D&D without levels (a homebrew exercise)

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 Here's the original discussion, this is the exercise:

This exercise has evolved since its beginning, and now revolves more and more about "making sense". Right now, everything kinda makes sense, except for skill scaling. A level 1(30) wizard and a 1(1) wizard still have roughly the same base arcana... which makes no sense.

What changes when you gain levels?
· Skills
· Attack bonuses
· Defenses
· Ability Scores
· You gain class levels, gaining:
       · Feats
       · Powers

       · Class features or class feature improvements
       · Hit Points

The idea is not to take the concept of levels out of the game, but to extract the mathematical need for level bonuses and all "math fixes" from the game, in addition to modifying the rules to allow PCs and NPCs of different levels to more easily have adventures together.

This is perfect if:
· Your game has shaky attendance
· You hate printing new character sheets every other level.
· You find unexplained half-level bonuses ridiculus.
· You look at levels as a measurment of how renown/deadly/powerful somone is, and not how high his AC is.
· You like mixing up levels of PCs, NPCs and Monsters
           · If this is your deal, consider only removing half-level bonuses to attack rolls and monster's defenses, and don't read the rest of this post.

The balance of the game is intact, since we only removed the level bonuses mathematically.
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When you gain a level level all these numbers increase, but they mean nothing monsters and DCs also scale with level. We can easily remove these increases, for players, DCs and monsters alike. What actually happens is the players get the "illusion of progress", for every 2 levels the player's attributes increase by 1, but the monster's attributes by 2. What then happens is an arms race between players and monsters where players have to use most of their resources just to keep up. This means Expertise Feats, Increased Defenses and such have all become mandatory. A pointless increase of numbers that only means we have to spend reasources on something as stupid as math in a roleplaying game.

This is what we have decided to remove from the game to make sure players can focus on what's important, and forget all this math nonsense.
· Ability score increases
· all "half-level" increases
· Scaling attack bonuses of Expertise feats, and all feats that increase anything previously increased by half-level bonuses.

This is what we decided to modify in the purpose of reducing the gap between PCs of different levels and remove mondatory feats:
· Improved Defenses and Superior Defenses feats.

Modifications:
Show


Improved Defenses (replaces all improved defenses and superior defenses feats)
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to a non-AC defense of your choice.
Special: You can only take this feat once. If you meet the prerequisite of the Superior Defenses feat matching with the non-AC defense you chose, you gain the benefit of that feat.


Your class still advances and gains extra powers, abilities and features. Your group still gets the nice tingly feeling of leveling up, except they won't have to print anything or rewrite anything, just add a feat/class benefit to their sheet and they're good to go. This also means that a person that only shows up half the time does not have to lag behind mathematically (at least not as much) for advancing at his own pace. Having played DnD for two sessions and suddenly be expected to play a level 9 wizard can make the game seem complicated and boring. Now instead he'll create a level 5 wizard, that's almost equally as effective as they rest of the group, and will never be overwhelmed by the system. The DM can then choose how fast he catches up with his friends. It makes sense if he levels faster, he is travelling with a group of professionals, after all.

He will need some magic items to catch up with his group, but hey, what are friends for? A group of +4 adventures can easily help their +1 mage get a new implement. He still has is class features and at-wills. And imagine this, this mage only needs one item to be at roughly the same damage/control output as the rest of the group (a mage that can't hit can't control), whereas before he'd need 10 levels, 1 or 2 feats AND a new item to get to the same Attack bonus as the rest of the group. I would like to call this a significant improvement. Attack and damage is now only controlled by, magic items and class and the occasional +1 to hit/damage feat.

This math-fix fixing will mean that items have more impact on player's stats, but this is how it should be. A Fighter's prowess is measured by his weapon skill (primary ability score), his versatility (powers and feats) his technique (class features) and the quality of his equipment (+1 vs. +6 magic sword). An experienced fighter still has a significant advantage over an inexperienced fighter, but not in some magical invisible "half-level" bonus, but because he has spend dozens of fights perfecting his tecnique (feats) and a lot of time improving his versatility (powers). Two people that train regularly should be just as strong (primary ability), but it is how they use their powers (and how sharp their blade is) that gives them the overhand in combat.

Your character's level is now effectively "frozen" in place. Whether it be at level 1, 4 or 8. You'll keep using the DC table for that level.

If you need better clarification on how this "fix of a fix" is implemented, check out Chaosfang's posts below. He makes more sense through text than I could ever do xD

How to implement the change:

· Level up normally to your desired "frozen" level, which is where you'll stop giving your players half-level bonuses. (recommend level 2, 4, 8 and 11)
· Remove half-level increases of players.
· Remove scaling of expertise feats.
· Give monsters enhancement bonuses to bring them to the same level of hit/defenses as the players, according to the inherent bonus advancement system, after you give them a penalty to attacks, defenses and initative equal to 1/2 their level to bring them to the same place as players.
· HP scales normally, for monsters and players.
· "Class level" is where you are in your class' advancement. Class level affects class features, feats, powers etc.
· Character level is your "frozen" level and affects half-level increases and ability score increases.
· Use the DCs of your players' character level.
· Make sure to use your players' character level for monster defenses and attack bonuses, but class level for HP, damage and monster selection (Young, Adult, Elder or Ancient dragon)

· When using an official monster, make sure it is only around 4 levels away from your players' class level, and never across tiers.
· Note that many items can affect skills, so you might want to increase the level of your DC-by-level table by roughly 1 or 2 per tier.

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Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
I think this is a great exercise. I'm now most curious if anyone has put something like this to the test through a campaign.

I am likely to call upon this sort of structure for a future campaign, but I am going to continue my current campaign unchanged.  
Skill advancement
Now skill advancement makes even less sense than before. Now characters can go from 1-30 without getting at all better in their traits. The 3.5 ranks system was more realistic, but 4e is simpler and we will keep it this way, for balance's sake. Although I never fully understood why a Pixie wizard, without magic, would have more chance of success of knocking down a steel door than a Dragonborn Brawler Fighter, just because the wizard is level 30 and the fighter level 1? It really makes no sense, at all. If I were making my own system, I'd find a way past this problem, but since I'm not I'll just leave things as they are. 

I've reflected on this time and again. I think there are two keys to this in a narrative form.

One: Everything Scales by Level (even the wall you scaled at level 1)
Using this approach, you simply tell the players that skills scale and DCs scale. The DC to scale a wall is not always DC 8; it is maybe always Moderate DC. Then, outside factors like a slippery surface, rope, or bound hand add or subtract from that DC (or possibly add or subtract from the PCs modifier).

Thus, when the level 1 wizard has trouble scaling the town wall, it makes some sense that he hasn't got much physical prowess. The DM sets a moderate DC and the wizard makes an attempt.

Later, the level 10 wizard has returned to the same town and attempts to scale the wall. Over that period, he still never felt inclined to increase his strength nor his physical prowess; however, he has watched his allies climb, so he might have gained a few tips. He might think the DC will still be a low number, but the DM appropriately sets a moderate DC--for level 10--which is just about as much difficulty as it ever was. 

Later still, the wizard again comes to the wall with intent to climb. He is not level 20 and has only increased his strength a tiny bit and not shown interest in physical prowess beyond a nive new pair of boots or gloves with an enchantment. He might think the wall will be the same DC, but the DM again appropriately sets a moderate DC--for level 20. The difficulty is still pretty nearly the same.

At the same time that the wizard is not really making any headway against the wall, he may have picked up a number of better choices from his arcane spells and/or rituals than attempting to climb. I imagine it might look like Star Trek's scene of Kirk climbing El Cap with Spock wearing rocket boots: the fighter has the physical prowess and training and interest in simply climbing the wall while the wizards floats nearby asking why he needs to go through all the troule and toil of climbing.

If the wizard made the attempt at level 2, 12, 22 he receives the same Moderate DC for his current level with all the penalties and bonuses from the surrounding circumstances. Thus, the treadmill illustrates he hasn't really made much growth at all.

Two: The Basketball Team
In this example, we take a look at a supposed group of friends who all play basketball. They got into the game in Middle School and began to show a natural inclination to unique field positions. This is like the group of adventurers that all seemed to be naturally inclined to unique class and role features and powers.

Let's imagine Middle School is level 0. The players behind these basketballers each tell a short tale of playing the game and meeting each other; they all make a pact to remain in the game of basketball until they are all pro ball players.

The group rises to Heroic Tier, er ... High School. They join the school team and begin training. In time they get picked up on the Jr Varsity team, then the Varsity team and through senior year, recruiters are showing interest.

