A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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

    I would look at changing mounts if you have the energy for it. Adding in some mechanism for the mount to use your health or pokeball back would make them much more common and useful in game. A feat like:

    Bounded Mount
    Your mount uses stats like a summon.
    You can spend a healing surge at the end of combat to return your mount to full health.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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

    Thanks folks! First up, I've added the final section of Orcus to Github: Advanced Rules. This includes:

    • Advanced Combat and Objects
    • Backgrounds
    • Incantations
    • Bonds (artifacts, group memberships, etc)
    • Traps
    • Poisons and Diseases


    PDF and Markdown on Github as always.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    No worries!

    Also, re commander
    "The first time in an encounter that you use a power from either the Angel's Trumpet, the Golden Lion or
    another discipline, you get a bonus. When you use a power from a different discipline, it changes the
    bonus you get - so you always only get one bonus.

    Tactician: After using a Golden Lion power, allies that are adjacent to you get a +1 bonus on attack rolls.
    Healer: After using an Angel's Trumpet power, allies that are adjacent to you get resistance to all damage
    2. Level 11: Resistance to all damage 4. Level 21: Resistance to all damage 6.
    Shocktrooper: After using a power from a different discipline, allies that are adjacent to you get a +1
    bonus on Fortitude, Reflex and Will defenses."


    Can I suggest instead
    "The first time in an encounter that you use a power, you gain a bonus based on the discipline. Once this bonus is in place, using a different discipline will change which bonus is granted.

    Golden Lion:, allies that are adjacent to you get a +1 bonus on attack rolls.
    Angel's Trumpet:, allies that are adjacent to you get resistance to all damage
    2. Level 11: Resistance to all damage 4. Level 21: Resistance to all damage 6.
    Any other discipline, allies that are adjacent to you get a +1
    bonus on Fortitude, Reflex and Will defenses."


    A few reasons for the suggested change -
    • I think it's clearer
    • The titles like Shocktrooper may be keywords you want to save to use somewhere else (unless it's important later or get's reused so adds value there). Basic principle of "Don't introduce new terms that don't add meaning"
    • Putting the name of the discipline at the start of the line is probably making it as quick as possible for hte player scanning the rules to see what they need. Either ""I have Angel's Trumpet, what does it do?" or "What's the difference between Golden Lion and Angel's Trumpet?"


    Also, for Mageblade, I suggest renaming "Special Bond" to "Key Weapon" for consistency and because (to me) Special Bond is a less appealing name for a power.
    Thanks! I've done both of these.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    And maybe to fill in some gaps for you

    Divine striker - Inquisitor. You could go 2 weays here - a relativly tough weapons based striker "My god protects me while I Smite their foes" or someone who brings the rains of fire and is probably a skinny ascetic looking type who might be a bit inclined to go off the rails

    For your divine defender, I think "Paladin" is the title you're looing for, both from history and D&D

    Your divine Controller might be a preist

    But if you want to steer clear of real world religious titles then you probably want your strikers to be "Harrier of X" where X is the god's name. Maybe "Warden of X" for the defender and "Speaker for X" as your leader and your controller would then be "Channeler of the will of X"
    I like Harrier, Speaker and Channeler. I also thought Theurge could be good, but might overlap with a Binder-style class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    I would look at changing mounts if you have the energy for it. Adding in some mechanism for the mount to use your health or pokeball back would make them much more common and useful in game. A feat like:

    Bounded Mount
    Your mount uses stats like a summon.
    You can spend a healing surge at the end of combat to return your mount to full health.
    Great idea! I've made this an incantation, but same idea!

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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

    Can I encourage you try and give each power source a “Scout type” character with stealth and perception. Preferably with either use for Dex and wisdom, or some means to catch up due to lower stats. The reason I suggest that is partly related to a campaign where we only had some power sources in play, but also, it increases the diversity of archetypes. And it’s good to avoid turning all strikers into skirmishers.

    I like the idea of a somewhat sneaky defender, so maybe give the Mageblade an invisibility Utility and maybe one to give darkvision and a bonus on perception?

