View Full Version : [4E] Homebrewing Guidelines?

Chronos Flame
2011-08-02, 12:24 AM
Does anyone know if there are guidelines anywhere for creating your own classes/powers in 4E? Like how many dice/area/effects are appropriate for what level? It could be a strict "10 points for level 7 powers" with how much things cost, or it could be a simple "about 3-4 dice and a single effect".
I am planning on making a lot of classes for an upcoming game and I'd really like something to simplify the process. Thanks in advance.

2011-08-02, 01:39 PM
The best advice I can give is to begin with pre-existing powers. Take a look at powers of a similar level from the same power role, preferably from PHB2, 3, or Essentials. See how much damage most do, and tack on effects, lowering damage if you need to.

Another thought I have is that you could use Page 42 of the DMG as a basis for powers. I don't recall off the top of my head how it scales, but think along the lines of using Low damage expressions for At-Wills, Low damage with double dice and a minor special effect for Encounters (or Easy with a major special effect), and Medium damage with double dice and a special effect for Dailies. Then tweak from there. Haven't tried this, but it seems like it could work.

You can give a class either a bunch of little class features, or a few major ones. A few major class features are easier to playtest and keep track of, though, but they have bigger repercussions. You have to make sure not to make the powers too abusable with the class features, whilst still making powers attractive for hybriding and Dilettante.

Also, be prepared to boost or nerf your homebrew classes between sessions, and make sure the players understand that this is possible. Unless you've got time to playtest beforehand, your campaign will be a playtest.

Post them here, with the [PEACH] tag, and you can get good feedback on them, too.

Chronos Flame
2011-08-02, 02:34 PM
Thanks for the help. It will likely take some time but I certainly will post them on here at some point. Some of the powers will probably be copies of existing ones because only homebrew classes will be used in this campaign. Luckily I have a little help making them.

2011-08-03, 03:13 PM
Here are the general guidelines and recommendations I use for my homebrew.

For Class Features

Strikers: A mechanism by which to deal roughly 25%-33% additional damage to a single target per turn; 4 or more trained skills

Defenders: A marking mechanism (a single target at range or several adjacent targets; if marks are temporary, allow for additional marks via feats and have the mechanism use a free action or be tied into an existing action; if the mark lasts indefinitely, restrict it to a single target and have the mark consume an action), a retributive damage mechanism (either an additional basic attack or flat out damage on par with 3/6/9 + secondary modifier; if you want to add a status effect/buff/debuff, reduce the damage to compensate)

Leaders: A healing mechanism (1d6 per 5 levels or flat quantity equal to roughly 2/4/6 + one-half level; an additional secondary benefit attached to the heal; stronger secondary mechanisms or healing utility may require the reduction of the heal to some extent)

Controllers: A utility power or feature that provides additional utility to area attacks or control effects but is limited to either once an encounter or only to encounter/daily effects (this is the most poorly defined of the guidelines since controllers have the least mechanically to define them)

Additional Feature Considerations

Defenses: Generally tends to have +2 to one or +1 to two; sometimes +1 to all if the class is intended to be extraordinarily well trained to avoid effects (Monk, Paladin, Avenger); Class features that increase defenses (e.g. Armor of Faith, Barbarian Agility, Swordmage Warding) should be tailored to the specific design of the class and role and be used to shore up defenses that would, if left alone, be sub par. Controllers and leaders have a strong tendency of having the worst native defenses so likely should not have these additional benefits (with the possible exception of light armored leaders getting the benefit of ability modifier replacement). Strikers and defenders likely need static increases to AC (roughly 1-2 depending on role) if they use non-optimal armors (cloth, leather, chain). Remember that primary and secondary ability modifiers scale with level so you should only provide scaling benefits to effects if the defense ability is not a primary or secondary ability for the class. If the class is in light armor and Dex or Int are not primary or secondary abilities, it is generally appropriate to provide a feature that allows for the use of a single primary or secondary ability modifier instead of Dex or Int or provide a scaling benefit (+1/2/3 to the defense/s based on tier).

