I like the chance to change elements - I don't like randomizing the starting-element.
So you'd rather start with a set element but have the ability to change it, yes? Do you mind if I ask why randomizing doesn't appeal?
I also am not sold on using Spellcraft - much less so with a fixed DC. An issue of tying any mechanic that is not a skill-check to a skill would be the discrepancy in effectiveness - with a d20 thrown in the mix, there are is a lot of variation.
I don't follow. Variation is the whole point of throwing a die. Are you saying you'd rather just have the ability to push the effect or not?
Honestly, I'd instead tie elemental flux to concentration: Can't be easily improved/power-gamed and you still have a d20 in the mix.
I'm not sure I follow how that particular skill is any harder to improve. You throw ranks at it and/or buff the stat, same as Spellcraft. I can see what you mean about that skill making more sense, though--the process would require actual concentration--and it certainly avoids the problem of double-buffing; a wizard will already have a high Int, so shifting to Con would knock down the average score (although Con for concentration has always struck me as really ham-handed designer fiat, but that's a whole other conversation).
But please use a scaling calculation/variety of DCs -as soon as auto-wins become too easy, rolling becomes a chore.
So what would you suggest, the DC rises with the level of spell?
Okay, so I'm more or less taking over this thread from Gonturan. I'm one of the other designers on this project. We wanted to fill you on what we'd come up with.
The short version is that you have a natural elemental affinity based on race, and if you're a spellcaster (a) all energy-based spells come out as a random energy type, and (b) you are vulnerable to the element that comes just before yours in the sequence.
However, when you cast a spell, you can roll a spellcraft check (swift action; DC 10) to push your element one step forward on the "wheel" (the sequence of elements). For every five points by which you beat the DC, you can push your spell another step on the wheel, which means that you need a DC 30 to have all five elements, which will take a while to reliably roll (we checked the percentages).
The upshot of all of this is that you can, once you get to mid-level, create something like an Acid Ball or a Sonic Bolt either because your target is vulnerable to one of those elements, or because it's just friggin' cool.
Myself and a group of designers are creating a Pathfinder game setting, one that'll be doing a kickstarter campaign in the near future, and we want to bounce some ideas off of you all to see how you feel about them.
There was one other thread about this already, which you can read here:
We've come up with a magical system that is woven into a five-element world (fire, aether, earth, metal, water) and where energy-based spells come out as one of those five elements randomly. However, you can use Spellcraft to try to wrench a given spell over to one particular element, which can be useful given that everyone in the game has an elemental vulnerability based on race. Also, we think it's just wicked-cool that you can make a forty-foot diameter Lightning Ball and a ten-food-wide Acid Bolt if you make your spellcraft roll.
What I want to ask you about in this thread is the idea of magic items that are so advanced and complex that they start to take on the character of technology. We call them "sourceforged" because "source" is our world's version of pure, unadulterated magic. Without going into too much detail, we're designing multiple historical periods into the campaign setting, and one of them is vaguely early 20th century except that instead of technology they have applied magic: ye olde winde-powered helicopter, and such.
What we're trying to sort out is the best way to create that option so that it's both more of the same "wicked-cool" that we're trying to create, but also over-powered. So far, we have the notion that sourceforged items, by definition, use multiple elements whereas everything has to use just one.
To use the previous example, the sourceforged helicopter summons wind to hold it up, has a canopy made of hardened water, and is held together by the strong will of the metal it's made of. That's just what there is to work with on this world if people want to make "technology."
The difficult bit is finding a way to make this kind of application take on the guise of technology. It doesn't have to, but that's the intention, so we're effectively looking for a way to get from A (sourceforged magic) to C (tech-looking magic items).
Lay it on me. Speak your mind. We'd love to hear what you think.
Dangit. My old avatar was Orion (the constellation). I set it back when you could upload your own, but now that I've changed it to that dwarf, I can't put my old one back in even though I have Dolph as a secondary avatar. That's annoying.
Viridian Creeper wrote:
He thinks his family is famous. He's a small fish from an exceptionally small pond who doesn't yet understand that he's just been dropped in the middle of Lake Ontario.
Yes, it is! It's interesting not seeing you, too. I find I'm reacting to the characters very differently.
