that tie into the themes of the Spirit. Like a Wolf Spirit that gives piles of team buffs or bonuses for basic tactics mechanics like Flanking. Or a Hawk that has bundles of scouting abilities. Or a Kitsune using lots of trickery-based abilities.

    The fourth is a list of abilities that come about when dismissed in a certain way, as in keyworded dismissal, like how some spells have effects when Dispelled or Dismissed, but not any other way of them running out. Maybe you can have two or three types of it with one ability for each type of dismissal, but the point is that this is disabling your Spirit-granted abilities to do something rather big. Maybe the abilities available from doing this are set up as one being relevant for each type of character, maybe they are built to all go with one type of character. But they are specifically abilities balanced under the assumption that there's a period you are vulnerable during, either by being build to negate the vulnerability in some way or use it as a downside to pay off the restriction.

    Now, the big thing that needs to be addressed is that all the abilities have a progression covering all the levels, but the classes/access methods have different scaling values for the things. Some are half-progression, some are delayed or offset, most don't have all the progressions, but in general the idea is that the abilities have a series of numbers describing how you are interacting with them. For the expending/dismissing abilities, you might have several different abilities to do it, each scaling differently based on how long you lack the Spirit for. A class/available build might have several ways to access the passive/at-will abilities based on the usability of them, like always-on classes getting slower progression than the ones who have limited use access.

    Spirit stat blocks can end up massively confusing, depending on formatting and how condensed you make them. For instance, it can be as simple as four 1-20 tables for each Spirit describing each set of abilities, with text for the non-standardized abilities and fluff for the things. Or you can have them be page space devouring monsters with every single ability, no matter how generic, getting a name, fluff, exact rules information and so on, no abbreviations in sight.
    Last edited by Morphic tide; 2017-04-19 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Edited the Truenaming setup to use the various ideas posted later in-thread

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    It's an interesting idea, but I don't think skill check based DCs are ever a good idea, regardless of whether or not you invested a lot to get at them. I'd rather see something more like "Make a DC X skill check to use this Utterance. The save DC is 8+1/2 ranks+Int mod, with a +1 bonus for every 5 points you beat the DC."
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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    It's an interesting idea, but I don't think skill check based DCs are ever a good idea, regardless of whether or not you invested a lot to get at them. I'd rather see something more like "Make a DC X skill check to use this Utterance. The save DC is 8+1/2 ranks+Int mod, with a +1 bonus for every 5 points you beat the DC."
    Well, the thing is that the idea is build-an-Utterance. Like, you are getting parts of utterances as Skill Tricks, then use those parts to actually do things. And the point of having the DC be determined by the skill check is to remove the problem if passing a skill check to do a thing in the first place. A bad roll will botch the save DC, but for save-for-partial effects or effects that dictate strength by the roll, this just gimps their power. They still happen.

    Like, you have Skill Tricks giving you effects, ranges, durations, areas of effect and basically everything needed to make Utterances. You end up with exponential possibilities once you get started.

    The fluff point is that it's freeform Truespeech. Your skill tricks are words that are used to make Utterances, and you get to use these words however you wish within the limits of the system. Words representing more dangerous abilities need a higher Truespeech skill to get, or are parts of chains.

    Yes, having DCs and effects scale with your skill checks leads to issues. But those issues are easier to manage than making the skill check dictate if your ability did anything at all. One way to mitigate DC bloat is to have your overall Truespeech bonus capped by hit dice, creating an optimization cap that cannot be passed backed into the mechanics.

    Now, I'll be typing up the outline of another subsystem idea in the OP.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    Well, the thing is that the idea is build-an-Utterance. Like, you are getting parts of utterances as Skill Tricks, then use those parts to actually do things. And the point of having the DC be determined by the skill check is to remove the problem if passing a skill check to do a thing in the first place. A bad roll will botch the save DC, but for save-for-partial effects or effects that dictate strength by the roll, this just gimps their power. They still happen.
    Sounds interesting. Would require a solid implementation.



    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    Like, you have Skill Tricks giving you effects, ranges, durations, areas of effect and basically everything needed to make Utterances. You end up with exponential possibilities once you get started.
    Kinda reminds me of Illumians. I'm definitely no expert on Illumians, but IIRC they never got them right. Do you have something concrete formulated already, even as a rough draft?



    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    The fluff point is that it's freeform Truespeech. Your skill tricks are words that are used to make Utterances, and you get to use these words however you wish within the limits of the system. Words representing more dangerous abilities need a higher Truespeech skill to get, or are parts of chains.

    Yes, having DCs and effects scale with your skill checks leads to issues. But those issues are easier to manage than making the skill check dictate if your ability did anything at all. One way to mitigate DC bloat is to have your overall Truespeech bonus capped by hit dice, creating an optimization cap that cannot be passed backed into the mechanics.
    While this concept is a fascinating teaser, it's hard for me to imagine how this would not further perpetuate the symptom of "melees don't get nice things", because they'd most likely not have it as class skill and they never have enough skill points to put it into actual practical use w/o severely crippling the basic functionality they require out of their class skills.
    How do you plan on overcoming this obstacle?

