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[4e] OSR Clone

GreyLord

Adventurer
Not quite sure where to put it. Though the D&D forum but then noticed that this forum actually seems to have more 4e threads than the D&D forum presently.

This is a thread devoted specifically to a 4e clone that I will work on. Still trying to figure out which SRD or OGL (or PRD) I will be using. PRD could be the easiest to actually use to make it, though I'm open to any and all suggestions. This thread is for me to post what I've worked on, everyone to critique those ideas and hopefully make it better, for suggestions or thoughts on how to proceed, and various other ideas. It may be I would be the only one posting in this if it turns out this is an unpopular idea, or it could explode. I'm unsure.

I'll post what my concerns are as well as my primary goals just starting out with. This next part is a repost from where I decided I could start work on a 4e Clone.

Working on a 4e OSR would mean I would want it to be able to be seamless with 4e, which would also include the XP tables for 4e. If not the XP tables, at least something that can be somewhat similar to how 4e did XP (Pathfinder seems to have a closer XP table than 3e did, and closer at lower levels than 5e does...though if the 5e SRD allows us to change the XP tables I could change the numbers to be more in accordance with 4e XP advancement).

I think I'll get a start on it and repost in a week or two with ideas and go from there. The obstacles I see before me right now would be making it so that it is a 4e clone, but not so close as to be exactly 4e because 4e never had the OGL or SRD with it (and what it did have doesn't leave a lot of area for being exactly the same, so a clone would be a clone in numbers, but not with naming conventions or anything else and have an OGL [or SRD] base).

Second obstacle is, as it will be done for free (and hopefully offered for free), I have no art budget...

And third would be how to publish it. I've published things on DMs guild before and other places, but never something like this so no idea where to get it put up and published. I don't think this would fall under the purview or rules of DMs guild and RPGnow might not be the place for it either. That means, I'm not sure where to put it or get it made available for everyone that might want it...but I'm absolutely open to suggestions.

Other than that, I think I can get a good start on it. My main objectives would be...

#1 - Make it as seamless as 4e as possible...aka...basically as close to a direct 4e clone as possible

#2 - Make it easy to use and switch between pure 4e and the 4e clone rules...ala...something like the clones are now between what they clone and the edition they cloned.

#3 - Make it easy to understand...

I figure I'll start work on it this weekend.

My idea is work steadily on it and probably post updates at first every 1 1/2 to 2 weeks at a time. Is there a way to make Google Docs easily accessible to people or is there a way to make a document that most can read? Formatting could be a pain trying to transfer it from a Word document or PDF to the forum format here.
 
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Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Not quite sure where to put it. Though the D&D forum but then noticed that this forum actually seems to have more 4e threads than the D&D forum presently.
Yeah, that's due to past organization. This used to be PF & Older Editions, the 4e threads were started then and haven't all petered out yet. Now it's just PF. (Dunno why those other threads haven't just been moved.)

Rightly, you should put this thread in the D&D forum, with the 4e tag.

Until they change it again, anyway.

This is a thread devoted specifically to a 4e clone that I will work on. Still trying to figure out which SRD or OGL (or PRD) I will be using. PRD could be the easiest to actually use to make it, though I'm open to any and all suggestions.
PRD?

13th Age is often called out as similar to 4e, and Pelgrane has the "Archmage Engine" OGL for it. Might be easier starting from that?

Working on a 4e OSR would mean I would want it to be able to be seamless with 4e, which would also include the XP tables for 4e.
#1 - Make it as seamless as 4e as possible...aka...basically as close to a direct 4e clone as possible

#2 - Make it easy to use and switch between pure 4e and the 4e clone rules...ala...something like the clones are now between what they clone and the edition they cloned.

#3 - Make it easy to understand...
Wow. That will not be easy, because, as you know...

The obstacles I see before me right now would be making it so that it is a 4e clone, but not so close as to be exactly 4e because 4e never had the OGL or SRD with it (and what it did have doesn't leave a lot of area for being exactly the same, so a clone would be a clone in numbers, but not with naming conventions or anything else and have an OGL [or SRD] base).
You prettymuch can't legally do what you really want (a 4e clone like OSR cloned 1e or PF did 3.5). And skirting around that will not only not give you what you want, it'll be far, far more work.
 

Voadam

Adventurer
Wow. That will not be easy, because, as you know...