Scott, I seem to be playing fairly fast and loose with Dwarven culture, inventing a celebrity family and such. Should we actually talk this over, or do you mind me making up Dolph's home culture as I go? (He could also be making all of this up, too, but I'm not playing it like that.)
Dolph staggers next to the green-haired woman and speaks, his Dwarven accent showing, but not overwhelming. He elongates his vowels, tends to hit his D's harder than necessary, making them T's, his TH's turn into Z's. I see you're looking for someone... I'm Dolph Targbanger. He pauses for a moment, waiting for recognition. Of the Gundatch Targbangers.[b] Another pause. [b]I'd actually like to help you look for this "Jenny." I'd hoped you might help me, as well. I'm looking for a Gundatch shield. You know, circular, decorated with the Targbanger seal. I'm sure you've seen images of it. Would you keep your eyes out for it? If you can describe Jenny, I'd be happy to help you look for her, as well. What's a Targbanger for than to help people, after all! Is she green-of-hair, like you?
The bald Dwarf speaks, in Dwarfish: Comrade! His eyes are anxious, but not panicked. I've lost something precious to me, an object of great value to my House. Will you help me look? It must be here somewhere. It has been passed from parent to child for four generations. No Targbanger in my line has been without it for three centuries. I'm sure it will come back to me, with your help. I'm Dolph. He glances over at the girl, temporarily transfixed. I never knew human hair could be so... green.
The Dwarf drags himself up and scrabbles around in the sand for a few seconds. It's gone! he yells, in his guttural, Dwarfish accent. Where is it!? Where did it go?! He glances up at the other figures, clearly torn between finding whatever he's looking for and making contact with other people.
Just for fun, I'm going to pretend that my heirloom shield was lost. If it's okay with you, Scott, I'll just happen upon it in the next little while. I'm just playing up that element of the character because... well, that's all I know about him so far. Dad gave him his hammer, a regular old hammer but one of great sentimental value, and the shield, which is a bit more special. To lose them on the very first day that he touches down on this bizarre, foreign land would be particularly traumatising.
The way to detect a lie is with an opposed test (Sense vs. Bluff). Whoever is betting at their respective skill "wins." You're basically setting a high DC for your opponent to beat.
The opposite mechanic is in play when you try to tell the truth. Instead of setting as high a DC as you can, you're trying to set a low DC. So roll a Charisma check and subtract that number from 20. That's the DC of the Sense Motive check.
That might work at low levels, but it wouldn't scale, I think.
Okay, I see your point, although now that I think of it, the Bard has lots of combat abilities based on Charisma. So how about that as an idea: some more Charisma-based abilities that are useful in combat? Intimidate is a nigh-useless ability right now. Perhaps it should do more in combat or have a longer effect or something?
PCs already have a way of avoiding dying at higher levels. They're called Hit Points. d20M has class-granted Defence bonuses because in the modern world, there isn't much by way of armour and probably no such thing as magic, so the PCs need something to pump up their Defence scores or else the whole system's level-based progression model starts to break down. That is, in my opinion, not necessary in D&D 3.x (no idea if it's in 4e).
Don't mean to rain on your parade. If you find a way to make it work, then I salute you. Just my opinion.
The problem with this kind of parry is that it's not very useful. You give up an attack just in case someone attacks you, and then you hope that you beat them on your opposed attack. Much better to just ready an action and do something useful.
A player suggested an alternative system to me, years and years ago, back when we were still playing 2nd Ed.: when you parry, you use a melee attack to lower the damage of an in-coming, melee attack. I'm not sure what kind of numbers to attach to that, but it's an interesting concept.
If you play D&D for only the combat, then yes, Charisma is effectively useless... other than for the three classes who use it for some of their primary abilities (Sorcerer, Paladin, Cleric), and for the class that uses it for a lot of its abilities (Rogues and skills). But even then, who in the world plays D&D for only the combat?
Well, iterative attacks are one of the few things that the combat characters get that others don't, so if you do away with them, you need to give Fighters, in particular, something in return. No idea what that might be.
But let me ask you this, what's your motivation for removing iterative attacks? If it's to speed up combat then getting bonus attacks through feats is not going to help.
Strength measures how much you can lift and how hard you can hit. It doesn't say anything about whether you look good doing it. I've seen very small people who are remarkably strong, and as I said before, I'm 6'2" and 200lbs, but I'm weaker than a kitten. Strength is not what's at issue, here. Sheer size is. Basing Intimidate on your Strength modifier is just wacky.
