What Star Wars SAGA might tell us about 4e

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I admit it -- not knowing about 4e is driving me crazy. So I went and bought SW Saga to see what I could learn about what 4e might be. Pathetic, I know.

I know that 4e will not be "D&D SAGA edition" ... but it's also true that SAGA has influenced the 4e design team heavily, from what I can tell. None of this is canon, just speculation.

This is what I see as different between 3.5e D&D and SW Saga after one good reading, in no particular order:

1. Feats are retained, and there are more of them. Each class gets bonus feats, just a different list. Though any character can take any feat at levels 3, 6, 9, etc.

2. No dead levels. Every level gives you a goodie.

3. Talents are class-specific abilities. Most classes have several talent "trees," and some talents have other talents as prerequisites. Talents are roughly equivalent to class abilities like sneak attack in 3.5 -- something only a rogue can do.

4. Multiclassing is wide open but you don't get all of the goodies that a single-classed character got when he started at level 1 in that class. IIRC you just get one of the bonus bits, not all of them. For instance, if you multiclass into soldier (the "Fighter" class of SW Saga), you don't automatically get all of the weapon/armor proficiencies.

5. Force Points are just like action points from Eberron. You get 5+1/2 character level every level, and you can't save them from level to level. Interestingly, though, you can take certain feats/talents to preserve them after using them.

6. Not all stuff causes AoOs. Grappling and standing up, for instance, do not trigger AoOs.

6a. There are no 5-foot steps in SW Saga. Any move is a move action.

7. Your level is added to your damage roll. But you only get one attack per round without special feats similar to two-weapon fighting.

8. All rolls are attack rolls. There are no saving/defense rolls.

9. Reflex Defense is now an amalgamation of the Reflex save and Armor Class.

10. Your Reflex Defense includes the greater of your character level or armor. So, without uber armor, mid level characters are better off without it.

11. Everything can be critically hit.

12. There are only five base heroic classes.

13. Death occurs when you are at or below 0 hit points and the damage dealt exceeds your damage threshold, which is your Fortitude Defense. This is functionally the massive damage rule. Force points can be used to avoid death. An unconscious character can still be the victim of a coup de grace, though.

14. Certain effects (powers, poison, etc.) reduce your status, which is an independent measurement from your hit points. These essentially lower your combat effectiveness and movement and eventually lead to unconsciousness.

15. New heroic characters start with triple max HP for their class, plus Con bonus.

16. The skill system is extremely streamlined. If a skill can be used untrained, anyone can roll adding their character level and ability score modifier. Being trained in the skill simply gives you a static +5 to the roll. Certain skills can only be used if you are trained. Many of the skills are amalgamated: "Perception" replaces Spot, Listen, and Search, for instance.

17. BAB is retained. Certain classes have a better BAB progression.

18. Prestige classes are retained. Multiclassing between PrCs is fine.

I'm sure there are many more differences that I missed.

My overall feeling? Characters have a lot of options and cool stuff in SW Saga, even at low-level. Level is a big player -- just being higher level improves nearly everything in an across-the-board fashion. Multiple attacks are replaced with better attacks.

I'm curious to see which of this stuff gets exported to 4e.
1. Feats are retained, and there are more of them. Each class gets bonus feats, just a different list. Though any character can take any feat at levels 3, 6, 9, etc.

I guess something akin to this will show in 4E


2. No dead levels. Every level gives you a goodie.

Ditto


3. Talents are class-specific abilities. Most classes have several talent "trees," and some talents have other talents as prerequisites. Talents are roughly equivalent to class abilities like sneak attack in 3.5 -- something only a rogue can do.

The Devs have already said that Talents Trees will be back, but will be a bit different.


4. Multiclassing is wide open but you don't get all of the goodies that a single-classed character got when he started at level 1 in that class. IIRC you just get one of the bonus bits, not all of them. For instance, if you multiclass into soldier (the "Fighter" class of SW Saga), you don't automatically get all of the weapon/armor proficiencies.

I think 4E multiclassing will be even more multiclass friendly than SWSE. Presumably with the strength of class abilities being based on Character Level instead of Class Level, Class Level gives you more abilities.


5. Force Points are just like action points from Eberron. You get 5+1/2 character level every level, and you can't save them from level to level. Interestingly, though, you can take certain feats/talents to preserve them after using them.

The Devs said Actions Points will be back, but will be handled differently.


6. Not all stuff causes AoOs. Grappling and standing up, for instance, do not trigger AoOs.

I think this will carry over.