    And much the same for a face, ideally with all power sources and all roles represented



    You seem to use the word ritual a lot in your description of incantations. Can I suggest either:
    Call them rituals
    Clarify that some incantations involve rituals but others don’t (maybe some involve constructing a device or performing a quest or task or just sitting and praying/meditating?).
    Otherwise, you probably just want to say “Casting an incantation involves a ritual…” and not use that word again.
    It will help with consistent use of terms

    Sylvan. Wild Gift. Hunter. Suggested wording “When no ally is closer to an enemy you get +1…”



    And some more class suggestions

    Arcane leader – Enchanter. Int based leader. Maybe Wisdom if you don’t want arcane=Int based. Probably with some ability to magically boost their social skills or substitute spells for them. Their spells can include protective effects and boost attacks by enchanting weapons. Magic can do anything, but I think your Crusader is a bit defender as a leader and the commander looks very much centered on leadership, so maybe have the Enchanter be a bit controllerish? They could also Strike as much as you want or have powers which lean each way


    Arcane striker – Invoker. No Fancy movement, no trickery, not even much in the way of lasting effects. These are the people who walk into a room and blow stuff up. A simple class for simple people. Base it off Con or cha easily, int or wis would be fine as well

    Spirit Defender – Something a bit different. Guide. Wisdom based defender. Guides are responsible for making sure their wards get to where they need to be to meet their destiny. As part of meeting that role, they must help to protect their ward.
    Whenever an enemy they’ve marked targets an ally, the Guide can slide the ally 1 square before the attack is rolled.
    Give them powers to re-target attacks, etc. The aesthetic here is someone who has helped their friends be in the right place at the right time to be protected, rather than the normal defender approach of protecting others by putting themselves in the way or by attracting attention

    Spirit leader – Guru? Bhagwan? Shaman? Leader who summons spirits into their allies to deliver effects. Healing might give a bonus to AC. Extra attacks might give a bonus to any reaction attacks. Bonus saves might add to NADs. When an ally has a spirit in them, it normally lasts until the start of the target’s next turn.
    If you want to go with a creepy aesthetic, have the summoned spirits take possession of their allies until the start of their turn. Up to tables whether any reactions during that time are rolled by the leader or by the possessee
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Daemon

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post

    You seem to use the word ritual a lot in your description of incantations. Can I suggest either:
    Call them rituals
    Clarify that some incantations involve rituals but others don’t (maybe some involve constructing a device or performing a quest or task or just sitting and praying/meditating?).
    Otherwise, you probably just want to say “Casting an incantation involves a ritual…” and not use that word again.
    It will help with consistent use of terms

    Sylvan. Wild Gift. Hunter. Suggested wording “When no ally is closer to an enemy you get +1…”
    Thank you! I've made these two changes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    Can I encourage you try and give each power source a “Scout type” character with stealth and perception. Preferably with either use for Dex and wisdom, or some means to catch up due to lower stats. The reason I suggest that is partly related to a campaign where we only had some power sources in play, but also, it increases the diversity of archetypes. And it’s good to avoid turning all strikers into skirmishers.

    I like the idea of a somewhat sneaky defender, so maybe give the Mageblade an invisibility Utility and maybe one to give darkvision and a bonus on perception?

    And much the same for a face, ideally with all power sources and all roles represented

    ...

    And some more class suggestions

    Arcane leader – Enchanter. Int based leader. Maybe Wisdom if you don’t want arcane=Int based. Probably with some ability to magically boost their social skills or substitute spells for them. Their spells can include protective effects and boost attacks by enchanting weapons. Magic can do anything, but I think your Crusader is a bit defender as a leader and the commander looks very much centered on leadership, so maybe have the Enchanter be a bit controllerish? They could also Strike as much as you want or have powers which lean each way


    Arcane striker – Invoker. No Fancy movement, no trickery, not even much in the way of lasting effects. These are the people who walk into a room and blow stuff up. A simple class for simple people. Base it off Con or cha easily, int or wis would be fine as well

