Alacrity and Vitality

Hi all.  I’ve been tinkering with ways to port some of the fun bits from 4e into pathfinder.  Here are some of the feats I’m using to do that.  As always, suggestions on this are definitely welcome.

Feats

Alacrity Feats

Adventurer’s Alacrity (General)

Benefit: You get a certain thrill out of overcoming challenges and can draw on that to act with greater vigor. At the end of any encounter in which you come into conflict with a significant threat you gain a point of alacrity. Once per turn, you may spend a point of alacrity to take an additional swift or immediate action. Alternately, you may spend 2 points of alacrity to take a move or standard action. You lose a point of alacrity for each hour of rest you take.

 

Vitality Feats

Defiant Soul (General)

Prerequisites: Improved Vitality

Benefit: Your strong life force protects you from the clutches of death. When you are subject to an effect that would render you permanently unable to act, you may spend hit points equal to the effect’s save DC to ignore that effect. If no save is allowed, use 10 + ½ the source’s caster level or hit die instead. You can also use this at the start of your turn to shake off an effect that prevented you from acting during your last turn at half that cost.

 

Hidden Vitality (General)

Benefit: You are remarkably resilient. Gain a pool of vitality points equal to 6 + your constitution modifier. Once per minute of rest you can spend a point of vitality to recover 1 hit point, +1 for every 4 hit die you have. When in immediate danger, you can trigger this recovery as part of a total defense action. You can only use that option once per encounter. You recover all spent vitality after 6 hours of rest.

 

Improved Vitality (General)

Prerequisites: Hidden Vitality

Benefit: When spend vitality to recover hit points, increase the amount recovered to 1 + ½ the number of hit die you have. You can also count non-strenuous activity as rest for the purposes of recovering.

 

Unbound Vitality (General)

Prerequisites: Improved Vitality

Benefit: When spend vitality to recover hit points, increase the amount recovered to ¼ your total hit points.

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Published in: on August 23, 2017 at 3:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Soldier of Fortune

Now that things are settling down a bit I’m digging back through some of my experiments to share with you folks.  This one’s meant to help martial types keeps pace through the personalized gifts.

Soldier of Fortune

Though most gain their start in military service, soldiers of fortune quickly distinguish themselves from the rank and file. Prizing adaptability, these warrior understand that much of the world is beyond their control and subject to the whims of fate. However, they also know that an quick mind and strong arm can tip the balance at just the right moment and that sometimes all it takes is the smallest of openings to topple even the mightiest opposition.

Role: Soldiers are combatants first and foremost, though they usually do have grounding in other areas. They’ve got the durability to face off against some of the most deadly things out there and survive and enough flexibly to counter many of their tricks. They are well acquainted with fighting in groups and can readily act to support or protect their allies or take advantage of openings provided by said allies.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d10.

Starting Wealth: 5d6 x 10 gp (average 175gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The soldier of fortune’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks Per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: Soldier of Fortune

Level

Base Attack Bonus

Fort Save

Ref Save

Will Save

Special

1st

+1

+2

+0

+2

Adaptive Assault, Expanded Proficiency

2nd

+2

+3

+0

+3

Attack Style, Squad Training

3rd

+3

+3

+1

+3

Guarded Action, Student of Battle

4th

+4

+4

+1

+4

Fortune’s Favor

5th

+5

+4

+1

+4

Martial Surge

6th

+6/+1

+5

+2

+5

Attack Style, Surge of Mobility

7th

+7/+2

+5

+2

+5

Expanded Proficiency, Guarded Action

8th

+8/+3

+6

+2

+6

Fortune’s Favor

9th

+9/+4

+6

+3

+6

Surge of Defiance

10th

+10/+5

+7

+3

+7

Attack Style

11th

+11/+6/+1

+7

+3

+7

Guarded Action

12th

+12/+7/+2

+8

+4

+8

Fortune’s Favor

13th

+13/+8/+3

+8

+4

+8

Expanded Proficiency

14th

+14/+9/+4

+9

+4

+9

Attack Style

15th

+15/+10/+5

+9

+5

+9

Guarded Action

16th

+16/+11/+6/+1

+10

+5

+10

Fortune’s Favor

17th

+17/+12/+7/+2

+10

+5

+10

Surge of Grace

18th

+18/+13/+8/+3

+11

+6

+11

Attack Style

19th

+19/+14/+9/+4

+11

+6

+11

Expanded Proficiency, Guarded Action

20th

+20/+15/+10/+5

+12

+6

+12

Fortune’s Favor, Sage of Battle

Class Features

The following are class features of the soldier of fortune.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Soldiers of fortune are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor (heavy, medium, and light), and with shields (except tower shields).

