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DoomHat
2011-06-27, 05:03 PM
I have a weird love/hate relationship with D&D 3.5. Though Iíve purchased a profound number of Core Rules PDFs for a myriad of different systems, all of which do things I like, for some reason I keep coming back to D&D and whining that I donít like it.
A solid percentage of the threads here seem to be geared toward trying to rebalancing the game. However, if D&D were the Titanic, then all the fixes Iíve seen proposed (including Pathfinder) amount to rearranging the deck chairs.
Well not this time. We are taking this baby back to dry dock, stripping Ďer down to constituent parts, and building anew, free of presumptions.

The Core of My Argument
Combat, skill checks, and magic all function like theyíre each from entirely different games. BAB only interacts with AC, aggressor rolls against static number. Saves only interact with Spells and Traps, defender rolls against static number. Skill only interact with themselves, attacker and defender roll and compare or roll against an arbitrarily determined number divisible by 5. On top of that, the bonuses and penalties for these things each scale in fundamentally different ways.
How the hell does anyone expect fighters, wizards, and rouges to all be on an even playing field? Comparing apples to oranges is pointless enough, attempting to alter oranges in order to keep them in line with the expectation of apples is well down the road to madness.
This is an artifact of the gameís history.

It started out as a competitive miniatures combat game, which was expanded into the concept of a dungeon crawl. A new sub feature was added called ĎSavesí, to represent your characterís ability to survive traps.
Later, AD&D added a chapter to the rules called ďProficiencies (Optional)Ē.

All proficiency rules are additions to the game. Weapon proficiencies are tournament-level rules, optional in regular play, and non-weapon proficiencies are completely optional. Proficiencies are not necessary for a balanced game. They add an additional dimension to characters, however, and anything that enriches characterization is a bonus. If weapon proficiencies are used in your game, expect them to apply to all characters, including NPCs. Nonweapon proficiencies may be used by players who enjoy them and ignored by those who donít without giving unfair advantages to anyone (provided your DM allows this; heĎs the one who must deal with any problems).
-from AD&D second editionSo there you go, back in second edition if you couldnít murder an orc with it, it was fluff.

The release of 3rd edition both streamlined these features and expanded their importance with a greater focus on adventure over combat alone. However, it failed to actually integrate them into a contiguous whole, resulting in the loveable shambling Frankenstein of a game we know today.

4th edition, looking back toward its roots, folded everything possible into miniatures combat and relegated skill challenges to a mini-game. Essentially transforming a somewhat dysfunctional butterfly into a highly efficient caterpillar.

So with all that in mind, what do we want D&D to be? Whatever direction we take this, I think the following is certain.

1. The game needs a single, unified, conflict resolution mechanic, and it should use the d20.
2. All classes should be packaged with the same number of features.
3. No chapter of the book should be excusive to a particular class archetype. (Wizards, Rouges, and Fighters must use the same rules to accomplish different kinds of things).
4. The game must keep some core conceits intact. The end result must bare at least a passing resemblance to D&D.

Inevitably Iíll post my own ideas on how to accomplish this, but first I want to see if anyone cares and or has any cleaver ideas first.

DoomHat
2011-06-27, 05:04 PM
Note: The following was posted after the rest of the thread was well in progress.

D&D, before anything else, is about adventureÖ
Adventure isnít exciting without danger...
Danger isnít exciting without riskÖ

You only roll, when you are taking a Risk.
The die is only ever rolled when a character attempts an action that, in the event of failure, may result in interesting consequences. For example, never roll to see if a character can get out of bed, but always roll to see if they can get out of The Forbidden Temple unnoticed. Never roll to see if they can successfully strike a scarecrow, but always roll to see if they can successfully strike down a skittering rabid goblin without letting it bite them.

Before making a Risk the player must declare; The Goal and The Wager.
The Goal is what you are hoping to accomplish. Ex: Unlocking the door, Tempting the barmaid, Comprehending the foreigner, Stabbing the bugbear.

The Wager is what will happen if it goes wrong. There are three kinds of wager.
Sacrifice: Youíll achieve your Goal, but at some cost. Ex: You open the door, but not before the guard turns the corner and sees you, The barmaid is interested but her husband disapproves (with his knife), You understand most of what sheís saying but thereís one phase that goes over your head (could be important), You peg the bugbear right in the shoulder but your crappy spear snaps right in half.

Hesitation: You chose to go about your task with care. Gain a +2 to the roll, but if it doesnít go through, you achieve nothing. Ex: You take one look at this lock and decide itís beyond your ability, You open your mouth to speak but get shy and back off, You havenít the slightest idea what theyíre babbling about, You make a few timid pokes at the beast but there arenít any clear openings.

Fumble: You go about your work with reckless abandon. Gain a +4 to your roll, but if it doesnít go through it results in disaster. Ex: You cut your hand failing to force the lock and the guards hear you, You disgust her and she tells her husband (and his knife) about you, The bugbear sidesteps your wild charge and can now take advantage of your momentum.

The DM and other Players can help you come up with the specifics of a given Wager. The DM has final say. Additionally, the DM has the authority to say something isnít worth a risk and allow you to simply achieve your goal without rolling.

All Risks are resolved with a 20 sided die, or d20
The Target Number to achieve your goal without consequences is always 15 + Penalty Modifiers.
The amount by which you exceed the Target Number is called Overflow.

