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About using Traiblazer

dark_mage

Villager
Please forgive me if this has been asked before, but my previous searches have been unsuccessful.
I'm interested in some of the Trailblazer proposed changes, yet there are some I don't entirely agree with. Will there be a problem/be too unbalancing if I only pick some of the stuff for use in my game, or is it designed to function as a unified whole?
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
Please forgive me if this has been asked before, but my previous searches have been unsuccessful.
I'm interested in some of the Trailblazer proposed changes, yet there are some I don't entirely agree with. Will there be a problem/be too unbalancing if I only pick some of the stuff for use in my game, or is it designed to function as a unified whole?
Yes. :D

You can certainly do either. We playtested it as a "whole" but many people have been successful with picking and choosing what they want.

I would make a couple of recommendations:

1. Choose one set of classes. Mixing and matching with other systems might bring up some discrepancies in power level.

2. Action Points. This is big. Trailblazer assumes the use of action points, and they are factored in to the class design. Using them or not will greatly affect the feel and power level of your campaign.

3. Magic Items. This sort of relates to action points. TB recommends not allowing your players to craft or purchase permanent items. The TB philosophy is "use what you find".

Good luck and thanks for the message!
 

dark_mage

Villager
Thanks for your response! Haven't had the chance to read/analyze TB fully; so far I'm interested in using the new XP/level tables ad some of the changes in spells. Haven't yet decided if I'll use AP. Classes and Magic Items I'll go with RAW. I'm in the process of writing a compendium of my houserules/clarifications for campaigns I DM, that's what got me interested in TB. Whenever I have a chance to read more I'll decide on other things.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
Classes and Magic Items I'll go with RAW..
But TB classes are so much cooler! :cool:

I also can't run a game without Action Points anymore. They add so much to the game. They are also fairly integral to TB as they give the DM another resource they PCs have besides hit points that he can "wear down". Adds more and more tension to combat as the PCs start to get low on APs.
 
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dark_mage

Villager
LOL! Mostly It's because I've personally have not had too much issues in those accounts, but then again it might be my lack of experience... I would certainly consider asopting more of the propsoed changes when such issues start to surface.
 

dark_mage

Villager
I have another question. How many changes are enough for the Pc's to be considered "full" TB classes? IE, I want to apply the Spine rebalancing: HD, SP, ST, maybe Spellcasting, bonus HP at 1st level and Elite+6 system to calculate Ability scores, but not the rest of the class rebalancing. Would that make the PC's considerably more powerful? Would I have to adjust challenges upwards?
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
I have another question. How many changes are enough for the Pc's to be considered "full" TB classes? IE, I want to apply the Spine rebalancing: HD, SP, ST, maybe Spellcasting, bonus HP at 1st level and Elite+6 system to calculate Ability scores, but not the rest of the class rebalancing. Would that make the PC's considerably more powerful? Would I have to adjust challenges upwards?
Everything that TB characters get comes out to about +2 CR at 1st level. They're tough. Most of that is in the Spine rebalance, and certainly the HP bonus. Combat Reactions help a lot, too. (Those Aid Another actions add up, particularly with respect to punching above their weight class).

I'm a bit nervous since Action Points aren't in your list, but nevertheless I think you'd be justified using the TB challenge/XP track. It is easy enough to dial back the XP budget if things are too tough.

Remember-- use the extra points in your budget to buy more creatures (about x2 is good) and/or slightly tougher creatures (about +2 CR is ok) but don't expect to be able to just take the whole budget and splurge on a single monster, then expect the PCs to handle it.

(But depending on the monster, they still might...)
 

dark_mage

Villager
Damn! Didn't I mention AP? :p They're actually one of the main changes I'm willing to push, even if I don't end up changing the base classes. I'm still ona process of checking out the changes and seeing what will fit, since I don't want to make too sweeping changes at this time.
 

dark_mage

Villager
Allright, finally finished reading through the pdf, and I have a tentative list of "patches" I'm interested in applying on top of the 3.5 core. I just want to know if this won't unbalance the game terribly.

