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Endarire
2011-11-01, 04:56 PM
Intro
Greetings, people! As a GM and lover of 3.x, I've realize some things just don't work well. I'm glad we have the Internet, because fellow lovers (like you, I assume) have good ideas that I want to hear concerning these subjects.

These aren't the only rules I'm changing for my games. These are the rules which require a lot of work outside my expertise.

I Want Your Versions Of These Rules
1: The Craft skill and creating mundane things. The current rules kinda work, but the Craft skill in 3.5 is mostly for pre-game discounts and people who use fabricate a lot.

2: Spell Resistance & Power Resistance. Right now, SR (and PR) come in 3 flavors: Trivial, Reasonable, and Impossible. Also, the SR mechanic is binary (either an effect that checks SR works fully or does nothing), which is simple, but does not seem to be worth it. Also, many abilities just ignore SR.

Making SR too potent means primary casters and manifesters stick to buffs, summons, and things that don't check SR. Which isn't fun, based on my experience.

3: Create undead series of spells. They don't seem worth it. At all. Making weak incorporeal Undead with a level 8 spell seems only handy in making spawn chains.

4: Spawn chains. I like PCs having animate dead and minion armies. I don't want them having a seeming indefinite number of underlings.

So far, I like the notion that the 'general' (like a Necromancer) can control a certain number of HD. If he controls another general, the head general inherits all the minions of the other general, within the head general's control limits. The head general determines which units over the limit to stop controlling.

5: The CR system. Face it: The game changes so much through levels 1-20 that a standardized system seems impossible to make. The current system doesn't work. Really.

A proposal: Change the CR system to be a 1:1 thing. A CR10 creature is meant to be a challenge (about a 50-50 chance of success for either creature) for a level 10 PC. Nevermind the balance between classes. I'm going for CR more than classes. (If it matters, assume tiers 1-3.)

Mulletmanalive
2011-11-01, 05:31 PM
My take on number 4:

As a feat, a character can control a number of minions equal to level2. Certain classes multiply this by their level. My initial version was a 10 level prestige class but a subsequent "Dread Necromancer" type thing created for a specific villain [I apply these rules to villains as well because it makes things cinematic, in a sense of "minions only achieve anything when the important characters are around"] was a 20 level base class.

Getting minions to do anything requires an action one grade less than what you're telling them to do and them to be able to hear you, in general, 30ft.

It then gets a bit more complex in my version as mass combat rules become involved.

You can also spend a Full action to give a simple instruction to a group of minions to get them to, say, "attack target X until it is destroyed and then return" No more than 3 clauses and simple orders. They'll just keep doing this sort of instruction until either dead or it's complete.

For creation, I generally ignored it or made it class features. Leadership's Followers effect became a sort of point buy up to the creator's HD [so if you maxed out the HD on your minions, they worked out as giving you a number of them equal to your HD]. Spells suffer from the fact that they have no loss of resources for their benefit, which isn't a very good model to work with.

The obvious flipside to the suggestion that a feat is too valuable for this is that you can then gain Teamwork benefits, which aren't useless...

Yitzi
2011-11-01, 07:48 PM
Ok, let's take them one at a time...
1. Crafting: The real issue here seems to be that the time is prohibitive. There are really five main options here:
a) Do what the Core Coliseum (http://community.wizards.com/coco/go/forum/viewboard) does, and give craft skills the same rules as craft feats: 50% material cost, 1000 gp worth per day (no XP cost, though.)
b) Keep things as they are, just allow the DC to be increased an unlimited number of times and allow a large number of hired assistants. An average-intelligence untrained hired assistant earns 1 silver piece per day and has a 55% chance of giving +2 via Aid Another, so for 10 gp/day you can hire 100 assistants and make a few hundred gp worth per day. This could actually get too ridiculous, so it's probably not the way to go.
c) Cost increases due to special materials do not increase the crafting time. That way, it can actually be worth crafting something that won't take forever.
d) Keep things as they are, but give a lot of downtime for crafting and the like.
e) (possibly in combination with one of the others): Make it possible to repair even items that have hit 0 hit points (and enchantments don't increase the price to repair). Make any repairing take only 1 day at the most. Use sunder. Now Craft is an essential skill.

