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    Default Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Since the original thread is getting a bit cluttered, I thought it might be a good idea to start a new thread for analyzing the performance of the Avatar d20 bending classes. For ease of reference, here are the original threads:

    Bending Base Classes - Version 1.0 (mostly for reference at this point)
    Bending Base Classes - Version 2.0
    Playtesting Thread - OOC

    Battles:
    Lightweight (lvl 10) Battle #1
    Welterweight (lvl 15) Battle #1
    Featherweight (lvl 5) Battle #1

    Also for reference, here's a handy Bending skill chart, thoughtfully compiled by Xiagu:
    {table=head]Level|MBM1, 14 Wis|Roll, 14 Wis||MBM, 16 Wis|Roll, 16 Wis||MBM, 18 Wis|Roll, 18 Wis
    1|+9 (4+SF+Wis)|19||+10|20||+11|21
    2|+12 (Synergy)|22||+13|23||+14|24
    3|+13|23||+14|24||+15|25
    4|+14|24||+15|25||+16|26
    5|+15|25||+16|26||+17|27
    6|+16|26||+17|27||+18|28
    7|+17|27||+18|28||+19|29
    8|+19 (16 Wis)|29||+20|30||+21|31
    9|+20|30||+21|31||+22|32
    10|+21|31||+22|32||+23|33
    11|+22|32||+23|33||+24|34
    12|+23|33||+24|34||+25|35
    13|+24|34||+25|35||+26|36
    14|+25|35||+26|36||+27|37
    15|+26|36||+27|37||+28|38
    16|+28 (18 Wis)|38||+29|39||+30|40
    17|+29|39||+30|40||+31|41
    18|+30|40||+31|41||+32|42
    19|+31|41||+32|42||+33|43
    20|+32|42||+33|43||+34|44
    [/table]
    1 - Maximum Bending Modifier

    So far, the following comments have been made:

    Deflect Bending needs to be more useful, especially when flat-footed - Here is a revision of Deflect Attack that broadens the scope of the ability, makes it easier to use and attack at the same time, and allows for limited use while flat-footed. It has the approval of posters so far.

    We need to abandon the Vitality Points/Wound Points system - So far, there hasn't been consensus on whether or how to do this.

    We need to scale back damage dealing capabilities - While this option seems to have wide support, it's still debatable. On the one hand, we want to avoid combats where whoever wins initiative automatically wins, and welterweight battle #1 definitely demonstrated the power of direct damage in this case. On the other hand, we need to find some way of balancing reduced damage dealing capabilities against abilities that hamper, immobilize, or otherwise end combats just as decisively.

    Earthbenders need a nerf in general - Earthbenders can deal impressive direct damage, they have high hit dice, good armor proficiencies, and impressive battlefield control capabilities. Are they overpowered? If so, how should we fix them?

    I think those are all the issues that have been raised so far. If I've forgotten any, please let me know and I'll happily add them. I'm going to try to keep this first page updated, but I make no promises.

    Finally, let me reiterate that the stated objective of this project is to create a system that represents the TV show as accurately as possible. We're off to a great start at doing so so far. Also, please limit comments on this thread to the bending classes. I'd like to keep this as organized as possible.

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    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2007-11-11 at 10:54 AM.
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    I think maybe the way to go with Earth Benders is to not allow much armor. Granted, they are kind of mountains in of themselves, but their bending requires a lot of body movement to preform effectively, especially since most of their bending is a sort of unarmed attack. In addition, most of the best Earthbenders (Toph, most the Earthbender fighters, King Boomi (sp?)) fight with little or no armor at all.

    Earthbenders are kind of the most powerful anyway though, the versatility of the Earth, the Strength of a Boulder, the Defense of a Mountain.
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    I'm comfortable with their Medium armor proficiency. The armor in these screenshots looks Medium to me. I think the concern is more with the fact that they deal as much damage as Firebenders with their Earth Blasts, and combine that damage dealing power with walls of stone, immobilization abilities, catapult, and a host of other versatile forms.
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    I agree that the earthbender should have medium armor. When I pointed it out before, I was just showing how the Earthbender is better in everyway than the Firebender. Which is completely unbalanced.

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    That's not true, us Firebenders get some cool ways to apply our blast damage, and Earthbenders get... ...everything else.

    Well, the first step is to decrease the Earthbender's blast damage die. Then, well, I'm stumped. Maybe make some of the seeds full-round actions?

