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Character Generation - Regional Benefits

garyh

First Post
covaithe has started a good character generation guide. It reminded me, however, that we need to work on the regional benefits.

Currently, Graf has added some benefits to the wiki here.

These are the regions with benefits currently posted:
Daunton
Bacarte
Valley of Bone
Kingdom of Jade

Of Graf's, I like Daunton and Bacarte. I'm not sure about the Valley of Bone's divination ability, as I think it's too open to DM interpretation and player abuse The VoB nature bonus is fine. The Kingdom of Jade's diplomacy bonus works, but I don't know what the "corrupting touch of the shadow" is supposed to be.

Other regions needed are:
Imperium
Empire of Hraka
Allaria

Suggestions from me:

Imperium - +1 to arcana, ???

Empire of Hraka - +1 to intimidate, ???

Allaria - +1 to history, ???

Looking at the FRPG preview, though, I think this may actually be too conservative. The FR regions tend towards the following types of benefits:

- Additional language (sometimes specified, sometimes a choice), +2 to a skill and that skill is a class skill
- resist 2 to three elements (3 at 11th and 5 at 21st)
- reroll a certain skill check, take second roll, and a language
- reroll a certain skill check, take second roll, and +1 to initiative

I think we should try to stick pretty close to that level of benefit.
 

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Graf

First Post
I sei actually want to make the imperium diplomacy and the jade kingdom insight.

The corrupting touch of shadow is actually a combat related power... So its supposed to be rarer.

They are deliberately low powered; I wanted to sketch a concept without scaring people who might be uncomfortable with higher powered abilities.
 

garyh

First Post
I could see going lower-powered if we really want to make that move. I just looked at the FR examples for inspiration and was surprised to see them more powerful than our draft ideas. I don't see the FR power level as being "too much," and it also gives a little more room to work with in creating a variety of powers.
 

covaithe

First Post
Of Graf's, I like Daunton and Bacarte. I'm not sure about the Valley of Bone's divination ability, as I think it's too open to DM interpretation and player abuse The VoB nature bonus is fine. The Kingdom of Jade's diplomacy bonus works, but I don't know what the "corrupting touch of the shadow" is supposed to be.

This is pretty much exactly what I thought when reading through the current list.
 
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Graf

First Post
I could see going lower-powered if we really want to make that move. I just looked at the FR examples for inspiration and was surprised to see them more powerful than our draft ideas. I don't see the FR power level as being "too much," and it also gives a little more room to work with in creating a variety of powers.
Well the key issue is this:

In fr everyone gets one regional benefit...
in L4W that won't be the case necessarily.

I mean... Some people will be from Bacarte, etc. But some won't.
some people may try to create a region or what have you but I think we'll
probably have to be strict about it. Otherwise we'll find ourselves in a pickle.

People will create characters qho aren't from the near isles or the defined far lands and I don't want them to feel like they're being severily penalized.

That's why I made them the way they are; little impact on combat mostly flavor oriented.
 

garyh

First Post
Good point, Graf. We don't want to disadvantage folks who create PC's from less-defined areas of our setting (compared to FR where NOTHING is "less-defined" ;) ).
 

covaithe

First Post
Endurance might also be good for V of B. And in place of the divination power, which still raises red flags for me, perhaps something to do with undead? Tying into the whole "rubbing shoulders with skeletons" theme, which I find interesting.
 

garyh

First Post
Endurance might also be good for V of B. And in place of the divination power, which still raises red flags for me, perhaps something to do with undead? Tying into the whole "rubbing shoulders with skeletons" theme, which I find interesting.

+4 to religion checks to identify undead?
 

covaithe

First Post
+4 to religion checks to identify undead?

Hmm.... possibly. Had a look again at all the current regional benefit suggestions, thinking about balance. I'm not terribly great at analyzing balance issues, but here are some thoughts. First a point: monster knowledge checks are a combat power: a flat DC 25 to identify a monster's resistances and vulnerabilities is check that could significantly alter the outcome of a fight. So, they need to be balanced as such.

