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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Homebrewing 101: Durzan's Philisophical Guide for Homebrew in 3.5e

    BEGIN CLASS TRANSMISSION.

    Alright everybody, Professor Durzan is here. Welcome to Homebrewing 101: The philosophical guide for creating homebrew in D&D 3.5e (and its derivatives, such as Pathfinder).

    (Disclaimer: This class is entirely philosophical in nature and not meant to be completely serious in nature, nor a true step by step tutorial or a hard & fast guide for creating custom content. In fact, parts of this class are meant to be Parodical and nonsensical in nature. As always YMMV; I am not responsible for any screw ups or mishaps that may result from you applying my advice without a large grain of salt... though I do warn you that it may cause the universe to implode.

    Additional side effects may include but are not necessarily limited to the following: a short attention span; development of a mild dislike or extreme unbridled hatred for vanacian magic, unnecessary complications inherent to 3.5, dead levels, too many classes, 3.5e subsystems, etc; develop a deep sense of obsessive love of sarcasm, witty dead-pan humor, and anime waifu's; addiction to arcane magic alongside the development of burning green eyes and long pointy ears; getting zerg rushed by a bunch of lawyers; causing you to wonder who this Darkness is anyway; having several 30-sided dice thrown at you by your mother, for no good reason at all; getting Zerg rushed by Zerg; getting challenged to a duel by green Klingons; forgetting not to drop the soap; realizing that you wasted a magic missile on the Darkness when you should've used it on that Dreadlord whom you keep mistaking for being a drug lord; getting an uncontrollable urge to drink someone's blood after sniffing some garlic; being stalked by a sexy face-and-soul-sucking demon of your preferred gender; being seduced by a uncomfortably large pigeon wearing a golf hat; realizing that you actually do know who Darkness is and that you need to call her immediately; getting the literal book thrown at you by your DM, who also happens to be a lawyer; getting zerg rushed by a bunch of Level 99 vampire lawyers; getting zerg rushed by a legion of flying Monstrous Book of Monsters; realizing that it was your DM who told those darn books to zerg rush you; developing blindness, deafness, deep regret, internal bleeding, dementia, halicinations, recollection of painful memories, death, halitosis, psychosis, arachnophobia, and being reanimated as a brain-eating zombie... while being zerg rushed.

    This class is not for everyone, please consult your doctor before use.)

    Okay now that I got your attention and that you haven't died of laughter, lets move on to the actual point.

    *TAKES DEEP BREATH*

    My philosophy when writing homebrew is rather simple in nature... essentially boiling down to the following Acronym: SPaBLaCIF (Simplicity, Purpose, Balance, Living and breathing Classes, keep things Interesting and Fun). Now, please take notes as I break down what each step means.

    Simplicity:
    Simplify the game mechanics of 3.5e and keep them as straightforward as possible. Cut out unnecessary stuff that bogs down the game and adds unnecessary complexity where ever possible. I shouldn't have to have to design a complex build using obscure options and tricks with a completely optimized character just to be even somewhat effective. A feat, class, race, skill, spell, special ability, etc shouldn't be nearly useless (*cough* *cough* The Heal Skill), waste a player's resources (looking at you feat taxes), or otherwise unnecessarily complicated (Pathfinder, despite all the good you have done, you're still guilty of this at times). Class feature progression should follow some kind of pattern that is fairly easy to predict and keep track of if you study it enough. Simplicity makes things easier to deal with both as a player and as a GM, and makes it easier to keep things balanced. Games with simplified rules keep things running smoothly, allowing us to have fun and kick butt without having to read an entire legal advising paper just to do so.

    Purpose:
    All classes/races/feats/etc. need to have a clearly designed theme and purpose, otherwise your homebrew starts to clutter real fast. All content should be able to fulfill their intended purpose in a reasonably effective manner. If a piece of content has no clearly defined purpose or doesn't fulfill said purpose effectively, it needs to be scrapped and replaced, merged into something else, or reworked from the ground up. If two classes fulfill the same purpose(s), then they should each do so in a unique fashion, adding variety to the table.

    Balance: All pieces of 3.5 content need to have some semblance of balance. An encounter is no fun if there is no inherent challenge, or if the baddies consistently use the players as a broom and mop. Likewise, all characters should be able to have their moments in the spotlight. If one character is over-performing or underperforming, then it makes the game less fun for the group as a whole, and any pieces of game content should be altered accordingly. All content should be somewhat useful and capable of fulfilling its intended purpose without over-performing and fundamentally breaking the game in some way. Each piece of custom or revised content should also have its own strengths and weaknesses so that players and monsters alike can exploit them for their benefit.

    Living Classes:
    All classes and prestige classes should be alive; that is to say that no class (NPC Classes being an exception) should have a single dead level. Each class should get something at each level besides a standard feat, +1 to ability scores, a +1 increase to BAB or Saves, or the marked improvement of spellcasting capability. These things should also help to define and add flavor to the class, or failing that gain some kind of noticeable improvement to something that has already been gained at an earlier level. These could be a selectable class feature (like Rouge Special Abilities), bonus feats, class features, etc. While this may seem like a superfluous and game breaking point, it is nevertheless important. Having living and breathing classes ensures that all players in your game have something substantial to look forward to each time they level up. Just make sure that you rebalance the game accordingly.

    Keep Things Interesting:
    Customization is the underlying basis of 3.5e. Unfortunately, even with the limitless ways of building a character, you still may find yourself playing the same stupid builds over and over again everytime you roll up a new character. This is in part because the core chassis for all characters (classes and races) often have little meaningful customization options on their own, and half of them are sub-par. Thus, each class and race you make should have a few built-in ways to tailor it to the player's preferences and strengths. Build meaningful options into them such as Bonus Feats that require some amount of choice, unique class abilities selected from a list such as: rouge talents, Barbarian Totems, or Sorcerer Bloodlines from pathfinder. Write up interesting and interactive lore that encourages your player to roleplay and build it into how the class functions.

    Fun:
    A class or race should be fun and interesting to play. A feat should be fun to use. Skills should be able to be used in interesting ways. A custom monster should be fun to encounter (even if it might be silly or terrifying in-game). Players should be capable of combining their capabilities to great effect working together to form a well oiled machine, playing to each other's strengths and covering each other's weaknesses. If you find something boring, change it up slightly and think outside the box: make up stuff that work differently from standard D&D setups (but make sure to keep it relatively simple)! Ultimately, it doesn't matter if the game is balanced, all game content has a clear purpose, and everything is as simplified as possible: if the game isn't fun for you and the players, then you have failed Homebrewing 101.