You pretty much can't legally do what you really want (a 4e clone like OSR cloned 1e or PF did 3.5). And skirting around that will not only not give you what you want, it'll be far, far more work.
It is not something the 4e license allowed but cloning under the OGL should be possible. It would be like OSR clones of 1e or other OSR systems. Start with the d20 or 5e or 13A srd and their mechanics and work to emulate 4e rules without using the exact expressions of 4e.

d20 gives you the stats with modifiers.

d20 gives you most class and race names, 5e gives you OGL tieflings and dragonborn and warlocks.

Warlords are an issue.

Again, you want the same rules, not the same presentation. Any presentation stuff to be safe would have to come from OGC.

It could then be turned into a PDF and put up on rpgnow as free or PWYW if you want it to be generally available.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
I'm not sure why you'd want to muck about with the OGL or SRD or anything. To the best of my knowledge, you can just re-write 4E from memory, change all of the proper nouns, and you'd be fine.
 

Voadam

Adventurer
As I recall Hackmaster and the first OSR (OSRIC?) actually got some sort of permission?
Hackmaster had an explicit license as a settlement term from the Dragon Archives reposting articles WotC only had first print rights to. It was not issued under the OGL and their Kalamar D&D products were official D&D ones. One of the Kenzer guys is an IP Lawyer and they had been doing Kalamar before without any license and they put out their 4e setting book without any license I believe.

OSRIC had some situation that I'm not sure of the exact details. It is put out under the OGL however.

Labyrinth Lord (B/X Clone) and Swords & Wizardry (0e Clone) and Gold and Glory (2e Clone) I am not aware of any special situation and all are put out under the OGL.


Indeed. :)
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
Yes, this will probably be more akin to Labryinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry or Gold and Glory (or LotFP) in regards to being a clone of 4e. Numbers wise it should mesh, but there will be some differences.

Goalwise, hopefully it should mesh with 4e, but there may be differences (for obvious reasons). I've started work on it already and will post later tonight on what I've come up with thus far for commentary by others.

Hopefully there will be enough feedback to work with and smooth things out in the best way to make it the best 4e clone that can plausibly and possibly be made.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
[MENTION=58172]Yaarel[/MENTION] IN another thread mentioned

Heh, personally, I dont use xp anyway. So I would ignore any xp table anyway.

On average, players level up after 8 encounters. But an encounter that turns out to be heavy might count as two or three encounters. Oppositely, an encounter that turns out to be trivial only counts as half an encounter.

Level up after the session when everybody agrees it feels right to level up.



My system is sorta like milestones. But it is even simpler. And it is more accurate because I can judge the worth of an encounter in hindsight, and dont need to depend on how much they were ‘supposed’ to get from an encounter.



In sum. Dont sweat the xp tables.
Which is a good idea I think. I probably will still have an XP table, but also may include the idea of leveling in this manner.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Hackmaster had an explicit license as a settlement term from the Dragon Archives reposting articles WotC only had first print rights to. It was not issued under the OGL and their Kalamar D&D products were official D&D ones. One of the Kenzer guys is an IP Lawyer and they had been doing Kalamar before without any license and they put out their 4e setting book without any license I believe.
Wow. Had WotC over a barrel and Hackmaster is what the went for? Heh.

OSRIC had some situation that I'm not sure of the exact details.
OK, looking at what they have to say, they went to the effort of teasing out "just the mechanics, ma'am" - I'm a little surprised, at time's I've looked up something in OSRIC and it seemed word-for-word identical.
While mechanics vs 'fluff' are presented more clearly in 4e, a lot of the wording that holds them together - like class & power names, for instance - is GSL.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
Okay, first release of what I've done thus far. Copy and pasting from word (which in turn was copied from notebook paper I worked on first)...this is what I have thus far.

The Powers System is used as a Combat Action System. Instead of at will Powers characters will have At-Will Actions, Encounter Actions, Daily Actions and Other Actions (rather than Utility).

The Basic combat roll in the Combat Actions system is to roll a D20 Higher than a target number (Called a Difficulty Factor).
Ability Scores – Ability Scores range from a low of 1 on up. Characters generally will have an ability score that is between 3 and 18 when they start before any other modifiers are added.

Ability Scores have the general Modifiers…

Ability Score Modifier
1 -5
2-3 -4
4-5 -3
6-7 -2
8-9 -1
10-11 0
12-13 +1
14-15 +2
16-17 +3
18-19 +4
20-21 +5
22-23 +6
24-25 +7

For scores over 10, basically take the score, subtract 10 and divide by 2 and round down to get the modifier.
For example, if I had a Score of 29, I would first subtract 10 (29-10) which would result in 19. I then would divide 19 by 2 (19/2) which would give me a 9.5 modifier. I then round down to get a total of a 9 modifier.

