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The Cats
2019-01-03, 06:49 PM
The Goal
To collect useful data through Ďactual playí to help determine what changes need to be made to balance the participating homebrews.

The Execution
I will be running two parties concurrently through Tales from the Yawning Portal. One will be the homebrew party, the other will be an official content counterpart.

There will be no DM or other players. I will run each encounter as written with no changes. I will stick to RAW (or RAI if RAW is unclear) as much as possible, with a few exceptions listed below. I will be replacing Tomb of Horrors with a less cerebral dungeon.

I will record data every encounter for both parties and post a comparison of the data, along with any qualitative observations I have, after each session.

Iíll post a link to the spreadsheet with the data once Iíve completed the first session.

Exceptions from RAW and Optional Rules
I will be diverging from RAW in the following ways, in order to expedite the process and conserve my sanity.

A single initiative check for each member of both parties will be made at the start of each session. The characters will use that order throughout, inserting combatants as they roll their initiatives.

Food and ammunition will not be tracked.

Any art objects or gems found will be converted to their gold value and added to party funds.

Roleplay encounters will be resolved arbitrarily or through skill checks based on DCs provided by the book, if any.

If I discover any other mechanics are too cumbersome for a project like this, I will add to this list.

I will be using the following optional rules.
All enemy combatants will use average damage for their attacks.

Enemy combatants will use group initiative.

Leveling will be done through milestones based on the recommended levels in TftYP.

The Timeframe
There is none. I will play sessions whenever I feel like doing so. Each session will likely just be a small handful of encounters. I will post the data for each session before I start in on the next one. There will occasionally be long breaks between sessions. This project will take a long time to complete.

The Homebrew Party
Rurik, the hill dwarf Druid of the Circle of the kami Guardian (by me) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=23570786&postcount=1)

Mist Under Waterfall, the tabaxi Planesplitter with a Transitive Sphere of influence (by me) (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Yjwa-ssGtnSpWEBPpyqIUcyzaPD-jPjp/view?usp=sharing)

Severiel Fiendspeaker the high elf Summoner with a Fiendish Alignment (by Grod the Giant)
(http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=23569287&postcount=1)
Daron Cartswain, the human Destined with a Mighty Destiny (by MoleMage) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=23412011&postcount=3)

Richard Calloweye, the half-elf YAWR Warlock of the Fiend (by theVoidWatches)
(http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?572329-Yet-Another-Warlock-Rewrite-Eldritch-Dice-(PEACH)-v0-1-6)
Their Counterparts
Rurik with a Goatee, the hill dwarf Circle of the Land druid

Mist with a Goatee, the wood elf Horizon Walker Ranger

Silk Fireblade, the human Bard of the College of Swords

Faron Stonecutter the mountain dwarf Fighter Battlemaster

[TBD]

The Participantsí Responsibilities
The participating creators are responsible for keeping their brewsí changelogs up to date, providing level-up information and updating the character sheets for their brews and counterparts, and making all post-rest decisions for their brews and counterparts. They will also make all mundane gear purchases for their characters whenever the party is in town.

Post-rest decisions are anything a character can choose after either a short or a long rest. Examples include a Druidís prepared spells, the Summonerís servitor, etc.

I will state if the party is taking a short or long rest after each session. If the other creators donít state their decisions before I start a new session, I will use the same decisions they made after their previous rest.

I will similarly state if the party has leveled up. If the other creators are unable to provide level-up information in a reasonable amount of time I will level their characters up for them temporarily, converting to their decisions once they have a chance to post them.

If I state the party is returning to town the participants can use party funds to purchase anything from the Playerís Handbook. If you are making a large purchase or there are not enough funds to get everything everyone wants, we will have to debate the merits of our purchases until we come to an agreement. I encourage everyone to be very willing to compromise so this process can be done quickly.

When the party finds magic items I will distribute them based on who I think can best utilize them. If you disagree we can discuss as above, or just put it to a vote.

Discussion and debate about potential changes to each otherís brews based on the data unveiled is strongly encouraged.