    *TAKES DEEP BREATH*

    Okay, do you got that, are you still with me? *Pants in exhaustion* You sure? Did you take notes? Cause I'm gonna test you guys on it next week. Awesome! Class dismissed, see ya next week... kay thanks, bye.

    If you are still here, you may begin group discussion.

    END CLASS TRANSMISSION.
    Last edited by Durzan; 2018-06-08 at 06:27 PM.
    Wheel of Time 3.5e Homebrew
    My Original D20 System: Forgotten Prophecies RPG

    When it comes to GMing, World-Building is one of the things that I do best, provided I have friends to bounce ideas off of.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Homebrewing 101: Durzan's Philisophical Guide for Homebrew in 3.5e

    I'll throw my own philosophy up in a little bit for comparison (if that's OK in your thread?), but I'd like to start with a general question:

    How do you evaluate balance, generally? The original designers of 3.5e clearly believed their classes were balanced. A decade and a half later, that's something we've established isn't quite true (to say the least), even just within the core rulebook(simulacrum, polymorph, etc.) What playtesting environment did they have that led to this?

    Our normal intuition is that, say, blasting spells should deal about 1d6 per level- but monster hit points are not truly linear(about 10hp/level at level 1, scaling linearly up to about 17 hp/level at level 30) , and (2+L/2)*(1+L/3)d6 damage is, on average, about 85-90% of an equal-leveled monster's health. (I have the spreadsheets to prove it)

    In your own homebrew magic system, you shifted the number of spell levels per day by a factor of 10 because I measured out how many spells you get. However, there's no real unified metric by which to measure spells per day. Given the revelation of how you scale spell effects by spell level rather than by caster level, it could even have been absolutely reasonable! But there's no real metric measuring the length of the adventuring day, or the "cost" of versatility.
    Last edited by aimlessPolymath; 2018-06-08 at 10:34 PM.
    My one piece of homebrew: The Shaman. A Druid replacement with more powerlevel control.
    The bargain bin- malfunctioning, missing, and broken magic items.
    Spirit Barbarian: The Barbarian, with heavy elements from the Shaman. Complete up to level 17.
    The Priest: A cleric reword which ran out of steam. Still a fun prestige class suitable for E6.
    The Coward: Not every hero can fight.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Homebrewing 101: Durzan's Philisophical Guide for Homebrew in 3.5e

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    I'll throw my own philosophy up in a little bit for comparison (if that's OK in your thread?), but I'd like to start with a general question:
    Thats perfectly fine, and kind of where I was hoping to go with this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    How do you evaluate balance, generally? The original designers of 3.5e clearly believed their classes were balanced. A decade and a half later, that's something we've established isn't quite true (to say the least), even just within the core rulebook(simulacrum, polymorph, etc.) What playtesting environment did they have that led to this?
    Hmmm... that is a good question. I suppose though that in order to answer that question properly we'd have to actually define what game balance actually means within the context of D&D 3.5e. Also, I am going to limit the discussion of balance to character classes, as they are the easiest to compare and contrast. With that in mind, I have come up with two general types of Game Balance and their definitons:

    1. General Balance: A theoretical state of existence in D&D where all character classes adequately fulfill their intended purpose, and where no class significantly outperforms or underperforms when compared to the other classes within the context of their purpose.

    2. Statistical Balance: When two or more classes are placed side by side and have their full capabilities analyzed and compared using statistics, assuming all other factors are equal. Should the classes being examined prove to have similar capabilities, then they are considered to be be "balanced." If one is significantly stronger than the other however, then the result must be considered to be "unbalanced."

    General Balance as it focuses on the big picture, while Statistical Balance is meant for fine tweaking and specific comparison. Ideally, you would want the overall balance to have a good General Balance and close Statistical Balance. It is worth noting that you cannot treat balance as a separate issue from the other points in my understanding of what makes good homebrew. Balance is indisputably connected to both Simplicity and Purpose. Classes with a simplified design are easier to balance, while classes without a clearly defined purpose have no measuring stick to balance against.

    As a Homebrewer, I tend to put most of my focus on General Balance and only go to statistical balance if I need to fine tune some numbers in order to balance out disparities between two classes.

    With the baselines established, lets look at the PHB Classes. We have 11 classes, of which 7 classes have some form of spellcasting capability (Sorcerer, Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Bard, Paladin, and Ranger), 3 non-casting classes (Fighter, Barbarian, & Rouge), and one class that technically is a non-caster but which has some abilities that are suspiciously spell-like in flavor (the Monk)... which makes it an outlier. Right off the bat I can tell you there that the designers of the game wanted to place a lot of emphasis upon magic. Literally all but three of the classes have some sort of spellcasting capability, or abilities that might as well be magic. Since that appears to be the case, but there are 3 non-casting classes, I can already say that this is probably gonna prove to be unbalanced, as magic users tend to be significantly more versatile and capable when compared to their non-caster counterparts.

