e20 Core Classes

Discussion of e20 System classes: their roles, class features, and talent trees.

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e20 Core Classes

Postby JaredGaume » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:39 am

Gary indicated he was starting with the 6 d20M basic classes as inspiration for the e20 classes. Unless there are any better ideas that would mean Strong, Tough, Fast, Smart, Dedicated, and Charismatic as the system's core classes.

Coming at it from an entirely different angle, I found those classes a little "undefined". What I mean is, from an entry point to the game I wasn't choosing archetypes to play, I was choosing which ability score was most important to me.

At one point I did an exercise where I looked at the d20M basic and advanced classes and wondered what a more archetype oriented set of classes would look like. These classes are for a Modern core game, additional genre modules may add new classes, or provide additional options for the core ones, or both. In reading these classes keep an open mind, I was going for general archetypes rather than "pigeonhole" 4e style "roles".
The results of that exercise are as follows.

I am assuming the following terms:

Hit Points = 10 + Constitution score + Class hit points per level + other bonuses

Defenses
* Primary - classes do not grant a direct bonus to primary defense.
* Fortitude - Used by tough or physical classes.
* Reflex - Used by quick classes.
* Awareness - (aka Will defense) Used by dedicated or perceptive classes.

Class grants one of the following bonuses to defenses:
+1 to Fortitude, Reflex, and Awareness defenses.
+2 to two of the three defenses.
+3 to one of the three defenses.

Specializations - advanced versions of the class, makes the class better in a narrow field. Basically special talent trees you can enter by virtue of your class and meeting prerequisites.


I propose 5 core classes:


Agent
"I'm the one in charge here."
An agent represents the interests of individuals, groups, or larger organizations.
* Inspiration: Charismatic and Dedicated basic, Investigator and Negotiator advanced classes.
* Brings to bear authority, leadership, and financial talents.
* In combat has the ability to expand party options, and "talk down" or "captivate" enemies.
* Out of combat is an able negotiator, a strong "face" character.
* Possesses a keen analytical mind and training, good at conducting investigations.
* Either through contacts or as a formal agent can get better prices on equipment, boosting individual and party buying power.
* Hit Points: +2 per level
* Defenses: +3 Awareness
* Specializations:
* Detective - Improved awareness, special "powers" of investigation and insight.
* Enforcer - A tough agent, better at combat situations.
* Officer - Formal organizational leader, expands leadership abilities.
* Negotiator - Able to "get his way" in almost any situation, a reliable advocate.

Expert
"What do you need me to do?"
An expert is a highly educated and or trained individual that brings to bear a formidable list of skills.
* Inspiration: Dedicated and Smart basic; Daredevil, Field Scientist, Medic, and Techie advanced classes.
* Brings to bear advanced training, an ability to maximize effects, and defend himself intelligently.
* In combat has the ability to improve his own individual, equipment, or weapon effects.
* Out of combat is a "skill jockey".
* Is extremely knowlegeable on a variety of subjects, especially in his field of expertise.
* Hit Points: +2 per level
* Defenses: +2 Reflexes, +2 Awareness
* Specializations:
* Ace - A vehicle expert, adds toughness and quickness.
* Engineer - A mechanics expert, can just about fix anything, improve performance, or fabricate items.
* Medic - An expert at treating injuries, can often stave off ill effects and perform medical miracles.
* Scientist - Possesses a vast array of knowledge and can put it to suprising use.

Fighter
"I'm going to kill him!"
Fighters focus on direct confrontation and personal survival.
* Inspiration: Strong and Tough basic; Bodyguard, Martial Artist, and Soldier advanced classes.
* Brings to bear a formidable physical presence.
* In combat can have a large pool of hit points and uses strength to get better handling and damage out of his weapons.
* Has extra options in the use of weapons and armor.
* Out of combat is intimidating and possesses strong survival abilities.
* Hit Points: +4 per level
* Defenses: +3 Fortitude
* Specializations:
* Bodyguard - Physically tough, able to control nearby space.
* Martial Artist - A melee combat specialist.
* Soldier - A tactical fighter, able to set up areas of control and denial, even with firearms.
* Weapon Master - Gets the most out of one or a few weapons.

Gunslinger
"Every fight I'm in is a gun fight, so you might just want to sit down."
A gunslinger obviously is an expert in the use of firearms, but also developes and uses his reputation to advance his interests.
* Inspiration: Fast and Dedicated basic; Gunslinger and Negotiator advanced classes.
* Brings to bear formidable gun skills and abilities.
* In combat has the ability to do things with firearms that are nothing short of amazing.
* Out of combat uses his reputation and wit to achieve his goals.
* Hit Points: +3 per level
* Defenses: +2 Fortitude, +2 Reflexes
* Specializations:
* Duelist - A quickdraw expert, good at fighting single opponents.
* Gunner - Finds ways to get a lot of shots off, thows out a "wall of lead".
* Marshal - A tougher gunslinger, known to hold his ground and drive off enemies. Lives and dies by his reputation.
* Sniper - A highly accurate gunslinger, thrives on making that "one shot in a million".

Rogue
"Look, I think we can make this work to our advantage."
Rogues are great gaining and exploiting advantages, "cheating the game" so to speak.
* Inspiration: Fast and Charismatic basic; Infiltrator and Personality advanced classes.
* Brings to bear an extreme degree of cunning.
* In combat has the ability to maneuver and gain advantage over his opponents, sneak attacks.
* Out of combat is an expert at bluffing, conning, and stealing.
* Hit Points: +3 per level
* Defenses: +3 Reflexes
* Specializations:
* Assassin - An expert at quickly and quietly killing people.
* Infiltrator - An expert at gaining access and stealth.
* Swindler - A real charmer, gets his way through words and careful manipulation.
* Thug - A tough rogue that is good at hurting others.
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:03 am

I like the idea you have of the Specializations per class, that's really neat. Maybe GMSarli will chime in with the names of his 6 Core Classes and we can see what he's thinking of, but what you have here is cool.

So your Specializations are like advanced classes of sorts, but in talent tree format. Are they available from level 1 or do they work more akin to advanced classes where your character would need to meet prerequisites to get them?
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:10 am

I really should have read that more about the specializations, duh...jeez sometimes I'm blinde. lol I found the answer upon rereading your post. :)
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby j0lt » Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:22 am

I'm hoping for the 6 base classes to be a little more generic than those, but aside from that, they're pretty cool.

5 minutes after I'd first heard of this project, I had made up a little chart outlining a basic 7 types of characters based on 3 (undefined) elements:

Code: Select all
1 2 3
1 3 2
2 1 3
2 3 1
3 1 2
3 2 1
2 2 2


The three elements could represent the three defenses, or elements such as combat/magic/skill. I included the 7th to have a "Jack of all trades" type.
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby babs » Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:38 am

I think Gary had a pretty similar idea to your specializations. I heard him mention professions several times, but insofar he has not explained it. Gary, please explain the basic framework, so we can tune in on that and give the most useful suggestions.

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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby JaredGaume » Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:49 am

babs wrote:I think Gary had a pretty similar idea to your specializations. ...

Yes he did, that's why I made the assumption that specializations are advanced talent trees for the class.
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby JaredGaume » Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:17 pm

j0lt wrote:I'm hoping for the 6 base classes to be a little more generic than those, but aside from that, they're pretty cool.

Thanks :D

My assumption was to get good characters out of the gate rather than waiting until about level 4-6 before you got the mix of abilities that gave you what you wanted. I figure that a level 1 character isn't so much a noob as much as he is a badass noob.

I was thinking that there would be a number of generic feats and talents that any character could take. Your class gives you some special features (i.e. feats and talents) that are not generally available.

For example (not using stats, just ideas):


Everyone might be able to take:

Weapon Focus (feat) - gives you a bonus to attack with your chosen narrow weapon group (pistols, rifles, heavy blades, etc...)

Double Tap (talent) - Prerequisite: semiautomatic weapons - As a standard attack you deliver 2 shots against your target (debating whether that gives you +1 dice damage, +2 to your attack roll, or gives you an expanded crit range (i.e. on 19 or 20)).


But a Gunslinger might get some features like:

Follow-up Shot (talent) - prerequisite: single, semiautomatic, or automatic firearms - When you attack with this weapon on your turn, you may make a standard attack as a swift action (normally a standard attack is a standard action, i.e. you can shoot twice on your turn, instead of once. Deliver 2 double-taps on your turn for example).

Firearms Mastery (feat) - Prerequisite: Level 5+, Firearms training - Gives you a bonus to attack with all firearms (similar to and with weapon focus a gunslinger can get to full skill level with firearms, not something everyone can do).


Basically everyone can play in the same pool, but a class makes you a better "swimmer", "diver", "life-guard", etc...
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby Kaldaen » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:08 pm

Jared, I agree that class names need to be descriptive of one's character, and that names like Strong, Tough or Smart just don't convey enough information. However, I think the class names you listed are too restrictive, and would only work in a modern/futuristic setting. Having class names that don't convey enough information is less of a problem than trying to deal with a class name that doesn't fit at all in your genre, such as a "Gunslinger" in a fantasy setting.

I was never thrilled about the generic class names from d20M, but they have one advantage that a five-class system doesn't. With one class devoted to each of the six character attributes, it is much more likely that each of these attributes will have a full list of abilities associated with it. In D&D 3.5 and SWSE, there were some attributes that were significantly more important than others, and some that were almost universal dump stats. The possibilities for character building and concept development expand greatly if each of the six main stats have something you can actively do with them.

Generic class names are the best way to allow the classes to fit in a wide variety of genres. It would be your choice of talents that describe your character's role in the party and in the setting. I believe this is what GMSarli was getting at in the FAQ when he suggested that a spellcaster in a fantasy setting would take talents from the "Wizard" talent tree, which would be available to the Smart Hero class. If this were your character, and someone asked you to describe him, you'd probably respond by saying, "He's a Wizard."

With that in mind, I think it might be a good idea for one's class(es) to take a less prominent position on the character sheet, and use one's concept or talent trees as the primary descriptor. That way the generic class names will be less of an issue, and the first few lines on the sheet give a better idea of what the character does within the setting. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd rather not have to explain why Gunslinger doesn't really mean what everyone automatically thinks it means in a "swords and horses" setting. I also don't want to give a clumsy answer like, "Agile Hero 4, Tough Hero 2," because this doesn't convey any information at all. I'd much rather say, "I'm a Ranger." :D
Last edited by Kaldaen on Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby JaredGaume » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:30 pm

Kaldaen wrote:Jared, I agree that class names need to be descriptive of one's character, and that names like Strong, Tough or Smart just don't convey enough information. However, I think the class names you listed are too restrictive, and would only work in a modern/futuristic setting. Having class names that don't convey enough information is less of a problem than trying to deal with a class name that doesn't fit at all in your genre, such as a "Gunslinger" in a fantasy setting.

Yes, that's where I was going, Modern classes! You're right, a gunslinger isn't necissarily going to be in a medieval fantasy setting, hence the "modular" design process. (more on that below)

Kaldaen wrote:I was never thrilled about the generic class names from d20M, but they have one advantage that a five-class system doesn't. With one class devoted to each of the six character attributes, it is much more likely that each of these attributes will have a full list of abilities associated with it. In D&D 3.5 and SWSE, there were some attributes that were significantly more important than others, and some that were almost universal dump stats. The possibilities for character building and concept development expand greatly if each of the six main stats have something you can actively do with them.

Exactly, that is why I am advocating each of the proposed classes has at least two or three feat/talent groups that play off important ability scores. Hence my listing my inspiration behind each proposed class.

Kaldaen wrote:Generic class names are the best way to allow the classes to fit in a wide variety of genres. It would be your choice of talents that describe your character's role in the party and in the setting. I believe this is what GMSarli was getting at in the FAQ when he suggested that a spellcaster in a fantasy setting would take talents from the "Wizard" talent tree, which would be available to the Smart Hero class. If this were your character, and someone asked you to describe him, you'd probably respond by saying, "He's a Wizard."

Why would the Wizard talent tree be restricted to the Smart Hero, why couldn't an intelligent Strong Hero do so just as easily?

Better yet, in a "modular" genre design, you can introduce classes appropriate to that genre. So in a modern setting you are talking about Agents, Experts, Fighters, Gunslingers, and Rogues; but in a fantasy setting you are talking about Fighters, Priests, Rogues, and Wizards. In a "mixed-bag" setting you could have a Modern/Fantasy combo that uses Agents, Experts, Fighters, Gunslingers, and Rogues, along with Priests and Wizards. It even sets up interesting multi-classing options that aren't just "add another advanced talent tree to this class over here".

Kaldaen wrote:With that in mind, I think it might be a good idea for one's class(es) to take a less prominent position on the character sheet, and use one's concept or talent trees be the primary descriptor. That way the generic class names will be less of an issue, and the first few lines on the sheet give a better idea of what the character does within the setting. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd rather not have to explain why Gunslinger doesn't really mean what everyone automatically thinks it means in a "swords and horses" setting. I also don't want to give a clumsy answer like, "Agile Hero 4, Tough Hero 2," because this doesn't convey any information at all. I'd much rather say, "I'm a Ranger." :D

A Gunslinger is a Modern class, a Ranger is a "swords and horses" class. Unless your "swords and horses" setting has firearms, you aren't going to include Gunslingers.