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    Kinda reminds me of Illumians. I'm definitely no expert on Illumians, but IIRC they never got them right. Do you have something concrete formulated already, even as a rough draft?
    Not really, in terms of balance, but in terms of numbers involved I have the basic mechanics thought out and can whip up a draft fairly quickly. The basic idea for a balance point is to balance it around t4 for cross-class and t3-t2 for class skill, assuming fully maxed investment of skill points. Generally, it ends up being a slightly-delayed access to lots of stuff from the at-will-ish classes, like Warlock and DFA Invocations, ToB Maneuvers and some Incarnum stuff, then adding in badly-needed abilities when actually needed, like Flight at the levels Flying enemies have good excuse to show up. Level 7 or 9, basically. For the cross-class progression, it'd be getting things at half-pace, but the most needed things, like Flight, would be set to the levels you need them at for the cross-class ranks.

    Essentially, it's an excuse to have every character be able to access utter necessities on-time, regardless of class, by paying skill points instead of feats or something more valuable. It leaves quite a lot of characters more skill starved, but better to be skill starved than to lack access to Flight and endless healing by level 10 when the DM is expecting you to have it. Also an excuse to make Truenamer good by having their nightmarish system be bolstered by interaction with a less-sucky version using the same skill ranks.

    Actually, working out how to make it interact with Truenamer would be a pretty big thing to work out... Because the intent is to be a thing the Truespeech skill does, not replacing the Truenamer class entirely, so having these skill tricks interact with Truenamer Utterances would have some odd implications... I mean, just being able to override the targeting of an Utterance to be able to set it to an AoE is a big deal. As is being able to launch an Utterance for every action, based on that action. Walking? No thanks, I use Truespeech to just up and teleport 30 feet on my move action.

    While this concept is a fascinating teaser, it's hard for me to imagine how this would not further perpetuate the symptom of "melees don't get nice things", because they'd most likely not have it as class skill and they never have enough skill points to put it into actual practical use w/o severely crippling the basic functionality they require out of their class skills.
    How do you plan on overcoming this obstacle?
    Well, a lot of stuff ends up more relevant to melees by default. Melees tend to have better use of simple buffs, like DR, Energy Resistance, Fast Healing and so on, and can get away with self buffing alone much better. Sure, casters can rely on their spells a lot more, and have their often-useless Move Action to blow on True Speech and can use it for free Swift Action things, but melees get all the same access with it as a cross-class skill.

    Also, I'd probably make stuff specifically to assist melees by replacing some skill sinks, like Tumble, Swim and Jump checks. Maybe do something about Spot and Listen checks, although that's too liable to free up space for casters to dive into it. Basic ability score bonuses handle a little of it, although scaling there is a pile of weirdness. I expect to use a lot of -10s and bigger reductions in the draft, if I get around to making it, to wrangle the average check down to good math...

    Everyone gets the same potential access. Rogues probably get the most out of it due to getting enough skill points to just kinda deal with it without obliterating their combat ability due to losing key skills, but all the melees can set aside 4-10 skill points to get some nice things that make them work out a lot better. Like 1d20+Int+Truespeech skill HP on a Swift Action or Move Action. Law of Sequence/Resistance would not be a bad thing to leave in, given that sort of result...

    As for not having it as a class skill, only Truenamer and homebrew end up with it as a class skill printed as such, and as such the main casters turn away from the sink because they have spells to bust the game apart. Wizards are really the only ones who could ever afford to use it, out of the core full casters, and it largely ends up being something to do with actions they don't have spells for.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    It's an interesting idea, but I don't think skill check based DCs are ever a good idea, regardless of whether or not you invested a lot to get at them. I'd rather see something more like "Make a DC X skill check to use this Utterance. The save DC is 8+1/2 ranks+Int mod, with a +1 bonus for every 5 points you beat the DC."
    OP, listen to Grod. Grod is smart: skill-based casting systems in a class-based system, like d20, don't work. An hour spent perusing various "fixes" for Truespeech should demonstrate this fact, given that they all go in different directions and none of them really solve the core problem(s) present in the original system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide
    Well, the thing is that the idea is build-an-Utterance. Like, you are getting parts of utterances as Skill Tricks, then use those parts to actually do things.
    Just... no. Any kind of "build-a-spell" system is either going to be woefully incomplete, terribly balanced, suffer from "mother-may-I" with the DM, and/or mechanically collapse under its own weight.
    Mechanics should reflect flavor. Always.
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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    For the cross-class progression, it'd be getting things at half-pace, but the most needed things, like Flight, would be set to the levels you need them at for the cross-class ranks.
    I think it's perfectly ok if "mundanes" struggle for a while vs. hard-to-reach targets, otherwise what's the point of introducing hard-to-reach targets into the game to begin with?



