So, I've mentioned a few times in the past a side project I'm working on, and I (believe it or not) have been listening to the cries of discontent over Next and the content we've seen for it. I'm not crazy about it either.
Believe it or not, there are many parts of 4th edition that I geniunely like. I like having stances that augment a fighter's normal attacks. I like having at-wills that make my "I hit it again" actions vary slightly. I like action points because they're handy-dandy in a pinch. I can honestly take or leave healing surges, but I don't have a problem with them per se.
Now, this is my blog, so I'm going to plug my side project for a while, and tell you how it relates to D&D, particularly 4th edition and Next. Maybe a couple of people will be intrigued, maybe not. Time will tell.
I gave 4th editon a good run. Two years, as a matter of fact. There were some things that I wasn't fully satisfied with, so I switched to the "other" new system, Pathfinder. But always in the back of my mind I struggled for a way to bring certain things I liked about both systems together. As time has gone on, I have become less satisfied with either system, and for about 8 months now have been building, ever so slowly, a system of my own.
It's called Faerytale.
Faerytale draws inspiration from several games that I love, that I have enjoyed, that I think are interesting. I have a great design team helping me hammer out the nuts and bolts and purposely setting out to break the game so we can fix the broken parts. We plan to have a public beta test once we're done putting everything together, much like PF, 13th Age and D&DN have done. At this point, a lot of the core is already figured out. We have some unusual races (Sprites and Trollkin), broad-spectrum classes (Arcanist, Heavy, Mystic, Stalker, Wilder), and ways to customize your choices (Backgrounds and Talent Trees).
Backgrounds you've seen in other games, though ours tend to be more streamlined. There are 32 currently in the core book - I want to add a few more, so that may increase. Each one gives you a couple of skill bonuses and a trait. Here's one for example purposes:
Skill bonuses: +2 Acrobatics, +2 Nature
Trait: Gain proficiency with longbows (including composite longbows). Gain a +1 trait bonus to hit with bows.
Simple and effective. It gives you a little edge, and all the bonuses were weighed, measured and discussed prior to being put in the final product.
Talent trees are how you access powers. They tends to be a bit lengthy to copy and paste, so I'll just describe them. Talent trees are how you access talents - our equivalent of powers, spells, edges, etc. Every character starts with 3 specialization points. Each tier of a talent tree costs one point. I won't lay out the schematic of how they work. I'll post a sample character in a bit to let you see his talents and how they work.
Now, how does this relate to D&D? Simple: These are the things I wanted from D&D.
Talent trees have been done before. So have backgrounds. But I liked the idea of all classes being built on the same chassis, just not necessarily its execution. With a bundle of talent trees for each class, each character could start with 3 at-wills, 2 at-wills and one passive, or 1 at-will, one passive and one encounter. It's a beautiful system.
A similar mechanic to the venerable action point has also been put in. I first encountered point mechanics in the Conan d20 RPG by Mongoose, where they are called Fate points. Star Wars had Force Points, 4th had action points. they all serve a similar purpose - give the player more of a fighting chance once per day.
Faerytale has Destiny Points.
Destiny points have a specific limited number of things they can be used for - reroll an attack, gain hps equal to your level plus your con mod, or gain a +20 on your next skill check. You have a single one to start, and each level you get a number equal to the level you just gained. Once they are spent, they're gone. If you have 0 and you take a rest, you get 1 back.
Skills in FT are sort of free-form. There is a specific skill list, and you do choose to train them or not, but whether you make the check or not is up to you and the Chronicler. This takes some notes from the 13th age way of doing things.
I intend FT to be a tribute. A tribute to all the games that make me smile, even a little. Specific influences would be D&D (All editions), PF, C&C, OSRIC, DCC, WOD, Savage Worlds, LO5R, Conan...the list is getting long and we're not even done with the game.
The core goal of the game is simplicity and fluidity. Simple to teach, run, and play. No consulting tables upon tables during gameplay. No rolling multiple times. No SODs. Melee characters that don't need magic items. In fact, no one needs magic items.
Here's the blurb I'll be putting out about it on the official website once it's up. You heard it here first.
Faerytale is a roleplaying game system built from inspiration based on years of playing, fiddling with and studying many, many other systems. Faerytale is meant to convey certain conceits, as follows:
PCs are above average from the start. Whether they choose to be heroic is up to them.
There are no alignment related mechanics whatsoever. Morality should be a set of choices, not a mechanical benefit or constraint.
The game is built to be easy to learn and run, to reflect an entry-level learning curve. Character creation is meant to be swift and the rules are meant to be efficient.
Because of the openness of the system, many styles of gameplay can be supported.
So, I hope all of you who are dissatisfied with the direction Next has taken will give us a look when the open beta hits. That may be some time. I won't be satisfied until I'm sure every class is balanced and ready within my expectations.