For me my choice of character class is my entry point into the game, how does my character fit into the game world. The specific setting will describe what classes are available to me, and how they fit in. If the classes are too generic I start wondering why there are classes at all, much less what kind of impact I expect to have on the game.
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby JaredGaume » Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:09 pm

Originally posted in the "e20 as a classless system" thread:
GMSarli wrote:Unless the vast majority of patrons decide otherwise, I definitely will want to use classes in e20. The reason is that class levels are integral to the way I want to handle talents and balancing multiclass characters.

Imagine that two talent trees -- one for the Smart Hero, and one for the Strong Hero -- each have six talents. The first has no prerequisite, but the rest require a certain number of levels in the class (e.g. Smart 2nd, Smart 4th, Smart 6th, Smart 8th, Smart 10th). Each talent -- regardless of level! -- is just as powerful as any other talent because they scale based on your character level, not your class level. But the talents you qualify for depend on how many levels you have in a particular class. So, if Hero A becomes a 10th-level Smart hero, he can access all of those talents, and Hero B (a 10th-level Strong Hero) can do the same thing with his talent tree. Along comes Hero C, and he wants to multiclass: He goes Strong 6/Smart 4, giving him access to some of each talent tree, but not all of either of them. (Specifically, he has access to Strong 1st, Strong 2nd, Strong 4th, Strong 6th, Smart 1st, Smart 2nd, and Smart 4th -- there are a total of seven different talents he could potentially take, a little higher than Hero A or Hero B at 6 talents each, but he can't access the top end of either talent tree.)

Furthermore, having classes with more than one talent tree lets you get more mileage out of this system: A wizard might take talents from both the Conjuration and Evocation talent trees, but his access to the talents therein is based off his Smart Hero class level. The idea is that these two talent trees are sufficiently similar that your level in a single class improves your access to both of them.

Gary, after reading that, I was curious about two things...

1. In multi-classing my character, do I have to level each class?

2. It seems to me that given your feat and talent budget, your character level would effectively cap your multi-classed character options.

Assume the following:
* Level 1: You get 1 talent and 2 feat picks.
Every even level: You get 1 more talent pick. (2, 4, 6, 8, etc...), you expand your actions, not your bonuses.
Every odd level: You get 1 more feat pick. (3, 5, 7, 9, etc...), you expand your bonuses, not your actions.

In this example:

At level 1 you get your base class.
Multi-classing is enabled by taking a feat, I am assuming you can multi-class at level 1. (This gives you some static class benefit like a bonus to defenses, or "take the better HP progression", etc...)
* You get to take 1 talent and 1 feat now, you may choose from either one of the classes.

At level 2
* You get to take 1 more talent, either from class A or class B.
* If both your talent choices are from class A, you are advancing that class's talents faster.
* If your talent choices are both from class A and class B, you are getting something from both worlds, but not as strong as if you had focused.

As you advance your character, as a multi-classed character you get to play from both your class pools of talents and feats, mixing and matching to taste. You could in effect take one class just to get at its static bonuses, but you like the other class for its features. Similar to a Strong 9 / Smart 1 character (not entirely as the Smart 1 didn't take any Smart talents). Alternately you could balance your choices of class talents and feats.

I would like to explore using a multi-class system that plays off your class choices and character level, rather than how you chose to level discrete classes.
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby Shawn Burke » Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:01 pm

I'm hoping characters will get more than one talent at first level.

About the 6 generic classes - I can see a strength, dex, int, wis, chr class but what is Constitution based class?
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:31 pm

I'm thinking that these 6 core classes, while influenced off the six ability scores, shouldn't be directly to the six ability scores themselves...i'm trying to think of what the 6 core classes can be in a genre-less game, 6 names that can be used across genre's.

The most common themes I can think of is a Faceman type class, a Warrior/Soldier type class, a Stalker/Sneaky type class, and a more Skills heavy type class...then mix in a Adept/Magic User class for magic, a Psionicist for psionics (really, Adept can cover the broad spectrum of mystical powers, it worked for True20) but for the core 6, they shouldn't be mystical, but along with the Faceman, Soldier, Stalker, and Skillsy/Expert classes, what would the other 2 be that could fill in the 6 core classes?
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby j0lt » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:43 pm

Shawn Burke wrote:I'm hoping characters will get more than one talent at first level.

About the 6 generic classes - I can see a strength, dex, int, wis, chr class but what is Constitution based class?


In d20 Modern it's called the Tough Hero. It's the guy who can take a hit and keep on going. Think of a character like Harry Callahan. He's not particularly strong or quick, but he's a tough SOB.
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby ronin » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:01 pm

I kind of like the names of the D20 Modern classes, but I have always liked the game despite it's issues. So lets brainstorm a bit here.. We have the following names so far

Strong
Tough
Fast
Smart
Dedicated
Charismatic

I guess I must be used to those names because I like them! In the name of evolution however I will try to come up with some other class names. How about these-

Strong- warrior, soldier, fighter, mercenary
Tough- brawler, brute, tank
Fast- quick
Smart- intellectual, intelligent
Dedicated-
Charismatic-

Sorry but that's all I got right now. Maybe someone else can pick it up from here.
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby Jimmy Plamondon » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:54 pm

I dont see an issue with the D20 modern names either.
Alright you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This... is my boomstick! The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart's top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That's right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That's right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby JaredGaume » Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:34 pm

Shawn Burke wrote:I'm hoping characters will get more than one talent at first level.

So am I. For balance I am not quite sure how many talents and feats you should get at first level. I am thinking in the neighborhood of 2-3 talents and 2-3 feats.

Shawn Burke wrote:About the 6 generic classes - I can see a strength, dex, int, wis, chr class but what is Constitution based class?

Agent: Charisma, Wisdom, and Intelligence
Expert: Intelligence, Wisdom, and Dexterity
Fighter: Strength, Constitution, and Wisdom
Gunslinger: Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma
Rogue: Dexterity, Charisma, and Intelligence

[Yoda]"Unlearn what you have learned, you must."[/Yoda]

What I was thinking was that each class played off two or three ability scores, by virtue of class talents and feats.

For Example ("...but what is Constitution based class?"):

The Fighter balances between aggression (Strength), and survival (Constitution).
I imagine at least two Fighter talent/feat trees, one that plays off Strength, and the other Constition, among others.
* If you go the strong fighter route you increase his ability to hit his targets and deal massive damage.
* If you go the tough fighter route you increase his hit points and ability to stave off injuries.
* The Fighter potentially can get +7 hit points per level (+4 class bonus, +1 Toughness feat, +1 "tough fighter", and +1 bodyguard specialization). The most hit points possible.
* Fighter feats that increase his hardness (probably when wearing armor).
* Fighter talents that better allow him to control the ebb and flow of his hit points. For example, a talent that lets him send damage against his reserves so he can shrug off a hit.

The Gunslinger is primarily a Dex class, what with ranged attacks and all. But also gets a lot of mileage out of Con and Charisma.
Many of a Gunslinger's talents and feats play off Dex, but a few take advantage of his toughness of body and mind (Con and Cha).
* A gunslinger can have Charisma based talents that let his reputation do the fighting for him, his enemies aren't sure they want to face the guy.
* There is a route where the gunslinger can "fight through the pain", shrugging off fatigue, or ignoring injuries for a time. A Constitution based route.

Every class has a specialization that increases its toughness (Enforcer, Ace, Bodyguard, Marshal, and Thug).

Any class can take the Toughness (a general feat) to improve hit point situation:

Toughness (feat) - You gain 3 hit points + 1 hit point per level.

Using the Toughness feat and following a tough specialization can significantly improve the character's hit points, survival, and "stand up" fighting ability.


Partly where I was coming from is that in d20M you usually would mix and match any number of basic classes to get what you really wanted. My approach here was to have a set of basic classes that worked right out of the box. You could follow that class for your character's whole adventuring career, and that would be a no less valid choice than multi-classing accross two or more classes.

In the d20M model you had weird situations where you were hurting your character not to multi-class across several basic classes.
For example, if you multi-classed across all 6 basic classes, by level 6 you would have 6 talents. If you stuck with one class you would only have 3 talents. Your only penalty was really a hit to your BAB.

If the same balance went into e20, and talents gave you special actions, then you would be stupid not to multi-class across all 6 basic classes just to pick up 6 talent slots versus 3. Add in skill based combat and the whole downside to multi-classing completely evaporates. Now a multi-fiend basically gets to run the board while the rest of the party gets by with half his options.

My feeling is that multi-classing should broaden your usefulness, but you give up focus.
If you pursue a focused path for your character, you should be the absolute best at one or two things.
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby Kaldaen » Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:58 pm

JaredGaume wrote:
Kaldaen wrote:Generic class names are the best way to allow the classes to fit in a wide variety of genres. It would be your choice of talents that describe your character's role in the party and in the setting. I believe this is what GMSarli was getting at in the FAQ when he suggested that a spellcaster in a fantasy setting would take talents from the "Wizard" talent tree, which would be available to the Smart Hero class. If this were your character, and someone asked you to describe him, you'd probably respond by saying, "He's a Wizard."


Why would the Wizard talent tree be restricted to the Smart Hero, why couldn't an intelligent Strong Hero do so just as easily?


A Strong Hero with a high Intelligence could do this quite easily with multiclassing. More on that in a bit.

JaredGaume wrote:Better yet, in a "modular" genre design, you can introduce classes appropriate to that genre. So in a modern setting you are talking about Agents, Experts, Fighters, Gunslingers, and Rogues; but in a fantasy setting you are talking about Fighters, Priests, Rogues, and Wizards. In a "mixed-bag" setting you could have a Modern/Fantasy combo that uses Agents, Experts, Fighters, Gunslingers, and Rogues, along with Priests and Wizards. It even sets up interesting multi-classing options that aren't just "add another advanced talent tree to this class over here".


Introducing whole classes based on the setting creates a whole lot of additional overhead within a game system, since each "set" of classes will have to be balanced, and they will have to be evaluated for completeness, making sure they leverage an appropriate mix of abilities within the party. How is this solution any different from cramming three or more OGL systems into one binding?

A more elegant solution to this problem, and one that will make a system truly genre-neutral, is to make the classes static while making the talent trees modular. Some talent trees may transcend settings, while others will represent the abilities of genre-specific archetypes.

To address your question above about the intelligent Strong Hero, I imagine that multiclassing will not only be easy, but encouraged. GMSarli has brought this up a few times already, so I really doubt you'll be restricted to the class that you take your first level in. It seems that one would be able to take levels in whichever "ability class" will give one access to the desired talents. He's used the example of a 19th-level Fighter that takes a single level in Wizard, and said he wanted similar scenarios to be worthwhile, rather than a waste of a level like it has been in the past.

JaredGaume wrote:For me my choice of character class is my entry point into the game, how does my character fit into the game world. The specific setting will describe what classes are available to me, and how they fit in. If the classes are too generic I start wondering why there are classes at all, much less what kind of impact I expect to have on the game.


The classes are there to provide groupings of talent trees that leverage similar character stats. Depending on the needs of your game, you can add as many talent trees as you see fit, to embody any character archetype you want. Making the classes specific in function leads people to think that this is all there is, and that if their concept doesn't fit into one of the five, six or eight predefined classes, then this system isn't for them. However, if generic classes are used, and the expectation of multiclassing is conveyed up front, the flexibility of the talent system will become more obvious, and will attract players who tend to be more creative in their character concepts.

In fact, the post you quoted from GMSarli seems to directly contradict your view of classes:

GMSarli wrote:Unless the vast majority of patrons decide otherwise, I definitely will want to use classes in e20. The reason is that class levels are integral to the way I want to handle talents and balancing multiclass characters.

Imagine that two talent trees -- one for the Smart Hero, and one for the Strong Hero -- each have six talents. The first has no prerequisite, but the rest require a certain number of levels in the class (e.g. Smart 2nd, Smart 4th, Smart 6th, Smart 8th, Smart 10th). Each talent -- regardless of level! -- is just as powerful as any other talent because they scale based on your character level, not your class level. But the talents you qualify for depend on how many levels you have in a particular class. So, if Hero A becomes a 10th-level Smart hero, he can access all of those talents, and Hero B (a 10th-level Strong Hero) can do the same thing with his talent tree. Along comes Hero C, and he wants to multiclass: He goes Strong 6/Smart 4, giving him access to some of each talent tree, but not all of either of them. (Specifically, he has access to Strong 1st, Strong 2nd, Strong 4th, Strong 6th, Smart 1st, Smart 2nd, and Smart 4th -- there are a total of seven different talents he could potentially take, a little higher than Hero A or Hero B at 6 talents each, but he can't access the top end of either talent tree.)

Furthermore, having classes with more than one talent tree lets you get more mileage out of this system: A wizard might take talents from both the Conjuration and Evocation talent trees, but his access to the talents therein is based off his Smart Hero class level. The idea is that these two talent trees are sufficiently similar that your level in a single class improves your access to both of them.

(emphasis added)

I know GMSarli has expressed some flexibility about the names of the classes he intends to use, but he has been fairly consistent about their function within the game. I think it would be prudent to take note of how he describes them and then work from there, rather than taking the discussion in directions that the system is not meant to go.
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby GMSarli » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:45 am

I agree on the Strong, Fast, etc. names -- I want classes that fill similar niches, but the names are just too flat. The d20 Modern class names essentially describe attributes, but one of the things I like about Jared's names is that they describe roles and actions. That said, not all the names are quite what I'm looking for -- Gunslinger, in particular, is too genre-specific.