There are two kinds of Penalty Modifier.
-Burdens: Each Burden adds +2 to the Target Number. The DM assigns Burdens based on the circumstances of the roll. Examples of Burdens include; ĎSlick Groundí, ĎUntrainedí, ĎStrong Windí, ĎObscured Viewí, ĎLong Rangeí, etcetera. The DM may apply up to 3 Burdens (given exceptional conditions, an absolute maximum of 6).
-Opposition: If you are attempting to undo someone elseís success, be it disarming a trap, noticing a sneak thief, or parrying a well aimed blow, you receive a penalty equal to the original actionís overflow.

The maximum total Bonus Modifier a die roll may accumulate is +13.


Ability Scores
Each character has a set of 6 ability scores.

Ability Bonuses
{table=head]Type|Attack|Save|Health

Physical|
Strength|
Reflex|
Constiution|

Mental|
Intelligence|
Wisdom|
Charisma|[/table]

(Will explain more later)

To Do List:
-Skills
Proficiency ->Expertise

-Special Features
Feats, Spells, Class abilities, Equipment

-Maneuvers, Stunts, and Tactics
Exploits and Setups

-Incentives
Experience, Action Points, and Alignments

-Building an Adventure

Kellus
2011-06-27, 05:41 PM
2. All classes should be packaged with the same number of features.
3. No chapter of the book should be excusive to a particular class archetype. (Wizards, Rouges, and Fighters must use the same rules to accomplish different kinds of things).

These two goals are not good ones. While obviously every class should be competitive with each other, there's no reason that each class needs to have numerically the same exact number of class features. Each class needs to be able to pull its own weight without dragging down the team and that's the only consideration. In 3.5 fighters and monks drag down a team of rogues and wizards. Period end stop.

The other goal is just silly. The chapter called 'Magic' is going to be explicitly for the spellcasters. The only way you can have muggles interact with it at all is if you tell them that they need to have this many magic items to ride, in which case it sort of defeats the purpose of playing a mundane. There are zero ways to have fighters 'use the same rules to accomplish different kinds of things' when you're talking about magic, unless you're getting rid of the single defining feature of fighters (that they don't use magic). Now, there's no reason that you can't have magic be based off of skills the same way backflips or hitting things are, but there is no way you can expect people to buy that fighters should be using the same rules as wizards. That's when you end up with a bland vanillafest like 4E where every class actually did use the same rules, and it turned out to be really boring. Classes and archetypes need to feel different from each other in play.

Mulletmanalive
2011-06-27, 06:12 PM
The chapter called 'Magic' is going to be explicitly for the spellcasters. The only way you can have muggles interact with it at all is if you tell them that they need to have this many magic items to ride, in which case it sort of defeats the purpose of playing a mundane.

While i find the relevant goal a bit boring, there's nothing to say that your point is true; the chapter could easily be called "powers" or something like that and use the same building blocks to put together magic, psionics, martial skills, social nicities backing corporations.

It works in BESM, barring the dynamic sorcery rules [which are a bad idea...] but it does make things bland. Very bland.

DoomHat
2011-06-28, 01:44 AM
Who says magic needs its own chapter anyhow? What if magic is a skill set? What if its a feat chain? Edit: Or a set of feat chains? Remember guys, no presumptions.


In direct response to Kellus;
:smallconfused:How then do you propose to regulate the given capacities of each class? Where is that guideline? Is True d20 hurt any by giving each starting character a standardized 4 feats from their class list? You didn't mention any examples of how such a policy could harm the game.

Since neither of you mentioned anything else, can I assume you agree with the over all thrust of the thread?:smallbiggrin:

Yitzi
2011-06-28, 02:37 AM
I don't see how having various different mechanics means that there has to be an imbalance...after all, there is a single standard that can be used no matter what attack type you use, namely effectiveness. (And in the cases where that's too different to be compared, everyone has an essential role and so it's balanced.)

The problem isn't that the skillsets are different; it's that part of one skillset is too similar to the entirety of another.

Dryad
2011-06-28, 05:21 AM
The greatest problem for me with DnD is simple:
Economy.
Dungeons And Dragons expects players to gain huge amounts of treasure and rewards in a generally medieval setting where everyone is dirt-poor save the nobles. Farmers earn a few coppers a week, and yet, the moment your average group of adventurers start robbing them, the gold just pours out of their ears.

Ever fought a boar and looted a piece of armour? I'm sorry; all people ever get is pork!

The game expects people to be decked in all of the rarest items in the world. Yes; that's right: Magic items are rare and special, although that kobold over there might carry some.

However, it gets worse: In order to pay for some things (like crafting, which takes so much time that I strongly advise players not to craft... It's really no fun holding your party back a few weeks because of scrolls, wands, or that one sword) you also need to pay an experience cost (so you're also slowing down your personal progression, which might lead to balance issues with the rest of the party).

Of course, there's also the standard fare price: Abilities on a per-day basis. Once expended, it's gone, though you'll get a new 'allowance' after a good night's rest. This is also an economical thing: Spellcasters are allowed bizarre power on the basis that they've got a per-day limit, while melee characters can go all day without pause, on the basis that they don't get the bizarre power (and also not the allowance).

So I agree that DnD is a rag-tag system. However, I think the balance issues lie not in the power-distribution itself (though that is the logical effect), but in the economy of power. In the ways people need to pay a price to get something.
If you equal that price for everyone, you can also equal the power for everyone. Of course, in the case of casters, they'll gain versatility while they lose their capacity for destruction: A good trade-off, because what other reason could there be to play a caster than versatility? Destroying things should not require a brilliant mind, after all. :P

Now, on the plus side of DnD:
It's an easy, step-by-step game with a relatively low threshold (easily understandable math) and it gives the feel of lots of customization, while the drive for efficiency makes the entire system severely limited. This creates the illusion of ingeniousness and variety in a world that basically revolves around smash, blast, heal. The real charm of DnD lies in quantity over quality, and especially in fourth edition, this is ever more evident. You can choose from such a wealth of classes and powers, but everything is basically the same, and for every class and build, there is only one power per level that is worth taking. The diversity and variation aren't real; they're an illusion.