So far, the following changes are in (thanks a lot to Glassjaw for the summary of changes!):
-Rest Mechanic
-Action Points
-AP Enhancements
-Minor fixes to classes (so far: clerics proficient in favored weapon, and bards will use the PF version of bardic knowledge), will use 3.5 otherwise.
-Turn/Rebuke Undead (THANK YOU!)
-Dying rule (torn between -Con or the one presented in TB... though if we had been using the latter in our latest campaign, my cleric wouldn't have kicked the bucket)
-Vision and lighting (low-light vision and darkvision changes)
-Some of the spell fixes (except dispel magic, polymorph and summon monster)
-Encounter budgeting and XP tables
-Elite and Solo Monsters
-Some Feat Tweaks (ie, Dodge, Toughness, etc)
-Allow Spellcraft check to ID items

The following I'm undecided, looking for feedback:
-Combat Reactions
-Combat Maneuvers
-Elite+6 Ability Score Generation (Would it be to imbalancing over the assumed 4d6d1/25-point buy?)
-TB Skill System (Though I'm leaning strongly for this one, might end up implementing it)

Finally, I will run these through my players and see if they like it:
-Iterative Attacks
-Spellcasting

Thoughts and Feedback are Appreciated.
 

ValhallaGH

Villager
The following I'm undecided, looking for feedback:
-Combat Reactions
-Combat Maneuvers
-Elite+6 Ability Score Generation (Would it be to imbalancing over the assumed 4d6d1/25-point buy?)
-TB Skill System (Though I'm leaning strongly for this one, might end up implementing it)

Finally, I will run these through my players and see if they like it:
-Iterative Attacks
-Spellcasting

Thoughts and Feedback are Appreciated.
The list of Approved looks solid and likely won't cause any problems.

Questionable Items:
  • Combat Reactions are a versatile and interesting game mechanic. More interesting and active than Attacks of Opportunity; they require more work on the player's side, but that means your players a less likely to be distracted. They offer interesting tactical choices, and mean that the Aid Another action will actually be used. Hopefully that enables you to make your final decision.
  • Combat Maneuvers can stay or go. They make special attacks a bit more predictable and useable: no fighter has a prayer of disarming a Cloud Giant or Titan (barring some very specific spell combinations; and that same power could have been spent to simply kill the thing), but CM makes is possible to use these even at high levels. Overall impact on the game is negligible, however.
  • Ability Score generation is important until level 8. After that, the combination of magic bonuses and level bonuses negate most of the difference in starting ability. That said, Elite + 6 is stronger than Elite, or 25 point-buy, but not enough to cause problems. The primary advantage, that I've seen, is that your players don't need ability enhancing magic items; they're useful but unneeded.
  • Skill System is fantastic. Characters can legitimately be adventurers, with the diverse skills needed to survive the normal rigors of travel in a medieval world, plus those special skills that crop up frequently in an adventuring career. I went further and compressed knowledge into three categories (Natural, Social, and Supernatural) to make that skill more broadly applicable. (Natural covered the uses of Dungeoneering, Geography, and Nature; Social covered the uses of Architecture and Engineering, History, Local, and Nobility and Royalty; Supernatural covered the uses of Arcana, Religion, and the Planes.)
  • Iterative Attacks simplifies the math and speeds up combat a bit. It also makes most monsters a bit more dangerous while making weapon-using foes a bit less dangerous. It also makes a full BAB less viscerally important without changing its mechanical utility. I've come to approve for a host of reasons.
  • Spellcasting is actually a moderate power increase to the primary casters, and a major power increase to secondary casters. For a spellcaster it is pure win, vastly increasing the length of a useful adventuring day; except for long duration buffs. If you do use TB spellcasting then you'll want to use the TB Paladin; otherwise, you're hosing that class over by removing it's best spells completely.


Good luck and I hope this was helpful.
 

dark_mage

Villager
Thanks for the insight! Your feedback has shifted my opinion favourably for most changes. I think I won't use the TB Spellcasting, as I want to avoid changing the core classes yet. As for Iterative attacks, I'm neutral regarding it, and I'm going to leave it up to my players (knowing them, I have a strong feeling they'll prefer the full 0/-5/-10/-15, even though the TB version represents a net advantage. They just like rolling dice :D)

Just for anyone wondering: the campaign I'm planning to run is the Ashardalon AP, updated and optimized for 3.5 (though that means rebuilding most NPC's from scratch)
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
I went further and compressed knowledge into three categories (Natural, Social, and Supernatural) to make that skill more broadly applicable. (Natural covered the uses of Dungeoneering, Geography, and Nature; Social covered the uses of Architecture and Engineering, History, Local, and Nobility and Royalty; Supernatural covered the uses of Arcana, Religion, and the Planes.)
This is pretty fantastic, although I'd probably use the term "Academics" instead of "Social".

