View Full Version : Reimagining 3.75 - reworking the balance

2007-09-29, 06:18 AM
I´ve seen a lot about the problems of 3.5, about 4th Ed. and it´s direction. Some are major, some are minor - I think they´re doing away with some of the stronger points of 3.5. In my opinion, it just needs reworking based on some observations that were made, by accident, during the development of 3.5 and the subsequent splatbooks, and a better skill and multiclassing mechanic. In short, not a few major changes, but a slew of minor changes deeper down.
Basically, I´d leave abilities as they are, and rework, in the following order:

- Classes use a mix of fixed Features and something like d20 Modern Talents
- 1 generic class that can be a bit of everything, customizable but weaker than the specialists in their specialty
- 3 Fighting classes (Barbarian/Ranger, Fighter, Blessed/Arcane Warrior)
- 3 Skillmonkey classes (Monk/Ninja, Expert PC-Class, Trickster/Bard)
- 3 Spellcasting classes, all spellcasters have two caster stats, one for DCs and effects and one for spells available/bonus spells (Miracleworker/Cleric with Wis/Cha, Wizard with Int/Wis, Sorceror with Cha/Int)

Arrange the classes in a triangle, with the generic class in the center. Now we have three colors, F (Fighting), S (Skills) and M (Magic). There are three pure classes (Fighter, Wizard and Expert), and 6 classes which are, to some degree, hybrids. The Paladin would be FFM, the Sorceror MMS, the Monk SSF and Bard SSM.
Just for an example. The iconic abilities of classes like Bard and Druid get shunted into Talent trees, these are available to one or two classes (Arcane Warriors or Miracleworkers can both Turn Undead/lay on hands for example), or in rare cases, Prestige classes.

The difference between Prestige classes and base classes is that Prestige Classes have no Talents - they have a set of fixed class Features. Base classes have minor talents from lvls 1-10, and major talents at higher lvls. the minor talents are pretty much available to almost anyone, the major ones constitute an incentive to play one specific class to high levels.

Remove the penalties, but adjust the benefits. Each class starts out with a class skill list and weapon proficiencies, and if you multiclass, you do not get all of them. You gain 2 Skills or somesuch to your list, per level in the new class, and one weapon or armor proficiency. You´re not suddenly a Fighter/Rogue, but a Rogue that gradually starts to become more Fighter-like through multiclassing. Obviously, that allows gradual hybridization through multiclassing.
Anything that is on your amalgamated class skill list is class skill. Some classes stack partially with spellcasters for Spell progression (example: Half your bard levels stack with your Wizard levels for Spell progression), thus making gish-builds through multiclassing possible.

Make them more important, involve them in fights. Have a craft system that makes sense (rules for better materials for example) and actually confers benefits to those having the skills (more on this in the magic item blurb).
Most significant change: battlefield control becomes two skills, Screening opposed by Skirmish. Succesful Screening checks allow you to stop opponents within your reach (or in reach of a readied move action/5-foot step), Skirmish checks allow you to oppose these or avoid AoOs (like tumble now. These two are Synergies).
New Skill Feat: Skill familiarity, which confers a +2 Bonus and adds the skill to your list, and Skill focus provides a +3 bonus stacking with familiarity for those who have the skill on their lists.

Should be more useful, a lot more useful. Not on par with Talents or class Features, but more significant, and, most importantly, more balanced. These should offer you multiple good ways to enhance your fighting prowess and AC instead of Power attack and Leap attack being the Feats to end all Feats.
They should also offer improvement for certain skills beyond the scope of a flat bonus, such as faster crafting, a slow fall ability scaling with your tumble skill etc.

Slightly rebalancing the Core 7, making half-elfs and half-orcs suck less. Remove favored class.
High powered LA-Races should become racial classes that, instead of talents and Class Features, grant the powers of the race over the course of it´s levels, with HD according to base creature (Planetouched get Outsider-HD, but slower racial progression, Ogres get Giant-HD, which are worth a lot less and thus accelerated racial progression). This needs careful balancing of class Features against HD, obviously.

These are the minor reworks, which could be done quite fast, leaving the three more taxing reworks:

2007-09-29, 10:09 AM
Combat System
Of course, this is going to be a lot of work. The outlines:

- Removing iterative attacks, instead having a "press the attack" move action that grants another attack at a penalty. Haste grants a second move action. With the right tree of Talents, a character can receive a second attack on his standard action, albeit with strong penalty.
- Giving classes a blanket bonus to Damage equal to half their BAB, which is multiplied by 1.5 for two handed weapons
- Having Feats that allow you to use some usually unsuited weapon for special maneuvers, for example a tripping Spear, or making special maneuvers more readily available, for example ranged disarming or tripping.
- Rebalancing Grapple slightly, so you can do it adequately without being large. Give several options of fending it of before the opposed check, so it´s not the do-all-end-all for duels.
- Reworking movement in combat, making it more important
- Two handed weapons only have a power Attack multiplier of 1.5
- Having Feats and Talents with stronger influence on Damage and attack bonus than your equipment
- Involving skills in Fighting especially while moving aroung, for example Jumping over enemies, running along walls, boni to special maneuvers based on skill etc.

What I need to do, basically, is scrapping the entire spell list. The new would be ordered somewhat like this:

- Schools are slightly moved around and made more distinct: Healing is necromancy again, and there´s little direct damage out of Evoc.
- Spells are ordered into Spheres again, for example Healing, Fire etc. , similiar to Domains. Spellcasting classes have a selection of these in the beginning, as their Spell list, and can gain access to others somewhere down the road. Yes, there´s going to be a healing Wizard, but then, the Miracleworker can also cast his spells if he´s willing to invest the talents.
- Rebalancing spells by mocing some well known offenders up in spell-lvl, nerfing some(especially many save or dies - early ones shouldn´t kill, just reduce the victim to -1), and making spell resistance less effective against many forms of direct damage but more powerful against lasting enchantments and transformations.
- non Spellcaster classes should have more acces to some SLAs

Magic Items
In this new model, items become less important(mainly because Talents and Feats should, in a reworked version, alow you to duplicate their effects), but more diverse. It should also be interesting for PCs to create items for themselves
- Now, most items require a specific Craft Check to Fabricate them as well, that Craft Check scales with the power of the item.
- Spellcasters can take Feats to be better enchanters, for example the capability of imbuing items with Metamagicked spells or crafting at an accelerated pace.
- Magic items creation/day scales with caster lvl.

Anyone think I forgot something important?