Revisionism


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Raven Crowking

First Post
Sounds very interesting.

Thanks.

I had worked on a previous version of "best rules", but in some cases where I made things more complicated (for reasons I thought were good at the time), the complications didn't work as well as I had hoped. For instance, I gave different skill point weights to different skills, and I now think that was a mistake.

OTOH, I came up with a weapon skill system that gives players a lot of choice without having to be married to a grid, which has worked out great. And I think I've worked out a combat system that marries speed with the complexity that I want.

Also, playing Basic Fantasy reminded me how much I enjoy a simpler game....Something I definitely have to take into account.

So here's a new, related question:

I am considering greatly altering the skill system, because I think that a lot of NPC skills (profession and craft skills, for example) can be handwaved or assumed. Instead of using skills, I could combine feats and skills into a single unit, where characters can select a background set that gives them added proficiency in a range of skills (in addition to their class abilities).

Some feats, like Cleave, might just become Fighter abilities.

Thoughts?


RC
 

Hussar

Legend
RC - for my new campaign, I expanded the profession skill into what I think you're talking about.

Using the Professions skill, you can make various skill checks that are related to that profession - for example, Profession Sailor allows you to make Balance, Use Rope and maybe a couple of other skills. However, you take a penalty the further away from your actual profession you are. The penalty is pretty much left up to the DM, but, typically ranges from -1 to -5 or so.

For example, using Profession Sailor to climb the rigging on a ship would not entail any penalty. Using the same skill to climb a tree might entail a -2. Trying to climb a cliff would be -5 (or possibly more).
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
For example, using Profession Sailor to climb the rigging on a ship would not entail any penalty. Using the same skill to climb a tree might entail a -2. Trying to climb a cliff would be -5 (or possibly more).


I think that the first thing to do is determine what skills/abilities are actually used by PCs on a regular basis. All the old "Thief" abilities, obviously:

Stealth
Open Locks
Find/Remove Traps
Climb
Listen (Perception?)
Pick Pockets

Other things with obvious adventuring uses include Balance, Tumble, Swim, and Ride. Knowledge skills can be rolled into given class abilities (perhaps). What other skills get regular use at people's tables?


EDIT: One of the things I would like to do is have a system with a stable set of DCs. In older editions, you determined that a trap or lock was difficult by applying a penalty (-25% to open this lock, for example). That is far simpler than trying to figure out DCs based on level and expected difficulty. Setting up something like this probably means that PCs are more competent upfront, but I can live with that.
 

Hussar

Legend
The only tweak I'd make to your list of thief abilities is Pick Pockets. I know it's iconic and all that, but, really, how often did it actually come up in play? Even way back, it almost never came up in our games. IME, it was mostly used by players who wanted to spotlight hog and start fights when everyone else was doing something.
 

Janx

Hero
my read of the OP's points leads me to think he sees different problems than I do.

buffing:
my group hardly ever buffed. My friend's group buffed a lot.

Combats take too long:
my group, plays fast 6 fights in an hour. My friend's group takes forever. Even at high level (we actually joined the other group for a game, and as we joined them mid-game and split party, they saw how fast we flew through combats, compared to them Literally our 15 minute fights with giants versus their hour long fights against similar).

XP is too fast:
I tend to level the party every 2-3 adventures. An adventure was 4-6 hours (1 session). In my friend's game, they probably leveled the same rate.


One thing I think we do agree on, is inconsistent sub-systems. I suspect the key isn't inconsistency, so much as poorly designed and infrequently used. Nobody complains how the spell system is inconsistent with the combat system (AC/BAB versus saves and free-form text in spell descriptions). But they do complain about charging, sundering, turning, unarmed combat, tripping, disarming.

Perhaps it's because attacking with a weapon, and casting a spell are 2 tasks done all the time. Whereas the other ones are not done so frequently, thus prone to being unmemorable, except for the frustration in having to look them up all the time.
 

FireLance

Legend
(3) WP/VP: I am no fan of the idea of healing surges and vancian fighters. What other options have people used to decouple encounter hp from daily hp?
A short while before 4e was announced, I came up with the idea of a VP/HP system. Basically, VP were an encounter resource, and every character starts each encounter at full VP (or regains VP after a short rest). HP are the HP that we know, and are only recoverable through (an extended) rest or magic. The key differences between this system as the Star Wards VP/WP system were:

1. Critical hits are not automatically taken off HP. They are taken off VP first, and HP are only depleted after the VP buffer is gone.