    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    Actually, working out how to make it interact with Truenamer would be a pretty big thing to work out... Because the intent is to be a thing the Truespeech skill does, not replacing the Truenamer class entirely, so having these skill tricks interact with Truenamer Utterances would have some odd implications...
    This means that You'd have to:
    1. reconcile them.
    2. beef up the Truenamer with some more class features, to justify its existence beyond "Yay, I'm the only dude around with Truenaming as class skill"... because, for one reason, there's the Factotum to take into account (I'm sure that if I put my back to it, I can find some more justifications).



    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    Well, a lot of stuff ends up more relevant to melees by default. Melees tend to have better use of simple buffs, like DR, Energy Resistance, Fast Healing and so on, and can get away with self buffing alone much better.
    The problem I see here is the skill-tricks currency. Melees just don't have enough to spare, even if you give them 4 skill points per level. This leaves them one-dimenssional. Again.
    OTOH, if the Truenamer gets them for free, then it's a solid step in justifying its existence.
    As far as the Fighter goes, with this approach, 4 skill points per level seem too little while 6 seems too many... unless you categorise different Truenaming effects to different classes (melees, arcane, divine, psionic, incarnum... etc), with Truenamer having access to all of them (but then, what about multiclassing? Now your level in each class category also hase to be taken into account).
    If you manage to reconcile all the above, then you might really have something here worth an effort at fleshing out.




    P.s. there is a possibility that the "Lexicon of..." mechanic might get in your way. Don't hold it sacred if it stands in the way of finding an elegant solution, because in the end, it's just a different distribution to effects that are very similar (and sometimes identical) to spells.
    Last edited by nonsi; 2017-04-13 at 01:49 AM.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by GnomeWorks View Post
    OP, listen to Grod. Grod is smart: skill-based casting systems in a class-based system, like d20, don't work. An hour spent perusing various "fixes" for Truespeech should demonstrate this fact, given that they all go in different directions and none of them really solve the core problem(s) present in the original system.



    Just... no. Any kind of "build-a-spell" system is either going to be woefully incomplete, terribly balanced, suffer from "mother-may-I" with the DM, and/or mechanically collapse under its own weight.
    As trunaming mechanics are presented in ToM, you're probably right. The thing is that in the realm of homebrewing, nothing's really sacred.
    Maybe MT can find a tweak to Truenaming that will work. I'm not saying it's trivial or easy. Hell, it might require a revolutionary approach, but in the name of preserving the theme it might be worth it to at least try.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    As trunaming mechanics are presented in ToM, you're probably right. The thing is that in the realm of homebrewing, nothing's really sacred.
    Maybe MT can find a tweak to Truenaming that will work. I'm not saying it's trivial or easy. Hell, it might require a revolutionary approach, but in the name of preserving the theme it might be worth it to at least try.
    Well, the main idea I have for making the two setups merge is mostly to just allow for stacking of the two systems. Like, Truenamer's utterances can be altered by the build-an-Utterance setup, with the crunch being that these changes lower the check result rather than raise the DC. Mechanicaly identical, but not subject to the same potential mitigation. DC lowering effects are mechanically possible, after all.

    As for the idea of class-locking things, I could have a setup for reducing some requirements if you meet other requirements, based on relative interest in the effect. Like, getting melee buffs requiring Strength and BAB to be past a certain level to get a reduced Truespeech rank requirement.

    What do you people think of the Spirit Magic idea?

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    The spirit magic stuff looks mostly like using prestige to attract a spell caster or a marshal.
    Unless I interpreted it wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    The spirit magic stuff looks mostly like using prestige to attract a spell caster or a marshal.
    Unless I interpreted it wrong.
    It can be. Or it can be a set of base classes of it's own. Or both. I'm more asking for comments on the mechanic ideas. And a big thing to note is that very few Spirits would work together with the actual primary casters due to their casting largely being a separate thing. Granted, the Spirits can grant casting as a character of X class of Y level as a thing under one of the ability entries, but most wouldn't be attractive to casters because of lack of stacking progression or restrictions.

    Edit: For example, there might be a Spirit that grants casting as a Sorcerer of the level of the score used to describe the casting strength, but it'd have a fixed Spells Known that tie you to the theme of the Spirit and override Sorcerer levels, stacking actual Sorcerer levels onto the score instead of stacking the score onto the Sorcerer levels, thus locking down your Spells Known.

    It's a subsystem. Very few of them inherently cooperate with other subsystems and often have classes to themselves. I can think of a rather large number of possible classes for it based on differences in focus, access, quirks of use, possibly using extra subsystems and more.