So, let's try this as an exercise: Come up with better names for each of the six d20 Modern classes, names that describes roles/actions more than attributes. Here are some possible names -- I list my current favorite, and any additional ideas are in parentheses.

  • Strong Hero: Dreadnought (Brute, Vanguard, Champion)
  • Fast Hero: Duelist (Striker, Skirmisher, Harrier, Scout)
  • Tough Hero: Defender (Soldier, Protector, Guardian, Sentinel)
  • Smart Hero: Expert (Adept, Savant, Master, Specialist)
  • Dedicated Hero: Agent (Devotee, Disciple, Advocate)
  • Charismatic Hero: Leader (Personality, Authority, Executor)

What names do you like, and what other names might you suggest? Keep in mind that we're going for genre-neutral and names that describe roles or actions rather than attributes. Also, if possible, names should be motivation-neutral (e.g. "rogue" and "scoundrel" both imply a particular attitude toward law and society in general), but we can compromise this guideline if a particular name is an absolutely perfect fit.



Now, since you guys have wanted to see what I'm thinking of for class structure and such, here's one of the variants I'm currently considering. First, some explanatory points:
  • I'd like the average progression to work out to about +1 per level. (This makes it especially easy for the GM to modify opponents and encounters.)
  • This setup assumes that Skill Training grants a +2 training bonus. Skill Focus improves your training bonus to +3 (+4 at 5th level, and +5 at 13th level).
  • Enhancement is a mechanic that is not based on your class and level, and it serves a very special cross-genre role.
    • What's one of the biggest problems with adapting, say, D&D to a modern or space opera setting? Magic items. Magic items are a genre trope for high fantasy, and as such they're an expected part of your character's progression -- but a +2 flight suit and a +3 keen blaster don't fit in a space opera setting at all, and even a "modern fantasy" setting can only get so much mileage out of magic items before it seems out of place.
    • Also, one of the things that's nice about magic items in D&D is that they're often quite memorable: You acquire them during specific encounters rather than simply gaining them automatically after accumulating enough XP. You don't control which magic items you find, so there's an element of chance that produces a fun atmosphere of anticipation when the DM starts describing the treasure you find. (You might be able to make magic items, but at least in 4E, the ones you make aren't quite as cool as the ones you might find at any given level.)
    • So, to fill this niche, we have enhancements, which covers any bonus or ability that comes from something other than your class and level. In a high fantasy setting, magic items fill this niche most of the time. In a modern/future setting, on the other hand, you learn enhancements during particularly challenging encounters. An Old West sheriff who survives a high noon showdown with a notorious outlaw might earn gunslinger of quickness +2 as an enhancement. A smuggler who plows through an asteroid field to escape pursuit by warships might earn evasive maneuvers +4. A martial artist who takes down a particularly tough opponent might earn fists of the dragon. (Yes, all these names are completely 100% made up -- it's just to illustrate the concept.)
    • In addition, you can train and practice to learn new enhancements between adventures. This costs time and money, and enhancements you train for are of a lower level than those you can learn during adventures (i.e. it's a lot like 4E magic items -- you can buy and/or make them, but these won't be as good as those you find).
    • This makes enhancements one of the most flexible mechanics in the game, and -- best of all -- they're a way to make sure that all of the PCs feel like they can contribute in any type of encounter. For example, if you have one trained pilot and a bunch of ground-oriented characters, all but one person would normally feel a little helpless during a space battle. Using expertise, though, you can reward the "groundlings" with spacehound +1 so they can play a bigger role. Similarly, your tough, combat-oriented characters might basically sit out any social encounter, afraid to speak up for fear of messing up the hard work of the party's charisma twink. But if you give these characters intimidating presence +3 as an enhancement, they're able to make social skill checks a little better than they normally would. Is your party rogue a little out of place in academic settings and Knowledge checks? Maybe he can pick up school of hard knocks +1, giving a bonus to those skills based on his "nontraditional education."
    • I fully expect this to be one of the more challenging mechanics to flesh out -- and I'm sure some of you will think it's a borderline boneheaded idea -- but I'm certain that it will help increase party flexibility and cross-genre adaptation.
  • This represents basic attacks, not using talents and such. Attacks are made using the weapon's base damage + relevant ability modifier (Str for melee and heavy thrown, Dex for ranged and light melee, Con for a charge) + training bonus + enhancement bonus. Muscle-powered weapons also include your Strength modifier as a part of their base damage, so this means that a longsword counts your Strength modifier twice. (Muscle-powered weapons do less damage, so it balances out.)
  • There are three types of talents shown on this table, to provide a little more room for different power levels.
    • Core talents are generally usable once per round, and they are the foundation of a particular talent tree. (I'm considering making a prerequisite for other talents on a tree is that you have at least one core talent -- not yet set on that.)
    • Minor talents are usually defensive, movement, aiding, or noncombat actions, usually about once per encounter.
    • Major talents are usually offensive or aiding actions, usually once per encounter or once per day.
    • Different recharge times allow for a balancing factor for talents that are slightly more powerful than others. Compared to a basic attack as a power-level benchmark, a talent usable 1/round is about 20% stronger, 1/encounter is about 50% stronger, and 1/day is about 100% stronger. (This obviously becomes very subjective when you're talking about something that doesn't directly affect combat statistics, but even in those cases you can compare talents of the same type to each other to evaluate their relative value.)
  • The starting ability score array I'm using for the default level of heroism is 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10. Racial modifiers are going to be bonuses (no penalties), and the table shows a +2 added to the character's two highest abilities. (This is using a setup that is very broadly similar to 4E's racial modifiers.)
  • The attacks and damage shown here are meant to establish an upper end to how much damage you can expect out of a PC of a given level. They assume someone who has Skill Training and Skill Focus in their attack, an enhancement that improves their main attack, and that they use their best ability score for their main attack. At that level of specialization, the character hits about 75% of the time. Someone who isn't so specialized will still hit about 50% of the time in most cases, and even a worst-case scenario is probably still hitting 25% of the time.
  • Average damage per round assumes double damage on a natural 20. The "average attacks to kill" listing for different opponent types (ordinary, standard, and elite) uses the modern genre (i.e. a rifle or pistol dealing 2d8 damage) as its base. This is a very stripped-down number (not including any special abilities or templates that would normally make an opponent a little more durable), so don't be alarmed by how low it seems at times. :)

level-chart.jpg
level-chart.jpg (554.85 KiB) Viewed 20672 times


As I mentioned, this is just one variant I'm playing with and I expect a lot of this to change, but it should at least give you something to look at as a starting point. :)
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby j0lt » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:57 am

ronin wrote:I kind of like the names of the D20 Modern classes, but I have always liked the game despite it's issues. So lets brainstorm a bit here.. We have the following names so far

Strong
Tough
Fast
Smart
Dedicated
Charismatic

I guess I must be used to those names because I like them!

Jimmy Plamondon wrote:I dont see an issue with the D20 modern names either.


I liked them as well because of how completely generic they were, but at the same time, a lot of people were turned off of the whole system because of that.

GMSarli wrote:I agree on the Strong, Fast, etc. names -- I want classes that fill similar niches, but the names are just too flat. The d20 Modern class names essentially describe attributes, but one of the things I like about Jared's names is that they describe roles and actions. That said, not all the names are quite what I'm looking for -- Gunslinger, in particular, is too genre-specific.

So, let's try this as an exercise: Come up with better names for each of the six d20 Modern classes, names that describes roles/actions more than attributes. Here are some possible names -- I list my current favorite, and any additional ideas are in parentheses.

  • Strong Hero: Dreadnought (Brute, Vanguard, Champion)
  • Fast Hero: Duelist (Striker, Skirmisher, Harrier, Scout)
  • Tough Hero: Defender (Soldier, Protector, Guardian, Sentinel)
  • Smart Hero: Expert (Adept, Savant, Master, Specialist)
  • Dedicated Hero: Agent (Devotee, Disciple, Advocate)
  • Charismatic Hero: Leader (Personality, Authority, Executor)

What names do you like, and what other names might you suggest? Keep in mind that we're going for genre-neutral and names that describe roles or actions rather than attributes. Also, if possible, names should be motivation-neutral (e.g. "rogue" and "scoundrel" both imply a particular attitude toward law and society in general), but we can compromise this guideline if a particular name is an absolutely perfect fit.


Hmm... Most of the d20M names work for me, but in the spirit of the exercise:
  • Strong Hero: Muscle, Fighter, Strongarm
  • Fast Hero: Duelist
  • Tough Hero: Tough
  • Smart Hero: Expert
  • Dedicated Hero: Wise?
  • Charismatic Hero: Face
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Re: e20 Core Classes

Postby j0lt » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:26 am

GMSarli wrote:Now, since you guys have wanted to see what I'm thinking of for class structure and such, here's one of the variants I'm currently considering. First, some explanatory points:
  • I'd like the average progression to work out to about +1 per level. (This makes it especially easy for the GM to modify opponents and encounters.)
  • This setup assumes that Skill Training grants a +2 training bonus. Skill Focus improves your training bonus to +3 (+4 at 5th level, and +5 at 13th level).

In SWSE, training gives you a +5, and most characters will only be focused in 1 or 2 skills due to the high cost of having to spend a feat. If skill training gives you a small bonus like +2, I think a lot more characters will want to be focused, but with such a small bonus from that, spending a feat is too high a cost.

  • Enhancement is a mechanic that is not based on your class and level, and it serves a very special cross-genre role.
    • What's one of the biggest problems with adapting, say, D&D to a modern or space opera setting? Magic items. Magic items are a genre trope for high fantasy, and as such they're an expected part of your character's progression -- but a +2 flight suit and a +3 keen blaster don't fit in a space opera setting at all, and even a "modern fantasy" setting can only get so much mileage out of magic items before it seems out of place.
    • Also, one of the things that's nice about magic items in D&D is that they're often quite memorable: You acquire them during specific encounters rather than simply gaining them automatically after accumulating enough XP. You don't control which magic items you find, so there's an element of chance that produces a fun atmosphere of anticipation when the DM starts describing the treasure you find. (You might be able to make magic items, but at least in 4E, the ones you make aren't quite as cool as the ones you might find at any given level.)
    • So, to fill this niche, we have enhancements, which covers any bonus or ability that comes from something other than your class and level. In a high fantasy setting, magic items fill this niche most of the time. In a modern/future setting, on the other hand, you learn enhancements during particularly challenging encounters. An Old West sheriff who survives a high noon showdown with a notorious outlaw might earn gunslinger of quickness +2 as an enhancement. A smuggler who plows through an asteroid field to escape pursuit by warships might earn evasive maneuvers +4. A martial artist who takes down a particularly tough opponent might earn fists of the dragon. (Yes, all these names are completely 100% made up -- it's just to illustrate the concept.)
    • In addition, you can train and practice to learn new enhancements between adventures. This costs time and money, and enhancements you train for are of a lower level than those you can learn during adventures (i.e. it's a lot like 4E magic items -- you can buy and/or make them, but these won't be as good as those you find).
    • This makes enhancements one of the most flexible mechanics in the game, and -- best of all -- they're a way to make sure that all of the PCs feel like they can contribute in any type of encounter. For example, if you have one trained pilot and a bunch of ground-oriented characters, all but one person would normally feel a little helpless during a space battle. Using expertise, though, you can reward the "groundlings" with spacehound +1 so they can play a bigger role. Similarly, your tough, combat-oriented characters might basically sit out any social encounter, afraid to speak up for fear of messing up the hard work of the party's charisma twink. But if you give these characters intimidating presence +3 as an enhancement, they're able to make social skill checks a little better than they normally would. Is your party rogue a little out of place in academic settings and Knowledge checks? Maybe he can pick up school of hard knocks +1, giving a bonus to those skills based on his "nontraditional education."
    • I fully expect this to be one of the more challenging mechanics to flesh out -- and I'm sure some of you will think it's a borderline boneheaded idea -- but I'm certain that it will help increase party flexibility and cross-genre adaptation.

  • One thing I don't like about D&D is the ridiculous power curve that is achieved through magic items. In most (non D&D based) fantasy fiction, you don't see the characters playing Barbie dress-up with piles of magic items. Take The Legend of Zelda for example: There are several magic items, but they all function more or less like Wondrous Items, rather than giving arbitrary bonuses. In my opinion, that's the right way to go (at least with items). With enhancements, it COULD work, but do we really want to push the power curve so high? I think that's the main reason most d20 System games lose all sense of balance past level 15, is that the power curve is simply unmanageable.

  • There are three types of talents shown on this table, to provide a little more room for different power levels.
    • Core talents are generally usable once per round, and they are the foundation of a particular talent tree. (I'm considering making a prerequisite for other talents on a tree is that you have at least one core talent -- not yet set on that.)
    • Minor talents are usually defensive, movement, aiding, or noncombat actions, usually about once per encounter.
    • Major talents are usually offensive or aiding actions, usually once per encounter or once per day.

  • Having different levels of talents is an interesting idea, but I've got another idea for organization:
    • Class Talents are talents that can only be gained by taking levels in a specific base/advanced/prestige class.
    • General Talents are talents that can be taken by any character, regardless of class.
    • Racial Talents are talents that boost racial abilities (for a fantasy type game), which can be used as a replacement for the Level Adjustment mechanic.

    Different recharge times allow for a balancing factor for talents that are slightly more powerful than others. Compared to a basic attack as a power-level benchmark, a talent usable 1/round is about 20% stronger, 1/encounter is about 50% stronger, and 1/day is about 100% stronger. (This obviously becomes very subjective when you're talking about something that doesn't directly affect combat statistics, but even in those cases you can compare talents of the same type to each other to evaluate their relative value.)

