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Importing 4e to 3.x?


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Has anyone thought about taking any 4e mechanics to current 3.x games (incl Pathfinder)?

Our group (well the other GM and I) have discussed trying to incorporate healing surges. Not so much to overshadow the cleric's potent arsenal, but to allow the cleric to be more martial and not just be a healbot. I was also thinking of getting rid of the 1-2-1 since I know it will cause confusion if we go back and forth between 3e, 4e, HERO (hexes!), etc.

I know some of you will say, "Oh noes, he got chocolate in my peanut butter!", but me personally, I love Recess Peanut Butter cups.


Mactaka wrote:

Has anyone thought about taking any 4e mechanics to current 3.x games (incl Pathfinder)?

Our group (well the other GM and I) have discussed trying to incorporate healing surges. Not so much to overshadow the cleric's potent arsenal, but to allow the cleric to be more martial and not just be a healbot. I was also thinking of getting rid of the 1-2-1 since I know it will cause confusion if we go back and forth between 3e, 4e, HERO (hexes!), etc.

I know some of you will say, "Oh noes, he got chocolate in my peanut butter!", but me personally, I love Recess Peanut Butter cups.

My 3.5 group uses 4E's death and dying rules, with death not occurring until -1/2 total HP and instead of 10% chance to not bleed, needing a 10+ or receiving a "tick", with three ticks meaning you're out.

So far it's been a big success, I think. When that second tick gets rolled, people definitely start sweating.

Andoran

Yes.

Since our campaign started we haven't rolled for hp.

Our 3.5 party recently found a ritual book for their cleric. Here's how it works:

Spoiler:
Prayer book of a good-aligned god with lesser vigor, lesser restoration, neutralize poison, and remove disease (only good-aligned divine spellcasters may use, must be of sufficient level to cast the spell, casting time 10 minutes, must meditate with one stick of special incense per spell level (50 gp per incense stick))

And I've created some healing spells for a cleric that enables other characters to heal themselves during combat. Kinda like a healing surge, but it still costs the cleric resources and it still requires magic to restore hp, which flavor-wise I prefer.

Spoiler:
Delayed Heal Light Wounds
Conjuration (Healing)
Level: Clr 2, Drd 2
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Touch
Target: One willing creature touched
Duration: 10 min. / level (D)
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)

The target may anytime during the spell's duration spend a standard action or a move action to receive healing of 1d6 points of damage +1 point per the caster's level (maximum +10). Doing so requires the target to utter an audible prayer to the caster's deity, which does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The target may not activate the delayed healing if silenced or otherwise unable to speak. The target may not do any other speaking during its turn. For example, on the turn it activates the delayed healing, the target cannot communicate, direct others, perform a countersong, or cast a spell with a verbal component. By activating the delayed healing, the target cannot maintain concentration on any spell it has cast. The target cannot avoid speaking the prayer through "Silent Spell" or any other feat, skill trick, or effect. A target may only have one delayed heal spell (i.e., any spell with the phrase "delayed heal" in its name) in effect at any single time. If another delayed heal spell is cast on the target, it replaces the earlier cast delayed heal spell.

Delayed Heal Moderate Wounds
Conjuration (Healing)
Level: Clr 3, Drd 4
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Touch
Target: One willing creature touched
Duration: 10 min. / level (D)
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)

This spell functions like delayed heal light wounds, except that it cures 2d6 points of damage +1 point per the caster's level (maximum +15).

Delayed Heal Serious Wounds
Conjuration (Healing)
Level: Clr 4, Drd 5
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Touch
Target: One willing creature touched
Duration: 10 min. / level (D)
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)

This spell functions like delayed heal light wounds, except that it cures 3d6 points of damage +1 point per the caster's level (maximum +20).

Delayed Heal Critical Wounds
Conjuration (Healing)
Level: Clr 5, Drd 6
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Touch
Target: One willing creature touched
Duration: 10 min. / level (D)
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)

This spell functions like delayed heal light wounds, except that it cures 4d6 points of damage +1 point per the caster's level (maximum +25).

Delayed Heal Light Wounds, Mass
Conjuration (Healing)
Level: Clr 6, Drd 7
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Touch
Target: One willing creature / level
Duration: 10 min. / level (D)
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)

This spell functions like delayed heal light wounds, except that it cures each targeted creature 1d6 points of damage +1 point per the caster's level (maximum +30).

Delayed Heal Moderate Wounds, Mass
Conjuration (Healing)
Level: Clr 7, Drd 8
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Touch
Target: One willing creature / level
Duration: 10 min. / level (D)
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)

This spell functions like delayed heal light wounds, except that it cures each targeted creature 2d6 points of damage +1 point per the caster's level (maximum +35).

