Saturday, December 29, 2012, 2:52 PM
So, it's been awhile since I posted anything. This latest playtest packet, the clamor on the boards over skill dice and how it can be used as proficiency dice, and the fact that I have some extra free time due to the holiday schedule at work have all aligned to make this post possible.
I will warn you now that there is math involved with this post. I'll try to keep it as terse as possible so as not to bore you, but I guarantee nothing as far as your actual boredom level goes.
I won't rehash it, it's been all over the boards. Basically skill dice makes the new DC table for skills make perfect sense, is mathematically sound, and in my opinion is probably one of the best inventions for the game to date. It has also been suggested to take those skill dice, call them proficiency (or something similar) dice and apply them to attacks instead of static bonuses based on class. If it fixes much of the math behind skills, it should do the same for attacks.
Bounded Accuracy and Proficiency Die
To this end, we basically replace the +1 with a 1d4, and step up the dice as we step up the attack bonus based on class. But how does this look for the actual chances to hit, what are the new AC bounds monsters will have to have?
Calculations, Standard Deviation, and Bounds
When I was first doing my calculations, I looked at a PC and their ability bonuses. Which can range from -1 to +5. This gives the average ability bonus of a PC of +2. The next thing I looked at was what is the average proficiency dice, which ranges from no proficiency to 1d12. This puts the average proficiency dice between 1d6 and 1d8. Finally, I looked at what I believe to be the average chance to hit. I've always liked 50%. The psychology of success for humans has been debated on the boards that the percentage should be closer to 70%, but for D&D I've always liked 50%, it gives me that feel of "anything can happen" which in combat, anything can. It feels right to me, and it gives us the most room to play with on either side of the average in case something doesn't work quite right.
At this point I pulled up anydice.com and looked at the output of 1d20 + 1d7 + 2 (the d20 + the average proficiency dice + the average ability bonus), and it turns out that 17 has a 50% hit chance. At this point, I have discovered what the average AC should be. For the real dice, it means 1d6 puts us just under 50%, and 1d8 puts us just over 50% to hit a 17.
Next, I looked at what ranges of AC's would determine a mean of 17. There could be any number of them on the high side, so I started by looking at the lowest possible AC. In my mind, once something hits 0 AC, it is an inanimate object, and can always be hit. You can't miss it, it's impossible. So, that means a 1 is the lowest possible AC for anything that you have a chance to miss. If 1 is the lowest end, and 17 is the average, then 33 becomes the high end.
Now, I called upon my business statistics classes (I found an actual use for them, yay!) and started working on the standard deviations of the population of 1..33. I then realized why do that when there are online calculators out there to do it for me, so I plugged the numbers in using this calculator, because I'm lazy. So, anyway, it turns out since we are looking at the entire population of possible AC values, the standard deviation for them is ~9.5.
Now, honestly, we really don't care too much about the lower limits. After all, they are just easier to hit the lower we go, however, in interest of showing the full ranges, I am including them.
This is where things become interesting for me. The maximum AC a PC can reach while not using any magic is a Mountain Dwarf with Plate and a shield, which gives a 20 AC. This gives the range of non magical AC's ranging between 14 and 20. If anything with a +3 bonus is considered an epic/legendary magic item, and the character is a Mountain Dwarf wearing both epic plate, and an epic shield, his highest possible AC becomes 26. This AC value is 9 from the mean, within 1 standard deviation from the mean. It is also the maximum possible magical AC a player can reach. Taking it the other direction, the lowest AC within the standard deviation is 8. This is basically a naked person with a 6 Dexterity, which to me seems about the lowest Dex something living, and amblitory would have. This could just be a mathematical coincidence, but so far I am liking how it looks and feels, and honestly surprised on how well it actually worked out.
However, I'm thinking that maybe the non-magical range is too small, while the magical range is just about right. So perhaps the non magical range should be 13 to 21. This means non magic is 4 from the mean, and magic is 9 from the mean.
But what about anything over 26? At that point, we are in no man's land for AC. Anything over 26 and we start getting into god level Armor Classes. Not just god level, but god on their home plane level. Nearly to the point that if you don't come prepared, you are going to die. I don't find this to be a bad thing. If your PC's are going to hell to kill one of the lords there, they should be smart enough to collect everything they can to make them successful. Outside of his home plane the demon lord's AC shouldn't be over 26.
On the low end, anything under 8 AC really doesn't matter for the most part. Any character starting with a +2 ability bonus and no proficiency dice starts at an 80% chance to hit, and only gets better from there as they increase their ability bonus and their proficiency die goes up.
Chances of Hitting
Now that we have our ranges, what are the actual percentages to hit something? Well, there are quite a few factors. One, proficiency die used; two, ability bonus; three, target AC. To go through all of them would make this post even stupidly longer than it is already turning out to be. So, for brevity's sake I will break it down by levels 1,5,10,15, and 20, attacking AC's of 13, 17, 21, and 26. Basically, every proficiency dice bonus, against the lowest non-magical, the mean, highest non-magical, and highest magical AC. However, the majority of AC's that PCs will have to hit will fall between 13 and 21.
For the fighter, rogue, and monk, I will start with a +3 at level 1, a +4 at level 10, and a +5 at level 20 for their ability bonus. For the Cleric and Wizard, I will start them with a +2 at level 1, a +3 at levels 5 and 10, a +4 at 15 and a +5 at 20. For the wizard I am assuming they are upgrading their Dex and using a finesse weapon.
What I like about this table, is that it really shows it works well. Even a character with no magical weaponry has a chance of hitting someone with 2 epic magic defensive items. It's only a 32%, but it's possible.
On the average 17 AC though you can see the main martial classes going past the 50% hit rate at level 5 and hitting it just under 80% at level 20, while the cleric hits the average at level 20, where the primary martial classes do at 10, or about half the speed.
The non-melee class of course sucks at hitting things in melee (which is why they have spells) while they are good on the low end, they can never hit the average AC 50% of the time, and while they can hit the highest non magical AC, they have no chance to hit the highest magic boosted AC.