    Spirit Defender – Something a bit different. Guide. Wisdom based defender. Guides are responsible for making sure their wards get to where they need to be to meet their destiny. As part of meeting that role, they must help to protect their ward.
    Whenever an enemy they’ve marked targets an ally, the Guide can slide the ally 1 square before the attack is rolled.
    Give them powers to re-target attacks, etc. The aesthetic here is someone who has helped their friends be in the right place at the right time to be protected, rather than the normal defender approach of protecting others by putting themselves in the way or by attracting attention

    Spirit leader – Guru? Bhagwan? Shaman? Leader who summons spirits into their allies to deliver effects. Healing might give a bonus to AC. Extra attacks might give a bonus to any reaction attacks. Bonus saves might add to NADs. When an ally has a spirit in them, it normally lasts until the start of the target’s next turn.
    If you want to go with a creepy aesthetic, have the summoned spirits take possession of their allies until the start of their turn. Up to tables whether any reactions during that time are rolled by the leader or by the possessee
    These are great ideas! I'm not planning to work on any new classes myself, at least in the near future, but if others wanted to develop these I think they'd make a great addition.

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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

    A few updates, the big one being that the content is now on Github Pages for easy online viewing: https://sanglorian.github.io/orcus/

    There's a bit of extra content too:

    * Sculpts Their Body kit;
    * Deep, Dark, Truthful Mirror discipline;
    * Fiends, Ophiduans, greymalkin, and Underdeep monsters. Most of these (everything but the fiends) come from Ari Marmell's great Classics of Fantasy bestiary.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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

    I've added a large amount of content to the Github Pages site:
    • The Outlaw Kingdoms campaign setting, which at this point is just new ancestry rules and a list of deities (from an OGL source -- I didn't write them!)
    • Two adventures, one for first level and one for second level. You'll see that I've been experimenting with alternatives to skill challenges, and shortening stat blocks. In Ancestral Voices, the whole adventure (around five encounters) fits on one page, including stat blocks. I was inspired by OSR games where the monster stat block often only takes up a single line. I'm really interested to see what people think of this -- is it readily understandable?
    • Five pre-generated first level characters. These may be the first characters ever created for Orcus!
    • Tiles for use with the adventures

    I've also added some phrenic (i.e. psionic) content from existing OGL sources: the Channels Godmind kit and about 40 psi-based feats. This updates the Classes & Powers and Player Options pdfs.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    RedKnightGirl

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

    Just got caught up on the conversation and wanted to ask if anyone is actively playtesting this, or if anyone would like to? This sounds like an excellent idea and I'd love to try it out if there's people doing it.

    Also, I really think a Divine Defender could be the "Martyr" which has a Protective Aura and an opportunity action that would work like this.

    Protective Aura: Aura 2, You serve as a martyr for those you believe in.

    Martyrdom: Opportunity Action, Triggers when an ally in your Protective Aura is hit by an attack. Treat the attack as though it hit you instead of your ally. You suffer any additional effects from the attack as well as take any damage, however you have resistance to this damage equal to 2/5/8+Ability Modifier.

    Then their kit would be mostly about generating temp hp for themselves only so that, enemies have to either attack them at full damage, or attack their allies at resisted, which is eaten by the temp hp.

    I also really like the idea someone mentioned above about a summoning wizard being a pet-based defender. That's an archetype that I don't think has really seen much exposure in tabletop gaming.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to say I'm excited, wanted to share some thoughts, and am super excited to do some playtesting if people want to put something together.

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    OldWizardGuy

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

    I've been planning to take a thorough look through all of this. I'm potentially interested in playtesting, depending on platform and schedule.

  9. - Top - End - #39
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    RedKnightGirl

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

    Quote Originally Posted by tiornys View Post
    I've been planning to take a thorough look through all of this. I'm potentially interested in playtesting, depending on platform and schedule.
    I'm free most nights at midnight CST, as well as open on weekends after 4 p.m. CST.

  10. - Top - End - #40
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    RedKnightGirl

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanglorian View Post
    A few updates, the big one being that the content is now on Github Pages for easy online viewing: https://sanglorian.github.io/orcus/
    Could you put that link in the first post?