Delayed Heal Serious Wounds, Mass
Conjuration (Healing)
Level: Clr 8, Drd 9
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Touch
Target: One willing creature / level
Duration: 10 min. / level (D)
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)

This spell functions like delayed heal light wounds, except that it cures each targeted creature 3d6 points of damage +1 point per the caster's level (maximum +40).

Andoran

In my games I've brought the 4E bloodied rules back into 3.5. Instead of allowing special attacks I simply give the bloodied creature penalties (-2 to attack rolls and other similar things).

I'll probably be bringing back the skill challenges too (after fixing them). I've also written up a minion template for use (though they're a little tougher than they are in 4E).

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I like the bloodied mechanic.


Gene wrote:

In my games I've brought the 4E bloodied rules back into 3.5. Instead of allowing special attacks I simply give the bloodied creature penalties (-2 to attack rolls and other similar things).

I'll probably be bringing back the skill challenges too (after fixing them). I've also written up a minion template for use (though they're a little tougher than they are in 4E).

We sometimes used a mechanic in 3.X where once you got down to below 75% HP, it was -2 to attacks rolls and similar things; when you went below 50% it was -4, and when you went below 25% it was -6. Was pretty fun if you don't mind a fairly gritty, deadly campaign. Once you were down below 25% HP things continued down hill at an extremely accelerated pace.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Steerpike7 wrote:
Gene wrote:

In my games I've brought the 4E bloodied rules back into 3.5. Instead of allowing special attacks I simply give the bloodied creature penalties (-2 to attack rolls and other similar things).

I'll probably be bringing back the skill challenges too (after fixing them). I've also written up a minion template for use (though they're a little tougher than they are in 4E).

We sometimes used a mechanic in 3.X where once you got down to below 75% HP, it was -2 to attacks rolls and similar things; when you went below 50% it was -4, and when you went below 25% it was -6. Was pretty fun if you don't mind a fairly gritty, deadly campaign. Once you were down below 25% HP things continued down hill at an extremely accelerated pace.

Haven't seen any penalties like that for 4e. Its either nothing or a "bonus". (ie like the dragonborn bonus). Would a penalty work in 4e, I wonder?

in 3.5 I could see maybe orcbloods getting the fury bonus at bloodied. Maybe other crazy, martial-type societies (Valenar Elves?)


Mactaka wrote:


Haven't seen any penalties like that for 4e. Its either nothing or a "bonus". (ie like the dragonborn bonus). Would a penalty work in 4e, I wonder?

in 3.5 I could see maybe orcbloods getting the fury bonus at bloodied. Maybe other crazy, martial-type societies (Valenar Elves?)

4E seems all about never giving penalties (or very rarely). That's one thing I don't care for about it. For example, the idea that it isn't right to give any racial penalties isn't something I care for. No reason all races don't have to be even or better in every stat, and none can typically be worse in any stat. Thought about fooling with that a little bit, but I don't know how much it would hamper the PCs long term. It's a very PC (politically-correct in this case) approach to the game.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Hmmm..... What if everyone got static hit points per level, and when you lost a level's worth of hit points, you gained a negative level? Possibly without losing your highest level spell, but possibly with.
Does that sound too complicated? Too brutal? Would it make temporary hit points more or less powerful? What about increases to Con, and the hit points those provide? Would it make Con damaging and draining effects too powerful?


Mactaka wrote:

Has anyone thought about taking any 4e mechanics to current 3.x games (incl Pathfinder)?

Our group (well the other GM and I) have discussed trying to incorporate healing surges.

A number of prominent 4e features already exist in the 3.X SRD:

Rituals - see rules for 3.x fantasy and d20 Modern SRDs.

Second Wind exists in a as a class ability for the Tough Hero base class in D20 modern. Simple enough to make this a class feature for all classes. Tying usage to constitution (say, uses per day = con mod) also helps make 3.x martial classes even less reliant on outside healing.

Powers are just a very thorough revision and implementation the General Recharge Magic variant Adding discrete spells/powers to martial characters (as seen in 4e's Fighter, Ranger, Rogue and Warlord) was done in supplements such as "The Book of Nine Swords".

This could be implemented in a SRD only fashion by using the General Recharge variant for all classes, changing recharge durations to a by round, encounter, and daily scheme if necessary, and giving all classes a spell list that is accessible from level 1.

For some classes (Ranger, Paladin) this just means extending their existing spell progression to span 20 levels, probably by slowing access to new spell levels and modulating spells per day.

The Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue and Monk would need new spell lists. This is easy enough for the Fighter and Rogue, just appropriate the Blackguard and Assassin spell lists and apply the same logic as used above with the Ranger and Paladin. The Barbarian and Monk would need custom lists (I would be tempted to take class features from the Elocater Psionic Prc, as well as some of the [Psionic] feats and use these as the basis for a Monk list.)

