1st topic: Share your houserules!

General topics such as design philosophy, style, tone, and the like.

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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby ronin » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:11 pm

GM Sarli- those numbers are brutal! I don't think my players would have opted for the house rules we have if they would have been presented those numbers. We have discussed things like this before (game number crunching) but we didn't think about the numbers a whole lot before making the changes we did.

Oddly enough, no one has died yet. I guess they are fairly lucky.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby GMSarli » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:19 pm

ronin wrote:GM Sarli- those numbers are brutal! I don't think my players would have opted for the house rules we have if they would have been presented those numbers. We have discussed things like this before (game number crunching) but we didn't think about the numbers a whole lot before making the changes we did.

Oddly enough, no one has died yet. I guess they are fairly lucky.


Well, it takes a while -- and, obviously, those numbers have a lot of assumptions built into them for the sake of simplicity. Some groups might never encounter this problem even once, and others might have 100% turnover (i.e. everyone's original PC dies) over the course of a campaign. :)
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby AvisKarlux » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:26 pm

The thing is, when it comes to a health system, is the difference between realism and heroism. I think of it as me and a guy with a gun and Neo and a guy with a gun. For me, it's a done deal, for Neo, he can dodge bullets. But I don't think it has to be as powerful as Neo (as he is more superheroic, especially since he can fly). Just look at your James Bond or John McClane (Die Hard) characters. They are the level of heroism I want in a game.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby AvisKarlux » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:54 pm

I'm curious, are the base abilities: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma a guaranteed thing?

I'm wondering how different things are allowed to be...
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby j0lt » Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:03 am

I hope so! I personally like those standard 6. One of the things that bugged me the most about 4e was how many arbitrary and unnecessary changes were made to things like that.

"If it's not broke, don't fix it!"; while not always correct, is a good rule of thumb to go with.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby AvisKarlux » Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:17 am

j0lt wrote:I hope so! I personally like those standard 6. One of the things that bugged me the most about 4e was how many arbitrary and unnecessary changes were made to things like that.

"If it's not broke, don't fix it!"; while not always correct, is a good rule of thumb to go with.


Well, that's a matter of opinion. I wasn't thinking drastic change on all the stats.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby JaredGaume » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:57 am

j0lt wrote:Borrowing something from Saga: Second Wind would work. Any time a character is below 1/2 of their total VP, they can use a second wind to regain either their Constitution score or 1/4 of their total VP, whichever is higher. In a game with Action Points, I'd say this should cost an action point. In a game without, I'd limit it to 1/day. However, I'm not a fan of x/day or vancian style mechanics at all. It just feels so arbitrary.


Injuries. They represent your character actually getting hit and hurt. You can take a number of injuries, but take too many (number of injuries exceeds Con score) and you die as your body just gives out. Injuries heal at a natural rate, so it takes time to recover from them. If you aren't injured, you don't have to worry about it. If you have any number of injuries your character is working at reduced capacity, take a -5 general penalty to your hit point total, attacks, skill checks, and defenses (Fort, Ref, Awar). That's enough to let your character keep "fighting through the pain", but he is also less effective and more easily injured later. That penalty should be a hit you don't want to take if you can help it, but it shouldn't break your game.

After looking at various injury tracks where you take increasing penalties I felt that a static penalty would be better from a play standpoint. That first injury is one you deffinately want to avoid since it sinks you fast. You don't want more injuries because they are going to stick around for days, and you may or may not have time to fully recover from those. Lastly there is just a physical limit to how many injuries you may sustain and stay living.

You take an injury any time you take damage that exceeds your Fortitude. By wearing armor you increase your fortitude and mitigate the rate you take injuries, wearing heavy armor adds hardness which even blocks some damage up front.
You take an injury any time you are reduced to 0 hit points (defeated). Don't use a dying condition, rather a defeated state. While defeated you are "out of the action" and susceptable to further injuries any time you take damage, and enemies can target you to deliver killing blows. From a heroic perspective, your character doesn't just bleed out, somebody has to actually bother to kill him. If your whole party is defeated, you are at the mercy of your enemies whether you live or die (GM call).
You die any time you take damage from a single source that exceeds your hit point total, i.e. a head shot or some similar mortal wound. A rare event, and something the player characters are more likely to do others than non-player characters will do to you.

Don't limit "second wind" attempts. Make taking a "second wind" a standard action, by default that means this is all your character is doing for that round. For instance if your character was on his last couple of hit points, you grab cover for a few rounds, hope no one goes after you, and steel yourself to fight some more. Have a lower base threshold for the number of hit points recovered since you can do it whenever you like. Using Action Points to give you an extra action would allow you to spend an action point to take a "second wind" and still act normally on your turn. But you have some choices about how to knuckle down and get back in the fight.

Characters who heal can help you recover more hit points than you can on your own (first aid). Healers might have some abilities that let them get defeated characters back in the action. Some advanced abilities may allow healer characters to "remove" injuries when on closer examination they discover the wound may look and feel bad, but really it is just superficial.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby Shawn Burke » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:44 am

Just some ideas on skills and force points.

I think the Saga skill list is great, however, I never liked the knowledge skill. I think 4E handled that wonderfully by dispersing it into other skills. Profession/Craft (for non-mechanical)/Performance should go into some sort of background system. The Athletics skill is another skill I'd implement.

I imagine you will put in something like action/force points. I don't like how Saga and Modern does the points by level. People seem to either forget or abuse them. I'd like to see some kind of point system that recharges by day and/or encounter.
Maybe something like destiny points could be implemented for really epic maneuvers - and character's would only get a few per level...
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby j0lt » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:43 am

JaredGaume wrote:
j0lt wrote:Borrowing something from Saga: Second Wind would work. Any time a character is below 1/2 of their total VP, they can use a second wind to regain either their Constitution score or 1/4 of their total VP, whichever is higher. In a game with Action Points, I'd say this should cost an action point. In a game without, I'd limit it to 1/day. However, I'm not a fan of x/day or vancian style mechanics at all. It just feels so arbitrary.


Don't limit "second wind" attempts. Make taking a "second wind" a standard action, by default that means this is all your character is doing for that round. For instance if your character was on his last couple of hit points, you grab cover for a few rounds, hope no one goes after you, and steel yourself to fight some more. Have a lower base threshold for the number of hit points recovered since you can do it whenever you like. Using Action Points to give you an extra action would allow you to spend an action point to take a "second wind" and still act normally on your turn. But you have some choices about how to knuckle down and get back in the fight.

Action Points shouldn't give you an extra action. That mechanic has only been used in 4e, and IMO isn't a very good one. d20M/Saga's Action Point mechanic provides more options for how to spend them.

Shawn Burke wrote:I don't like how Saga and Modern does the points by level. People seem to either forget or abuse them. I'd like to see some kind of point system that recharges by day and/or encounter.

I've been playing in a SWSE campaign for the past year, and am constantly using my Action Points. They've saved my character on more than one occasion! I'm not sure what you mean by abusing them, could you give an example?
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby valetutto » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:20 am

ronin wrote:GM Sarli- those numbers are brutal! I don't think my players would have opted for the house rules we have if they would have been presented those numbers. We have discussed things like this before (game number crunching) but we didn't think about the numbers a whole lot before making the changes we did.

Oddly enough, no one has died yet. I guess they are fairly lucky.


As a long time DM, I found that things that seemed cool for the players actually statistically worked out better for the DM. The insta kill, 3 20s in a row, comes to mind. I, as a DM, roll WAY more 20s then all of my players combined. I had it come up 3 times, once to a trap!

You might be fairly lucky, or someone could have fudged some important rolls. I know i've had to many times in the course of my DMing career.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby Felix Le Rouzes » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:25 pm

Criticals

I know there have been quite a few posts since they were brought up, but I'd just like to chime in and say I dislike the "20 = automatic critical hit" method. Facing mooks who can only hit a character on a 20 suddenly becomes an all or nothing proposition. I was not a big supporter of the confirmation check, but at least it kept that in check. I liked the idea that there is double damage only if a roll of 20 was a hit with modifiers, but I'm not sure how practical that is.

Wound/Vitality and Hit Points

I guess I'm one of the people who liked the system, probably because I've never had any deaths with it. Also, in D20 Modern, with its generally lower damage, the system is less deadly. Nevertheless, even if I like it on paper, I'd advocate a more traditional Hit Point system which is more adaptable. Which brings me to:

JaredGaume wrote: Injuries...


I like it, though I think further on you go into the needlessly complex. I also like SAGA's condition track, but in my opinion it would be better if the penalties accrued were linear in progression and thus easier to remember. Maybe I'm the only one, but I could never recall what was the next step in the condition track for my character.

Action Points

I dislike gaining them by level, I'd rather have a set amount for the session or for an encounter. Though, if we go on a per level basis, I would a least like to get a way to regain some of them.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby DTemplar5 » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:05 pm

Here's an idea, assuming the use of a Condition Track and HP; instead of critical hits dealing double damage, a critical hit lowers someone down the Condition Track by 1. Combined with reviewing the Damage Threshold and so forth, you could end up going down with a few good hits, yet still have some HP after the fight.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby JaredGaume » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:05 pm

Action Point Usage
For sake of discussion I am describing how action points are used in d20M, SWSE, and D&D 4.0, as well as my own overall analysis and take for best use. I am reciting the rules as written from the core rule books that I am citing. In case you doubt it, look it up.


d20 Modern

Basic heroes gain a number of action points equal to 5 + 1/2 their character level, rounded down, at 1st level and every time they attain a new level in this class.

Advanced class heroes gain a number of action points equal to 6 + 1/2 their character level, rounded down, every time they attain a new level in this class.

Prestige class heroes gain a number of action points equal to 7 + 1/2 their character level, rounded down, every time they attain a new level in this class. This isn't in the core rule book, but this is where it went later.

Basic Usage (page 36 d20M crb):
- You always have a limited amount of action points, once you use it you lose it.
- You may spend an action point do one of the following:
- 1. Alter a single d20 roll used to make an attack, a skill, ability, or level check, or a saving throw.
- 2. Use a class talent or feature during your turn for which the expenditure of 1 acion point is required.
- You may only spend 1 action point for any reason during the course of a round as a free action.
- When you spend an action point to alter a single d20 dice roll you may do so before or after you make the roll, but before the result is announced.
- To alter a single d20 dice roll you get the following:
- levels 1-7: add 1d6 to your roll.
- levels 8-14: roll 2d6, add the best 1 dice roll to your d20 dice roll.
- levels 15: roll 3d6, add the best 1 dice roll to your d20 dice roll.

Note: on average get a +3 bonus to d20 dice rolls with normal AP usage. Extra dice edge your chances up slightly for a +4, +5, or +6 result.

Class abilities:
The only source of using action points is from class talents and abilities listed below:

Strong, Dedicated, Smart, and Charismatic basic heroes - None
Soldier, Infiltrator, Field Medic advanced classes - None
Telepath, Battle Mind, Mage, and Acolyte expanded campaign classes - none

Note: really? none of these classes get an extra way to use Action Points???

Fast Hero - Defensive Roll (on save take 1/2 damage), and Opportunist (AoO enemy struck by ally melee attack) talents.
Tough Hero - Second Wind (recovery Con modifier (+1 to +4 at level 1) hit points)

Note: These basic class AP talent uses are awesome at first level. The Fast Hero Defensive Roll scales with level, so it remains useful the entire game. Tough Hero Second Wind is only useful at first level, from second level on it isn't brining enough healing by comparison to be worth it.

Martial Artist - Iron Fist feature (add AP roll to damage instead of attack)
Gunslinger - Bullseye feature (+3d6 damage with weapon)
Daredevil - Action Boost (spend up to 2 AP per round), and Adrenaline Rush (increase Str, Dex, or Con 1d4+1 for class level rounds) features
Bodyguard - Blanket Protection (allies +1 defense for 3 rounds) feature
Field Scientist - Scientific Improvisation ("MacGuyver it"), and Smart Survival (reduce damage by 5 points) features
Techie - Extreme Machine (improve machine perfromance for class level minutes) feature
Investigator - Sixth Sense (get +1d6 to normal AP bonus rolls) feature
Personality - Compelling Performance (despair (-2 on d20 rolls), hope (+2 on d20 rolls), rage (+2 Str, +2 Con, +1 Will, -1 Def, and is compelled to fight) feature
Negotiator - No Sweat (gets one more 1d6 to normal AP bonus rolls, use the best 1 dice roll result) feature
Shadow Slayer - Word of Slaying (daze, stun, paralyze, or kill shadow creature depending on HD) feature
Occultist - Banish (Send shadow creature to shadow dimension if creature fails save, otherwise stun for 1d4+1 rounds) feature

Note: of the classes that have special AP usage, the bonuses seem pretty pitiful compared to the overall character level when they get them. At first level these might be pretty cool, but around level 10+ when these come into play I would think these advanced classes would get something better. The best AP usage is the Gunslinger's Bullseye (sick extra damage), Daredevil Action Boost (Hell yes! More AP usage per round), Smart Survival (mitigate 5 points of damage), Investigator Sixth Sense (average +7 to d20 roll bonus), Occultist Banish (perma-ban or at least stun monster).

Overall: d20M AP usage is largely a matter of giving you a tiny edge to kind of fudge the numbers in your favor. The bonuses are largely most useful at level 1, but you aren't getting most of these until well after level 10. With one or two exceptions, they don't scale relative to the level of the character. Lastly the CRB lacks any feats to improve AP useage or grant more APs. Action Points give you an edge, but not much more.


Star Wars Second Edition

Force Points: You get a number of force points equal to 5 + 1/2 your character level (rounded down). When you gain a new level, you lose any unspent force points from the previous level and gain a number of force points (see above).

Prestige Force Points: You get a number of force points equal to 6 or 7 (depending on connection to the force) + 1/2 your character level (rounded down). When you gain a new level in your prestige class, you lose any unspent force points from the previous level and gain a number of force points (see above).

Using Force Points (page 93 SWSE crb):
- On your turn you may spend 1 Force Point as a free action, but no more than once per round.
- Once you spend a Force Point it is gone.
- You may spend a Force Point to activate some talents, Force techniques, Force secrets, and Force powers
- You may spend 1 Force Point as a Swift Action to return 1 spent Force power to your active suite.
- If you are reduced to 0 hit points and might be killed, you may spend 1 Force Point to avoid death and instead fall unconcious.
- You may spend 1 Force Point to lower your Dark Side score by 1.
- Add result of the best 1 d6 roll to a single attack roll, skill check, or ability check.
- To alter a single d20 dice roll you get the following:
- levels 1-7: add 1d6 to your roll.
- levels 8-14: roll 2d6, only count the higest die result.
- levels 15: roll 3d6, only count the highest die result.
- unless otherwise noted, you can only spend 1 Force Point per round.

Destiny Points (page 112 SWSE crb): At 1st-level you get 1 Destiny Point. Each time you gain a level you gain 1 more Destiny Point. Only a character with a destiny can gain or spend Destiny Points.
Spend a Destiny Point to do one of the following:
- Auto-crit, no roll required.
- Auto-miss, an attack made against you misses, even once the attack is resolved.
- Act out of turn, you change your position in the initiative order.
- Take someone elses damage within your reach.
- Increase the effect of some Force Powers.
- Use some applications of Force Secrets.
- Immediately gain 3 Force Points.

Note: Destiny Points are game breakingly powerful just with default use. Playing without a destiny right off the bat is cripplingly weak compared to characters with Destiny Points.

Special uses of Force/Destiny Points:
(I may have missed some, they are scattered in different places)

Noble, Scoundrel, Scout, Soldier - None
Ace Pilot, Bounty Hunter, Crime Lord, Elite Trooper, Gunslinger, Officer - None
Jedi Master - None! Really? None! You got to be kidding!

Note: If you aren't a force user, you don't get talents from your class that let you use Force Points beyond rolling d6 and add to d20 roll. It seems like each could have had something, anything. For Force Point bonuses, why would you not play as a Jedi???

Jedi - Build Light Saber, Skilled Advisor talent (+5 to ally's next skill check), Resiliance talent (move +2 steps along condition track), Force Haze talent (hide your party in plain sight).

Note: only the Jedi gets talents that make use of Force Points. All of them are powerful, and scale with level.

Force Adept - Crippling Strike talent (target 1/2 speed until fully healed), Attune Weapon talent (You get a +1 attack bonus with a target weapon), Empower Weapon talent (You get +1 die damage with a target weapon), Force Talisman (You get a +1 bonus to one defense while wearing target item)
Force Disciple - Prophet feature (get 2 Destiny Points every time you gain a level in this class!)
Jedi Knight - Force Fortification talent (turn Critical Hit to normal hit, you may spend this even if you have already used an action point this round), Djem So talent (immediately attack enemy who hit you with a melee attack as a reaction), Juyo (designate an enemy, for rest of encounter you may reroll your first attack against them each round keeping the better result, no RAW limit to number of enemies you may designate)
Sith Apprentice - Dark Healing talent (if you hit: deal 1d6 damage per class level to target, you heal by this amount), Dark Side Master talent (keep better of two DSAdept rolls), Wicked Strike talent (on critical hit, move target -2 steps along condition track)
Sith Lord - Temptation feature (target spends Force or Destiny points to keep from falling along condition track, but take Dark Side points if they do so. Penalizes target.)

Note: only force users get talents that make use of Force Points. Like the Jedi, all of these are powerful, though some scale with level better than others. The only useful Force Adept talent is Crippling Strike as it is always useful, but static +1 bonuses? At least scale with level. Sith Lord Temptation seems cool, until you realize that it is pretty underwhelming for what should be a badass character. Jedi Master and Sith Lord get access to Force Secrets, but I would think that some core talent would be usefull.

Use the Force: Lots of gooey gibs of Force and Destiny Point usages >:) Too many to count and I allready have taken up like a gazillion page lines... Some point usage is better than others.

Feats:
Force Boon - +3 Force Points per level (Awesome)
Strong in the Force - d8's instead of d6's (moves the curve to +4 average benefit)

Overall: Force and Destiny Points are extremely useful and powerful when you are a Force User, everybody else is out of luck. I would think that at least with "mundane" prestige classes you should at least get some talent that lets you do something amazing. Nope. SWSE is a Jedi's game, everybody else is just there for flavor.


Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition

Action Points (page 259 D&D 4e PHB crb): 4e made APs a rare event, honestly, you might as well not even have them. That said, this is how 4e uses APs:
- You get 1 Action Point to start with, any time you take an extended rest, rest your Action Points to 1 point.
- No more than once per ENCOUNTER!!! you may spend 1 action point.
- Use an Action Point to take an extra action, use certain feats, or use paragon path powers.
- Spend an Action Point and it's gone.
- Each time you reach a milestone, gain 1 Action Point.