The same goes for DnD. To name a few popular builds: Power-Attack fighter/barb. Dual-wield short-sword rogue. Archery ranger.
The funny thing, though, is that these builds essentially existed before the classes were made. Designers made a class to fit the image of these builds. Fighters and Barbarians don't gain the Power Attack feat, and Rogues don't gain the Two Weapon Fighting feat... But either of these classes SHOULD take those feats. The classes are designed with that in mind.

And because of this illusion of variety, a new kind of player arises (which hides away in every human on earth): The Power Gamer. The one who wants to be the most efficient, to be the best they can be. Of course; most of us understand that this would ruin the fun of things somewhat, because a logical effect is competition (do NOT want!), and the smartest would 'win,' a very bad thing in a co-op game, especially when the rest of the group will feel pretty useless as a result.
Power Gamers will try to cheat the system. They'll combine things because of power rather than flavour, do things that make no sense whatsoever, but can happen because the system allows for it, and is stupidly powerful at the same time.
Meanwhile, monsters in the MM series are simply not up to the task of actually posing a problem to any player group. This is a balance issue that is, I think, intentional. Characters aren't meant to die in DnD. Worse; if they do, by chance, die, they're meant to be resurrected. So player groups cut through enemies like a hot knife through butter, because it's not nice when players lose. The element of danger goes away, and people take the game less seriously, which in turn makes them take the story, and their characters, less seriously. It's become a game of high-magic Marvel Superheroes.
And that brings us to another problem: In order to threaten the players, you need to create an encounter which poses more of a threat. But the progression method is linear and percentile, which means that a challenging encounter will have high difficulty classes. High armour class, high saves, high damage and high to-hit chance. Meaning that not only is this a challenge for an average group, but the group relies on chance only (for hit-optimized characters) to hit (dropping down to a mere 10% chance for other characters to even hit the creature), but an attack by such a creature deals enough damage to instagib the average player's character (thinking of d6-d8 hd) and never misses. However, when the players do hit, they take down the creature with relative ease.
Making this an all-or-nothing game. Either a sleep-through, or impossible to beat. Lots of DM-tweaking is required to create a challenge that is beatable, but also lethal at the same time.

The solution to that is that progression is too important. Characters gain too many hit points, too much in terms of defence, and too much chance to hit. It is too easy to optimize, and as you level, you gain too much. Progression should be a fun thing. In DnD, progression is the goal. Progression should be important, yes, but the amount of scaling issues caused by progression (from a nearly impossible encounter to a sleep-through with just 1 character level of difference) is bizarre.
How about making progression not just about improving one thing (like hitting harder, or casting stronger spells) but make progression broaden your character's horizon? At first level, you learn to hit things with pointy metal sticks. At second level, you learn something different which is handy for another occasion. And so on.

Also, damage dice won't work. Unpredictable is fun, but it's completely RNG, and no skill is involved at all. Damage dice turn DnD into Yahtzee.

elliott20
2011-06-28, 06:02 AM
Honestly, I never thought that D&D was a simple game. If anything, D&D totally blows other RPGs out of the water in terms of complexity. The mechanics themselves? Not all that bad. It's definitely better than 2E. But when you start looking at optimizations and all that stuff, D&D becomes ridiculously complex simply because of how much material is out there.

In competitive games, you will sometimes find certain content or certain bits of the game basically just there to punish the newbies by giving them something that clearly does not do what it was intended. (This is not to say that the devs intentionally did this. But rather, it's often the result of the game just not being pushed far enough during beta.)

D&D is RIDDLED with these. For every one option that actually does it's intended job, there are hundreds of others that just don't do it's job. It makes the game incredibly complex to learn. And yet at the same time, D&D has surprisingly little depth, due to the way the game forces you to specialize. Beyond the actual character building process, often times a lot of the decision process is actually incredibly simple, with a single solution trumping all the other ones.

Now, having said all of that, D&D is not a competitive game. So it doesn't really NEED to be super balanced and ultra deep. But it does need to do a better job at making the actual playing process more streamlined, without losing out on all of the nuance. (This, unfortunately, is where I think 4E overshot)

Dryad
2011-06-28, 07:05 AM
Quantity does not warrant complexity.
DnD is simple because everything (apart from damage rolls) works on a basic, simple, principle:
Throw a d20. Add all the modifiers (time consuming rather than complex; it's just adding up numbers). If the result equals or betters the success threshold, you succeed.
This rule works for nearly everything, and it works in simple, easy to intuitively understand, steps of 5% (1 in 20). The average goal you're working towards is 50% chance of success: More is good, less is poor.

Merk
2011-06-28, 08:14 AM
Re magic items, here's an outline of an idea I'm using for one of my own projects: "Everybody is an Incarnate"

In this universe, magic items don't automatically grant their benefits. You have to invest some of your own personal energy into the item, and depending on how much energy you invest, you may get better/more benefits. Your energy can also be allocated personally or into mundane items to keep up with some of the effects.

Magic items are treated as artifacts; they are generally not for sale because they are worth more than mere money. The main ways to obtain magic items will be having a feat to start with one, or obtaining one through a quest at the GM's discretion.

