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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Jan 2012

    Default Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    I was sad that there's still no 4th Edition retro-clone. There's plenty of games and SRDs that seek to take 4E's ideas and improve upon them, but none that seek to clone the game as it is.

    Orcus is my attempt to cobble together the 4E ruleset from existing System Reference Documents: 3.5, 5E, 13th Age and Pathfinder (1 and 2).

    The current sections I've assembled are:
    • Orcus Rulebook (PDF, Markdown)
    • Orcus Player Options (races, skills, feats, equipment, magic items, prestige classes, epic classes) (PDF, Markdown)
    • Classes and Powers (PDF, Markdown)
    • Orcus Monsters (PDF, Markdown)
    • Orcus Advanced Options (poisons, diseases, artifacts, rituals) - coming soon
    • Orcus Open Game License (PDF)

    I'll release these sections one by one, and am interested in any feedback and thoughts you have.

    I'd also like to know where else I should be posting to reach people who might be interested.

    The main thing that's missing from Orcus is (base) classes. Designing even a single class is a big job, and I don't think I know enough about the system to do it. But I'd love any contributions, or even a collaborative effort to write some classes together.

    (I don't have quite enough posts to post links, but I'll set them to proper links once I've posted a few more times).
    Last edited by Sanglorian; 2021-04-07 at 03:54 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    I only took a really fast pass, but it looks like the mechanics are the same with a couple terms renamed. It was a really fast pass, so if there were more substantive changes, I haven't had time to catch them.

    What kind of product are you hoping to make?
    1. 4e, minimal changes
    2. 4e, but a different set of customization options (races, classes, etc)
    3. Fixes major problems of 4e
    4. 4e with some major changes
    5. Something clearly inspired by 4e, but different enough to really be its own game
    6. Somewhere in between


    Knowing what kinds of changes are acceptable will affect the kind of feedback you'll get. I think you're shooting for (2), but I thought it would be best to check. I had started a (3) a while back, but then the solutions started lending themself more towards a (4), so this also affect which parts I can offer to you to cannibalize.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Powerdork's Avatar

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    I've reviewed the document, and my thoughts (approaching this from the perspective of a 4e clone) are below. I do think that 4e is a good game with some presentation issues, and I've been working on my own hack to make it more palatable, so thoughts from that might be mixed in. It's up to you whether or not you want them.

    Spoiler: Nitpicks.
    Show
    Can you make the terminology more friendly to hex and other sorts of play by referring to spaces, or is there some reason you chose to make it squares instead of spaces?

    Range doesn't account for the very real possibility that you'd need to touch someone without a weapon to use a power on them; lay on hands and other similar effects. 4e's monk powers are Melee touch for a reason.

    If I were writing 4e today, and making a starter set, I'd have a rule that your attack bonus is whatever modifier a power states; then, I'd have a general rule of gaining levels: You always add half your character level to a check or attack. (If this is a 4e clone, I'm curious what it means that you add ability modifiers to saving throws, at the beginning when describing what you use ability modifiers on.)
    I'd also do something not unlike Magic: The Gathering for hit points; every character has a 'toughness', and if they have more damage accumulated than half their toughness, they're staggered, and if they have damage equal to or greater than their toughness marked, they begin dying. It's more intuitive in how healing works, since healing can only remove damage it can't give you more hit points than you could reasonably hold.

    Initiative is a Dexterity check, so it's not worth calling out separately from ability checks, except maybe as: "Ability checks, such as initiative checks."

    I see the Surprise section is written as if you're doing the 5e thing of "movement isn't an action".

    Your Help action is interesting because it makes it so at a certain point everyone is guaranteed able to help, and it is never a hindrance for a low-attack-bonus character to spend an action trying to boost the attack of a higher-level creature with more damaging actions.
    4e's errata implemented a change to how aid works from the release PHB. I think I have a similar rule here: When you try to help someone, you make a roll as if you were going to perform an action, but the DC is 10 + half their level (so it's harder to help more competent characters than you, especially characters with a full tier on you; the errata rule bases it on your own level, making it so you're always effectively level 1 for the purposes of helping others, which can be dissatisfying). If you succeed, you give them +2 on their next roll of the same type. If you fail, you give -1 instead.
    To limit how much attack bonus and penalty can be inflicted, only four creatures can help at a time (so from -4 to +8 on a roll from help). I think that's a reasonable limit to put on it.


    I'd love to give this a copy edit pass when it's approaching completion, to catch unreplaced instances of Close, for instance. We could discuss rates then, I suppose.

    Spoiler: In response to class concerns in thread
    Show
    When designing a class, you must consider its role (what it does: heal and support, damage and debilitate widely, damage and debilitate in a focused manner, or draw aggro) and its power source (how it goes about the role). Both of these are expressed primarily in the powers (the keywords they tend to have, the types of attacks they make, the shapes of those attacks), and secondarily in the chassis (offensive statistics, measured in weapon proficiency and shield proficiency, or implement proficiency; defensive statistics, measured in hit point progression, healing surges, and armour proficiency) and class features (every defender has its own take on a mark, every leader can use a minor action to heal an ally or themself twice in a fight, every striker has bonus damage and except for the sorcerer needs to meet a condition to use it, and I'm sure you can find the thing controllers do).

    Power source considerations (breaks from which are notable): No martial class has worse than leather armour proficiency and 5 hit points per level and all of them use weapons instead of focuses, every divine class has two Channel Divinity prayers and holy symbol proficiency (invoker is a black mage sort, so uses rods), every psionic class has power points (monk is exceptional), every primal character uses weapons or a totem.

    Every class but two or three has a class feature selection, which influences the powers they prefer and the ability scores they depend on. Bards champion virtues, sorcerers' essences are touched by magical beings, swordmages know an aegis spell that influences how they engage with someone in battles, and wizards have arcane implement mastery.

    Further, class identity is expressed chiefly in power options, because it's what you can do. Paladin encounter attacks are smites, clerics have cure wounds utility prayers, every barbarian daily attack is a rage, and so on.



    I hope this helps in any way, however limited.
    Last edited by Powerdork; 2021-03-05 at 03:31 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaeda View Post
    What kind of product are you hoping to make?
    1. 4e, minimal changes
    2. 4e, but a different set of customization options (races, classes, etc)
    3. Fixes major problems of 4e
    4. 4e with some major changes
    5. Something clearly inspired by 4e, but different enough to really be its own game
    6. Somewhere in between


    Knowing what kinds of changes are acceptable will affect the kind of feedback you'll get. I think you're shooting for (2), but I thought it would be best to check. I had started a (3) a while back, but then the solutions started lending themself more towards a (4), so this also affect which parts I can offer to you to cannibalize.
    That's a great breakdown. I'm shooting for somewhere between 1 and 2. I want the game system to be compatible with 4E stuff, and present a mix of customisation options - replicating the 4e stuff where necessary (e.g. core races and basic feats).

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdork View Post
    I've reviewed the document, and my thoughts (approaching this from the perspective of a 4e clone) are below. I do think that 4e is a good game with some presentation issues, and I've been working on my own hack to make it more palatable, so thoughts from that might be mixed in. It's up to you whether or not you want them.
    Thank you, it certainly helps!