Note: Action point usage is best as an Alpha Strike to take down as many enemies as you can with your opening move in an encounter. The best AP combo I've seen is a Dragon Born Fighter (or Something), ultimate twink race. 1) Move into the front ranks of your enemies, 2) Minor Action use your upgraded Dragon's Breath to hose down vast minion formations, 3) Use Daily Power to crunch a tough enemy, 4) spend an Action Point and Use Encounter Power or Standard Attack to finish off enemy or attack a second enemy, 5) mark one of the enemies you attacked, and 6) now Opportunity Attack the hell out of anyone that moves near you. Rest of the party throws in their bits, and then play out the remainder of the encounter.

Where alternate AP usage shows up:

Paragon Path Features - With 32 Paragon paths it gets a bit tedious to list them all. The gist of the matter is that once you take a Paragon Path any time you use an Action Point you get both an extra action and some significant bonus. You may end up with 2 extra actions, until the start of your next turn get some bonus, for all attacks you make this turn get some big bonus, etc... Paragon paths amp up the benefit of using your AP.

Epic Destinies: Only one epic destiny gives you a benefit for using an AP.
Eternal Seeker - Eternal Action (Spend an Action Point and gain an extra action, on your next turn also get an extra action, this action doesn't get paragon path AP boosts)

Feats: There is only one that benefits the use of APs.
Action Surge (human only) - +3 to your attacks until the start of your next turn.

Note: 4e threw most AP uses into either powers or Feats, but you don't have to spend an AP to get them to work. By taking the power or feat you get the benefit. Additionally powers and feats often grant you a bonus to attack above and beyond your normal attack bonus, this is similar to what happens when you spend an AP to modify your d20 roll. The main criticism of 4e is that instead of APs being a game changer, they made powers and feats into game changers. APs should offer flexibility in what you may do as opposed to getting some static bonuses, not really here.


Conclusions:

Comparing d20M, SWSE, and 4e shows us something about action points. In d20M and SWSE action points were there to basically amp up your game by providing bonuses, or letting you take special actions or benefits above and beyond what you could normally do. 4e pretty much threw action points under the bus, honestly, with a per encounter rate of use, having APs is almost pointless.

My criticism of d20M was that Action Points are actually underwhelming in the face of wanting something that gives you a "game changing" moment. That once you expend your Action Points you don't get more until you level, makes a weak resource even more trivial. If using an action point basically means you perma-lose-it, I would think you should get a lot bigger bang for your buck. Altering a single d20 roll with a pittance of points (best d6) is pretty lame. At first level this is a big thing, but at later levels, all it does is edge you over the line if you were close. By late game you might as well ignore your action points.

SWSE Force and Destiny points are somewhat better than what is found in d20M, but only if you are a Force User. For everyone else, it is basically a worse deal than what you get in d20M. At least in d20M some "mundane" classes got some kind of use for their APs. In SWSE you pretty much just get roll Xd6 and take the best roll of the bunch (xd8 with Strong in the Force). As a Force User, using your Force Points in some cases could be a real game changer, if not ender. Destiny Points are basically really strong Action Points, when you use one of these just for basic use it is always a game changer! And forget about it when you use Destiny Points in conjunction with Force abilities, in that instant YOU ARE GOD.
"GM take a holiday while I own this moment."
Even though spending Action and Destiny Points results in perma-lose-it, at least for Force Users you get to significantly change the game, unlike d20M. Unfortunately you have a "use it or lose it" mechanic at play with Force Points, every time you level you lose all remaining Force Points, and get your per-level boon. At least you can horde Destiny Points if you want to.

As stated above, in 4e, might as well not have Action Points. Not that the mechanic that grants you an extra action has anything wrong with it, I actually like that idea. What is wrong is that you only get 1 Action Point, and you may only spend 1 Action Point during an ENTIRE FRAKING ENCOUNTER!!!! The whole point of Action Points was to add options and flexibility. The mechanic that lets you retain Action Points is also a good one, but still that whole "you only get 1 Action Point" is pretty lame. What you get for spending an Action Point doesn't really help you out much, even when you get up to the Paragon Paths (level 11+). Spending your 1 Action Point is not a game changer. Since you only get to spend 1 Action Point, that should let you do something absolutely, mind-bendingly, pants-loadingly POWERFUL. But you just get an extra action??? :P


Going Forward:

* I would like to see an action point system that is a little better balanced. Using action points at least scales.

* You get to keep your action points, it isn't a perma-lose-it on use. You have a way to get them back. Say points per day, you get them all back once you rest.

* You have options in every class that you can take that lets you use your Action Points in unique and game changing ways.

* Earlier I alluded to an Action Point system. I will restate here and expand. Look at this as a new thing, not an extension of 4e or whatever you think doesn't work.


Action Points (Proposal)

* You get a number of action points equal to your Charisma bonus + 1/2 level + other bonuses.
(Justification: Charisma also is a measure of your force of personality, your character's dynamic and exciting nature. This lets a traditional "dump" score mean something crunchy rather than how you interact with the NPCs. You could let "action" oriented classes have bonuses, features, or talents that can bump this number up. There would deffinately be abilites you could take to make this better.)

* Any time you gain a new level or rest for the day you fully regain your base Action Points (see above).
* When you level up, but did not rest, you retain any action points you currently have and add your base number as a bonus.
* When you rest, you reset your Action Points to your base value (see above).
(Justification: Action Points are a resource and feature of your character, you shouldn't be punished for using them by permenantly losing them.)

* Using an action point grants you an extra action on use.
* Normally you may use 1 Action Point at any time between the start of your turn and the start of your next turn (1 per round) as a free action.
* You may spend any number of Action Points during an Encounter (combat or otherwise).
(Justification: This is an ACTION POINT, not a bonus point, or some other kind of point. Using an Action Point lets you do more on your turn/round than normal. Given the relative level and power of your character, this automatically scales with use. You may use your granted action to take ANY valid action, not just regular or general actions. This includes feats, powers, or other special case actions. You should be able to use your action points how you see fit, but from turn to turn, round to round, using an action point is a tactical or strategic choice.)

* You may use an action point to activate a special ability, such as certain features or talents.
(Justification: Your choice of abilities allows you to potentially take "Game Changing" actions. Normally this is a standard use of an action point different from "get an extra action", but some abilities may allow you to use Action Points more than 1 per round.)

* If you didn't rest and recover Action Points between the end of the last encounter and the beginning of the current encounter (combat or otherwise), you get 1 bonus Action Point.
* For each encounter that you did not rest prior to the current one, you get 1 bonus Action Point for each of these past encounters.
(Justification: A reward for keeping up the "tempo of action" in the narrative. This is a per encounter basis, not just combat, but also for non-combat encounters. Resting every day stops the "tempo of action", enemies get away, leads dry up, and you get rested and refreshed. By keeping the action going, you are generating Action Points. In theory you could string together a dozen encounters and at the start of your 13th encounter get a bonus of 12 Action Points, not likely, but it is possible.)


Some possible example action point use talents:
(note: these are not complete talent descriptions, just the bits where action point use might come into play. This list is not exhaustive, there can and should be many more action point uses.)

[Agent Talent X]: "I get to take advantage of my team's strengths."
On your turn you may spend 1 Action Point to activate any valid action available to an ally. Your ally takes this action on your turn.

[Expert Talent X]: "I've done this like a million times..."
On your turn you may spend 1 Action Point on a skill check either before or after you roll. On this skill check treat it as if you had rolled a "natural 20", an automatic success. You may spend as many action points in this way as you like, even if you have already spent one or more action points this round.

[Fighter Talent X]: "Oh no you didn't!"
Any time you are struck by a melee attack, you may spend 1 Action Point to counterattack. You may use any valid reaction, opportunity attack, or readied standard attack, available to you.

[Gunslinger Talent X]: "One shot, one kill."
Any time you inflict a critical hit with one of your Gun Focus weapons, you may spend 1 Action Point. You immediately defeat your target, rendering him to 0 hit points. This may or may not actually kill them.
(on second thought this might be a better Sniper talent...)

[Rogue Talent X]: "Lucky, lucky, lucky..."
Any time you either take an injury and/or are reduced to 0 hit points, you may spend 1 Action Point. You do not take the injury, and/or you are only reduced to 1 hit point. You may spend as many action points in this way as you like, even if you have already spent one or more action points this round.


Some example possible action point abilities:

Action Boon: Any time you spend an Action Point, gain a +3 bonus to your attack rolls, skill checks, Fortitude, Reflexes, and Awereness until the start of your next turn. Multiple Action Point usage does not cause this bonus to stack. At higher levels your boon becomes bigger: Level 5 = +4; Level 10 = +5; Level 15 = +6; Level 20 = +7.

Action Hero: +3 Action Points. You may take this ability multiple times, each time gain +1 Action Points.

Action Intensity: You may now use 1 more Action Point at any time between the start of your turn and the start of your next turn (2 per round) as a free action. One of these 2 points must be spent on your turn. This may stack with other abilities that offer the same bonus.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby JaredGaume » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:19 pm

Felix Le Rouzes wrote:Criticals

I know there have been quite a few posts since they were brought up, but I'd just like to chime in and say I dislike the "20 = automatic critical hit" method. Facing mooks who can only hit a character on a 20 suddenly becomes an all or nothing proposition. I was not a big supporter of the confirmation check, but at least it kept that in check. I liked the idea that there is double damage only if a roll of 20 was a hit with modifiers, but I'm not sure how practical that is.

Wound/Vitality and Hit Points

I guess I'm one of the people who liked the system, probably because I've never had any deaths with it. Also, in D20 Modern, with its generally lower damage, the system is less deadly. Nevertheless, even if I like it on paper, I'd advocate a more traditional Hit Point system which is more adaptable. Which brings me to:

JaredGaume wrote: Injuries...


I like it, though I think further on you go into the needlessly complex. I also like SAGA's condition track, but in my opinion it would be better if the penalties accrued were linear in progression and thus easier to remember. Maybe I'm the only one, but I could never recall what was the next step in the condition track for my character.

Action Points

I dislike gaining them by level, I'd rather have a set amount for the session or for an encounter. Though, if we go on a per level basis, I would a least like to get a way to regain some of them.


On Criticals:
Felix, look a the other thread where we started talking about Heroic Levels. At the default setting only significant opponents can Crit you. Mooks can hit you, but they can't Crit you.
We may want to discuss whether Critical hits do either maximum or double damage... I favor maximum, as there are some amusing talents that I can think of that play off that mechanic better.

On Injuries:
There is a larger argument for the "complex" bits. Short version is that any time you "take a breather" between encounters you regain all your hit points. Injuries are persistent and take a natural rate of healing to get rid of them. That way you can keep the narrative going, in game time, without stopping every 5 minutes so you can go home and "sleep it off." Taking a -5 penalty to your character for being injured with any number of injuries doesn't hopelessly handicap him, but it does give the feel that you aren't "firing on all cylinders" either. Lastly, you don't want to take too many injuries before you can heal from them as that might litterally kill you.

On Action Points:
See my previous post, skip down to the bottom for the chunky bits.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby GMSarli » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:45 pm

JaredGaume wrote:Action Point Usage

<SNIP>


I really like where the Action Point discussion has gone here. Right now, here's what I'm thinking:

  • I, too, have encountered the problems of players forget to use Action Points (and/or SWSE Force Points) before the "expire," go out of their way to overuse them if they believe they're about to gain a level, hoard them so they always have a hedge against a potentially lethal attack, etc. Any one of these makes it harder for the GM (and the game designer) to anticipate the "real" power level of a hero because it can swing drastically depending on how freely or rarely they're using Action Points.
  • Given this, I'm leaning toward making Action Points a per-day resource, not a per-level resource. When you wake up from a good night's sleep (a "long rest," as 4E would put it), your Action Points are reset to 1.
  • However, you can gain Action Points during the day. If you do cool, heroic, and/or very in-character stuff, you get an Action Point. Here, I'd like to follow the lead of Deadlands or the old-school West End Games D6-based Star Wars RPG, using Action Points as a way to encourage and reward players for making the game fun. For those who never played Star Wars D6, Force Points worked like this:
    • You start with 1 Force Point, or 2 if you're Force Sensitive; if for any reason you're completely out of Force Points, you always get a minimum of 1 at the beginning of a new adventure.
    • If you spend a FP, it's gone for the rest of the adventure.
    • If you spent it for evil/selfish reasons, you lose it forever and gain a Dark Side Point. (If your Dark Side Points went up enough, your character eventually falls to the dark side and becomes an NPC.)
    • If you spent it for self-defense (e.g. to survive an attack), you lose it forever.
    • If you spent it for something heroic/good, you get it back at the beginning of the next adventure.
    • If you spent it for something heroic/good at the "dramatically appropriate" point in the adventure (e.g. trench run on Death Star, dueling Darth Vader on Cloud City or Second Death Star, etc.), you not only get the Force Point back but you also gain an additional one.
    • Non-Force-Sensitive characters could never gain more than 5 Force Points. (If they ever earned more than this, the excess were converted to Character Points -- which, like Deadlands fate chips, can be used either to modify a die roll -- albeit less than a Force Point does -- or as "experience points" to improve your character between adventures.) Force-Sensitive characters had no limit on how many they could gain.
  • I definitely do not want Action Points to be exchangeable for experience points. On the surface, this seems like a nice idea (i.e. the character didn't learn as much because he got "lucky" with the Action Point rather than solving the problem on his own), but it ultimately penalizes the characters that are doing the most heroic stuff (which tends to get you in situations where you need to spend Action Points).
  • I'd like Action Points to be usable for as wide a range of things as possible:
    • LIke 4E (and some 3.0/3.5 games, BTW), I'd like an Action Point to be usable to buy an extra action (standard, move, etc.)
    • Like d20M and SWSE, I'd like Action Points to be able to modify die rolls. However, I'm not sure if I want to follow the "roll Xd6 and add the highest to your result" model -- I'm seriously considering making it where you instead get to reroll. That said, I could see making both options available -- if you rolled horribly, you could take a fresh reroll, but if you just barely missed, you could take the +1d6 bonus.
    • As Jared details, there are a lot of other ways to use Action Points. In addition to his list, there are a ton of oft-forgotten options for Action Points in Unearthed Arcana (p.122 -- and this is Open Game Content, too): Gain an additional use of a limited-use-per-day ability, gain an extra attack (a lot like 4E extra action thing), emulate the effects of a feat you don't have for 1 round, recall a spell, boost the effects of various feats (e.g. doubling the damage bonus from Power Attack, etc.), and so forth. I want Action Points to be able to do as much of this stuff as possible, because it's all stuff that's both heroic and just plain fun.
    • Finally, Action Points should definitely be a key for allowing the players to directly effect their environment and/or the adventure. (Lots of good ideas on this one throughout the thread.)


BTW, this brainstorming approach has vastly exceeded my expectations. If you guys are providing this kind of input and energy before we hit our fund-raising goal -- and before I can even set up patron-only forums! -- I can only imagine how much energy you'll be bringing when we're going over manuscript drafts.

Seriously, the whole "grass-roots game design" thing might be the BEST. IDEA. EVAR. :D
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby Cyber-Dave » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:49 pm

So, I play Star Wars Saga and 4e. Out of the two, while I think 4e is the most amazing fantasy RPG I have played in a long time, I still much prefer Star Wars Saga. I think Star Wars Saga is probably my favorite RPG game of all time. However, I don't use Star Wars Saga to run Star Wars. Rather, I use it to run my own homebrew setting called The Land of Nod. I actually use quite a few house rules! I will post them here. One quick note, all of the tables I created for my house rules can be found at the links I provide bellow. Unfortunately the code to create tables on this forum is different from the code used to create tables on the WotC wiki pages, and I really did not want to take the time to reformat tables for this thread. Also, my setting does actually have more house rules than those I provided here. However, the rest of my house rules amount to home brewed equipment and races for my setting. These are the changes I made to the way the game's mechanical engine runs...

Modifying The Saga Rules for The Land of Nod
Obviously, all the flavor text and cultural descriptions present in the Star Wars books does not apply to this setting. However, most of the rules in the Star Wars Saga rule books do. When playing the Land of Nod, make the following changes to the Star Wars Saga character scale rules in order to reflect the tone and flavor of this campaign setting.

Saga Edition Core Rulebook
Chapter 2: Species

* Replace all non-human races from this chapter with The New Chapter 2 The Cultures and Species of Nod . The rules for playing humans remain unchanged.

Chapter 3: Heroic Classes

* You add ½ your heroic level as a bonus to your Defenses, not your heroic level.
* All Defenses begin with a base number of 15, not 10. This means that every Defense is calculated as follows: 15 + ½ your heroic level + your applicable ability modifier + class bonus + size modifier.
* All classes gain a BAB of only ½ their character level.
* All heroic classes gain the Weapon Proficiency (unarmed and natural weapons) feat as a class starting feat.
* Any class that normally gained a full BAB, except for the Cherub adaptation of the Jedi class, instead gains the Weapon Mastery feat (see bellow) in one of the weapon groups they are proficient with as a class starting feat.
* Any class that normally gained a full BAB and the Weapon Proficiency (simple weapons) feat as a class starting feat also gains the Weapon Mastery (simple weapons) feat as a class starting feat.
* Any class that normally gained a full BAB gains the Weapon Mastery (unarmed attacks) feat as a class starting feat.
* The Jedi class should be removed from the game.
* The Armored Defense talent from the Soldier’s Armor Specialist Talent Tree grants a character a +1 bonus to Reflex Defense if the character is wearing armor they are proficient with.
* The Improved Armored Defense talent from the Soldier’s Armor Specialist Talent Tree allows a character to add ½ their armor’s DR (rounded down) as a bonus to their Fortitude Defense when fighting defensively. If you choose to make no attacks when fighting defensively you may add ½ your armor’s DR as a bonus to both your Reflex and Fortitude Defense. This is in addition to the +2 or +5 to reflex defense normally granted. You must be proficient with the armor you are wearing to gain this benefit.
* The Second Skin talent from the Soldier’s Armor Specialist Talent Tree grants you a +1 bonus to your DR and Fortitude Defense when wearing armor. You must be proficient with the armor you are wearing to gain this benefit.
* Note: In other sections of this campaign setting a new base class can be found. This new base class is called the Cherub.

Chapter 4: Skills

* Climb, Jump, and Swim are all replaced with a skill named Athletics. The rules for Climb, Jump, and Swim become various uses of the Athletics skill. Any class with Climb, Jump, or Swim on its skill list instead gains Athletics as a class skill.
* Use the Force should be renamed Use the Mind.
* A character does not automatically gain 1/2 their level as a bonus to all their skill checks. Rather, a character gets 1/2 their level as a bonus to all their class skill checks and trained skill checks. If a skill does not appear on the class skill list of any of a character's classes, and a character is not trained in using that skill, then that character only adds the relevant ability modifier to that skill's skill checks.