These percentages look about right to me overall. Perhaps a bit of fiddling is in order, but I think these AC numbers and using proficiency dice goes a long way to making the bounded accuracy system work, and work quite well.
Martial Damage Dice
Now that we have our base chances to hit, we can start looking at the MDD. I wasn't sure at first about MDD to be honest, but it goes a long way to keeping damage numbers similar as characters go up in level. It does marginalize weapon choice, however it means you can pick a weapon and not worry about how gimped you will make yourself later on down the road. The difference between a dagger and a dwarf wielding a great axe stays the same throughout their leveling career of about 4.5 points average damage. Quite a bit at level 1, not so much at level 20.
Some people have stated that they think that the MDD should become [W] dice. However now the difference between a dagger and great axe becomes a whopping 27 average damage. Unless you give dagger wielders something phenomenal to make up that difference it just will not work. I find it a workable solution to keeping damage levels equal across the board.
Also, they are used to power maneuvers. Some people have said that some of the maneuvers offer no kind of save against them. Part of me wonders if the actual attack hitting isn't included in that, and the fact that you burn using the dice to add to damage in order to pull off this maneuver. So perhaps the costs need to go up some, maybe just spending one die allows for a save, but if you spend 2 you can forgo the save.
Martial Damage Bonus
I will start by saying I don't really like the MDB. It just kinda seems tacked on. Now it's purpose might be to increase damage even if you use up all your MDD on maneuvers, but it just kinda seems wonky, and I feel it should probably be done away with.
However, if it is to be kept, I wonder if we couldn't change it to a ability modifier multiplier. For example, a cleric would just use his STR or DEX to add to damage for the first 17 levels, but for levels 18 through 20 they would use twice their STR or DEX bonus to damage. A fighter and rogue would use their normal STR or DEX modifier until level 7 to 10 where they would get double, 11 through 13 it would triple, 14 thorough 16 it would quadruple, and from 17 to 20 it would quintuple the ability bonus damage. One of the reasons I like this idea is that it still make ability modifiers mean something to damage. So your high STR (20) medium DEX (15) fighter would do 1d8 + 6d6 + 25 with his longsword, and 1d8 + 6d6 + 10 with his longbow.
Breaking it all down, I think static attack bonuses from class should go the way of the dodo, and proficiency dice, that is using no dice, 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, and 1d12 to represent increased accuracy as you level is a better way to go both mathematically, and feel.
Martial Damage Dice work as both a damage increase and as a resource to be used to power maneuvers. There needs to be some work to balance MDD costs for maneuvers and there is some debate on if those should have saves involved for some of them, but perhaps the die cost should go up some to avoid allowing a save.
Martial Damage Bonus feels kinda tacked on, and I feel it doesn't need to be part of the game. However, if MDB is to stay, I think it may be better to attach it to the ability modifiers and use it as a multiplier to that bonus.
I'm not done with this topic. I just looked at melee for this post. I haven't even begun to look into how this works with spells. With attack roll spells it should be fine, however, saves will be a whole different matter. I think I will be covering this in my next post (unless something else happens that I find more interesting).
That said, I'd like to wish you all a Happy New Year, and I will speak with you again in 2013.
Saturday, September 8, 2012, 3:53 PM
My first question is a rhetorical one: If you make an obviously controversial blog title so more people read it, are you a bad person?
There has been a few threads on speculating about the Monk, our eastern flavored unarmed, and unarmored fighting type. I've had one complaint about every single one of them, and that is, what about a boxer, or a wrestler, or a barroom brawler. Every single monk speculative post had that fast on their feet eastern flavored monk, and with next I don't think that should happen.
I have the writeup on a google doc and the link and the full writeup will be at the bottom of this post, but before you get to that I want to explain why I did what I did, what to expect, and what not to expect. None of this is set in stone of course, and if they create a monk it will all be moot, but I thought it was a neat idea and came up with a rough draft of the idea.
Distilling the Basics
Before I started I had to distil down what made a monk a monk, and what made a generic unarmed fighter, or a wrestler, or a boxer, or whatever. This meant deleting things like quivering palm and the like. I also got rid of the high mobility, because not all unarmed fighters are the quick nimble type. After doing this for awhile and slowly pruning away the layers I finally broke it down to the following.
- Unarmed damage that goes up with time.
- Armor that goes up with time as long as you aren't wearing any.
- A fighting Style.
- Abilities that have riders.
- Flurry of Blows
Stripping all else away, this is the main 5 things that monks have with a generic unarmed fighting type. Then I decided that a generic person that uses his body as a weapon would be well served by the name Martial Artist.
So now that I have that nice and distilled down into a generic martial artist soup, I went ahead and thought about those things and how they apply to the character. First I thought about save DC's for the riders, armor bonuses, and attacks and damage. A monk used Wisdom as well as Dexterity and had AC that went up with time. So I came up with the idea of a Defensive Ability Mod that changes depending on the Tradition. Next I looked at what makes their attack and damage modifiers, and decided there would be another ability modifier for that. Finally still another ability mod would be used for Save DCs. Having 4 separate modifiers for each tradition created more of a MAD issue that I felt was warranted, so I decided that those 4 things would be tied to 2 abilities.
I then decided that a martial artist would have an encounter resource to power their abilities. I started with the generic Focus, but realized that each tradition could change that to whatever fit the tradition best.
When it came to Flurry, I looked at the basic thought of giving up accuracy for more attacks. At first I thought that it should be powered by Focus, allowing an extra attack per point of focus spent, but after mulling it over it seemed that the focus cost was too much. I settled on taking disadvantage on attacks in order to get more of them.
When it came to attack modifiers for the class and the raising of unarmed damage I decided that they should use the rogue progression for attack rolls, and unarmed damage would start at a d6 and go up a die at level 5, 9, 13, 17 to d8, d10, d12, and 2d6. I felt that this may be the best middle ground to start from.
Finally, I started working on Traditions. I figured that traditions would be made up of techniques. Some of these major, and cost focus to use, and some that are minor, and cost no focus.
