|Dungeon Master Zack|
In a nutshell: using some modern ideas from Pathfinder (and maybe another certain playtest) to polish up 2nd Edition.
Most of the meat will be up on a google sites page (and I can shoot you the link in a PM if you're interested). Rather than beggar people for emails to give them access/editing rights, I elected to discuss the project itself here. As I'm looking to Pathfinder for some inspiration, I think that technically qualifies it for existing in this subforum. Hopefully.
Yep. Not much there beyond my initial thoughts so far.
I will reiterate now (and probably several times in the future, I'll wager) that this isn't an effort to break new ground. Different perspectives and opinions are very welcome, of course, so long as it remains civil. To any who wish to contribute on any level, even if it's just to say "Hey, the numbers on [whatever] are so off this is unplayable," please do so—just keep it on target and respectful. I know topics involving different incarnations of this game can provoke some pretty strong feelings, but the intent here is not to disparage any of those.
That's all assuming any one gives a duck-billed tarrasque about it in the first place. Worth a shot, I suppose.
Just a reminder: there's a page with consolidated information dealing with this. If any one wants the link, simply ask me on here or PM me and I'll shoot you a link.
I suppose Ability Scores is as good a place as any to kick things off.
30-Capped: Unlike in 3.x, ability scores did cap out in 2nd. 25 is the highest you'd ever encounter, and it was extremely rare. I think 30 is a decent compromise, and it's a number no player character will likely see without the aid of potent magical effects and items. Ability scores this high are mostly the domain of the upper echelon of creatures: titans, wyrms, or even deific avatars.
Ability Score Increases: There weren't regular ability score increases to deal with throughout character progression. While I'm on the fence about whether such a thing should exist in the hybrid (I think increasing ability scores is a decent method of rewarding character progression, and it helps avoid "dead levels") I think establishing some mortal limits might be the safest way for both to coexist. By this, I mean a player character would still acquire infrequent (every 4 levels, assuming PF's model) points to allocate to their ability scores, but they could not exceed a racial maximum with these increases. The baseline restriction would be an 18, of course, maybe a little higher depending on the race—dwarves could pump their Con up to 19, while elves could achieve a 19 Dex, etc.
Additional Benefits: In 2nd, there existed a trend of higher scores granting pretty noteworthy pay-offs the higher the number climbed. The bonus types were pretty inconsistent, and varied greatly. While I'd love to keep the spirit of this alive, I think it's important to try and balance the effects here. Note, these benefits I'm talking about are things such as Constitution granting small regeneration rates, Intelligence granting immunity to Illusions, Wisdom granting immunity to certain spells, etc.
My recommendation for including additional benefits derived from an exceptionally high ability score is to attach them on to odd-numbered values. A 22 Constitution yields a +6 bonus to hit points gained and Fortitude saving throws; a 23 Constitution allows a person to regenerate 1 hit point every hour (just an example). What these benefits are specifically is an entire other discussion to be had (I'm not sure the illusion immunity is as tenable today as it may have once been).
Static Bonuses?: I am of a mind that consistent bonuses across all scores is the better approach. There's a certain nostalgia that tugs slightly at a desire to treat each as its own entity, yielding a variety of inconsistent bonuses and self-contained implications. Without a true skill system it is far easier to get away with something like that, but I believe the fundamental idea behind skills is something that deserves inclusion. Given that, I'm leaning mostly towards ability scores starting at 1 and ending at 30, with 10 being +0 (average) and 30 being +10.
Exceptional Strength!: Not really. May be able to come up with something that's a decent homage to that concept, though it would need to be an option available to everyone instead of just strong guys. I'll call it a focus for now. A focus would be a small bonus to a given ability score. A Strength focus might be something like Brawny that offers a small bump to weight allowance/capacity. An Intelligence focus might be something like Linguist that allows a character to start with more languages and learn them quicker.
My hesitation here would be in regards to the concept treading into territory better left to Traits (Advantages, Benefits, Edges, Perks, whatever you want to call them; PF calls 'em Traits, so that's what I'mna do). Traits and Drawbacks are wonderful tools for breathing life into a character. It might be best to avoid too many redundancies in character options.