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    Orc in the Playground
     
    lvl 1 fighter's Avatar

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    Feb 2009

    Default A Generic Classes / No Magic Campaign

    I'm working on putting together a new campaign to be played here on the boards and I wanted to run some of the changes to the system by the experts here at homebrew.

    It's 3.5 dnd in a no magic campaign world. The tone of world is very much like Iron Heroes in that it's grim and gritty. Imagine worlds like Conan, Thieves World, and The Black Company without magic. That sorta deal. The campaign will primarily be city intrigue and fast & hard combat. I tend to run human-centric games, so I envision Human as being the only race.

    I'm also really captivated by the Generic Classes. I like the GURPS-like aspect of character creation using them. For the campaign I'm considering only allowed two character classes; the two being the Expert and the Warrior. By expanding the list of class features as feats players will be able to further customize their character. This also solves the problem of balancing the non-spellcasting classes (Fighter vs TOB, vs Scout, vs Knight, etc) against each other, albeit in a severe manner.

    I plan on using the Class Defense Bonus from UA as well.

    Making changes like this to the system raises a lot of questions.

    1 - How do they get healed?
    2 - What do they spend their money on?
    3 - How do you fight creatures with with unique resistances and powerful supernatural or spell-like abilities?
    4 - How will Reflex and Will saves remain relevant?
    5 - Changes to Expert / Warrior
    6 - Class Features as Feats

    I think I've got some answer to a couple of those questions.

    1. Healing
    I'm going to use the Reserve Point system from Unearthed Arcana in addition to a new use for the Heal skill. In Star Wars SAGA there's an application of the Heal skill called Treat Wounds, IIRC. I've adapted this for the Reserve Points system. I'm using both these options now in my current PbP game.

    Treat Wounds
    Heal may be used to Treat Wounds. A DC 15 check allows the character to restore a number of Reserve Points equal to their check result. A character can regain Reserve Points through Treat Wounds only once per day. A character may Treat Wounds on themselves. A character may not take 10 or take 20 when using Heal to Treat Wounds. There is no penalty or adverse effects for failing a Treat Wounds check. Treating Wounds takes a full round action.

    I also have an item applicable to this system, though I haven't introduced it into my current campaign yet.

    Healing Herbs
    This twist of dried herbs may be used to rejuvenate a character. Soaking them in water and drinking the mixture will heal 1d8+5 Reserve Points. One dose a day is harmless. However taking more than that will cause the Herbs to build up and act as a toxin in the characters system, clouding their mind and judgement. (Int and Wis penalties.)

    2. Equipment/Wealth
    With no expensive magical items to loot off dead enemies I don't foresee the characters becoming fabulously rich like most dnd characters do. However they will acquire wealth, either through rewards or theft. I see the world as one where you don't need fancy armor and weapons to get by. I've tinkered with some sample characters and have made combat effective characters with nothing more than two swords, or a single dagger.

    The class defense bonus lends itself well to this type of game as character don't need to be constantly upgrading their armor with the most expensive magical enhancements they can afford. There is a benefit to wearing armor however. In the description of the CDB, it is not stated whether the defense bonus applies against flat-footed attacks. I am considering ruling that it does not. There's fluff reasons for it; it's part of your training as a warrior, if you're not aware of an attack then you can't defend against it, etc. But primarily it serves as the distinction between wearing armor or not.

    A character without armor will have an AC of 10 when flat-footed. No dex, no armor, no bonuses from magic items, whereas an armor-wearing character would still get their armor bonus.

    I like this. To me it illustrates the grimness of the world, when some gutter punk thief can sneak up on an experienced warrior and stab him in the heart. It feels a little more realistic. I'm not going for full realism in this at all, but it feels more like how things happen in those fantasy stories (Thieves World, etc).

    3. Special Creatures
    This campaign will be human-centric, as I said above. I think that fantasy creatures will be handled like they are in most Conan stories, i.e. they are strange, dangerous, and unique. So instead of pulling from the Monster Manual for every fight, the few times the characters go up against a Monstrous Humanoid or Outsider it'll be a plot development in itself.

    4. Reflex/Will Saves
    With no Fireballs or Charm Person spells the relevancy of these saves goes down. Fortitude is still important as poison will be a common element in the campaign. So how to implement these other saves?

    Reflex is easier as there are other uses. Mechanical traps will be the primary use of this save, but it will also be used in avoiding damage from splash weapons such as greek fire.

