D&D General Heroes of Myth and Legend

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
A wiki page for allowing the presentation of HOML material and its discussion

Heroes of Myth & Legend -hereafter referred to as HoML- is a fantasy role-playing game of legendary heroes and mythical monsters. The players will take on the roles of heroic adventurers, player characters, while the Game Master (GM) will act as their guide through the worlds of myth and legend, playing the roles the non-player characters (NPCs). As the PCs move through the world of HoML the GM will present them with information and challenging situations. These situations may be of any possible type, foul monsters to slay, mysteries to solve, wars to fight, etc. The rules of HoML are used as a set of guidelines to help the GM and players determine what the abilities of their characters are and how the actions of the PCs and NPCs, and the effects of the environment affect the PCs and their story.

HoML is designed to allow the players to participate directly in the development of the story. While the GM is tasked with presentation and has primary responsibility for the coherency of the fiction, the players are empowered to introduce some elements focused on their characters, and this game includes mechanics which help to adjudicate this process, as well as guidelines for their use. The goal of the game is to have fun and see what happens when the PCs come into conflict with the forces of fate, the gods, monsters, and the people around them.

OK, so there's a PDF in Attachments! Same one can be found on my GDrive share, but I will try to keep updating this one too.

And the nice up to date HTML
 

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So, HOML2 kind of looks like this:

There are 3 'modes of play', Interlude (free RP, canonically no dice are ever rolled), Challenge (analogous to 4e SC), and Action Sequence (combat).

The first interesting point here is there are simply no such thing as checks, except in challenge/combat. So, if a player says "Hey I really want to fight this guy" then they're controlling which of these is in force. Likewise they might try to switch from combat to challenge (IE by escaping or trying to parley). There isn't verbiage saying "they get what they want" OTOH the GM is in charge of scene framing. So the assumption is transitioning modes of play means some agreement on what the next mode and the associated scene looks like (or else the players just say something like "OK we proceed" and the GM can go back to first principles and make up what comes next).

Checks work a lot like 4e, except instead of 'skills' I imagined it as 'knacks' (meaning more what you are inclined to do, so 'Engineering' is more a trait, you characteristically solve problems by making things). Every check then has a 'governing aspect' which is going to tell you which knack and thus which ability bonus and proficiency bonus apply. You might also have knowledge or be proficient in a tool. The 'proficient in a tool' also covers weapons/implements pretty nicely. An aspect COULD simply be something like 'combat', which doesn't relate directly to a specific knack.

So, a check consists of the GM setting a scene, a player says "My character accomplishes X by doing Y" and then the GM says "OK, the governing aspect for that is Stealthy, so you can make a check using the Stealth knack, etc." Someone could then jump in with "Oh, and I distract the enemy by throwing a stone, over there..." which might grant advantage on the ensuing check (I'm just using 5e advantage/disadvantage, and no other non-static bonuses).

If a scene involved an ongoing activity, then the GM might state that whatever check was made previously for that stands, so you don't need to roll 12 times to sneak into the orc camp, nor does every PC have to make a separate check, etc. Standard stuff.

Since all checks are part of challenges/combat something is tallied, success or failure, consequences are meted out, or whatever, the GM evolves the plot to the next scene, or at least decision point in the existing scene, and the process repeats until the challenge is done.

Players can 'play fate' (sort of a better version of 5e's inspiration) when they wish, that lets them change the narrative. They can also expend power points to 'pump up' their success, but you have to wager them before the roll and they don't do anything to help failure. PPs are used for all the things 4e uses 'points' for, APs and HS basically. You get one back when you rest. Using fate requires 'leveraging' something, usually a trait of the character. You can also 'invoke misfortune', inviting the GM to rain on you in return for getting your fate back, so you can use it later.

Players can also 'up the stakes', by accepting a consequence of an action in trade for some other thing they liked less. The classic case being "you fell in the pit and died" with the response being "No, I fell in the pit, and now my leg is broken." You basically take an affliction in return for getting back some of your hit points. This is probably MOST applicable to combat, but can be used in challenges too (I guess technically it could even happen in an Interlude, though its hard to see that sort of action happening with nothing at stake).