Now at first I was thinking that the Tradition taken is something that you carry with you throughout your career, but I also thought that it would be more interesting if you starting coming up with your own fighting style by mixing with other traditions. In the end I settled on the ability to take new traditions as you level, but those that focus on a single tradition get extra bonuses than those that decide to spread out their talents. Basically you give up a wider range of abilities for a bonus ability tied to the tradition.
So What Traditions?
Well of course I started with a monk, after all some really want the eastern flavored fast moving type. I wanted a fighter that uses their smarts as well as their body, and decided that the pugilist fits the bill. I then came up with two slow lumbering types, the Brawler, and a Wrestler.
Where is the File?
Tuesday, August 14, 2012, 8:16 AM
I've seen a bunch of talk lately with the newest play test and the scaling attack bonuses that you can't have scaling in a bounded system.
First, let us look at the definition of bounded from dictionary.reference.com/browse/bounded?...
Having bounds or limits.
Having a range of an upper bound and lower bound.
Nothing in the definition of bounded says no scaling. It simply means there is a maximum number that can be reached. Scaling in no way, shape, or form breaks bounding.
Do remember they said that creatures would be useful for longer with this system, not that any creature will be useful forever.
So let's look at the scaling done from the new playtest packet. First, let's eliminate the +2 from everyone as this represents profiency with either spell casting or weapons. When we do this we can see the following:
- The cleric gains no bonuses for melee or casting in 5 levels.
- The fighter starts with a +1 and gains +1 at level 4.
- The Rogue starts with a +0 and gains +1 at level 5.
- The wizard starts at +1 for spells, and gains +1 at level 4. He also starts with 0 and gains nothing for melee in 5 levels.
So let us postulate that the increases are linear in nature, which means if a character gains a +1 at level 4, they also gain one at any level divisible by 4, giving them a total +6 by level 20. If a character gains +1 at level 5, they will gain another +1 on any level divisible by 5, giving them a +4 at level 20. Now I hardly think at this point looking at the pattern, we wouldn't be too far off if we assumed that the characters that currently show no scaling could reasonably scale +1 at every level divisible by 6, meaning they will have a +3 by level 20. This gives us a maximum of +8, +6, +5 from best to worst when including the +2 proficiency.
What I find interesting about that spread of bonuses, is that there is a 15% difference as far as dice rolls between the best and worst, which is the same as the +3 given for trained skill bonuses, the spread between best and worst (trained and untrained) for skills. This seems to be the spread they are aiming for.
So far this still fits into the definition of bounded, we have limits, and we have an upper bound of +8 and a lower bound of +5.
From the play we know that 2 abilities are increased by one at level 4. Let us also postulate that it happens at level 8, 12, 16, and 20. We also know from the play test that no ability can go over 20. The last part is what makes ability scores bounded. Your upper bound for ability modifiers is +5. Using the standard array, we know the lower bound is -1. This gives our spread to -1, 0, +1, +2, +3, +4, +5. The mean of this list is 2, the median is 2, and there is no mode. So from this we can say that +2 is an average adventurer ability mod.
Now, assuming that the highest ability is put in a primary attack ability, and race and class are chosen to augment that ability, we can range anywhere from a 17 to an 18 to start off and if all ability bonuses are put in this primary ability until it is maximized then it will be a gain of +2 or +1 over 20 levels. Even if the ability score starts as a 15, it can still be maxed out by level 20, this is a gain of +3.
Again we are still bounded, we are limited by the rules on what a maximum bonus can be for ability scores, our lower bound is -1 and our upper bound is +5.
Adding it All Up
Now adding everything together we can see where our maximum and minimum bounds lie. For the minimum bonus, we assume an 8 ability score, not putting any ability bonuses in it during leveling, and the weakest scaling, and not proficient we have:
-1 (Ability mod) + 0 (prof) + 0 (class mod) = -1 at level 1
-1 (ability mod) + 0 (prof) + 3 (class mod) = +2 at level 18 and onward
At the absolute maximum bonus, we assume a starting 18 ability score, putting ability bonuses to max it out, and the best scaling, and proficient we have:
+4 (Ability mod) + 2 (prof) + 1 (class mod) = +7 at level 1
+5 (ability mod) + 2 (prof) + 6 (class mod) = +13 at level 20
Now our ranges at level 1 go from -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; average of 3, and median of 3. Our ranges at level 20 are 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13; an average of 7.5, and a median of 7.5. So the average scaling between all characters between levels 1 through 20 is 4.5.
Scaling per Level
So if our average scaling is 3.5, this means that each level averages +0.225 increase per level. On the low end we have a 0.15 increase per level, and the high end of +0.3 per level. This is much slower than any previous edition.
So when is a creature no longer a threat when it comes to attacking that creature? Is it when you only roll to make sure you don't have a 1, or perhaps when you have a 75% chance or better to hit? That is all a matter of opinion. So let's look at a 16 AC. This is a hard DC for skills, and will work fine for a numbers experiment. How long is Hard, well, hard to hit?
At level 1, our weak character needs a 17 or better, or a 20% hit chance, our strong level 1 character needs a 9 or better, or a 60% hit chance. At level 20, our weak character needs a 14 or better, or a 30% hit chance, and our strong character needs a 3, or a 90% hit chance.
But this isn't really a fair comparison, after all, how many players would gimp themselves to put their worst ability in their primary attack stat, and use a weapon that they aren't proficient with? I would wager none. So we can probably realistically assume that a player would not do anything less than a +2 ability mod (14 or 15), with +2 proficiency, and boosting that ability each time available. This means with the worst scaling we have a +4 at level 1, and a +7 or +8 at level 20. Using these numbers with your 16 AC it means our slow scaling character has a 50% chance to hit at level 1, and a 65% hit rate at level 20. A 10% difference from our best level 1, and a 25% difference at level 20.
Putting it all Together
Looking over it all, while gimping yourself horribly, you really do gimp yourself over the 20 levels, but something reasonable still keeps you very close to someone that maximizes everything. A 16AC is not a guarantee to be hit from level 1-20 no matter your scaling level, but obviously much easier to hit over time.