    Now, lets take a look at the roles/niches that each class fills:
    • Sorcerer: The sorcerer seems to best fill the role of Offensive Spellcaster. He has access to the widest list of spells (Wizard/Sorcerer list) and higher spells per day but his limited spells known combined with his spontaneous spellcasting means that he needs to specialize in a specific group of spells and must choose them wisely. He can spam these known spells as long as he has spell slots, making him perfect for dishing out the hurt with spells (in whatever form that takes, be it direct damage, area effects, enemy debuffs, etc). While the Sorcerer can also fill a Specific support role (depending on what spells the Sorcerer knows), he is less efficient at it than the Wizard. A sorcerer may also serve as Party Face due to encouraging high Charisma, however the lower number of skill points would also serve to lower the effectiveness of the Sorcerer in filling this role.
    • Wizard: The Wizard seems to best fill the role of General Support Spellcaster. Like the sorcerer, he has access to the widest list of spells. He has a spellbook that allows him to potentially know an effectively unlimited number of spells... meaning that he has the largest potential arsenal of all the spellcasters in Core. However, the Wizard must prepare his spells ahead of time, has a smaller number of spell slots than the sorcerer... and once the wizard fills a spell he can't swap it out (Yay, this is great design WotC... /sarcasm). This means that the Wizard is not that good at spontaneously (heh heh, see what I did there?) dealing with situations that just so happen to fall outside his capabilities of dealing with that day. If he doesn't have the right spell for the job... tough luck, guess you'll have to wait till tomorrow . What this ultimately means is that the Wizard is effectively the Batman of fantasy, capable of beating anything so long as he is given enough prep time and happens to be carrying said prep on his utility belt. All in all, the Wizard best serves as an all around Support Caster, as he can swap out his "utility belt" of spells each day as needed and can fill pretty much any spellcasting role the sorcerer could also fill. A Wizard should keep a few offensive spells in his retinue at all times to use in a pinch, but should keep a significant portion of his allotted spells reserved for crowd control, utility spells, party buffs, and enemy debuffs, as he can only use each spell once per day per slot prepped. While A Wizard can fill the role of Offensive Spellcaster reasonably well, I would argue that it is slightly less optimal than the sorcerer for that role because of this.
    • Cleric: The Cleric seems to best fill the role of Defensive Support Caster if they Turn Undead and Offensive Support Caster if they Rebuke Undead. They function similarly to the Wizard, but have a smaller spell list more focused on buffing/healing their allies while debuffing/harming their enemies. What makes them suited for Defensive Support is the fact that they can burn a prepped slot to cast heal or harm spells, making them a de-facto heal bot. Other roles may be filled based on the chosen domains.
    • Druid: The Druid is a versatile spellcasting class that can fill quite a few roles depending on how they are built. Their spellcasting capability allow them to gather information, summon creatures to aid them (or attack for them), cast some healing spells, and their shape changing makes them formidable in battle. Thus, the role of the Druid is best suited for General Support Caster not because of their spells, but because they can cover many other roles in a pinch, and in some cases can even perform better in that role than other classes. Other possible roles are: Scout (When in the Wilderness), DPR and/or Tank (When using Wild Shape, summoning spells or animal companion), and Healer (When he has healing spells prepped).
    • Bard: The bard is a versatile jack-of-all-trades type class. However this means that it is individually weaker in each of these areas than the specialist classes. The Bard is best suited for the following roles: Party Face (Good Charisma and High Skill Points), Secondary Support Caster (lower level spells, but spontaneous casting with buff/debuff/distracting capabilities), Reconnaissance (when in the city) and Skill Monkey (High Skill Points).
    • Ranger: Like the Bard, the Ranger is also a jack-of-all-trades type class. Best suited for the following Roles: Skill Monkey (High skill points), Reconnaissance (When in the Wilderness), DPR (Two Weapon Fighting or Archery), Secondary Support Caster (Low level buff/debuff spells).
    • Paladin: The paladin is a tough melee type fighter with divine spellcasting capability. Best suited for the following roles: Tank (High HP and high BAB), Limited DPR (Smite, but only against certain foes), and Healer/Defensive Support (Most of his low level spells focus on healing or buffing).
    • Monk: The monk is honestly a strange class, to say the least. Fast movement speed, a unique weapons list, Medium BAB, Flurry of Blows with fists that deal extra damage, and so forth. But weak and squishy, limited ability to bypass DR, and abilities that are only useful in limited situations. Best roles are: Reconnaissance (Fast movement), DPR (flurry of blows), Support (Stunning fist, flanking, etc).
    • Barbarian: The barbarian is a bruiser and a meathead. Good at DPR while in melee, and can tank a lot of damage. Best fills the following roles: Tank (Best HD in the game, decent), DPR (While Raging), Reconnaissance (Fast Movement).
    • Fighter: Trained Warrior who gets lots of combat feats but little else. Reasonable at fighting, but not much else. Best fills the roles of: Tank (Good HP and AC b/c of armor), Crowd Control (With the right weapon and feats), DPR (With the right weapon and feats).
    • Rouge: Versatile little class, capable of Reconnaissance (High sneaking ability), being a skill monkey (best skill point value in the game), the Party Face (For a Cha Build) and DPR (Sneak Attack alongside TWF).


    As you can see, just from the amount of role overlap between the 11 classes, this is certainly unbalanced. Some of the classes will prove to be generally more effective at their roles than others, and while each has their own speciality in theory... some will likely underperform.

    Part of the problem lies in the fact that there are too many base classes in Core, meaning that the archetypes each class is designed to replicate are spread thin, and most of them use some kind of magic... stealing the spotlight away from the non-magical classes a tad more often. Each class also has limited customizability, and so forth. And thats even before you start comparing the specifics in detail.


    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Our normal intuition is that, say, blasting spells should deal about 1d6 per level- but monster hit points are not truly linear(about 10hp/level at level 1, scaling linearly up to about 17 hp/level at level 30) , and (2+L/2)*(1+L/3)d6 damage is, on average, about 85-90% of an equal-leveled monster's health. (I have the spreadsheets to prove it)

    In your own homebrew magic system, you shifted the number of spell levels per day by a factor of 10 because I measured out how many spells you get. How many is reasonable? Hard to say! Given the revelation of how you scale spell effects by spell level rather than by caster level, it could even have been absolutely reasonable! But there's no real metric measuring the length of the adventuring day, or the "cost" of versatility.
    As you can see, some of the things we measure can be expressed with numbers as you so aptly demonstrated, while others cannot. So if that is the case, then what is balance?

    Its not just tweaking the numbers here and there so that a Fighter can come remotely close to dishing out as much damage as a wizard. Its making sure that each class fills its niche and has a clear concept and purpose, is interesting in its own right, and can hold its own in both combat and out of combat capabilities. Its figuring out the strengths and weaknesses, and how they interact with each other as a whole. Its making an asymmetrical system and realizing that tweaking one thing affects everything else. Its hashing out the generalities before tweaking the specifics. Only once you are able to do that can you even think about balancing the classes together. Balancing is a delicate art that does involve numbers, but even more importantly are the concepts that those numbers and words are meant to represent and define.
    Wheel of Time 3.5e Homebrew
    My Original D20 System: Forgotten Prophecies RPG

    When it comes to GMing, World-Building is one of the things that I do best, provided I have friends to bounce ideas off of.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Homebrewing 101: Durzan's Philisophical Guide for Homebrew in 3.5e

    I'm not quite sure I follow your argument,

    1. General Balance: A theoretical state of existence in D&D where all character classes adequately fulfill their intended purpose, and where no class significantly outperforms or underperforms when compared to the other classes within the context of their purpose.
    I'm not sure that that's quite supported by what you develop in the rest of your post.