HP/HS: Hp at level 1 is equal to (roundDown(2.5 * hpGainedPerLevel) + conScore); HpGainedPerLevel is dependent on role: Controllers generally get 4, Leaders and Strikers generally get 5, Defenders generally get 6; particularly tough examples (Primal power source) increase this value based on role by 1; weaker examples or those with strong native mechanisms that reduce damage should have it reduced. Healing surges are based on role as well, modified by conScore: Strikers and Controllers get 6 base, Leaders get 7, and Defenders get 9. If the class is intended to be more resilient than traditional for the role (Druid) or has a class feature that requires the expenditure of healing surges without gaining the benefit of them (Paladin), increase the value by 1.

Attack/Damage Bonuses: If you intend the class to use sub-optimal weapons (daggers, throwing weapons, off-hand weapons, etc.), it is appropriate to include a class benefit to offset this benefit. In general a +1 bonus to attack rolls or +2/4/6 bonus to damage rolls based on tier is appropriate.

At-Will Powers: In general, 1[W] + primaryMod with a minor secondary effect that lasts for a single attack or until end of next turn to a single target is appropriate. Damage should scale up at 21st level. AoE or multi-target powers do less damage than single target attacks, generally equal to 2 die-type worse than normal (Controllers do 1 die-type worse because they are intended to be better at AoE). Weapon die should generally have an assumed value based on what the class can use: 1 handed heavy weapons generally equal a d10 or 12 (can generally assume player will take superior weapon proficiency), 1 handed light weapons generally equal d4 or d6, 2 handed weapons generally equal a d12 or a 2d6. Suggested secondary benefits (along with appropriate roles in parentheses) include temporary hit points equal to secondary ability mod (Leader grant to ally; Defender grant to self), +1 power bonus to AC (Leader grant to ally; Defender grant to self), shift 1 square (Striker), slowed (Defender, Controller), bonus to defenses while moving (Striker), slide 1 (Defender, Controller), push ability mod (Controller), secondary ability modifier additional damage (Striker; however, realize that, on average, an additional ability modifier increases the damage by the same amount as an additional damage die), target a secondary defense (Strikers or Controllers; only suitable for weapon users), gain a +2 bonus to the attack roll (Leaders grant to ally, Strikers grant to self), mark the target (Defenders).

Encounter powers: At the heroic tier, level 1 and level 3 encounter powers tend to be equal in potency and are usually 2 tiers of effectiveness above at-will powers. Each tier of effectiveness equates to escalating a status effect (immobilized or dazed instead of slowed) or benefit (shift 3 instead of shift 1), increasing damage by a single die (generally only done once per power), causing the attack to target additional enemies (either multi-target or AoE; generally equates to 2 tiers of effectiveness), or allowing a target to regain hit points (either spend a healing surge or regain hit point equal to an ability mod). Level 7 encounters are usually 3 tiers of effectiveness better. Paragon encounter powers are generally a tier of effectiveness better than the power 10 levels lower. Epic encounter powers are an additional tier of effectiveness higher than the paragon powers 10 levels below. The general limit on encounter power damage is equal to 2[W] at heroic tier and 3[W] at paragon and epic tier. When determining tiers of effectiveness, recall that some effects (stun, dominate) would require multiple tiers to reach from a balance perspective (slow>daze>stun). Use your better judgment and look for similar powers from other classes to gauge how balanced it might be. Encounter power effects should rarely, if ever, last longer than a single turn.

Daily Powers: Daily powers are much like encounter powers of the level equal to or below them (Level 1 dailies equate to better Level 1 encounters; Level 5 dailies equate to Level 3 encounters) with a few differences. The first is that their effects should last until the end of the encounter (for buffs) or end on a save (for debuffs and ongoing damage). When calculating damage for save ends effects, you can generally assume that it will affect the target for 2 turns (I have math to support this if you want to see it). The second is that they do slightly more damage than encounters (generally 1[W] more than an equivalent encounter would). Also, almost all dailies that have attack rolls should either be reliable (if there is no effect on a miss) or deal half damage on a miss (if there is an effect on a miss).

Chronos Flame
2011-08-04, 05:15 PM
Wow Purple, thanks! This will help a lot. I'm saving this to my computer as a reminder.