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Satyr
2009-01-16, 05:26 AM
Okay, this is it.

The big work in progress (without the progress), the Satyr's very own almost complete remodeling of the D&D 3.5 mechanisms.

This is a very large collection of homebrewing, covering almost every single aspects of the game. In the base text form, it contains more than 170 pages, and I dont think I have ever seen a similar large collection of houserules.

The changes within this modifications are written with a certrain objective, and therefore are certainly not looking like a good idea for everyone. Balance, for once, was never a major issue for my gaming group, so that balance does not play a major role within these rules; I think that they are better balanced than the standard rules, but that is more a kind of a positive coincidence instead of an actively pursued objective.
Instead, the major agenda behind these rules was to improve the system's versimilitude and favor for heroism and suspense. This means, that the characters are on the one hand more powerful and self-reliable tzhan in the vanilla rules, but on the other hand they gain much less magical items and equipment. Instead of being a hatstand for awesome stuff, I strongly think a character to be awesome in itself alone.
The focus on heroism and suspense means that the general risk of the game is increased and the power gap between high power and low power characters, NPCs and monsters is a lot smaller. Heroism is about overcoming obstacles and facing chalenges; if the chalenges aren't chalenging, the triumph of defeating them is cheapened.
The more heroic approach means also that spellcasting is not nearly as pwoerful as before (as it is less heroic than a melee brawl) and much rarer than before to protect a sense of wonder; one of the gravest mistakes of D&D is the inflationary use of magic, which is a certain way to banalise it. These houserules do their best to make magic what it is supposed to be: something mystical, rare an exotic, which is not always understandable or controlable by mere mortals and which is certainly not an appearance of daily life.

The second main pillar was the idea to add more deepth and possibilities to the characters, so that it becomes easier to add additional layers with a relevance for the game to the character. Normal D&D characters consists mainly out of two of these layers - race and class- whereby the race is by far not as relevant. By adding a third layer - the heroic path - and more variability and options to classes as well as species, characters gain almost automatically more depth and makibg some choices more relevant.

For people who like to have large collections of magical items, or powerful common magic or just the flashiness of the Tome of Battle, there is admittedly not much interesting in here. For those who are more intersted in a character-focused, or low-magic, or slightly grittier version of D&D, this may contain a nugget of good ideas or two.

Because of the sheer size of this homebrew, I will spread over several threads for a better readability. This thread here will include the general rule changes and an overview; another thread will include the changes to the different species, and a third one will contain the vast number of new and changed classes, which makes the largest part of the homebrew; a fourth one presenting the heroic paths already exists, and will be actualised with the still missing magic specific paths.


Index:
Species:

humans (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649881&postcount=2)
Dwarves (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649905&postcount=3)
Elves (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649910&postcount=4)
Half-Elf (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649918&postcount=5)
Drow (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5782598&postcount=29)
Gnome (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649921&postcount=6)
Halflings (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649940&postcount=7)
Orcs (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649952&postcount=8)
Half-Orcs (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649957&postcount=9)
Hobgoblins (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649971&postcount=10)
Goblins (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649983&postcount=11)
Kobolds (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649993&postcount=12)
Gnolls (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5650004&postcount=13)
Bugbears (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5650027&postcount=14)
Lizardfolk (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5650038&postcount=15)
Raptorans (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5650181&postcount=16)
Goliaths (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5650193&postcount=17)
Satyrs (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5846830&postcount=30)


Species, Eberron:

Changelings (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5852934&postcount=31)
Kalashtar
Shifters (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5852949&postcount=32)
Warforged (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5852966&postcount=33)



Templates:

Aasimar (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5650198&postcount=18)
Tiefling (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5650206&postcount=19)
Air Genasi (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5666250&postcount=20)
Earth Genasi (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5666254&postcount=21)
Fire Genasi (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5666258&postcount=22)
Water Genasi (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5666269&postcount=23)



Rule Elements:


Basics (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649712&postcount=2)
Combat Rules (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649719&postcount=3)
Background Traits (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5650538&postcount=10)
Heroic Paths
Spellcasting & Magic (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649721&postcount=4)
Alignment & Code of Honor (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649841&postcount=5)
Equipment & Multiclassing (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5649846&postcount=6)


Classes:

Adventurer (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5651101&postcount=3)
Alchemist (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5651624&postcount=6)
Archer (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5651663&postcount=7)
Assassin (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5651663&postcount=8)
Battle Priest (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5655725&postcount=9)
Berserker (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5660533&postcount=12)
Bravo (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5660767&postcount=13)
Cleric (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5666802&postcount=16)
Commander (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5673247&postcount=19)
Druid (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5679223&postcount=23)
Healer (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5679383&postcount=24)
Mage Blade (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5679918&postcount=25)
Man-at-arms (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5682268&postcount=28)
Noble (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5682484&postcount=29)
Paladin (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5683535&postcount=30)
Pathfinder (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5689324&postcount=31)
Shapechanger (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5689398&postcount=32)
Sorcerer (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5695312&postcount=37)
Spellthief (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5699493&postcount=40)
Thief (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5699562&postcount=41)
War mage (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5706596&postcount=45)
Weapon Master (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5710868&postcount=46)
Wizard (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5750069&postcount=48)

Satyr
2009-01-16, 05:27 AM
Character Creation:


Species
The list of species can be found here. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=102350)
All species in the reviewed rules are a bit stronger – especially those who were not on par with the others originally (for example the half-orc). Every race should be as a little bit stronger than the original LA+0 rules, to have more room for diversity. Additionally, characters gain additional species features when they advance in level. Every 5 levels, a character gains an additional species template feature.
There are no subspecies; different upbringing, culture or background is represented through background traits.


Ability scores
There are three fixed settings of ability scores for Player characters. Every player chose one of the settings and distribute the scores as ever he wants.
Score one “standard”: 16, 16, 14, 14, 12 10
Score two “focused”: 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8
Score three “ universalist”: 14,14, 14, 14, 14, 14
Ability modifiers per species or trait are distributed afterwards.


Background Traits
Every character gets two background traits, which represent physical or mental character traits, upbringing, environment or social background of a character. These should help to make the character more unique and give the player the possibility to get an additional mean of influence on the character’s overall appearance.
The background traits were introduced in Iron Heroes and can be found there. Additional traits are the ‘background feats’ found in several campaign settings and the feats that grant a +2 Bonus to two abilities.
There are two important addendums: Spellcasting Characters (with the exception of the Paladin) require one of the “Gift” traits. Without these, only magical dabbling is possible. Secondly, only ‘normal sized’ characters can take traits that change the character’s size category or similar features.


Paths
Heroic Paths are linked here. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98871)
Originally, I wanted to use Gestalt rules, but since the number of available base classes in the campaign is more limited and I am not willing to see characters who have both an activator level and full casting, I dismissed the idea. Instead, there are paths. Every character chose one path during character creation, which gives him several additional abilities or features when he advances in level. Unlike a class, a path cannot be changed and most path features are less significant than class features. Most paths have no requirements but a few have. One category of paths, the dabbler paths can not be taken by a spellcasting characters because they describe the – very limited – abilities of potential magicians whose innate magic is for a true magical field of career.

It is quite possible that a Heroic Path and a Background Trait cover a very similar aspect of a character. In comparison, the Path is much more significant for your character than the Background Traits, since the path qualities improve over time. You can try to cover a broader spectrum of abilities by choosing Background traits that are quite diverse from your Path or you can focus on a more directed approach.

The whole path concept is very similar to the bloodlines found in UA, but I have stolen borrowed the from the excellent midnight campaign setting. Characters receive path abilities on 2nd level at first and every three levels later (5, 8, 11, 14, 17 and 20).


Classes
All classes are significantly changed. The classical melee classes are improved, most spellcasters are somewhat weakened (but rarely to an amount that would make them significantly weaker). Especially dead levels were hunted and are now nearly extinct, as well as alignment restrictions. Every mundane class gets a new class feature on every single level. Spellcasting classes get a lot less class features, but spells instead.

Your background traits describe where you come from and what you have done in the past. Your Heroic Path describes what you are and what you strive for and your class describes what you have learned and what you do.
The idea of the additional Paths and Background is not only a way to increase a character’s power – it is also meant as a guideline to create more versatile, more well-rounded and generally less stereotypic characters. The first commandment for the choice of Path and background should be based on the question “What makes the most interesting character?”, Not “How can I become extra powerful?”


Skills
The importance of the ability bonuses for the skills has been increased; now, every skills gains to ability bonuses instead of one. And, the latest instalment of the changed skill rules: class skills and cross-class skills cost the exact same amount of skill points, while the maximum number of skill ranks stays the same.
Alternate Use of Intimidate: Demoralize Opponent You can use Intimidate to weaken an opponent’s resolve in combat. To do so, make an Intimidate check opposed by the target’s will save. If you win, the target becomes shaken for 1d6 turns.


Appraise (INT + CHA)
Balance (2x DEX)
Bluff (2x CHA)
Climb (STR + DEX)
Concentration (CON + WIS)
Craft (INT + ?)
Decipher Script (INT + WIS)
Diplomacy (CHA + WIS)
Disable Device (INT + DEX)
Disguise (CHA + INT)
Escape Artist (STR + DEX)
Forgery (DEX + INT)
Gather Information (2x CHA)
Handle Animal (WIS + CHA)
Heal (WIS + CHA)
Hide (DEX + CON)
Intimidate (CHA + STR)
Jump (2x STR)
Knowledge (2x INT)
Listen (CON + WIS)
Move Silently (DEX + CON)
Open Lock (DEX + INT)
Perform (CHA + ?)
Profession (WIS +?)
Ride (DEX + CHA)
Search (INT + WIS)
Sense Motive (WIS + CHA)
Sleight Of Hand (DEX + CHA)
Speak Language (INT + CHA)
Spellcraft (INT + WIS)
Spot (WIS + CON)
Survival (WIS + CON)
Swim (2x CON)
Tumble (STR + DEX)
Use Magic Device (CON + CHA)
Use Rope (STR + DEX)



General Progession Table:
{table=head]Level|Feat Progression|Ability Bonuses|Species Features|Path Progression

1st|
1st|
-|
-|
1st

2nd|
-|
-|
-|
2nd

3rd|
2nd|
one ability +1|
-|
-

4th|
-|
-|
1st|
-

5th|
3rd|
-|
-|
3rd

6th|
-|
one ability +1|
-|
-

7th|
4th|
-|
-|
-

8th|
-|
-|
2nd|
4th

9th|
5th|
one ability +1|
-|
-

10th|
-|
all abilities +1|
-|
-

11th|
6th|
-|
-|
5th

12th|
-|
one ability +1|
3rd|
-

13th|
7th|
-|
-|
-

14th|
-|
-|
-|
6th

15th|
8th|
one ability +1|
-|
-

16th|
-|
-|
4th|
-

17th|
9th|
-|
-|
7th

18th|
-|
one ability +1|
-|
-

19th|
10th|
-|
-|
-

20th|
-|
all abilities +1|
5th|
8th[/table]

Satyr
2009-01-16, 05:29 AM
Combat and Injuries:

Hitpoints
A character’s hitpoints are not determined by rolling any dice. Instead, a fixed and somewhat lower amount of hitpoints every level. The starting amount of hitpoints on the other hand is increased. The Constitution bonus is still added to the gained amount of hitpoints per level.


{table=head]Hit Dice|Hit Points per level

d4|1 + Con Modifier


d6|2 + Con Modifier


d8|3 + Con Modifier


d10|4 + Con Modifier


d12|5+ Con Modifier[/table]

Hitpoints are also scaled by size. Smaller creatures get lesser, bigger creatures more hitpoints per level. Every character get at least one hitpoint per level.

Damage Steps and Wounds
The more a character is injured the harder it gets for him to fight on. There are for different damage steps which brings penalties to all throws, checks and saves (including damage) based upon the relation of total hitpoints to suffered damage.

{table=head]Damage Steps|Injury penalties

Full Hitpoints (unharmed)|
None

75% of Hitpoints left (Hurt)|
-1

50% of Hitpoints left (Wounded)|
-2

25% of Hitpoints left (Mauled)|
-3[/table]

Example: A knight with 40 total hitpoints takes a heavy hit by an ogre’s club, dealing him 11 points of net damage. His Hipoints sink under the ¾ margin, and he suffers a –1 penalty to his throws.


Due to the lower total hitpoints, the massive damage rule is not used in this form. Instead, there are crippling strikes : Whenever a creature suffers more than 50% of its total hitpoints or its Constitution score, which ever is lower, through a single hit, it must make a Fortitude save against a DC of 15. If the Save fails, the creature is nauseated from the pain until healing magic or first aid can be applied. If the save succeeds, the victim of the attack is sickened from the pain for 1d4 turns.

Defense
There is no AC. Instead, every class has a basic defense bonus similar to the BAB. Defense work like a Save, and is increased by the dexterity bonus. Shields, Dodge and Deflection bonus increases the defense. Armor, however, does not.

Defense:
Basic Defense Bonus (BDB) +Dexterity + other Bonus (e.g. Shields)+ Size Modifier+D20

Flatfooted: When caught flatfooted, only the basic defense bonus of the class and size are used – any additional benefits from equipment are not applied.
Touch Attack: Touch attacks give a flat +4 bonus to hit.

Armor
Armor gives Damage Reduction equal to its former AC. So does natural armor and all stuff, which is not better suited to be calculated as a defense bonus, like shields or items that offer a dodge bonus.

Iterative Attacks
A character can use all his iterative attacks when using a standard action to attack. A full attack grants an additional attack at the highest attack bonus.
A Charge allows attacks with all potential iterative attacks. The Pounce ability allows using an additional attack with the highest attack Bonus.