2. There is nothing wrong with the binary SR effect, as it's still probabilistic. (Well, there's nothing wrong when the casters don't have a compulsion to win every fight in one round with at least 90% chance. If they do have such a compulsion, I'd advise adding caster nerfs until they give up on the attempt, as such a tendency makes the game no fun for anyone else.)

The problems, therefore, are optimization of CL in order to beat SR, and SR: no spells.

To deal with CL boosts, my fix is very simple: If it's not (Greater) Spell Penetration or a class level (not a class feature like Spell Power), it doesn't count for CL to beat SR (or to dispel, or to set the dispel DC, or for other caster level checks, or other d20 rolls, etc.)

To deal with SR: no spells, think about what the spell does. If it manipulates energy or otherwise does damage (or another effect) directly, it should be SR: yes. If it creates acid that then does physical damage through corrosion, or causes some other physical event (e.g. Earthquake), it should be SR: no, but somewhat weaker than other spells of the same level. If it creates a ball of energy (note that acid is matter, not energy) and therefore is a conjuration spell with SR: no, it should be removed (which is sort of like banned, but for more fundamental reasons than simple balance or style) for the sake of sanity.

Damaging SR: no spells should be hard to find and not all that powerful.

3. If they don't seem worth it, that's because you're not using them correctly. Of course Create Undead will accomplish nothing more in a battle where you're present than get in the way (which can itself be useful, but that can be tricky to pull off) or provide flanking. But if you send them to attack a defenseless village somewhere (you are playing an evil character, right?), they can make for useful diversions or things to deliver ultimatums about.

4. The system you proposed looks good.

Also, if a creature can only control minions up to its own HD (so you need actual "chains" rather than a "tree" system), then in order to benefit from the chain all the "links" need to be in the field, which means that any time one of them is killed a portion of the chain will be "severed" along with it.

5. If you can do a CR for one individual, why not for 4? If anything, 4 would be easier, as which classes are most effective against this particular monster becomes less of an issue. So I don't really understand the question here. (And yes, the game does change between levels 1 and 20, although not as much for tiers 3 and below as for tiers 1-2, but that's no reason that a monster cannot be assigned a CR (so long as there isn't too much discrepancy between individuals of the same ECL).)

DracoDei
2011-11-01, 08:05 PM
If you are worried about not enough time to use Craft skills, I favor the "more down-time" option. Specifically use the "1 Year between adventures" rule one of my old (and highly experienced) GMs used... this also makes Profession and other things regarding down-time important. It encourages deep, well-rounded characters as opposed to "adventuring" machines.

The thing about incorporeal undead is not that they have a lot of offense, but that many battles are "auto-win" for them, since anything whose attacks don't count as at least [Magic] and not packing holy water can't do ANYTHING to them. This is a surprisingly large amount of the monster manual, and the huge majority of town'sfolk (which means the PCs fight ONLY the higher level NPCs, and the 50 militia members and 200 farmers fighting for their lives are very potentially non-issues). Also, if you have a decent amount of downtime, they basically ONLY cost GP for the black onyx. When adventuring you can generally not prepare it, except the day after you kill something REALLY sweet (I hear things about zombie hydras...).

I don't recommend removing the SR: No conjuration spells that conjure energy, just change them to SR: Yes.

Yitzi
2011-11-02, 12:00 AM
I don't recommend removing the SR: No conjuration spells that conjure energy, just change them to SR: Yes.

A conjuration spell with SR: Yes makes no sense (since conjuration spells are about bringing things into existence, so they never do damage directly), so you'd also have to move it to evocation (which is where it belongs anyway.) That'd work just as well as removing it (well, assuming it's balanced in power; I don't know whether that is the case.)