    I've kept square to distinguish from "space" as the number of squares that a creature or zone occupies.

    Hmm, interesting point on range. I'll take a look at how the monk handles cases like that.

    My bad, that reference to ability modifiers affecting saves is just baggage from the 5E SRD. Same with Surprise not accounting for move actions. I'll also clean up the Initiative discussion at that point too.

    Those are great class writing tips!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Some commentary

    Spoiler: Commentary
    Show

    Personalization
    Do you want the simplified 5-point alignment or the 3x3 grid from the other versions?
    I'm pretty sure that Aboleths are considered IP.

    Targetting
    Prefer Blast to Arc, Close to Near.
    I do like Far though.
    Dislike the "closest ally in the area" thing (and how 4e did healing powers), would prefer something like close 5 or ranged with a [Safe] tag.

    Power Effects
    4e uses [W] instead of dW.

    Summon
    It isn't clear what the condition is that causes the summoner to lose a recovery. That sentence is not connected to the previous one.

    I agree with Powerdork that Hex rules would be nice.

    Your Turn
    Swift Actions and Free Actions should be subsections.
    The sample actions sections seem kind of out of place without samples for Standard and Move actions.

    Outside of Your Turn
    Is there a difference between immediate interrupts and reactions?
    In 4e opportunity attacks are separate from immediate actions
    Not clear that ranged attacks should proke opportunity attacks

    Rolling a 1 or a 20
    In 4e, only 20s that would hit anyway are crits. If you would normally miss on a 20, you still hit, but it isn't a critical.

    Movement and position
    Change description of five-foot step to shift instead of move.
    I do like that you differentiate the action from the result; there was too much confusion on shift the action vs shift the movement.

    Healing
    4e had negative hit points, but I think moving to the 5e model is correct given that healing brings you to 0hp before applying the normal healing since this removes bookkeeping with the only real change being that it takes a massive blow to instakill you rather than accumulated damage.
    Agree with Powerdork that it might be better to track positive damage rather than lost hp.
    In that case, it might be better to rename temporary hit points to shield points or barrier points or something.


    Given that your goal is to be basically an open-source version of 4e I have called out spots where you have different behavior, even if I think the new version is better. I generally don't call out terminology changes unless I think the new version is more confusing than the original term since I presume those were a conscious decision for reasons (I assume generally for copyright fears).

    This might be a good time to rethink some of the classes, such as possibly splitting ranger into separate two-weapon fighter and ranged weapon specialists or having separate classes for different wizard schools. An abjurer (leader), conjurer (pet defender or single-target striker), enchanter/illusionist (controller), and evoker (area striker) could cover very different niches while serving to strengthen the identity of the Arcane power source (either through the spellbook power exchange, ritual casting, or cantrip utility powers).

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Thanks Jaeda! I've updated based on your and Powerdork's feedback.

    1. Five-point alignment is my preference
    2. Aboleths are safe, I think - they show up in the 3.5 SRD at least: d20srd.org/srd/monsters/aboleth.htm
    3. I picked up "arc" off another clone, Forerunner. I prefer blast too - I'll think about whether I can justify using it.
    4. I'll add some explanation to the section on targeting to explain that these are just some options for power writers.
    5. I picked up the dW notation from Forerunner again - I quite like it as an immediately familiar notation to anyone who's played other d20 System games. It also allows for options like TdW (tier weapon dice, i.e., 1[W] at level 1, 2[W] at level 11, 3[W] at level 21).
    6. Good point on the Summon text - have cleaned up.
    7. I would like to keep the difference between interrupts and reactions, but I couldn't find that language anywhere other than 4e. Maybe "counter actions" for immediate interrupts and "reactions" for immediate reactions?
    8. My understanding was that ranged attacks provoke opportunity attacks - is that not the case in 4e?
    9. I'll fix critical hits so they need to have hit anyway to be crits, and fix the wording around Five-Foot Step.
    10. Good catch on the negative hit points thing. I like the 5e model, but I do want this SRD to be totally faithful so I've fixed that. But I have kept the 5e model in as a variant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaeda View Post
    This might be a good time to rethink some of the classes, such as possibly splitting ranger into separate two-weapon fighter and ranged weapon specialists or having separate classes for different wizard schools. An abjurer (leader), conjurer (pet defender or single-target striker), enchanter/illusionist (controller), and evoker (area striker) could cover very different niches while serving to strengthen the identity of the Arcane power source (either through the spellbook power exchange, ritual casting, or cantrip utility powers).
    Definitely a good opportunity for a re-think. I've been doing some thinking of my own, particularly about how characters could gain powers since I don't want to write hundreds of them! Would welcome any thoughts people had.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Thoughts from my side,
    • Your stacking rule starts with "in most cases". It would be clearer to explicitly list the exceptions (I'm assuming there aren't many). You should perhaps qualify whether (e.g.) my bless spell and my ally's bless spell count as two separate "sources".
    • Your section on ability scores is unclear on the difference between ability checks and skill checks. For instance, why is "hold your breath" not an Endure check, and why is checking for undeath not a Heal check. It seems to me that all common usages for ability scores should be skills, because it throws the math off otherwise (e.g. if riding a horse is a skill but riding a wagon is a straight dexterity check, then you suddenly need separate DC tables for both).
    • Under strength, the javelin is given as a sample melee weapon. Javelins are ranged.
    • Under intelligence, I am unclear why communicating without words and disguise are considered int checks instead of cha checks.
    • I've never heard anyone liking 4E's alignment system; I suggest either reverting to the 3x3 grid, or dropping it entirely.
    • Targeting appears to make no distinction between close blast (cone) and close burst (aura).
    • To make gameplay more consistent, it would help if you have all powers last until the end of someone's turn; not interchangeably use the start or the end depending on which power.
    • It would help to have all "companion characters" (summons, animal companions, figurines of wondrous, and so forth) follow the same set of rules.
    • It would also help to have "damage type" and "tag" be the exact same thing. In 4E you can sometimes end up with a fire power that doesn't deal fire damage (or a non-fire power that does deal fire damage) and this distinction doesn't help gameplay.
    • You should clarify if teleportation can make you stop being prone.
    • You should clarify the interaction between dashing (move your speed +2) and being slowed (your speed is 2). Or for that matter, between powers that let you "move 6 squares" instead of "move your speed", and the slowed condition.
    • I think it's redundant to have both an immobilized and a restrained condition; and I think petrification is rare enough that it doesn't need to be in the condition list (considering e.g. sleeping isn't in the list, either).


    HTH.
    Last edited by Kurald Galain; 2021-03-09 at 08:14 AM.
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

    "I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums. I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that." -- ChubbyRain
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Ranged attacks do grant attacks of opportunity, but you didn't say that in the AoO section. In 5e only movement causes AoO.

    I think that you are going to be stuck rewriting some parts because they are sufficiently different from how both 3e and 5e does it and immediate actions is one of those things. My recommendation is keep the terms and then rewrite the sections about them from scratch without looking at the original definition.

    I feel like you are probably best served making some minor changes to clean up some things, like the dying rules or the alignment grid. The most important thing is that it feels like you are playing 4e even if the rules differ slightly.

