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    Default A potential class system for 5th edition?

    I looked back at my posts in the 5th edition thread(s) and decided to work on the concept suggested therein more, with feedback from people more adept at making and balancing classes. As this is the homebrew forum, I would most likely get the best advice and critique here, so hopefully no mod will decide that there is a reason to move this thread because it is more speculative than most.

    Original post nr 1, The Concept:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icedaemon View Post
    As most people in this thread seem to agree (I am glad), a small number of versatile classes is better than an array of specialists.

    Personally, I would go with:
    One purely martial warrior-class with possible access to barbarian rage, fighting style specialization similar but far more prominent than ranger dual-wield/archery, leadership qualities similar to marshals/Pathfinder crusaders ect.
    One paladin-type divine champion, who is specialized by who and what he or she is fighting for and the patrons designs. This allows for a generic do-goody paladin who fights for a pantheon/council of angels or somesuch to protect the innocent; justicar-types who are very good at finding criminals; champions of devils who, as servants to a mighty devil primarily concerned with the Blood War is focused on hunting down chaotic, especially demonic foes ect.
    One roguish class, which can also specialize in ranged combat a la scout, back-stabs and venom like assassins, become a masterful spy and possibly even learn bardic music, again mixing and matching like the fighter-alike.
    A wizard, who has to specialize and typically requires full-round actions or longer to cast spells, with potentially catastrophic miscasts.
    A cleric whose spellcasting is far more limited by choice of patron (being a cleric of Moradin or one of Helm would not just be flavour, it would bring clear mechanical differences) and who would cast everything even slower than a wizard, even to the point that the paladin-alike, while less potent as a caster, is capable of casting low-level magic much faster.
    A duskblade/sorcerer-like spontaneous arcane caster, who would be forced into a thematically very narrow spell list, but would be faster and better at those few spells than a wizard who chose the school containing (most of) those spells.

    With all these classes, there would be a mandatory main specialization at an early level; 1 for divine champions and spontaneous arcanists. 2-4 for the others (early game would thus allow for recruits, apprentice magi with a set of very weak but reasonably versatile cantrips ect).

    Characters would generally get access to other specialities at higher levels, while the specializations themselves would scale with level (though this would probably not work for wizards and clerics). Thus, say, a warrior who specializes into becoming a mounted combatant at level 2 and, say, a leader at level 6 would always have more mounted combat tricks than one who went with barbarian first and mounted second.

    Not sure how well this would work with multi-classing. Dipping into sorcerer for level 1 and getting full progression while staying in, say, rogue for the rest seems like it could be an exploit.

    It could work if, while full progression as a subtype of fighter would come simply from an early fighter progression pick, spell casting would require several ranks of further progression. A full-powered Necromancer would require to go for necromancy specializations again and again to unlock the ability to cast respectively 1-3rd, 1-6th and 1-9th level spells (at the appropriate levels, of course), as an example. If wizards can choose their first specialization at level 4 and an additional one every fourth levels thereafter, that would leave just two specializations to either pick up non-casting-progression necromantic specialties, some limited access to beguilerdom or go for a multi-class.


    Original post nr 2, The Framework:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icedaemon View Post
    The way I was thinking, it would be along these (very, very hazy) lines, assuming 20 levels.
    Warrior-types:

    {table=head]Warrior|Features||Wizard|Features||Champion|Featur es
    1|Basic Training||1|Student's cantrips||1|Recruitment, Patron
    2|Major specialization||2|Minor specialization||2|Blessing
    3|Weapon specialization||3|?||3|Weapon specialization
    4|?||4|School specialization||4|Target
    5|Combat style specialization||5|?||5|Combat style specialization
    6|Weapon specialization||6|Minor specialization||6|Blessing
    7|Major specialization||7|?||7|?
    8|?||7|School specialization||8|Target
    9|Weapon specialization||9|?||9|Weapon specialization
    10|?||10|Minor specialization||10|Blessing
    11|Combat style specialization||11|?||11|?
    12|Major specialization||12|School specialization||12|...
    13|Weapon specialization||13|?||13|...
    14|?||14|Minor specialization||14|...
    15|Combat style specialization||15|?||15|...
    16|Weapon specialization||16|School specialization||16|...
    17|Major specialization||17|?||17|...
    18|?||18|Minor specialization||18|...
    19|?||19|?||19|...
    20|?||20|?||20|...[/table]ect