Adaptive Assault

At 1st level, soldiers of fortune learn to take advantage of momentary openings in battle. Select 3 combat feats you don’t already have to add to your adaptive assault pool. You need not meet the feat, skill rank, or ability score requirements to add a feat to this pool. You can select feats with a required base attack bonus up to 5 points higher than your own. You must meet all other requirements unless stated otherwise to add a feat to this pool. Should you permanently gain a feat in this pool, you can immediately replace it with another feat. At each level beyond 1st, you may add another feat to your adaptive assault pool.

When you make an attack roll or combat maneuver check, on a natural 5 or higher you gain one feat of your choice from this pool for 1 round. For each feat prerequisite you’re missing, the triggering roll must be 2 points higher to select that feat. For every skill rank, ability score point, or point of base attack bonus the feat requires that you don’t have, the triggering roll must be 1 point higher. You can not select unless a feat you’ve already gained unless it can normally be taken multiple times.

Expanded Proficiency

At 1st level and every 6 levels after that, soldiers of fortune gain a feat that counters the penalties, drawbacks, or risks for combat uses of a particular type of item, such as Armor Trick, Catch Off-Guard, Equipment Trick, Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Improved Shield Bash, Rapid Reload, Throw Anything, Tower Shield Proficiency, or Weapon Trick. Alternately, you can apply this training to your mount or natural weapons, allowing for feats like Improved Unarmed Strike and Mounted Combat.

Attack Style

At 2nd level and every 4 levels after that, soldiers of fortune gain a feat that lets you trade bonuses for penalties while attacks, such as Bloody Assault, Combat Expertise, Dazing Assault, Deadly Aim, Lunge, Power Attack, Stunning Assault. You can also select feats that let you trade attacks for combat maneuvers, such as Quick Bull Rush, Quick Dirty Trick, Quick Drag, and Quick Reposition. You can ignore any ability score requirements for feats gained this way.

Squad Training

At 2nd level, soldiers of fortune gain a teamwork feat of your choice. Once per round as a free action, you can treat an ally of your choice as though they had one of your teamwork feats.

Guarded Action

At 3nd level and every 4 levels after that, the soldier of fortune gains a feat that prevents opportunity attacks for taking a certain action, such as the various improved combat maneuver feats.

Student of Battle

At 3rd level, the soldier of fortune has mastered the fundamental of their adaptive fighting style. By spending at least an hour training with someone who already has a given combat feat, the soldier may add feat to their adaptive assault pool. They must be able to select the feat for that feature normally to gain it this way. Should they be missing any of the feats prerequisites, increase the training time by 1 hour per requirement missed. This instruction and any needed training materials will normally add up to a gold piece cost of 5 times the instructor’s level squared.

This feature also lets the soldier count their levels in this class as fighter levels for the purpose of qualifying for feats.

Fortune’s Favor

Experienced soldiers of fortune are favored by lady luck. At 4th level and every 4 class levels after that, select one of the following options. You may select the same favor multiple times.

  • Animal Companion: You’ve developed an unusually strong bond with another creature. Choose an animal you own. That creature becomes your animal companion as if you had a druid level equal to your ranks in Handle Animal. If the creature is your mount, you may use your ranks in Ride instead. This conversion requires an hour of training per animal companion level the creature gains. Alternately, the DM may let an animal companion of the desired type be found in an appropriate location. Should you lose the animal companion granted by this favor, you can choose to replace this favor with another one. If you do so, the animal companion loses all levels in that class. Taking this favor multiple times increases the number of animal companions you have, but does not affect your druid level for this feature.
  • Bound Ally: You have learned the ritual need to summon an otherworldly ally. You gain an lesser version of the summoner’s Eidolon with no evolution pool. Should you select this favor a second time for the same eidolon, it gains an evolution pool with points equal to your class level.
  • Signature Item: Select an item you own. You gain a credit pool as per the Windfall favor that can only be used to improve that item. If the item is single use, you must spend credit improving it allow for multiple uses. If the item have charges, you can spend credit converting it to uses per day. Should the item be damaged, you need only spend time to repair it. If the item is lost or becomes permanently unusable, you may replace this favor with another one. Items that run out of ammunition or charges don’t count as those can be restocked with gold or credit. If you sell the item, you must spend that same amount on things with no real benefit to you before you can replace the favor. Donating or spending that money on entertainment, food, and drink are common ways of freeing up the favor. Should you pick this favor multiple times for the same item, you may turn the item into a unique magic item. Work with your DM to determine the cost of unique features. You can use specific magic items, intelligent items, and even artifacts as guidelines for copying features. Among other things, this lets you add spell effects to the selected item.
  • Windfall: You have a knack for finding or trading for what you need. Each time you choose this favor you gain credit equal to (character level + class level) squared * 100. When making a purchase, you can spend this credit in place of gold on 1 for 1 basis. You can also purchase things with credit even if they would be difficult to obtain or rare in your current location. Furthermore, you can spend credits to “discover” hidden properties on item you own or find. If you have the appropriate craft skill for that item, credit can also be spent to add features to existing items. Treat your character level as your caster level for the purpose of such improvements and discoveries.