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Mark Hall's Avatar

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

    I'm going have to take a look at this. I've gotten an appreciation for 4e, and have also been contemplating a more "generic" version... rather than tons of discreet powers and options, give people options to add to more basic stuff, depending on their role.
    The Cranky Gamer
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  12. - Top - End - #42
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuptup View Post
    Anyhow, I just wanted to say I'm excited, wanted to share some thoughts, and am super excited to do some playtesting if people want to put something together.
    Thanks for the suggestions! If anyone puts together homebrew material, I'm very happy to incorporate them into the main document.

    Quote Originally Posted by tiornys View Post
    I've been planning to take a thorough look through all of this. I'm potentially interested in playtesting, depending on platform and schedule.
    Would love to hear how this goes! I'm keenly aware that the mechanics are not well balanced, and am happy to defer to what playtesters suggest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuptup View Post
    Could you put that link in the first post?
    Good idea -- have fixed the first post and cleaned it up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    I'm going have to take a look at this. I've gotten an appreciation for 4e, and have also been contemplating a more "generic" version... rather than tons of discreet powers and options, give people options to add to more basic stuff, depending on their role.
    That'd be a great addition to the chassis. I find the hundreds of powers overkill, and always admired the "one-page" 4E classes that Eternity Publishing did (sadly they only got to the wizard and the fighter).

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    RedKnightGirl

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanglorian View Post
    That'd be a great addition to the chassis. I find the hundreds of powers overkill, and always admired the "one-page" 4E classes that Eternity Publishing did (sadly they only got to the wizard and the fighter).
    Holy crap that would have been a fantastic addition to the system. It's pretty much a version of essentials, but with way more flexibility.

    Do you have a link to the fighter?
    Last edited by Nuptup; 2021-11-10 at 05:00 PM.

  14. - Top - End - #44
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuptup View Post
    Holy crap that would have been a fantastic addition to the system. It's pretty much a version of essentials, but with way more flexibility.

    Do you have a link to the fighter?
    Sure thing -- here: https://eternitypublishing.wordpress...ed-4e-fighter/

    There's a few ideas for a cleric on the same lines in the comments.

  15. - Top - End - #45
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    RedKnightGirl

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanglorian View Post
    Sure thing -- here: https://eternitypublishing.wordpress...ed-4e-fighter/

    There's a few ideas for a cleric on the same lines in the comments.
    That's super cool. Honestly, I would love this kind of a rehash for 4e where, you're more flexible instead of choosing powers just choosing variables that you can choose from. I really like how the wizard is laid out a lot.

  16. - Top - End - #46
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    Daemon

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

    An unusual update this time -- I've added a separate game.

    Petit 4 is an English translation of the minimalist game M4, which is only available in French. M4 is to Fourth Edition what Microlite20 is to 3.5. The game is released under the Open Game License, with some exceptions (including the name M4, hence the need for a new name for the English translation).

    There's some really interesting ideas in there:
    • The players roll all the dice.
    • Magic items that require special conditions to recharge.
    • Abstract wealth.


    All while remaining compatible with Fourth Edition.

    --

    I've also added a new adventure, Death and Chaos, which is a port of the 3.5 adventure Complex of Zombies by Justin Alexander. Generously, almost all of the text is Open Game Content - so please support them by buying a copy if you can.

    There's a new short adventure called The False Necromancer added as well.

    I've also added maneuvers to the Advanced Options, and several new monsters: sand sentry, jiang-shi scholar, jiang-shi magistrate, stygira and bauble beast.

    Or browse the whole game.

  17. - Top - End - #47
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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    First a first reaction read.

    "Phrenic" -- too obscure. Maybe rename to "Ethereal"? Or "Ether"?

    "Mageblade" -- meh. "Adept"?

    "Power Progression" - consider doing a simplified table? Replacement is awkward.

    You could also simply qualify powers at Heroic/Paragon/Epic. Powers can get a bump at mid-tiers. So level 1 you get 1H encounter, level 3 2H, level 5 your encounter powers get a bump, level 7 you get 3H.

    Level 13 you upgrade to 2H1P encounter, level 17 1H2P, level 23 2P1E, level 27 1P2E.