The bones of 4e can be found throughout 3.x, you just need to start digging (in the SRD.)


Wow. I like a lot. I like almost everything except it is not reverse compatible. For me, I wish I could get something half way between PfPRG and 4.0. I am not currently DMing but if PfRPG does not address it, I intend to instill the following:

1- Monsters. I like the abbreviated monsters with a 'characteristic' power.
2- Healing being a character resource, not a Cleric one.
3- Death & Dying.
4- Simplified movement actions. The Standard, Move and Minor action. (Not the square bursts or 1-1-1 movement.)
5- Reducing magic dependency with character development. Reduce magic slots but give the characters ability bonuses more often.
6- Reduced iterative attacks. I intend to force people to uses Vicious Strike.
7- A modified Full Round Attack with movement.


In short yes.

Last night we re-kicked off my long term Greyhawk campaign after a 2 month hiatus (school was a really mother this last term) and I have been running some 4e in my 3.5 game since the previews.

1) Death and dying (preview version), no surges for now.
~Hasn't come into play that much because my PCs are really careful. Finally knocked the Barbarian into negatives last night, twice.

2) Took the minion concept out for a test spin.
~In a word, ROCKS! I have 7 players so having lots of canon fodder mixed in with longer term threats gives everyone some thing to do instead of the warmage or the barbarian doing all the heavy lifting.
* They have 1hp, they do average damage, each are worth 1/4 xp for a creature of equal CR.
* Sub 4 minions for each standard creature.
* Definitely mix them in with other creatures because Great Cleave will ruin your minions day.

3a) I use the Adventures = Special Destiny concept in 4e. Only Adventurers and special NPCs can be raised. That means that at high levels of play if they let the monarch die, he or she is dead, dead, dead. Oooops.

3b) In light of PC exceptionalism, PCs start with 5 extra hit points at 1st and they gain 1/2 their HD+1 plus their Con bonus in hp when they level. This made them a bit more robust.

4) I have started designing my monsters outside the player rules. This allows me to challenge them and I don't have to do crazy math and under/over balance the NPC/Monster to make it a challenge to the PCs.

<<EDIT:>>
5) I did away with the 1-2-1 diagonal movement rule. Everything is 1-1-1 for movement.
<</EDIT:>>

Pathfinder things I have swiped.

1) For now 0-level spells are at will.
2) Haunts. Psychic traps are cool.

Things from 4e I will be stealing in the next session:

1) Skill challenges (yummy!), there was nothing to negotiate with in last session but there will be in this one.

2) Action Points, Quests, and milestones. Will take some modification but I think this will help focus my group on the task at hand. But still let them go in new and different directions if they want.

What have I noticed by adding these rules into my game? Well, combats are way faster. I can throw a hoard of bad guys at the party and it will challenge them (may even kill them) without being to overwhelming.

I look forward to mining 4e and Pathfinder RPG for stuff for my campaign.

In Service,

Saracenus


James,

That is a pretty elegant addition to the spell concept.

Hope you don't mind, but I've just put it in my pocket. :)

Well done.


Bear wrote:

James,

That is a pretty elegant addition to the spell concept.

Hope you don't mind, but I've just put it in my pocket. :)

Well done.

The spells do seem pretty nifty, although I'm not sure if their being A) higher level and B) offering lesser healing than their base spell might be overkill.

That is, I think they'd be a bit better if equivalent level to the non-delayed version of the spell they're based on. Is there a reason you went for the double whammy of reduced healing AND increased spell level James?

Cheers! :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The next 3.5 campaign I start will include Second Wind (but no other surges).

I will also adapt some of the lower-level encounter powers as feats.

I will adapt some utility spells as rituals which will help pare down spell lists in general.

I am considering getting rid of strength bows and just having ranged attacks add Dex mod to damage.

Osirion

Mactaka wrote:
Has anyone thought about taking any 4e mechanics to current 3.x games (incl Pathfinder)?

Monte's Book of Experimental Might has 'Take a Breather' actions which make for an interesting variation on healing surges. That's definitely one variant I'm looking towards, since dedicated healing classes tend to either suck or end up overpowered (because the designers decided to 'make them more interesting' by giving them a bunch of other stuff).


I really want to test whether 4.0 MM can be used in a 3.x setting. Preparing monsters is a major time consumer, so if monsters could be used more or less directly, perhaps adjusting some levels (and thinking hard on how to use the special abilities), that would be really attractive.

Have any of you experimented with this, that is, taking a 4.0 monster (with minions etc) and thrown them at the 3.x party?


Federico Decara wrote:

I really want to test whether 4.0 MM can be used in a 3.x setting. Preparing monsters is a major time consumer, so if monsters could be used more or less directly, perhaps adjusting some levels (and thinking hard on how to use the special abilities), that would be really attractive.