    Spoiler: Roles
    Show
    Sorcerer: The sorcerer seems to best fill the role of Offensive Spellcaster. He has access to the widest list of spells (Wizard/Sorcerer list) and higher spells per day but his limited spells known combined with his spontaneous spellcasting means that he needs to specialize in a specific group of spells and must choose them wisely. He can spam these known spells as long as he has spell slots, making him perfect for dishing out the hurt with spells (in whatever form that takes, be it direct damage, area effects, enemy debuffs, etc). While the Sorcerer can also fill a Specific support role (depending on what spells the Sorcerer knows), he is less efficient at it than the Wizard. A sorcerer may also serve as Party Face due to encouraging high Charisma, however the lower number of skill points would also serve to lower the effectiveness of the Sorcerer in filling this role.
    Wizard: The Wizard seems to best fill the role of General Support Spellcaster. Like the sorcerer, he has access to the widest list of spells. He has a spellbook that allows him to potentially know an effectively unlimited number of spells... meaning that he has the largest potential arsenal of all the spellcasters in Core. However, the Wizard must prepare his spells ahead of time, has a smaller number of spell slots than the sorcerer... and once the wizard fills a spell he can't swap it out (Yay, this is great design WotC... /sarcasm). This means that the Wizard is not that good at spontaneously (heh heh, see what I did there?) dealing with situations that just so happen to fall outside his capabilities of dealing with that day. If he doesn't have the right spell for the job... tough luck, guess you'll have to wait till tomorrow . What this ultimately means is that the Wizard is effectively the A man dressed like a bat of fantasy, capable of beating anything so long as he is given enough prep time and happens to be carrying said prep on his utility belt. All in all, the Wizard best serves as an all around Support Caster, as he can swap out his "utility belt" of spells each day as needed and can fill pretty much any spellcasting role the sorcerer could also fill. A Wizard should keep a few offensive spells in his retinue at all times to use in a pinch, but should keep a significant portion of his allotted spells reserved for crowd control, utility spells, party buffs, and enemy debuffs, as he can only use each spell once per day per slot prepped. While A Wizard can fill the role of Offensive Spellcaster reasonably well, I would argue that it is slightly less optimal than the sorcerer for that role because of this.
    Cleric: The Cleric seems to best fill the role of Defensive Support Caster if they Turn Undead and Offensive Support Caster if they Rebuke Undead. They function similarly to the Wizard, but have a smaller spell list more focused on buffing/healing their allies while debuffing/harming their enemies. What makes them suited for Defensive Support is the fact that they can burn a prepped slot to cast heal or harm spells, making them a de-facto heal bot. Other roles may be filled based on the chosen domains.
    Druid: The Druid is a versatile spellcasting class that can fill quite a few roles depending on how they are built. Their spellcasting capability allow them to gather information, summon creatures to aid them (or attack for them), cast some healing spells, and their shape changing makes them formidable in battle. Thus, the role of the Druid is best suited for General Support Caster not because of their spells, but because they can cover many other roles in a pinch, and in some cases can even perform better in that role than other classes. Other possible roles are: Scout (When in the Wilderness), DPR and/or Tank (When using Wild Shape, summoning spells or animal companion), and Healer (When he has healing spells prepped).
    Bard: The bard is a versatile jack-of-all-trades type class. However this means that it is individually weaker in each of these areas than the specialist classes. The Bard is best suited for the following roles: Party Face (Good Charisma and High Skill Points), Secondary Support Caster (lower level spells, but spontaneous casting with buff/debuff/distracting capabilities), Reconnaissance (when in the city) and Skill Monkey (High Skill Points).
    Ranger: Like the Bard, the Ranger is also a jack-of-all-trades type class. Best suited for the following Roles: Skill Monkey (High skill points), Reconnaissance (When in the Wilderness), DPR (Two Weapon Fighting or Archery), Secondary Support Caster (Low level buff/debuff spells).
    Paladin: The paladin is a tough melee type fighter with divine spellcasting capability. Best suited for the following roles: Tank (High HP and high BAB), Limited DPR (Smite, but only against certain foes), and Healer/Defensive Support (Most of his low level spells focus on healing or buffing).
    Monk: The monk is honestly a strange class, to say the least. Fast movement speed, a unique weapons list, Medium BAB, Flurry of Blows with fists that deal extra damage, and so forth. But weak and squishy, limited ability to bypass DR, and abilities that are only useful in limited situations. Best roles are: Reconnaissance (Fast movement), DPR (flurry of blows), Support (Stunning fist, flanking, etc).
    Barbarian: The barbarian is a bruiser and a meathead. Good at DPR while in melee, and can tank a lot of damage. Best fills the following roles: Tank (Best HD in the game, decent), DPR (While Raging), Reconnaissance (Fast Movement).
    Fighter: Trained Warrior who gets lots of combat feats but little else. Reasonable at fighting, but not much else. Best fills the roles of: Tank (Good HP and AC b/c of armor), Crowd Control (With the right weapon and feats), DPR (With the right weapon and feats).
    Rouge: Versatile little class, capable of Reconnaissance (High sneaking ability), being a skill monkey (best skill point value in the game), the Party Face (For a Cha Build) and DPR (Sneak Attack alongside TWF).

    Within the context of their role, most of these classes operate just fine! The fighter is perfectly solid at tanking, can get some crowd control, and can deal damage- and fighters are, indeed, good at that job. Wizards are also good at their job, too! There's no provision in this system for a class's intended purpose being too broad (as with the Wizard) or too narrow (as with the Fighter), and indeed we see projects intended to narrow the roles that casters can fill.



    When it comes to homebrewing, I think my philosophy is geared more towards developing individual pieces of homebrew rather than to create a complete playable system. I count Realms of Chaos as my primary influencer. In a sentence, it's that
    It's better to do something interesting than something balanced.

    Plenty of people have created necromancer classes, gish-based classes, knight-type classes, and so on. There are loads of simple fighter/mage fixes, a smattering of magic-item replacements, and so on. To a certain extent, many of them follow very similar design practices, and have similar structure. Prepared/spontaneous casting is common, spell points somewhat less so, etc.

    When I create homebrew, I'm mainly looking for highly evocative mechanics, ideally with a twist that I haven't seen done before- less a specific purpose, and more a strongly themed class with mechanics that push players in the direction of specific behaviors, or that evoke a mood appropriate to the class. Secondary to that is what you would describe as a "Living Class"- I try to pack the class with features appropriate to the class; when I have a class's theme, I'll generally stuff in whatever thematic ideas and abilities I can and hope it hangs together. For an example of this when it worked, look at the Coward, in my sig. For an example of this where it didn't work and I ran out of ideas, look at the Priest.

    Two things I don't aim for explicitly are General Balance beyond "has something to do in and out of combat", and defining a class niche or purpose. Fun is also not a factor during design- I actually can't think of many ways that Fun is required as an additional factor in balance when the others are taken care of (particularly Simplicity), and I'd love to hear cases where this came up for you.

