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View Full Version : Un-Vancianing the Book of Nine Swords - A Possible Project?



Eldan
2013-05-18, 03:19 PM
So. The Book of Nine Swords. A problematic tome, we all know that.

On the one hand, it gives the martial classes tactical options, versatility and power. And it works. It's balanced, even.

On the other hand, as many argue, it doesn't actually make much sense, purely from the fluff. Why do fighters have to prepare their strikes ahead of time? Why, oh, why, can they only do a given maneuver once per combat?

So, I propse a general overhaul of the system. Let's do away with limited numbers of maneuvers per encounter and preparation. Let's rewrite the system.


The basic idea I had was something like this. We start the system by making several stances. More than one per discipline, from level one. And every discpline furthermore gets several maneuvers.

Now, we limit when strikes can be executed. Strikes, boosts and counters can only be executed while in a stance of that school. But they can be used as often as you want to (probably just one per turn, though). Many initiators can already use their maneuvers pretty much at will, or at least refresh them easily.

Now, some strikes might be a bit strong for that, I admit. There might have to be some limits. Perhaps a further distinction between strikes, so that some can only be used in certain situations, similar to counters. "Use this only against flat-footed targets".

Would anyone be interested in properly developing this system?

eftexar
2013-05-18, 03:32 PM
I don't know how much I'll hang around this thread, but I'll help start the brainstorming by throwing out a couple ideas I've toyed with.

A good way of limiting maneuvers, since you want them to only be usable during the disciplines respective stance, is that you could have the stance be mutable depending on maneuvers initiated.
For example maybe a boost doesn't change the stance, but a strike or un-categorized maneuver might require you to change to a different stance and a counter might simply end the stance altogether.

I don't like levels in my maneuvers. Truthfully I don't even really like them in spellcasting. So I was thinking of a few different ways you could do it:

Split them up into 4 categories like invocations.
Give them prerequisites, sort of like feats.
Just list a minimum level and call it a day.
Limit it by BaB so it's multiclass friendly with other melees.


Speaking of BaB I would suggest this formula for saves: 10 + 1/2 BaB + relevant modifier. There's no reason the DCs shouldn't scale or that they should be based off of martial skill. Plus this would let the DCs scale along with prestige classes without needing excessive wordage.

Eldan
2013-05-18, 03:36 PM
Hm. BAB would make a fairly good limiter, yes. And even save calculation would work that way. I like it.

vasharanpaladin
2013-05-18, 03:38 PM
...You lost me at "strikes can only be initiated from a stance of the same school." Please don't try to fix what isn't broken.

And with that, I'm gone again.

Eldan
2013-05-18, 03:42 PM
See, I care much less about balance than I care about systems making sense intrinsically. There is never a proper fluff explanation for why maneuvers work as they do. So I want to change them.

And the stances bit makes sense to me. I mean, I have only done a little bit of martial arts myself. But I'd still think that you would only do certain strikes from certain stances.

Grinner
2013-05-18, 03:46 PM
I think the idea of elevating the martial classes into something consistent with the classic heroes is fine. There's no way they could keep up, otherwise. What threw me off as well was the Vancian mechanic. From an intradiegetic viewpoint, it made absolutely no sense.

What about Invocations, though? I thought those would have been the logical mechanic to use for a fantastic martial class.

Eldan
2013-05-18, 03:58 PM
Are we thinking of the same invocations? The spell-like abilities? :smallconfused:

Grinner
2013-05-18, 04:11 PM
Are we thinking of the same invocations? The spell-like abilities? :smallconfused:

The basic at-will mechanic, yes. Not so much the spell-like ability part. Instead of using spell slots or spell points, they would get a small number of unlimited use techniques. We could even use the existing maneuvers, just like how the Warlock's invocations are based on spells off the Wizard/Sorceror spell list.

Eldan
2013-05-18, 04:37 PM
Ah, yes. That was indeed my idea. Convert most of the existing maneuvers into at-will techniques. They would just need some checking to see if they still work.

Grinner
2013-05-18, 04:42 PM
Oh...well...jolly good, then. :smallredface:

genericwit
2013-05-18, 05:00 PM
What bout something like power points [maneuver points? martial points?], and then just adding a few stances per discipline. Then you could augment these maneuvers up to gain access to stronger versions of the maneuver. For example, a basic shadow hand maneuver could be shadow stride, costing 1 point to use as a standard action; if you use 3 points, it's a move action; if you use 5 points, it's a swift action; and if you use 7 points, it's an immediate action. For the diamond mind, you could have time stands still as a basic maneuver; 1 point gets you one extra attack, 3 gets you 2, 5 gets you three, 7 gets you four, and 9 allows you to take 5 [providing you have something like haste, rapid shot, or flurry of blows].

Just a thought, though, and it seems like you're trying to avoid using a point system. Alternatively, you could have more powerful versions of the basic maneuvers simply be unlocked by having an initiator level of whatever.

Of course, this makes the stance mastery ability *much* better, as it's the only way someone could use two maneuvers from different schools [e.g. inferno blade + time stands still].

Eldan
2013-05-18, 05:22 PM
Hmm. Maybe something like fatigue points? I wouldn't want to tie them to constitution, though. THat would make that stat too good, I think. Plus, I don't want to make this system too complicated. Keep it simple.

Automatic scaling could be better. Something like:

"Tiger's Leap, Strike: make a jump check as part of your attack. If your jump check beats his AC, the attack deals an additional +1d6 damage per two points of Base attack bonus you have."

Devronq
2013-05-18, 05:33 PM
Im actually doing a big homebrew project and i made them feats. Because of the prerequisites only certain classes can chose them and they have a cooldown rate. Some can be used 1/round some once every second round some 1/min etc

Kane0
2013-05-18, 06:16 PM
So you plan on making four ranks of maneuvers based off of bab (least at bab +1, lesser at bab +6, greater at bab +11 and master at bab +16)? Then grant a certain number of maneuvers known, with all that you have known available at all times?

sounds fine to me, but a lot of maneuvers will need to be rebalanced for at will use (IHS, White raven hammer, etc)

Just to Browse
2013-05-18, 07:17 PM
Switching your maneuver access by switching between stances doesn't unbalance the system as long as it's easy to switch between stances. Do that, and have stances access maneuvers, and just make maneuvers at-will--if someone grants me an extra standard action, I should be able to use my steel wind strike twice in a round, because not doing so is about as un-sensible as limited usage per combat.

Mithril Leaf
2013-05-18, 09:49 PM
This would solve the entirety of my issues with Bo9S. Literally all of them. So much so, that I'd actually play a warblade over a psion or binder occasionally.

Xefas
2013-05-18, 10:25 PM
I don't suppose you've seen the thing that I did? (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=14352658)

As far as what you're talking about - my solution was to keep Maneuvers Readied, but make it more fluid. The selection of which maneuvers to ready is more of a tactical plan moment-to-moment, than a list of your capabilities for the encounter. For one, you can prepare multiple instances of the same maneuver (with some caveats). Nothing stops you from trying to stab a guy the same way over and over if you really want to. For two, you can spend a swift, move, or standard action to refresh varying amounts of maneuvers and, with a full-round action, completely trade out your entire loadout of readied maneuvers from your (highly increased) pool of Maneuvers Known and refresh everything. For three, there's no more "5 minutes of meditation" required, at any point.


Narratively speaking, when you ready Raging Behemoth Charge, World-Breaker Grip, and two Screaming Meat Shields, you're saying "My plan is to, in the next few seconds, charge into the fray, grab a dude, and then use him as a club to beat up his friend."

But, if that plan doesn't work out - as is often times the case in the heat of battle, you can take a step back, shake off your tunnel vision (a thing that happens), and come up with a new plan. Maybe you Charge in, only to have your target be revealed as an illusion. There's an enemy spellcaster afoot, so you spend a Swift action to trade in Fury Is Freedom before your turn ends, allowing you to Counter a hostile spell if need be.

On your next turn, you spend a Move Action to swap in Impatient Slaughter Speed, to close the distance with the enemy spellcaster, and finally use that World-Breaker Grip to tear into him.

*Infernal Monster (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=176059) Maneuvers
Effectively, your entire arsenal is at your command at any given time. But you're no more omnipotent than a real fighter. You can be caught off guard by an unusual strategy, or simply have your initial onslaught be rebuked, and you have to take between 0.5 to 6 seconds to inhale, exhale, and figure out how best to rip into your foe in the next exchange. Combat is a really fast, confusing, scary place to be, and you can't always pull out every esoteric piece of knowledge you ever learned about fighting at less than a moment's notice, while trying not to die. At a moment's notice? Sure.

Just food for thought, I guess.

TuggyNE
2013-05-18, 10:37 PM
A good way of limiting maneuvers, since you want them to only be usable during the disciplines respective stance, is that you could have the stance be mutable depending on maneuvers initiated.
For example maybe a boost doesn't change the stance, but a strike or un-categorized maneuver might require you to change to a different stance and a counter might simply end the stance altogether.

Slightly different idea: have the idea of footwork, flow of battle, etc represented by "positioning", which lasts until you next make an attack of any sort. Different strikes, and maybe boosts and counters, require you to be positioned in a specific way, and also put you in a new position (perhaps some maneuvers would put you in different positions depending on some effect or aspect of your target or something).

Positioning would be distinguished from stance by being more transient and immediate and less intentional and general.

Take that for what it's worth.

Starbuck_II
2013-05-18, 11:08 PM
Have you ever read Heroes Against Darkness (a 4E type clone, free though), instead of At will, Encounter, daily.
All powers are at will or at will (with penalties) or cost anima (mana basically).

Like the Berserkers level 4 power 3d weapon + Str bonus, using it causes -4 AD and ED until end of next turn.
This would be a encounter power in normal 4E (without the penalty).

Just to Browse
2013-05-19, 03:45 AM
Slightly different idea: have the idea of footwork, flow of battle, etc represented by "positioning", which lasts until you next make an attack of any sort. Different strikes, and maybe boosts and counters, require you to be positioned in a specific way, and also put you in a new position (perhaps some maneuvers would put you in different positions depending on some effect or aspect of your target or something).

Positioning would be distinguished from stance by being more transient and immediate and less intentional and general.

Take that for what it's worth.

Positioning would be kind of a pain, because it requires the DM knowing all your stances and how to beat them in order to appropriately challenge you, it'll require a diagram (maybe two depending on where people move) and also tends to cause a lot of power-shuffling if implemented in a meaningful way.

About the furthest this could be taken is specific symmetrical positions at adjacent or reach range, and even that might be pushing it.

Eldan
2013-05-19, 05:12 AM
I'd say that Stances cover positioning well enough. It's more or less what the name means. We don't need to make it any more complicated.

Eldan
2013-05-19, 06:40 AM
So, as a start, I'll just list the effects each school can cause, independent of the numbers involved, We can see about scaling them later.
Two schools first, rest later.

Desert Wind:
Strike effects:
Dazzle creatures
Shoot cone of fire
Shoot ray of fire
Bonus fire damage
Make enemy explode
Shoot fire around corners
Fly while charging
Lingering fire damage
Move-by attack
Ring of fire around enemies
Trail of fire when charging

Boost Effects:
Bonus fire damage
Increased reach
Enemy counts as flanked
Bonus movement speed

Stance effects:
Fire resistance
Attackers take fire damage
Bonus fire damage
Hover on fire column

Counter effects:
When hit, hit back with fire
AC bonus against incoming attack
Teleport next to foe


Devoted Spirit:

Strike effects:
Heal on successful hit
Give allies bonus to hit
Overcome damage reduction
Bonus damage
Slow enemies
Enemies shaken
Gain DR, or concealment, or saves and AC, depending on alignment
Burst heal
Take con damage for bonus damage

Stance effects:
Make allies harder to hit
Heal yourself with successful hits
5 ft. steps provoke attacks
Roll 11s, or drain allies, or heal allies or increase damage, depending on alignment
Cannot die to hit point damage

Counter effects:
AC and shield bonus for ally
Counter attack with shield bash

Boost effects:
Enemies must attack you or suffer AoO

Amechra
2013-05-19, 05:55 PM
I had to link this. Sorry. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=212155)

Just to Browse
2013-05-19, 10:51 PM
I had to link this. Sorry. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=212155)

You forgot to put shameless plug tags around that.

Eldan, before you start trying to convert disciplines, it'd probably be a good idea to know how the disciplines scale and how access works. For example, do Warblades pick four disciplines and then get all stances/maneuvers from those disciplines, or are they still limited?

The problems I see occurring are option paralysis with bloating combat abilities--if I get two maneuvers from four disciplines, I have eight abilities from level 1 not counting stances. At level 8, I will have 32 abilities--if we allow some of those to be redundant (like the Mighty Throw series), then that's still 24 things you're juggling at one time.

This could be avoided by requiring hyper-specialization (1, maybe 2 schools), but then characters get super inflexible and you can start running into the Sneak Attack problem.

Of course you could just require players to learn a certain number of maneuvers (instead of unlocking all maneuvers from a given discipline each level), but that'll create the problem that ToB already has--namely, players will cherrypick and all warblades will be basically the same.

Also, writing double the number of maneuvers sounds like a lot of work.

Eldan
2013-05-20, 12:05 PM
I will probably keep it as it is now. You have a llimited number of maneuvers you know and they have requirements. Having them scale better even helps with this over conventional initiators, as low-level maneuvers are relevant for longer. Some already are now (Sudden Leap comes to mind), but all those that just add +xd6 damage become a bit pointless later on.

The sheet of a Crusader would look something like this:

Devoted Spirit:[B]
Stances:
Stance 1: heal 1 hit point plus one hit point per 2 points of base attack per hit you score on an enemy.
Stance 2: squares you threaten are considered difficult terrain for enemies.

Strikes:
Strike 1: if this strike hits, heal an ally 1d6+1 point per base attack bonus.
Strike 2: an enemy you hit becomes shaken. If you have more than 10 points of base attack bonus, they become frightened instead.

[B]Stone Dragon:
Stance: gain one point of damage reduction /adamantine per point of base attack bonus
Strike: deal +1d6 points of damage reduction per two points of base attack bonus and ignore damage reduction.

Really not that bad, in terms of tactical diversity.

And Amechra, while that is an interesting class, it's not really what I had in mind.

Deepbluediver
2013-05-20, 12:41 PM
This sounds interesting; I'm all for making more things spontaneous.


So you plan on making four ranks of maneuvers based off of bab (least at bab +1, lesser at bab +6, greater at bab +11 and master at bab +16)? Then grant a certain number of maneuvers known, with all that you have known available at all times?

sounds fine to me, but a lot of maneuvers will need to be rebalanced for at will use (IHS, White raven hammer, etc)

Does that mean medium BAB classes won't be able to get the highest rank of amnuevers in normal gameplay? Will that be a problem?


I don't know how much I'll hang around this thread, but I'll help start the brainstorming by throwing out a couple ideas I've toyed with.

A good way of limiting maneuvers, since you want them to only be usable during the disciplines respective stance, is that you could have the stance be mutable depending on maneuvers initiated.
For example maybe a boost doesn't change the stance, but a strike or un-categorized maneuver might require you to change to a different stance and a counter might simply end the stance altogether.