Daunton's in-the-city ability is overpowered. The +2 to all monster knowledge checks is already arguably one of the best bonuses on the table; allowing characters to effectively "take 22" on knowledge checks in the city is IMO broken.

Bacarte is a bit underpowered. +1 to perception is fine, but +4 streetwise that's only active within Bacarte is a bit weak, I think. Maybe a flat +1 perception and +1 streetwise?

Valley of bone. +1 to endurance or intimidate or... well, anything, really, is fine as one benefit. +4 to undead monster knowledge checks, well... maybe. It's a big bonus, but it's situational. On the other hand, there are lots of undead, and they're popular opponents. On the other hand, it fits really well with the flavor of the region. I could be talked into it.

If we want to make this easy to balance, we should make it flat: +1 to a skill, and +4 to another skill situationally. But that's kind of boring.
 

Graf

First Post
Hmm.... possibly. Had a look again at all the current regional benefit suggestions, thinking about balance. I'm not terribly great at analyzing balance issues, but here are some thoughts. First a point: monster knowledge checks are a combat power: a flat DC 25 to identify a monster's resistances and vulnerabilities is check that could significantly alter the outcome of a fight. So, they need to be balanced as such.

Daunton's in-the-city ability is overpowered. The +2 to all monster knowledge checks is already arguably one of the best bonuses on the table; allowing characters to effectively "take 22" on knowledge checks in the city is IMO broken.

Bacarte is a bit underpowered. +1 to perception is fine, but +4 streetwise that's only active within Bacarte is a bit weak, I think. Maybe a flat +1 perception and +1 streetwise?

Valley of bone. +1 to endurance or intimidate or... well, anything, really, is fine as one benefit. +4 to undead monster knowledge checks, well... maybe. It's a big bonus, but it's situational. On the other hand, there are lots of undead, and they're popular opponents. On the other hand, it fits really well with the flavor of the region. I could be talked into it.

If we want to make this easy to balance, we should make it flat: +1 to a skill, and +4 to another skill situationally. But that's kind of boring.
I appreciate your points. I think you're missing the theme.

+1 to a skill (this has -some- impact in combat) or +2 to a sub-skill.
+4 to some unusual circumstance.

Obviously not all skills are created equal. Perception is really good for everyone. For most PCs things like insight and monster lore are pretty lame.

So you have to take that into consideration when building for

[d]--[/d]

Is +1 to perception better or worse than +2 to monster lore? I think it's hard to argue. Personally I think perception is better... it's very useful outside of combat + it increases your chance of finding hidden enemies and of acting in a surprised round.
EVERY pc wants a bonus to perception.

Monster lore? Lets you use something you probably already know from reading the monster manual (lets be clear the majority of vulnerabilities and resistances are pretty common sense -- you don't need to make a roll to use radiant attacks on undead). You've only got a chance of hitting the 25 -IF- you actually have those skills trained. And, unlike perception, if one PC in the group its the roll then it works for everyone.

I just don't see the argument that monster knowledge is more powerful than perception.

And a reroll on a knowledge check does not equal an automatic 22. You get to reroll. The "median result" of "best of two d20" rolls is going to be a 12 (I think).

If anything the Daunton powers are weaker because
1. I see a lot of people wanting to play daunton
2. The game is based on Daunton

[d]--[/d]
I'll incorporate everything else (dumping the divination etc)
 

Graf

First Post
I appreciate your points. I think you're missing the theme.

+1 to a skill (this has -some- impact in combat) or +2 to a sub-skill.
+4 to some unusual circumstance.

Obviously not all skills are created equal. Perception is really good for everyone. For most PCs things like insight and monster lore are pretty lame.

So you have to take that into consideration when building for

[d]--[/d]

Is +1 to perception better or worse than +2 to monster lore? I think it's hard to argue. Personally I think perception is better... it's very useful outside of combat + it increases your chance of finding hidden enemies and of acting in a surprised round.
EVERY pc wants a bonus to perception.

Monster lore? Lets you use something you probably already know from reading the monster manual (lets be clear the majority of vulnerabilities and resistances are pretty common sense -- you don't need to make a roll to use radiant attacks on undead). You've only got a chance of hitting the 25 -IF- you actually have those skills trained. And, unlike perception, if one PC in the group its the roll then it works for everyone.

