I'm sure everyone here is at least somewhat familiar with E6. Now, don't get me wrong, E6 is plenty cool, and great at capturing the low fantasy genre in d20 form, but some of us want something a little... more. So, with that, I present to you Wuxia 20, or W20, my attempt at capturing the awesome heroic fantasy elements in d20 form. With this, you can improve your character in larger and more tangible ways as you level, but avoids the deific power of high-level 3.5. The characters are not invincible supermen who can laugh at cannonballs and take baths in volcanoes. No, this is a world of badass martial artists kicking evil's ass through sheer manliness and skill.
Of course, I have no delusions of having any homebrew skill, but, since nobody else has done this, I figure I might as well.
Note: Yes, the formatting is ugly, and the sentances are sometimes incomplete. It's late. I'm tired. I'll clean it up later.
The new HP formula is Maximum HD+2 Con+Character level
Death occurs at -5 HP
Armor as DR in effect
Evasion no longer makes you to take no damage. Instead, Evasion entitles you to make a tumble check to move clear of the effect, using the same DCs as a long jump without a running start. If you get a good enough roll to move clear of the effect, you are completely exempt from the effect. If not, you take the full effect, although you still move. This movement is subtracted from any movement you make next round, although it does not qualify as an action
W20 combat is somewhat different from typical 3.5. Combat occurs in discrete steps.
Step One: Declaration of Attack
This attacker states that the the character is attacking. The action is declared, and any observer is entitled to any relevant spellcraft or knowledge check to identify the action. This is also when any effects of the attacker contingent on, or otherwise directly relevant to the attack, such as Arcane Strike, Arrow of Bone, and any immediate or readied actions of the attacker occur.
Step Two: Declaration of Defense
When aware of an attack, the defending character may take take a defensive action(Which is described later). A flat-footed character cannot defend against an attack. A character may choose to not take a defensive action, although since they are free actions, there is no reason not to.
Note that the actions are not taken at this step, only the declaration of the action. During this step, any actions or effects of the defender, or any other character, contingent or otherwise directly related to being attacked occur.
Step Three: Attack
This is when the actual attack occurs. The attacker makes the attack as normal
Step Four: Post-Attack effects:
If the attacker has any actions that occur after the attack roll, such as a luck reroll, an action point, or so on, they occur during this step. This is also the step where the attack roll is compared to the AC of the target.
Step Five: Defense
During this step, the defender rolls the declared defense action. The defense actions are:
Dodge: If a character attempts to dodge, they make a reflex save, with the DC being the successful attack roll of the opponent. Success means the attack was successfully dodged, and is considered a miss. If the defending character fought defensively in the previous round, they apply that bonus to the dodge roll, as well.
Block/Parry: If a character attempts a parry, they make an attack roll, with the DC being the attack roll of the opponent. If the defender is using a shield, the shield bonus is added to the block roll. A success means the attack is considered a miss. If the attacker has a strength score more than (4 + shield AC bonus) higher than the defender’s strength, the defender cannot block, and any attempt to block is considered a failure automatically. In addition, if the attacker used Power Attack, the penalty they took is added to the DC.
Also, on a successful parry, if the attacker has Improved Sunder, they can attempt to sunder the shield, or weapon if the defender isn’t using the shield, as a free action. If the defender has Improved Disarm, they may attempt to disarm the opponent as a free action. If both parties attempt to initiate said combat maneuvers, make an opposed initiative check. The winner makes the attempt first, and, if they fail, the loser may then attempt their maneuver.
One cannot attempt to block unarmed unless otherwise
Step Six: Post-defense effects
This is where any effects that occur after the defense roll occur, such as action points or luck rerolls. This is also where defense rolls are resolved and compared, and effects that occur on a successful attacks occur.
Step Seven: Damage Calculation
Calculate damage, and apply DR, temporary hit points, and the like.
Step Eight: Post-Damage effects
This is where effects contingent on taking damage occur, such as poison, Wolverine’s rage, Vampiric Torc, or any readied action. If there are multiple effects from different parties, they are resolved in the order of attacker, defender, then observer.
Step Nine: Post-Resolution effects
This is where effects that occur after an attack occur, such as Cleave.
Every creature with an intelligence score has the benefits of Power Attack, Combat Expertise, and Combat Reflexes. This counts for prerequisites, although they do not actually have the feat, and so it cannot be removed or changed by any means short of actually losing their intelligence score.
In addition to being unable to take defensive actions, a flat-footed creature loses its shield bonus to AC, in addition to its dex.
Weapons have been totally revamped, although the rules are incomplete and probably need some tweaking. The changes include an attack bonus for being proficient, rather than nonprofiency penalties, and weapon groups. Basically, it’s taking one of the very, very few things 4e did well. The credit goes to Ragnar_Lodbrok.
The world isn't exactly compatible with magic. But, if you want to include it for what will tenatively be called Heroic 20, or H20, here's what should be done: Firstly, casters use power points, using the numbers of either Psions or Psychic Warriors, depending on whether they’re full or half-casters. They cast like StP Erudites, as in all things are at minimum CL unless PP are spent to raise it.
They will also have a very large number of spells purged. Quite honestly, I’m not sure if it’s even possible to fix most of them anyways. I'll try to figure it out later.
Magic items: As fitting for a low-magic world, this was designed with the idea of magic items being incredibly rare, and generally priceless artifacts like Legacy Weapons(Which I'll revamp the rules for later). If magic items are introduced in large quantity, expect balance to disappear quite quickly.
Initiators took a bit of a hit with the new rules, since a lot of their maneuvers lost a bit of usefulness, what with attack rolls being more important than damage, but I believe they’re mostly fine. The only thing that might need looking at is Desert Wind, because of the increased usefulness of direct damage spells and automatic damage, but since the only really dangerous ones are high-level anyways, I think it might just be a needed boost
Other magic systems: Probably going to get to them in a bit. Again, they don't fit very well, though I could see Incarnum functioning decently. That would even give access to high-level magic items with very little casting, due to that forgesoul thing.
I do plan on rewriting several classes to make them in-line with the system, and hopefully good. Also, if anyone wants to contribute, that’s great, but don’t be upset if it is deemed unsatisfactory.
I’m planning on rewriting some of them to reduce some numbers a bit, to make it more compatible. I mean, yes, a T-Rex should have a crap-ton and a half of hit points, but I dislike the idea of even Godzilla Jr swatting cannonballs like flies.
CR: Yeah, these characters will be somewhat weaker at high levels, not being able to survive baths in lava and injuries that shouldn't leave a body at all. I estimate that you should reduce the CR by one or so for every five CR.
So, questions? Concerns? Thoughts? Complaints about my awful writing?