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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    Some feats to keep the NPCs (and some PCs) as viable threats while retaining flavour, while staying within WBL. Now you can have a geriatric knight who still commands respect on the battlefield, or a humble commoner with hidden depths.

    Thanks jqavins et al. for the healthy discussion and comments!

    Life Experience
    As you age, you are careful to keep your mind and body honed.

    Prerequisites
    Character level 6th.

    Benefits
    You do not suffer penalties to your physical ability modifiers for aging. Instead, the bonuses to your mental ability scores for aging apply to your physical ability scores as well.

    Professional Expertise
    You find that working your trade has kept you quick-witted and healthy.

    Prerequisites
    Profession (any) 7 ranks.

    Benefits
    You gain a +1 inherent bonus to either Str or Dex, and a +1 inherent bonus to either Int or Wis, as appropriate for your career (at the DM's discretion).

    For every 4 additional ranks you have in the selected Profession, the bonuses granted by this feat increase by +1 (to a maximum of +5 at 23 ranks).

    Special
    You make select Professional Expertise multiple times, choosing a different Profession each time. Inherent bonuses to the same ability score overlap (do not stack).

    Inherent bonuses apply when calculating skill points per Hit Die.

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    Life Experience
    As you age, you are careful to keep your mind and body honed.

    Prerequisites
    Middle-age age category or older, character level 6th.

    Benefits
    You gain a +2 enhancement bonus to each of your ability scores, and ignore all aging penalties to your physical ability scores.

    If you are in the old age category and are at least 12th level, the enhancement bonus improves to +4.

    If you are in the venerable age category and are at least 18th level, the enhancement bonus improves to +6.

    Professional Expertise
    You find that working your trade has kept you quick-witted and healthy.

    Prerequisites
    Craft (any) 7 ranks, Profession (any) 7 ranks.

    Benefits
    You gain a +1 inherent bonus to each of your ability scores.

    For every 4 additional ranks you have in the skills listed in the prerequisites, the inherent bonus increases by +1 (to a maximum of a +5 inherent bonus at Craft (any) 23 ranks and Profession (any) 23 ranks).
    Last edited by rferries; 2017-09-29 at 04:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Professional Expertise
    You find that working your trade has kept you quick-witted and healthy.

    Prerequisites
    Craft (any) 7 ranks, Profession (any) 7 ranks.

    Benefits
    You gain a +1 inherent bonus to each of your ability scores.

    For every 4 additional ranks you have in the skills listed in the prerequisites, the inherent bonus increases by +1 (to a maximum of a +5 inherent bonus at Craft (any) 23 ranks and Profession (any) 23 ranks).
    I tend to agree with you that damage is the more boring side of combat.
    This insight means that the above feat is bad. it encourages players to trade versatility for pumped up stats.
    Your game will end up with most adventurers being master crafters and ultra professional. Not quite verisimilitude.



    Life Experience: I think it's enough that it would cancel out the penalties. Definitely worth a feat.
    Last edited by nonsi; 2017-09-29 at 11:26 AM.

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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    i dont know how i say this but this might be broke +11 to every stat with out using any wbl is gives broken a whole knew meaning
    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Shadow View Post
    Threads are like cats. They go where they want, and never listen to what you want them to do.


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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    I tend to agree with you that damage is the more boring side of combat.
    This insight means that the above feat is bad. it encourages players to trade versatility for pumped up stats.
    Your game will end up with most adventurers being master crafters and ultra professional. Not quite verisimilitude.

    Life Experience: I think it's enough that it would cancel out the penalties. Definitely worth a feat.
    Life Experience: I cancelled the aging penalties to give melee characters (like the aforementioned knight) a slightly more level playing field vs spellcasters. It's certainly useful for NPCs but almost useless for PCs (except middle-aged ones, maybe).