    I really don't like the way 4e separated "powers" into At-Will/Encounter/Daily. I find that it's too artificial and arbitrary a mechanic (much like the Vancian casting system). I'm sure working out a more suitable mechanic will take a lot more work, but in the end, I think the game will be the better for it.
    For some inspiration of a great casting system, Monte Cook's World of Darkness has an excellent system for high-magic games. For low-powered, I really like the Incantations system from d20 Modern's Urban Arcana.

  • The starting ability score array I'm using for the default level of heroism is 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10. Racial modifiers are going to be bonuses (no penalties), and the table shows a +2 added to the character's two highest abilities. (This is using a setup that is very broadly similar to 4E's racial modifiers.)

  • As long as the various races don't end up feeling like they were designed to fit into a specific class, then it's a good idea.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby GMSarli » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:13 am

    j0lt wrote:In SWSE, training gives you a +5, and most characters will only be focused in 1 or 2 skills due to the high cost of having to spend a feat. If skill training gives you a small bonus like +2, I think a lot more characters will want to be focused, but with such a small bonus from that, spending a feat is too high a cost.


    Well, look at it this way: Skill Training gives you a +2 to hit and +2 to damage with any attacks using that skill (and I plan on every skill having at least one attack associated with it) -- in 3.0/3.5, that's the equivalent of three feats (Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Focus, and Weapon Specialization). Skill Focus gives an additional +1 to hit and +1 to damage, which by itself is better than 3.0/3.5 Point Blank Shot (same bonuses but only within one range increment), and it automatically improves at higher levels.

    Besides, the value of feats is relative -- if we set Skill Training at +2, then other feats will be scaled to match.

    j0lt wrote:One thing I don't like about D&D is the ridiculous power curve that is achieved through magic items. In most (non D&D based) fantasy fiction, you don't see the characters playing Barbie dress-up with piles of magic items. Take The Legend of Zelda for example: There are several magic items, but they all function more or less like Wondrous Items, rather than giving arbitrary bonuses. In my opinion, that's the right way to go (at least with items). With enhancements, it COULD work, but do we really want to push the power curve so high? I think that's the main reason most d20 System games lose all sense of balance past level 15, is that the power curve is simply unmanageable.


    Yes, but look at the table: Even including enhancements, progression still stays at an average of +1 per level. (In fact, the enhancements end up filling gaps in the progression to keep things even.)

    Now, if we still want the +1/level rate (and I think it helps the GM a lot) but we didn't want enhancements, we'd just increase the value of Skill Training and Skill Focus. The power curve stays the same, but the competence disparity between different PCs grows (i.e. they won't have enhancement bonuses to help with something outside their normal field of expertise) and we don't solve the "magic-items genre vs. no-magic-items genre" problem. Between those two options, I think enhancements is the better choice.

    j0lt wrote:Having different levels of talents is an interesting idea, but I've got another idea for organization:
    • Class Talents are talents that can only be gained by taking levels in a specific base/advanced/prestige class.
    • General Talents are talents that can be taken by any character, regardless of class.
    • Racial Talents are talents that boost racial abilities (for a fantasy type game), which can be used as a replacement for the Level Adjustment mechanic.


    Sure, I don't mind having more than one category of talent.

    j0lt wrote:I really don't like the way 4e separated "powers" into At-Will/Encounter/Daily. I find that it's too artificial and arbitrary a mechanic (much like the Vancian casting system). I'm sure working out a more suitable mechanic will take a lot more work, but in the end, I think the game will be the better for it.
    For some inspiration of a great casting system, Monte Cook's World of Darkness has an excellent system for high-magic games. For low-powered, I really like the Incantations system from d20 Modern's Urban Arcana.


    First, I don't plan on the "recharge" time for different talents being quite as firmly separated as they are for D&D powers. Also, I used the terms "1/encounter" and "1/day" for purposes of comparing to a familiar system (4E), but I'm certainly open to making them recharge after some number of minutes or hours.

    Second, we have to be able to handle different power levels (even if you scale damage and such, some things are qualitatively better -- think shape change vs. polymorph self, for example). A recharge mechanic is one of the simplest ways to handle it, and from a game balance point of view, it makes it harder for a given talent to break the game. (When something can be used over and over again, it's a lot easier to find some loophole that abuses it.)

    Third, recharge certainly isn't the only way to do it, and I'm open to trying different alternatives. For example, you could theoretically come up with some kind of cost (e.g. deducting from your hit points or reserves), but the costs are extremely difficult to scale in a way that works consistently. (That's one of the reasons we abandoned the "VP cost" version of Force skills when we moved from the Revised Core Rulebook to the Saga Edition Core Rulebook.)

    j0lt wrote:
    [*]The starting ability score array I'm using for the default level of heroism is 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10. Racial modifiers are going to be bonuses (no penalties), and the table shows a +2 added to the character's two highest abilities. (This is using a setup that is very broadly similar to 4E's racial modifiers.)[/list]

    As long as the various races don't end up feeling like they were designed to fit into a specific class, then it's a good idea.


    Absolutely. I don't mind a race/species being inclined toward a particular class or role (assuming that fits a particular genre and its tropes), but I agree that they shouldn't fit a given class/role too perfectly.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:14 am

    GMSarli wrote:
    • Strong Hero: Dreadnought (Brute, Vanguard, Champion)
    • Fast Hero: Duelist (Striker, Skirmisher, Harrier, Scout)
    • Tough Hero: Defender (Soldier, Protector, Guardian, Sentinel)
    • Smart Hero: Expert (Adept, Savant, Master, Specialist)
    • Dedicated Hero: Agent (Devotee, Disciple, Advocate)
    • Charismatic Hero: Leader (Personality, Authority, Executor)

    :)


    Strong Hero: Brute
    Fast Hero: Harrier
    Tough Hero: Sentinel
    Smart Hero: Adept
    Dedicated Hero: Agent
    Charismatic Hero: Faceman

    To me those evoke the most of the six d20Modern class names. Avoid to the best of our ability any name that reminds people of the blandness of the d20Modern names as well as 4e Roles (Defender, Striker, etc).

    I could see Adept being replaced with Expert, but I like Adept more.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:22 am

    j0lt wrote:
    [*]There are three types of talents shown on this table, to provide a little more room for different power levels.
    • Core talents are generally usable once per round, and they are the foundation of a particular talent tree. (I'm considering making a prerequisite for other talents on a tree is that you have at least one core talent -- not yet set on that.)
    • Minor talents are usually defensive, movement, aiding, or noncombat actions, usually about once per encounter.
    • Major talents are usually offensive or aiding actions, usually once per encounter or once per day.

    Having different levels of talents is an interesting idea, but I've got another idea for organization:
    • Class Talents are talents that can only be gained by taking levels in a specific base/advanced/prestige class.
    • General Talents are talents that can be taken by any character, regardless of class.
    • Racial Talents are talents that boost racial abilities (for a fantasy type game), which can be used as a replacement for the Level Adjustment mechanic.


    I like both these ideas, having the three different levels of talents and also having Class specific talents, General talents and Racial talents is really neat. If we did the three different levels of talents, I'd suggest that each "level" of talents be its own name, instead of Core talents, Minor talents, and Major talents.

    Different recharge times allow for a balancing factor for talents that are slightly more powerful than others. Compared to a basic attack as a power-level benchmark, a talent usable 1/round is about 20% stronger, 1/encounter is about 50% stronger, and 1/day is about 100% stronger. (This obviously becomes very subjective when you're talking about something that doesn't directly affect combat statistics, but even in those cases you can compare talents of the same type to each other to evaluate their relative value.)

    I really don't like the way 4e separated "powers" into At-Will/Encounter/Daily. I find that it's too artificial and arbitrary a mechanic (much like the Vancian casting system). I'm sure working out a more suitable mechanic will take a lot more work, but in the end, I think the game will be the better for it.
    For some inspiration of a great casting system, Monte Cook's World of Darkness has an excellent system for high-magic games. For low-powered, I really like the Incantations system from d20 Modern's Urban Arcana.

  • The starting ability score array I'm using for the default level of heroism is 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10. Racial modifiers are going to be bonuses (no penalties), and the table shows a +2 added to the character's two highest abilities. (This is using a setup that is very broadly similar to 4E's racial modifiers.)
  • [/list]

    As long as the various races don't end up feeling like they were designed to fit into a specific class, then it's a good idea.


    I guess I'm a minority when I say that I think the different way 4e seperated its powers into At wills, encounters and dailies is one of the neatest features of the game. It's way better than the old "I swing, I hit.....repeat endlessly" syndrome of previous games. I love it. Makes it fun.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby j0lt » Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:57 am

    GMSarli wrote:Well, look at it this way: Skill Training gives you a +2 to hit and +2 to damage with any attacks using that skill (and I plan on every skill having at least one attack associated with it) -- in 3.0/3.5, that's the equivalent of three feats (Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Focus, and Weapon Specialization). Skill Focus gives an additional +1 to hit and +1 to damage, which by itself is better than 3.0/3.5 Point Blank Shot (same bonuses but only within one range increment), and it automatically improves at higher levels.

    Woah, that's an interesting idea!

    j0lt wrote:
    [*]The starting ability score array I'm using for the default level of heroism is 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10. Racial modifiers are going to be bonuses (no penalties), and the table shows a +2 added to the character's two highest abilities. (This is using a setup that is very broadly similar to 4E's racial modifiers.)[/list]

    As long as the various races don't end up feeling like they were designed to fit into a specific class, then it's a good idea.


    Absolutely. I don't mind a race/species being inclined toward a particular class or role (assuming that fits a particular genre and its tropes), but I agree that they shouldn't fit a given class/role too perfectly.

    I was toying with a similar idea a while back, where each race was only given a single ability score bonus based on the most iconic thing about that race, for example: Dwarves would get +2 to Con, Elves +2 to Dex, etc... Though I'm sure everyone here has their own idea of how to manage this.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby babs » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:27 am

    GMSarli wrote:[list][*]I'd like the average progression to work out to about +1 per level. (This makes it especially easy for the GM to modify opponents and encounters.)


    Thats a good point, but more importantly, I think it gives the player the feeling that they are constantly improving.

    [*]This setup assumes that Skill Training grants a +2 training bonus. Skill Focus improves your training bonus to +3 (+4 at 5th level, and +5 at 13th level).


    Looks okay to me, but at higher level it then becomes rather important to be focused in a weapon in order to use it effectively. A +3 attack differences is huge!

    [*]Enhancement is a mechanic that is not based on your class and level, and it serves a very special cross-genre role.
    [list][*]What's one of the biggest problems with adapting, say, D&D to a modern or space opera setting? Magic items. Magic items are a genre trope for high fantasy, and as such they're an expected part of your character's progression -- but a +2 flight suit and a +3 keen blaster don't fit in a space opera setting at all, and even a "modern fantasy" setting can only get so much mileage out of magic items before it seems out of place.
    [*]Also, one of the things that's nice about magic items in D&D is that they're often quite memorable: You acquire them during specific encounters rather than simply gaining them automatically after accumulating enough XP. You don't control which magic items you find, so there's an element of chance that produces a fun atmosphere of anticipation when the DM starts describing the treasure you find. (You might be able to make magic items, but at least in 4E, the ones you make aren't quite as cool as the ones you might find at any given level.)
    [*]So, to fill this niche, we have enhancements, which covers any bonus or ability that comes from something other than your class and level. In a high fantasy setting, magic items fill this niche most of the time. In a modern/future setting, on the other hand, you learn enhancements during particularly challenging encounters. An Old West sheriff who survives a high noon showdown with a notorious outlaw might earn gunslinger of quickness +2 as an enhancement. A smuggler who plows through an asteroid field to escape pursuit by warships might earn evasive maneuvers +4. A martial artist who takes down a particularly tough opponent might earn fists of the dragon. (Yes, all these names are completely 100% made up -- it's just to illustrate the concept.)

    [/quote]

    I like the idea of handing out bonuses to players, but I wonder wether these enhancement bonuses needs to be so big and wether they should be tied to specific weapons at all. In fantasies RPG, I really dislike my +5 sword because it prevented me from using any other weapons at all. Even though they would have been more appropriate thematically. I would be okay with just a Magic (+1 or +2) sword and let the rest of the bonus be tied to character training, as mentioned below. In Star Wars I really love that I can pick up a stormtrooper rifle and I am game.

    [*]In addition, you can train and practice to learn new enhancements between adventures. This costs time and money, and enhancements you train for are of a lower level than those you can learn during adventures (i.e. it's a lot like 4E magic items -- you can buy and/or make them, but these won't be as good as those you find).


    Like this. This is an interesting idea, altough I wonder how much it overlaps with the bonuses provided by skills. What different is an enhancement bonus for training different from a skill training bonus?

    [*]This makes enhancements one of the most flexible mechanics in the game, and -- best of all -- they're a way to make sure that all of the PCs feel like they can contribute in any type of encounter. For example, if you have one trained pilot and a bunch of ground-oriented characters, all but one person would normally feel a little helpless during a space battle. Using expertise, though, you can reward the "groundlings" with spacehound +1 so they can play a bigger role. Similarly, your tough, combat-oriented characters might basically sit out any social encounter, afraid to speak up for fear of messing up the hard work of the party's charisma twink. But if you give these characters intimidating presence +3 as an enhancement, they're able to make social skill checks a little better than they normally would. Is your party rogue a little out of place in academic settings and Knowledge checks? Maybe he can pick up school of hard knocks +1, giving a bonus to those skills based on his "nontraditional education."