6a. There are no 5-foot steps in SW Saga. Any move is a move action.

Ditto.


7. Your level is added to your damage roll. But you only get one attack per round without special feats similar to two-weapon fighting.

ditto again.


8. All rolls are attack rolls. There are no saving/defense rolls.

Already covered in a De&De article. AC, Reflex Defense (touch AC), Fortiude and Will are all fixed defenses.


9. Reflex Defense is now an amalgamation of the Reflex save and Armor Class.

See above.


10. Your Reflex Defense includes the greater of your character level or armor. So, without uber armor, mid level characters are better off without it.

I dunno how this will be handled, maybe something like everyone proficient in armor gets the benefits of "Armored Defense" (Level OR Armor, you pic. Without it if you wear armor you cannot apply your level at all).


11. Everything can be critically hit.

Already mentioned that Fireballs can crit.


12. There are only five base heroic classes.

D&D 4E will have 8 in PHb1, more to come later.


13. Death occurs when you are at or below 0 hit points and the damage dealt exceeds your damage threshold, which is your Fortitude Defense. This is functionally the massive damage rule. Force points can be used to avoid death. An unconscious character can still be the victim of a coup de grace, though.

Dunno. Dunno if the condition track is carrying over.


14. Certain effects (powers, poison, etc.) reduce your status, which is an independent measurement from your hit points. These essentially lower your combat effectiveness and movement and eventually lead to unconsciousness.

See above


15. New heroic characters start with triple max HP for their class, plus Con bonus.

I hope this caries over, even if its just an aside in the DMG as a way to make starting easier.


16. The skill system is extremely streamlined. If a skill can be used untrained, anyone can roll adding their character level and ability score modifier. Being trained in the skill simply gives you a static +5 to the roll. Certain skills can only be used untrained. Many of the skills are amalgamated: "Perception" replaces Spot, Listen, and Search, for instance.

I hope this applies.


17. BAB is retained. Certain classes have a better BAB progression.

Ditto.


18. Prestige classes are retained. Multiclassing between PrCs is fine.

Dunno if Prestige classes are staying the way we know them.
For me the line is a bit blurry on the difference between a talent and a feat -- the only sure distinguishing factor is that talents are class-specific. Other than that, it seems like a lot of effort to distinguish between two game mechanics that provide extra abilities.

Since the bonus feat progression in SWSE mimics the D&D Fighter class progression (bonus feats at all even-numbered levels thereafter), and throws in a talent at every odd-numbered level, you're looking at a level 6 character having the starting feats, three bonus feats, two "regular feats," and three talents.

So what's a "talent" in D&D terms? A paladin's class abilities include lay on hands, detect evil, smite evil, aura of good, aura of courage, divine health, divine grace, turn undead, spellcasting, cure disease, and the mount. If each of these is a "talent," the paladin wouldn't get all of them for 21 levels, and we have to assume that some of them would have to be taken multiple times (i.e., can't take level two spell talent without level one spell talent).

The good part of this is that you can skip the stuff you don't use in 3.5 and get the stuff you want sooner. If I don't care about cure disease, I can spend my talent on something else. But you'll have to wait longer to get the paladin total package than in 3.5, which I suppose should be expected if it's spread over 30 levels instead of 20.

The other thing about the Talent system -- it pretty much removes the need to have a ton of base classes. Everything can just be differentiated with talents.

You could almost go back to the D20 Modern "Strength hero," "Dex hero," etc. model, and let the talents provide the real guts of the classes. In SWSE, the classes themselves (without the talents) provide little other than BAB, a small adjustment to defenses, and some starting proficiencies and skill points. The meat of the character is in the stats, feats, and talents.
In SWSE feats don't give you any real new abilities. They just make you better at what abilities you already have or allow creative uses of existing abilities. That is the biggest different between Talents and Feats; Talents flat out give you new abilities.

The Talent system is another step towards a classless system, but I see no reason why Genericizing the class system would be a good idea.

Fighters = Masters of multiple fighting styles
Paladins = Divine champions
Rangers = Hunters of prey
Rogues = Sneaky stabby skill masters
Warlords = Non-magical support specialists
Clerics = The hand of god
Wizards = Master of the universe
Warlock = Unspeakable rituals and dark pacts

Each of those classes invokes certain imagery (though arguably some names may convey the images better for some classes). The devs want to preserve that imagery and also allow customization within them.
The only comment I'd throw in here is that I would expect armor to play a much greater role in 4th ED D&D than it does in SW Saga. I would hope the mechanic here is handled at least a bit differently.
I hope bonus damage equal to your level does not show up in D&D. It is fine in SW. Albeit bonus damage equal to your BAB to replace the lost damage potential of multiple attack would be OK.