Martial Surge

At 5th level, a soldier of fortune learns to draw more readily on their inner reserves. Once per round as a free action, you can expend a martial surge to gain an additional immediate action or attack of opportunity for that round. You can do this a number of times per day equal to your constitution modifier plus twice your class level.

Surge of Mobility

At 6th level, soldiers of fortune can expend a martial surge to make a full attack as standard action instead of a full round action.

Surge of Defiance

At 9th level, soldiers of fortune can expend a martial surge to reroll a failed saving throw against an effect that removes or reduces their ability to act freely. This includes effects that kill, incapacitate, transform, control, and immobilize the character, among others. Effects that simply damage the soldier don’t count. One such reroll is allowed per effect for every 5 points of base attack bonus the soldier has.

Surge of Grace

At 17th level, soldiers of fortune have mastered moving and attacking as a fluid whole. When using a surge of mobility, they may perform their attacks at any point in the movement and need not make all attacks at the point in the movement.

Sage of Battle

At 20th level, soldiers of fortune have established a strong understanding of practically every fighting style. By spending time recalling tales of past battles, doing training exercises, and reviewing their tactics, they can swap feats in their adaptive assault pool for other applicable feats. The soldier can swap up to their intelligence modifier in feats per day this way (minimum 1). This takes 1 hour for a full swap and proportionally less for a partial swap.

Published in: on August 2, 2017 at 6:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Wielding Wonders in Pathfinder

Now that I’ve got a better feel for the Wonder Wielder, I’ve bee tinkering with porting it over into Pathfinder.  It’s admittedly significantly slower going as there are a whole different set of assumption to balance against.  Here’s what I’ve got written up for the base feature.

Collector of Oddities

You have a knack for finding unusual items with strange powers.  Three of your starting items gain the ability to conjure or act as another piece of equipment.  For each of these item, roll 1d12 to determine what it creates or emulates:

  1. acts as alchemist fire
  2. conjures marker dye
  3. acts as 50’ of silk rope
  4. acts as bodybalm
  5. acts as a medium tent
  6. acts as a guard dog
  7. conjures up to 20 javelins.
  8. acts as a rapier
  9. acts as a smokestick
  10. acts as a heavy steel shield.
  11. acts as a potion of Resistance.
  12. acts as a potion of Guidance.

 

You can personalize this list at character creation to reflect the character’s tastes and interests.  However, once set, entries can only be changed during down time or from level progression.  For each entry, you can have it act as an item of up 25 gp or conjure up to 20 gp worth of items.  Past 1st level, this price cap improves to 5 * class level * (character level + 5) for emulating items and 4 * class level * (character level + 5) for conjuring items.

An item that “acts as” another either changes its form or creates an attachment that lets it mimic the emulated item’s function.  If the emulated item is consumed or destroyed on use, so is the item with this power.  While acting as another item, the item can not be used for it’s original purpose.

Conjured items are sustained by the item that created them and will fade in 1 round if taken more than 5’ from the item that created them.

In either case, you may keep a power on for up to 8 hours.  After that that time, power can not be used again for 1 hour, plus the amount of time you had it active.
Should an item empowered by this feature become lost, broken, or unusable, your fortunes will guide you toward a replacement item of the DM’s choice, usually within the hour.  Until the you gain a luck bonus to attempts to find and acquire possible replacements equal to the number of items to be replaced.  This bonus does not trigger if you can regain the item easily without conflict in a reasonable time frame, such as if it’s lent to an ally or being repaired or appraised.  Should you sell the item, you must buy the replacement.  The replacement need not be the same value as the lost item and its special power should be randomly rolled as per the original item.