This fits bounded accuracy in the way they have described it. It allows for creatures to stay threatening longer. One can do well if they take a moderate approach, but can do very well if they overtly specialize. Scaling exists, but it's not breaking bounded accuracy, it allows for both scaling, but keeping scaling from getting into crazy numbers.
Bottom line, it works pretty well as is.
Friday, June 8, 2012, 8:30 AM
I've been looking at some people's criticism lately on the HP, rolling, not rolling, and how much healing one actually gets in a game compared to it. The playtest doesn't even seem to be using this rolled HP right now, I'm sure for ease of play issues, or quick starts at higher level.
This made me curious enough to sit down and do the maths on it all. At a point in this there will be a ton of charts. If you aren't interested in the charts don't click the link to the spreadsheet and just move on to the analysis.
The following list is the assumptions I will be using for this exercise. Much of this comes from the Constitution section of the current playtest.
- Level 1 HP is Constitution Score plus Hit Die Roll.
- Mundane healing is Hit Die plus Con bonus.
- Hit Die roll or Con bonus whichever is higher for leveling gains, adjusting the average accordingly.
- For the average number I will be adding all the possible numbers from a roll and dividing by the number of sides (example, a 2 con bonus on a d4 is 2,2,3,4 or 2.75).
- Any healing done is lossless. Basically I'm assuming every point healed actually heals hp and doesn't go over over max HP.
- No changes of the Con score throughout a career.
- Hit Dice are d4, d6, d8, d10, d12.
- Constitution scores between 8 and 20 used at the bonus threshold values.
The numbers that will be used will all be averages. While possible a fighter could end up with only 40 hp over his career, the odds of that are really really small, not even taking in account survivability, just probability.
To make my life easy I plugged everything in an excel spreadsheet. Because really, who wants to do all that by hand? I can't just paste the spreadsheet here as it takes up far too much room. However, I uploaded it as a google doc here, so you can play with it yourself. The only thing you need to change is the Constitution Value in cell 21B. Everything else adjusts accordingly.
This proves what was already known with Con affecting the HP totals of low hit die characters more than high hit die. The d4 hit die doubles from 8 to 20 con, while d12 hit dice gain about 30 hp on average.
But playing with it more I found that a +1 is pretty good overall for all classes. This is the level that you can actually double your hp through your mundane healing. And oddly enough, it happens at 12th level for all classes. At level 13 the level where all classes are over 100% healing is 13th, oddly enough. At Con 14 the level you reach over 100% healing is 8. Between 14 and 19 it moves very slowly over level 7 to finish with everyone over 100% at level 6 with 20 con.
I also noticed that the total amount of healing stays mostly equal among all levels of con. Which I didn't expect at all.
So if rolls are truely random and the average is achieved it's really not a bad system to roll. Things stay pretty even over time.
But what if we want to have static HP? This works fine if nobody has a con over 13. Once you get a 14 or over on Con the average amount of HP changes by various amounts, again affecting wizards more than other classes. It's hard to say that you just take their HD/2 to get static HP. If you do this you are actually going to underpower yourself if you have high Con.
So basically rolling should work, and the con floor for HP does help overall hp, again more for the lower hit die characters, but overall between hit die healing and hp gained, they stay generally level throughout the leveling process except at the low (8) and high (20) levels of Con. Most characters however, will get the most by having an average con. My guess is about 12-14 is the sweet spot for most characters, so between a +1 or +2 bonus. But this doesn't mean that extreme levels of con aren't useful.
Monday, June 4, 2012, 12:39 PM
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Wizards community. I come before you a humble Cleric of Reason to impart my wisdom. Long have we been subjected to angry tirades by individuals that seem to be having knee jerk, and perhaps even violent reactions towards the playtest, it's materials, and even other posters.
This violence must be quelled.
If you come forth with a certain dislike, it is fine to say you have this dislike. It is even productive to do so. However, to dislike something with no reasoning behind your anger only serves to make you look like a buffoon.
I, as a messenger of Reason, wish to help you in this regard.
Back up your words of disdain with an organized rebuttal to why you believe this course of action does not work. It is preferable if you also have a solution to this problem, and how your solution can fix the issue, and not cause other issues in the process.
If you disagree with someone, the same rules apply. A well reasoned argument against someone elses opinion goes a long way not only to get your opposing view across, but it makes you seem like a reasonable person, and not a madman. If you do come agross as a madman, you are most likely going to be dismissed outright, and your words will fall upon deaf ears. This goes both ways. If someone disagrees with you they should approach you in the same manner.
When two people of opposing viewpoints speak to each other in a tone of reason and respect we have what is called debate. You do not need to win this debate. Sometimes viewpoints cannot be swayed, and sometimes they can. If two people discover that neither of them, even with their well laid out and explained opinions will switch to the other's side, or they find a fundamental difference in their approach to the same problem, they then agree to disagree. This does not make either of them right or wrong. Even if you sway someone to your side, you did not "win", nor did they "lose" you only found that the common ground was closer to one side than the other.
This debate may spark an idea in another reasonable individual, and perhaps this person can come up with a solution that satisfies both parties. They bring forth this idea in the same reasonable fashion, and both parties at odds may find themselves on common ground far from where they originally started.
If enough of you in this small community adopt the tenants of Reason, you shall find that while disagreements can and will happen, overall it becomes a more tolerable, informative, and pleasant place to be.
Thank you for your time, and may Reason guide you.
(Does that give me advantage on my charisma check?) Rolls 2d20.
Thursday, May 24, 2012, 10:11 AM
First off, I don't know why my last post lost all the information. It was a complete post when I hit submit, but meh, it doesn't matter now since the playtest is out.
This is my initial reation to the rules as written, but not the rules as played. Just stating how I see things on paper. If I don't mention something it's either because it didn't strike me in any way as special.
When I play I will be playing rules as written first, if things feel wonky I will then houserule, however in this write out I will offer opinions on how I may end up houseruling just based on the text.