I just don't see the argument that monster knowledge is more powerful than perception.

And a reroll on a knowledge check does not equal an automatic 22. You get to reroll. The "median result" of "best of two d20" rolls is going to be a 12 (I think).

If anything the Daunton powers are weaker because
1. I see a lot of people wanting to play daunton
2. The game is based on Daunton

[d]--[/d]
I'll incorporate everything else (dumping the divination etc)
Made some edits to the regions. I think I've reflected all comments (with the caviates I've give above)

Since we're still discussing the whole knowledge checks thing I went ahead and gave the valley of bone a +4 to diplomacy with the undead. It's sorta useful... but situational enough that I don't think it's abusive.
 

garyh

First Post
Looking good, but I still don't grok the Empire of Jade's "corrupting touch" angle. That looks like a whole can of houserule worms. Can we maybe give a bonus to identify devils or something?
 

Graf

First Post
Welllllll yeah. All the "situational" powers only matter if the DM brings them up.

Don't want the Bacarte power to matter? Don't give them streetwise checks in Bacarte.
Don't want them to be rerolling knowledge checks? Set your adventure away from Daunton (or put it on a time limit).
Don't want them to get bonuses vs saves? Don't put special Kingdom of Jade shadow monsters in the adventure...
Etc.

I guess we could just give them +1 to save vs charms. It's fairly minor and easier to understand; of course that would become their primary power..... We could give them +2 insight bonuses vs -other- Kingdom of Jade characters and -2 for non-Kingdom to reflect their unusually reserved culture...
 

covaithe

First Post
Obviously not all skills are created equal. Perception is really good for everyone. For most PCs things like insight and monster lore are pretty lame.

I disagree. Well, I disagree that insight and monster lore are lame. Obviously perception is good, but in any kind of roleplaying-intensive game, insight is going to be better. In any game with monsters that aren't straight out of the MM, or if (god forbid) the player hasn't memorized the MM, then monster lore is going to be an effective contribution. Remember that you don't have to hit a 25 to be useful; 15 gets you types and 20 gets you powers.

I just don't see the argument that monster knowledge is more powerful than perception.
Perhaps not more powerful, but... I don't think you can just dismiss it as lame or irrelevant. +4 to diplomacy vs. undead, now that is pretty lame.

And a reroll on a knowledge check does not equal an automatic 22. You get to reroll. The "median result" of "best of two d20" rolls is going to be a 12 (I think).
As written, you get to reroll every day. If the game fits the common pattern of adventurers meeting in the inn and agreeing to do something, shopping, and leaving in the morning, then that's at least three rolls: the initial off-the-top-of-the-head knowledge check, the immediate reroll from going to the library, and another from going to the library in the morning. If the adventure is actually in Daunton itself, it's quite plausible that five or six or or more rolls could happen. If the DM, having momentarily forgotten about this rule, says that there's no time pressure to leave Daunton right away, then the player immediately responds with "I keep going to the library every day until I make the check. We'll leave when my research is done." That's the take-22 scenario. And don't think that this never happens; I'm in a game right now in LEW where we could have taken advantage of such a library, if it existed.
And what about people who aren't from Daunton, but just happen to be living there? Are they barred from the library? What if they pay a fee?

I'd really like to see this rewritten as a one-time reroll available to everyone, with the Daunton regional benefit being a larger bonus to the check. Something like reroll at +2 for everyone, perhaps with a small fee, and at +5 for Dauntonians. Dauntonites?

All the "situational" powers only matter if the DM brings them up.

Don't want the Bacarte power to matter? Don't give them streetwise checks in Bacarte.

I don't think we should require DM railroading (and yes, I think that advice counts as railroading) to balance these regional benefits.
 

garyh

First Post
I guess we could just give them +1 to save vs charms. It's fairly minor and easier to understand; of course that would become their primary power..... We could give them +2 insight bonuses vs -other- Kingdom of Jade characters and -2 for non-Kingdom to reflect their unusually reserved culture...