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Well, here's an idea, why not allow Firebenders to add more of a martial boost to their attacks? This way, they could exceed the Earthbenders on damage output, but be beaten when it comes to Defence/Battlefield control. For instance, we could allow the Firebenders to add bonus DC to their Firebending level to deal extra damage or advance the die, (The limit for this would be derived from their level somehow) or we could allow them to add their Strength bonus to damage they deal with their fire akin to a Composite Bow, a stronger punch should kind of equal stronger Fire Blast anyway.
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLogman View Post
    Well, here's an idea, why not allow Firebenders to add more of a martial boost to their attacks? This way, they could exceed the Earthbenders on damage output, but be beaten when it comes to Defence/Battlefield control. For instance, we could allow the Firebenders to add bonus DC to their Firebending level to deal extra damage or advance the die, (The limit for this would be derived from their level somehow) or we could allow them to add their Strength bonus to damage they deal with their fire akin to a Composite Bow, a stronger punch should kind of equal stronger Fire Blast anyway.
    Grrrr! Firebending is all about breath control, young grasshopper! This was yelled at various people in the show, so it's rather non-canon to allow a strength bonus. Maybe a Wisdom bonus would be more appropriate.

    Who else thinks that the damage die for earth blast should be decreased?

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    I would agree to decrease the damage dies of the earth blast. Really, water and earth hurt the same amount when used with the amount of force benders put behind it. Also, I would like to advocate again that the progression should be dropped to 2dX at 5th, 3dX at 10th, 4dX at 15th and 5dX at 20th. This still makes them deal more damage than martial artists, but makes it a bit more reasonable given the number of attacks the get.

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    I've been running a mixed DnD game with the Bender 2.0 version, with some quiet little feats and seeds... of my own making... but I do want to say that under what I've found about the way things work, Firebenders are ridiculous sources of damage. But, the Earthbender can easily just as win by default with Rift alone. Their damage probably needs to be scaled down, all of the benders, excluding air who doesn't have a blast at all... but; how about since it's a seed, you remove all damage dice, but keep the die size. Change Blast to 10 DC, and for every ten you beat the DC you do one more die of the appropriate die. So a maximized bender does 2d6 at first level, but it doesn't grow up in level until they can get 30 at level 9, and so on... this also promotes more uses of the seeds, as in my game it was just much easier to blast versus use seeds. Hmm...

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Ok, I am going to just jump in blind here and say that the weakness of earth is stereotypically that it is slow... thus Earthbenders should be hurting for Initiative, and Reflex DCs and/or to-hit with their attacks...
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    So what's the word on the Vitality/Wound point system? Are we still using it?
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Enlong View Post
    So what's the word on the Vitality/Wound point system? Are we still using it?
    How about a vote?

    I'm for going with hit points and upping the natural healing a smidge.

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    I vote for Hit Points as well, especially after seeing that first Welterweight battle.
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    I don't know, I think the vitality system fits. The persons in the series are mostly never really hurt in a fight and recover quite fast.
    We could change the system, so that critical hits work normally with multipliers but apply to vitality instead of wound points. Or the critical hits apply to wound points but don't deal their full damage there, that's ridiculus. We have around 14 WP and deal about 80 damage.
    However I think it's a good idea to scale down the bender blast damage a bit. Someone mentioned making some seeds to fullround actions, that makes sense to me, too.
    -wait: the blast does have 9d6, meaning an average damage of ~32 damage. That is not so much. However I'd agree with making the earth blast 9d4 instead of 9d6.
    How about giving the firebender some new seeds with creative uses?
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    I'd reduce earth blast to d4s and give them a super earth blast ability. Earthbenders tend to strike with many small rocks or a one huge rock attack.

    As for WP/VP. reduce the blast dice to 1 die on crits.
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Partysan View Post
    I don't know, I think the vitality system fits. The persons in the series are mostly never really hurt in a fight and recover quite fast.
    We could change the system, so that critical hits work normally with multipliers but apply to vitality instead of wound points. Or the critical hits apply to wound points but don't deal their full damage there, that's ridiculus. We have around 14 WP and deal about 80 damage.
    But at that point all we have is the HP system with a faster natural healing rate, like I suggested before.

    -wait: the blast does have 9d6, meaning an average damage of ~32 damage. That is not so much. However I'd agree with making the earth blast 9d4 instead of 9d6.
    How about giving the firebender some new seeds with creative uses?
    The problem however, is that it is usable at will to replace an attack. This means it should be balanced to weapon attacks and it is not. Also, the high damage makes it more attractive than using seeds so lowering damage would increase seed use.

    @ Orzel - what do you mean by reduce the blast die on crits? Do you mean to lower the actual potential damage?

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    ^ Orzel probably means that it should be only 1 damage per die, i.e. 9d6 to wound = 9 damage, not instant death.