That sounds good, but what about stances that could be part of more than one school? Would something like that make sense?


Give them prerequisites, sort of like feats.

Shadowcasting was an alternate magic system that seemed just like normal arcane casting, except you had to learn lower level spells in a certain path first. Would something like that help keep players from skipping all over the place?

eftexar
2013-05-20, 12:54 PM
Deepbluediver, while putting stances into multiple schools would be real to life, as many martial arts borrow from each other, I don't think it would work as well with game mechanics.

I would rather see a feat, or maybe a class ability, that allows strikes from a single favored discipline to be used during another discipline (or maybe even any other discipline).

tuggyne, that sounds like a pretty neat idea, but I'm not sure how you would implement it. Because of how the disciplines are split, and the fact a warrior may not have access to all them, he might eventually reach a point where he can't keep switches anymore.

Eldan
2013-05-20, 12:55 PM
ToB already has that. Higher level maneuvers require 1-3 maneuvers of the same discipline, usually.

eftexar
2013-05-20, 12:57 PM
The problem with requiring other maneuvers though is that it tends to block people into focusing on one discipline. I would rather have prerequisites that fall more in line with those of feats.

Plus, if you restricted maneuvers with feat-like prerequisites, they wouldn't need anything remotely resembling levels.

Eldan
2013-05-20, 12:59 PM
Those, however, tend to limit people to certain builds.

Like, right now, I can use Tiger Claw on a strength-focused pseudo-barbarian Warblade or a dexterity focused two-weapon fighting swordsage. One hacks people to pieces, the other is a whirlwind of cuts. The first might also take Iron Heart, the other Shadow Hand for a teleporting assassin.

If Tiger Claw suddenly required one of those two attributes, the other one would be gone as a possibility.

My Warblade could be an intelligent graduate of a military academy or a brutal thug. The more prereqs you have, the more difficult such diversity of build becomes to achieve.

eftexar
2013-05-20, 01:01 PM
Point taken. It seems BaB would be the best way to go. Though it would penalize 15 BaB classes, I think we can assume those classes will have more class abilities and/or some form of greater utility.

Eldan
2013-05-20, 01:02 PM
Hm. THat's a point I didn't think of. The poor swordsage.

Perhaps give the swordsage schools alternate requirements?

eftexar
2013-05-20, 01:04 PM
I don't think that's necessary. Why not let the swordsage prepare their maneuvers wizard-style. Considering how weak maneuvers are compared to spells, assuming the same generally level of utility and power, it really wouldn't make it too much more powerful than the other initiators.

Eldan
2013-05-20, 01:07 PM
Why? Preparing instead of spontaneously casting is a weakness, not a strength. The wizard is strong for different reasons.

Edit: a simple sentence along the lines of "For the purposes of maneuver requirements, the Swordsage counts as having a base attack bonus equal to its class level".

Deepbluediver
2013-05-20, 01:08 PM
Why not let the swordsage prepare their maneuvers wizard-style.

I kind of thought that's the sort of thing this proposal was intended to undo?

I realize the Swordsage is supposed to be the monk-equivalent, but frankly they seem a lot less studious or spiritual than even the RAW monk. Would it be so bad if they just had full BAB?

Edit: Or what Eldan said.

eftexar
2013-05-20, 01:16 PM
I hadn't meant preparing their maneuvers 'readied,' but their maneuvers known. It's not like spellcasting where you have to prepare each slot. How is it a weakness to be able to swap out your maneuvers for a new set each day?

[edit]: and Deepbluediver, the proposal, I believe, is to remove vanacian casting / spell casting mechanics. Preparation is mostly unique to the wizard and doesn't seem as spellcaster like to me. Of course that's a matter of opinion.

Eldan
2013-05-20, 01:52 PM
The only goal I suggested in the beginning was in fact to remove the preparation idea since it seems totally silly with martial techniques.

Everything else, i.e. the scaling, came later.

eftexar
2013-05-20, 02:13 PM
But you don't 'prepare' maneuvers, you 'ready' them. The two are quite different from each other.

While readying them is silly, preparing not quite so much. When you practice martial arts you sometimes practice them in specific sequences. Preparation, or choosing which maneuvers you have access to each day, would be a logical game extension of that.

For an analogy it would be like allowing the Wizard to prepare spells, but not limiting the number of times they can be cast. Assuming no maneuver levels are in place the system left wouldn't remotely resemble spellcasting.

But you could just go with treating the swordsage level as BaB and that would work fine too. I'm not even arguing you should do what I said at this point, but am trying to clear up the misinterpretation as to what I meant.

Deepbluediver
2013-05-20, 02:19 PM
Frankly, I really don't have a problem with medium BAB classes not getting the exact same level of manuevers as the heavy melee types, because as some one said, they usually have other tricks and benefits to make up for it.

Except, of course, for the poor Swordsage. Would it be possible to homebrew enough other benefits to compensate for not gaining full-level Manuever access? Or some other unique mechanic that gave them the equivalent without needing to learn it in the normal manner? Is this at all desirable?
I know it's not exactly a ringing endorsement, but thats kind of what they did for the Soulborn in MoI. They gave it half-speed Incarnum advancement, but then dropped the ball on the other class features.

If BAB is too tough to make work properly, what would be wrong with just basing it off level or ECL?

eftexar
2013-05-20, 02:29 PM
Level and ECL though have the problem of letting spellcaster's gain higher level maneuvers. Unless you based it off of specific class levels then I could take 18 levels of Wizard and pick up that awesome maneuver I wanted with a single level of initiator.

But if you limit it to class levels it loses it's multiclass capability entirely. Which takes us back to PrCs not advancing mundane features, but progressing magic.

Deepbluediver
2013-05-20, 02:59 PM
Level and ECL though have the problem of letting spellcaster's gain higher level maneuvers. Unless you based it off of specific class levels then I could take 18 levels of Wizard and pick up that awesome maneuver I wanted with a single level of initiator.

I thought thats what the "You must know X manuveurs of this school before learning the McAwesome HighLevel manuver" was supposed to prevent?
And is that really an issue? Can wizards and clerics get terribly more broken by dipping in melee classes?

I'm asking because creative min-maxing is not my forte.


But if you limit it to class levels it loses it's multiclass capability entirely. Which takes us back to PrCs not advancing mundane features, but progressing magic.

Hmm....How about just giving melee-based PrCs a version of "+1 level of existing Special class features"; in other words, anything in the "Special" column of a table, but not spells?

Gildedragon
2013-05-20, 03:10 PM
Instead of figuring out how to implement BAB without nerfing the swordsage, why not leave the initiator level as is. Maybe give full bab classes a 3/4 advancement on initiator level, or a theurgy feat to the effect of:


Sublime Synergy
As you expand your mastery of combat through other schools you have not ignored the Sublime Way, integrating it into your new martial styles with ease.
Prerequisite: 1 maneuver from any discipline, 1 stance from any discipline, Initiator Level 3
Benefit: Pick any non-martial adept class you have levels in and any martial adept class you have levels in. Your levels in the non-martial adept class count for full initiator levels towards the selected martial adept class.
A fighter may select this as a fighter bonus feat.


or


Warrior's Way
Though not a devoted student of the Sublime Way, you exhibit a proclivity for its style.
Prerequisite: BAB 4, Initiator Level 2
Benefit: Pick any non-martial adept class you have levels in . Treat that class as providing full initiator levels for the purpose of gaining maneuvers and stances through prestige classes, the martial stance, and martial study feats, as well as martial scripts and maneuver granting magic items and effects.
Additionally, you are no longer limited in the number of times you may take the martial study feat; and may take the adaptive style feat without meeting its prerequisites.
A fighter may select this as a fighter bonus feat.


-----

As to making them less cast-and-forget, well the maneuver system isn't particularly vancian as it stands. The only thing that's sorta vancian is the readying of maneuvers.

Giving stances a cooldown time but otherwise useable at will, and making the recovery mechanism just speed it up, might be good.
Actually that is close to what is had already. The only difference being that maneuvers aren't readied, they are just there at the ready or recharging. Recharge time could be counted by move actions per level-1 or somesuch.

Draz74
2013-05-21, 01:09 AM
Hmmm. I mostly love ToB as-is ... and yet, there are some intriguing ideas here.

It really is a little jarring how (for example) a Warblade can use a leaping Tiger Claw strike even while in a solid, grounded Stone Dragon stance.

And readying is ... not the worst mechanic in the world, but I can imagine that getting rid of it could be an improvement in verisimilitude, as long as the result is balanced.

So I will keep an eye on this project. If it turns out particularly nicely, I may even shift the warrior-mechanics of my own system to be more stance-based.

You may end up needing to break disciplines into sub-disciplines or something, as only 9 disciplines may make it so that each one is still too broad and flexible.

I have one particular request: maneuvers really shouldn't be at-will, in most cases. At least not in practice. An effective warrior should not be one who uses the same move over and over and over again. That's neither fun to play nor realistic. Limitations like "must be flatfooted" are a start, but I don't know if they're enough, and certainly that's not a thematically appropriate limitation for most maneuvers beyond Shadow Hand. :smallsmile:

I think the "positioning" idea (renamed?) might be worth a second look. Make it a boolean condition, rather than a pool of points, so that it's not a bookkeeping menace. Have some maneuvers -- the ones that break the system if they are spammable -- require that you sacrifice your "positioning" to use them. Have other maneuvers (including stances) that restore your "positioning" under certain conditions. There could even be a Warblade-specific class feature that restores "positioning" when the Warblade hits with a simple, ordinary melee attack, as long as that attack is not part of a maneuver. Or something like that.

PairO'Dice Lost
2013-05-21, 01:26 AM
It really is a little jarring how (for example) a Warblade can use a leaping Tiger Claw strike even while in a solid, grounded Stone Dragon stance.
[...]
I think the "positioning" idea (renamed?) might be worth a second look. Make it a boolean condition, rather than a pool of points, so that it's not a bookkeeping menace. Have some maneuvers -- the ones that break the system if they are spammable -- require that you sacrifice your "positioning" to use them. Have other maneuvers (including stances) that restore your "positioning" under certain conditions.

How's this sound: you have four positions, High (narrow and mobile, flavor-wise), Solid (low and defensive), Extended (offensive and open), and Balanced. Or some other number, but we'll go with four for the example. Each maneuver has a starting position and an ending position, which can be the same. Sudden Leap might start in Solid and end in Extended, as you need to crouch low for a good jump and you end up slightly off-balance. Stone Bones starts and ends in Solid because, y'know, solidity. And so on and so forth. So the abstraction of readying and expending maneuvers which is supposed to represent combat flow and positioning is turned into something that actually relies on flow and positioning.

Possible enhancements include adding a secondary benefit to each stance that lets you count as being in one position in addition to your actual position (Stone Dragon stances might let you count as always being in a Solid position, so since many Stone Dragon maneuvers likely require a Solid position you can always initiate those maneuvers and similarly-solid maneuvers of other disciplines), or attaching modifiers to different positions (e.g. someone in a High position gains a bonus to attack Extended combatants or whatever). The extensions wouldn't be part of the de-Vancianing process, just some ideas for mechanics to be added later if people want to tweak combat further.

TuggyNE
2013-05-21, 01:27 AM
I think the "positioning" idea (renamed?) might be worth a second look. Make it a boolean condition, rather than a pool of points, so that it's not a bookkeeping menace. Have some maneuvers -- the ones that break the system if they are spammable -- require that you sacrifice your "positioning" to use them. Have other maneuvers (including stances) that restore your "positioning" under certain conditions. There could even be a Warblade-specific class feature that restores "positioning" when the Warblade hits with a simple, ordinary melee attack, as long as that attack is not part of a maneuver. Or something like that.

That might work. The key thing is that stances (as I understand it) are supposed to give you bonuses, whereas positioning (or whatever better term) is supposed to prevent you from spamming the same move over and over, by representing, well, the different position you're now in. Whether that's boolean (like psionic focus), points-based, or one of a selection of minor conditions is not so crucial to the idea.

I do think the focus-ish idea could be cool, though.

Edit: totally ninja'd with awesomeness!

Just to Browse
2013-05-21, 01:27 AM
Why not just let swordsages do crazy things off of their weak maneuvers. Kind of like a class that doesn't get high-level spells, but can burn hella metamagic for high-level spell slots, the swordsage could augment all her stances, strikes, boosts, etc. That way you preserve the central theme (training -> maneuver access) and expand the tactical utility of the class, instead of it being "that one class that gets Shadow Hand".

Salbazier
2013-05-21, 04:11 AM
Why not just give swordsage full BAB? If he's supposed to be monk's equivalent like bluediver said, well, lack of full BAB for a class whose job is hitting things is one of the common complaint, isn't it?

Just to Browse
2013-05-21, 06:06 AM
Why not just give swordsage full BAB? If he's supposed to be monk's equivalent like bluediver said, well, lack of full BAB for a class whose job is hitting things is one of the common complaint, isn't it?

The core question is: How do we deal with ToB-redux classes with medium BAB? Switching one guy out is just a spot fix.

Salbazier
2013-05-21, 06:17 AM
The core question is: How do we deal with ToB-redux classes with medium BAB? Switching one guy out is just a spot fix.

But you are talking about giving new special feature for Swordsage. That is also just a spot fix.

Eldan
2013-05-21, 06:54 AM
Hm. Positioning... I'm not sure I like it. It's an entirely new, third layer of complexity on top of what we already have with stances and strikes.

Perhaps a cooldown to maneuvers? You may not use the same maneuver you used the turn before?

Just to Browse
2013-05-21, 07:22 AM
But you are talking about giving new special feature for Swordsage. That is also just a spot fix.

I was assuming that would be extended to all 3/4 BAB classes, but no one ever actually said that.

Gonna reiterate that spamming should be totally OK based on your stances, but disciplines should focus on certain battle tactics.

RedWarlock
2013-05-21, 08:03 AM
The exact details could be tweaked, but personally I think the Crusader's refresh mechanic is a nice abstract form of the positioning idea. The options available to the character are represented by the drawn maneuvers, with the options changing each turn. That's distinct from readied vs unreadied, IMO.

Corwin Icewolf
2013-05-21, 08:30 AM
Possibly a fatigue based mechanic instead? Maybe maneuvers are tiring... say when you do a maneuver you get a number of fatigue points equal to the level of the maneuver. When you get a number equal to... For now, let's say 5+ initiator level you have to make a fortitude save equal to the number you have or become fatigued. And if you succeed you'd still have to do it again for the next maneuver...

This is all off the top of my head but I think with some tweaking it could work, and it wouldn't be terribly hard to implement, I wouldn't think.

Deepbluediver
2013-05-21, 08:35 AM
Hm. Positioning... I'm not sure I like it. It's an entirely new, third layer of complexity on top of what we already have with stances and strikes.

Perhaps a cooldown to maneuvers? You may not use the same maneuver you used the turn before?

Yeah, I sort of agree with that. Limiting manuevers in some way is a good idea, I think, but there should only be one limitation. If you have to track 2 different variables to determine what you can and can't do, I don't think a lot of players will like that.

I like the cooldown idea. Do we want to make it all the same: 5 rounds for everything? A dice roll: 1d6 rounds? Something else?