2. HP increase with levels much faster than WP, so a high-level character could take a few HP "hits". I had originally considered having HP equal to HP as we know it, and VP equalling HP (effectively doubling a 3e PC's HP), but in retrospect, I think having HP equal to half "normal" HP and VP equal to the difference between "normal" HP and "new" HP might require less changes to the game as a whole.
 

AllisterH

First Post
RC - for my new campaign, I expanded the profession skill into what I think you're talking about.

Using the Professions skill, you can make various skill checks that are related to that profession - for example, Profession Sailor allows you to make Balance, Use Rope and maybe a couple of other skills. However, you take a penalty the further away from your actual profession you are. The penalty is pretty much left up to the DM, but, typically ranges from -1 to -5 or so.

For example, using Profession Sailor to climb the rigging on a ship would not entail any penalty. Using the same skill to climb a tree might entail a -2. Trying to climb a cliff would be -5 (or possibly more).

Actually, I hate this...

It basically makes the specific skills such as Climb less valuable and also just opens us for player-DM argument.

Basically, why is it that there's no penalty for climbing the rigging of a sailing ship in a Class 3 Hurricane but he takes a penalty for climbing a wall?

Make the player actually spend points on the actual sub-skills. This is the one thing I definitely agree with Raven Crowking.

As an aside, I'm still kind of wondering how you can have tactical choice WITHOUT knowing the placement of every on the board. IF I'm understanding you right, isn't your system of weapon skill a pre-battle decision tree?
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
As an aside, I'm still kind of wondering how you can have tactical choice WITHOUT knowing the placement of every on the board. IF I'm understanding you right, isn't your system of weapon skill a pre-battle decision tree?

Weapon skills have an in-battle decision tree, where you assign ranks of skill to different purposes, according to they type of skill you have. Some types of weapons, for example, can be used to increase your AC while others can increase your critical range, etc.

RC
 

AllisterH

First Post
Weapon skills have an in-battle decision tree, where you assign ranks of skill to different purposes, according to they type of skill you have. Some types of weapons, for example, can be used to increase your AC while others can increase your critical range, etc.

RC

Um, I'm still not seeing how this can be ingame. This is still a pre-battle decision tree since you know what you're going to do even before the battle.
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
Um, I'm still not seeing how this can be ingame. This is still a pre-battle decision tree since you know what you're going to do even before the battle.

Each skill has X variables as to how it can be used. How to use the skill is a round-by-round decision. In actual play, this has been received very well, and is pretty much the thing I am not allowed to change about the current houseruled combat system. It gives meaningful choices, without appreciably slowing down play.
 

Quasqueton

First Post
The biggest thing that mitigates what you say bill91 is the fact that in Quasqueton's breakdowns, he never sold any magic items. He only gave xp for keeping them. If you sold even a fraction of those magic items, you'd more than make up for anything you missed since the gp values compared to the xp values are several times higher.
Actually my numbers in that thread do not include xp for magic items in any way whatsoever -- I specifically noted this in every data list I gave, and even restated it in at least one detailed follow-up post: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showpost.php?p=2929460&postcount=20

As for intended speed of leveling for AD&D1 compared to D&D3: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showpost.php?p=2930201&postcount=30

And for the question of finding all the loot, most of the treasure wasn't hard to find: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showpost.php?p=3491481&postcount=119

And figuring only 75% "effectiveness" in finding the loot made for less than one level difference for the AD&D1 characters anyway: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showpost.php?p=2931011&postcount=38

I invite any and everyone to carefully read exactly and all of what I actually wrote in that thread, and not go on what someone else says I said. Even when they intend to be accurate, often second-hand knowledge of the information is incorrect. I think I was pretty darn clear about everything.

http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=167628

Sorry for extending the derailment, but it's a personal pet peeve of mine when my hard work gets twisted, misquoted, and misused (even when by accident).

Quasqueton
 

Hussar

Legend
Sorry Quasqueton. Was going from memory. I had thought you had included the xp for magic items since I remembered you listed the magic items.