Advantage and Disadvantage
Goodbye situational +-2 bonuses and penalties, hello simple mechanic for simulating duress or ease. It's simple, easy, quick, and easy to adjucate. I like it's use for ranged attacks in melee as well. Gone are the attacks of opportunity, but added is being disadvantaged trying to shoot someone while someone is swinging away at you. It limits off turn actions, but still implies a penalty for using ranged attacks in melee.
Dying and Stabilizing
Dying is definitely more lethal on paper. A PC dropped to 0 exactly can easily die in a few rounds with some low saving rolls and high damage rolls. The changes to the threshold where you die at seems pretty fair as well. You have a much higher chance of dying at an 8 con level 1 wizard than you do a 15 Con 20th level Fighter.
On stabilizing, I'm not sure if it's worded funny or it means that at -6 hp if you gain 1 hp you go to 1hp, or you regain consciousness at -5 hp. It seems it's later addressed under healing, but it seems to me that it would be better worded to state that you go to 1 hp instead of regaining 1 hp. It's possible some could interpret that is how healing works, but not how stabilization works.
Short rests allow you to spend hit dice to bind wounds to heal a bit. So simple mundane limited healing that requires a healing kit in order to be used. I was surprised that all HP comes back after a long rest, as well as hit dice. I actually more expected that you would get hit dice back only. I'm torn on this, I like the Hit dice mechanic, but I'm not really a fan of full recovery after 8 hours. While massive downtime isn't my thing, if you are knocked down to -8 hp, stabilize, wake up 2 to 12 hours later, then rest for 8 hours and are good as new bothers me.
With only allowing hit dice to come back, this character would have to spend 2 or 3 days recovering to regain all hit points, while still a fairly quick recovery from a nearly fatal wound, it's not a 24 hour recovery period.
I wouldn't mind regaining consciousness at negative hp. You are only allowed to walk, take something from your pack, sheath or unsheathe weapons, but any other actions starts the dying process over, so no spell casting, attacking, hustling, and so on. Gravely wounded the fighter awakes from unconsciousness, binds up his wounds the best he can, and hobbles back to town to spend the next few days tending to himself before he is as good as new.
Bottom line, I like hit dice, I don't like full hp recovery after an extended rest.
Blinded: I would like to add that any attacks against a blinded creature should have advantage. If you are blind how can you see the attack coming? Sneak attempts should have advantage as well, you might hear them coming, but you aren't going to see them.
Deafened: Perhaps if a creature is blinded and deafened sneak should be automatic. Otherwise the sneak should just have advantage unless it has a chance to sense them through some other ability (tremor sense).
Frightened: What happens if the creature has nowhere to move (backed into a corner)? Do they flee through the source of fear in order to be able to move away from it? What if they can't because there is no path? Maybe it doesn't need to be there, but another bullet stating that if the creature is unable to flee it cowers in place.
Intoxicated: "Roll to see if I'm getting drunk!" I like it, you are sloppy and have a harder time doing things, but take less damage because you don't feel it. Drunken bar brawls where everyone has damage reduction!
Prone: There is no mention of area of effect attacks, only melee and ranged. I'd like a bit of clarification, because one camp may think that laying on the ground means AOE has a lower chance to hit (as military the first thing we are taught to do with grenades or mortars is to hit the ground), or because you can't move around as quickly an AOE has a higher change to hit. Perhaps this isn't an oversight and prone has no effect. Which is a medium between the two camps.
Stunned: Not enough difference between stunned and paralyzed for me. The only real difference is paralyzed means you fall down and drop stuff in your hands. Mechanically they are basically the same thing. I would say that they should have disadvantage on strength and dexterity saving throws instead of automatic failure. This gives a natural progression from Stunned to Paralyzed to Unconscious.
Minor things overall, decent list that seems to cover quite a bit of ground with a limited list.
Background (specifically training)
I'm good with a 15% better chance at succeeding as a base to start with. The DM advice on when and when not to roll is good as well. It's up to the DM to determine if a player can try something. Except for things that require the knowledge on how to use thieves tools.
It seems that schemes are like a second background associated with the rogue class. So it does seem that instead of getting a higher bonus at what is trained, you get twice as many skills as other characters. So I'm a commoner and a Thief, or I'm a Soldier and Conman. We will know more once we can start making our own things. But I do wonder if there is a thief background, because what if I want a sorcerer that used illusions and manual skills to steal?
DC's seem good, and I hope they stay static as they currently are. If you only are raising 1 ability score by one point every few levels someone starting with a 17 score ends with a 22 (+6) and training (+3) and a rogue suceeds on any advanced or below task, and even has a slight chance of completing an immortal check, which seems about right for a high level character.
I like them back as reactive rolls. What can I say. While I did like the attacker does the rolling side of 4e things seem more natural to me that the person that should roll should be the one trying to avoid the damage as a reaction to whatever it is. So static defenses were fine, I much more prefer the Save to take half damage type rolls.
Overall I'm pretty happy with what I see as a base. I've had to do some reverse engineering to try to glean some mechanics out of the math a bit (so much that it seems that while humans have no traits, they seem to have a bonus to all abilities, or at least a lot of them).
I'll have to wait to play as I have to get my wife and daughter to make accounts to be "official" playtesters, and it's my anniversary so I'll be out with the wife making merry (Intoxicated condition is implied).
Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 7:56 AM
Quick note: for whatever reason when I submitted this it ate the last half of the post, I didn't notice it until after the playtest came out, and I don't feel the need to go back and add all that was stolen by the bit bucket. Read if you wish, but know it's not complete.
On the eve of the playtest I have run out of time. This is what I get for going to band recitals for my daughter and having a job. It didn't help that new information came out that made me have to redo half of my notes.
This will be a very condenced version. I just want to get it out there, and will be covering the last 2 classes. The wizard and the rogue.
What do you get?
- Abilities: 1 Dexterity
- Skills: 2 to trained skills (one extra skill or trait?)