Thinking about it, I know that one of the stated complaints about the Binder is that having everything on a 5-round cooldown can be annoying until it has enough abilities to use one every round. Plus tracking multiple dice-based cooldowns would probably get tiring, fast.

What if we had a flat, but variable cooldown. For example, weak/low-level manuevers have a cooldown of 1-3 rounds, powerful manuvers have a cooldown of 4-6? And then, if you want, some special class features could shorten cooldowns.


I was assuming that would be extended to all 3/4 BAB classes, but no one ever actually said that.

I kind of like that idea, actually. There are partial and half-casting classes, and while they aren't as powerful as wizards, that's not really the goal here. So long as there are enough other benefits, I think you could make manuver-based classes with similar appeal to the Bard or Rogue.

Plus, it keeps the standard for accessing manuevers of a certain level straightforward and simple, and it means a full-BAB is actually a valuable commodity. A general rule of thumb is that that better your BAB, the lower in the Tier list you fall. We should be aiming to change that.

Eldan
2013-05-21, 08:44 AM
That probably works.

That said, if we have scaling maneuvers, the higher Level ones shouldn't be all that much more powerful, so a Level-dependent cooldown would be weird.

Yakk
2013-05-21, 09:22 AM
Slightly different idea: have the idea of footwork, flow of battle, etc represented by "positioning", which lasts until you next make an attack of any sort.
I sort of like this.

Imagine if each maneuver leads to a finite set of positions afterwards. And each position has a finite set of maneuvers you can do from it.

One position you can be in is the "recovery" position, representing being off-balance. Low level combatants would have chains that end in "recovery" quite often.

After each maneuver, you'd have a set of positions to choose from. You'd pick one, and keep it secret. Your next maneuver would then be a function of your new position.

And yes, it would make higher level combatants who use this system a serious graph theory problem. However, DMs don't need to memorize these graphs in order to challenge characters, because opponents won't know these graphs either -- ideally, these graphs should be built by the combatant as their own custom style.

By simply restricting how often a given maneuver or level of maneuver can appear in a graph -- by giving "difficulties" to a given position, and saying that a position of difficulty X using a maneuver of difficulty Y can lead to a position of difficulty up to Z given that your combat skill is W -- we can block "use highest level attack repeatedly" chains.

And by having a decent branching factor on our positions we can make combat less than predictable.

If each position has two maneuvers, which each lead to two positions, that means a 2 round combat starting from the same position has 8 different paths. Up that to three, and we are up to 27 different paths. If the starting position can vary (say, from 3 different ones), we are up to 81 different maneuver-position paths. And at each stage, you have constrained choice, which should reduce option paralysis.

Positions can have passive benefits as well, and I could see that the difficulty of the maneuvers and the amount of passive benefits could both contribute to the "difficulty" of the position.

You could imagine "resting" positions with high passive defence benefits and relatively weak maneuvers being the resting state of a combatant. Other positions would be ambush ones, with high power maneuvers and weak defensive benefits.

You'd have a few maneuvers which would lead to a variety of positions, some are high-defence, others are higher-offence, and some of them are semi-resting (with both weak defence and offence) but lead to nova positions afterwards.

You'd be able to designate any position that, after the null maneuver, can lead to itself, as your "default" position at any time.

Eldan
2013-05-21, 09:39 AM
Given that People think the ToB is Wuxia anyway, whether that fits or not, should we just use Chinese five element theory? We'd end up with either the five steps of Tai Chi or Xinyiquan.

Though that Ends up a lot more complicated than I thought this System would be. Now, don't get me wrong, I like the idea. But there should also be a simple base System.


How about for this Suggestion: every strike, boost and stance has two forms. A Basic form and an overextended form. The Basic form can be used over and over without break. Overextending your strike makes it more powerful, but gives it a longer cooldown and has a sort of Penalty on the one doing it. Fatigue, forcing the attacker to go into full defence or maybe leaving them open.

We could even have different overextensions for different styles. Overextending Tiger Claw gives you massive AC penalties. Overextending Stone Dragon means you can't move next turn. Overextending Desert Wind means you have to move away next turn.


Another idea: a kind of pattern reading for combatants. As combat goes on, you start to learn your enemy's style and gain better defences against him if he uses the same attack too often.

Just something simple. "You gain a +1 insight Bonus to AC against enemy strikes for every time your enemy has used that strike already against you this Encounter."

Draz74
2013-05-21, 10:55 AM
Given that People think the ToB is Wuxia anyway, whether that fits or not, should we just use Chinese five element theory? We'd end up with either the five steps of Tai Chi or Xinyiquan.
Don't know enough about Tai Chi or Xinyuiquan to have an opinion.


Though that Ends up a lot more complicated than I thought this System would be. Now, don't get me wrong, I like the idea. But there should also be a simple base System.
The key would be to find a way to integrate it with the system.

To be blunt, although Stances that give you other bonuses are fun, it actually seems pretty realistic to have Stances whose sole purpose is to allow the completion of certain maneuvers.


How about for this Suggestion: every strike, boost and stance has two forms. A Basic form and an overextended form. The Basic form can be used over and over without break. Overextending your strike makes it more powerful, but gives it a longer cooldown and has a sort of Penalty on the one doing it. Fatigue, forcing the attacker to go into full defence or maybe leaving them open.
I'm not a big fan of cooldowns (on the Binder either). They're a pain to keep track of, and they aren't realistic at all either.

But the Basic/Overextended structure seems like it could work.


We could even have different overextensions for different styles. Overextending Tiger Claw gives you massive AC penalties. Overextending Stone Dragon means you can't move next turn. Overextending Desert Wind means you have to move away next turn.
Definitely has more flavor than just a universal cooldown/penalty.


Another idea: a kind of pattern reading for combatants. As combat goes on, you start to learn your enemy's style and gain better defences against him if he uses the same attack too often.

Just something simple. "You gain a +1 insight Bonus to AC against enemy strikes for every time your enemy has used that strike already against you this Encounter."

Ugh, bookkeeping. The effect is fine (although I'd probably make it an unnamed penalty to the Strikes' attack roles, so that you don't run into stacking issues with other insight bonuses), but I'd hate to have to keep a tally next to each Strike -- for each opponent, no less.

Eldan
2013-05-21, 11:39 AM
Or an alternate, probably easier suggestion:

Threre are three kinds of stances, offensive, defensive and utility. They influence what kind of strikes you have available, or modify all strikes of the same school in some way.

Something like:

Stance of the Earthbones [Stone Dragon, defensive]
You gain damage reduction 2/adamantine, which increases by another point for every two points of base attack bonus you have and become immune to being moved by Bull Rush or strong winds, but you have a -2 to all your attack rolls.

Whenever you successfully execute a Stone Dragon counter, you gain a +5 enhancement to your natural armour bonus until the beginning of your next turn.

Whenever you successfully execute a Stone Dragon strike, you can make a free trip attempt against that enemy without provoking an attack of opportunity.


Does that make sense?

TuggyNE
2013-05-21, 05:59 PM
Yeah, I sort of agree with that. Limiting manuevers in some way is a good idea, I think, but there should only be one limitation. If you have to track 2 different variables to determine what you can and can't do, I don't think a lot of players will like that.

Well, for what it's worth, I was figuring only positioning would limit maneuver usage, not stances (stances would merely give bonuses or whatever, more or less as they do now).


Imagine if each maneuver leads to a finite set of positions afterwards. And each position has a finite set of maneuvers you can do from it.

One position you can be in is the "recovery" position, representing being off-balance. Low level combatants would have chains that end in "recovery" quite often.

After each maneuver, you'd have a set of positions to choose from. You'd pick one, and keep it secret. Your next maneuver would then be a function of your new position.

And yes, it would make higher level combatants who use this system a serious graph theory problem. However, DMs don't need to memorize these graphs in order to challenge characters, because opponents won't know these graphs either -- ideally, these graphs should be built by the combatant as their own custom style.

By simply restricting how often a given maneuver or level of maneuver can appear in a graph -- by giving "difficulties" to a given position, and saying that a position of difficulty X using a maneuver of difficulty Y can lead to a position of difficulty up to Z given that your combat skill is W -- we can block "use highest level attack repeatedly" chains.

And by having a decent branching factor on our positions we can make combat less than predictable.

If each position has two maneuvers, which each lead to two positions, that means a 2 round combat starting from the same position has 8 different paths. Up that to three, and we are up to 27 different paths. If the starting position can vary (say, from 3 different ones), we are up to 81 different maneuver-position paths. And at each stage, you have constrained choice, which should reduce option paralysis.

Positions can have passive benefits as well, and I could see that the difficulty of the maneuvers and the amount of passive benefits could both contribute to the "difficulty" of the position.

You could imagine "resting" positions with high passive defence benefits and relatively weak maneuvers being the resting state of a combatant. Other positions would be ambush ones, with high power maneuvers and weak defensive benefits.

You'd have a few maneuvers which would lead to a variety of positions, some are high-defence, others are higher-offence, and some of them are semi-resting (with both weak defence and offence) but lead to nova positions afterwards.

You'd be able to designate any position that, after the null maneuver, can lead to itself, as your "default" position at any time.

Yes, pretty much all of this; although I hadn't explicitly thought of it in terms of graph theory, that's basically what I was figuring (that or a state machine).

Much appreciate the clearer explanation. :smallwink:


How about for this Suggestion: every strike, boost and stance has two forms. A Basic form and an overextended form. The Basic form can be used over and over without break. Overextending your strike makes it more powerful, but gives it a longer cooldown and has a sort of Penalty on the one doing it. Fatigue, forcing the attacker to go into full defence or maybe leaving them open.

We could even have different overextensions for different styles. Overextending Tiger Claw gives you massive AC penalties. Overextending Stone Dragon means you can't move next turn. Overextending Desert Wind means you have to move away next turn.

That, especially the latter suggestion, seems pretty cool. Simpler, certainly; it remains to be seen if it will be quite able to minimize spamming.

Just to Browse
2013-05-21, 06:56 PM
The Tai XinquaChi thing reminds me of the Wu Xing from the old Legend articles. It had 5 "phases" (read: stances) and each attack (counter, boost, strike) would switch it from one stance to another.


You may only use this ability if you possess the [Earth Phase] condition. Immediately after missing on an attack roll, as a move action you cause [Earth Phase] to end, gain the [Metal Phase], and the missed opponent must make a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 your level + KOM). If they fail, they either drop their weapon or are rendered [Prone], at your option, and take damage as if you had made a successful attack against them.

inb4 legend hate

Deepbluediver
2013-05-21, 07:37 PM
I'm not a big fan of cooldowns (on the Binder either). They're a pain to keep track of, and they aren't realistic at all either.

I don't know about the realistic part; this is psuedo-magic after all. We can give it whatever rules we want. If you're thinking Wuxia/martial arts, then the explanation is your chi takes time to replenish itself in the right proportions, or something like that.

But its mostly moot, because now that I think about it, I agree with your first complaint. Tracking a cooldown for one ability (like a breath weapon) isn't bad, but seperate cooldowns for several different manuevers is a different story. You could die it with counters or dice or something, but it's probably not the best way to go about things.


Ugh, bookkeeping. The effect is fine (although I'd probably make it an unnamed penalty to the Strikes' attack roles, so that you don't run into stacking issues with other insight bonuses), but I'd hate to have to keep a tally next to each Strike -- for each opponent, no less.

Yeah, that too. And why would it work for something like strikes, and not just regular combat?


Or an alternate, probably easier suggestion:

Threre are three kinds of stances, offensive, defensive and utility. They influence what kind of strikes you have available, or modify all strikes of the same school in some way.

The sounds like a good idea. What about giving offensive stances more strikes, and defensive stances more counters?

Draz74
2013-05-21, 09:35 PM
Stance of the Earthbones [Stone Dragon, defensive]
You gain damage reduction 2/adamantine, which increases by another point for every two points of base attack bonus you have and become immune to being moved by Bull Rush or strong winds, but you have a -2 to all your attack rolls.

Whenever you successfully execute a Stone Dragon counter, you gain a +5 enhancement to your natural armour bonus until the beginning of your next turn.

Whenever you successfully execute a Stone Dragon strike, you can make a free trip attempt against that enemy without provoking an attack of opportunity.

Looks decent.

Eldan
2013-05-22, 05:19 AM
Shall we go that way, then? More and more detailed stances?

Eldan
2013-05-23, 11:49 AM
Should I take three days of silence as a resounding "YES ELDAN, YOUR MECHANICS HAVE ENLIGHTENED US?"

If no one has any comments, I'll try and proceed with plan "more complicated stance-strike interactions".

Draz74
2013-05-23, 01:00 PM
Only a day and a half, from my time zone.

And I think it's more like "The devil is in the details, Eldan. Take the lead on writing some more concrete material and we'll give you more feedback." :smalltongue:

Eldan
2013-05-23, 01:47 PM
*sigh*.

Very well. I'll start with one school and the general mechanic. Which school do people want to see first?

Deepbluediver
2013-05-23, 01:51 PM
Very well. I'll start with one school and the general mechanic. Which school do people want to see first?

Whichever school is generally considered to be the least-well liked. That's because enthusiasm is highest at the beggining of a project, and if you leave the worst schools until the end when energy and ideas have waned, they tend to get short-shafted, doubling up on their problems.

Eldan
2013-05-23, 01:52 PM
Fair enough.

Stone Dragon? It's the least exciting school, and I think people have also called it the weakest.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-23, 08:49 PM
I think the graph theory idea is beautiful, but I think we can combine it with the "three kinds of stances" thing for added detail. A graph would represent everything a character can do, with each node being a stance and type (e.g, Stone Dragon (Defensive)), and each path being a boost, strike, or counter. A low-level combatant's graph could look like this:

http://i44.tinypic.com/6tjtc0.png

And a character could map out all their combat actions on a single piece of paper.

TuggyNE
2013-05-23, 08:57 PM
I think the graph theory idea is beautiful, but I think we can combine it with the "three kinds of stances" thing for added detail. A graph would represent everything a character can do, with each node being a stance and type (e.g, Stone Dragon (Defensive)), and each path being a boost, strike, or counter. A low-level combatant's graph could look like this:

http://i44.tinypic.com/6tjtc0.png

And a character could map out all their combat actions on a single piece of paper.

Iiinteresting, this is really starting to shape up as an idea with some potential.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-23, 09:16 PM
Iiinteresting, this is really starting to shape up as an idea with some potential.

What I tried to implement was this:

{table=head]Stance|Maneuver|End stance
Offensive|Strike|Offensive
Offensive|Boost|Utility
Offensive|Counter|Defensive
Defensive|Strike|Offensive
Defensive|Boost|Utility
Defensive|Counter|Utility
Utility|Strike|Offensive
Utility|Boost|Defensive
Utility|Counter|Defensive[/table]

But I'm not sure about this setup. It means that you can stay in an offensive stance permanently by striking repeatedly, but as soon as you do something else you go to defense or utility, and then have to switch out next round.

Ideally, defensive stances would have big defensive benefits, and you can only switch to another school via their utility stances, and those are the reasons why you wouldn't be offensive all the time.

Edit to add: I could have included Tiger Claw (Defensive), but I was doing it in mspaint and ran out of space.

