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"Epic" progression after 6th level

Khuxan

First Post
Nifft said:
The SW Saga classes all look like this:

Level 1: Starting Feats, Defense Bonus, Talent
Level 2: Bonus Feat
Level 3: Talent
Level 4: Bonus Feat
Level 5: Talent
Level 6: Bonus Feat
... etc.

The only differences are skills, hit die, and defense bonus. All the rest is bonus feats and talent trees.

If you multi-class, you get one of your new class's Starting Feats (not all of them) -- this allows front-loading without encouraging multi-classing too much.

So the interesting thing here would be to break down class abilities into Talents and Feats, and then to establish "Epic" XP prices for these Talents & Feats.

Ah, I do like that idea because it does seem with 6th-level D&D multiclass characters are 'missing out' - a sorcerer 5/barbarian 1 never gets 3rd-level spells and that seems a pity, particularly when the fighter 6 gets more and more of his only class feature.

One change I would recommend is either abolishing class skills, or creating a feat which makes a skill a class skill - because otherwise in Saga once you hit 6th-level there's no way to become trained in a skill unless it's already a class skill. (I think that's how it works).
 

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Ry

Explorer
I'd definitely allow a feat to grant a new class skill, and feats that help you get up from 5th-level sorc to 6th-level equivalent sorcerer. Those are totally OK with me.

I did some playtesting today at a local games club; characters were 1st level using my death and conviction rules, with players rolling all the dice (so it was Epic 6th Level, but starting at 1st). That gave me a lot to think about rules-wise.
 

Ry

Explorer
Remember, if you could get there inside of 6th levels, I'm happy making it available via feat chain. Each part of that chain has to be judged against other feats, but that's not that hard.
 

Bloosquig

First Post
I've been fiddling with making a simple to understand start up game for some friends I'm trying to get into roleplaying games and this has given me several ideas. Thanks and keep the info coming. :D
 

Ry

Explorer
Welcome, Bloosquig!

One thing I'd recommend, make pregenerated characters with a simple, easy to read character sheet, and start the fun as soon as people are at the table.

I used a slightly modified The Other Game Company initiative card (blown up) as the "character sheet" and it worked really well. I made 12 1st-level PCs off of Goodman Games' free character .pdfs, and that meant there was lots of selection. That also meant that we were sitting for all of 10 minutes before we were really _doing_ something.

That's a big appeal for newbies. They want to play a game, and choosing a piece like Monopoly is more familiar than building it from scratch. Also, it's a great way to show the fun stuff right off the bat (hey, we're fighting goblins! And they have a treasure map!")
 

Asmor

First Post
Ry, here's an idea...

Change the multiclass rules so that instead of a straight addition, it's pseudo-gestalt. You only ever take the single best score in any of your classes. So for example, you could build up to, say, a level 6 barbarian/level 6 ranger... You'd still only have a +6 BAB, but you'd get all the ranger abilities up to level 6 and all the barbarian abilities up to level 6...

The biggest issue with this system I think is that you'd quickly end up with people getting +5 to all saves as they multiclass into different classes with different good saves.

Not really sure how to price it... I think I'd personally allow you to buy your levels in any order, and you just pay the appropriate amount of exp... For example, a level 3 wizard/level 2 monk could either pay 3000 exp to go to level 4 in wizard or 2000 exp to go to level 3 in monk.

It's got a bit of a built in exp penalty in the fact that you're really not gaining as much by buying levels you've already got... For example, a level 6 wizard who then buys 6 levels of fighter only gets +3 BAB and +3 Fort save, instead of +6 BAB, +5 fort, +2 ref and +2 will, but he still has to spend 15k exp on it... And as you accrue more and more classes, the benefits get even smaller until you're only buying class features with your exp.

Of course, on the other hand I guess you could take the view that class features are almost the same as feats... In that case, they level from 1 to 6 with normal costs, and then after level 6 they buy each level in other classes for 5000 exp a piece.
 

Land Outcast

Explorer
Good as a higher powered variant, but think your idea doesn't quite mesh with "Ry20", mainly because it would greatly up the power at each step (even though the steps would be climbed slower).

The second option is telling the player that if he wants his character to grow in power, he'll have to diversify (at arriving at level 6, a feat is worth less than Rage1/day, or sneak attack +1d6, or lvl1 spells).
And "forcing" (or rather: offering two paths which take to the same place, but one is easier) players to do something is something I try to avoid (I know I don't like the fact that my Paladin9, Griffon Guard and Protector of Draco is mechanically weaker in kicking evil ass than the Paladin5/PrC4... but that's a rant for other day).


As you see, there's no solid argument, just my opinion...


BTW: great work here Ry!
 
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Khuxan

First Post
Alright, all the base classes are available. Please tell me what you think, and if you find any typoes/layout problems.

One thing I tried to do was avoid having any classes reference other classes. The exception was the ranger, because its Animal Companion class feature entry is both similar to and different from the druid's, and I didn't want to screw up and miss out information.

Does anyone have any ideas for a better capstone ability for the rogue than "Trap Sense +2"? I can't think of a less appealing class feature.

