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    Default Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    I've gotten back on the "Hey, guys! Let's redesign 3.5 for the good of mankind!" train recently, and since my last efforts I've decided to change less, but also to broaden my scope. As such, let's compile a new list of stuff I've got done.

    EVERYTHING I'VE GOT DONE SO FAR

    The rules assume use of the Players Roll All The Dice variant. The one notable change being that there is no separate "Armor Save" or Defense Save. AC is subsumed into the Fort and Ref saves.

    ACTION ECONOMY
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    Swift -> Short -> Standard -> Full Turn

    A character whose initiative has come up has a Full Turn action to use. He may give this action up to instead gain one Swift action, one Short action, and one Standard action. He may give up a Standard action to gain an extra Short action or he may give up his Swift action to gain an immediate action, BUT HE MAY NOT give up a Standard or Short action to gain an extra Swift action. Immediate actions may be used at anytime during the round, even if it is not the character's turn.

    Action Delay

    Rather than gaining additional actions on their own turns, players may elect to give up, or withhold, their actions in order to take actions at anytime during the round. These "delayed" actions work similarly to immediate actions, but they can often be more powerful, effective, and/or useful.

    Withhold Full Turn = One standard action.
    Withhold Standard = One short action.
    Withhold Swift = One immediate action (as normal).

    Swift Actions - Basic fighting stances (Fighting Defensively, Fighting Recklessly)
    Short Actions - Basic Attack, Move
    Standard Actions - Many Powers, Run, Second Wind
    Full Turn Actions - Full Retreat
    Immediate Actions - Counterattack type powers, Defensive movement

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    ABILITY SCORES
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    Strength - Adds to [Brute] attack and damage, adds to Fortitude saves, determines carrying capacity
    Dexterity - Adds to [Precise] attack and damage, adds to Reflex saves, determines Initiative
    Constitution - Adds to [Natural] attack and damage, adds to Fortitude saves, determines HP
    Intelligence - Adds to [Tactical] attack and damage, adds to Reflex saves, determines Skill Points
    Wisdom - Adds to [Empathic] attack and damage, adds to Willpower saves, determines Initiative
    Charisma - Adds to [Invoking] attack and damage, adds to Will saves, determines HP

    Attack types

    [Brute] Includes melee weapon attacks and many combat maneuvers from Grab to Trip.
    [Precise] Anything that must be aimed to hit, from an arrow to a ray of enfeeblement.
    [Natural] is a new one. Includes any and all natural weapons, from melee claws to ranged quills, from poison to dragon's breath.

    [Tactical] effects include mind-afflicting effects that have no additional subtype, effects that produce Circumstance bonuses or penalties, and other related effects.
    [Empathic] effects include protective abjurations, intuitive divinations, and calling effects from mundane leadership to magical summoning.
    [Invoking] effects are representative of emotional manipulation such as Charm, Compulsion, or Fear effects, but also of supernatural effects which seek to bend the cosmos to the wielder's will.

    Attacks and Powers may have more than one of the above type tags. Such attacks/powers are always modified by the higher of the character's ability scores. For example, the basic Trip attack is both [Melee] and [Tactical]. When making the attack a character uses whichever is higher of his Strength or Intelligence modifier to determine if he hits.

    Saves

    Fortitude saves protect players from brute force, the elements, and from poisons and disease.
    Reflex saves protect players from anything they can dodge, be it spellfire, crossbow bolts, or rushing acid.
    Willpower saves protect players from obtrusive psychic, emotional, or morale based attacks.
    Characters add the higher of Str or Con to Fortitude, Dex or Int to Reflex, and Wis or Cha to Will.

    Carrying capacity is linked to fatigue effects, as well as push/pull, grapple, and braking objects with brute force.
    Initiative is not a roll. Characters with the highest Initiative simply go first. In the event of a tie, Initiative checks are made. rolled just like normal.
    Hit points are handled normally, or at least familiarly, with the higher of a character's Con or Cha modifier adding to this total at each character level. Characters have a pool of HP, or Hit Points, representing morale/luck/fatigue. In addition to class bonuses, Constitution or Charisma score is added to this pool.


    SKILLS
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    I plan on using skill ranks as they were normally presented in 3.5, but I plan to make sure that Charles Atlas Superpowers are a normal part of the skill system, their uses and DCs, from level 7+. This basically means Epic Level skill usage will be available and attainable at that level and beyond.

    Important to note: I plan on implementing mundane crafting which can produce awesome items that are level appropriate and useful. With the changes I seek to make to the rest of the system this should even be that difficult. Craft will also be capable of repairing broken items with ease.

    Feats will be treated similarly; they will work just like they normally did, but will receive considerable buffing.


    BONUSES & PENALTIES
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    There are no more than FOUR types of bonuses/penalties. They are Circumstance, Insight, Item, and Enhancement. Bonuses and Penalties are always typed. Bonuses and Penalties of the same type NEVER STACK.

    Circumstance handles everything from situational modifiers, to luck, to morale, and size.
    Insight handles competence, foresight, even dodge.
    Item is the new kid on the block. Item bonuses or penalties come from stuff like weapons, armors, rings, etc. Pretty self-explanatory really.
    Enhancement handles the external type of bonus you get from a little alchemy or magic here and there. Divine/profane stuff, etc.