Each basketballer gets picked up for Paragon Tier, er ... College. They get a scholarship to play for the college. They are getting some visibility on a national level as they play college basketball. Some are even getting minor groups of fans across the country. Pro athlete agents are licking their chops to get these guys into the NBA.

In time each gets drafted into a pro team. They are now playing pro ball, just as they promised each other, er... I mean, they are all gaining an Epic Destiny in Epic Tier.

Throughout the growth, they face other opposing team ball players that have made a similar rise through practice, natural talent, and coaching. It seems like every game is still about as much hustle and requires as much drive as any game before. They even find themselves getting into pick-up games outside the regular season that pits them against capable and skilled athletes who aren't playing pro.

Now, let's return to the Heroic Tier stats for a quick look. The group of friends each picked to specialize in different positions. Each was capable of covering each other's position to a small degree, but for the most part, they were specialized for an exclusive path of training. This is like the differences seen in skill modifiers and DCs. For a trained skill with a favorable modifier, the chance of success is great, while for an untrained skill or a trained skill without a favorable modifer, the chance of success is only fair to middling. If it is an untrained skill without a favorable modifier the chance of success is very low indeed.

Alright, let's look at Paragon Tier stats for a moment. The group might have taught each other some tricks. Multiclassing, items, and feats are starting to blur the lines of specialization, but are also improving those specializations. Each could cover the position of a teammate a bit better than before if needed. Also, using an untrained skill or a trained skill without a favorable modifer, even at hard DCs, the chance of success has improved--even if only slightly. In fact, the chance of success with an untrained, poor-modifer skill might not be so bad.

Lastly, by Epic Tier they've taught each other much more; they can function as a team or solo. They don't always have to keep each other around to cover a position. The chance of success has begun to really flatten now such that most skills can be put to use without an incredible fear of failure.

Most importantly to me is that even with a well trained skill and excellent modifier, the dice could simply go cold. We've all seen pro-athletes that drop the ball, trip, strike out.

From these two examples, I would say to players that the growth doesn't mean that a PC can always expect that a DC 8 lock will remain a DC 8 lock every time it is encountered. It means that bluffing the king at level 1 for a hard DC will probably still require a hard DC at level 21. But, those levels do indicate you have more options for using powers, applying benefits of items, knowledge, reputation, friendships, powers, and rituals which just might avoid a dice roll altogether.

And after alll of that, I don't see why the level needs to provide a +anything while the DC gains a +anything. Why not simply keep the numbers mostly the same regardless of level, yet still offer more optins for players to overcome an obstacle without resorting to dice.        
Although I never fully understood why a Pixie wizard, without magic, would have more chance of success of knocking down a steel door than a Dragonborn Brawler Fighter, just because the wizard is level 30 and the fighter level 1?



Are you seriously wondering why an Archmage, Demigod, Archlich, or Avatar might be better at opening a door then a starting hero? It doesn't sound so odd to me...

A level 30 character isn't "a Wizard", he's practically a Deity. Would you wonder why a Deity is better at opening doors then a mortal?
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I use a level light system for my games, though the system has evolved to such a point that it is no longer even D&D I will list the initial rules that we used here that my group absalutaly loved.


Level no longer adds 1/2 level anywhere.

Skils don't gain level bonus nor do DC. wal A will have DC x as long as the wall remains the same. Players gained +1 to all skills each teir, they also could take skill focus feats to further represent there training in particular skills. This made such feats usefull and made sence. why should wall A have a higher DC simply becouse character is higher lv. Just was dumb to increase both and added annoying math changes that had literaly no effect.

Attack and defence, this was anouther change and one we though long and hard about.  we devided attack and defences into difrent types. here is a list of those types and a short description about them

Natural - Natural ability is one way attack and defence could be increased with levels and is represented by increasing the relivent stats.

Trained - Trained is anouther way, this is represented by feats. We changed the to hit and defence feats to not scale. Defence feats add +2 to a particular type of defence -AC-reflex-fort-will. And attack feats add +1 to attacks of the chosen type -Light blade rods ect. defence feats could be taken 3 times each and attack 5 times each for a total of +5 to hit and +6 to each defence (could take 5 rod and 5 light blade if desired)

Gear - Gear we prety much left the same meaning that gear effected attack and defence by up to +5

Passive- this is the last of the effects to attack and defence, passive bonus was only +2 per teir for a total of +4 to attack and +4 to all defences. This represented the increase in overall power, even a character who never increased there ability activly would have picked up at least a little from all there adventuring, as to say a demi god who never even thought of tring to avoid being hit would still be slightly harder to hit.

So total we had stats increase pluss trained of up to +5 attack +6 defence pluss gear of up to +5 attack/defence pluss passive of up to +4 attack and defence
     for a total varience of Stat increases +14 attack +15 defence.

This means a lvl 1 character could gain +14 to hit if he never increased his stats and +15 to all defences if he never increased his stats. a sizable difrence but not a surmounting one.

For monsters this means monsters gained 1/2 lvl to all attacks and defences to count for these pluss gain +2 to teir. 

so to hit and defence made a lot more sence to us and maintained the exact same desired effect of scaling slightly and being very balenced without the level bonus, this allowed for a larger varience in character levels without disrupting the overall feal and advantage of leveling.

Most other factors remained untouched by this set up, We did grant more feats then we did before but I forget exactly what we did I think we granted a feat every level to allow characters to take skil focus feats and to hit and defence feats but has ben a while since we used this system as like Is aid we adventualy took it further and designed out own game system based upon similar ideas.

An' ye harm none, do what ye will
Although I never fully understood why a Pixie wizard, without magic, would have more chance of success of knocking down a steel door than a Dragonborn Brawler Fighter, just because the wizard is level 30 and the fighter level 1?



Are you seriously wondering why an Archmage, Demigod, Archlich, or Avatar might be better at opening a door then a starting hero? It doesn't sound so odd to me...

A level 30 character isn't "a Wizard", he's practically a Deity. Would you wonder why a Deity is better at opening doors then a mortal?

touché

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
The best part is that monsters won't need some kind of DR (difficulty-rating) to give DMs an idea how powerful a monster is, since we'll still be using level for class advancements :D

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
Here's a codification of what I posted in that thread:

Character Creation Rules: All characters are effectively level 1 permanently.  Whenever you level up, the following game elements do not increase in value:


  • attack rolls (no half level benefit)

  • defenses (no half level benefit)

  • skill modifiers (no half level benefit)

  • ability modifiers (no half level benefit)

  • ability scores (does not increase as time goes on)

  • hit points (remove all the Hit Points per Level Gained entries of all classes)


In addition, all game elements that increase at certain level or tier intervals (e.g. Weapon Expertise, Weapon Focus) do not increase in value, although certain game elements -- particularly those whose benefits equal that of your level, like for instance a game element that is worded similarly to "you deal damage equal to your level", or "you gain temporary hit points equal to your level" -- are exceptions to this rule.

As a result of this, it is highly recommended that the DM stick to using just the level 1 DC table (8 Easy, 13 Moderate, 19 Hard) for a significant portion of the game, perhaps with a bonus/penalty based on certain situations (e.g. level 30 Planeshaper opening a door vs. level 1 Wizard opening a door, or something to that degree).

Monster Creation Rules: Remove all the level modifiers for monster creation, specifically for hit points, attack rolls, skill checks and defenses.  It is highly recommended that when determining damage rolls, the DM stick to the first 10 entries of the new damage table for monsters.
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
problem with that is there is to little benifit to leveling up and players like the feal of leveling up, so you basicaly need to grant them the feal of being stronger without making lower level monsters and characters useless.
An' ye harm none, do what ye will
Read me entire post before posting.

You still advance in your class via levels, so you still get new powers, feats, paragon paths, epic destinies etc. Since there is no good way of preventing damage scaling you also advance in HP (think of it as EFFECTIVE hit points instead of just general toughness. For example, psions might think of half their hit points as the durability of their "psionic shield" that enemies have to pierce before doing them any real physical harm.).

@ chaosfang
Hm.. removing bonuses to defenses, attacks and damage from feats is something I myself would not do, but I am interested in what effect it would have. 4e does seem to have to many "mandatory" feats, so taking stuff like expertise, improved defenses and improved initative out of the game is essentially giving some characters from one to five free feat slots to put something more focused on roleplay than just having the right numbers to make the game more fun.

Please compile a list of feats/feat benefits you'd remove from the game :D

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
To replace these feats, I think characters should get a +1 or +2 bonus to everything that should scale with leve at level 11 and 21.
Why remove ability score increases? I think that is the most logical of all over-time increases

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.

problem with that is there is to little benifit to leveling up and players like the feal of leveling up, so you basicaly need to grant them the feal of being stronger without making lower level monsters and characters useless.




Read me entire post before posting.