    The important notion here is that we should make sure all PCs feel like they can contribute in any type of encounter!

    [*]There are three types of talents shown on this table, to provide a little more room for different power levels.
    [list][*]Core talents are generally usable once per round, and they are the foundation of a particular talent tree. (I'm considering making a prerequisite for other talents on a tree is that you have at least one core talent -- not yet set on that.)
    [*]Minor talents are usually defensive, movement, aiding, or noncombat actions, usually about once per encounter.
    [*]Major talents are usually offensive or aiding actions, usually once per encounter or once per day.


    I like the idea of different level of talents. I wonder, however, if it would also be an effective tool in handling situational talents. Situational talents (for example, like vehicle sneak in SAGA) are usually very difficult to balance. You don't want to give out a too big bonus because the character would be too powerful in that situation, but you also don't want it to be to small because it is only usefull in that situation. I was thinking along the lines of a Major Talent equals two Minor talents, so instead of a Major talent a player could choose to Minor Talents. I think such would make balancing talents rather easy and thus would allow the most freedom in creating Cool talents!
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby Jimmy Plamondon » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:41 am

    Strong- Powerhouse
    Fast- Agile
    Tough- ...


    *Yawn*

    Lets keep Strong, Fast, Tough, Smart, Dedicated, Charismatic... I like the fact that it's generic.
    Alright you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This... is my boomstick! The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart's top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That's right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That's right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby babs » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:50 am

    Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:I guess I'm a minority when I say that I think the different way 4e seperated its powers into At wills, encounters and dailies is one of the neatest features of the game. It's way better than the old "I swing, I hit.....repeat endlessly" syndrome of previous games. I love it. Makes it fun.


    I like that too about 4E. THe thing that I dislike, however, is that they are way too many. I was wondering whether we just couldn't create an elaborate set of maneouvers anyone can do and maybe a set of maneouvers any member of a certain class can do and than let the other bonus and feats give bonuses to these maneovuers. For example, I really liked that in 3E anyone could grapple and that an Improved Grapple made the difference between whether you are good in it or not; this is opposed to SAGA where you can only grapple someone when you have got a certain feat, or where you can sever only somone when you have a certain talent. SAGA's Powerful Charge is also a really neat example of this. Everyone can charge, but some are profoundly better than others at it.

    Babs out!
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby j0lt » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:53 am

    babs wrote:I really liked that in 3E anyone could grapple and that an Improved Grapple made the difference between whether you are good in it or not; this is opposed to SAGA where you can only grapple someone when you have got a certain feat, or where you can sever only somone when you have a certain talent. SAGA's Powerful Charge is also a really neat example of this. Everyone can charge, but some are profoundly better than others at it.


    I like that too, in fact, my current SWSE character has Powerful Charge and puts it to good use! I totally agree that we shouldn't be making too many basic abilities require a feat to be able to do. Anyone should be able to do any mundane action. I think spending a feat or talent should grant additional skill, rather than basic proficiency.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby GMSarli » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:19 am

    babs wrote:
    [*]This setup assumes that Skill Training grants a +2 training bonus. Skill Focus improves your training bonus to +3 (+4 at 5th level, and +5 at 13th level).


    Looks okay to me, but at higher level it then becomes rather important to be focused in a weapon in order to use it effectively. A +3 attack differences is huge!


    True, but remember that I'm trying to establish the upper end of what a character's best attack would be like. A solid plurality (if not a majority) of players seem to take Skill Focus in their most-used skill -- and those that don't still get to spend that feat on something else, so they presumably still get a decent (albeit different) benefit.

    babs wrote:I like the idea of handing out bonuses to players, but I wonder wether these enhancement bonuses needs to be so big and wether they should be tied to specific weapons at all. In fantasies RPG, I really dislike my +5 sword because it prevented me from using any other weapons at all. Even though they would have been more appropriate thematically. I would be okay with just a Magic (+1 or +2) sword and let the rest of the bonus be tied to character training, as mentioned below. In Star Wars I really love that I can pick up a stormtrooper rifle and I am game.


    For modern settings, I'm thinking the bonuses generally won't be tied to a particular weapon or item. (Possible exceptions might exist for some truly exceptional piece of hardware -- in SW, for example, I could certainly see the Millennium Falcon providing some kind of enhancement bonus to its pilot.)

    babs wrote:
    [*]In addition, you can train and practice to learn new enhancements between adventures. This costs time and money, and enhancements you train for are of a lower level than those you can learn during adventures (i.e. it's a lot like 4E magic items -- you can buy and/or make them, but these won't be as good as those you find).


    Like this. This is an interesting idea, altough I wonder how much it overlaps with the bonuses provided by skills. What different is an enhancement bonus for training different from a skill training bonus?


    Skills will still have their unique uses (e.g. "trained-only" applications), and the training bonuses from skills do stack with enhancement bonuses. The main point of enhancements is to keep the gap from being too wide and -- like magic items in D&D -- to provide some interesting special abilities that you might not otherwise have. (Think of them as being sort of like talents that are tied to a particular experience instead of a particular class, level, and talent tree.)

    babs wrote:
    [*]This makes enhancements one of the most flexible mechanics in the game, and -- best of all -- they're a way to make sure that all of the PCs feel like they can contribute in any type of encounter. For example, if you have one trained pilot and a bunch of ground-oriented characters, all but one person would normally feel a little helpless during a space battle. Using expertise, though, you can reward the "groundlings" with spacehound +1 so they can play a bigger role. Similarly, your tough, combat-oriented characters might basically sit out any social encounter, afraid to speak up for fear of messing up the hard work of the party's charisma twink. But if you give these characters intimidating presence +3 as an enhancement, they're able to make social skill checks a little better than they normally would. Is your party rogue a little out of place in academic settings and Knowledge checks? Maybe he can pick up school of hard knocks +1, giving a bonus to those skills based on his "nontraditional education."


    The important notion here is that we should make sure all PCs feel like they can contribute in any type of encounter!


    Precisely!

    babs wrote:
    [*]There are three types of talents shown on this table, to provide a little more room for different power levels.
    • Core talents are generally usable once per round, and they are the foundation of a particular talent tree. (I'm considering making a prerequisite for other talents on a tree is that you have at least one core talent -- not yet set on that.)
    • Minor talents are usually defensive, movement, aiding, or noncombat actions, usually about once per encounter.
    • Major talents are usually offensive or aiding actions, usually once per encounter or once per day.


    I like the idea of different level of talents. I wonder, however, if it would also be an effective tool in handling situational talents. Situational talents (for example, like vehicle sneak in SAGA) are usually very difficult to balance. You don't want to give out a too big bonus because the character would be too powerful in that situation, but you also don't want it to be to small because it is only usefull in that situation. I was thinking along the lines of a Major Talent equals two Minor talents, so instead of a Major talent a player could choose to Minor Talents. I think such would make balancing talents rather easy and thus would allow the most freedom in creating Cool talents!


    I'm glad you brought that up, because that's one of the other things I want enhancements to help with: They're great for situational stuff.
    • Let's say you have a smuggler-like character -- he needs to be a decent pilot, sure, but there's also plenty of groundling stuff he needs to be good at. He might pick up one or two talents and/or feats that fit this shtick, but he gets a little extra flair from some "maneuvers" and "stunts" that he picks up as enhancements.
    • Taking that to an extreme, an ace pilot who basically lives in the cockpit might put a huge amount of his level-based resources into vehicle stuff (including plenty of enhancements), but he's still competent on the ground because of some ground-based "stances" and "gambits" that he picks up as enhancements.
    • At the other extreme, a completely ground-oriented commando pumps all his level-based resources into assault stuff, but he's still useful on a transport because of some gunnery "salvos" and "attack patterns" that he picks up as enhancements.

    (Or, to fall back on a D&D analogy: If you have a bunch of cloaks of elvenkind, the rest of the party can keep up with the ranger ... at least enough to keep from stumbling through the forest like a bunch of apes. :D )
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby Shawn Burke » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:45 am

    First, I don't plan on the "recharge" time for different talents being quite as firmly separated as they are for D&D powers. Also, I used the terms "1/encounter" and "1/day" for purposes of comparing to a familiar system (4E), but I'm certainly open to making them recharge after some number of minutes or hours.


    I think per round, per encounter, per day are a great way to handle recharging. Simple and it makes sense. Although some clever way of using Action Points to recharge encounter and per day would be cool too.

    Something like 1 point for "encounter" powers and 3 for "daily" but you can't use more than 3 points at one time in a day - or something.

    But my vote would be to keep durations for powers simple!!! 1 or 2 rounds, encounter, and daily! Counting minutes or rounds is a pain!
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby j0lt » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:16 am

    Shawn Burke wrote:But my vote would be to keep durations for powers simple!!! 1 or 2 rounds, encounter, and daily! Counting minutes or rounds is a pain!


    Great idea! Though we need to think about non-combat use as well. A duration of "encounter" is hard to gauge when you're not in an actual encounter.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby Elsidar » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:00 pm

    GMSarli wrote:So, let's try this as an exercise: Come up with better names for each of the six d20 Modern classes, names that describes roles/actions more than attributes. Here are some possible names -- I list my current favorite, and any additional ideas are in parentheses.

    • Strong Hero: Dreadnought (Brute, Vanguard, Champion)
    • Fast Hero: Duelist (Striker, Skirmisher, Harrier, Scout)
    • Tough Hero: Defender (Soldier, Protector, Guardian, Sentinel)
    • Smart Hero: Expert (Adept, Savant, Master, Specialist)
    • Dedicated Hero: Agent (Devotee, Disciple, Advocate)
    • Charismatic Hero: Leader (Personality, Authority, Executor)


    My vote is for these:
    • Strong Hero: Champion
    • Fast Hero: Duelist or Scout
    • Tough Hero: Guardian
    • Smart Hero: Expert
    • Dedicated Hero: Sentinel (rationale: this is where the "healer" talents from d20M came from, and fits nicely with "watching over" the party.)
    • Charismatic Hero: Leader


    GMSarli wrote:[*]Enhancement is a mechanic that is not based on your class and level, and it serves a very special cross-genre role.
    • What's one of the biggest problems with adapting, say, D&D to a modern or space opera setting? Magic items. Magic items are a genre trope for high fantasy, and as such they're an expected part of your character's progression -- but a +2 flight suit and a +3 keen blaster don't fit in a space opera setting at all, and even a "modern fantasy" setting can only get so much mileage out of magic items before it seems out of place.
    • Also, one of the things that's nice about magic items in D&D is that they're often quite memorable: You acquire them during specific encounters rather than simply gaining them automatically after accumulating enough XP. You don't control which magic items you find, so there's an element of chance that produces a fun atmosphere of anticipation when the DM starts describing the treasure you find. (You might be able to make magic items, but at least in 4E, the ones you make aren't quite as cool as the ones you might find at any given level.)
    • So, to fill this niche, we have enhancements, which covers any bonus or ability that comes from something other than your class and level. In a high fantasy setting, magic items fill this niche most of the time. In a modern/future setting, on the other hand, you learn enhancements during particularly challenging encounters. An Old West sheriff who survives a high noon showdown with a notorious outlaw might earn gunslinger of quickness +2 as an enhancement. A smuggler who plows through an asteroid field to escape pursuit by warships might earn evasive maneuvers +4. A martial artist who takes down a particularly tough opponent might earn fists of the dragon. (Yes, all these names are completely 100% made up -- it's just to illustrate the concept.)
    • In addition, you can train and practice to learn new enhancements between adventures. This costs time and money, and enhancements you train for are of a lower level than those you can learn during adventures (i.e. it's a lot like 4E magic items -- you can buy and/or make them, but these won't be as good as those you find).
    • This makes enhancements one of the most flexible mechanics in the game, and -- best of all -- they're a way to make sure that all of the PCs feel like they can contribute in any type of encounter. For example, if you have one trained pilot and a bunch of ground-oriented characters, all but one person would normally feel a little helpless during a space battle. Using expertise, though, you can reward the "groundlings" with spacehound +1 so they can play a bigger role. Similarly, your tough, combat-oriented characters might basically sit out any social encounter, afraid to speak up for fear of messing up the hard work of the party's charisma twink. But if you give these characters intimidating presence +3 as an enhancement, they're able to make social skill checks a little better than they normally would. Is your party rogue a little out of place in academic settings and Knowledge checks? Maybe he can pick up school of hard knocks +1, giving a bonus to those skills based on his "nontraditional education."
    • I fully expect this to be one of the more challenging mechanics to flesh out -- and I'm sure some of you will think it's a borderline boneheaded idea -- but I'm certain that it will help increase party flexibility and cross-genre adaptation.


    This sounds really cool, but what kind of effects will enhancements produce? Static numerical bonuses, like equivalents to +1 longswords sound pretty easy, but is there any reason why they couldn't be described as fancy equipment, or modifications to one's gear?

    As I think about it, "enhancements" represented by equipment can be bought, sold, or stolen from characters, while things like spacehound +1 stay with a character forever, potentially. Especially for these innate enhancements, is there any limit to how many enhancements a character might have? If it's an innate enhancement that the DM grants him after roleplaying really well or trying to participate in a challenge where he's at a significant disadvantage, how would the character get rid of the bonus, should the need arise (outgrown the benefits, no longer applicable, wants to "sell some gear" to raise funds, needs to free up an enhancement slot, etc)?