Have any of you experimented with this, that is, taking a 4.0 monster (with minions etc) and thrown them at the 3.x party?

I've not actually tested it but I can tell you that it will almost certianly fall apart except at a few levels.

1st level 4E monsters have a lot of hps. However 4E characters get stronger at around half the rate of 3.x characters. At some point not to long after 10th level the monsters start to get obvously weaker then their 3.5 counterparts simply because 3.5 characters are starting to get dramatically more powerful during this part of the game when compared to 4E characters.

Andoran

Bear wrote:

James,

That is a pretty elegant addition to the spell concept.

Hope you don't mind, but I've just put it in my pocket. :)

Well done.

Thank you. And of course I don't mind; I'm happy someone else found it worthwhile.

David Marks wrote:

The spells do seem pretty nifty, although I'm not sure if their being A) higher level and B) offering lesser healing than their base spell might be overkill.

That is, I think they'd be a bit better if equivalent level to the non-delayed version of the spell they're based on. Is there a reason you went for the double whammy of reduced healing AND increased spell level James?

Cheers! :)

I took my lead from close wounds, which is a second level healing spell only worth d4 plus caster level. With close wounds, the trade-off is both higher level and less amount of healing in exchange for it being an immediate spell with range. With the delayed heal spells, the trade-off is for extra duration and the fact that the target can trigger it, without even having to use a standard action. As it is, the reduced amount of healing is not monumental: d6s instead of d8s, and you still get your plus caster level. I look at it this way: the cleric still is as incentivized to prepare "delayed heal light wounds" as a second level spell as any other second level spell. At least, that was my thinking. Thank you for your feedback!


James Hunnicutt wrote:

I took my lead from close wounds, which is a second level healing spell only worth d4 plus caster level. With close wounds, the trade-off is both higher level and less amount of healing in exchange for it being an immediate spell with range. With the delayed heal spells, the trade-off is for extra duration and the fact that the target can trigger it, without even having to use a standard action. As it is, the reduced amount of healing is not monumental: d6s instead of d8s, and you still get your plus caster level. I look at it this way: the cleric still is as incentivized to prepare "delayed heal light wounds" as a second level spell as any other second level spell. At least, that was my thinking. Thank you for your feedback!

Quite welcome. They're a pretty interesting idea. Like most "problems" people find in rules, it'll likely play fine at the table. ;)

Thanks for sharing!

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Mactaka wrote:

Our group (well the other GM and I) have discussed trying to incorporate healing surges. Not so much to overshadow the cleric's potent arsenal, but to allow the cleric to be more martial and not just be a healbot. I was also thinking of getting rid of the 1-2-1 since I know it will cause confusion if we go back and forth between 3e, 4e, HERO (hexes!), etc.

There's a mechanic in PFRPG that treats turning attempts as an area heal. I have been runing a test in COCT using these rules. It has a similar feel to the Warold and Cleric at will powers. There's no mechanic for a second wnd right now, but I don't know if it is needed, as the channeling positve energy effects everyone in a burst.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
James Hunnicutt wrote:

Yes.

Since our campaign started we haven't rolled for hp.

Our 3.5 party recently found a ritual book for their cleric. Here's how it works:

** spoiler omitted **

And I've created some healing spells for a cleric that enables other characters to heal themselves during combat. Kinda like a healing surge, but it still costs the cleric resources and it still requires magic to restore hp, which flavor-wise I prefer.

[spoiler]Delayed Heal Light Wounds
Conjuration (Healing)
Level: Clr 2, Drd 2
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Touch
Target: One willing creature touched
Duration: 10 min. / level (D)
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)

The target may anytime during the spell's duration spend a standard action or a move action to receive healing of 1d6 points of damage +1 point per the caster's level (maximum +10). Doing so requires the target to utter an audible prayer to the caster's deity, which does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The target may not activate the delayed healing if silenced or otherwise unable to speak. The target may not do any other speaking during its turn. For example, on the turn it activates the delayed healing, the target cannot communicate, direct others, perform a countersong, or cast a spell with a verbal component. By activating the delayed healing, the target cannot maintain concentration on any spell it has cast. The target cannot avoid speaking the prayer through "Silent Spell" or any other feat, skill trick, or effect. A target may only have one delayed heal spell (i.e., any spell with the phrase "delayed heal" in its name) in effect at any single time. If another delayed heal spell...

Really good stuff. I would post these up on the Pathfinder Alpha 3 Board as suggestions for new spells.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Delayed Healing spells are almost like casting Imbue With Spell Ability in 3.5.

Andoran

tadkil wrote:

Really good stuff. I would post these up on the Pathfinder Alpha 3 Board as suggestions for new spells.