Chapter 5: Feats

* The Armor Proficiency feats remove the Armor Check penalty from attack rolls only. Some penalties to skills remain (see the changes to Chapter 8: Equipment bellow).
* When you are proficient with a weapon (due to the Weapons Proficiency feat) you gain a +5 bonus to hit with that weapon. This bonus stacks with any bonuses to hit granted from other feats.
* Any feat that could normally be taken and applied to the lightsaber group of weapons can instead be taken and applied to the psiblade weapon group.
* Unarmed attacks and natural weapons are considered to be a weapon group in which one can gain proficiency through the Weapon Proficiency feat.
* Cybernetic Weapons should be added as a group of weapons with which one can gain proficiency through the Weapon Proficiency feat.
* The following feats should be added to the game:

Cybertaker
You can have more cybernetic attachments than normal without suffering ill effects.
Benefit: The maximum number of cybernetic attachments you can have without gaining a persistent condition increases by 1 (see added Cybernetic Rules bellow). This additional cybernetic device cannot be placed in an area if it exceeds that area’s normal limit.
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Its effects stack.

Heroic Melee Combatant
In melee combat, you somehow manage to avoid blows at every turn.
Benefit: You gain a +2 Reflex Defense bonus against melee attacks.
Prerequisite: At least one level in a heroic class, Dodge.

Implant Awareness
You are very alert to the location and positioning of your external implants and move in a way to keep them guarded from attack.
Benefit: Your external implants gain a +5 bonus to Defense against any attacks made against them.

Improved Heroic Fortitude Defense
Your heroic fortitude is legendary.
Benefit: Your Fortitude Defense improves by +5.
Prerequisite: At least one level in a heroic class.

Improved Heroic Willpower Defense
Your heroic willpower is legendary.
Benefit: Your Willpower Defense improves by +5.
Prerequisite: At least one level in a heroic class.

Weapon Mastery
You have mastered attacks with a particular group of weapons or unarmed combat style.
Benefit: Choose one of the following weapon groups or attack types: advanced melee weapons, heavy weapons (which includes vehicular weapons and starship weapons), pistols, rifles, simple weapons, cybernetic weapons, natural weapons or unarmed attacks. You gain a bonus to hit with weapons or attack types from the selected group. The size of the bonus depends on your class composition: if all of your class levels are in classes that, in the Star Wars Saga rules as written, have a full base attack bonus, then you gain a +5 bonus to hit; if you have levels in a mix of classes that, in the Star Wars Saga rules as written, have both a 1/2 BAB, 3/4 BAB, and a full BAB progression, then you gain a +3 bonus to hit. You must have at least 1/2 of your total class levels in a heroic class to gain any bonus to hit from this feat.
Prerequisite: You must be proficient with the selected weapon or attack type.
Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Each time you take this feat you apply its benefit to a different weapon group or attack type.
Note: This bonus stacks with both the bonus to hit from being proficient with a weapon, and any bonuses to hit granted from any other feat.

Chapter 6: The Force

* Force users are called psychics, and any use of the word "force" can be replaced with the word "psychic."
* Psychic Powers never have a “Dark Side” or “Light Side” descriptor. However, powers with the “Dark Side” or “Light Side” descriptor should be given the “Taxing” descriptor. Whenever a taxing power is used the character that used it moves 1 step down the condition track if they succeed on their Use the Mind skill check to use that power, and 2 steps down the condition track if they fail on their Use the Mind skill check to use that power. Condition penalties taken from using a taxing power, and from using any given specific power, stack. For example, if a specific power's description states that using it causes a target to move 2 steps down the condition track, and that power also becomes a taxing power, then using that power would cause a character to move 3 steps down the condition track. Any psychic can learn to use any psychic power.
* If you roll higher than a target’s Damage Threshold with a Psychic Grip (or Force Grip), the target may only make a single Move action, not a single Swift action.
* Sever Psychic (or Sever Force) effects all psychics.
* The Dark Side Talent Tree should be removed from the game.
* The Move Object force power can be used to either throw a light object (weighing 5kg or less) at incredible velocities, or slowly move a larger object. Thrown objects hit and deal damage as per the standard rules for the Move Object force power. The rules for moving larger objects is likewise the same as the standard rules for the Move Object power, except that a character cannot throw the larger object and deal damage with it. The moment a character attempts to move a larger object into the same square as an opponent, the Move Object force power automatically ends, and the object falls to the ground in a square adjacent to the opponent's square.
If a character attempts to raise an object above a target, or a group of targets, and then drop it on them, he or she must succeed on an opposed Use the Mind skill check made against an opponents Initiative skill check. Any target within the squares that the falling object ends up occupying on the map (based on its size) that fails their Initiative skill check takes 1/2 the damage that the equivalent sized object would normally deal as damage according to the rules as written in the Star Wars Saga Core Rulebook. Any target that succeeds on their Initiative skill check takes no damage.
If a character takes the Move Massive Object talent (found on page 55 of the Legacy Era Campaign Guide) then the character may pick up and throw massive objects as per the rules of that talent.

Chapter 8: Equipment

* A new weapon quality should be added to the game. This weapon quality is called the "Archaic Weapon Quality." An archaic weapons suffers a -1 penalty to attack rolls and damage. The slugthrowers in the Star Wars Saga rules as written should be considered archaic weapons.
* Armor does not work the same way it does in Star Wars Saga. Armor does not grant a bonus to Reflex Defense. Instead, armor grants a bonus to Damage Reduction equal to what it would normally grant as a bonus to Reflex Defense. Additionally, when one is proficient in the use of an armor their armor check penalty to skill checks is not totally removed. Instead, their armor check penalty to skill checks is halved (rounded down).
* The following slight changes should be made to the pistol, rifle, and retractable stock rules:

1. Any weapon treated as a pistol for the purposes of proficiency and range gains a +1 bonus to hit if it is used two handed.
2. Any weapon treated as a rifle for the purpose of proficiency and range forces a character to take a -5 penalty on attack rolls with the weapon if they use it in one hand (regardless of its size relative to you).
3. If a rifle that is classified as a “carbine” has a retractable stock it uses the standard rules from page 125 of the Star Wars Saga Edition Core Rulebook, though it also looses its inaccurate weapon property while the stock is retracted (and the weapon is being treated like a pistol).
4. If any other rifle has a retractable stock it is not treated as a pistol for the purposes of proficiency and range when its stock is retracted. Instead, the rifle becomes classified as a “carbine” when its stock is retracted. As a “carbine” the weapon threatens all adjacent squares, and is treated as having the inaccurate weapon property. The weapon is still classified as a rifle for the purpose of proficiency and range, and any character attempting to use the weapon one handed still suffers a -5 to hit (regardless of its size relative to you).
5. No weapon can be braced with a retracted stock.

* The following rules for Cybernetics (inspired by d20 Cyberscape) should be added to the game:

1. A character can have a maximum number of cybernetic prosthetics equal to his Constitution modifier +1 (to a minimum of 0).
2. If a character installs more cybernetics than this maximum total, he moves -1 step down the condition track, and suffers a persistent condition penalty that lasts until enough cybernetic implants are removed to place him bellow this maximum total.
3. A character has 1 head slot, and 2 slots each for the torso, left arm, right arm, left leg, and right leg.
4. A character can stuff one extra slot worth of cybernetics into any of the above locations, but doing so has the exact same effect as exceeding your maximum total number of implants.

Chapter 9: Combat

* Only use the following piece of Area Attack errata: A natural 20 on an area attack roll automatically hits all targets within the affected area, but area attacks do not deal double damage on a critical hit. All characters that are missed by an area attack take half damage unless they have a feat, talent, class ability, terrain benefit, or some other situational rule exception that says otherwise.
* Characters do not take a -5 penalty to hit with weapons that they are not proficient with.
* When you fight defensively from cover you gain a +5 to Reflex Defense instead of a +2, or a +10 to Reflex Defense if you make no attacks. This is in addition to the normal Reflex Defense bonuses from cover. This does not stack with the similar benefit from being trained in Acrobatics.
* When you use the Aim action you ignore all cover bonuses to your target’s Reflex Defense on your next attack, or half the cover bonuses to your target's Reflex Defense on your next attack if the target has improved cover.
* When attacking with a ranged weapon with which you do not threaten squares you are considered to be distracted, and thus potentially provoke attacks of opportunity.
* When using a ranged weapon against an adjacent target you are considered to be “shooting or firing into a melee,” and suffer all the appropriate penalties.
* Characters in the Land of Nod do not have as high of a natural damage threshold as standard Saga characters. They are forced to partly rely on their armor’s damage reduction to protect them from the effects of damage. As a result, the formula used to calculate a character’s damage threshold should be modified to read as follows:

Damage threshold = Fortitude Defense – (heroic level damage threshold adjustment) – 5 + size modifier

Heroic level damage threshold adjustment: The heroic level damage threshold adjustment is subtracted from a character’s Fortitude Defense, when calculating a character's damage threshold, in order to represent the fact that heroic characters do not get as much of a bonus to their damage threshold from level as standard Saga characters. The size of the adjustment depends on the number of total heroic levels a character has. This adjustment is -1 for characters with 1 to 4 levels, -2 for characters with 5 to 8 levels, -3 for characters with 9 to 12 levels, -4 for characters with 13 to 16 levels, and -5 for characters with 17 to 20 levels.

* If a character that is helpless or unconscious takes more damage then their damage threshold, they die.
* Add the following ability to a characters list of attack options:

Sustained fire: By spending two swift actions you may continue to use autofire on a targeted area until the start of your next turn. Any creature moving into this area is subject to your autofire attack as if they were in the area when you made the attack. This ability consumes 10 shots in addition to the 10 shots normally consumed by using autofire on an area. You must have 10 additional shots to utilize sustained fire.

Chapter 12: Prestige Classes

* The Jedi Knight, Jedi Master, Sith Apprentice, and Sith Lord prestige classes should be removed from the game
* Note: In other sections of this campaign setting a number of new prestige classes can be found. These new prestige classes are the Praetorian Elite, Cybernetic Commando, Cherub Knight, Seraph Warlord, and Cybernaught.

Chapter 16: Allies and Opponents

* All Defenses begin with a base number of 15, not 10. This means that every Defense is calculated as follows: 15 + ½ a character's heroic level + a character's applicable ability modifier + class bonus + size modifier.
* The Beast and Nonheroic Character classes have a BAB of 1/2 their character level.
* The Beast class gains the Weapon Proficiency (unarmed and natural weapons) feat as a class starting feat.
* A Beast's Natural Armor grants a bonus to DR instead of Reflex Defense.
* Beasts suffer a penalty to their Acrobatics and Initiative skill checks equal to their size modifier to Ref Defense.

Special: BAB Prerequisites for Feats, Talents, and Prestige Classes

* The changes made to the way BAB progression works alters the way the game’s math works in regards to the BAB prerequisites of any feat, talent, or prestige class. Instead of a BAB requirement, these feats, talents, and prestige classes, have a level requirement. However, the exact level requirement changes from character to character, depending on what feats and class levels the character has. To discover the actual level requirement of any given feat, talent, or prestige class, for any specific character, first find the row that correlates to the BAB prerequisite of the feat, talent, or prestige class, in the rules as written, on the table bellow. Then read the table from right to left until you find the column that represents your character. The result is the level requirement that the feat, talent, or prestige class, currently has for your character.

See table here: http://community.wizards.com/thelandofnod/wiki/Modifying_The_Saga_Rules_for_The_Land_of_Nod.

I have also made a bunch of modifications to the Star Wars Saga vehicle rules. These are the modifications I use there:

Modifying the Starship and Vehicle Saga Rules for The Land of Nod
The following modifications should be made to the Saga starship and vehicle rules in order to reflect the tone and flavor of this campaign setting.

* Table 10-1 Vehicle Sizes should be modified to read as follows

See table here: http://community.wizards.com/thelandofnod/wiki/Modifying_the_Starship_and_Vehicle_Saga_Rules_for_The_Land_of_Nod

* Vehicles apply their Size modifier as a penalty to their attack rolls as well as a penalty to Reflex Defense.
* A vehicle’s Reflex Defense is equal to: 15 + vehicle’s Dexterity modifier + size modifier + armor bonus + a pilot’s heroic level.
* A vehicle’s Fortitude Defense is equal to: 15 + vehicle’s Strength modifier.
* A vehicle’s Damage Threshold is equal to: Fortitude Defense + size modifier – 5.
* A vehicle’s Crew Quality attack bonus should be modified as follows:

See table here: http://community.wizards.com/thelandofnod/wiki/Modifying_the_Starship_and_Vehicle_Saga_Rules_for_The_Land_of_Nod

* The grapple modifier for capital sized ships should be extended as follows: Colossal (frigate) +25, Colossal (cruiser) +30, Colossal (station) +35.
* The size penalty to stealth checks for capital sized ships should be increased as follows: Colossal (frigate) -25, Colossal (cruiser) -30, Colossal (station) -35.
* When using the stealth skill to sneak from starship sensors a sneaking character does not use the normal size modifiers. Instead a sneaking object, character, or pilot modifies their Stealth check based on their size, or the size of the vehicle they are operating, using the following modifiers: Fine & Diminutive +20, Tiny & Small +15, Medium & Large +10, Huge & Gargantuan +5, Colossal +0, Colossal (frigate) -10, Colossal (cruiser -15), Colossal (space station) -20.
* Pilot's performing the Ram action do not take a -10 penalty to their pilot check made against a target's Reflex Defense.
* Only pilot's with the Vehicular Combat feat may use the Avoid Collision action to avoid a ramming attack. Additionally, when attempting to avoid the collision of a ramming attack, the DC is equal to the pilot check made by the pilot performing the ram instead of 15.
* Capital ships (that are Colossal-frigate size or larger) no longer suffer a -20 to hit when attacking a target smaller than Colossal size. Instead, Capital ships (that are Colossal-frigate size or larger) suffer a -5 to hit when attacking a target smaller than Colossal size.
* A starship weapon equipped as a point defense system does not apply a starships size modifier as a penalty to its attack rolls, or a -5 to hit when attacking a target smaller than Colossal size.
* Docking guns are considered to be “anti-personnel” weapons, and do not suffer a vehicles size modifier as a penalty to its attack rolls.
* Vehicle weapons with the “light” descriptor gain a +2 tracking bonus to their attack rolls, but are considered to be inaccurate weapons. Vehicle weapons with the “heavy” descriptor suffer a -2 tracking penalty to their attack rolls, but are considered to be accurate weapons.
* Vehicle Armor bonuses should be adjusted. All capital ships (Colossal frigate sized or larger) should have 10 points subtracted from their armor bonus to Reflex Defense, and 10 points added to their Damage Reduction. All other vehicles (Colossal sized or smaller) should have their existing Size Modifier added to their armor bonus to Reflex Defense, and subtracted from their DR.
Note: As the number you are adding or subtracting is a negative, this will lower a ships existing armor bonus to Reflex Defense, and raise a ships DR.
Special: If the above change to the Star Wars ship statistics being modified for use in the Land of Nod result in a ships "bonus to Reflex Defense" becoming a negative number, instead of using the above change simply remove the vehicles bonus to Reflex Defense completely (effectively giving it a +0 to Reflex Defense instead of a negative number), and increase the ships DR by a number equal to what its bonus to Reflex Defense used to be.
* A vehicle’s Armor bonus to Reflex Defense stacks with a character’s heroic bonus to Reflex Defense.
* Hangers now cost 5 EP, and concealed hangers cost 20 EP.
* Vehicles take up a number of unites worth of hanger space equal to their cost modifier.
* Vehicles can hold a number of unites worth of vehicles in their hanger equal to their cost modifier/10.
* When using the proximity spread firing pattern with weapon batteries, a weapon battery deals 2 dice less damage than normal (to a minimum of 1 die of damage).
* Capital ships may only attack a single target with ½ of the total number of attacks (rounded up) that they can make, per any single type of weapon group, per starship round. For example, a Terran Bastion may only attack a single target with 3 heavy rail howitzer batteries, 3 rail howitzer batteries, 2 light rail howitzer batteries, and 1 tractor beam battery, per starship round. The capital ship may use the remaining attacks to attack a different enemy.
* Pilots of capital ships may take the following standard action:

Broadside
Pilot Only

As a standard action you may attempt to move your capital starship into a position that places a single target into more of your capital ship’s firing arcs. Choose one target against which your starship has line of sight. Make an opposed Pilot check against that target. If you win the opposed Pilot check, your capital ship may fire all of its weapons against the target that you have broadsided.

* In order to reduce the total amount of time rolling to hit, and calculating damage, for large numbers of capital ship weapons, use the following rules: When a capital ship is attacking a single target with multiple weapon groups of the same type, make a single attack roll. If the attack roll is a critical hit, count it as a critical hit for a single weapon group as per the rules as written, and then make another attack roll for the remaining weapon groups. If the attack roll is a miss, the capital ship is considered to have missed with all of the weapon groups of the same type. If the roll is a hit, the capital ship is considered to have hit with all the weapon groups of the same type. A pilot that successfully uses the Vehicular Combat feat to negate an attack against their starship does not negate the attack of every weapon group. Instead, the pilot reduces the number of weapon groups considered to have been fired at their starship by 1 (though that weapon group is still considered to have used its attack action). If the roll is a hit, calculate the damage as if you had hit with a single weapon group. If the damage is higher than the target's Damage Threshold, move the target 2 steps down the condition track; if the damage dealt is ion damage, instead move the target 3 steps down the condition track (unless the target does not normally suffer the additional negative effects of ion damage). When actually dealing hit point damage to the target, after subtracting the SR from the damage rolled multiply the result by the number of weapon groups fired. If the result is greater than 0 points of damage, add a bonus to the total damage dealt equal to (the target's SR) multiplied by (the number of weapon groups fired -1), or the bonus damage dealt according to the table bellow based on the number of weapon groups fired, whichever is lower, and apply a penalty to damage equal to the number of weapon groups fired multiplied by the targets DR. Regardless of how much damage actually ends up being dealt to the target, if the damage from the single weapon group's damage rolled is higher than the target's SR, deal an amount of shield damage dealt to the SR according the table bellow, based on the number of weapon groups fired.

See table here: http://community.wizards.com/thelandofnod/wiki/Modifying_the_Starship_and_Vehicle_Saga_Rules_for_The_Land_of_Nod

* In the Land of Nod, capital Scale ships are capital. What this means is that capital scale ships are so large, in some sense each capital scale ship acts like a group of smaller ships rather than a single entity.

Frigate Traits
Make the following changes to the statistics block of all Colossal (frigate) sized vessels:

* Double the ships hit points.
* Double the ships payload.
* All frigates have an attrition number. Each time a ships hit points drop below its attrition number, the ship drops -1 persistent step on the condition track. The persistent condition cannot be removed from the ship until the ships total hit points are higher than its attrition number. To determine the ships attrition number, divide the ship's total hit point (after being doubled) by 2.
* Attacks by missiles or torpedoes, autofire attacks, and any area of effect attacks, deal +2 dice of damage.
* When adding this modification to the stat block of any Frigate, increase the Frigate's CL by +1.

