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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    in some ways, yes, in others no.

    it definitively cant be said to not be a silly argument

    on the other hand, there are expectations. If Apple decided that the Iphone 5 should not be able to play MP3s, they would face massive backlash from consumers, because a glorified Ipod with wireless booster is expected to be able to do the same things the original Ipod was able to, but also make phonecalls.
    I'm not commenting on the virtue of the argument itself. I'm saying it's silly to be talking about something as specific as a class name when we haven't even decided how we'll be changing the magic system, much less discussed class mechanics. Can't we table the debate for now, and focus on more fundamental questions?
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Ok, here's my proposed new alignment rules, along the lines I mentioned in the Skype thread. Basically, borrowing a bit from Exalted and making scores depend on in-character actions. May require more clarification, I suppose, but here's what I've got so far:

    Note: "Order" replaces "Law" in an attempt to linguistically mitigate the "Lawful Stupid" problem.

    Alignment

    Most actions in D&D can be viewed as support one of four grand cosmic principles: Good, Evil, Order, or Chaos. Characters have scores representing their affinity towards each principle, starting at zero (no affinity). As they grow in age and experience, their actions add to their scores.

    Upon character creation, player characters begin with six alignment points to distribute between the four principles however they choose. In addition, for every age category above adult, they have an additional two alignment points. Characters created above first level gain an additional one alignment point for every four character levels they possess.

    The main means of gaining alignment points, however, is through a character's actions. Whenever a character makes a choice which strongly aligns with one of the four principles, the DM assigns that character an alignment point to place in the appropriate principle.

    Alignment points should only be awarded for major choices-- helping an old woman across the street is a good act, but not necessarily a Good one. What exactly constitutes a major choice depends at least partly on the player's level. A level two fighter unseating a particularly strict town council is a Chaotic act worthy of an alignment point, but a level ten fighter doing the same thing is not. As a general rule, alignment points only should be awarded for acts which require a non-trivial amount of game-play to achieve.

    When the principle of an act is in question, award alignment points based on intentions. A bard might gain a Chaos alignment point for overthrowing the tyrannical baron because he wants to set his subjects free, while a paladin might gain a Good alignment point for the same action because he wanted to save the oppressed subjects from being sent to their deaths in a war. Thus, characters can receive Good points for actions that have negative consequences down the line. The DM is the ultimate arbitrator of an act's alignment.

    Alignment Scores and Game Effects

    When calculating spells and effects that depend on alignment, a character's alignment is considered to be whichever score is highest. This is referred to as his primary alignment. If none of his alignment scores are over 5 points, his primary alignment is Neutral.

    If a character has at least 10 points in his primary alignment score, and no other alignment is within 5 points of his primary alignment, he gains the appropriate subtype (Good, Evil, Order, or Chaos).

    Neutralizing

    If a character has a roughly equal number of alignment points in either his Order and Chaos scores or his Good and Evil scores, he may chose to "neutralize" his principles, subtracting an equal number of points from each. He may do so at any time.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2012-09-25 at 09:27 PM.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    I'd be in favor of ditching mechanical alignment entirely, or perhaps using a modified version of the Allegiance system from D20 Modern - which, by the way, is not incompatible with a Good/Evil paradigm if a DM wants things to work that way (just write Major Allegiance - Evil and call it good).


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    I'm with Lord Gareth here - alignment could really use being dropped entirely, with Holy and Unholy tags remaining for major outsiders, undead, etc. Class features could also operate off of these tags, particularly if paladins and clerics are still in.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    I'm with Lord Gareth here - alignment could really use being dropped entirely, with Holy and Unholy tags remaining for major outsiders, undead, etc. Class features could also operate off of these tags, particularly if paladins and clerics are still in.
    Honestly, I'd drop even Holy and Unholy and find another way to deal with that. After all, if someone opposes, oh, Gruumsh, are they Holy, or Unholy? If you become a Necropolitian (with a ring of gentle repose to keep yourself fresh) as part of a rite dedicated to Eternal Glory, which are you? If your necromancer raises a ghoul army fed with rotting livestock (purchased lawfully and slaughtered humanely) in order to defend the kingdom he swears loyalty to, does it even ping?