In game terms, part of the trade-off of getting the 'gnarly powers' that come with a paladin is that you have to be L/G. Now, that was the thinking back in 1st and 2nd Ed, when the Paladin was head-and-shoulders more powerful than the fighter. Whether it still holds now is a different question.
Within the logic of the game, however, only a god who sits at the L/G end of the alignment spectra would ever create something like a paladin. It's specifically a role that a god of justice and war/battle would create. A C/G god wouldn't grant those kinds of powers, and a N/E one surely wouldn't. I think a church dedicated to a god, of any kind, would eventually get around to gathering an 'army of the faithful' in order to kill anyone who doesn't believe in their loving, gentle, message of peace, but in a world where the gods actually do or don't grant powers, a goddess of healing and mercy wouldn't invest warriors with the ability to Smite Evil.
Monks are specifically patterned after the Shao Lin, and anyone who tells you otherwise is talking out their butt. Shao Lin kung fu movies were very popular in HK in the 70s and a lot of them filtered out to the West, which is how a bastardised pseudo-Western version ended up in 1st Ed. D&D. I know this is true because in the introduction to the 1st Ed. book Oriental Adventures, they specifically say that the monk isn't really appropriate for a Western game, and you should probably take it out and use it only for OA.
So the reason that Monks have to be lawful is because they're based on how Shao Lin acted in those movies, and the Shao Lin were almost always lawful. They followed their temple's rules, they upheld the law, and they were disciplined. The Shao Lin who went bad (who usually played the villains) were similarly lawful. They were just evil. So there ya go.
I really hate that "cancel" button at the bottom of the screen. Lost a whole friggin' post. What is the point of a button that says "cancel"?
Okay, here's the skinny:
Charisma is how you present yourself. A little guy can put on the Crazy Eyes and scare the crap out of you, whereas a big guy can act like such a dope that his size doesn't count for crap when it comes to scaring people. So to me, Charisma is clearly the base ability of the skill.
That said, size (not strength!) should be taken into account, too. I'd say getting a +4/+4 per size category different than Medium is the way to go. If you really want to include Strength, then it shouldn't grant more than 1/4 the bonus, because it's unreasonable to think that someone can tell how strong you are by eye. There are bulky muscles and there are lean muscles.
TL/DR: Charisma is what you use to actively scare someone, size category dictates visceral/lizard-brain fear, and Strength, if included at all, should count for only a percentage of its modifier value.
Michael Ahlf wrote:
Any DM who actually allow this kind of thing deserves what s/he gets. I think the spirit of the rule is clear.
If you do choose to split the bonus so the boots only are useful on stealth vs. hearing and the cloak only on stealth vs. seeing, then you might want to adjust the price of the items also, since they're not really giving a bonus to a full skill anymore.
It's doing the same thing it did before. There's no reason to decrease the price just because someone combined two skills.
I like the variant, although I have some suspicions about how it would play out at the table. So there are three things I'd suggest:
1: call it a "synergy" bonus, that way it doesn't stack and you won't get players trying to do it with five different skills.
2: some kind of situational system for determining the DC (it shouldn't be 10 all the time).
3: I'm a fan of synergy bonuses being per 5 ranks, not just at 5 ranks. I know, I know, it's another thing to remember, but it seems only fair.
The Lordzack Synergy Compromise
Oh, that is nifty. And situational, which I like. The only problem I can see is that some "bright" spark (read: schmuck) at the table will insist on rolling a second check for every damn skill check. It'll slow down game-play, and he or she will basically get a +2 half the time just for being a whiny little prick.
But if you're among responsible, mature players, it would work very well.
Well, what happens if you do all of these things?
Shield bonuses double, so carrying a Light shield is now +4 AC. Shield proficiencies allow for a +2 to that shield bonus, so now you've got +6 coming from just your shield, but you're down two feats. Is +6 AC worth two feats and having one hand occupied?
For the equivalent bonus, you'd need splint mail or banded mail, which is 200+ gp, but doesn't require an extra feat (if you're wearing that kind of armour, it probably came with your class features). So now the question becomes, is 2 feats and 9gp (for a shield) the equivalent of no feats and 200+ gp?
The question isn't just "will people take the option?" because there's just no accounting for every person. The question is also, "is this radically more powerful than other, existing options in the game?"