    WEAPONS AND ARMOR
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    Weapons will not receive any drastic changes that I can think of at this time, though I will be attempting to better balance some of them with each other.

    Armor grants bonuses to Fortitude saves against some attacks and grants lots of Damage Reduction. Natural Armor works basically exactly the same as manufactured armor; it grants bonuses to Fort and DR.
    Shields grant bonuses to Reflex saves against some attacks and is able to grant Concealment.

    Damage Reduction can apply against any type of damage be it bludgeoning or Force. The source of DR will say what it applies against. DR is never expressed as DR/something, but simply as DR X. Multiple sources of DR always stack with themselves, but may not apply against the same damage types.

    The damage types are as follows: Bludgeoning, Slashing, Piercing, Cold, Fire, Electricity, Sonic, Acid, Force, Radiant, and Shadow.

    Concealment is a static miss chance of varying degrees. The common degrees are 20% (from partial cover) and 50% (from total cover). Concealment of less than 20% or more than 50% can exist.

    Weapons and armors made of special materials will actually be more involved and more interesting, almost always deserving of a stat block all to themselves. Your run of the mill leather armor might grant a +1 bonus to Fort saves and DR 5 against slashing, cold, and electricity, but balorskin armor might grant a +3 bonus to Fort, immunity to fire, and DR 20 against lots of damage types. AND you don't have to cast magic to make it! Yea!
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-02-17 at 12:13 AM.
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    One thing that caught my eye is associating rings with item modifiers rather than enhancement modifiers.
    Is this intentional (if so, what's the motivation) ?

    Another thing that pops up is morale & size overlapping. This makes no sense to me.
    Last edited by nonsi; 2011-02-09 at 09:14 AM.

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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Why exactly does constitution add to natural attacks? I can see it on poison and dragon's breath, but why do my claws hit better when I'm tougher?

    Also, you have radiant and shadow damage, which I take will replace other forms of "evil" and "good" damage. Will you restructure the cosmology accordingly?
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    One thing that caught my eye is associating rings with item modifiers rather than enhancement modifiers.
    Is this intentional (if so, what's the motivation) ?

    Another thing that pops up is morale & size overlapping. This makes no sense to me.
    The motivation with the bonuses and penalties issue is that 3.5 is bloated as if by cancerous tumors. One of these is the outrageous number of bonus types, and through exploiting bonus stacking, with that many types its just way too easy to push things off the random number generator.

    Size modifiers may seem like a good idea in theory, a big guy ought to be better at bullrushing right? But in gameplay they ruin any sense of superheroics, and outright kill a lot of character concepts. The idea is to lessen the impact of Size modifiers.

    An example, as part of the core rules, you might get a +2 circumstance bonus to Bull Rush for each size category larger than your opponent you are. So, Bighorns McMinotaur, a Large Fighter, initiates a Bull Rush against a pesky Small sized Gnome Illusionist. As an immediate action, Glory McBuffzor, his Marshall buddy, shouts across the battlefield encouraging the Fighter's tactical actions and granting a +6 circumstance bonus to all his allies' Bull Rush, Disarm, Grapple, Overrun, Trip, and Sunder attempts for 1 round. Without the tactical buff, Bighorns would have a +4 bonus to his check, but with it he's still got only a +6 bonus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan
    Why exactly does constitution add to natural attacks? I can see it on poison and dragon's breath, but why do my claws hit better when I'm tougher?
    Claws and unarmed strikes may well have both the [Melee] and [Natural] tags to allow strong characters to take advantage of them. Regardless, the reasoning behind this is:

    1) Constitution is much more than just being tough. It includes wholeness of body, stamina, and efficiency of bodily functions to name a few things. Unarmed martial arts relies as much or more on overall physical conditioning than brute strength. Comparing two creatures with claws, the one with higher Constitution should have sturdier claws with harder enamel, etc.

    2) Consistency. I want all attacks of the same type to be modified by the same stat. I don't want some natural attacks to be strength based, some to be dexterity based, and some to constitution based. I want them all to be consistently constitution based.

    Also, you have radiant and shadow damage, which I take will replace other forms of "evil" and "good" damage. Will you restructure the cosmology accordingly?
    Which cosmology are you taking to be the default D&D 3.5 cosmology? The Positive and Negative Energy Planes can still exist, but rather than using positive or negative energy to deal damage or heal living or unliving creatures, Radiant and Shadow energy steps in. Radiant and Shadow are only ever damage types, just like Bludgeoning or Acid are only ever damage types, and they do not restore hit points.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-02-09 at 01:03 PM.
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Okay, for Skills, I've taken a lot of other people's ideas, along with my own inspirations, and I've come up with a basic idea outline.

    1) Class skills and cross-class skills don't exist. A Rogue may have 8+Int modifier skill points per level and a Fighter a mere 4+Int, but either character may take any skills they wish without penalty.

    2) You may have a number of ranks in a skill equal to your character level. This means 1st level characters may have 1 rank in a skill. This also means that skill points aren't multiplied by 4 at first level.