I THINK this 'engine' will drive the game. It should give everyone some table stakes and assuming the GM sticks to a fairly 'Story Game' kind of agenda something should happen.

That is ESSENTIALLY the structure of the game at the table in play. The
 



Does not need the number behind it til you have a "published" version :p @AbdulAlhazred
Yeah, well, for myself I distinguish between the 'old' version that @Gilladian has played with a bit, and the 'new' version. The original was a lot closer to 4e in terms of it was just free checks, plus challenges and combat, and the whole framework of checks was straight out of 4e.

Honestly, if you look at the document, the only thing that tells you which 'version' it is, is the date, lol. That date is automagically generated, so it always indicates if things have been changed. I guess maybe I could have RELEASE NOTES! Hahaha.
 


Update. I added the Berserker, the list of gods from Erithnoi so we have something for priests to do, fixed some priest stuff, and added a few potions. I figured you can always reuse the potion effects as rituals or practices, which is really basically what they are.

Organizational question. Since boons really are MUCH less, hardly at all, related to specific classes at this point, how to organize things???

This brought me to another observation, which is that it is actually pretty hard to make up 'powers', what I am calling feats now, because they really are NOT very niche! Let me explain: Basic Attack for instance can be enhanced by spending a power point, at least if you are martial. So, MANY other "do something nasty" COULD be formulated as basically "If you get an enhanced success, then add <nasty rider>" which is kind of a nice formulation in terms of being like 4e encounter powers (IE you won't use it all the time, but you can use it pretty often if you need to). It also makes spending that power point a bit more interesting.

But really, a lot of the old "make an attack with this special sauce" kinds of 4e powers are not so astoundingly good or easy to bring up in HoML. It isn't worth a power point just to do a bit of extra damage and trip someone, for example. Beyond that I really want to eschew all the endless "this is basically daze, but we were bored so instead we wrote it a tiny bit different." I just got tired of that, and it made a lot of things to track, but CLEARLY the reason the designers did it is, there's just not that many powers you can make that impose the dazed condition (or whatever condition). Basically 4e has 52 variations of "its an encounter power, it does 2D damage, and it has this slightly different, for no reason we can fathom except variety, effect."

I know you may say that all these variations give you different 'tactical opportunities', perhaps... But I'm not that thrilled by that sort of "game mechanic tactics." I'm a wargamer, I like REAL tactics, like you hit them from both sides, get surprise, attack from a covered position, charge in and break them at the right moment, etc. THOSE are what I aim at when I talk about tactics, much more so than "well, if I use this feat to turn that power into ice, then your push works better." I mean some of those are not bad, but some are just 'bit twiddling' the game.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I know you may say that all these variations give you different 'tactical opportunities', perhaps... But I'm not that thrilled by that sort of "game mechanic tactics." I'm a wargamer, I like REAL tactics, like you hit them from both sides, get surprise, attack from a covered position, charge in and break them at the right moment, etc. THOSE are what I aim at when I talk about tactics, much more so than "well, if I use this feat to turn that power into ice, then your push works better." I mean some of those are not bad, but some are just 'bit twiddling' the game.
I am sure you are aware game mechanics are just there to represent REAL tactics and sometimes may be entirely outside the players knowledge and outside things the system measures (for instance the system may not be measuring facing or many subtleties of time but your character knows to look for that moment when all their enemies are focused in a way they can safely scoot past without taking opportunity attacks. 4e allowed the player to decide when his rogue discovered that opportune moment.
 

I am sure you are aware game mechanics are just there to represent REAL tactics and sometimes may be entirely outside the players knowledge and outside things the system measures (for instance the system may not be measuring facing or many subtleties of time but your character knows to look for that moment when all their enemies are focused in a way they can safely scoot past without taking opportunity attacks. 4e allowed the player to decide when his rogue discovered that opportune moment.
Sure, but I'm not convinced there needed to be 6 ways to represent it mechanically that are intended to model basically the same thing, vs 1!