    Quote Originally Posted by Partysan View Post
    However I think it's a good idea to scale down the bender blast damage a bit. Someone mentioned making some seeds to fullround actions, that makes sense to me, too.
    -wait: the blast does have 9d6, meaning an average damage of ~32 damage. That is not so much. However I'd agree with making the earth blast 9d4 instead of 9d6.
    How about giving the firebender some new seeds with creative uses?
    I suggested fullround actions for earthbenders!

    And yeah, as Tataraus said, we get to do 9d8/9d6/9d4 damage 3-4 times a turn, with no per day limit, like casters.

    Well, for Firebenders, all we really have is blast damage and some cool ways to modify it. Nerfing the damage progression makes lightning better, though... ...20d6 empowered damage! Except even a maxed out 18 Wis lvl 20 firebender can't automatically succeed on making it all the time...

    Maybe a way for Firebenders to control lava, with less penalties than for Earthbenders? Lava seems predominantly fire to me. Ideas?

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiagu View Post
    Maybe a way for Firebenders to control lava, with less penalties than for Earthbenders? Lava seems predominantly fire to me. Ideas?
    Actually, It seems through the episodes that Firebenders can control lava somewhat while Earthbenders cannon at all.

    Of course if damage progression is reduced, all other damage will have to be at least considered to be reduced so we don't change have everyone spamming a certain seed.

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Here are my thoughts:

    HP vs. WP/VP Debate
    Why not... do both! I can see merits of both systems, so why don't we just write up a paragraph or so about the various systems and allow DM's to make their own decisions? We can even include a sidebar with Lord Tataraus' faster HP recovery system if we want to. We don't have to pin this down completely.

    Reducing Blast Damage
    I support it, but I'd almost rather see all blasts deal d6's (yes, I know that I was the one who gave Waterbenders d4 damage dice in the first place, but I've changed my mind ) but the progressions vary. I like +1d6 at levels 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20 for Waterbenders and Earthbenders, and perhaps +1d6 at levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 for Firebenders. That way, Waterbenders and Earthbenders cap off at 5d6 and Firebenders cap off at 7d6, still a respectable total but not quite so powerful. Remember that dealing damage is pretty much all Firebenders have going for them, so they should stay pretty powerful in this regard.

    Earthbender Balance
    I think that, once we reduce the damage output for Earth Blasts, Earthbenders aren't quit as overpowered. I think that reducing the damage dealt by the Catapult seed to 1d6 for every 10 points of the Earthbending check might be a good idea. I'm also having second thoughts about the Head-On Defense ability. It really represents the flavor of the Earthbender's solidity and straight-forward style of combat, but it does eliminate a major weakness of the class at a pretty early level. What about changing the ability to allow the Earthbender to add her Constitution bonus to Reflex saves instead of her Dex bonus? That would be less powerful, but might still keep the flavor.

    Immobilization Seeds
    The Welterweight battle ended so quickly that this didn't really come into play, but Waterbenders and Earthbenders can end fights just as quickly as direct damage-dealers by using their various methods of immobilization. Earthbenders have Rift, Steady Stance and Immobilize, while Waterbenders can apply the Freeze/Melt seed to pretty much anything (at a very low cost, I might add) to render them equally helpless. I would suggest creating a standard rule for this setting that these type of immobilization abilities do not render an opponent completely helpless (and therefore Coup de Grace-able). If a bender wants to make an opponent completely helpless, it should require a hefty bump in the bending DC, to the tune of +20 or so (imho). This way benders can only automatically render an opponent helpless at 18th level or higher (at the earliest), at which point it's easier to break out and other classes have equally powerful abilities.

    Lava Bending
    The only time I can remember seeing a bender actually directly control lava, the bender is a Firebender (and the Avatar as well). All other times it seems like the benders affect it indirectly, using Earthbending to channel it and block its flow or using Airbendering to cool it down and stop it from moving forward. I wouldn't be opposed to moving the Lava Flows seed to Firebenders.

    Those are my thoughts.
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2007-11-11 at 11:03 AM.
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    HP vs. WP/VP Debate
    Why not... do both! I can see merits of both systems, so why don't we just write up a paragraph or so about the various systems and allow DM's to make their own decisions? We can even include a sidebar with Lord Tataraus' faster HP recovery system if we want to. We don't have to pin this down completely.
    Great idea! I'll do that, though I'm using the HP system for playtests now so we don't get another Welterweight Battle #1.