You still advance in your class via levels, so you still get new powers, feats, paragon paths, epic destinies etc. Since there is no good way of preventing damage scaling you also advance in HP (think of it as EFFECTIVE hit points instead of just general toughness. For example, psions might think of half their hit points as the durability of their "psionic shield" that enemies have to pierce before doing them any real physical harm.).


I think he was referring to my post in particular.  The problem with the whole scaling HP, attacks and defenses is that while there is an illusion of progress, an inevitable arms race where players quickly find themselves on the losing side if they don't have their "basic" gear and feats -- hence, the over-emphasis on Expertise, Focus, Improved Defenses and other "must-haves".

With the system I'm proposing, the arms race is still there; however, the difference is that because the system does not have any actual levels, the gap between the level 1 (1) newbie and the level 1 (30) is found not in the basic stats, but rather in what the level 1 (30) player has compared to the level 1 (1) player:
* Number of feats
* Number of powers
* Number of class features
* Variety of equipment

Heck, if I really was intent on removing the influence of level completely, I would've proposed that instead of everything being tied to levels, everything would instead be tied to equipment -- including powers, hit points, damage reduction and the like -- but even though that is technically possible even within the confines of the existing 4E, I would personally frown upon such modifications, if only because it would then have players placing not only too much value to their equipment rather than to their characters, but also placing the newbie at a far greater gap from the veteran than even what my system already places the two at.

Simply put: A level 1 (1) Wizard with 25 HP, 2 at-wills, 2 encounter powers (including the one granted by his theme), 1 daily, and 1 feat (Expertise)... versus a level 1 (10) Wizard with 30 HP (from Toughness), 2 at-wills, 4 encounter powers, 3 dailies, 3 utilities, and 6 feats.  Too little benefit to leveling up?
@ chaosfang
Hm.. removing bonuses to defenses, attacks and damage from feats is something I myself would not do, but I am interested in what effect it would have. 4e does seem to have to many "mandatory" feats, so taking stuff like expertise, improved defenses and improved initative out of the game is essentially giving some characters from one to five free feat slots to put something more focused on roleplay than just having the right numbers to make the game more fun.

Please compile a list of feats/feat benefits you'd remove from the game :D

 

I wouldn't remove any feat or feat benefits, per se.  It's just that the fact that everyone is effectively level 1 means that the scaling bonus of just about everything is removed.  In fact, the only reason why I'd even consider things like "gain fire resistance equal to half your level" or "equal to your level" to scale is because some of these features exclusively key off level or half-level, and nothing else, and if applied in the same manner as everything else in my proposed level-less system, it would result in those powers/features completely losing function.

An alternative compensation would be to change those powers/features and have them grant a static effect, instead of a level-based scaling effect, but that would require individual reviews and alterations ;)

EDIT: If the ability scores simply altered ability and skill checks like in my other system, I wouldn't mind increasing them, but technically the ability scores seem to be there as part of the "math fix", so I'm still not so hot on having the level 1(30) Wizard having 28 INT versus the level 1(1) Wizard having 20 INT; that's a +4 to hit difference, even with the same gear, and that can easily lead to the level 1(1) player not being able to contribute so much, and unlike a weapon/implement-granted accuracy boost, there's nothing he really can do about it. 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
To replace these feats, I think characters should get a +1 or +2 bonus to everything that should scale with leve at level 11 and 21.
Why remove ability score increases? I think that is the most logical of all over-time increases


My train of thought was that the exercise pertained to removing D&D's level-dependence, while allowing players to retain a "feel" of progress.  The most logical assumption is that instead of PCs progressing via levels, PCs instead progress via other venues or means.  As games in general tend to grant more powerful items and additional features -- often attached to levels -- along with significant story progression, to help give the feeling of progress, in a level-less system we'd end up focusing on those additional benefits, instead of the now-absent levels.

Since there's no actual math to fix -- since same-level enemies will always be hit roughly 50% of the time, seeing as you're always level 1 anyway -- I see little reason to increase ability scores unless you remove the effect of ability scores on attack rolls at least.

At its simplest, without levels to actually gauge our characters, the alternative methods of progression would be

* items -- specifically Grandmaster Training, Divine Boons and other non-math fix bonuses, which I would highly recommend over +3 or higher weaponry and protective gear.
* story -- benefits that may or may not have mechanical bonuses for the party (like infamy or respect, land ownership or what not).

The system I proposed aims to grant the third method of progression -- additional features, such as powers -- without actually increasing the character's level, since again we're talking about a system without levels. 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
I understand now. We're not removing levels just for the sake of removing levels, but to lose this stupid "arms race" out of this system. Why would a roleplaying game need "math fixes" anyways? It's like saying "Yeah, we're thinking about making a roleplaying game with math... Well.. the math isn't all that perfect, so we might have to add a few fixes to it" xD

Enhancement bonuses are still here (or inherent enhancement bonuses, if that's your thing), so these things do scale, but they do not give the illusion of success (like these level bonuses and math fixes) nor do they take up feats that could be used for interesting stuff like Fey Cantrip or other flavourful feats. 

Imma gonna go ahead and fix my first post (in blue, of course ;)  ) 

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Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
Wow, I'm really impressed by the update And yes, since the feats aren't as mandatory as before, you could play a character from 1 (1) to 1 (30) with mostly flavorful feats and still be able to keep up with the rest of the group ;)

The only class that still doesn't get fixed in spite of all this would be the Binder, but I never really was a fan of WotC's really shoddy attempt to capitalize on the potential to make a controller out of the Warlock (I might even end up making a homebrew class that I'd swap in if someone on  my table wanted to play Binder).
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
What did I miss? What's up with the Binder?

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Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
This "addon" does require a lot of custmizing on behalf of the DM. Mainly about damage scaling. Does sneak attack still scale, and other damage-increasers? Should we make monsters scale HP along with these features, or just not make these features scale... If if they don't scale weapons still and arms slots still increase damage...

What about 5-10 HP for each inherent bonus for monsters, depending on monster role (artillery,lure,brute etc.)?

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
What did I miss? What's up with the Binder?

When you read up on the Binder, and try to make one, then try to build the exact same concept using the regular Warlock, suffice to say that the Warlock does a better job at being a Binder than a Binder.  Specifically because Binders tend to be ranged controllers, whose class features trigger when you reduce an enemy to 0 HP, or when an enemy adjacent to you is reduced to 0 HP.

A bit of conundrum that, and apparently the solution is to overhaul the class itself, as no system can apparently fix the Binder the way it's written.


This "addon" does require a lot of custmizing on behalf of the DM. Mainly about damage scaling. Does sneak attack still scale, and other damage-increasers? Should we make monsters scale HP along with these features, or just not make these features scale... If if they don't scale weapons still and arms slots still increase damage...

What about 5-10 HP for each inherent bonus for monsters, depending on monster role (artillery,lure,brute etc.)?

It's up to you whether or not Sneak Attack or other class features actually scale, since the only means for the DM to counteract the increase in damage is to increase the monsters' hit points, be it by increasing the monsters' level, turning the monsters into Elites/Solos, or raising the monsters' CON score; there's no actual suggested CON score per level, so it's actually quite legal to make a 100 CON level 1 Brute, which would grant him 120 HP, plenty of HP for Sneak Attack and other damage increasers to eat through.

As monsters would likely end up in the level 1 ~ 5 range, with abilities being the distinguishing factor between them -- save perhaps for deities and creatures you would want to establish as nigh-unkillable [then have a plot device reduce their HP, defenses and damage to level 1 when needed] -- the HP and damage factor may need some play-by-ear tweaking, a.k.a. playtesting  
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Can somone, with more experience with the upper tiers, give the stereotypical stats of a level 30 monster, 1 standard, 1 elite and 1 solo. And then the same with a level 30 player, one with magic items, but no feats, and one with the feats (expertise, improved defenses)?

Thanks in advance! :D 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
I was also wondering, why level 1? Why not level 2 or 4 or 11? Can a DM that has a regular group implement this ruleset simply by "freezing" his group's character level after the next time they level up?

About this races of numbers, there are two things you can do:

· Take out all leveling bonuses

or

· Ask your DM to make sure the monsters are created with the party in mind and not some "standard ruleset". This means the players can still use the online builder and the DM can use all offical 4e stuff without having to change any numbers.

As I said before, this levelessness is just an excercise, made for those with the itch to use something custom, and not something everybody should use. This is something only experienced DMs should consider using (especially those that have ongoing public events).

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
Can somone, with more experience with the upper tiers, give the stereotypical stats of a level 30 monster, 1 standard, 1 elite and 1 solo. And then the same with a level 30 player, one with magic items, but no feats, and one with the feats (expertise, improved defenses)?

