Monthly Archives: August, 2010

Considering Non-human Characters

Yesterday’s post about the Kobold Kommandos reminded me I haven’t really written much about non-human characters. It seems this would be a good time to do that.

Okay, maybe not.  I expected to spend about an hour jotting down some notes, I ended up spending about four hours doing analysis and monster deconstruction.  Ah well, it happens.

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Alignment Domain Talents

After presenting talents based on the domain feats published in Agents of Faith I got some useful comments. Some were as simple as identifying that particular tier abilities kind of sucked, some were suggestions for alternatives that looked like a rather better fit.

I’ve decided to present talents for a few domains at a time. The entire list is pretty daunting and presenting them all would make for an unwieldy document. The book I’m working from has all the core domains and a bunch of new domains that I’ll get to later.

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Hit Point Tables

Reginald suggested in rec.games.frp.dnd that charts showing the hit points gained by level would be handy, I have to agree. I decided to put those together and really look at what the calculations come up with. I included all even Constitution values from 10 through 30 (the range of values I can expect to see PCs have, though the higher Constitutions don’t normally come into play until higher levels). The comparative hit point totals work out in an interesting way. (more…)

Martial Disciplines, Take 1

I mentioned in a comment yesterday that I might take a run at talents to implement the martial disciplines from Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords published by Wizards of the Coast.

I’ve reviewed the book this evening and decided that a close match for the initiate classes (Crusader, Sword Sage, and Warblade) isn’t really feasible, mostly for the reasons that annoyed me about playing these classes in the first place (mostly to do with how the powers are recovered).

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Determining Hit Points

One puzzle I’ve had for a while is how to calculate hit points. The D&D 3.x model failed for me in some degree because of the emphasis on Constitution compared to Hit Die. At higher levels the martial characters (who were supposedly tougher than the non-martial characters like wizards) often had hit point totals almost indistinguishable from the non-martial characters because it was easy to pump Constitution, and the hit point bonus could come to outweigh the Hit Die. Given that ‘bigger Hit Die’ was supposedly an advantage and ‘smaller Hit Die’ was supposedly a limitation, this didn’t set well with me.

I’d also like to get away from rolling hit points altogether. I’ve seen many different schemes to solve the ‘bad hit point roll’ problem, and I’m tired of it. Instead, hit points will be calculated. I’d like to see the following features of a hit point determination mechanism.

  • Martial characters really do tend to have more hit points than non-martial characters.
  • Reduce the emphasis on Constitution.
  • Make low-level characters a little more durable (give them some more hit points).
  • Use a couple of simple calculations instead of rolling dice.

This shouldn’t be too hard.

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Divine Powers in Echelon

I think arcane spellcasters are fairly well handled with the Eldritch Weaving rules I’m adapting. Bards aren’t specifically addressed, but the adaptations needed are fairly straightforward.

The Eldritch Weaving rules I’m adapting don’t really address divine spellcasters. Divine spellcasters also have other powers (domain powers, druidic abilities, and so on).

This actually shouldn’t be terribly hard to do in Echelon.

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Updates and Clarifications

I’ve been doing Thing a Day for a couple of weeks now (already!) and have gotten some feedback and conversation that has caused me to make some changes. Rather than going back and changing my previous posts, I’ll collect the changes here.

Eventually I’ll want to collect things into a structured document with accumulated draft and updated information, for now I’ll just make a list of the changes to information in the existing articles.

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On Alignments

Given the scope of the changes I have planned for Echelon, and even just what I’m got in mind for my D&D 3.x campaign, I think it’s a good time to review alignment systems to see what would best fit my settings.

It’s pretty easy to say “no alignments”, and I’ve seen a lot of rationalizations about how the removal of alignments makes for a more ‘mature’ game. I’m not entirely convinced this is so. A reasonably objective measure of whether or not a character is a good guy or bad guy is kind of handy.

Honestly, I’m moderately satisfied with how D&D 3.x treats alignments and would be willing to use similar rules. On the other hand, it’s worth reviewing assumptions and options from time to time to see if they still hold and whether there are better ways to go about achieving goals.

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Craft and Item Creation Talents

Working out when you’re angry, while it can be somewhat cathartic, is not a very good idea. Totally blew my pacing on this workout, had to stop before finishing my routine because I had nothing left in my legs, almost had a visit from Pukie the Clown, and am now a hurting unit.

So, that said, let’s knock off a fairly simple topic – crafting and magic item creation.

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Echelon Eldritch Weaving Talents

Some discussion around the draft spellcaster talents I posted suggests that while they might be workable as a placeholder, they are too incomplete in that they really cover only wizard spells. A bit of consideration reminded me of the Eldritch Weaver class from Green Ronin’s Advanced Player’s Manual; a quick look suggests they may be an overall better fit for Echelon. I’ll be posting the Eldritch Weaver Class and the Eldritch Weaver Threads over the reference area.

In the meantime, I have prepared an adaptation of the rules for those class and the threads of power it uses.  I expect this will be easier to extend to include non-wizard spell lists.

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