    Professional Expertise: I'd argue that gives MORE verisimilitude, not less? Craft can be both flavourful and even somewhat useful (Craft (alchemy), Craft (armoursmithing) etc.), and Profession is almost pure flavour over functionality. Also, PCs can just take Profession (adventurer), Profession (mercenary), Profession (dungeoneer) or somesuch if don't want to take mundane professions.
    Last edited by rferries; 2017-09-29 at 11:41 AM.

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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    I don't really know what to say about a feat which gives you +6/+6/+6/+9/+9/+9. (Technically, it gives +12/+12/+12/+6/+6/+6 but that's a somewhat silly way of looking at it. Neither is okay). I mean, it's not particularly inventive and just makes everyone want to play a venerable character, so... cool, I guess? Maybe when your feat is about as good as VoP, only without the drawback, you need to check its power level. That, and it's just +numbers, which is rarely the answer. Finally, it's not "Good in spite of their age" so much as "Good because of their age".

    Similarly, professional expertise gives you nothing but +numbers, and at a very small cost (46 skill ranks and a feat is not enough of a cost for +5/+5/+5/+5/+5/+5). Further, by forcing players to take two specific skills (I count missing out on +30 stats as bad enough to avoid at most costs), you limit the number of possible character concepts.

    I don't know what the intent is, but the result is almost certainly not that.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    Quote Originally Posted by khadgar567 View Post
    i dont know how i say this but this might be broke +11 to every stat with out using any wbl is gives broken a whole knew meaning
    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    I don't really know what to say about a feat which gives you +6/+6/+6/+9/+9/+9. (Technically, it gives +12/+12/+12/+6/+6/+6 but that's a somewhat silly way of looking at it. Neither is okay). I mean, it's not particularly inventive and just makes everyone want to play a venerable character, so... cool, I guess? Maybe when your feat is about as good as VoP, only without the drawback, you need to check its power level. That, and it's just +numbers, which is rarely the answer. Finally, it's not "Good in spite of their age" so much as "Good because of their age".

    Similarly, professional expertise gives you nothing but +numbers, and at a very small cost (46 skill ranks and a feat is not enough of a cost for +5/+5/+5/+5/+5/+5). Further, by forcing players to take two specific skills (I count missing out on +30 stats as bad enough to avoid at most costs), you limit the number of possible character concepts.

    I don't know what the intent is, but the result is almost certainly not that.
    I don't think you guys understand how Life Experience works. You can't realistically use it for a PC - if you start at 1st level as venerable you have -6 to all your physical ability scores, no way you'll survive combat to reach level 6 and take the feat. Conversely, if you start at middle-aged you won't reach old age or venerable by the time the campaign finishes (unless it takes you decades to reach level 18). Finally, it's an enhancement bonus so can't be abused with the standard +X items even if you somehow make it work.

    Professional Expertise - a more straightforward PC feat yes, but what class realistically makes use of all ability scores? In practice you sacrifice a feat and 46 skill points to get 2 or 3 tomes of _ +5 (again, non-stacking with actual tomes), and the bonuses to your other abilities are irrelevant (e.g. Strength for arcane casters, Charisma for 90% of classes, etc).

    As for character concepts: Craft and Profession by necessity allow for more roleplay than most skills (other than Bluff/Diplomacy/Gather Information/Intimidate/Sense Motive of course), as in many cases they are purely for flavour over mechanics. They're the only skills where the PC gets to run totally wild (Craft (topiary)? Profession (art critic)? All good!). :)

    However, all that said, if anyone has any additional prerequisites (for Professional Expertise, I strongly disagree Life Experience is too powerful) I'm open to suggestions. Ideally things based around NPC flavour (Skill Focus (Craft, Profession), maybe?).
    Last edited by rferries; 2017-09-29 at 02:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    Be a Wizard. Have no use for physical stats.

    And what about campaigns that start at higher levels?
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    Ignoring the numbers for a moment, except to agree with everybody else that they're too high. (And more importantly, they're boring; they eat into a character's limited number of feat slots, and don't do anything exciting for the cost. Big numbers are strong, but they're not that interesting.)