    3) Every single skill rank matters.
    --3a) At every odd skill rank, including 1st, players are rewarded with a special "Trained Only" skill perk. Examples would be the not being flatfooted thing for skills like Climb and Balance. With more and more ranks these become more and more powerful.
    ----3a.1) All skills can be attempted "untrained," but doing so offers only the most basic uses no matter how high your bonus to the check may be.
    --3b) At every even skill rank players choose from a list of skill tricks for the skill. These may or may not be usable once per encounter.

    4) Synergy is no mere +2 bonus, though this may be included; synergy is a collection of benefits akin to Up the Hill or Walk the Walls. These synergy benefits rely on a combination of two or more different skills and are automatically gained by a character that possesses the required skill ranks. I expect synergies will be "always on" rather than X/encounter.

    5) Some consolidation of skills is to be expected, and perhaps even new skills may be added.
    --5a) Tentative skill list: Acrobatics (Balance/Tumble), Arcana, Athletics (Climb/Jump/Swim), Concentration (+Autohypnosis), Craft, Deception (Bluff/Disguise/Sleight of Hand), Diplomacy (+Intimidate/Sense Motive), Dungeoneering, Linguistics (Decipher Script/Forgery/Speak Language), Nature, Perception (Listen/Search/Spot), Religion, Stealth (Hide/Move Silently), Streetwise (Appraise/Gather Information/Knowledge Local) and Disable Device (+Open Lock).

    Heal, Perform, Profession, Ride, Spellcraft, Use Magic Device, and Use Rope are, for now, entirely eliminated. I would like to have something like 20 skills in all, so adding new skills would be nice. Anyone have any ideas?

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-02-14 at 04:19 AM.
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    It does sound good, but I'm not sure you should get rid of the multiplied skill ranks at first level. When working out synergy effects you might want to encourage spreading your skills rather than putting every point into the same x+int skills every level. It's also a good idea to make a couple of effects that you want characters to be albe to achieve at level 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20 before you start writing many perks and synergies. You'll want a somewhat consistent power level for a certain level (otherwise there's no point in a level system) and making big changes in power of certain skills/combination later when it means reworking alot of things is harder than getting it right the first time.

    Edit: also you might want to give out fewer skill perks, right now every character gets potentially 10 per skill. If you want them to have some choice you need 15 to 20 perks per skill, that's quite a lot. You should also when making the skill system consider what skills you want the archtypical fighter/rogue/mage/cleric to have and how you want them to use it.
    Last edited by Kzickas; 2011-02-14 at 06:53 AM.
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Alright, this is quite a bit to look through. I hope to get to all the high points at the same time, but can't guarantee that I won't miss something.

    ACTION ECONOMY
    Swift -> Short -> Standard -> Full Turn
    After having played 4e, I have to wonder why the needed complexity. The only things you used a "Full Turn" action for in 3.5e was for iterative attacks and a very, very small selection of spells. It seems like it would far more practical to just make standard attacks more useful, and shift the few full turn spells into full round casting.

    As for immediate actions, rather than having a complex "withholding action delay" rules, why not turn any unused actions during the character's turn into immediate actions until next turn? That is, if a character is so focused on attacking that they spend all three actions during their turn, then they won't be able to focus on what others are doing around themselves enough to properly react. If they take the time to do nothing, though, they have plenty of time (three immediate actions) to respond as needed.

    Attack types

    [Melee] is pretty obvious. Includes melee weapon attacks and many combat maneuvers from Grab to Trip.
    [Ranged] another one that seems immediately obvious. Anything that must be aimed to hit, from an arrow to a ray of enfeeblement.
    [Natural] is a new one. Includes any and all natural weapons, from melee claws to ranged quills, from poison to dragon's breath.
    While the ability scores seem simple enough (although perhaps too simple), this is where some problems with that simplicity begin showing up. For example, hitting someone with your fists uses Constitution for attack/damage, but hitting them while wearing brass knuckles uses Strength? Why would an unarmed person use Constitution for punches and kicks, but Strength for grabbing and tripping with those same hands? Or is that wrong, but tripping with your legs relies on Constitution but tripping with a rope relies on Strength? Why does the damage from thrusting a spear rely on Strength, while the damage from hurling the spear an extra 5 feet using the exact same motion rely on Dexterity?

    I will assume that tossing Fireballs and the like relies on the [Ranged] attribute, simply becuase I don't see another value it could be under.

    The Charisma ability is even less meaningful to charisma than in the standard system.

    Carrying capacity is linked to fatigue effects, as well as push/pull, grapple, and braking objects with brute force.
    Hit points are handled normally, or at least familiarly, with the higher of a character's Con or Cha modifier adding to this total at each character level.
    How do fatigue effects apply? Are they only from certain spells and staying up for 24 hours, like in 3.5e, or is there a fatigue mechanic in the game?

    Under what logic does Charisma determine how Hit Points?

    There are no more than FOUR types of bonuses/penalties. They are Circumstance, Insight, Item, and Enhancement. Bonuses and Penalties are always typed. Bonuses and Penalties of the same type NEVER STACK.
    This sounds good in practice, but the no-stack rule means that any one penality is equal to any number of penalities. Similarly, any one bonus is just as good as any number of bonuses.