Satyr
2009-01-16, 05:30 AM
Spellcasting

Basic Rules:
The spell slot system was successfully cleansed. Instead, a magical system which is closer to the description of magic in most fantasy novels and which also makes more sense is used, based on spell points and skill checks to use the powers. Over all, magic is a lot weaker than before, a pure necessity to crate a heroic atmosphere for a fantastic scenario.

Instead of a fixed number of spell slots, spellcasters get a number of spellpoints which can be distributed among his or her spells. Every spell costs as many spell points to cast as its level indicates. Metamagic abilities that increase a spell’s level also increases its cost in spell points. Casters who have to prepare their daily spells still afford to do so. Three spellpoints can used to cast three level 1 spells as well as one level 3 spell. Every spell takes his level of spellpoints to be casted, cantrips or other Level 0 spells do not require any spell points and can be used as often as wished.

The more powerful a spell is, the longer it takes to cast it and the more complicated it is to do so- spells do not succeed automatically anymore (which was an extremely anti-climatic concept and one of the worst ideas in vanilla D&D).

To cast a spell, the required spell points must be channeled first. Spell energy channeling is a standard action, because a caster has to concentrate on the energies he is going to transform in the spell. The amount of spellpoints that can be channeled per turn depends on the character’s experience (and the energy control class feature). A character, who only have the basic energy control can only channel one spell point per level, while a veteran mage can channel up to four spell points. The casting time of any spell depends on its level and the experience of the caster. The Quicken Spell Feat doesn’t exist.

After channeling a spell, a caster can actively casting a completely channeled spell as a move action, but is not required to do so immediately. A spellcaster can keep a limited amount of spell energy under his or her control, which is also limited by the caster’s experience (again represented by the caster’s energy control class feature). This maximum of controllable energies describes also the limit of the spells the caster can use. A novice spellcaster with basic energy control has a maximum of spellpoints he can keep under control equal to his key ability’s bonus. With greater control both more powerful spells can be used and more spell energy can be kept after being channeled. Even though a channeled spell can be hold for a short time, this time span is still limited. A channeled spell’s energy starts to dissipate after a (15 – Spell energy) minutes. The stronger the spell is, the faster it disappears.

Example: A novice wizard with an Intelligence score of 16 and basic energy control can cast spells with energy costs of 3 or lower. He can cast three level one spells and keep them ready until he needs them. The most powerful spells he can cast are level 3 spells, but doing so would take him three standard actions to channel the required spell energy.

The more spells a spell caster keeps ready, the more limited he becomes with additional spells he wants to cast, because of the spell energy control limit. Still, a better caster can use more spells and keep more spells ready at the same time. Still, a character can try to ‘overcast’ himself and use stronger spell energies than he can keep under control. These increase the DC of the spell casting check by +5, and require an additional Will Saving Throw. If the latter fails, the spell deals 1d6+Spell energy non-lethal damage to the caster and the caster is fatigued.

Spellcasting needs a Concentration check to be successful – spellcasting is a straining activity and requires a strong mind and clear determination. The DC of these checks depends on the spell’s complexity - More powerful spells are more difficult to cast. The DC of the Spellcasting checks can be found in the table below. A character can invest additional spell energy to facilitate the spellcasting process; each additional spellpoint reduces the DC of the concentration check for the task by two points.

Spellcasting DC table
{table=head]Spell Level|Standard DC|Overcast DC|Blood Magic DC|Ritual DC
0|
10|
-|
-|
-

1|
15|
20|
17|
10

2|
20|
25|
22|
15

3|
25|
30|
27|
20

4|
30|
35|
32|
25

5|
35|
40|
37|
30

6|
40|
45|
42|
35

7|
45|
50|
47|
35

8|
50|
55|
52|
45

9|
55|
60|
57|
50[/table]

Spellcasting Failures:
If the check fails by 5 or less points, the spell is just not casted and the caster can try again next turn with an additional and cumulative penalty of –1 to the check. If the check fails by a margin of 5 or more, the spell is fizzled and the invested spellpoints are wasted. Armor Check penalties are applied to these checks, but the Arcane Spell Failure Chance plays no role anymore (divine spellcasters are effected by armor as well as arcane ones). A character can take 10 / take 20 on the spellcasting check like for any other skill. In combat though, a skill roll is always necessary. Different to other skill checks, spellcasting checks automatically fail on a natural 1; even worse, the spell effect comes into effect with the worst possible result for the caster, e.g. damage dealing spells who hit the caster or one of his allies instead of the original target.
Spellpoints are gained by advancing in a spellcasting class. More experienced spellcasters have a larger reservoir of spellpoints and therefore are able to cast more spells. A spellcaster who run out of spells can only cast cantrips or other level 0 spells until he found a way to regenerate his spell energy.

Spellcasting options:
Blood Magic: A spellcaster can take additional strain and use his own blood to empower a spell if his spell power resources are already spent. Doing so means that the spellcaster spends hitpoints instead of spell energy points to sustain his spells. This offers an additional risk – the spells are harder to cast, so the DC of any spell is increased by +2, and if the spell fails, the spellcaster must make a Fortitude check, where the DC is equal to the DC of the casted spell. If the save fails, the caster suffers an additional d6 of damage and is fatigued.

Ritual Magic: Spellcasters can decide to cast a spell slow and carefully, trying to make sure that nothing negative happens. A spell cast as a ritual takes his spell level in minutes to perform and reduces the casting difficulty by 5. A ritual requires additional materials for the casting the spell, and always require material components with costs equal to the spell levels x2 in gp.

Defense Spellcasting: Defensive Spellcasting doesn’t exist.

Spell Resistance: The listed spell resistance values –10 are used as an additional penalties to the spellcasting check. A spell resistance below 11 has no significance for the game.


Spellpoint Regeneration
Spellpoint regeneration is dependant on the spell caster’s way of magic. The different traditions offer different ways to regenerate magic.

Divine Magic: A divine spellcaster like a cleric or a druid regenerates 2d10 + his main ability bonus per hour of meditation, contemplation or religious ritual (this does not include sleep). Higher Level of Energy control increases the amount of regenerated spellpoints per hour: +0 for basic energy control, +3 for advanced control, +6 for complex energy control and +9 for perfect energy control.
For example, a 1st level druid with Wisdom 16 would regenerate 1d10+3 Spell points per hour of meditation.
This regeneration is doubled on ‘holy places’ of the caster, like temple of the worshipped god, Druid glens or a place of pilgrimage.

Arcane Magic: The Spellcaster needs to rest to regenerate his or her powers. With a full night’s rest, the spellcaster regenerates 3d12+ his main ability Bonus. Higher Level of Energy control increases the amount of regenerated spellpoints per hour: +0 for basic energy control, +3 for advanced control, +6 for complex energy control and +9 for perfect energy control.
A 3rd level wizard with Intelligence 14 would regenerate 3d12+2 spell points per night.
An arcane spellcaster does not regenerate any spellpoints if he does not sleep enough, but he can create so called arcane tonics to further the regeneration of her magical powers. To create these arcane tonics, the arcane spellcaster must succeed in a craft (alchemy) check (the DC is equal to the number of regained spell points) and spend 5 gp per regenerated spell energy point on the substance. Arcane tonics are used just like potions and instantly regenerate the according amount of spell energy points. An arcane spellcaster can only use effectively arcane tonics she has created herself; the arcane tonics of other spellcasters are only 1/10 as effective as self-created tonics are – therefore, arcane tonics are rare. If ever sold. It takes about half an hour to create an arcane tonic.

Satyr
2009-01-16, 06:34 AM
Alignment

The alignment system is completely ignored. Anyone who tries to argument with childish terms like good or evil is to be undressed, covered in mustard and tossed into the next dog pound.
Alignment is taken for outsiders and influence based only. All creatures from the material plane, except those born from an alignment restrictive parent, have the alignment of neutral for detection and effects purposes. The alignment is a cosmic concept, and not a character defining one. Alignments will only apply to creatures born from one influenced outer plane or another or directly touched by said planes. An Aasimar will always be considered 'good’ for the purpose of spells and effects such as Detect Good, even when she is a homicidal maniac.

For the purpose of spell effects, item effects, and similar, these creatures will represent the alignment of their planes and not their actions/intents.
This also applies to magic and beings formed of magic. Magic that is inherently evil (evil descriptor) will be 'evil', and anything made from such magic will be as well, including the creation of all undead creatures. This may still apply to the same intent bindings as the above as well, for example, if a necromancer raises an army of dead to, lets say, help reconstruct a ravaged town for the sake of the people - completely 'good' intent - the undead will still be evil for the purposes of spells and effects.

It is rare that a being without extraplanar ancestors would ever get an alignment apart from ‘true neutral’. This can be achieved only through supernatural effects but is mostly temporary or the result of a spell. For example, a character who becomes undead automatically becomes ‘evil’ as well.
The terms ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are only kept because of tradition; ‘celestial’ and ‘infernal’ would be more appropriate terms.


Codes of Honor
A character can decide to follow a code of honor – a more or less restrictive moral code. A character with a code of honor receives a bonus to his will saves and a skill checks were his word, honor, etc. has an influence, as long as the character does not violate the code. The stricter the code is, the higher is the received bonus.
Being honorable has nothing to do with being ‘good’ though. A hobgoblin raider who would never attack one of his comrades or lie to an ally is honorable, even though he spends much of his time with plundering, raping and pillaging.
The significance of a Code of Honor is determined by the obligations the code includes. A minor code consists of tree amendments, a significant one contains 5, and a major code contains 8. It is up to the player to determine the code’s rules, but the DM must agree to them. Any of these rules must be significant enough to be relevant. A rule like “Assist all albino dwarves without beard growth” is not sufficient.
A character, who violates his codex loses all bonuses and suffer from as penalty to social skills equal to the former bonus. A character can make up for a code violation through a heroic deed.



{table=head]Codel|Will Save Bonus|Social Bonus|Obligations

Minor|
+1|
+1|
3

Significant|
+2|
+2|
5

Major|
+3|
+3|
8[/table]

Example Codes:
Barbarian Clansmen (minor): Never break your word to an honorable person. Always respect the laws of hospitality. Revenge any crime against you, your clan or your clan’s honor.

Professional Mercenary (minor): Stays bought. Follow your leader’s commands in spirit, not in words. Be loyal to your unit and your comrades.

Honorable Bandit (significant): Take from the rich, give to the poor. Be loyal to your comrades. Fights among comrades must be fair. Never make deals with the gentry. Never take from the underprivileged.

Chivalrous Knight (major): Protect those who are weaker than you. Protect the realm’s laws. Help women, widows and orphans. Don’t lie. Punish the guilty. Fights among men of honor must be fair. Follow the orders of your liege lord. Treat your subordinates well.

Satyr
2009-01-16, 06:38 AM
Character Development:

Equipment and Treasure
The amount of treasure is reduced to 25%, as well as the wealth per level, if you want to use the wealth by level table at all.
Only minor magical items (up to a required caster level of 5 or less) can be bought; all other items must be custom made and cost the double listed prices. If you want to have a specific magical item, you should have an equivalent fancy one to change. The experience cost of item creation is increased to 10% of the item’s creation costs in gold. The time to create a magical item is equal to one day for every 200 gp of the item’s price.
As a guideline, a character should have permanent magical items with a total caster level equal to his character level, and equally as many consumable items like scrolls or potions.
Combined with the generally more powerful classes and races, the characters are roughly as strong as before, but less dependant from their equipment. The character, and not what he or she is carrying is the important part.

Multiclassing
Per Default, there is no penalty for multiclassing. Every character has several (at least two) favourite classes. If she takes class levels in one of those favourite classes, she gains an additional hitpoint or skill point at the level advance. For every new level, it can be decided anew if the bonus from the favourite class should be a skill point or a hitpoint. Skill points for favourite classes are not multiplied at 1st level. Besides the loss of this bonus, the character can freely take levels in every class she qualifies for. A character without the Arcane or Divine Gift cannot multiclass into a spellcasting class.
For spellcasting characters, this is a bit more complicated. A character with the Arcane or Divine Gift can freely multiclass into any mundane character class, but can only take levels in one chosen spellcasting class – you can not take both levels in wizard and sorcerer, or cleric and Battle Priest, for example.
Characters who have both the Arcane and the Divine Gift may take levels in one specific Arcane and one specific Divine character class, but not more than one arcane or divine class.

Satyr
2009-01-16, 06:41 AM
Small Stuff and Minor Changes:

All characters are considered to be illiterate as long as they don’t have a rank in Decipher Script. For every ranmk in this skill, they are able to read and write one of the languages they know.

As a result of the lower total amount of hitpoints and because of the ever increasing entropy, spells of the healing subschool (cure X wounds, Heal, regeneration, etc.) are considered to be one spell level higher than usual. This also means that there are no level 0 cure spell (for good reasons, as these could be cast at will). This is also valid for the spells granted by the cleric’s healing domain. But the ‘anti-healing' spells like Inflict Wounds stay how they are. It is a lot easier to hurt and to destroy than to create and to heal.

Critical Hits are dependant on the success margin, not the rolled number. A hit is considered to be critical if the margin is ten or more, -1 per additional point of thread range (e.g. a keen scimitar would only need a 6 point margin to score a critical hit).

The Wild Magic Feats do not exist. The Eschew Materials becomes a sorcerer class trait instead of a freely accessible feat.

The Dodge trait simple adds a +1 dodge bonuss to Defense without any limitations and can be taken several times.

Spells that seriously mess up the social structure or economy of the game or are just incredibly unbalanced are stoned to death while they wet their pants. These spells are banned from the game for a good reason. This include: Create Water, Create Food and Water, Fabricate, Wall of Iron, Greater Teleport, Overland Flight, Ropetrick, Mage’s Magnificent Mansion, Baleful Polymorph, Polymorph any object and the equivalent mass versions of these spells.

Spells who are known for their imbalance and which are not on the above list are somewhat weakened, e.g. with reduced durations or durations dependent from the invested spell points.