    Reducing Blast Damage
    I support it, but I'd almost rather see all blasts deal d6's (yes, I know that I was the one who gave Waterbenders d4 damage dice in the first place, but I've changed my mind ) but the progressions vary. I like +1d6 at levels 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20 for Waterbenders and Earthbenders, and perhaps +1d6 at levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 for Firebenders. That way, Waterbenders and Earthbenders cap off at 5d6 and Firebenders cap off at 7d6, still a respectable total but not quite so powerful. Remember that dealing damage is pretty much all Firebenders have going for them, so they should stay pretty powerful in this regard.
    A decent fix. I could agree with this, or have the same progression for all (capping at 5 dice) but up the Firebenders to d8s with Earth and Waterbenders at d6. Just throwing more options out there.

    Earthbender Balance
    I think that, once we reduce the damage output for Earth Blasts, Earthbenders aren't quit as overpowered. I think that reducing the damage dealt by the Catapult seed to 1d6 for every 10 points of the Earthbending check might be a good idea. I'm also having second thoughts about the Head-On Defense ability. It really represents the flavor of the Earthbender's solidity and straight-forward style of combat, but it does eliminate a major weakness of the class at a pretty early level. What about changing the ability to allow the Earthbender to add her Constitution bonus to Reflex saves instead of her Dex bonus? That would be less powerful, but might still keep the flavor.
    I agree with basically all of this. Adding Con mod to reflex is better than replacing it all together, that's just too much, even more powerful than all good saves. Especially since reflex is one of the most used.

    Immobilization Seeds
    The Welterweight battle ended so quickly that this didn't really come into play, but Waterbenders and Earthbenders can end fights just as quickly as direct damage-dealers by using their various methods of immobilization. Earthbenders have Rift, Steady Stance and Immobilize, while Waterbenders can apply the Freeze/Melt seed to pretty much anything (at a very low cost, I might add) to render them equally helpless. I would suggest creating a standard rule for this setting that these type of immobilization abilities do not render an opponent completely helpless (and therefore Coup de Grace-able). If a bender wants to make an opponent completely helpless, it should require a hefty bump in the bending DC, to the tune of +20 or so (imho). This way benders can only automatically render an opponent helpless at 18th level or higher (at the earliest), at which point it's easier to break out and other classes have equally powerful abilities.
    Agreed.

    Lava Bending
    The only time I can remember seeing a bender actually directly control lava, the bender is a Firebender (and the Avatar as well). All other times it seems like the benders affect it indirectly, using Earthbending to channel it and block its flow or using Airbendering to cool it down and stop it from moving forward. I wouldn't be opposed to moving the Lava Flows seed to Firebenders.
    We have yet to see an Earthbender bend lava, but have seen multiple instances of Firebenders bending lava (the Avatar Roku and the Fire Lord episode) I would much rather have Firebenders get that seed.

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Since I haven't been annoying today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tataraus View Post
    We have yet to see an Earthbender bend lava, but have seen multiple instances of Firebenders bending lava (the Avatar Roku and the Fire Lord episode) I would much rather have Firebenders get that seed.
    Didn't Fire Lord Ozi (spelling?) pull the heat off of the lava in that episode. It didn't appear that (as a firebender) he could bend the lava directly. This is all speculation on my part, and is just my opinion. I'll be quiet now .

    I have a question on the Vit/Wound system thing. What exactly was it's short coming? Couldn't we just modify it to fit the bending world instead of dropping it all together? Sorry if then has been dealt with already, I tried to find discussion on it but couldn't.
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Lakoda View Post
    I have a question on the Vit/Wound system thing. What exactly was it's short coming? Couldn't we just modify it to fit the bending world instead of dropping it all together? Sorry if then has been dealt with already, I tried to find discussion on it but couldn't.
    I don't think there was discussion just that battle did not go well. It showed that one lucky roll can instantly kill no matter DR. So your guy with full health just drops dead without even knowing what hit him. Now this isn't a bad thing in the right game, but Avatar does not support it. The only thing close to that was Azura's lightning that nearly (or did) kill Aang but he had been bashed around a lot before hand. The value of it in the first place was purely the fast recovery, but the deadliness of the system seems to be too much to make the heal rate wroth it, especially with high rates of attack. Iy is much easier to have faster natural healing with HP system.

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    I've begun to have a sneaking suspicion we've been given way too much money in the Arena. 'Benders have very few ways of raising their Blast attack bonus while exceptional armour is so very easy to get. This leads to situations where a 'Bender has to roll numbers around 18 to hit something smaller than the broad side of the arena. Which is kind of a... Bummer.