    For example, my character is trying to snipe an enemy guardsman through some light underbrush. He gets a circumstance penality for the brush partially blocking his view. My character's twin brother is a blind cross-eyed paraplegic with no arms firing an exotic weapon with his feet while hanging upside down from a moving train in a blinding snowstorm in the middle of the night. However, because these are all circumstance penalities and because similar penalities do not stand, both characters have an identical chance to hit.

    The example may be silly, but the point still stands: With less categories, especially with such broad ones as these, you're bound to find bonuses or penalities that would logically stack but cannot due solely to the nature of the system. One more realistic example that comes to mind is that it would be far more practical to enchant a pair of glasses (an item bonus, by your rules) for bonuses to attack and damage than to enchant any kind of weapon, because you could pick up any weapon and use it equally well as long as you are still spectacle'd.

    Armor grants bonuses to Fortitude saves against some attacks and grants lots of Damage Reduction. Natural Armor works basically exactly the same as manufactured armor; it grants bonuses to Fort and DR.
    Shields grant bonuses to Reflex saves against some attacks and is able to grant Concealment.
    I take it that Fortitude is the defense that melee attacks are rolled against?
    Do natural armor and manufactured armor benefits stack?

    It sounds like you will ultimately end up having five defenses total: Fortitude, Fortitude with Armor, Reflex, Reflex with Shield, and Will.

    Be careful with the "shields grant concealment" idea. That's where the invisible tower shield logic came from, after all.

    Damage Reduction can apply against any type of damage be it bludgeoning or Force. The source of DR will say what it applies against. DR is never expressed as DR/something, but simply as DR X. Multiple sources of DR always stack with themselves, but may not apply against the same damage types.
    It makes sense, although you are bound to run into the issue where a suit of leather armor makes the bearer immune to fire and lightning, but dissolves in water. Is there an "DR All" category you could use for resistant-in-general armor? And for that matter, what if an attack doesn't follow one of the damage types, such as causing an opponent to start bleeding spontaneously?

    Concealment is a static miss chance of varying degrees. The common degrees are 20% (from partial cover) and 50% (from total cover). Concealment of less than 20% or more than 50% can exist.
    I will say it right now: I don't like miss chances. They are redundant. You are already rolling a percentile chance (in the form of 1d20) to see if you miss. It feels exceedingly redundant to roll a d20 miss chance to see if you hit, then immediately roll another d% miss chance to see if you hit with the same attack. There is already a mechanic to increasing the first miss chance: bonuses to the AC equilivant.

    3a) At every odd skill rank, including 1st, players are rewarded with a special "Trained Only" skill perk. Examples would be the not being flatfooted thing for skills like Climb and Balance. With more and more ranks these become more and more powerful.

    4) Synergy is no mere +2 bonus, though this may be included; synergy is a collection of benefits akin to Up the Hill or Walk the Walls. These synergy benefits rely on a combination of two or more different skills and are automatically gained by a character that possesses the required skill ranks. I expect synergies will be "always on" rather than X/encounter.
    You might want to think about what all these skill perks will actually be before determining how many perks a character would get. There are only so many tricks I can see for, say, Dungeoneering, especially in synergy.

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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Quote Originally Posted by Kzickas View Post
    It does sound good, but I'm not sure you should get rid of the multiplied skill ranks at first level. When working out synergy effects you might want to encourage spreading your skills rather than putting every point into the same x+int skills every level.
    Well, the only reason they existed, the multiplied ranks that is, in the first place was because max skill ranks at 1st level was 4, not 1. If I changed the max ranks to 1 and kept the multiplication, that would just give people extra skills ONLY at 1st level which is weird.

    It's also a good idea to make a couple of effects that you want characters to be albe to achieve at level 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20 before you start writing many perks and synergies. You'll want a somewhat consistent power level for a certain level (otherwise there's no point in a level system) and making big changes in power of certain skills/combination later when it means reworking alot of things is harder than getting it right the first time.
    Trust me, I know, I've been immersed in 3.5 design and redesign for more years now than I care to mention, lol. In that time I've developed at least 30 base classes and likely dozens more to be honest, I've worked on four or five alternate spellcasting systems, and redesigned over a hundred published feats (sometimes more than once).

    Edit: also you might want to give out fewer skill perks, right now every character gets potentially 10 per skill. If you want them to have some choice you need 15 to 20 perks per skill, that's quite a lot. You should also when making the skill system consider what skills you want the archtypical fighter/rogue/mage/cleric to have and how you want them to use it.
    My thoughts on "perks" right now are that they aren't chosen, but rather automatically gained at every odd rank. Sometimes these are nifty side-benefits like not being flatfooted while you're climbing or balancing. Sometimes these are full on new uses for the skill.

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    After having played 4e, I have to wonder why the needed complexity. The only things you used a "Full Turn" action for in 3.5e was for iterative attacks and a very, very small selection of spells. It seems like it would far more practical to just make standard attacks more useful, and shift the few full turn spells into full round casting.
    I am actually making standard attacks more useful. Iterative attacks no longer exist, though it will be possible to make more than one attack during your turn and, when I get there, mechanics for "full attacking" in this manner will be written out.

    As far as "full round casting" goes, I'm actually shifting in the other direction. Under the new action economy rules anything that would have required 1 round in 3.5 is now a Full-Turn Action. 1 round effects didn't even happen until the start of your next turn, which is awkward, so instead they now happen instantaneously, but you use up your turn doing them.

