Reserve Points

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Reserve Points

Postby Imagist » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:30 am

I wasn't exactly sure where to post this idea, since it could potentially affect skills, talents, hit points, combat actions, and other things, so I thought I would post it here since Combat & Actions are the most broad subject that would be covered by this suggestion. Please, any criticism or comments... give them freely and honestly because I am actually not sure if this is a really good idea or a really dumb one.

As discussed in a couple other areas, the idea of reserves for hit points were introduced, either as a pool of sudo-hp that you can draw upon to fill your reserves or as points you could spend once during an encounter or during a full minutes rest to restore 25% (1/4 of your total hit points). I understand some play testing was done using the latter of the two ideas with varying degrees of success. My idea is this:

reserve hit points + action points = reserve points

I will try to explain.

At some point in all of our lives we have had to call upon something deep down within us, bringing forth strength, energy, or will we didn't think we had, but we somehow did. A mother who pushes a car off of her child, a "big brother" who somehow manages to get through a five hour drive to get his siblings safely home after pulling an all-nighter and spending the entire day with them at a theme park because the kid's mom crapped out on them and rather than disappoint them he manned up and grew a pair and suffered through an entire day of rides and wandering around while slowly but surely draining his bank account all for the untold joy on the faces of his "little bwothers" (maybe a little of myself in that example), a professional boxer who "didn't hear no bell," or any number of instances where someone has looked deep within themselves and found something resting... waiting to be unleashed. That is what a reserve point is, and for a heroic character, it can be something much more.

Everybody may have called upon a reserve point at some time or another (usually a temporary reserve point granted through adrenaline or because of a life-threatening situation), but for a heroic character a reserve point is a constant source of strength and power... albeit in limited supply. When fully rested, a heroic character has a number of reserve points probably based on level and maybe a static number (3 + 1/2 level?), but what can a character do with a reserve point?

* Use a second wind once per encounter to regain 1/4 (25%) of his total hit points.
* Reroll a skill he is trained in, taking the better of the two results (maybe refunding the reserve point of one of the results is a natural 20).
* Activate a talent that can normally only be used once per encounter even if he has already used it during that encounter.
* Use the Focus skill to activate a heroic ability tied to his or her heroic class.

These are just examples, and I am sure many more could be thought of. I see reserve points as being linked to the Focus skill, as that is the main skill being discussed for activating "heroic traits" such as psionics, magic, super powers, or just plain heroic abilities that set heroes apart from normal people. I give the below example in more of a narrative, using our good old friend Noah Swift.

*****

Noah let out a small groan. Where did these guys keep coming from? The two dark figures that had been trailing him since Boston finally emerged from the shadows, a little too close for Noah's comfort. Both were tall and lanky, wearing dark clothing and saying nothing. They were definitely creepy, but they had an air of professionalism about them; like agents from some sort of secret government organization.

Noah was fast, real fast, but they had followed him and had found a way to confront him on this rooftop. Noah quietly wondered if they were like him, heroic, or maybe, just maybe, the represented something from the opposite end of the spectrum, something dark and evil. As if to answer his mental question, both figures silently drew wicked looking blades from their dark trench coats. No doubt in Noah’s mind now; these were villains.

For what seemed like an eternity, Noah and the two figures in black waited in quiet anticipation, sizing each other up on the cold and windy rooftop while the sounds of the city at dusk played below them. Movement caught Noah’s eye; so it was beginning. One of the dark figures rushed forward, blade drawn in a low stance as he made his way to attack Noah. His movements were fluid, like water, his footsteps barely audible, and his speed was faster than the normal human eye could fully register. Noah’s eyes were not normal, however, and everything seemed to slow down.

Each step the man took was like a calculated eternity for Noah, and while he made his way towards the boy, Noah began his own movement running towards the man to make a counter charge. As their paths slowly collided the man brought his blade upward just in time to miss Noah who was already halfway through his acrobatic flip over the path of the first agent. Landing with catlike grace behind the man, Noah used his newfound footing and a heroic burst of speed to continue his charge from behind the man, digging deep into the gravel of the rooftop to build up more kinetic energy. A few quick steps and a powerful lunge sent Noah’s kick into the man’s back.

