A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Alternative Conditions (ameliorating Save or Lose)

    A common complaint about status effects is how they rob PCs of agency (e.g. failed your save vs fear? Twiddle your thumbs for the rest of combat while your character cowers!). I'd like to brew up some alternative penalties for various conditions; please do chime in with your own ideas!

    Fear Effects
    Shaken is unchanged. Frightened and panicked simply add or double the penalties e.g. if panicked you take a -6 or -16 penalty on everything; you're not forced to run away but it might still be the sensible thing to do once you can't reliably do anything else. Spellcasters might be forced to make Concentration checks (with an increasing penalty) to be able to cast their spells through the terror.

    Dazed, Nauseated, Stunned
    A heavy penalty, as above for panicked?

    Petrification, Paralysed
    The subject takes a certain amount of Dexterity and/or Strength damage. Not fully petrified or paralysed until reduced to 0 Dexterity/Strength. Slowed as well?

    Death Effects
    Replaced with heavy Constitution damage (e.g. 1 per caster level for finger of death, save for half).

    Energy Drain
    I dislike this mechanic in general; replace with Constitution damage too?
    Last edited by rferries; 2018-05-25 at 12:23 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Banned
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Alternative Conditions (ameliorating Save or Lose)

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    A common complaint about status effects is how they rob PCs of agency (e.g. failed your save vs fear? Twiddle your thumbs for the rest of combat while your character cowers!). I'd like to brew up some alternative penalties for various conditions; please do chime in with your own ideas!

    Fear Effects
    Shaken is unchanged. Frightened and panicked simply add or double the penalties e.g. if panicked you take a -6 or -16 penalty on everything; you're not forced to run away but it might still be the sensible thing to do once you can't reliably do anything else. Spellcasters might be forced to make Concentration checks (with an increasing penalty) to be able to cast their spells through the terror.

    Dazed, Nauseated, Stunned
    A heavy penalty, as above for panicked?

    Petrification, Paralysed
    The subject takes a certain amount of Dexterity and/or Strength damage. Not fully petrified or paralysed until reduced to 0 Dexterity/Strength. Slowed as well?

    Death Effects
    Replaced with heavy Constitution damage (e.g. 1 per caster level for finger of death, save for half).

    Energy Drain
    I dislike this mechanic in general; replace with Constitution damage too?

    This has been tackled before. Some guys were working on (yet another) variant for 3.5. Basically, everything now worked like fatigue and fear:

    Fatigued > Exhausted > Unconscious
    Shaken > Frightened > Panicked
    Slowed > Immobilized > Petrified

    Then, all you have to do is:
    > Have a Failed Save worsen your condition on its track.
    > Have high level spells force more saves.
    > Balance the base saving throws so that the average level 20 fighter has over a mere +6 modifier and thus, an almost certain failure on will save. Same for other characters' Fort save.*


    Energy Drain has been fixed in better editions.
    5th Edition : Damage that drains energy lower your max HP for a duration.
    4th Edition : Remove Healing Surges
    3.PF Edition : -1 attack roll, skill checks, average roll of HP until removed.
    Note that you could make a 3-steps condition out of it: Tapped, Drained, Siphoned. The first could simply make the victim resistant to magical healing, the second would give twice the 3.PF's penalty in addition to it until downtime / spell, the later would bring the target to the brink of death.


    *A quick and dirty fix I used in an Epic 6 SW Saga campaign was to set med / low BaB to [Full BaB -1] / [Full BaB -2, min 0], and low defenses (saves in this instance) to [Good Save -2]. A 10% penalty, before ability modifiers, is enough. If you feel the balance is detrimental, feel free to make it more steep, but a +6 before ability modifier is crazy.

    Another reasonable fix would be to simply (or through feats without prerequisites) allow the use of STR for Fortitude, INT for Reflex and CHA for Will. I personally am not crazy over this as it clearly favors a thuggish or flamboyant rogue over a smart one.

    Not that I wouldn't play a flamboyant or thuggish rogue, but the clear edge still breaks my suspension of disbelief.


    EDIT: After re-reading the quote, I must state that I LOVE the idea of giving strong incentives to PCs to behave in the way the spell works without forcing them to. You could also give the player the opportunity to ignore a status for one round in exchange of [X] HP. This would represent the high stress of fighting such conditions as it leaves you less able to react to whatever else is coming. And it makes characters made more resilient by their mastery of the battlefield shine a little bit more.
    Last edited by Gorum; 2018-05-25 at 04:03 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Alternative Conditions (ameliorating Save or Lose)

    Haha thanks! That's a great collection of ideas - I should've figured it had been done before though, I hear Pathfinder is planning a similar revamp now too.

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Alternative Conditions (ameliorating Save or Lose)

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Haha thanks! That's a great collection of ideas - I should've figured it had been done before though, I hear Pathfinder is planning a similar revamp now too.
    No problem.

    I just want to ram the point farther though, because, AFAIK, you're the first one to spout out that idea, and it is marvelous. Status effects that would take control of your character should leave you with the option to act as you want, but at a steep price.

    Fear makes won't make you unable to attack / defend yourself, but instead give penalties such that retreating is by far the best options. (You could then have the paladin's aura diminish this penalty as well)

    EDIT: Said penalties would diminish by a fixed amount if the source of fear is at a safe distance. If the penalty was minor, it should suffice to eliminate it until it comes back within sight / hearing. Otherwise, even when that target is far from the source, it remains shaken and with part of that penalty, until it wears off. Some enemies are so unsettling that even standing behind a regiment of battle-hardened troops might not suffice to ward fear off.

    EDIT: It might be a bad idea as it would require additional bookkeeping, and additional bookkeeping is generally bad unless you have one of THOSE groups, but said fear penalty might wear off the longest the target remains at a safe distance.

    Stun gives an enormous penalty to attack (and requires a very difficult concentration check), and, is such an attack is made / spell is cast, a huge penalty to AC.

    Nauseated can be suppressed for a round by expending [10 - Con Mod HP] (Note: amount could vary depending on the source of the effect). The character is still sickened.

    Charmed, Fascinated, Confused and the effect of a Sanctuary Spell can be suppressed for a round by expending a similar amount, modified by Wisdom instead.

    This would have the additional benefit of not having the party's wizard cast a spell and have it either end the encounter or be completely useless, with little in-between. Also, a caveat should be mentioned that creatures with an INT score of 3 or less never take those penalties unless desperate.
    Last edited by Gorum; 2018-05-25 at 12:00 PM.

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