    Basic warrior training is proficiency with (some) martial weapons, light and medium armour and small (and probably medium) shields.
    Major specializations for warriors would be their main focuses (barbarian-like rage & power, defensive combat designed to keep opponents on the back foot for others to finish them off, marshal-style buffing, mounted combat, One-on-one and maybe ranged-combat-oriented skirmishing, although ranged probably fits the rogue-alike better).
    Combat style specialization would equate their preferred method of fighting - one-handed fencing, two-handed weapons, sword-and-board, two-weapon-fighting, maybe unarmed, possibly also archery and throwing.
    Weapon specialization indicates the choice of weapons, obviously. With simple weapons, wide categories are generally applicable (blunt, axes, blades, that's probably it). Martial weapons will be in smaller categories (curved swords, flails, one-handed axes ect) Exotic weapons will each be separate.
    All specializations advance while leveling - barbarian rage gets better and defenders are more adept at denying enemies' actions and attacks; sword and board gets increased shield bonuses, shield bash, spell deflection ect; Flail specialists get bonuses to trip and get harder to parry, axes just deal bonus damage. Maybe toss some martial maneuvers in there, should be versatile enough, but without maxed-out fighters seeming too alike.

    Wizards school specializations are the abovementioned advancement in a certain reasonably wide but counterable category of spells and major changes, while minor specialisation would equate becoming better at, say, casting (a) certain spell(s) faster.

    Divine champions are the paladin/blackguard/justicar-alikes, who are devoted to a particular patron (forsaking or disappointing which leads to a very arduous process of atonement/getting a new one to trust you), who learn to go for fewer combat styles and weapons than warriors, but gain divine (or infernal) blessings (similar to divine grace, for instance) and church-mandated targets similar to rangers' favoured enemies, which again give progressive bonuses depending on at what level which was chosen. They gain divine spellcasting which is faster but significantly weaker than that of clerics, owing to a more direct but less studied connection to their patron(s).


    The basic concept is built around the idea that players should be able to build whatever character they want, within reason at least, while only using a small number flexible of core classes that are naturally specialized during leveling. I have never liked base classes with very limited options, such as the monk and paladin, so those I hope to incorporate into larger, more robust classes as well. As I understand, this was somewhere in 4th edition's concept as well, but they got too caught up in assigning specific roles to specific classes.

    As the one I am most happy with of that lot, let us focus on fighters first.
    {table=head]Level|Base attack bonus|Fort save|ref save|will save|Features
    1|+1|+2|+0|+0|Basic Training
    2|+2|+3|+0|+0|Major specialization, Bonus feat
    3|+3|+3|+1|+1|Weapon specialization
    4|+4|+4|+1|+1|Bonus feat
    5|+5|+4|+1|+1|Combat style specialization
    6|+6/+1|+5|+2|+2|Bonus feat
    7|+7/+2|+5|+2|+2|Weapon specialization
    8|+8/+3|+6|+2|+2|Major specialization, bonus feat
    9|+9/+4|+6|+3|+3| ?
    10|+10/+5|+7|+3|+3|Bonus feat
    11|+11/+6/+1|+7|+3|+3|Weapon specialization
    12|+12/+7/+2|+8|+4|+4|Combat style specialization, Bonus feat
    13|+13/+8/+3|+8|+4|+4|Major specialization
    14|+14/+9/+4|+9|+4|+4|Bonus feat
    15|+15/+10/+5|+9|+5|+5|Weapon specialization
    16|+16/+11/+6/+1|+10|+5|+5| Bonus feat
    17|+17/+12/+7/+2|+10|+5|+5|?
    18|+18/+13/+8/+3|+11|+6|+6|Major specialization, Bonus feat
    19|+19/+14/+9/+4|+11|+6|+6|Combat style specialization
    20|+20/+15/+10/+5|+12|+6|+6|Bonus feat, ?[/table]

    Basic training gives proficiency with (some) martial weapons, light armour and small shields.