    Eliminating alignment mechanically eliminates all the problems.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    Honestly, I'd drop even Holy and Unholy and find another way to deal with that. After all, if someone opposes, oh, Gruumsh, are they Holy, or Unholy? If you become a Necropolitian (with a ring of gentle repose to keep yourself fresh) as part of a rite dedicated to Eternal Glory, which are you? If your necromancer raises a ghoul army fed with rotting livestock (purchased lawfully and slaughtered humanely) in order to defend the kingdom he swears loyalty to, does it even ping?

    Eliminating alignment mechanically eliminates all the problems.
    in order:

    Neutral, Gruumsh was screwed over, but he was pissy about it.

    this depends on the Eternal Glory sought

    LGish Dread Necromancer. does he animate only willing applicants?


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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    this depends on the Eternal Glory sought
    You misunderstand. Eternal Glory is the goddess of love-in-undeath; the love that transcends life itself. She's in Libris Mortis, and is TN.

    LGish Dread Necromancer. does he animate only willing applicants?
    Oh, let's say he takes donations and re-uses slain soldiers ("Shoulda read the fine print, private!").

    The important bit is that all of these situations are ones that cause arguments and trouble at game tables because of alignment. Ooooor we can dump alignment and the arguments too.
    Last edited by Lord_Gareth; 2012-09-25 at 10:48 PM.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    I honestly would like to help with this project (or did, before looking in here and seeing things that made me headdesk. Several time.)

    Because you know the one part of the system that you have to fix before you start quibbling about names and alignment and things?

    The fact that everything scales on a different metric.

    In a sane system, you should be getting modifiers at about the same numerical levels for all subsystems.

    3.5 is not a sane system. One key point to notice is that, to give an example, the basic concept of using just a d20 is flawed if you are running a 20 level game, where those 20 levels are supposed to distinguish between "he's a farmer" and "A GOD AM I!!!!1!".

    Why? Let's take the skill system as it stands: you get +1 to skills you drop skill points into per level. Assuming that a roll of 10 gives you a level appropriate result, you could end up with somewhere between a result that was appropriate for 9 levels ago, and one that will be appropriate for 11 levels from now.

    The original design team looked at this, went "oops", and then started bumping up DCs and making skill bonuses readily available, which led to DC inflation, and the fact that everyone forgot that you could get big bonuses from clever stacking of... stuff.

    Now, compare this with SR, which does not work as written. Or the fact that spellcasters usually don't have to roll a d20 to do their thing.

    That is what you are up against.

    You need to start with a firm mathematical basis before you can go on to anything else. Decide on one set of DCs to aim for, and apply them across the board. (So a level 6 fighter could be swinging against an AC of 20, while a rogue of the same level would be making a dc 20 hide check, and they would both have about the same chance of making the check. This is opposed to now, where the difference in DCs is already at least 5 by the time you hit 6th level, and is about +/-30 by 20th level.)

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Just for the record, I'm starting with the magic system based on the comments presented here. I'll post it here if I have anything concrete and (I hope) balanced.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    I'd be in favor of ditching mechanical alignment entirely, or perhaps using a modified version of the Allegiance system from D20 Modern - which, by the way, is not incompatible with a Good/Evil paradigm if a DM wants things to work that way (just write Major Allegiance - Evil and call it good).
    I don't like that much. Alignment isn't necessarily something you choose. You don't wake up one morning and say "I think I should really dedicate my life to shooting kittens and torturing puppies." (Only with less cartoonish evil). Alignment is something your actions make you, not something you choose.

    Amechra: this I disagree with a lot. Yes, the mathematical basis needs some overhaul. But making all DCs the same? Heck no.

    Three points against it, from the simulation and the game theory standpoint.

    First of all: some tasks are simply more difficult to learn than others. Some things are hard, some are easy. That's the simulation.

    The second: some tasks carry more reward, from a game theory standpoint. Attack rolls have one use, and their effect is relatively limited. Hide checks, to compare, have many, many uses. They can set up an advantage in combat, they can take you out of combat, they can prevent combat altogether, they can gather information. Over the course of an encounter, you will roll one, maybe two hide checks, but many, many attack rolls.