The Duration of the spells Alter Self is reduced to 10 rounds/level.

The duration of Polymorph is reduced to 1 round/level, +1 round per invested spellpoint. Both spells are considered to be one level higher than usual.

The Range of the Teleport spell is reduced to 10 miles per caster level, +10 miles per additional invested Spell point. There is no more powerful version of this spell than the basic teleport spell (wizard 5).

The Spell Freedom of Movement helps only against magical or supernatural effects, but not against purely physical ones. Explicitly, the spell does not protect against grapples.

The Spell Heroes Feast does not summon the food but enchant already existing food. Change the spell’s school to transformation.

The maneuverability while under the influence of a Fly spell is determined by the flying person’s Dexterity. With a Dexterity of 10 or lower, the maneuverability is clumsy and increases by one step for every 5 points in the ability score. All forms of flying magic require strong concentration, adding +10 to all spellcasting DC’s and –2 penalty to all attack and defense rolls. The standard Fly spell (wiz 3) is the epitome of flying magic; more powerful versions of this spell don’t exist.

There is no specific Divine Metamagic. Divine Casters can learn and use metamagic feats just like anyone else, but due to the different way how Turn Undead works, abilities based on the substitution of this are not implemented in the game.

YPU
2009-01-16, 08:19 AM
I’ll take some time to read it all trough soon. But something that got my eye by chance, does a d12 HP get con modifier or does the maximum HP per lvl max out at 5?

Satyr
2009-01-16, 08:57 AM
You don't roll any dice, but gain a fixed amount of hitpoints on later levels (and twice as many at 1st level).
This is not really a problem, as all hitpoints are regulated down this way, and characters are very likely to have some kind of damage reduction. The generally lower hitpoints are a way to speed combats up a bit.

Satyr
2009-01-16, 11:11 AM
Serpents and Sewers doesn't use any subspecies or similar approaches. Instead, after chosing a spcies, every character picks two Backgrond traits.

Background traits
Every character starts with two character traits which are chosen from the following list. Some of these traits are based on the character's social background or the environment where he grew up in, others are based on physical or mental abilities of the character. Choose two traits for your character that you feel are appropriate, but be aware that contradictory traits should be avoided. The Dungeon Master is required to ban any combination she deems unfitting for the game – you cannot be short and tall at the same time, for instance.
Additionally, Character Backgrounds influence what a character have learned in Life and how he will develop. Several background traits offer Background skills, which may always be treated as class skills, for all classes that character has levels in, and additional favorite classes, that offer more options for the character’s future career.

Mental Background Traits:


Ability Boost:
You are remarkably strong, agile etc. for your species, granting you a bonus to a certain ability. Likewise, you also have a specific weakness in another ability.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to a ability score of your choice and a –2 penalty to another ability score.
Special: You can take this trait more than once, eliminating the penalty with the second pick.
Background Skills: Chose one skill based on your enhanced Ability and treat it as a background skill.

Bloodthirsty
You are used to violence and live for the adrenaline rush of the battle – or you just enjoy to inflict pain on your enemies.
Effect: If you deliver an attack that deals enough damage to immediately kill an enemy or drop him nauseated from a heavy hit, your lust for blood stir you to a minor frenzy – you gain a +1 morale bonus to damage and +2 bonus to Will saves. These benefits last until the end of this encounter.
Background Skills: None.
Favourite Class: Chose one class with a full BAB progression and treat it as a favourite class.

Born Leader
You possess an innate ability to bring out the best in others and to create loyalty and friendship. With a few words of encouragement from you or a presentation of your efforts to lead, your allies perform much better than normal – at least temporary.
Effect: You gain the ability to use one of the Commander’s Commands (see the Commander class description in the Class section). The Command may be chosen at first level and not changed afterwards.
Special: Commanders with this ability gain an additional Command at first class.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: Commander

Brave
You understand the value of quick wits and quicker reactions when blades are drawn and deadly spells are chanted and there is not much that scares you anymore.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to Initiative, Spot checks and Will Saves to resist fear or fear related effects. Treat an effect that would panic you as if you were frightened and a result that would make you frightened as if you were shaken. An effect that would make you shaken has no effect on you.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: Chose one class with a full BAB progression and treat it as a favourite class.

Chaotic Mind
You are crazy, deranged, apart from the reality of other people. Your mind is unordered and jumping from one concept to another with a logic hard to identify or follow by other people. Other people will think of you as enigmatic and at least eccentric, but your unusual cognitive processes offers great protection from mind-effecting magic.
Effect: You gain a +4 bonus to mind effecting magic and abilities. People are feeling insecure around the deranged, and you can easily exploit this – you gain a +2 bonus to Intimidate.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Fast Learner
You learn very quickly and without many problems.
Effect: You gain 8 additional skill points on first level, and one additional skill point on each following level.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Intuitive Learning
You never understood how people learned from books. While you are not necessarily what other consider as ‘clever’, you have a knack for learning things, even seemingly more intelligent people have problems to grasp.
Effect: Use your Wisdom instead of your Intelligence to determine how many skill points you gain per level.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Loyal Follower
You are not the one who takes the reign and lead your allies from victory to victory – you are the one who guarantees that the leader’s orders will actually lead them to victory and that his efforts for motivation will be effective.
Effect: Whenever you gain a morale bonus through another character’s leadership efforts such as the cleric’s sermons or the commander’s orders, double that bonus. This does not work when the morale boost was caused by a spell or another supernatural ability or power.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: Man-at-arms

Master of your own fate
You have decided that only you will detemine your way in life. No ancient prophecies, mystical writings or caste origin should ever force you to take another path than that you have chosen for you. You are your own master and do not tolerate anyone else to tell you what you should do.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to all saves against mind-affecting spells or powers - you are too stubborn to submit to mere magic. Your stubbornness also grants you two additional hitpoints at first level, as not even pain and injury should lead you from the way you have chosen.
Background Skills: Chose two skills. These skills will be treated as background skills for you. You and not your origin determine what you are good in.
Favorite Class: Chose one class and treat it as a favorite class.

Paranoid
Perhaps you were betrayed once or you have a low opinion of most other people, but you have learned to distrust most people that you know well, let alone strangers. For you, everyone is suspicious.
Effect: Once per social encounter, you can reroll a Sense Motive, Spot or Listen checks. . In any case, you must choose to re-roll after rolling but before learning the results of the check, and you must accept the results of the second roll, even if it is lower than the first.
Background Skills: Sense Motive
Favourite Class: None

Perfect Recall
You have an eidetic memory, and can easily remember even minor details from an event others have long forgotten without much difficulty.
Effect: You enjoy a +1 bonus to all knowledge checks and a +2 bonus to spot to see through a disguise. If you have any questions about details or events, such as a person’s name or the exact events, the DM is obliged to tell you, even if you as a player have forgotten them.
While you can’t memorise the exact wording of a book or a similar source, you can remember the general gist of the book or the passage. You always remember faces, names and the basic sequence of events.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Seducer
You have the eerie ability to charm and manipulate others, perhaps due to your attractiveness or just a great skill in empathy and scheming. You don’t need magic to twist others around your fingers.
Effect: When dealing with NPCs whose starting attitude is neutral or better, you can temporarily improve their attitude by two categories instead of one with a successful diplomacy check for a number of minutes equal to your charisma modifier. Afterwards the attitude returns to its original state (if the NPC is now more hostile to you, the attitude obviously does not change back).
Background Skills: Diplomacy
Favourite Class: None


Physical Background Traits


Ability Boost:
You are remarkably strong, agile etc. for your species, granting you a bonus to a certain ability. Likewise, you also have a specific weakness in another ability.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to a ability score of your choice and a –2 penalty to another ability score.
Special: You can take this trait more than once, eliminating the penalty with the second pick.
Background Skills: Chose one skill based on your enhanced Ability and treat it as a background skill.
Favourite Class: None

Burly
You are exceptionally tall and heavy set for your species. You are larger and tougher than most others and your broad shoulders can carry a heavy weight.
Effect: Whenever you are subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), you are treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous. You are also treated as a creature of one size larger for the purposes of calculating your carrying your light, medium and heavy loads.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Cat’s Balance
You are exceptionally light on your feet and have a superb sense of balance.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus on all Balance and Move Silently checks. You do not become flat-footed when you are balancing, and you retain your complete defense bonus in these circumstances. When you make Perform (dance) checks, you may choose to add your Dexterity modifier to your checks instead of your Charisma modifier.
Background Skills: Balance
Favourite Class: None

Face in the crowd
You have knack for blending into crowds. You lack any noteworthy features or characteristics that would make you easy to identify or to recognize you. With a little effort, you can remain nearly anonymous.
Effect: During any non-combat situation, you can make a hide check based on your charisma instead of your dexterity to fade into the background. Make a hide check opposed by spot checks from everyone else who s present. Those who fail simply do not notice you, as long as you don’t do anything suspicious or threatening. Additionally, you gain a +4 bonus to disguise checks.
Background Skills: Disguise
Favourite Class: None

Graceful Acrobat
You are lithe, flexible and has the grace of a dancer. You move with excellent coordination and complete difficult acrobatic maneuvers with relative ease.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to tumble checks and can use Tumble to move at your normal speed without penalty.
Background Skills: Tumble
Favourite Class: None

Hard to kill
Your body just does not give up, even when you are severely injured.
Effect: You gain a +4 bonus to all saves to resist the effects of severe injuries or to stabilise and suffer one point less penalty from injuries. Additionally, you become three additional hit points at first level and +1 hit point at each subsequent level.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Mighty Build
Your heavy muscles and broad build allows you to use tools and weapons other would fiend clumsy to wield. While an enormous maul would force others to struggle to keep their balance, you have the strength and steadiness to use such large weapons without problems.
Effect: You can wield weapons up to one size larger than normal for a creature of your size without penalty. You still suffer the normal penalties for weapons above that size and for smaller ones. The benefit of this trait only effects weapons and do not expend to shields.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Quick
You are extraordinary swift on your feet and an expert runner.
Effect: Add +10 ft to your base speed.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: Bravo

Resilient
You have an incredible immune system and an iron cast stomach. Poisons and Illnesses have little effect on you.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to Saves to resist Poisons or illnesses. Additionally, whenever you are the recipient of a Heal check to treat poison or disease, the character performing the Heal check gains a +2 bonus on the check result.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Sharp Senses
You posses an uncanny awareness for your surroundings and are normally the first to recognize details around you. You are notoriously hard to surprise.
Effect: Whenever a Spot, Search or Sense Motive Check would reveal a falsehood or a hidden object or person, the DM makes such a check for you in secret. If the check succeeds, you learn that something is amiss and can make an additional check yourself to determine the exact nature of the event; the first check gives only a general feeling.
Background Skills: Pick one perception skill (spot, listen, sense motive or search) as a background skill.
Favourite Class: Pathfinder

Short
You are much smaller and skinnier than normal – so much that you count as one size category smaller than other member of your species.
Effect: You are small-sized if you ordinarily would be medium sized. As a small creature, you gain a +1 bonus to your defense, a +1 size bonus to attack rolls, and a +4 bonus to hide rolls. You suffer a –10 foot penalty to your base speed and a –2 penalty to your strength. You also must wield weapons one size smaller than normal.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Tall
You have longer arms and legs than other members of your species, which let you tower over the others. In battle, your height and longer limbs grant you improved reach.
Effect: You gain a +2 size bonus to grapple checks. In Combat, when you wield an at least medium sized weapon, you can attack with your weapon as if it had a 5 feet longer reach, but doing so would give an additional –4 penalty to all attack rolls for this turn.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Tough as iron
Your bulging, powerful muscles are hard as old wood and your bones are even tougher. You are not injured easily.
Effect: You gain a natural armor of 1/-. If you already have natural armor, increase it by 1.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None


Social/Cultural Background Traits

Aristocratic Heritage
You were born into the nobility and enjoyed the privileges of this life. You are supposed to be a leader and a ruler instead of a follower and had access to the best teachers and equipment.
Effect: As a member of ruling class, you start the game with double the normal amount of gold to purchase equipment and your better education grants 4 additional skill points at first level and one additional skill point on each subsequent level. You also bear a title in a nation or domain that will grant you several privileges, such as hospitality and access to the upper class of the nobility.
Background Skills: Knowledge (Royalty and Nobility)
Favourite Class: Commander or Noble

Born in the saddle
Your people wandered the lands on the back of your mounts and like most of the children of your people you learned to ride before you could walk. You are an expert horseman.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to ride checks and handle animals check, as you spent more time with your mount than with many people. Additionally, you can reroll a ride check once per encounter if you fight mounted and may use your full class level to determine the level of a potential Animal Companion if said companion is your mount.
Background Skills: Ride
Favourite Class: None

Craftsman
You trained as a craftsman or artisan or derive from a family with a long-standing tradition in this area. Perhaps you never planned to live the life of an adventurer but the circumstances forced you to give up your craft.
Effect: You gain 4 ranks in one craft skill of your choice and an additional skill point every level that you can only use to raise craft or profession skills. Likewise, you gain a +2 bonus to the appraise skill since you have developed an eye for the quality of craftsmanship. This ability also allows you to spot flaws in objects, allowing you to add your Intelligence modifier (if any) to all damage rolls against objects and constructs.
Background Skills: Craft (any)
Favourite Class: None

Circus Artist
You were born amongst a group of travelling actors, acrobats, performers or fortune tellers. During your time amongst these extraordinary people you were schooled in performing a particular activity typical of their lifestyle.
Effect: You are a natural performer and gain a +2 to all Balance, Perform, Sleight of Hand and Tumble checks. In addition, you get an additional +2 bonus to one skill from the following list: Bluff, Escape Artist, Handle Animal, Sense Motive or Use Rope.
Background Skills: Chose one of the following list: Perform, Sleight of Hand, Tumble
Favourite Class: Thief