So, here's how my feat design exercise seems to be playing out. There are a couple of 'core' feats (I'm just going to discuss combat for the moment, but I think similar concepts work everywhere). For example there is 'Basic Attack', and 'Opportunity Attack', and maybe a few others. So, lets take a cue from Essentials and just build riders. That is, Basic Attack has 4 possible outcomes, Failed (whiff), Success (1DD of damage), Complete Success(2DD of damage), and Enhanced Success(3DD of damage). Enhanced requires spending a power point, it makes a success complete, and a complete success 'enhanced'. Now you can have rider feats, say 'Sweeping Blow' where your complete success and enhanced success levels get some bennies, like doing damage to a secondary adjacent target. These riders are just free action stuff you invoke when you want. Some might have usage restrictions or whatever is required to keep them in line. They can also be formulated in the style of stances or other 'turn it on' options (rages, forms, etc. 4e has several options). Obviously you can also still have your Aura type stances and whatnot.

Also, I think AEDU in a strict sense is simply a complication. You get one Major Boon per level, and each one can bring in one (or technically multiple) feats. So, given that most (maybe not all) are these sorts of 'rider', things that you can use as kickers when you do something, then we have basically almost an AEDU like feat structure. Even if you constantly end up with boons that give out strong attack riders, you only get 8 power points to use to trigger them, basically (recharge mechanics can exist, I was suggesting one power point recovered per rest). Assuming that circumstances in the narrative are responsible for a decent amount of your boons, vs "I picked this specifically as a build plan" I think that works well. Wish lists and whatnot can still be a thing, and if the GM formulates a decently responsive game where "I want to make a magic sword" translates to "you have to find the lost dwarf tribe that has the magic forge" and the sword is the cherry on top, then it works great for everyone.

I think the whole idea has legs. I am still just baking the idea of defenses. The idea is instead of having REF, FORT, and WILL for PCs the players just get to 'name a defense' and try to use it. If your defense is "I cut the arrow out of the air." then clearly you have an attack roll of some sort, but is it just "chop with your sword?" maybe some things are easier than others! I mean, any random guy won't cut an arrow of the air, but the guy with 'Arrow Cutting' certainly can. But what is it? A feat? OK, but it sounds pretty niche, so why would you have it? I mean, maybe it isn't all that niche.

One nifty thing about the 'active defense' model is that you are no longer tied to being a passive defender of yourself. Technically your defense can be in anyone's hands. Another character can leap in and cut the arrow, or jam his shield in the path of the blow, or trigger some magical defense for you. I just have to work out the mechanics of how a feat translates into a defense. I guess one option is simply some boons that give out basic foundational defenses, or some generic ones similar to BA, like 'Dodge' which you can attach riders to, though I'm not sure what rider you need for defending... I guess at least in terms of melee weapon combat its not so hard to come up with some 'riposte' type defense riders. Well, this model would work well for a 'magical duel' too! :)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Sure, but I'm not convinced there needed to be 6 ways to represent it mechanically that are intended to model basically the same thing, vs 1!
Thats is a difference of detail
Also, I think AEDU in a strict sense is simply a complication.
it is a bit artificial but it creates a rythm to the action, I see D's aka climactic powers with something like a 4 encounter refresh you want to have a sense of rarity. Encounter powers have lower tracking requirements you only remember did I do this yet this fight. (though I like tricks which can only be done once against a given enemy (or group of enemies) or within a given scene, or a 1 minute purification rituals which are required to recover from a previously done power). I like detailing the why of Encounter powers with resting being the least interesting tbh.

I think Utility powers were a slot to keep all class design to have a foot in the door for utility.