TuggyNE
2013-05-23, 09:25 PM
But I'm not sure about this setup. It means that you can stay in an offensive stance permanently by striking repeatedly, but as soon as you do something else you go to defense or utility, and then have to switch out next round.

Ideally, defensive stances would have big defensive benefits, and you can only switch to another school via their utility stances, and those are the reasons why you wouldn't be offensive all the time.

Also, I'd suggest that some strikes tend to have different results, and that (almost) no strike leaves you in position to make that same strike again immediately. So perhaps splitting Offensive into Guarded/Overextended (or something) might be helpful.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-23, 09:40 PM
Also, I'd suggest that some strikes tend to have different results, and that (almost) no strike leaves you in position to make that same strike again immediately. So perhaps splitting Offensive into Guarded/Overextended (or something) might be helpful.

Or maybe using a Strike from an Offensive stance just sends you to Defensive stance? It seems like a more elegant way to do just that. It also means you have to change stance every round, which brings in the "fluidity of combat" that was mentioned before.

Eldan
2013-05-24, 02:37 AM
It is very interesting, though I'm worried a bit about how complicated it would get. I already know People who say that keeping track of all their maneuvers is a bit of a chore and that they Need maneuver Cards and things like that to Keep track of what they all do.
Should we really include all These forced state changes?

If you are worried about Players just striking in offensive stance, how about this: we don't force anyone to change stances. However, you can change stance as a free Action as part of a strike, which gives a Bonus or penalty.

Suggestion:
Offensive into offensive, "Pressing the attack"*:Strike is stronger, but there's a defensive penalty
Defensive or Utility into offensive, "Reversal"*: stronger strike, no penalty.
Offensive into defensive, "Holding back"*: strike penalty, but Bonus to Counters.

*Someone with some martial arts or fencing experience please give me better Terms.

Counters are normally not directly planned by the Player. Instead, they are an answer to the enemy. I wouldn't force any effects on them, except maybe make them better in defensive stance. They should maybe be limited in some Fashion, I suggest making them Count as an AoO.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-24, 04:53 AM
Ooh, how about this. No one has to change stances, but you can do so as a free action as part of a maneuver, and if you do, you gain the benefits of both stances for that maneuver. You can stay in the same stance forever, but it's kind of awkward and suboptimal.

Eldan
2013-05-24, 05:04 AM
How about a third Kind of maneuver that can be learned. Let's call it a Shift.

It's a bit like a boost and takes place when you take stances.

E.g.

Unexpected Reversal
Iron Heart 3, Shift

To gain the effects of this shift, you have to change from defensive into offensive stance, then make a strike against an enemy.
The enemy counts as flat-footed against that strike.



A different question. How would we go about learning maneuvers? I suggest that at Level one, you choose one discipline and get a few basic maneuvers of that discipline. Like, you choose Iron Heart and you have one basic strike, counter, shift and two stances, one offensive and one defensive that are the same for everyone. Then you get a certain allowance of additional maneuvers, say, two, that can be from any discipline.
Would that make sense?

Deepbluediver
2013-05-24, 07:49 AM
Should we really include all These forced state changes?

IMO, no. I know that its sort-of realistic, and there are some very interesting ideas, but when I need a chart or graph just to know what sort of actions I'm allowed to take, I think that's getting to complicated.


How about a third Kind of maneuver that can be learned. Let's call it a Shift.

My first thougt is: could you come up with enough different ones to make them all memorable and effective? Or would there just be a handful and they can be used with any school?


A different question. How would we go about learning maneuvers? I suggest that at Level one, you choose one discipline and get a few basic maneuvers of that discipline. Like, you choose Iron Heart and you have one basic strike, counter, shift and two stances, one offensive and one defensive that are the same for everyone. Then you get a certain allowance of additional maneuvers, say, two, that can be from any discipline.
Would that make sense?

Again, I prefer simpler, and letting people make as many different choices as they want. I'd probably vote for something like any 2 stances and any 3 manuevers, and then one new stance or manuever per level (or per point of BAB if you want to go that route).
If you feel that's too random, then I'd stick to just one school at level 1. There's plenty of time to branch out as you level up, and even Wizard's don't have their entire spellbook filled at this stage. :smalltongue:

Two slightly related questions though: do you want to include a character's stats in the calculation somwhow? Like one additional manuever per point of wisdom, for example.
And what, if anything, do you want to do about retraining?

Eldan
2013-05-24, 08:08 AM
Good question about "how many can we make". I really don't know.

Let's try to think of one per School?

Into Offensive:
Desert Wind: Make one immediate attack against any foe you threaten.
Devoted Spirit: Until end of turn, any enemy you hit with a strike becomes shaken unless they succeed on [will save].
Diamond Mind: Enemies you attack are flat-footed.
Iron Heart: Reroll any attack rolls you make this turn.
Setting Sun: Free trip against enemies you strike.
Shadow Hand: ?
Tiger Claw: Bonus damage
White Wolf: Allies have +4 to attack rolls against the enemy you attack.

Into Defensive:
Desert Wind: move 10 ft. without provoking attacks of opportunity
Devoted Spirit: heal X damage
Diamond Mind: Dodge or Insight Bonus to AC
Iron Heart: gain attack of opportunity against the next enemy who attacks you
Setting Sun: Free trip against next enemy who misses you
Shadow Hand: miss Chance against the next attack
Tiger Claw: ?
White Raven: neighbouring ally gains +4 to AC

But yeah, probably also not the best idea and not enough variety to cover it.
I'm still against forced stance changes, however. It's taking the agency out of the player's hand.

Edit: I'd rather not include stats in this, no. Fixed number of maneuvers is fine.

cerin616
2013-05-24, 10:54 AM
I believe that the number of maneuvers readied stems from the idea that martial knowledge isn't like riding a bike, you don't just learn it once and it stays there forever. you know how to perform certain maneuvers, but you need to practice them in the morning to recall ever detail of the fluidity, and balance. You need to practice to recall how your weight shift at each precise moment in the midst of the strike.

As for the limited number of uses in combat, I think that stems from the idea that if you keep doing the same thing, the enemy is likely to realize how to combat it pretty quickly. I wouldn't mind having a system of "x maneuvers readied, x maneuvers known, and use of readied at will but each subsequent use in the same encounter incurs penalties"

As for the stance thing, its just a terrible idea. I could go for a system where you can execute any strike in no stance, but using a stance then limits you to either just that school, or possibly 3 schools, giving you bonuses in those strikes.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-24, 06:30 PM
As for the stance thing, its just a terrible idea.

Can you go into more detail about what parts of it you don't like and why? "Saying it's just a terrible idea" isn't very helpful or constructive.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-24, 08:05 PM
Good question about "how many can we make". I really don't know.

Let's try to think of one per School?

We could go through all the stances in the book and classify them into offensive, defensive, and utility. I'm still not sure what a "utility stance" means, though.

Starbuck_II
2013-05-24, 08:41 PM
Fair enough.

Stone Dragon? It's the least exciting school, and I think people have also called it the weakest.

I'd say Desert Wind is least exciting.
Sure fire is cool, but a lot of things are resistant. The extra attack boost isn't bad, but then you get a weak burning hands 2nd level maneuver that deals 2d6 fire forever.

mikalife1
2013-05-24, 09:28 PM
We could go through all the stances in the book and classify them into offensive, defensive, and utility. I'm still not sure what a "utility stance" means, though.
I think that would be like hearing the air or the tiger claw one that gives you a massive bonus to jumping.

Eldan
2013-05-25, 05:33 AM
Not evne that, really. But there's a Tiger Claw stance that gives scent, or a shadow Hand one that lets you walk on air.

Maybe those shouldn't even be stances. I don't know.

Gildedragon
2013-05-25, 05:02 PM
The utility stances and maneuvers are part of the great thing of ToB. Spider walk at will, walking on water, scent, etc are all useful in and out of combat and are part of what puts the classes in the "can do more than one thing" tier. Dropping them is a bad idea, and following the MCHNT school of design. If anything more utility stances ought to exist.

Eldan
2013-05-25, 05:09 PM
I'm not talking about dropping them. I'm rather wondering if they should be combat stances or an extra category of ability that is learned separately.

Gildedragon
2013-05-25, 05:18 PM
Since they got in-combat uses, leave them as such: walking on water is great if fighting something on the water, luring an enemy int diff terrain, or putting distance for a ranged attacker.

Just to Browse
2013-05-25, 10:25 PM
Since they got in-combat uses, leave them as such: walking on water is great if fighting something on the water, luring an enemy int diff terrain, or putting distance for a ranged attacker.

The thing is, stuff in the utility category is super weak when it's not applied to the scenarios it shines in. It would be better to give water walking as a utility spell, so that players don't screw themselves by picking awesome abilities (water walking IS awesome, no one is allowed to debate that).

tarkisflux
2013-05-25, 10:36 PM
I don't have a lot of constructive things to add to this thread other than my well wishes, because it is an interesting idea. But I do have a point on this bit about utility stances...


I'm not talking about dropping them. I'm rather wondering if they should be combat stances or an extra category of ability that is learned separately.

Making them an extra category of thing allows you to use them and a combat stance and whatever else in the same round, actions permitting. So if you want people to use blood in the water and leaping dragon on the same turn (actions permitting), go ahead and make them separate. Else keep them as stances and avoid those interactions.

But if you wanted to make them an extra category, metastance might work nicely as a type and concept. Then you can apply the effect to a stance you know and benefit from both effects without worrying about additional action costs.

Eldan
2013-05-26, 06:55 AM
It occurs to me that we are slowly but surely moving pretty far away from both the original intent of this thread and the Tome of Battle as it stands.

Should we start this as a new project? "A new Martial System for 3.5"?

TuggyNE
2013-05-26, 06:09 PM
It occurs to me that we are slowly but surely moving pretty far away from both the original intent of this thread and the Tome of Battle as it stands.

Moving further away from ToB, yes, but it still seems to fit the general idea of the thread.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-26, 07:34 PM
It occurs to me that we are slowly but surely moving pretty far away from both the original intent of this thread and the Tome of Battle as it stands.

Should we start this as a new project? "A new Martial System for 3.5"?

The way I see it, if our final product can still be called a ToB fix, then we've stayed close enough to our goal. I think what we have so far is good; as long as everything in the book, and everything homebrewed for it, can be integrated into our system, then we've done our job.

Deepbluediver
2013-05-28, 08:06 AM
It occurs to me that we are slowly but surely moving pretty far away from both the original intent of this thread and the Tome of Battle as it stands.

I agree with the tuggyne and Attila that this still feels a lot like ToB at it's core.

But this brings up a good point, I think. One question I frequently ask people with regards to homebrew, is "What is your goal for this project?"

I think the original idea for this thread, merely "Un-Vancianing the Book of Nine Swords" quickly got lost in the other things that people wanted to improve or make better about ToB. I still think its a admirable goal, but perhaps we need to ask ourselves "What was the original goal for ToB?" and "what is the new goal for a complete ToB overhaul?"

If we can agree on an answer for those two questions, maybe it will help people focus on one thing at a time. There are lots of really interesting ideas in this thread, but I feel that people are starting to branch off in half-a-dozen different potential directions. You can start a new thread if you think its necessary, maybe it make it a "vote for the best ToB fix" and go step by step. But whatever we choose, we should try to reach some decision, and not just get sidetracked into a tangle of ideas with no resolution.

Eldan
2013-05-28, 10:32 AM
Okay. How about we write a short Survey about a potential full rewrite, then post it here and over in the 3.5 Forum.

Here's a few suggestions for questions, I'd like to hear some more.



Which rules did you like best about Tome of Battle?
Which rules did you like least about Tome of Battle?
What do you think was missing from the Tome of Battle?
Do you think Tome of Battle would be better if maneuvers were always available, instead of prepared ahead of time?
Do you think maneuvers should be situational, only to be initiated under certain circumstances?
Do you think Stances should have a larger influence on combat?
Should stances limit you to certain strikes?
Should stances be changed more often in combat, to represent e.g. shifting from offence to defence?
Do you like the idea of changing stances giving a benefit, such as changing from a defensive stance to an offensive stance giving a Bonus on the next strike?
Should Utility abilities like scent or walking on water be stances, or their own category?

PairO'Dice Lost
2013-05-28, 01:00 PM
Do you think Tome of Battle would be better if maneuvers were always available, instead of prepared ahead of time?

You might want to change this one to something like "Do you like the current readying mechanic for maneuvers or would you prefer a different system," since "better" can refer to a few different things. Readying is arguably "better" than at-will maneuver usage from a balance standpoint since it prevents spamming WRT, IHS, and other powerful maneuvers, but it isn't necessarily "better" from a flavor or playstyle preference standpoint.

Since people were talking about how to handle the swordsage's 3/4 BAB earlier, I'd also add the following question:
Should access to maneuvers be based on the existing initiator level mechanic, on base attack bonus, or on something else?

Eldan
2013-05-28, 01:51 PM
Mhm. Right. Reworded and new question added.


Which rules did you like best about Tome of Battle?
Which rules did you like least about Tome of Battle?
What do you think was missing from the Tome of Battle?
Do you like the current readying mechanic for maneuvers or would you prefer a different system to determine which maneuvers are available at any given time?
Do you think maneuvers should be situational, only to be initiated under certain circumstances?
Do you think Stances should have a larger influence on combat?
Should stances limit you to certain strikes?
Should stances be changed more often in combat, to represent e.g. shifting from offence to defence?
Do you like the idea of changing stances giving a benefit, such as changing from a defensive stance to an offensive stance giving a Bonus on the next strike?
Should Utility abilities like scent or walking on water be stances, or their own category?
Should access to maneuvers be based on the existing initiator level mechanic, on base attack bonus, or on something else?

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-28, 04:54 PM
Why not use surveymonkey? I'm not sure how big of a survey you can run without paying, but you can ask questions like "on a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you like the Tome of Battle mechanics?" and it'll run analytics for you.

Eldan
2013-05-28, 05:11 PM
Don't know the site, but I'd like answers in text, so that people can make suggestions. And the entry barrier is much lower if we post directly on the forum, instead of giving people a link to off-site.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-28, 05:24 PM
Don't know the site, but I'd like answers in text, so that people can make suggestions. And the entry barrier is much lower if we post directly on the forum, instead of giving people a link to off-site.

Good points, I just thought I'd bring it up.

Do you think you might want to add some numeric answers, so we can have hard data? I can do all the stastics on it- I just think it might be interesting to be able to draw conclusions like "X% of people said Diamond Mind was their favorite school", or "Y% of people said the Crusader was their least favorite base class", or even "Z% of people allow Tome of Battle in their campaigns".