Denizen from the Deep
Your people live deep underground, in caves and mines beyond the surface and far away from the sun. You are well adapted to this environment, but the open skies and lightness of the surface world is something terribly strange for you.
Effect: You gain the Darkvision ability with a reach of 60’. If you already have Darkvision, increase its reach by 60’. You also gain a +2 bonus to Hide, Move Silently and Search, as these skills can guarantee your survival in the dangerous darkness of the underground.
Background skills: Hide
Favourite Class: None

Desert Dweller
Your people lived in the endless dunes of a great desert and you have learned to survive in this merciless environment.
Effect: You enjoy a +4 bonus to saving throws against fire, hot weather effects and heat exposure, as well as an energy resistance against fire equal to your constitution bonus. Likewise, you can survive on half the standard amount of food and water and may treat difficult terrain based on sand as normal terrain.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: Pathfinder

Disciplined Upbringing
Your people are admired for their single-minded determination and clarity of purpose and you were raised with this discipline.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus on Will saves and Concentration checks.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Faithful
You were raised in a very religious environment of religious fervour and in strict observation of he faith’s religious tenets. You don’t have to be a priest or a similar representative of the faith, but you are a stout believer.
Effect: As long as you hold up a code of honor fitting to your religion, you get an additional bonus based on your faith and resolution – you get a +2 bonus to Will Saves against fear effects and once per day, may add a +2 moral bonus to a single D20 roll of your choice.
Additionally, you gain a +2 bonus to knowledge (religion) and social skills when dealing with followers of the same faith.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Ice-Born
You were born in the frozen lands of ice and snow. You are used to bitter cold and howling winds and coldness has little effect against you.
Effect: You gain a +4 bonus on all saves against cold effects, including cold weather or exposure and an energy resistance against cold equal to your constitution bonus. You can treat difficult terrain as normal terrain, as long as its difficulty is based on snow, iced surfaces or similar winter or cold related reasons.
You also gain a +2 Bonus to Survival, Balance and Climb checks and may treat Survival in a cold environment as a trained skill, even if you have no ranks in it.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: Barbarian

Member of the Thieves’ Guild
You are or were a member of the local guild of thieves or a similar underworld organisation and you have learned the art of crimes close to perfection.
Effects: Your criminal activities taught you how to gain access to information others may be unable to obtain. You gain a +2 bonus to all Gather information checks and gain 4 additional skill points at first level and +1 skillpoint on each level, which can only be used for skills from the following list: Appraise, Balance, Bluff, Climb, Disable Device, Disguise, Escape Artist, Forgery, Hide, Jump, Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Search, Sense Motive, Slight of Hand, Spot, Tumble and Use Rope.
The Guild also offers shelter and some contacts as well as some social lever in the underworlds, but you are required to be loyal to the guild and spend a certain amount of your income for the guild’s ‘welfare program’.
Background Skills: None.
Favourite Class: Thief or Assassin.

Mountaineer
You come from the mountains or their direct surroundings. You are used to steep slopes and jagged cliffs.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to survival in a mountainous environment and +2 bonus to climb and balance. You are also used to keep your footing under all costs, granting you a +2 bonus to all checks and saving throws you make to keep yourself from being knocked prone.
Additionally, the mountains have bred toughness and tenacity into you, granting a +3 bonus to hit points at 1st and +1 hit point at each subsequent level.
Background Skills: Climb
Favourite Class: Barbarian

Merchant
You have worked as a merchant and a trader and made some important experiences in the art of commerce.
Effect: You get a +2 bonus on all Appraise, Bluff, and Sense Motive checks and start the game with twice the regular starting wealth. In addition, you can reduced or increase the price of any ware you buy or sell by 10%.
Background Skills: Appraise
Favourite Class: Thief

Peasant
It might not the most heroic background, but it is the most common: You were born among the village folk that works in the fields and nourishes the whole realm through agriculture and animal husbandry. This is dull labour without any prestige, so it is no wonder that you turned away from this and started a life as an adventurer.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to the Profession (farmer) skill and handle animal. More important, the constant labour on the fields grant you a +2 Bonus to Fortitude Saves. You are so grown to harship that you also gain three aditional hitpoints on 1st level.
Background Skills: Handle Animal
Favourite Class: None

Scholar
You have spend many years with learning and studying, granting you an impressive and broad education.
Effect: You can use any knowledge skill as a trained skill even if you don’t have any ranks in it and gain a +2 bonus to all knowledge checks as well.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Sea child
You are at home at the sea, whether you have spent more time aboard of a ship than on dry land or grew up on the coast.
Effect: You ignore any penalties to fighting aboard a ship due to heavy seas or swaying decks and gain a +2 bonus to Balance, Swim and Use Rope checks. You are also proficient with either a martial or an exotic weapon associated with the sea or fishing, like the trident or the net.
Background Skills: Swim
Favourite Class: None

Spellwise
You grew up in a land where mighty wizards are more common than in the rest of the world. Everyone in your homeland knows something about magic, and you have developed a certain resistance against the favourite art of the local spellcasters.
Effect: You receive a +2 bonus on all Knowledge (Arcana) and Spellcraft checks. You also get a +2 bonus on saving throws against spells and effects of a school of magic of your choice.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Swamp Folk
You were born and raised in a community deep within a marsh or swamp. Your people may have made their homes in small mud huts, on houses raised on wooden stilts, or on free drifting rafts, but they all relied on the isolation and solitude to protect them from their enemies. You are completely at home in the muddy tracts and waterways of such lands.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to survival checks in a marshland environment and treat the slippery, wet or muddy ground of a swamp as normal instead of difficult terrain. You also get a +2 bonus to Balance and Swim checks and a +2 bonus on Saving Throws against poisons –there are many poisonous animals and plants in the marshes.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: Pathfinder

Urban Scum
You grew up in one of the toughest slums of a giant urban jungle. From early on, you learned how to scavenge and survive on the streets, including the occasional fight for your survival or even worse.
Effects: You are a tough street dweller, granting you a +2 bonus to Intimidate, Gather Information and Sense Motive. Your experience in street fights also grants you 1D6 of Sneak Attack damage that stacks with sneak attack from other sources. On the downside, you only start half the normal starting wealth due to the poverty of your upbringing.
Background Skills: Gather Information
Favourite Class: Thief

Warrior people
Your people praise nothing as much as martial prowess and live a life full of strive and combat. Perhaps you grew up in a mercenary unit or a tribe in a constant state of war with its neighbours and you have adapted to this highly martial upbringing.
Effect: Your people’s focus on martial prowess makes them skilled warriors. Your people’s focus on martial prowess makes them skilled warriors. You gain this proficiency even if you do not meet the prerequisites for this feat. In addition, you can pick any one feat from the fighter bonus feat you qualify for and gain a +2 bonus to will saves to resist fear or fear-related spells and effects and Initiative checks. You gain this proficiency even if you do not meet the prerequisites for this feat. In addition, you can pick any one feat from the fighter bonus feat you qualify for and gain a +2 bonus to will saves to resist fear or fear-related spells and effects and Initiative checks.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: Commander or Man-at-Arms

Widely travelled
Your people where constantly on the move and you have seen many countries towns and especially roads. Perhaps you grew up without ever settling down anywhere for more than a fortnight and for your whole life, the road stretched out in front of you.
Effect: You are used to travel and to commute with many different people. You gain a +2 bonus to diplomacy checks and fortitude checks to resist fatigue from marching or other encumbrances. You have also learned the languages of the cultures you have met, granting you two bonus languages.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: Pathfinder

Wild Child
You were raised in the wild by a pack of animals who, for whatever reason, chose to rear you as one of they own. It was not until a later age that you began to learn of your true nature and began to seek out your own kind.
Effect: Your time among animals has naturally attuned you to their minds allowing you an unmatched ability to interact amongst them. You gain a +4 bonus to all handle animal checks and may also select a single type of animal which operates commonly in packs (such as wolves), these animals almost never act with hostile intent towards either you or up to 6 additional individuals travelling within 60 feet of you (should either you or one of your chosen companions act in a hostile manor towards the chosen creatures they will however defend themselves and move against you). In addition, you gain the endurance feat and a +2 bonus to survival checks due to your youth in the wilderness.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: Barbarian

Woodland folk
You were born and raised between towering trees and a dense brushwood and here in the forest you are at your best. Perhaps you even feel somewhat uncomfortable in open spaces.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to Hide, Move Silently and Survival checks in a forest environment and a+ 2 bonus to craft checks related to wood. Additionally, you gain a +2 bonus to climb checks and you retain your full defense bonus while climbing.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: Pathfinder or Archer



Supernatural Background Traits

Arcane Gift
You were born with the Gift to manipulate the forces of magic and are able to become an arcane spellcaster.
Effect: This trait allows you to take levels in an arcane spellcasting class.
Normal: Without this trait, a character cannot take class levels in an arcane spellcaster class.
Special: The Gift should be treated as a rare and exotic trait, because there are only a few things worse that you can do to a Fantasy game than cheapen and de-mystify magic. In any given group, not more than one character should have this trait.
Background Skills: None.
Favourite Class: Chose one arcane spellcaster class and treat it as a favourite class.

Child of Prophecy
Omens and signs of great potency accompanied your birth and it seems that you have a great destiny to fulfil. This does not need to be entirely positive, but in one way or the other, you will change the way of the world.
Effect: This trait has no mechanical effect, but will easily enlarge your importance in the ongoing campaign. Discuss with your DM what the prophecy tells about your character and what destiny she has to fulfil.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Divine Gift
You were blessed by the gods, spirits or the earth itself and have gained the rare blessing to form and manipulate the energies of divine magic.
Effect: This trait allows you to take levels in a divine spellcasting class.
Normal: Without this trait, a character can not take class levels in a divine spellcaster class.
Special: The Gift should be treated as a rare and exotic trait, because there are only a few things worse that you can do to a Fantasy game than cheapen and de-mystify magic. In any given group, not more than one character should have this trait.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: Chose any one divine spellcaster class.

Lucky
Perhaps you were born under a good star or some higher power looks out for you, but through luck, determination, and resilience, you survive when no one expects you to make it through.
Effect: You gain a +1 bonus to all saving throws and your defense.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Magic Sense
While you not necessarily have the Gift to wield magic itself, you have the rare ability to sense magic around you.
Effect: Your ability to sense the presence of magic items or spellcasters resemble the Sense Magic spell, but is always active and takes the form of a 30 feet radius emanation around you. This ability is not per se magic and is therefore not affected by antimagic spells etc. (spells that hide the magic aura of casters or items are still in effect). This sense of magic also allows you to defend better against it, whenever you are a target of a spell or effect which is cast onto you within the reach of your ability: In this case you gain a +1 bonus to all saving throws against spells and other supernatural powers.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Not from this world
You are not completely mortal. Perhaps your mystic power seem to transcend your mortal form or you are the descendant of a truly odd couple, but in any case your inner radiance is so strong that you are more than mortal.
Effect: You are a Native Outsider, not a humanoid. You have darkvision out to 60 feet (or, if you already have darkvision, increase its range by 60 feet). Furthermore, you gain an Energy Resistance against one source of damage of your choice equal to your constitution modifier. You may not take this trait if you already gain the native outsider feature from a template or when your species is an outsider by default.
Background Skills: None
Favourite Class: None

Weak Magic
You were born with a trace of magic in your blood, not enough to qualify for the full gift, but still impressive from the point of view of the complete mundane people. Your innate magic may be too weak to become a real spellcaster, but you have an intuitive understanding how to work your specific magic powers.
Effect: Choose 3 cantrips and any one level 1 spell from any spell list. You can cast only these spells, and are considered to have a spell energy pool equal to your highest mental ability bonus.
Background Skills: Use Magic Device
Favourite Class: None

StormingMarcus
2009-01-16, 12:38 PM
So my 1st level kobold wizard might have 2hp (double the 1+Con x level)? Despite DR and similia, isn't it too frail? BTW, i also think core 1st level characters are too frail...

Satyr
2009-01-16, 12:47 PM
No, the Base HP of a d4 class would be 8 plus con modifier at first level, in the case of a kobold -1 because of its small size. On first level, character will almost always have more HP than in the standard rules, but they advance much slower in it.

StormingMarcus
2009-01-16, 12:51 PM
No, the Base HP of a d4 class would be 8 plus con modifier at first level, in the case of a kobold -1 because of its small size. On first level, character will almost always have more HP than in the standard rules, but they advance much slower in it.Sorry i thought twas double the standard hp/level, not double the die for the first level... I think it's the right way to go (more at first, less in the end).

Daracaex
2009-01-17, 05:14 AM
I'm liking a lot of the ideas I see here. Upon one casual "flipping through," the only thing I really see that could be an issue is the rules for Codes of Honor. Among a load of other elements that are structured and precise, this one is pretty loose. I think that maybe it deserves a bit more attention to help remove any ambiguity.

This topic has been bookmarked and I'll be reading it in-depth later.:smallsmile:

Solaris
2009-01-17, 05:23 AM
Did you intend for the aasimar to list as having the Evil subtype?

Satyr
2009-01-17, 07:19 AM
Upon one casual "flipping through," the only thing I really see that could be an issue is the rules for Codes of Honor. Among a load of other elements that are structured and precise, this one is pretty loose. I think that maybe it deserves a bit more attention to help remove any ambiguity.

Actuall, it was a voluntary decision to make the morals part of the rules more flexible and less dogmatic. Morals are an expression of individual beliefs and convetontions and not in any way objective. Through this system, the individual morals are a result of the personal beliefs, ideals and background, as it is in reality as well.
I have seen much too many pointless debates about alignment. The idea to make the code of conduct a personal choice is not only much closer to reality, it is also a way to avoid such discussions. For the same reason, the system is rather vague in the details, as it should be the individual player's choice what his character defines as a noble or abominable deed, and subjective categories are hard to put in a precise structure.