Cruiser Traits
Make the following changes to the statistics block of all Colossal (cruiser) sized vessels:

* Multiply the ships hit points by 4.
* Multiply the ships payload by 4.
* All cruisers have a a set of 3 attrition numbers. Each time a ships hit points drop below one of the steps in the attrition list, the ship moves -1 persistent step down the condition track. The persistent condition cannot be removed until the ships total hit points are higher than its highest attrition number. To determined attrition numbers, divide the ship's total hit points by 4 (rounded down). Then, subtract that number from the total hit points 3 times, each time marking the result on the attrition line.
* Attacks by missiles or torpedoes, autofire attacks, and any area of effect attacks, deal +2 dice of damage.
* When adding this modification to the stat block of any Cruiser, increase the Cruiser's CL by +2.

Station Traits
Make the following changes to the statistics block of all Colossal (station) sized vessels:

* Multiply the ships hit points by 6.
* Multiply the ships payload by 6.
* All cruisers have a a set of 4 attrition numbers. Each time a ships hit points drop below one of the steps in the attrition list, the ship moves -1 persistent step down the condition track. The persistent condition cannot be removed until the ships total hit points are higher than its highest attrition number. To determined attrition numbers, divide the ship's total hit points by 5 (rounded down). Then, subtract that number from the total hit points 4 times, each time marking the result on the attrition line.
* Attacks by missiles or torpedoes, autofire attacks, and any area of effect attacks, deal +2 dice of damage.
* When adding this modification to the stat block of any Station, increase the Station's CL by +3.

Starfighter Swarms

* During capital to capital scale starship battles, colossal and smaller starships of the same size may group together to form a starship swarm. Starship swarms are an abstract mass combat unit used in capital to capital scale combats in order to represent a large group of smaller starships acting in concert. Starship swarms must be composed of the same type of starships. If a starship swarm is composed of starfighters, every 2-6 starfighters in the swarm must group together as a fighter group. The size of each individual fighter group is equal to the largest factor, between 2-6, of the total number of starfighters in the starship swarm. When a swarm is reduced to zero hit points, a swarm disbands. A swarm's commander can also order a swarm to disband at any time. When two adjacent swarms of the same starship type disband they can recombine into a single new swarm. The newly formed swarm has the statistics of the weaker swarm of the two disbanding swarms. The hit points of the two disbanding swarms are added together, and become the new swarm’s hit points (up to a maximum of the weaker disbanding swarm’s maximum hit points). At the gamemaster’s discretion, if the hit point total of the two disbanding swarms is far greater than the maximum hit points of the weaker disbanding swarm’s maximum hit points, the gamemaster may designate the new starship swarm as an advantaged swarm (see The Clone Wars Campaign Guide pg 98). However, this is solely at the gamemaster’s discretion, and might be affected by the circumstances surrounding the formation of the new swarm.

Creating a Starship Swarm
To create a swarm, make the following changes to the statistics block of a base starship to transform it into a swarm:
Challenge Level: Under construction.
Size and Type: All starship swarms are considered to be Colossal (frigate) in size.
Initiative and Senses: The swarm's size modifier to Initiative checks should be increased to -15. The swarm uses the Senses of the base vehicle.
Defenses: Replace the base vehicle’s size penalty to Reflex Defense with a -15 size penalty to Reflex Defense.
Hit Points: The swarm multiplies its hit points by a number equal to ½ the total number of starships in the swarm.
DR/SR: The swarm uses the DR and SR of the base vehicle.
Threshold: Replace the base vehicle’s size bonus to damage threshold, if any, with a +100 size bonus to damage threshold.
Attrition: All swarms have a set of 3 attrition numbers. Each time a swarm’s hit points drop below one of the steps in the attrition list, the swarm moves -1 persistent step down the condition track. The persistent condition cannot be removed from the swarm. To determine the attrition numbers, divide the swarms total hit points by 4 (rounded down). Then subtract that number from the total hit points 3 times, each time marking the result on the attrition line.
Speed: The swarm uses the base vehicle’s movement speed.
Ranged attacks: All ranged attacks made by the swarm are considered to be starship scale area of effect attacks that target a single starship scale square. If the swarm has weapon batteries or fighter groups, and chooses to use the proximity spread attack option, the swarm’s attack has a 1 square (starship scale) splash radius. The swarm is considered to have a total number of attacks equal to the number of attacks that the base vehicle can make multiplied by ½ the total number of starships in the swarm. If the swarm is composed of fighter groups, the swarm is instead considered to have a total number of attacks equal to the number of attacks that the base fighter group would have multiplied by ½ the total number of fighter groups in the swarm. The swarm can only attack a single target with ½ of its total number of attacks (rounded up), per any single type of weapon group, per starship round. The swarm may use its remaining attacks to attack a different target. The pilots of a swarm may perform the broadside standard action. Every 25 identical weapon group attacks made against a single target are resolved as a single capital to capital scale attack as described above. The swarm’s size penalty to attack rolls is increased to -15.
Fighting Space: All swarms have a fighting space of at least 1 square at starship scale. At the gamemaster’s discretion, a particularly large swarm might have a 2x2 starship scale fighting space (though it is still only considered to be colossal (frigate) in size).
Base Attack and Grapple: The swarm retains the base attack of the base vehicle. The swarm's size modifier to its grapple score should be increased to +25.
Ability Scores: The swarm retains the ability scores of the base vehicle.
Talents and Feats: Swarms have no talents or feats.
Skills: The swarm retains the skill modifies of the base vehicle, but has its size penalty to Initiative and Pilot checks increased to -15.
Special Features: Any time the swarm is attacked with an attack that is not a starship scale area of effect attack, and is not made with a point-defense weapon system, the swarm takes only ½ damage from the attack.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby Shawn Burke » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:59 pm

j0lt wrote:
Action Points shouldn't give you an extra action. That mechanic has only been used in 4e, and IMO isn't a very good one. d20M/Saga's Action Point mechanic provides more options for how to spend them.

Shawn Burke wrote:I don't like how Saga and Modern does the points by level. People seem to either forget or abuse them. I'd like to see some kind of point system that recharges by day and/or encounter.

I've been playing in a SWSE campaign for the past year, and am constantly using my Action Points. They've saved my character on more than one occasion! I'm not sure what you mean by abusing them, could you give an example?


Well I suppose it can work fine. It just seems that action points recharged by day would encourage more use. And I know that many people save them up for that really difficult encounter and then they disappear when they advance a level. What I meant by abuse was saving them all up to use on one one encounter (this is something I heard, not from experience).
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby Elvenshae » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:04 pm

Hey, folks - Elvenshae from the WotC boards here. Glad to see Cyber-Dave's got his SWSE house rules posted, because they're both massive and internally well-balanced (even if I don't agree with everything he's changed! :) ).

I'm currently running a D&D 3.75-ish campaign, so I'll post my house rules from that, along with a bit of discussion on why they're the way they are.

  • Point Buy: Characters are created with 32-points, using the standard point-buy costs.
    • Rationale: I've never found the between-character variation in stats, especially when two characters are attempting to fill the same or a similar role, to be excessively useful. "Sorry, John, you'll never be as good a sword-and-board fighter as Ellen because she rolled better than you 6 months ago," just seems silly. Accordingly, I favor character creation methodologies which put all players on an even footing as well as give the GM control over exactly how statistically powerful those characters are. I've also been around long enough to see all the various "random rolling" methods which people come up with (4d6-L, 5d6-2L, 3d6 reroll 1s, 3d6x12-pick-best, 4d6-L-in-order-switch-two, etc.) in order to "randomly" arrive at the set of stats the really wanted to begin with. I'd rather just skip the complicated rolling processes and get right to the heart of the matter. (My other stat-generating house rule, not in use in this game, is called "Pick Your Poison." You just pick the stats you want, 3-18, before racial mods, and tell me the equivalent in point buy; that equivalent - [some number*] is your Hubris score, which I use to determine "randomly" to whom bad stuff happens.
      * - Generally, the max point buy total you'd be comfortable using.
  • Tougher Characters: As was done in 4th Edition and for Star Wars Saga Edition, I’m making 1st-level characters tougher rather than starting at higher levels.
    • Non-Wimpy Wizards: Wizards use 1d6 for their hit dice.
    • Hit Points:
      • 1st Level: Hit Points at 1st level are calculated as 3 times the maximum roll, plus Constitution modifier instead of maximum roll plus Constitution modifier. For example, a Fighter (1d10) with a Constitution of 14 (+2) will start with (10*3+2=) 32 hit points.
      • Thereafter: You automatically gain the maximum hit points possible for your new class level whenever you level up, no rolling required.
    • Combat Capable: Any heroic class with a poor BAB progression (+1/2 per level; Wizard-type) instead uses the moderate BAB progression (+3/4 per level; Cleric-type).
    • Bonus Feats: Each character gains an additional bonus feat at 1st level and at each even level thereafter (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc.). This is in addition to the normal feat gained at 1st level and the human racial bonus feat (if applicable). The feat chosen can be any allowed feat for which the character meets the prerequisites.
    • Saving Throws and Armor Class: When calculating your saving throw modifier and your Armor Class, you may use the better of two ability bonuses.
      • Fortitude Save: Strength or Constitution
      • Reflex Save: Dexterity or Intelligence
      • Will Save: Wisdom or Charisma
      • Armor Class: Dexterity or Intelligence
    • Rationale: I have been playing RPGs for long enough that I no longer need to go through the "fun" (in a Dwarf Fortress sense) of having a character be immediately knocked out by any hit in combat. In many cases, this is done via starting at, say, 4th-level instead of 1st-level. That, to my mind, is bad design. The default starting level, and the level at which you should be able to have fun (in a non-Dwarf Fortress sense) should be 1st-level. This is especially true if you want your game played by new players, who will not have the years of experience telling them to skip the intro-killed-by-kobold-tossed-rock level, and skip right to the point at which they can meaningfully participate in the standard adventure scenarios they'll be expecting. Taking a cue from, well, every computer or console RPG in history (other than D&D sims), you should not limited to exactly one fight before you have to return to the inn and rest up.

      Concurrent to this, and something largely missing from my house rules because I'm dealing with a diehard 3.5 group (I added extra feats to kludge this in to some extent), 1st-level characters should be interesting to play out of the gate. You should have interesting mechanical and tactical and roleplaying decisions to make from 1st-level onward. This is really not the case in 3.X or SWSE (though SWSE does it a bit better), but is much more true in 4E with the power structure. 4E missteps, IMO, by not offering Utility powers immediately. 3.X did go a long way towards making Wizards interesting at low-levels (you no longer have the "1 Sleep and Done" problem), but Fighters (and their ilk) were left out of the loop until 4E. Any mature system, IMO, must do at least as well as 4E in fixing the 1st-level character issue.
  • Ability Improvements: Normally, you may improve one ability score by +1 every 4 levels (4th, 8th, etc.). Instead, you may improve two ability scores by +1; you may not improve a single ability by +2.
    • Rationale: This is something Saga Edition did absolutely right. The problem with 3.X's system was, succinctly, that while it might be interesting for the Fighter to raise his Intelligence stat, it was so much more mechanically important to raise your Strength score instead that the latter options were never even considered. You either went with 13 Int out of the gate (to access Combat Expertise, et al.) or you never did it at all. The extra flexibility afforded by letting you pump Str and throw points into Dex, Con, or Int means that Fighters grow more than just physically stronger. I haven't played with 4E enough to know whether or not the +1-to-everything-every-so-often system works better, but I suspect it might.
  • Action Points: [Basically, the Force Point system from Saga Edition stolen whole cloth, and mixed with the AP uses from Eberron.]
    • Rationale: Action Points - my group inevitably calls them Hero Points - allow you to, when it's really important, actually succeed on that key roll. That being said, I'm not happy with how they're working out. Players tend to not spend them at all until a "boss encounter," at which point they try to spend all of them (knowing they're likely about to go up a level and "lose" their stash). I think either a per-day or a per-session limit would encourage them to be spent more often. Also, giving players a stack of AP counters - tiny d6s, poker chips, glass beads, etc. - makes them harder to forget. I do not care for systems which encourage GMs to hand out bonus APs for "good roleplaying" or "showing up on time" or whatever. I think adding such a thing on as a house rule is fine if the group can support it, but it's also a great way to encourage (or, at least seem to encourage) GM bias for certain players and playstyles. I'd much rather the system itself remain more neutral in this regard.
  • Healing Surges: [Essentially, the SWSE Second Wind system with additional uses per day, with all characters having the same base amount (5) plus 1 per point of Con bonus, if any.]
    • Rationale: The Five Minute Adventuring Day sucks. The "You Must Have a Cleric or You Lose" rule sucks. Taken together, you get the 10 Minute Adventuring Day (Because Your Cleric Is Now Out of Healing Spells) which, you guessed it, sucks. It is, without doubt, the worst outgrowth of the 3.5 ruleset, exacerbated by high-level scry-and-die tactics. Characters need enough ablative plot armor such that they can engage in more than one meaningful combat / encounter per day. Having this either requires ridiculously inflated HP totals (c.f. console RPGs, though that might be stretching the definition of meaningful a bit ;) ), or it means being able to refill your HP pool several times a day. In order to keep the numbers manageable and make it possible to seriously threaten a character's HP pool in any given fight, you have to go with the second method (which I obviously prefer). And, to avoid the Cleric Dilemma, you have to be able to do it without requiring a specific class or archetype to always be present. The presence of that class or archetype should still provide benefits, but it should not be the sole determining factor in success or failure. In my campaign, the "primary healer" is the Druid - and he's cast exactly 1 Cure Light Wounds spell so far, and that was on his animal companion; we don't even have a Cleric. Everyone else is subsisting on their Healing Surges / Second Winds, and I couldn't be happier. I've also included a new feat, present on the Fighter bonus list, called Indomitable, which lets you take 2 Second Winds each encounter. No one has taken it yet, but the campaign is yet young.
  • Feats
    • Dodge: This feat grants a +1 Dodge bonus to Armor Class against all opponents.
    • Natural Spell: This feat does not exist.
    • Rationale: Is there anyone out there who actually uses Dodge as written? The requirement to keep track of which enemy, specifically, you're Dodging this round is a record-keeping pain in the butt, in addition to being easy to just completely forget about. Any time it is reprinted in its original form, a part inside of me dies. Seriously, designers, stop being stupid about this one. As for Natural Spell, no, Druid, you may not simultaneously be a kick-ass spellcaster and a crazy-powerful bear all day long. You may, at any one time, do one or the other, but not both.
  • Combat
    • Charge: Charge is a standard action tat allows you to move up to your speed and make a single melee attack.
    • Dual Wielding Clarification: TWF penalties only apply when you take advantage of the TWF rules to get extra attacks while taking the full attack action.
    • Rationale: Charge is stolen from SWSE (and 4E?), because it never made sense that you could do exactly what it now says while you were slowed, but not while you were fine - plus, it allows anyone, in a single round, to draw a melee weapon and charge. This is a good thing. For the second, 3.5 left in the confusing text about "when fighting this way ..." that led to endless arguments about the difference between holding and wielding and blah, blah, blah. Now they're all the same. Hooray! Sure, it means you can hold a +5 Defending Longsword in your off-hand and always benefit from it's bonus to AC, but since you could've done that anyway with a shield for much, much cheaper (if, admittedly, with a slightly less-useful bonus type), I don't see the problem.
  • Spellcasting
    • More Cantrips / Orisons: Spellcasters with access to 0-level spells gain a number of bonus 0-level spells per day equal to their primary spellcasting attribute bonus (if any) or their caster level, whichever is higher.
    • Rationale: Yes, I know I just buffed spellcasters in 3.5, and that was hardly a necessary thing to do. However, 0-level spells are, outside of a narrow, narrow band, combat-useless, and I wanted to encourage the additional search for out-of-combat, interesting spell usage. This also goes back to the "1st-Level Characters Should Be Interesting" argument, though admittedly only for spellcasters. I'd've added something in for more martially oriented classes, but I couldn't think of a way to slip it past the radar (see previous comments on 3.5 diehard group).

My non-published house rules (as in, not present in the house rule document I handed my players):

  • Characters may be completely rebuilt mechanically, as often as players like (so long as the character itself remains recognizable).
    • Rationale: We play for fun, in a group of mature, working adults who don't get to play as often as we'd like. Keeping around a feat or a class build or a skill point allocation that you thought would be fun 6 months ago, but isn't as cool as you thought it would be now, in order to enforce some sort of mechanical purity of character is bullshit. We are not writing Shakespeare here. We are rolling dice, killing orcs, saving princesses, investigating mysteries, and, most of all, attempting to have fun. Anything which detracts from fun in search of some higher, artistic goal is out of place in our game. In total, we've had one character switch around a couple feats, another some skill points, and a third rebuilt as a Ranger instead of a Scout - working as intended. :)
  • All characters are the same level, with the same "experience point total," and therefore go up a level at the same time - regardless of player participation.
    • Rationale: See the comments above about working adults. Not everybody can make every game, and we can't get together as often as we'd like. However, we're all friends, and the game of D&D is at least as much about hanging out with each other as it rolling the dice and proceeding through the adventure in my, the GM's, head. I am not going to tell one of my players, "I know you couldn't make last session because you had to work overtime at the hospital, but everyone else get enough XP to go up a level by beating [The Boss] - you'll catch up in a couple sessions." See previous comments about sacrificing artistic goals for enhancement of fun. Missing the session - the [dirty] jokes, the hanging out, the cheers when the gnomish bard's crossbow critical killed the slimey monstrosity right before it could rip apart several party members - is its own punishment.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby j0lt » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:35 pm

Felix Le Rouzes wrote:I know there have been quite a few posts since they were brought up, but I'd just like to chime in and say I dislike the "20 = automatic critical hit" method. Facing mooks who can only hit a character on a 20 suddenly becomes an all or nothing proposition. I was not a big supporter of the confirmation check, but at least it kept that in check. I liked the idea that there is double damage only if a roll of 20 was a hit with modifiers, but I'm not sure how practical that is.


I don't think a Natural 20 should be an automatic critical, but I think it should be an automatic hit. Even though it's an extra die roll, I really think the confirmation roll for a critical hit is an important mechanic. It not only prevents a single fluke from KOing the big boss or player, but it also serves to boost tension around the table. Every time I've seen someone roll a confirmation roll, they've always tried praying or making a wish, or doing something to eke out that extra bit of luck.

Shawn Burke wrote:
j0lt wrote:
I've been playing in a SWSE campaign for the past year, and am constantly using my Action Points. They've saved my character on more than one occasion! I'm not sure what you mean by abusing them, could you give an example?