- Weapon Profs: Light weapons
- Armor Profs: Light Armor and Light Shields
- Hit Dice: d8
- Special Abilities: Sneak Attack, Skill Focus, Observe Enemy
- Abilities: 1 Intelligence
- Skills: 2 to Arcana
- Weapon Profs: Light weapons
- Armor Profs: Cloth
- Hit Dice: d6
- Special Abilities: None
Simple enough 1 to Dex or Int dependent on class.
Rogues are more focused on what they train for. The 2 is just arbitary, but if normal trained skills are 2, then rogues get 4. It could just as easily be 1 for trained and rogues get 2 or 3. I could also see rogues getting an extra skill or trait. In other words if everyone gets a combonation of 4 between skills and traits, a rogue will get 5. Maybe a rogue can "give up" his skill bonus for a wider range of skills. If you add one skill (to 5) you only get a 1 bonus to each of them, if you expand further to 6, you don't get a bonus at all. The more concentrated a rogue is, the better they are, if they spread themselves out more they were not able to focus as much on each skill. This gives you either a wider range of skills, or a higher bonus on those skills you do have. It makes sense in both a meta, and game world mechanics.
Wizards have a bonus to arcana because of their magical training.
Both get light weapons.
Rogues wear light armor and have light shields, they are the least armored front line fighter.
Wizards only wear cloth armor, and are the least armored class.
One of the changes that have been mentioned Rogues have gone to the d8, and the wizard has gone to a d6.
Wizards don't get anything speical, as their magic is what makes them special. If rituals are back, then they may get ritual casting.
Rogues get sneak attack, we will assume it starts at 2d6. It works anytime the rogue has advantage over his target. Skill focus was already covered under the skill heading. Observe Enemy is a construct that allows for the rogue to specialize as an assassin.
Observe allows a rogue to forgo his turn to observe an enemy that is oblivious to his presense. It allows the rogue to observe his movements, armor, and other attributes to allow the rogue to land the perfect blow. An unaltered observe attack allows for extra damage, higher attack bonus, or a status effect to be placed on the enemy after a successful attack. This will be level limited. At higher levels a specialized rogue can perform a coup de grace killing his quarry outright. With this Assassin does not have to be it's own class, it is a rogue with a certain theme.
The biggest thing with the rogue is how it balances with a fighter. A fighter swings every round, a rogue spends a round creating advantage, and then strikes.
Fighter: 1d6@60 = 2.1 damage *2 = 4.2 damage
Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 8:36 PM
The meat shield, the mixture of muscle, sweat, metal, and badassery that we have all know and love. The Next Speculation seems to be making the fighter not only versatile, but as powerful as wizards in later levels.
The Legends and Lore Fighter Design Goals article stated the following as design goals for the Fighter.
- The fighter is best at fighting
- The fighter draws on training and expertise, not magic
- The fighter exists in a world of myth, fantasy, and legend
- The fighter is versatile
- The fighter is the toughest character
- A high level fighter and a high level wizard are equal
Through this document if something I mention covers one of these goals it will be followed by the number surrounded by parenthesis; ex. (1).
Most of what I will discuss is 1, 4, 5, and 6. The others 2 and 3 seem pretty self explanatory.
What do you get?
- Abilities: 1 to Strength or Dexterity
- Skills: Nothing special
- Weapon Profs: All (4) except for racial weapons
- Armor Profs: Heavy Armor and heavy shields(5)
- Hit Dice: d10 (5)
- Special Abilities: Auto Crit Dice, Multi-Attack, Weapon group Focus
A fighter is many times defined by the ability he chooses to do his attacks with. Brute strength, or Finesse. His hard training with heavy weapons and armor either build up his strength, or his focus on timed precise attacks focused his dexterity.
Fighters get nothing in particular skill wise, all their time was focused on fighting, and they had little time for anything else.
To fit in with the versatility a fighter should know how to use nearly every weapon in existence, he can be as deadly with a bow as he is with a longsword. If disarmed, he should be able to pick up the nearest weapon and wield it with deadly accuracy. The only exception would be race based weapons. Race based weapon proficiencies should come from race choice (4).
In order for a fighter to be the toughest character, he must also be the most protected. This is achieved by being able to use the heaviest armor, and the heaviest shields with ease (5).
To continue with how tough the fighter is, he should also have the best hit dice. In this case a d10 (5).
This is where the fighter gets his prowess from fighting. This is what makes him better at fighting than anyone else.
Auto Crit Dice
If some of the rumors are true, then any other class when critting does max damage, than then rolls to see if they can get crit dice on top of that. This die is usually equal to their hit die. It may also be true that they are exploding, so that for every 20 you roll in a row you get to add another crit die. With Auto Crit die, a fighter never has to roll for an extra 1d10 damage on top of his crits, he just automatically gets it. He can try to roll for exploding extra dice, but the first 1d10 is free. Not only does he do more damage with his crit die but he will always do an extra 1d10 damage(1).
The fighter can swing his weapon multiple times at multiple targets each round. In the world of simpler math and flatter bonuses this can be accomplished by adding a -1 for every additional attack and applying it to all attacks. So if a fighter normally gets a +3 for one attack he can attack twice at +2/+2; three attacks at +1/+1/+1. The idea is that because you are concentrating on multiple connecting swings, you give up accuracy. I find this more elegant than a lowered attack bonus on each additional swing. Feats later on may be able to allow a fighter to swing until he misses allowing for the fighter to cleave through minon after minion in a single round(1).
Weapon Group Focus
In this case weapon groups are arbitrary. It could be as simple and broad as bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing, to breaking them down into axes, swords, bows, etc. A fighter is a bit more accurate with these weapons. I honestly feel that the broader the category the better. This represents the formal training the fighter recieves that makes him more accurate with a certain group of weapons. If a 50% hit chance is the norm, the fighter should have a baseline of hit percentage that is higher, say 60%. Weapon focus is how this happens (1).
We could get rid of the group concept alltogether, and just bake in the +2 to all weapon attacks, again representing how deadly the fighter is with a weapon in his hand, no matter the weapon(1).