Did you intend for the aasimar to list as having the Evil subtype?

No, that is a copy&paste mistkae. It is corrected.

Solaris
2009-01-17, 09:41 AM
Alrighty. From what I've seen thus far, I like the looks of this.

Satyr
2009-01-18, 05:58 AM
I have forgot the feats.


New Feats

Animal Companion
See the Wild Cohort (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/re/20031118a)Feat. This feat is not limited to wild animals and is most common among Paladins and other mounted warriors.

Calculating Tactician
Prerequisites: INT 13+, the Command ability
Instead of passion and motivation, your strength as a leader is based on cold calculation and ratio. You may use your Intelligence bonus instead of your Charisma bonus to determine the effect of the commander’s class abilities. The range bonus is still based on your Charisma bonus, though.

Continuous Training
Prerequisites: Magical Powers, Spellcraft 5 ranks, Concentration 5 ranks
When you Multiclass outside of your Spellcasting class, you can still increase your personal energy control pool, but only equal to your key ability bonus. So a wizard with Intelligence 19 who take a class level in Alchemist may still increase his energy pool by +4. This feat feat only increases the energy pool but do not grant any other class features, like additional spells or an improved energy control.
Normal: A multiclassing spellcaster gains no spell points when he takes class levels in another class.

Experienced Spellcaster
Prerequisites: Basic Energy Control, 5 Ranks in Concentration, Skill focus (Concentration)
You are used to cast even in a combat situation, allowing you to take 10 on concentration checks for spellcasting, allowing you to circumvent the risk of magical backlash.

Familiar
The Character has a familiar, a small and extremely intelligent animal or similar small creature.
This Feat works like the Familiar class feature. The Famliliar’s abilities and traits are distributed according to the character’s class level.

Greater Magical Powers
Prerequisite: Magical Powers
You get an additional Spell Energy point for every level in a spellcasing class. The effects of this Feat work retrospectively.

Piercing Voice
You have the ability to make yourself heard, even in the loudest and most chaotic circumstances. Whenever you use an ability that is based on speech or hearing, like the sermons of a cleric or the commander’s commands, you may add 5‘ to the power’s range for every point of constitution bonus you have. For example, a commander with a Constitution of 16 may add 15’ to the reach of his commands.

Magical Powers
Prerequisites: Basic Energy Control
You gain three additional spell energy points.
Special: A character may gain this feat multiple times. Its effects stack.

Ritual Magic mastery
Prerequisites: Advanced Energy control, 8 Ranks in Concentration, Experienced Spellcaster
When you use Ritual Magic to cast a spell, you may reduce the spell's DC by additional five points and you will only half the regular time as usual.

Terrorize
Prerequisites: 12 Ranks in Intimidate, Skill Focus (Intimidate)
When you use the Intimidate skill to demoralize an enemy, it becomes frightened instead of shaken, if the enemy’s will save fails, and shaken if the will save succeeds.



Changed Feats:

Acrobatic, Agile Alertness etc:
All Feats that grant a flat bonus to two skills scale by level. For every five character levels, the bonus of those feats increases by two points. So a 20th level character with the alertness feat would gain a +10 bonus to Spot and Listen checks.

Toughness:
Toughness increases the character’s hitpoints by one point per level. It can’t be taken more than once, though.

The Wild Magic Feats do not exist. The Eschew Materials becomes a sorcerer class trait instead of a freely accessible feat.

The Dodge trait simple increases Defense without any limitations and can be taken several times.

Feats from other sources than the Core books can be chosen, but sometimes they need a certain adjustment or fine tuning; non-core feats should be okayed by the GM before they are picked. The same stands true for the feats from any third party publishers.

Athaniar
2009-01-18, 06:52 AM
I really like this homebrew ruleset of yours. The only problem I have is with the ability scores: why not just point buy?

Satyr
2009-01-18, 07:38 AM
Because my players can't count. :smallsmile:
Identical ability scores seemed a way to make sure that everyone has an equal chance to create about equal characters. At first, all characters followed the 18/16/14/12/10/8 distribution, but that one had the drawback that it included a weaker point, so the two more averaged scores were added.
36 point buy would work just as fine, I guess. It is all a question of habit.

Satyr
2009-01-22, 09:11 AM
Arts of War

Arts of War are additional combat maneuvers, techniques and tricks a designated hero can learn. They are more exclusive than mere feats and often work best in combination with certain feats, but mostly they are meant as a collection of potential class features for very different martial characters.
The more focused a character is on heroic swordplay and melee, the more Arts of War the class gains. The term 'fighter' used in the description of the different arts does not mean the (within Serpents & Sewers) obsolete class but any character who is qualified to take the class.

Simple Arts of War:

Overcome Difficulty: Weapon Size (Ex) – the Fighter learns to make the most of powerful swings, regardless of the weapon or weapons he is wielding. When using the Power Attack feat, the fighter may add one and a half times the number subtracted from his attack rolls (rounded down) to the damage of a one-handed weapon and one-half times the number subtracted from his attack rolls (rounded down) to the damage of a light weapon.

Fléche (Ex) – when charging, the Fighter does not provoke any attacks of opportunity.

Overcome Limitation: Size (Ex)– the Fighter may receive or increase size bonuses (but not penalties), except those to physical attributes, or reduce size penalties (without affecting bonuses), as though he was one size category smaller or larger than he is, at will; he may switch from one to the other as an immediate action. This Art does not permit him to use weapons sized for creatures of a size category different from his own without penalty.

Expert Flanker (Ex): if the Fighter and an ally are both threatening a creature, they are considered to be flanking it. The fighter may provide flanking to more than one ally in this way, but he only receives the normal +2 flanking bonus, regardless.

Overcome Obstacle: Terrain (Ex) – the Fighter may treat difficult terrain as though it was regular terrain, thus being subject to none of the limitations of or penalties applied to creatures in difficult terrain.

Disciplined Will (Ex) – the Fighter battles mental influences fiercely; when he fails a saving throw against a mind-affecting spell or effect, the effect is delayed by a round—it does not apply until the same point during the following round. This does not count against the effect’s duration.

Battle Learning: Magic (Ex) – the Fighter studies spellcasting enemies, allies, or both, learning to identify their spells so that he can better deal with them. He adds half his class levels, rounded up, as a competence bonus on Spellcraft and Knowledge: Arcana checks, but only in regards to spells being cast.

Battle Learning: Alertness (Ex) – the Fighter trains to hear and notice things others might overlook, the better to see his enemy coming to stand guard over his sleeping companions. He adds half his class levels, rounded up, as a competence bonus on Spot and Listen checks.

Battle Learning: Acrobatics (Ex) – the Fighter trains to perform feats of acrobatics and mobility in battle and other situations while armored. His armor check penalty does not apply to his Jump, Balance, Tumble, and Climb skills.

Bodyguard (Ex): As a swift action, if the fighter is within 5 ft. of any ally who takes damage from an attack, he can take all the damage and all associated effects instead. In addition, he gains DR 2/- against only this damage.

Gritting Teeth (Ex): If the fighter fails a save, he can instead suffers 1d10 points of damage and roll the save again. He can use this ability only once per save.

Weapon Aptitude (Ex) – the Fighter has the flexibility to adjust his weapon training. He can spend 8 hours in weapon practice to change the designated weapon for any feat he has that applies only to a single weapon (such as Weapon Focus). He must have the newly designated weapon available during his practice session to make this change. For example, if he wishes to change the designated weapon for his Weapon Focus feat from greatsword to longsword, he must have a longsword available to practice with during his practice session.
He can adjust any number of his feats in this way, and he doesn't have to adjust them all in the same way. However, he can't change the weapon choices in such a way that he no longer meets the prerequisite for some other feat he possesses. For instance, if he has both Weapon Focus (longsword) and Weapon Specialization (longsword), he can't change the designated weapon for Weapon Focus unless he also changes the weapon for Weapon Specialization in the same way.

Overcome Obstacle: Divided Grasp (Ex) - When the Fighter is fighting with a separate object (either a weapon or shield) in each hand, he applies a +1 bonus to hit with all attacks made with those objects, and +1 to the Defense bonus from any shield wielded.

Improve Resistance: (Ex) - The Fighter who takes this Art gains a +1 bonus to all his saving throws. This art can be taken more than once.

Overcome Obstacle: Distance (Ex) - The Fighters primary move ability improves by ten feet. His Swim speed (if possible) also improves by 5 feet.

Overcome Obstacle: Breaking (Ex) - The Fighter gains a +3 bonus to all rolls to break objects. Any roll made against a Break DC gains the above bonus, which stacks with all other bonuses.

Strong Back (ex): The fighter is used to carry heavy loads that would reduce others to exhausted wracks. The fighter can add his Constitution modifier to his strength score to determine how much equipment he can carry.



Advanced Arts of War:

Armored Mobility (Ex): A fighter who takes this Art treats any heavy armor he wears as medium and medium armor as light for purposes of determining his speed and running capabilities. This does not stack with the abilities of mithral armor or any other similar effects.

Charging Pounce (Ex) – the Fighter may make a full attack on a charge. If he has the ability to transfer the to-hit penalty from Power Attack to his AC, he may not use it with Charging Pounce.

Overcome Influence – Wind (Ex) – the Fighter has learned to compensate for the wind when he shoots a bow; he may treat wind force as two categories lower (i.e. Severe instead of Hurricane) when determining how they affect his ranged attacks, and may fire arrows or bolts through a Wind Wall spell or equivalent effect as though they were any other normal ranged weapon.

Overcome Limitation: Reach (Ex) – the Fighter trains to attack while positioning, lunge, and fight in close quarters. As a swift action, the Fighter may increase his reach by 5 feet for one round. A Fighter wielding a reach weapon may also take an immediate action to decrease his reach, allowing him to threaten as though he were not wielding a reach weapon. While his reach is increased or decreased, the Fighter takes a –2 penalty to AC. The fighter may restore his reach to normal as an immediate action.

Overcome Obstacle: Distance (Ex) – the Fighter may charge greater distances, moving up to three times his speed on a charge rather than up to two.

Strike: Arm Strike (Ex): Targeting on the opponent’s weapon arm, this strike is meant to disable the opponent instead of killing him. The attack roll suffers from a –4 penalty, but if it hits the victim must make a Fortitude save (DC = the attack’s damage) or suffer from 1d2 points of Strength damage and an additional –1 penalty to all attack rolls with this arm. Spellcasters suffer additionally from a –1 penalty to all casting rolls for spells with somatic components. The effects of several Arm Strikes stack.

Strike: Leg Strike (Ex): The fighter targets his opponent’s legs for his next attack, suffering from a –4 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack still succeeds, the victim must make a Fortitude save (DC = the attack’s damage) or suffer from 1d2 points of Dexterity damage and a -5 feet penalty to their base speed until the ability damage is healed. The effects of several Leg Strikes stack.

Strike: On the short rips (Ex): The fighter learns to target his opponent’s ribcage to press the air out of his lungs. This strike requires an attack roll with a –4 penalty. If the attack hits, the target must make a Fortitude save (DC = the attack’s damage) or become fatigued until the damage is cured.

Strike: Shove them out of Balance (Ex): The fighter has learned to hit his opponent in a way that sends them stumbling around, long enough for a deadly opening in his opponent’s defense. This strike requires an attack roll with a –4 penalty. If the attack hits, the target must make a Reflex save (DC = the attack’s damage) or become flat-footed until the end of the next turn.

Strike: Wounding Attack (Ex): This attack is targeted to the victim’s torso and leads to nasty wounds or can even injure the victim’s vital organs. This attack requires a –4 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack hits, the victim must make a Fortitude save (DC = the attack’s damage). If the Save fails, the victim suffers from 1d3 points of Constitution damage.

Tactical Awareness (Ex) – the Fighter learns to be aware of the precise details of the battlefield positions of those around him, gaining the ability to pinpoint the unseen. He gains Blindsense 30’ when in combat, which becomes Blindsight 50’ at level 15; however, any creature that has taken no actions on its last round can not be detected by this Blindsense or Blindsight. While the Fighter’s sight or hearing is impaired, such as if he is Blinded, Deafened, in the area of effect of a Darkness spell, he loses his Blindsense; at level 15, his Blindsight is reduced to Blindsense, instead.

Heart of Battle (Ex) – the Fighter is hardened against the horror and din of battle and the debilitating effects of spells. He becomes Sickened instead of Nauseated, Shaken instead of Frightened, Frightened instead of Panicked, Stunned instead of Paralyzed, Dazed instead of Stunned or Cowering, Staggered instead of Dazed, Fatigued instead of Exhausted, Ability Damaged instead of Ability Drained, and Fascinated instead of Confused. If something would normally inflict the Shaken, Fatigued, or Sickened conditions on him, the Fighter remains unaffected. All such conditions retain their normal durations, and the fighter may only mitigate or negate a number of conditions equal to 3+his Constitution bonus, if any, at a time.

Spell-Shattering Strike (Su) – the Fighter has fought wizards and learned the power of their spells—and how to combat it. He may forego the damage on any attack he makes to strip away a spell currently in effect on the target; if he succeeds on an opposed caster level check, substituting his base attack bonus for his caster level (normally 0), he may dispel a single spell currently in effect on his target. If the fighter is wielding a weapon made of Cold Iron, he receives a +5 circumstance bonus on this check. At level 15, he may also make a single attack as a full-round action, and if it hits, he may attempt to dispel all spells currently on the target instead of doing damage; to do this, he must succeed on a check of 1d20+class level+5 opposed by a caster level check from the caster of the spell for each spell in effect on his target.

Willful Resistance (Ex) – the Fighter is a disciplined warrior who can use that discipline to batter through spells or effects that might harm them. As an immediate action, the Fighter can replace a single saving throw with a concentration check.