Published in: on February 24, 2016 at 7:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Extraordinary Arsenal Revision

We’ve gotten in a couple playtests on the Wonder Wielder and it’s working well.  In the last session, they used Fortunate Packing with an animated weapon to keep track of a fleeing thief while they chased them on an alchemically fueled vehicle.

That said, we have done some tweaking, mostly to the extraordinary arsenal.  The first change was deciding what happens if someone counter attacks a hack and slash made by an animated weapon.  From there, I’ve mostly tried to trim things down and use more general guidelines.  It’s a bit of a shift given the more precisely defined mentality of games like D&D and Pathfinder, but a welcome on.

In any event, here are the revisions for the arsenal, as well as Reliable Armament.

Extraordinary Arsenal

Your collection has grown to include some items that aid your attacks. You start with 2 weapon enhancer items.  For each, roll 1d8 twice to determine which two enhancements it provides.  If you roll the same number twice, you may choose the second enhancement.

  1. Versatile: Add a range tag of your choice to the target weapon.
  2. Animated: The weapon can be released to fly as you direct it.  Treat it as having a +1 Str and Dex modifier while doing so.  If struck while flying, it will only move toward you until tended to.
  3. Puissant: Raise your stat modifier for this attack to +2 or deal +1 damage.
  4. Explosive: Attacks with this armament affect everyone in reach of the initial target.  If the weapon does not have near or far tags, you are not affected by the attack.
  5. Lingering: The attack leaves behind dangerous residue that deals 1d4 damage to any who come in contact with it if they don’t take immediate action to protect themselves.
  6. Concussive: Add stun and forceful.
  7. Vicious: Add messy and +1 damage.
  8. Spectral: Add ignores armor.

Choose the form each enhancer takes.

  • An item you could draw from your adventuring gear without needing to roll.
  • A portable mundane item worth 2 coins or less.
  • A pack of ammo.

Choose what attacks each enhancer can be used on.  Only one enhancer can be used per attack.

  • Attacks made with the enhancer.
  • Attacks made with an item or body part the enhancer has been applied to.

Each enhancer has 3 uses.  If the enhancer is a weapon, you can make unenhanced attacks with it without expending a use.  When an enhancer is lost or out of uses, you can spend a few minutes rummaging through your belongings and expend a use of adventuring gear to replace that item.  Reroll and reselect all features for each such replacement.

 

Reliable Armament

You’ve acquired an item you can fall back on when your armory runs dry.  Add an enhancer with unlimited used to your Exceptional Armory. You can choose one of that item’s enhancements instead of rolling for it.

Published in: on February 19, 2016 at 3:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wielding Wonders in Dungeon World

I’ve recently been tinkering with a class inspired by a combination of magic item wielding  heroes of folks tales and The Dying Earth, tinkers with packs full of useful items, and the occasional oddball walking armory character.

Seeing as it’s a light and flexible system, I’ve tried my hand at adapting the idea to Dungeon World first.  So far it’s been working pretty well as my oldest likes coming up with new devices the character can pull out of her pack.  Here’s what the start of the class looks like.  Advanced moves are still in progress, but I suspect a pet based move will catch her interest.

Wonder Wielder

There are so many fascinating things in the world.  So much knowledge scattered to the winds to be gathered, so many secrets known by so few.  A fair portion of that is lost or may soon be.  But perhaps by studying what others left behind you might recover some of those secrets.  Even after all these years many of those forgotten relics hold up remarkably well.

Let others horde their coins.  You’ll simply claim a trinket here, an apparently broken device there, and before they know it you’ll be in command of powers rarely seen, much less understood.

Names

Halfling: Lansley, Brigby, Kallia, Nani

Human: Roderig, Colwin, Ignatius, Elsa, Winfrey, Catalina

Look

Inquisitive Eyes, Distracted Eyes, or Astute Eyes

Unkempt Hair, Styled Hair, or Bound Hair

Pocketed Clothes, Colorful Clothes, or Common Clothes

Lean Body, Stout Body, or Flabby Body

Stats

Your maximum HP is 6+Constitution.

Your base damage is d8.

Starting Moves

Choose a race and gain the corresponding move:

Halfling

When you offer one of your own belongings in trade take a +1 to parley or supply.