Thanks in advance! :D 

For the monsters, all you have to do is look up either the DMG or the Monster Vault or equivalent ;) Level 30 Brute with 25 CON is 1 HP Minion, 335 HP Standard, 670 HP Elite, 1092 HP Solo.  Defenses would likely be around 43, while attack bonuses are often +35 to hit.

For PCs it's a bit trickier, but the basic defense-boosting feats would grant you, at most, +4 to a single defense or +3 to all Non-AC defenses, and typically AC defenses are boosted by around +2 with feats (feat bonus, shield bonus).  Keeping a +16 masterwork plate armor, +2 heavy shield, +1 plate specialization, +15 half level, and +6 enhancement bonus in mind, that's 50 AC at level 30.  NADs are typically far lower than 50 at level 30 -- sometimes barely reaching 40 at level 30 -- although there are certain builds that go beyond 50 NADs (certain classes even beat 50 AC).


I was also wondering, why level 1? Why not level 2 or 4 or 11? Can a DM that has a regular group implement this ruleset simply by "freezing" his group's character level after the next time they level up?

About this races of numbers, there are two things you can do:

· Take out all leveling bonuses

or

· Ask your DM to make sure the monsters are created with the party in mind and not some "standard ruleset". This means the players can still use the online builder and the DM can use all offical 4e stuff without having to change any numbers.

As I said before, this levelessness is just an excercise, made for those with the itch to use something custom, and not something everybody should use. This is something only experienced DMs should consider using (especially those that have ongoing public events).

Thankfully, as the system does simply "freeze" the game at level 1, any DM could just "freeze" the game at whatever point in the game they're currently in and just continue the game at that level ad infinitum, granting additional feats, powers and features as if the veterans were leveling (without advancing their existing base stats [hp, attributes, defenses]).  Newbies can then create characters at the same base level as everyone else in the group, so if let's say most of the players are level 4 (12), and the newbie is at 4 (4), the newbie would be at relatively the same level as everyone else in terms of base stats, except he wouldn't have the additional feats, paragon path benefits, higher-level items, etc.

The most rules-as-written-in-4E method of implementing this system -- and by this I mean just only one houserule: no EXP tracking -- would have the DM granting Divine Boons, Reputation, Grandmaster Training, and the like, all of which would be giving the same benefits as feats, class features, and even paragon path/epic destiny features.

All of this without ever changing the party's level, ever.

Example
Let's say my level 2 Eberron group was supposed to level up from the amount of EXP they have gathered.  Instead of granting them a level, I would instead ask them what their level 3 powers would be.  Then, I'd run a game where the party -- or the individual members of the party -- would handle certain quests.  The reward at the end of this series of quests would be Grandmaster Training/Divine Boon/Reputation/Spiritual Favor/Arcane Spell/etc. rewards that grant the encounter power they would've gotten at level 3.

When the party reaches the EXP quota for level 4, they get another set of quests that allow them access to another set of non-item benefits that grant them the equivalent of a feat.

When the party reaches the EXP quota for level 5, they get yet another set of quests that allow them access to another set of non-item benefits that grant them the equivalent of a level 5 daily attack power for their class.

Etc. etc. etc.

If, at level 2 (5), a newbie enters the group, the party is in reality still at level 2, and can create a level 2 character as written in the PHB.  He won't have access to the Grandmaster Training/Divine Boon/Reputation/Spiritual Favor/Arcane Spell/etc. that the rest of the party has though, so he doesn't get more than what a regular PC would get at level 2.

I, as DM, could then push his storyline up, so that he could eventually get hold of non-item benefits that'd help him get to 2 (5) ;)

Then when the party gets the EXP quota for level 7, the DM could easily rule that they lose all the non-item benefits and are immediately boosted to level 7.  That is when they prepare a new set of character sheets for printing :D
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
I'm not 100% I follow everything in this thread, but I do like the general idea behind it.  Edit: And apparently I really got into the idea, and below are far more ideas than I had initially planned on.  Sorry for the long post.

I wanted to comment on a few things though:

Ability Score increases:

I am playing a brand new level 1 (1) wizard.

You are playing Gandalf the Grey, after he has personally re-summoned Sauron and killed him, just for the fun of it. (Level 1 (30)).


Hell yes I think you should be allowed to hit 20% more often because you have Int 28 and I have Int 20.

Will that make it harder to balance things in combat?  Probably - but seriously, it's a difference between a brand new hero and an immortal multiverse shaper who's about to become the greater God of Magic.  There should be a difference.  And there should still be an extremely pressing reason as to why my wizard and yours are both travelling together, let alone expecting to have approximately the same chance of hitting.


Scaling Feats:
Leave them in.  See above reasoning:  A level 1 (15) fighter should hit more often than a level 1 (1) fighter.  The difference from stats will be +2, the difference from scaling feats will be .. +1.  The difference from enhancements will be +3.  The difference from miscellaneous sources will be +1.  Thus the level 1 (15) fighter will hit 35% more often; which is hugely significant, but the lower level fighter CAN still hit, even with everything stacked against him - and, as above, there should be a gosh-darn good reason why Bruce Lee and my brother Jim are adventuring together.  The single biggest chunk (and almost half of it) is from an item, and as mentioned, Bruce Lee can easily hand my brother Jim his spare +2 longsword that he no longer wields (not that Bruce Lee would ever use a longsword, but no matter), and the difference drops to only 25%.

Hit Points:
Keep base hp as a level 1 character.
Any type of scaling source, let it scale.  So you get 30 THP (as a level (30) wizard), but you only have 25 hp (as a level 1 wizard) - no problem; you're a demigod, you SHOULD have more survivability than a level 1 character.  It's just suddenly actually significantly noticeable.  (Note: This means toughness would scale, and suddenly that feat would actually be AMAZING by all standards, instead of a piece of junk that a melee ranger gets to have.)

Monster Attack/Defence:  Drop the half level, but no more.  Since we didn't take out any other scaling thing, we end up with numbers that are about right, but if you want to tweak it a little to be lower to give that level 1 (1) person a chance, I don't mind.

Everything above this point is my opinion, and basically comes from the fact that I (as DM and player) WANT a noticeable difference between characters who are wildly different levels of experience, even if level and experience are tossed out the window; but I can accept that we could drop all such scaling math and make everyone simply level 1.


Now the only real problem, and the only part of the arms race, and the part that I did not see any true solution to, although it was mentioned in passing:
Scaling monster hp, damage and PC damage.

PC's (especially strikers) are designed to increase their damage output, often by huge amounts.  We already have optimized PC's who can kill at-level monsters at-will.  Most of this damage comes from: Feats, and items.  Neither of these are being taken out of the system yet (things like Called Shot, or expanded crit ranges; the scaling feats that grant a feat bonus (like weapon focus) are probably the worst feats for increasing damage, and so even if you kill the scaling, you really haven't impacted the characters actually damage at all, in absolute terms.)

So it would seem that you need to scale monster HP almost as much as normal.  Perhaps (if you take out all scaling, including ability scores), you MIGHT half the hp, but even then, that would probably result in PC's completely wiping high level monsters out, without any effort.   Large disparity in party 'levels' will also lead to absolutely ridiculous imbalances in the party, far FAR worse than any possible differences in hit rates.  At the most extreme, I can see an optimized level 30 character hitting 90% more often than a level 1 character with complete feat scaling as I propose above (which means the high level character hits 10 times for every 1 hit the low level character gets).  However, PC damage will be more like: Level 1 striker hits for 15 damage.  Level 30 striker hits 3 times for 80 damage each.  That's 1600% more damage.  And that's NOT the limit of optimization, unlike with hitting.  So with PC damage we realize that a high level character can literally be doing the damage (regardless of hit rates, just purely comparing damage assuming they both hit all the time) of 17 low level characters (or more), if that's his shtick, and that will be extremely obvious and not-fun.

On the flip side, monster damage becomes even MORE tricky than PC damage.  If I fight a kobold, and then the next day I fight Surtur, I'd like to feel that the Lord of Fire Giants is going to do more damage.  But since we're not scaling PC hp (at least not much, even in my proposed variation), Surtur clearly can't do as much damage as he used to, or he'll one shot any PC.  So do we have Surtur be the equivalent of a kobold?  Or do we have Surtur slaughter anything he so much as breathes on?

I don't think there's any possible easy fix for monster damage.  If you do take out PC hp scaling completely as Chaosfang suggests (but which I am opposed to), then the obvious solution is that ALL monsters are changed to level 1 (or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5) damage expressions.

But I don't like that, for the same reasons that I propose that scaling bonuses remain with this system.  Surtur really should be stronger than a kobold.