Basic Mastery: the Fighter may select three Arts of War from the Simple Arts of War list.

Overcome Obstacle: Disjoined Grips (Ex) - When the Fighter is fighting with a separate object (either a weapon or shield) in each hand, he applies a +1 bonus to hit with all attacks made with those objects, and +1 to the Defense Bonus from any shield wielded.

Improve Self: Mightiness (Ex) - The Fighter who takes this Art adds one point of Strength. A character may gain this Art multiple times. Its effects stack.

Improve Self: Fleetness (Ex) - The Fighter who takes this Art adds one point of Dexterity. A character may gain this Art multiple times. Its effects stack.

Improve Self: Solidity (Ex) - The Fighter who takes this Art adds one point of Constitution. A character may gain this Art multiple times. Its effects stack.

Overcome Obstacle: Breadth (Ex) – The Fighters primary move ability improves by twenty feet. His Swim speed (if possible) also improves by 10 feet. While this Art has no prerequisite, it's benefits do stack with the Simple Art: Overcome Obstacle: Distance for a total bonus of thirty feet of primary move and fifteen feet of Swim speed if both are taken.

Overcome Obstacle: Smashing (Ex) - The Fighter gains a +5 bonus to all rolls to break objects. Any roll made against a Break DC gains the above bonus, which stacks with all other bonuses.


Complex Arts of War:

Overcome Difficulty: Weakness (Su) – the Fighter knows that his place is on his front line, and he pushes his body beyond its normal capabilities to stay there, come hells or high water. The Fighter automatically reduces any penalty (whether environment-based, magical, or other) applied to his attack rolls, ability scores, and saving throws while in combat by 3+his Constitution bonus, if any. He may only reduce a number of penalties equal to his Constitution bonus or 1, whichever is greater, at a time; however, he selects which penalties to apply the reduction to.

Tactical Reflexes (Ex) – the Fighter knows when to strike, lightning-fast, at a sudden opening; as an immediate action, he may take an attack action, even when it is not his turn.

Shattering Blow (Ex) – by focusing and making a single strike rather than several, the Fighter may inflict a devastating blow. As a full-round action, he may make a single attack that ignores the DR and hardness of its target and deals +10d6 damage, +1d6 for every two Fighter levels above 10th.

Seize the Initiative (Ex) – even if initially surprised, the Fighter can react faster than almost anyone else. As a swift action, the fighter gains a competence bonus to initiative equal to his class level.

Overcome Limitation: Size Difference (Ex) – the Fighter has learned complex techniques that allow him to match strengths with or topple even enormous beasts. Any creature making an opposed check against the Fighter does not get to add size bonuses to its check. Additionally, the fighter may attempt to grapple creatures up to three size categories larger, instead of just one.

Overcome Obstacle: Bindings (Su) – the Fighter is capable of focusing his will and brushing aside anything holding him back. As a standard action, the Fighter may grant himself a Freedom of Movement (as per the spell) effect that lasts for a number of rounds equal to the fighter’s dexterity score.

Strike: Armbreaker (Ex): This attack is targeted at the joints of the enemy’s arms, and renders the limb useless when it hits. The attack roll of an Armbreaker has a –6 penalty. If the attack hits, the Target must make a Fortitude Save (DC = the attack’s damage) or suffer from 1d6 points of Strength damage and an additional –2 penalty to attack rolls with this arm. Spellcasters suffer additionally from a –2 penalty to all casting rolls for spells with somatic components If the Save succeeds, the victim still suffers from one point of strength damage. If the fighter has the improved disarm feat, the fighter can combine the Armbreaker with a Disarm attempt. In this case, the attack penalty is reduced to –4.

Strike: Bleeding Cut (Ex): When the fighter wields a slashing or piercing weapon, he can try to make flat and long cuts, which are not likely to kill his opponent immediately but will lead to significant blood loss. To make a bleeding cut, the attacker suffers from a –2 penalty to the attack roll and deals 2 points less of damage, when the attack hits. But the continuous bleeding, the victim loses one hitpoint per turn for 2d6 turns.

Strike: Disembowel Strike (Ex): This strike is meant to kill and is specifically targeted on the vital organs of the victim to let it die from massive trauma or intern bleeding. The attack roll suffers from a –6 penalty, but if it hits, the victim must make a Fortitude save (DC = the attack’s damage) or suffer from 1d8 points of Constitution damage and is dazed for one turn. Even if the save succeeds, the victim still suffers from 1d3 points of Constitution damage.

Strike: Ear Pop (Ex): The fighter strikes simultaneously on both ears of the victim, which builds up pressure within the ears that can lead to permanent damage and a concussion. The attack suffers from a –6 penalty to the attack roll, but if it succeeds, the victim must make a Fortitude save (DC = the attack’s damage) or becomes deaf until the damage is healed and dazed for one round. If the save succeeds, the victims is only deafened for one turn.

Strike: Eye Rake (Ex): This Attack is targeted at the victim’s eyes and forhead and is meant to temporarily blind it through blood from an open face wound and trauma to the eyes themselves. The attack roll of an eye rake has a –8 penalty, but if the attack succeeds, the victim must make a Fortitude Save (DC = the attack’s damage) or becomes blinded for 1d6+1 turns. If the save succeeds, the cictim is dazzled for one turn.

Strike: Hamstring (Ex): This Attack works similar but is more effective than the simple leg strike. The attack suffers from a–6 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack still hits, the victim must make a Fortitude save (DC = the attack’s damage) or suffers from 1d6 pints of damage and a –10’ penalty to the base speed. If the Save succeeds, the victim still suffers from one point of dexterity damage. Hamstring can be combined with a trip attempt if the fighter has the Improved trip feat. In this case, the attack penalty is reduced to –4.

Strike: Painful Leash: (Ex): This attack is meant to be as painful as possible and to let the fighter’s opponent suffer or even pass out from the pain. The fighter who wants to attack with a Painful Leash strike suffers from a –6 penalty to the attack roll If the attack hits the victim, it must make a Fortitude save (DC = the attack’s damage) or become sickened until the damage is healed.

Strike: Ripbreaker (Ex): This attack to the opponent’s breast is meant to shatter his rips and injure the lung to leave the victim breathless. The attack roll of an Ripbreaker has a –6 penalty, but if the attack hits, the Target must make a Fortitude Save (DC = the attack’s damage) or becomes exhausted until the damage is healed. If the Save succeeds, the target is only fatigued for 1d4 rounds.

Strike: Templepunch (Ex): This strike must be made with a bludgeoning weapon and is targeted on the enemy’s head. If it hits, it leads to significant bleeding and concussion. The fighter who wants to attack with a Templepunch strike suffers from a –6 penalty to the attack roll, but if the attack hits the target, the victim must make a Fortitude save (DC = the attack’s damage). If the save fails, the target is dazed for 1d4 rounds.

Mind of Battle (Ex) – the Fighter is an excellent judge of his own skill, and capable of continuously excellent performance. As an immediate action, the Fighter may “take 10” on any one attack roll, opposed check, or saving throw while in combat.

Tactical Positioning (Ex) – the Fighter has learned how to position himself while fighting; with each successful attack he makes, he may take a free five-foot step that does not count against his limit of one five-foot step per round. This ability applies once per successful attack roll made—if an ability allows the Fighter to make multiple attacks with a single attack roll (for example, the Manyshot feat), the Fighter receives a single five-foot step if the attack roll succeeds. The fighter may not move further than his current move speed with these five-foot steps.

Spell-Parrying Steel (Su) – the Fighter has dealt with enough spellcasters to learn to react to their spells—and send them hurtling back. When the fighter is the target of a ranged touch attack with a spell or spell-like ability and is wielding a magic weapon, he may, as an immediate action, make an attack roll (with a +5 circumstance bonus if the weapon he is parrying with is made of Cold Iron) versus a DC of 10+the spell’s caster level + the spellcaster’s casting ability modifier. If he succeeds, the spell is deflected and dissipates harmlessly as it rebounds off of the Fighter’s weapon.

Advanced Mastery – the Fighter may select two Arts of War from the Advanced Arts of War list.

Overcome Obstacle: Grasp Asunder (Ex) - When the Fighter is fighting with a separate object (either a weapon or shield) in each hand, he applies a +1 bonus to hit with all attacks made with those objects, and +1 to Armor Class from any shield wielded.

Overcome Obstacle: Shattering (Ex) - The Fighter gains a +7 bonus to all rolls to break objects. Any roll made against a Break DC gains the above bonus, which stacks with all other bonuses.


Peerless Arts of War:

Peerless Reactions (Ex), prerequisites Willful Resistance, Tactical Reflexes – the Fighter has a mental focus greater than any opponent, allowing him to react much faster than others. He gains a second swift or immediate action, now able to take two in a round rather than the one he could normally.

Peerless Awareness (Ex), prerequisites Seize the Initiative and Tactical Awareness – the Fighter has developed an awareness of the so perfect it borders on the supernatural. The Fighter now always adds a competence bonus equal to his one-half class level to his initiative checks, and the Blindsense or Blindsight granted by Tactical Awareness increase to 60’. Additionally, he cannot be surprised.

Soul of Battle (Ex), prerequisites Heart of Battle and Mind of Battle – the Fighter is a master of battle, his force of will making his body far tougher than it seems. He automatically suceeds on saves vs. massive damage, does not fail saving throws on a natural 1, is immune to critical hits, [Death] spells and negative levels, and may reroll one attack roll per round.

Spell-Destroying Steel (Su), prerequisites Spell-Shattering Strike and Spell-Parrying Steel – the Fighter has trained long and hard to be able to combat mages; when using Spell-Parrying Steel, he may also parry spells that target him (but not area-of-effect spells such as Fireball) even if they don’t involve a ranged touch attack. Additionally, he may, as an immediate action, cause any spell or spell-like ability producing a force effect in any square the fighter threatens to fail, unless the caster succeeds on a caster level check, DC 10+the fighter's level (+5 more if the fighter is wielding a weapon made of cold iron).

Peerless Tactics (Ex), prerequisites Tactical Reflexes, Lightning Reactions – the Fighter can influence the course of an entire battle, gaining a tactical advantage; as a result, he can spend an immediate action to make a full attack once per encounter.

Overcome Obstacle: Dichotomous Perfection (Ex), prerequisites Disjoined Grips and Grasp Asunder - When the Fighter is fighting with a separate object (either a weapon or shield) in each hand, all such objects are treated as if they were one size smaller than they really were. Examples include Two Weapon Fighting with two Bastard Swords, which with an Exotic Weapon Proficiency, are considered light weapons. A greatsword in the primary hand (considered one-handed) and a longsword in the offhand (considered light) is also possible. Conversely, it is possible to wield a greatsword in the primary hand and a Tower Shield (which protects as a Tower shield, but encumbers as a heavy shield) in the other hand. This Art does not allow the fighter to use weapons larger than the size of the wielder, unless additional feats or abilities are applied. Note that all feats, damages, and item effects are applied to the weapon or shield borne as if they were their adjusted size, but abilities consider the weapons their normal size. Thus, Power Attack is applied to a greatsword wielded in one hand as if it were a one-handed weapon, but Strength bonuses are applied as if it were a normal Two-handed weapon.

Strike: Crimson Fountain Strike (Ex): Prerequisites: Bleeding Cut. This Strike is targeted at one of the enemy’s arteries and will lead to death from bleeding. The attack can only be made with a slashing or piercing weapon and suffers from a –6 penalty to the attack roll. If the tack still succeeds, the victim suffers from 1d4 points of damage every turn until the original wound is healed.

Strike: Cripple Arm (Ex): Prerequisites: Armbreaker. This strike is a vicious attack to an opponent’s limbs, meant to render them useless with a single hit. This attack roll suffers from a –8 penalty, but if it hits, the victim must make a Fortitude Save (DC = Damage of the Attack) or it suffers from 1d10 points of Strength damage and can not use this arm until the damage is healed. All Items hold with the arm are dropped. Spellcasters suffer from a –5 penalty to all casting rolls for spells with somatic components. If the save succeeds, the victim only suffers from 1d3 points of strength ability damage.

Strike: Cripple Leg (Ex): Prerequisites: Hamstring. This attack is targeted on the joints of the opponent’s legs to destroy it and render the victim helpless. A hamstring is an attack with a –8 penalty. If the attack hits, the victim must make a Fortitude Save (DC = Damage of the Attack). If the save fails, the victim suffers 1d10 points of dexterity damage and is knocked prone. It can not stand up without help. Even if the save succeeds, the victim still suffers from 1d3 points of Dexterity ability damage.

Strike: Shatterskull (Ex): Prerequisites: Templepunch. This strike uses a bludgeoning weapon to crack the skull of the fighter’s victim open like an egg. Or at least knock it unconscious. The shatterskull attack roll must be made with a –8 penalty. If the attack hits, the victim must make a Fortitude Save (DC = Damage of the Attack) or is rendered unconscious. If the save succeeds, it is only dazed for 1d3 turns.

Siosilvar
2009-01-22, 10:19 PM
Nice work so far. There's a few problems in your giant table of contents, though.

All species up to "Orcs" link to the Orcs post, but with different post numbers
All the Genasi link to Air Genasi
All Rule Elements except Feats and Spellcasting & Magic link to character creation
Archer and Assassin link to the same post
Battle Priest and Berserker link to the same post


Oh, and do I see a certain bear's arts of war?

Satyr
2009-01-23, 06:59 AM
Thanks for the hints; I try to correct every mistake I find, but I fear they re a bit too numerous.


Oh, and do I see a certain bear's arts of war?

Yes. I am always searching fofr new ideas which I can steal, and I always hope that people who put their ideas into homebrew forums have few problems that other people use them as well. The Arts of War are a great addition for me and the style of Serpents and Sewers which is not flashy enough by far to justify Tome of Battle style maneuvers.
Even though I have somewhat lost the overview where which part of the rules are originated; we wrote more than two years on all of the rules and paused the development for half a year or so.