Human

When you assemble a makeshift item from odds and ends, you may ignore 1 tag or take a +1 forward to the first use of that item.

You start with these moves:

Collector of Oddities

You’ve taken in keen interest in certain items.  Choose a look:

  • Ancient
  • Alchemical
  • Mechanical
  • Inscribed
  • Otherworldly
  • Ceremonial
  • Unassuming

You start with adventuring gear with that look. All such gear functions normally though it may have an unusual form or means of operation.

When a piece of gear granted by this move is lost or becomes unusable, hold 1. When you search an area or container with unknown contents you can restock your adventuring gear, regaining 1 use per hold spent.

Fortunate Packing

When you rummage through your adventuring gear for a useful item, state what you want the item to help you achieve and roll+Int:

  • On 10+, expend a use of adventuring gear.  The GM will tell you what item you find.  The item will always bring you one step closer to your goal, but the GM may declare the item has limited uses, limited duration, or is difficult to move after use.
  • On a 7-9, you gain the item, but choose two:
    • It’s not immediately obvious how this item can help.
    • The item is unreliable and may malfunction  if precautions are not taken.
    • You need more than one person to operate it.
    • The item is slow, dangerous, or must be applied.
  • On a miss, no gear is expended, but you can not use this move for that goal again until you restock your adventuring gear.

Extraordinary Arsenal

Your collection has grown to include some items that prove useful in combat. You start with 2 armaments that match the look of your Collection of Oddities, each with 3 uses and a 1 weight. For each item, roll 1d8 twice to determine the enhancements it provides.  If you roll the same number twice, you may choose an enhancement instead.

  1. Versatile: Add a range tag of your choice to the target weapon.
  2. Animated: The weapon can move and even fly under it’s own power.  You can use your action to make it attack while doing so.  Treat it’s stat modifier as +1 for such attacks.  While holding or attached to the weapon, you can invoke this enhancement for a +1 attempts that involve running fast and jumping far.
  3. Puissant: Raise your stat modifier for this attack to +2 or deal +1 damage.
  4. Explosive: Attacks with this armament affect everyone in reach of the initial target.  If the weapon does not have near or far tags, you are not affected by the attack.
  5. Lingering: The attack leaves behind dangerous residue that deals 1d4 damage.  On a hit, the damage is dealt at the end of the target’s next turn if not removed.  On a miss, the residue clings to nearest surface and damages the next creature to touch or step on it.
  6. Concussive: Add stun and forceful.
  7. Vicious: Add messy and +1 damage.
  8. Spectral: Add ignores armor.

Once the enhancements are determined, choose how the armament operates. Regardless of the method chosen, only one set of enhancements can be applied to a given attack.

  • The armament is a weapon (choose the hand, close, or near tag) or ammo and enhances attacks made with it.
  • The armament is a pack of thrown weapons, where each use destroys the thrown item to release the enhanced attack.
  • The armament is a worn item that creates a weapon with the enhancements.
  • The armament is an applied item that enhances the weapon it’s attached to, be it manufactured or part of the user’s body.

If at any time one of your armaments is lost or out of uses, you can spend a few minutes rummaging through your belongings to expend a use of your Collection of Oddities and gain a new armament.

Reliable Armament

You’ve acquired an item you can fall back on when your armory runs dry.  Add an item to your Exceptional Armory. You can choose one of this item’s enhancements instead of rolling for it.  So long as perform routine maintenance on the item, it does not have limited uses.

Alignment

Choose an alignment:

Good

Use a questionable device to improve the lives of others.

Neutral

Uncover information on the origins of an unusual item or a forgotten people.

Evil

Give yourself over to the use of cruel or questionable device.

Gear

Your load is 12+Str.  You carry your collection of oddities, 3 items in your exceptional arsenal, and dungeon rations (5 uses, 1 weight).  Choose your clothing:

  • Leather armor (1 armor, 1 weight)
  • stylish clothes that match the look of your collection

Choose one:

  • Bag of books (5 uses, 2 weight)
  • Poultices and Herbs (2 uses, 1 weight)
  • Halfling pipeleaf (0 weight) and Bandages (3 uses, weight 1)

Bonds

Fill in the name of one of your companions in at least one:

__________ has shown an interest in some of the things I carry.

__________ recognizes something I’ve found but refuses to speak about it.

I’m sure I can convince __________ of the safety and efficacy of my inventory.