    Major specializations for fighters would be their main focuses. Instead of giving flat bonuses, all specializations give extra benefits on further levels. A fighter specialization is not just an ability, it's a miniature class in and of itself, a subclass if you will.
    Spoiler
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    Major specializations:
    Barbarian
    Barbarians learn a bestial, instinctive combat style centered around rage and sheer strength. Barbarian is one of the few specializations not to grant immediate proficiency with medium armour, but that will come in due time.
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    Level 1: Rage 1/day - as in 3.5
    Level 2: Berserker's speed - +10 to movement speed while raging
    level 3: +2 bonus to survival checks, Track
    level 4: Rage 2/day
    level 5: Uncanny dodge
    level 6: Armour proficiency: Medium
    level 7: +2 to intimidate checks
    level 8: Rage 3/day
    level 9: Greater Rage
    level 10: +2 to handle animal checks
    level 11: Fast movement, as in 3.5
    level 12: Rage 4/day
    level 13:
    level 14:+4 to survival checks
    level 15: Tireless rage, as in 3.5
    level 16: Rage 5/day
    level 17: +4 to intimidate checks
    level 18: Mighty rage, as in 3.5
    level 19:

    Cavalry
    Cavaliers are trained to fight from a saddle. Cavaliers start by learning to better use their preferred mounts and eventually bond with the creatures they ride. Cavaliers who learn archery are capable of accurately moving and firing in different directions. Cavaliers learn medium armour early and heavy armour soon thereafter.
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    Level 1: Preferred mount 1 (animal): May choose a specific species of creature. Will gain +4 to ride and handle animal with that said creature
    Level 2: Mounted combat (as feat), Medium armour proficiency
    level 3: +2 to ride checks
    level 4: Bonded creature - Cavalier builds a bond with his mount over a week of coexisting, allowing for tricks to be taught in five days and the creature to remember double the number
    level 5: Preferred mount 2 (animal)
    level 6: Mounted combat feat - pick a feat for which mounted combat is a perquisite
    level 7: Bonded health - a bonded creature has +1 HD
    level 8: +2 to handle animal
    level 9: +1 damage when fighting mounted
    level 10: Mounted combat feat, Bonded health +2
    level 11: Preferred mount 3 (Magical creature or animal)
    level 12: +2 to intimidate
    level 13: Bonded health +3
    level 14: Mounted combat feat
    level 15: Preferred mount (any)
    level 16: Bonded health +4
    level 17: +2 damage when fighting while mounted
    level 18: Mounted combat feat
    level 19: May reroll failed ride check 1/day

    Defender
    Defenders are adept at keeping foes away from people under their protection, keeping enemies from landing attacks at all and dealing considerable damage to those who are trying to attack someone other than the defender. Defenders learn how to use medium armour immediately and are one of the first to learn to wear heavy armour.
    Duelist
    Duelists specialize in fighting one-on-one against humanoid and sufficiently similar opponents. They are adept at using their weapons for parrying, disarming, stunning and otherwise inconveniencing their chosen enemy and dealing massive damage to foes who have lost their balance. Duelists gain medium armour proficiency even later than barbarians.
    Martial Artist
    Martial artists learn a focused combat style based on mobility, rapid and hard attacks and agility. They rely on evasion rather than armour for defense. Unlike the monk, a martial artist can easily specialize in armed combat and would significantly benefit from doing so.
    Slaughterer
    Slaughterers are the masters of cutting through hordes of enemies, using skills based on the cleave feat and its family. While they are likely to be in trouble when fighting foes skilled enough to evade their attacks or hardy enough to shrug them off, minions and lesser soldiers are easy targets.
    Slayer
    Slayers are warriors dedicated to hunting and killing powerful monsters. Slayers learn their foes weaknesses similar to 3rd edition rangers and are capable of landing incredible killing blows.
    Tactician
    Tacticians are the officers of armies and often the leaders of adventuring parties. Tacticians rely on composing plans and gambits before battle, which if functional grant benefits to their entire unit. However, they can also offer encouragement on the battlefield. Leading from the front, they are formidable by themselves as well. The greatest tacticians can modify and dictate their plans even in the midst of combat.