    One possibility to reduce the number of powers that need to be written is to have some shared powers for each power source and then a couple specific powers for each class (especially ones that interact with their particular class features). This way, instead of having four powers of each level for each class you can have 4 powers for each source and then 2 powers for each class which will save you work as long as you have 3 or more classes for a given power source. This could also help reinforce the shared identity of a given power source. It would probably dilute the role of each class somewhat. You would also need to make sure that the class powers aren't strictly better or else it defeats the point of the shared pool.

    @Kurald: Actually, Javelins are melee weapons with the thrown property. This allows them to be used by Barbarians who aren't proficient with any ranged weapons.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaeda View Post
    @Kurald: Actually, Javelins are melee weapons with the thrown property.
    Looks like I'm confusing my editions I had forgotten that they count as melee weapons in 4E. I suggest, then, that they shouldn't count as melee weapons in Orcus, based on what a javelin actually is. If barbarians need to be able to throw something, well, fix that in the barbarian class.
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

    "I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums. I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that." -- ChubbyRain
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Thanks Kurald and Jaena! I'll get to your latest comments over the next few days, but in the meantime I wanted to share the next section:

    I've updated the first post with a link to the latest section - and likely the biggest one: Player Options. You can also get the PDF here: github.com/Sanglorian/orcus/raw/main/Orcus%20Player%20Options%20-%20current.pdf

    It contains:

    * 12 races
    * 2 prestige classes
    * 1 epic class
    * All skills
    * A bunch of feats
    * Lots of basic equipment
    * Some magic items

    I would welcome your feedback! A lot of the content is cloned from the original game or brought in from other OGL 4e-based games, but there's also some original material there - particularly prestige classes and magic items. I'd love any feedback on those elements in particular, but also on layout, approach, whether I've got a representative sample of the content, etc.
    Last edited by Sanglorian; 2021-03-09 at 10:28 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanglorian View Post
    I would welcome your feedback! A lot of the content is cloned from the original game or brought in from other OGL 4e-based games, but there's also some original material there - particularly prestige classes and magic items.
    Could you list what, specifically, you're changing? This is a pretty long document and at first glance it looks pretty much the same as 4E's PHB; I'd rather not manually compare 60 pages with the equivalent PHB1 content to figure out what's new or different.

    Also, what exactly is the difference between dragonborn and lizardfolk? Since you've combined elf and eladrin, why separate these? And as written, the new lizardfolk aren't an interesting race (they get an MBA as racial power; so what? Everybody has an MBA).
    I've never heard of "whoms" before, I take it that's from your personal campaign world? I'd expect lots of "whom's on first" jokes from that.
    Finally, bear in mind that the human "+4" power is much stronger than most other racial powers, and pretty similar in flavor and effect as the elven reroll and the 1000 lifetimes power. I suggest toning that down or removing it; the only reason it exists is because of E-classes (and you don't seem to have those so far).
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

    "I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums. I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that." -- ChubbyRain
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Powerdork's Avatar

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    On the wood elf racial power: You're establishing firstly that conditional triggers are listed alongside range, secondly that powers with triggers are universally and without fail optional to use (or else elves automatically reroll the first attack roll they make after a rest, every time; or powers that are mandatory when their triggers are met must specify this every time), and thirdly that elves are so renowned in archery that they can reroll their melee attacks. Do I have the right of it?

    On halflings and other small races: I've found that the effect small size has on weapon use is, in effect, having only one hand. I'm not convinced that needs to be a thing, or that it needs to be expressed the way you'd first think. What are your thoughts on it?

    Tieflings: Something that I've run into is the in-elegance of templating that arises from adding half a character's level to things that aren't d20 rolls. Something I've considered, and you might consider too, is to replace "+ (level/2)" with something like ("level-adjusted"), and possibly including that in attack lines (like) so when it's excluded (I can think of things that aren't especially level-adjusted, like holy water attacks) it doesn't have players questioning what the deal is.

    Dragon breath: Is this meant to be a physical ability modifier + 2, or a physical ability modifier (instead +2 if you've got bad physical abilities)?

    On races generally: I'm not one for imposing genre on games that don't need it, but with d20-pattern stuff, this is a game that really, really needs it. 4e did the smoothest job of being clear what it means to be a Dungeons & Dragons character, by laying out suggestions on how the world is. There are long histories, with fallen empires and dungeons to loot; there are hazards the world over, and survival is a miracle to be celebrated; there are dark forces that wish ill upon the people of the realm, and your PC is supposed to go fight it. Attempts to run D&D crumble when player characters don't have sufficient buy-in, stakes that matter to them and push them to do an adventure, which is really limiting in the kind of threats that can be fielded. The tone of the game needs to be supported by the mechanics, and the mechanics need a setting to be cast against.

    Orcs. This is where I hope you've done your reading in light of developments surrounding D&D and other fantasy games, but if you haven't, it's worth remembering that no art fails to inform the audience of the creator's politics (though the audience might fail to take notice). But if there's going to be a discussion, it's probably best held very carefully in the parent Roleplaying Games subforum, after a skim of other threads that may have come up.



    The class table seems to include bonus powers from prestige classes and epic classes. Should it? The overwhelming thing about the Page Twenty-Nine Table is that it presents absolutely everything all at once in a very dense space.

    If replacement is a thing, it's worth talking about the mechanisms of replacement. A token line like "When you reach a level that allows you to replace a power, you choose a class attack power you know of that kind and give it up, exchanging it for a power of the level you're gaining." would leave no doubt about what happens, but also leaves players to fend for themselves in regards to organizing the mess of powers they can pick when creating high-level characters. Reminder text of what levels of powers a character should have from their class (specifically, before prestige classes and whatnot) would be nice.

    One-Two Punch: Since you're not specifying targets, is it safe to assume the secondary attack can be against anyone?
    Fast Learner: What's the silliest feat you can think of to gain temporary access to? Limited uses of abilities are a concern with abilities like this, see how wordy Pathfinder's brawler is. Also, this is a Hit effect but there's no attack.

    Trusty Action: I like this sort of design.

    Immortality: Even knowing how epic destinies work in 4e, it still threw me when I glimpsed this part of Agent Retriever.
    Interplanar Contingencies: Gear matters (the fact you wrote Appropriation says as much), and this ability should account for it in some way, especially given gear might grant access to non-attack powers. Does the new body count as having access to gear?