So my suggestion is that all monsters do damage equal to: (their original damage expression + level 1 damage expression)/2.  Basically cut the damage increase in half.  Now Surtur still does far more damage than a kobold, but not nearly as much as he used to.

Why? If we keep scaling hp sources in (not including hp scaling from gaining levels - that is one thing that I agree should not be kept in), then we see that level 1 (30) character who is decked out for survivability, can achieve as much as, oh, 80 hp (including temp hp); which is enough to (barely) survive a hit or 2 from our modified level 30 monster.  But a level 1 (1) character will be shredded like so much cheese, as he should be (from a roleplaying point of view).


This would also change the dynamics of the system hugely; high level characters would be EXTREMELY afraid of high level monsters.  Even mid level monsters would be scary.  I think (with a little tweaking and playtesting), this would actually result in a system far closer to dungeon delves from original d&d (and movies).  When adventuring, you go after tried and tested humanoid monsters; and they will be low level (even if you're high level) - and if there are lots of them, they WILL pose a threat.  Heroic monsters will become bread and butter, at all levels; paragon monsters will become truly terrifying things.  And epic monsters are challenges that only the most prepared adventurers will go after, because adventurers are simply not built of the same stuff as monsters.  A human, no matter how awesome, or close to becoming a demigod, is NOT physically equivalent to an eight hundred foot tall Elder Evil made of the very mists of the Eternal Flame from the great Beyond.  If the human does happen to be on the doorstep of divinity, and has some great allies, and some great planning, then PERHAPS they can fight such an Elder Evil.


The arms race completely disappears; to fight an high level monster requires foresight and planning - it requires roleplaying.  If the party does well, they are prepared for a totally one sided fight (and not the parties side).  If the party doesn't bother, they die.

Bringing along level 1 (1) characters to a level 1 (30) fight is still utterly ludicrous.  But bringing level 1 (1) characters to a level 1 (10) fight isn't; nor is bringing level 1 (21) characters to a level 1 (30) fight; which, under the normal system, WOULD be a ludicrous proposition.


In the end, I am loving this discussion, and the theory that comes from it.  If we can come up with a satisfactory answer to monster and PC damage, I will playtest this as soon as I can.  But while I'm willing to deal with complicated math-fixes for monster damage, I don't know if there is a good answer to monster damage; and PC damage imbalances between party members of different levels also leaves me completely clueless as to how to propose a solution.
after a lot of playtesting with changing difrent stats I do have to agree players like the feal of doing and taking more damage, like stated by the person above Kobold should not be nearly as deadly as barogs. and if monsters don't scale right you take a ton of the feal away from reaching lvl 20+ as thats when your prepping to be a demi god or personal avitar of some great god or whatever, I mean a demi god should not even blink a eye at a army of kobold.

I think taking a lot of the math scaling out is a good idea, 1/2 lvl needs not be applied to anything but HP and damage scaling should remain and some to hit scaling around 15 -20  difrence with feats and junk betwean lv 1 and lv 30, this does allow a huge difrence in players level and still be usefull but keaps the feal, so maybe new characters start out like 6 LV behind the rest of the party or even as much as 10 LV behind but LV twice as fast so they can catch up which condition that if they miss a game they don't gain extra XP untill they make 2 games in a row again

something like this is for those public games so they don't get all the benifit.


though honestly could start them at lvl but they don't get any gear since the lack of gear alone will make them have a notable difrence and if they fall behind from not showing then that should be find since level has less of a impact

**********************

so in short I personaly say that hp and damage realy needs to scale in some way, even if it's minor, pluss powers take damage scaling into concideration so high level encounter and daily powers are usualy notably stronger and more damaging then lower lvl ones pluss 3D12 damage with keaping lvl 1 hp would always be devistating let alone 5D12 that some powers give
An' ye harm none, do what ye will
After some consideration, stargazer is absoloutely right. If damage/hp doesn't scale, an elite kobold is doing almost as much damage as lolth. This makes no sense whatsoever xD

Nelphine, I have a wall of text for you, I'll post it later tonight or tomorrow xD 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
Hurrah wall of text!  I figure I deserve one for subjecting you to one of my own.  I really didn't mean to go on in quite such a ... lengthy style.
I'll confess that I don't quite follow the entire conversation but I like the concept of minimizing the effect of levels.

Do I understand correctly that improving stats, skills, and feats is replacing leveling up? Or have I missed the whole point. Embarassed

Marv (Finarvyn) Master of Mutants (MA and GW) Playing 5E D&D and liking it! OD&D player since 1975

think there is a few difrent veiws on how to go about it but the one agreed upon thing is that 1/2 level should be removed.

and that the desired effect is to have levels grant small power increases mainly to damage and hp whil modifing to hit and skills to a lesser degree


so attack bonus , skills, inititive, and most other variables besides hp and damage would only go up with  stats gear and feats.

thus allowing a charcater of much lower lvl to still effectivly travel with the group.

Level would grant new feats, new abilities and hp with ocational stat increases as normal.
An' ye harm none, do what ye will
think there is a few difrent veiws on how to go about it but the one agreed upon thing is that 1/2 level should be removed.

and that the desired effect is to have levels grant small power increases mainly to damage and hp whil modifing to hit and skills to a lesser degree


so attack bonus , skills, inititive, and most other variables besides hp and damage would only go up with  stats gear and feats.

thus allowing a charcater of much lower lvl to still effectivly travel with the group.

Level would grant new feats, new abilities and hp with ocational stat increases as normal.


Not a bad idea To make it easier on the DM and structure, you basically remove the half-level bonus and keep everything else.  Should work seamlessly in playtest, at least theoretically

- - - - -
In the freeze-PC-level scenario, I'm thinking that monsters wouldn't scale as much (1 ~ 10 basically, if the PCs are level 1), and you utilize the minion-standard-elite-solo determinants more often... maybe something like level 1 ~ 4 monsters in normal games would be level 1 minion ~ solo in this setup, level 5 ~ 9 monsters in normal games would be level 2 minion ~ solo in this setup, and so on.  So a level 35 Lolth normally would be a level 10 solo, having:

468 HP
26 AC , 21 Fort, 24 Ref, 24 Will
Initiative +21
Perception +19

Scourge would be +15 vs. AC, 2d4+8 damage, with Effect: the target takes ongoing 10 damage (save ends).



Among other necessary adjustments.  That way a Kobold would still be far less threatening than a deity, and yet the deity doesn't go a-stomping the party with just one hit and impossible to be harmed with stuff that doesn't involve miss damage.

It's a bit of a stretch really, but it's not impossible ;)
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
still means the pc demigods are no stronger then the pc aprentice which seams realy wrong that a kobold can take a demi god down as easily as they can a aprentice
An' ye harm none, do what ye will
still means the pc demigods are no stronger then the pc aprentice which seams realy wrong that a kobold can take a demi god down as easily as they can a aprentice

PC Demigod with +5 weaponry, +5 armor, Toughness, Improved Defenses, Weapon Expertise, damage reduction and several other feats, powers, and items, going down as easily as the level 1 apprentice who has just 1-2 feats and mundane equipment (or at best +3 equipment if the PC Demigod was benevolent enough to give the apprentice his discarded or old equipment), especially given how Demigods and other epic destinies have means to shrug off death 1/day?

Let's see that level 1 Kobold with +5 vs. AC take down the level 1 Wizard who has Shield, 24 AC [10 + Unarmored Agility + 20 INT + 5 enhancement bonus + staff of defense + defensive staff], 29 HP [Toughness, and maybe more, if the DM grants the Wizard an item that increases maxHP], and tempHP/damage reduction from stuff like Virtue, as easily as a level 1 Wizard who has 18 AC [10 + Unarmored Agility + 20 INT + staff of defense] and 24 HP.

EDIT: Aside from "it's easy to emulate increasing HP via equippable items", oftentimes in shooter games like Half-Life and Doom, you'd have both Armor and HP-recovering items along the way -- Potions of Cure Light Wounds and the like from Mordenkainen's Magical Emporium could help stretch out the party's day, and other means of granting tempHP and surgeless HP might be in order.  And I'm thinking that the very idea of the freeze-level scenario is that, unlike the remove-half-level-bonus scenario, even the most feeble threats will always be threats, minions would have to be dealt with very quickly, and the importance of teamwork and strategy/stealth would be key to survival.