    Like, I can actually think of half a dozen subsystems made by mixing other subsystems. I might type out some of them here.
    Last edited by Morphic tide; 2017-04-13 at 11:45 AM.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    You have not really given mechanics for spirit casting.
    If you did give more than just a loose impression of what it could possibly be I would be able to understand more about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    You have not really given mechanics for spirit casting.
    If you did give more than just a loose impression of what it could possibly be I would be able to understand more about it.
    The mechanics for the casting depend on the Spirit. The thing is to have the Spirits be a set of four 1-20 progressions, with those progressions being marked as the category of ability they are rather than any single setup the progressions must follow. The subsystem is the Spirits, what the Spirits do is ridiculously varied.

    Like, a Spirit might well end up using four different subsystems all at once, if you are being entirely insane with it. Potentially even more. The subsystem of Spirits is, as I said, an overarching setup for stuff like 4e's Primal power source. They can be used to describe Binders, some types of Clerics and Druids, Totem Barbarians, basically any class that can be described as using power from a spirit of some kind can use these numbers and choose a Spirit in some way.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Here there is the mechanics of 0 spirits and if the mechanics of spirits depends on the instance this means that I have 0 information on the mechanics of spirits.
    Also you never said how you could pick a spirit and the ways to get the spirits(like you could possibly get it as an acf or as a feat or yet though another way or just get one because you get one but you never specified any way to get one)
    So it means that as long as you have not developed anything about that system I can not guess how it exactly works for all I know it is just fluff which have not yet been put in a system and which already existed.
    (there is already spirit fluff based base classes like spirit shaman)
    If you post a spirit I might like it.
    Last edited by noob; 2017-04-13 at 01:30 PM.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by GnomeWorks View Post
    OP, listen to Grod. Grod is smart: skill-based casting systems in a class-based system, like d20, don't work. An hour spent perusing various "fixes" for Truespeech should demonstrate this fact, given that they all go in different directions and none of them really solve the core problem(s) present in the original system.
    I wouldn't go that far. It doesn't work in 3.x specifically for any number of reasons (most of which have to do with the ridiculous number of ways in the system to crank skills to stupid high levels and the yawning chasm between the optimization floor and ceiling), but it worked okay in SAGA and could easily work in other class based games.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    I wouldn't go that far. It doesn't work in 3.x specifically for any number of reasons (most of which have to do with the ridiculous number of ways in the system to crank skills to stupid high levels and the yawning chasm between the optimization floor and ceiling), but it worked okay in SAGA and could easily work in other class based games.
    My solution to that is to simply put a cap based on hit dice for what you can end up with on a check and limit the number of parts by your direct skill ranks and action taken. Yes, you can still get arbitrarily powerful effects, but you need to blow lots of time on them. I mean, this leads to the Metabreath silliness, as in the trick where you cover most of a planet in near-instant death, but it ends up scaling linearly with time rather than exponentially.

    Like, skillcasting is easy to keep from being entirely, fundamentally broken. You just have to put a limit on how high the check can go in some way. Heck, I'm actually tempted to work out more than one skillcasting setup and actually type them out to make general skillcasting classes work out as something you want to use.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    A cap would mean that an optimizing player would reach that cap quickly then go find other stuff to do.
    Meanwhile a normal player would have an hard time reaching that cap or if it is easy then most of the builds that do not use systems strictly superior to truenaming(like someone wanting to do an atomic annihilation super-pounce barbarian) would then probably reach the max of truenaming with ease as a secondary thing for the extra utility.
    If it is easy then the intent was to have everybody use truenaming as a source of bonus stuff to do then it is okay but it will mean that characters of tier lower than 3 using truenaming would basically be better than the ones who do not do that.
    If it is not really easy(in the sense that by just maxing int and the skill is not enough) then it will make a system hard to use for beginners.
    So I think that finding the fine line for the cap and the difficulty to reach that cap will not be easy.
    Last edited by noob; 2017-04-13 at 04:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    A cap would mean that an optimizing player would reach that cap quickly then go find other stuff to do.
    Meanwhile a normal player would have an hard time reaching that cap or if it is easy then most of the builds that do not use systems strictly superior to truenaming(like someone wanting to do an atomic annihilation super-pounce barbarian) would then probably reach the max of truenaming with ease as a secondary thing for the extra utility.
    If it is easy then the intent was to have everybody use truenaming as a source of bonus stuff to do then it is okay but it will mean that characters of tier lower than 3 using truenaming would basically be better than the ones who do not do that.
    If it is not really easy(in the sense that by just maxing int and the skill is not enough) then it will make a system hard to use for beginners.
    So I think that finding the fine line for the cap and the difficulty to reach that cap will not be easy.
    The point of the cap is to stop you from going t1 off of just one form of skillcasting, not to stop you from having decent optimization. You'd be fairly strong with just +6 Int and maxed skill ranks for the class skill, while going cross-class mostly limits your options rather than your power due to optimizing. Halved skill ranks is not as big a deal as having a cap that leaves the optimization ceiling at about one and a half times the obvious build. "Obvious" being that of a skill-rank-doubling magic item, in the sense of having the standard +X competence bonus be equal to your skill ranks in Truespeach, and +4-7 from Intelligence. 18 Int plus 0-6 from Enhancement Bonus items. And then adding 20 for the dice. So at level one, the cap for this setup of limiting is 4+4+4+20, making your maximum check result 32. Yes, this penalizes deep optimization, but it keeps things grounded.