    Third: Things should never get harder just because you are higher level now. If you always roll against the same target numbers, there is no point in levelling up, as you never actually get better at anything. If I have to roll a 15 on level one to pick the rusty bronze lock and a 15 at level 20 to pick the god-crafted eternium lock, what's the point?
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Subthreads for relevant discussion:
    Combat and Magic.

    A a reminder, these are for a discussion on the basic systems. Not for classes, not for specific spells or feats.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Third: Things should never get harder just because you are higher level now. If you always roll against the same target numbers, there is no point in levelling up, as you never actually get better at anything. If I have to roll a 15 on level one to pick the rusty bronze lock and a 15 at level 20 to pick the god-crafted eternium lock, what's the point?
    The point is that the god-crafted eternium lock is no harder for you now than the rusty bronze lock was at the start of your career. i.e. you have to roll a 15 for both...you have a 30% chance to pick the rusty bronze lock at level 1, and a 30% change to pick a god-crafted eternium lock at level 20. Why is this a problem?

    You do get better at things, just by a different metric: the number I have to roll against a level-appropriate challenge doesn't necessarily change, but the level-appropriate challenge *does* change, so my skill *does* show. An untrained thief could *never* pick a god-crafted lock...but I'm skilled enough that it's as easy to me as a good iron lock is to the average thief. That speaks volumes about my skill (IMO). Would you disagree?

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    I'm not sure, really. I just think that from time to time, you should encounter things that are now trivially easy at high level. I guess the qualifier "level appropriate" is what makes this better. Yes, I guess having to hit appropriately the same number every level is okay, as long as not every lock automatically gains +3 DC when you level. Which was one of hte things that annoyed me most in fourth edition.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I'm not sure, really. I just think that from time to time, you should encounter things that are now trivially easy at high level. I guess the qualifier "level appropriate" is what makes this better. Yes, I guess having to hit appropriately the same number every level is okay, as long as not every lock automatically gains +3 DC when you level. Which was one of hte things that annoyed me most in fourth edition.
    You still might encounter trivially easy things: if I have to pick a rusty bronze lock when I'm skilled enough to pick the god-crafted eternium lock? I'd be surprised if the DM even has me roll, honestly.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Fair enough.

    My suggestion: we should start with laying out a basic framework for check difficulty. An difficulty scale, and what the average character of that level should have to roll.
    Then we cut down on small, fiddly numerical bonuses, so there's less variety between specialized characters of the same level. Then, what bonus you have makes more of an impact.

    I propose:

    Trivial: no roll required.
    Easy: 5+
    Moderate: 10+
    Difficult: 15+
    Almost impossible: 20
    Impossible: no roll sufficient.

    (Side idea: there's a way to get impossible luck effects which make impossible rolls possible on a 20).
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I don't like that much. Alignment isn't necessarily something you choose. You don't wake up one morning and say "I think I should really dedicate my life to shooting kittens and torturing puppies." (Only with less cartoonish evil). Alignment is something your actions make you, not something you choose.
    Not necessarily true. Firstly, in heroic fantasy there are some people who just wake up and decided that torturing puppies and demanding tributes of fresh virgin blood is the career choice for them. Secondly, you have to keep in mind that with the proposed system I'm looking at removing mechanical consequences for alignment except perhaps insofar as it might intersect with religion (such as, oh, I dunno, a Cleric of Pelor being able to use some manner of Smite ability on worshipers of Nerull).

    So say I've got an "evil" character. Hell, let's say I've got Doctor Doom, right? He's a bad guy, but that's not the only thing about him. Looking at how the good Doctor operates, I'd probably say that his Major Allegiance would be "The Glory of Doom", followed up by "Latvaria," and then "The Safety of the World" trailing way off at the end. Contrasting this to, say, Asmodeus, who I could write rather easily as Major Allegiance: Himself, Moderate Allegiance: Baator, Minor Allegiance: Order in the Multiverse.