The answer to all D&D 3.X questions: http://www.d20srd.org
"Fighting Defensively as a Standard Action
You can choose to fight defensively when attacking. If you do so, you take a -4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC for the same round."
"Fighting Defensively as a Full-Round Action
You can choose to fight defensively when taking a full attack action. If you do so, you take a -4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC for the same round."
You can defend yourself as a standard action. You get a +4 dodge bonus to your AC for 1 round. Your AC improves at the start of this action. You can’t combine total defense with fighting defensively or with the benefit of the Combat Expertise feat (since both of those require you to declare an attack or full attack). You can’t make attacks of opportunity while using total defense."
Okay... so now you're attacking with one weapon and also attacking with one shield. At best, you might now get a TWD bonus from the shield, but I still don't see where you're going to get a shield bonus and a TWD bonus at the same time. The TWD bonus implicitly comes from your off-hand. You could, I suppose, switch your shield to your dominant hand and use a weapon in your off-hand (for 1/2 Str bonus to damage), but that's stretching reality a lot. At that point, I'd just tell a PC to bugger off and stop being a dingus.
I slept through 2e-3.0 so I'm not sure when it happened but sometime in there the game changed from being very freeform combat to being very structured and metered. Probably the biggest blow to free moving combat? Attacks of Opportunity.
Funny, we were just talking about this at my last game, and most people on the table agreed that they'd like to just get rid of them. I want to play-test that notion, see if it works within 3.5's combat system, which is designed with AOs in mind. If it's faster and easier on the brain, I'll take it. I'm not married to AOs, really.
There are a few problems with "balance" as it's currently understood by for WotC and many power gamers. First, it's really just code for "can my character kill as many monsters as yours?" It's combat-oriented and self-centred. It's all about keeping up with the Joneses, except that the Joneses are your friends, who you've probably been gaming with for years.
Second, there's a bizarre, spurious belief that a "perfect" game system exists in which we can mathematically model exactly how useful each class will be, therefore we end up with systems that are more and more funnelled towards combat alone, because that's the part of the game that you can model mathematically.
Third, it assumes, and therefore encourages, players who set out to "break" the system, exploiting every loophole and combination. It sets a tone in which min/maxing is not just allowed, but assumed to be required (i.e., "If I don't arrange my fighter's feats perfectly, I'm screwed at the gaming table.").
I won't argue that classes, spells, and feats should be tossed in with no eye to a general sense of their power level, but the game philosophy needs to encourage players to either (a) just stop with all the stupid power gaming and enjoy your character, or (b) admit that you're playing a particular style (called "power gaming") and that if you're good at it, you'll always find a way to "break" the system, so whining when the system breaks indicates a lack of understanding of simple causality. It's like pounding on your TV with a hammer and then saying, "Stupid TV... broke after four hits..."
So yeah, designers have to have an eye towards balance (I do in my pet system), but if you become totally obsessed with it, if you treat it like the Holy Grail of role-playing that will come and save us from our own style of play, the you'll always be disappointed.
Lots of good thoughts, here. My responses:
The simplest thing is to just double the shield bonuses. Hands down.
I'm leery of making "defence rolls" because they really slow down game play, but one of my players, years ago, suggested a parry system in which, instead of either blocking or not blocking the attack, your parry attempt simply lowered the amount of damage of the incoming attack. This was mocked up for 2nd Ed, so alter it to taste, but basically when someone attacked you, you could use your own attacks against his/her weapon and reduce their damage by your damage roll. Doing so ate up attacks from your next turn.
Shield bonuses should, absolutely, apply to Touch AC. I'm sort of mystified that they don't already.
What's the point of allowing Two-Weapon Defence and Shield bonuses to stack? The only time that could come up is if you have a buckler (it's the only shield you can use and attack with the same arm), so it seems like a minor thing.
I'm not sure what you're asking for exactly, but in AD&D 2nd Ed., rounds were supposedly a full minute of dodging, ducking, dipping, diving, and dodging. It never made a whole lot of sense, but if you'd like your combats to have 'technically' lasted minutes instead of seconds, you could use that logic.