In my personal opinion, with scaling HP and feats, the gap between apprentice and demigod would be large enough to beg the question, "why not just stick to the default setting?"
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
My scaling hp scenario (which may not be the one you mean, but oh well) is this:

(wizard at level 1 has 16 con, wizard at level 29 has toughness, the epic amulet that grants higher max hp, and an ability that grants thp based on level)

Freeze at level 1 scenario:
Level 1: 26 hp
level 29: 51 hp, 1 thp

Remove half level bonus scenario (as I envision it) with monster hp scaling, and pc bonus hp scaling, and stat scaling, assuming con was increased 8 times:
level 1: 26 hp
level 29: 69 hp, 29 thp


note there's not a HUGE difference; in fact the big difference comes from the difference in thp, which may be a rechargeable ability - I emphasize this because if you DO have a rechargeable source of thp, then in the freeze scenario it's completely useless; but in my scenario it's actually a very powerful ability.

also note:
in the freeze scenario, the level 29 wizard has exactly 100% more hp than the level 1 wizard.  Thus a level 1 kobold only needs to hit the level 29 wizard twice as many times to take him, which is not actually unlikely, even given the 6 higher ac + immediates, so due to luck a level 1 kobold pack is almost as big a threat to the level 29 wizard as to the level 1 wizard.  This also means that you have a VERY limited range with which to scale monster damage.
in the partial scaling scenario, the level 29 wizard has about 300% more hp than the level 1 wizard; which means  level 1 kobolds are not a threat based on complete luck, but still do pose a notiecable threat in terms of daily resources - it also means if you follow the guidelines for paragon/epic tier minions in DMG2 (where you get 5 or 6 minions per standard respectively instead of 4), you aren't as likely to cause an auto TPK.  And finally the damage range monsters can choose from can be somewhat higher - and if your party actually goes in for thp based on level, then the DM will actually have a larger range to choose monster damage from.

As a final comment:  I think the difference here (compared to the 191 hp a standard level 29 wizard would have based on my assumptions) is still significant, but it grants the dm more leeway to make mistakes when deciding on monster damage than the freeze scenario does. 


However, I'm still not sure how to decide on monster damage, in either scenario.

If you could come up with a hard and fast rule for monster damage with the freeze scenario, I would happily agree to the freeze scenario; without such a rule, I think the extra leeway from partial scaling will make the transition far smoother, for any DM who wanted to try these ideas out (I also think that due to that extra leeway, it will probably be easier to find a hard and fast rule for monster damage based on partial scaling instead of complete freeze).

Edit: As a note, one reason I want the partial scaling in, especially on THP based on level, is to make as many sources of THP viable as possible, since due to the extremely low life of the party, THP will become far more useful than normal - so cutting out any of those resources seems like a bad idea.  It also allows for slightly more variance in healing surge values between levels, which I think is nice as a subtle indication of your higher experience.
I personally like the higher level numbers of HP and damage for a number of reasons:


Regarding non-scaling HP:
At level 1(1) with non-scaling HP I can essentiall only make encounters at evel n+0 to n+x where x>0. However, if I freeze the group at level 4 with half level bonuses and level 4 HP, I can have encounters from n-3 to n+x where x>0. This gives me much more control over the difficulty of the encounter.
It's true though that monster's will scale alongside the party somewhat, but will most likely stay within the 1-10 range. 

Also, if we think about damage in percentages, at level one where a character might only have 20 hp I can only take him down to HP dividable by 20. That is the PC can never have 5/40 HP left, the steps in damage are much larger percantace wise. Also, the PC would only be able to take 20 hits at most before being brought to 0 HP without healing. This is why I like the 60+ HP of higher levels.


Regarding Scaling HP:
I think as long as a demigod's attacks can one-shot an apprentice, and an apprentice can merely scratch the skin of a demigod be pretty accurate considering their difference in power. A kobold dealing 1d6+3 as a melee basic attack will seem like a poor excuse for a fighter to a demigod, since the demigod does have th HP of a level 30 hero. 

This also means that all HP-related effects that scale will scale "+ your level" where level is "the number of times your hit points have increased via your class.

Regarding scaling HP, mixed with this experiment, aka "The Compramise":
I think classes gain 4 to 6 HP-per-level. Why not half the amount of hit points gained per level? This means that characters within the same tier can easiliy battle the same monsters (The HP difference between level 1 and level 10 would be roughly 20-40 HP). This means scaling is slower, and this experiment still makes sense. A Demigod is still a lot more powerful than an apprentice, and he should be.

What I'm not sure of: If PC HP scaling  is reduced by 50%, how is PC damage scaling? Well... does it matter? As long as the DM uses new numbers for dominating effects, a PC's damage output and a PC's healthpool rarely connect.

If you see a problem with this last bit, please help me fix it.

Nelphine: I completely forgot your wall of text. I think it's probably too late now, but I'll post it anyways ^^

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.

To emphasize, our goal is:
1 Remove unnessesary math from the game. Usually when a PC's number's get higher, so does the monster's number's. This means that the PC didn't actually gain anything, he just feels like he did.
2 To allow characters level at their own speed, even through poor attendancy, without it affecting the game to much. This means a level 1 character and a level 8 character should be able to fight in the same combat.
3 To minimize printing. ^^

I love the big post, and it would be awesome to try this levelness out, to playtest. I personally won't, since I like to be able to use the builder and official WOTC stuff without having to reconfigure the numbers. If you could help us with the damage/hp dilemma we would be most thankful. Now, to the response! 


I'm not 100% I follow everything in this thread, but I do like the general idea behind it.  Edit: And apparently 
I am playing a brand new level 1 (1) wizard.

You are playing Gandalf the Grey, after he has personally re-summoned Sauron and killed him, just for the fun of it. (Level 1 (30)).

Hell yes I think you should be allowed to hit 20% more often because you have Int 28 and I have Int 20.

Will that make it harder to balance things in combat?  Probably - but seriously, it's a difference between a brand new hero and an immortal multiverse shaper who's about to become the greater God of Magic.  There should be a difference.  And there should still be an extremely pressing reason as to why my wizard and yours are both travelling together, let alone expecting to have approximately the same chance of hitting.




Gandalf vs. The Apprentice:
Personally, I judge a wizard by:
· The size of his fireballs
· their epic destinies.


Seriously, have you SEEN some of the EDs? It's pretty clear which one is gandalf and which one is the Apprentice if Gandalf has is ED on.
Would it suffice if damage/HP scaled at least somewhat during the 30 leves of gameplay? That would make the demigod much more powerful than your measly wizard. Power isn't measured in to-hit, but the size of the impact/buff.




Scaling Feats:
Leave them in.  See above reasoning:  A level 1 (15) fighter should hit more often than a level 1 (1) fighter.  The difference from stats will be +2, the difference from scaling feats will be .. +1.  The difference from enhancements will be +3.  The difference from miscellaneous sources will be +1.  Thus the level 1 (15) fighter will hit 35% more often; which is hugely significant, but the lower level fighter CAN still hit, even with everything stacked against him - and, as above, there should be a gosh-darn good reason why Bruce Lee and my brother Jim are adventuring together.  The single biggest chunk (and almost half of it) is from an item, and as mentioned, Bruce Lee can easily hand my brother Jim his spare +2 longsword that he no longer wields (not that Bruce Lee would ever use a longsword, but no matter), and the difference drops to only 25%.

Hit Points:
Keep base hp as a level 1 character.
Any type of scaling source, let it scale.  So you get 30 THP (as a level (30) wizard), but you only have 25 hp (as a level 1 wizard) - no problem; you're a demigod, you SHOULD have more survivability than a level 1 character.  It's just suddenly actually significantly noticeable.  (Note: This means toughness would scale, and suddenly that feat would actually be AMAZING by all standards, instead of a piece of junk that a melee ranger gets to have.)

Monster Attack/Defence:  Drop the half level, but no more.  Since we didn't take out any other scaling thing, we end up with numbers that are about right, but if you want to tweak it a little to be lower to give that level 1 (1) person a chance, I don't mind.

Everything above this point is my opinion, and basically comes from the fact that I (as DM and player) WANT a noticeable difference between characters who are wildly different levels of experience, even if level and experience are tossed out the window; but I can accept that we could drop all such scaling math and make everyone simply level 1.

 

What should change, from a RP standpoint, is their ability to survive adventuring (Endurance, healing surges) and their knowledge, since there's a lot they don't teach you in school. However, 4e does not allow skill-scaling as easiliy as previous editions :/ 

If you can, that's what I would recommend, since that is probably the main difference between the two wizards: their spells, and their knowledge.
If you want that "more powerful spells should hit more often" just give your group a +1 to hit with paragon spells and a +2 to hit with epic spells. That should do it for ya. Although I see no connection between power and accuracy in this context. Think 3.5: Some spells are indodgeable, but their effects can be easily shrugged of. A level 22 orc hit by a level 3 fireball won't even bother to dodge, it will only take 0.2% if his healthpool anyways.