The Cats
2019-01-03, 06:50 PM
Rurik, Circle of the Kami Guardian Druid

0.2.0 Current Build

Level 1: Hill dwarf racial traits; guild artisan background; Cantrips: Produce flame, guidance

4 Prepared Spells: Cure wounds, Faerie fire, Speak with animals, Thunderwave

Standard Tactics: Stay back near fragile party members. Use thunderwave if enemies get too close. Use cure wounds as needed. Otherwise throw fire.

~~~

Rurik with a Goatee, Circle of the Moon Druid

Level 1: Hill dwarf racial traits; guild artisan background; Cantrips: Produce flame, guidance

4 Prepared Spells: Cure wounds, Faerie fire, Speak with animals, Thunderwave

Standard Tactics: Stay back near fragile party members. Use thunderwave if enemies get too close. Use cure wounds as needed. Otherwise throw fire.

The Cats
2019-01-03, 06:52 PM
Mist Under Waterfall, Transitive Sphere of influence Planesplitter

0.3.1 Changed fraying checks to a unique type of roll that is neither a check nor save called a breach roll
-re-named Improved Fraying to Frayed Breach
-Overhauled spell list

0.3.0 Current Build

Level 1: Tabaxi racial traits; charlatan background; Transitive sphere of influence; Transitive fraying

Standard Tactics: Stay back, plinking with arrow. Will rush in to attempt extraction if someone falls on the front line.

~~~

Mist with a Goatee, Horizon Walker Ranger

Level 1: Wood elf racial traits; charlatan background; Favoured enemy: Orc, Goblin; Natural explorer: Mountains

Standard Tactics: Stay back, plinking with arrow. Will rush in to attempt extraction if someone falls on the front line.

Grod_The_Giant
2019-01-03, 09:51 PM
Severial Fiendspeaker, Fiendish-Aligned Summoner


0.2.1: 1/4/19, revised Servitor hit points to scale better.



Level 1: High Elf racial traits; Hermit Background. Racial cantrip: Toll the Dead.


Current Servitor: Monodrone (Equipment: Light crossbow, shortsword)

Standard Tactics: Severial will stay back and plink with his bow, or cast Toll the Dead if he has trouble hitting or arrows are ineffective. His Servitor will rain bolts from above if possible; if not, or if enemies are closing in, it'll take up a blocking position and use its sword.

~~~

Silk Fireblade, Swords Bard


Level 1: vHuman racial traits; Criminal Background. Racial feat: Defensive Duelist. Spells: Mage Hand, Minor Illusion, Comprehend Languages, Healing Word, Heroism, Thunderwave


Standard Tactics: Silk will take the front line as much as possible, using Heroism on himself in tougher looking battles.

theVoidWatches
2019-01-03, 10:20 PM
Richard Calloweye (https://pastebin.com/eaL7rqhd), Half-Elf YAWR Warlock (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?572329-Yet-Another-Warlock-Rewrite-Eldritch-Dice-(PEACH)-v0-1-6) of the Fiend


v0.1.6
v0.1.6.1 1/4/2019 Reworded some higher-level features.
v0.1.7 2/9/2019 Eldritch Dice no longer allows you to add your Charisma modifier to damage without an invocation.



Str 8, Dex 16 (15+1), Con 14 (13+1), Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 16 (14+2)
Level 1: Half-Elf Racial features (ASIs into Dex and Con, Skills in Stealth and Perception, speaks Draconic), Haunted One background features (from CoS, granting Investigation, Survival, and Deep Speech), YAWR Warlock Level 1 features (Skills in Arcana and Religion, Eldritch Dice (2d6, Eldritch Blast, Arcane Armor), Precise Blast (Fiend Patron))


Standard Tactics: Uses Eldritch Blast to fight from a distance, spending 1 die to trigger the attack roll and using Precise Blast to add the other if he hits - if he misses, will use the second for Arcane Armor. If he gets hit in a combat, will begin saving 1 die for Arcane Armor. Is willing to use his proficiencies to scout ahead and to search for traps.

John Marksley (https://pastebin.com/ZHrG8h3h), High Elf (-Arcane Trickster-) Rogue


Str 8, Dex 16 (14+2), Con 12, Int 16 (15+1), Wis 13, Cha 10
Level 1: High Elf Racial features (Booming Blade, Gnomish), Sage background features (Draconic, Dwarven), Rogue Level 1 features (Skills in Insight, Investigation, Stealth and Sleight of Hand, Expertise in Stealth and Investigation, Thieves' Cant)


Standard Tactics: Uses a shortbow to attack from a distance. If anyone gets close, attacks with Booming Blade before disengaging as a bonus action and returning to using his shortbow. Is willing to use his proficiencies to scout ahead and to search for traps.

MoleMage
2019-01-04, 12:36 PM
Daron Cartswain, Mighty Destined


1/4/19: Class contest final version (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=23412011&postcount=3)



Stats: Str 10 (+1), Dex 13(+1), Con 14 (+1), Int 8 (+1), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 15 (+1)
Level 1: standard human traits, Folk Hero background, Heroics (d6), Heroic Fortitude, Feats of Strength


Standard Tactics: Daron will use Heroic Fortitude each turn when he wakes up and any turn when he does not have temporary hit points, and will fight on the frontlines of combat trying to draw fire from his allies. If he has a Heroic's die remaining when he is called upon to make a Strength save he will use it, but he will not conserve dice for Feats of Strength. If he is healthy, he is also willing to use Feats of Strength for exploration purposes.

