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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Blood, Steel, and Fire- A Gritty Fantasy RPG

    What is Blood, Steel, and Fire?
    Blood, Steel, and Fire is a fantasy role-playing game aimed at capturing a grittier, harder, more real take on heroism. Heroes in Blood, Steel, and Fire are real, mortal men and women made of flesh and blood and bone. Some will possess fantastic powers, summoning the elements to do their bidding, harnessing the powers of their mind, exhibiting feats of supernatural physicality, and even commanding the fates finding themselves the arbiters over life and death. Others will have naught but steel between them and the horrible monstrosities lurking in a dark and unforgiving world. But all heroes have one thing in common, they’ll bleed.


    Background
    I've been modding and tweaking and rewriting RPGs since I started playing them. This is the natural culmination of that work. I decided that instead of modding systems that didn't fit what I was looking for, I'd start from the ground up and build my own. It has been a ton of fun and the process has come a long way, long enough that it has reached the point where I need extra eyes and am ready for some input from others. My goals are to publish it in the next year or so and it still has a long way to go. In addition to this thread looking for feedback, I'll be running a Playtest Arena which should go up in the very near future. So, I'm looking for any feedback people are willing to give and I'm looking for anyone who is willing to do some play-testing. The Arena will take two characters built at level 1 to challenge it. They'll die, and when they do they get advanced to level 5, then 10, then 20 to see how far they get and how the challenges play out. Anyone that chooses to help will be thanked in a dedication as a playtester etc. Arena Thread

    Blood, Steel, and Fire V0.90

    Blood, Steel, and Fire Character Sheet V0.90(PDF)

    Updateable Google Sheets character sheets

    Sample Level 10 Character- Zaavariel(Made in V.85)

    Mechanical Features

    Classless- There are no classes. The entire system revolves around spending character points to purchase Abilities, Traits/Flaws, Feats, and Powers. You even spend Character Points on more HP and Skill Points. Abilities etc followed an escalating costs curve, essentially higher ranks in abilities cost more per rank than lower ones. The entire system is built around balanced opportunity cost.

    Bound- The system is bound. Numbers always mean something, though characters scale in power an appreciable amount, numbers for Defense, Attack, Damage etc are always bound to a meaningful scale.

    Wound Point/Hero Point System- Characters possess both Wound and Hero Points. Wounds Points represent bodily harm and armor can potentially prevent it. Hero Points represent a characters plot armor and armor can add a small resistance to it. Criticals bypass Hero Points and are negated by Luck saves. If Wound Point damage from a single attack bypasses a threshold characters take Wounds that can last for a number of days.

    Micro-Leveling- Characters level often, essentially once every session from levels 1-50. Leveling is easy, character earn more CPs which they spend on whatever they wish.

    Advanced Advantage/Disadvantage System- BSF makes extensive use of Advantage and Disadvantage using it to eliminate many cumbersome modifiers. Advantage and Disadvantage are additive and subtraction to Double Advantage and Double Disadvantage.

    Proficiency Gates- Skills and Checks make extensive use of Proficiency Gates. It isn't enough to merely have a high enough skill modifier or to roll well, most Skill checks will have a required proficiency for success. An Expert lockpick will never pick a Master Lock.

    Passive Checks- Some checks, namely Perception(Listen and Spot) and Insight never need to be rolled and are always used in their Passive form with possibilities to create Advantages and Disadvantages. This is designed to greatly speed up play and reduce numerous cumbersome checks and awkward situations ie Stealth and Perception. No more asking for a roll to let someone know there is a trap present.

    3 Action System- BSF uses a 3 Action system. It might be more accurate to say it uses a six half action system as some actions and reactions cost a half action. Steps, Drawing Weapons, Raising Shields, etc are quick and only take a half action to complete. In play it plays quickly and allows characters to to be very mobile and tactical.

    Flexible and Scaling Spells- Spells, known as Manifestations, are all scaling and dependent on the amount of power used. Essentially every spell can be cast using additional actions and upscaled with additional power.

    Wealth and Currency System- BSF uses a Wealth and Currency system. Essentially all day to day expenses such as food and lodging are accessible if the character has a high enough wealth score. Character's possess currency that is earned each level based on their wealth and is used for purchasing equipment. Outside of notable loot, this represents the bulk of a characters finances.