DracoDei
2011-11-03, 03:49 PM
A conjuration spell with SR: Yes makes no sense (since conjuration spells are about bringing things into existence, so they never do damage directly), so you'd also have to move it to evocation (which is where it belongs anyway.) That'd work just as well as removing it (well, assuming it's balanced in power; I don't know whether that is the case.)
Oh, good point. I guess, I just don't like the idea of throwing out a bunch of ranged-touch damage-and-maybe-additional-effect spells. Moving the ones that are currently SR: No to Evocation would be a reasonable move.

bobthe6th
2011-11-03, 07:36 PM
I don't know about SR as a game macanic, but it seems that it is gained by being resistant to magic. that some magic gets to ignore that... is kind of like a fighter wanting to have a fifty foot inclusive range, really nice but breaks most of the defenses against it. thematically it would be a minor fluff change to say that rather than just summoning the stuff they also need to hold the stuff there for a moment. SR/PR disrupts this and banishes the junk back to somewhere.

to make SR more interesting, make it more like a skill check than a pass fail. lower the SR of most creatures. perhaps let it block 100-10*x% of the affect, were x is the amount by which it beat the SR. for spells that don't have a numeric affect, I ask the DM for a little imagination. or it could be a SR% chance to ignore the magic affects.


a point I wish to add. Conjuration needs to either roll evocation into itself, or stop tap dancing on its toes. really, evocation seems like a specialization of conjuration then a different school. SC really drove the point home with the acid spells.

DracoDei
2011-11-03, 08:27 PM
Umm... most skill checks in D&D ARE pass/fail.
Also, that sort of SR would slow the game noticeably.

bobthe6th
2011-11-03, 08:54 PM
not much more than casters do already. it adds... a die or two to the rolls, and adds some flavor to SR.
I was reranceing the idea of the actual amount you blow the DC by rather than a straight pass fail. so beating the SR by 1 is much worse than by 10.
and if it affects game speed, just use the SR=% chance of resistance.

edit: perhaps make undead a craft check? corpses have a HD to craft into undead = 150 gp*HD. skeliton and zombie add no HD, other undead work as templates, adding the LA as HD that don't add HP. so you can craft a vamp, but it takes HD+8*150 GP. might restrict the craft skill like alcemy, only spell casters can get it. animate dead is replaced with fabricate, and necromancy can be done by anyone who dips caster.
the HD limit could be charisma based, something like (charicter level + caster level)*charisma modifier(yes I know I added CL twice, casters should have a leg up in undead minions) undead can't have more HD then the craters character level -2 or one whichever is higher. then Joe schmoe the DN with a 16 charisma at first level can have a gaggle of 6 one HD skeletons following him around, but Reggy the rogue7/bugiler1 with a 14 charisma can craft himself 18 HD of mooks to back him up. and a master animator DN20 with a 20 charisma would get 200 HD in undead, a nice army of medieval size. get a few DN minions to follow him arrowed and you get a real army.

edit2:so the idea is craft(undead), perhaps require either knowledge(arcana) or knowledge (religion) of equal ranks. to animate undead you need to know the proper rituals. most good societies consider these rituals to be forbidden knowledge, and most texts on the matter would get burned or destroyed.
so in summery, undead animation has a skill tax and is better for casters. it can be done from level one or two, but requires devotion to the craft. non casters can pull it off, rogues chief among them, but they get a more diluted ability.

jiriku
2011-11-03, 10:50 PM
A proposal: Change the CR system to be a 1:1 thing. A CR10 creature is meant to be a challenge (about a 50-50 chance of success for either creature) for a level 10 PC. Nevermind the balance between classes. I'm going for CR more than classes. (If it matters, assume tiers 1-3.)

This is already the case, although it's not explicit. A party of 4 PCs is theoretically 50-50 against an EL+4 encounter, meaning each PC is 50-50 against an EL+0 opponent. But of course, it doesn't work that way in practice, as you've noticed. Somebody posted an interesting CR calculator in homebrew somewhere that might be useful to you. I'll dig around and see if I can find it.

Yitzi
2011-11-03, 11:12 PM
I don't know about SR as a game macanic, but it seems that it is gained by being resistant to magic. that some magic gets to ignore that... is kind of like a fighter wanting to have a fifty foot inclusive range, really nice but breaks most of the defenses against it.

