View Full Version : [3.5] d20 ďLucidĒ Ė No ability modifiers

2012-04-19, 12:32 AM
Hello everyone!

Iím working on a new variant d20 system which for now Iím calling Lucid.

In my experience, ability modifiers are needlessly complicated. They take extra work to derive and discourage odd numbered ability scores. My hope is to keep ability scores but remove ability modifiers altogether.

Additionally, Iíve decided to rework skills by paring them down and introduce a new point character creation system that works hand-in-hand with Traits. (Iím also working out some details with perks called ďTitlesĒ though Iím unsure exactly how (or when) these will be incorporated into the gameÖ more details on this later.)

This is a work in progress, and is certainly subject to changes. Maybe you have suggestions and feedback? Iíd love to hear it.

Without further ado, let me present what I have so far:

d20 Lucid

1. Ability Scores
Odd-numbered ability scores suck. At least, to most 3rd and 4th Edition gamers they do. Why? Because an odd number is no better than one number fewer for a variety of attack rolls, saves, skills and other special abilities. (To get a modifier, divide the ability score by 2 and round down, then subtract 5. Because of that rounding, odd numbers donít get enough love.) For these cases, an 11 is no better than a 10. Of course, for a level 1 character, heís just three levels from hitting the next modifier increase. However, most experienced players tend to agree that 2 14ís (+2 and +2 modifiers) are way better than a 15 and a 13 (+2 and +1 modifiers) since you get to play with that added bonus immediately. (Part of the problem may also stem from D&Dís point-buy system which favors even numbers unfairly. Pathfinder actually does it correctly.)

So really, how can we avoid this entirely?

There have been attempts to rid of ability scores and use ability modifiers exclusively. However, I think thereís actually value in the opposite. Lucid relies heavily on the characterís ability score, instead dropping all the modifiers. In some cases, DCs and defenses need to be boosted, but it now means incrementing ability score points has direct impact on the character.

Character Creation
What Iíve discovered with level 1 heroes is typically most characters have at least two really good scores. Maybe one is quite exceptional and the other is fairly good. There are enough points around to have two very decent scores, and itís safe to assume theyíre going to be 14 or higher. Virtually all players would re-roll a character using a standard creation process (rolling or point-buy) if there arenít at least two scores 14 or higher. On the same token, most characters donít have more than two ability scores below 10. So why not just save some time with the point-buy system? We know weíre going to have two scores with at least a 14 and maybe, two below 10, at the very most.

Tiered Point System
In this system, all characters start with 14/14/11/11/9/9. You can think of these as Good-Average-Poor if you like. Players can assign these base ability scores to any abilities he or she wants or the DM can place them in for the player beforehand. (Donít worry, DMs can absolutely tweak these base scores if they are interested in a higher-powered or lower-powered game.)

And weíre almost done! Next, players will assign traits to their characters, which will add to these scores.

2. Traits
D&D largely ignores the characterís attitude and behavior. Some of this might be implied (a Barbarian is typically agressive and gruff). Sometimes the ability scores speak for themselves (a low Intelligence score means the character is probably uneducated) whereas most often heroes grow into their personalities through roleplaying, which is probably the best goal, as you can truly see character development as they progress.

For beginners sometimes it can be a challenge relating to this new character. (Who is she? Weíve never even met before!) Refining a character can help give an idea on how to play him or her. For veteran players I think it can be fun to piece something together with the limited resources, resulting in some interesting combinations. (Think magnetic poetry with fewer than 100 words.)

Players choose four traits. Each trait has two key abilities associated with it and a small, unique bonus or ability. Add 1 point to each key ability score after choosing the trait. (DMs can tweak the number of traits if they like.)

Traits List
(This list may change, and I donít have the minor bonuses or abilities listed yet, but they will exist!)