    Life Experience is best solved with a simple houserule. Maybe rule that all characters over Nth level can ignore aging penalties. Maybe just declare that you're ignoring aging penalties in your campaign. The thing that allows badass olds to take advantage of their long years of experience is experience points. The knight isn't impressive because of his across-the-board high stats. He's impressive because he's much higher level than you. Once you get around the drawback of physical stat penalties, being high level - being really good at what he's already good at - is better than an across the board boost.

    Professional expertise, as it stands, is again boring. Most characters don't have too many skill points to play around with. (And as mentioned above, feat slots are tight too.) Forcing everyone to have a profession and a craft skill means that most non-skillmonkey characters won't have much available for anything else. On top of that, all high level characters will end up being world class in two fields that don't necessarily have any connection to each other, or their main class for that matter.

    If you want to encourage characters to have a background skill that explains who they were before becoming adventurers/who they are when they're not being adventurers, just give everybody one bonus skill that has to be spent on a profession, craft, or some other skill that explains how they put food on the table when they aren't off adventuring. Same net effect without charging everybody a feat slot.

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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    I agree with the above statements that these are grossly overpowered. I have little to add on the reasons for this, so let's move on to fixing them. Since the stated purpose of Life Experience is to keep characters viable and effective despite aging penalties, simply cancelling or reducing the penalties is enough without making age such an advantage. As for Professional Expertise, my inclination is to use the skill ranks directly to modify applicable rolls, but I have a reduced alternative feat listed below as an option. As an example of using the skills, every shopkeeper keeps an eye out for shoplifters, which is a perception (Wis) check. But an experienced shopkeeper is good at spotting thieves, so let's let him add his ranks in Profession (Shopkeeper) to his roll, even when it's not in the shop. There are similar scenarios wherein career experience can translate into bonuses from a Craft or Profession skill on rolls that are not directly related to work. There's no reason that decades of running a shop should give someone a bonus to Con.

    Life Experience
    As you age, you are careful to keep your mind and body honed.

    Prerequisites
    Character level 6th.

    Benefits
    You suffer no aging penalties to your stats on reaching middle age. You must take this feat and achieve 6th level before reaching Middle Age to gain this benefit; that is, once the penalty is suffered, it is not reversed. The feat can be taken later in order to gain its benefits on reaching Old and Venerable ages.

    On reaching Old age, if you are already at least 12th level, you suffer only half of the additional penalties normally incurred at that time. If you have not achieved 12th level before reaching Old age, and achieve 12 level later, the penalty is not reduced; that is, once the full penalty is suffered, it is not reversed.

    On reaching Venerable age, if you are already at least 18th level, you suffer only half of the additional penalties normally incurred at that time. If you have not achieved 18th level before reaching Venerable age, and achieve 18th level later, the penalty is not reduced; that is, once the full penalty is suffered, it is not reversed.

    [Think of this in terms of a bonus, as compared to where the character would be without the feat. This seems like an ample bonus, adequate to keep characters effective in their advanced years.]

    Professional Expertise
    You find that working your trade has kept you quick-witted and healthy.

    Prerequisites
    Craft (any) 14 ranks or Profession (any) 14 ranks.

    Benefits
    You gain a +1 inherent bonus to either Str or Dex, and to either Int or Wis, as appropriate for your career.

    For every 7 additional ranks you have in the skills listed in the prerequisites, the inherent bonus increases by +1 (to a maximum of a +5 inherent bonus at Craft or Profession (any) 42 ranks.)

    [Note I have reduced the bonuses to only two of six stats, but I've actually reduced the number of skill ranks needed for the maximum benefit by changing the prereq. from Craft and Profession to Craft or Profession.)
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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    We're saying some of the same things because you ninja'd me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    The thing that allows badass olds to take advantage of their long years of experience is experience points. The knight isn't impressive because of his across-the-board high stats. He's impressive because he's much higher level than you.
    Hear hear.