    Powers can upgrade at 5, 15, and 25. So a heroic power might do 2[W] (3[W]@5, 4[W]@15, 5[W]@25).

    This can reduce your load, as you are just designing powers by tier instead of by level, and makes progression a bit simpler. And matches late-stage 4e.

    Golden Lion: Allies that are adjacent to you get a +1 bonus on attack rolls.
    I'd revisit this. One of 4e's flaws was tiny stacking bonuses. They reduced it from 3e, but it still got bad. A +1 situational bonus ends up being not worth the time to track in terms of game action:mechanical resolution effort.

    React to Ill Fortune: If an ally within 5 misses with an attack, they can shift 1 as a free action. Your secondary ability is Intelligence.
    As much as possible, you need to make Commander abilities (especially active ones) be ones the Commander activates. The Commander should be saying "you can shift 1", the PC shouldn't have to know the commander's character rules.

    Also, out of turn actions should both have a cost and a significant benefit, to keep the game flow in terms of "drama per second" up (DPS).
    Features
    Guard's Challenge
    While the essentials system had flaws, the aura-based marking was simpler to deal with and served much the same purpose.

    Note that this also opens things up to stuff like the Berzerker.
    Wrong Place - Wrong Time

    You gain the wrong place-wrong time power. As a free action, you can discard any unused encounter attack power and gain a use of wrong place-wrong time. You can only use wrong place-wrong time once per turn.
    This is an ability you'll never want to use. Sort of sucks.

    Also nothing about the class features boosts being a Controller.

    Level 21: Within 100 miles.
    why is this range limited?

    Level 1: Within 50' (10 squares).
    Level 11: On the same plane.
    Level 21: Anywhere.
    Shimmering Shield

    If you have a spare hand (not carrying a shield, wielding a two-handed weapon, etc.), you receive a +2 shield bonus to AC.
    Consider the sword-and-wand style.
    Last edited by Yakk; 2021-11-27 at 05:42 PM.

  18. - Top - End - #48
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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

    Thanks for the advice, Yakk!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    "Power Progression" - consider doing a simplified table? Replacement is awkward.
    Do you mean simplify the table without simplifying the rules? Or also simplify the rules?

    You could also simply qualify powers at Heroic/Paragon/Epic. Powers can get a bump at mid-tiers. So level 1 you get 1H encounter, level 3 2H, level 5 your encounter powers get a bump, level 7 you get 3H.

    Level 13 you upgrade to 2H1P encounter, level 17 1H2P, level 23 2P1E, level 27 1P2E.

    Powers can upgrade at 5, 15, and 25. So a heroic power might do 2[W] (3[W]@5, 4[W]@15, 5[W]@25).

    This can reduce your load, as you are just designing powers by tier instead of by level, and makes progression a bit simpler. And matches late-stage 4e.
    I really like this idea. I'm not going to change the current classes - at least not for now - but I'll definitely keep it in mind going forward.

    When you say it matches late-stage 4e, I'm assuming that means it would match some of the E-classes? Any recommendations for ones I should check out?

    I'd revisit this. One of 4e's flaws was tiny stacking bonuses. They reduced it from 3e, but it still got bad. A +1 situational bonus ends up being not worth the time to track in terms of game action:mechanical resolution effort.

    As much as possible, you need to make Commander abilities (especially active ones) be ones the Commander activates. The Commander should be saying "you can shift 1", the PC shouldn't have to know the commander's character rules.
    Definitely fair criticisms.

    One option would be for Stratagem to instead add a rider to powers, e.g. "All allies targeted by your encounter or daily powers heal X" "... shift 1". If powerful enough, this could merge with/replace the current "React to ..." class feature as well - and remove the problem you mention below as well.

    I do like the mechanic of the aura changing as the commander uses powers of different disciplines, but maybe that gets too fiddly! Or it would need to be the main focus of the class features, giving a substantial bonus to one of attack, defense or maneuverability.

    Also, out of turn actions should both have a cost and a significant benefit, to keep the game flow in terms of "drama per second" up (DPS).
    So perhaps "move X" instead of "shift X"? Then they'd have to weigh up opportunity attacks.