    Blood Steel and Fire V0.90

    Blood Steel and Fire Character Sheet V0.90

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Blood, Steel, and Fire- A Gritty Fantasy RPG

    Change Log:



    Significant Updates:



    General To Do List:
    Keep working on Social/Exploration/Adventuring Aspect
    Continue to flesh out all skills
    Work on Gear/Potions/Magic Runes/Magic Items
    Describe more information in Formulas
    Continue to streamline Derived Statistics
    Consider breaking Special Material Armors out of table form mimicking weapons
    Consider additional Customization Background Template

    Specific To Do List:
    Improve outlines for taking Flaws. Explicitly prohibit double dipping.(V.91)


    Contributor List:

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Blood, Steel, and Fire- A Gritty Fantasy RPG

    Some quick notes as I pass through;

    -Calculating derived statistics is nontrivial, and requires frequent reference to tables to check whether something progresses at 1/2 or 1/3 rate (or other); I would suggest describing the rate at which the bonuses apply within the ability description.

    -Backgrounds are somewhat nonintuitive in terms of cost/benefit; I'd look at putting together some general rules for a DM to create custom backgrounds because I'm not really sure what I'm looking at in terms of cp-to-skills-to-x ratios.
    -Backgrounds not pre-spending the skill points out of their allotment towards required skills is throwing me off badly, partly because I can't find how many skill points skills cost? I'm confused about whether you need to pay more to get them or not.

    -Big weapon/armor list is fine, but the intersection of the material types with item costs is throwing me into a big pile of numbers. Why does a wood bucker have less/no required Strength compared to a darkwood one, but a light wood shield require more? Suggest collapsing those lists to a base form, and then have each material apply modifiers (perhaps modifiers scaling off general equipment type), because I cannot read this chart effectively when making a decision.

    -Suggest generalizing cost/effect scale for magic, or at least defining scaling as a formula rather than in text; there's no need to have a new line for each version of Create Water when you can just say "for each additional point, double the amount of water created. For every two additional points, increase the range by 5 ft".

    -Generally, you have a large number of tables where describing an equation or scaling rule instead of or alongside it would significantly aid clarity.

    -While the microleveling method does produce mechanical improvements at every level, most of the improvements seem to come in the form of a +1 (5%) change to some numbers on the character sheet; I don't have any strong intuition for how a low level vs. a high level character "feels" or plays, and it's not clear to me what "average" attributes or attribute ranges would be for a given level. Thoughts?

    -I dislike the Ability flaws and those that say "you can't buy more than X ranks of Y"; it seems to me that they emphasize "minmaxing" attributes where your allies can cover for you and make the flaws irrelevant, while someone might simply never take those attributes in the course of normal play. In that sense, flaws would just be "free money" that you can only take if you're planning significantly in advance.
    -As I read it, you can take Feeble/Sickly, and then take Scrawny as well? Why is Scrawny even a flaw?
    -Contrarily I really like the Maimed flaws.

    -Overall, this system is extremely combat-focused, but some way of transforming gained advantage into killing an opponent more rapidly (e.g. trade accuracy for damage) would be appreciated. It might be there and I missed it, to be honest, but the slowest part of an encounter is always whittling down the target's hit points.

    -The fluff distinction between Destiny Points and Hero Points is unclear to me. They're both plot armor.

    -Organization is generally pretty confusing; I would appreciate moving the Conditions section and the Actions section into the Combat section, so that I can more easily check which wounds do what. Heroic Characteristics should be closer to Ability Scores.

    -Haven't read through the Wealth system but I really like that you can use Thievery to act at a "crime-based" wealth tier.
    Last edited by aimlessPolymath; 2019-09-19 at 12:48 AM.
    My one piece of homebrew: The Shaman. A Druid replacement with more powerlevel control.
    The bargain bin- malfunctioning, missing, and broken magic items.
    Spirit Barbarian: The Barbarian, with heavy elements from the Shaman. Complete up to level 17.
    The Priest: A cleric reword which ran out of steam. Still a fun prestige class suitable for E6.
    The Coward: Not every hero can fight.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Blood, Steel, and Fire- A Gritty Fantasy RPG

    Firstly, I'd like to thank you for spending some of your time looking through BSF, I greatly appreciate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Some quick notes as I pass through;

    -Calculating derived statistics is nontrivial, and requires frequent reference to tables to check whether something progresses at 1/2 or 1/3 rate (or other); I would suggest describing the rate at which the bonuses apply within the ability description.
    Derived Statistics have been troublesome. One one hand given the whole structure of the classless system they need to be calculated, and on the other hand it's a pain to calculate them, especially on your first go through. Adding the rates and making them formulatic is one idea, but even if abilities are using the same 1/3 scaling they don't necessarily start at the same point.