Using the dark figure’s back like a launching pad, Noah kicked off, sending the man flying in the opposite direction as Noah executed a flashy acrobatic twist in the air to land facing the other dark figure. The sound of the first attacker slamming into the ground behind him gave Noah pause with a slight smirk of satisfaction. Yeah, they were fast alright, but he was faster.

While Noah congratulated himself, the second agent wasted no time. His approach surprised Noah, because of its speed. It was fast, faster than the other agent, almost faster than Noah could perceive without his form blurring. Faster still was the blade. Noah had just barely dodged the blade and landed a few steps away when a pain suddenly sprang from his chest. Using a hand to cover the gash that had torn through his shirt, he suddenly realized these guys weren’t messing around. The cut was long, but not deep, so Noah took a deep breath and pushed the pain to the back of his mind as his father had taught him how to do.

Facing the agent that had just slashed him, he could see the first agent picking himself up front the ground, obviously shrugging off what Noah thought was a good hit. Noah had to rethink his strategy. They were more experienced than he was, they were in all likely-hood faster than he was, and to top it all off there were two of them. If he ran, they would catch him and kill him. If he stood and fought, they would more than likely kill him anyway.

‘But why didn’t they just kill me already?’ Noah thought for a moment, as the agents took their time to study Noah, savoring his fear and the sudden realization of his situation. They were playing with him, testing him, seeing what he could do and answering with greater speed. He had one chance, all or nothing. He had only tried this once, and even than it had taken everything he had just to control it, so he had to be absolute in his execution, no fear, no doubt, just perfection.

It was like unnatural warmth was flowing through his entire body; a calming comforting power. Noah closed his eyes, shutting out all distraction, blocking the entire world except for the rooftop and the two agents. The first sound was the gravel shifting ever so slightly. In an instant Noah’s eyes were open and the figures of the two agents were nearly upon him. They were going in for the kill.

As the agents brought themselves in range to strike, Noah launched his body into the air with more power and speed than seemed physically possible. Meeting the agents in mid-attack, Noah seemed to effortlessly twist and turn in the air, causing their blades to harmlessly pass by him. As if to answer their disbelief of his speed and agility, Noah unleashed a counter attack of his own devising, a quick grab and throw that sent one agent flying back behind Noah and off of the rooftop with a howl of terror.

As Noah landed, the remaining figure began a relentless assault of quick but inaccurate attacks, obviously trying to land something on Noah. Feeling his focus fading, Noah acted fast to get the most out of his momentarily enhanced defenses. As the agent’s blade came down towards Noah once more, Noah opened up a weak spot in his defense, which the agent happy attempted to exploit. The blade landed a glancing blow, but that was enough of a distraction for Noah to answer with an attack of his own, one that caught the agent completely off guard.

A few moments later, Noah finished going through the agent’s wallet as he lay sprawled out and unconscious on the rooftop, completely knocked out this time. Pocketing a few big bills so he could get a new shirt, he found something interesting; a business card.

“Karsynergie Corporation…” Noah said out loud to himself reading the business card he had just removed from the agent’s wallet. The name sounded familiar, but he didn’t know where he had heard it before.

Noah knew this wasn’t going to be the end of people coming after him; he had messed up. His parents had obviously tried to hide him from whomever it was that was trying to kill him. If it was this Karsynergie Corporation, than he knew where he needed to go in order to find some answers and maybe a safe place to crash. Rooftops just weren’t going to cut it anymore. He had to look up some old family friends.

*****

The above example uses a Second Wind and a Defensive Dexterity based heroic character talent of some kind, as well as an agile riposte type effect and some sort of a Dexterity based Bull Rush maneuver. It was just means to illustrate how reserve points could be used, not necessarily the scale or scope of a heroic character or their abilities.

This is just an idea and I would really love impute… constructive impute. I can accept people saying it sucks mechanically speaking, I would just like to know why and what others would change/add/remove.

Just a thought.
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Re: Reserve Points

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:16 am

Your basically switching the d20M action point system from action points to reserve points but really its not to much different than d20M in how you determine how many points you get, am I understanding that right? Your giving it more options to use, but I'm liking how Gary had it when he first suggested it, but I like where your idea is coming from.