    GMSarli wrote:
    • Core talents are generally usable once per round, and they are the foundation of a particular talent tree. (I'm considering making a prerequisite for other talents on a tree is that you have at least one core talent -- not yet set on that.)
    • Minor talents are usually defensive, movement, aiding, or noncombat actions, usually about once per encounter.
    • Major talents are usually offensive or aiding actions, usually once per encounter or once per day.
    • Different recharge times allow for a balancing factor for talents that are slightly more powerful than others. Compared to a basic attack as a power-level benchmark, a talent usable 1/round is about 20% stronger, 1/encounter is about 50% stronger, and 1/day is about 100% stronger. (This obviously becomes very subjective when you're talking about something that doesn't directly affect combat statistics, but even in those cases you can compare talents of the same type to each other to evaluate their relative value.)


    Aw, man... I was hoping not to see "1/day" ever again, especially on an ability that I'd have to spend character building resources on. I hate, hate, hate daily abilities; gaining them just makes a character stronger for one fight each day, and then every fight before and after he's used it, it might as well have been as if he never leveled in the first place, in terms of "neat things I can do".

    If daily abilities must be included, I would like to see each talent that grants a 1/day "neat thing" to also grant a constant benefit for simply being able to do this Major "neat thing" at all. I'm thinking along the lines of the Reserve Feats from D&D 3.5's Complete Mage, if you want to understand what I mean a little better.

    Also, particularly for core talents, there should be both combat and non-combat applications of each talent. They don't have to be significantly powerful in both situations, but the option to use a low-tree fireball spell to control fire in more general-utility ways (for example) would be something really nice.

    GMSarli wrote:
    • The starting ability score array I'm using for the default level of heroism is 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10. Racial modifiers are going to be bonuses (no penalties), and the table shows a +2 added to the character's two highest abilities. (This is using a setup that is very broadly similar to 4E's racial modifiers.)
    • The attacks and damage shown here are meant to establish an upper end to how much damage you can expect out of a PC of a given level. They assume someone who has Skill Training and Skill Focus in their attack, an enhancement that improves their main attack, and that they use their best ability score for their main attack. At that level of specialization, the character hits about 75% of the time. Someone who isn't so specialized will still hit about 50% of the time in most cases, and even a worst-case scenario is probably still hitting 25% of the time.
    • Average damage per round assumes double damage on a natural 20. The "average attacks to kill" listing for different opponent types (ordinary, standard, and elite) uses the modern genre (i.e. a rifle or pistol dealing 2d8 damage) as its base. This is a very stripped-down number (not including any special abilities or templates that would normally make an opponent a little more durable), so don't be alarmed by how low it seems at times. :)


    I like that chart, but as others have mentioned, the higher-level you get, the more and more important Skill Focus becomes for your main attack skill (or skills?). At 20th level, without Skill Focus, the chance to hit drops from 75% to 60%; a significant decrease. If the character's stats aren't optimized completely, whether he's spread his stat points out more or his racial bonuses don't line up "optimally," then his chance to hit could drop to 50% or lower (though unlikely).

    A 50% chance to hit your enemy doesn't sound too bad on paper, but it's essentially a coin-flip every turn to see whether or not your turn will have any effect on the combat this round. It's really easy to get an unlucky streak at 50%, and that's no fun for anybody.

    Going the other direction, with an 18 in the character's "attack stat" before racial modifiers, chance to hit only peaks at 80%, which isn't too unreasonable, unless I'm missing some bonus somewhere.

    I really like these crunchy bits so far, though, even though I think I see some issues that could use some more discussion. I am curious, though; how well does the math hold up at level 21+?
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby JaredGaume » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:03 pm

    ...I go to bed and see what happens, teach me to sleep or have a life again...
    GMSarli wrote:I agree on the Strong, Fast, etc. names -- I want classes that fill similar niches, but the names are just too flat. The d20 Modern class names essentially describe attributes, but one of the things I like about Jared's names is that they describe roles and actions. That said, not all the names are quite what I'm looking for -- Gunslinger, in particular, is too genre-specific.

    Thanks :D I know I probably went wayyyy out there (Gunslinger), but it got us talking, so that's good.

    GMSarli wrote:So, let's try this as an exercise: Come up with better names for each of the six d20 Modern classes, names that describes roles/actions more than attributes. Here are some possible names -- I list my current favorite, and any additional ideas are in parentheses.

    • Strong Hero: Dreadnought (Brute, Vanguard, Champion)
    • Fast Hero: Duelist (Striker, Skirmisher, Harrier, Scout)
    • Tough Hero: Defender (Soldier, Protector, Guardian, Sentinel)
    • Smart Hero: Expert (Adept, Savant, Master, Specialist)
    • Dedicated Hero: Agent (Devotee, Disciple, Advocate)
    • Charismatic Hero: Leader (Personality, Authority, Executor)

    What names do you like, and what other names might you suggest? Keep in mind that we're going for genre-neutral and names that describe roles or actions rather than attributes. Also, if possible, names should be motivation-neutral (e.g. "rogue" and "scoundrel" both imply a particular attitude toward law and society in general), but we can compromise this guideline if a particular name is an absolutely perfect fit.

    My picks and reasons:

    Brute - formerly strong hero. Does a lot of work amping up the damage output (all damage, not just melee) and is generally good in a fight. Likes to use heavy weapons of all kinds, may even have ablities that let him use Strength instead of Dexterity when making ranged attacks, though probably on second and later attempts against the same target (i.e. has better weapon handling, once on target he can stay there). A little weak outside of combat, tending to go with intimidation and "beat it into submission" lines of thinking and acting.

    Scout - formerly fast hero. Is light on his feet and naturally good with ranged or light weapons. Likes to move around (a LOT!) and is difficult to catch or pin down, lots of ways to "wiggle" out of tough situations, enjoys stealth and subterfuge. In a fight is more interested in connecting with his attacks, a high rate of success with his first attempt. In or out of combat tends to be fairly balanced since the same things that make the Scout useful in a fight, are also skills that help him quietly get in and out of places, steal needed items, or spot trouble before it spots you.

    Guardian - formerly tough hero. Is heavy on his feet, good at standing his ground and denying whole areas to enemy movement. Though he does fit the "meat shield" concept with a ton of hit points, the Guardian is also good at sustained actions, soaking hits, and setting up areas of control (i.e. free opportunity attacks, even with ranged weapons). Out of combat is a little weak, often lacking much to add ends up the "strong silent type", his best line of interaction is waiting for something to happen so he can push it back.

    Expert - formerly smart hero. Uses his brains more than his brawn, but if he has to do the latter is smart about it, "Fights smarter, not harder". Obviously skill heavy the expert seems to be at his best out of a fight where he can bring his knowledge and skill to good use. However, that would be doing the Expert a disservice, since he is just as adept at picking up fighting skills. Many an expert can be found as a weapon master, just as easily as they may be a scholar. Strong points for an expert would be Smart Defense and Skill Expertise abilities among others.

    Adept - formerly dedicated hero. Has a good "feel" for situations both immediate and long term. Adepts make good detectives, desciples, or other kinds of devotee; and have a wealth of backing either from an organization or from a list of contacts that he has cultivated. Prefering a methodical approach, an adept is more inclined to "work things out" or at least choose the time and place of a fight. When he has to fight, an adept relies on his senses to get him into "the right place at the right time" both to protect himself and make his attacks.

    Personality - formerly charismatic hero. The "face" or "the man with the plan", a personality inspires her companions and makes them better at what they do, or dazzles others to get her way. Personalities heavily rely on their charisma, but also get a lot of mileage from their intelligence and keen observation. They are especially good at setting up diversions (getting opponents out of position or misleading them), and giving their allies bonuses to achieve success or defend themselves. Combat oriented personalities make good use of group tactics, or at least keeping allies on their feet and moving. More social oriented personalities have a knack of convincing just about anyone of just about anything.

    GMSarli wrote:Now, since you guys have wanted to see what I'm thinking of for class structure and such, here's one of the variants I'm currently considering. (...)


    Enhancements (Yummy, I like that idea. We should deffinately figure that one out.)
    Based on your description (earlier on up) it got me thinking that Enhancements work two ways in a Modern setting (other settings can incorporate additional uses).

    1. Techniques: A way of applying your skill, knowledge, and experience. Gary, what you already outlined.

    2. Technology: "Push button and win." Technology has the advantage of making items that work out of the box and often rely very little on the user's skill. Think hand grenade, pull pin and throw, you just have to get it close. Or use Google, spend minutes instead of hours researching a particular matter. Your limit is usually the expense of getting the particular technology.

    GMSarli wrote:
    • Core talents are generally usable once per round, and they are the foundation of a particular talent tree. (I'm considering making a prerequisite for other talents on a tree is that you have at least one core talent -- not yet set on that.)
    • Minor talents are usually defensive, movement, aiding, or noncombat actions, usually about once per encounter.
    • Major talents are usually offensive or aiding actions, usually once per encounter or once per day.
    • Different recharge times allow for a balancing factor for talents that are slightly more powerful than others. Compared to a basic attack as a power-level benchmark, a talent usable 1/round is about 20% stronger, 1/encounter is about 50% stronger, and 1/day is about 100% stronger. (This obviously becomes very subjective when you're talking about something that doesn't directly affect combat statistics, but even in those cases you can compare talents of the same type to each other to evaluate their relative value.)

    Core talents - I would put those up to always useable, if you can take the action, you can use the talent ("at-will" in 4e language). Your Core talents may be pre-requisites for higher level talents.

    Minor talents - I might change the name if these are useable only once per encounter, they are obviously more powerful than Core talents. Maybe call these Major talents.

    Major talents - Like minor talents, I might also change this name. Maybe call these Exceptional talents.

    As was mentioned earlier, you get talents in general, from your race, or from your class. I think that your total number of talents should fit within a "budget" limited by character level, or certain character choices are going to be stronger than others (i.e. you get more talents).

    I think the recharge rates may also be something to look at. In the Hit Point and Reserves topic (in the "House Rules" thread), you talked about restoring reserves on an hourly rate.

    May I suggest:

    "Take-5" - a short rest, usually only a few minutes to catch your breath before pushing on. Restore 1 of your "Minor talents", you may refresh your hit points by using your reserves.

    "Extended Rest" - you are resting for an hour or more. For every hour you rest you may do the following:
    Do minor surgery to patch up wounds "good as new" and other "short term" restorative acts. You may refresh you hit points by using your reserves, restore 1/10th of your reserve total, drop 1 point of fatigue (more if you have the abilities), restore all your "Minor talents", and you may restore one "Major talent".

    "Daily Rest" - basically you get a good night's sleep, you can only do this once per day. You heal from all fatigue, drop 1 injury point (more if you have the ability), set your Action Points to default (your daily AP), restore all of your hit points and reserves, restore all your "Minor talents", and restore all your "Major talents".

    GMSarli wrote:* The starting ability score array I'm using for the default level of heroism is 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10. Racial modifiers are going to be bonuses (no penalties), (...)

    I agree.

    GMSarli wrote:* (...) assume someone who has Skill Training and Skill Focus in their attack, an enhancement that improves their main attack, and that they use their best ability score for their main attack. At that level of specialization, the character hits about 75% of the time. Someone who isn't so specialized will still hit about 50% of the time in most cases, and even a worst-case scenario is probably still hitting 25% of the time.

    I agree. That is a note perfect balance for what you should expect at your current level.

    GMSarli wrote:*Average damage per round assumes double damage on a natural 20. (...)

    That is useful to know.

    GMSarli wrote:As I mentioned, this is just one variant I'm playing with and I expect a lot of this to change, but it should at least give you something to look at as a starting point. :)

    Thanks Gary! :D
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby bone_naga » Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:05 pm

    Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:I guess I'm a minority when I say that I think the different way 4e seperated its powers into At wills, encounters and dailies is one of the neatest features of the game. It's way better than the old "I swing, I hit.....repeat endlessly" syndrome of previous games. I love it. Makes it fun.

    Nope, you're not the only one. People get all wound up about the Encounter powers saying it's too arbitrary, but they usually have no problem with powers that can be used 1/hour, 2/day, etc. All an encounter power is is a power that has a 5 minute recharge time. If they wrote encounter powers as being usable once every 5 minutes, many of the same people saying that an "encounter" is too arbitrary wouldn't have said a word. On the flip side, saying "I use my 5 minute power" just wouldn't be as intuitive as "I use my encounter power" and would probably be more difficult for new players to remember.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:16 pm

    Personality as a name of a Class is worse than calling it Charismatic Hero for a class... Everybody in the game has personality, its not just being the face, its who we are as people.

    Based on your description Jared the name that pops out the most to me is Tactician. Somebody who uses the field of "battle" and utilizes it the best way they know how. In this case, the field of battle is either a combat field or a social field, but the Tactician uses his conniving ways, his charisma, and his quick intellect to better use his surroundings, and his allies, survive the fight, be it combat fight or social fight.

    By the way Sarli, your idea of enhancements is amazing...and it can be taken across any genre and used for so many various things...super powers, magic items, spells, psionics, supernatural gifts, or even less mystical things like ownership of a company, squad leader or command that provides tactical bonuses, organization rank, social status, or even possibly used as a Wealth rank of sorts, or a bonus to wealth. You can do a lot with that and it would provide a system that crosses genres.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby Jimmy Plamondon » Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:49 pm

    Somebody mentioned something about disliking daily powers... I tend to agree.