My bad.

AllisterH - I wasn't intending to make an exhaustive list of modifiers in my post. Obviously trying to climb rigging in a hurricane would carry penalties. But, those penalties would be imposed by the situation (hurricane) not by trying to do something that lay outside a reasonable reading of the skill.

But, I will certainly concede that this system requires everyone at the table to not be asshats and to accept modifiers fairly readily.
 

Imp

First Post
So here's a new, related question:

I am considering greatly altering the skill system, because I think that a lot of NPC skills (profession and craft skills, for example) can be handwaved or assumed. Instead of using skills, I could combine feats and skills into a single unit, where characters can select a background set that gives them added proficiency in a range of skills (in addition to their class abilities).
What I have been thinking about lately is treating very specific skills or nonadventuring professions as if they were languages (or Complete Scoundrel skill tricks) in that they cost a flat 2 skill points. So, something like Forgery might work like: you take the forgery skill, you want to forge a document, you use Bluff, but have Int as the mod instead of Cha. Professions would be treated as, I don't know, flat 5 skill ranks + ability mod (whatever's appropriate) when doing something profession-specific?

I had also been playing around with something like what Hussar is doing with Professions, but just with Knowledge skills (this after considering the massive conceptual problems with Knowledge (local)).

Also re skill use I have used most of the social skills fairly regularly, though IMO Gather Info is a little awkward. Also Survival and UMD obviously. Swim is pretty specific but I am fine with it as a full skill.
 

RFisher

Explorer
I think that the first thing to do is determine what skills/abilities are actually used by PCs on a regular basis.

I’d further refine it thusly...

  • What abilities are actually used by PCs on a regular basis?
  • What abilities are actually fun to roll checks for?
  • What abilities do you care whether PCs have varying ability in?

e.g. YMMV, but I’ve seldom found climb checks to be fun. Most of the time I find it more fun to just rule that something is climbable or not given the situation, encumbrance, climbing gear, and time available.

just opens us for player-DM argument.

I encourage players to give the DM arguments for why their PC should succeed. If my DM isn’t willing to listen or my players don’t know when to drop an argument, that’s something that needs to be addressed directly. Trying to prevent these things through mechanics has been inefficient at best for me. Again, though, YMMV.
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
Hey, thanks for all the responses thus far!

One of the things that happens with 3e (and, from what I can see, even more with 4e) is numbers inflation. I am trying to move the numbers back down, even if that means more frontloading.

I've decided that the average adult established NPC is 3rd level, and decided that this NPC has (related to skills) a +2 bonus for attribute, a +2 bonus at 1st level to his best skill(s), and a +1 bonus at each subsequent level, for an average bonus of +6. I plan on using this as the baseline for all skill checks in my "perfect game". So, at 1st level, some characters will have as much as a +8 bonus on a given check, with many more +4, +2, or +1 bonuses. Less skill points to track, easier DCs to set.

An average bonus also allows me to say "What chance would the average person have to avoid surprise by this sneaky monster? That's DC X. Okay, then. Done."

So, PCs will gain (1) attribute bonus, (2) race bonus, (3) class bonus, (4) background bonus, and (5) discretionary skill points.

These are some examples of backgrounds:


Acolyte: You have trained as a layman acolyte for a religion of your choice. You have participated in religious ceremonies and understand their significance.
Benefits:
• (Un)Holy Aura: You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws versus the special powers (including spells) of undead creatures and outsiders.
• Religious Training: You gain 1 rank in Knowledge (Religion) are considered Trained in Profession (Religion). If you begin play as a Cleric, Priest, or Druid, you gain 1 rank in Profession (Religion).

Acrobat: You have trained as an acrobat, either as part of a performing troupe or through rough living on the streets.
Benefits:
• Instant Stand: If you are wearing light or no armour, and are not heavily encumbered, you can move from prone to standing position as a free action. This never provokes a free attack.
• Acrobatic Training: You gain 2 ranks each in Balance and Tumble.