You get one Major Boon per level, and each one can bring in one (or technically multiple) feats. So, given that most (maybe not all) are these sorts of 'rider', things that you can use as kickers when you do something, then we have basically almost an AEDU like feat structure. Even if you constantly end up with boons that give out strong attack riders, you only get 8 power points to use to trigger them, basically (recharge mechanics can exist, I was suggesting one power point recovered per rest). Assuming that circumstances in the narrative are responsible for a decent amount of your boons, vs "I picked this specifically as a build plan" I think that works well. Wish lists and whatnot can still be a thing, and if the GM formulates a decently responsive game where "I want to make a magic sword" translates to "you have to find the lost dwarf tribe that has the magic forge" and the sword is the cherry on top, then it works great for everyone.

I think the whole idea has legs. I am still just baking the idea of defenses. The idea is instead of having REF, FORT, and WILL for PCs the players just get to 'name a defense' and try to use it. If your defense is "I cut the arrow out of the air." then clearly you have an attack roll of some sort, but is it just "chop with your sword?" maybe some things are easier than others! I mean, any random guy won't cut an arrow of the air, but the guy with 'Arrow Cutting' certainly can. But what is it? A feat? OK, but it sounds pretty niche, so why would you have it? I mean, maybe it isn't all that niche.

One nifty thing about the 'active defense' model is that you are no longer tied to being a passive defender of yourself. Technically your defense can be in anyone's hands. Another character can leap in and cut the arrow, or jam his shield in the path of the blow, or trigger some magical defense for you. I just have to work out the mechanics of how a feat translates into a defense. I guess one option is simply some boons that give out basic foundational defenses, or some generic ones similar to BA, like 'Dodge' which you can attach riders to, though I'm not sure what rider you need for defending... I guess at least in terms of melee weapon combat its not so hard to come up with some 'riposte' type defense riders. Well, this model would work well for a 'magical duel' too! :)
I love active defenses in that they keep players engaged.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Combinatorial power creation is something to be cautious about (4e started cautious then changed), you end up having the possibility of well call it too much combining. Unexpected results. It is the reason they made categories where a feat bonus on to hit did not usually stack with another feat bonus on to hit and the like.
 

Thats is a difference of detail
Yeah, I just prefer to put the detail where it gets the most work done. I'd consider a few additional standard conditions if they would add materially to things. Also not really averse to a wide variety of 'instantaneous consequences', that is things that get resolved immediately and don't have to be tracked. So, for instance I've designed a fighter (knight) feat that would smack an enemy with disadvantage while he's making an attack. That seems pretty solid, it is easy to explain, doesn't require tracking beyond the resolution of the current action, etc. Beyond that, slowed, dazed, stunned, engaged (marked), and maybe a couple others, can handle most of the 'explaining the consequences of what happened'.
it is a bit artificial but it creates a rythm to the action, I see D's aka climactic powers with something like a 4 encounter refresh you want to have a sense of rarity. Encounter powers have lower tracking requirements you only remember did I do this yet this fight. (though I like tricks which can only be done once against a given enemy (or group of enemies) or within a given scene, or a 1 minute purification rituals which are required to recover from a previously done power). I like detailing the why of Encounter powers with resting being the least interesting tbh.
Yeah, and I'm not actually AGAINST AEDU, per se. What I ran into with HOML1 was that you'd get these boons, and each boon had powers attached, and then you'd have to pick which ones to actually put in your slots. It just got complicated! It was hard to explain, and then there was always that issue where you got a new boon and suddenly what well-loved power did you jettison from your limited set of slots? It was not a fondly loved mechanic in that sense.

So, my thinking is, just don't do it. Worst case is a player who designs a PC that starts with 3-4 feats, and then gets a new one at each of the 19 subsequent levels. OK, they'd have 20-ish powers. Probably at least a few would become obsolete, so they're probably realistically choosing between a dozen options, at most. That's not much different from high level 4e is now where you have 2-3 at-wills, 4 encounter powers, 4 daily powers, and then probably a few more derived from feats, class features, etc.