    Both are characters you could call evil, but the Allegiance system gets their players thinking about their motivations instead of arguing whether or not some black-magic ritual used to save the world is 'evil'. And if a group LIKES arguing about good vs. evil, then by all means, just write the words 'good' or 'evil' in one of those slots and call it a day! After all, "Team Evil," is a recognized and honored fantasy trope.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    *snip*
    I like the idea of having actual motivations be your alignment then "Good, Evil, Lawful, and Chaotic"

    Good and Evil though could be a general where you are going in the afterlife score


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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Perhaps in some way we can create some sort of personality matrix, or ruling, in which to encourage "staying in character". I think people should stay in character with their actions, but be able to justify out of character ones with good explanation. Perhaps it would be a more fluid sort of advice for a DM rather than alignment.

    I see personality more like myers-briggs however. Extraverted/Introverted, Thinking/Feeling, Judging/Perception, Sensing/Intuition. These don't really work with D & D.

    Ok, fine. Not personality, morality! Oh that's even worse....basically speaking, morality is quite relative to the party involved. An "evil campaign" I once had, everyone was considered "good" but were really "evil". The morality of the world depends vastly on the setting, not the game.

    However, with the harder defined alignments it was much more beginner friendly on examples of characters, and definitions. Perhaps a bit more leeway?
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Amechra and Djinn do make very good points. Being able to fix the underlying math is, in many ways, the entire point of doing a rewrite like this one. And as for the scaling argument... the world doesn't scale as you level, but the challenges do. At first level, you fight goblins. At fifth level, there are still goblins around, but you're fighting ogres, because they're a more appropriate challenge. Same with locks.

    Eldan, the categories you came up with seem about right. Especially if we can limit fiddly bits enough that a DM can say "well, my players are 10th level,, and I want this to be a difficult task, so the DC is 30." Or whatever.

    One idea lifted from M&M (I know, I know...): level caps. M&M controls numbers by putting hard caps on just about everything, based on your level. We could do something similar. Like, you can have class level + 3 ranks in a skill, plus abilities, plus other bonuses, but your total modifier is arbitrarily limited at level times two, barring circumstance bonuses. It would certainly cut off a lot of optimization at the knees, but it may be too much for D&D.

    On the subject of alignment, I'd say we should table it for now, but people seem to enjoy arguing about it, maybe we should make a new thread?
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    There should never, never, never be any rules about "staying in character" or penalties for changing your alignment, or whatever else we choose to call it here. It is severely limiting, and only leads to discussion when one person in the group has a different idea of what "in character" means than another.

    And I don't think the classical alignments are that hard to define at all. Good vs. Evil is "Ready to sacrifice himself for others" vs. "Ready to sacrifice others for himself."
    Chaos vs. Law is "Personal freedom" vs. "structured Society", "Personal respect" vs. "Defined Hierarchy" and "External values" vs. "Personal values".

    What's the problem with that?

    And, well. Smiting evil is a huge fantasy trope. Somehow, I can't see that working with Archons that have "Archons can smite people of the following Allegiances" on their sheets. And if there are no mechanical effects from it, why would we need it at all?
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Level times two definitely wouldn't work, given that a +10 in a skill at level 1 isn't that hard. But it might be worth some debate. (I don't think M&M is a bad system per se).

    Alignment: Alignment debates never go anywhere. How about we make it an optional sub-system? "Chapter 11: Alignment. Introducing character alignment, alignment based alternate class features, and new, alignment based spells"?
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    And, well. Smiting evil is a huge fantasy trope. Somehow, I can't see that working with Archons that have "Archons can smite people of the following Allegiances" on their sheets. And if there are no mechanical effects from it, why would we need it at all?
    as i said, keep the Good-Evil axis as a scorecard, if the universe decides you are an unrepentant bastard, then archons get to drop the divine hammer.

    also, while Law-Chaos is more along a Society-Personal axis, it is not defined that way at all.


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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    I should clarify:

    By "set of DCs", I'm not talking that you should be rolling against a DC 20 all the time.

    I'm saying that your skill DCs, the AC that you roll against, and the Save DCs that you are trying to beat should all fall in the same ballpark.