Gildedragon
2013-05-28, 08:32 PM
Survey Filled out


Which rules did you like best about Tome of Battle?
Ex Teleport, Initiator Level mechanics, broadening of combat possibilities
Which rules did you like least about Tome of Battle?
Stances and Maneuvers don't really scale, so you get 3 hammer techniques which do (essentially) the same thing, the borked stance acquisition mechanics, the adaptive style feat-tax
What do you think was missing from the Tome of Battle?
Ranged Support; in particular archery. Rules for integrating exotic weapons into disciplines (eg: I want to use a war-fan but no school covers it so I'm SOL)
Do you like the current readying mechanic for maneuvers or would you prefer a different system to determine which maneuvers are available at any given time?
With 0 being I want no change at all and 10 being I need them to be changed: 3. I like the maneuver system at the moment, but a different mechanism would not be bad.
Do you think maneuvers should be situational, only to be initiated under certain circumstances?
Not really. Not unless they are pretty powerful and useful.
Do you think Stances should have a larger influence on combat?
Not sure I understand this question
Should stances limit you to certain strikes?
No
Should stances be changed more often in combat, to represent e.g. shifting from offence to defence?
It ought to be a play-style that's supported. It'd be more dynamic in certain groups, though for others it'd make combat slower. That is, there should be a benefit to do so; but not obligatory.
Do you like the idea of changing stances giving a benefit, such as changing from a defensive stance to an offensive stance giving a Bonus on the next strike?
Yes!
Should Utility abilities like scent or walking on water be stances, or their own category?
Stances.
Should access to maneuvers be based on the existing initiator level mechanic, on base attack bonus, or on something else?
I like the initiator-level + prereqs mechanic in place. it establishes a sense of training and progress.

Bonus Round:

Favorite School:
Shadow Hand
Favorite Stance/Maneuver:
Tactics of the Wolf / Shadow Blink
Favorite Class
Swordsage
Favorite Prestige Class
Shadow Sun Ninja
Least Favorite School:
Tiger Claw
Least Favorite Stance/Maneuver:
Fiery Assault/Ancient Mountain Hammer
Least Favorite Class:
Crusader
ToB allowed:
Hells yeah. I encourage my meleers to at least try the classes out.

Eldan
2013-05-29, 11:58 AM
Those are some good bonus questions, and I think I spotted a few more that I think I should add. Thanks. If no one has any additions, I'll post it in a few hours.

There's a few more questions, and some clarifications.


As a DM, do you, or would you, allow Tome of Battle to be used?
As a player, have you played or would you like to play Tome of Battle characters?
Which are your favourite and least favourite, school, maneuver, stance and class in the Tome of Battle?
Which rules did you like best about Tome of Battle?
Which rules did you like least about Tome of Battle?
What do you think was missing from the Tome of Battle?
Do you like the current readying mechanic for maneuvers or would you prefer a different system to determine which maneuvers are available at any given time?
Do you think maneuvers should be situational, only to be initiated under certain circumstances?
Do you think Stances should have a larger influence on combat? E.g. should certain maneuvers and abilities only be available in certain stances?
Should stances be changed more often in combat, to represent e.g. shifting from offence to defence?
Do you like the idea of changing stances giving a benefit, such as changing from a defensive stance to an offensive stance giving a Bonus on the next strike?
Should Utility abilities like scent or walking on water be stances, or their own category?
Should access to maneuvers be based on the existing initiator level mechanic, on base attack bonus, or on something else, such as more detailed requirements including non-maneuver prerequisites?
Should weapon selection and discipline weapons be more important?
Would you prefer maneuvers to scale more with level, so that they stay relevant for longer, or should there be maneuvers that do essentially the same as lower level maneuvers, just with stronger effect?
Should Tome of Battle techniques be more easily available to all combat-oriented classes, or should they mostly be restricted to specialist classes?

Just to Browse
2013-05-29, 02:11 PM
Too many questions... Eyes... Glazing over...

EDIT: Zzzzzzzz

Eldan
2013-05-29, 02:14 PM
No one's forcing you to read it. Or to make needlessly dickish comments. Or to be in this thread. Feel free to go read something else that's more fit to your attention span.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-29, 03:13 PM
As obnoxiously as it was put, Just to Browse does have a point. A lot of answers can be inferred from others - for example, while I think "Do you like the idea of changing stances giving a benefit?" is an interesting question, its answer will rarely differ from "Should stances be changed more often in combat?", because if changing gives a benefit then players will choose to change more often.

I'd like to be able to narrow it to 5 or 10 questions and let everyone answer with as much or as little as they like. If we include a caveat at the beginning that says "feel free to include extra feedback, but it's not required", how do you feel about these?

1) Do you, as a DM, allow content from Tome of Battle in your games? (If you are not a DM, say so as well.)

I don't think we can leave this out. It gives a proportion of people who allow ToB. Including the second part also lets us say "X% of all people would allow it, but only Y% of actual DMs do". If there's a large difference, that shows that running a game involving ToB is less of a benefit for the DM than for a player, but if the difference is small, then a DM and player benefit equally.

2) Of the nine schools (Desert Wind, Devoted Spirit, Diamond Mind, Iron Heart, Setting Sun, Shadow Hand, Stone Dragon, Tiger Claw, and White Raven), which are your favorite and least favorite?

This is an easy two-part question for someone who wants to answer quickly. Including the names of the schools makes sure none are forgotten about. I dropped favorite class because there are only three options, favorite maneuver because there are too many for most people to know (and it's unlikely that there would be one clear favorite), and stance for the same reason as maneuver.

3) What were your favorite things in Tome of Battle?

Pretty self-explanatory, lets us know what there should be more of.

4) If you could change one thing about Tome of Battle other than making initiators less like spellcasters, what would it be?

For people who want to answer quickly, they just have to name one thing. And for people who would answer in greater detail, they have to make an important choice about what to name. I included the second clause because that's our goal already, and I also predict it being the most common answer if we don't restrict it.

5) On a scale of 1 to 10, with the current value being [whatever we agree on], how important do you think stances should be?

The question "how important should it be" is just as easy to answer but gives more data than "should it be more important". It gives us a numeric index of how people feel about stances, and a strong guideline as to how much they should change. Giving a number for the current value normalizes the answers.

6) On a scale of 1 to 10, with the current value being [whatever we agree on], how important do you think weapon selection and a discipline's favored weapon should be?

See above, and I also think it's just an interesting question. However, we might want to cut it to bring the number down to 5, because "only 5 questions" sounds much easier than "only 7 questions", and it's less important than the next one.

7) Do you think a character's stance should restrict the maneuvers they can initiate some of the time, all of the time, or never?

This is an important question, and I would feel bad leaving it out because it's so central to our discussion. For the people who want to answer quickly, it's multiple choice, but there's a lot of room for elaboration for people who want to answer more.

Overall, I want to make a survey that can be answered in detail or with a minimum of effort, to try to get as many respondents as possible. One problem with voluntary-response sampling (only gathering data from people who choose to answer) is people who have strong feelings are more likely to respond, leaving people whose feelings are neutral or mixed out of the data. By making a short survey that can be done in two or three minutes, I hope we can get data from those people too.

Another thing we need to think about is how we're going to actually run the survey. If we start sending out a whole bunch of identical messages, that could look like spam. At the very least, we should run it by the mods. What I would do is set up a google docs spreadsheet that anyone can edit, and then each of us plugs in the responses and clears our inboxes every 90 messages. (I say 90 to leave room for personal PMs or responses that come while counting.)

Eldan
2013-05-29, 03:37 PM
I don't think that would help much. After all, the point was to specifically ask about several of the ideas we had. "How important should stances be?" does not give people any idea about the suggestions we had about stances to think on.

But okay, slightly shorter:


Do you use Tome of Battle in your games? If no, why not?
What do you like most/least in the tome of battle, fluff excluded?
What do you think is missing from the Tome of Battle?
Do you like the readying mechanic for maneuvers?
Do you think initiators should only be able to use their maneuvers when certain conditions are met?
Do you think Stances should have a larger influence on combat? E.g. should certain maneuvers and abilities only be available in certain stances?
Should stances be changed more often in combat, to represent e.g. shifting from offence to defence?
Do you like the idea of changing stances giving a benefit, such as changing from a defensive stance to an offensive stance giving a Bonus on the next strike?
Should Utility abilities like scent or walking on water be stances, or their own category?
What do you think should determine which maneuvers are available to learn at any given point? (E.g. Initiator level, base attack bonus, complicated prerequisites?)
Should a discipline's preferred weapons be more important?
Should maneuvers scale with level, so that they stay relevant longer?
Should maneuvers be available to all martial classes, or just specialists?

Zaydos
2013-05-29, 03:54 PM
I'll give it a go.

Which rules did you like best about Tome of Battle?: Round by round choices other than full attack for melee.

Which rules did you like least about Tome of Battle?: Ex Heal spell (I think the Devoted Spirit healing maneuvers should have been Su like the Desert Wind fire ones and the Shadow Hand Invisibility/Teleport ones), unclear effects such as Iron Heart Surge (can't be used while affected by several of the abilities it specifically affects, and the wording is loose enough it could theoretically blot out the sun) and things like the ability to White Raven Tactics yourself.

What do you think was missing from the Tome of Battle?: Ranged combat options.

Do you like the current readying mechanic for maneuvers or would you prefer a different system to determine which maneuvers are available at any given time?: I like the current one, but I can understand why people would have a problem with it, and would enjoy at least on an intellectual level to see what people cook up to replace it.

Do you think maneuvers should be situational, only to be initiated under certain circumstances?: Depends upon power level. It also depends upon how many maneuvers you'd know.

Do you think Stances should have a larger influence on combat? E.g. should certain maneuvers and abilities only be available in certain stances?: Most have a big one already (Pearl of Black Doubt, Assassin's Stance, Leaping Dragon Stance + Sudden Leap, etc). I like that some stances are not pure combat choices and others are. Ultimately this could be an interesting way to do it, but unless the stance mechanic was changed significantly I can't see this as a balancing mechanic. If it only applies to strikes then it's a slight debuff to boosts and counters since if you use one of those you lock yourself into a certain stance for your strike, but for the most part would just be something annoying to keep track of. If it applies to boosts and counters its a serious debuff to Swordsages and to Desert Wind, and Diamond Mind which rely primarily on boosts and counters respectively using strikes from other disciplines. Also giving you bonus stances at 1st level would probably end up making this a net power increase, at least at low levels where ToB is already relatively strongest (although it might switch at high where it's relatively weakest). So I'd say no.

Should stances be changed more often in combat, to represent e.g. shifting from offence to defence?: This sounds more interesting and could actually present a neat mechanic. That said I'd not spring it on my RL players.

Do you like the idea of changing stances giving a benefit, such as changing from a defensive stance to an offensive stance giving a Bonus on the next strike?: Too many unknowns. With the current power level of maneuvers doesn't seem necessary, but if you're overhauling maneuvers this might be needed.

Should Utility abilities like scent or walking on water be stances, or their own category?: Depends upon how heavy your overhaul is. I like them being Stances but if you end up with stances having effects on combat outside of the direct effects of say +2d6 sneak attack and such it may prove necessary.

Should access to maneuvers be based on the existing initiator level mechanic, on base attack bonus, or on something else, such as more detailed requirements including non-maneuver prerequisites?: I'd say initiator level. If you felt like changing it, I'd say instead of changing it completely just make it so that non-initiating class have an initiator level equal to their BAB, so that any class with built in maneuvers got full IL as did any full BAB class. The idea of non-maneuver prerequisites, though, I do like. A Stone Dragon maneuver could have Balance requirements, or even Strength ones (though not just Strength ones) and it might be kind of neat.

As a DM, do you, or would you, allow Tome of Battle to be used?: Yes.

As a player, have you played or would you like to play Tome of Battle characters?: Yes.

Which are your favourite and least favourite, school, maneuver, stance and class in the Tome of Battle?: Diamond Mind, Desert Wind; Sudden Leap (free movement), not sure; Leading the Charge (probably the strongest 1st level stance by a good margin), the other 1st level White Raven stance for being so much worse; Warblade, Crusader.

Should weapon selection and discipline weapons be more important?: Not without serious overhaul as it cuts out use of character archetypes and exotic weapons. It is a neat idea, though, and a part of me hates that they aren't more important, but another part of me already chafes under Shadow Blade making Shadow Hand weapons so important.

Would you prefer maneuvers to scale more with level, so that they stay relevant for longer, or should there be maneuvers that do essentially the same as lower level maneuvers, just with stronger effect?: The latter. Gives you encouragement to diversify between boosts and counters (which tend not to get outdated) and strikes and prevents you from having the same game winning move throughout your career.

Should Tome of Battle techniques be more easily available to all combat-oriented classes, or should they mostly be restricted to specialist classes?: Martial Stance and Study already allow you to pick up bits, as do 1 level dips, but I do like the specialist classes being plain better at it. I'd be wary about letting a few feats duplicate a class's entire purpose.

Edit: Ninja'd by shorter version of survey...

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-29, 04:07 PM
After all, the point was to specifically ask about several of the ideas we had. "How important should stances be?" does not give people any idea about the suggestions we had about stances to think on.

Hm. I think it's important to have a survey that can be done quickly if someone chooses to, but you're right in that putting each idea up for feedback would be valuable. How about saying "Scale of 1 to 10, how important should stances be? Optionally, review each of the following ideas (in a spoiler) with a 1-10 rating, written feedback, or both". I'm really big on the 1 to 10 rating scale because it's simple, it's easy to answer, and it just gives more information than a yes or no question.


But okay, slightly shorter:

By the way, they should definitely be numbered. It just makes them easier to keep track of. Also, it's easier to compose answers. I expect responses to look like "1) yes, 2) 4/10, 3) Shadow Hand" (or something), which is just more difficult if they're not numbered.

Edit: Spoilered for length.


Do you like the readying mechanic for maneuvers?

Like I said, I'm big on quantifiable answers. We can just draw more conclusions from "on a scale of 1 to 10, how much..." questions than "yes or no" ones.


Do you think initiators should only be able to use their maneuvers when certain conditions are met?
Do you think Stances should have a larger influence on combat? E.g. should certain maneuvers and abilities only be available in certain stances?

I like these questions, but I think the second's example can be rolled into the first. Something like this:

Do you think initiators should only be able to use their maneuvers when certain conditions are met? For example, should certain maneuvers and abilities only be available in certain stances?
Do you think Stances should have a larger influence on combat?

would work better, I think.


Should stances be changed more often in combat, to represent e.g. shifting from offence to defence?

I'm nitpicking here, but it's easier to read if the example is in a parenthetical and/or in its own sentence. Should stances be changed more often in combat? (For example, to represent shifting from offense to defense.) puts more of the main focus on the question and leaves the example as a secondary clarification, which it is.


Do you like the idea of changing stances giving a benefit, such as changing from a defensive stance to an offensive stance giving a Bonus on the next strike?

We should change "do you like the idea of..." to "should...", to cut down on answers like 'yeah, it's a nice idea, but it wouldn't work because ____". I'd also reword it as above to S changing stances give a benefit? (For example, changing from a defensive stance to an offensive stance giving a bonus on the next strike.)


What do you think should determine which maneuvers are available to learn at any given point? (E.g. Initiator level, base attack bonus, complicated prerequisites?)

Were there any reasons not to use initiator level? Maybe changing it to "Should learning maneuvers have prerequisites, such as base attack bonus, in addition to initiator level?" would be more concise.


Should a discipline's preferred weapons be more important?

"To what extent should a discipline's preferred weapons be important" allows the answer "not at all" or "less than they are now, but not at all", whereas with current wording they'd both just be "no".


Should maneuvers scale with level, so that they stay relevant longer?
Should maneuvers be available to all martial classes, or just specialists?