Siosilvar
2009-01-23, 11:07 PM
Thanks for the hints; I try to correct every mistake I find, but I fear they're a bit too numerous.One more in your sig; species and class links both go to the same place.



Yes. I am always searching for new ideas which I can steal, and I always hope that people who put their ideas into homebrew forums have few problems that other people use them as well. The Arts of War are a great addition for me and the style of Serpents and Sewers which is not flashy enough by far to justify Tome of Battle style maneuvers.
Even though I have somewhat lost the overview where which part of the rules are originated; we wrote more than two years on all of the rules and paused the development for half a year or so.

I'd certainly hope that people who post to the homebrew forum don't have problems with other people using them. Otherwise, what's the point?

endoperez
2009-01-24, 02:54 AM
Background Trait

Lucky
Perhaps you were born under a good star or some higher power looks out for you, but through luck, determination, and resilience, you survive when no one expects you to make it through.
Effect: You gain a +1 bonus to all saving throws and your defense.

Too weak. Compare to this Simple Art of War:
Improve Resistance: (Ex) - The Fighter who takes this Art gains a +1 bonus to all his saving throws. This art can be taken more than once.

Perhaps ability to add a static bonus to one d20 roll once/day, decided before rolling? Rerolling one dice/day?


Peasant: all that hard work could give you few extra hp as well.
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to the Profession (farmer) skill and handle animal. More important, the constant labour on the fields grant you a +2 Bonus to Fortitude Saves.
Background Skills: Handle Animal

Warrior people - it looks like there's a sentence missing in here:
Effect: Your people’s focus on martial prowess makes them skilled warriors. You gain this proficiency even if you do not meet the prerequisites for this feat. In addition, you can pick any one feat from the fighter bonus feat you qualify for and gain a +2 bonus to will saves to resist fear or fear-related spells and effects and Initiative checks.


There isn't any Trait that would allow you to choose a single skill to use as a Background Skill, or a single class to use as a Background Class. Peasant who works hard to become a knight is an ancient archetype. The closest thing to the first is taking two different Ability Bonuses that negate each other and give you two background skills.

Satyr
2009-01-24, 04:55 AM
Lucky
[...]
Too weak.

You are probably right; I think about a minor addition (something like reroll one dice per gamin session) to it.


Peasant: all that hard work could give you few extra hp as well.

You're right; It is somewhat intended that the Peasnt background is one of the weaker ones, but two or three additional hitpoints will not change this.


Warrior people - it looks like there's a sentence missing in here:

Yes. The missing sentence is: You gain proficiency with either martial weapons, light armor, medium armor, all shields (except tower shields) or one exotic weapon of your choice.


There isn't any Trait that would allow you to choose a single skill to use as a Background Skill, or a single class to use as a Background Class.

You are right - I will try to write something to cover this - Master of your own Fate or something like this.

lesser_minion
2009-01-25, 12:59 PM
So far the only significant problem I've seen is with your rules for spellcasting, where you pay spell points equal to the level of the spell you are casting. This would need you to drop the current system of free spell-scaling with caster level in addition, because otherwise you run the risk of spells having different levels despite being equivalent in power - this is why psionic powers are paid for based on the manifester level used to determine range, damage and number of targets rather than solely calculating the cost based on spell level.

You could resolve this by removing Heighten Spell, Empower Spell and Maximise Spell and teasing all of the spells that scale with level out into spell chains. I've put a couple of examples of this in the spoiler (I've changed the format to something more like 4e as well):


Notes: a primary target is the individual, object or point in space at which the spell is targeted. They often receive no saving throw against the spell. A secondary target is any individual within the area of the spell who is not a primary target. Normally a person can only be targeted once by a given spell, although the most powerful form of Fireball is an exception.

Magic Missile
Lesser Evocation [force]
Forms and Levels: Least (1st), Lesser (3rd), Greater (5th), Magic Missile Storm (7th)
Range: 50ft
Targeting: One or more primary targets. There is a -4 Complexity penalty to the casting roll against a target for each additional missile cast at them.
Defences: Each target attacked by this spell receives Spell Resistance
Effects:

Least Magic Missile:Creates one or two magic missiles, each of which inflicts d6+1 points of magical force damage on a target.

Lesser Magic Missile: Creates three to five magic missiles, each of which inflicts d6+1 magical force damage on a target.

Greater Magic Missile: Creates from six to ten magic missiles, each of which inflicts 2d4 points of magical force damage on a target

Magic Missile Storm: Creates as many magic missiles as you wish. Each magic missile hit inflicts d8 points of magical force damage. You may not claim finesse bonuses to the casting roll.

Miscast results: A failed attempt to cast the spell at a target means that the missiles either fail or miss their intended target. A seriously miscast attempt to target magic missiles at an individual may result in the missiles striking the wrong target. The DM should choose this, but be reasonable. A botched magic missile makes a +0 touch attack roll against its new target, who gains the benefit of SR.

Admittedly, magic missile scales so slowly that it makes a bad example of what I'm suggesting here. A better example may be Fireball:

Fireball
Lesser Evocation [fire]
Forms and Levels: Bolt of Flame (2nd); Fireball (4th); [name] Incandescent Fury (6th); Meteor Swarm (8th)
Range: 450ft
Targeting: Spell is cast at a principal target, and strikes everything within a burst as determined by the spell description. Incandescent Fury and Meteor Swarm can have multiple targets - all casting rolls take a -2 penalty for each additional target. You may attempt to prevent certain individuals from being struck by the blast, but take a -10 complexity penalty.
Defences: Primary target receives Spell Resistance. Secondary targets may make reflex saves augmented by their spell resistance. The primary target receives cover. Effect may be reduced by fire resistance.
Effects:

Bolt of Flame: This spell only strikes the primary target, for 3d6+2 damage.

Fireball: This spell strikes the primary target for 9d6. It then explodes in a blast (normal radius 20ft) centered on this target.

Incandescent Fury: This spell may have up to three primary targets, before exploding into a 20ft blast centered on each primary target. Each primary target suffers 12d6 damage, with secondary targets sustaining 6d6 damage. Note that if the blasts overlap, they do NOT increase in damage. A primary target is not subject to damage as a secondary target of the spell.

Meteor Swarm: This spell creates four meteors which may be targeted freely by the caster (unlike Incandescent Fury, a target may be struck multiple times). Each meteor strikes a primary target for 9d6 damage and a secondary target for 6d6 damage.

Miscast Results: If you fail the casting roll against a target then they are unaffected by the spell unless they are within range of a secondary target. A miscast spell is discharged if it affects any targets at all.

A serious miscast can result in the spell being mistargeted, or even targeted on the caster.

And a healing example:
Heal
Lesser Conjuration [healing]
Forms and Levels: Cure (1st); Healing Hand (3rd); Healing Light (5th); Panacea (7th)
Range: Touch or 60ft
Targeting: A single target. You may take a -5 complexity penalty to cast at range, and a -5 might penalty to affect an additional target. Each additional target also incurs a further -5 complexity penalty. Casting these spells on an undead target is equivalent to casting a Harm spell of the same level on them.
Defences: None. Undead creatures may defend against this as specified in the Harm spell description.
Effects:
Cure: Upon casting this spell, the primary target regains hitpoints equal to d8 plus the equivalent of one day's rest. If you are a trained healer, you may also attempt to augment the target's recovery using your heal skill, provided you are not casting this spell at range.

Healing Hand: This spell restores its primary target the hitpoint equivalent of four days' rest, plus d8, as well as allowing you to make a free heal attempt to treat poison and/or disease and augment the target's healing. Heal checks made as part of this spell gain a +5 bonus. You cannot use this spell to make heal attempts at range, but the target may attempt to apply the heal skill to themself as a free action instead.

Healing Light: This spell restores its primary target the hitpoint equivalent of four day's rest, and all those within a 30ft burst centered on the primary target regain the hitpoint equivalent of two days' rest. All targets also regain d8 hitpoints, and may attempt to augment this using their own heal skill as a free action. This spell can only have one primary target.

Panacea: The ultimate healing spell, this can cure any hitpoint or ability damage sustained by the target, as well as removing poisons and diseases.

As the ultimate healing spell, a Panacea spell can also be used to resuscitate a target reduced below -10 hitpoints or zero Constitution within its Strength* score in minutes of casting. Such a target is stunned for d6 rounds, and you take a -10 might penalty to cast this form of the spell. A target who has been clearly slain - for example, by a death spell, vorpal blade or disintegration, or who has been mutilated by the True Death ability cannot be resuscitated in this way.

Miscast: A miscast Heal spell simply fails to work, and can be attempted again as normal. A serious miscast can have a range of effects, although it is not uncommon for them to make the target's condition worse, as a Harm spell of equivalent level.

*Note that Strength is used because the target might have zero Con.


I'm not going to declare these to be particularly great examples, and you may want to re-write them to actually use.

I'm working on the assumption that you take the casting roll when you finally discharge the spell, and an overcharged spell takes a -5 penalty when cast. Is this right?

It might be better to use the Ritual casting option as a Take 15 and ban casters from using diceless spellcasting otherwise - currently, the only uses you are likely to see for ritual casting are taking 10 or 20, and this variant serves to emphasise the dangerous and unreliable nature of magic that you are trying to convey. You can also set the requirements quite high to use Ritual Casting - probably a number of ranks in several different knowledge skills. That means that most wizards will have far fewer secondary skills - they will, however, cast spells much more reliably than sorcerers given enough time.

I would suggest also that 'worst possible result' for a critical miscast should be worded differently. If you cast a magic missile and accidentally hit the wrong target, it makes no sense for magic to somehow force the blast to spin round and smack into one of your friends. That would imply that the magic is deliberately trying to do harm to its wielders' cause, which makes little sense in most D&D campaigns (even in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay a botched spell is randomly dangerous rather than specifically doing harm to the caster's cause).

The spellcasting checks might be a bit on the difficult side - you could ban cheese topping on spellcasting skills if you are worried about it being used to reliably cast powerful spells.

Satyr
2009-01-26, 03:55 AM
So far the only significant problem I've seen is with your rules for spellcasting, where you pay spell points equal to the level of the spell you are casting. This would need you to drop the current system of free spell-scaling with caster level in addition, because otherwise you run the risk of spells having different levels despite being equivalent in power - this is why psionic powers are paid for based on the manifester level used to determine range, damage and number of targets rather than solely calculating the cost based on spell level.

The thing is, I am lazy. Changing all the spells is just a bit too much work for my taste.
I am not sure if I complete understand the problem you state - for me, the specific spell is less important than the power of the specific spellcaster behind it.


I'm working on the assumption that you take the casting roll when you finally discharge the spell, and an overcharged spell takes a -5 penalty when cast. Is this right?

Yes.


It might be better to use the Ritual casting option as a Take 15 and ban casters from using diceless spellcasting otherwise - currently, the only uses you are likely to see for ritual casting are taking 10 or 20, and this variant serves to emphasise the dangerous and unreliable nature of magic that you are trying to convey. You can also set the requirements quite high to use Ritual Casting - probably a number of ranks in several different knowledge skills. That means that most wizards will have far fewer secondary skills - they will, however, cast spells much more reliably than sorcerers given enough time.

Taking 10/20 is only usable in stress-free situations, so that it is most of the time reduced to secondary activity scenes. In those, it is completely okay if the spells do not fail in 30% of the time. Rituals serve as a small power boost for spellcasters who would be a bit too nerved without it; the practical use in an adrenaline scene is next to 0, but it allows to cast more powerful spells than usual; without the ritual magic, it is very hard to succesfully cast a level 8 or 9 spell - which is completely okay, because powerful magic is so much more flavorful when it includes mystical runes on the floor and hours of chanting - and I didn't want to remove these spells completely.


I would suggest also that 'worst possible result' for a critical miscast should be worded differently. If you cast a magic missile and accidentally hit the wrong target, it makes no sense for magic to somehow force the blast to spin round and smack into one of your friends. That would imply that the magic is deliberately trying to do harm to its wielders' cause, which makes little sense in most D&D campaigns (even in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay a botched spell is randomly dangerous rather than specifically doing harm to the caster's cause).

I think that the formulation is kept somewhat vague as I normally let the player decide which result his or her botch had; this way they cannot complain for an unfair treatment and if they abuse this, I can still take over and say something like "no, that's too little". According to my experiences though, the tend to punish their characters a bit too much for my taste, but that is their decision and when it becomes too harsh, I also intervene.

lesser_minion
2009-01-26, 07:49 AM
I am not sure if I complete understand the problem you state

In vanilla D&D every spell effectively costs the same - there are limits on how many of your more powerful spells you can cast, making some slots more valuable than others, but a spell slot is still only one spell slot. Only your weakest spells can be cost twice in a high-level slot - and conversely, you can't sacrifice a load of weak spells to cast a powerful spell.

In general, the power level of a spell is determined by the level of its caster, so spells are divided into spell levels according to the maximum power level attainable - not according to their actual power level when a caster gains access to them.

The problem with determining spell cost by spell level is that for most intents and purposes you are charging a caster based on how powerful WotC's arbitrary framework decided the spell could be, rather than based on how powerful the spell actually is - the Save DCs and ability to pierce certain magical wards improve, but in general the overall effects of two spells of different costs (in these rules) can be identical.


for me, the specific spell is less important than the power of the specific spellcaster behind it.

That's actually my point. With the rules as written combined with the existing D&D spells, characters are paying different point costs for equivalent effects. It isn't such a problem for Batman played as Batman, but that's related to the separate issue of the designers underestimating the value of certain spells throughout the game - and many spells may be underpriced to start with.