Depends which magic gets to ignore it. After all, the idea "if you can't hurt him directly, hurt him indirectly" makes a lot of sense...but of course indirect harm should be far less efficient than direct. I'd say that SR: No spells should be able to do nothing other than damage and effects achievable through mundane means, and even then the damage should be no more than half what could be achieved with an SR: Yes spell, and the damage per round should not scale with caster level.


a point I wish to add. Conjuration needs to either roll evocation into itself, or stop tap dancing on its toes. really, evocation seems like a specialization of conjuration then a different school. SC really drove the point home with the acid spells.

Not at all. Evocation is about manipulating energy, conjuration is about creating matter. The reason acid spells are in conjuration is because acid is not a type of energy (even if acid damage functions for most purposes like energy damage); it's matter that can do damage through corrosion.

Mulletmanalive
2011-11-04, 09:25 AM
Not at all. Evocation is about manipulating energy, conjuration is about creating matter. The reason acid spells are in conjuration is because acid is not a type of energy (even if acid damage functions for most purposes like energy damage); it's matter that can do damage through corrosion.

The issue with this is that the creation subschool sometimes disagrees with itself as to whether the materials it creates are innately magical or not. If the matter is composed from raw magic, they're pretty much evocation and there's no reason that they don't unravel when splashed on a spell resistant creature.

Using Stinking Cloud, Minor Creation and Acid Fog as examples, these are explicitly magical materials, held together with magic. It says so in the section on the (Creation) subschool. Thus, they should be affected by dispelling and spell resistance. Error on the part of the writers there.

The other thing that leaves me questioning is that there are no knock on effects from being hit by balls of conjured energy so where the heck do these created materials go?

...Why am I so fazed by this? Even better question, why are people so bothered about what the SRD says when the writers have stated they didn't playtest it nor bother proofing the thing...

nonsi
2011-11-04, 11:13 AM
Regarding Craft: if you take RoC's alchemy rules (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=212714) and mesh them with my codex' rules for crafting awesome weapons, you'd go a long way in making Craft an integral part of your campaign.
Dungeonscape P.129 has more effective poisons and BoVD has more effective diseases. These could help as well.

Yitzi
2011-11-04, 02:09 PM
The issue with this is that the creation subschool sometimes disagrees with itself as to whether the materials it creates are innately magical or not. If the matter is composed from raw magic, they're pretty much evocation and there's no reason that they don't unravel when splashed on a spell resistant creature.

I'd say that if it creates intrinsically magical "stuff" (e.g. some sort of solidified magic) it should be subject to SR but still be conjuration, while if it's "active" magic (e.g. force effects) it should be evocation.


Using Stinking Cloud, Minor Creation and Acid Fog as examples, these are explicitly magical materials, held together with magic. It says so in the section on the (Creation) subschool.

No, it says they're held together with magic, not that they themselves are magical. Thus, they are affected by dispel but not by SR.


The other thing that leaves me questioning is that there are no knock on effects from being hit by balls of conjured energy so where the heck do these created materials go?

Good question...they shouldn't disappear without a trace.

Ok, so even noninstantaneous creation spells should dissipate (or, in a few cases like acid arrow, get used up) rather than disappearing without a trace.

bobthe6th
2011-11-04, 04:48 PM
But, the point I raised was more mecanical. So, what does envocation do that conjurition can't? Not a lot. Wind wall and chainlightning are about it, though this is off the top of my head. What can conjurition do that envocation can't? Summon things and telaport. One of the two more useful things a caster can do, and enough for a school. Really, damagwing spells should either be envocation, or be bad as damage spells. See the crystal shard line for the idea.

Yitzi
2011-11-06, 08:22 AM
But, the point I raised was more mecanical. So, what does envocation do that conjurition can't?

Force effects. Direct-damage effects that do decent damage/round.


Really, damagwing spells should either be envocation, or be bad as damage spells.

Definitely. Conjuration-based damage spells should be balanced by spells such as acid arrow, acid fog, and incindiary cloud.

bobthe6th
2011-11-06, 12:51 PM
actually, conjuration can do force, orb of force.
the other ones need more research, but I think conjuration can do them

Yitzi
2011-11-06, 01:27 PM
actually, conjuration can do force, orb of force.
the other ones need more research, but I think conjuration can do them

Perhaps I was unclear: I was speaking of what is true once certain nonsense is cleared up.