    As for immediate actions, rather than having a complex "withholding action delay" rules, why not turn any unused actions during the character's turn into immediate actions until next turn? That is, if a character is so focused on attacking that they spend all three actions during their turn, then they won't be able to focus on what others are doing around themselves enough to properly react. If they take the time to do nothing, though, they have plenty of time (three immediate actions) to respond as needed.
    While this is an interesting idea, not all characters will have immediate action abilities to be able to take advantage of it. All characters will certainly have the basic ability to make use of Standard and Short actions however.

    Think of this as taking the place simultaneously of the Attack of Opportunity, the Initiative Delay, and the Ready an Action mechanics. Not only is it one subsystem rather than three, it is also more dynamic and effective. The player has more choice over how he reacts to the battlefield.

    While the ability scores seem simple enough (although perhaps too simple), this is where some problems with that simplicity begin showing up. For example, hitting someone with your fists uses Constitution for attack/damage, but hitting them while wearing brass knuckles uses Strength? Why would an unarmed person use Constitution for punches and kicks, but Strength for grabbing and tripping with those same hands? Or is that wrong, but tripping with your legs relies on Constitution but tripping with a rope relies on Strength? Why does the damage from thrusting a spear rely on Strength, while the damage from hurling the spear an extra 5 feet using the exact same motion rely on Dexterity?
    Remember that it is entirely possible and completely expected that some attacks and powers have multiple [Type] tags. Hitting and damaging someone with your fist relies on your physical conditioning as well as your own bones to deal the damage, while brass knuckles is dealing damage based on the merit of those knuckles' craftsmanship. Grabbing is one that would definitely be [Melee], [Natural] typed. Thrown weapons will likely be [Melee], [Ranged] typed, and keep in mind that having the [Melee] tag wouldn't mean, necessarily, that the attack must be used in melee, but rather that Strength is used to modify the attack and damage roll. If that becomes confusing I'll simply come up with a different name for the [Melee] tag.

    I will assume that tossing Fireballs and the like relies on the [Ranged] attribute, simply becuase I don't see another value it could be under.
    Correct.

    The Charisma ability is even less meaningful to charisma than in the standard system.
    How so? It is used for social manipulation and for commanding forces beyond mortal ken. One's force of personality can bolster his mind against hostile forces and can supply reserves of morale and determination to keep one standing when lesser men would crumple to the ground.

    How do fatigue effects apply? Are they only from certain spells and staying up for 24 hours, like in 3.5e, or is there a fatigue mechanic in the game?
    There's no special fatigue mechanic in the game, just the normal 3.5 stuff.

    Under what logic does Charisma determine how Hit Points?
    Under the logic that hit points do not, and have never, represented actual wounds. They are an abstract representation of any number of different odd-ball values such as fatigue, luck, morale, etc. Also, have you never heard of the concept of a man's will to live?

    This sounds good in practice, but the no-stack rule means that any one penality is equal to any number of penalities. Similarly, any one bonus is just as good as any number of bonuses.
    That is exactly the point, you see.

    The example may be silly, but the point still stands: With less categories, especially with such broad ones as these, you're bound to find bonuses or penalities that would logically stack but cannot due solely to the nature of the system. One more realistic example that comes to mind is that it would be far more practical to enchant a pair of glasses (an item bonus, by your rules) for bonuses to attack and damage than to enchant any kind of weapon, because you could pick up any weapon and use it equally well as long as you are still spectacle'd.
    Yes, the example was silly and fails to look at the reasons for condensing the bonuses and penalties. In 3.5 penalties are incredibly rarely typed to the point that I didn't even think they were ever typed, or even allowed to be. But, in taking a closer look at the PHB, they can be typed. I mention that because, with so many untyped penalties they could always stack making it trivial to any optimizer with the resources to reduce a foe's, in fact even many foes', saves and AC to 0. Of course the reverse is also true. There are many threads all over the internet devoted solely to X stat to Y attribute, many of these devolving into "I have my Charisma modifier to everything twice and to my saves four timesloll!" To keep the random number generator more sane, and to keep encounters actually challenging I definitely think the benefits of condensing bonuses/penalties outweigh the problems.

    I take it that Fortitude is the defense that melee attacks are rolled against?
    Not always, but sometimes.

    Do natural armor and manufactured armor benefits stack?
    No.

    Be careful with the "shields grant concealment" idea. That's where the invisible tower shield logic came from, after all.
    I know.

    It makes sense, although you are bound to run into the issue where a suit of leather armor makes the bearer immune to fire and lightning, but dissolves in water.
    That would only be an issue insofar as some strange special material was used.

    Is there an "DR All" category you could use for resistant-in-general armor?
    Yes and no. I mean, Adamantine Full Plate is probably resistant to all damage types, but it would simply list all eleven types as checked (I'm envisioning icons representing the damage types and a small check box by each of them).

    And for that matter, what if an attack doesn't follow one of the damage types, such as causing an opponent to start bleeding spontaneously?
    If that were a rider effect to an attack that dealt damage, if all of the damage were prevented the rider would have no effect. Instead, if that were the only effect of the attack, such as a nifty magic spell, well then your armor does nothing to protect you.