    Actually, phrasing the cap as a limit based on fairly constant numbers plugged into an equation makes it work in Epic quite well, as it never stops scaling upwards.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    So the cap is based on skill rank.
    So that means that if I stack all the maximum rank increasing stuff I can have higher maximum truespeech checks.
    It is nice: it gives a new kind of thing to optimize.
    I guess I now have to find ways to increase max skill ranks.
    For that there is somewhere a feat that can add 1 I believe.
    Then there is the trick of training while continuously having bards singing that song which gave you temporary hd.
    It is hard to get more than a few scraps.
    Last edited by noob; 2017-04-13 at 05:32 PM.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    So the cap is based on skill rank.
    So that means that if I stack all the maximum rank increasing stuff I can have higher maximum truespeech checks.
    It is nice: it gives a new kind of thing to optimize.
    I guess I now have to find ways to increase max skill ranks.
    For that there is somewhere a feat that can add 1 I believe.
    Then there is the trick of training while continuously having bards singing that song which gave you temporary hd.
    It is hard to get more than a few scraps.
    No, skill cap is based on hit dice and calculated based on the typical maximum skill rank of a class skill. You have (HD+3)*2+X+20, with X being whatever is used to describe the accounting for Intelligence, probably 4 plus some fraction of HD, then a multiplier of some sort to make room for deeper optimization than just following the "obvious" curve.

    Your hit dice boosting would actually work out, if the temp HD count for normal HD based effects, but it'd be the only way to increase the cap. You wouldn't have to train for the boost, either, you'd just get the cap boosted right there, opening room for above-cap optimization to work on. This means that Bards are among the better cross-class skill Truespeach users, because they can bump their cap. A Truespeach optimizing party would love their Bard's limit breaking.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    A cap would mean that an optimizing player would reach that cap quickly then go find other stuff to do.
    Meanwhile a normal player would have an hard time reaching that cap or if it is easy then most of the builds that do not use systems strictly superior to truenaming(like someone wanting to do an atomic annihilation super-pounce barbarian) would then probably reach the max of truenaming with ease as a secondary thing for the extra utility.
    If it is easy then the intent was to have everybody use truenaming as a source of bonus stuff to do then it is okay but it will mean that characters of tier lower than 3 using truenaming would basically be better than the ones who do not do that.
    If it is not really easy(in the sense that by just maxing int and the skill is not enough) then it will make a system hard to use for beginners.
    So I think that finding the fine line for the cap and the difficulty to reach that cap will not be easy.
    This further validates my suggestion from above.
    categorize different Truenaming effects to different classes (melees, arcane, divine, psionic, incarnum... etc), with Truenamer having access to all of them (but then, what about multiclassing? Now your level in each class category also has to be taken into account).
    If this experiment has a prayer of turning up successful, then the only way to go is to scale the cost (and reverse-scale the potency) according to tire - to the point where Truenaming would hardly benefit T1s and T2s better than using plain skills.

    Don't ask me about implementation, I have no idea, but that has to be the agenda.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    If this experiment has a prayer of turning up successful, then the only way to go is to scale the cost (and reverse-scale the potency) according to tire - to the point where Truenaming would hardly benefit T1s and T2s better than using plain skills.

    Don't ask me about implementation, I have no idea, but that has to be the agenda.
    I'd largely do it as requirement reduction. Like, if you meet certain requirements, you get other requirements reduced and maybe have the cost of use on the check go down. For instance, having the physical stat bonus things have a lower requirement if you already have stuff often used by that stat which melees tend to grab without thinking. Like having Strength 16 and Power Attack reducing the requirements and check change of the Strength boost option.

    And a quick way to make the weapon classes considerably better at using it is to have one of the targeting modes be temporary enhancement, making your attacks with a weapon apply the effect for the duration. One skill trick, almost every use for melees covered in a way that lets them focus fire better than casters could manage with it. Heck, it could actually make ranged weapons worth using, if done right.

    Like, you can bring up problems and I can make ideas to at least reduce them. Having every attack get 2d6 Force damage for three rounds is considerably better than a 10 ft area dealing 2d6 Force damage each round to those inside it for 3 rounds. For instance, the enemy has a harder time running away from a melee character than they have leaving a 10 ft area. The melee can Charge them for trying to run. The area... sits there. The area triggers once per round on each target. The melee gets it off as many times as they have attacks per round.

    Applying the same situation to an Archer has the advantage of using the ranged weapon's range rather than lowering your check result for range. A Longbow loses 1 point of accuracy for every 100 ft. So one can easily have the range increment of the Truespeech be 50 ft per point and Longbows still win out massively. More realistically, you'd be getting 10-25 ft "range increments" on the Truespeech. And you also have iteratives on ranged weapons to boost damage per round.