I'm going to jump in here and say that I really don't like the idea of a region having a penalty. 4E has gotten away from "balance by penalty," and I don't think we should go back there. I guarantee a -2 to non-Jade insight checks will result in NO characters from Jade with any kind of social angle - we'll see Jade fighters and rangers, and nothing else.

I like the +1 to charm saves much more than the corruption thingy.
 

Graf

First Post
Gary, you mis-read (my unclear) post

OTHER PEOPLE get -2 to insight rolls vs. Jade Empire.
(it seemed to be clearer than saying they get +2 to bluff, but that implementation is isomorphic)


[d]--[/d]

I disagree.


Perhaps not more powerfu
l, but... I don't think you can just dismiss it as lame or irrelevant. +4 to diplomacy vs. undead, now that is pretty lame.
By design thank you very much. :)
And it's actually useful in certain games (like KotS).
But again,


As written, you get to reroll every day.
Once per check. So if you have 3 knowledge checks to make before you leave... you'd better hope you have 3 days or three Dauntoians.
(that's currently my preferred version)

I don't think we should require DM railroading (and yes, I think that advice counts as railroading) to balance these regional benefits.
I loath the word railroading.

Especially when you're complaining about good design as being railroading.

It's a power whose primary role is to grand a bit of an rp flavor to things.

It only comes up if a DM wants it to.

"requiring railroading" is sorta fight'n words where i come from. ;)
 
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Graf

First Post
To please cov I added the word "given" to my already (pretty clear I thought) language.
The line now reads

(a given roll can only be rerolled once)

Good enough?
 

Graf

First Post
My feeling is that if you really hate my regional ideas and think they're total crap then you can make up your own and we vote.

But, you've got to look at it in context. If you want Dauntonians (does that sound cool or silly?) to get +5 to knowledge checks to need to be willing to build 5 or so other feats that match the flavor of the world which are equally powerful.

It's good to have an opinion, but we are at the stage where we need to work toward consensus.

Or poll it out.

So decide if you like the power level I've assigned. Mine has the advantage, as written of being +1 to a skill/+2 to a subskill and +4 situational bonus (i.e. it'll come up if the DM wants to bring it up, but it's basically rp)

If you don't like that then articulate the system you would like to use and come up with a suite of powers that you think are equally attractive to players and equally useful (or not useful) without being so attractive that players playing characters from a region don't feel penalized.

Saying "i want these guys to get a plus five and everybody else to get a +2 but only if they spend gold" isn't a system. Its an interesting idea, but the point is to have a balanced set of regional feats that give people a little mechanical advantage to bolster their characters rp backgrounds.

[d]--[/d]

YOUR regional feat system doesn't have to do that of course.
But that's what mine is trying to do.

[d]--[/d]

If you want to build a library system I'm cool with that.

But then lets call it the "Dauntonian library system".
 

covaithe

First Post
"requiring railroading" is sorta fight'n words where i come from. ;)

Well, yes, that was intended to be a bit provocative. :) But you said that if a DM doesn't want streetwise checks to come up, don't give streetwise checks. What happens when a player says "I leave the party and spend the next four hours talking with innkeepers, stableboys, beggars, ladies of ill repute, and my contacts in the thieves' guild, asking if anyone has seen a man with seven fingers and two eye patches with smiley faces on them. I roll a 28." As a DM, you'd better have a damn good reason not to give him some information, assuming the guy with the eye patches has been in town. If the eyepatch guy has a hat of disguise, fine... but that hat had better come up in the treasure list later. If you just say "nobody knows anything about him" without thinking about it because you don't want regional benefits to come into play, well, that's pretty darn close to railroading in my book.

My feeling is that if you really hate my regional ideas and think they're total crap then you can make up your own and we vote.

Not sure if this was directed at me or not, but I'll respond anyways. I like the regional benefits. I think they're damn close to being finished, and will be a good thing, when they are. I'm just trying to address what I think are some balance concerns. Tweaks, not rewrites.

To please cov I added the word "given" to my already (pretty clear I thought) language.
The line now reads

(a given roll can only be rerolled once)

Good enough?

Yes, I'm much happier with the wording now.
 

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