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

That's the path to either feat option or false choices.

If 5e has taught us anything is that everything isn't swappable. Somethings are not the same same power/flavor or don't have the same design space. If are to make a ne 5e-ish OGL game,its best to learn from the issues of 5end WOTC's management of it.
I would love to see a game where classes aren't 20 level affairs, but more like "4 useful powers," with prerequisites that are based on whatever the equivalent of "tier" is, but so you can potentially have a lot of suites of abilities that widen your talents without increasing your power.

So like, there'd be, sure, the classic Expert/Mage/Priest/Warrior suite, but they'd only be the "adventurer tier" basic option. You'd get XP that you could spend to learn new abilities in that class, or you could spend a big chunk of XP to add an extra class, but all those abilities would be pretty low-power.

But if you accomplished some milestone (maybe plot-related, maybe just get enough XP), you'd graduate to "heroic tier," and you could start taking classes like "Bard, Rogue; Warlock, Wizard; Cleric, Druid; Fighter, Ranger," etc. Then at "paragon tier" you might get "Arcane Trickster/Shadowdancer, Enclavist/Warcaster, Angel Summoner/BMX Bandit, Juggernaut/Swashbuckler." Or something like that.

Character development would be a mix of "pick a neat cluster of abilities to learn" and "well, I'm done with those, time to pick a new suite to start learning."

You could publish tons and tons of classes, each with the equivalent of 4 levels in a normal class, but they'd all be tightly themed with neat abilities that worked well together.

It just requires planning out a system for how these things can work.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, I’ve started breaking magical and nonmagical skills into 12 houses, within 4 courts, although I might change that around as it develops. Each house is named for a type of magic, but also has non-magical skills associated with it.

The Courts are compass points (and each house will probably have ordinal directions associated with them), with themes corresponding to the general concepts associated with the 4 suits of the minor arcana.

So each Court has:
  • a name, such as The Court of The Dawn
  • a Wind (the East Wind, etc)
  • a guiding “star” (East is Lucifer or Venus, the Morning Star)
  • An element and it’s associated magic skill, Dawn being Wind and Aeromancy
  • 2 other magic skills, eg. Dawn also has Mind Magic and Alchemy
  • 3 Physical skills and 3 Interaction skills
  • A type of Ritual Tool chosen by looking at the tools commonly used as the four suits of the minor arcana in a tarot deck, so Dawn (East, Wind) has the Blade
Meanwhile, each House will have one skill of each of the three categories, a constellation, and a mythic being associated with it.

What this allows for is a solved game of combining and using different types of magic, what skills share metaphysical space between categories, and thus lend themselves to combination, like Aeromancy, Acrobatics, and Linguistics, or Shadow, Stealth, and Deception, and which magic skills combine well and what general philosophy governs adjudication of those types of magic. It gives a logic that you can put on a chart, making it easier to have a magic system that works via magic skills with somewhat loosely defined parameters as opposed to a spell list.

It’s late, so forgive me if that makes little sense.
 

dave2008

Legend
My current plans are to use PF2e as a base. However, it will take a bit of re-working to simplify it enough for my group. I will wait to see how the current debacle shakes out before I take that on though.
 

TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
I would love to see a game where classes aren't 20 level affairs, but more like "4 useful powers," with prerequisites that are based on whatever the equivalent of "tier" is, but so you can potentially have a lot of suites of abilities that widen your talents without increasing your power.

So like, there'd be, sure, the classic Expert/Mage/Priest/Warrior suite, but they'd only be the "adventurer tier" basic option. You'd get XP that you could spend to learn new abilities in that class, or you could spend a big chunk of XP to add an extra class, but all those abilities would be pretty low-power.

But if you accomplished some milestone (maybe plot-related, maybe just get enough XP), you'd graduate to "heroic tier," and you could start taking classes like "Bard, Rogue; Warlock, Wizard; Cleric, Druid; Fighter, Ranger," etc. Then at "paragon tier" you might get "Arcane Trickster/Shadowdancer, Enclavist/Warcaster, Angel Summoner/BMX Bandit, Juggernaut/Swashbuckler." Or something like that.