    Mobility options benefit everyone, but are most relevant for melees who need to be adjacent to enemies as much as possible. 20-30 ft teleport as a Reaction/Immediate Action at level 15 is a lot better for a melee than a caster, for example. If only because the caster has better mobility options...

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    As trunaming mechanics are presented in ToM, you're probably right. The thing is that in the realm of homebrewing, nothing's really sacred.
    ...yes, if someone says they're going to try to fix Truenaming in d20, I generally assume it's going to be based off of what's in ToM, because otherwise why would you say that you're starting with Truenaming.

    Maybe MT can find a tweak to Truenaming that will work. I'm not saying it's trivial or easy. Hell, it might require a revolutionary approach, but in the name of preserving the theme it might be worth it to at least try.
    A mere "tweak" will not save it. The entire mechanical concept behind Truenaming has to be removed and replaced with something sensible, because the chassis it has right now - which has been "tweaked" by dozens, if not hundreds, of others - has demonstrated that it cannot function properly.
    Mechanics should reflect flavor. Always.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GnomeWorks View Post
    ...yes, if someone says they're going to try to fix Truenaming in d20, I generally assume it's going to be based off of what's in ToM, because otherwise why would you say that you're starting with Truenaming.



    A mere "tweak" will not save it. The entire mechanical concept behind Truenaming has to be removed and replaced with something sensible, because the chassis it has right now - which has been "tweaked" by dozens, if not hundreds, of others - has demonstrated that it cannot function properly.
    Well, the real issue is that you can have the mechanics work, but when you screw up on a roll it feels utterly horrible because you just completely wasted your action. I started with the idea of Words having Power, the core idea of Truenaming, and kinda thought about other setups that could describe it. For the sake of being somewhat interesting, I decided to make it completely skill-based, with no need of class features to use it. I mean, look at Skyrim. Anyone can use Thu'um, but they have to put assloads of work into it. The Dragonborn are special with Thu'um because they can use it without dedicating a large chunk of their life to it, not because they have exclusive tricks with it.

    And having it be "build-an-Utterance" also ties into it. Why can't a Truenamer use Truespeech to make Utterances from scratch? "Cold" and "Cone" can be a two-word Utterance to replicate Cone of Cold. Replacing "Cold" with "Force" lets you swap the energy type. Simply saying "Force" gets you a ball of Force that's too short-lived to toss, so it's a Touch Attack.

    And because Truespeech is an undefined language, words in the language can corral effects to properly control what PCs can do. "Move" in Truespeech can be very specific in meaning, making it apply only to movement speed, with a separate word of "haul" for telekinesis effects can exist that only does telekinesis. Possibly including being able to move people around, at the cost of them getting a save to deny the Truespeech. Similarly, "teleport" can be a single word effect for teleportation, including all the variables you use like the all-important accuracy, with a "casting" time representing how you specify the location and the range-words adding to the range, rather than specifying it.

    Some of the Laws of Truespeech are actually good limiters on endlessly spamming effects to stomp everything, and makes it so you still want to pump as high as you can go with the check to be able to spam as long as possible. Getting a -2 to the check each time you've used an effect-word in the last day/hour/minute makes it so that just spamming the stuff every action of every round won't get you far unless you are far above the check cap. Which supports weapon users of all kinds, who apply the effects to their weapons and then play normally as their type of weapon user.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Starting with Truenaming the Mechanic is a bad idea. But a skill based system focused on neat effects you can build on the fly isn't terrible.

    I'm imagining something closer to psionics, where you have a base ability (say you grab one per skill rank invested). The base abilities always work, and a skill check that grants points enabling you to add augments you customize on the fly to this base ability. You might have some augments that are universal (similar to metamagics) while others are specific to the particular ability you are augmenting. You could even toss in some skill tricks so a character can opt to invest more skill points than normal into the sub system, these skill tricks could be the source of the 'universal' augments.

    Of course, completely trash the whole concept of "using this ability more often makes it harder" and make it basically a flexible at-will magic system at its core. Possibly have something where you can spend some time doing research and make a hard DC skill check to learn the true name of a specific creature, you can then tie in some benefits for using a creature's true name (things like increase save DCs against them, or increase effectiveness of buffs, etc)

    From there you can have classes that interact with it in different ways:
    Cross Class) Not really a class, but basically anyone who wants to dip into the subsystem can invest cross class ranks, and pick up powers that are a few levels behind the curve. Base classes focused around the system make it better, but enables an average person to pick up a few neat tricks.

    Class 1) The always-on class. Ends up playing similar to a Warlock, gets the ability early on to take a 10 on his skill checks, a set bonus to skill checks, a few bonus slots for truespeak focused skill tricks, and ends up with in general a fairly consistent suite of abilities he can work with.

    Class 2) The Wizard style class. Gets abilities that key X/day or X/encounter to reduce cost of augments, gain a bonus on your next skill check, etc. Possibly also get something that gives you 2 abilities per skill rank instead of 1, basically making for a character with more options, and burst power, but less round to round power and fewer options to augment each of their powers with than the first class.