Like above, I think these can both have "Should" replaced with "To what extent" .

I'm trying to nitpick and narrow down the questions to make them as easy and unbiased as possible.

Eldan
2013-05-29, 04:16 PM
Mhm. Good. Though I'm not sure we need quantifiable answers. This is to get a general sense of what the community believes, not to run statistical anaylsis of answers and user profiles against each other. It's not a scientific study. (Otherwise, I'd start with different user groups, maker answers hidden and it properly :smalltongue:) I also just don't really believe in numerical values from one to ten. In my experience, when I fill out a survey, I just mentally assign values to "Yes, No, Maybe" and then mainly use those values.


1. Do you use Tome of Battle in your games? If no, why not?
2. What do you like most/least in the tome of battle, fluff excluded?
3. What do you think is missing from the Tome of Battle?
4. How much do you like the existing readying mechanic for maneuvers?
5. Do you think initiators should only be able to use their maneuvers when certain conditions are met? (E.g. only in certain stances, or after enemies have done certain actions?)
5. Do you think Stances should have a larger influence on combat?
6. Should stances be changed more often in combat? (For example, to show shifting from offence to defence?)
7. Should changing stances give a benefit? (For example, changing from a defensive stance to an offensive stance giving a bonus on the next strike.)
8. Should Utility abilities like scent or walking on water be stances, or their own category?
9. Should learning maneuvers have prerequisites other than initiator level? (For example, base attack bonus, skill ranks, attribute values)
10. Should a discipline's preferred weapons be more important?
11. To what extent should maneuvers scale with level, so that they stay relevant longer?
12. To what extent should maneuvers be available to all martial classes, or just specialists?

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-29, 04:38 PM
Mhm. Good. Though I'm not sure we need quantifiable answers. This is to get a general sense of what the community believes, not to run statistical anaylsis of answers and user profiles against each other. It's not a scientific study. (Otherwise, I'd start with different user groups, maker answers hidden and it properly :smalltongue:) I also just don't really believe in numerical values from one to ten. In my experience, when I fill out a survey, I just mentally assign values to "Yes, No, Maybe" and then mainly use those values.

I don't see what's to lose from asking questions with quantifiable answers. We can compress the data into yes/no/maybe brackets by calling 1-3 no, 4-6 maybe, and 7-10 yes. At this point, the only questions that would benefit from a scale are numbers 5, 10, 11, and 12, and quantifiable answers just give more detail. At the very least, there's nothing to be lost.

Eldan
2013-05-29, 04:52 PM
Right, right.


1. Do you use Tome of Battle in your games? If no, why not?
2. What do you like most/least in the tome of battle, fluff excluded?
3. What do you think is missing from the Tome of Battle?
4. How much do you like the existing readying mechanic for maneuvers?
5. Do you think initiators should only be able to use their maneuvers when certain conditions are met? (E.g. only in certain stances, or after enemies have done certain actions?)
5. On a scale of 1-10, how much influence should Stances have on combat? (5 being where they currently are.)
6. Should stances be changed more often in combat? (For example, to show shifting from offence to defence?)
7. Should changing stances give a benefit? (For example, changing from a defensive stance to an offensive stance giving a bonus on the next strike.)
8. Should Utility abilities like scent or walking on water be stances, or their own category?
9. Should learning maneuvers have prerequisites other than initiator level? (For example, base attack bonus, skill ranks, attribute values)
10. On a scale of 1-10, how important should a discipline's preferred weapons be? (For example, should strikes be limited to discipline weapons, or be better with discipline weapons?)
11. On a scale of 1-10, to what extent should maneuvers scale with level, so that they stay relevant longer?
12. On a scale of 1-10, to what extent should maneuvers be available to all martial classes, or just specialists?

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-29, 05:02 PM
So I think we're ready. What's the plan for distributing the survey? Do you want to go with what I proposed before?


Another thing we need to think about is how we're going to actually run the survey. If we start sending out a whole bunch of identical messages, that could look like spam. At the very least, we should run it by the mods. What I would do is set up a google docs spreadsheet that anyone can edit, and then each of us plugs in the responses and clears our inboxes every 90 messages. (I say 90 to leave room for personal PMs or responses that come while counting.)

Eldan
2013-05-29, 05:04 PM
Faaar too much effort. I'd say it's much easier to just start a new thread for it, even if it is not scientifically rigorous.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-29, 05:46 PM
Would you like to do the honors?

Eldan
2013-05-29, 05:58 PM
Sure. It's over in the 3.5 forum, I thought we'd probably get a bigger audience there.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-29, 06:30 PM
Sure. It's over in the 3.5 forum, I thought we'd probably get a bigger audience there.

Naturally. Do you think we should post one here as well?

Eldan
2013-05-29, 06:34 PM
Not sure if that's necessary. I assume most people who come into homebrew go there as well, and the mods dislike double threads.


Side note:
I find it interesting how much people would like to see ranged. I know of about four homebrew ranged disciplines already in existence on the boards, so I don't think we actually need to do much there. (Precision archery, volley archery, magical archery and gunpowder weapons are those I can think of.)

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-29, 06:46 PM
We only have six data points (and one of them is me), but what surprised me was the lack of excitement over stances. All these cool stance and shifting ideas were being tossed around in this thread a page or two back, but everyone else seems to be fine with stances as they are. As of this post, every single person besides myself has responded to this question


5. On a scale of 1-10, how much influence should Stances have on combat? (5 being where they currently are.)

with "5" or "6". Without the data gained from this survey, we might have wound up with sweeping stance changes that people would have disliked.

Eldan
2013-05-29, 06:48 PM
We could make them optional. As feats, maybe. Or counters, only instead of triggering on enemy actions, they'd trigger on your own.

Eldan
2013-05-30, 08:11 AM
A small Suggestion:

A lot of people over in the survey seem to dislike the idea of making discipline weapons too important, but the idea of a small bonus came up.

So, how about we do something like this, for every school:

If using weapons of [weapon Group] while being in a[school] stance, you gain [Bonus].

E.g.
If using weapons of the light blades group (dagger, punching dagger, rapier, and short sword) your penalty for fighting with two weapons is reduced by .

While using weapons of the monk weapons group (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham) while in a Setting Sun stance, you ignore all penalties for using a light weapon in a disarm attempt and your opponent has no bonus for using a two-handed weapon in a disarm attempt.


So, just small, but flavourful things.

Eldan
2013-05-30, 03:44 PM
So, what I'm taking away from the survey, though I'l lleave it open:


People don't want at-will maneuvers. The preferred mechanic seems to be something like the Warblade or Swordsage with Adaptive Style. Crusader is seen as too complicated in actual play (I agree.) That's a surprise to me, as it was the first thing I would have changed.

People don't like too big a focus on discipline weapons. I think we could probably just drop that idea entirely.

What a lot of people want and I think is a good idea: more and more varied stances. My suggestion is starting off every initiator with about three stances, making more stances in general, of every level, and making more utility stances. I'll start writing down ideas for utility stances.

I'd also like more counters. A lot more counters.

Anything else?

Eldan
2013-05-30, 03:58 PM
Random disjointed notes:
More Stances that improve senses.


Tiger Claw:
Counter that intimidates enemy you hit.
More support for TWF.
More speed increases.
Acrobatics? Wall running? Some kind of double jump?

Iron heart:
Fix, fix, fix Iron Heart Surge. Lesser version removes a list of conditions. Greater (around level 6?) allows acting when unable to act (such as petrified, paralyzed). More if appropriate.

Shadow Hand:
Evasion as a stance?
More shadow-illusion type stuff? Mirror Image? 5ft. radius darkness around initiator?
Split into mundane rogue discipline and shadow magic discipline?

Devoted Spirit:
Intercept attacks for allies was mentioned.
Sense hostility type deal?

Desert Wind:
More flying-type maneuvers?
More light maneuvers? Blind enemies?

Diamond Mind:
Anti-illusion deal. Hearing the Air helps, but this could be better.
Uncanny Dodge as a stance?

Draz74
2013-05-30, 05:44 PM
So, what I'm taking away from the survey, though I'l lleave it open:


People don't want at-will maneuvers. The preferred mechanic seems to be something like the Warblade or Swordsage with Adaptive Style. Crusader is seen as too complicated in actual play (I agree.) That's a surprise to me, as it was the first thing I would have changed.
I told you so.:smalltongue:

I still think there's room here for a different system of "recharging," such as a simple graph theory network of abilities only being available in certain stances, or an at-will Strike ("Repositioning Strike") that just makes a normal melee attack but has the side effect of refreshing all your spent maneuvers.


People don't like too big a focus on discipline weapons. I think we could probably just drop that idea entirely.
Hmmm. I guess. Seems like some flavorful potential design space; shame to waste it. But I can't really think what it should be used for that wouldn't be too restrictive.

Maybe just a small minority of Feats and Maneuvers that require using a discipline weapon?

I wasn't fond of the previous notion of "fiddly little bonuses in various stances for using discipline weapons."


Tiger Claw:
Counter that intimidates enemy you hit.
Hmm ... this is a big break from precedent. ToB generally avoids maneuvers referencing any skills besides the Key Skill for the discipline. But Intimidating Tiger Claw stuff makes sense fluff-wise, so maybe this precedent is a sacred cow that would make a tasty steak.


More support for TWF.
This is really pretty good at fixing TWF already. I don't know why there were complaints about it being inadequate.

But I suppose a little more wouldn't hurt anything.


Iron heart:
Fix, fix, fix Iron Heart Surge. Lesser version removes a list of conditions. Greater (around level 6?) allows acting when unable to act (such as petrified, paralyzed). More if appropriate.
Being able to move through things like Solid Fog is important too.

And Iron Heart's got a few strikes and stances that are way too weak, just sad. They should be upgraded.

And Lightning Throw doesn't fit with the rest of the Discipline, IMO. Should be demoted to a Feat or a PrC feature or something.


Shadow Hand:
Evasion as a stance?
Kinda feels more like a Desert Wind thing, honestly. Also, it's kinda weird to write a DW/SH stance that is useless for Swordsages (who already get Evasion).


More shadow-illusion type stuff? Mirror Image? 5ft. radius darkness around initiator?
I like.


Desert Wind:
More flying-type maneuvers?
More light maneuvers? Blind enemies?
I'd like to see more maneuvers that enhance mobility, along the lines of Desert Tempest.


Diamond Mind:
Anti-illusion deal. Hearing the Air helps, but this could be better.
Uncanny Dodge as a stance?

Uncanny Dodge feels more like Desert Wind, Tiger Claw, or Iron Heart to me. (Improved Uncanny Dodge definitely seems like an Iron Heart thing. Or DW, I suppose.)

What I'd like to see more in Diamond Mind, utility-wise, is replacing more things with Concentration checks. Replacing Spot or Listen with Concentration would make sense. Maybe replacing Initiative with Concentration?

In fact, I think replacing various rolls with skill checks more is a good area for all Disciplines to expand. The Stone Dragon stances that give you bonuses to resist bullrush/trip/etc. could let you replace your normal Str/Dex check with a Balance check, for example.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-30, 05:57 PM
We have a couple options at this point.

We could homebrew stuff for ToB, adding more stances and counters, adding feats for discipline weapons, and maybe writing a ranged discipline.

We could make some small changes to the mechanics, like stance-switching bonuses (as you just mentioned).

Or, we could write our own non-vancian martial system that can incorporate material written for ToB. This would be a return to the discussion a couple pages back in this thread. Personally, this is my favorite of the three options, but since you seem to be leading the project, your call.

Draz74
2013-05-30, 06:05 PM
but since you seem to be leading the project, your call.

I assume this was directed at Eldan, not me. :smallwink:

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-30, 06:11 PM
I assume this was directed at Eldan, not me. :smallwink:

Yeeeah, I missed your post.

Just to Browse
2013-05-30, 10:59 PM
No one's forcing you to read it. Or to make needlessly dickish comments. Or to be in this thread.


As obnoxiously as Just to Browse put it...

Yikes. This is what I get for trying to inject humor into pet projects. Yes sirs, enjoy your project.

Gildedragon
2013-05-31, 12:43 AM
Eldan: You mention in the survey that vocab is a problem with the development of a new subsystem. I posit the following replacements for the terms of ToB. I tried to make them a bit more occidental in flavor.

Stance: Pose
Maneuver: Play or Technique
Boost: Boost or Flourish or Flower
Strike: Blow
Counter: Parry

Eldan
2013-05-31, 03:26 AM
The problem is that the vocabulary in Tome of Battle is what is genuinely used in martial arts, as far as I know.

TuggyNE
2013-05-31, 03:47 AM
The problem is that the vocabulary in Tome of Battle is what is genuinely used in martial arts, as far as I know.

With the possible exception of "boosts".

However, martial arts is one of those annoying areas where the popular conception is likely to be exceedingly inaccurate and highly prone to opinionated scorn (see: "too anime"), so avoiding backlash from the coconut effect* might be worth trying.

*TV Tropes link (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheCoconutEffect) warning.

Gildedragon
2013-05-31, 03:59 AM
I figure out different terms are just handy for not having a level level level level thing go on when discussing ToB to New Subsystem

Also tuggyne's reasoning. some people dislike ToB because of how it meshes with their views of fantasy. Figure out terms that evoke more of a fencing tradition would work to address that.

Eldan
2013-05-31, 04:54 AM
I would still prefer not starting a new system. I think we would do pretty well with just the following:

-Unified maneuver restoration mechanic
-More maneuvers and stances known for all classes
-More maneuvers and stances for each school, mainly more varied utility stances and counters
-Cleaning up some maneuvers that work badly.

Edit: and I'm pretty sure that fencers also call it "stance". I'm getting 15 Million Google results for "fencing stance" and about two Million for "fencing pose".

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-31, 05:58 AM
Actually, as a fencer, they're called positions. But that does have less of a nice ring to it.

Eldan
2013-05-31, 06:25 AM
Ah. Well, good to know we have an actual Fencer here. My only martial arts experience is two year of Judo when I was about ten years old and that was thought in a mixture of Swiss German and random Japanese terms no one bothered to translate.

Deepbluediver
2013-05-31, 10:01 PM
I would still prefer not starting a new system. I think we would do pretty well with just the following:

-Unified maneuver restoration mechanic
-More maneuvers and stances known for all classes
-More maneuvers and stances for each school, mainly more varied utility stances and counters
-Cleaning up some maneuvers that work badly.

All that sounds good; I'd be glad to help out in any way I can.

One thing I've been thinking about is giving all the classes access to more disciplines. I never got around to the responding the survey, but one thing I liked best about ToB was the division of abilities into different styles; I am less fond of the limitations on what each class has access too.

IMO, any particular character should be limited in what they can do, but the classes should have more ability to build any way they want. What I'm getting at, is that I think the classes should have a broader range of options in terms of what schools they have access too. For example, any given Crusader might only be able to learn maneuvers and stances from 3 different disciplines, but they should be able to pick those three in any combination.

Differences between classes will come from things like HD, skill points, weapon and armor proficiencies, and of course unique class abilities.