Magic items are only marginally better than raw energy allocation. Magic items that provide flat numerical bonuses (cloaks of resistance, bracers of armor, etc.) do not exist -- that's what raw allocation is for.

Raw allocation can at least keep up with magic items in most cases. For example, if you obtain a flaming sword, you may be able to do flaming attacks or release bursts of fire from your sword. But the guy with a plain longsword can invest some energy into it and get a slightly smaller bonus to damage as well.

The intended effect is that magic items are nice, but never assumed or necessary.

Gustaff
2011-06-28, 09:35 AM
I like the idea of powers as feats, like spells and martial features.

A spell feat chain could be easily made, and could solve many of the problems D&D already has. A wizard could get some amount of spell feats per level he could use to add spells to his grimoire, but that would restrict in the fashion that he wouldn't be able to get new spells from scrolls...

Rogue Shadows
2011-06-28, 10:48 AM
In a day or two I was going to start posting Saga Edition D&D...so I may be back to contribute ideas.

But on your specific points as to how they relate to SED&D...

1. The game needs a single, unified, conflict resolution mechanic, and it should use the d20.

I have two, but really one. Everything in SED&D is based around d20 + modifier. Your basic attack uses d20 + BAB + Stat + modifiers.

Both Spells and Maneuvers use d20 + Skill.

Both, however, are fundamentally attacks against your Defenses (Fortitude, Reflex, and Will).

2. All classes should be packaged with the same number of features.

All 5 core classes have 4 talent trees, with talents gained at odd levels, and each gets a bonus feat at every even-numbered level. Each prestige class gets a talent at every odd level and a special ability every even level.

3. No chapter of the book should be excusive to a particular class archetype. (Wizards, Rouges, and Fighters must use the same rules to accomplish different kinds of things).

Spellcasting in SED&D is accomplished by taking the Spellshaper feat, the Spell Training feat, and being trained in the Spellcraft skill, so literally any member of any class can be a spellcaster (mages are just better).

Maneuvers work the same way. There is even an overlap in that there are Enspelled maneuvers, which are maneuvers that use the Spellcraft skill.

4. The game must keep some core conceits intact. The end result must bare at least a passing resemblance to D&D.

...here we might part ways a little bit, but that depends largely on perception, I guess. My goal was to create a highly modular system that can support any style of play desired - the classic hack n' slash, or the political intrigue, nary-an-orc-in-sight type of game. Either way I was less concerned at preserving sacred cows, than I was concerned that as long as I was slaughtering sacred cows, the result better be a damn fine steak.

I dunno, we'll see.

elliott20
2011-06-28, 10:52 AM
Quantity does not warrant complexity.
DnD is simple because everything (apart from damage rolls) works on a basic, simple, principle:
Throw a d20. Add all the modifiers (time consuming rather than complex; it's just adding up numbers). If the result equals or betters the success threshold, you succeed.
This rule works for nearly everything, and it works in simple, easy to intuitively understand, steps of 5% (1 in 20). The average goal you're working towards is 50% chance of success: More is good, less is poor.
If you're saying the MATH in D&D is easy, I can agree to that. But this by no means make D&D an easy game to learn. i.e. a newbie comes into the game, and wants to play an effective weapon master. What class should he play? If he had no guidance in the matter, he would probably play a fighter. Since he's a newbie, his optimal-fu is probably fairly weak, so his fighter is not going to be all that good either. Guess what, he's going to have a really hard time actually keeping up with all the other monsters.

Basically, the supposedly easiest classes to play (the ones that have the least subsystems to deal with) tend to also be the worst classes. (Or at least can't work without a lot of optimization.)

And to make these bad classes work, you have to do a LOT of research work. This is all before you actually even PLAY the game itself. You're still just planning out your character. Oh, wait, you didn't you had to plan out your character?

So yeah, I agree that the rules are not hard to learn. But to play the game proficiently? That does take a lot of work. The messed up part is that D&D is not even all that deep. It's got a million books that can mix and match and there are a million ways to build a million characters but once the actual game starts, your actual decision making is incredibly straight forward and tend to be incredibly easy to "solve" so to speak. But before you get to that point, you have a metric ton of work that needs to happen beforehand.

Dryad
2011-06-28, 11:04 AM
So yeah, I agree that the rules are not hard to learn. But to play the game proficiently? That does take a lot of work. The messed up part is that D&D is not even all that deep. It's got a million books that can mix and match and there are a million ways to build a million characters but once the actual game starts, your actual decision making is incredibly straight forward and tend to be incredibly easy to "solve" so to speak. But before you get to that point, you have a metric ton of work that needs to happen beforehand.

Very true. It is very time-consuming to start out.
You know what I find most infuriating?
After all that time researching, you find out that everything's pretty much the same with a different paint-job. :P

Rogue Shadows:
I'm really interested in your talent-tree system. Can't wait to read it!:smallsmile:

DoomHat
2011-06-28, 11:05 AM
I don't see how having various different mechanics means that there has to be an imbalance...after all, there is a single standard that can be used no matter what attack type you use, namely effectiveness. (And in the cases where that's too different to be compared, everyone has an essential role and so it's balanced.)

The problem isn't that the skillsets are different; it's that part of one skillset is too similar to the entirety of another.

How do you measure effectiveness? What's the standard? How do maintain a standard among archetypes if each his held to it's own. A fighter has to compare their BAB against AC and that's about it. A wizard has to have his spell level adjustment compared to any one of three sub attributes and that's if they're just attacking, rather then buffing or altering the state of the battlefield.