    Class 3) The binder style class. Gets bonuses on true name researching, the ability to spontaneously grab a truename of a target without research, and some special features and unique truespeech base abilities that focus on it. Focuses on stuff like debuffing and domination.


    Or maybe a completely different direction, this is just kind of off the cuff but it feels like it could work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    Starting with Truenaming the Mechanic is a bad idea. But a skill based system focused on neat effects you can build on the fly isn't terrible.

    I'm imagining something closer to psionics, where you have a base ability (say you grab one per skill rank invested). The base abilities always work, and a skill check that grants points enabling you to add augments you customize on the fly to this base ability. You might have some augments that are universal (similar to metamagics) while others are specific to the particular ability you are augmenting. You could even toss in some skill tricks so a character can opt to invest more skill points than normal into the sub system, these skill tricks could be the source of the 'universal' augments.
    Ah, the idea is actually just about that. You have basic abilities that always work, but their magnitude is determined by how much you get on the check, with DCs being based on The Check as well. It's a skill. You make rolls with skills. You can take penalties to the check to add stuff like longer range, durations, AoE and so on.

    You spend a skill trick on each part of an ability. One skill trick gives you a damage type. A second gives you a range effect. A third gives you a way to have damage over time. A fourth can be a second damage type to use with the existing range and DoT, another range function for the damage type and DoT, or a second type of DoT to apply to the range and damage.

    Although I agree on automatic abilities. One per skill rank is too many, given the build-an-Utterance setup, but it makes it usable for low skill point classes. And makes the proper skillcasters able to come to the t2 party, if not the t1 party.

    Of course, completely trash the whole concept of "using this ability more often makes it harder" and make it basically a flexible at-will magic system at its core. Possibly have something where you can spend some time doing research and make a hard DC skill check to learn the true name of a specific creature, you can then tie in some benefits for using a creature's true name (things like increase save DCs against them, or increase effectiveness of buffs, etc)
    The reduction with uses is basically a matter of "Yes, it's at will, no, you can't use it every round for an hour and have it work just as well." It opens up room for effects a bit better than the existing at-will systems, especially because it's based on skill checks which introduce an element of randomness. And for deeper-optimization, it gives a reason to pump as high as possible. If you're 30 effective ranks above the cap, that's 5 or 10 uses before you start having the dice matter.

    It's there to stop you from having effectively Fast Healing 30 because you are spending your otherwise-unusable Swift Action to heal every round. Because this is Truespeech. It's based on talking. More complicated things take longer to say, so they take bigger actions.

    Like, you can do one or two Words on a Swift Action, two or three on a Move Action and three or four on a Standard Action, with Full Round being one more than the sum of the three actions and Rounds chanting giving one more than that per round. So two rounds of chanting gives you room for a dozen Words or so. To balance that, one can go with your idea of the check giving you points to distribute between the potentially-massive variety of abilities let loose, with it remaining usable by giving a check per round/action.

    As for classes... Well, I don't like the idea of skillcasting having classes locked to one form of it. Leave the fixed skillcasting type to the AFCs, PRCs and replacement levels. My ideal Skillcaster classes are the Fighter-Mage-Thief triumvirate, with thematic basic skills and a varying number of chooseable class skills. The Fighter-type would be heavily based on PF's Magus, making skill checks as they are in melee, being useful without skillcasting because they can make Diplomacy, Intimidate, Tumble and Jump checks mid-attack to get lots of mileage out of their 4 or 6+Int skill ranks per level. The Mage-type would be one bracket lower in direct skill ranks, but get extra bonuses to skills that counteract the lesser skill rank number and also have more class skills to pick freely. The Thief-type would get the most chooseable class skills and be a hardened skill monkey, with 8+Int skill ranks and all the skillmonkey skills and needed class features as class skills.

    Of course, when you have enough types of skillcasting Expert becomes the master of it, thanks to having 10 class skills they can choose. Unless you make a PC version that is an even greater skillmonkey.
    Last edited by Morphic tide; 2017-04-15 at 03:31 PM.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    .
    @MT: What are you saying, that with or without Truenaming as skill, different effects will be attributed to different skills? Does this also mean that you've decided to remove the Truenamer as a class from the equation?

    I'm not sure if the "everyone's a spellcaster" approach is good for the game. That's why I suggested Truenaming for anyone but the Truenamer being class-category associated - so that warriors would still feel like warriors and skillmonkeys would still feel like skillmonkeys, and so that casters would still remain confined in their theme w/o stepping on each others' toes.