High level Wizards and Fighters are Equal
This section is largely based on a forum thread where the idea of resource management could be added to fighters. I liked the idea and spun off how that could work, and work in such a way that it doesn't feel like the fighter was just casting a spell that used his weapon instead of a fireball.
Rage/Combo Points/Heroic Points
The mechanic that I came up with based on that forum thread is an idea that a fighter works nearly the exact oposite of a wizard. You can call it rage, you can call it combo points, or heroic points, or special points. The name doesn't matter, it's what it does that matters.
A wizard starts out full of spells at the beginning of the day, burns them off, then has nothing but his cantrips until the end of the day rest.
A fighter starts out with no resources at the beginning of the day. As the fighter swings his weapon (his cantrip) and connects he gains a point. He can then save up and use these points to do special things. The more points he throws in, the more damaging, or controlling, or just wowing the ability is. We could expand this and put it into his multi attack ability, and for every point the fighter spends he can get an extra attack. When he rests for the day, his combo points goes back to 0.
In the first fight of the day the wizard tosses a fireball, the fighter swings his sword, at the end of the day the wizard casts magic missile, and the fighter charges through the middle of the enemies hitting every single one with his sword as he runs, and knocking anyone down that is in his way.
As an example let's use the charge ability above. With no points a charge works as normal, but what if we burn a combo point with that charge. Well now the charge not only does what it normally does, you can now knock the target prone. We burn 2 points, you get all the benefits of 1 point, but now you get a second swing at an adjacent target. Each additional point added gives you the benefit of lower point levels, plust something extra. Pumping 5 points in gives you the charge and slice up anything in my way attack.
I believe points should be limited in such a way the same that wizards are limited on spell slots. It could be something simple like 4+level the maximum number of points you can save at once. So at level one you can only do at most a single 5 point attack every 5 rounds.
This may seem like it would build quickly, but at a 60% hit rate a fighter can, on average, do this big 4 point attack every 9 rounds. The math is arbitary at this point and can be adjusted, but this seems like a good starting point.
At 20th level a fighter can save 24 points, allowing him to launch 4 5 point attacks in a row after 20 successful connections with his weapon. We could also balance this by allowing only his normal attacks to build points. This way he couldn't use a big damage attack to hit 20 creatures and have 20 more points to do it again.
This keeps the fighter from just being "I swing my sword." to having a tactical choice to make about burning points, or not burning points. If you are maxed it makes sense to burn some off, but if you are low, maybe you should build up some incase something nasty is around the corner.
I like the idea.
A fighter is best at fighting. He is best at fighting by always doing more damage with his crits without needing a confirmation roll. He can also be heavily armored and has the most hit points. Some sort of resource management ability can keep him from being stale, and also keep his power level in line with the wizard. He should be able to pick up any weapon and use it as if it was an extention of his body. He should be the all around badass in close quarters, but still be able to shoot a gnat off of an orc's ass at 100 feet, if he was so inclined to just hit the gnat and not the orc.
Saturday, May 12, 2012, 12:54 PM
I said I will start with the Cleric, so here I am. I picked it because it's always been my class of choice. The closest I've ever gotten to a non cleric is a sacred fist, which is just a monk and cleric. So yeah, I love my armored band aid.
I'm going to try to remain unbiased, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that much of this is how I see the cleric class and what their role is is combat.
Let's get to it.
The Legends and Lore Cleric Design Goals article stated the following as design goals for the Cleric.
- The Cleric is a Healer
- The Cleric is a Divine Spellcaster
- Divine Magic is subtle and indirect
- The Cleric is an Armored Warrior
- Clerics reflect the gods
Through this document if something I mention covers one of these goals it will be followed by the number surrounded by parenthesis; ex. (1).
I'm not going to cover too much of 1 and 2. This has been the clerics thing since forever. Most of what I will write about with cover 4 and 5, with an entire section covering 3.
What Do You Get?
- Abilities: +1 to a single ability (5)
- Skills: +2 to knowledge pertaining to your own religion (stacks with knowledge religion). Secondary skill bonus based on deity (5)
- Weapon Profs: Simple Weapons and the weapon of his patron god (4,5)
- Armor Profs: Medium Armor and heavy shields(4)
- Hit Dice: d8
- Special Abilities: Turn/Destroy/Control Undead(4), Domain Spells (5)
Like all other classes, the training the cleric receives before venturing out gives them a stat boost. However, the clerics stat boost is as varied as the number of deities he can choose to follow. A cleric of Kord is going to go through more hard labor than a cleric of Corellon that may concentrate more on learning the bow and other dexterity based tasks. Followers of the goddess of magic would spend much time studying magic and gaining intelligence. The stat boost is a direct reflection of the deity they choose to follow (5).
A Cleric as part of their training has to learn about his own faith. Even if they don't branch out to learn about other faiths. This is reflected with a +2 class bonus to Knowledge checks involving their own religion. If a cleric decides to study other religions he should still know more about his own. This means the class bonus should stack with the skill bonus. They should also get a bonus to a single skill based on the deity. A follower of the goddess of Magic could get a bonus to identifying spells or other magic; a follower of Pelor could get a bonus to agriculture (5).
A cleric should be able to pick up any basic weapon and swing it around. However as part of their training in their faith they would have learned how to properly use the chosen weapon of their deity. While not all clerics choose to use this symbol of his god, most will as a matter of faith.
A cleric is trained to wear medium armor, and heavy shields. The armor is there to protect the cleric, this allows the cleric to be a mid line fighter. His central location makes him a target, but is the best place for him to stand in order to quickly move to where he is needed for healing (1). This allows the cleric to move it, mend a comrade, avoid a few swings, and move to where he is needed next. Overall, the cleric should have the second best Armor Class of the core 4 (4).
The cleric has the second best hit die at a d8. This also reflects his longevity to get close to the front line without being blasted down before he is able to heal his party.
Here is the real bread and butter. All the previous is nice, but without the ability to manipulate undead, and special access to spells directly related to his god a cleric just wouldn't be a cleric.