    You might want to think about what all these skill perks will actually be before determining how many perks a character would get. There are only so many tricks I can see for, say, Dungeoneering, especially in synergy.
    I'm a pretty creative guy, and honestly if I can't find a way to make every single skill rank matter for every single skill then I'll either cut some skills or I'll switch gears and come up with a new idea for skills on the whole.
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Rather than just collapse the myriad different bonus types into four, I'd just flat-out rule that no matter how many different bonuses you have, only the three (or however many you choose for ideal balance) best bonuses count.

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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    As far as "full round casting" goes, I'm actually shifting in the other direction. Under the new action economy rules anything that would have required 1 round in 3.5 is now a Full-Turn Action. 1 round effects didn't even happen until the start of your next turn, which is awkward, so instead they now happen instantaneously, but you use up your turn doing them.
    The point of full round casting, as I believe it, was to leave the spellcaster vulnerable to interruption before the spell is complete. Simply changing it to a full turn erases that vulnerability, and makes the only drawback to casting such a spell the inability to take other actions, including movement.

    While we're on the subject, I would recommend require "maintaining Concentration" to expend a minor/short/standard action of the player's choice.

    Yes, the example was silly and fails to look at the reasons for condensing the bonuses and penalties. In 3.5 penalties are incredibly rarely typed to the point that I didn't even think they were ever typed, or even allowed to be. But, in taking a closer look at the PHB, they can be typed. I mention that because, with so many untyped penalties they could always stack making it trivial to any optimizer with the resources to reduce a foe's, in fact even many foes', saves and AC to 0.
    All 3.5e penalities stack, even typed ones, so the typing doesn't mean much beyond immunities or save bonuses.

    While the example is silly, there are going to be times when similar, non-silly instances come up in the game. Making a quality crossbow improves its performance with an item bonus, and adding a crosshair also improves it for similar reasons. But making a quality crossbow and giving it a crosshair does not improve it in any way. A climber can improve their chances of a successful climb with a knotted rope, with boot tips, with pitons, or with magical gloves of climbing. Using all four is nothing but redundant though, as a simple knotted rope is just as effective as the magical gloves.

    Conversely, fighting in the dark is a circumstance penality. Fighting in the rain is a circumstance penality. Fighting in the dark, in the rain, on a moving wagon against an opponent who can read your movements telepathically imposes a bunch of circumstance penalities, but because they are all the same penality, doing so is no different than just fighting at nighttime. And the above scenario is far less silly - and far more likely to happen in an actual game.

    I bring up the point, because how the bonuses/penalities react will change how the players act in the game. If you want a game where players take every measure they can to guarantee success, or make choices to avoid placing themselves in bad situations, then stacking encourages them to do so. If you want a game where the players are fine climbing a mountain with just a rope, or don't care about getting off unstable footing because they're at a penality anyways, then the non-stacking encourages that.

    There are many threads all over the internet devoted solely to X stat to Y attribute, many of these devolving into "I have my Charisma modifier to everything twice and to my saves four timesloll!"
    This is less an issue with stacking penalities/bonuses and more poorly worded or abusive abilities in different classes, which I assume you'll resolve just by not giving twenty different classes similar-but-not-identical abilities. Even in your system, one class granting Charisma as a circumstance bonus, another granting Charisma as an insight bonus, and a third granting Charisma as an enhancement bonus provides exactly the same level of absurdity as you mentioned - and really isn't that outlandish. (Monks would grant insight bonuses, while Paladins would grant enhancement bonuses. And so on.)

    I mean, I could create a character than uses Intelligence for attacks, AC, HP, and all saves. This isn't an issue of stacking bonuses as much as a silly number of feats that really shouldn't be in the game for exactly that reason, or at least not used together.

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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    The point of full round casting, as I believe it, was to leave the spellcaster vulnerable to interruption before the spell is complete. Simply changing it to a full turn erases that vulnerability, and makes the only drawback to casting such a spell the inability to take other actions, including movement.

    While we're on the subject, I would recommend require "maintaining Concentration" to expend a minor/short/standard action of the player's choice.
    Sorry, I worded my response poorly. I'm not just keeping the mechanics of 3.5 spellcasting and the published spells wholesale, but changing the action times. I'm changing spellcasting too. With action delay and immediate actions being a more established part of the game mechanics interrupting someone happens during their turn.

    All 3.5e penalities stack, even typed ones, so the typing doesn't mean much beyond immunities or save bonuses.
    Ah, well, there you go, and hence my confusion.

    While the example is silly, there are going to be times when similar, non-silly instances come up in the game. Making a quality crossbow improves its performance with an item bonus, and adding a crosshair also improves it for similar reasons. But making a quality crossbow and giving it a crosshair does not improve it in any way.
    You don't "enhance" an item and improve it's "item bonus." An item is simply capable of granting an item bonus. So a better item is capable of granting a better item bonus.

    A climber can improve their chances of a successful climb with a knotted rope, with boot tips, with pitons, or with magical gloves of climbing. Using all four is nothing but redundant though, as a simple knotted rope is just as effective as the magical gloves.
    Using all four might be redundant. Or, a rope might grant a +2 item bonus, a climber's kit (which could include all of them) might grant a +4 item bonus, and magical gloves might grant a +6 item bonus. It's all in the design.