Well I suppose it can work fine. It just seems that action points recharged by day would encourage more use. And I know that many people save them up for that really difficult encounter and then they disappear when they advance a level. What I meant by abuse was saving them all up to use on one one encounter (this is something I heard, not from experience).


Ahh, gotcha. In my experience, I tend to use an average of 1 or 2 Force Points per encounter (especially now that my character has the Force Point Recovery ability). For "boss" battles, I might use 1 or 2 more, but I don't think I've ever hoarded them to blow all on one fight. Still, it could happen.

GMSarli wrote:Like d20M and SWSE, I'd like Action Points to be able to modify die rolls. However, I'm not sure if I want to follow the "roll Xd6 and add the highest to your result" model -- I'm seriously considering making it where you instead get to reroll. That said, I could see making both options available -- if you rolled horribly, you could take a fresh reroll, but if you just barely missed, you could take the +1d6 bonus.

Spending an action point to get a reroll is a great idea. I'm going to have to steal that idea for my current SWSE game! :p

BTW, this brainstorming approach has vastly exceeded my expectations. If you guys are providing this kind of input and energy before we hit our fund-raising goal -- and before I can even set up patron-only forums! -- I can only imagine how much energy you'll be bringing when we're going over manuscript drafts.

Seriously, the whole "grass-roots game design" thing might be the BEST. IDEA. EVAR. :D


Are you kidding? This is what we do for fun! :lol:
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby majesticmoose » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:05 am

My house rules:

I've eliminated negative ability modifiers. $E did this too, but I really HATE being penalized for choosing a race. Plus, if standard class/race/attribute calculations assume a more powerful character, then having a -2 abilitiy mod is a serious disadvantage.

I favor simplicity in combat. I've changed opposed grapple rolls with a static grapple defense (SWRPG).

also for SWRPG, I changed all BAB to full progression, de-randomized hit points per level. (d6 is 5 hp, d8 is 6, d10 is 7, d12 is 8).
I adapted the abstract rules for starship combat from the OCR and found that they simplified the vehicle combat. especially with several people on a single ship.

range is divided up between
zero range, point blank, short medium, long, sensor
instead of moving you can increase or decrease distance with a contested pilot check.
the speed of the ship becomes a bonus to the opposing piloting check (I have expiramented with a static "piloting defense". results are mixed).
Regardless of range, you can attempt to flank a target with opposed piloting check (similar to dogfighting). Flanking grants normal benefits but doesn't require a flanking partner.
From a flanking position, you can initiate a pursuit. this essentially forces the pursued ship to take unfavorable circumstances on attacks against the pursuer.
Dogfights still occur at point blank or zero range just as in the SECR rules

This abstract system is adaptable to character scale combat as well.

Also SWRPG:
The requirements for the force adept were ridiculous compared to almost every other prestige class. I reduced them to 1 force talent, and may raise it to two.

I used the force points per day option from JATM, and adapted in a mechanic similar in use. I called them destiny invocations.--
Simply put, instead of the GM saying when your destiny bonus comes into play, 1/day you can invoke your own destiny bonus. This increases to 2/day at eleventh level. the unleashed feat allows you to invoke destiny one additional time per day. These invocations can also be used to power talents, feats, techniques, and secrets (such as unleashed abilities). The destiny invocations can not be redemed for force points, critical hits, etc. that is for DP's alone.

That's all I can think of... for now.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby GMSarli » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:17 am

AvisKarlux wrote:I'm curious, are the base abilities: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma a guaranteed thing?

I'm wondering how different things are allowed to be...


Things can be very different in a lot of respects, but a few core concepts are going to remain more or less intact -- this is one of them.

This is a good question, though, so I suppose I should probably list a few things that are not likely to change:
  • Abilities will still be Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma.
  • Classes and levels will be central to the system (i.e. it won't be a "classless" system like Mutants & Masterminds or GURPS where you buy abilities with a point budget).
  • Skills and feats will exist ... but I'm planning to draw clear lines between talents, feats, and skills, and I'm open to some substantial changes on how these mechanics work. Right now, I'm leaning toward the following divisions: Talents are active (e.g. casting a spell or performing some combat stunt), feats are passive (e.g. modifying or enabling a new use for another ability), and skills are universal actions that anyone can potentially do (i.e. all skills have at least one untrained use).
  • We will use hit points rather than vitality/wounds or a "wound level" system (e.g. wounded, incapacitated, mortally wounded, etc.) -- however, there will be a lot more depth to this mechanic than we're used to seeing:
    • Hit points: This is pretty much what we're used to seeing -- an abstract measure of how much ability you have to deal with potential punishment and keep fighting. So long as you have at least 1 hp remaining, you can act normally on your turn.
    • Reserve hit points: The default rules will give a hero reserve hit points equal to twice his maximum hit points. Once per encounter, you can recover up to 1/10th your total reserve as a standard action, transferring that amount from your reserve to your current hp -- this is sort of like the second wind in SWSE or 4E. Between encounters (after 1 full minute of rest), you can transfer any amount from your reserve to your current hp. With longer periods of rest, your reserves can be recovered: 10% of the total comes back after 1 hour of rest. (I might increase that to shorten the length of time you have to sleep every night, though!)
    • Reserve hit points represent your ability to bounce back quickly from damage. So long as you have at least 1 hp in reserve, injuries don't have long-term effects (though they might be bad enough to cause a short-term penalty). If you take damage in excess of your current hit points, any leftover is subtracted from your reserve. Most "combat healing" will be in a form similar to that seen in 4E, giving you some minor hp recovery and giving you the option to draw hit points from your reserve.
    • Maximum damage threshold: This draws the line between damage that doesn't cause any lasting effects and those that cause you actual penalties. If a single attack deals damage equal to or greater than your threshold, you take a -1 fatigue penalty (or -1 injury penalty if your reserves are depleted). These penalties apply to just about everything, and they stack; you can eventually end up being seriously hindered. Fatigue can be recovered during combat (most likely you'll have a chance to reduce it by 1 point at the end of your turn, and you might have an option to recover it actively as well). Injuries are more serious, and you reduce the penalty by 1 point after a full night's rest; if you need to be back on your game sooner, things like surgery or magical healing can come into play to speed up the process.
    • If you run out of hit points but have reserves remaining, you're disabled -- you can still take a single action each round, but that's it. If the attack that reduced you to 0 hp also beats your threshold, you're instead unconscious.
    • If you run out of hit points and reserves, you're dying and have to make rolls to try to stabilize and recover. (Failure does have the potential to kill you.) If the attack that reduced your hp and reserves to 0 also beat your threshold, you're dead -- it was just too much punishment for you to survive.
    • As you can imagine, this system is really easy to customize for different levels of heroism. Hit points and threshold stay the same, but you can change everything else. For more realism: Reduce reserves, make "second winds" more limited, make recovery rates per hour of rest lower, and allow fatigue/injuries to accumulate more easily (e.g. -2 penalty instead of -1, it's more difficult to recover them, they're triggered at lower damage levels relative to your threshold, etc.). For more heroism: Do the reverse of any or all of the above. (I could see truly superheroic games having a reserve equal to 10x your hit points with no limit to the number of times you can use a "second wind" action during combat, etc.)
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby JaredGaume » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:22 am

majesticmoose wrote:My house rules:

I've eliminated negative ability modifiers. $E did this too, but I really HATE being penalized for choosing a race. Plus, if standard class/race/attribute calculations assume a more powerful character, then having a -2 abilitiy mod is a serious disadvantage.

....


Agreed.

I think 4e started down the right path in the way it handled race bonuses and features. You also got to choose race feats and powers as a way to advance your race abilities if you wanted to.

That said, I think a default modern game should assume everyone is human. Save races for expansion modules (fantasy, sci-fi, superheroes, etc...).
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby Cyber-Dave » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:48 am

Oh yes... I don't have this written down in my Land of Nod rules, but I always use 32 point buy or standard stat array, and I always use fixed HP gain. I never have my PCs roll for HP or stats. I stopped doing that back in the days of 2e D&D. I think it is a terrible mechanic.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby majesticmoose » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:30 am

I woud like to rule in on the skills issue:

IMO, Skills in Saga never gave me trouble, and are a vast improvement over 3.0/3.5. I also like them better than in dot based games (whitewolf).

To me the real trouble came to be the interaction between the force powers hitting defenses and regular skill use. The basic building blocks of the skill system are fine, but the mismatch caused problems in concert with poorly scaled force powers. For instance a 1st level player with force powers, like lightning, had an instant i win button, but the mechanics character did not. but, these are isolated instances. Te skill vs def isn't really to blame, but the scaling of those powers by skill DC instead of level.

Some people have noted that skill focus grants an excessive bonus, and vs def I believe that's very true, but there are many options to solve this.

Personally, I LIKED that skills exceded def at early levels. it gave a senseof accomplishment against mooky enemies, and that is fun. It made th noble a great party addition until he could get talents under his belt to help make combat more versatile. It made the skill use meaningful. Perhaps i'm in the minority, but I'd like to see skill use in combat really take a jump.

One of my favorite OGL games was Iron heroes. It was a little game, built on the idea that non magical, martial characters could compete. it was much like pathfinder, but the thing I liked most was the concept of stunts, using skills in combat affecting the envirnment or just being cool to gain combat advantages. While the system was rough, and still had 3.x mentality, it was intriguing in that way, and rather than worry about the scale and rate of increase for skills, I'd like to see a much more specific framework for how skills are used in the game, especially in combat.

hopefully that made sense.
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Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

Postby JaredGaume » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:34 am

GMSarli wrote:
AvisKarlux wrote:I'm curious, are the base abilities: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma a guaranteed thing?

I'm wondering how different things are allowed to be...


Things can be very different in a lot of respects, but a few core concepts are going to remain more or less intact -- this is one of them.

This is a good question, though, so I suppose I should probably list a few things that are not likely to change:
  • Abilities will still be Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma.
  • Classes and levels will be central to the system (i.e. it won't be a "classless" system like Mutants & Masterminds or GURPS where you buy abilities with a point budget).
  • Skills and feats will exist ... but I'm planning to draw clear lines between talents, feats, and skills, and I'm open to some substantial changes on how these mechanics work. Right now, I'm leaning toward the following divisions: Talents are active (e.g. casting a spell or performing some combat stunt), feats are passive (e.g. modifying or enabling a new use for another ability), and skills are universal actions that anyone can potentially do (i.e. all skills have at least one untrained use).


Good, good, and good.

Abilities: Of all the game systems I have played, the base 6 have always worked best for me. Too many and your abilities start getting lost in the shuffle. Too few and you feel that you are missing something. Largely I think the usage will be the same, but we might want to look at some minor tweaks. I would like to see all abilities add something stat worthy, so when you are balancing your points you really feel you are gaining or losing something. I don't like it when some abilities become "dump stats" because they only really help your character in limited circumstances (Charisma, I'm looking at you).

Classes: I like playing Classed games, I feel they give a clear entry point and weight to your character.

Terms: I like having a baseline of how we are going to use terms (i.e. talents, feats, and skills). Unless anyone has a better idea, I can get behind these terms.

GMSarli wrote:
  • We will use hit points rather than vitality/wounds or a "wound level" system (e.g. wounded, incapacitated, mortally wounded, etc.) -- however, there will be a lot more depth to this mechanic than we're used to seeing:
    • Hit points: This is pretty much what we're used to seeing -- an abstract measure of how much ability you have to deal with potential punishment and keep fighting. So long as you have at least 1 hp remaining, you can act normally on your turn.


  • Excelent!

    GMSarli wrote:
  • Reserve hit points: The default rules will give a hero reserve hit points equal to twice his maximum hit points. Once per encounter, you can recover up to 1/10th your total reserve as a standard action, transferring that amount from your reserve to your current hp -- this is sort of like the second wind in SWSE or 4E. Between encounters (after 1 full minute of rest), you can transfer any amount from your reserve to your current hp. With longer periods of rest, your reserves can be recovered: 10% of the total comes back after 1 hour of rest. (I might increase that to shorten the length of time you have to sleep every night, though!)
    • Reserve hit points represent your ability to bounce back quickly from damage. So long as you have at least 1 hp in reserve, injuries don't have long-term effects (though they might be bad enough to cause a short-term penalty). If you take damage in excess of your current hit points, any leftover is subtracted from your reserve. Most "combat healing" will be in a form similar to that seen in 4E, giving you some minor hp recovery and giving you the option to draw hit points from your reserve.


  • The more I read and re-read this, the more its growing on me. Not something I had even remotely considered.

    Might want to play with the numbers some. From a base hit point model I described earlier:

    Assume you have 25 hit points at first level.
    + You would then have 50 total reserve points.
    - Once per encounter you would then be able to recover 5 hit points (20% recovery). This reduces your reserve to 45.
    - Between encounters your badly wounded character recovers say 15 hit points. This reduces your reserve to 30.
    + You rest for an hour and regain 5 reserve points. This increases your reserve to 35.
    * You do something, but it isn't combat so no hit points are dealt with.
    + You rest for three more hours and get 15 more reserve points. This tops your reserve back out to 50.
    * You move on...

    A couple things I would add might be some feat or talent that lets you draw more hit points from your reserves, or lets you recover more than once per encounter, but these are things you have to pick and aren't a given.

    GMSarli wrote:
    • Maximum damage threshold: This draws the line between damage that doesn't cause any lasting effects and those that cause you actual penalties. If a single attack deals damage equal to or greater than your threshold, you take a -1 fatigue penalty (or -1 injury penalty if your reserves are depleted). These penalties apply to just about everything, and they stack; you can eventually end up being seriously hindered. Fatigue can be recovered during combat (most likely you'll have a chance to reduce it by 1 point at the end of your turn, and you might have an option to recover it actively as well). Injuries are more serious, and you reduce the penalty by 1 point after a full night's rest; if you need to be back on your game sooner, things like surgery or magical healing can come into play to speed up the process.


    Awesome!

    The only thing I am wondering about is the source of the MDT.

    We may or may not use this, but I would make MDT equal Fortitude.
    * Wearing Armor improves your Fortitude, among other protective effects.
    * Most attacks Target Reflexes, and wearing heavy armor can lower (within reason) your Reflexes.
    + Therefore, wearing armor helps mitigate your rate of fatigue and injuries. But wearing heavy armor may make you easier to hit.
    + More robust characters are less likely to succumb to fatigue and injury.

    GMSarli wrote:
    • If you run out of hit points but have reserves remaining, you're disabled -- you can still take a single action each round, but that's it. If the attack that reduced you to 0 hp also beats your threshold, you're instead unconscious.


    Will we be following the Standard - Move - Swift action model? Or something more compressed?
    I advocate a Standard - Swift action model out of personal experience and observation.
    In most games I've played, on your turn you remember that you wanted to do something (standard or move action), do it, but then largely ignored anything else you might have been able to do since it didn't come to mind while you were deciding.

    Regardless, given my above observation, being at 0 hit points doesn't actually limit you that much even with the 3-action model.
    Maybe if you were limited in the scope of actions you might take, including only being able to take one action each round...

    GMSarli wrote:
    • If you run out of hit points and reserves, you're dying and have to make rolls to try to stabilize and recover. (Failure does have the potential to kill you.) If the attack that reduced your hp and reserves to 0 also beat your threshold, you're dead -- it was just too much punishment for you to survive.


    Nice, I like.

    GMSarli wrote:
    • As you can imagine, this system is really easy to customize for different levels of heroism. Hit points and threshold stay the same, but you can change everything else. For more realism: Reduce reserves, make "second winds" more limited, make recovery rates per hour of rest lower, and allow fatigue/injuries to accumulate more easily (e.g. -2 penalty instead of -1, it's more difficult to recover them, they're triggered at lower damage levels relative to your threshold, etc.). For more heroism: Do the reverse of any or all of the above. (I could see truly superheroic games having a reserve equal to 10x your hit points with no limit to the number of times you can use a "second wind" action during combat, etc.)


    Dont mind me, just trying this on for size....

    Realistic:
    Reserves = hit point total. (With lower ability scores this could be slightly lower as well)
    Recovery = you may recover 1/10th your reserves once per encounter. When you rest, recover 1/20th your reserves per hour.
    MDT = 10 + armor bonus. (you get fatigued/injured easier, but wearing armor helps)
    Fatigue/Injuries = -2 penalty every time you take fatigue or an injury. You recover only 1 fatigue or injury penalty point after a full night's rest. (a much longer recovery period).

    Heroic:
    Reserves = 2x hit point total.
    Recovery = you may recover 1/10th your reserves once per encounter as a standard action (you might be able to spend 1 action point to recover otherwise, a standard AP usage). When you rest, recover 1/10th your reserves per hour.
    MDT = Fortitude + armor bonus.
    Fatigue/Injuries = -1 penalty every time you take fatigue or an injury. You recover 1 fatigue or injury penalty point after a full night's rest.

    Superheroic:
    Reserves = 10x hit point total.
    Recovery = you may recover 1/10th your reserves an unlimited number of times during encounter as a standard action. When you rest, recover 1/10th your reserves per hour.
    MDT = 2x Fortitude + armor bonus.
    Fatigue/Injuries = -1 penalty every time you take fatigue or an injury. You recover 2 fatigue or injury penalty points after a full night's rest.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby JaredGaume » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:44 am

    majesticmoose wrote:I woud like to rule in on the skills issue:
    ...


    Gary had said that he wanted a skill based combat system.
    I think that would also mean that skills in general would have the same scaling versus challenges, and defenses.
    The trick is finding the right balance...
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby JaredGaume » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:46 am

    Cyber-Dave wrote:Oh yes... I don't have this written down in my Land of Nod rules, but I always use 32 point buy or standard stat array, and I always use fixed HP gain. I never have my PCs roll for HP or stats. I stopped doing that back in the days of 2e D&D. I think it is a terrible mechanic.


    [grumbles] Role playing game, not roll playing game... [/grumbles]

    Agreed, no more rolled hit points per level.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby j0lt » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:00 am

    GMSarli wrote:We will use hit points rather than vitality/wounds or a "wound level" system (e.g. wounded, incapacitated, mortally wounded, etc.) -- however, there will be a lot more depth to this mechanic than we're used to seeing


    Wow, that's an interesting mechanic! It appears to achieve what I was aiming for with my modification of the VP/Wounds system. It'll be interesting to playtest it!

    JaredGaume wrote:
    majesticmoose wrote:My house rules:

    I've eliminated negative ability modifiers. $E did this too, but I really HATE being penalized for choosing a race. Plus, if standard class/race/attribute calculations assume a more powerful character, then having a -2 abilitiy mod is a serious disadvantage.

    ....


    Agreed.

    I think 4e started down the right path in the way it handled race bonuses and features. You also got to choose race feats and powers as a way to advance your race abilities if you wanted to.