    I noticed this is a common theme and one I went back and forth on is to express things as formulas or to write them out. I've opted more often than not to write them out and use tables. I personally find formulas quick and easy to remember and think of them that way, but I know not all people do. Spelling it out and giving the formulas might be better.

    -Backgrounds are somewhat nonintuitive in terms of cost/benefit; I'd look at putting together some general rules for a DM to create custom backgrounds because I'm not really sure what I'm looking at in terms of cp-to-skills-to-x ratios.
    -Backgrounds not pre-spending the skill points out of their allotment towards required skills is throwing me off badly, partly because I can't find how many skill points skills cost? I'm confused about whether you need to pay more to get them or not.
    I can definitely see how they are non-intuitive in terms of cost benefit. I made them by approximating the value of each component in CP, then essentially packaging that into a discount. With my changes to Wealth they've gone through some additional tweaks as well about valuation. M goal was to avoid custom backgrounds and just offer enough broad based ones that people choose one and flavor to choice. Maybe I need one additional more generic background that is middle of the road.

    I've been on both sides of the background skills not being pre-spent. I've found that during actual character creation its easier, becasue when you're spending skill points its easier to not have to worry about separating out which ones were based on your background.

    Skills Section; pg89; Acquiring Skills
    On the character sheets the cost in skill points is denoted in each pip as well.

    -Big weapon/armor list is fine, but the intersection of the material types with item costs is throwing me into a big pile of numbers. Why does a wood bucker have less/no required Strength compared to a darkwood one, but a light wood shield require more? Suggest collapsing those lists to a base form, and then have each material apply modifiers (perhaps modifiers scaling off general equipment type), because I cannot read this chart effectively when making a decision.
    I'll assume weapons are fine as they are just based by weapon proficiency and don't have any spelling out for special materials. Weapons follow the more property approach of being made out of X material, granting Y bonus.

    I find that when building a character the available currency, which unless the character is Royalty, greatly limits the available options on the list and makes it more manageable. When a character has less than 10gp avialable at character creation, the available choices is much more manageable.

    When I first made the decision to spell out the different types and benefits, there were fewer material types and the Armor/Shields lists were smaller. I could definitely step that back. I am hesitant to do that because of balancing their costs. Breaking down the increased cost of a special material to a formula might be a bit limiting, but that might just be me as is finding tables like that easier.

    -Suggest generalizing cost/effect scale for magic, or at least defining scaling as a formula rather than in text; there's no need to have a new line for each version of Create Water when you can just say "for each additional point, double the amount of water created. For every two additional points, increase the range by 5 ft".
    I started that way, but when using magic its faster to look up what your effect is that trying to calculate it. For example, Wands will likely cast a specific level of manifestation at what amounts to an action cost and power point cost penalty compared to a cater who can cast it themselves. Being able to look up the exact effects without having to calculate is easier. It is better in some cases and I opted to list it out for all manifestations. I think it's more necessary when manifestations don't follow a specific formula and have multiple factors for advancement.

    In practice characters will be upscaling manifestations more often than they'll be using the base manifestaion, and I think wasting the line spelling it out will be easier in the long run.

    -Generally, you have a large number of tables where describing an equation or scaling rule instead of or alongside it would significantly aid clarity.
    I'm curious to get more feedback on this. Part of the problem is that my brain likes formulas and I try to acknowledge not everyone finds them as easy to use over listing out the information. Maybe the best thing will be to do both, give the information in a table and list the formula. Good points.

    -While the microleveling method does produce mechanical improvements at every level, most of the improvements seem to come in the form of a +1 (5%) change to some numbers on the character sheet; I don't have any strong intuition for how a low level vs. a high level character "feels" or plays, and it's not clear to me what "average" attributes or attribute ranges would be for a given level. Thoughts?
    I'd argue that +1s are actually pretty significant. As bound games like 5e and P2(strip out the level scaling) show us is that they have very large impacts and when you strip away a lot of the level scaling games use a couple points make very large differences. I also dislike looking at it as +5%. A +1 Attack, taking you from a 50% hit rate to a 55% hit rate is actually a 10% increase in damage on your first attack, a 16.7% increase in damage on your second attack, and if you make a erd attack its a 33% increase in the albeit low damage of that attack.

    This "feel" problem is common to all games I think and when you build a character and see them in action it makes a big difference for what average attributes at levels will be like. The built in opportunity cost system has led to some very organic character growth. Essentially what someone thinks their level decisions are going to be and what they actually are when they play and level are very different.