    Keep Things Interesting: Customization is the underlying basis of 3.5e.
    I think I approach this in a relatively similar direction, but not quite. Because classes are often generally themed, I mostly use customization as a way to add thematic abilities that apply to some archetypes of the class, but not all. In cases where the underlying concept is relatively narrow, I don't think that customization is necessarily a need- it's not there in order to give characters the ability to make interesting choices during chargen (which occupies a relatively small portion of the game), it's there to make the character more strongly themed in a particular way. For this reason, I'm not a huge fan of many of the Pathfinder rage powers (with an exception for the totems), and similarly so for almost all the arcanist exploits and magus talents- they're so generic, even though they can be significant parts of a character build.

    Balance: I think a features-first approach with a relatively unfocused purpose makes it easier to rebalance classes. My Shaman was an attempt at a druid "fix" that, though while it didn't really reduce the tier of the class, made it much easier to rebalance as a whole; almost any individual feature up to and including spellcasting could be removed from the class, and it would still generally function. In contrast, many highly focused classes (especially full-casting classes) require more careful work to let them play equally well at the table. Given that my classes are unlikely to be playtested in the immediate future (or at least, I haven't heard back from anyone who has), balance is something I'm not really able to do beyond eyeballing.

    Actually, re:Simplicity, there's an argument to make that you've violated it with your magic system.
    In order to cast a spell, you have to:
    -Pass a roll and action in order to activate your spark.
    -Pass another roll and action in order to cast the spell
    -The spell's effects resolve- this usually takes another roll for a saving throw or attack roll.
    That's three different rolls and two actions that have to be made before the spell happens. Sometimes (If I read it right), you can cast twice per turn, requiring two more rolls. In contrast, here's what used to happen:
    -Spell's effects resolve, as above.
    Last edited by aimlessPolymath; 2018-06-11 at 06:09 PM.
    My one piece of homebrew: The Shaman. A Druid replacement with more powerlevel control.
    The bargain bin- malfunctioning, missing, and broken magic items.
    Spirit Barbarian: The Barbarian, with heavy elements from the Shaman. Complete up to level 17.
    The Priest: A cleric reword which ran out of steam. Still a fun prestige class suitable for E6.
    The Coward: Not every hero can fight.

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    Default Re: Homebrewing 101: Durzan's Philisophical Guide for Homebrew in 3.5e

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    I'm not quite sure I follow your argument,

    I'm not sure that that's quite supported by what you develop in the rest of your post.

    Within the context of their role, most of these classes operate just fine! The fighter is perfectly solid at tanking, can get some crowd control, and can deal damage- and fighters are, indeed, good at that job. Wizards are also good at their job, too! There's no provision in this system for a class's intended purpose being too broad (as with the Wizard) or too narrow (as with the Fighter), and indeed we see projects intended to narrow the roles that casters can fill.
    Pardon the spoilers, but my response to this is quite lengthy.

    Spoiler
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    I agree that the individual classes fill their roles adequately enough to be competent, at least under general scrutiny... if you look closer however, that apparent competence can quickly fall apart. The trouble is when you start having those classes interact and work with each other. The General Balance of the PHB Classes is actually somewhat Unbalanced.

    (Note that this can still fall under the area of General Balance, but it is also where Statistical Balance starts coming into play and can be very useful. Nevertheless, I will be focusing on the generalities rather than the specifics, as generalities are far easier to to explain and delve into without having to spend an entire page working on math to get the results.)

    Because of the creator's emphasis on magic, nearly all the classes have some kind of casting capability, even when strictly speaking they shouldn't when you actually take a look at the archetype they are trying to fulfill (I'm totally looking at you Mr Ranger and Mr Bard! Did Aragorn or Thom Merrilyn have inherent spellcasting capability? I think not!). Classes with spellcasting capability are more versatile in nature than their non-casting counterparts, which means that whatever role(s) they fill, they can do so that much more effectively... even if they only have access to lower level spells.

    Starting to dig a little deeper into the specifics, you can start to see that the spellcasting classes can outshine the non-casting classes by a decent margin.The Druid's Wild Shape is arguably even more tanky than a Barbarian or Fighter, and can dish out comparable damage, especially when buffed with spells (This can be demonstrated through a Statistical comparison, but I don't really want to spend the time proving it, especially when others have done so). A Sorcerer can do significant damage to a bunch of creatures in an area with a single casting of Firestorm, a Wizard can use scrying to scout the area or Knock to unlock a door, and so forth. While spells allowing casters to fill temporarily fill in for class roles is in and of itself fine (especially since they have limited resources to do so), there is a point where it can suck the fun from playing non-casting classes. When a group of classes are significantly overshadowed or under-shadowed by other classes, that is where I say something is unbalanced in concept on the general level. To me at least, when a game is unbalanced, it means that the game is flawed in its design. A flawed game loses its appeal real fast, and thats a bad thing. Even if something is broken but fun, the novelty of it will wear off for me reasonably quickly. Thus, have some degree of balance is needed in order for a game to be both fun and interesting.

    Breaking down the roles of each class simply allows me to see where they overlap, where each class excels, where each class has weaknesses, and so on. Ultimately the conclusion I came to when looking at the Core Classes was that:

    A. There are too many base classes, causing overcrowding of niches (Particularly in DPR and Support), and leading to the inevitable result of some classes proving to be more effective in certain roles than what they were originally designed for. You can easily cut the number of core classes down to 6 to 8, which allows each class to fill one or more roles without nearly as much overcrowding.
    B. There are too many classes that are spellcasters, which leads to the non-casting classes to feel underwhelming by comparison, because non-casters generally have less options in their arsenal than even lesser spellcasters. The solution to this is to either make all classes have spellcasting (I personally don't like this idea), give non-casters a somewhat bigger arsenal, or cut down on number of classes that rely on magic. In my homebrew mashup, I elected to do a combination of the last two options.
    C. The strengths and weaknesses of the classes are not always obvious, especially at higher levels. One way of fixing this is to add extra emphasis to the weaknesses and strengths of each class. No one class should be able to dominate a situation.

    These observations were part of the reason why I am working on my homebrew project, of which you have only seen a small sampling. An early predecessor of this project can be found in my signature (The Wheel of Time project).