You could actually solve the problem by handing out more spell points, doubling the rate at which spellpoints are channeled (because they all cost more) and using these rules (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/magic/spellPoints.htm) to assign point costs to spells. They kind of explain the original problem a bit better in the metagame analysis as well.

Satyr
2009-01-28, 03:52 AM
In vanilla D&D every spell effectively costs the same - there are limits on how many of your more powerful spells you can cast, making some slots more valuable than others, but a spell slot is still only one spell slot. Only your weakest spells can be cost twice in a high-level slot - and conversely, you can't sacrifice a load of weak spells to cast a powerful spell.

Okay, in Serpents&Sewers, you can both get more simple spells on the cost of a powerspell as well as vice versa. According to my experiences, this leads to the sacrifice of more powerful spells for more numerous spells, as the lower spell ranks are faster to cast and more reliable.


In general, the power level of a spell is determined by the level of its caster, so spells are divided into spell levels according to the maximum power level attainable - not according to their actual power level when a caster gains access to them.

I am not sure about this. So you effectively say that the upper power threshold of a spell and not the basic access threshold? That makes sense, but not for all spells -as you said, the framework of the spell power is somewhat arbitrary, especially if you regard the spells from a societal instead of a situational perspective.


The problem with determining spell cost by spell level is that for most intents and purposes you are charging a caster based on how powerful WotC's arbitrary framework decided the spell could be, rather than based on how powerful the spell actually is - the Save DCs and ability to pierce certain magical wards improve, but in general the overall effects of two spells of different costs (in these rules) can be identical.

Well, yes. Here, my lazyness kicks in. I know that the spell system has large problems, apart from the ugly vancian spellcasting. But I don't have the motivation to create a complete new system of spells and powers - and if I would do it, I would not base it on individual spells but on specific schools which allow to use specific powers within its reaches, similar to the system of Witchcraft of Ars Magica.


That's actually my point. With the rules as written combined with the existing D&D spells, characters are paying different point costs for equivalent effects.

Which is a part of what I understand as basing the power on the spellcaster instead of the spell. Bargain spellcasting is a form of power. The other aspect is, that two of my players have problems with maths. The simpler the numbers are, the better it is for my game. For them, being forced to calculate anything more complex than the very basics is just not fun anymore and therefore I try to keep the ingame calculations as simple as possible.

lesser_minion
2009-01-28, 05:48 AM
Well, I suggested the idea of having spell costs equal to the caster level you wish to use to determine the effect - for several spells, this is the 'real' power. All you would have to do is change the Spell Point gain rate and the Spell Point channel rate, and possibly note that spells with a cap on the number of missiles and so on shouldn't cost extra.

Of course, you could argue that the spells that gain the most from your current system are likely to be the least-used spells.

The only other problem is the 1d6 fireball - it seems a bit odd to saturate a wide area in roaring flames in order to do minimal damage.

Satyr
2009-01-29, 03:31 AM
Wouldn't it be somewhat odd that the more experienced a character is, the more he or shee must pay for their spells?


odd Rules:
These Rule elements are the ones I am not sure about - ideas I had, but with which I wasn't content, or classes which never left development.

More Iterative Attacks:
One of the constant elements of Sewers and Serpents is the emphasis on heroic, frontline fighters instead of more cautious spellcasters or similar support crew characters for the true heroes. One idea to emphasize this again, was to grant additional iterative attacks earlier than usual, not based on +6/+1, but on +5/+0, so that every character at 20th level would gain an additional attack.

Serpents, Sewers and Gestalten
Originally, S&S was completely oriented on gestalt games. It was also based on an E10 concept, so that characters would have effectively the same amount of class traits as a standard character and a lot of interesting stuff to do, but only half the usual bonuses (at the highest level) and so on.
It actually works, even though the volume of every character is immense (but the list of equipment is significantly shorter). This was dropped because of this volume and because the combination of paths and a secondary class is somewhat redundant and we found that the paths are the feature that was easier to implement in any game.

Wounding rules
Originally, S&S had no hitpoints anymore. Instead, it included many, many saving throws against damage and the comparison between the rolled damage and the Saving Throw result, reaching from "a few scratches" (effectively no damage) to "you are a fine red paste on the ground" (effectively no character anymore). This was a fun system, but requires many, many additional dice rolls. We came to the agreement that one additional roll per attack is okay, but that space was already occupied by the active defense (which is one of the greatest enhancements of the D&D rules ever, as it is an extremely simple change that greatly increases the suspense of combats and makes them much less predictable), so we returned to the more classical approach, but including the wound penalties (another simple yet great modification).

Luckless classes
As the least popular class among the group, it was obviously early on, that the bard was going to be slaughtered and the sweet spots would be scavenged. This happened early on, creating such awesome classes as the more demagogic cleric, the commander and the spellthief.
The other four classes who never left development hell were the knight (who wasn't able to be both plausible and different enough from the MaA and the Paladin to defend its niche between them), the Warlock and the Binder (who share the common problem that they would fit into the system without any changes - perhaps one slightly better save and a few skill points more, but that's it) and the poor, poor monk. Apart from the overall question "should there be a monk in S&S?", there was also the problem that the monk is effectively a collection of extremely arbitrary (and only slightly useful) abilities without much connection between them; combined with a too supernatural taste for the more down to earth atmosphere of Serpents and Sewers and too few usable abilities wthout that flair.
The most likely way that the monk find its way into S&S is in the form of a variant class, most likely of the Man-at-arms or, for the fun of it, for the assassin.

lesser_minion
2009-01-29, 07:57 AM
That's not quite how it works - basically, when the crunch after the spell header says something like 'does d6 damage per caster level' you read the text as 'does d6 damage per point spent on the spell'.

Like creating magic items, you can cast spells at a lower caster level than normal as long as you don't drop the caster level below your own level - so you always pay the same to cast the same spell. A 5d6 fireball costs 5 points, while a 10d6 fireball costs 10 points.

I posted a link to the SRD spell points variant because it explained the whole thing a bit better - basically it is very similar to the psionic augmentation rules.

Satyr
2009-02-09, 03:31 AM
With a slight delay, Serpents and Sewers now include all of the traditional core classes (except of the disembowelled bard whose stuff was plundered by others and the monk, whose write-up is still in progress).

There is still stuff to come. I want to implement the Warlock and the Binder as more unorthodox spellcasters. I want more varieties for the classes (the idea is to have two alternatives to the basic class for every class as a minimum). I am thinking of including setting-specific species, such as Warforged, Half-Hobgoblins, Drow etc.

I am currently brainstorming on the implementation of psionics, so I can make a focused writeup for Dark Sun.

There are till some heroic paths missing. The write-ups of the paths also needs an overhaul, but I was too lazy to do it yet.

And I think of getting rid of both wizards and sorcerers and replace them through a specialist class for every school of magic, so that there are less universal spellcasters with a distinct style, niche and focus.

cloneof
2009-02-22, 10:21 AM
Man I love this :smallredface:.

Satyr
2009-02-22, 12:31 PM
Thank you. I am actually quite proud of it. I am currently running a Serpents and Sewers Gestalt campaign, which makes the characters even more multi-facetted; it features a kobold pirate captain (Kobold Bravo/Commander of the Path of the Waves) and is therefore the epitome of awesome.

Satyr
2009-03-03, 08:41 AM
Serpents and Sewers, epic rules:
As a generally less straining after effect version of D&D, Serpents and Sewers does not use the in many ways ridiculously overpowered official epic rules. For a S&S character, 20th level is the zenith of development, but since it is somewhat ridculous that people suddenly stop to learn new stuff only because they have culminated a certain amount of experience, characters may still improve over time.
For each 5000 experience a character gains, they earn a new feat or 5 skill points, which can be distributed as usual. Yes, this means that Serpents and Sewers is effectively an E20 game.


Free Skill: Knowledge (local)
It should be obvious that a character knows about the place he or she comes from. So, every characte starts with 2 free ranks in the Knowledge (local) skill of their home region or hometown.


Causal Improvement
Learning is a process which is strongly based on personal experiences and the interaction with the environment. To bind in this learning by doing, Serpents and Sewers offers bonus skill points based on the contents of the character's adventure - and the input of the player to the game. The more a player dedicates him- or herself to the game, the more a player also deserves to get a little bonus and characters should learn something of the stuff they do. But since skill points are a very limited ressource, which leads to the perverse situation where a character which is developed organically and with a regard for the personal development is set into a distinct disadvantage.
Therefore, in Serpents and Sewers the DM is obliged to distribute additional skill points among the players which reflects both the direct experiences in the last time, as well as how much time and passion the player invests in the game. The number of these aditional points should derrive from the adventure's complexity, and up to 5 points for skills are a good rule of thumb. These additional skill points should stay in a dirct causal chain to the adventure's events. An adventure that took mostly place in the wild while the characters are hunted or hunting should involve bonus points to survival and knowledge (nature), while an urban detective plot could include bonuses to Gather information, Search and Bluff. At least one third of the bonus skill points should go to knowledge skills, as people almost automatically learn about the things they live through.

xanaphia
2009-03-05, 05:44 AM
I love this.

Is there any chance you could put this into one text or PDF file, for ease of reading?

This is like a PHB, and the Vorpal Tribble already wrote a Monster Manual, or several. All we need now is for someone to write a new DMG.

Satyr
2009-03-05, 05:53 AM
I could put it all together in one large PDF file, but I don't think I have a place where I could put it in for a download. And right now, I am working on it again, so there are slowly coming new addendums to Serpents and Sewers in the next days (Eberron-typical species, more templates and perhaps rules - and classes for psionics).

Satyr
2009-04-13, 05:05 AM
All Serpents and Sewers stuff - species, classes, heroic paths, background traits and all the other fine rules that make the core of Serpents and Sewers can now be found on on Fax' Wiki, in an own Serpents and Sewers wiki (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers). The wiki includes all the upgraded rules Serpents and Sewers consists of, including some new stuff that never appeared in this forum.

Outhouse
2010-01-30, 03:10 PM
Hey,

Couple of questions...

How do I figure out the BDB of monsters? Do you have rules for outsiders, monsterous humanoids, etc?

Some classes talk about scratches but I can't find the rules for them, what are they?

Cheers

Satyr
2010-01-31, 05:01 AM
The BDB of creatures usually is 3/4 of their hitdice, or 1/2 if they are supposed to be non-combatants (e.g. spellcasters).


Some classes talk about scratches but I can't find the rules for them, what are they?

The scratches are a remnant of an abbandoned alternative damage system. The idea was, that characters have no hitpoints, but suffer from injuries when they gain an amount of damage eqaul to a certain threshold. Every hit who would not lead to an injury, would lead to a scratch, and once a character had his total number ot scratches, each additional one would have been an injury.
The system works, but it doesn't fit that well to a D&D-ish game, so I decided to switch back to the usual hitpoint format. Unfortunately I am now completely alone doing the Serpents and Sewers stuff, and I am often occupied elsewhere, so the project is currently in a state of hiatus.
I have not abandoned it, but the things I have to do for it are a bit tedious (rewriting the classes to the old hit point system, switching to Pathfinder skills and feats to create a SRD reference, uploading a few high power feats), and I am not really looking forward to them.

Kushōsaku
2010-03-17, 06:10 PM
Because my players can't count. :smallsmile:
Identical ability scores seemed a way to make sure that everyone has an equal chance to create about equal characters. At first, all characters followed the 18/16/14/12/10/8 distribution, but that one had the drawback that it included a weaker point, so the two more averaged scores were added.
36 point buy would work just as fine, I guess. It is all a question of habit.

Hey, I don't wanna be a smartass... but...
“standard”: 16 + 16 + 14 + 14 + 12 + 10 = 82
“focused”: 18 + 16 + 14 + 12 + 10 + 8 = 78
“universalist”: 14 + 14 + 14 + 14 + 14 + 14 = 84
is this intentional, as as drawback for focused characters, or are your players not the only ones unable to count? :smalltongue:
Haven't read all of your rules, thus having an 18 might be a big advantage I'm not aware of, but if modifiers & stuff are deducted linearly from the scores, the sums at character creation should be equal. Otherwise its not equivalent to point buy. Keep on rockin' :smallsmile:

Lyndworm
2010-03-18, 12:40 AM
Hey, I don't wanna be a smartass... but...
“standard”: 16 + 16 + 14 + 14 + 12 + 10 = 82
“focused”: 18 + 16 + 14 + 12 + 10 + 8 = 78
“universalist”: 14 + 14 + 14 + 14 + 14 + 14 = 84
is this intentional, as as drawback for focused characters, or are your players not the only ones unable to count? :smalltongue:
Haven't read all of your rules, thus having an 18 might be a big advantage I'm not aware of, but if modifiers & stuff are deducted linearly from the scores, the sums at character creation should be equal. Otherwise its not equivalent to point buy. Keep on rockin' :smallsmile:

Did you just add up each score? Because that's not how Point-Buy works.

Standard works out to be 38 Points.
Focused works out to be 38 Points.
Universalist works out to be 36 Points.

The higher the number is, the more it's worth in a Point-Buy system.

Kushōsaku
2010-03-18, 07:26 AM
It doesn't? :smallconfused:
Well, then I apparently know the wrong point-buy systems. I'm not too familiar with D&D but as far as I remember it (mostly from PC games, admittedly... might have been 3.0) you have the same base score for each ability and then distribute a certain amount of points, which is quite straight forward, thus raising a score from 12 to 13 costs as much as rising a score from 17 to 18, namely one point. Therefore in the end, the total sum is equal regardless of distribution. Because, if modifiers are deducted directly from the scores, having +4 and +0 from an 18 and a 10 or two times +2 from two 14s should even out if each ability has similar importance in the game.
That's point-buy how I remembered it and thought it to be fair :smallbiggrin:
But if that's not how it actually works in D&D, just forget about my comment, besides the point that having the same ability score "value" for all character variations might be favourable :smallsmile: