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.

Aug 9-11, Failures of D&D 3.x

No real changes here, these articles are mostly to identify traits of D&D 3.x that are undesirable in my campaign, and thus in Echelon.

Aug 12, Weapons Guidelines, Part 1

This article is mostly to backport material from Echelon to D&D 3.x, and I don’t really see much to change since the article was posted. Echelon has some differences, but those will be described when I get to the topic in Echelon.

Aug 13, Considering Monster Design

This is another groundwork article and I see nothing really to change. It guides design and application later.

In the follow-up to this article, I expect to go a little more into the deconstruction of monsters before rebuilding. This was missing the first time around.

Aug 14, Converting a Demon

This was something of a test piece, to see how the guidelines presented in Considering Monster Design would work when applied to something trickier than a giant (which is really just a big humanoid).

This exercise made it evident that a little more deconstruction of a monster may be in order before building up with different abilities. In this case specifically it seems reasonable to trade around a few of the ability scores (Strength for Dexterity especially).

Aug 15, Dragons, Part 1

Due to be revisited, this was not complete and tussock’s observations suggest that updating dragons to my design practices might not be as difficult as I’d originally thought.

Aug 16, A Bit About Echelon

Again a groundwork article, nothing has really changed here.

Aug 17, Echelon Basics

(Yes, it says Aug 16 on my site, I put it up protected early for someone to review before I posted for real.)

The big change here is in the number of talent slots at each level. DougL convinced me that 10 was too many and proposed another scheme that looks like it will provide as many are as needed for specialized builds, but allow for less-specialized builds to still be viable without necessarily intruding on the niche of the specialized characters. It is slightly more complex than my initial draft, but I think it will work better.

Instead of gaining slots as described immediately below,

Level Basic Expert Heroic Master Champion Legendary Other
0

0-10

1

10

2

2

10

4

+1 LB
3

10

7

4

10

10

+1 LB, +1 all stats
5

10

10

2

6

10

10

4

+1 LB
7

10

10

7

8

10

10

10

+1 LB, +1 all stats
9

10

10

10

2

10

10

10

10

4

+1 LB
11

10

10

10

7

12

10

10

10

10

+1 LB, +1 all stats
13

10

10

10

10

2

14

10

10

10

10

4

+1 LB
15

10

10

10

10

7

16

10

10

10

10

10

+1 LB, +1 all stats
17

10

10

10

10

10

2

18

10

10

10

10

10

4

+1 LB
19

10

10

10

10

10

7

20

10

10

10

10

10

10

+1 LB, +1 all stats

Characters will gain talent slots as described immediately below.

Level Basic Expert Heroic Master Champion Legendary Other
0

0..6

1

5

2

2

5

3

+1 LB
3

5

5

4

5

6

+1 LB, +1 all stats
5

5

5

2

6

5

5

3

+1 LB
7

5

5

5

8

5

5

6

+1 LB, +1 all stats
9

5

5

5

2

10

5

5

5

3

+1 LB
11

5

5

5

5

12

5

5

5

6

+1 LB, +1 all stats
13

5

5

5

5

2

14

5

5

5

5

3

+1 LB
15

5

5

5

5

5

16

5

5

5

5

6

+1 LB, +1 all stats
17

5

5

5

5

5

2

18

5

5

5

5

5

3

+1 LB
19

5

5

5

5

5

5

20

5

5

5

5

5

6

+1 LB, +1 all stats

We discussed expanding Level 0 (basic talents only) into its own tier. This can make encounter design a little simpler, but it throws off other elements such as spellcasting (caster level can no longer be Level Bonus plus Training Bonus, and other character facets may need similar adjustment). I’m willing to consider again later if I find that it will gain me enough, but at this point I am not convinced it will.

Aug 18, Echelon Draft Martial Talents

The specific talents described under ‘Other Talents’ will be revised at the least, and quite possibly dropped altogether. They were chosen and presented as examples of the sort of scope and nature of some hopefully more interesting talents than “bonus to attack”.

Aug 18, Clarification on Talents

The Ride talent needs some tweaking. While it’s nice to be able to apply the abilities gained to an arbitrary mount, it must be made tougher or it simply won’t survive the difficulties its rider will face. I haven’t decided whether to make this a general ‘Mount’ talent instead (I don’t mind if the talent means you have a horse that can fly or a dragon, as long as they’re comparable in ability) or keep it as is and the rider makes all the difference to the mount’s abilities.

I think this is otherwise a better example talent than the ones presented the previous day.

Aug 19, Some Common Talents

Not much is expected to change here. There will likely be some changes to the specific active components of the Saving Throw feats, I wasn’t happy with them when I wrote them. I have received some good suggestions for alternate abilities.

Aug 20, Echelon Draft Spellcaster Talents

The core talents (Caster Training and Improved Caster Training) are not expected to change much, if at all. However, rather than depending on my placeholder ‘School Focus’ and ‘Divine Focus’ talents I think there’s a better way described in the next day’s article.

The Spell Capacity and Improved Spell Capacity talents will likely remain.

Aug 21, Echelon Eldritch Weaving Talents

After remembering this variant presented in Advanced Player’s Manual from Green Ronin, I looked into it and found it a rather better fit than the School Focus scheme I’d posted the day before. Each Thread (as they are called in the Eldritch Weaving rules) contains about three spells per spell level and provides a Minor and a Major power. I will want to review and revise the powers I am sure, but as a starting point they look fairly good.

This may cost me the difference between arcane and divine spellcasting, but I am not convinced this is a bad thing. There have been plenty of stories and games where there are ‘nature wizards’ that are not druids, and ‘healing wizards’ that are not clerics, that I feel the need to maintain the division made by previous editions of D&D. Similarly, I don’t have such a problem with ‘clerics with good combat spells’, since that can cut into their other options and really, clerics in later D&D 3.x had some nifty combat spells available anyway.

If this is an important distinction to make in a campaign, it is simple enough to put campaign-specific constraints on various paths.

Aug 22, Craft and Item Creation Talents

It was pointed out to me that as written the time requirements to apply Craft talents are too large. After some consideration I came to agree.

Given the expense required to become good enough to craft the higher-grade goods (higher-tier talents), I think it inappropriate from a game play and balance perspective. Crafting higher-grade goods takes no longer than normal goods, if you have the talent at a high-enough tier, but it is still not a certain thing (skill check needed, and if you don’t make the target DC for the best grade possible, you have a lower-grade product – and if you don’t even make the normal DC you have a failed item). Also, time can be reduced to a fraction of the normal time by increasing the check DC (DC +5 for half the time, DC +10 for one-third the time, DC +15 for one-quarter the time). These two changes can be combined – a Legendary crafter might increase the DC by 10 in order to craft a Master-grade items in one-quarter the time, but he has a greater chance of outright failure.

I overlooked ring and jewelry in crafting time requirements, so let’s give them a base time of one week.

The item benefits described in the Masterworks reference document need to be reviewed and probably adjusted. I generally find a +1 bonus isn’t worth tracking. Any item benefit described in the Masterworks reference document that has a base +1 bonus is doubled to +2 (and the double and triple results double and triple this normally). The Lethal benefit will likely need to be changed (why take a +2 bonus under limited circumstances when you can have +2 all the time?). At this point I don’t want to change the Deadly benefit (increase the threat range by 1) but may in future.

Aug 23, On Alignments

This is largely a groundwork and philosophical document, as it were, and at this point I see no need to make changes.

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4 Comments to "Updates and Clarifications"

  1. hadsil's Gravatar hadsil
    August 25, 2010 - 7:20 pm | Permalink

    The thread weaving is interesting. Since you are making a classless system you “have” to mingle arcane and divine. It would be work but you could create threads that use divine spells and others that provide a good mixture of arcane and divine.

    There are a lot of spells, even in just the 3E PHB. To have threads that will encompass all the spells can be tedious. You might have to increase the number of spells each level for a thread, say to 5 or 6. There are two alternatives. One, the spells not in a thread just don’t exist. You can still allow for “spell research” to make them, perhaps as a talent that counts as an Item Creation or Meta Magic. Two, the spells not in a thread do exist but there’s just no particular Minor and Major thread powers associated or maybe that’s where Meta Magic comes into play.

    How will spellcasters know their spells from their threads? Do they have to find them like wizards or do they get them automatically like clerics? It’s a relatively low number of spells known. I know the Eldritch Weaver requires finding them like wizards; I’m asking about Echelon.

  2. hadsil's Gravatar hadsil
    August 26, 2010 - 5:53 pm | Permalink

    I was hoping you’d answer getting them automatically. I hinted that mentioning the low number of spells known. :)

    I like the 3E Psionics points system. It’s relatively easy to convert spellcasting to it. (I think it’s easy. :P ) May not work for Echelon.

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