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I'm starting my PCs with a 15 point buy.
That grows to 20pts by 5th level, 29pts by 9th level, and 42pts by 13th level, where the AP ends.
Modest beginnings that support MAD characters better without punishing SAD characters and overall encourages well-roundedness.
Expanded Point Buy Table:
STAT / PTS
19 / 21pts
20 / 26pts
21 / 31pts
22 / 37pts
23 / 43pts
24 / 50pts
The only thing the DM can cheat is their players out of having fun.
There aren't really rules for walking this line. Experience is the best teacher.
If I am in a pinch, and have to improvise some dice rolls, I usually ask the players if they think that what I propose is "fair" - they usually go for it because we have built up a trust. Sometimes they they make an alternate proposal, sometimes I refute of modify it, or they, using respectful and timely argumentation, but before the dice hit the table, I like to get a consensus that the proposal is "fair."
Having their buy in, if the dice create some nasty circumstances, nobody feels cheated. In fact being flexible most of the time allows me to be inflexible on choice occasions - when I deem it is appropriate for the game as a whole.
So yes I "cheat" - but at the end of the day my players and I are having fun. So it is not really cheating.
Here is how I do it. The party just advanced to 3rd level so it is "beginning" in a way, but I have been explicit with the house rules since the beginning.
Automatic Bonuses (adapted from the Unchained rules):
at 3rd, and every 4 levels after, they get a +1 resistance bonus to all saving throws
*"Enhance" starts with +2, then improves to either +4 or +2/+2/+2, then improves again to either +6/+2 or +4/+4/+2, finally improving to (my campaign will not go this far didn't bother to do the maths)
Weapons and Armor
Are priced by their "capacity" (think: maximum bonus) with in-game names (to do away with the "you found a +1 sword" language) never-the-less scaled: "Magic" (+1), "Heroic" (+2), "Paragon" (+3), "Legendary" (+4), and "Epic" (+5).
Characters with sufficient levels can gain the benefit up to the maximum capacity of the item they are wielding or wearing plus any special abilities (like "Flaming") with corresponding names as magic items are described and priced: "Adventurer" (1st-4th), "Hero" (5th-8th), "Paragon" (9th-12th), "Legend" (13th-16th), and "Epic" (17th+).
A 4th level character gains the first two benefits (to saves and AC) and is described as an "Adventurer" - if she picks up a "Heroic Flaming Sword" it functions like a +1 flaming sword for her until she becomes 5th level - a "Hero" - at which point her experience tier matches the capacity of the sword and it functions as a +2 flaming sword. If she sells the sword, it goes on market as a +3 sword (capacity +2 plus flaming).
Hope that helps. Cheers.
@rainzax: I like elements of your rule, they smooth over a couple balance issues in game and I could see them speeding up play in certain instances, and it's easy to implement at someone else's table. I do wonder if you find it marginalizes characters which have specialized into stealth and the like?
Biggest character-creation impact is it "frees up" skill points for all players because it automatically covers some bases - without removing the option for heavier investment.
My Stealth house rules include "situational concealment" which can be used to initiate a Stealth check. It's a subjective term that allows players to be creative (bad example: hiding in the rafters). But they have to move quick because if they end their turn with (only) situational concealment (as opposed to "actual" concealment), they are -10 to their check.
As a result, though the DC is higher, there are more opportunities to attempt a Stealth check in the first place, and since you are rolling over a fixed number (10 + Vigilance), it greatly rewards a character who invests in Stealth - especially when trying to sneak past a group of people (roll Stealth once and check against the groups' Vigilance scores).
PCs and NPCs get automatic ranks in passive Perception and Sense Motive checks, and are always considered to be taking 10.
I call these their Vigilance and Psych scores.
To use Sleight of Hand or Stealth, you have to beat your enemy's Vigilance score.
Characters who actually train the Perception and Sense Motive skills both improve their Vigilance and Psych scores (respectively) and can use the active functions of those skills.
Definitely interested to see what you will do with the Cleric. How are you going to avoid using Golarian gods while still enabling your Unchained Cleric to substitute for the Core Cleric?
Also, making Mounts essentially additional "abilities" for their rider sounds like a great starting axiom for how to handle mounted combat.
I address skills in a few ways:
1) Background Skills - characters get automatic ranks in one Knowledge skill and one Job skill
I also allow for Cooperative Checks with various rules, including how many can Aid the check, with which skills Aid is possible, what the Aid DC is, penalties for failing an Aid check (usually -2), and which skill check serves as the "base" check - this can be open (highest check) or dependent on the context (the most "relevant" skill, etc.).