Making one mathematically more powerfull than the other means we have failed at goal no 2. So all scaling should be kept to a mininum. a -1 to hit compared to another character is managable, but a -5 is not managable. Same with skills, somone having 5 less in arcana than you is managable, but more than that makes that character useless. So The Apprentice might scale from 13 Arcana to 18 Arcana in 30 levels.


Remember tha "level" is also a character's "reputation", so I think we have managed to make a clear difference between the two wizards.


Regarding what should scale:
· You seem to be fixed on adding numbers and scaling, knowing that that's what we're trying to remove xD. I've already explained why feats shouldn't scale.
· We'll leave monster scaling to the DM, that's how it's supposed to be.
· Damage and monster HP is where we are both pretty ":S". These things need to scale, but I'm not entirely sure how… Normally? or 50% of what's normal?


How do the numbers look if we remove all scaling? Feats, sneak attacks and ability scores? Won't we then have a far more easily-managable encounters? 1(1) 1(8) 1(12) and 1(14) characters should then only differ in damage output from feats, items and powers, which is significantly less that feats, scaling feats, items, powers and ability score increases. As I said, how damage should scale is uncertain at this point. 


************

Answers to other stuff you wrote:

· What is this talk of "high level monsters"? Didn't we just take levels out of the game.. or did I miss something?
· We have already figured out, that since PCs are only getting a +6 enhancement bonus and +1 feat bonus, monsters will always have the attack and defense stats as level 1-10 monsters.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
My scaling hp scenario (which may not be the one you mean, but oh well) is this:

(wizard at level 1 has 16 con, wizard at level 29 has toughness, the epic amulet that grants higher max hp, and an ability that grants thp based on level)

Freeze at level 1 scenario:
Level 1: 26 hp
level 29: 51 hp, 1 thp

Remove half level bonus scenario (as I envision it) with monster hp scaling, and pc bonus hp scaling, and stat scaling, assuming con was increased 8 times:
level 1: 26 hp
level 29: 69 hp, 29 thp


note there's not a HUGE difference; in fact the big difference comes from the difference in thp, which may be a rechargeable ability - I emphasize this because if you DO have a rechargeable source of thp, then in the freeze scenario it's completely useless; but in my scenario it's actually a very powerful ability.


Wait, wait... 52 total damage a character can take before going down versus 98 total damage a character can take before going down not a huge difference... and 51 actual HP vs. 69 actual HP -- a 35% difference in HP -- not a huge difference in survivability, especially when equipment like Magic Armor are making you that much harder to hit?

Personally I'm thinking that the very reason why Soldiers are generally shunned upon is because they have just about the same HP as any other monster, but their AC is at least 2 points higher, so they can absorb more attacks and are generally harder to kill, even when compared to Brutes of higher level.


also note:
in the freeze scenario, the level 29 wizard has exactly 100% more hp than the level 1 wizard.  Thus a level 1 kobold only needs to hit the level 29 wizard twice as many times to take him, which is not actually unlikely, even given the 6 higher ac + immediates, so due to luck a level 1 kobold pack is almost as big a threat to the level 29 wizard as to the level 1 wizard.  This also means that you have a VERY limited range with which to scale monster damage.
in the partial scaling scenario, the level 29 wizard has about 300% more hp than the level 1 wizard; which means  level 1 kobolds are not a threat based on complete luck, but still do pose a notiecable threat in terms of daily resources - it also means if you follow the guidelines for paragon/epic tier minions in DMG2 (where you get 5 or 6 minions per standard respectively instead of 4), you aren't as likely to cause an auto TPK.  And finally the damage range monsters can choose from can be somewhat higher - and if your party actually goes in for thp based on level, then the DM will actually have a larger range to choose monster damage from.

As a final comment:  I think the difference here (compared to the 191 hp a standard level 29 wizard would have based on my assumptions) is still significant, but it grants the dm more leeway to make mistakes when deciding on monster damage than the freeze scenario does. 


However, I'm still not sure how to decide on monster damage, in either scenario.

If you could come up with a hard and fast rule for monster damage with the freeze scenario, I would happily agree to the freeze scenario; without such a rule, I think the extra leeway from partial scaling will make the transition far smoother, for any DM who wanted to try these ideas out (I also think that due to that extra leeway, it will probably be easier to find a hard and fast rule for monster damage based on partial scaling instead of complete freeze).

Edit: As a note, one reason I want the partial scaling in, especially on THP based on level, is to make as many sources of THP viable as possible, since due to the extremely low life of the party, THP will become far more useful than normal - so cutting out any of those resources seems like a bad idea.  It also allows for slightly more variance in healing surge values between levels, which I think is nice as a subtle indication of your higher experience.

Just to clarify on my train of thought, note that the inspiration for how I'm designing the level-less D&D comes from games that have no leveling in the first place, where even the same creatures you've faced at the start of the game are just as fatal when nearing the end phase of the game.

Let's take Half-Life; the main reason why you'd find enemies easier to tackle isn't because you're this omnipotent superbeing per se, but because you're better geared, play smarter, and might rely more on less obvious or straightforward [and fatal] decisions.  Instead of filling the day with one combat after another, you focus more on puzzles and other non-combat challenges.  This line of thought is what is guiding me throughout this discussion: instead of my fluff saying I'm a demigod who can't be harmed except by the most powerful of beings, it'd be my fluff saying I'm where I'm at simply because I'm that good.

I suppose the freeze scenario really is better off at a more limited scaling then, since it would really be difficult to have it play all the way to 1 (30) without some serious rebalancing and estimation.  However, I did mention earlier how I would scale the whole moster damage thing, if ever I would utilize the "freeze" scenario: I'd compress the monster levels from 1-40 to 1-10, and utilize the minion-standard-elite-solo setup as mentioned.  Since I'll be using level 1-10 enemies instead of level 1-40 enemies, I'd be using only 1/3rd of the DMG's new damage table, so a level 30 monster scaled down to level 9 would probably be doing 2d8+8 damage against single targets, 2d6+6 with area attacks, and maybe an encounter power that does more damage; meanwhile, a minion could do anywhere from 4 damage (level 1) to 9 damage (level 10), so you still have kobolds being threatening from 1 (1) to 1 (30), but still not as threatening as Ice Titans.

In either system, Toughness would be a must-have feat, given how 24 -> 29 is at least one extra hit you can take (so would be feats that improve defenses, but that's already a given I suppose).  TempHP-granting powers - Fighter/Barbarian powers, Bards, etc. - would be very useful in extending a character's life since you would gain the TempHP at-will, and both the Vampire and Runepriest would be a little more popular -- the former because even Regen 2 could easily be half a healing surge value per round, while the latter's damage reduction easily helps in party longevity.

NOTE: I've been using a homebrew formula for minions that proves to be a lot more brutal than recommended -- instead of taking the average damage per hit rounded down, I set it at 8+Level, with +1 damage every 3 levels if the minion is a Brute -- and just last week I set 8 exploding minions that dealt 10 damage each (along with four standards whose MBAs did 1d12+5 damage) against the level 2 party composed of a Hunter, Bladesinger, Whirling Barbarian, Beastmaster Ranger, Two-Blade Ranger and a leader Character Companion (warlord/cleric-ish), and the only reason why one PC died is because he got crit by his Whirling Barbarian friend and took ongoing damage that brought him past negative bloodied before he could be healed.

If they could take on that onslaught with only inherent bonuses by their side, how much more if they had auto-resurrect abilities from Epic Destinies, or other means to foil Death?

[ It'd be interesting how many would go Revenant or Undying Warrior if ever a level-less game was actually set up... ]
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging

from experience and playtesting my group and I have done it was largely decided that damage and HP should scale skills attack and defences should scale at a much slower rate thus meaning a lowere lvl character or monster could hit though they would pose a much lower threat.

though low level controlers still had solid effect even against higher level monsters since slow and other status effects prety much are always as effective reguardless of level

An' ye harm none, do what ye will
I've also noticed that levelessness really helps when it comes to NPCs. In my campaign we have a librarian who's a wizard. However I don't want them to look at him like he's anywhere near as powerful of a wizard as they are, so while they are level 8 I want him to be at level 2-4, but with superiour knowlegde and alchemical abilities. However, due to his -3 to hit and defenses compared to the group they will never ever think about asking him to join a quest or two.

Same with the mayor's son, who is a paladin of pelor who's only dabbled in adventuring. He's roughly level 4, but taking him with on any adventure would be a liability. Since I don't want these two magic users to be as powerful as my adventurers, I actually had to lie about their levels (after our swordmage got a pretty impressive insight check). They asked about these characters' levels 'cause they knew how important they where. From my standpoint I gave them these levels only due to them not being as famous or heroic as my adventurers...