    Why not have a certain number of "stunt points" to spend on those special abilities. A minor power would cost 1, an intermediate power would cost 2 and a major power would cost 3. This way, if your character wants to burn all his pool on major powers, let him do it.

    Then the party rests, regains part of their "stunt points" and move on.

    (The numbers have been thrown in there without too much time to balance them out. It was meant as an example.)
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby j0lt » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:23 pm

    Jimmy Plamondon wrote:Somebody mentioned something about disliking daily powers... I tend to agree.

    Why not have a certain number of "stunt points" to spend on those special abilities. A minor power would cost 1, an intermediate power would cost 2 and a major power would cost 3. This way, if your character wants to burn all his pool on major powers, let him do it.

    Then the party rests, regains part of their "stunt points" and move on.

    (The numbers have been thrown in there without too much time to balance them out. It was meant as an example.)


    It an interesting idea... And since we already have the Action Point mechanic, why not just have the "dailies" cost an AP to use instead, and the "encounter/at-will" abilities function as is?
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby bone_naga » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:29 pm

    j0lt wrote:It an interesting idea... And since we already have the Action Point mechanic, why not just have the "dailies" cost an AP to use instead, and the "encounter/at-will" abilities function as is?

    That is an idea. Or a suggestion I've seen for D&D (which doesn't really work well because the game isn't balanced that way, but it could in this case) is for all the powers to function normally, but you can use Action Points to recharge them sooner than they normally would.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby JaredGaume » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:45 pm

    Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:Personality as a name of a Class is worse than calling it Charismatic Hero for a class... Everybody in the game has personality, its not just being the face, its who we are as people.

    Based on your description Jared the name that pops out the most to me is Tactician. Somebody who uses the field of "battle" and utilizes it the best way they know how. In this case, the field of battle is either a combat field or a social field, but the Tactician uses his conniving ways, his charisma, and his quick intellect to better use his surroundings, and his allies, survive the fight, be it combat fight or social fight.

    8-) That's cool, I was just trying to rack my brain for something.
    My first choice was Leader (chunked that because it felt like calling a class a Controller, Defender, Leader, or Striker).
    My second choice was Agent (chunked that because that seemed too genre specific).
    Authority and Executor didn't seem to fit either, but that may have just been some bias on my part.

    All I was left with was Personality, it seemed to click based on my experience of dealing with people with a lot of personality and social charms, but not really anything else. They don't really know or do anything, but can make it seem like they do. You know, the guy who sits in the back of the room and manages to take credit for all your hard work, gets the promotions, and you wonder why.

    I also admit that my examples tend to be on the tactical side.
    I've never had a problem with any role playing game for the role playing part. Resolving role playing situations is pretty simple, and you can cover a lot of ground with direction choices and a handfull of dice rolls.
    My difficulty with role playing games is when they get to combat and become ROLL playing games. Even that isn't too big of a problem, I like playing D&D 1st edition because it is pretty light on the rolls, its just all those tables...
    I keep looking for a game with some depth and complexity, but at the same time when I am either running or playing a combat scene that scene doesn't eat up the biggest chunk of table time.
    I want combat encounters to be an exclamation point on the action, not be the only action.
    That comes through when I start talking about classes and how they differentiate in combat, and hopefully streamline it. I tend to lose the role playing part of the class sometimes.

    Tactician for charismatic hero works too, though I think it may not be broad enough... Maybe something else. Not a big fan of Charisma classes personally since they seem to run the board during role playing segments and might as well not be there during a fight. I'm sure there is a balance there, maybe someone else has a better line on it.

    Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:By the way Sarli, your idea of enhancements is amazing...and it can be taken across any genre and used for so many various things...super powers, magic items, spells, psionics, supernatural gifts, or even less mystical things like ownership of a company, squad leader or command that provides tactical bonuses, organization rank, social status, or even possibly used as a Wealth rank of sorts, or a bonus to wealth. You can do a lot with that and it would provide a system that crosses genres.

    I second that :D
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby Elsidar » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:11 pm

    (Wish I'd seen this post before I made my first reply... These answer a bunch of my questions. :oops: )

    GMSarli wrote:
    babs wrote:
    [*]This setup assumes that Skill Training grants a +2 training bonus. Skill Focus improves your training bonus to +3 (+4 at 5th level, and +5 at 13th level).


    Looks okay to me, but at higher level it then becomes rather important to be focused in a weapon in order to use it effectively. A +3 attack differences is huge!


    True, but remember that I'm trying to establish the upper end of what a character's best attack would be like. A solid plurality (if not a majority) of players seem to take Skill Focus in their most-used skill -- and those that don't still get to spend that feat on something else, so they presumably still get a decent (albeit different) benefit.


    True enough, I suppose. However, if gameplay continues past level 20 and Skill Focus continues to improve, it may well become a mandatory feat for just about anybody.

    I'm tempted to say that the easiest solution is a free Skill Focus at 1st level, but that feels like a patch rather than a solution. Any ideas?

    GMSarli wrote:
    babs wrote:I like the idea of handing out bonuses to players, but I wonder wether these enhancement bonuses needs to be so big and wether they should be tied to specific weapons at all. In fantasies RPG, I really dislike my +5 sword because it prevented me from using any other weapons at all. Even though they would have been more appropriate thematically. I would be okay with just a Magic (+1 or +2) sword and let the rest of the bonus be tied to character training, as mentioned below. In Star Wars I really love that I can pick up a stormtrooper rifle and I am game.


    For modern settings, I'm thinking the bonuses generally won't be tied to a particular weapon or item. (Possible exceptions might exist for some truly exceptional piece of hardware -- in SW, for example, I could certainly see the Millennium Falcon providing some kind of enhancement bonus to its pilot.)


    Well, that answers my first question. Still, I do tend to wonder if there is a limit to the number of enhancements any one character can benefit from at a time. I'm not saying there needs to be one, however, especially for the intangible ones.

    GMSarli wrote:Skills will still have their unique uses (e.g. "trained-only" applications), and the training bonuses from skills do stack with enhancement bonuses. The main point of enhancements is to keep the gap from being too wide and -- like magic items in D&D -- to provide some interesting special abilities that you might not otherwise have. (Think of them as being sort of like talents that are tied to a particular experience instead of a particular class, level, and talent tree.)

    babs wrote:
    GMSarli wrote:
    • This makes enhancements one of the most flexible mechanics in the game, and -- best of all -- they're a way to make sure that all of the PCs feel like they can contribute in any type of encounter. For example <snip>


    The important notion here is that we should make sure all PCs feel like they can contribute in any type of encounter!


    Precisely!


    This is the part that really jumps out at me, and the part that I really like. It gives the GM tremendous flexibility in story and challenge designing; if only one character is really able to participate in a particular challenge, you can (permanently, yes?) give a big enough boost to the rest of the party right then and there to make them competent, yet still let the character who's specialized in the situation shine.

    I can also see roleplaying opportunities for one character justifying a bonus for his allies, either taking over leadership of the party and helping them through a tough situation, or just performing so well, it inspires his fellows to push themselves and key off of his actions.

    However, this raises two important questions: for the on-the-fly enhancements, will they come out of the expected "loot budget" for each level, like D&D's "expected wealth by level"? I'm of the opinion that they should not. If a GM doles out a situational boon to shore up the performance of some characters, the ones who don't need the boost end up with more loot that they really wanted, and the other players might feel like they're being punished for not anticipating what the GM wanted. This could be especially messy if the GM grants this bonus for a situation that is exceedingly rare.

    GMSarli wrote:I'm glad you brought that up, because that's one of the other things I want enhancements to help with: They're great for situational stuff.
    • Let's say you have a smuggler-like character -- he needs to be a decent pilot, sure, but there's also plenty of groundling stuff he needs to be good at. He might pick up one or two talents and/or feats that fit this shtick, but he gets a little extra flair from some "maneuvers" and "stunts" that he picks up as enhancements.
    • Taking that to an extreme, an ace pilot who basically lives in the cockpit might put a huge amount of his level-based resources into vehicle stuff (including plenty of enhancements), but he's still competent on the ground because of some ground-based "stances" and "gambits" that he picks up as enhancements.
    • At the other extreme, a completely ground-oriented commando pumps all his level-based resources into assault stuff, but he's still useful on a transport because of some gunnery "salvos" and "attack patterns" that he picks up as enhancements.

    (Or, to fall back on a D&D analogy: If you have a bunch of cloaks of elvenkind, the rest of the party can keep up with the ranger ... at least enough to keep from stumbling through the forest like a bunch of apes. :D )


    Here's my other concern: With a system like this, what's to keep that ace pilot from spending both talents and finances on piloting stuff and expecting GM-boosts when the party gets itself in trouble where the ace can't fly a ship? In any other game, the guy who hyper-specializes for one type of scenario is either bored or screwed when he finds himself out of his element. If this section of the book is worded poorly, the power-game-iest of players might think that they're entitled to these sorts of bennies when the GM throws something at them that they're not expecting. What do you think is the best way of avoiding this situation?
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:30 pm

    Elsidar wrote:Here's my other concern: With a system like this, what's to keep that ace pilot from spending both talents and finances on piloting stuff and expecting GM-boosts when the party gets itself in trouble where the ace can't fly a ship? In any other game, the guy who hyper-specializes for one type of scenario is either bored or screwed when he finds himself out of his element. If this section of the book is worded poorly, the power-game-iest of players might think that they're entitled to these sorts of bennies when the GM throws something at them that they're not expecting. What do you think is the best way of avoiding this situation?


    This can be answered by using a Action Point system, whereas a person can spend an Action Point to gain a temporary use of an enhancement for a scene or encounter, to better be able to help in situations where they normally wouldn't be able to.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:38 pm

    Jimmy Plamondon wrote:Somebody mentioned something about disliking daily powers... I tend to agree.

    Why not have a certain number of "stunt points" to spend on those special abilities. A minor power would cost 1, an intermediate power would cost 2 and a major power would cost 3. This way, if your character wants to burn all his pool on major powers, let him do it.

    Then the party rests, regains part of their "stunt points" and move on.

    (The numbers have been thrown in there without too much time to balance them out. It was meant as an example.)


    Stunt Points could work, just another way to word Action Points, but using these points to do different 'tiers' of abilities is a neat idea...

    Hey, maybe your stunt points could be a per encounter pool of points and they let you augment different kinds of actions in a encounter. Maybe most actions have a Base Action that anybody can do... then people with Talents gain unique uses of those Base Actions, usable with their Stunt Pool for the encounter. Different talents can have different costs, or maybe they can pick the same talent again to gain more advantages with the talent.

    No more Daily powers, just a bunch of possible encounter powers depending on how characters are built.

    Maybe each Core Class can have a special first level talent that only that class can get as part of being the characters first chosen class, and they get bonuses with it with their Stunt Pool.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby JaredGaume » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:47 pm

    j0lt wrote:
    Jimmy Plamondon wrote:Somebody mentioned something about disliking daily powers... I tend to agree.

    Why not have a certain number of "stunt points" to spend on those special abilities. A minor power would cost 1, an intermediate power would cost 2 and a major power would cost 3. This way, if your character wants to burn all his pool on major powers, let him do it.

    Then the party rests, regains part of their "stunt points" and move on.

    (The numbers have been thrown in there without too much time to balance them out. It was meant as an example.)


    It an interesting idea... And since we already have the Action Point mechanic, why not just have the "dailies" cost an AP to use instead, and the "encounter/at-will" abilities function as is?

    I like that idea.

    bone_naga wrote:That is an idea. Or a suggestion I've seen for D&D (which doesn't really work well because the game isn't balanced that way, but it could in this case) is for all the powers to function normally, but you can use Action Points to recharge them sooner than they normally would.

    I like that idea too.


    I guess it comes down to how we want talents to work.

    If we go the 4e route, (turn/encounter/daily), then bone_naga's idea is excellent.

    If we go with a different mechanic (more d20M/SWSE), then j0lt's idea works well.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby richterbelmont10 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:47 pm

    As for skills, I wish we could eliminate Class skills and have any class take any skill.

    GMSarli wrote:I agree on the Strong, Fast, etc. names -- I want classes that fill similar niches, but the names are just too flat. The d20 Modern class names essentially describe attributes, but one of the things I like about Jared's names is that they describe roles and actions. That said, not all the names are quite what I'm looking for -- Gunslinger, in particular, is too genre-specific.

    So, let's try this as an exercise: Come up with better names for each of the six d20 Modern classes, names that describes roles/actions more than attributes. Here are some possible names -- I list my current favorite, and any additional ideas are in parentheses.

    • Strong Hero: Dreadnought (Brute, Vanguard, Champion)
    • Fast Hero: Duelist (Striker, Skirmisher, Harrier, Scout)
    • Tough Hero: Defender (Soldier, Protector, Guardian, Sentinel)
    • Smart Hero: Expert (Adept, Savant, Master, Specialist)
    • Dedicated Hero: Agent (Devotee, Disciple, Advocate)
    • Charismatic Hero: Leader (Personality, Authority, Executor)

    What names do you like, and what other names might you suggest? Keep in mind that we're going for genre-neutral and names that describe roles or actions rather than attributes. Also, if possible, names should be motivation-neutral (e.g. "rogue" and "scoundrel" both imply a particular attitude toward law and society in general), but we can compromise this guideline if a particular name is an absolutely perfect fit.