Generating Ability Scores

There are 6 ability scores. Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma. These are different methods of generating a number for each ability score.

Method 1 – The Basic method of generating ability scores is to roll 4d6 and total the amount of the three highest results. This will give the character a result between 3 and 18.

Method 2 – For those who want a High Powered campaign, to get higher ability scores roll 5d6 and total the amount of the three highest results. This also should give a character a result between 3 and 18, but the average ability score will be higher.

Method 3 – Utilizing a Point buy system. Every Character starts with ability scores of 10 in every Ability. They then can increase each score by buying points to add in them. Each additional point costs an amount. Average characters will start with 25 points with which to increase their ability scores. The costs are as follows…

1 point for every increase between 11-13
2 points for every increase between 14-16
3 points to increase an ability score from 16 to 17
4 points to increase an ability score from 17 to 18.

This would mean that if I had a character that I wanted to increase their Strength from 10 to 13, it would cost me 3 points from my total (so if using 25 point buy, I would then have 22 points left).

If I then wanted to increase my Dexterity from 10 to 16 I would spend a total of 9 points which would leave me with (22-9) 11 points left.

If I then wanted to raise my Constitution from 10 to 17 (a total of 12 points) I would be unable to do so, as I do not have enough points left.

If I had a NEW character (and used a 28 point buy) and wanted to raise my Intelligence from 10 to 17 I would spend 12 points to do so. This would leave me with 16 points left.

If, then after that I wished to raise my Charisma from 10 to 18 I could do so (costing the rest of my 16 points) and have 0 points left over.

25 points is the standard point buy to build and create characters. For those who want a lower powered campaign, use 20 points or less in creating character ability scores.

For those who want a Higher powered game use 28 points, and those who want a mythically leveled type game use 32 point buy.


Method 4 – Similar to Method 3, it is a point buy, but one can also increase one ability score in order to gain more points to spend on another ability score. For every point they reduce their ability score below 10, they gain 1 point.

Thus, if I used a 0 point buy system (so all my scores started at 10) and then decreased my Intelligence by 4 points (down to 6), my Wisdom down by 3 points (down to 7) I would then have a total of 7 points to increase other ability scores with. With 7 Points then I could, using the point system in Method 3, raise up one ability to 14 (costing me 5 points) and then raise another ability score up to 12 (costing me the remaing 2 points.

If I decided I made a mistake, I also pay 1 point to raise each score up (so you cannot gain more points by constantly reducing or raising the ability scores).

Method 5 – A standard Array or you have a set of numbers already chosen and you arrange them to your abilities as you desire.
The General Array suggested is for everyone to use the following…

16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10

However, if players want more of a choice of arrays to choose from they can utilize the following…

Average Array

16, 14, 14, 11, 10

Focused Array

18, 14, 11, 10, 10, 8

Double Focused Array

16, 16, 12, 11, 11, 8

Method 6 – This is for low powered campaigns and is similar to Methods 1 and 2. In this you roll 3d6 for each score and arrange to taste.

For Ability scores, for an average character if you have a character that ends up having less than a total for their modifiers of +4 or less, they may be underpowered and the GM should encourage a Player to create a new character. If the modifiers total more than +8 the GM should suggest that the character might be too strong for the campaign and encourage another character to be made.

For Low Powered Campaigns (for example, Method 6, or 20 point buy or less) there is no minimum modifier bonus that Player Characters should have. It could be +3 or even a 0 modifier bonus or even less (negative bonus). However, if a character has a negative bonus total for their modifier bonus a wise GM probably would encourage the Player to create a new character.

For High powered Campaigns (for example Method 2 or a 28 point buy or more) a modifier total higher than +8 is acceptable. Characters that have modifiers of +18 total or more for their modifier bonus probably should be encouraged by the GM that the character may be overpowering and it may be more enjoyable for the player and others if the player made another character without such high modifiers...UNLESS…of course this is the type of campaign the GM had in mind (for example, the GM gives an extraordinarily high point buy).

If anyone knows of a common document that could be used as a reference for all that is accessible to all, or how one could do that with Google Docs...that could turn up useful later on.
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
You can't use Dragonborn, Warlords, Tieflings etc as they are not covered.