Character development would be a mix of "pick a neat cluster of abilities to learn" and "well, I'm done with those, time to pick a new suite to start learning."

You could publish tons and tons of classes, each with the equivalent of 4 levels in a normal class, but they'd all be tightly themed with neat abilities that worked well together.

It just requires planning out a system for how these things can work.
That’s almost exactly Shadow of the Demon Lord.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, I’ve started breaking magical and nonmagical skills into 12 houses, within 4 courts, although I might change that around as it develops. Each house is named for a type of magic, but also has non-magical skills associated with it.

The Courts are compass points (and each house will probably have ordinal directions associated with them), with themes corresponding to the general concepts associated with the 4 suits of the minor arcana.

So each Court has:
  • a name, such as The Court of The Dawn
  • a Wind (the East Wind, etc)
  • a guiding “star” (East is Lucifer or Venus, the Morning Star)
  • An element and it’s associated magic skill, Dawn being Wind and Aeromancy
  • 2 other magic skills, eg. Dawn also has Mind Magic and Alchemy
  • 3 Physical skills and 3 Interaction skills
  • A type of Ritual Tool chosen by looking at the tools commonly used as the four suits of the minor arcana in a tarot deck, so Dawn (East, Wind) has the Blade
Meanwhile, each House will have one skill of each of the three categories, a constellation, and a mythic being associated with it.

What this allows for is a solved game of combining and using different types of magic, what skills share metaphysical space between categories, and thus lend themselves to combination, like Aeromancy, Acrobatics, and Linguistics, or Shadow, Stealth, and Deception, and which magic skills combine well and what general philosophy governs adjudication of those types of magic. It gives a logic that you can put on a chart, making it easier to have a magic system that works via magic skills with somewhat loosely defined parameters as opposed to a spell list.

It’s late, so forgive me if that makes little sense.
what i tried and failed to get across last night was, the above allows for magic to be part of the world, tie in to non magical endeavors, and for relative ease of inventing spells as a downtime endeavor.


It also means that the martial skills have cosmological associations, allowing tying martial traditions to things like cardinal winds, elements, associated animals and mythic figures, constellations, etc. in a way that reinforces the lore of the world.

Also also, you can do fun things with Tarot readings. Procedurally generate adventure hooks, tell PC's fortunes, array 22 classes as related to the Major Arcana and to cardinal and ordinal points, and have 1 or 2 that intentionally don't fit. For instance, there is no jack in the tarot deck, so having a class called the Jack can have interesting implications.
 



Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Yeah my current ideal class lineup features 4 classes with roots in the fighter class; brute, knight, swashbuckler, and archer.
I would just split it in 3

One class would be just good at lighting.
One cfighterish class would have a resource and this would fuel their Advanced Fighting Techniques. Being it martial manuevers, tactics, spirit, or swashbuckling. Or melding it with psionics, runes, echoes, chakras, or taint.
Looking at the stuff that @doctorbadwolf has written, I think it's important to decide if you want to create a generic system or a setting along with a system.

Really there' no such thing as a generic system.

Are TTRPGs are based around choosing which tropes are important to the table/community and having the mechanics enforce that trope.

Since mechanics enforce tropes, no RPG can be truly generic.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Really there' no such thing as a generic system.

Are TTRPGs are based around choosing which tropes are important to the table/community and having the mechanics enforce that trope.

Since mechanics enforce tropes, no RPG can be truly generic.
I disagree, to a point. Yes, mechanics enforce tropes, but some mechanics also enforce settings. For instance, when you said "allowing tying martial traditions to things like cardinal winds, elements, associated animals and mythic figures, constellations, etc. in a way that reinforces the lore of the world" that far more strongly suggests a specific type of setting than saying "fighters have limited spellcasting" and letting the DM or PC decide that it's tied to a wind or element or animal.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I disagree, to a point. Yes, mechanics enforce tropes, but some mechanics also enforce settings. For instance, when you said "allowing tying martial traditions to things like cardinal winds, elements, associated animals and mythic figures, constellations, etc. in a way that reinforces the lore of the world" that far more strongly suggests a specific type of setting than saying "fighters have limited spellcasting" and letting the DM or PC decide that it's tied to a wind or element or animal.
Those settings are the tropes though.
 

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