    While the essentials system had flaws, the aura-based marking was simpler to deal with and served much the same purpose.

    Note that this also opens things up to stuff like the Berzerker.
    I'm not prepared to drop marking altogether - but definitely open to other classes using different mechanics to fill the defender role.

    [Jester's wrong-place wrong-time power:] This is an ability you'll never want to use. Sort of sucks.

    Also nothing about the class features boosts being a Controller.
    Yeah, the Jester is lifted from an Ultramodern 4E class, the Faceman. I'd be open to a complete re-write, but don't have any ideas just yet.

    why is this range limited?

    Level 1: Within 50' (10 squares).
    Level 11: On the same plane.
    Level 21: Anywhere.
    Will change in the next update.

    Consider the sword-and-wand style.
    As in, I should accommodate it and haven't yet, or should rule it out?

    Thanks again!

  19. - Top - End - #49
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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanglorian View Post
    Thanks for the advice, Yakk!



    Do you mean simplify the table without simplifying the rules? Or also simplify the rules?
    A bit of Column A, Column B.

    The current rules almost, but not quite, generate a table like a spell progression table.

    Code:
                Encounter
    Level    1    3    7    13    17    23    27  
    1        1
    3        1    1
    7        1    1    1
    13            1    1    1
    17                 1    1     1
    23                      1     1     1
    27                            1     1     1
    Saying you have encounter attack power slots which you fill when you level up, and can swap 1 power per level, under the above table generates a set of rules that are almost, but not quite, the same as baseline 4e.

    In actual 4e, the rules are far quirkier, where what you did at a given level can restrict what powers you can have at later levels (and even their level) if you follow the letter of the rules.

    Personally, I'd even go further. I'd break powers into Heroic, Paragon and Epic. At level 1 you have 1 Heroic, 3 you get 2, 7 you get 3.

    At level 13 you have 2 heroic 1 paragon, 17 1 heroic 2 paragon, 23 2 paragon 1 epic, 27 1 paragon 2 epic.

    I really like this idea. I'm not going to change the current classes - at least not for now - but I'll definitely keep it in mind going forward.
    Then, each power you write can have heroic/paragon/epic versions. If you take "come and get it" as a heroic power, it does [W] with range close burst 3. As a paragon, it does 2[W] with range close burst 5. At epic, it is close burst 9, 3[W], and grants your allies advantage on attacking them.

    This has the downside of making the Heroic-tier powers a bit more cluttered; the advantage is you don't have copy-cat powers at higher tiers.

    When you say it matches late-stage 4e, I'm assuming that means it would match some of the E-classes? Any recommendations for ones I should check out?
    There are 4e powers in the later stages of the game that have stuff like Level 13: Increase damage to 3d6.

    Definitely fair criticisms.

    One option would be for Stratagem to instead add a rider to powers, e.g. "All allies targeted by your encounter or daily powers heal X" "... shift 1". If powerful enough, this could merge with/replace the current "React to ..." class feature as well - and remove the problem you mention below as well.

    I do like the mechanic of the aura changing as the commander uses powers of different disciplines, but maybe that gets too fiddly! Or it would need to be the main focus of the class features, giving a substantial bonus to one of attack, defense or maneuverability.
    Yes, I think having fewer bigger features (especially ones that take table time) is better than many smaller features.

    Stuff that gives you a static bonus (+1 bonus to weapon attack rolls) is a bit fiddly, but at least you pre calculate it and forget it. And even there, I'd rather have a more interesting mechanic with the same power budget.

    Weapon Master: You gain a +1 bonus to weapon attack rolls.

    That is powerful but, honestly, boring.

    So perhaps "move X" instead of "shift X"? Then they'd have to weigh up opportunity attacks.
    That increases analysis paralysis.

    By "cost" I mean "something to prevent it from being a decision point on every single instance". You want to reduce decision points, not make a myriad of more complex ones.

    I'm not prepared to drop marking altogether - but definitely open to other classes using different mechanics to fill the defender role.
    Sure. But merging marking and the defender auras of essentials into one mechanic, and biasing towards the aura.