    -I dislike the Ability flaws and those that say "you can't buy more than X ranks of Y"; it seems to me that they emphasize "minmaxing" attributes where your allies can cover for you and make the flaws irrelevant, while someone might simply never take those attributes in the course of normal play. In that sense, flaws would just be "free money" that you can only take if you're planning significantly in advance.
    -As I read it, you can take Feeble/Sickly, and then take Scrawny as well? Why is Scrawny even a flaw?
    -Contrarily I really like the Maimed flaws.
    I've had the same concerns about the Ability Flaws, but have found that Minmaxing them is much harder than it sounds. Which of the big 7 Attritubes Str/Dex/Con/Acu/Will/Pre/Luck do you really not notice dumping? Characters have reasons to want all of them and limiting your self to 0 or 2 ranks is actually a serious detriment as you're locking outself out from some low hanging fruit. Ironically, I'm currently of the mind that the Ability Flaws are largely traps and not worth it. At low level you can get some mileage out of it, but by mid to high level I think most characters will feel them. Dumping stats is definitely much much harder in BSF than it is in say 3.P/5e/P2.

    Oh, I definitely need to spell out that you cannot double dip an Attribute Flaw or an Attribute Flaw and packaged flaw that does the same thing. You get one flaw that affects an abilitie.

    Package Flaws like Scrawny, Old, Elderly, etc are all there because of the limit of 2 Flaws. Package flaws let you do things like take Old and Hard of Hearing etc.

    -Overall, this system is extremely combat-focused, but some way of transforming gained advantage into killing an opponent more rapidly (e.g. trade accuracy for damage) would be appreciated. It might be there and I missed it, to be honest, but the slowest part of an encounter is always whittling down the target's hit points.
    Yes, it is very combat focused but I'd argue that it'll have more mileage out of combat than say 3.P/5e/P2 because it'll have functional and steam-lined systems for dealing with things outside of combat. As I haven't gotten a chance to do serious outside of combat playtesting yet, what I currently have is definitely less than I will have. But my goal is to have actual functional rules. I mean, does anyone even know how Diplomacy was supposed to work in 3.5? And given the opportunity cost model all characters will have access to a broader base of skills they will have reason to attempt.

    Advantage and multiple attacks greatly increases damage output and critical chance. IMO trading accuracy for damage is a dangerous proposition, look at how poorly implemented and balanced it is in 5e. Given Wound Points/Wounds/Massive Damage the way damage is currently balanced is intentional. Higher level characters will be able to take sustained punishment while cringing at every attack against them doesn't result in a critical. In play, turns move pretty fast, much faster than 5e in my experience though I haven't gotten much high level playtesting in yet.

    -The fluff distinction between Destiny Points and Hero Points is unclear to me. They're both plot armor.
    They both are expressions of plot armor for sure, but mechanically very different one. Destiny Points are a ton of fun on the table and HP is well HP.

    -Organization is generally pretty confusing; I would appreciate moving the Conditions section and the Actions section into the Combat section, so that I can more easily check which wounds do what. Heroic Characteristics should be closer to Ability Scores.
    It has been difficult to figure out how to organize this much information. I opted for a character design approach for the first 2/3s and I think overall that isn't too bad. I put Heroic Characteristics where they are as that would be the sequence of creating your character. You'd pick their race, then their background, then you'd fill in their heroic characteristics. Though I'm not opposed to moving it. Would you recommend I put them before Race and Background?

    I kept Actions and Conditions their own separate section merely for ease of referencing. I figure they are fairly common sections to reference and in other games I find the difficulty of looking them up in PDF and physical form to be annoying. I thought that having them seperate section would alleviate this. Would having them come immediately after the Combat Section be better?

    -Haven't read through the Wealth system but I really like that you can use Thievery to act at a "crime-based" wealth tier.

    I'm pretty happy with how the wealth system is shaping up. Gaining wealth as you level is either based on your Wealth score which increases slowly as you level, but is really impacted by your background. At low levels especially characters can get a day job(Ranks in Profession), steal stuff(Pickpocketing or Burglary), sing for their supper(with Perform Skill and Famouos Performer Feat), or just be born rich.




    Thank you again for giving so much feedback, I really appreciate it. I welcome you to give the Arena a go, I'm curious as to how your above feedback would be impacted by building a character and seeing them in combat and leveling a little. There is definitely some cleaning up and refining that needs to be done, but I felt I was to the point I needed more outside eyes and fresh eyes.

    Thanks again!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Blood, Steel, and Fire- A Gritty Fantasy RPG

    Added a link for a Sample Character made at level 10.

    Sample Level 10 Character- Zaavariel(Made in V.85)

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