    Conversely, fighting in the dark is a circumstance penality. Fighting in the rain is a circumstance penality. Fighting in the dark, in the rain, on a moving wagon against an opponent who can read your movements telepathically imposes a bunch of circumstance penalities, but because they are all the same penality, doing so is no different than just fighting at nighttime. And the above scenario is far less silly - and far more likely to happen in an actual game.
    This is a pretty good argument for allowing situational modifiers to remain a separate bonus/penalty type all their own, but then again, I wouldn't want it to get ridiculous so that if you're fighting in the dark, in the rain, on a moving wagon and you also get demoralized that you now have -10 to attacks and AC or something.

    The goal is to control the bonuses and penalties. It might seem logical for many different types of modifiers to stack, but in reality if you're in a situation stacked in your favor or stacked against you you will reach a "terminal velocity" of sorts where it can't get much better or worse.

    I bring up the point, because how the bonuses/penalities react will change how the players act in the game. If you want a game where players take every measure they can to guarantee success, or make choices to avoid placing themselves in bad situations, then stacking encourages them to do so. If you want a game where the players are fine climbing a mountain with just a rope, or don't care about getting off unstable footing because they're at a penality anyways, then the non-stacking encourages that.
    This is a good point to bring up though, and I'm glad you did. I certainly am looking to design a game of extraordinary, heroic adventurers. So being able to reward fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants heroics with the most basic mechanical aspects of the game is a good thing to me.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-02-14 at 07:46 PM.
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Sorry if it's been discussed, by why is your Cha affecting your HP?
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    Sorry if it's been discussed, by why is your Cha affecting your HP?
    From earlier in the thread: "It [...] can supply reserves of morale and determination to keep one standing when lesser men would crumple to the ground."

    Hit points aren't actual wounds, and they were never supposed to be. If they were that would mean that a 10th level Human Fighter with 100hp can be impaled with a longsword ten or more times and survive. Not only survive, but be totally fine indefinitely without receiving any healing whatsoever. Rather, "They are an abstract representation of any number of different odd-ball values such as fatigue, luck, morale, etc. Also, have you never heard of the concept of a man's will to live?"
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    So the pretty guy dies last? And since when do people skills and good looks translate to will to live and morale?
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    So the pretty guy dies last? And since when do people skills and good looks translate to will to live and morale?
    1) Charisma isn't good looks. If that's what you want Charisma to represent than it shouldn't even be a separate sixth ability score.

    2) My vision of D&D isn't supposed to be a vivid reflection of reality. It has heroes that can pick up trucks and shoot lightning from their fingers.

    3) Charisma is supposed to represent force of personality, and it was always supposed to in 3.5, it just maybe didn't do a great job of this. Your argument can basically be expanded to any of the things Charisma already governs in 3.5.

    --Why is your Cha affecting your spellcasting?
    --So the pretty guy can destroy undead (because he's prettier than me)?
    --Since when do people skills and good looks translate to being difficult to hit, or more resilient to poison, or able to hit harder?

    If you're against Charisma doing that sort of stuff, 3.5 already does it. I like Charisma doing that sort of stuff, and expanding the idea to hit points so that your willpower and determination are able to keep you standing as long as the guy who is as tough as nails with infinite stamina, that's exactly the heroic sort of game I want to play. It isn't "the pretty guy" who dies last. Its either the guy with extraordinary willpower and determination or its the guy with extraordinary toughness and conditioning. That seems to make sense to me.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-02-14 at 08:58 PM.
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Okay, I approve.
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    Okay, I approve.
    Awesome! :high five:
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    You don't "enhance" an item and improve it's "item bonus." An item is simply capable of granting an item bonus. So a better item is capable of granting a better item bonus.
    Quality (masterwork) items provide an enhancement bonus? Huh. I guess that's the way 3.5e handles it for weapons, true. Would masterwork items for skills provide an enhancement bonus, or the traditional item bonus as in 3.5e?

    (Such inconsistencies are something I find very annoying in the D&D system.)

    This is a good point to bring up though, and I'm glad you did. I certainly am looking to design a game of extraordinary, heroic adventurers. So being able to reward fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants heroics with the most basic mechanical aspects of the game is a good thing to me.
    This is another thing that I liked about 4e. Various situational positions and status effects did not provide bonuses in themselves, but provided what the system called "combat advantage". You got a +2 to hit against an opponent you had combat advantage against, along with triggering bonus damage from the rogue and similar abilities. Being flanked, prone, dazed, or attacked from an invisible opponent all give the attacker combat advantage. And because combat advantage is only applied once, it didn't matter how many times you "had" advantage over an opponent.

    Attacking a flanked, prone, dazed opponent while invisible just gave you the flat +2 to hit, because it represent the opponent being unable to fully defend themselves and there was no reason for them to be "even less fully" able to defend themselves with additional disadvantages.

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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    Quality (masterwork) items provide an enhancement bonus? Huh. I guess that's the way 3.5e handles it for weapons, true. Would masterwork items for skills provide an enhancement bonus, or the traditional item bonus as in 3.5e?