Eldan
2013-06-01, 01:45 AM
I've mentioned it a few times, but I think it bears mentioning here as well:

We should not try and replicate what other homebrew is already doing. Age of Warriors has dozens nad dozens of disciplines in it. More than we could make if we spent the next three years on this project exclusively. Among them several for archery and at least one I remember for mounted combat.

Deepbluediver
2013-06-01, 08:03 AM
We should not try and replicate what other homebrew is already doing. Age of Warriors has dozens and dozens of disciplines in it. More than we could make if we spent the next three years on this project exclusively. Among them several for archery and at least one I remember for mounted combat.

I was really just talking about spreading out the nine published disciplines a bit more.
I slept on this last night, and sort of came up with 2 potential options.


Possibility A
This is the "give everyone everything (sort of)" option.

Since the Warblade is supposed to be a Fighter-analogue, he can (potentially) learn stances and maneuvers from any discipline. You could probably find 1-3 disciplines that didn't really fit the flavor of a Crusader (Shadow Hand, Tiger Claw) and the Swordsage (Stone Dragon, White Raven), but each would have access to almost all of them. At least each class would.

In any given build, you could start the Warblade off with just 1 or 2 disciplines of his choice, and have him gain access to a new one every couple of levels. For the Crusader you could start him off with 3, but those will be the only 3 he ever gets. Or make up something new entirely, like Swordsage has access to only 2 disciplines at a time, but he can change them every day (by aligning his chi or whatever, the fluff is mutable). I'm not saying that's exactly what you need to do, but something like it would probably be a good idea.


Possibility B
This is the "absolutely fair" option.

There are 9 disciplines and 3 initiator classes. If you give every class access to 6 of them, each discipline will be available to exactly 2 classes.
Here's what I recommend:

discipline|Crusader|Swordsage|Warblade

Desert Wind||
X|
X

Devoted Spirit|
X|
X|

Diamond Mind|
X|
X|
O

Iron Heart|
X||
X

Setting Sun|
X|
X|

Shadow Hand||
X|
X

Stone Dragon|
X|
O|
X

Tiger Claw||
X|
X

White Raven|
X||
X
X= Discipline known
X= Discipline gained
O= Discipline removed

My rationale is this: the Crusader got 3 new disciplines to fill out his ranks. I picked the ones that just felt the most paladin-tanky.
The Warblade lost Diamond Mind and picked up Desert Wind and Shadow Hand because movement and sneaky-stealthy-stabby felt more like Fighter things to me than "battle of wills".
The Swordsage traded Stone Dragon for Devoted Spirit, because WotC decided in their infinite wisdom that Stone Dragon was what everyone really wanted to play and that needed changing. And because monk.

Anyone is free to disagree with any part of my assessment and rearrange the table as they see fit. Also, I think I prefer to this second option better, but I also thing I'm borderline OCD when it comes to stuff like this. Other people should weigh in for a more objective evaluation, and I could live with either.

Amechra
2013-06-01, 07:38 PM
Quick question: what about homebrew disciplines with the second one?

Eldan
2013-06-03, 01:47 PM
Okay, the survey has died down. I think we already discussed what we have to do.

Here's a summary again.

-Unified maneuver restoration/preparation mechanic: like the Warblade.
-More maneuvers and stances known for all classes: I think starting with something like 2 or 3 stances and one each of counter, strike and boost is a good start.
-More maneuvers and stances for each school, mainly more varied utility stances and counters: see below
-Cleaning up some maneuvers that work badly. Iron Heart is the main offender, tell me if you know any others.

So, I say we should start with two things.

1. The Basic Mechanics
What do we need to rewrite here? Studying, learning, preparing, initiating maneuvers, what needs to change? What is our preparing/refreshing maneuvers mechanic? Do we go for a cooldown or spending actions on refreshing? How about alternate refreshing mechanics (I liked the idea of changing stances refreshing maneuvers)?

2. The Schools
Everything needs more maneuvers, especially counters, and stances. I think a good start would be what each discipline should be good at, because I think there's some overlap. I also suggest a new school division, see below.

Desert Wind:
Wind and fire, movement speed, flight, blinding, distracting, fire damage, supernatural school.

Devoted Spirit:
Alignment, toughness, (self-)healing, protecting allies. Partially supernatural.

Diamond Mind:
Meditation, insight, anticipation, awareness. Saving throws, touch attacks, bullet time.

Hawk's Feather:
New school, name sucks and needs to change. Archery school, with tools for both sniping and volley shots. Secondary theme of senses and spot as a skill.

Hidden Blade:
A new school, part of Shadow Hand. A mundane rogue's school with themes of feinting, sneak attacks and disabling enemies quickly with status effects. Bluff as a skill.

Iron Heart:
Mastery of the blade. Trade-offs between offence and defence. Disarming and parrying. Footwork, apparently, since there's balance as a skill, though I don't see much of it.

Setting Sun:
A school focused on mobile defence and "the bigger they are, the harder they fall". Tripping and throwing enemies if they attack you, also the most counter-heavy school.

Shadow Hand:
The supernatural parts of the old shadow hand. Ranged attacks, life draining attacks, darkness and illusions. Supernatural school.

Stone Dragon:
The toughness school. This turns the initiator into either an unmoving rock or a landslide. Smashes through enemy defences brutally. Where Devoted Spirit is willpower and setting sun is evasion, this one is endurance.

Tiger Claw:
The savage school. Giving up defence for offensive. Brutally ripping apart things with your bare hands. Jumping all over the place unexpectedly.


Now, I see two points of overlap. Devoted Spirit and Stone Dragon have both a theme of toughness that needs to be diversified. Tiger Claw, Desert Wind and, to a lesser degree Diamond Mind all get speed.

Eldan
2013-06-06, 04:19 AM
People, I'm not rewriting an entire book on my own.

Deepbluediver
2013-06-06, 09:21 AM
People, I'm not rewriting an entire book on my own.

LAY-ZEE! :smalltongue:


Okay, the survey has died down. I think we already discussed what we have to do.

Here's a summary again.

-Unified maneuver restoration/preparation mechanic: like the Warblade.
-More maneuvers and stances known for all classes: I think starting with something like 2 or 3 stances and one each of counter, strike and boost is a good start.
-More maneuvers and stances for each school, mainly more varied utility stances and counters: see below
-Cleaning up some maneuvers that work badly. Iron Heart is the main offender, tell me if you know any others.

So, I say we should start with two things.

1. The Basic Mechanics
What do we need to rewrite here? Studying, learning, preparing, initiating maneuvers, what needs to change? What is our preparing/refreshing maneuvers mechanic? Do we go for a cooldown or spending actions on refreshing? How about alternate refreshing mechanics (I liked the idea of changing stances refreshing maneuvers)?

2. The Schools
Everything needs more maneuvers, especially counters, and stances. I think a good start would be what each discipline should be good at, because I think there's some overlap. I also suggest a new school division, see below.

Desert Wind:
Wind and fire, movement speed, flight, blinding, distracting, fire damage, supernatural school.

Devoted Spirit:
Alignment, toughness, (self-)healing, protecting allies. Partially supernatural.

Diamond Mind:
Meditation, insight, anticipation, awareness. Saving throws, touch attacks, bullet time.

Hawk's Feather:
New school, name sucks and needs to change. Archery school, with tools for both sniping and volley shots. Secondary theme of senses and spot as a skill.

Hidden Blade:
A new school, part of Shadow Hand. A mundane rogue's school with themes of feinting, sneak attacks and disabling enemies quickly with status effects. Bluff as a skill.

Iron Heart:
Mastery of the blade. Trade-offs between offence and defence. Disarming and parrying. Footwork, apparently, since there's balance as a skill, though I don't see much of it.

Setting Sun:
A school focused on mobile defence and "the bigger they are, the harder they fall". Tripping and throwing enemies if they attack you, also the most counter-heavy school.

Shadow Hand:
The supernatural parts of the old shadow hand. Ranged attacks, life draining attacks, darkness and illusions. Supernatural school.

Stone Dragon:
The toughness school. This turns the initiator into either an unmoving rock or a landslide. Smashes through enemy defences brutally. Where Devoted Spirit is willpower and setting sun is evasion, this one is endurance.

Tiger Claw:
The savage school. Giving up defence for offensive. Brutally ripping apart things with your bare hands. Jumping all over the place unexpectedly.


Now, I see two points of overlap. Devoted Spirit and Stone Dragon have both a theme of toughness that needs to be diversified. Tiger Claw, Desert Wind and, to a lesser degree Diamond Mind all get speed.

I'm interested to see what you come up with for the archery school, and how we seperate Hidden Blade and Shadowhand. Also, why did White Raven get pulled?

You might want to start new thread(s) for individual topics, and link them back to this one. I'll do some brainstorming on the mechanical pieces (refreshing, learning, etc), so the more creative posters can jump right into designing manuevers and stances.

Just give me some guidelines or a list of what is absolutely reguired, or it's going to end up 90% what DBD wants. For example, is everyone cool with expanding the number of disciplines each class has access to (as per my previous post)? With Eldan's new list, what types are a "must have" or a "does-not-fit" for each class?

Eldan
2013-06-06, 09:35 AM
LAY-ZEE! :smalltongue:

Well, I was working on some stuff for this. Plus, I already have several gigantic homebrew Projects that are a bit stalling, even if they are in a playable state. This one was intended to be a community project with Feedback, not "Blade Magic by Eldan". If I did this according to what I like, we'd end up with five times as many mystic blade-wizards as normal fighters :smalltongue:



I'm interested to see what you come up with for the archery school, and how we seperate Hidden Blade and Shadowhand. Also, why did White Raven get pulled?

We can plunder homebrew Schools for these. There's plenty archery Schools, though I think I won't do more mystical archery. For Hidden Blade, I'll take some from my own bloodstained gutter (nasty Status effects) and maybe a few others.

White Raven was pulled because I'm an idiot and forgot it.


You might want to start new thread(s) for individual topics, and link them back to this one. I'll do some brainstorming on the mechanical pieces (refreshing, learning, etc), so the more creative posters can jump right into designing manuevers and stances.

Good idea. I had a few ideas for the base classes.


Just give me some guidelines or a list of what is absolutely reguired, or it's going to end up 90% what DBD wants. For example, is everyone cool with expanding the number of disciplines each class has access to (as per my previous post)? With Eldan's new list, what types are a "must have" or a "does-not-fit" for each class?

I'd even be fine with giving everyone Access to every school and diversifying classes more by class features, but that's probably just me. We'll have to discuss this one.

My Basic idea was giving each class paths or archetypes. If anyone here has read my Arcane Magic homebrew, they should know those from the wizard.

My idea was:

Knight (former Crusader): Crusader (Paladin-like), Commander (White Raven specialist with bard-like insipration), Warden (Body guard/tank type).

Fighter (former Warblade, probably Needs different Name): Weapon Master (Iron heart specialist/Generalist), maybe a barbarian type, ?

Swordsage: Mystic (monk type with better supernatural maneuvers), Swashbuckler (rogue/finesse/speed type), Instructor (my idea because he has by far the most maneuvers. A Sensei type that can give others temporary access to a maneuver or two by training them each morning).


Or we might just make those feat trees where necessary and give each class just one set of Features.



We should start by laying down the ground rules. Recovery, Special recovery, number of maneuvers needed.

glosz
2013-06-06, 08:24 PM
This is some homebrew I did for an archery based martial adept.

In my campaign I don't use the 3 new ToB classes and just assign the maneuver progression to the core classes.

You'd have to replace Ranger 1 with Warblade 1 etc.

There are already some great homebrew archery schools but I wanted to create one that didn't have a magic feel about it (like calling down comets etc).

Use what you like.



Mistral Falcon

1st Level

Defensive Fire
Mistral Falcon (Stance)
Level: Ranger 1, Fighter 1
Initiation Action: 1 swift action
Range: Personal
Target: You

While you are in this stance you gain a +2 bonus to your dodge AC vs ranged attacks. If you move at least 10’ in the round the bonus increases to +4.

Shattering Shot
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 1, Fighter 1
Initiation Action: 1 standard action
Range: Ranged attack
Target: One creature

As part of this maneuver, make a single ranged attack against an opponent. If you hit, you deal normal damage and the target must make a DC 11+DEX modifier Reflex save or suffer a -2 Armour Bonus penalty. Multiple shots are cumulative and the penalty lasts until the end of the encounter. The target’s Armour Bonus cannot be reduced to less than zero.

Runner’s Aim
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 1, Fighter 1
Initiation Action: 1 standard or full round action
Range: 30’
Target: One Creature

As part of a standard or full round attack you gain +1d8 Precision Damage to the first ranged attack made within 30'.

2nd Level

Disarming Shot
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 2, Fighter 2
Prerequisite: 1 Mistral Falcon maneuver
Initiation Action: 1 standard action
Range: 30’
Target: One creature

As part of this maneuver, make a single ranged disarm within 30'. The size of your weapon is considered 1 size category smaller for purposes of resolving your opposed disarm check. When using this maneuver, a character gains no benefit from the Improved Disarm feat.

Melee Archer
Mistral Falcon (Boost)
Level: Ranger 2, Fighter 2
Prerequisite: 1 Mistral Falcon maneuver
Initiation Action: 1 swift action
Range: Personal
Target: You

Ignore AoO whilst firing in melee for 1 round.

Quick Shot
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 2, Fighter 2
Prerequisite: 1 Mistral Falcon maneuver
Initiation Action: 1 full round action
Range: 30’
Target: One creature

As part of a full round attack you can also make an extra shot, all attacks this round are at -2.


Strider’s Aim
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 2, Fighter 2
Prerequisite: 1 Mistral Falcon maneuver
Initiation Action: 1 standard or full round action
Range: 30’
Target: One Creature

As part of a standard or full round attack you gain +2d8 Precision Damage to the first ranged attack made within 30'.

3rd Level

Master Archer
Mistral Falcon (Stance)
Level: Ranger 3, Fighter 3
Prerequisite: 1 Mistral Falcon maneuver
Initiation Action: 1 swift action
Range: Personal
Target: You

While you are in this stance you increase the critical threat range by 1 for all bows and crossbows.

Crippling Shot
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 3, Fighter 3
Prerequisite: 1 Mistral Falcon maneuver
Initiation Action: 1 standard action
Range: 30’
Target: One creature

Make a ranged attack, If you hit deal normal damage and the target must make a DC 13+DEX modifier Fortitude save or you reduce their move by 10' for 1 round per initiator level. Multiple uses of this maneuver only increase the duration the target is affected.

Scout's Aim
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 3, Fighter 3
Prerequisite: 1 Mistral Falcon maneuver
Initiation Action: 1 standard or full round action
Range: 30’
Target: One Creature

As part of a standard or full round attack you gain +3d8 Precision Damage to the first ranged attack made within 30'.

4th Level

Surprising shot
Mistral Falcon (Counter)
Level: Ranger 4, Fighter 4
Prerequisite: 2 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 immediate action
Range: 15’
Target: One Creature

Make an attack against a single charging target within 15' as immediate action, if the attack hits you deal standard damage +2d8.

Hindering Fire
Mistral Falcon (Boost)
Level: Ranger 4, Fighter 4
Prerequisite: 2 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 swift action
Range: Personal
Target: You

In addition to normal damage each target you hit takes a cumulative -2 to their attack rolls for 1 round.