Things are balanced because everyone has an essential role? Really?
Weren't you one of the vociferous posters on my other, magic focused, thread? Just what is the 'essential role' of a druid?
What is the essential role of a fighter? To fight? In a game about fighting? It can't be that, rogues don't have just one stat for using skills and wizards don't have just one spell for a reason. Having a class that can only roll BAB would be dull beyond comprehension, and besides, most of the bestiary looks to have been build with fighting casters in mind.



The greatest problem for me with DnD is simple:
Economy.
....

Okay, youíve made a lot of great points here and so Iíll try to respond to each of them.

A big part of the reason players are so item starved is that their defense canít scale up without them. While a fighterís BAB goes up every level, their AC sit around waiting for better armor. Meanwhile monster AC skyrockets with the assumption of magic weapons.
Then again, I just played in a short Deathwatch one shot last night and part of the game requires us to kit out the team before the mission with a limited number of Requisition Points. It was a clear demonstration of how having an equipment list full of beauteous wonder to drool over can add a lot of fun to a game.

On craft time. 'In game time' isnít that high a cost if it can be managed properly. In fact, if you could create a kind of Montage mini-game it could be quite fun. Institutionalized down times for the party could add a lot emersion to the game if done right. Make it clear that the life cycle of an adventurer is something more along the lines of; Form party, plan quest, survive quest, weeks of recovery, weeks of hedonism, family life, and or training, re-form party, plan quest, and so on until everyone starts slowing down in their old age.
As it stand itís; Form party, survive years of unceasing bloodshed, then retire as worldís most powerful living things.

On spell economy. Thereís also another factor there that most donít take into consideration. Mundane characters donít just suffer a deficit of power, they suffer a deficit of interaction. Casters interact with the game on a whole different level. They have a reason to care what time of day it is. They have a whole list of interactions they can acquire, budget, and ultimately apply. Even if spell power were vastly rolled back, casters are still playing a more interesting game simply by virtue of having more game to play.

On equality of distribution. How then do we regulate distribution without standardization? Iím not sure youíre even auguring against it. I think weíre in total agreement?

On efficiency. To me, the difference between a RPG and a Board game is that in a RPG aesthetic choices take priority over practical ones. Any good story is founded on misunderstandings and bad choices, and you donít get that without flawed characters who are interested in impractical things.
To my mind, this Ďillusion of varietyí is strictly and in all ways a bad thing. Why waste everyoneís time when you could expend the same amount of ink on actual variety?

On deadly monsters. The best solution Iíve seen to this problem is the Warhammer model. Character start low and progress slowly. Injury works as follows; Flesh wounds, to 1round penalties, to crippling wounds, to permanent crippling wounds, to horrifying death. You tend to run through that spectrum pretty quickly and a hard enough hit can skip strait from Flesh wound to Gore splatter. You have a resource called Fortune points. You get a pool of three or so. You can permanently lower the pool by 1 to reduce death to unconsciousness, or a severed limb to a merely broken one. But players prefer to avoid spending them, because they also provide a refreshable resource. If you spend a point, rather then burn it, you can re-roll any die, taking be better result. One less Fortune Point means one less re-roll per day.
So you get all the benefits of fearing the reaper, without the frustration of arbitrary death.

On progression. The problem, I think, lays in part with the concept of a hard set level track. In games where exp. can be spent on individual goodies as per player whim you tend to see a bit more disbursement, because trying to up any single thing into the stratosphere becomes increasingly costly.


Quantity does not warrant complexity.
DnD is simple because everything (apart from damage rolls) works on a basic, simple, principle:
Throw a d20. Add all the modifiers (time consuming rather than complex; it's just adding up numbers). If the result equals or betters the success threshold, you succeed.
This rule works for nearly everything, and it works in simple, easy to intuitively understand, steps of 5% (1 in 20). The average goal you're working towards is 50% chance of success: More is good, less is poor.
This I feel I must disagree with. The target numbers are horrendously unstable. The standard TN on a skill roll early game is 15 (30% chance on an unmodified roll), but because of the intense specialization players engage in (because thereĎs no incentive for failure) DMís generally start setting TN=20 (5%) or 25 (-20%?) just to keep things challenging. AC and save difficulties start at TN10 (55% chance of success) but the shear number of sources for bonuses obscure the actual probability to the point that its scarcely worth discussing.
And then there are penalties. Thereís two kinds of penalty, a bonus to difficulty or a reduction on the roll. Thereís very little regulation on when one happens over the other.
Long and short, its a mess.


Re magic items, here's an outline of an idea I'm using for one of my own projects: "Everybody is an Incarnate"

This is a very solid idea. Might it be worth investigating the idea that maybe casters work, not by being themselves magical, but by having exclusive access to certain specialized items like wands and scrolls? While everyone else uses magically amplified versions of the tools of their trade, a wizards simply doesnít have mundane tools?

Rogue Shadows
2011-06-28, 11:15 AM
Rogue Shadows:
I'm really interested in your talent-tree system. Can't wait to read it!:smallsmile:

If you've ever seen Star Wars Saga Edition RPG, you may be in for a let-down, since many of the talents are simply copy/pasted from there, and indeed the entire thing is concieved as simply D&D using that rules set. Saga Star Wars was essentially used as a beta version of 4E, but it is very different in play style and even mechanics.

SED&D The system is still in *extreme beta* mode, but I did just recently finish a year-long playtest campaign and will be compiling all the information I have on that.

The five core classes are Adventurer, Cleric, Fighter, Mage, and Rogue. Prestige classes are the Arcane Archer, Barbarian, Bard, Duelist, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Shadowdancer, Sorcerer, Spellblade, and Wizard. The playtest - a Kingdom Hearts campaign - also included two more prestige classes: Dragoon and Keyblade Master.