Basically, lets say we get half our Hit Points in Reserve Points. So, a person with 30 HP has 15 Reserve Points. Okay, now he can use these points to heal himself after a combat if he wants to. That's the basic use of what Reserve Points are all about. But......what if we have some campaign options that use Reserve Points as well. I can really see Reserve Points being used as a Fuel of sorts for casting spells or using powers of some kind. I can see it also being used as a Willpower Battery of some kind, and having uses that would be based off of a Willpower use. I can also see Reserves being used to do your "Second Wind" idea, or use Reserves to Push your Physical LImit past its maximum for a quick burst of Adrenaline, but after you do that you become fatigued. I can see Reserves being used for a wide variety of things.

And different campaigns can call Reserve Points by different names... maybe in one campaign it is just a Hit Point Battery. Maybe in another it is Willpower, like from World of Darkness type of willpower. Maybe in another it is Energy Points used to power spells or psionics or super powers. Who knows..but I think that Reserve Points can be used for a lot of different things.

What do you all think?
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Re: Reserve Points

Postby Imagist » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:22 pm

The system as presented above does indeed basically do everything that was originally suggested for reserve points, but I felt by condensing them from a pool of equal to double your hit points and having each point instead represent a set percentage of hit points (i.e. 25% or 1/4th of your total hit points) it would make them easier tools for expending them, especially using other modules.

Let’s use an example. Say a character has 100 hit points and is granted reserve points equal to twice his total hit points. In a loose reserve point system this would mean they have 100 hit points and 200 reserve points. In a condensed reserve point system they have 100 hit points and 8 reserve points (each reserve points representing 25 hit points or ¼ of their hit point total).

In a magic module, let’s say some spells require reserve points to cast. We would first have to determine how many reserve points a spell requires to cast (either based on level of the spell or a uniform casting cost in the case of non-level based spells such as SWSE Force powers). Let’s for the sake of argument say it costs 25 loose reserve points to cast a spell or 1 condensed reserve point to cast a spell. Both should mechanically represent the same expenditure of reserve power to call upon the magical forces required to cast the spell, but which is easier to track?

If we go with using reserve points to heal during or after combat, the loose reserve point is going to be more beneficial to character who want to “top off” their character’s hit points after an encounter, guaranteeing they are going to enter combat with full hit point totals while draining their loose reserve points by an equal amount. Using condensed reserve points, we see people who want to keep their characters at 100% at all times being penalized, making them choose between keeping their characters at 100% health but sacrificing the excess hit points lost, or holding off fully healing (keeping them within less than ¼ of their total hit points at any given time) until their hit points drop below ¾ their total. In this example, condensed reserve points become easier to track than loose reserve points, but also have the added effect of making players really feel the injuries of their characters, since they cannot readily bounce back 100% without sacrificing some of their flexible survivability.

Both examples use abstract numbers that probably won’t be found in the final content of the book. What I wanted people to look at where the mechanics of how a system like this could potentially help streamline and make accessible to newer players the final e20 system. I just think tracking a pool of potential hundreds of reserve points on a character sheet would be counterproductive to streamlining the mechanics, when you could instead track maybe a dozen or so points with the exact same mechanical benefit and function.

Just a thought.
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Re: Reserve Points

Postby Elsidar » Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:02 pm

This idea has been proposed before in a similar fashion, by way of assigning a Reserve HP cost to some abilities. The idea you describe is more like combining the effects of D&D 3.5 Action Points and D&D 4E's Healing Surges, but the concept behind the two different implementations is the same; a character can sacrifice some personal energy that could be utilized later to do something really spiffy right now.

One of the bigger reservations I had with a mechanic like this that I mentioned in the first thread was that abilities that consume hit points, whether they're current HP or reserve HP in any form, ultimately end up increasing the chances of a player dying. It's particularly painful if the character is really strapped for resources; holding on to his last chunk of reserves could mean that he can't beat the challenge before him, but spending his reserves could well mean his doom later whether his expenditure was successful or not. This conflict between using power and staying alive was used in Star Wars RCR and was ultimately scrapped because of it.

