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Trailblazer Campaign Considerations

pogre

Adventurer
Hello,

I'm working on my new TB campaign that shall commence in November or December (depending how far my football team makes it in the playoffs).

I am limiting some of the spells and had a couple of questions for you fellows:

You state on page 3:
Scry-Buff_teleport and other campaign-breaking spells (usually including scrying, divination/commune, teleport, and raise dead).
The combination of the new Rest Mechanic/Action Point system make some spellcasting strategies too costly and sub-optimal. The DM can custom tailor his "trouble spell" list as problems arise.

Can you explain a little bit about how the Rest Mechanic and Action Points do this?

Also, as I look at certain spells, fly, mirror image, etc. I am considering just raising their level. Is this an effective choice in your opinion. For others, I'm considering turning them into lengthier and more expensive rituals, teleportation is one I'm considering for this treatment.

Thanks for your reflections.

I look forward to the monster book!
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
The combination of the new Rest Mechanic/Action Point system make some spellcasting strategies too costly and sub-optimal. The DM can custom tailor his "trouble spell" list as problems arise.

Can you explain a little bit about how the Rest Mechanic and Action Points do this?
The separation of spells into Rote, Restricted, and Ritual changes the rate at which spellcasters can regain these spells, by tying them to the Rest Mechanic and the number of action points that the caster has to spend to refresh that slot. Rote spells come back after you rest (cost = 0 AP), Restricted spells may come back after a rest (cost = 1 AP to refresh all slots) and Ritual spells cost you 1 AP per slot.

But regardless of the new rest mechanic or APs, all spell slots still refresh once a day, just like the rules-as-written, just like they always have.

Now obviously if you're not using the 10-minute Rest Mechanic-- if your game is not humming along at well-rested speeds-- the spellcasters aren't going to feel this pinch. They will notice if the fighting types are pushing for quick rests (for hit points, mostly, but also for daily power uses like rage, smite, etc.). The fighting types don't have to spend a lot of APs to keep rolling at full capacity.

Also, as I look at certain spells, fly, mirror image, etc. I am considering just raising their level. Is this an effective choice in your opinion.
Mostly, no.

Fly is sort of an odd case: because it is placed where it is in the level acquisition, it means that 5th level characters have a particularly asymmetric, extraordinarily boolean choice available: CAN WE FLY?

If you move fly, you impact the way that characters interact with the world and particularly with certain monsters (mostly of the CR5 range...)

You could raise the level of mirror image, but then you'd also have to raise the level of blink, and so on and so forth.

Ultimately I don't think it's worth the trouble-- see below:

For others, I'm considering turning them into lengthier and more expensive rituals, teleportation is one I'm considering for this treatment.
That's the tack I'd take after I'd tried simpler solutions, like just moving the spells up one category in the Rote/Restricted/Ritual list.

If you really want to restrict a spell, don't let the slot refresh at all without spending an AP; not even after one day. This would be Ritual+.

If you really, really want to restrict a spell, make it cost an AP permanently. This would be Ritual++.

Worth noting that Raise Dead already requires the recipient to spend an AP (this is in the list of uses for APs, in the AP chapter). You could certainly make that a permanent AP expense if you wanted a more "Fate Point" feel to it.

You could do something similar with Teleport or any spell you wanted to restrict: force each recipient to spend an AP, otherwise the spell either fails or has some very unpleasant side effects.

The depths of my deviousness and depravity are a pale reflection of yours; I am sure you could riff off this all day.
 

pogre

Adventurer
If you move fly, you impact the way that characters interact with the world and particularly with certain monsters (mostly of the CR5 range...)
To make certain I am understanding you - Are you saying certain CR5 & above monsters have "built-in" an assumption that parties have access to fly?
 

pogre

Adventurer
OK, another question - this one might make you twitch Wulf:p

I'm designing a campaign with new ideas about going up levels. I have a group that loves to go up levels. I have run campaigns before for them where levels come slowly and three of my players in particular hate this. Now, TB takes care of one of the problems by shoring up 1st level PCs, but...

The Seasons Campaign
===================
Each adventure of the campaign is set in a different season - Spring, Autumn, Winter. Following each adventure the PCs will level. Each adventure will take between 4 and 6 hours. Even with the breakneck speed my group does combat - we're consistently faster than any other group I know of - there are going to be fewer encounters per level.

The Question: Should I reduce the number of AP for PCs?

Under Encounters and Challenges you state:
"Table: Level Advancement is predicated on the assumption that the PCs must overcome roughly 13 (actually 40/3) encounters of Challenging difficulty in order to gain a level."

You go on to duly note this is a variation from 3e standard.