    Truenaming, as a concept/theme, should enrich characters and allow them to perform better withing their realm of expertise, not blur the lines between the classes to the point where some of them are hardly distinguishable from one another.
    I don't want brawlers to be tossing around fireballs or burglars binding demons to do their bidding.
    Last edited by nonsi; 2017-04-16 at 03:26 AM.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    .
    @MT: What are you saying, that with or without Truenaming as skill, different effects will be attributed to different skills? Does this also mean that you've decided to remove the Truenamer as a class from the equation?
    No, the idea there is having semi-generic skillcaster classes to cover all skillcasting. Including Diplomancy, which might as well by (Ex) Enchantment given what it can do. Truenamer'd have it's own exceptions/special case to describe interaction with the new skillcasting setup.

    I'm not sure if the "everyone's a spellcaster" approach is good for the game. That's why I suggested Truenaming for anyone but the Truenamer being class-category associated - so that warriors would still feel like warriors and skillmonkeys would still feel like skillmonkeys, and so that casters would still remain confined in their theme w/o stepping on each others' toes.
    Well, doing stuff by category just isn't possible. At best, you can stack requirements to make certain things work better for some classes. Otherwise, you have to define every single class as part of one or more of the categories. That's why I prefer having the mechanics support retained themes. Fighters will largely end up feeling like Pathfinder Magus, because their swords are coated with whatever effect they need at the moment(likely as many save-or-sucks as they have), replicating much of the sword-delivered magic feel of the Pathfinder Magus.

    But this ties into the point of Truespeech: Anyone can use it for anything they want. Some people are liable to have applicable skills in other things that make getting certain Words easier to learn, but anyone can use any Truespeech. Except Utterances from Truenamer, which get a bundle of buffs from being able to stack the skillcasting version on top of them. Truenamer is underwhelming as-is. But suddenly have them be able to make those Utterances hit everything in an AoE, with the effect attempting to re-apply itself each round within said AoE, and they get quite a bit better. Especially with more, better Metamagic equivalents that they can get just by being a decent Truenamer, keeping their skill ranks maxed out.

    Truenaming, as a concept/theme, should enrich characters and allow them to perform better withing their realm of expertise, not blur the lines between the classes to the point where some of them are hardly distinguishable from one another.
    I don't want brawlers to be tossing around fireballs or burglars binding demons to do their bidding.
    I did mention lowering prerequisites by meeting other, thematically-related, prerequisites. Like, having the Healing effect get lowered needed skill ranks to attain it if you can cast 2nd level Divine spells and/or have enough ranks in the Heal skill. And no matter how much Truespeech is involved, a Fighter is still better at swording a guy than a Wizard. And the Wizard is likely going to mono-focus on the parts of Truespeech that fills in the gaps in their spells, like getting decent Blaster abilities with Evocation as a banned school, or getting good self healing. Meanwhile, the Fighter will probably be getting the Truespeech stuff that makes them better at all aspects of swording people, from reaching the people to sword them to making the swording hurt a lot to making it a lot harder to kill them before they can sword people. All aspects of swording can be enhanced by Truespeech.

    Burglars binding demons to do their bidding is a default assumption of high Int, high Cha Rogues, by the way. Diplomancy is a safe assumption, for them. Lets them get away with looting absolutely everything easier. Talking demons to work with them is kinda a safe bet, in that situation. And Truespeech would definitively not include Demon Summoning outside Truenamer: Degenerate loops are far too easy to pull when you give an opening for any form of Outsider summoning that doesn't blanket ban all the actually good picks.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    I hope you do great content.

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    Default Re: My subsystem ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    I hope you do great content.
    My main obstacle to actually working out the subsystems in full is that I've wound up wanting to balance my creations at least not entirely horribly. Like, I want to figure out how to arrange it in a way that doesn't make the game even more broken. Skillcasting can get away with quite a bit because it can be made to seriously compete with other actions, thereby locking down a character's choices for actually doing things, and everyone has a limited capacity to work with it.

    Maybe I should actually get started on typing out the alternate Truespeech subsystem setup I have in mind... I mean, we've extended the outline to basic mechanics to work with and a design goal of "martials get their nice things a lot quicker/easier than casters." I'd need a good 30 Words for the thing to have any real choice at high levels, but I can probably work out a good number of near-identical effects based on just swapping a word or two in the effect. Like, you can have 6 save-or-suck effects to work with very easy, just by targeting the six Ability Scores, and a good pile more from damage types. Honestly, the biggest issue is likely going to be figuring out words for the Words. Because figuring out a word for each "basic" effect in most of D&D is going to be time consuming and take a lot of checking to make sure it's worked out correctly.

    Of course, a deep-Epic Word will be Wish: Sure, you need 60 skill ranks to qualify for it, but it lets you Wish at will. With a pile of restrictions based on check result. But you can Wish at-will, several times per round! Unfortunately, you are probably at the point that the Wizard has been doing the same thing for a dozen levels already. Still, instant magic items! Yet the Artificer's probably gotten a city made entirely out of Artifacts at this point... Mostly Warforged production facilities, admittedly(the Pain Engines won't make XP alone!), but still a city made entirely out of Artifacts. And probably a Staff of Infinite Wishes or five. Because you are probably above level 55.

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