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    When it comes to homebrewing, I think my philosophy is geared more towards developing individual pieces of homebrew[...]. I count Realms of Chaos as my primary influencer. In [one] sentence[:]It's better to do something interesting than something balanced.
    I mostly agree with that statement there: If I had to choose between something interesting and something balanced, I'd probably go with the interesting choice 7/10 times. However, I like to have my cake and to eat it to. Thus, I try to develop something interesting, and THEN balance it.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    When I create homebrew, I'm mainly looking for highly evocative mechanics, ideally with a twist that I haven't seen done before- less a specific purpose, and more a strongly themed class with mechanics that push players in the direction of specific behaviors, or that evoke a mood appropriate to the class. Secondary to that is what you would describe as a "Living Class"- I try to pack the class with features appropriate to the class; when I have a class's theme, I'll generally stuff in whatever thematic ideas and abilities I can and hope it hangs together. For an example of this when it worked, look at the Coward, in my sig. For an example of this where it didn't work and I ran out of ideas, look at the Priest.
    See, what I do is define the class role, come up with a mechanic that is functional (and interesting if I can help it), and then flesh out a specific theme of the class that fits with the intended niche of the class. Determining a class's role helps give me a baseline to work with and build off of... its a spring board for If you look at my Wheel of Time classes, the Commander fills the same charismatic support role of the Bard (and incidentally that of the Noble class from WoT) but does so in a completely different manner, through abilities that are designed around a theme of tactical leadership, rather than through a theme of performance and wit. (Note, that thread may be a bit out of date)

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Two things I don't aim for explicitly are General Balance beyond "has something to do in and out of combat", and defining a class niche or purpose. Fun is also not a factor during design- I actually can't think of many ways that Fun is required as an additional factor in balance when the others are taken care of (particularly Simplicity), and I'd love to hear cases where this came up for you.
    The point of the "Fun" part of the acronym is to serve as a reminder that this is a game, and that the purpose of a game is to have fun. If none of your players find a class to be fun to play, then all that work was largely wasted and you need to go back to the drawing board. So long as you can see someone having fun with a class (or any piece of homebrew for that matter) then you know that the work was worth the effort.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    I think I approach [keeping things interesting] in a relatively similar direction, but not quite. Because classes are often generally themed, I mostly use customization as a way to add thematic abilities that apply to some archetypes of the class, but not all. In cases where the underlying concept is relatively narrow, I don't think that customization is necessarily a need- it's not there in order to give characters the ability to make interesting choices during chargen (which occupies a relatively small portion of the game), it's there to make the character more strongly themed in a particular way. For this reason, I'm not a huge fan of many of the Pathfinder rage powers (with an exception for the totems), and similarly so for almost all the arcanist exploits and magus talents- they're so generic, even though they can be significant parts of a character build.
    I think I largely agree with what you are saying here: Customization isn't always a need for a class.

    In my case however, base classes need some degree of customization, because there are going to be far fewer of them than what you find in Core. Adding customization allows the player to shift what kind of niche(s) he is trying to fill as well as add some uniqueness to the character build. IE, I essentially try to build what amounts to class archetypes into each base class when I can. This doesn't always happen, or works very well, but when it does, its awesome.

    An example of this is the thread where I turned the Paladin into a prestige class. I think you should be familar with it... as I recall you PEACHing it at least once. Also, my Assassin prestige class does something similar.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Balance: I think a features-first approach with a relatively unfocused purpose makes it easier to rebalance classes. My Shaman was an attempt at a druid "fix" that, though while it didn't really reduce the tier of the class, made it much easier to rebalance as a whole; almost any individual feature up to and including spellcasting could be removed from the class, and it would still generally function. In contrast, many highly focused classes (especially full-casting classes) require more careful work to let them play equally well at the table. Given that my classes are unlikely to be playtested in the immediate future (or at least, I haven't heard back from anyone who has), balance is something I'm not really able to do beyond eyeballing.
    Again, I generally agree with you on the feature first approach... although I think we might handle how we go about doing that a bit differently. Like I said earlier, determining the general purpose of the class helps me focus, because once I determine that, everything else eventually falls into place. From there its a matter of mashing together complementary Class Features and then tweaking the numbers.

    Seems like we think fairly similarly, though what we choose to emphasize is different.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Actually, re:Simplicity, there's an argument to make that you've violated it with your magic system.
    In order to cast a spell, you have to:
    -Pass a roll and action in order to activate your spark.
    -Pass another roll and action in order to cast the spell
    -The spell's effects resolve- this usually takes another roll for a saving throw or attack roll.
    That's three different rolls and two actions that have to be made before the spell happens. Sometimes (If I read it right), you can cast twice per turn, requiring two more rolls. In contrast, here's what used to happen:
    -Spell's effects resolve, as above.
    None of the points in my philosophy supersede any of the others by any significant degree, and I approach them in no particular order. At times I am willing to sacrifice a little bit of simplicity in order to better achieve my goals. This is one of those times. I still do try to keep it as simple as possible while still achieving my goals.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Regarding your summary of my magic system, I think you may have misread it. Your spark remains active for the duration of the encounter unless something causes it to fizzle out (in which case you need to activate it again). Here's how its supposed to go:
    1. Activate Your Spark: Roll and action to do so. May be done before combat or during a surprise round (if applicable). Fairly easy check to make under most circumstances.
    2. On your turn, Cast Spell(s) during Combat: Use roll and action(s) to cast spell(s) you are capable of casting. Deduct the total mana spent from your mana reserve.
    3. Resolve effect of cast spell(s): As stated, each spell often resolves a saving throw or touch attack of some kind. If the spell failed, then resolve it during this step instead.


    More lengthy than vanacian casting? Absolutely. Complicated? Not really that much more complicated than making four or more iterative attacks with a melee or ranged weapon.

    All I did was alter the spell concentration mechanics a bit (by shifting them to the Magic skill and requiring to use said mechanic in order to cast a spell in the first place), adjust and standardize the DC's and their modifiers to compensate for this and other changes, and add an extra two steps to the casting process. One of those changes (activating your spark) only occurs once per combat unless you suffer from bad luck.