    Will is a little trickier. I can't think of a lot of uses for Will saves beyond resisting spells. So to keep it incorporated in the game for what it represents (someone with a tough or resilient mind and spirit), I'm considering allowing it to modify certain skills in a minor way. This is one area in particular I'd like your feedback on.

    A character who selects Will as their favored save may add 1/2 their Base Will Save as a bonus to Two of the following skills. Once chosen the skills may not be changed.

    - Bluff
    - Diplomacy
    - Disguise
    - Gather Information
    - Intimidate
    - Sense Motive

    The game will start at 9th level so a single class character could have a Base Will save of +6. This is effectively a scaling Skill Focus to two skills. I like the idea as it represents to me how a character can use their strength of will in different social situations, but I'm not totally comfortable with the current implementation. It feels too strong. As there is no other magic to further modify these abilities though, it may end up balancing out. I'm not convinced yet.

    So if you can think of a way to incorporate a characters Will save into the game, or how to modify my idea, please let me know.

    5. Changes to Expert / Warrior
    The only change I'm considering to the two classes is to increase the skill points. Expert would get 8, Warriors 4. I'm considering this because as these are the only two PC classes, characters would be expected to know more and be able to be skilled in different areas. Personally, I've always thought warriors should have more skill points if only so they could actually be proficient in skills related to combat (Listen, Tumble, Jump, etc.)

    6. Class Features as Feats
    This is probably the biggest area of the game that is being customized. I've gone through the PHB, PHB II, and the 1-20 classes in Complete Warrior and Adventurer and pulled non-supernatural or spell-like class features that I think are appropriate. I took one or two from the PrC's in the DMG. In some cases they are Alternate Class Features from PHB II. I plan on going through the other lists of ACF in the other rulebooks as well. This is what I've got so far.

    They are organized by source so I know where to look for each description of the class feature. Below each are the prerequisites needed to take that as a feat. Some have notes in parenthesis denoting changes from the original source.
    Spoiler
    Show

    Players Handbook

    Evasion
    Reflex +3

    Improved Evasion
    Evasion, Reflex +7

    Sneak Attack +2d6
    Hide 4, Move Silently 4

    Advanced Sneak Attack +5d6 (total, not cumulative)
    Hide 12, Move Silently 12

    Trap Sense (trapfinding/trap sense)
    Search 4

    Uncanny Dodge
    Tumble 7

    Improved Uncanny Dodge
    Uncanny Dodge, Tumble 11

    Wild Empathy
    Handle Animal 4


    Players Handbook

    Fast Movement +10
    Balance 4

    Damage Reduction 1/--
    Fort +5

    Improved Damage Reduction 3/--
    Damge Reduction, Fort +7

    Bardic Knowledge
    Any Two Knowledges 4

    Woodland Stride
    Knowledge Nature 4

    Weapon Focus
    Base Attack Bonus +1

    Weapon Specialization
    Base Attack Bonus +4

    Greater Weapon Focus
    Weapon Focus, Base Attack Bonus +8

    Greater Weapon Specialization
    WF, WS, GWF, Base Attack Bonus +12

    Skill Mastery
    13 ranks in each skill to be selected

    Opportunist
    Combat Reflexes, Base Attack Bonus +7

    Players Handbook II

    Shield Block
    Base Attack Bonus +2, Shield Proficiency

    Shield Ally
    Shield Block, Base Attack Bonus +6

    Berserker Strength (not certain about this feature or the requirements)
    Base Attack Bonus +1, Fort +2

    Shield of Blades (stacks with Two Weapon Defense)
    Base Attack Bonus +5, Two Weapon Fighting, Tumble 8

    Complete Warrior

    Staredown
    Intimidate 9

    Mass Staredown
    Staredown, Intimidate 13

    Improved Staredown
    Staredown, Mass Staredown, Intimidate 17

    Insightful Strike
    Base Attack Bonus +3, Weapon Finesse, Balance 6, Tumble 6

    Acrobatic Charge
    Balance 10, Tumble 10


    Complete Adventurer

    Poison Use
    Craft(Poison) 6, Sleight of Hand 6

    Improved Poison Use
    Poison Use, Craft(Poison) 12, Sleight of Hand 12

    Skirmish +1d6/+1 AC
    Balance 6, Tumble 6

    Advanced Skirmish +3d6/+2 AC
    Skirmish, Balance 10, Tumble 10

    Camouflage
    Uncanny Dodge, Hide 11, Move Silently 11

    Hide In Plain Sight
    Dodge, Mobility, Camouflage, Hide 17, Move Silenty 17

    From the DMG

    Death Attack (DC 10 + 1/2 lvl + Int mod)
    Sneak Attack, Poison Use, Hide 12, Move Silenty 12