Courser's Aim
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 4, Fighter 4
Prerequisite: 2 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 standard or full round action
Range: 30’
Target: One Creature

As part of a standard or full round attack you gain +4d8 Precision Damage to the first ranged attack made within 30'.

5th Level

Rain of Arrows
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 5, Fighter 5
Prerequisite: 2 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 full round action
Range: Ranged attack
Target: 20’ radius

Make an attack roll against all targets in a 20' radius.

Suppressing Fire
Mistral Falcon (Stance)
Level: Ranger 5, Fighter 5
Prerequisite: 2 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 swift action
Range: Personal
Target: You

You take a -2 to AC and you increase your AoO threat range to 15' whilst wielding a bow or crossbow.

Tracker's Aim
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 5, Fighter 5
Prerequisite: 2 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 standard or full round action
Range: 30’
Target: One Creature

As part of a standard or full round attack you gain +5d8 Precision Damage to the first ranged attack made within 30'.

6th Level

Penetrating Shot
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 6, Fighter 6
Prerequisite: 3 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 standard action
Range: 60’
Target: All targets in 60’ Line

As a standard action your shot takes the form of a 60-foot line. Make a separate attack roll against each creature in the line. If struck, creatures along this line take damage from your shot, though any extra damage (such as from a sneak attack or a flaming weapon) is applied only against the first creature struck.

Guide's Aim
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 6, Fighter 6
Prerequisite: 3 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 standard or full round action
Range: 30’
Target: One Creature

As part of a standard or full round attack you gain +6d8 Precision Damage to the first ranged attack made within 30'.

7th Level

Opening shot
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 7, Fighter 7
Prerequisite: 3 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 full round action
Range: Ranged attack
Target: One creature

As part of a full round attack make your first ranged attack as a touch attack. This attack deals no damage, if it hits all of your remaining attacks get a +4 to the attack roll against that target.


Pathfinder's Aim
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 7, Fighter 7
Prerequisite: 3 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 standard or full round action
Range: 30’
Target: One Creature

As part of a standard or full round attack you gain +7d8 Precision Damage to the first ranged attack made within 30'.

8th Level

Intuitive Shots
Mistral Falcon (Stance)
Level: Ranger 8, Fighter 8
Prerequisite: 3 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 swift action
Range: 30’
Target: One Creature

While you are in this stance you ignore miss chances due to concealment and penalties due to cover.

Skirmisher's Stride
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 8, Fighter 8
Prerequisite: 3 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: Full round action
Range: Personal
Target: You

As part of this maneuver make a full round attack, during this attack you may move up to your full movement rate and the attacks may occur at any point during the move. This movement provokes AoO as normal. The movement must be in a straight line.

Ranger's Aim
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 8, Fighter 8
Prerequisite: 3 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 standard or full round action
Range: 30’
Target: One Creature

As part of a standard or full round attack you gain +8d8 Precision Damage to the first ranged attack made within 30'.

9th Level

Slaying Shot
Mistral Falcon (Strike)
Level: Ranger 9, Fighter 9
Prerequisite: 4 Mistral Falcon maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 full round action
Range: Ranged attack
Target: One Creature

As part of this maneuver make a single attack, if the attack hits the target must make a DC19 + Dex modifer Fortitude Save or be slain. On a successful save the target takes normal damage from the attack.

Deepbluediver
2013-06-07, 11:38 AM
We should start by laying down the ground rules. Recovery, Special recovery, number of maneuvers needed.

Ok, I'll worry about the individual class-and-discipline combinations later then.

I've been brushing up on my ToB, and I propose the following (if there is another thread where you would prefer to put this, just point me to the link):


Manuevers Known
Warblade- The Warblade begins play knowing a combination of any 5 techniques (stances, strikes, counters, & boosts).
Swordsage- The Swordsage begins play knowing 3 stances, and any 4 other techniques.
Crusader- The Crusader begins play knowing 5 techniques, but must learn 1 of each type (stance, strike, counter, & boost).

Learning new manuevers- WIP

Beggining at 4th level, and every even level thereafter, you can replace one manuever or stance known with another that you meet the requirements for.
I'm reluctant to hand out new manuevers for non-initiator class-levels, but maybe allowing you to trade out your low-level ones isn't a bad idea. That way if some one wants to go Warblade for 2 or 3 levels, then Barbarian for whatever reason, then can replace their handful of manuevers with more powerful ones down the line.

Using & Recovering Manuevers
In keeping with the original theme of the thread, the "readied" mechanic is scrapped; so if you know a manuever and haven't expended it, you can use it at any time. You begin each encounter with all manuevers unexpended.
Once you have expended a manuever, you cannot use it again until it has been recovered. 5 minutes of prayer, meditation, exercise, or rest (basically any downtime) is sufficient to refresh all manuevers.

You may also refresh any single manuver by taking a standard attack action that is unmodified by other techniques (not including stances).

Again, it is intended that this all works the same for every initiator class; that way the whole system is easier to learn.
While I appreciate that WotC tried to do something interesting with the Crusader, I think most people consider too complicated and random.

Special Refresh
Each time you switch stances, you automatically recover 1d4 manuevers known of the discipline to which your new stance belongs.
I'm not certain how this is normally handled, but I would suggest having a rule that you may not switch stances more than once per turn, possibly requiring a swift or move-equivalent action.

Feats
(these replace the existing feats)
Adaptive Style
Prerequisite: At least 3 manuevers and 1 stance known
Benefit: Whenever you switch stances, you automatically recover all manuevers known of the discipline to which your ending stance belongs.
Benefit: You only recover a small number of manuevers when switching stances.

Martial Study (this replaces two feats, actually)
Benefit: When you gain this feat, you may learn one manuever or stance for which you meet the prerequisites. If you have levels in an initiator class, this becomes one of your manuevers or stances known.
If you are not an initiator, you may expend and recover manuever(s) learned through this feat as an initiator (Full round or 5 minutes to recover).
Special: You can choose this feat more than once.
A Fighter can select Martial Study as a bonus feat.
So basically, if some one wants to take this feat a whole bunch and build their own iniator-lite class with another chasis, I'm not gonna be the one to tell them no. Though anyone who wants is free to object and discuss why they feel this would be a bad idea.




Ok, thats what I'm thinking about. I tried to NOT change to much to start with; I'd rather keep it simple and expand it as needed or with more opinions. But like I've admitted, I'm not a ToB expert, so please check it over and give suggestions for balance, rigor, ease of use, etc.

Eldan
2013-06-07, 02:42 PM
I think one point that was brought up and that a lot of people liked is that we should start with more than one stance. I'd say at least two, perhaps even three.

Also, giving different numbers for different classes. Swordsages should have more to compensate for their lower BAB. They should not have different class features, their thing is knowing more maneuvers, while the warblade has fewer, but more BAB and feats.

Deepbluediver
2013-06-07, 03:11 PM
I think one point that was brought up and that a lot of people liked is that we should start with more than one stance. I'd say at least two, perhaps even three.

I have no objections to changing my proposal, but I have to ask if all that is really necessary to have right at level 1. I'm concerned that if you front load the class too much, the higher levels will feel less exciting by comparison.


Also, giving different numbers for different classes. Swordsages should have more to compensate for their lower BAB. They should not have different class features, their thing is knowing more maneuvers, while the warblade has fewer, but more BAB and feats.

I liked the idea of a simple, unified mechanic for the whole system, and I liked linking it to BAB in some way. But if it's no good, back to the drawning board.

What sorts of numbers are you aiming for here? The standard Swordsage gets 25; is that sufficient, or is that more like the number the Warblade and/or Crusader should know? I'd like an endpoint because then I can hash out the best formula for getting from the start to the wherever you want to be.

Alternatively, we could consider alternate methods like scrapping the manuevers-known for the Swordsage entirely, and instead give him access to everything from a limited number of schools, which would be an easy way to meet the "more varied" criteria, as well as make the class feel sufficiently different.

Eldan
2013-06-07, 03:17 PM
I think the number of strikes learned is acutally fine. But if we want to put more emphasis on stances, we should have more, or a chance to learn more, from level 1.

Perhaps we just kill the categories of stances/maneuvers known entirely and make it "Techniques known at level 1: four or five"? Then you could simply choose whether you want four strikes nad one stance or three stances and two strikes.

I also think your refresh mechanic is a bit too harsh. Full round for a single maneuver? Why would you ever use that, instead of changing stances for an entire school, which may well be 80% of all your maneuvers?

How about this, similar to the warblade: whenever you make a standard attack without a strike or boost, you refresh one maneuver of your choice.

Edit: and I just saw that you wrote that above: switching a stance is a swift action. Which makes your Adaptive Style problematic, as its a swift action for one maneuver, or a swift action to regain all maneuvers of one school and a new stance, the second of which should most often be better.

Deepbluediver
2013-06-07, 03:22 PM
I think the number of strikes learned is acutally fine.

Just to confirm, you mean the numbers learned in the RAW ToB- 25ish for Swordsage, ~15 for the other two. Yes?



But if we want to put more emphasis on stances, we should have more, or a chance to learn more, from level 1.

Perhaps we just kill the categories of stances/maneuvers known entirely and make it "Techniques known at level 1: four or five"? Then you could simply choose whether you want four strikes nad one stance or three stances and two strikes.

I was typing and updating my OP as you where replying, I've the first idea for starting stats with an alternate version, divided by class. Let me know what you like the best.

Techniques is a good term to summarize everything.

Eldan
2013-06-07, 03:26 PM
Since you just posted when I was editing, here this again so it doesn't get missed:

I just saw that you wrote that above: switching a stance is a swift action. Which makes your Adaptive Style problematic, as its a swift action for one maneuver, or a swift action to regain all maneuvers of one school and a new stance, the second of which should most often be better.

I propose three ways to restore maneuvers:
1. Chance your stance as a swift action, regain a number of maneuvers of that school (probably not all, this is just too easy otherwise. Two or three, perhaps?)
2. Make a standard attack, refresh one maneuver.
3. Adaptive style: refresh all your maneuvers of one school when you change stance.

And yes, the number of maneuver in ToB should be fine, I'd just like to give more stances.

How about something along the lines of 30-35 for the Swordsage, and about 20-25 for the warblade and crusader, including both stances and maneuvers?

Edit: that new version could work, though I'm not entirely sure why you divide it between classes like that. Why is the warblade so much more flexible than the others? And I'd think that everyone should know stances.

Deepbluediver
2013-06-07, 03:41 PM
Since you just posted when I was editing, here this again so it doesn't get missed:

heh, I think we need to petition the forums for an instant-chat function.


I just saw that you wrote that above: switching a stance is a swift action. Which makes your Adaptive Style problematic, as its a swift action for one maneuver, or a swift action to regain all maneuvers of one school and a new stance, the second of which should most often be better.

Yeah, this is a rough draft; I figured I'd post everything I was thinking of let people decide what was best. I also was assuming that with access to more disciplines and more techniques known, people might diversify a bit more.


1. Chance your stance as a swift action, regain a number of maneuvers of that school (probably not all, this is just too easy otherwise. Two or three, perhaps?)
2. Make a standard attack, refresh one maneuver.
3. Adaptive style: refresh all your maneuvers of one school when you change stance.

1) How about 1d4 manuevers?
I really like rolling dice, and I feel that the randomness is an important part of gameplay otherwise this is all just a series of theoretical math equations.
But I also know not everyone is so inclined, and it can slow down the game if it has to be done to often. I'm thinking that since it's not a pass/fail THEN roll again, you can just roll at the same time as your attack and it won't be that bad. But as always, tell me what you think.

2) Yeah, sure. If you want, we could also have feats or features where other common combat actions refresh a single manuver, like charging or making an attack of opportunity (or maybe that should be the benefit of certain stances)

3) Of the school that you stance you swap into, or of any school?


Edit: that new version could work, though I'm not entirely sure why you divide it between classes like that. Why is the warblade so much more flexible than the others? And I'd think that everyone should know stances.

I tend to jump between extremes; If we're not all the same, then we all need to be our own special snowflake. :smallbiggrin:

(I tweaked them a couple times in rapid succession, so not sure exactly which version you are referring too)
Honestly though, I was really just throwing up different ideas. The Crusader and the Warblade get the same amount of techniques, but the Warblade's greater flexibility was a class-perk (albiet a small one).

Eldan
2013-06-07, 03:51 PM
We could just open up some pre-existing chat program. I'm generally available on Skype.

1d4 maneuvers with stance change: good.
New versions is good. Prestige classes, maybe? Or certain counters? "Enemy does X, refresh a maneuver".
Stance change: of the stance you change into, I think.

As for the last point, I find it strange that Warblades can choose freely what they know, while everyone else can't. Wouldn't it make the most sense for the swordsage to be the most flexible? He's the master of maneuvers. The warblade is the master of weapons.

Deepbluediver
2013-06-07, 04:11 PM
We could just open up some pre-existing chat program. I'm generally available on Skype.

meh, I've never skyped and I'd rather stick with text. This will be my last post for a little while anyway.


New versions is good. Prestige classes, maybe? Or certain counters? "Enemy does X, refresh a maneuver".

Stances that lets you recover a manuever every time you make an attack as part of a full-attack action (Tiger Claw school, maybe?) or an AoO (Shadow Hand or Hidden Blade?). Movement-based recover (for Desert Wind)?

Counters that automatically recovers manuvers if they are succesful? Or would that lead to people chaining to many things back-to-back?

Maybe a feat or boost that lets you recover when you suceed on a certain type of save?

I'll keep brainstorming, though I'd prefer to hash out the base classes before we look at PrCs.


As for the last point, I find it strange that Warblades can choose freely what they know, while everyone else can't. Wouldn't it make the most sense for the swordsage to be the most flexible? He's the master of maneuvers. The warblade is the master of weapons.

That's mostly my inexperience with ToB; I haven't played with it a lot so I'm not really good at figuring out what each class should feel like.


What does flexible really mean though? Suppose I have a wizard who knows one spell from every school, and 1 who knows all the spells from only one school? Which would you say is more flexible?

What I'm getting at is I think we should at least consider some sort of dynamic where one class has more manuevers known (or accessible somehow), but is more restricted in the disciplines they can learn from and another class that by comparison is more limited in knowledge, but has more freedom in what they can pick.

In terms of starting out, that means we might have one class that learns any 5 techniques, and another that is more regimented, like 2 stances, 2 strikes, 1 counter, & 1 boost.

If you really don't like it, then we can just go back to the "any 5" for everyone.

Eldan
2013-06-09, 05:43 AM
School-specific maneuver recovery might be fun, though I think that's something that could probably go into tactical feats.

My impression of the classes was always that the Warblade has weapon feats, full base attack and few maneuvers, while the Swordsage has weaker class features, 3/4 base attack and many maneuvers, so the Warblade is less versatile, but stronger. So, I think that if one class is restricted in whta kind of techniques they start with, it should be the Warblade.

Eldan
2013-06-13, 07:24 AM
I just realized that not everyone who is watching this thread may have seen my other one, Twelve Blades (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=287562). I've taken the liberty to start a new one, simply so I can collect all the material in the first few posts. It's still not intended to be a solo project, so if anyone wants to critique, contribute or tear apart what I've done already, feel free to do so.