    That said, I think a default modern game should assume everyone is human. Save races for expansion modules (fantasy, sci-fi, superheroes, etc...).


    I also think it's a good idea, but I think it needs some work. In 4e, they more or less designed each race to be directly synergistic with two or three classes to the point where if you're playing a race/class combo that isn't one of those, your character won't be quite as good. While races should be stronger in some archetypes than others, it's easy to take it too far.

    Here's another major decision point that's going to have to be made: Saves + AC vs Defense Scores.
    I like the simplicity of Defense Scores, but they don't lend themselves well to things such as equipment, etc... I know 4e did a hybrid Defense Scores + AC system, and that's another thing worth exploring, but the way Saga does it sometimes doesn't really work.

    JaredGaume wrote:We may or may not use this, but I would make MDT equal Fortitude.
    * Wearing Armor improves your Fortitude, among other protective effects.
    * Most attacks Target Reflexes, and wearing heavy armor can lower (within reason) your Reflexes.
    + Therefore, wearing armor helps mitigate your rate of fatigue and injuries. But wearing heavy armor may make you easier to hit.
    + More robust characters are less likely to succumb to fatigue and injury.


    Wearing heavy armor may make you easier to hit? While I can see how it works within the Defense Score system, it makes zero kinds of sense logically. Personally, I'm a big fan of using armor as DR, combined with class based AC bonus (mainly dodging). However that system, like VP/Wounds may not be the best way to do things. I'm still going to work on both of them and see if I can't come up with a workable solution.

    JaredGaume wrote:
    Cyber-Dave wrote:Oh yes... I don't have this written down in my Land of Nod rules, but I always use 32 point buy or standard stat array, and I always use fixed HP gain. I never have my PCs roll for HP or stats. I stopped doing that back in the days of 2e D&D. I think it is a terrible mechanic.


    [grumbles] Role playing game, not roll playing game... [/grumbles]

    Agreed, no more rolled hit points per level.


    [devil's advocate]I actually like that mechanic, though I can see why it can be problematic. As mentioned earlier, there are ways around it, such as 1/2 HD minimums, etc...[/devil's advocate]
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby JaredGaume » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:46 am

    j0lt wrote:...
    I also think it's a good idea, but I think it needs some work. In 4e, they more or less designed each race to be directly synergistic with two or three classes to the point where if you're playing a race/class combo that isn't one of those, your character won't be quite as good. While races should be stronger in some archetypes than others, it's easy to take it too far.


    Well, that is a D&D design flaw going all the way back to first edition when demihumans (elf, dwarf, halfling) were their own classes. For sake of argument I'll post some alternate ideas later.

    j0lt wrote:Here's another major decision point that's going to have to be made: Saves + AC vs Defense Scores.
    I like the simplicity of Defense Scores, but they don't lend themselves well to things such as equipment, etc... I know 4e did a hybrid Defense Scores + AC system, and that's another thing worth exploring, but the way Saga does it sometimes doesn't really work.


    Yes, it would be good to bottom out on how defenses and saves work. I had been assuming a SWSE based model with some tweaks (see previous posts).

    j0lt wrote:
    JaredGaume wrote:We may or may not use this, but I would make MDT equal Fortitude.
    * Wearing Armor improves your Fortitude, among other protective effects.
    * Most attacks Target Reflexes, and wearing heavy armor can lower (within reason) your Reflexes.
    + Therefore, wearing armor helps mitigate your rate of fatigue and injuries. But wearing heavy armor may make you easier to hit.
    + More robust characters are less likely to succumb to fatigue and injury.


    Wearing heavy armor may make you easier to hit? While I can see how it works within the Defense Score system, it makes zero kinds of sense logically. Personally, I'm a big fan of using armor as DR, combined with class based AC bonus (mainly dodging). However that system, like VP/Wounds may not be the best way to do things. I'm still going to work on both of them and see if I can't come up with a workable solution.


    I am also a fan of using armor as DR. I also felt it was a good fit to have armor mitigate the rate in which your character might be injured overall.

    The reason I was going with "heavy armor makes you easier to hit" was based on two reasons:
    1. Real life complaints by police and soldiers on finding the balance between mobility and protection. Lighter armor lets you move faster and use cover easier, but you aren't as well protected. Heavier armor gives you more protection, but it is heavy, bulky, and difficult to maneuver in. Complaints that really good protective armor largely forces you to stand out in the open where you can get shot at easier.
    2. In game terms sometimes you need to weigh your options, what is a better fit. A character that is likely going to get hit more any way is probably going to want something to mitigate the damage, he should get an advantage for wearing heavy armor. A character that relies on his speed and pluck is hedging that he is going to not get hit in the first place and is going to shy away from anything that might hinder him.

    I think finding an elegant armor system to use is a good discussion.

    j0lt wrote:
    JaredGaume wrote:
    Cyber-Dave wrote:Oh yes... I don't have this written down in my Land of Nod rules, but I always use 32 point buy or standard stat array, and I always use fixed HP gain. I never have my PCs roll for HP or stats. I stopped doing that back in the days of 2e D&D. I think it is a terrible mechanic.


    [grumbles] Role playing game, not roll playing game... [/grumbles]

    Agreed, no more rolled hit points per level.


    [devil's advocate]I actually like that mechanic, though I can see why it can be problematic. As mentioned earlier, there are ways around it, such as 1/2 HD minimums, etc...[/devil's advocate]


    See, its an irritating mechanic that ends up using all kinds of work-arounds and house rules any way. It rewards players who are, on average, good at rolling dice. And punishes players who are, also on average, poor at rolling dice. Statistically you should end up with 1/2 your HD + Con bonus per level.

    Using the Constitution Score as a character's base hit points + some bonus hit points, makes your character more survivable at first level. With a fixed hit point progression, you character then slowly gets better as he gains levels. (see previous posts on hit points)

    From a core game mechanic I think it just cleans/clears things up.

    Ultimately there are going to be design decisions. They may not suit everybody, but so long as they meet the basic design principles (4e I am glaring at you), I am good with what makes the game work best.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby GMSarli » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:07 am

    Just to weigh in on hit points per level, I'd also prefer a flat hp gain per level instead of rolling hit dice. I wouldn't mind including an optional rule in a sidebar that gives guidance on how to roll for hit points, though -- it's an old-school favorite (even if I don't like it), and I don't mind throwing its fans a bone. :)
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby j0lt » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:06 am

    JaredGaume wrote:Well, that is a D&D design flaw going all the way back to first edition when demihumans (elf, dwarf, halfling) were their own classes. For sake of argument I'll post some alternate ideas later.

    Ahh, racial classes. Of course, now that the idea of non-class talent trees is around, we can add in racial talents for fantasy games, etc...

    JaredGaume wrote:
    j0lt wrote:Personally, I'm a big fan of using armor as DR, combined with class based AC bonus (mainly dodging). However that system, like VP/Wounds may not be the best way to do things. I'm still going to work on both of them and see if I can't come up with a workable solution.


    I am also a fan of using armor as DR. I also felt it was a good fit to have armor mitigate the rate in which your character might be injured overall.

    I think finding an elegant armor system to use is a good discussion.

    Definitely! It has to be simple, but it also has to work with the other mechanics, not in spite of them.

    GMSarli wrote:Just to weigh in on hit points per level, I'd also prefer a flat hp gain per level instead of rolling hit dice. I wouldn't mind including an optional rule in a sidebar that gives guidance on how to roll for hit points, though -- it's an old-school favorite (even if I don't like it), and I don't mind throwing its fans a bone. :)

    I have a feeling this book is going to be full of sidebars, and IMO that's a good thing!
    Aside from VP/Wounds, of all the HP mechanics I've used I like Saga's the best. The Reserve HP system is definitely interesting though.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby Cyber-Dave » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:32 am

    As my Saga house rules should indicate, I also like armor as Damage Reduction.

    I am also a big fan of the Saga skill system, though Saga made the mistake of not scaling attack bonus and skills against defenses evenly, but having both rolls be made against defenses. Which is why I played with the math behind defenses and attack bonuses, essentially transforming weapon groups into skills, starting all defenses off at 15 instead of 10, only granting characters 1/2 their heroic level as a bonus to their defenses, and then created a set of feats to further increase defense (much like someone can increase their attack/skill bonus with Skill Focus and my house rule allegorical equivalent, Weapon Mastery).

    So yea. In other words, I love the idea of not only modeling skill training off the Saga system, but transforming weapon groups into skills...
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby JaredGaume » Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:24 am

    While I think that the core game should focus on an unappologetic modern setting, I did come up with some broad strokes for modern expanded "modules". The idea is that the game is at its roots modern, but you can insert one or more modules to get the game you want. Gary had alluded to this as one of the e20 core rule book components. Each of these modules is designed to add genre flavor to an otherwise modern campaign. Assuming e20 did modestly well, each module could, in theory, spawn its own full book to really get into it. I am not statting anything here, just giving some base descriptions.

    The Default Campaign
    The game is set in the near future, only a few months or years from today. It is a mundane world that lacks any true supernatural threats. There are no wizards, or shadow dimensions, aliens, perversions of science, or other types of supernatural and unrealistic elements in this world. Conspiracies and hoaxes do exist, and these perpetuate myths and legends of all sorts, but it doesn’t mean they’re true. What does exist in the world are crime, terrorism, espionage, wars, and more. Without having to resort to the supernatural there is more than sufficient danger in the modern world.

    There is only one race, the Human race. In the world there are many cultures, religions, nationalities, and peoples; but they are all just humans. The game considers there is no real difference between men and women, ethnicity, religion, culture, and so on. Within any person there is an equal chance for the best and the worst that humanity has to offer.

    The forefront game rules describe the default campaign.

    Races:
    Human - just plain normal humans, us. Humans have some special features available to them in the expanded campaign modules, look for unique human feats and talents.

    Features: The bulk of the book.


    The Future is Now (Expanded Campaign Model)
    Still the near future but set twenty to thirty years into the future. The world is still recognizably modern, but much more advanced. Third world countries have a level of development equal to most current industrialized nations. And the leading nations in the world have the benefit of the most advanced technology available. Global politics is centered on large multi-state regional powers and a byzantine but often ineffectual United Nations. Large multi-national corporations wield vast fortunes and are able to act as states unto themselves.

    In the future a new race of human rises to prominence. Reaping the benefits of eugenics starting in the late 1800s and modern science of the early 21st century leads to a race of humans benefiting from granted natural advantages. While still human, these Eugens are noted for being stronger, faster, smarter, and more resilient from the rest of humanity. Using their natural advantages this race has risen to prominence as leaders in almost every part of the world.

    Add this campaign model if you want a higher level of tech, or to incorporate experimental technologies into the default campaign.

    Races:
    Humans - gain access to future benefit and development feats.
    Eugens - human subrace, race talents and feats that give them a "natural advantage".

    Tech: Introduction to Progress Levels. Describes PL 6 tech, equipment, and its availability. This campaign model is a PL 5 society beginning to transition into PL 6.


    Superheroes (Expanded Campaign Model)
    Set in the modern world people with extraordinary powers rise to the heights of heroism or the depths of villainy. In this setting a few humans have developed super powers. Some feel the call to bring justice to the world, others to fulfill their desires, and yet others who seek to hide their powers and lead normal lives. Organizations both overt and shadow seek to acquire and use these superhumans to their own ends for good or ill.

    The Superhuman race is technically human but also so much more. Science can find no real difference between superhumans and normal humans. But it seems that in the superhuman the desires of the mind manifest in physical and tangible ways. When and how these super powers manifest is entirely random and dependent on the individual.

    Add this campaign model if you want extraordinary powers to bring into play.

    Races:
    Humans - gain access to superhuman activation feats and limited powers.
    Superhumans - human subrace, race talents and feats that give them super powers.

    Classes:
    Avenger - A superhero vigilante, ruthless in achieving his notion of justice and power.
    Champion - An "official" superhero, works with or for the government to regulate "Supers".
    Superhero - prestige class, the ultimate superhero.

    Powers: Feats and Talents that a superhero may take to make greater use of his powers.


    Shadow Lands (Expanded Campaign Model)
    The world we see is only a fraction of reality. There are hidden realms, worlds, and entire states of existence both around and separate from us. In the modern world a hidden organization called The Circle guards the gates to these shadow lands. This circle of priests, magicians, and heroes has stood since the dawn of time, and has methodically turned back the darkness of the world until it was whole. This the shape of our modern world. Ancient creatures still inhabit secret places. Gates are knowingly or inadvertently opened. And magic still flows through our world. These shadow lands continue to make their presence known.

    Elves, Half-Elves, Dwarves, Shifters, the Undying, and Dragonblooded filter through the world. Close enough to pass as human, these magical beings both benefit and curse humanity. Those that live in the world strive to open and maintain gates to their own realms. Knowledgeable humans act as intermediaries between the modern world, the realms, and their emissaries.

    Add this campaign model if you want magic and mythical monsters as part of the game.

    Races:
    Human - gain access to enabling magical feats.
    Elves - magical beings from another existance trapped in our world. Also known as "Wild Elves" as many live in wilderness areas to avoid humans.
    Half-Elves - the progeny of humans and elves, they gain the the power to choose their path, human or elf.
    Dwarves - elemental creatures of the earth, they pass as short humans and may be referred to as dwarves, gnomes, or halflings depending on where they live.
    Shifters - both animal and man at the same time, shifters live with one foot in reality and the other in shadow.
    Undying - forsaken souls that have barred themselves from the afterlife, they must feed on the living to sustain their slowly decaying bodies.
    Dragonblooded - humans that are descendants of dragons, they have the power to awaken their blood and one day become dragons themselves.

    Classes:
    Acolyte - the devoted servant of a powerful supernatural being or spiritual force, usually a god. Specialties are: Monk, Priest, Shaman, Witch.
    Magician - the core modern magical class, able to use magic in a number of ways. Specialties are devoted magical disciplines. Specialties include: Alchemist, Sorceror, Warlock, and Wizard.
    Archmage - the ultimate magician.
    Demi-god - the ultimate acolyte.

    Magic: Magic is the power to shape reality itself. Describes the 7 layers of reality. This campaign model concerns itself with our world and the interaction with the Shadow Layer, the layer and path that reaches into all of reality.
    Describes magical feats, talents, rituals, incantations, and spells. Also lists magical items.

    Monsters: Rogue magicians and the magical races periodically open gates to other realms and realities. Out of these gates they draw the inhabitants of these places, monsters who come to inhabit our world. Describes a compendium of common magical monsters that enter our world, and how they fit or don't fit in.

    Note: By comparison of what it could be, this module is kept fairly brief.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby j0lt » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:07 am

    JaredGaume wrote:While I think that the core game should focus on an unappologetic modern setting, I did come up with some broad strokes for modern expanded "modules". The idea is that the game is at its roots modern, but you can insert one or more modules to get the game you want. Gary had alluded to this as one of the e20 core rule book components. Each of these modules is designed to add genre flavor to an otherwise modern campaign. Assuming e20 did modestly well, each module could, in theory, spawn its own full book to really get into it.


    Definitely something to think about! One thing I didn't like was how incomplete the idea of Progress Levels was in d20 Modern. It was a good idea, it just didn't feel fully developed. For this project, I think it would be better to focus more on iconic settings as opposed to levels of technology. Taking a cue from books, television, movies and video games, you've got the defaults:
    • Modern Action (The A-Team, James Bond/Jason Bourne, Die Hard)
    • Modern Horror (Supernatural, Biohazard/Resident Evil, A Nightmare on Elm Street)
    • Spaghetti Western (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars, The Quick and the Dead)
    • Heroic Fantasy (Willow, Lord of the Rings, The Legend of Zelda)
    • Renaissance (Pirates of the Caribbean, Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers)
    • Space Opera (Star Wars, Macross/Robotech, The Ice Pirates)
    • Cyberpunk (Neuromancer, Running Man, Tron)
    • Comic Style Mutant/Super Hero (TMNT, X-Men, Justice League)
    • Post Apocalypse (Waterworld/The Postman, Terminator, Mad Max)
    • Pulp Action (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, The Rocketeer, Indiana Jones)
    And the list goes on, not to mention combinations of the various subgenres (Spaghetti Western Horror, anyone?). Each of those genres could easily fill its own sourcebook with new Advanced/Prestige Classes, unique feats and talent trees, etc...
    One thing I'd like to suggest, at least for things that are real, such as firearms, vehicles and the like, is that a date of when they became available is included either in the table, or in the description, that way we don't need to worry about setting up a clunky mechanic such as Progress Levels.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby DTemplar5 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:54 am

    GMSarli wrote:If a single attack deals damage equal to or greater than your threshold, you take a -1 fatigue penalty (or -1 injury penalty if your reserves are depleted). These penalties apply to just about everything, and they stack; you can eventually end up being seriously hindered. Fatigue can be recovered during combat (most likely you'll have a chance to reduce it by 1 point at the end of your turn, and you might have an option to recover it actively as well). Injuries are more serious, and you reduce the penalty by 1 point after a full night's rest; if you need to be back on your game sooner, things like surgery or magical healing can come into play to speed up the process.


    The issue here is that some players could opt to try and forestall these penalties by not utilizing all of their reserves to stay alive. Sure, you could go down quicker, but when you're back up, you're at least in one piece. Perhaps you need to look at how to deal with that potential abuse.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby Cyber-Dave » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:12 am

    j0lt... Running Man and Tron are not cyberpunk... :P
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby j0lt » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:07 am

    Cyber-Dave wrote:j0lt... Running Man and Tron are not cyberpunk... :P


    lol, I know, but they could fit into such a setting, and I couldn't think of anything else aside from Shadowrun.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby GMSarli » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:09 pm

    DTemplar5 wrote:
    GMSarli wrote:If a single attack deals damage equal to or greater than your threshold, you take a -1 fatigue penalty (or -1 injury penalty if your reserves are depleted). These penalties apply to just about everything, and they stack; you can eventually end up being seriously hindered. Fatigue can be recovered during combat (most likely you'll have a chance to reduce it by 1 point at the end of your turn, and you might have an option to recover it actively as well). Injuries are more serious, and you reduce the penalty by 1 point after a full night's rest; if you need to be back on your game sooner, things like surgery or magical healing can come into play to speed up the process.


    The issue here is that some players could opt to try and forestall these penalties by not utilizing all of their reserves to stay alive. Sure, you could go down quicker, but when you're back up, you're at least in one piece. Perhaps you need to look at how to deal with that potential abuse.


    That is a concern, but I think the fact that any leftover damage is automatically subtracted from reserves should prevent this from being too easy to abuse. (I didn't make this clear, but the severity of the injury is determined by how many hp and reserves you have left after subtracting damage, not before.) If you intentionally leave some hp in reserve, you'll still hit 0 hp & 0 reserves after the same total amount of punishment. True, you might be avoiding the "injured" penalties, but you're doing so at the expense of running out of hp sooner (and therefore being limited to a single action).