    Skills: I stopped reading here about eight or ten words into Aid Another. I like fan efforts, and helping them be better, which is why some things feel all the more bitter when I keep coming across them, and my enthusiasm and vigour vanishes.
    You aren't beholden to the whims of an editor, or a project lead, or a style manual. There are more than two types of existence, and the language you use should reflect that.
    Ne/nem/nir pronouns.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaeda View Post
    One possibility to reduce the number of powers that need to be written is to have some shared powers for each power source and then a couple specific powers for each class (especially ones that interact with their particular class features). This way, instead of having four powers of each level for each class you can have 4 powers for each source and then 2 powers for each class which will save you work as long as you have 3 or more classes for a given power source. This could also help reinforce the shared identity of a given power source. It would probably dilute the role of each class somewhat. You would also need to make sure that the class powers aren't strictly better or else it defeats the point of the shared pool.
    This will save you a heap of work. Powers can also be shared across roles. At it's simplest, a battlemind, a fighter, a swordmage and a warden can happily share "I hit it with my weapon and mark it"

    Or controller power "Conjure wall" define the shape, size duration etc.
    When wizards take the power they choose what damage it does - fire, electricity, cold etc
    Druids may have it be thorny plants which do damage to anyone passing through or stone which can't be passed
    Involkers walls are made of positive or negative energy and do the appropriate damage
    And psions do psychic damage

    And there's nothing wrong with a sorcerer and a warlock sharing "I shoot it with magic fire". Even a Cleric and a wizard could get in on this if you have controllers using class features to get at least some of their job done rather than rely on their powers

    In fact, the more you can make class features do the heavy lifting the less work you have to do

    An if you have "Power features" and "Role features" you'd be starting to have classes defined by where they sit. 8 features partially describing 16 classes (4 roles times 4 sources)
    Last edited by Duff; 2021-03-13 at 12:30 AM.
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Could you list what, specifically, you're changing? This is a pretty long document and at first glance it looks pretty much the same as 4E's PHB; I'd rather not manually compare 60 pages with the equivalent PHB1 content to figure out what's new or different.

    Also, what exactly is the difference between dragonborn and lizardfolk? Since you've combined elf and eladrin, why separate these? And as written, the new lizardfolk aren't an interesting race (they get an MBA as racial power; so what? Everybody has an MBA).
    I've never heard of "whoms" before, I take it that's from your personal campaign world? I'd expect lots of "whom's on first" jokes from that.
    Finally, bear in mind that the human "+4" power is much stronger than most other racial powers, and pretty similar in flavor and effect as the elven reroll and the 1000 lifetimes power. I suggest toning that down or removing it; the only reason it exists is because of E-classes (and you don't seem to have those so far).
    Sure thing! The changed stuff is effectively the new content: the whom and lizardfolk races, the weapon master and prince of shadows prestige paths, the agent retriever epic path, and the magic items.

    I don't see dragonborn and lizardfolk as particularly similar - one being an elemental, draconic race and the other animalfolk. They haven't been combined in other editions, whereas 4e is the only edition that spun out high elves into their own thing. But I'd absolutely like to make lizardfolk more interesting if you had any suggestions, or to cut them if they're not pulling their weight.

    I do want to keep compatibility with e-classes, but I'll change the human racial power to make it an alternative rule rather than a default option to indicate that it's not preferable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdork View Post
    On the wood elf racial power: You're establishing firstly that conditional triggers are listed alongside range, secondly that powers with triggers are universally and without fail optional to use (or else elves automatically reroll the first attack roll they make after a rest, every time; or powers that are mandatory when their triggers are met must specify this every time), and thirdly that elves are so renowned in archery that they can reroll their melee attacks. Do I have the right of it?
    Trigger appearing on the same line as range was just a problem with power formatting, which I think I've fixed now.

    I've clarified the Trigger entry in the rulebook to make it clear that it is optional to use the power.

    Elfshot is a reference to the arrowhead or spearhead shaped stones that are found from time to time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdork View Post
    On halflings and other small races: I've found that the effect small size has on weapon use is, in effect, having only one hand. I'm not convinced that needs to be a thing, or that it needs to be expressed the way you'd first think. What are your thoughts on it?
    I'm reluctant to change the core rules, but I'll update the guide to add a section saying GMs might want to remove the Small weapon rules if they like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdork View Post
    Tieflings: Something that I've run into is the in-elegance of templating that arises from adding half a character's level to things that aren't d20 rolls. Something I've considered, and you might consider too, is to replace "+ (level/2)" with something like ("level-adjusted"), and possibly including that in attack lines (like) so when it's excluded (I can think of things that aren't especially level-adjusted, like holy water attacks) it doesn't have players questioning what the deal is.
    If I understand you correctly, I think the problem with having a separate term for it is that sometimes level-adjusted will mean +level, and sometimes it'll mean +half-level. But I do find "(level/2)" clumsy ... I've changed it to "+ half your level" for now as I think that flows better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdork View Post
    Dragon breath: Is this meant to be a physical ability modifier + 2, or a physical ability modifier (instead +2 if you've got bad physical abilities)?
    Good point - I've rephrased to "(Highest of Strength, Constitution, Dexterity) +2 vs Reflex" for now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdork View Post
    Orcs. This is where I hope you've done your reading in light of developments surrounding D&D and other fantasy games, but if you haven't, it's worth remembering that no art fails to inform the audience of the creator's politics (though the audience might fail to take notice). But if there's going to be a discussion, it's probably best held very carefully in the parent Roleplaying Games subforum, after a skim of other threads that may have come up.
    Yes, good point. The half-orc text is copy-pasted from the 5e SRD, so I've just deleted any description of half-orc alignment from the text altogether at this point. Would be good to include a sensitive discussion of this topic at some point, but in the meantime at least I can leave it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdork View Post
    The class table seems to include bonus powers from prestige classes and epic classes. Should it? The overwhelming thing about the Page Twenty-Nine Table is that it presents absolutely everything all at once in a very dense space.

    If replacement is a thing, it's worth talking about the mechanisms of replacement. A token line like "When you reach a level that allows you to replace a power, you choose a class attack power you know of that kind and give it up, exchanging it for a power of the level you're gaining." would leave no doubt about what happens, but also leaves players to fend for themselves in regards to organizing the mess of powers they can pick when creating high-level characters. Reminder text of what levels of powers a character should have from their class (specifically, before prestige classes and whatnot) would be nice.
    Great point about the table. I've made an alternative version, which I've put in an appendix, that shows powers by level that characters of a particular level are entitled to. I've also called out powers from paragon and epic paths.

    And that's helpful replacement text too - I've put that straight in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdork View Post
    One-Two Punch: Since you're not specifying targets, is it safe to assume the secondary attack can be against anyone?
    Fast Learner: What's the silliest feat you can think of to gain temporary access to? Limited uses of abilities are a concern with abilities like this, see how wordy Pathfinder's brawler is. Also, this is a Hit effect but there's no attack.
    One-Two Punch: Good catch - have clarified it's against the same target.
    Fast Learner: Well worth considering. I think it's okay, but I'll keep an eye on it. And good eye on "Hit" too -- I've fixed that to Effect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdork View Post
    Immortality: Even knowing how epic destinies work in 4e, it still threw me when I glimpsed this part of Agent Retriever.
    I've added a bit more text around it which hopefully makes it less forceful and out of place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdork View Post
    Interplanar Contingencies: Gear matters (the fact you wrote Appropriation says as much), and this ability should account for it in some way, especially given gear might grant access to non-attack powers. Does the new body count as having access to gear?
    I didn't even think of that! I've clarified that yes, it does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdork View Post
    Skills: I stopped reading here about eight or ten words into Aid Another. I like fan efforts, and helping them be better, which is why some things feel all the more bitter when I keep coming across them, and my enthusiasm and vigour vanishes.
    You aren't beholden to the whims of an editor, or a project lead, or a style manual. There are more than two types of existence, and the language you use should reflect that.
    Thank you for pointing that out - I've gone through and I think I've caught all of those, and changed them to "they, their, them". I'll keep an eye out as I go through to see if there's any others.