Thank you for the vote of confidence. I followed your advice and posted them here.

SmiloDan wrote:
Delayed Healing spells are almost like casting Imbue With Spell Ability in 3.5.

True, and I mentioned that on the other thread I just referenced.

Taldor

Bear wrote:

James,

That is a pretty elegant addition to the spell concept.

Hope you don't mind, but I've just put it in my pocket. :)

Well done.

I agree. Thank you, James. Well done.

Taldor

Response to the OP:

I had a great conversation with one of my players about this. He's older than me but with only 8yrs experience with the game. After I discussed moving targets, repositioning enemies/sliding, and surging stuff, he reminded me that between 3.5 and PRPG there really are rule options that could be "brought out more" first. For example, he suggested that as a DM I use the PRPG CMB tactics more, and the 3.5 movement rules more - bringing these strategies to the foreground. He said once the players start having their weapons knocked out of their hands, get overrun, knocked off a ledge, etc., they're likely to do more of that too.

So, while I did have some thoughts of retro-importing 4e back to 3.5/PRPG, I just gave a fresh look at the system and upped my use of those existing rules. The rusult has been a "refresh" on combat, DM and players are doing more mechanically interesting things.

Of course, in the games I run - the only limit is the players' imagination to begin with, so combat is always flavorful, compelling, and action-packed. But, maybe a back-to-basics approach will also help some folks reading this thread....

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Yeah, I run a swashbuckling, sea-going campaign, so there's lots of Disarming, Tripping, Bull Rushing, Grappling (it's not THAT hard!), etc.
But I like the 4E concept of damaging an enemy AND moving them with the same attack.


Personally the big things I like about 4e are the special destiny idea and the static saves mechanic. The former solves many story conundrums, and the latter could speed up combat, I think, which is my only true gripe with the 3.5 system; I like complex monsters, I like rolling for HP, I even like playing a dedicated healbot. Shocking, I know (it's much more fun when people *appreciate* the fact that you're healing them, and don't act like you're their b****. In which case, just let Pappy Kreeg have his way with them. :P).

Combat just grinds the game to a halt, which I think is a major flaw, and anything I can do to improve that without dumbing the game down too much (I cast fire- erm...cube?) is worth looking at. I've thought about a 1/day second wind mechanic, though.


I like quite a few of 4E's mechanics, but not all of them. I have been wondering what a game using the 3.0/3.5 OGL would look like if it, ah, 'borrowed' various choice mechanical elements from 4E. As F33b pointed out, a lot of the rules are already concepts in the SRD.

Anyhows, my first target would be trying out a modified version of the at-will/encounter/daily powers for spell casters.

I like the idea of having a 1st level wizard having, say, four at-will cantrips (Read Magic, Detect Magic, Mage Hand, Dancing Lights), two per-encounter spells (say, Shield, True Strike) and one daily spell (Sleep), while at the other end of the scale, an archmage is tossing Fireball about at will, Wall of Fire and Baleful Polymorphs per encounter and have spells like Symbol of Death or Chain Lightning per day.

That makes a novice wizard a lot more sustainable than 3E, while a high-level mage with a fifteen to eighteen spells at the ready is a lot easier to keep track of than the fifty-plus spells a high level wizard can have in core 3E.

Rather than 4E's very limited spell selection, I'd have wizards able to prepare different spells from their spellbook each day and be able to prepare multiple copies of the same spell, like in previous editions, allowing our hypothetical 1st level wizard to be able to cast Magic Missile twice an encounter if they wanted to.

It'd need some tweaking of spell levels to fit into the at-will/per-encounter/daily categories. I'm thinking a '1st level daily' would be one of the more powerful 3E 1st level spells, like Sleep or Charm Person, or maybe a weak version of a 3E 2nd level spell like Scorching Ray.

As for minions, 4Es implementation of the concept just rubs me wrong. Rather than having monsters with lowered hit points I'd prefer them to be monsters with increased combat proficiency but without a big hit-point boost. In other words, rather than Hill Giants with 1 hit point you'd fight hobgoblins with twelve levels of 'Minion' that boosts their attack roll, AC and HPs by +12 and their saves and damage by +6. Then I can use the same stats to fight the 9th level adventurers who cleave through them in droves and the 4th level adventurers who find them a serious foe.


One idea you could try out in 3E is having Wizard's have a usability range.

Like, you get X number of At-Will spells of spell level Y or lower. You get Z number of Encounter spells of spell level T or lower. And you get W number of Daily spells of spell level G or lower. So as a Wizard levels up, spells that were once Daily, or even Encounter, can become At-Will, and new tiers open up for Encounter/Daily.

Not sure what would be a balanced set of numbers for all the above variables though.

Cheers! :)


David Marks wrote:

One idea you could try out in 3E is having Wizard's have a usability range.