Finally, I want to stat up a few 6th-level generals, archmages and so on. Anyone got any ideas?

A cover I knocked up in Photoshop

The cover was created from this image:
* Sample fractal image generated by the Electric Sheep project from sheep 10531
* Source: http://electricsheep.org/archive/generation-198/dead.cgi?id=10531 (Image)
* this sheep was designed by blazindime.
 
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Ry

Explorer
Hmm. Give me a few to think about these.

My initial reaction is not to touch things on the level of detail as the Trap Sense +2. While I agree it's a weak level 6 ability, we have to weigh customization against familiarity. When someone sits down to play who has played a D&D game before, and they brought their well-loved 3.5 PHB, I'd rather be able to just tell them the 1 page worth of house rules and say "Welcome to the game, roll up a character!" Poring the rules (say, so you can spot the difference between the Ry20 Rogue and the PHB rogue) is something I'd rather avoid for Ry20.

That said, if you want to get down to that level of detail, I'd say go for it, but make it into an optional rule / appendix ("Alternate Class Features"?)

Looks like I will soon have a regular weekly Ry20 game with a rotating player base, so luckily enough, I'll be able to do lots of playtesting. :)
 
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Khuxan

First Post
rycanada said:
My initial reaction is not to touch things on the level of detail as the Trap Sense +2. While I agree it's a weak level 6 ability, we have to weigh customization against familiarity. When someone sits down to play who has played a D&D game before, and they brought their well-loved 3.5 PHB, I'd rather be able to just tell them the 1 page worth of house rules and say "Welcome to the game, roll up a character!" Poring the rules (say, so you can spot the difference between the Ry20 Rogue and the PHB rogue) is something I'd rather avoid for Ry20.

That said, if you want to get down to that level of detail, I'd say go for it, but make it into an optional rule / appendix ("Alternate Class Features"?)

That's actually what I intended. Sorry for not making that clearer. I agree the core rules should be unchanged from the SRD.

Another alternate rule I was considering was making Improved Critical require 6 levels of fighter. I think that'd be a nice boost for fighters to make sure people don't dip for two levels for the bonus feats.
 

Ry

Explorer
I share with you a desire to keep single classing viable. I don't think the 2-level fighter dip is as appealing though. I we were just starting this with my old crew...

Consigliori: "You know what we won't see anymore? Fighter Dipping."
Ryan: "What? Why not?"
Consigliori: "Because you can ALWAYS get more feats."
Ryan: "Huh. I hadn't thought of it that way."
 


Khuxan

First Post
It worries me that the prevalence of feats means people won't take fighter levels at all. A barbarian, ranger or paladin all get full BAB and pretty similar hp to a fighter - and equal or better saves. When feats are a precious commodity, those four fighter feats are a real advantage. It seems when everyone gets bonus feats (and nothing but bonus feats) after 6th level, favoured enemies, smites, spells and rages are going to be a lot more tempting. (The ranger already gets four feats, but Endurance and Track aren't that fantastic).

I suppose the question boils down to - are a particular combat class's class features worth >4, 4 or <4 feats?
 

Ry

Explorer
I agree that might happen, but I don't think it's going to break anybody's game. Being 4 feats ahead is being 20,000 exp ahead along any given feat chain your character wants. That's a real factor.

At the same time, yeah, maybe we'd see fewer fighters. But IMO, the fighter's something of a weak class to begin with. Did you see the Dead Levels article at WotC? Fighters got, a real ability to "shore them up." Think of it another way: If your campaign was full of rangers, paladins, and barbarians instead of fighters, would it really suffer? Now if a player really wanted a soldier-style character, thought the fighter was weak, and you agreed, there's loads of alternate options available.

Nifft - I agree that 4e will likely look a lot like Saga. But also, I want to let people with a PHB and some dice just show up, and know how it works. At least when it comes to my own projects, if I make big revisions, I end up making more and more tiny ones. If the rules are in flux, it's harder for a new player. I want a player to be able to (for example) get to 6th level, go to Japan, and then drop back into my game six months or a year later and still know how to play. I may convert this to 4E when it comes out, but that depends a lot on what 4E looks like (i.e. does it have a SRD? What's the community reaction? Is everyone converting or is the community forking?)
 

wolff96

First Post
I really like the idea of this system, but I have to comment on one slice of balance... Sorcerer/Wizard. I'm specifically looking at the top-level spells here.

The Sorcerer has 3 slots per day, with one 3rd level spell known.

The Wizard has 2 slots per day -- memorized in advance, of course -- and a minimum of four spells known. He can, of course, add as many more spells as he likes assuming time and money are available.

Worse still, the wizard can still specialize. At that point, he has the same number of spells per day as a sorcerer... Not to mention that he still knows a lot more than one spell.

I see this as being as bad, potentially, as a fighter never being played because feats are more prevalent. At least the fighter has Weapon Specialization going for him... A sorcerer versus a specialist wizard doesn't have much going for him at all.
 

Ry

Explorer
Hi Wolff; you raise a good point, and it's one of my bigger concerns for the game.