    Another defense against this sort of abuse would be making the act of tapping reserves a bit less flexible: If you can tap only in 10% increments (or tap all remaining, if there's less than 10% left), it's harder to leave some token hit points in reserve to avoid long-term injury. The same idea can be applied to healing, too: Make it where hp recovered must be used to return your hp to maximum before you can start refilling your reserves. (Individual talents and such might allow you to deviate from these limitations, but I think that's okay.)

    Ultimately, though, this is a great example of a mechanic that seems to work on paper, but it needs to be playtested aggressively to make sure it works in practice. Fortunately, I seem to have a legion of power gamers available. :)
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby JaredGaume » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:30 pm

    Armor and Defenses
    Our general discussion about hit points, damage, and everything else seems a little vague without having an idea about how they "click into place". I am assuming a SWSE take on defenses rather than a d20M.

    These are some of my observations...

    Model 1 (4e) - Armor Class and Defenses

    Armor Class (AC) - Your ability to avoid getting hit by attacks either by dexterous action or the protection of armor.
    Physical melee and ranged attacks target your AC, if they fail you take no damage, if hit you take normal damage.
    = 10 + Dex or Int Bonus + 1/2 level + Armor bonus + other bonuses

    Fortitude Defense - Your ability to stave off physical effects like being controlled by a grapple, or your susceptability to poison, etc...
    "Unavoidable" impacts, this is you pushing back or "ignoring the pain."
    = 10 + Str or Con bonus + 1/2 level + other bonuses

    Reflex Defense - Your ability to avoid effects or being hit.
    Last ditch avoidance, the target of "touch" attacks that just want to see if they connect and don't care if they penetrate.
    = 10 + Dex or Int bonus + 1/2 level + other bonuses

    Will Defense - Your mental toughness, sanity, and well willpower.
    Target of psychological and many "magic" attacks, this is a measure of what is going on in your head at any given time.
    = 10 + Wis or Cha bonus + 1/2 level + other bonuses

    This defense model doesn't use saving throws in the traditional sense. Instead, attacks target their most "logical" target. As a player you are going to have better defenses than others. This creates openings that opponents may exploit. If you are a tough armored opponent, they may go after your poor Reflex or Will defense.
    Saving throws are "roll d20, if you get 10 or more you save". Some abilties can improve this situationally, but largely it is a 55% save rate.

    In practice this model ends up favoring AC as an "all or nothing" attack mechanic. AC gets the advantage of adding armor, something where your other defenses don't get a similar boost. By amping up your AC, all your other defenses quickly start to become exploitable weaknesses. You quickly learn to avoid attacking AC, as you have a higher chance of success attacking ANY other defense no matter how good.

    Notice that the mechanic for AC and RD is the same, except AC gets armor and RD does not. Mathmatically that makes RD the poor cousin of AC. You could argue that because of the mechanical similarity, you could even remove AC alltogether and just run with RD in its place.



    Model 2 (SWSE) - Three Defenses

    Fortitude Defense - (same as above)
    = 10 + heroic level + Constitution bonus + class bonus + equipment bonus

    Reflex Defense - (same as above) RD becomes your AC by default.
    = 10 + heroic level or armor bonus + Dexterity bonus + class bonus + natural armor bonus + size modifier

    Will Defense - (same as above)
    = 10 + heroic level + Wisdom bonus + class bonus

    4e shamelessly borrowed SWSE three defenses and adjusted them, letting you use the better of two ability bonuses to adjust your defense. Wearing armor improves both your RD, and to a smaller extent, your FD. Improvement to RD comes at the cost that Dexterity gives less of a bonus given the heavier armor you wear, you are relying on the armor. You add the better of your heroic level or armor bonus to RD. At higher levels (10+) armor isn't improving RD, you are just getting a FD bonus, and a restriction on your Dex bonus.

    This model has some good ideas in it, but seems to be arbatrary concerning where you are getting bonuses from. FD and RD get equipment bonuses, but WD does not. RD gets more potential sources of bonuses than FD, and WD gets few sources of improvement. You end up favoring RD, but if you can pull it off, by attacking FD or especially WD you can dramatically improve your rate of success (another reason to only play Jedi).



    Model 3 - Armor as hardness

    Armor (hardness) - You get this from wearing armor. Reduce damage from any single source by this amount before you take damage.
    You are relying on your armor to protect you from harm.
    = Armor hardness + other bonuses

    Fortitude Defense - (same as above)
    = 10 + 1/2 Level + Con bonus + other bonuses

    Reflex Defense - (same as above)
    = 10 + 1/2 Level + Dex bonus + other bonuses

    Will Defense - (same as above)
    = 10 + 1/2 Level + Wis bonus + other bonuses

    In this set up you are more likely to get hit overall as armor isn't improving your chances of avoiding hits, just reduces the damage when you do get hit. Defenses use the same mechanic, your choice is where you put your ability scores, and where you get "other" bonuses from. Wearing armor doesn't necissarily penalize you (i.e. Dex bonus restrictions).

    The downside of this model is that a dexterous character who is proficient in heavy armor gets hit less, and when hit, takes less damage. Anyone else that doesn't take max Dexterity is just increasing the rate they get hit, and mitigating damage with armor doesn't change the fact you are getting hit more frequently. It punishes you for say, being a brute fighter, as opposed to a nimble one. It makes Dexterity the most important stat.

    You could improve your defenses like in 4e by choosing the better of two abilities. But given the previous criticism, now it just validates Dexterity and Intelligence as the most important abilities.

    I can think of some Armor feats and skills that might let you mitigate the defense disparities listed above. But that also means that if you aren't taking a high Dexterity, you are pretty much forcing players to take armor feats and skills to offset their weaknesses. A dexterous character can spend that character budget in other places, continuing to make him the more useful design choice.


    Model 4 - Armor as Hardness take 2

    Armor - Wearing armor gives you a number of benefits, not just hardness (see below).

    Hardness - (same as above), however, the bonus is a little less.
    = Armor hardness + other bonuses

    Fortitude Defense - (same as above)
    = 10 + 1/2 Level + Armor Fort or Str or Con bonus + other bonuses

    Reflex Defense - (same as above)
    = 10 + 1/2 Level + Armor Ref or Dex or Int bonus + other bonuses

    Will Defense - (same as above)
    = 10 + 1/2 Level + Wis or Cha bonus + other bonuses

    In this model wearing armor gives you hardness and compensates for a weak physical defense (FD/RD). When you wear armor you are depending on it to protect you rather than relying on your own abilities as much. You get an obvious benefit to FD in that the armor helps mitigate damage, but with RD it isn't that your reflexes are improving, only that "glancing" blows are no longer hurting you. WD continues to be the "dump" defense as it doesn't get any kind of boost for wearing armor. Hardness is reducing the overall damage that you are taking making you much less likely to take injuries.

    You only marginally improve the rate at which attacks miss you, and since the armor bonus to FD and RD isn't additive with your ability bonuses, your are basically wearing armor to compensate for where you are weak.

    Since WD still remains weak by comparison, the offset is to either boost your character' Wisdom or Charisma modifier. But even then, you probably aren't going to get the same high end protection rating as FD and RD when wearing armor. This would favor WD getting something, like a reduced rate at which attacks that target WD cause damage. WD attacks tend to focus on psychological effects, placing conditions, or in some way "controlling" the character.


    Pick one
    At this point I am favoring Model 4 with a twist. I would like to change Will Defense to Awareness Defense, among other consolodations. You otherwise get the same benefit as WD, but roll in passive perception and passive insight (more below).

    Armor - Wearing armor gives you a number of benefits, not just hardness (see below).

    Hardness - Armor (hardness) - You get this from wearing armor. Reduce damage from any single source by this amount before you take damage.
    You are relying on your armor to protect you from harm.
    = Armor hardness + other bonuses

    Fortitude Defense - Your ability to stave off physical effects like being controlled by a grapple, or your susceptability to poison, etc...
    "Unavoidable" impacts, this is you pushing back or "ignoring the pain." Your Fortitude Defense is also your Massive Damage Threshold.
    = 10 + 1/2 Level + Armor Fort or Str or Con bonus + other bonuses

    Reflex Defense - Your ability to avoid effects or being hit. Reflex Defense is the target of most physical attacks.
    Last ditch avoidance, initiative, and reaction time. Armor may improve this because you may be able to better focus your efforts now that you have a better expectation of survival.
    = 10 + 1/2 Level + Armor Ref or Dex or Int bonus + other bonuses

    Awareness Defense - Your mental toughness, sanity, perception, insight, and willpower.
    Target of psychological and many "magic" attacks, this is a measure of what is going on in your head at any given time.
    = 10 + 1/2 Level + Wis or Cha bonus + other bonuses

    My thinking in consolodating certain features into defenses was to reduce the amount of "extra" entries to keep track of. For instance, with an Awareness Defense, attempts at subterfuge (hiding, pick pockets, fast-talking, etc...) now target a defense. This allows, at least in the case of Awareness, to be used for more than just combat. And in combat is one of the ways you are defending yourself.
    A roguish character could have a "Sneak Attack" talent, that targets Awareness instead of Reflex or Fortitude defense. Your ability to detect ambushes is a contest between the ambusher's success at preparation and your awareness. And so on.
    An Awareness skill would help you improve your awareness.

    I like Fortitude Defense as MDT because it seems to logically fit since it is your ability to stave off physical effects, including injuries.

    Reflex Defense as base Initiative may be controversial, I admit, but I am also no fan of "rolling for initiative". Reflex defense as initiative has the charm of basically describing your average rate of initiative success. In any given encounter you plug your Reflex defense score into the initiative order. You may do things like spend action points, take feats, or other benefits that improve your initiative.
    In practice, because of the averaging of rolls over time, most characters end up in roughly the same initiative position for the majority of encounters. I think having a talent that lets you spend an Action Point to improve your initiative is one good way around this and fits the feel of using an Action Point to "change the game" for you in a significant way. In this case, you spend the AP at the start of an encounter and it places you at the top of the initiative order. Anyone else does this, and you go in order of AP use and then Reflex defense score.
    Ties are broken by a simple Dexterity check contest roll or some other easy mechanic.

    Lastly, fast Dexterity characters may favor lighter armor as heavier armor reduces base speed. Wearing armor without the proper skill and proficiency causes you to take a skill check penalty (SWSE did this as -2 for light, -5 for medium, and -10 for heavy). I would add a non-proficiency encumberance penalty, if you aren't trained wearing heavy armor slows you down more (no penalty for light, additional -1 (5-feet) speed penalty for medium and heavy armor). Otherwise, the armor is still protecting you, it doesn't lose its inherent hardness or level of protection just because you are a newb with it. Taking an armor skill may grant you additional benefits to your defenses.


    Some example Modern Armor:

    Undercover Shirt (light) : +1 Hard, +2 Fort, +3 Ref
    Concealable Vest (light) : +2 Hard, +3 Fort, +4 Ref
    Light-Duty Vest (medium) : +3 Hard, +5 Fort, +6 Ref, -1 (5-feet) base speed
    Tactical Vest (medium) : +4 Hard, +6 Fort, +7 Ref, -1 (5-feet) base speed
    Tactical Armor (Heavy) : +5 Hard, +8 Fort, +8 Ref, -1 (5-feet) base speed
    Bomb Disposal Armor (Heavy) : +6 Hard, +10 Fort, +10 Ref, -2 (10-feet) base speed

    Riot Shield (light shield) : +2 Hard, +4 Fort, +4 Ref, use the better armor or shield bonus.
    Ballistic Shield (heavy shield) : +4 Hard, +8 Fort, +8 Ref, use the better armor or shield bonus, -1 (5-feet) base speed when wearing light armor.
    Tactical Helmet (helmet, light) : +1 hard, +2 Fort, +2 Ref, add helmet bonuses to armor.

    Using an "average" set of level 1 defenses, i.e. +2 modifiers, and the following damage dice...

    Damage Dice:
    * assume an average +2 ability modifier to attack and damage.
    * not accounting for abilities that can increase attack and damage rates, just doing "base level".
    * you only trip MDT when damage exceeds Fortitude.
    1d4 - average 4, max 6
    1d6 - average 5, max 8
    1d8 - average 6, max 10
    1d10 - average 7, max 12
    1d12 - average 8, max 14
    2d4 - average 7, max 10
    2d6 - average 9, max 14
    2d8 - average 11, max 18
    2d10 - average 13, max 22
    2d12 - average 15, max 26

    No Armor = 0 Hard, 12 Fort, 12 Ref, 12 Aware - base 50% hit, base 1d12 and 2d6 and higher threaten MDT, no damage mitigation.
    1d12 damage = average 8, max 14

    Undercover Shirt = 1 hard, 12 Fort, 13 Ref, 12 Aware - base 45% hit, base 1d12 and 2d6 and higher threaten MDT, 1 point damage mitigation.
    1d12 damage = average 7, max 13
    2d6 damage = average 8, max 13

    Concealable Vest = 2 hard, 13 Fort, 14 Ref, 12 Aware - base 40% hit, base 2d8 and higher threaten MDT, 2 point damage mitigation.
    1d12 damage = average 6, max 12
    2d8 damage = average 9, max 16

    Light-Duty Vest = 3 hard, 15 Fort, 16 Ref, 12 Aware - base 30% hit, base 2d10 and higher threaten MDT, 3 points damage mitigation.
    1d12 damage = average 5, max 11
    2d10 damage = average 10, max 19

    Tactical Vest = 4 hard, 16 Fort, 17 Ref, 12 Aware - base 25% hit, base 2d10 and higher threaten MDT, 4 points damage mititgation.
    1d12 damage = average 4, max 10
    2d10 damage = average 9, max 18

    Tactical Armor = 5 hard, 18 Fort, 18 Ref, 12 Aware - base 20% hit, base 2d12 and higher threaten MDT, 5 points damage mitigation.
    1d12 damage = average 3, max 9
    2d12 damage = average 10, max 21

    Bomb Disposal Armor = 6 hard, 20 Fort, 20 Ref, 12 Aware - base 10% hit, no base attacks threaten MDT, 6 points damage mitigation.
    1d12 damage = average 2, max 8
    2d12 damage = average 9, max 20

    Best Riot Shield Combo = Concealable Vest + Riot Shield + Helmet
    3 hard, 16 Fort, 16 Ref, 12 Aware - base 30% hit, base 2d10 and higher threaten MDT, 3 points damage mitigation.
    1d12 damage = average 5, max 11
    2d10 damage = average 10, max 19

    Best Ballistic Shield Combo = Tactical Vest + Ballistic Shield + Helmet
    5 hard, 20 Fort, 20 Ref, 12 Aware - base 10% hit, base 2d12 and higher threaten MDT, 5 points damage mitigation.
    1d12 damage = average 3, max 9
    2d10 damage = average 8, max 17
    2d12 damage = average 10, max 21

    Best Armor Combo = Bomb Disposal Armor + Helmet
    7 hard, 22 Fort, 22 Ref, 12 Aware - base 5% hit (only on natural 20, Crit hit), no base attacks threaten MDT even on crit, 7 points damage mitigation
    1d12 damage = average 1, max 7
    2d10 damage = average 6, max 15
    2d12 damage = average 8, max 19

    Control protection level by relative cost versus player money to buy. In theory getting the best level of protection won't let the character buy very many other "good things", if that purchase is even possible.
    With high enough protection, yes you have to Crit just to hit. But if Crits only deal max damage as opposed to double damage you will need additional ways to reach MDT, as the base attack values won't get there on their own.

    Players have to weigh a high rate of protection (bomb disposal armor), with a handicap to speed.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby JaredGaume » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:47 pm

    j0lt wrote:
    JaredGaume wrote:While I think that the core game should focus on an unappologetic modern setting, I did come up with some broad strokes for modern expanded "modules". The idea is that the game is at its roots modern, but you can insert one or more modules to get the game you want. Gary had alluded to this as one of the e20 core rule book components. Each of these modules is designed to add genre flavor to an otherwise modern campaign. Assuming e20 did modestly well, each module could, in theory, spawn its own full book to really get into it.


    Definitely something to think about! One thing I didn't like was how incomplete the idea of Progress Levels was in d20 Modern. It was a good idea, it just didn't feel fully developed. For this project, I think it would be better to focus more on iconic settings as opposed to levels of technology. Taking a cue from books, television, movies and video games, you've got the defaults:
    • Modern Action (The A-Team, James Bond/Jason Bourne, Die Hard)
    • Modern Horror (Supernatural, Biohazard/Resident Evil, A Nightmare on Elm Street)
    • Spaghetti Western (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars, The Quick and the Dead)
    • Heroic Fantasy (Willow, Lord of the Rings, The Legend of Zelda)
    • Renaissance (Pirates of the Caribbean, Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers)
    • Space Opera (Star Wars, Macross/Robotech, The Ice Pirates)
    • Cyberpunk (Neuromancer, Running Man, Tron)
    • Comic Style Mutant/Super Hero (TMNT, X-Men, Justice League)
    • Post Apocalypse (Waterworld/The Postman, Terminator, Mad Max)
    • Pulp Action (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, The Rocketeer, Indiana Jones)
    And the list goes on, not to mention combinations of the various subgenres (Spaghetti Western Horror, anyone?). Each of those genres could easily fill its own sourcebook with new Advanced/Prestige Classes, unique feats and talent trees, etc...
    One thing I'd like to suggest, at least for things that are real, such as firearms, vehicles and the like, is that a date of when they became available is included either in the table, or in the description, that way we don't need to worry about setting up a clunky mechanic such as Progress Levels.




    A B S O L U T E Y ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !


    Though for book budget, we may have to settle for none or a small handful (2-4) of brief "genre" modules.
    Each module blends with the core rules, and allows you to seemlessly integrate multiple modules to taste.

    What would be your, say, top 3 genre picks?

    Me:
    1. Comic Style Mutant/Super Hero
    2. Modern Horror
    3. Cyberpunk

    Honorble Mention: Hard science fiction space setting.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby GMSarli » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:13 pm

    JaredGaume wrote:What would be your, say, top 3 genre picks?

    Me:
    1. Comic Style Mutant/Super Hero
    2. Modern Horror
    3. Cyberpunk

    Honorble Mention: Hard science fiction space setting.


    Me:
    1. Space opera ... all those years of working on Star Wars has had an effect on me. :)
    2. High fantasy ... prior to that, all those years of playing D&D had an equally big effect on me.
    3. Superheroes ... because some of my favorite early gaming memories revolved around the Marvel Super Heroes RPG.