Another issue is that HP is currently governed by Constitution. If reserves are to be used to fuel magical spells, then all magic using characters are going to have to be big beefy sacks of hitpoints to get the most out of their reserves, and thus, be able to cast more spells before resting. In fact, magic that functions off of a mechanic such as this will result in any non-magic users neglecting Constitution, as they won't have as many abilities that siphon off their reserves.

If you try to solve this problem by giving every class abilities that consume reserves, then it's just spreading the "Constitution is Mandatory" aspect to every character, and Constitution really will be absolutely required to be a prime stat regardless of character concept. Alternatively, you could de-couple Constitution from hitpoints, allowing the character's highest stat to influence HP, but that will just encourage players to boost a single stat to the detriment of others, and you'll have no rounded characters.

I do like the idea of "Action Points" being a daily resource that has many different uses, but I don't think they should be combined with a character's HP. Separating these elements of character strength allows for a broader design of abilities and characters themselves.
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Re: Reserve Points

Postby Imagist » Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:06 pm

I don't see how in a condensed reserve point system someone with a higher Constitution score would get more reserve points. Since each point is meant to represent 1/4th of a character's total hit points, a Tough character with 100 hit points (having each reserve point equivalent to 25 hit points) and 8 reserve points doesn’t have an advantage over a Smart character with 40 hit points (having each reserve point equivalent to 10 hit points) and 8 reserve points. Each reserve point still represents ¼ of a character’s total health, and each represents optional uses available to a character. If the Smart character somehow raised their Constitution score and improved their hit points to say 60, each reserve point now is the equivalent to 15 hit points (but they are still only ¼ of the Smart character’s hit points and they still only have 8 of them).

I do see how it would be difficult for a character to choose between healing and attempting to gain an edge in combat/social/other encounter scenarios, but this is assuming reserve points are the only source of healing available in the game. How will the Heal/Treat Injury skill function? How will magical healing function? We don’t know yet. If it is like in 4e where all those things simply allow you to spend a reserve point to heal yourself, than indeed it would be wise to separate reserve hit points from a more action point based daily resource. However, since I do not know the mechanics involved with natural healing/magical healing/or optional healing yet, I propose this system as a means of not only offering alternatives to improving a character’s survivability, but also offering options to improve a character’s versatility and effectiveness when the “chips are down.”
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Re: Reserve Points

Postby Elsidar » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:37 am

Imagist wrote:I don't see how in a condensed reserve point system someone with a higher Constitution score would get more reserve points. Since each point is meant to represent 1/4th of a character's total hit points, a Tough character with 100 hit points (having each reserve point equivalent to 25 hit points) and 8 reserve points doesn’t have an advantage over a Smart character with 40 hit points (having each reserve point equivalent to 10 hit points) and 8 reserve points. Each reserve point still represents ¼ of a character’s total health, and each represents optional uses available to a character. If the Smart character somehow raised their Constitution score and improved their hit points to say 60, each reserve point now is the equivalent to 15 hit points (but they are still only ¼ of the Smart character’s hit points and they still only have 8 of them).


You're only looking at half of what I said. This system is working like healing surges; as it currently works, characters get more healing surges per day based on their Constitution modifier. Thus, someone with a high Constitution will have more healing surges than another guy (notwithstanding class bonuses to number of healing surges).

Further, you're assuming that Gary will use a healing surge mechanic. He's already stated that "Reserve Points" will work as a multiple of the current max HP; for example, someone with 20 HP will have 100 reserve HP. This means that somebody with a high Constitution will have more hit points, and will necessarily have more reserve points because of it.

Imagist wrote:I do see how it would be difficult for a character to choose between healing and attempting to gain an edge in combat/social/other encounter scenarios,


Trading hit points for combat actions isn't fun. Once again, it's one of the chief reasons Gary scrapped that very same mechanic when writing SWSE's force powers.

Imagist wrote:...but this is assuming reserve points are the only source of healing available in the game. How will the Heal/Treat Injury skill function? How will magical healing function? We don’t know yet.


Actually, we've known that for a while now. Healing comes from your Reserves, and healing powers, magical or otherwise, will most likely allow you to draw from your reserves to replenish your HP in the middle of combat. There may be powers that let you regain HP without dipping into your reserves, but those will likely be rare.