I'd still have to think about it before I used it as-is but on the surface, it sounds like a great change (very "gamist"). I do wonder if it would limit the skill options for wizards and other scholary types though. You figure those characters would always have all those skills max'ed out (which might not be a bad thing per se).
 
I do wonder if it would limit the skill options for wizards and other scholary types though. You figure those characters would always have all those skills max'ed out (which might not be a bad thing per se).
It would get the wizards and scholarly types spending their skills in more other things like Craft or Profession.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
It would get the wizards and scholarly types spending their skills in more other things like Craft or Profession.
Or non-class skills, which is much easier (and appealing) in Trailblazer. You can legitimately have a wizard that is effective in Stealth, Perception, Search, etc.

As far as wizards having Knowledge skills maxed out, isn't that normally the case anyway? I mean don't most players max out Arcana, Religion, or the Planes and maybe throw some ranks in a couple of other Knowledge skills?

Since TB views skills as a way to empower the players, I don't see giving wizards more skill options as a bad thing.

The only counter to that is if you want wizards to remain the stereotypical scholarly and feeble archetype, which is certainly not what TB preaches.
 
Or non-class skills, which is much easier (and appealing) in Trailblazer. You can legitimately have a wizard that is effective in Stealth, Perception, Search, etc.
Sleight of Hand, I recall reading Raistlin performing street legerdemain for gully dwarfs and for earning income after leaving the forest of Silvanesti. Yeah, nice potential for getting the wizard out of the "academic" skill rut. Most wizards brought to table's I've seen were sneered at for not maxing out as many Know skills as possible.
 

dark_mage

Villager
I noticed TB makes no mention of the hp's gained at level up, so, JOOC, I'd like to know what method do the authors use for their home campaigns?
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
Sleight of Hand, I recall reading Raistlin performing street legerdemain for gully dwarfs and for earning income after leaving the forest of Silvanesti. Yeah, nice potential for getting the wizard out of the "academic" skill rut. Most wizards brought to table's I've seen were sneered at for not maxing out as many Know skills as possible.
Yeah, I can see that about Knowledge skills. And even with a high Int, 2+ skills and the cross-class penalty never gave wizards a chance to branch out.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
I noticed TB makes no mention of the hp's gained at level up, so, JOOC, I'd like to know what method do the authors use for their home campaigns?
We used a fixed number - average rounded up:
d12 = 7
d10 = 6
d8 = 5
d6 = 4

We did try max for a while but that was definitely over-powered.
 

ValhallaGH

Villager
This is pretty fantastic, although I'd probably use the term "Academics" instead of "Social".
First, thanks! I wish I could claim complete originality, but this change was inspired by some of the discussion surrounding the development of Iron Heroes 2nd Edition.

As for Social versus Academics, I didn't want my party rogue to go from having Knowledge Local to suddenly having Knowledge Academics. Social kept the jist of it (people, places, and rules in society) well enough.

I do wonder if it would limit the skill options for wizards and other scholary types though. You figure those characters would always have all those skills max'ed out (which might not be a bad thing per se).
... One of the reasons I made the change was that I was tired of seeing Wizards with only one knowledge skill (Arcana), and that at 5 ranks for the synergy bonuses. (2 + Int does not go very far, especially when you need Concentration and Spellcraft, and Spot is too good to pass up; that leaves maybe 1 skill at first level to assign to something useful, of which you have about 50 choices.)
Even TB doesn't do much for them, since they still only have 4+Int (max of 9 starting skills) to cover the ten knowledge skills. You absolutely cannot play the "know everything" wizard; or bard, for that matter, which is why they got it as a class feature (bardic knowledge).

Happily, it's been much fun. Plenty of utility to make it worth picking them up, but not so much that any of them are must-haves. All the PCs picked up one Knowledge (Natural for the Barbarian and Fighter/Ranger, Social for the Rogue), and the human Cleric picked up two (Social and Supernatural).
They've been about as useful as Jump, or Acrobatics. Which is where they should be.
 
As for Social versus Academics, I didn't want my party rogue to go from having Knowledge Local to suddenly having Knowledge Academics. Social kept the jist of it (people, places, and rules in society) well enough.
Continuing the tangent on skill groupings, here's an alternate grouping.

Knowledge (civics): includes history, local, nobility/royalty
Knowledge (outdoors): dungeoneering, geography, nature, plus Survival
Knowledge (supernatural): arcana, religion, the planes

Knowledge (arch/eng) get subsumed under Craft or Profession
 

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