    Professional expertise, as it stands, is again boring. Most characters don't have too many skill points to play around with. (And as mentioned above, feat slots are tight too.) Forcing everyone to have a profession and a craft skill means that most non-skillmonkey characters won't have much available for anything else. On top of that, all high level characters will end up being world class in two fields that don't necessarily have any connection to each other, or their main class for that matter.
    Remember, as stated in the OP these are aimed primarily at NPCs. The fact that Professional Expertise as originally described (and as revised by me) is a bad choice for PCs is not a problem. Just the reverse, the fact that Life Experience is a must-have for PCs is part of the problem.

    If you want to encourage characters to have a background skill that explains who they were before becoming adventurers/who they are when they're not being adventurers, just give everybody one bonus skill that has to be spent on a profession, craft, or some other skill that explains how they put food on the table when they aren't off adventuring. Same net effect without charging everybody a feat slot.
    Nice idea, but not what this was supposed to be about.
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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    Be a Wizard. Have no use for physical stats.

    And what about campaigns that start at higher levels?
    A wizard is already squishy, with -6 Con (and -3 to AC, Initiative, and melee/ranged touch attacks) at 1st level they'll die in a single hit well before 6th level.

    Fair point about high-level campaigns, but I think the DM would be fair in banning the feat. Then again, at those levels you usually have cash to burn anyways, you're just using feats instead of gp to pay for enhancement/inherent bonus items. And because this is a bugbear of mine: at 18th level the ability to cast shapechange, time stop, or wish dwarfs anything these feats can offer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    Ignoring the numbers for a moment, except to agree with everybody else that they're too high. (And more importantly, they're boring; they eat into a character's limited number of feat slots, and don't do anything exciting for the cost. Big numbers are strong, but they're not that interesting.)

    Life Experience is best solved with a simple houserule. Maybe rule that all characters over Nth level can ignore aging penalties. Maybe just declare that you're ignoring aging penalties in your campaign. The thing that allows badass olds to take advantage of their long years of experience is experience points. The knight isn't impressive because of his across-the-board high stats. He's impressive because he's much higher level than you. Once you get around the drawback of physical stat penalties, being high level - being really good at what he's already good at - is better than an across the board boost.

    Professional expertise, as it stands, is again boring. Most characters don't have too many skill points to play around with. (And as mentioned above, feat slots are tight too.) Forcing everyone to have a profession and a craft skill means that most non-skillmonkey characters won't have much available for anything else. On top of that, all high level characters will end up being world class in two fields that don't necessarily have any connection to each other, or their main class for that matter.

    If you want to encourage characters to have a background skill that explains who they were before becoming adventurers/who they are when they're not being adventurers, just give everybody one bonus skill that has to be spent on a profession, craft, or some other skill that explains how they put food on the table when they aren't off adventuring. Same net effect without charging everybody a feat slot.
    Fair point about them being flat +X bonuses, definitely guilty as charged.

    An age houserule is a very elegant solution! Fits the idea of "epic" characters perfectly,wish I'd thought of it.

    Humans (who as a shorter-lived race need the feat the most) should always be able to spare 2 skill points per level -especially fighters and NPC classes. And again, Craft and Profession can be related to ANY character concept - Lara Croft, Profession (tomb-raider).

    I don't want to force people to take background skills, however. I wanted NPCs to be a bit more powerful, background skills were the means rather than the end goal.

    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    I agree with the above statements that these are grossly overpowered. I have little to add on the reasons for this, so let's move on to fixing them. Since the stated purpose of Life Experience is to keep characters viable and effective despite aging penalties, simply cancelling or reducing the penalties is enough without making age such an advantage. As for Professional Expertise, my inclination is to use the skill ranks directly to modify applicable rolls, but I have a reduced alternative feat listed below as an option. As an example of using the skills, every shopkeeper keeps an eye out for shoplifters, which is a perception (Wis) check. But an experienced shopkeeper is good at spotting thieves, so let's let him add his ranks in Profession (Shopkeeper) to his roll, even when it's not in the shop. There are similar scenarios wherein career experience can translate into bonuses from a Craft or Profession skill on rolls that are not directly related to work. There's no reason that decades of running a shop should give someone a bonus to Con.