    If a piece of my homebrew appears to be more complicated then what you think, then there is usually a reason behind it. In this case, I can think of three reasons:
    1. I wanted to have a mechanical representation of fact that magic is inherently dangerous to use, even with proper training and experience. This adds a bit more tension to the casting of a spell Making the casting and maintaining of spells be dependent upon a skill and having the consequences of a failed spell result in a random effect that could possibly be harmful (or in rare cases, deadly) helps establish this quite well, even if in practice, the players will probably make most of the checks anyway.
    2. It adds additional weaknesses to casters and emphasizes weaknesses that already exists, which players and NPC's can take advantage of, and does so using mechanics already established in D&D (I just added on and tweaked it a bit). A caster is vulnerable during that brief time they do not have their spark activated and whenever they are casting a spell. If they are attacked or distracted while casting or actively maintaining a spell, then it makes the DC for casting the spell harder (or forces them to make another check at a harder difficulty in the case of maintaining a spell). This provides a concrete reason why casters need to be protected by marshals besides the fact that they are squishy, and can help encourage tactics and teamwork among the party.
    3. If there was a spell that prevents someone from activating their Spark (limited duration of course), then it adds a way to prevent spellcasters from even trying to cast a spell without having to bind and gag them, and confiscate their possessions all the time.

    Last edited by Durzan; 2018-06-09 at 02:31 PM.
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    Default Re: Homebrewing 101: Durzan's Philisophical Guide for Homebrew in 3.5e

    Breaking down the roles of each class simply allows me to see where they overlap, where each class excels, where each class has weaknesses, and so on. Ultimately the conclusion I came to when looking at the Core Classes was that:

    A. There are too many base classes, causing overcrowding of niches (Particularly in DPR and Support), and leading to the inevitable result of some classes proving to be more effective in certain roles than what they were originally designed for. You can easily cut the number of core classes down to 6 to 8, which allows each class to fill one or more roles without nearly as much overcrowding.
    B. There are too many classes that are spellcasters, which leads to the non-casting classes to feel underwhelming by comparison, because non-casters generally have less options in their arsenal than even lesser spellcasters. The solution to this is to either make all classes have spellcasting (I personally don't like this idea), give non-casters a somewhat bigger arsenal, or cut down on number of classes that rely on magic. In my homebrew mashup, I elected to do a combination of the last two options.
    C. The strengths and weaknesses of the classes are not always obvious, especially at higher levels. One way of fixing this is to add extra emphasis to the weaknesses and strengths of each class. No one class should be able to dominate a situation.
    I agree most strongly with C here. I don't really think that the balance problem was the presence of magic per se; there are many fixes around that make fighters (for example) perfectly reasonable without requiring magic to do it, and similar numbers of magic fixes. The classes were strong or weak no matter whether they had magic or not; the Paladin and Fighter are both tier 5, for example.

    Re: A; I agree insofar as an increasing number of classes makes the chances of an unbalanced class arising, but I don't think that an overlap in roles is necessarily bad, as long as the roles themselves are suitably controlled. The fact that both rogues and rangers can scout doesn't mean that one of them is too broadly powerful, and if the ranger were somewhat worse at scouting than the rogue, that would not be a sign that the rogue was unbalanced, as long as the ranger had other positive attributes.

    See, what I do is define the class role, come up with a mechanic that is functional (and interesting if I can help it), and then flesh out a specific theme of the class that fits with the intended niche of the class. Determining a class's role helps give me a baseline to work with and build off of... its a spring board for If you look at my Wheel of Time classes, the Commander fills the same charismatic support role of the Bard (and incidentally that of the Noble class from WoT) but does so in a completely different manner, through abilities that are designed around a theme of tactical leadership, rather than through a theme of performance and wit. (Note, that thread may be a bit out of date)
    I looked at the Commander, and I actually don't it that much. It's fine at what it does, but what it does isn't very interesting. Like the Bard, it's abilities basically boil down to throwing out some bonuses, and it doesn't do very much beyond that; in combat, it throws out a Battle Cry and maybe a Strategy, but what you do round-by-round is basically hitting people with its sword and stand near people to give Inspiring Presence. (Favor is pretty neat, though!). The Strategies themselves are cool tactical decisions with trade-offs, and could have been made more of a focus of the class, but they're overshadowed by Battle Cry.

    It's definitely effective while fitting in its role, but it feels as though the abilities and theme were fit to the need of "having a martial support class", rather than to fit the theme of "a character who directs and leads his allies".

    I think I largely agree with what you are saying here: Customization isn't always a need for a class.

    In my case however, base classes need some degree of customization, because there are going to be far fewer of them than what you find in Core. Adding customization allows the player to shift what kind of niche(s) he is trying to fill as well as add some uniqueness to the character build. IE, I essentially try to build what amounts to class archetypes into each base class when I can. This doesn't always happen, or works very well, but when it does, its awesome.

    An example of this is the thread where I turned the Paladin into a prestige class. I think you should be familar with it... as I recall you PEACHing it at least once. Also, my Assassin prestige class does something similar.
    Ironically, I think that there's an example of what I would call "bad" customization in your Paladin, in the Aura Powers- selecting them boils down to "what is more useful", rather than "what kind of paladin am I", and they have nearly-identical fluff, and you get all of them anyway over time.
    My one piece of homebrew: The Shaman. A Druid replacement with more powerlevel control.
    The bargain bin- malfunctioning, missing, and broken magic items.
    Spirit Barbarian: The Barbarian, with heavy elements from the Shaman. Complete up to level 17.
    The Priest: A cleric reword which ran out of steam. Still a fun prestige class suitable for E6.
    The Coward: Not every hero can fight.

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    Default Re: Homebrewing 101: Durzan's Philisophical Guide for Homebrew in 3.5e

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    When it comes to homebrewing, I think my philosophy is geared more towards developing individual pieces of homebrew rather than to .
    1. Individual changes that don't take the big picture into account might create new problems.
    2. The sentence seems to have ended midway.




    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    I count Realms of Chaos as my primary influencer. In a sentence, it's that
    It's better to do something interesting than something balanced.
    It's never fun for T5 classes to play with T1 classes. Even with serious GM cuddling, they'll feel evidently inferior.
    So, while balance is definitely not the only factor, it's not something that you can just throw out the window.

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    Default Re: Homebrewing 101: Durzan's Philisophical Guide for Homebrew in 3.5e

    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post
    BEGIN CLASS TRANSMISSION.

    [*snip*]
    In general, I very much support all stated goals. That said...

    Simplicity: This goal is next to impossible to achieve in classes that have no spellcasting, spell-like or supernatural abilities (and you can't nix those - the classic hero is someone w/o special powers that battles against the odds).

    Purpose: The core classes have a lot of overlapping. Corc-Wiz is the obvious, but also Barb-Fighter, the Ranger taking elements from Fighter-Rogue-Druid, and the Paladin taking from Fighter and Cleric. This calls for re-evaluation of what core classes you'd want in your game.

    Balance: It's easier to balance new classes that are designed in advance to give one another space in terms of roles and abilities, rather than work with the core 3e classes proposed by WotC.