    Combat Dominance: You can choose to emit an aura 1 of combat dominance. When you do so, creatures in this aura who are not marked by anyone else are marked by you.

    This generates almost all of the tactics of 4e baseline fighter marking, but doesn't require nearly as much condition tracking, because 95% of the condition tracking is "is it adjacent to the fighter". Which is already tracked.

    (The remaining 5% is cases where the foe is already marked by someone else, and/or where there are two fighters adjacent to a creature. But those become exceptions that require extra work, not everyday work.)
    Yeah, the Jester is lifted from an Ultramodern 4E class, the Faceman. I'd be open to a complete re-write, but don't have any ideas just yet.
    The baseline 4e controllers all had a problem in that their class features did not make them controllers.

    While I understand the elegance of "their powers make them controllers", this caused problems in other parts of the game.

    Like, if a wizard had "you can sustain one sustain minor power without expending a minor action", that would be a very controller-esque feature. Then their spells could be balanced around that assumption -- that the wizard was sustaining one effect "for free". You could even go further, and state "you can sustain one power without expending an action on your turn", which would Sustain: Standard powers way stronger in the hands of a Wizard than other classes (this might be too much).

    Ie:
    Fireball: 10d6 damage ranged burst 5, sets the zone on fire (2d6 damage if you start your turn in it). Sustain Minor: Fire zone grows by 1 square (to a max of burst 10) and damage grows by 1d6, to a max of 5d6.

    You could imagine an Elementalist controller which wouldn't have this "free zone support", but might bend elemental zones in interesting ways "At the start of your turn, you can add 1d6 squares to a zone that matches your elemental attunement"; you are reshaping zones.

    As in, I should accommodate it and haven't yet, or should rule it out?

    Thanks again!
    Make it clear if a hand holding a wand is "free" or not.

    The blade dancer and the sword mage treated "sword in one hand wand in the other" differently in 4e. I'm just saying you should consider it explicitly.

    The swordmage had 2 styles; sword and free hand, and two handed sword. The dual-wielding swordmage didn't have good support, if I recall.

    A spellcasting melee gish could have 5 different flavours:
    Sword+Board
    Sword+Free hand
    Sword+Wand
    Two-handed Sword
    Dual Wielding
    (where Sword is any weapon, really).

    Them being tied to class features always seemed tempting to me.

  20. - Top - End - #50
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    RedKnightGirl

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    A spellcasting melee gish could have 5 different flavours:
    Sword+Board
    Sword+Free hand
    Sword+Wand
    Two-handed Sword
    Dual Wielding
    (where Sword is any weapon, really).

    Them being tied to class features always seemed tempting to me.
    Excellent write-up as always Yakk, I just wanted to comment on a few things. I LOVE the way you very neatly simplified marking and auras into one thing. It's simple, clean, and requires way way less to just pick it up and understand it.

    Also, I definitely also think that tying the weapon selection for a Gish to a class feature is a pretty decent way to power-gate them to keep them all somewhat comparable. Examples that I can think of off the top of my head that worked well are the Magus in Pathfinder 2e, Hexblades in 4d DnD to name a few. Both make large, impactful decisions early on that shape the way they play, based on the weapon they choose to focus their efforts with.

    As always, I really think you guys are doing awesome work, and while I don't have enough mechanical standing to really feel like tossing my hat in the ring, I will gladly be the "Yes man" here and help hype you guys up!

  21. - Top - End - #51
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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    There are 4e powers in the later stages of the game that have stuff like Level 13: Increase damage to 3d6.
    Which book would you say has the best examples of this? So I know how to spend my holiday bonus.
    The future is bright.

  22. - Top - End - #52
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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdork View Post
    Which book would you say has the best examples of this? So I know how to spend my holiday bonus.
    Off the top of my head, Themes tended to have powers like that. T1 powers that auto-upgraded.

    I believe I saw them elsewhere, but I can't tell you where.

  23. - Top - End - #53
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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Almost all (maybe all?) of the Essentials books had that somewhere on either the At Wills or Encounters for their characters, and even the original classes almost all had a boost at 21 on at-will powers. Non-leveled theme powers also often do.