Imagist wrote:If it is like in 4e where all those things simply allow you to spend a reserve point to heal yourself, than indeed it would be wise to separate reserve hit points from a more action point based daily resource. However, since I do not know the mechanics involved with natural healing/magical healing/or optional healing yet, I propose this system as a means of not only offering alternatives to improving a character’s survivability, but also offering options to improve a character’s versatility and effectiveness when the “chips are down.”


Action points are already there to do just that. While their specific effects haven't been revealed to us yet (still waiting on e20 lite...), they will most certainly boost a character's survivability and effectiveness in any situation, which has been their purpose since their inception in Eberron.
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Re: Reserve Points

Postby JaredGaume » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:00 pm

Now with e20 lite out, how does everybody view Reserves?

By default you get a number of reserves equal to 2x your hit points.
In d20 lite a Vanguard gets 60 + Constitution modifier hit points at first level. Assuming a Con of 14 (+2) that would give 62 HP and 124 reserves at first level.

A combat recovery nets 1/10 reserve total to refresh your hit points, or refresh 12 hit points on a second wind.

During a short (take-5) rest you can freely swap reserves to replenish hit points.

For every hour you rest, you recover 1/10 your total reserves, first to your hit points and then to your reserves.
If you are on your last legs (1 hit point and 0 reserves) you recover 12 hit points an hour. It takes 5 hours to recover all HP, and another 10 hours to fully recharge your reserves, 15 hours of rest total.
etc...
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Re: Reserve Points

Postby Imagist » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:39 pm

Not only do the classes begin with almost twice the normal amount of hit points at SWSE which themselves were about twice the normal amount of hit points in 3e... you are effectively given three times this amount by having reserves which may recharge faster than normal hit points... a first level vanguard has 15+ times the hit point resources of a first level fighter from 3e.

What the hell does Gary expect our player's to be fighting!?
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Re: Reserve Points

Postby JaredGaume » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:46 pm

I think the numbers are still a work in progress.

The way I see it is that heroic characters are being built as 4 times better than an ordinary character, hence the HP inflation.

Gary also points out how the damage is scaled up, i.e. adding skill modifier to your damage.

So long as the system is internally balanced and sound, I'm actually not too concerned about the numbers.
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Re: Reserve Points

Postby jigsawjones » Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:26 am

Imagist wrote:Not only do the classes begin with almost twice the normal amount of hit points at SWSE which themselves were about twice the normal amount of hit points in 3e... you are effectively given three times this amount by having reserves which may recharge faster than normal hit points... a first level vanguard has 15+ times the hit point resources of a first level fighter from 3e.

What the hell does Gary expect our player's to be fighting!?


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Re: Reserve Points

Postby Imagist » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:09 am

jigsawjones wrote:
Imagist wrote:Not only do the classes begin with almost twice the normal amount of hit points at SWSE which themselves were about twice the normal amount of hit points in 3e... you are effectively given three times this amount by having reserves which may recharge faster than normal hit points... a first level vanguard has 15+ times the hit point resources of a first level fighter from 3e.

What the hell does Gary expect our player's to be fighting!?


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Re: Reserve Points

Postby DTemplar5 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:30 pm

The large HP totals and HP reserves may make it easier for Condition Track movement and injuries; which I feel is rather important, as it'd add some dynamicism in the gameplay.
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Re: Reserve Points

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:24 pm

I vote that Reserve Points should be half the Hit Points, and not Double.
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Re: Reserve Points

Postby fodigg » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:25 pm

Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:I vote that Reserve Points should be half the Hit Points, and not Double.


I thought it was supposed to be scaling depending on how you like to run your game?

Like the options are "half, full, double,", where half is gritty and double is super-heroic.
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Re: Reserve Points

Postby GMSarli » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:50 am

fodigg wrote:
Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:I vote that Reserve Points should be half the Hit Points, and not Double.


I thought it was supposed to be scaling depending on how you like to run your game?

Like the options are "half, full, double,", where half is gritty and double is super-heroic.