I hope triple starting hp won't go. Bad idea. Better to state that the average hero starts at level 3. Problem solved.

Talent and feats. They could actually go even further and say. Talent = class ability, and you get one every level.
Feat is something outside your class, that modifies something not class related. Like save (be it rolled or just a defense). Save is no longer class dependent (good!), a feat like Iron Will, Lightning reflexes or Great fortitude would fit here. Skill bonuses, like skill focus. Racial feats! They said race will matter. HP boosting feats. There might not be too much variation here, but a feat every 3 level then is OK.
...I hope triple starting hp won't go. Bad idea. Better to state that the average hero starts at level 3. Problem solved...

So Level 3 becomes effectively Level 1?!? Why is that more acceptable to you?
I admit it -- not knowing about 4e is driving me crazy. So I went and bought SW Saga to see what I could learn about what 4e might be. Pathetic, I know.

I don't think you're pathetic. I was curious myself, but was unwilling to buy SWSE. I can appreciate WOTC streamlining the rules, but I'm not happy about some of the other decisions that they've made for 4E (non-compatibilty with 3.5 and replacing established D&D mythology, to be precise).

But I don't want to hi-jack your thread, so just ignore my senior-citizen grumbling! Thanks you very much for posting this and satisfying my curiosity.
I just thought of something else:

- In previous versions of the SWRPG, ranged weapons were weak.

- In D&D 3.x, ranged weapons are weak.

- Saga ranged weapons are a lot more powerful, better able to compete with melee damage-wise, having higher damage die to compensate for not being able to apply STR bonus to damage.

- So could 4e follow suit there?
Maybe the sling in 4.0 will be model the real life sling and be a decent weapon.
"If you can't believe in yourself, believe in me who believes in you." and "Go beyond the impossible, and kick reason to the curb" Kamina, from Gurren Lagann
So Level 3 becomes effectively Level 1?!? Why is that more acceptable to you?

Beacause you can still play 1st level, if the standard is 3rd level. But if the standard 1st level is equal to a 3rd level in the old editions, then you cannot play / create a lower level (N)PC.
Beacause you can still play 1st level, if the standard is 3rd level. But if the standard 1st level is equal to a 3rd level in the old editions, then you cannot play / create a lower level (N)PC.

I understand what you're saying and SAGA has already taken that into account because NPC classes do not start with 3 x hit dice in HPs at first level. In fact, these NPCs (called non-heroic characters in SAGA) only get 1d4 + Con bonus in HPs per level. Emphasizing how badass the Heroes are (as they should be AFAIC). Any characters with heroic (read: Class) levels should be tougher than the masses whether these be player characters or non-player characters (NPCs).

I'm guessing this will also be the difference between the playable Monster Manual races and their PC counterparts. ie., non-heroic Goblins get 1d4+Con per Lvl and heroic Goblin Rogues get 18+Con @ Lvl 1 and 1d6+Con per Lvl thereafter. Just a guess.
I just thought of something else:

- In previous versions of the SWRPG, ranged weapons were weak.

- In D&D 3.x, ranged weapons are weak.

- Saga ranged weapons are a lot more powerful, better able to compete with melee damage-wise, having higher damage die to compensate for not being able to apply STR bonus to damage.

- So could 4e follow suit there?

I seriously doubt it, only because thematically SW characters in the movies and books are shooting blasters which traditionally only take one (maybe two for a Wookie) hit(s) to bring someone down. As oppossed to literary fiction and movie swordfights where the duel goes on for several rounds and tough heroes and villains can take an arrow or three before going down and even then still often surviving.

Playing a melee fighter in SW is pretty rough, unless you are a blaster deflecting Jedi, I doubt D&D will be that way IMHO.
Stop all-capsing it, for crying the hell out loud.

It's just "Saga". Not SAGA. SAGA is a different thing.

I swear, if people misusing it on the boards makes "SAGA" the official name for SWSE, I might just kill somebody.
Stop all-capsing it, for crying the hell out loud.

It's just "Saga". Not SAGA. SAGA is a different thing.

I swear, if people misusing it on the boards makes "SAGA" the official name for SWSE, I might just kill somebody.

<,< >,>

SAGA SAGA SAGA SEGA SAGA

I understand what you're saying and SAGA has already taken that into account because NPC classes do not start with 3 x hit dice in HPs at first level.