Like, you get X number of At-Will spells of spell level Y or lower. You get Z number of Encounter spells of spell level T or lower. And you get W number of Daily spells of spell level G or lower. So as a Wizard levels up, spells that were once Daily, or even Encounter, can become At-Will, and new tiers open up for Encounter/Daily.

Not sure what would be a balanced set of numbers for all the above variables though.

Cheers! :)

My two cents:

Start with the General Recharge Times table in the SRD

Another option is to borrow a page or three from the Shadow Magic, as presented in the 3.5 Tome of Magic

The way would be applied (if following ToM) is

At Class level 1:


  • Each spell slot should be one instances of per "per day" spell/power.

At Class level 7:


  • All your previous "per day" spells slots (3rd level or lower) convert to "per encounter" spell slots.
  • New spell slots (which should be 4th level+) are "per day".

At Class level 14:


  • All your previous "per encounter" spells slots (3rd level or lower) convert to "at will" spell slots.
  • Previous "per day" spells slots (4th level to 6th level) convert to "per encounter" spell slots.
  • New spell slots (which should be 7th level+) are "per day".

All zero level spells start out as "per encounter" and move to "at will" at 7th level. Another option is to have 1 zero level spell be at will, the known zero level spells be "per encounter" and have zero level spells convert on separate track (maybe one additional known zero level spell becomes "at will" every odd level, so 1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.)

For this option to work well, it might be necessary to adopt a hard limit on spells known, like the Sorcerer, and still require spell preparation.


David Marks wrote:

One idea you could try out in 3E is having Wizard's have a usability range.

Like, you get X number of At-Will spells of spell level Y or lower. You get Z number of Encounter spells of spell level T or lower. And you get W number of Daily spells of spell level G or lower. So as a Wizard levels up, spells that were once Daily, or even Encounter, can become At-Will, and new tiers open up for Encounter/Daily.

Not sure what would be a balanced set of numbers for all the above variables though.

Cheers! :)

That's exactly the approach I'm playing around with. One problem is there are just ten different ranks of wizard spells in 3E, so dividing them up into at-will/encounter/daily spells across twenty caster levels is a bit tricky, especially at the lower levels. The simplest solution may be renumbering the spell-levels to the same scale as class levels, so, say, Invisibility becomes a 4th-level spell so can be cast as a daily spell by a 4th level wizard, a per-encounter spell by a 8th level wizard and an at-will spell by a 12th level wizard.

I'm wondering how Metamagic would work in this system - would the spellcaster prepare them in advance, so a high level wizard could prepare an empowered Magic Missile as an at-will spell and a quickened Magic Missile as a per-encounter spell, or would they apply metamagic 'on the fly' using up some other resource?


David Marks wrote:

One idea you could try out in 3E is having Wizard's have a usability range.

Like, you get X number of At-Will spells of spell level Y or lower. You get Z number of Encounter spells of spell level T or lower. And you get W number of Daily spells of spell level G or lower. So as a Wizard levels up, spells that were once Daily, or even Encounter, can become At-Will, and new tiers open up for Encounter/Daily.

The Tome of Magic Shadow Mages did this. Basically, your lower levels spells eventually become 3x per day then at an even higher caster level eventually became At-Will. Mid-level spells become 3x per day. You highest level spells are always by 'slot'. They also coupled this with spell lists so it was not totally crazy. I thought this was what 4e would be.


JRM wrote:


That's exactly the approach I'm playing around with. One problem is there are just ten different ranks of wizard spells in 3E, so dividing them up into at-will/encounter/daily spells across twenty caster levels is a bit tricky, especially at the lower levels. The simplest solution may be renumbering the spell-levels to the same scale as class levels, so, say, Invisibility becomes a 4th-level spell so can be cast as a daily spell by a 4th level wizard, a per-encounter spell by a 8th level wizard and an at-will spell by a 12th level wizard.

I'm wondering how Metamagic would work in this system - would the spellcaster prepare them in advance, so a high level wizard could prepare an empowered Magic Missile as an at-will spell and a quickened Magic Missile as a per-encounter spell, or would they apply metamagic 'on the fly' using up some other resource?

I'd think on the fly, but as a full round, like a Sorcerer (let them use Quicken anyway though, its just badass :P)

I think the toughest call is how many spells to actually give in the first place. Obviously, a number even close to what a Wizard gets now in 3.5 would be terribly broken.


Duncan & Dragons wrote:


The Tome of Magic Shadow Mages did this. Basically, your lower levels spells eventually become 3x per day then at an even higher caster level eventually became At-Will. Mid-level spells become 3x per day. You highest level spells are always by 'slot'. They also coupled this with spell lists so it was not totally crazy. I thought this was what 4e would be.