    This basically means making everything scale at (approximately) the same rate.

    Why? Because that gives you design space to do stuff like those save-replacers from the Diamond Mind discipline without that being an automatic success.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    I should clarify:

    By "set of DCs", I'm not talking that you should be rolling against a DC 20 all the time.

    I'm saying that your skill DCs, the AC that you roll against, and the Save DCs that you are trying to beat should all fall in the same ballpark.

    This basically means making everything scale at (approximately) the same rate.

    Why? Because that gives you design space to do stuff like those save-replacers from the Diamond Mind discipline without that being an automatic success.
    Yeah... this really does sound about right. It probably means that most things should scale fairly tightly with level.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    as i said, keep the Good-Evil axis as a scorecard, if the universe decides you are an unrepentant bastard, then archons get to drop the divine hammer.

    also, while Law-Chaos is more along a Society-Personal axis, it is not defined that way at all.
    Eeeeh. Good-Evil is the boring alignment axis. The one that has no interesting conflict, either. If we just keep that one, I'd rather drop it entirely, instead of losing the Blood War and it's companions.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    How do you combine that with the problem of some rolls being much more meaningful than others? If the fighter has to roll 10 attack rolls per encounter, should those DCs be really be in the same ballpark as the Rogue's one hide check to bypass the entire encounter?
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Ok. So. Rolls scaling by level.

    Attack is d20+ BAB (~level) + ability + modifiers (magic, feats, class, and conditional)

    AC is 5* + BAB (~level) + ability + modifiers (armor, magic, feats, class, and conditional).

    Saves are d20 + Save (~1/2 level) + ability + modifiers.
    Alternately, d20 + Save (~level) + ability + modifiers

    Save DCs are 10 + spell level (~1/2 level) + ability + modifiers.
    Alternately, d20 + twice spell level (~level) + ability + modifiers

    Skills are d20 + Skill ranks (=level) + ability + modifiers (tools, magic, feats, class, conditional)

    *Lower because armor and shield bonuses are easy to obtain.

    Modifiers are assumed to average out around 5, after we cut back on bonus sources. Abilities likewise.

    A trivial DC is not rolled for.
    An easy DC is 15 + level (requiring a roll of ~5).
    A moderate DC is 20 + level (requiring a roll of ~10)
    A difficult DC is 25 + level (requiring a roll of ~15)
    A very difficult DC is 30 + level (requiring a roll of ~20)

    This math makes the following assumptions:
    • +X magic items (weapons, armor, resistance and stats) do not exist.
    • Synergy bonuses do not stack or do not exist.
    • No classes or prestige classes are giving enormous numerical bonuses.
    • A limited list of bonus types makes stacking bonuses difficult.


    And, of course, if we do impose artificial level-based caps, balance becomes that much easier. Specific feats or classes might allow certain caps to be overcome-- the Expert class might allow you to pick a limited number of skills and raise the cap. The Rogue might grant a +5 bonus to stealth and thievery checks. The fighter might grant a +5 bonus to attack roll caps. Etc.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    You do have to remember, though, that saying "we have to balance out Hide checks to negate encounters with the 10+ attack rolls that a fighter needs to roll" is a false statement.

    Why? Because you have control over the results of both.

    You could make it so that Fighters only need to roll a single attack each round, with higher results meaning that they hit more often, for example.

    Hell, check out the Tome of Prowess; it has some pretty nice ideas for how to handle checks (basically, for those with not enough time to check the full "book", every DC both scales with level and has effects based on how much you succeed/fail it by.)

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Eeeeh. Good-Evil is the boring alignment axis. The one that has no interesting conflict, either. If we just keep that one, I'd rather drop it entirely, instead of losing the Blood War and it's companions.
    actually, axing the Law-Chaos axis makes the blood war more interesting, because it makes the blood war seem more innane then it is


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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    I don't like it. I'd rather kill the evil-good axis and keep the law-chaos axis.

    However, there's one overwhelming opinion in the Skype right now, and one I agree with.

    People, stop the Alignment discussions. They never get anywhere, they are too much a matter of opinion, and we should focus on things we can actually work on right now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
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