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D&D General What Would You Base A non-OGL 5e-alike Game On? (+)

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I like this, it works really well for Fantasy Age.

For crit, if you roll doubles you add the 2 ''double'' die and add it to damage dealt? And you cant crit if you have disadvantage.

IIRC, it puts the chance of crit-ing at 44%, which is more interesting than a 5% chance of adding a single die.

I would make double 1s an autofail. That how I run it in my homebrew Mansions and Minigiants

  • Basic Roll is 3d6
  • Advantage is 4d6
  • Disadvantage is 2d6
  • Critical Hit is double 2-6s
  • Critical Miss is double 1s
  • Critical damage is double 6s
  • Super damage is tripe 6s
  • Classes have bonus die to add to rolls
 

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delericho

Legend
It depends on how rules-heavy you want it.

One thing I do know, though: I wouldn't start with D&D and decide what I wanted to change - that runs the risk of straying quickly into dangerous waters. Start with the bare minimum you feel you need to get the feel you're aiming for (probably just level and class, though I'd call that archetype), then build everything outward from there.
 

delericho

Legend
As for what I'd base it on...

I'd suggest characters be built out of three broad parts: archetype (class), background, and then a handful of merits.

I would drop race/ancestry/heritage entirely - as things stand, they're little more than a package of minor powers, and they're not all appropriate to all settings anyway. So instead I'd provide various merits for the most common abilities (low-light vision, for instance), and allow groups to describe them however they consider appropriate.

I think I'd also be inclined to drop ability scores entirely. The existing six are one of the genuine sacred cows of D&D, but the boundaries between them have always been debatable, and anyway they're largely chosen to optimize for a class anyway. So, again, I'd offer merits like Very Strong, Eidetic Memory, and so on as replacements.

In terms of resolution mechanic, I'm actually entirely agnostic - ultimately, it all boils down to a way to determine how good a character is at a given task, and therefore the chance of success against level-appropriate challenges: Perfect (approx. 100% chance of success), Good (approx. 70%), Average (approx. 50%), or Poor (approx. 20%). But there are lots of ways to skin that cat.
 

J-H

Hero
My first thought is a magic tag/power system, where you have 4 different descriptors, with a different point cost, and combine them according to the point limit imposed by the caster's level, and based on which options are known.
I'll spitball some numbers here.
When you cast, you pick one from each of the following effects.
Area (listed in order of increasing point cost)
0 Self
1 Single Target
2 Line with a length based on range
3 Ball/Sphere

Range (distance caster can affect from himself)
0 5'
1 30' [ball shape radius is 5']
2 60' [ball shape radius is 10']
3 120' [ball shape radius is 20']

Power
0 1d4 per proficiency bonus equivalent, or 1.
1 4dx, or 2 if not a dice-based effect
2 6dx, or 3 if not a dice-based effect
3 8dx, or 4 if not a dice-based effect
4 10dx
+2dx per power point invested

Effect (no cost)
Heal
Fire
Cold
Force
Status
Conjuration (teleportation/summoning)
etc.

Casting Mage Armor would be a Self-targeted spell with a Range of 0, a power level of 2, and an effect of Force for a total cost of 2 spell points.
Casting Magic Missile would be a Single-targeted (1) spell with a range of 60' (2) for, let's say, 6d6 damage for a cost of 3 spell points. Or you could "upcast" it for 9 total spell points to do 12d6 damage.
I think the damage tree should maybe be two points per jump.

But this lets you have casters specialize in effects, so clerics may get Heal and Status, and can progressively effect larger areas with their spells.
A Pyromancer gets Fire and some lesser effects, and wizards can pick several status types to know.

It needs some work but should be workable to describe about 70% of what we're used to from D&D.
 

DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
I guess I misunderstood, to me the 3d6 / 4d6kh3 already are your bell curve for attributes.

You are basically doing an inverse bell curve for the bonuses on top of that, which should kill the bounded accuracy. Personally I think BA is a good idea
Yes, that's why I said it's not feasible using current D&D5 mechanics. But a bell curve and bounded accuracy are not mutually exclusive. You can reintroduce one easily and without changing any other rules by rolling 3d20km1, among other options.