I'd say there are 4 effective options:

1) Introduce an XP cost for learning spells (not my preference).
2) Write a few feats to address this very problem
3) Make an alternate class feature and stick it in the appendix
4) Allow / encourage the use of an alternate class, like the Warlock, depending on the Sorcerer the player wants.
Either introduce an xp cost for learning spells (not my preference) or write a few feats with this dilemma
 

Quartz

Adventurer
I've been thinking about this more, and I do like the concept, but I do have issues with the execution.

How about letting the sorceror pay 5000 XP to add one spell?

I agree with the earlier comments about fighters: why play a fighter if you can pick up the feats later anyway? Better to play something else and get cool class features first.

With regards to limiting base saves, can I suggest you limit the total, not the individual? This would allow greater variety.

Have you looked at what happens when characters have large numbers of extra feats?

It seems to me that there's a major imbalance with respect to the Craft Wand feat. A wizard with a collection of wands could dominate the party. In a normal game, the HP of the combat types would increase suficiently to balance it, but that cannot happen here.
 

mfrench

First Post
Quartz said:
How about letting the sorceror pay 5000 XP to add one spell?

I agree with the earlier comments about fighters: why play a fighter if you can pick up the feats later anyway? Better to play something else and get cool class features first.

~snip

1) The sorc could take Extra Spell (I think it's from Complete Arcane - you could adjust it to allow 3rd level spells.)
2) Introduce feats (from other sources / made up on your own) that require fighter levels as pre-reqs. Maybe tactical feats from the new splatbooks could require Fighter levels? Also, Fighter is really the only (core rules) way to play a heavy-armored combatant without a strong moral compass (which many players don't want to be saddled with). I think that the Fighter niche can be made safe pretty easily.

~~~~~~~

The magic item discussion was really interesting, that had been on my mind for a while, but I still have a couple other observations about the system:

1) It basically removes PrC's. This might be a good thing or a bad thing depending on preferences, but some players might raise a stink about not getting a chance at them.

2) It basically removes metamagic (someone touched on this above). You can't quicken anything, you can only apply some of them to the lowest level spells (e.g., you can't apply anything to Fireball). I think you mentioned the Sudden metamagics, but IIRC they require the base feat as a prereq, and I wouldn't want to take Quicken (which I couldn't use) and a slew of other MM feats just to get Sudden Quicken (which I could use 1/day).

Thoughts?
 

Ry

Explorer
Thanks mfrench, you brought up exactly what I wanted to say re: the sorc issue.

Mostly-removing PrC's is definitely by design. If your players want to play, say, a tattooed monk, I'd suggest chatting with the player about character concepts and how to accomodate that rather than seeing "Being a tattooed-covered monk whose tattoos contain mystical powers" as something that can only be expressed through a prestige class.
 

phindar

First Post
I see class balance as being more of a non-issue. People not choosing classes doesn't really seem to be that big of a deal in actual play-- if no one plays a class the point of "Doesn't this class suck?" never gets brought up. (I mean, yeah it sucks, but npcs can still take it.) Classes balanced from 1-20th level with a certain amount of feats available probably aren't going to be equally balanced at 1-6th level with a completely different amount of feats available. You could introduce changes to make the Fighter more viable (basing it off something other than more feats), but at that point you're almost writing a new class just to preserve the name "Fighter". And with 68 Base Classes and counting (that was the last number mentioned, I haven't been counting), its not like their aren't options out there.

Capping base saves: My theory is if a player multiclasses to get an awesome Save, he's either shafting other Saves (like the guy with the Fort +12, Reflex +2 and Will +0), or he's shafting other class abilities, like a Monk 2/Ranger 2/Cleric 2. He'd have a Fort +9, Ref +6, and Will +6 (base). At that point, having great saves is his class ability, because everything else is a bit of a mish-mash.

I'm also a little proud that a lot of this-- Rogue 6, Wands-- I was talking about two pages ago. If a lackluster class ability (like Trapsense +2) makes people more likely to take a level of something else, I don't see that as a bad thing. (Although looking at the chart, I'd probably just move Imp Uncanny Dodge down to 6th level-- but I'm nicer about defensive abilities. And that solves the problem of barb/rogues being better Uncanny Dodgers than single class rogues.)

Instead of having Craft Items simply be a gold and xp trade, I'd so go back to the old school idea of needing unique components. If to make a Wand of Fireballs you need the horn of a Red Dragon, the balancing factor isn't money or xp. (You could limit it to something like CL equal to Age Category of the Dragon, depending on how... um, draconian you wanted to be.) Personally, I like unique components because it encourages player creativity, and the items end up feeling less generic.

I like the idea of the titans as gods, and I wanted to put forth a few more less anthropomorphic beings to be worshipped. Dragons, natch, have the CR to be revered as living gods. Kraken are both mighty and very intelligent. I also like the idea of people worshipping big monsters, like a tribe of islanders who revere a megladon as their totem animal. Elemental Weirds from the MM2 are great for people who want to worship elemental forces, they cast as 18th level Sorcerers and get a list of at will divinations (which is interesting in how divine relates back to perception and to godliness). In a 6th level world, a CR 9 or 10 creature, or one with the ability to cast 4th or 5th level spells could easily be considered "gods".
 

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