The OSR products often use their own xp tables, and a lot of terms are OGL. To be safe you have to use terminology from 3E or your own. Fighter, Cleric etc are fine, Warlord is not. You probably can't use the 4E round structure either and power source s would also be iffy.

The OSR games are not that pure in terms of the original work. They focus more on the playstyle.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Couldn't you make a clone and release it on DM's Guild to avoid the hassle of sticking to the OGL since the DM'sGuild allows a lot more IP usage?
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Based on what I've seen at Enworld ... aren't they [Warlords] always? :)
Nothing escalates a thread
to edition war defcon1 like the prospect of someone, somewhere, someday possibly being allowed to play an official 5e D&D Warlord, even if there's only a remote hypothetical possibility that it might not suck. Heck, Warlord discussion needed their own hazardous thread containment forum, here, for a while, so virulent was the reaction against even discussing such a possibility.

::shrug::

The net effect that they're also keeping it out of any OGL (and thus in "carefully guarded IP?"), though, seems odd. It must be a coincidence: there's no reason to want to keep something as generic as "Warlord" out of the open-source-wilds, when so many much more distinctive things, like the afore-mentioned Dragonborn and Tieflings, have been released.
 
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gyor

Adventurer
Change warlord to Commander, it's a better name and a more accurate discription of the actual class which often isn't being played as someone who is an actual warlord.

Tiefling and Aasimar are so public at this point they are safe, even Pathfinder uses them.
 

gyor

Adventurer
Also as psionic races are covered by the 3.5e SRD like Dromites,Duergar, Elans, Half-Giants, Maenads, Xephs.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
Warlord should not be a problem in my opinion. Many OGL products have classes that have similar or the same name as D&D. WotC can copyright the Warlord as a specific thing, but the actual Word Warlord should be able to be used in an OGL product.

Obviously, just as with the other classes (and this would apply to ANY class) it cannot be a copy and paste job and must be original and in accordance with the OGL.

As Warlord as a description of a military leader has been in use for over a millennia, I do not see a difficulty in using it in the same context as it's dictionary definition for a class that operates as a leader. It should be fine using it as a class name in relation to the dictionary meaning which WotC cannot copyright (unless they take a LOT more than simply one small group to court).

If people still feel it is problematic we could change it's term to Military officer or Regal, Noble, or something else.

HOWEVER...what I do not see being able to be done is to have the classes of Avenger, Invoker, or Warden be classes that are even similar to those in the PHB 2 as there is no historical context in the way the D&D made them as classes as far as I'm aware of.

We could have it as a Witch hunter, Avatar and Nature-born or something of the like instead, but those specific names as classes as described are specifically D&D with no historical aspect. I'm open to other names for them.

Tiefling and Dragonborn also cannot be utilized. I'm more likely to go with the term of Dragonmen or Dracs or Dracomen instead for Dragonborn...Tieflings on the otherhand...unsure.

We could call them infernals though that term has been used in D&D previously, but for something else...so unsure on that (have to check with my legal sources in that regard). We could just straight up call them Half-Devels or something of a similar line. Open to suggestions.

No Goliaths, Deva's or shifters either. Perhaps Half-Giants, Angel reincarnates, and Wolfman/Catman or something similar to those. Once again, open to suggestions.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
In light of other OGL changes, probably will have to have alignment on the two axis of Law/Chaos and Good/Evil. People will be able to combine each as they desire.

However, an emphasis will be given in regards to the ultimate good leaning towards the ultimate evil, which will have a few additions to the general 4e Alignment scale.

Instead of

LG>G>UA>E>CE

It will go more

Lawful Good
Good
Unaligned
Lawful Evil
Chaotic
Chaotic Evil

Also, will be travelling overseas and will be gone for the next week or two (which should give me a decent amount of time to work on the 4e clone if I bring a few core 4e books with me)...as well as off and on throughout the next month. Should have a LOT of time to work on this stuff, but won't be here as much for the next few weeks.

Might stop by the booth at the Expo if I'm in the area and get the time...encourage others to do so too if they can!!!
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I’m all for the idea of a 4e clone, but there is a lot of armchair lawyering going on in this thread that I personally would not put a lot of stock in. If you’re serious enough about this that you think getting a C&D from WotC is a realistic concern, and you’d actually be willing to fight it in court, then you should probably talk to a real lawyer in meatspace about it.
 
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