    Be careful with themes on this particular issue- theme powerswaps from Dark Sun explicitly state that they don't auto upgrade- instead, you have to take the power again at the new level, but since so many people use the Compendium or Character Builder they aren't aware of that rule. Themes from Dragon that included attack powerswaps (which are relatively rare) specifically gave new powers all the way on up instead of trying to get players to remember that the theme powers don't auto upgrade while all others do. See Iron Wolf Warrior as an example of this, in contrast to Templar- Templar's non-leveled Encounter power auto upgrades, but its level 3 Encounter power Fearsome Command looks the same but according to the rules doesn't work the same. Iron Wolf Warrior's E3 Wolf's Rend is always the same, but there is also Iron Wolf's Rend as an E13 which is an upgraded version, and Epic Iron Wolf's Rend which is a further upgraded version.

  24. - Top - End - #54
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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

    Hi folks,

    Monster update
    A big but mostly behind the scenes update to Orcus today -- I've been through all of the monsters, making tweaks to make the language consistent, fixing the HP, attack bonuses and sometimes the damage as well to bring them in line with the "MM3 on a business card" maths. I've also caught a bunch of contradictions, inconsistencies, etc.

    Jupyter notebooks
    Also new are two "Jupyter notebooks", one for powers by @Biffmotron and another for monsters by myself (building on Biffmotron's template for powers -- I couldn't have done it without them!). These compile spreadsheets into Markdown, which means adding new monsters or powers is as simple as adding new lines to a spreadsheet and running the notebook.

    One-page monsters and hazards
    I've also made two sheets, one page for monsters and one page for hazards, so you can create monsters and threats on the fly. Interested in any feedback on whether it's useful!



    Classes review
    My next revision is going to be to the classes, so I'd love any feedback you had on how they should be tweaked and improved.

    (Yakk, this is where I'll be thinking hard about your suggestions -- and may test out a few ideas here as I go along).

  25. - Top - End - #55
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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

    Hi folks,

    Another big update. This is now version 0.6 -- all of the main files have been updated. See the Pages site for all downloads and webpages.

    • There is now a character sheet, in Excel spreadsheet format. It does some calculations for you, and prints out on one page. You'd want to print power cards separately.
    • Shorter Section 15: I know a pain point has been the huge Section 15 in the Open Game License. I have reworked the Rulebook section to have all the core rules, and a much shorter (though still hefty) Section 15. That way, people who are creating fresh content or spin-off games can use the shorter Rulebook Section 15. Those using the classes, monsters, powers, feats, bonds, magic items, etc., will still have to use the full Section 15.
    • All content has been read-through and tweaked.
    • New content: Includes a new discipline for the Harlequin, a new discipline for the Reaper, new poisons (consumable items), new kits (Brews Poisons and Eats Monster Hearts), rules for buying hirelings and mounts, expanding the incantation rules to include non-magical practices as well, vehicle rules and a handful of new vehicles, ancestry rules (moved from the Outlaw Kingdoms separate document into the main SRD).
    • Class changes: The Jester has become the Harlequin, and gotten a total rework of its class features since they previously weren't very controllery. The Swashbuckler has become the Exemplar to represent a broader archetype (e.g. gladiators). The Guard became the Guardian because it sounded a bit grander.
    • Archetypes: I'm quite proud of the examples of how you could model fantasy archetypes in Orcus. Everything from assassins who brew their own poisons, demonologists, lazylords, enchanters, mounted knights (with a horse that keeps pace with power levels), blue mages, martial artists, psionicists and archers are covered, among many others.


    The next update will be two printable PDFs, the Hero's Handbook and the Game Master's Guide, which collate everything in the one place (well, two places) for easy printing and reference at the game table. That will be the "playtest edition", and mark the end of any major changes for some time.

  26. - Top - End - #56
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    BardGuy

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

    "The Harlequin whose fiddle comes from the Devil" as an archetype.

    I'm imagining a Southern accent and a very flashy instrument
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  27. - Top - End - #57
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Introducing Orcus: a Fourth Edition retro-clone

    Is anybody publishing content for this?

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