    Life Experience
    As you age, you are careful to keep your mind and body honed.

    Prerequisites
    Character level 6th.

    Benefits
    You suffer no aging penalties to your stats on reaching middle age. You must take this feat and achieve 6th level before reaching Middle Age to gain this benefit; that is, once the penalty is suffered, it is not reversed. The feat can be taken later in order to gain its benefits on reaching Old and Venerable ages.

    On reaching Old age, if you are already at least 12th level, you suffer only half of the additional penalties normally incurred at that time. If you have not achieved 12th level before reaching Old age, and achieve 12 level later, the penalty is not reduced; that is, once the full penalty is suffered, it is not reversed.

    On reaching Venerable age, if you are already at least 18th level, you suffer only half of the additional penalties normally incurred at that time. If you have not achieved 18th level before reaching Venerable age, and achieve 18th level later, the penalty is not reduced; that is, once the full penalty is suffered, it is not reversed.

    [Think of this in terms of a bonus, as compared to where the character would be without the feat. This seems like an ample bonus, adequate to keep characters effective in their advanced years.]

    Professional Expertise
    You find that working your trade has kept you quick-witted and healthy.

    Prerequisites
    Craft (any) 14 ranks or Profession (any) 14 ranks.

    Benefits
    You gain a +1 inherent bonus to either Str or Dex, and to either Int or Wis, as appropriate for your career.

    For every 7 additional ranks you have in the skills listed in the prerequisites, the inherent bonus increases by +1 (to a maximum of a +5 inherent bonus at Craft or Profession (any) 42 ranks.)

    [Note I have reduced the bonuses to only two of six stats, but I've actually reduced the number of skill ranks needed for the maximum benefit by changing the prereq. from Craft and Profession to Craft or Profession.)
    Wow, thanks for the very detailed writeups!

    I think I'll actually streamline Life Experience to:

    Life Experience
    As you age, you are careful to keep your mind and body honed.

    Prerequisites
    Character level 6th.

    Benefits
    You do not suffer penalties to your physical ability modifiers for aging. Instead, the bonuses to your mental ability scores for aging apply to your physical ability scores as well.

    So now melee and casters have a level playing field (apart from, y'know, the whole 9th-level spell thing :D), and the grizzled old knight's experience makes him literally stronger and tougher than the healthy young squire (an acceptable break from reality, IMHO).

    I love your Professional Expertise edit, apart from the # of ranks needed (you'd have to be 39th level to get the full bonus, at which point you probably use tomes +5 as pocket change haha!). I'll streamline it futher by cutting out Craft (so now it's literally Professional Expertise):

    Professional Expertise
    You find that working your trade has kept you quick-witted and healthy.

    Prerequisites
    Profession (any) 7 ranks.

    Benefits
    You gain a +1 inherent bonus to either Str or Dex, and a +1 inherent bonus to either Int or Wis, as appropriate for your career (at the DM's discretion).

    For every 4 additional ranks you have in the selected Profession, the bonuses granted by this feat increase by +1 (to a maximum of +5 at 23 ranks).

    Special
    You make select Professional Expertise multiple times, choosing a different Profession each time. Inherent bonuses to the same ability score overlap (do not stack).

    Inherent bonuses apply when calculating skill points per Hit Die.
    Last edited by rferries; 2017-09-29 at 04:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    And to add, I'm aware that an elderly knight being fit (let alone STRONGER) than a younger one isn't very realistic and is explainable by character levels, but the current aging system is just another way of screwing over melee characters (spellcasters apparently never worry about dementia or losing their sight/hearing and in fact get bonuses, whereas fighters get penalties of double amplitude!). Look to Wuxia settings etc for rationales of how elderly characters can have preternatural vitality.