There are also monster classes: Aberration (which absorbed Oozes), Animal (which absorbed Vermin), Construct, Dragon, Elemental, Fey, Humanoid (which abosrbed Giants), Magical Beast, Outsider, Plant, and Undead.

Magic items were completely reworked from the ground up. Spells were also completely re-worked. And still need some work as they are waaay too powerful at low levels, while conversely being somewhat weak by high levels.

Dryad
2011-06-28, 11:26 AM
This I feel I must disagree with. The target numbers are horrendously unstable. The standard TN on a skill roll early game is 15 (30% chance on an unmodified roll), but because of the intense specialization players engage in (because thereĎs no incentive for failure) DMís generally start setting TN=20 (5%) or 25 (-20%?) just to keep things challenging. AC and save difficulties start at TN10 (55% chance of success) but the shear number of sources for bonuses obscure the actual probability to the point that its scarcely worth discussing.
And then there are penalties. Thereís two kinds of penalty, a bonus to difficulty or a reduction on the roll. Thereís very little regulation on when one happens over the other.
Long and short, its a mess.
I should have said 'should.' :P
But yes; you are correct.

On efficiency versus aesthetics: I don't think there should be a discrepancy. I also just think that characters should not have the option of being too efficient, so that there is no more room for aesthetics. On the other hand, I also do not think extreme powers should be allowed because they're pretty or fit the mood. There's always better options than introducing Deus Ex.

On the whole, I'll simply have to agree with you. :smalltongue:

Rogue Shadows: I haven't seen it, so I don't actually have a clue. However, I was under the impression that you could pick talents in different trees from the way you previously stated. Maybe a silly assumption of mine. But that would be awesome!
I really love customization to get a character as unique as possible.

Rogue Shadows
2011-06-28, 11:45 AM
Rogue Shadows: I haven't seen it, so I don't actually have a clue. However, I was under the impression that you could pick talents in different trees from the way you previously stated. Maybe a silly assumption of mine. But that would be awesome!
I really love customization to get a character as unique as possible.

Hmm. Well, maybe a quick preview. I present: The Adventurer!

The Adventurer was concieved of because when I sat down and made four base classes - Cleric, Fighter, Mage, and Rogue - I saw that the Rogue was trying to do too much. Think about the 3.X Rogue. He's trying to be a suave, debonaire skill monkey who can lie, cheat, and steal his way through the game. He's also trying to be an experienced dungeon-delver who can find and disable traps like no one's business and is simply rakish with the sword. He wants to be Han Solo and Vizzini; Indiana Jones and Daniel Ocean.

So I split the Rogue across two classes. One of them encompasses the suave, debonaire, skill-focused, CHA or DEX based rogue who gets through life with wits and chutzpah. The other one becomes an experienced dungeon delver who's goal in life is to survive to the next dungeon. The Rogue is Vizzini and Daniel Ocean. The Adventurer is Indiana Jones and Han Solo - and Link.

ADVENTURER
While many people may call themselves adventurers, few actually make a profession out of it. Those that do tend to be hardy individuals, skilled at working as a team to overcome the many challenges that they face. Adventurers are peerless in overcoming the odds and an absolute necessity for any group that wishes to become more than simply the sum of its parts.

http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/rogue_shadows/large/af8edc1f7a1a2753b8b81e1a3133f20e.png?v=138150

Hit Points
Adventurers begin play with a number of hit points equal to 24 + their Constitution modifier. At each level after 1st, they gain 1d8 + their Constitution modifier hit points.

Action Points
Adventurers gain a number of Action Points each level equal to 5 + Ĺ their character level (rounded down). Any Action Points left over from previous levels are lost.

Defense Bonuses
At 1st level, you receive a +1 class bonus to each of your defenses.

Starting Feats
You begin play with the following feats
Armor Group Proficiency (light)
Heroic Effort (heroic Effort lets you roll d8s instead of d6s on Action Die)
Weapon Proficiency (basic weapons plus any three others)

Talents
At every odd-numbered level (1st, 3rd, and so on), you gain a Talent. The Talent must be chosen from one of the talent trees presented below.

Agile Combat Talent Tree
You are a skilled melee duelist, a dervish with a blade.

Acrobatic Recovery: If an effect causes you to fall prone, you can make a DC 20 Acrobatics check to remain on your feet.

Elusive Target: When fighting an opponent or multiple opponents in melee, other opponents attempting to target you with ranged attacks take a -5 penalty. This is in addition to the standard -5 penalty for firing into melee, for a total of -10.

Block: As a reaction, you may negate a melee attack by making a successful Acrobatics check. The DC of the skill check is equal to the result of the attack roll you wish to negate, and you take a cumulative -5 penalty on your Acrobatics check for every time you have used Block or Deflect since the beginning of your last turn. You must have a one-handed melee weapon drawn to use this talent, and you must be aware of the attack and not flat-footed.

If you have the Martial Arts feat, then you may use this talent even if unarmed.

Deflect: As a reaction, you may negate a ranged attack by making a successful Acrobatics check. The DC of the skill check is equal to the result of the attack roll you wish to negate, and you take a cumulative -5 penalty on your Acrobatics check for every time you have used Block or Deflect since the beginning of your last turn. You must have a one-handed melee weapon drawn to use this talent, and you must be aware of the attack and not be flat-footed.

This talent cannot be used to negate attacks from large siege weapons, such as catapults or ballistae. If you have the Martial Arts feat, then you may use this talent even if unarmed.