Besides the whole sucking thing, I really dug the Shadow Mages from ToM. It's a shame that between the three systems, Binders were the only one that were workable (although Shadow Mages were usable with some polish)


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Duncan & Dragons wrote:
David Marks wrote:

One idea you could try out in 3E is having Wizard's have a usability range.

Like, you get X number of At-Will spells of spell level Y or lower. You get Z number of Encounter spells of spell level T or lower. And you get W number of Daily spells of spell level G or lower. So as a Wizard levels up, spells that were once Daily, or even Encounter, can become At-Will, and new tiers open up for Encounter/Daily.

The Tome of Magic Shadow Mages did this. Basically, your lower levels spells eventually become 3x per day then at an even higher caster level eventually became At-Will. Mid-level spells become 3x per day. You highest level spells are always by 'slot'. They also coupled this with spell lists so it was not totally crazy. I thought this was what 4e would be.

In my campaign I introduced a feat called "Spontaneous Substitution" that allows you to swap a prepared spell of a level at least one less than the highest that you can cast for a single pre-determined spell of the same or lower level. Then I gave Wizards this feat as a bonus feat every even numbered level. So at 4th level, a Wizard could choose to cast Magic Missile for any 1st level spell slot at will. Other spellcasters can take the feat as well, if they choose. My players love it.

But I can see the allure of making some spells "at-will" at higher levels. In fact, I originally thought that it would that way in 4E - as a character's level increased, daily spells became encounter spells and encounter spells became at-will spells.

I think that the idea of "at-will" spells evolved out of a desire to reduce the reliance of characters on staves, wands and scrolls, which are a pain to keep track of and don't really evoke the high fantasy of Tolkien, Howard or Leiber. In general, the reliance in 3/3.5 on a character's GEAR has always been a bit of a turn-off. Making wands, etc., into "implements" was a good step in the right direction - but didn't go far enough. Runestaffs, from the Magic Item Compendium, were more my idea of the way to go. Rather than giving you more power, it gives you options, and options make for fun encounters.

BTW, along the same lines, I like the idea of feats that allow you to re-roll an attack, skill check, etc. once per encounter/day. As Monte Cook said, they don't make you more powerful - they make you more successful.

Static saves (defenses) are also an easy retrofit into 3/3.5 that would speed combat dramatically.

Getting rid of iterative attacks would be a GREAT move. If possible, dropping attack and save progression entirely and going with 4E's 1/2 level + class bonus + Abililty Mod + ... approach would also make play at ALL levels a lot more fun, since the probability of success for the various actions for different classes wouldn't diverge so drastically. Epic Level handbook realized that when it froze the progression of BAB and Save bonuses at 20th level.

Finally, making monster creation and the EL/CR/XP system easier in the same vein as 4E would be a big help to DM's, as the current 3/3.5 system is positively byzantine.


I would like to do (although I won't have the time): Minion Monsters (lots of weak enemies, which you can hack through, but which still make a difference and you cannot ignore), the way remove affliction works (removing curses is just too easy in 3.5, so they are not really frightening), healing surges.


Belfur wrote:
I would like to do (although I won't have the time): Minion Monsters (lots of weak enemies, which you can hack through, but which still make a difference and you cannot ignore), the way remove affliction works (removing curses is just too easy in 3.5, so they are not really frightening), healing surges.

Someone will give us a Minion Template soon. Do a search if you want to see some peoples ideas. I think someone has suggested just making them monsters with minimum HP and no special attacks. I need to read up on 4e Affliction. Character resourced healing (which is what I would call Healing Surges) is in Monte Cook's Book of Experimental Might. I am betting something along this line gets into the PfRPG Beta.

P.S. I lose bets a lot.


Michael Waters wrote:

In my campaign I introduced a feat called "Spontaneous Substitution" that allows you to swap a prepared spell of a level at least one less than the highest that you can cast for a single pre-determined spell of the same or lower level. Then I gave Wizards this feat as a bonus feat every even numbered level. So at 4th level, a Wizard could choose to cast Magic Missile for any 1st level spell slot at will. Other spellcasters can take the feat as well, if they choose. My players love it.

But I can see the allure of making some spells "at-will" at higher levels. In fact, I originally thought that it would that way in 4E - as a character's level increased, daily spells became encounter spells and encounter spells became at-will spells.

I think that the idea of "at-will" spells evolved out of a desire to reduce the reliance of characters on staves, wands and scrolls, which are a pain to keep track of and don't really evoke the high fantasy of Tolkien, Howard or Leiber. In general, the reliance in 3/3.5 on a character's GEAR has always been a bit of a turn-off. Making wands, etc., into "implements" was a good step in the right direction - but didn't go far enough....