Aristocrat: You are a minor member of the aristocratic class. Although you are not expected to inherit, you still gain some benefits from your station.
Benefits:
• Wealth: You gain a bonus of 1d10 x 10 gp as part of your starting money.
• Favour: You have the ability to call in 1 favour from your family. Possible favours include lodging for yourself and your friends, transportation for yourself and your friends, help in hiding from the authorities, and legal representation. The degree to which your family can help you is adjudicated by the DM.
• Aristocratic Bearing: You gain 2 ranks each in Diplomacy and Intimidate.
Drawbacks:
• Aristocratic Display: Your influence is tied to displays of wealth, taste, and power. You need to wear better than average clothing, give appropriate gifts to those in power, be a patron of arts and institutions, and attend the proper social events to maintain your influence. Doing this requires that you spend 10% of your share of treasure earned on clothing, gifts, and liberality. If you receive less than a full share of treasure, you must spend 10% of what a full share would be. This money doesn’t bring you material benefit, but if you fail to spend it you suffer a -4 penalty to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks until you are paid in full.
• Family Matters: Once you have called in a favour from your family, you owe them a favour. This favour may be anything the DM desires (and may be an adventure hook, such as investigating a problem on a family estate). If you perform the favour, your Favour benefit is available again. Alternately, you can restore your Favour benefit by giving your family a gift worth no less than your level multiplied by 100 gp. This does not count towards your Aristocratic Display.

Armourer: You were apprenticed to an armourer, and learned the basics of the trade.
Benefits:
• Repair Armour: You can repair armour of any sort, given time and materials. The material costs are usually no more than 10% of the cost of the armour to be repaired. Time is variable based on the extent of the repairs. You may require a smithy to use this benefit.
• Fashion Armour: You can fashion light and medium metal armours at 50% of list cost. The time you required to fashion a suit of armour is usually 1 week per point of AC the armour provides. This time can be reduced by 1 day per helper you have working with you. This benefit requires a smithy to use. With the aid of a leatherworker, you can fashion leather armour as well.
• Heat Resistance: Because you are used to working with heat, you have a +2 bonus to saving throws to resist the effects of excessive heat.

Baker: Prior to beginning your adventuring career, you were apprenticed in a bakery. As a result, given materials and time, you are able to bake all manners of bread, pies, and similar baked goods.
Benefits:
• Sanding Practice: Historically, bakers were often accused of adding sand to bread in order to increase its weight (and, thereby, its sale value). You gain 1 rank in Bluff.
• Spell Baking: You may embed spells in goods you bake. Doing so requires that the spell be able to affect a creature, and that you pay a material cost of 50 gp per spell level (10 gp for 0-level spells). The first creature that tastes the item with an embedded spell is affected by the spell as though that creature were the target. Baked goods with embedded spells in them keep potent for 1 week plus 1 day per spell level embedded, with no maximum, or until the item is tasted (whichever comes first). More than one spell can be embedded in an item. The item radiates magic as though it were a potion.

Beggar: You have spent time on the streets, living as a beggar. As a result, you have contacts among the lowest of the low.
Benefits:
• Blend In: In an urban setting, you can blend into a crowd, effectively disappearing as though you had 4 ranks of Hide. You can only use this ability if you take no actions that would normally draw attention to yourself.
• Gather Information: You are able to discover rumours from your connections. Using this ability usually takes a few hours talking among the lower classes, but it costs nothing. The DM determines exactly what rumours you hear...and not all rumours are necessarily true!
• Beggar Skills: You are Trained in disguise (and gain a +2 bonus to attempts to appear lame, ill, etc.), and have 2 ranks each in Bluff and Intimidate.
Drawbacks:
• Ragged Appearance: No matter how much you own, you cannot use your Blend In and Gather Information benefits when you are carrying more than 50 gp worth of equipment on your person, unless that equipment appears to be ragged and beggarly. You retain your Beggar Skills, but have a -2 penalty to use them because your appearance invites closer scrutiny.

Any ideas for the following backgrounds?