~~~

Faron Stonecutter, Battlemaster Fighter


Stats: Str 15 (+1), Dex 13, Con 14 (+2), Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10
Level 1: Mountain Dwarf traits, Soldier background, Protection fighting style, Second Wind


Standard Tactics: Faron will engage in melee combat, focusing on those enemies who target his allies. If enemies close distance with the ranged party members, Faron will return to use Protection fighting style to protect those allies.

The Cats
2019-01-04, 03:29 PM
Some initial thoughts

Planesplitter spellcasting is going to be a crap shoot. I worked it out where they (theoretically) have the same number of effective spell slots as other half casters assuming average rolls with a chance for a few more if they get real lucky. Granted, Iím not the best with statistics so who knows if I did the testing correctly, and Iím not great with excel so I didnít do as much testing as I could have since it was taking way too long.

The balance comes from skill checks with difficult DCs and limitations in Spells Known rather than actual spell slots. This breaks down a little at higher levels, granting a strong possibility of casting significantly more than 4 1st level spells (if thatís all they cast) before sealing their entire list. Of course if they do get a bad roll early on they could seal the sphere their 5th level spells are in limiting their options. They have to decide whether theyíll cast a bunch of weak spells early, risking losing their strong spells, or start off with strong spells making it much more likely their spell list will be restricted for the rest of the day. Itís complicated.

Iím already seeing a couple issues I missed: The check used to balance spellcasting is a skill check so it can be affected by bardic inspiration, enhance abilities, etc. Balance (if there is any) is way too fragile to handle this so Iíll have to make it itís own distinct type of roll. The fact that high level planesplitters can potentially cast a bunch of 1st level spells means the presence of Shield, Absorb Elements and Hunterís Mark on their spell list is much more powerful than first glance.

The spell list in general is something I would like some help with. Because of the wonky spellcasting I have to be careful what goes in there but clearly Iím not that great at figuring that out.


The warlock rewrite already at 1st level looks like itís going to be a lot of fun to play. I think itís just going to feel so satisfying getting to pick and choose where those dice go every turn without worrying about running out of steam before the next rest.


Iím not totally convinced the Destined is a workable concept but itís a cool idea so Iím interested in helping figure it out. Itís kind of similar to the Warlock rewrite in that it has a single pool of resources it can use for various effects. The Destined has to dedicate much of its pool to just surviving, and it has limited uses. Once it runs out of Heroics itís a Front Liner with d6 hp. Looking forward to seeing if Iím wrong but first impression is this guy is going to die pretty quick. It also has the issue of making players agonize over where to spend their resources (To live longer, or to do cool stuff?) but thatís kind of an issue every class with any kind of resource has (besides the rewritten warlock HYPE!).


I think the Summoner is going to be the hardest class to get useful data for just because itís so different. I agree that the bard is probably a good choice for the counterpart because it fills a similar role, but it does so in a very different way. I think this playtest will still be helpful though, since having four people analyzing all the crap Iíll be writing down makes for much better chances of actually figuring out where the correlations are.


The Kami druidÖ I dunno. It looks so comparatively simple stood up against the other brews here I donít think any of us will be spending a ton of time working on it.

theVoidWatches
2019-01-04, 05:23 PM
The two main pieces of feedback I've gotten for YAWR are that it seems like it'll be too complex and that it'll be somewhat underpowered. I'm curious to see how it comes out in actual play.