    If there's any way to squeeze it in, I'd really like all three of those to get a chapter in the e20 Core Rulebook. (Horror would probably be next on the list, but there's obviously a lot of competition here: post-apocalyptic, espionage, cyberpunk, hard sci-fi, western, pirates, ninjas, pirates vs. ninjas, etc.)
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby Cyber-Dave » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:53 pm

    1) Cyberpunk
    2) Space-Opera
    3) Post-Apocalyptic
    4) Modern Horror

    What can I say. I'm a sci-fi geek. I will tell you one thing I really don't think this system should concern itself with, though (and this is just my personal opinion): high fantasy. The d20 Fantasy crowd has 4e and Pathfinder. Between those two, I really don't think a new game system needs to concern itself with that genre. Modern fantasy? Absolutely yes. Mages on wall-street sounds great. But between 4e and Pathfinder I just don't think d20 needs a new high fantasy game. But, that is just my 2 cents.
    Last edited by Cyber-Dave on Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby Cyber-Dave » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:58 pm

    j0lt wrote:
    Cyber-Dave wrote:j0lt... Running Man and Tron are not cyberpunk... :P


    lol, I know, but they could fit into such a setting, and I couldn't think of anything else aside from Shadowrun.


    ...any other book written by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, or Pat Cadigan. Ghost in the Shell. Ghost in the Shell 2. Johny Mnemonic (but god that film was terrible). Transmetropolitan. Those are cyberpunk. Running Man is a Schwarzenegger movie. Tron is... well... Tron. ;)
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby DTemplar5 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:14 pm

    Blade Runner is an example of cyberpunk (possibly considered the grandfather of Cyberpunk itself), but anyways....

    Film Noir is a missing genre; though most would probably lump it with 'modern' action (Depending on your definition of Film Noir, but at the least, the noir/crime drama routine would be very good, films like The Godfather, Touch of Evil, etc).

    My favorate tends to vary with what I'm playing now, what I'm planning to do, and what I'm in the mood for.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby Cyber-Dave » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:57 pm

    Ah yes. Bladerunner. The movie that William Gibson walked out of the theaters during, because he was afraid that the imagery would influence him a little too much...
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby Ferro » Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:18 pm

    Hi to all, and excuse my english.

    First a question to mr GMSarli. Which are the possibilities of e20 in other languages, like spanish?

    Now that the childrens are old enough and the parents have more (sorry some it's better) spare time, I was thinking in a steampunk campaign with "high politics" like in "The game of thrones" novels.
    I have played Rolemaster "to much realistic", D&D "to much fantastic" to Paranoia "to much errrrm", and some other games.
    I am for the "One game mechanics to rule them all" way of DMing, and think that D20 + bonus (all kind of them) - malus (all kind of them) versus difficulty or D20+bonus-mauls of opponent can solve every aspect of the game. So I am very interested in something like e20.

    After that, some thoughts on rules.
    Action Point: Daily or "full rest" point for me are the best, because I consider AP, more like FOCUS POINTS. The PC shows the best of him. I prefer a few generic use for AP than more especific ones. Something in the line of re-roll with +5, if that bonus is the difficulty step.

    Un/Trained/Expert: Is the base of difficulties UNtrained or trained?

    I have tried this rule. Every PC begins with all skills UNtrained, but choose a race pack (if apropiated); two background packs, cultural (tuaregs and inuits, have very skills) and personal (your fathers are farmers or nobels); and a profession pack.

    Are rules for madness in mind?????

    I really like the idea of skills that use the stats for diferent acctions.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby GMSarli » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:39 pm

    Ferro wrote:Which are the possibilities of e20 in other languages, like spanish?


    I wouldn't be able to myself, but if a skilled translator wanted to make a version for another language they could do so under the terms of the Open Game License. ("Product identity" content normally wouldn't be included, but I'd be happy to give permission if someone wanted to straight translation of the whole book!)

    Ferro wrote:Now that the childrens are old enough and the parents have more (sorry some it's better) spare time, I was thinking in a steampunk campaign with "high politics" like in "The game of thrones" novels.


    Steampunk! I forgot to put that in my list. :)

    Ferro wrote:Action Point: Daily or "full rest" point for me are the best, because I consider AP, more like FOCUS POINTS. The PC shows the best of him. I prefer a few generic use for AP than more especific ones. Something in the line of re-roll with +5, if that bonus is the difficulty step.


    The "re-roll with a bonus" idea is another I've considered, too. I do like the specific uses, though, so long as they're (1) not replacing the reroll and/or bonus usage and (2) they're largely modular so that GMs can add or subtract uses to fit their tastes.

    Ferro wrote:Un/Trained/Expert: Is the base of difficulties UNtrained or trained?


    The baseline would be "trained" because I'd expect most characters in most situations to be trained (if not more) with their primary attack. That said, I want trained and untrained to be close enough that you're not completely helpless if you're untrained (e.g. using an improvised weapon during a jailbreak).

    Ferro wrote:I have tried this rule. Every PC begins with all skills UNtrained, but choose a race pack (if apropiated); two background packs, cultural (tuaregs and inuits, have very skills) and personal (your fathers are farmers or nobels); and a profession pack.


    I've seen that idea used before, too. Honestly, my mind isn't made up on how to handle skills -- class skills or no class skills, automatic skills by profession or background (or maybe class), automatic skills as a part of racial traits, etc. This is one of the areas that has a lot of variations, so it's going to take some time for us to figure out which approach works best across genres.

    Ferro wrote:I really like the idea of skills that use the stats for diferent acctions.


    Me too -- I definitely want skills to be used for more types of actions (both in and out of combat), and part of that requires rethinking how skills function (e.g. being willing to decouple skills from attributes, etc.).

    Ferro wrote:Are rules for madness in mind?????


    Yes! If we do indeed have a horror chapter (and I certainly hope we would), rules for madness, sanity, horror, etc. are almost required to fit the feel of the genre. Personally, I can't imagine doing a Cthulhu game without sanity rules of some sort! :twisted:
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby ronin » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:14 pm

    JaredGaume wrote:
    majesticmoose wrote:I woud like to rule in on the skills issue:
    ...


    Gary had said that he wanted a skill based combat system.
    I think that would also mean that skills in general would have the same scaling versus challenges, and defenses.
    The trick is finding the right balance...


    How does a skill based combat system work exactly? I played the old CoC once at Gen Con and I remember having a percentile score in the weapon I used. If I rolled under that number on a d100 roll I hit my target IIRC. I assume the skills would work similar in that you would roll a skill check (or attack roll really) using your skill in the weapon against the appropriate defense of the defender.

    All of this sounds good so far (if in fact I have it right). The thing I am wondering is this- does everyone have the same opportunity to have an equal level of skill in a weapon? If this is the case what makes a combat oriented character (strong hero) better in combat than a non combat oriented character (smart hero)? Is it the amount of weapons they can use or is a combat guy better than a non combat guy?

    I like what I see earlier in the thread about reserve hit points. I am not sure if getting 1/10 of your reserve is a good number or of it should be more but the concept is pretty cool.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby JaredGaume » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:30 am

    ronin wrote:How does a skill based combat system work exactly? I played the old CoC once at Gen Con and I remember having a percentile score in the weapon I used. If I rolled under that number on a d100 roll I hit my target IIRC. I assume the skills would work similar in that you would roll a skill check (or attack roll really) using your skill in the weapon against the appropriate defense of the defender.

    All of this sounds good so far (if in fact I have it right). The thing I am wondering is this- does everyone have the same opportunity to have an equal level of skill in a weapon? If this is the case what makes a combat oriented character (strong hero) better in combat than a non combat oriented character (smart hero)? Is it the amount of weapons they can use or is a combat guy better than a non combat guy?

    On Attacks and Skills
    In every RPG to date there is a big difference between the Attack Bonus you can get versus the larger skill modifier you can get with X skill.
    I am citing your level 1 bonuses from 4e since they tried to address this, for example a melee attack bonus:

    Melee Attack = Strength bonus + 1/2 level + Weapon Proficiency bonus + Power bonus + other bonuses

    Example, a Level 1 Fighter with 20 Strength using a light weapon.
    +5 (Str) + 0 level + 3 Proficiency + 2 (using a power) + 1 (weapon talent) +1 (weapon focus) = +12 attack bonus

    Skill bonus with any trained skill = Ability bonus + 1/2 level + Race modifier + other modifiers

    Example, pretty much anybody other than human at level 1 with a race skill...
    +5 (ability) + 0 level + 2 race + 5 training +3 skill focus = +15 attack bonus (+12 if you dropped race)

    Afterwards scaling was mostly + 1/2 level. This front loads your character. Skill use and attacks are kept mostly seperate in combat since you could still "blow the curve" with skill use. But at this point 4e gets the closest to keeping attack and skill bonuses fairly close.
    In other sets (d20M and SWSE) you could get a much more divergent split between attack bonuses and skill bonuses at level 1. If, like in SWSE, you could use a skill like Use the Force to make attacks, you would absolutely get a higher chance of success versus a direct attack.

    I favor a skill system that doesn't front load too heavy, I think most of your bonus at 1st level should come from your ability bonus, and a few points here and there for other things. At later levels you can "get ahead" of the baseline curve (1/2 level) by taking increasing improvements to individual skills.

    For example:

    You might have a Personal Firearms skill. This skill teaches you about the handling, use, maintenance, and care of long-arms, handguns, and shotguns.
    Training: you get a +1 bonus when using this skill to make attacks, or use this skill (see above).
    Attack = Dexterity bonus + Training bonus + 1/2 level + other bonuses
    Maintain or Repair firearm = Intelligence bonus + Training bonses + 1/2 level + other bonuses

    You might take the following feats:
    Weapon Focus: +1 attack bonus with a selected weapon you are proficient with (skill training)
    Skill Expertise: +2 bonus (you may have to be say level 5+ as a prerequisite)
    Skill Mastery: +3 bonus (you may have to be say level 15+ as a prerequisite)
    Class talent/feat: +1 or more bonus for some reason or circumstance (no more than +1 at level 1, up to +3 later)

    So a level 1 best trained attack profile with a firearm (example above) might look like this:
    (I am assuming that you can start with a 20 Dex score, and you can get a +1 score bonus at levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20)
    +8 bonus = Level 1 = +5 Dex bonus + 0 Level bonus + 1 training bonus + 1 Focus bonus + 1 class bonus (untrained = +5, training = 3 better)
    +13 bonus = Level 5 = +5 Dex bonus + 2 Level bonus + 1 training bonus + 1 Focus bonus + 2 class bonus + 2 Expertise bonus (untrained +7, training = 6 better)
    +18 bonus = Level 10 = +6 Dex bonus + 5 Level bonus + 1 training bonus + 1 Focus bonus + 3 class bonus + 2 Expertise bonus (untrained +11, training = 7 better)
    +23 bonus = Level 15 = +6 Dex bonus + 7 Level bonus + 1 training bonus + 1 Focus bonus + 3 class bonus + 2 Expertise bonus + 3 Mastery bonus (untrained +13, training = 10 better)
    +27 bonus = Level 20 = +7 Dex bonus + 10 Level bonus + 1 training bonus + 1 Focus bonus + 3 class bonus + 2 Expertise bonus + 3 Mastery bonus (untrained +17, training = 10 better)

    In addition you use your Intelligence bonus to make firearm repair checks instead of Dexterity. If your Intelligence was say 10, then your repair check at level 1 would be +1 since you don't get your attack bonuses. By level 20 this would be +16, again since you don't get your attack bonuses. There might be other feats that you could take to boost your repair checks, for instance if you had say a Mechanics skill, you might be able to use that instead of your Firearms repair check.

    Where you see the attack bonuses above (Focus and Class attack), you should have some skill only feats/talents that can get you those same bonuses, but only when you use the skill like to repair rather than attack.

    If all skills, not just combat skills, scale this way then you have a consistent system.

    Armor training skills could get interesting depending on how they work

    For example, an Armor skill that grants you a +27 bonus to Ref defense with a +8 armor bonus would give them a +35 defense, or 45 defense score (10 + 35).
    With someone maxing out their attack skill they are going to hit 15% of the time. (roll 18-20 hits, 15%)
    However, an untrained attacker is at best only going to hit 5% of the time, and only on crits. (can only hit on a roll of 20, 5%)

    Conversely, someone who doesn't train in armor is at best going to get a +17 bonus to Ref defense and doesn't wear armor is going to be a 27 defense score (10 + 17).
    With someone maxing out their attack skill they are going to hit 95% of the time. (roll 2-20 hits, roll a natural 1 misses, 95%)
    However, an untrained attacker is at best going to hit 55% of the time. (roll 10-20 hits, 55%)


    ronin wrote:I like what I see earlier in the thread about reserve hit points. I am not sure if getting 1/10 of your reserve is a good number or of it should be more but the concept is pretty cool.

    I think that 1/10 your reserve is a baseline. You could have talents or feats that could let you take more than this. A couple of examples:
    * A tough character that can take 1/10 reserve + Con bonus on recovery. Say you have a 5 point recovery rate and a +5 Con bonus, you could recover 10 points (of 25, that's 40% recovery).
    * A healer triggers a character to take 1/10 their reserve + the healer's Wis bonus on recovery. On heal again you have 5 point recovery + the healer's 5 Wis bonus, you could recover 10 points (of 25, again 40% recovery).


    As a side note, I think a superheroic character should get 5x hit points for recovery, since at 10x his 1/10 recovery rate is 100% and doesn't give room for recovery features. A potential strong point for tough characters. At 5x a 1/10 base recovery rate is a 50%.
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    Re: 1st topic: Share your houserules!

    Postby j0lt » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:28 am

    JaredGaume wrote:Armor and Defenses
    Our general discussion about hit points, damage, and everything else seems a little vague without having an idea about how they "click into place". I am assuming a SWSE take on defenses rather than a d20M.

    A fifth model could be similar to a combination of 1 & 4:

    Model 5 - Armor as Hardness and Defenses

    Armor Class (AC) - Your ability to avoid getting hit by attacks by the protection of armor.
    Physical melee and ranged attacks target your AC, if they fail you take no damage, if hit you take normal damage.
    = 15 + Dex or Int Bonus + 1/2 level + Armor bonus + other bonuses

    Fortitude Defense - Your ability to stave off physical effects like poison, etc...
    "Unavoidable" impacts, this is you pushing back or "ignoring the pain."
    = 15 + Con bonus + 1/2 level + other bonuses

    Reflex Defense - Your ability to avoid effects or being hit.
    Last ditch avoidance, the target of "touch" attacks that just want to see if they connect and don't care if they penetrate.
    = 15 + Dex1 bonus + 1/2 level + other bonuses

    Will Defense - Your mental toughness, sanity, and well willpower.
    Target of psychological and many "magic" attacks, this is a measure of what is going on in your head at any given time.
    = 15 + Wis bonus + 1/2 level + other bonuses

    Note, that I changed it to base 15, due to the expectation that it should scale evenly with a trained skill (assuming we're basing this off Saga numbers). Physical attacks target either AC or Reflex Defense (whichever is higher), basically your character's armor taking the hit, or the character dodging the attack. This should keep balance between agile characters and tank types. Fortitude and Will are not affected by armor, except in certain cases for Fort (such as wearing a gas mask).

    This defense model doesn't use saving throws in the traditional sense. Instead, attacks target their most "logical" target. As a player you are going to have better defenses than others. This creates openings that opponents may exploit. If you are a tough armored opponent, they may go after your poor Reflex or Will defense.
    Saving throws are "roll d20, if you get 10 or more you save". Some abilties can improve this situationally, but largely it is a 55% save rate.


    This is another 4e mechanic that I don't like at all. I feel there should be some progression to saving throws, for example: d20 + Ref/Con/Wis modifier + class bonus + 1/2 level

    Of course, this makes it almost identical to the 3 defense scores, which means we're running two sets of numbers that do more or less the same thing. I'm starting to think we should go back to d20 Modern style Defense & Saves, but updated to suit the particulars of e20.

    JaredGaume wrote:... we may have to settle for none or a small handful (2-4) of brief "genre" modules.
    Each module blends with the core rules, and allows you to seemlessly integrate multiple modules to taste.

    What would be your, say, top 3 genre picks?


    Personally, I think default (Modern Action) plus 3 modules is probably best.
    I'd have to go with:
    • Modern Horror (comparative to d20 Modern's Shadow Chasers - hands down my favourite d20M setting)
    • Space Opera (along the lines of Firefly or Macross/Robotech)
    • Heroic Fantasy (more like Willow than LotR, less absurd power-level than D&D for sure)

    GMSarli wrote:
    Ferro wrote:I have tried this rule. Every PC begins with all skills UNtrained, but choose a race pack (if apropiated); two background packs, cultural (tuaregs and inuits, have very skills) and personal (your fathers are farmers or nobels); and a profession pack.


    I've seen that idea used before, too. Honestly, my mind isn't made up on how to handle skills -- class skills or no class skills, automatic skills by profession or background (or maybe class), automatic skills as a part of racial traits, etc. This is one of the areas that has a lot of variations, so it's going to take some time for us to figure out which approach works best across genres.


    It's an interesting idea, somewhat similar to d20 Modern's Starting Occupations. I had another idea based on a less limited version of class skills:
    Each class has their own list of class skills, but it doesn't limit what skills can be trained or not. Instead, class skills only limit what skills you can become Focused in. Alternately, each skill has a separate (feat/talent/whatever), and those are listed in each class, thus limiting focus, rather than training.

    Ferro wrote:I really like the idea of skills that use the stats for different actions.


    Me too -- I definitely want skills to be used for more types of actions (both in and out of combat), and part of that requires rethinking how skills function (e.g. being willing to decouple skills from attributes, etc.).

    I definitely agree! When's the last time you saw a bodybuilder who could climb, or a highly charismatic dancer stare down a mugger?

    Ferro wrote:Are rules for madness in mind?????


    Yes! If we do indeed have a horror chapter (and I certainly hope we would), rules for madness, sanity, horror, etc. are almost required to fit the feel of the genre. Personally, I can't imagine doing a Cthulhu game without sanity rules of some sort! :twisted:

    Groovy...

    ronin wrote:How does a skill based combat system work exactly? I played the old CoC once at Gen Con and I remember having a percentile score in the weapon I used. If I rolled under that number on a d100 roll I hit my target IIRC. I assume the skills would work similar in that you would roll a skill check (or attack roll really) using your skill in the weapon against the appropriate defense of the defender.

    Yeah, that's pretty much it. Basically, we're talking about merging weapon use into the same mechanic that governs skills. The way you'd use a Force Power in SWSE is basically how it'd work.

    All of this sounds good so far (if in fact I have it right). The thing I am wondering is this- does everyone have the same opportunity to have an equal level of skill in a weapon? If this is the case what makes a combat oriented character (strong hero) better in combat than a non combat oriented character (smart hero)? Is it the amount of weapons they can use or is a combat guy better than a non combat guy?

    A very good question. I think that will come down to talents. As far as basic attacking goes, there shouldn't be a whole lot of difference if they're both focused/specialized/whatever.
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