I'm thinking about something like that as well, so a caster can have a number of 'Mastered spells' that if they can spontaneously cast by substituting a spell in their per-encounter or daily slots. To keep down the book-keeping they could occupy one of the slots - i.e. a wizard with three per-encounter spells could have Magic Missile(Mastered), True Strike and Shield and cast up to three Magic Missiles per encounter.

Another idea is having magic items that grant the ability to spontaneously cast spells. So an amulet of shield may let a wizard use their own per-encounter slots to cast shield.

If time is not an issue wizards should be able to cast spells from their books, but slowly. (i.e. a per-encounter spell takes five minutes to cast from a spellbook, a daily spell an hour). Rituals should work similarly.


As for fighter-types, I've already advocated giving them more effective & interesting things to do in combat in PRPG fighter threads.

If I was applying 4E tropes to fighters I'd give them at-will and per-encounter combat powers. Daily combat powers would exist, but I feel they should be reserved for very high level fighters or those with prestige classes - I'm thinking things like Cu Culainn's Gae Bolg spear-throwing feat, Slaine's warp spasm or Beowulf wrestling Grendel would be good candidates for daily fighter feats, since they're supernatural for all practical purposes.

However, fighters would have a number of times they can use an per-encounter combat power per encounter and be able to use the powers they know in any combination they like. Thus a fighter may, say, be able to use an encounter power three times per combat and be able to chose to use the same power three times or three powers once apiece, according to their wishes. However, some powers may become less effective after the first time they're used in an encounter, since opponents will be expecting them. I'm thinking about things like 'Feints' and 'Secret Moves'.

One thing I don't like about 4E is the way it doesn't make any difference how big a foe is when you use an exploit to move them, so a fighter shoves a Kobold about just as far as a Great Wyrm. I'd have it scale with level - indeed, I'd have many of the powers scale by level - so a 1st level Fighter's Shield Push per-encounter Move power may move a man-sized foe 5', a 7th level fighter's may move an Ogre 5', a single man-sized foe 1d3+3 x 5' or two or three man-sized foes 5', and an epic level fighter can toss an ogre across a room. (The middle-level examples remind me of Bruce Lee's 'one inch punch' sending people flying, or Elvis in his karate gi pushing three large men around)

I feel all fighters should have an at-will power that allows them to try to parry or block attacks. It'd start something like this:

Parry Blow: As a immediate action (i.e. a minor interrupt in 4E terms) a fighter can deflect one melee attack aimed at them if they succeed in matching or exceeding its attack roll with a defense roll of their own. (This would be adjusted by the weapon or shield used to parry. I did wonder about having it just provide universal Damage Resistance against the attack, so particularly powerful blows bust through the defense, but that's complicated enough I think it should be an optional rule).

In my homebrew I have characters burn hit points or spell points to power such actions, but let's keep such a concept out of it for simplicity's sake.

Like Waters said, I'd get rid of iterative attacks. Up to four different attack bonuses is too fiddly. Instead I'd have something more reminiscent of older editions when a 7th level fighter attacks thrice every two wounds. To represent this I'd have three different grades of melee attack, as follows:

Primary Attack - full attack bonus, full damage.
Secondary Attack - full attack bonus, half damage.
Tertiary Attack - -5 attack bonus, half damage.

Thus a normal 7th level fighter may be able to make a 'One-Two Strike' as an at-will power which allows them to make a Primary Attack and a Secondary Attack as a standard action. The same fighter may be an expert in the battleaxe, say, and have a per-encounter 'Battleaxe One-One Attack' power which allows them to make two Primary Attacks as a standard action, or a 'Battleaxe Secondary Attack' which allows them to make an additional Secondary Attack as a per-encounter minor action.

You may be wondering about Tertiary Attacks, I would like all fighters to have this power:

Carnival of Carnage: As a per-encounter standard and move action the fighter can attack a number of foes equal to their level, making a Tertiary Attack against each opponent. During these attacks the fighter can move up to half their base movement distance, subject to normal opportunity attacks. Note that this will be pretty useless against equivalent level fighters since their Parry power will probably block it, but is ideal for slashing through masses of weak foes.

Now, what other powers could there be? Apart from the obvious extra-damage, defending allies, easier parries, fight many foes types of powers I'm thinking of things like:

Parry Missiles - for deflecting arrows and the like.
Parry Ray - offers some defense against attack sorcery.
Dragon Shield - A Shield-Parry against area-of-effect energy attacks.
Heroic Leap - and similar 'Wire Fu' movements, maybe a variant class or prestige class power. Just the thing for monks.
Ki Strike - a weapon attack that does bonus dice of Force damage, so some of the attack damages a supernatural foe with Damage Resistance, but it's not as unbalanced as the Book of Nine Swords feat that just ignores DR. Or just make the attack half Force damage, which'll be easier to calculate.

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