    Combat style specialization would equate their preferred method of fighting - one-handed fencing, two-handed weapons, sword-and-board, two-weapon-fighting, unarmed, and even also archery and throwing.
    Spoiler
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    Sword and shield
    A bit of a misnomer, which could do with a renaming. A shield and a one-handed weapon, paired. Progression adds shield bashes and the ability to deflect certain magical attacks.
    Spoiler
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    Level 1: Shield proficiency - large. If one already has shield proficiency, gain tower shield proficiency
    Level 2: Shield bash, knocks foes back
    level 3: -
    Level 4: +1 competence bonus to armour class when using a shield, lost when flat-footed
    Level 5: Parry foe into critical fumble and gain attack of opportunity 1/round
    level 6: Shield bash, also stuns foes
    Level 7: -
    Level 8: Competence bonus to shield use becomes +2
    Level 9: Competence bonus to shield use vs projectiles +2, stacks with other competence bonuses
    Level 10: -
    Level 11: Shield protects against spells based on ranged touch attacks
    Level 12: Competence bonus to shield use becomes +3
    Level 13: -
    Level 14: Shield can be used to protect against spells with any physical projectile, line, cone ect.
    Level 15: Parry foe into critical fumble and gain critical hit, will need confirmation
    Level 16: Competence bonus to shield use becomes +4

    One-handed
    Focusing on using one weapon which is wielded with only one hand. Offers the benefits of a free hand and increased accuracy, as all focus is on the weapon hand and its actions.
    Two-handed weapons
    Reliance on weapons so large they need two hands to properly use, two-handed style is focused on damage.
    Polearm combat
    Centered around making best use of reach weapons, polearm combat is based around keeping enemies just far enough that one can attack them without fear of reprisal.
    Two-weapon fighting
    The use of two weapons, eventually allowing blocking with one while striking with the other. One large one-handed weapon and one light weapon should be the preferred form, at least further along the skillset.
    Unarmed combat
    Using one's own body as a weapon, whether this be natural weapons, punches and kicks or even grappling.


    Weapon specialization
    indicates the choice of weapons, obviously. With simple weapons, wide categories are generally applicable (blunt, axes, blades). Martial weapons and unarmed combat styles will be in smaller categories (curved swords, flails, one-handed axes ect, also punches, claws, kicks, grappling ect) Exotic weapons will each be separate.
    Flail specialization
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    Non-exotic flails of all types, meteor hammers ect. even exotic flails will benefit from these, once one is proficient.
    Level 1: Proficiency with all martial flails, Improved trip (flails only)
    level 2:
    level 3: Whirl - as move-equivalent action spin flail. Gain +2 damage on next attack
    level 4:
    level 5: Improved disarm
    level 6: whirled flail gains +1 to hit, further +1 to damage
    level 7:
    level 8: Weapon focus, flails
    level 9: Whirled flails ignore 2 points of armour
    level 10:
    level 11: Weapon Specialty, flails
    level 12:
    level 13: Whirled flail cannot be parried
    level 14:
    level 15: Flails always ignore 2 pts of armour
    level 16: Flails allow strength bonus to damage as if they were of a category higher - light as one-handed, one-handed as two-handed, two-handed at 2x strength bonus
    level 17:
    level 18: Flails bypass shields


    Bonus feats
    Similar to 3.5 edition, this is just mostly static bonuses

    All specializations advance while leveling - barbarian rage gets better and defenders are more adept at denying enemies' actions and attacks; sword and board gets increased shield bonuses, shield bash, spell deflection ect; Flail specialists get bonuses to trip and get harder to parry, axes just deal bonus damage.

    What do you think? Should martial artist and duelist fit specializations for the rogue analogue better? Would a 30 level system would serve better?
    Last edited by Icedaemon; 2012-02-02 at 02:02 PM.
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    Default Re: A potential class system for 5th edition?

    In my opinion, if you are going back to a d20 based system... limit it to 15 levels.