I personally think that it'll be simpler than it appears (it's a brand-new kind of resource, yes, but it should also be really easy to keep track off - just have a pile of dice and set them aside as they're used), but the sheer number of options that you can potentially have could easily be overwhelming. Then again, it's fewer options than a wizard has, counting each spell separately, so... I guess we'll find out.

As for it being underpowered, again, we'll see. Certainly it seems unlikely that its damage output will be all that great - it has a progression of damage only a little above the rogue, but must also use them to fuel its other features where the rogue's survival stuff is free, so you'll probably be doing about as much as a rogue or a little less. I think that it always operating at peak power (even if its peak power is low) as well as the many options will help it shine.

Also, I just did a real quick 0.1.6.1 revision which rewords some eldritch features (the ones which have you spending dice at the beginning of your turn to keep them up) to make them easier to understand. It should have no impact on balance.

The Cats
2019-01-05, 11:37 AM
Void you need to create your counterpart and send me your character sheets.

I've changed the planesplitter to mitigate the issues I mentioned in my previous post.

theVoidWatches
2019-01-05, 02:01 PM
Added a counterpart and links to all both characters' information. I've using a rogue as the counterpart instead of the PHB warlock because I'm trying to balance off of the rogue much more than I am off of the warlock - that said, I'm going to use Arcane Trickster because there is a little bit of magic in my YAWR warlock, even though they're built more as a martial class.

The Cats
2019-01-07, 06:19 PM
Thanks Void, I think rogue is a good pick too. I can see where the idea that the class is 'too complex' comes from: There are a ton of customization options and several of them use non-standard equations (2 times the dice spent plus your CHA mod, etc.). I think as written it probably does have too much complexity to fit the standards of 5E design philosophy, but then I always thought making radical changes to a homebrew because "There's no way Wizards would publish something like this" a silly idea. They're not gonna publish it regardless. Make what you want.

Work has dropped a week of nonsense in my lap so the first session probably won't get done until next weekend now.

MoleMage
2019-01-08, 01:30 PM
I am also worried about the survivability of the Destined, but they only have a utility option competing with Fortitude for Heroics before level 6, and at level 6 Fortitude becomes less essential as it triggers passively without dice any round where you don't activate it. The math works out on it (8 HP + ~9.5-14 tempHP per short rest vs 13 HP + ~6.5 healing per short rest on these characters, with the Destined getting better short rest at a faster rate than the fighter), but the Fighter has a deeper pool to soak burst damage compared to the Destined, who only really works if the damage is spread out over several hits. That's why we playtest, though, right?

The Cats
2019-01-13, 08:36 PM
The first session is complete: It consisted of 5 encounters. 3 combats and 2 traps.

I'll upload the numbers into the spreadsheet tomorrow or tuesday. In the meantime, an overview:

Turns out Sunless Citadel gives you the option of being diplomatic and allying with the kobolds or goblins. Unfortunately our parties are just a bunch of murder hobos.

The counterpart party did significantly better than the brew party in every combat, killing all enemies in one round, often before they got a chance to attack. The fighter was attacked several times but nothing penetrated his 18AC. They ended the session having used a single bardic inspiration, and the rogue and druid being down 4hp each.

Contrasting with the brews who took two rounds to finish two of the combat encounters. The druid used one of his spell slots on a healing word to bring the Destined back up after he was downed by two rats attacking in tandem. After the second combat they had to take a short rest to heal, and the third combat ended with the warlock down 3 hp and the servitor down 4.

Much of this difference may be due to just the counterparts getting luckier on their rolls. Once we have more aggregate data we should be able to see if this is the case.

The Cats
2019-01-15, 10:09 PM
Numbers for first session are up. (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pgv39fZGH4tXpRVpRcYpE2v5ovVtvw18urcevOKsaLk/edit?usp=sharing)

theVoidWatches
2019-02-09, 08:14 PM
I've now gotten to play the YAWR in actual play (once) and, after some discussion with the DM, Eldritch Blast no longer allows you to add your Charisma Modifier to damage, by default. This revision also includes some corrections and adjustments to higher-level features that don't affect the level 1 YAWR.