    The names for the main classes in d20M (Strong, Fast, etc) are so LAME and unimaginative. Why not have a couple different names for the same class, and you select the one depending on your era or genre? Among all the ones listed, I liked:

    Strong Hero: Fighter/Warrior/Mercenary
    Fast Hero: Rogue/Scoundrel/Scout
    Tough Hero: Barbarian/Soldier/Guardian/Tank
    Smart Hero: Wizard/Expert/Tech Specialist
    Dedicated Hero: Monk/Sorcerer/Agent/Sentinel/Adept/Investigator
    Charismatic Hero: Noble/Leader/Commander/Officer

    Elsidar wrote:Aw, man... I was hoping not to see "1/day" ever again, especially on an ability that I'd have to spend character building resources on. I hate, hate, hate daily abilities; gaining them just makes a character stronger for one fight each day, and then every fight before and after he's used it, it might as well have been as if he never leveled in the first place, in terms of "neat things I can do".


    I also hate daily powers for the same reason. I love how Force powers recharge after 1 minute in Star Wars Saga Edition. Couldn't we just make daily powers recharge after 1-2 hours?
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby Jimmy Plamondon » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:23 pm

    Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:
    Jimmy Plamondon wrote:Somebody mentioned something about disliking daily powers... I tend to agree.

    Why not have a certain number of "stunt points" to spend on those special abilities. A minor power would cost 1, an intermediate power would cost 2 and a major power would cost 3. This way, if your character wants to burn all his pool on major powers, let him do it.

    Then the party rests, regains part of their "stunt points" and move on.

    (The numbers have been thrown in there without too much time to balance them out. It was meant as an example.)


    Stunt Points could work, just another way to word Action Points, but using these points to do different 'tiers' of abilities is a neat idea...

    Hey, maybe your stunt points could be a per encounter pool of points and they let you augment different kinds of actions in a encounter. Maybe most actions have a Base Action that anybody can do... then people with Talents gain unique uses of those Base Actions, usable with their Stunt Pool for the encounter. Different talents can have different costs, or maybe they can pick the same talent again to gain more advantages with the talent.

    No more Daily powers, just a bunch of possible encounter powers depending on how characters are built.

    Maybe each Core Class can have a special first level talent that only that class can get as part of being the characters first chosen class, and they get bonuses with it with their Stunt Pool.


    I like the way you think Stacie. Making all "stunts" usable by everybody, but allowing a "talented" individual to do something even flashier with stunt points is very interesting. This way, we avoid having only certain types of characters able to do basic stunts (like disarm... yes 4th edition I am looking at you).

    Action or stunt points are pretty much the same, yeah. Maybe, depending on the style of game (gritty vs heroic), that pool could refresh faster or slower accordingly... and/or have certain stunts cost less/more.

    Powering certain powers with action points as opposed to have daily powers is very interesting! I like the idea.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby GMSarli » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:34 pm

    Elsidar wrote:
    GMSarli wrote:True, but remember that I'm trying to establish the upper end of what a character's best attack would be like. A solid plurality (if not a majority) of players seem to take Skill Focus in their most-used skill -- and those that don't still get to spend that feat on something else, so they presumably still get a decent (albeit different) benefit.

    True enough, I suppose. However, if gameplay continues past level 20 and Skill Focus continues to improve, it may well become a mandatory feat for just about anybody.


    I set the bonuses the way I did because I planned on stopping the progression at 20th. If we decide to change to a 30-level structure, like 4E, we'd change the weighting of these different bonuses to keep any one thing from being too important.

    Elsidar wrote:I'm tempted to say that the easiest solution is a free Skill Focus at 1st level, but that feels like a patch rather than a solution. Any ideas?


    Well, we could set Skill Training to where the training bonus increases automatically instead of by buying Skill Focus, but personally I really like having at least one "specialist" feat for someone who wants to invest in a particular skill. At the highest levels, that +3 might be fairly significant, but if we can make sure other feats also scale proportionally then it all works out.

    Elsidar wrote:
    GMSarli wrote:For modern settings, I'm thinking the bonuses generally won't be tied to a particular weapon or item. (Possible exceptions might exist for some truly exceptional piece of hardware -- in SW, for example, I could certainly see the Millennium Falcon providing some kind of enhancement bonus to its pilot.)

    Well, that answers my first question. Still, I do tend to wonder if there is a limit to the number of enhancements any one character can benefit from at a time. I'm not saying there needs to be one, however, especially for the intangible ones.


    That's something I'm not yet set on -- I'm thinking there might be something analogous to magic item slots. For example, you might have a "stance" slot and a "exploit" slot, and you could have one of each "active" at any given time. (Presumably, you could switch enhancements between encounters, e.g. if you've learned more than one stance you could switch them between fights.)

    Since this is a very new mechanic (at the very least, I've never seen or worked with anything like it), I'm expecting this to be one of the things that needs the most input and playtesting -- a lot of details will need to be worked out to make sure that this fills a niche that complements a character's abilities rather than replacing or outshining them.

    Elsidar wrote:
    GMSarli wrote:Skills will still have their unique uses (e.g. "trained-only" applications), and the training bonuses from skills do stack with enhancement bonuses. The main point of enhancements is to keep the gap from being too wide and -- like magic items in D&D -- to provide some interesting special abilities that you might not otherwise have. (Think of them as being sort of like talents that are tied to a particular experience instead of a particular class, level, and talent tree.)
    babs wrote:The important notion here is that we should make sure all PCs feel like they can contribute in any type of encounter!

    Precisely!


    This is the part that really jumps out at me, and the part that I really like. It gives the GM tremendous flexibility in story and challenge designing; if only one character is really able to participate in a particular challenge, you can (permanently, yes?) give a big enough boost to the rest of the party right then and there to make them competent, yet still let the character who's specialized in the situation shine.

    I can also see roleplaying opportunities for one character justifying a bonus for his allies, either taking over leadership of the party and helping them through a tough situation, or just performing so well, it inspires his fellows to push themselves and key off of his actions.

    However, this raises two important questions: for the on-the-fly enhancements, will they come out of the expected "loot budget" for each level, like D&D's "expected wealth by level"? I'm of the opinion that they should not. If a GM doles out a situational boon to shore up the performance of some characters, the ones who don't need the boost end up with more loot that they really wanted, and the other players might feel like they're being punished for not anticipating what the GM wanted. This could be especially messy if the GM grants this bonus for a situation that is exceedingly rare.


    I want to avoid having a "loot budget" if at all possible -- it's hard to avoid sometimes, but if at all possible I want to see if there's a good way around it.

    The enhancements will have level guidelines and such, but that's more in terms of power level than in terms of quantity. Since we're including this as a part of the expected power curve, if you give your heroes more enhancements, they're broadening their competence rather than deepening it.

    Elsidar wrote:
    GMSarli wrote:I'm glad you brought that up, because that's one of the other things I want enhancements to help with: They're great for situational stuff.
    • Let's say you have a smuggler-like character -- he needs to be a decent pilot, sure, but there's also plenty of groundling stuff he needs to be good at. He might pick up one or two talents and/or feats that fit this shtick, but he gets a little extra flair from some "maneuvers" and "stunts" that he picks up as enhancements.
    • Taking that to an extreme, an ace pilot who basically lives in the cockpit might put a huge amount of his level-based resources into vehicle stuff (including plenty of enhancements), but he's still competent on the ground because of some ground-based "stances" and "gambits" that he picks up as enhancements.
    • At the other extreme, a completely ground-oriented commando pumps all his level-based resources into assault stuff, but he's still useful on a transport because of some gunnery "salvos" and "attack patterns" that he picks up as enhancements.
    (Or, to fall back on a D&D analogy: If you have a bunch of cloaks of elvenkind, the rest of the party can keep up with the ranger ... at least enough to keep from stumbling through the forest like a bunch of apes. :D )

    Here's my other concern: With a system like this, what's to keep that ace pilot from spending both talents and finances on piloting stuff and expecting GM-boosts when the party gets itself in trouble where the ace can't fly a ship? In any other game, the guy who hyper-specializes for one type of scenario is either bored or screwed when he finds himself out of his element. If this section of the book is worded poorly, the power-game-iest of players might think that they're entitled to these sorts of bennies when the GM throws something at them that they're not expecting. What do you think is the best way of avoiding this situation?

    That's actually one of the things I'm most worried about with this system -- we don't want to create what economists call "perverse incentives" that encourage what you describe. Ideally, enhancements provide just enough to keep a nonspecialized character from feeling useless when they're out of their element, but not enough to make them feel like they wouldn't benefit from a little diversity.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby Kaldaen » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:36 pm

    GMSarli wrote:I agree on the Strong, Fast, etc. names -- I want classes that fill similar niches, but the names are just too flat. The d20 Modern class names essentially describe attributes, but one of the things I like about Jared's names is that they describe roles and actions. That said, not all the names are quite what I'm looking for -- Gunslinger, in particular, is too genre-specific.

    So, let's try this as an exercise: Come up with better names for each of the six d20 Modern classes, names that describes roles/actions more than attributes. Here are some possible names -- I list my current favorite, and any additional ideas are in parentheses.

    • Strong Hero: Dreadnought (Brute, Vanguard, Champion)
    • Fast Hero: Duelist (Striker, Skirmisher, Harrier, Scout)
    • Tough Hero: Defender (Soldier, Protector, Guardian, Sentinel)
    • Smart Hero: Expert (Adept, Savant, Master, Specialist)
    • Dedicated Hero: Agent (Devotee, Disciple, Advocate)
    • Charismatic Hero: Leader (Personality, Authority, Executor)

    What names do you like, and what other names might you suggest? Keep in mind that we're going for genre-neutral and names that describe roles or actions rather than attributes. Also, if possible, names should be motivation-neutral (e.g. "rogue" and "scoundrel" both imply a particular attitude toward law and society in general), but we can compromise this guideline if a particular name is an absolutely perfect fit.


    My choices would be as follows:

    • Strong Hero: Vanguard
    • Tough Hero: Sentinel (or Defender or Guardian, I'm not picky about this one)
    • Fast Hero: Skirmisher
    • Smart Hero: Savant
    • Dedicated Hero: Disciple
    • Charismatic Hero: Tactician

    Most of these are personal preferences, but I've got some definitive reasons for a couple of them. First, while I really like the term Dreadnought, I can't think of any instance where it would apply in a modern setting. It would be a great fit in a fantasy or futuristic setting, so I hope it ends up being used as the name of a talent tree at least. If it is the name of the class, I wouldn't be terribly disappointed. :) Vanguard has more cross-genre applicability, though, I think.

    Second, I think Duelist has the problem of describing a specific job for the character. It suggests a one-on-one style of fighting, whereas there are a lot more ways a fast character can fight. While dueling is definitely an option, advance recon and enemy disruption also fit well with a high speed and Dexterity. Skirmisher describes all of these battlefield roles.

    Edit: I have shamelessly changed my preference for the Charismatic class to Tactician, after seeing Stacie's post on the matter. That is much better than what I had, and it has the added bonus of not duplicating a "role" from 4E. :D

    The rest I picked because they have literary appeal, and help to make the classes memorable.
    Last edited by Kaldaen on Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby JaredGaume » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:12 pm

    GMSarli wrote:
    Elsidar wrote:
    GMSarli wrote:For modern settings, I'm thinking the bonuses generally won't be tied to a particular weapon or item. (Possible exceptions might exist for some truly exceptional piece of hardware -- in SW, for example, I could certainly see the Millennium Falcon providing some kind of enhancement bonus to its pilot.)

    Well, that answers my first question. Still, I do tend to wonder if there is a limit to the number of enhancements any one character can benefit from at a time. I'm not saying there needs to be one, however, especially for the intangible ones.


    That's something I'm not yet set on -- I'm thinking there might be something analogous to magic item slots. For example, you might have a "stance" slot and a "exploit" slot, and you could have one of each "active" at any given time. (Presumably, you could switch enhancements between encounters, e.g. if you've learned more than one stance you could switch them between fights.)

    Since this is a very new mechanic (at the very least, I've never seen or worked with anything like it), I'm expecting this to be one of the things that needs the most input and playtesting -- a lot of details will need to be worked out to make sure that this fills a niche that complements a character's abilities rather than replacing or outshining them.

    When you described Enhancements I was thinking you were going to want some way to limit them. I like the idea of having a "stance" and/or an "exploit" that I can use. Though I wonder if we can treat Enhancements a little like items or weapons, spend a Move action or the like and you can change your stance. Maybe have a set-up where you have semi-permenant Enhancements that are like wearing armor, you can only change them between encounters. And have easy-swappable Enhancements that are more like weapons, you can switch between them during an encounter.
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby JaredGaume » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:16 pm

    Kaldaen wrote:(...)

    The rest I picked because they have literary appeal, and help to make the classes memorable.

    Yes, I think that is a good approach to looking at classes. Just watch out for the "genre specific" pitfall ;)
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    Re: e20 Core Classes

    Postby GMSarli » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:17 am

    JaredGaume wrote:When you described Enhancements I was thinking you were going to want some way to limit them. I like the idea of having a "stance" and/or an "exploit" that I can use. Though I wonder if we can treat Enhancements a little like items or weapons, spend a Move action or the like and you can change your stance. Maybe have a set-up where you have semi-permenant Enhancements that are like wearing armor, you can only change them between encounters. And have easy-swappable Enhancements that are more like weapons, you can switch between them during an encounter.

    That is an excellent idea.
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