__________ has something I’d love to study.

Published in: on February 15, 2016 at 10:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Role Review

I was poking around the homebrew forum over at Giant in the Playground when I noticed this post on role design for a custom system inspired by 4th edition D&D.  I got a into how each of the roles turned out and what functions they ended up serving, so I figured I’d relay that here.

Strikers in 4e are the only strictly offensive role in game as their focus is strictly on reducing the enemy team’s time to defeat. They are especially good at delivering damage precisely where they want it. This makes focusing fire easier for them as well as making them good at landing finishing blows. Note that high offense and ease of targeting are independent but synergistic features, with ease of targeting often being accomplished by some combination of ranged attacks and mobility.

Leaders in 4e help their group stay at full strength by helping allies recover, acting as a kind of life line for those running out of hit points. This helps mitigate focused fire somewhat as it let’s the group shift defensive resources to anyone who’s being focused on. Since the need for this is small when the party is at full health, leaders often have secondary jobs as well. If fully defensively oriented, their secondary focus will be on providing protection to mitigate damage before it happens. If they’ve got a somewhat more offensive bent, they’ll act as an enabler, making allies better at performing their jobs.

Defenders in 4e actually seem to have discouraging focused fire as their unofficial job. Their high hit points and defenses make them unappealing focus targets. By itself, this would just result in their allies being taken out first. However, their marking mechanics let them counter that by making themselves more appealing targets to an enemy of their choice. In effect, this lets them peal a specific foe of the group that might be trying to achieve focused fire. The selective nature of marking and punishment mechanics make them less “everyone attack me” like classic “tanks” and more about making sure attacks are distributed around the party so nobody falls. From there, they tend to mirror leaders somewhat by either proactively setting up protective measures or increasing their offense. The main difference being that these defensive and offensive boosts tend to be self oriented as opposed to the leader’s more ally oriented focus.

4e controllers are bit of mess in that their focus is split between acting as artillery and manipulating the opposing side’s options with few class features directly supporting either. Granted, either of those can be made to support the other. For example, if the character was primarily artillery they might want strong manipulation options as back up plan for when limited targets cuts their total damage output. On the flip-side, area attacks can be used to discourage grouping, making it a situational way of altering enemy plans. From what I’ve seen, the online community tends to favor the focusing on the manipulation side, with the artillery side mainly used as a way to distribute control effects over multiple enemies. One side effect of the system is that “minion popping” became a secondary job of the role due to the availability of multi-target powers for this role. It’s interesting to note changing enemy plans overlaps with defender’s deciding who attacks them, which lead to occasional comments about defenders being a specialized type of melee controller.

On a side note, things have been pretty busy over here.  I started a new job in a new city this year, which is admittedly part of why posting has dropped off.  That being said, things are getting a bit more stable now so as time frees up I may start putting more things up here.

Published in: on January 7, 2016 at 10:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fortified Mastery Update

Hi folks.  There’s been a lot of changes this past year, including moving to another state.  However, last christmas I did get enough down time to start a new project.

The action-rpg “Titan Quest” has long been a favorite of mine that I find myself returning to often.  This winter, I finally took the plunge and started on a mod to shore up the weaker skills in the game and support more varied builds.  I actually got most of that done over the winter break and am now working on more systemic issues for a second pass.  The full discussion can be found here.  Up to date download links can be found on that page as well as my portfolio page.

That isn’t to say I’m not still doing some table top tinkering.  In fact, I’ve been introducing my eldest to the hobby.  She’s already played a little Risus and Gamma World, so I’m considering streamline some other systems and letting her have a run at those.  Hero Kids has been very solid on that front and a lot of fun to boot.

Published in: on February 25, 2015 at 5:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Warrior Gambits

I’ve been mulling over martial encounter powers lately. While encounter powers are good at varying actions between rounds, they do encourage throwing out your strongest stuff until you’re down to grinding away with at wills.

On approach I came up with the use of “gambits”. Basically how they’d work is you’d declare them when making a weapon attack. If the attack hits, you get a minor perk and a free secondary attack based on the gambit used. It the initial attack fails, the target instead gets a bonus to defend against further that gambit for 1 round, as they’re on guard against it.

That should create an interesting flow overall. At around 50% accuracy, the player would be looking at a 50% chance of needing to change gambits, 25% chance of an at-will level hit, and a 25% chance of an encounter level hit. I’d have to work out the numbers, but that does seem to be a workable approach. Give the player 3 gambits to start and they’ll have a choice each round even when a gambit is down.