Bellfounder
Blacksmith
Bookbinder
Bowyer/Fletcher
Brewer
Busker
Butcher
Candle Maker
Carpenter
Clerk
Coachman
Collier
Cook/Scullion
Cooper
Courtesan
Craftsman
Deputy
Dragoman
Engraver
Executioner
Falconer
Farmer
Fisherman
Footpad
Forester
Furrier
Gambler
Glazier
Goldsmith
Gravedigger
Groom
Gunsmith
Guttersnipe
Hangman
Healer
Herald
Herdsman
Hermit
Hunter
Huntsman
Innkeeper
Jester/Fool
Jeweller
Leatherworker
Limner
Mason
Miller
Miner
Monastic
Mountaineer
Musician
Navigator
Ostler
Page
Pardoner
Paver
Peddler
Poacher
Potter
Printer
Printer
Quarryman
Rag-and-Bone Man
Rat Catcher
Sailor
Scholar
Scribe
Sculptor
Sewer Hunter
Sewer Rat
Shipwright
Silversmith
Smelter
Smuggler
Soldier
Squire
Swashbuckler
Tailor
Teamster
Thespian
Town Crier
Trader
Trapper
Wainwright
Watchman
Weaponmaker
Weaver
Whaler
Wood Cutter
Woodworker
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
Warning!

WARNING! I am now strongly considering dropping all non-OGL components from my previous homebrew, and publishing my revised rules as a free, fully OGL alternate ruleset when completed. As a result, if you have any suggestions, please indicate whether or not I am free to use them in this project. Or email me. You will be credited.

RC
 

Stalker0

Legend
I don't think the speed of leveling is an issue...a DM can tweak xp to adjust how fast his party levels. I do think though that leveling can increase power too quickly.

As for 3e's buff problem, I definitely like what 4e did here in that regard, quick short term buffs that take little action on the players part.

3e resembled this with the introduction of swift spells that had 1 or 2 round durations. Replacing all 3e buff spells with swift versions could go a long way towards fixing the buff issue. I would also keep with 4e's new tradition of "no stat adjustments". I think that helps cut down the recalculation issue.

As for the 15 minute adventuring day, the reality is as long as there are limited abilities that require resting to recharge, players will always have some incentive to stop adventuring and rest. That incentive can be curbed, but never eliminated unless you do the following:

1) Eliminate daily effects, only encounter effects remain.
2) Effects no longer recharge based on time, but on other factors. For example, 4e uses a milestone effect. You could have daily powers recharge after 2 milestones and NOT after you rest. Basically the way to more power is action...not inaction.
 

Voadam

Legend
Was this 1e or 2e?

IIRC, the big slow-down happened when DMs stopped giving XP for treasure. Many - perhaps most - 1e DMs (my much younger self included) did so under 1e, and it was formally removed from the system in 2e.

In 1e, if you give XP for GP on a 1-for-1 basis and award XP for magic items, you get a much more rapid rate of advancement in 1e.

-O

2e gave significantly more xp for defeating monsters though and had those optional class bonuses (such as rogues gaining 1-1 gold to xp).

I found it easier to do out xp awards in 2e just because there was only 1 number per monster instead of the X+Yxhp formulae that 1e had.
 

I don't think the speed of leveling is an issue...a DM can tweak xp to adjust how fast his party levels. I do think though that leveling can increase power too quickly.
If you decouple wealth and XP enough, that's easy. I think 3E had a little problem in that regard...

As for 3e's buff problem, I definitely like what 4e did here in that regard, quick short term buffs that take little action on the players part.

3e resembled this with the introduction of swift spells that had 1 or 2 round durations. Replacing all 3e buff spells with swift versions could go a long way towards fixing the buff issue. I would also keep with 4e's new tradition of "no stat adjustments". I think that helps cut down the recalculation issue.
One of the problems of swift action spells in 3E was that it really made the "15 minute" adventuring day worse. You could blow even faster through your spell slots than ever before.

As for the 15 minute adventuring day, the reality is as long as there are limited abilities that require resting to recharge, players will always have some incentive to stop adventuring and rest. That incentive can be curbed, but never eliminated unless you do the following:

1) Eliminate daily effects, only encounter effects remain.
2) Effects no longer recharge based on time, but on other factors. For example, 4e uses a milestone effect. You could have daily powers recharge after 2 milestones and NOT after you rest. Basically the way to more power is action...not inaction.
You could have the "extended" rest just being one type of milestone. But you have to ensure that milestone grant more benefits than they do in 4E.

In 4E, you might let them replenish a daily and a healing surge (in addition to the action point).

In 3E, you could let them replenish half your hit points and 1 spell slot per level.
 

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