    (Such inconsistencies are something I find very annoying in the D&D system.)
    No, no, what I meant was that let's call it a standard crossbow. That gives no item bonus. Then there's your masterwork crossbow which gives a +1 item bonus. Then maybe there's your mythcraft crossbow, with a crosshair included, which gives a +2 item bonus. Beyond that you might have your Mythcraft Goldenbough Crossbow which gives a +4 item bonus.

    The idea is to make non-magical crafting able to rival magical crafting. Artifacts would be examples of items combining the highest quality mundane crafting skill with the most sophisticated magical enchanting and fabrication.

    Attacking a flanked, prone, dazed opponent while invisible just gave you the flat +2 to hit, because it represent the opponent being unable to fully defend themselves and there was no reason for them to be "even less fully" able to defend themselves with additional disadvantages.
    Well, that's kind of my point with the bonuses/penalties don't stack issue. I like 4e's Combat Advantage concept too, and in the end I may even borrow it because I do like it a lot better than 3.5's narrow flat-footed condition.
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    No, no, what I meant was that let's call it a standard crossbow. That gives no item bonus. Then there's your masterwork crossbow which gives a +1 item bonus. Then maybe there's your mythcraft crossbow, with a crosshair included, which gives a +2 item bonus. Beyond that you might have your Mythcraft Goldenbough Crossbow which gives a +4 item bonus.
    This sounds a lot like the standard bonus stacking to me, though.

    Masterwork items convey a +1 item bonus.
    Adding a crosshair to a crossbow conveys a +1 item bonus.
    Making a crossbow out of Goldenbough conveys a +2 item bonus.

    Taken all together, a masterwork crosshaired Goldenbough crossbow grants a full +4 item bonus.

    Saying otherwise begins to bring up strange inconsistencies. For example, what if I wanted to put a crosshair on a non-masterwork crossbow? What if I wanted to make a crossbow out of Goldenbough, but didn't put a crosshair on it? (or didn't make it mythcraft) We could use the method found in computer RPGs, where there are simply no crosshair crossbows that are not masterwork, or that there are simply no Goldenbough crossbows without crosshairs - but it begins to feel unrealistic. It also begs the question of why a player cannot choose to make a non-masterwork Goldenbough anything.

    We could, of course, just make a table for all the bonuses of various masterwork/crosshair/Mythcraft/Goldenbough modifications to the crossbow, but at that point, I'd have to wonder if we're really doing any favors by refusing to just allow modifier stacking.

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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    We could use the method found in computer RPGs, where there are simply no crosshair crossbows that are not masterwork, or that there are simply no Goldenbough crossbows without crosshairs - but it begins to feel unrealistic. It also begs the question of why a player cannot choose to make a non-masterwork Goldenbough anything.
    Well, I would argue that adding a crosshairs to a crossbow is pretty akin to making it "masterwork." And in standard 3.5 rules anything made out of special materials is automatically masterwork. But, then again, it doesn't necessarily mean that all masterwork crossbows have a crosshair attached. Maybe there's some other implement that makes the weapon more useful and accurate than normal. That's basically up to the player's choice of fluff where the extra item bonus comes from.

    We could, of course, just make a table for all the bonuses of various masterwork/crosshair/Mythcraft/Goldenbough modifications to the crossbow, but at that point, I'd have to wonder if we're really doing any favors by refusing to just allow modifier stacking.
    My plan is to treat weapons and armor made out of special materials as entirely new items. Sort of like 4e's tiered armors. You don't make a suit of masterwork Leather Armor out of Balor Skin you make Balorskin Armor. It feels more unique and I want to give those things really neat abilities beyond better defenses.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-02-15 at 04:39 PM.
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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    just one point about the DR thing: You should really just name it Resist, as in "leather armor gives you Resist 5 slashing, cold, and electricity" instead of DR
    DR is damage reduction and it can be bypassed by something generally, and only applies to physical attacks. there is no points in messing with that. Just make a resist, with is the same as we already have, it already stacks, and you you add is a resist slashing, etc instad of just elemental and energy attacks. Its a little easier to understand and write it down.

    "my character has DR 15, but only versus slashing, cold, and electricity, DR 10 versus fire and DR 5 versus anything that isn't any of those"

    vs

    "my character has DR5/-, Resist Slashing 10, Resist Cold 10, Resist Electricity 10, Resist Fire 5"
    There, its kinda simplier, just make sure DR applies against all damage types and you are set.
    Last edited by chando; 2011-02-15 at 07:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    Grabbing is one that would definitely be [Melee], [Natural] typed. Thrown weapons will likely be [Melee], [Ranged] typed, and keep in mind that having the [Melee] tag wouldn't mean, necessarily, that the attack must be used in melee, but rather that Strength is used to modify the attack and damage roll.
    This is something that I should have asked earlier, but just didn't think about it until today. If something is a [Melee] [Natural] attack, does it simply use the higher of Strength or Constitution for damage? That would make it similar to the saves, in a way. Or would a [Melee] [Ranged] use, say, Dexterity for attack and Strength for damage?

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    Default Re: Redesigning 3.5 for the Greater Good

    That is correct. Any attack with multiple [Type]s uses the higher of the associated ability modifiers. I think this is covered in the Ability Scores spoiler above.
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