Skilled Defense: As a swift action, you can use your weapon to parry your opponentís attacks, gaining a +1 deflection bonus to your Reflex Defense until the start of your next turn. You must have a one-handed melee weapon drawn to use this talent, and you donít gain the deflection bonus if you are flat-footed or otherwise unaware of the incoming attack.

You can take this talent multiple times; each time you take it, the deflection bonus increases by +1 (maximum +3). If you have the Martial Arts feat, then you may use this talent even if unarmed.

Skirmisher: If you move at least 2 squares before you make an attack and end your move in a different square from where you started, you gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls until the start of your next turn.

Leadership Talent Tree
You are a naturally skilled leader of others.

Born Leader: Once per encounter, as a swift action, you grant all allies within your line of sight a +1 insight bonus on attack rolls. This effect lasts for as long as they remain within line of sight of you. An ally looses this bonus immediately if line of sight is broken or if you are unconscious or dead.

Coordinate: An adventurer with this talent has a knack for getting people to work together. When you use this talent as a standard action, all allies within your line of sight gain an additional +1 bonus when they use the aid another action until the start of your next turn.

You may use this talent multiple times; each time you do, the bonus granted by the coordinate ability increases by +1 (to a maximum of +5).

Distant Command: Any ally who gains the benefit of your Born Leader talent (see above) does not loose the benefit if their line of sight to you is broken.

Prerequisite: Born leader

Fearless Leader: As a swift action, you can provide a courageous example for your allies. For the remainder of the encounter, your allies receive a +5 moral bonus to their Will defense against any fear effect. Your allies lose this benefit if they lose line of sight to you, or if you are killed or knocked unconscious.

Prerequisite: Born Leader

Rally: Once per encounter, you can rally your allies and bring them back from the edge of defeat. As a swift action, any allies within your line of sight who have less than half their total hit points remaining gain a +2 morale bonus to their Reflex defense and Will defense and a +2 bonus to all damage rolls for the remainder of the encounter.

Prerequisites: Born Leader, Distant Command

Trust: You can give up your standard action to give one ally within your line of sight an extra standard action or move action on his next turn, to do with as he pleases. The ally does not loose this action if the line of sight is later broken.

Prerequisites: Born Leader, Coordinate.

Survival Talent Tree
You are skilled at navigating, and surviving, the dangerous places where adventurers often travel.

Evasion: Whenever you are subject to an area attack that deals half damage if it misses, you take no damage instead.

Improved Evasion: As Evasion, except that you take only half damage even if the attack hits, and no damage at all if it misses.

Prerequisite: Evasion, Uncanny Dodge I, Uncanny Dodge II.

Uncanny Dodge I: You retain your Dexterity bonus to your Reflex Defense regardless of being caught flat-footed or struck by a hidden attacker. You still lose your Dexterity bonus to Reflex defense if your are immobilized.

Prerequisite: Evasion.

Uncanny Dodge II: You canít be flanked; you can react to opponents on opposite sides of him or herself as easily as he or she can react to a single attacker.

Prerequisites: Evasion, Uncanny Dodge I.

Dungeoneering Savant: You may re-roll any Knowledge (Dungeoneering) check. You must still keep the second result, even if itís worse.

Prerequisite: Trained in Knowledge (Dungeoneering).

Trapfinding Talent Tree
You are talented at finding, disarming, and manipulating traps of all kinds.

Bypass Trap: If you beat a trapís DC by 10 or more with an Artifice check, you can study a trap, figure out how it works, and bypass it (with your party) without disarming it.

Prerequisite: Trapfinding.

Finder: Whenever you pass within 1 square of a hidden object, such as a secret door or trap, you are entitled to a Perception check, even if you are not actively looking for hidden objects.

Trapfinding: You can use the Perception skill to locate traps if the DC is higher than 20.

Trap Sense: You gain an intuitive sense that alerts you to danger from traps, giving you a +1 dodge bonus to your Reflex Defense when attacked by a trap. You may take this talent multiple times, increasing the dodge bonus each time you do.

Prerequisite: Trapfinding.

Bonus Feats
At every even-numbered level (2nd, 4th, and so on), the Adventurer gains a bonus feat. This feat must be chosen from the following list, and they must still meet any and all prerequisites for the feat.

Acrobatic Strike, Armor Group Proficiency, Awesome Actions, Combat Reflexes, Coordinated Attack, Dodge, Double Attack, Dual Weapon Mastery I, Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Extra Second Wind, Improved Defenses, Improved Damage Threshold, Linguist, Melee Defense, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Strike, Running Attack, Shake it Off, Shield Group Proficiency, Skill Focus, Skill Training, Toughness, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus, Weapon Group Proficiency.

Starting Gold
A 1st-level Adventurer begins play with 5d4 x 10 gold.

The Adventurer has the easiest time getting into the Duelist and Ranger prestige classes.

DoomHat
2011-06-28, 03:37 PM
Edited in my idea for the basic conflict resolution mechanic in the second post, as well as an outline for what I'll be going into next.

DoomHat
2011-07-04, 01:21 AM
A while back, a friend of mine gave me something of a soul shattering critique on my ideas here.
Paraphrasing slightly,

No. No, I wonít even look at it. I know you mean well, and yeah, the game is broken as hell, but thatís the only reason I ever played. A good chunk of my time in collage was spent coming together with friends to read through stuff like Savage Species and come up with the most broken stuff we possibly could.
This combined with the fact that all responses dried up the instant I put forward an actual proposed mechanic, kind of murdered all my enthusiasm for the project.