Acrobatic +1 CON, +1 DEX
Adaptive +1 STR, +1 CON
Agile +1 STR, +1 DEX
Agressive +1 STR, +1 WIS
Alert +1 DEX, +1 WIS
Altruistic +1 INT, +1 CHA
Ardent +1 STR, +1 CHA
Assertive +1 STR, +1 INT
Athletic +1 STR, +1 CON
Attractive +1 CON, +1 CHA
Beguiling +1 DEX, +1 CHA
Calculated +1 INT, +1 WIS
Cautious +1 DEX, +1 WIS
Charming +1 CON, +1 CHA
Chivalrous +1 INT, +1 CHA
Clever +1 DEX, +1 INT
Combative +1 STR, +1 DEX
Commanding +1 STR, +1 CHA
Composed +1 CON, +1 INT
Courageous +1 STR, +1 WIS
Courteous +1 WIS, +1 CHA
Covert +1 DEX, +1 INT
Creative +1 DEX, +1 CHA
Curative +1 CON, +1 INT
Deceitful +1 DEX, +1 CHA
Deceptive +1 WIS, +1 CHA
Defensive +1 CON, +1 DEX
Devout +1 WIS, +1 CHA
Dexterous +1 STR, +1 DEX
Diplomatic +1 INT, +1 CHA
Disciplined +1 INT, +1 WIS
Dynamic +1 STR, +1 CHA
Elusive +1 DEX, +1 INT
Empathetic +1 WIS, +1 CHA
Enduring +1 CON, +1 WIS
Energetic +1 CON, +1 CHA
Expressive +1 STR, +1 CHA
Ferocious +1 STR, +1 WIS
Focused +1 CON, +1 WIS
Graceful +1 CON, +1 DEX
Healthy +1 CON, +1 INT
Hearty +1 STR, +1 CON
Incisive +1 STR, +1 INT
Industrious +1 CON, +1 INT
Influential +1 INT, +1 CHA
Inquisitive +1 DEX, +1 INT
Intimidating +1 STR, +1 CHA
Keen +1 DEX, +1 WIS
Lively +1 CON, +1 CHA
Lucky +1 DEX, +1 CHA
Manipulative +1 DEX, +1 CHA
Martial +1 STR, +1 DEX
Mercantile +1 INT, +1 WIS
Persuasive +1 INT, +1 CHA
Pious +1 INT, +1 WIS
Popular +1 CON, +1 CHA
Prepared +1 STR, +1 INT
Primal +1 STR, +1 WIS
Proficient +1 DEX, +1 INT
Protective +1 STR, +1 INT
Receptive +1 CON, +1 WIS
Resilient +1 CON, +1 WIS
Resistant +1 CON, +1 INT
Sneaky +1 DEX, +1 WIS
Speedy +1 CON, +1 DEX
Spirited +1 STR, +1 WIS
Steady +1 STR, +1 DEX
Strategic +1 STR, +1 INT
Studious +1 INT, +1 WIS
Swift +1 CON, +1 DEX
Tenacious +1 CON, +1 WIS
Tough +1 STR, +1 CON
Vigilant +1 DEX, +1 WIS
Vigorous +1 STR, +1 CON
Virtuous +1 WIS, +1 CHA

For example, Owen, who is a 1st level Human Ranger, starts with the scores 14/14/11/9/11/9. His first trait chosen is Keen, which gives him an attack bonus to using bows and perception checks. He also gets +1 to Dexterity and Wisdom, the key abilities for Keen. Owen also has Sneaky, which gives Owen a bonus to stealth skills and +1 more to Dexterity and Wisdom; Athletic, giving a bonus to his Athletic skill and +1 to Strength and Constitution; and Elusive, which gives Owen an evasion and initiative bonus and +1 to Dexterity and Intelligence. Owen now is sitting at 15/17/12/10/13/9.

3. Skills
There are too many skills in 3.5 in my opinion. And I know Iím not the first to suggest that. So Iíll be paring these down. Many skills have been combined and there are some that have been eliminated altogether, for the better. You may notice it has a bit of a 4th Edition feel, or even that of SW Saga. Sure, they had the right idea, but hopefully this implementation gets it better.

Skills List

Acrobatics (DEX)
Arcana (INT)
Athletics (STR)
Bluff (CHA)
Commerce (INT)
Concentration (CON)
Crafting (INT)
Diplomacy (CHA)
Engineering (INT)
Geography (INT)
History (INT)
Insight (WIS)
Law (INT)
Linguistics (INT)
Medicine (WIS)
Nature (WIS)
Perception (WIS)
Performance (CHA)
Religion (INT)
Stealth (DEX)
Streetwise (CHA)
Thievery (DEX)

Characters have a number of known skills equal to Intelligence and may choose from any on the list. Of these skills, characters have a number of trained skills equal to (INT + Class skill bonus − 10). Ranks are as follows:

Trained Class skill = (Level) + Key ability score + 4
Untrained Class skill = (Level) + Key ability score
Trained Cross-class skill = (Level / 2) + Key ability score + 4
Untrained Cross-class skill = (Level / 2) + Key ability score
Unknown skill = (Level / 2) + Key ability score − 10

DCs should be roughly 15 points higher.

Adjusted Class Skill Bonuses
Because of the changes to skills, classes need new skill modifiers:

Barbarian +0 skills
Bard +3 skills
Cleric +1 skill
Druid +1 skill
Fighter +0 skills
Monk +2 skills
Paladin +1 skill
Ranger +2 skills
Rogue +4 skills
Sorcerer +2 skills
Wizard +2 skills

4. Attack and Defense
Because of this change to ability scores, numbers will seem inflated. Also, AC takes on a new style. Iím reverting AC back to the traditional style; which is now Dexterity score + 10.