    And I'm sorry that cost you your enthusiasm and vigour - I'm very grateful for the feedback you provided.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    This will save you a heap of work. Powers can also be shared across roles. At it's simplest, a battlemind, a fighter, a swordmage and a warden can happily share "I hit it with my weapon and mark it"

    Or controller power "Conjure wall" define the shape, size duration etc.
    When wizards take the power they choose what damage it does - fire, electricity, cold etc
    Druids may have it be thorny plants which do damage to anyone passing through or stone which can't be passed
    Involkers walls are made of positive or negative energy and do the appropriate damage
    And psions do psychic damage

    And there's nothing wrong with a sorcerer and a warlock sharing "I shoot it with magic fire". Even a Cleric and a wizard could get in on this if you have controllers using class features to get at least some of their job done rather than rely on their powers

    In fact, the more you can make class features do the heavy lifting the less work you have to do

    An if you have "Power features" and "Role features" you'd be starting to have classes defined by where they sit. 8 features partially describing 16 classes (4 roles times 4 sources)
    Yes, all good points - thank you! I'm definitely thinking about how to make pools of powers available between classes - whether they're shared by role or power source or both or something else entirely I haven't figured out yet!

    One thing that worries me is that some classes seem to take their role from their powers, and others seem to mostly take their role from their features. Would wizards and sorcerers sharing arcane attacks mean they both end up controllery, for example?

    ---

    EDIT: Sorry Kurald, I forgot about your earlier post! Will work through it tonight and post a reply tomorrow.
    Last edited by Sanglorian; 2021-03-13 at 05:16 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanglorian View Post
    I do want to keep compatibility with e-classes, but I'll change the human racial power to make it an alternative rule rather than a default option to indicate that it's not preferable.
    Thinking about it, maybe it should be that a human character gains an extra at-will (as in the PHB1) but only if your class doesn't have at-wills then instead you gain heroic effort. Because for O-classes, the PHB1 human was already a plenty strong and desirable option before HOFL gave it the single best racial power.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanglorian View Post
    One thing that worries me is that some classes seem to take their role from their powers, and others seem to mostly take their role from their features. Would wizards and sorcerers sharing arcane attacks mean they both end up controllery, for example?
    I think the answer is "It depends"
    Spoiler: Example shared power
    Show

    EG "Icebolt" would be a ranged ice damage spell. Available to Arcane classes , Druids and Clerics

    Sorcerer's and Warlocks class features turns it into striker damage

    Clerics have their perks through features and (probably) don't need any extra. Ditto Sword Mages

    Wizards either:
    - accept that it's a weaker power in their hands, but it gives them the single target they might want. Probably not ideal
    - Have a class feature that makes it controllery - EG, "Once per turn, a single target hit by a ranged attack suffers an effect based on the damage type. Ice causes Slow until end of target's next turn". This is that whole "More work in the feature = less work on powers"
    - Have a rider in the power "Wizards can push the target of this spell 1 square+ Int modifier

    And Druids would be like wizards but maybe
    - Rider - If a druid hits an enemy with this power, their animal companion can consider the target flanked until the end of the next round
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanglorian View Post
    One thing that worries me is that some classes seem to take their role from their powers, and others seem to mostly take their role from their features. Would wizards and sorcerers sharing arcane attacks mean they both end up controllery, for example?
    That just means that the controllery wizard spells shouldn't be shared.

    The idea is that in 3E games, you can shout "Fireball" and the players immediately know how to react, what save to roll, and so forth. That is fun. In 4E that doesn't work; if a character or monster does a burst of fire, then people basically don't react and you'll have to look up what this particular burst of fire does. Is it ref or fort? Low damage or high? Does it target allies? Cause a status effect? Nobody knows.

    That is why it's good to share a couple of iconic spells. Not a lot of spells, certainly not all spells for a class.
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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Reading through has been slow going and I've been busy with exams and projects (grading them, not taking them). I have at least gotten through the races though.

    Spoiler: Races
    Show
    • General: Given the current cultural environment, you might want to pick a different name for this section, like Ancestry. This also opens you up to have other settings where this part is filled more by culture than by genetics (so for example a human from Rohan and one from Gondor could be different).
    • General: Dwarves and Elves is actually a non-standard plural (started by Tolkien and copied in D&D). The correct English plural is dwarfs and elfs (as can be seen in Narnia and Discworld). Given that you are renaming stuff, I thought you should know.
    • In 4e Dwarves don't actually have a racial power; theirs is a modification on Second Wind instead. 4e Dwarves also get a defense boost.
    • I concur that Elfshot is a weird name for an ability that affects melee attacks.
    • Lightning Hide has an alternate reading of having electric skin. I strongly recommend picking a different name.
    • Spirited Away isn't really a good name either; it suggests teleporting or plane shifting.
    • Whoms
      • I presume this is supposed to be pronounced like wombats. It still beats out Inspired as the worst race name.
      • I haven't seen any published races with a burrow speed. I can imagine a bunch of ways to use this for dungeon bypass purposes.
      • I'll admit I misread it as Lightning Quip instead of Lightening Quip. I have no idea why a race of anthro wombats have an ability to cheer. It's also a pretty powerful ability. None of the other races have a daily power as a racial.
      • I feel like with your stated goal of having a 4e clone that original content like this should be a separate supplement rather than being mixed in with the traditional content.
    • Lizardfolk
      • I'm not sure why they can whistle.
      • Poisonous nip is both really weak, and again I'm not sure that I've seen any races with at-will powers. It also doesn't really match with how lizardfolk have generally been portrayed in D&D.




    As before, I'm calling out where you deviate from 4e without passing judgement on whether it is the correct move or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    That just means that the controllery wizard spells shouldn't be shared.

    The idea is that in 3E games, you can shout "Fireball" and the players immediately know how to react, what save to roll, and so forth. That is fun. In 4E that doesn't work; if a character or monster does a burst of fire, then people basically don't react and you'll have to look up what this particular burst of fire does. Is it ref or fort? Low damage or high? Does it target allies? Cause a status effect? Nobody knows.

    That is why it's good to share a couple of iconic spells. Not a lot of spells, certainly not all spells for a class.
    That's actually raises a really good point. The more powers are shared, the quicker turns can be because everyone knows what's going on. That applies to iconic spells like fireball, but also to any new iconic powers.
    If every defender has the power "Thump" which hits for [W] and marks.
    Your new battlemeind says "I Thump it". Immediately, everyone at the table knows what's going on even if they never played (with) a battlemind before.
    The rogue is checking how battlemind enforcement of marks work to look at moving to flank
    The wizard knows that if Thump hits, they are wanting to leave the battlemind and the target together, so that wall will need to go somewhere else
    The Warlord knows they can move in close to do that healing with less chance of getting hit.

    Or the new iconic "Icebolt" from above (and assuming riders get added to the spell by class feature)

    Swordmage - "I'm going to Icebolt the blue one" - everyone knows there's nothing to see here, they keep planning their move because its just damage
    Wizard - "I'm going to Icebolt the blue one again." At first, people will need to be reminded or look up how wizard's ice spells work.