Really, how one achieves the result is less important than making sure that players' decisions about their characters are more relevant to play in the sweet spot than the colossal spread of a d20. In D&D5, a PC's original ability score modifiers only modify success rate by +/-20%, with every two points conferring 5% more control. If the group is using the standard array or point buy, that range is reduced to +10%/-5%.

Going to 3d20km1 increases that +/-20% range with rolled scores to +/-27%, which at least makes your character sheet relevant to the check more than half the time.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I would play Rob Schwalb's upcoming Shadow of the Weird Wizard, based on his Shadow of the Demon Lord system. 🤷‍♂️
Quoting myself here because Dave Thaumavore published a video today on YouTube comparing SotDL to 5e.


Admittedly, SotDL is more like if 5e and Warhammer Fantasy had a love child. However, Schwalb's upcoming Shadow of the Weird Wizard is more of an ode to Gygaxian fantasy in a clearly Greyhawk-inspired setting, albeit through the quirky, eccentric lenses of Rob Schwalb.
 
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6 level system where you add your level to anything you're Trained in on top of the relevant Attribute Bonus. Each level has 4 tiers, on the last tier of each level you get to increase an Attribute Score by 2 or 2 Attribute Scores by 1.
All characters will technically start level 2, as Level 1 acts as the character creation process (tier 1 you choose race, tier 2 you choose a background, tier 3 you increase an attribute score by 1, and as mentioned previously tier 4 increases 2 attribute scores or 1 score by 2).
After that you choose your class to start level 2 at.
I am intrigued by this idea, but instead of having 'levels' having 'tiers,' if I were to design such a system, I'd have character abilities be gated by tier. Mundane, Adventurer, Heroic, Paragon, Epic, and Mythic would be the tiers.

You could thus have games where the tier stays the same the whole way through, and the reward of adventuring is learning new abilities to widen your abilities, rather than increase your power. Or you could have 'zero to hero' games, or maybe something like 'hero to legend' plots. And there could be designs that require certain trials or achievements to go from one tier to the next.

And maybe there'd be designs like, "I'm a Paragon Warrior, but I'm able to pick up a few Adventurer-tier magical abilities. Our Paragon Mage also knows a few Adventurer-tier scoundrel abilities," etc.
 

If any game is to replace D&D as the one that informed nerds rally around - and that's a VERY tall order - I think you still need a few things:

* The full polyhedron set. The d20 is an icon of tabletop RPGs, and nerds have lots of dice they won't want to go to waste.

* A resolution system that's easy to teach to new players. Roll a d20 and add a bonus to try to beat a target number is the right level of complexity. Having multiple bonuses crop up in the course of a combat (like with 3rd ed) is more complicated than having advantage.

* Not requiring a battle map. You want people to be able to still play on Zoom or watch on Twitch without needing to see a grid. Precise positioning shouldn't matter if you want your game to be used for online play.

And finally

* Some cool hook that makes it worthwhile for gamers to pick your system over any other, and for designers to give up on their own fantasy heartbreaker to design for yours.
 

TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
* Some cool hook that makes it worthwhile for gamers to pick your system over any other, and for designers to give up on their own fantasy heartbreaker to design for yours.
miracle.gif
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
If any game is to replace D&D as the one that informed nerds rally around - and that's a VERY tall order - I think you still need a few things:

* The full polyhedron set. The d20 is an icon of tabletop RPGs, and nerds have lots of dice they won't want to go to waste.

* A resolution system that's easy to teach to new players. Roll a d20 and add a bonus to try to beat a target number is the right level of complexity. Having multiple bonuses crop up in the course of a combat (like with 3rd ed) is more complicated than having advantage.
Agreed. I love dice systems, but whatever you choose it needs to use the full dice set and be very simple to teach and use.
* Not requiring a battle map. You want people to be able to still play on Zoom or watch on Twitch without needing to see a grid. Precise positioning shouldn't matter if you want your game to be used for online play.
Yeah I definitely think that you can use precise distance a bit, but not nearly as much as 3.5 or 4e.
And finally

* Some cool hook that makes it worthwhile for gamers to pick your system over any other, and for designers to give up on their own fantasy heartbreaker to design for yours.
Yeah I think this is maybe the thinnest needle to thread tbh. Too much “hook” and you’ve got one more specialized game. Not enough and it’s just, “very generic fantasy mechanics bundle”.
 

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