Hit Points = CON + Class Hit Die
AC = DEX + 10 + Armor Bonus
Fortitude = STR or CON + Class Fortitude Bonus
Reflex = DEX or INT + Class Reflex Bonus
Will = WIS or CHA + Class Will Bonus
Initiative = DEX

Melee attack = STR + Class attack bonus
Ranged attack = DEX + Class attack bonus

Melee damage = Weapon damage +STR − 10
Ranged weapon damage = Weapon damage +DEX − 10

5. Magic
Magic works a little different in Lucid. Spellcasters have a Stamina attribute which they will need to have enough in order to meet a spellís requirement. Wizards start with (Level + INT − 10) Stamina points and gain Stamina points equal to the new level. A level 1 Wizard with 15 Intelligence has 6 Stamina; when she reaches level 2, she gets 2 more stamina points, for a total of 8 Stamina.

Spell Stamina costs are equal to the spellís level.

If a spell caster runs out of Stamina, she must make a Concentration check, accounting for Spell Level. If she fails, the spell fizzles and she suffers HP loss equal to 1d6 + Spellís Level and cannot attempt again for another round.

Thatís all I have for now, but stay tuned for more.

2012-04-19, 12:35 AM
Reserved. (This one should be enough.)

2012-04-19, 02:11 AM
Might have to buff up armour a LOT If you're planning to have intelligence and dexterity stack for A.C, else the wizard will have better A.C than the fighter. :smallyuk:

Also, Dexterity seems like the godstat at the moment, but seeing as we havenít found any rules for esoteric stuff like carrying captsity yet, Iíll refrain from judgement. Otherwise good. :smallsmile:

2012-04-19, 02:51 AM
Might have to buff up armour a LOT If you're planning to have intelligence and dexterity stack for A.C, else the wizard will have better A.C than the fighter. :smallyuk:Good point. I don't think it's actually as large of an impact as one would think. If instead of DEX+INT I used DEX+10, on average that may be a difference of 5 or less for most characters. I suppose non-fighters get slightly better AC, though like you said there is room to compensate with adjusting armor value. Itís still worth watching closely though.

One possibility, if characters are gaining a few AC points is the possibility to add a weapon proficiency bonus (barbarians might gain +2 to Axes, for example, or wizards +2 to staves). When it comes down to it you still only have an attack roll and a defense number so these numbers can be played with a little.

2012-04-19, 07:45 AM
Wait, hang on, no base 10 bonus for A.C?

Huh. that... acutally changes quite little seeing as bonuses start from zero now...

2012-04-19, 10:04 AM
Wait, hang on, no base 10 bonus for A.C?

Huh. that... acutally changes quite little seeing as bonuses start from zero now...I could still change it back to DEX + 10, I'm not married to how it is at the moment.

Ilorin Lorati
2012-04-19, 11:00 AM
Well, let's look at the math. Since a wizard should be completely focused on Int, they'll want to take 4 +int bonuses from traits There are 5 Dex/Int bonuses on the list, so we'll say they end up with 18 int and Dex each, neglecting other stats. In reality, this isn't likely to happen so much, because a wizard would want to make sure their other defenses aren't terrible, so we'll say they end with 18 Int and 16 Dex.

They don't wear armor, leaving an AC of 34.

A tank fighter would have at least 13 Int for Combat Expertise, and 12 Dex because in theory they'll want to wear full plate. That comes to 25. Add said full plate armor for +8, and a tower shield for +4, to 37, for a full difference of 3 AC without buffs.

After buffing, a wizard would pull ahead with buffs that the Fighter can't get because they don't stack with real armor. Mage Armor and Shield come to mind at level 1, for 8 extra AC, or 5 more than the fighter, 4 more if the fighter is trading 1 attack for 1 AC at level 1.

Personally, I would say that the melee and caster should end up at about equal AC if they both focus only on it, but that the melee should have some other 'oomph' that would give them an advantage because the wizard doesn't really give up as much damage potential as the fighter does to get tanky AC levels. How to do that? No idea. I'm just providing observations and opinions.

2012-04-19, 11:13 AM
Also relevant is:
18 int + 18 dex + 4 mage armor = 40 AC
18 dex + 1 BAB = 19 attack

Only hitting on a 20. Problematic.

2012-04-19, 12:57 PM
Are you familiar with True20 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True20)? I've only seen it played once at a convention, but I think it tries to replicate things along the lines of what you're trying to do.

2012-04-19, 06:09 PM
Alright, Iíve taken your guysí concern over AC and reverted it to Dexterity + 10. (And yes, this means 3.5 monsters need to be scaled to match PCs. If you know the monsterís Dexterity score you can find out the new AC. Otherwise you can guesstimate; low level monsters would need +10Ė12 higher AC whereas higher-powered monsters may be +15 or even +20.)

Iíll be adding some information about Titles soon. Thanks for the feedback thus far!