Not the system-rewrite that some of the previous works plus proposals here span, but definitely on my wishlist from 3pp in general.
Something that is true to the CRB in terms of flavor but that offers much more modularity with the core Cleric's core elements - Chassis, Deity, Domains, Channel, and Spell List - maybe drawing from the OA Medium for a Taboo idea - with selection of Gods generalized so as to be setting-neutral while still allowing 1-for-1 translation with CRB Gods.
I ask for this because while I have been able to homebrew "patch" pretty much any other paizo class, the Cleric change would indeed be too comprehensive for a simple "patch" and deserves some recognition.
Preparation, preparation, preparation.
When that fails, improvise.
Ask yourself "are they having fun" a couple times each scene - make sure everyone gets the "spot-light" at least once each session.
Recruit a player or two to track things like initiative and statuses - this frees you up to do other important thinking.
Though I agree that adding BAB is a good chip away at MCD (and would consider adopting this house rule), I also agree that introducing the gaming of initiative bonus as a way to get an extra 'round' (or portion) is a dangerous path to tread.
The action-exchange looks good to me - if you really have 3 swift actions and want to spend the whole round using them, I say go for it. I might un-officially adopt this house rule. I also support the Quicken Spell change. Two spells per round, even at the faster expense of resources, is significantly powerful in this game, by any yardstick.
But, in response to your 5+ foot step, characters are already incentivized to game reach mechanics by various means including size increases - do they need further incentive? Even if your players don't go this route, this may exacerbate the problems you have identified (powering up martials), rather than solve them, as Rawhead pointed out.
Finally, what is the thinking behind the "only one immediate/swift" per round? Are you simply (and understandably) averse to the "borrow from the future" concept?
I guess I wanted to establish a benchmark with the core Cleric as concerns Alignment, HD, BAB, Skills, and Proficiencies, among other metrics - an expectation that an "average" Unchained Cleric could be held to when a player considers playing the class. The work of fleshing out each Deity individually is fully free to tweak these benchmarks as appropriate.
For example, the Deity of Gorum could break the mold by offering improved HD (d10), fewer skill points (2 + INT), Climb and Swim as Class Skills, proficiency with martial weapons, reduced Channeling (1d6 beginning at 3rd level), Power Attack as a bonus feat at 1st, and the option to take a combat feat in place of a Domain Power.
The Deity of Nethys (as you mention) could have relaxed Alignment restrictions, lowered HD (d6), greater skill points (6 + INT), Use Magic Device and Fly as a Class Skills, reduced proficiency (simple weapons and light armor only), a 1st level bonus to Spellcraft and Use Magic Device equal to half Cleric level, and the option to take metamagic feats in place of a Domain Power.
But, most Deities would offer what is presented as standard.
Again, the real work would be in fleshing out each Deity.
In faith and the miracles of the divine, many find a greater purpose. Called to serve powers beyond most mortal understanding, all priests preach wonders and provide for the spiritual needs of their people. Clerics are more than mere priests, though; these emissaries of the divine work the will of their deities through strength of arms and the magic of their gods. Devoted to the tenets of the religions and philosophies that inspire them, these ecclesiastics quest to spread the knowledge and influence of their faith. Yet while they might share similar abilities, clerics prove as different from one another as the divinities they serve, with some offering healing and redemption, others judging law and truth, and still others spreading conflict and corruption. The ways of the cleric are varied, yet all who tread these paths walk with the mightiest of allies and bear the arms of the gods themselves.
Role: More than capable of upholding the honor of their deities in battle, clerics often prove stalwart and capable combatants. Their true strength lies in their capability to draw upon the power of their deities, whether to increase their own and their allies' prowess in battle, to vex their foes with divine magic, or to lend healing to companions in need.
As their powers are influenced by their faith, all clerics must focus their worship upon a divine source. This divine source, or Diety, determines several of the characters aptitudes, skills, and powers, and once selected cannot be changed.
Alignment: A cleric's alignment must be within one step of her Deity's, along either the law/chaos axis or the good/evil axis (see Additional Rules).
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Clerics are proficient with all simple weapons, light armor, medium armor, and shields (except tower shields). Clerics are also proficient with the favored weapons and armor of their Deity.
1 - Diety, Aura, Orisons, Channel Energy (1d6)
In this variant, a Cleric must choose a Diety - she cannot choose to worship a "divine concept" like her core Cleric counterpart.
Now the real work begins in fleshing out Dieties and (new) Domain spells and powers.