    Canny Defense
    Dodge, Mobility, Weapon Finesse, Balance 9, Tumble 9

    Dungeonscape

    Trapkiller
    Base Attack Bonus +2, Survival 4

    Dungeon Crasher
    Improved Bull Rush, Balance 4

    Advanced Dungeon Crasher
    Improved Bull Rush, Base Attack Bonus +6, Balance 9

    Quick Fingers
    Trapfinding, Disable Device 6


    Any and all feedback is welcome. If you want to test the system by building a character, the campaign will start at 9th level, 32pt buy. Show me how you would break it.
    Last edited by lvl 1 fighter; 2009-07-26 at 03:18 AM.
    Attacking the darkness since 1998. PbP Games
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Jul 2007

    Default Re: A Generic Classes / No Magic Campaign

    Sence you mentioned the Black Company I'd like to recomend the Black Company campaign setting published by Green Ronin Publishing.

    http://greenronin.com/2004/12/the_bl...aign_set_3.php

    It is a world that has no gods there for no devine magic. So no healing magic. The book has nice rules for medical care with out magic. Ok One-eyes's dental protection as the exeption .

    It is also a human only campaign setting. To differentiate between peaple they took away the bonus feat and skill points per level. Then created background feats as a bonus first level feat. Such as spy, merchant, soldier, farmer ect.

    I would also suggest creating different levels of item quality to make up for no magic. Somthing like Shotty, poor, below average, average, above average, supperior, master work.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Generic Classes / No Magic Campaign

    I have been thinking about running a game very much like this and I like the ideas you have come up with. I am going to also do a non-magic game. When I begin work on mine I will keep you posted on what I come up with.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
     
    lvl 1 fighter's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Generic Classes / No Magic Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawriel View Post
    Sence you mentioned the Black Company I'd like to recomend the Black Company campaign setting published by Green Ronin Publishing.

    http://greenronin.com/2004/12/the_bl...aign_set_3.php

    It is a world that has no gods there for no devine magic. So no healing magic. The book has nice rules for medical care with out magic. Ok One-eyes's dental protection as the exeption .

    It is also a human only campaign setting. To differentiate between peaple they took away the bonus feat and skill points per level. Then created background feats as a bonus first level feat. Such as spy, merchant, soldier, farmer ect.

    I would also suggest creating different levels of item quality to make up for no magic. Somthing like Shotty, poor, below average, average, above average, supperior, master work.
    Thanks for the heads up. I read a review about the book and it seems like a solid sourcebook. I probably wouldn't want to use the setting itself, but the levels of equipment quality sound interesting.
    Attacking the darkness since 1998. PbP Games
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Generic Classes / No Magic Campaign

    In most cases, will can replace fortitude. A marathon runner might chant a mantra to get himself through the final stretch focusing only on the goal and not his tiring body. The monk that set himself on fire in protest forced himself to ignore the pain and he died without even screaming. Will should be allowed to replace any fort related modifier that doesn't have a direct effect on the body's function. A person could save with will to avoid fatigue in a forced march but they can't use will to ignore the effects of poison.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
    lvl 1 fighter's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Generic Classes / No Magic Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by jmbrown View Post
    In most cases, will can replace fortitude. A marathon runner might chant a mantra to get himself through the final stretch focusing only on the goal and not his tiring body. The monk that set himself on fire in protest forced himself to ignore the pain and he died without even screaming. Will should be allowed to replace any fort related modifier that doesn't have a direct effect on the body's function. A person could save with will to avoid fatigue in a forced march but they can't use will to ignore the effects of poison.
    Interesting. I like that idea.