A cleric should have the option to turn destroy or turn undead. However, what he can choose from must be directly related to his deity. It makes sense that a cleric of Pelor should never be able to control undead, but should be able to turn them or destroy them outright. The goddess of death may allow temporary control of undead, or to destroy them outright. Kord allows you to blow them up or send them running (5).
Destroying undead is pretty straight forward, you destroy them, they die (again).
Turning undead means the affected undead will move away from the cleric in a manner that allows them the quickest way away. This means they may take many opportunity attacks since they care about nothing but getting away. If there is no place for the undead to escape the cleric they will move as far away as possible and cower until the effect ends. Intelligent undead that fully escape may return to where the battle took place, stupid undead will probably just resume whatever it was they were doing without returning to the scene of the turning.
Controlling Undead is the ability to force undead to follow your commands for a limited amount of time. The number controlled will be determined by the same rules that determine how many henchmen you can have. Once the duration of the control has ended, the undead collapse into dust as if they were destroyed.
A domain spell should be a spell granted to the cleric directly from the deity. These spells should be limited and powerful and based on the domains of the god. Any cleric can bless, as the blessing comes from the cleric, but a cleric of Pelor dropping a flaming sphere is using power from Pelor directly. These spells are as varied as the domains each god encompasses. These are also the only spells that should break (3). Flamestrike is an iconic Cleric spell, I don't think anyone would argue with that, but it's not very subtle or indirect. That is why these should be relegated to domain spells only. Only certain clerics should get it. It makes sense for Pelor to shower down a column of flame, but not so much for Melora with her wilderness and sea domains.
When I read subtle and indirect. I read helping others. This has always been my opinion of what a Cleric should be. This is of course outside of their power over undead covered above. Clerics, and Divine magic users are like BASF Corporation "We don't make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better." Clerics don't do a whole lot of damage on their own, but they make the other party members do so. So the majority of cleric damage comes from making their party hit more, and hit harder (3).
By making the fighter hit harder, by casting mind fog to make the rogue invisible to his enemies, by casting sanctuary on the wizard when a large group surrounds him, a cleric guarantees survival, and improves his party. A cleric does not do most of his own damage. A cleric empowers others to do the damage for him. He keeps them going by healing wounds and protecting them from extra harm. This is not to say that a cleric can not swing a weapon or get into the fray, but this is always after they know that nobody is near death, their party is blessed, their enemies are cursed (3,4).
A deity gives a cleric latitude to use things like bless and healing at his own discretion, but calling down the wrath of the heavens is divine intervention.
A cleric is the cornerstone of a party. They allow for survival, for healing, and for buffing and cursing. They have limited high direct damage spells granted only directly by their deity. They know more about their own religion as they live it every day. They were enough armor, and have enough hit points to make them the second best at toe to toe combat. However, this is mostly for survival and not for offense. His spells are usually better used on his party than himself.
The cleric's deity is the cornerstone of his class. Do you want to have a strong hard charging cleric? Pick Kord. Do you want to have a sneaky cleric with a shady past? Pick Sehanine. Is your cleric an elf and wants to follow the religion he's grown up with? Pick Corellon. These choices affect nearly everything a cleric is capable of, to include spell choices.
Thursday, May 10, 2012, 6:19 AM
Since I'm running out of time I should really get this thing rolling. I may end up in the playtest which may or may not change my current opinions on how things should be, so I should start the speculation while it's still speculation, and before it becomes feedback.
The end of this blog will be updated with a TOC for the future posts I will make in this series. However, before I get into the meat and potatoes of the whole thing I should probably set my scope so that others can see where I am going with this.
The idea I am going with here is to take what has come foreward in the L&L articles, speculation from many sources (to include myself) from the boards. I will try to give credit to board posters but I may forget or not find where it was first mentioned. Most of what you will see, even if it started another's idea is my spin on that idea. I will also be taking all points of information that I personally have found, this includes supposed "leaks". While all were taken with a grain of salt, there are some interesting ideas in them.
This overview is concentrating on classes, and their roles only. Skills are no longer married to class, so they don't need to be discussed unless classes modify skills in some way. Themes are also not going to be discussed because there isn't enough information on how they work yet, and from what I glean they are just the feat progression to modify the class. This isn't to say that I won't look at Themes and Backgrounds, just not in this initial class roundup.
The purpose is to look at the "core 4" classes and how they can balance against each other in various pillars, playing differently, but still all being viable. Much of this will be combat related, mostly because we know more of the combat side, and the noncombat side is more covered by backgrounds, which, again is outside the scope. Backgrounds determine skillset, class determines how you interact with the world, and themes modify your class.
There are a few things I have to assume. Vancian magic is back is one of them. Although in my opinion 4e still had it, just in a modified manner, and EVERYONE had it. I will discuss how I feel it should work based in this new framework I am suggesting, based on the hints we have been given, and again, taking ideas from myself and other sources, and my spin on those sources.
I am also assuming they are going for class balance, mostly because I like class balance, but not to the extent that 4e did class balance.
When I calculate damage I will use the notation XdY@Z. X is the number of dice, Y is the type of dice and Z is the percentage to hit, or ((X + XY)/2)*Z. All things considered equal this will be the average damage per round so 2d6@50 = 3.5. I will also include crit chance as well in the calculation if I remember.
Here is some of the things you should assume. If I am talking about the wizard and you feel I'm forgetting how that will interact with the fighter, yet I havn't talked about the fighter yet, just remember I haven't gotten there yet. If I talk about the wizard and fighter, and then you have questions on that interaction and balance then you should bring it up. Give me the chance to answer it before you ask the question. Also, assume I'm flying just as blind as you are if you haven't seen the playtest material, because I haven't, other than what I mentioned at the beginning.
I think that's it for now. I will probably start with the Cleric because it's my class of choice to play when I'm playing and go from there. I have 14 days to get this rolled out, 1 every 3 days will have me complete 2 days before the playtest release, let's see if I can hit that deadline.
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