I'm not denying that "orb of X" spells are ridiculous, I'm saying that once such things are removed (which needs to be done anyway), evocation has its role back.

bobthe6th
2011-11-06, 01:33 PM
ah... I was listing the things they do respectively currently. yeah, evocation should be damage and force.

ObliviMancer
2011-11-06, 02:27 PM
My #1.

Alchemy (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=212170), my take on it, and it could be applied to other Craft skills, on some parts.

YouLostMe
2011-11-06, 03:13 PM
I'll toss out some thought on the CR system. I was considering, for NPCs and monsters of all kinds, a series of level templates (like the monster classes), but with 1-2 active abilities per opponent, and then stacks of passives. Passives mean less option paralysis (easier for the DM) and make it easier for players to figure out the strategy of a monster (IMO, a bit more fun), and if you're using something like a 20-level class with preassigned saves and stuff, then you can reference whatever level you want in the table with whatever creature you want.

And since a 1 character is supposed to be an equivalent challenge for a party of 4 (using 20% of their resources), you build these classes to the equivalent of the power (NOT the versatility) of a T3/Psywar-esque character.

Mulletmanalive
2011-11-06, 07:05 PM
No, it says they're held together with magic, not that they themselves are magical. Thus, they are affected by dispel but not by SR.


Part of my issue with this is flashbacks to 2e, where summoned stuff could unravel on contact with Magic Resistance [and made perfect sense, really, as the presence of the monster disrupted the spell, which is what the rules make out SR does...] as it was basically just a dispel effect.

Being "held together by magic" makes no sense in some of those cases as if the building blocks were already in the environment, that's a transmutation effect and if they're called from somewhere else, why isn't it a summoning...

Y'know, I'm just going to agree with you that all energy stuff belongs in Evocation and i'm going to go one furth, suggesting that spontaneous creation of anything should probably be evocation. This is ignoring the old "i can make anti-matter" argument, just the logic that moving stuff [summoning/teleportation] is completely different to making stuff out of nothing [fire, stone, other stuff].

It would rebalance the schools a bit and make a lot of sense to both the matter=energy crowd and those of us who remember when Wall of Stone was Evocation anyway...

ideasmith
2011-11-06, 09:08 PM
This seems relevant enough to include:

{table=head]Specialist | Knack Spells |
Dominator | Enchantment school, Illusion (pattern) subschool, Illusion (phantam) subschool, fear descriptor, mind-affecting descriptor |
Thunder Rider | Conjuration (calling) subschool, Conjuration (summoning) subschool, Conjuration (teleport) subschool, air descriptor, electricity descriptor, sonic descriptor, water descriptor |
Smithmage | Evocation school, Conjuration (creation) subschool, acid descriptor, earth descriptor, fire descriptor |
Grim Harvester | Necromancy school, cold descriptor, darkness descriptor, death descriptor |
Seer | Divination school, language-dependant descriptor, light descriptor |
Guardian | Abjuration school, Conjuration (healing) subschool, force descriptor |
Trickster | Illusion (figment) subschool, Illusion (glamour) subschool, Illusion (shadow) subschool, Universal spells, those Transformation spells that don't have descriptors |
[/table]

Yitzi
2011-11-06, 09:11 PM
Part of my issue with this is flashbacks to 2e, where summoned stuff could unravel on contact with Magic Resistance [and made perfect sense, really, as the presence of the monster disrupted the spell, which is what the rules make out SR does...] as it was basically just a dispel effect.

I could see that being true for summons, and it's a decent house rule...it would not, however, apply to called creatures or instantaneous creation spells, just summons and maybe finite-duration creation spells.


Being "held together by magic" makes no sense in some of those cases as if the building blocks were already in the environment, that's a transmutation effect and if they're called from somewhere else, why isn't it a summoning...

They're not from anywhere, they were created on the spot. The question then is what holds them together if they'd naturally dissipate.


and i'm going to go one furth, suggesting that spontaneous creation of anything should probably be evocation

That breaks the whole idea of what evocation is...evocation deals with energy, not with matter.