One potentially issue I see is that the chance of heavy hits gets really badly hit by low accuracy. To counter that, I might add a “feint” option. If you take that, a miss triggers the secondary attack instead of a hit. The result would be higher accuracy at the cost of removing the chance to double hit.

4e Adaptions: Damage Fixes

One of this problematic points in 4e is that anything that allows multiple attacks to the same target within a round are extremely effective damage dealers, to the point they tend to hedge out other options. This is largely due to the fact each such attack effectively multiply static bonuses to damage rolls, which make up the bulk of damage totals at higher levels.

This imbalance has been a bit of a mixed blessing due to the hit point inflation enemies get at higher levels. I’ve run some numbers and a fight that takes around 4 rounds at heroic tier can stretch out to 8 to 9 rounds in epic due to this inflation.

As such, I suggest the following two pronged attack to reduce the effectiveness of these multi-strike attacks without having high level fights drag to a crawl.

Tap Capping Damage Bonuses

The Rule: Once a bonus to damage rolls has been applied to a target, that bonus can not be applied to further damage against the target until the start of the attacker’s next turn. If multiple attackers share the same bonus, track this separately for each attacker.
The Reason: Looking over the damage entries for multi-strike and off action attacks, it looks like the designers largely ignored any bonuses to damage rolls. Most multi-strikes do a comparable number of damage dice to powers of similar levels. The dice are just distributed differently. This rule prevents multi-tapping of damage bonuses to bring those powers on par with their single strike, standard action counter parts.
Gameplay Effects: Resetting bonuses at the start of the turn favors attacks that happen during the players turn, with each following attack having less of a chance of gaining the damage bonus. One problem with this rule is it also reduces the potency off opportunity attacks. This is mitigated somewhat by opportunity attack specific damage bonuses. However, to counter this more strongly you’d want..

Reduced Hit Point Scaling

The Rule: Monster gain half the normal hit points per level. This does not effect the base number of hit points they get.
The Reason: As mentioned earlier, fights in epic can easily double in length with applying damage bonus multipliers. Halfing the hit points from levels counters that effect, keeping fights at more reasonable time frames without damage abuse.
Gameplay Effects: With reduced hp, an at level fight in epic will often be over before at will come into play (barring characters who focus on them). However, that’s not necsessarily a bad thing and overuse of at-wills can make combat more tedious.

Published in: on June 3, 2014 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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4e Ability Score Progression

I’ve noticed some issues with ability scores in 4e D&D. Here are a couple suggested fixes to help smooth things over.

Rounded Growth

The Rule: At every level the player would gain +1 to 2 ability scores, they instead gain +1 to all ability scores.
The Reason: Only increasing 2 abilities at 6 different levels puts the modifier for those two 3 points higher than any other score. Since the boosted abilities are usually the character’s strongest, this widens the divide between high and low scores even more as the character progresses. That in turn makes it harder to set a worthwhile DC for even two character with similar training but different ability priorities. Due to difficulty scaling, this has the net effect of making characters worse at everything else outside their focus as they reach higher levels. This rule change still keeps the range between high and low scores, but keeps that gap from widening at higher levels.
Gameplay Effects: While this does make higher level characters better overall, it’s mostly an increase in versatility over raw power. It doesn’t make them better at their strong suits, it just keeps their weaknesses from getting exaggerated at high levels.

Practiced Growth

The Rule: When you get a chance to raise all ability scores by 1, you can forgo raising one scores that’s at 9 or higher to raise a second score by 2. The score being increased this way can not be raised beyond 19. If the ability is used by one of the character’s powers or trained skills, raise the maximum to 21. Increase these limits (including the minimum score) by 1 for each previous time all scores could be raised by 1.
The Reason: This one is actually meant to counter the dominance racial ability modifiers often have on race selection. By giving races without a bonus to their primary ability the chance the catch up at higher levels, we can hopefully reduce the prominence of those bonuses a bit.
Gameplay Effects: The net effect should be pretty mild. In general, it’s roughly equivalent to letting the player swap their racial ability score bonus to a different stat at a certain level.
There is one possible side effect of combining this with Rounded Growth in that a player could choose to go with lower starting score to get more efficient use out their point buy. If that’s a big concern, consider limiting how many times this option can be selected.

Published in: on May 21, 2014 at 1:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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