    I've also looked at how they do saving throws in Iron Heroes. It's one base value for all three save types. The Base Save equals your Character Level. I'd have to go back and adjust some of the Class Feature requirements, but I'm inclined to use this. It's simple and fast to implement and doesn't force a player to choose a Save type that may not be relevant due to the settng itself.
    Attacking the darkness since 1998. PbP Games
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: A Generic Classes / No Magic Campaign

    No magic equals no magic weapons, equals no one has weapons that keep up with the balance that WotC intended with monsters and armour. While the fact WotC didn't intend something doesn't inherently make it bad, it risks weakening warriors too much against monsters of their CR. Try playtesting with and without the following houserule to see the results:

    "Any weapon wielded by a character proficient with it gains a +1 enhancement bonus for every 4 BAB of the wielder, to a maximum of +5. This is not magical, does not work on ammunition, and is lost when the weapon is not wielded." Result for the PCs: 9 Warrior always has a +2 weapon, and 9 Expert always has a +1 weapon. Maybe this only applies to masterwork weapons, so in practice you only have one favourite weapon that's a match for most opponents based on CR and Armour Bonus.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Orc in the Playground
     
    lvl 1 fighter's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Generic Classes / No Magic Campaign

    I've been thinking about my primary goals concerning these rules changes. I think I've broken them down into two goals:

    1) Remove the reliance on magic items.

    2) Increase the custimization/flexibility of characters.

    1)
    Regarding the process from this perspective I think it's easier to allow all three Generic classes. The more I think about it the harder it appears to modify dnd to remove magic than it is to reduce the reliance on magic items. Nearly all of my favorite fantasy stories involve magic of some kind even if it's rare. I think this would be the case for most players as well.

    Two major concerns I see when you remove magic are healing and special creatures. The Reserve Points system works well for the first problem, while for the second that can be a solved by adapting the setting. The game will be primarily above humans and encounters with typical dnd monsters will be rare. By allowing the Spellcaster class healing magic is introduced which helps to alleviate the healing problem.

    This also removes the need to modify the way Saving Throws work. Since all three will be relevant there is no need to adjust them with additional game mechanics.

    The reason I want to free characters from becoming walking treasure chests is because I want to emulate the feel of those fantasy stories. On a whim Conan climbed the Elephants Tower with a loincloth and a sword. People lost in the Maze die from knifes in the dark and the only special item I've seen Croaker regularly use is the black bow Lady gave him.

    I'd like the characters to be able to feel like they can be whole, complete characters without having their +4 widget of awesomeness, relying instead on their abilities and wits.

    2)
    To facilitate that I want to use only the Generic Classes from Unearthed Arcana. By expanding the list of class features available characters can customize themselves based on what abilities they want to have, instead of being shoehorned into a class that carries a definite character concept along with its abilities. By removing the wide disctinctions between character classes the concept of the character is open for however the character wants to pursue it.

    This idea stems from the idea that you don't have to have levels in a class to be that concept, i.e. you don't need to have swashbuckler levels to be a swashbuckler, or levels in rogue to be a thief. I've always approached character generation with a concept in mind and then used whatever classes and abilities were available to fit that concept.

    This makes it easier to do so. While there is still a distinction between a warrior, expert, or spellcaster, it is not as blatantly broad as between a swashbuckler or a samurai. Or a warblade and a monk.

    To recap:
    - Allow all three Generic Classes
    - increase skill points for each class
    - Reserve Points / Treat Wounds
    - Class Defense Bonus
    - Increase list of Class Features as Feats

    I'm satisfied with that list. What still remains to be decided is the handling of magic items and character wealth. In the current game I'm running I have magic items marked up 1.5% to reflect their scarcity. I'd like to do something different to really reflect the near absence of magic items. Even allowing spellcasting in the game I still want characters to be able to function at 100% without magic items.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omegonthesane
    No magic equals no magic weapons, equals no one has weapons that keep up with the balance that WotC intended with monsters and armour. While the fact WotC didn't intend something doesn't inherently make it bad, it risks weakening warriors too much against monsters of their CR. Try playtesting with and without the following houserule to see the results:

    "Any weapon wielded by a character proficient with it gains a +1 enhancement bonus for every 4 BAB of the wielder, to a maximum of +5. This is not magical, does not work on ammunition, and is lost when the weapon is not wielded." Result for the PCs: 9 Warrior always has a +2 weapon, and 9 Expert always has a +1 weapon. Maybe this only applies to masterwork weapons, so in practice you only have one favourite weapon that's a match for most opponents based on CR and Armour Bonus.
    Perhaps instead of calling it an enhancement bonus it could be a circumstance bonus as it reflects the characters own abilities instead of the items. I like the idea but am hesitant as I want to try and keep the number of homerules down to a minimum.

    I think a system that expanded on the quality of weapons would be more beneficial as there is somewhat of a precedent for it (masterwork quality), and it gives the characters something to spend their money on.
    Last edited by lvl 1 fighter; 2009-07-26 at 06:23 PM.
    Attacking the darkness since 1998. PbP Games
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