I'm not as up on this debate as I could be, but it seems to me that what's really important is a strict, universal hierarchy of materials. If a werewolf can be harmed "only" by silver, I think adamantine should do the job, too. I mean, it's frakkin' adamantine fer gods' sake. Also, the list of DR vulnerabilities should be very, very short. There's no need to keep adding random stuff to it. If we stay to a half-dozen materials and keep them in strict hierarchy, I think it can work.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Well, I never claimed it was "information gathering." I even spelled out that was "not even up to the level of reasoning." It was an example, one more datum to throw into the pot. So, what more do you want? Must I swear never to post again until I've playtesting something N times and written a doctoral thesis on the topic? (P.S. If I sound like I'm beginning to get a trifle annoyed, it's because "All due respect" does not prevent a post from seeming snide and goading. Unless you're kidding, in which case some indication, such as a happy face icon or "jk" or something, would be appreciated.)
Actually, I find that people tend to assume something is snide and goading specifically when a poster says "with all due respect," even though it actually means "I respect your position and your argument but I disagree for the following reasons." It's a strange thing, that I've never understood, but here we are.
Anyway, let me see if I can state my case without the unintended snide tone (and it really was unintended). I think that the general line of reasoning that if there's a penalty on something, it's therefore useless (see the top of the page) isn't very helpful. Part of the problem of game design is making an effort to see the system from neither the player's nor the game master's point of view, but from a third position outside of an individual game.
Penalties are necessary as a balancing factor. Allowing players multiple attacks, as in a Flurry, a Manyshot, or TWF, needs to be (a) expensive and/or (b) have a penalty on it, otherwise it can really throw off a game. My position is that the various "you get a bonus attack" options in the game should be roughly equal to each other, and currently, Manyshot is far more powerful than TWF, and Flurry is somewhere in between.
There are two general options and compromise position, here. Either bring all three "up" to the power level of Manyshot, or bring all three "down" to the level of TWF, or try to bring them both to a middle position. Upon sleeping on it and talking to another game-head friend of mine, I actually think that paying a feat for a single iterative attack is a pretty good deal, as opposed to paying a feet for a whole full-attack sequence, which really seems out of proportion of other feats, to me. I mean, Cleave/Great Cleave or Combat Reflexes both offer bonus attacks, but under very specific circumstances. Manyshot offers a whole set of bonus attacks under circumstances that are actually very, very common.
So what I would do if I were in charge is bring Manyshot down, make it one feat per bonus attack, and each attack takes its place in the full-attack sequence. That seems like the fare option to me, and the fact that a lot of players would hate it is usually a good sign that it's the right call, in my experience as a player, GM, and a designer.
That's just my opinion on it. I do not demand that anyone agree with me, but I will argue my position as vigorously as I am able to. That's all. I genuinely hope that doesn't come off as snide.
It says it under full attack
Thank you! Man, that should be specified under Two-Weapon Fighting, but okay, no loophole.
We're back to TWF being WAY more expensive than its equivalent counter-parts, in which case I am in favour of the two-feat option (TWF, ITWF = two attack sequences, primary hand and off hand, all at -2 if the off-hand weapon is light). Seems only fair.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Not even up to the level reasoning, in my case, but just a comment on what happened the one time I tried it.
All due respect, experiencing something once is a pretty limited sample size and a subjective way to gather your information, don't ya think?
I just noticed that the Two-Weapon Fighting description from the old PHB doesn't require that you use a full-attack action:
As I read it, this means that if you have TWF, Imp TWF, and Greater TWF (three feats), then you can take a primary attack, an off-hand attack, and a second off-hand attack, all as a standard action.
Is this an oversight, or is it the reason why TWF is so much more expensive, I wonder?
I like the two-feat solution (TWF unchanged, ITWF full attack with off hand). It brings TWF bonuses in line with the Rapid Shot/Manyshot progression. If anything, a new TWF system should mirror that, for consistency's sake.
We'd also need to throw in a new version of Multi-Weapon Fighting and Improved Multi-Weapon Fighting.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Medium BAB - flurry of blows penalty - TWF penalties = a billion attacks a round, none of which can hit except on a 20.
Sweet Jebus on a bike, I am so tired of this reasoning. "There's a big penalty, therefore it's useless!!!!" When you get up to the mid-teen levels and you have bonuses stacked on top of bonuses, attacking 8 times at a -12 is a really useful way to clear out a room full of little wee baddies. Then when you get to the Big Bad, you use fewer attacks at your full bonus. It's really simple.