If only they would ask questions like "what feats do they have?" or "would they drag us down if we had to fight 6 orcs of our combat abilities?". I could just answer them right them and there with answers that would imply "the dungeon master will have him help you, but he might die" or "he can hold his own, you won't have to look out for him if you bring him with you" and the group would be content.

...stupid levels. I want "renown points" and "combat prowess" to be what parties measure other adventurers by, not "levels".

**********

So what possible changes to we have to post #1? Do we agree on half-scaling of PC HP and Monster Damage, whilst monster HP and PC damage remains the same?
What would you call "recommended frosen levels"? Levels 1 to 8, with the exception of levels 3 and 7? 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.

from experience and playtesting my group and I have done it was largely decided that damage and HP should scale skills attack and defences should scale at a much slower rate thus meaning a lowere lvl character or monster could hit though they would pose a much lower threat.

though low level controlers still had solid effect even against higher level monsters since slow and other status effects prety much are always as effective reguardless of level


Interesting... so a level-less system would be more interesting if basically just the half-level bonus was removed, and maybe for good measure the entire group would have the same amount of Inherent Bonus and feat scaling regardless of difference in level (e.g. if in a group of five, one is level 1, while the rest are level 2, everyone including the level 1 person has a +1 to hit and damage... and if everyone else is level 11 and the newbie starts off at level 1, even the newbie gets +2 to hit from Weapon Expertise, and not +1).  That way the accuracy, skills and defenses progress slower, but the damage and HP progress faster.

The main problem I'm seeing is that if the gap between players is too wide, the DM will have trouble balancing between the new player not dying immediately when the group is dealing with an encounter appropriate for the guys in the higher end of the spectrum (because even though he can still hit and damage, his damage is too feeble compared to the veterans and if the monsters are threatening to the higher level players, the newbie is too easy a kill for the monsters), and the veteran player not being bored out of their skulls by the encounter that's appropriate for the newbie, since monster HP would be too easy to eat through, possibly to the point where the newbie can't contribute to the encounter either.

I've also noticed that levelessness really helps when it comes to NPCs. In my campaign we have a librarian who's a wizard. However I don't want them to look at him like he's anywhere near as powerful of a wizard as they are, so while they are level 8 I want him to be at level 2-4, but with superiour knowlegde and alchemical abilities. However, due to his -3 to hit and defenses compared to the group they will never ever think about asking him to join a quest or two.

Same with the mayor's son, who is a paladin of pelor who's only dabbled in adventuring. He's roughly level 4, but taking him with on any adventure would be a liability. Since I don't want these two magic users to be as powerful as my adventurers, I actually had to lie about their levels (after our swordmage got a pretty impressive insight check). They asked about these characters' levels 'cause they knew how important they where. From my standpoint I gave them these levels only due to them not being as famous or heroic as my adventurers...

If only they would ask questions like "what feats do they have?" or "would they drag us down if we had to fight 6 orcs of our combat abilities?". I could just answer them right them and there with answers that would imply "the dungeon master will have him help you, but he might die" or "he can hold his own, you won't have to look out for him if you bring him with you" and the group would be content.

...stupid levels. I want "renown points" and "combat prowess" to be what parties measure other adventurers by, not "levels".

**********

So what possible changes to we have to post #1? Do we agree on half-scaling of PC HP and Monster Damage, whilst monster HP and PC damage remains the same?
What would you call "recommended frosen levels"? Levels 1 to 8, with the exception of levels 3 and 7? 

1. I'm at a loss as to why the librarian and other NPCs have a level outside of combat, as in the case of NPCs levels only really matter when stat-building. Plus, NPCs increase their abilities by 1 point per level, and not per two levels, so a level 8 party traveling with a level 4 NPC should have the NPC being just as accurate as the rest of the group.

2. I really wonder why the group is even bothering to ask about NPC levels O.o

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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
I asked them if they wanted either one of them to come with on their next adventure, they had just completed an "escort mission" where they where protecting a weaker character. I made the mistake of discribing this weak character's weakness with the terms "he's level 1, he's so weak". So of course they asked "well, it depends, what level are they?". He then rolled a 19 on a trained insight check, I didn't know what to do other than say "we'll they're not as magical as you guys are, but you can see that he his a level 6 paladin". 

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By reducing all scaling by 50% we are effectively shortening the gap you speak of by 50%. 
These lower level characters (that should never be more than level maybe 6 levels younger than the rest of the group) will be able to fulfill their class. A striker is still hitting harder than avarage for his level (which should be on-par with controllers/defenders/leaders of 2-4 levels higher), controllers' ability to control won't be affected at all, a defender can still mark and a leader can still grant bonuses and access to healing surges. Although all of these things might get a bit penalty (push 2 squares instead of 4, has 20 hit points isntead of 30 or heals +1d6 instead of +2d6) they can still pull of what they do pretty spectacularly. 


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If we do this, wouldn't toughness, improved initative, improved defenses and expertise still all be "must-have" feats? I gave this some thought.

Expertise:
It's all about a +1 to hit (heroic tier), right?
"Well," I thought to myself. "Why do people still take +2 weapons, instead of +3 weapons,  if a +1 to hit is so important?".
The answer is "because the +1 to hit is sacrificed for a bigger damage die or property like 'brutal 2' or 'high crit'". What if we do the same thing to expertise?

Rogues and Rangers are two classes that thrive on accuracy. It doesn't matter what their modifier is, really, as long as rangers have magical bows and rogues have combat advantage their damage output is pretty much unpenalized. So they wouldnt mind taking this feat:

Improved Accuracy (replaces all Expertise feats)
Benefit: Whenever you make an attack roll, you can choose to gain a +1 feat bonus to the attack roll and take a -2 penalty to the damage roll. 
Special: You gain the non-numberical benefits of a single Expertise feat of your choice.

This makes it less of a "no brainer". Does this work is is it ridiculus?

Improved Defenses (replaces all improved defenses and superior defenses feats)
Benefit: 
You gain a +2 bonus to a non-AC defense of your choice.
Special: You can only take this feat once. If you meet the prerequisite of the Superior Defenses feat matching with the non-AC defense you chose, you gain the benefit of that feat.

 
This is a good one, now instead of 3 feats for improving defenses, the PCs can only take one ^^

Toughness is for a level 1 to 30 character that scales. Now that we've reduced scaling by 50%, a PC won't really get any more HP than a level 15 character, although he can still be drowned in THPs. I think toughness should be reduced alongside the reduced max HP pool

Toughness (replaces... Toughness...)
Benefit:
You gain 2 additional hit points. These additional hit points increase to 5 at class level 11 and to 7 at class level 21.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
even at 50% reduce HP youghness is far from a manditory feat and often would be skipped except maybe by the charcaters who realy need the extra health like lower lvl ones.

as for experteise I would personaly just remove it, maybe even just remove the to hit bonus to it since the secondary effects could still be worth taking the feat for.

The thing with feat tax realy is if there are so many feats that seam like a feat tax then in reality there are no feat tax just a lot of good feats since you can't possibly take all the feats that seam like they are needed. you can eather nerf all the potential feat taxes, leave it as it is, buff the weak feats or devide the feats so only half can be used for the multitude of feats that seam like feat taxes personaly I think they for the most part are fine the way they are.  no matter whatyou do there will always be favorites umongst feats and powers.

is like choosing the feat that gives +2 to damage or the one for +1 to attack they both seam needed in a quest to min max but neither is realy better
An' ye harm none, do what ye will
My bad, I for some reason was looking at toughness as if HP didn't scale at all. Sorry about that.

Well, the +1 to hit and +2 NADs are, at least so I'm told, necessary to bring PCs' numbers' on par with those of their opponents. That's why I'm calling them mandatory. We are not talking about balance between classes, like for example the Ensaring Swordmage really deserving a slow on their triggered Aegis to become on par with other defendes, we're talking about balance between monsters and PCs.

+1/+2/+3 to hit in a system where attack bonuses don't scale is a huge boost, and made them even more mandatory than before, which is not the goal of this experiment. However, since we didn't touch damage scaling of PCs weapon focus feats are still available. It is because of that I think accuracy classes should still deserve some boost, just like damage classes like the barbarian do.

Before the weight of these +3 bonuses where 1/11th of the total attack bonus. Now, with non-scaling attacks, we have a +1 bonus weighing at 1/12. This means that they are just as good as before, although less mandatory. So even after all these changes, the +1 to hit is just as good. I guess we'll just leave it at that, eh?

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
Changed the first post (everthing that's blue is new).

What is the normal scaling of a monster's damage? 8+level avarage damage? Isn't that right? Well now the scaling of monster damage is 8+half-level. Isn't that funny, we removed half-level bonuses and as a result gave monsters a new one xD 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.