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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    And to add, I'm aware that an elderly knight being fit (let alone STRONGER) than a younger one isn't very realistic and is explainable by character levels, but the current aging system is just another way of screwing over melee characters (spellcasters apparently never worry about dementia or losing their sight/hearing and in fact get bonuses, whereas fighters get penalties of double amplitude!). Look to Wuxia settings etc for rationales of how elderly characters can have preternatural vitality.
    You could just take jqavins' variant to Life Experience and make it into a house rule:
    - 6th character level negates middle-age physical stats penalties.
    - 12th character level negates old-age physical stats penalties.
    - 18th character level negates venerable physical stats penalties.
    I'm even considering adopting this one for myself.

    As for Professional Expertise, I'd replace that with synergy from specific professions to specific skills. (I'll leave the specifics for you to figure out).
    I my overhaul project Synergy doesn't stop at +2 at 5 ranks, but improves by +1 for each 5 additional ranks, so 20 ranks mean +5 from synergy.
    That way things:
    1. Won't eat away too much at character resources on one hand.
    2. Won't be broken on the other.
    3. Won't feel coerced.

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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    Yes that's definitely an option. I like the feat granting physical ability bonuses as well, though.

    Ha that synergy idea would be very time-consuming, I think - there's not set list of Professions so there's any number of potential synergy arrays. I'd just do a generic "your profession grants you synergy bonuses to 2 skills, at your DM's option".

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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    You could just take jqavins' variant to Life Experience and make it into a house rule:
    - 6th character level negates middle-age physical stats penalties.
    - 12th character level negates old-age physical stats penalties.
    - 18th character level negates venerable physical stats penalties.
    I'm even considering adopting this one for myself.
    My write-up above is probably too complicated and maybe too restrictive, but I actually do favor requiring a feat to gain this benefit. I can see going either way on that though.

    As for Professional Expertise, I'd replace that with synergy from specific professions to specific skills. (I'll leave the specifics for you to figure out).
    I my overhaul project Synergy doesn't stop at +2 at 5 ranks, but improves by +1 for each 5 additional ranks, so 20 ranks mean +5 from synergy.
    That way things:
    1. Won't eat away too much at character resources on one hand.
    2. Won't be broken on the other.
    3. Won't feel coerced.
    Ooh, me likes, me likes! I like games with skill heavy house rules (probably comes from my time playing GURPS) as I think it's a good way to give characters individuality and flavor that also means something. I remove most cross-class restrictions and like to increase skill points and raise the points-in-a-skill-by-level limit. This sounds like a good rule to go along with all that.

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Ha that synergy idea would be very time-consuming, I think - there's not set list of Professions so there's any number of potential synergy arrays. I'd just do a generic "your profession grants you synergy bonuses to 2 skills, at your DM's option".
    I agree that working out synergies for every possible profession is impractical. I wouldn't place a fixed number like two skills on this, though. I'd leave it as a discressionay synergy bonus granted on the fly based on not only the profession and skill being used, but also the situation. Sure that's harder on the DM, but to paraphrase the man in black, "Gamemastering is hard work, Highness. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something."
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    Default Re: Experience Feats (life experience, not XP)

    Hmm yes,there's something to be said for flexibility. How about, each Profession grants a synergy bonus on the following skills:

    1) Appraise checks for related items
    2) Craft checks for related items
    3) One Knowledge skill (defaulting to Knowledge (local) as a merchant if there's no appropriate alternative).
    4) One other skill (defaulting to Bluff or Diplomacy as a merchant if there's no appropriate alternative).
    5) Up to two other skills under certain circumstances (e.g. Gather Information checks to find a supplier/buyer for your type of goods)
    Last edited by rferries; 2017-10-02 at 11:04 AM.

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