So, I'd like to know, do most of you out there agree with my friend? Or is what Iíve got going here so far just way to different?
Am I wasting my energy on this?

Dryad
2011-07-04, 05:05 AM
Oh; I wasn't responding because I was still waiting for you to work it out. :smallredface:

Ehm.. Yeah, so peaching that: The wagers are a potential problem, unless the players know what risk they're running. It can be problematic for things such as a very calm, steady monk who does something, and it goes wrong.. So she stumbles about 'with reckless abandon.' There are some things someone just wouldn't do, and I don't think Wagers would help making the game balanced. Besides, wagers are already in there, in a way. If you try to bed a married person, their partner isn't going to be pleased with you. If you are very obviously spying someone (failing your hide/move silently/stealth) checks, then you will be spotted (and the information you gather depends on your spot/listen check, as well as the time it took before you were found out.)

The penalty modifier thing is good; I like it. However, with opposition, I'm less enthused. You need to keep track of what someone, ages ago, rolled on their craft skill (in case of opening a lock, or disabling a trap, or..) or it's just a lot of paperwork.
I'd say the opposition's target number in order to succeed is simply the original's total success.
So if someone makes a lock, and rolls a craft: lockmaking check (or whatevs), she might get a... Oh, say a 25. The DM makes a note on the map's legend: Door A has a lock-picking DC 25.

The Burden thing is good, because it allows players more flexibility in seeking out the advantages of terrain. :)

The ability scores... This is the main reason I've waited with replying to that. You see; there's nothing to reply to, here. I don't understand how Charisma can be a 'Health' stat, for instance. I don't quite see how Constitution can nůt be a save stat. So all in all, I have to await explanations for this single table to see what it's supposed to do. :smallwink:

Edit: As for your friend: Of course it's funny reading through a book and inventing the most bizarre, cheesy builds... But you wouldn't play them, right? Not in a serious game, anyway. Slapstick is all fun and well, but slapstick doesn't last in terms of pleasure. So I'd say: Do go on. Make your own system. I know I am. :smallsmile:

gkathellar
2011-07-04, 05:38 AM
A while back, a friend of mine gave me something of a soul shattering critique on my ideas here.
Paraphrasing slightly,

This combined with the fact that all responses dried up the instant I put forward an actual proposed mechanic, kind of murdered all my enthusiasm for the project.

So, I'd like to know, do most of you out there agree with my friend? Or is what Iíve got going here so far just way to different?
Am I wasting my energy on this?

Optimizers are a tricky bunch. Most seem to at once love breaking the system and despise the system for being broken. Honestly, optimization and Tier 1-2 play can be a lot of fun, but it does mean's that D&D's intended conceits are not its actual conceits. True20 and Fantasy Craft do what D&D is supposed to do far better, but nothing else does what D&D actually does.

Lappy9000
2011-07-04, 01:14 PM
I've done a bit of work altering D&D 3.5 things, and it's a challenge, especially if you go down the route I took and attempt to preserve the "3.5-ness" of the system.

But to be perfectly honest, I love D&D 3.5. I love the massive amount of options and how it forces you to work within the established rules to accomplish the build you want. I love how it's flexible enough to let you make your own material if you choose not to play by those established rules (although the guidelines for doing so are...lacking). I love how much tactical combat is used, and how you don't have to use it at all if you choose not to. 3.5's greatest strength and weakness is it's options, but the only reason I even bothered to write up fixes was to condense the rules to make things more digestible for new players (3.5 does have a mighty steep learning curve).

Take right now for example: We just got back to playing core 3.5 (after Fax Celestis' excellent d20: Rebirth system) and pretty much everything is allowed. The fighter is arguably the most important member of the party, and everyone fits well into their chosen role be it in or out of combat. The reason is because I play with my friends who are all experienced with the system, and we're all out to have fun and I find it my job as Dungeon Master to make sure everyone's having fun as the number one priority.

Basically, what I'm saying is it's a grand idea to consider who you're making this system for. Is it just for your personal use (for fun or just to see if you can)? Is it for your group? Is it meant for everyone?

And those can dictate a lot of your design choices. If the first two options are what your going for, you can relax a bit over the minute details, and simply reference 3.5 where needed. If it's the third option, you'll wanna make sure you're system is polished and developed completely.

Shadow Lord
2011-07-04, 02:18 PM
Good to see everyone in this topic, I hope you enjoy my critique and suggestions on this fine Monday afternoon.

First of all, I like alot of what you're doing. I agree that everyone should get the same amount of features. I agree that there should be a single resolution system ( d20+Stat+Specific Bonus+Special ). I do not agree that every part of the book should cater to every class. However, I do have some ideas on what to get close to your proposed goal. If you've got some extra money, then go buy this. (http://www.greenronin.com/store/product/grr1707e.html) It's a great first step on the way; not necessary, but it'll help alot. Back on topic: What you want to do is merge some systems, separate some others, remove a few, and create a few. Here's a table:

{table]Merge|Seperate|Remove|Create
Skill & Magic|Skill & Social|Current Magic System|A New Magic System
Skill & Combat|Feat & Combat|Current Social System|A New Social System
Skill & Defense|Feat & Magic|Current Defense System|A New Defense System[/table]

This would basically merge the Skill system and make it the most intrinsic part of the game; Active rolls would be d20+Skill Ranks+Stat Mod+Misc., Passive rolls would be d20+Half Skill Ranks+Stat Mod+Misc., and Defense Rolls would be something completely different.

I'll get back to you with more after these messages.