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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default D&D system rework: Basic goals and suggestion thread

    As I mentioned in a previous thread, I'm working on a complete rework of the system. The result is meant to make for a playing experience more similar to the earlier editions, but using the more versatile and powerful 3.5/Pathfinder engine. Some other goals:

    -As suggested by Grod the Giant in a previous thread, I plan to drastically reduce the prevalence of magic items; my approach to compensating for this will be drastically different than his, since I'll be reworking the whole system anyway. I'll also be reducing it far more; anything that does more than imitate a spell is probably an artifact, and even those are extremely expensive.
    -I plan to add far more worldbuilding rules, to help avoid worlds that don't make sense (e.g. where the danger level for the typical civilian is absurdly high) or where adventurer/NPC dynamics are skewed. Playing a key role in adventurer-related and monster-related dynamics will be a sharp decrease as you go up in level; every +1 to level or CR will mean roughly halving the number of individuals at that level or monsters/monster groups at that CR.
    -I plan to add the idea of player-created goals (essentially victory conditions) for their characters, to reduce the temptation to grind to level 20 (and since it's roughly 4 times as many encounters per level, a 1-to-20 game will take very long indeed.) Of course, if you want the goal of "reach level 20", that's fine too.
    -In order to help balance SAD and MAD classes, all ability points (and certain other abilities) will be bought from a (gradually increasing with level) pool of points (as in point buy); the more of an ability you have, the more points each ability point costs.
    -All classes, and many combat mechanics, are getting reworked in order to balance them better as well as give each one a unique flavor (as well as making some of them more realistic).
    -I will be adding backgrounds as a mechanic; each background gives you certain (primarily noncombat) bonuses. So if you want to play a fighter who's also the party encyclopedia, you can do it. (It's actually a pretty decent build if you play an elf, as elven sages can take Spellcraft which can be used to replace the fighter's single weak save.)
    -Races (except half-elves, who get a bonus to attack rolls but nothing special) will now give substantial bonuses beyond ability modifiers (although everyone but humans and half-elves get those too.)

    So far, everything is still pretty fluid, so I'm taking suggestions for any other goals you'd like to see.
    My general 3.5 balance fix.
    My psionics remix.
    My common-sense houserules.
    More minor homebrew (weapons, races).

    Complete system remake (under construction, barely started)

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    Come visit the Core Coliseum today, for a totally different style of optimization.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D system rework: Basic goals and suggestion thread

    -I plan to add far more worldbuilding rules, to help avoid worlds that don't make sense (e.g. where the danger level for the typical civilian is absurdly high) or where adventurer/NPC dynamics are skewed. Playing a key role in adventurer-related and monster-related dynamics will be a sharp decrease as you go up in level; every +1 to level or CR will mean roughly halving the number of individuals at that level or monsters/monster groups at that CR.
    I don't think the problem you're referring to is so simple. It's all well and good to say that this is the case, but ultimately, high-level characters need high-level challenges. I mean, yeah, it makes sense that 90% of a high-level party's quests and such are cakewalks, but that's not all that much fun to play.

    One idea that might help prevent this is good mass combat rules, so that higher-level PCs can fight entire armies by themselves. (Actually, I'd like to see this in normal 3.5, too). The mob rules from the DMG 2 are... ok, but not entirely satisfactory for military groups.

    -I plan to add the idea of player-created goals (essentially victory conditions) for their characters, to reduce the temptation to grind to level 20 (and since it's roughly 4 times as many encounters per level, a 1-to-20 game will take very long indeed.) Of course, if you want the goal of "reach level 20", that's fine too.
    This is more of a role-playing thing, isn't it? I'd be really leery of any sort of mechanical win-condition-- a large part of the charm of tabletop RPGs is the open-ended nature.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Major Works:
    • STaRS: The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.
    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D system rework: Basic goals and suggestion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I don't think the problem you're referring to is so simple. It's all well and good to say that this is the case, but ultimately, high-level characters need high-level challenges. I mean, yeah, it makes sense that 90% of a high-level party's quests and such are cakewalks, but that's not all that much fun to play.
    You misunderstand. Sure, a high-level party will find 99.9% of overall adventures to be a cakewalk, but they're not going to be wasting their time on a CR 1 adventure. They're going to be going for the stuff that the large numbers of lower-level adventurers can't handle. (And of course there'll be the occasional case where they're staying in a town when an unlucky orc band attacks...but that's more comic relief than it is a real adventure.)

    One idea that might help prevent this is good mass combat rules
    Probably a good idea overall. I think that "aid another to boost attack roll applies to ranged attacks" should do the job quite nicely in both the new system and vanilla 3.5.

    This is more of a role-playing thing, isn't it?
    Definitely. That said, once a character's reached his goal, role-playing dictates that he's probably going to retire, so at that point it's time to make a new character.

    When you get right down to it, "win" and "lose" are themselves more metagame concepts than mechanical ones.
    My general 3.5 balance fix.
    My psionics remix.
    My common-sense houserules.
    More minor homebrew (weapons, races).