I conceptualized it almost like that, but with one more step:
  • Reserves = 1/2 x hp: Gritty realism
  • Reserves = 1 x hp: Realistic heroism
  • Reserves = 2 x hp: Cinematic heroism
  • Reserves = 5 x hp: Super-heroism

Also, for everyone who's saying the hp and/or reserves are too high, they can certainly be adjusted, but keep in mind that all damage levels are higher than we're used to because e20 builds an attacker's skill level into the damage. A 1st-level Corsair who specializes in firearms will do an average of 18 damage on a hit with a heavy pistol like a .44 if he aims before the shot; he'd do more with a bigger gun (Desert Eagle .50, 7.62mm assault rifle, etc.), and this isn't factoring in any talents and/or feats that might give him a bigger edge. Given this, even a totally maxed out Dreadnought (say, Con 18, so 64 hp) will go down after four hits, or three if we give the Corsair any talents/feats to boost damage more.

Three or four hits really isn't all that much -- and that's the toughest character in the group.

(Also, as a point of comparison, I see "elite" opponents as being fairly close to heroes in terms of relative toughness and lethality.)
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Re: Reserve Points

Postby Shado » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:17 am

GMSarli wrote:
fodigg wrote:
Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:I vote that Reserve Points should be half the Hit Points, and not Double.


I thought it was supposed to be scaling depending on how you like to run your game?

Like the options are "half, full, double,", where half is gritty and double is super-heroic.


I conceptualized it almost like that, but with one more step:
  • Reserves = 1/2 x hp: Gritty realism
  • Reserves = 1 x hp: Realistic heroism
  • Reserves = 2 x hp: Cinematic heroism
  • Reserves = 5 x hp: Super-heroism

Also, for everyone who's saying the hp and/or reserves are too high, they can certainly be adjusted, but keep in mind that all damage levels are higher than we're used to because e20 builds an attacker's skill level into the damage. A 1st-level Corsair who specializes in firearms will do an average of 18 damage on a hit with a heavy pistol like a .44 if he aims before the shot; he'd do more with a bigger gun (Desert Eagle .50, 7.62mm assault rifle, etc.), and this isn't factoring in any talents and/or feats that might give him a bigger edge. Given this, even a totally maxed out Dreadnought (say, Con 18, so 64 hp) will go down after four hits, or three if we give the Corsair any talents/feats to boost damage more.

Three or four hits really isn't all that much -- and that's the toughest character in the group.

(Also, as a point of comparison, I see "elite" opponents as being fairly close to heroes in terms of relative toughness and lethality.)


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Re: Reserve Points

Postby GMSarli » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:46 am

Shado wrote:"Scruffy votes his shares for the mysterious stranger."

"Scruffy believes in this company."


"I'm on break."

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Re: Reserve Points

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:14 pm

GMSarli wrote:
fodigg wrote:
Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:I vote that Reserve Points should be half the Hit Points, and not Double.


I thought it was supposed to be scaling depending on how you like to run your game?

Like the options are "half, full, double,", where half is gritty and double is super-heroic.


I conceptualized it almost like that, but with one more step:
  • Reserves = 1/2 x hp: Gritty realism
  • Reserves = 1 x hp: Realistic heroism
  • Reserves = 2 x hp: Cinematic heroism
  • Reserves = 5 x hp: Super-heroism

Also, for everyone who's saying the hp and/or reserves are too high, they can certainly be adjusted, but keep in mind that all damage levels are higher than we're used to because e20 builds an attacker's skill level into the damage. A 1st-level Corsair who specializes in firearms will do an average of 18 damage on a hit with a heavy pistol like a .44 if he aims before the shot; he'd do more with a bigger gun (Desert Eagle .50, 7.62mm assault rifle, etc.), and this isn't factoring in any talents and/or feats that might give him a bigger edge. Given this, even a totally maxed out Dreadnought (say, Con 18, so 64 hp) will go down after four hits, or three if we give the Corsair any talents/feats to boost damage more.

Three or four hits really isn't all that much -- and that's the toughest character in the group.

(Also, as a point of comparison, I see "elite" opponents as being fairly close to heroes in terms of relative toughness and lethality.)


Ohhhhhh.... now this is really, really cool. :)
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