Under Action Points you stated:
"Remember, that the PCs are expected to overcome twelve or thirteen encounters of moderate difficulty (for their level) before gaining a level. At this rate, the PCs will be able to spend one action point for every two or three encounters."

Which, is of course, the standard for 3e.

Assuming TB PCs, is 6 too few for the alternative Level Advancement you present or too many for the standard 3.X D&D campaign?

I'm comfortable saying that the adventures will be as challenging as the standard 3e campaign level standard, but probably well below the TB standard.
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
To make certain I am understanding you - Are you saying certain CR5 & above monsters have "built-in" an assumption that parties have access to fly?
Well, when you put it explicitly like that... Uhh, yes.

Though another way to look at it is that the ability to fly is valued so highly (from a CR standpoint) that most of the creatures CR4 and under that can fly are either compensated somehow (such as normal animals that are stupid and/or easily driven away) or are not going to be nasty flying creatures. They'll be fairly straightforward-- too weak to carry away PCs (to drop from great heights), lacking ranged/strafing abilities, etc.

(Stirges notwithstanding. They give me nightmares.)

OK, another question - this one might make you twitch Wulf:p

Under Action Points you stated:
"Remember, that the PCs are expected to overcome twelve or thirteen encounters of moderate difficulty (for their level) before gaining a level. At this rate, the PCs will be able to spend one action point for every two or three encounters."

Which, is of course, the standard for 3e.

Assuming TB PCs, is 6 too few for the alternative Level Advancement you present or too many for the standard 3.X D&D campaign?

I'm comfortable saying that the adventures will be as challenging as the standard 3e campaign level standard, but probably well below the TB standard.
I am not sure exactly what you're asking so I'll try to cover my bases.

If you want the PCs to have 1 AP for every ~2 encounters, AND you want APs to refresh each time the PCs level up, then reduce the number of APs accordingly. If your PCs are levelling up after 6 encounters instead of 12, they'll only need (6/2) = 3 APs or so.

If you're using TB characters they will be tougher. If you increase the difficulty of encounters to compensate for this, then the PCs will be killing more/tougher monsters per encounter. This means they'll gain XP faster-- so you should use the XP chart that corresponds to TB characters.

On the other hand if you're using TB characters and you're not compensating by kicking up the encounter difficulty, then your PCs are going to need even fewer APs to get them through those encounters-- they'll be tough enough already.

It sounds to me like you want to level up the PCs every "season" without any strict accounting for XP. If that's the case, follow the two points above. Give them fewer APs to start with (because your campaign will have fewer "combat" encounters between levels) and then consider dialing the APs back yet again if they are breezing through combats.

If you wanted to dial them back really far, don't give out individual APs. Give the entire party a pool of APs equal to the number of PCs (that's 1 AP per PC) and if even that proves too much, reduce the party pool!

A party of four PCs starts with 0 individual APs and a party pool of 4 APs. Dial that back to 3 if necessary. etc.

But the part that is making me twitch is that I really would prefer to see you increase the difficulty of combat, because spending APs is both fun and also rather integral to some of the TB fixes.

If I didn't answer your question, clarify the question and ask me again!
 

pogre

Adventurer
I think you answered my muddy queery rather well.

Your right - each season is one adventure that will yield one level. The difficulty of each season will be roughly in line with the difficulty of gaining a level in 3.5. The final combat of each adventure will be rough. Some of the adventures have difficult tasks that really do not require combat, but will be rewarded all the same - I envision a great use of APs in these scenarii as well.

I think I will start with giving out 6 APs and scale back if I need to. I'll let the players know this upfront.

I'm designing the adventures right now. I have an unbelievably stupid question for you: Why did you include the material on monster types, subtypes, and special abilities? Does it define these differently than 3e?
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
For completeness, and also YES.

For example, undead won't have crit immunity, etc.

This was largely revised by Glassjaw; perhaps he'll pop in with other examples.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
Why did you include the material on monster types, subtypes, and special abilities? Does it define these differently than 3e?
First off, the section combines the Special Abilities section and the Types & Subtypes section from the SRD. A lot of the information in those two sections was repeated so I cleaned them up and combined them.

And yes, there are quite a few changes actually but you have to hunt for them. We didn't go through and do design notes for everything obviously.

Some of the most notable biggest are changes to grappling abilities like Improved Grab and Constrict and energy drain. I did a lot of reformatting to make things easier to read as well.

EDIT: As I mentioned in another thread, I started working on a doc that lists all the changes TB made to the SRD. I need to dig that out and post it. It's on my to-do list.
 

joela

Villager
EDIT: As I mentioned in another thread, I started working on a doc that lists all the changes TB made to the SRD. I need to dig that out and post it. It's on my to-do list.
After the monster book, spellbook, and advanced players gu...er...alternate rule guide ;)
 

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