    But it's easier to remember "Wizards cold-type spells slow for a round" and apply that to Icebolt, Ice ball, Frosty's Cheesy Snowstorm and wall of ice, rather than "Ice bolt slows for a round, Ice ball immobilises for 1 turn, Snowstorm causes blindness and wall of ice just does damage"
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    This is a very cool project!

    I agree that consolidating powers and enforcing a correlation between tags and effect types would have been an improvement in 4e.

    I know that you want to emulate the rules as closely as possible, but as a DM, my biggest bookkeeping nightmare in 4e was having both powers that end on the target's turn and powers that end on the caster's turn. (Also, beginning of turn versus end of turn.) Simply settling on one of the two would have streamlined our combats extremely. (And yes, I also play 3.5, which is essentially the tax return form of combat systems, but one of the great things about 4e is that it does combat intuitively.)

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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Double-posting because I have now taken the time to look over some of the material.

    Multiclassing

    Once thing that always bugs me about 4e is the multiclassing system. Not because of how it plays, but because of how it is presented. I do not feel it is necessary to have a separate feat for each class you could take, necessitating the inclusion of a new feat for each new class one introduces; a feat which reproduces much of the text of the other umpteen multiclass feats.

    A possible streamlining with no functional difference is as follows:

    • Each class has in its description a primary ability. If I recall correctly, that is already the case anyway.
    • Each class has a "multiclass" entry that specifies what one gains by multiclassing into that class.
    • There is a single feat, described below, instead of a thousand different ones.


    New feat: Multiclass [Class]
    As you take this feat, choose a class of which you are not already a member.
    Prerequisite: 13 in the chosen class's primary ability.
    Benefit: You count as the chosen class in addition to any classes of which you are already a member. In addition, you gain the benefits described in the chosen class's "multiclass" section.
    Special: You can take this feat multiple times, choosing a new class each time.

    Healing Surges
    I think the name "recovery" is too clunky for a term that you use a lot at the table. Maybe something snappier like "boost"?

    I also notice that your basic rules make no mention of minions. Is that something you want to reserve for the MM?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdork View Post
    prestige classes and epic classes.
    So, regarding your homebrew paragon and epic paths,

    One-two punch is essentially twin strike (by paragon tier your damage modifiers will be much bigger than your damage dice). The point of the L11 paragon powers is that they're noticeable, and getting twin strike at L11 is just not impressive. Other martial classes tend to also have doubletap encounter powers at a lower level. Speaking of Twin Strike, it probably works a bit too well with whirling dervish. Finally, a L20 daily that just hits a single creature is rather underpowered.

    For prince of shadows, trusty action probably shouldn't work with area effects; otherwise, people will combo it with e.g. an area effect stun. Also, you should clarify what a "sting in the tail" is. The path's L11 encounter power has the same problem as the weapon master. The L20 power is good but not level-20-good, so I'd suggest moving that to L11 instead. An immediate teleport that doesn't work when anybody sees you, that's so situational that it'll probably never come up. And the L16 power basically means half damage from opportunity attacks, which is fairly underwhelming.

    Agent retriever is decent, but the force bubble should be a daily given how strong it is; a tactical player will use it to lock half of the enemy forces out of combat, no roll required. Compare this to the various (pretty high level) wall powers wizards get.
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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Before I respond to you all, I wanted to share the latest update:

    Classes and Powers (PDF, Markdown)

    The prestige path and epic path sections you've seen before, so what's new is kits (my take on themes), classes and disciplines.

    Disciplines are sets of powers; when you have access to a discipline, you can choose from its powers when you level up. Since classes - and kits - give access to disciplines, it avoids having to write redundant powers for each class.

    Kits work similarly to themes, offering features at level 1 and usually later levels too, and by giving access to a discipline they give you more powers to choose from - just like a theme would. GMs can give every player character a kit, or require them to give up feats to do so - which would remove a fiddly part of character building for those who don't like picking feats every couple of levels.

    As always I'm interested in feedback on balance, but mostly at this point I'd like to know what you think of the concept and execution.

    --

    Responses

    Thanks all for your feedback! I've posted Orcus a few places, and so far this is the forum where I get the most detailed, particular feedback - which I need.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    So, regarding your homebrew paragon and epic paths,
    Spoiler
    Show
    One-two punch is essentially twin strike (by paragon tier your damage modifiers will be much bigger than your damage dice). The point of the L11 paragon powers is that they're noticeable, and getting twin strike at L11 is just not impressive. Other martial classes tend to also have doubletap encounter powers at a lower level. Speaking of Twin Strike, it probably works a bit too well with whirling dervish. Finally, a L20 daily that just hits a single creature is rather underpowered.

    For prince of shadows, trusty action probably shouldn't work with area effects; otherwise, people will combo it with e.g. an area effect stun. Also, you should clarify what a "sting in the tail" is. The path's L11 encounter power has the same problem as the weapon master. The L20 power is good but not level-20-good, so I'd suggest moving that to L11 instead. An immediate teleport that doesn't work when anybody sees you, that's so situational that it'll probably never come up. And the L16 power basically means half damage from opportunity attacks, which is fairly underwhelming.

    Agent retriever is decent, but the force bubble should be a daily given how strong it is; a tactical player will use it to lock half of the enemy forces out of combat, no roll required. Compare this to the various (pretty high level) wall powers wizards get.


    Good points. I'm not good at balance, so I appreciate your experience.

    1. I've strengthened one-two punch, giving it two attacks, and the following Hit: 2dW + Strength modifier damage and the target is dazed until the end of their next turn. If both attacks hit, the target is stunned until the end of their next turn.

    2. I've changed first blood to "Near burst 1, all enemies".

    3. I've changed Trusty Action to only apply to one attack in an area attack, and given some examples for the sting in the tail.

    4. I've made just desserts an immediate (react) action - do you think that lifts it up to L11 power? Similarly I've made the damage each turn for the L20 power, and added a miss effect. I've kind of merged the incorporeal effect into the L16 out of mind teleport, and removed the requirement that no one can see you. The L16 feature now means flanking you does not grant combat advantage.

    5. I've made force bubble a daily power.

    Quote Originally Posted by BettaGeorge View Post
    Double-posting because I have now taken the time to look over some of the material.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Multiclassing

    Once thing that always bugs me about 4e is the multiclassing system. Not because of how it plays, but because of how it is presented. I do not feel it is necessary to have a separate feat for each class you could take, necessitating the inclusion of a new feat for each new class one introduces; a feat which reproduces much of the text of the other umpteen multiclass feats.

    A possible streamlining with no functional difference is as follows:

    • Each class has in its description a primary ability. If I recall correctly, that is already the case anyway.
    • Each class has a "multiclass" entry that specifies what one gains by multiclassing into that class.
    • There is a single feat, described below, instead of a thousand different ones.


    New feat: Multiclass [Class]
    As you take this feat, choose a class of which you are not already a member.
    Prerequisite: 13 in the chosen class's primary ability.
    Benefit: You count as the chosen class in addition to any classes of which you are already a member. In addition, you gain the benefits described in the chosen class's "multiclass" section.
    Special: You can take this feat multiple times, choosing a new class each time.