    Then, if you insist on having BAB and Saves, base them off something easier to calculate, like thirds for BAB, and maybe 1/3 and 2/3 for saves (So a 15th level Wizard would have 5 BAB, a 15th level Fighter would have 15 BAB, and so on and so forth.)
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    Default Re: A potential class system for 5th edition?

    I by no means insist on having BAB or saves, but those systems seem to serve well enough and are something people are used to. What would be a better way to handle saving throws?

    As for 15 levels, what would the benefits be? Balancing would be easier, I guess, but the 'epic' ceiling would be hit sooner. While level 1 characters rarely reach 20, I have seen plenty of games start out at 5, 10 or even later.

    As for the major specializations, I should point out two that have some inkling of what I intend. It does not seem exactly right yet though. On the one hand, most of a barbarian's class features made it into the barbarian specialty. On the other, perhaps this is a tad too much for one specialization and one should be more conservative handing out abilities per specialization.

    Major specializations:
    Barbarian
    Barbarians learn a bestial, instinctive combat style centered around rage and sheer strength. Barbarian is one of the few specializations not to grant immediate proficiency with medium armour, but that will come in due time.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Level 1: Rage 1/day - as in 3.5
    Level 2: Berserker's speed - +10 to movement speed while raging
    level 3: +2 bonus to survival checks, Track
    level 4: Rage 2/day
    level 5: Uncanny dodge
    level 6: Armour proficiency: Medium
    level 7: +2 to intimidate checks
    level 8: Rage 3/day
    level 9: Greater Rage
    level 10: +2 to handle animal checks, Rest awake 1/day - can remove fatigue via no/low activity for an hour, such as riding a stable mount like a horse at low speeds, eating/drinking in a tavern ect
    level 11: Fast movement, as in 3.5
    level 12: Rage 4/day
    level 13: +4 to survival checks
    level 14:
    level 15: Rest awake 2/day
    level 16: Rage 5/day
    level 17: +4 to intimidate checks
    level 18: Mighty rage, as in 3.5
    level 19: Rest awake 3/day

    Cavalry
    Cavaliers are trained to fight from a saddle. Cavaliers start by learning to better use their preferred mounts and eventually bond with the creatures they ride. Cavaliers who learn archery are capable of accurately moving and firing in different directions. Cavaliers learn medium armour early and heavy armour soon thereafter.
    Spoiler
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    Level 1: Preferred mount 1 (animal): May choose a specific species of creature. Will gain +4 to ride and handle animal with that said creature
    Level 2: Mounted combat (as feat), Medium armour proficiency
    level 3: +2 to ride checks
    level 4: Bonded creature - Cavalier builds a bond with his mount over a week of coexisting, allowing for tricks to be taught in five days and the creature to remember double the number
    level 5: Preferred mount 2 (animal)
    level 6: Mounted combat feat - pick a feat for which mounted combat is a perquisite
    level 7: Bonded health - a bonded creature has +1 HD
    level 8: +2 to handle animal
    level 9: +1 damage when fighting mounted
    level 10: Mounted combat feat, Bonded health +2
    level 11: Preferred mount 3 (Magical creature or animal)
    level 12: +2 to intimidate
    level 13: Bonded health +3
    level 14: Mounted combat feat
    level 15: Preferred mount (any)
    level 16: Bonded health +4
    level 17: +2 damage when fighting while mounted
    level 18: Mounted combat feat
    level 19: May reroll failed ride check 1/day
    Last edited by Icedaemon; 2012-02-10 at 05:30 AM.
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    Default Re: A potential class system for 5th edition?

    First, you're not handing out proficiencies beyond the Basic Training at first level. Second, your front-line fighter, who is supposed to be the expert in arms, cannot even wear breastplate or a large shield - much less both! - until... 3rd level?

    Also, what benefits is this class really getting? Taking a look at the Barbarian route, we're looking at something like +6 to hit and +8 damage over the base Warrior, if I understand things right. If that is correct, then a class with absolutely no features beyond +25 BAB and +1 damage every two levels would be functionally identical. One of the big problems with the 3.5e Fighter is that they only received a set of static bonuses. I'm not sure this class is really a change or improvement from that.
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    Default Re: A potential class system for 5th edition?