    Complete system remake (under construction, barely started)

    Ever want to try your hand at optimizing, but dislike heavy emphasis on splatbooks and/or the rocket tag phenomenon?
    Come visit the Core Coliseum today, for a totally different style of optimization.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Zeta Kai's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D system rework: Basic goals and suggestion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    ...every +1 to level or CR will mean roughly halving the number of individuals at that level or monsters/monster groups at that CR...
    This is exactly what we did for the Hourglass of Zihaja campaign setting, although I doubt that many noticed it, as we didn't really draw attention to it. The number of individuals of X level were half the number of individuals of X-1 level, while being twice the number of individuals of X+1 level. It was an simple & elegant solution to the question of population figures. The census data for the setting, for those who are interested, can be found here.

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    Default Re: D&D system rework: Basic goals and suggestion thread

    So for the world to support 4 level 20 characters, you have:


    20-4
    19-8
    18-16
    17-32
    16-64
    15-128
    14-256
    13-512
    12-1024
    11-2048
    12-4096
    13-8192
    12-16,384
    11-32,768
    10-65,536
    09-131,072
    08-262,144
    07-524,288
    06-1,048,576
    05-2,097,152
    04-4,194,304
    03-8,388,608
    02-16,777,216
    01-33,554,432


    At first I was thinking the number of high levels here is actually too high for me. But given a population of ~67million, about 130k that are over level 10 doesn't seem too outrageous.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D system rework: Basic goals and suggestion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    So for the world to support 4 level 20 characters, you have:


    20-4
    19-8
    18-16
    17-32
    16-64
    15-128
    14-256
    13-512
    12-1024
    11-2048
    12-4096
    13-8192
    12-16,384
    11-32,768
    10-65,536
    09-131,072
    08-262,144
    07-524,288
    06-1,048,576
    05-2,097,152
    04-4,194,304
    03-8,388,608
    02-16,777,216
    01-33,554,432


    At first I was thinking the number of high levels here is actually too high for me. But given a population of ~67million, about 130k that are over level 10 doesn't seem too outrageous.
    Firstly, you did "13, 12, 11, 12, 13, 12, 11, 10...". It should be only a total of about 4 million.

    But that's not 4 million people, it's 4 million adventurers. Only a small fraction of the population are adventurers (I'm thinking 1/100 the people living in dangerous areas plus 1/20,000 the people living in other areas), so it's pretty rare for a given plane to produce even 1 level 20 adventurer.

    Of course, by that level planar travel is easy enough that you can have adventuring parties where no two individuals come from the same plane.

    It might be best to think of the levels as broken up into 4 tiers, 4E style (although with no real mechanical effects). In the heroic tier (levels 1-5), you're generally using your feet to travel, you can't really call on any resources outside your party unless you pay for it, and the king probably doesn't even know your names. In the renowned tier (levels 6-10) you probably can use magic to speed your travel somewhat, there's a good chance you've been given an estate whose resources you can use, and you're heroes of the kingdom. Toward the upper end, a party's "territory" is probably several kingdoms. In the legendary tier (levels 11-15), you're known throughout the world and use magic to get around all the time, and entire countries will put themselves in your service in your quest. It is quite possible that the fate of the world depends on your actions. At the high end, you're probably from different planes, and deal with threats that threaten all of them. And then in the epic tier (levels 16-20) merely being the home plane of one of you is something special for a world, and you treat entire planes as first-level adventurers treat towns.
    Last edited by Yitzi; 2012-02-15 at 10:46 PM.
    My general 3.5 balance fix.
    My psionics remix.
    My common-sense houserules.
    More minor homebrew (weapons, races).

    Complete system remake (under construction, barely started)

    Ever want to try your hand at optimizing, but dislike heavy emphasis on splatbooks and/or the rocket tag phenomenon?
    Come visit the Core Coliseum today, for a totally different style of optimization.

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Seerow's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D system rework: Basic goals and suggestion thread

    Firstly, you did "13, 12, 11, 12, 13, 12, 11, 10...". It should be only a total of about 4 million.
    lol so I did. You're right in that case it's about 8000 out of 4million (.2%). Or even above level 6 is 130k out of 4million (3%), which is about where the superhuman limit is. So that's pretty good.

    As for the adventurer percentages, what do you consider a "dangerous area"? What kind of populations do a dangerous area have relative to a non-dangerous one?
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D system rework: Basic goals and suggestion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    lol so I did. You're right in that case it's about 8000 out of 4million (.2%). Or even above level 6 is 130k out of 4million (3%), which is about where the superhuman limit is. So that's pretty good.

    As for the adventurer percentages, what do you consider a "dangerous area"? What kind of populations do a dangerous area have relative to a non-dangerous one?
    A dangerous area is one where monsters are a serious concern; it's essentially wilderness, but there are villages and towns there too. Everyone lives in walled communities, generally at a rate of roughly an average of 1 person every 4-5 square miles (but that number varies wildly); communities are relatively large, but spread out quite a bit.*
    Non-dangerous areas are those where monsters are very rare; it's pretty much civilized and tends to have a population of 75 people per square mile, give or take.

    *The rule I plan to use is that for every 50,000 square miles, there are 4d6+1 communities, and to determine the size of the community by rolling 2d8 three times and multiplying. (That gives an upward-skewed community size distribution, with most being around 400 but the average being nearly twice that.)
    My general 3.5 balance fix.
    My psionics remix.
    My common-sense houserules.
    More minor homebrew (weapons, races).

    Complete system remake (under construction, barely started)

    Ever want to try your hand at optimizing, but dislike heavy emphasis on splatbooks and/or the rocket tag phenomenon?
    Come visit the Core Coliseum today, for a totally different style of optimization.

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