    Living Classes: I definitely agree… except for mages, where a new SL is in practice more significant than any class feature could be, so on that specific point I could let it slide..

    Keep Things Interesting: This is manageable via rich ACFs and class variants.

    Fun: A clear separation between class mechanics and functionality is the way to do it. If you have a group with the core Cleric, Fighter and Paladin, then the group's paladin probably doesn't really bring anything new to the gaming table.

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    Default Re: Homebrewing 101: Durzan's Philisophical Guide for Homebrew in 3.5e

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    In general, I very much support all stated goals. That said...

    Simplicity: This goal is next to impossible to achieve in classes that have no spellcasting, spell-like or supernatural abilities (and you can't nix those - the classic hero is someone w/o special powers that battles against the odds).

    Purpose: The core classes have a lot of overlapping. Corc-Wiz is the obvious, but also Barb-Fighter, the Ranger taking elements from Fighter-Rogue-Druid, and the Paladin taking from Fighter and Cleric. This calls for re-evaluation of what core classes you'd want in your game.

    Balance: It's easier to balance new classes that are designed in advance to give one another space in terms of roles and abilities, rather than work with the core 3e classes proposed by WotC.

    Living Classes: I definitely agree… except for mages, where a new SL is in practice more significant than any class feature could be, so on that specific point I could let it slide..

    Keep Things Interesting: This is manageable via rich ACFs and class variants.

    Fun: A clear separation between class mechanics and functionality is the way to do it. If you have a group with the core Cleric, Fighter and Paladin, then the group's paladin probably doesn't really bring anything new to the gaming table.
    Thank you!
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    Default Re: Homebrewing 101: Durzan's Philisophical Guide for Homebrew in 3.5e

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    I looked at the Commander, and I actually don't it that much. It's fine at what it does, but what it does isn't very interesting. Like the Bard, it's abilities basically boil down to throwing out some bonuses, and it doesn't do very much beyond that; in combat, it throws out a Battle Cry and maybe a Strategy, but what you do round-by-round is basically hitting people with its sword and stand near people to give Inspiring Presence. (Favor is pretty neat, though!). The Strategies themselves are cool tactical decisions with trade-offs, and could have been made more of a focus of the class, but they're overshadowed by Battle Cry.

    It's definitely effective while fitting in its role, but it feels as though the abilities and theme were fit to the need of "having a martial support class", rather than to fit the theme of "a character who directs and leads his allies".
    Okay then, what would you suggest I do to make the class more interesting?

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Ironically, I think that there's an example of what I would call "bad" customization in your Paladin, in the Aura Powers- selecting them boils down to "what is more useful", rather than "what kind of paladin am I", and they have nearly-identical fluff, and you get all of them anyway over time.
    See, I've been meaning to add in a couple more Aura Powers, but I ran out of ideas. I wanted a few auras to play off the law/chaos alignments as well, but I couldn't think of additional abilities to tie to those alignments that weren't already covered in other Aura Powers.

    The Customizability of the Paladin is supposed to be in the Combat Tricks.
    Last edited by Durzan; 2018-06-13 at 05:07 PM.
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    When it comes to GMing, World-Building is one of the things that I do best, provided I have friends to bounce ideas off of.

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    Default Re: Homebrewing 101: Durzan's Philisophical Guide for Homebrew in 3.5e

    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post
    Okay then, what would you suggest I do to make the class more interesting?



    See, I've been meaning to add in a couple more Aura Powers, but I ran out of ideas. I wanted a few auras to play off the law/chaos alignments as well, but I couldn't think of additional abilities to tie to those alignments that weren't already covered in other Aura Powers.

    The Customizability of the Paladin is supposed to be in the Combat Tricks.
    Quotes merged because mobile. Typos may occur.

    For the commander, I'd move more towards support for Strategies- getting them earlier, and a feature or two relating to them, ex.
    Styles of Leadership: Choose one:
    -Lead from the Front: In any turn in which you make an attack, you may attempt to change your Strategy as a swift action instead of a standard action.
    -Direct from Behind: Your perspective gives you additional information about the changing battle. In any round in which you change your Strategy, the bonuses granted are stronger.

    I'd also add one, maybe two support abilities that can be used round after round. Ideally, the choices involved should be at least as good as hitting someone with an attack, and should involve at least as much decision making.
    Rally As a standard action, you may give up to four creatures within 60 ft a bonus to attack rolls, AC, and saving throws for one round. The bonus is +4, divided evenly among all affected creatures (round down).
    (assume this improves over time in some attack-like fashion, plus a qualitative upgrade somewhere).

    In exchange, I'd cut the passive and almost-passive abilities down.

    Re:paladin, Combat Tricks are absolutely a strong way of differentiating Paladins, and are definitely good customization. But I look at Aura powers, and I don't see why all the powers couldn't be given at once(okay, maybe the disease one for a "healing" paladin). It's not like you can use more than one at once, so it wouldn't give much raw power-just versatility.
    Last edited by aimlessPolymath; 2018-06-14 at 01:04 AM. Reason: Formatting
    My one piece of homebrew: The Shaman. A Druid replacement with more powerlevel control.
    The bargain bin- malfunctioning, missing, and broken magic items.
    Spirit Barbarian: The Barbarian, with heavy elements from the Shaman. Complete up to level 17.
    The Priest: A cleric reword which ran out of steam. Still a fun prestige class suitable for E6.
    The Coward: Not every hero can fight.

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    Default Re: Homebrewing 101: Durzan's Philisophical Guide for Homebrew in 3.5e

    Hey, AP!

    I got some new homebrew to be critiqued; this time its Illnoran Weapons!


    I modified crossbows a bit, effectively making all Illnoran Crossbows repeating crossbows with improved ranges.

    I also introduced a new set of weapons: Disque Launchers!

    Hopefully the changes are both simple, creative, and interesting.
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    Default Re: Homebrewing 101: Durzan's Philisophical Guide for Homebrew in 3.5e

    There's a lot to be said about the philosophy to homebrew (which is a tad different to the philosophy of balancing), and a lot has been said already.

    One thing I'd like to underline is how frequently both flavor and numbers are numbers are binded together. Meaning that reasoning to differentiate something are mixed between a backstory and game rules.
    For me; this exemplified by things such as: A ranger and a Fighter firing a bow, or a wizard and a sorcerer casting the same spell, or the no-difference of arcane and divine criteria (but still different casting lists), and more.


    @aimlessPolymath: You mentioned 'fixes' for non-spellcasters to bring them to par with spellcasters without the use for spells. Any which you recommend?

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