    What would be a better way to handle saving throws?
    Well, I think that one of the successful aspects of 4e was the introduction of non-armor saves. 5e should carry those into the next edition.

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    Default Re: A potential class system for 5th edition?

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    First, you're not handing out proficiencies beyond the Basic Training at first level. Second, your front-line fighter, who is supposed to be the expert in arms, cannot even wear breastplate or a large shield - much less both! - until... 3rd level?
    This is so that the first level fighter would not start out as the expert in arms. Fighters would become such, but the recruits are supposed to represent people who only recently started really learning to fight. Similarly, low-level wizards would be apprentices and low level clerics novices, allowing for 1st level campaigns to tell the story of a young group of friends thrust into danger before their training is complete.

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    Also, what benefits is this class really getting? Taking a look at the Barbarian route, we're looking at something like +6 to hit and +8 damage over the base Warrior, if I understand things right. If that is correct, then a class with absolutely no features beyond +25 BAB and +1 damage every two levels would be functionally identical. One of the big problems with the 3.5e Fighter is that they only received a set of static bonuses. I'm not sure this class is really a change or improvement from that.
    Individual specializations are not supposed to be equal to full sets of class abilities. Every major, combat and weapon specialization adds its own benefits and while the primary one will give a much larger chunk of abilities than any former non-spellcasting class ability, a fighter will still need secondary specialties to really shine.

    Quote Originally Posted by BarroomBard View Post
    Well, I think that one of the successful aspects of 4e was the introduction of non-armor saves. 5e should carry those into the next edition.
    I'll have to look into that. I don't have 4th edition books though, so I am perhaps not the best person to deal with this. From what I can tell, characters add half their level to saves and armour class?

    I also added a combat style and a weapon specialization, to give a general idea of what I intend those to include. Weapon specailization is supposed to have the most narrow and least powerful uses, while major specializations ought to be central so I don't know if I am happy with the examples balance, but until the more principal things are dealt with, balancing will not be as important.
    Last edited by Icedaemon; 2012-02-05 at 04:47 AM.
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    Default Re: A potential class system for 5th edition?

    Basically, in 4e, Armor class, Fortitude, Will, and Reflex all worked the same way. You add 10 + your class modifier + your relevant stat + half your level. When you use a poison, for example, you roll against your target's Fortitude defense.

    It is similar to the way that THAC0 became Armor class between 2nd and 3rd edition. The math is pretty much the same, it's just taken in a different direction.

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    Default Re: A potential class system for 5th edition?

    So my problem with this is it basically is just a 3.5 class. Has no aspects from 4e at all(they did SOME things right) and uses the 3.5 format(BAB, saves)
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    Default Re: A potential class system for 5th edition?

    The problem with me implementing some things from 4th edition is my lack of 4th edition materials. When it came out, the outcry of it making things more video-gamey and taking yet more story out of an already (in my perspective) too combat-focused system kept me from being too interested.

    It seems to me that 4e's main benefits were: Better balance, more options for non-spellcasters and simplified systems (I do agree that flat saves and AC fit together better). I have seen claims that the self-healing abilities are good, but how would they fit a less video-gamey system story-wise?

    I take it the class bonuses to AC and such are flat ones?
    Last edited by Icedaemon; 2012-02-10 at 07:02 AM.
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    Jun 2007

    Default Re: A potential class system for 5th edition?

    The HP system in 4e works like so: you have two states of health, Healthy and Bloodied. You are Bloodied when you have reached half your total HP. Being Bloodied triggers various special conditions and abilities.

    You also have a certain number of Healing Surges per day (based on your class) that you can use in various ways. Healing Surges represent your character's natural reserves of strength and your second wind. You spend a surge whenever you have healing magic cast on you or once per encounter as your "Second Wind". This recovers one quarter of your HP. Outside of encounters, you can spend as many surges as you want.


    Surges add some tactical depth to being healed, as you can only use so many of them during a given encounter, and only so many in a day. Your body can only take so much trauma, of course.

    Healing Surges can also be spent as components to magic rituals, or lost due to physical exhaustion.

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