    Healing Surges
    I think the name "recovery" is too clunky for a term that you use a lot at the table. Maybe something snappier like "boost"?

    I also notice that your basic rules make no mention of minions. Is that something you want to reserve for the MM?


    1. Great idea for multiclassing (which I'm calling dualclassing, at least for now). I've lifted that feat wholesale and added it in.

    2. I'll make a note of "boost" and see how I feel about it! I got recoveries from 13th Age - I like keeping the terminology consistent where possible.

    3. There'll definitely be "mooks", elites and "bosses" in the monster section!

    Quote Originally Posted by BettaGeorge View Post
    This is a very cool project!
    Spoiler
    Show
    I agree that consolidating powers and enforcing a correlation between tags and effect types would have been an improvement in 4e.

    I know that you want to emulate the rules as closely as possible, but as a DM, my biggest bookkeeping nightmare in 4e was having both powers that end on the target's turn and powers that end on the caster's turn. (Also, beginning of turn versus end of turn.) Simply settling on one of the two would have streamlined our combats extremely. (And yes, I also play 3.5, which is essentially the tax return form of combat systems, but one of the great things about 4e is that it does combat intuitively.)


    Thanks! A few people have mentioned it being tricky to keep track of power durations. I'll keep a range of options in the rules, but in the powers that I write I'll try to stick to "end of your next turn".

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaeda View Post
    Reading through has been slow going and I've been busy with exams and projects (grading them, not taking them). I have at least gotten through the races though.
    Spoiler: Races
    Show
    • General: Given the current cultural environment, you might want to pick a different name for this section, like Ancestry. This also opens you up to have other settings where this part is filled more by culture than by genetics (so for example a human from Rohan and one from Gondor could be different).
    • General: Dwarves and Elves is actually a non-standard plural (started by Tolkien and copied in D&D). The correct English plural is dwarfs and elfs (as can be seen in Narnia and Discworld). Given that you are renaming stuff, I thought you should know.
    • In 4e Dwarves don't actually have a racial power; theirs is a modification on Second Wind instead. 4e Dwarves also get a defense boost.
    • I concur that Elfshot is a weird name for an ability that affects melee attacks.
    • Lightning Hide has an alternate reading of having electric skin. I strongly recommend picking a different name.
    • Spirited Away isn't really a good name either; it suggests teleporting or plane shifting.
    • Whoms
      • I presume this is supposed to be pronounced like wombats. It still beats out Inspired as the worst race name.
      • I haven't seen any published races with a burrow speed. I can imagine a bunch of ways to use this for dungeon bypass purposes.
      • I'll admit I misread it as Lightning Quip instead of Lightening Quip. I have no idea why a race of anthro wombats have an ability to cheer. It's also a pretty powerful ability. None of the other races have a daily power as a racial.
      • I feel like with your stated goal of having a 4e clone that original content like this should be a separate supplement rather than being mixed in with the traditional content.
    • Lizardfolk
      • I'm not sure why they can whistle.
      • Poisonous nip is both really weak, and again I'm not sure that I've seen any races with at-will powers. It also doesn't really match with how lizardfolk have generally been portrayed in D&D.




    Thanks for the feedback!

    1. I'd been toying with "ancestry" instead of "race" after seeing Pathfinder 2 uses it, and this prompted me to make the switch. Agree it's more versatile - could even cover Numenera style "descriptors".

    2. I don't think dwarves get a defence bonus, just a bonus to saves against poison. "Rally" is just Orcus' equivalent of second wind.

    3. I'll change Elfshot to Careful Focus, Lightning Hide to Hide in a Flash and Spirited Away to Disappearing Act to avoid confusion.

    4. I'm keen to keep the homebrew ancestries in for a couple of reasons - firstly, while the rules are cloned faithfully the races/ancestries are the only game components that I expect to get the same treatment. Classes, powers, etc., are not going to necessarily have direct analogues with 4E originals. Secondly I want to invite other people's contributions, and I think having some existing homebrews in there will help with that.

    That said, I want what's there to be balanced and useful. I've changed the Lizardfolk to Vishyas (name adapted from an OGL race from Pathfinder) since the traits weren't particularly lizardfolky, and tried to strengthen their bite by making it a minor action usable once an encounter. Similarly I've limited the whom's burrow and given them a different power inspired by how wombats can get aggressive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Thoughts from my side,
    Spoiler
    Show

    • Your stacking rule starts with "in most cases". It would be clearer to explicitly list the exceptions (I'm assuming there aren't many). You should perhaps qualify whether (e.g.) my bless spell and my ally's bless spell count as two separate "sources".
    • Your section on ability scores is unclear on the difference between ability checks and skill checks. For instance, why is "hold your breath" not an Endure check, and why is checking for undeath not a Heal check. It seems to me that all common usages for ability scores should be skills, because it throws the math off otherwise (e.g. if riding a horse is a skill but riding a wagon is a straight dexterity check, then you suddenly need separate DC tables for both).
    • Under strength, the javelin is given as a sample melee weapon. Javelins are ranged.
    • Under intelligence, I am unclear why communicating without words and disguise are considered int checks instead of cha checks.
    • I've never heard anyone liking 4E's alignment system; I suggest either reverting to the 3x3 grid, or dropping it entirely.
    • Targeting appears to make no distinction between close blast (cone) and close burst (aura).
    • To make gameplay more consistent, it would help if you have all powers last until the end of someone's turn; not interchangeably use the start or the end depending on which power.
    • It would help to have all "companion characters" (summons, animal companions, figurines of wondrous, and so forth) follow the same set of rules.
    • It would also help to have "damage type" and "tag" be the exact same thing. In 4E you can sometimes end up with a fire power that doesn't deal fire damage (or a non-fire power that does deal fire damage) and this distinction doesn't help gameplay.
    • You should clarify if teleportation can make you stop being prone.
    • You should clarify the interaction between dashing (move your speed +2) and being slowed (your speed is 2). Or for that matter, between powers that let you "move 6 squares" instead of "move your speed", and the slowed condition.
    • I think it's redundant to have both an immobilized and a restrained condition; and I think petrification is rare enough that it doesn't need to be in the condition list (considering e.g. sleeping isn't in the list, either).


    HTH.


    1. Good point about stacking, I've made it unambiguous: they stack unless they have the same modifier.

    2. I think ability checks should really be limited to the times when there's no suitable skill. I agree quite a few of the examples could easily come under skills - so I've changed the wording and cut most of the examples.

    3. I actually quite like the five-point alignment system! But I'll add in a variant rule for the nine-point alignment system.

    4. Re "Targeting appears to make no distinction between close blast (cone) and close burst (aura).", "Arc" is the new term for blast - but perhaps I'm not describing it well or "arc" isn't descriptive enough?