Do you have a concrete proposal for how to balance this spell removal?
Example: Bonus Domain at 4th, 10th, 16th.
Example: Bonus Feats at 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th.
Example: 4 Skill points and all Knowledge skills as class skills.
I like it and I dislike it.
So, in summary, I don't hail Stamina as the savior of the Fighter. My own Fighter patch does not give out free Stamina because I wanted to leave that as an option for the ambitious (take the Combat Stamina feat) while improving the Fighter in ways that are simple. My fix is to skill points, class skills, good Will save, free Combat Expertise, earlier access to Weapon Training, Armor Training grants DR, and Bonus Feats may be retrained daily. This is basically a list of +1s and +2s, which tend to make sense to the simple player, with the only added wrinkle being retraining bonus feats, which, can also simply be set and not retrained.
I think the OPs idea is that Rituals make sense from level 1 through level 20 - with things like Backlash and DCs scaling appropriately.
Which, is a totally cool idea precisely because there is so much potential here.
To further this, what if the number of participants was restricted by the level of the Ritual? We'll call this X. X would serve as an upper bound for the skill check, as the caster could only count on X "Aid" +2s to realize the Ritual's DC.
Then, we could say that other people could certainly join the Ritual Circle, but only the top X Aid checks are counted towards the caster's final skill check.
Ritual DC and Backlash
Level of Ritual - DC - Backlash CR
0 - 20 - 1
1 - 21 - 3
2 - 23 - 6
3 - 26 - 9
4 - 30 - 12
5 - 35 - 15
6 - 41 - 18
7 - 48 - 21
8 - 56 - 24
9 - 65 - 27
Yeah what is their relationship?
If I were to approach this, I would divide the spell lists into two: Combat spells and Rituals. They would initially be divided by casting time. Then, I would pick and choose spells and place them from the Combat list to the Ritual list, to expand it.
From there, I would assign skills to each School of magic, as well as to different Bloodlines, Domains (or Gods), etc, to serve as the base set by which Rituals could be performed.
Lastly, I would introduce scaling into the Aid Another rules that allowed assistant casters to provide better than a +2 to casting - probably scaling an additional +1 per 5 ranks in the ritual skill.
Just to start.
Well, as both the Ranger and Unchained Monk are included as part of the inspiration, there were a few dead levels after importing over Studied Target, Sneak Attack, and Talents. I chose Evasion and Improved Evasion from the Ranger and Still Mind and Flawless Mind from the Unchained Monk.
The class needed better saving throws with only Reflex being strong.
Anyhow that left level level 13 and 17 open. Do you have a suggestion as what could replace Tongue and Timeless here? Slayer's Advance didn't seem to fit because the Ninja's Ki Pool already covers additional movement.
I'm using the standard action economy for my game.
But, if I had a table of players well-versed in the rules, I would try out the Revised Action Economy with a house rule that affected the number of Reactions available to a PC based on their BAB.
Basically, per round, my RAE would allow:
And players would gain another Reaction at BAB 6, 11, and 16.
*Finally, under this system, I would allow more complicated (multi-Act) Readied actions. For example, "If the goblin moves towards my ally, I will charge him!"
*This last house rule for Readied actions can be done entirely without the RAE, btw.
Good luck in your exploration!
When the wealthy and the powerful need an enemy eliminated quietly and without fail, they call upon the ninja. When a general needs to sabotage the siege engines of his foes before they can reach the castle walls, he calls upon the ninja. And when fools dare to move against a ninja or her companions, they will find the ninja waiting for them while they sleep, ready to strike. These shadowy killers are masters of infiltration, sabotage, and assassination, using a wide variety of weapons, practiced skills, and mystical powers to achieve their goals.
Role: The ninja spends almost all of her time honing her skills, practicing her art, or working on her next assignment. Even when not specifically working, the ninja is ever vigilant and ready for the situation to turn deadly. Her line of work earns her many enemies, but it is a list that she frequently reduces through assassination and misdirection.
1 - 1st Studied Target, Poison Use
*Ninja Tricks: May select Uncanny Dodge, Improved, or Ki Power
I am thinking about going the OTHER WAY, and completely redoing Ninja as a d10, full BAB hybrid of Slayer and Unchained Monk, keeping Ninja Tricks mostly as they are, but also opening up Qinggong Powers. And while we're at it, introduce Unchained Ninja with some archetypes, including a Shadowdancer archetype.
I want to see this.