And yes, the pacing is a BIT more slippery in the sense that you could pound out the enhanced attacks and whatnot in a single encounter. You'd then be stuck with mostly basic stuff for the rest of the day, potentially. My theory is that since power points act as surges, you will probably spend a decent fraction that way, and use the rest sparingly to best effect. OTOH people might be tempted to just burn everything and try to rest, which is somewhat less of an issue in 4e, since you always have your encounter powers for the next combat, even if you blew every daily. Still, its always a potential issue in any game, but with a more scene-based and story focused game I think it will work OK.
I think Utility powers were a slot to keep all class design to have a foot in the door for utility.
Right, so that's the other side of the whole boon thing in this design, since there are not 'utility powers' per se, players might feel constrained to acquire yet another attack power. OTOH if there's only so many realistic variations of attacks that are worth getting, is it a concern? You wanted more daily attack powers in 4e simply because you only ever got to use each one once per day, but in the current design of HoML you have 8 uses of enhancement. Having 12 ways to spend it might be somewhat helpful, but it isn't really amplifying your power...

So, utilities then become a bit more likely, IMHO, to get picked. Also 'utility' is more like 'feat that does some awesome thing outside of combat', and the idea is thats a common place to be.
I love active defenses in that they keep players engaged.

Right, and unlike interrupts, they are engaged without having to feel like if they glance away from the table they gave up a good chance to do something awesome. If they get attacked, they will come and deal with it! Worst case you just say "I dodge" and roll a die, so its the same amount of table work as the GM rolling an attack vs 'reflex', but they ARE engaged, and they COULD say "Oh, I use my Parkour feat instead, and shift over here!" which is much cooler. I just have to figure out the 'economy' of defenses. I guess really potent crazy ones could cost a power point...
 

Combinatorial power creation is something to be cautious about (4e started cautious then changed), you end up having the possibility of well call it too much combining. Unexpected results. It is the reason they made categories where a feat bonus on to hit did not usually stack with another feat bonus on to hit and the like.
Well, that is one reason I have 4 bonus types, ONLY Permanent, Level, Proficiency, and Ability. They never ever stack within those, so the best bonus you can get is stacking 1 of each. Now, you can certainly 'stack' damage in the sense that a feat does N dice, and then maybe a rider feat does M dice more, etc. I wasn't really figuring on their being more than a single rider for a given action, though I actually have not formulated that into a sensible mechanic, lol.
 

I've rationalized power sources too. I reckon 5 power sources, Martial, Life, Shadow, Elemental, and Spirit. Sorry, the 'arcane' catch-all does-all power source? What does it do? I never got it. "the power of I know stuff??!!" Meh. I think that was the issue with the 4e wizard, it had basically a backstory of "you can do anything", so the class grew like some sort of rabid mold and took over everything.

So, my concept for the Wizard is "guy who doesn't really have a power source, but has learned to tap into various different ones, in a somewhat limited way." So, he's the smart guy, but his shtick is mixing and matching cool stuff, not being lord of the universe.

Spirit covers both your priests and warlocks and etc. Anything that invokes higher powers in some way. Elemental is, well, your 'primal power' as 4e put it, the raw chaos of uncontrolled physical creation. You can try to study it and bind it, and be an 'Alchemist' (could be called Artificer I guess) or you can channel it directly and become a sorcerer (at least until you get consumed, hehehe).

Shadow is illusion and necromancy basically, so you have Illusionist, the Assassin, the Necromancer, etc. Life is pretty much its opposite, the power of growth and generation, so you have your nature channelers, Druids, Berserkers, Bards, etc. Not necessarily all "wild nature", cities are nature too (hence the bard, life force of people).

Martial is basically 'Qi', self-energy, discipline, will, and practice manifested into magical power.

I don't think there's a NEED for other sources, I could maybe see something like 'Fate'. However, I am a bit stumped as to what callings would fall into that, I can already list a good roster of classes that have no trouble slotting into the current five. I think if you had a 'mentalist' type of class it would likely be a spirit class? I don't know, maybe martial but that does probably come out looking odd, since it would be good at buffing weapon attacks, lol.
 

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