This is ignoring the old "i can make anti-matter" argument

That argument raises more fundamental questions about why conjuration is able to produce huge amounts of energy (using mass/energy equivalence) so much easier than evocation and more generally how magic interacts with physics...
In short, it threatens to severely the fourth wall in a not-good way and should be avoided at all costs.


just the logic that moving stuff [summoning/teleportation] is completely different to making stuff out of nothing [fire, stone, other stuff].

So that would imply that you really want to split conjuration by subschool; what you should then do is remove the "conjuration" label entirely, and create a teleportation school consisting of the summoning, teleportation, and calling subschools, and fold the creation and healing subschools into evocation.

Which certainly makes sense, perhaps more than the current system, but does mean that you really shouldn't call what's left "conjuration".

Thomar_of_Uointer
2011-11-06, 09:42 PM
1) If you find that Craft is prohibitive because of its time constraint, you could give players a week off. Just tell them, "in your spare time during the last month, you've managed to get a week's worth of crafting in." This could apply to both mundane crafting and to magic item creation.

2) You're referring to SR on monsters, right? The whole point of it is to protect the monsters from direct damage and one-hit-KO spells, which are quite a problem at high levels. And not all monsters have it.

You could give monsters immunities to certain spell schools. This will make combat against them much more strategic. Yes, the crystal golem is immune to evocation spells, but you can still trick it with illusions or attack it with summoned monsters. You can also use this to make the monster's resistance to magic more thematic. For example, drow could be immune to enchantments, in line with the elvish resistance to sleep spells.

3 & 4) The whole point of animate undead is to say, "evil necromancers with armies of the undead are, at a minimum, level 5 wizards or clerics." And the whole point of the monsters it creates is, "the undead are masses of weak, easy-to-kill creatures that would be valuable to the PCs as disposable minions". Did you expect anything else?

As for cannon fodder, undead are considerably more expensive than hirelings, and any undead that is reduced to 0 hit points would be so badly damaged that it couldn't be raised again. (The obvious solution is to use hirelings first, then raise their corpses when they spring the traps. :D)

Also, the Hit Die limit on necromancers is core. A spellcaster can only control a total of 4 HD per caster level. A very large army of the undead can only be managed by a cabal of necromancers, or a single necromancer with a way to circumvent the limit (read: "plot device that the party can use to destroy the BBEG's source of power," and as a GM I believe that that sort of thing is actualy really cool.) The reason for this is to keep PCs from raising their own undead armies, and to explain why necromancers don't commonly raise undead armies.

However, there are many different ways to make undead creatures. You will notice that the descriptions for the more powerful ones state that they naturally form under certain circumstances (made when a murderer is killed but not given a proper burial, made when killed by negative energy in a place that touches upon the Plane of Shadow, etc etc.) A necromancer could figure out ways to provoke the natural formation of a very powerful undead monster, then bring them under his control with a command undead spell. Necromancers can do this at 3rd level, and nonintelligent undead don't get a save. And, as a GM, you could use this as a plot hook (the party just barely managed to slay the nasty undead monster, and now they have to stop the necromancer before he makes another, even stronger one that will grow in power every time it kills someone.)

5) Just do what Pathfinder does. Give them an XP value instead of a Challenge Rating.

bobthe6th
2011-11-06, 11:52 PM
no, to make tons of energy you need to break up the matter with fission, and conjuration doesn't have any ability in manipulating the matter it summons. with transmutation, I almost want a 9th level spell that causes a massive energy burst by freeing the energy in matter...


conjuration really should be summoning, and variations on it. it already tries to be, but it spreads its roots into evocation as it anticipates lateral thinking. "why do I need to cast fireball? I summon fire into a 20ft burst!" that kind of stuff. it should be telliportation and summoning, which should be more than addicuate. the telaport line alone is a great set+the summon monster/undead/natures ally+lesser/normal/greater planer binding+ gate+elemental swarm+ect. is a school by itself.
creation should be a trans/evocation sub school, with matter/energy being summoned and manipulated.
the healing sub school should be necromancy, as it is the manipulation of life forces.

then conjuration is an almost balanced school, with a real central theme and a role. a conjuration specialist gets to summon a lot and be the main method of traval.

(sorry for the quality, mid knight here...)