Smaller size creatures can make up the different by adding their DX to their damage if they have the Weapon Finesse feat. Here is the text for my version of Weapon Finesse, btw:
Benefit: When fighting with a finesse weapon, you may add your DX bonus to damage rolls in place of your ST bonus. This bonus is neither increased for two-handed nor decreased for off-hand attacks. While using this feat, if you have a ST penalty, it also applies to your damage rolls with your finesse weapon.
What I'm really interested in is the effect of larger creatures getting a free boost in damage (equal to their Special Size Modifier).
Doesn't necessarily mean it's the right thing for your table, but I've come to like it and found it doesn't break PC's. Monsters with PC class levels, however, need to be treated with caution because they can easily break this.
Yeah this is a main concern. I'd like my house rules to work both ways across the table - for PCs and NPCs - while also minimizing the work of re-statting creatures from Bestiaries.
Question: What affect will granting a damage bonus (equal to Special Size Modifier) do to larger monsters and polymorphed creatures? And what corresponding implications might this have for the DM?
Special Size Modifier
Your "penalize 0 reach" idea looks interesting... I'll think about it.
I want to make sure I'm understanding your first suggestion. Let's say a small, medium, and large PC are using a 1d6-damage weapon and each has a BAB of +1 and a ST/DX score of +2. The small PC rolls 1d20+4 1d6+1, the medium PC rolls 1d20+3 1d6+2, and the large PC rolls 1d20+2 1d6+3.
In short, that the PCs uses the Size Modifier for attack rolls but the Special Size Modifier for damage rolls?
This has some interesting consequences, in that I believe that it creates the opposite problem I posted in the OP - it's effectively a damage boost for larger creatures.
So I ask, which problem is less desirable, buffing Fey or buffing Giants?
For those of you who have a similar house rule:
1) What adjustments do you make?
Thanks in advance for your thoughtful comments.
Ooh good points.
I think the big appeal is that the houserule fits on a single index card - especially for my newer players. So, these rules serve as a base, and if I had a creative Fighter-Engineer who wanted to make up to (Skill check/5) squares with fortifications or what not, that would be decided on the fly. A case could be made for Cook, Handle Animal, Local, Geography, Storytelling... the list goes on.
While I slept I realized I could have the "Tactics" bit actually lower the chance of a random encounter - something the PCs may be interested in doing in more hostile terrain. The skill list grew too quickly to "hard code" it in. What's left are the essentials.
Survival DC 10, supports 6 persons/horses, choose one "boon" per raise (+5 over DC):
*Bigger: Supports two additional persons/horses
**Creative skill checks may Aid the primary Survival check.
This house rule now fits on an index card which may be handed to players.
Survival DC 10, supports 6 persons, choose one "boon" per raise (+5 over DC):
*Bigger: Camp supports two additional persons
1) Does the creature have a weakness?
What other questions belong on this list?
Context: After using a variant of Background Skills (Unchained) to saddle each PC with free ranks in at least one Knowledge skill, I want to create a little "cheat-sheet" for them as a baseline for using that skill.
For those philosophically-mathematically against the "Skill vs AC/CMD/Attack" mechanic, consider substituting the following:
For any maneuver that allows you to make a skill check to strike or counter, instead of rolling a skill check, roll:
1d20 + BAB + two ability scores.
The two ability scores are chosen from Initiation modifier, Discipline skill key ability, or ST/DX.
A character that takes Skill Focus in a Discipline skill may substitute the bonus provided by the feat (+3 or +6) for one of the ability scores mentioned above.
Count me in as liking the general idea here, but not liking the maths as presented, nor that the upgrades come for free.
I think somewhere between tying each energy type to a single condition or status effect, and having the caster buy into these with feats (even incorporating already-existing feats!), would be the best execution. DMs are free then to give the feats out for free to their casters, at their option.
Also, at the expense of total completeness, consider not giving each school or spell an energy type if doing so would be too much a stretch (You mentioned distraction, curse, phantasm, for example).
By the way, the reason why cure and inflict spells are conjuration has to do with the positive and negative planes. That said, there is a strong case for house-ruling these spells as Necromancy spells - but not without the corollary question of "how come Necromancer Wizards can't heal?"
Lastly, have you seen the Unchained rules for Poison and Disease? That might be a better solution than "DX and WIS damage" and whatnot in some cases. Cheers!
I don't think a player can elect to "not roll initiative" because the vehicle moves on the driver's initiative.
I would say that "while in initiative" (so to speak) that they could certainly no longer take 10 - I'm just wondering if the (vast) difference in DCs has to do with "being threatened" or "being shot at" or as you said "being in initiative"...