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Attilargh View Post
    I've begun to have a sneaking suspicion we've been given way too much money in the Arena. 'Benders have very few ways of raising their Blast attack bonus while exceptional armour is so very easy to get. This leads to situations where a 'Bender has to roll numbers around 18 to hit something smaller than the broad side of the arena. Which is kind of a... Bummer.
    ^ Yeah, when I see character sheets with +36 attack bonuses while my poor Firebender only has a +19 for blasts, I get rather depressed... But really, all we can do is burn feats on Weapon Focus(Fire Blast) et al...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    Lava Bending
    The only time I can remember seeing a bender actually directly control lava, the bender is a Firebender (and the Avatar as well).
    *snip*
    This was exactly what I was thinking of when I was talking about lavabending. Earthbenders probably could bend lava; after all, it's just really hot rock, right? If metal is bendable, lava definitely is, as metal is refined and has other stuff done to it, while lava's just really hot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lakoda View Post
    Didn't Fire Lord Ozi (spelling?) pull the heat off of the lava in that episode. It didn't appear that (as a firebender) he could bend the lava directly. This is all speculation on my part, and is just my opinion. I'll be quiet now .
    It's spelled Ozai, but you have the wrong Fire Lord. The Fire Lord who pulled the heat off the lava was Fire Lord Sozin. And I mentioned this before, here:
    Quote Originally Posted by Xiagu View Post
    In the sixth episode of chapter 3, Sozin draws heat away from the lava, sorta like the way Iroh can redirect lightning. This is a little like the Quench use of the Intensity seed, but instead of putting out a fire, you're lowering the intensity, or heat. If this were to be made into a use of Intensity, it would probably either (a) decrease the die size or (b) decrease the number of dice.
    You can all see what we're talking about here and here.

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Yeah, when I see character sheets with +36 attack bonuses while my poor Firebender only has a +19 for blasts, I get rather depressed... But really, all we can do is burn feats on Weapon Focus(Fire Blast) et al...
    What do you think I did? It cost me 6 feats and a lot of money to get there, and I don't even have a use for it because of your pathetic AC
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Okay, new idea, maybe assign sizes to Earth Blasts, from Tiny all the way to Huge. Their dies per Blast remain the same progression, but every 5 levels, their Blasts (and Die sizes) get larger and larger, from Tiny, (1-4), to Medium (5-9) to Large (10-14) and finally Huge (15-19) and maybe as a Capstone Gargantuan (20)
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLogman View Post
    Okay, new idea, maybe assign sizes to Earth Blasts, from Tiny all the way to Huge. Their dies per Blast remain the same progression, but every 5 levels, their Blasts (and Die sizes) get larger and larger, from Tiny, (1-4), to Medium (5-9) to Large (10-14) and finally Huge (15-19) and maybe as a Capstone Gargantuan (20)
    An interesting idea, but I think it complicates the issue too much. What happens when an Earthbender is trying to bend in a constricted space? Is the bender limited to a smaller size Earth Blast (and thus, smaller damage)? Plus, weapon size damages scale differently than our blast damage progression, which would make it harder to balance with the rest of the system. It's an interesting idea, but I'm more comfortable with Earthbenders getting a normal damage progression and just saying that the blast gets larger/denser/more powerful/whatever.
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Hmmm... the thing about VP/WP is that in Star Wars, no one got the ability to do more than 3d6 + X per shot of a blaster rifle, with a decent crit range (normally less than 18-20), and most melee weapons were either considered out of use, or exotic, save for the light saber. Now since what you're using here, where the Crit ranges get larger, (especially for things like rapiers and better), and with abilities that broaden even that, of course you're going to have problems. Damage is also another consideration, with WP being Con, getting up above 5d6 is pretty hefty, especially range, even Jedi... wait they do. And to me, when I've played that game, either everyone on the party was a Jedi or no one was a Jedi. In the newest reincarnation of Star Wars, they've removed the VP/WP system, and decided that at first level every one gets 3x their max hit die. Also it seems they get swift actions to heal themselves quite a bit once a day... something about healing a quarter of their HP if they're about half way down...

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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tataraus View Post
    I don't think there was discussion just that battle did not go well. It showed that one lucky roll can instantly kill no matter DR. So your guy with full health just drops dead without even knowing what hit him. Now this isn't a bad thing in the right game, but Avatar does not support it. The only thing close to that was Azura's lightning that nearly (or did) kill Aang but he had been bashed around a lot before hand. The value of it in the first place was purely the fast recovery, but the deadliness of the system seems to be too much to make the heal rate wroth it, especially with high rates of attack. Iy is much easier to have faster natural healing with HP system.
    Use vit/wound but don't make crits drain from wound, have them work like normal from vit. Seems kind of odd but gaining more HP as you aged never made much sense to me in first place. Just my two cents.
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    Default Re: Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis

    The problem with that method is it ends up acting just like the normal HP system, with the added complication of WP.

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