    5. I'll clarify that teleportation does not stop you being prone.

    6. I've clarified how the slowed condition interacts with speed bonuses and penalties.

    7. I'll keep restrained for now - I like having conditions that are like other conditions (immobile in this case) but worse.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    I've updated Classes and Powers (PDF, Markdown). It now has:

    Three classes

    * The Swashbuckler, a Martial Striker (disciplines: Blades in the Dark, Rapier's Point)
    * The Commander, a Martial Leader (disciplines: Golden Lion, Angel's Trumpet)
    * The Mageblade, an Arcane Defender (disciplines: Veiled Moon, Elemental Flux)

    Four kits

    * Binds Familiar, giving you a familiar companion and access to the Strong Bidding discipline
    * Three multiclass kits, for the Swashbuckler, Commander and Mageblade

    Seven disciplines

    * Blades in the Dark, for tricky and cruel martial powers
    * Rapier's Point, for deft dueling martial powers
    * Strong Bidding, for arcane powers that work with familiars, summoned monsters and animal companions
    * Elemental Flux, for arcane powers that use the five energies of cold, lightning, thunder, acid and fire
    * Veiled Moon, for arcane powers that use force energy or teleportation
    * Golden Lion, for martial powers involving tactics or teamwork
    * Angel's Trumpet, for martial powers involving healing and inspiration

    As well as the two prestige paths and one epic path that were previously in the Player Options section.

    I think distributing powers based on disciplines, which can be shared between classes or picked up by other means, is a good solution to some of the problems discussed around writing hundreds of powers - but would be interested what others think!

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Apr 2014

    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Nice. Good to see another 4e clone in the works. I'll comment more after I'm caught up. I do find it amusing you're ending up with disciplines as I ended up with a similar approach myself. I ended up calling them power sets, but I can see the appeal in reusing the Path of War term. I've been aiming for fairly tightly themed set myself, such as Celerity (chained / combo actions) and Command (give allies actions). I'd be curious on how you were thinking of handling skill powers. I've been trying to leave the door open for them myself as they're already pretty tightly themed.

    I did find myself leaning toward a certain division between the thematic parts of a class and the role specific parts. You can see something like that in 4e with the slayer / knight divide, but I can definitely see the appeal in say being able to build something like an earlier edition abjurer with wizardly elements like a spellbook but a more defensive / protective focus. For that matter, a trickster style rogue focused to foiling enemies plans is also amusing. I'd be interested in seeing how you handle that. It looks like there are groups in there, though I don't know if those carry any mechnical benefits on their own yet.

    I also found myself looking for a common term for some of the more zoomed out character divisions, such as player character, minion, and solo. They kind of supercede class in that you could give a standard monster as class to make it elite but in doing go the monster would get a different set of traits from the class than a player character would. I figure you could loosen things up a bit more and make it easier to create say rogue minions. I ended up calling those character roles as I figured it would give me more legal leeway, but I'll be interested in seeing how you handle that.

    I will say I was a bit suprised to see the more stylistic / build options called subclasses. I figured you'd want to keep that term open for more mechanical distinctions like the above option of fitting multiple role options into a shared base class. I'd been leaning on calling those fighting styles myself.

    On a side note, glad to see you've been getting use out of Forerunner. I dug into that a bit myself and found it pretty useful.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Thinking about how to make the arcane power source work (Because I think it's the easiest one to fluff having the class features do the work)

    At each level, there's a number of "spells", some are daily, some encounter and some at-will.
    Each class can choose freely from the spell list.
    But also have some features

    Artificers - Probably most of the class features from 4e. maybe that's all or maybe they can put a spell they know into an item to allow an ally to cast it.
    Swordmage - mark and enforcement. maybe as in 4e, but could be as different as you want. Same for the defences. Give them an encounter power "when you cast a spell with a burst effect, mark all targets in the burst"
    Expect them to go long on weapon spells because they have the best weapons but pick up some area effects, and some ranged effects as well
    Warlock - Curse. When a cursed target is hit by one of your spells, they take damage of a type based on your patron. Boon based on patron. Get a skill based on patron. Encounter power to assert a control effect when you hit a cursed target. Maybe have the specific control effect also be based on patron, but could be a choice when the character is created. Maybe give a few options
    Sourcerer - Additional damage to all targets hit by a spell. may be either lower damage for multiple targets or more damage for singles. Damage type based on bloodline. Extra damage if the spell already uses that element
    Wizard - Rider based on the type of damage - Fire does "Blast damage" into the surrounding squares. Amount of damage based on level. Cold causes a slow on the target until end of next turn. Poison is ongoing, save ends. Electricity causes the target to be easier to hit until end of next turn.

    etc - I'm out of time but might come back into this if it's helpful
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  27. - Top - End - #27
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Hi folks,

    A new section: Monsters. PDF and Markdown, as usual.

    This section boasts over 100 monsters, all thanks to the Open Game Content in Ultramodern4 and (some of) Goodman Games' 4E-compatible adventures. I'm very grateful for their generosity in putting their work under the Open Game License.

    It also includes a handful of templates, and limited rules for making your own monsters.

    --

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    Thinking about how to make the arcane power source work (Because I think it's the easiest one to fluff having the class features do the work)

    At each level, there's a number of "spells", some are daily, some encounter and some at-will.
    Each class can choose freely from the spell list.
    But also have some features

    Artificers - Probably most of the class features from 4e. maybe that's all or maybe they can put a spell they know into an item to allow an ally to cast it.
    Swordmage - mark and enforcement. maybe as in 4e, but could be as different as you want. Same for the defences. Give them an encounter power "when you cast a spell with a burst effect, mark all targets in the burst"
    Expect them to go long on weapon spells because they have the best weapons but pick up some area effects, and some ranged effects as well
    Warlock - Curse. When a cursed target is hit by one of your spells, they take damage of a type based on your patron. Boon based on patron. Get a skill based on patron. Encounter power to assert a control effect when you hit a cursed target. Maybe have the specific control effect also be based on patron, but could be a choice when the character is created. Maybe give a few options
    Sourcerer - Additional damage to all targets hit by a spell. may be either lower damage for multiple targets or more damage for singles. Damage type based on bloodline. Extra damage if the spell already uses that element
    Wizard - Rider based on the type of damage - Fire does "Blast damage" into the surrounding squares. Amount of damage based on level. Cold causes a slow on the target until end of next turn. Poison is ongoing, save ends. Electricity causes the target to be easier to hit until end of next turn.

    etc - I'm out of time but might come back into this if it's helpful
    Thank you - it is helpful! Would love to hear more ideas as you have them.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Hi folks --

    Another big release -- a big update to


    It consists of six new base classes:

    • Sylvan, a Spirit Striker
    • Reaper, a Spirit Controller
    • Jester, a Martial Controller
    • Crusader, a Divine Leader
    • Specialist Wizard, an Arcane Controller


    (As well as the three existing ones: Commander, Swashbuckler and Mageblade).

    There are now 21 disciplines, most with a full complement of powers level 1 to 29, 16 prestige paths and 6 epic paths.

    As with the Monsters section, I owe a big debt here to Ultramodern4 - one of the few 4E-compatible products under the Open Game License. I drew on it heavily for the new powers, prestige paths, epic paths and some new classes.

    --

    With this, I feel like the project is coming to the end of the beginning. I have one last section to go, Advanced Rules, with things like incantations, poisons, backgrounds, etc. I am also going to be making some changes to the ancestries section. After that, the game will be complete and stable enough for playtesting, reviewing, etc -- possibly even the creation of online compendiums and character builders and so on.

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