But then one cannot play a heroic PC at first level (Joe Average). Considering that there were rules for playing 0 level charachters in AD&D, and such stuff keeps on comming back, I think there is a demand here.

Thus having "real" 1st level charachters allow a greater range of play styles, including very low powered to starting as heroes (higher levels).
But then one cannot play a heroic PC at first level (Joe Average). Considering that there were rules for playing 0 level charachters in AD&D, and such stuff keeps on comming back, I think there is a demand here.

Thus having "real" 1st level characters allow a greater range of play styles, including very low powered to starting as heroes (higher levels).

I think the difference may lie in the mindset that a first Level character is "Joe Average". A character with even Lvl 1 in any Class already has abilities beyond the average Joe.

Lvl 1 Barbarian uses his Rage as an effective combat weapon.
Avg Joe uses his Rage to get into a fight with his girlfriend and has to apologize later.

Lvl 1 Bard can make a howling, bloodthirsty orc stop and listen with his performances.
Avg Joe gets booed off the stage at the local karaoke bar.

Lvl 1 Cleric focuses his faith to bring the injured back from the brink of death.
Avg Joe takes a CPR class at the YMCA.

Lvl 1 Druid can calm savage beasts and bend the natural world to his whim.
Avg Joe is afraid of the neighbor's pit bull and can't keep a potted cactus alive.

Lvl 1 Fighter is trained in over a dozen weapons both melee and ranged as well as all types of armor and shields.
Avg Joe watches Pirates of the Caribbean and says, "I could do that."

Lvl 1 Monk fights without weapons or armor against armed soldiers and wins.
Avg Joe gets into a scuffle at a softball game and gets a concussion from a baseball bat.

Lvl 1 Paladin smites evil with the blessings of his god.
Avg Joe puts $5 in the collection plate and helps out at the car wash.

Lvl 1 Ranger can track a man from the faintest footprint through overgrown wilderness.
Avg Joe gets lost while camping a mile from a highway.

Lvl 1 Rogue can spot a tripwire in a dimly lit room.
Avg Joe can't kind his car keys in broad daylight.

Lvl 1 Wizard can bend the universe's energies to create a missile from thin air that always finds its target.
Avg Joe can make a mean steak! You should bring the kids by next weekend.

I'd love to play a game of D&D with Avg Joe, I wouldn't want to play Avg Joe as my character.
I'd love to play a game of D&D with Avg Joe, I wouldn't want to play Avg Joe as my character.

As for myself I would like to have a system, where a 1st level character is one fresh from military academy / wizard school / etc. (S)He is definitely not Joe Average the farmer, but s(he) is not a seasoned veteran or an archmage.

What I would like to have (and I admit this is personal taste, and thus might not coincide with other's taste) where level 1-3 is for beginner characters (acolytes, novices, green soldiers). level 4-6 is the level of veterans. 7-10 the elite troops. The truly outstanding levels start with 10+.
Stop all-capsing it, for crying the hell out loud.

It's just "Saga". Not SAGA. SAGA is a different thing.

Yeah, I know, exactly – SAGA was that revolting card system for Dragonlance, right?
Okay, okay, "SWSE" it is. Jeez.

Now, any other comments about projecting SWSE onto a D&D template?

If you look at the SWSE classes, there isn't as much distinguishing them in terms of inherent class abilities compared to D&D 3.5. In SWSE, the main differences in classes (other than talents and bonus feats) is BAB, saves, hit die, and number of trained skills. The guts of the classes are in the talents and bonus feats.

This makes me think that D&D 4e may have some talent elements, but that they've put a bunch of the class abilities in there as inherents, rather than as talents. Otherwise, why bother having 8 classes?

You could very easily do a SWSE/d20 Modern type game in D&D with just 4 (Fighter, Mage, Cleric, Rogue) classes and use the talents to customize into Paladin, Warlord, Ranger, Warlock, etc. Since they are apparently not doing that, I'd guess that the 4e classes get more inherent class stuff to distinguish them from other classes, and then get to customize from there.
So, comments on this given what we know now:

1. Feats are retained, and there are more of them. Each class gets bonus feats, just a different list. Though any character can take any feat at levels 3, 6, 9, etc.

2. No dead levels. Every level gives you a goodie.

3. Talents are class-specific abilities. Most classes have several talent "trees," and some talents have other talents as prerequisites.

There's no proof, but I feel confident that these will all be carrying over into 4th edition, though we know that talents will be "somewhat different" according to the devs. In what way, we can't know.

4. Multiclassing is wide open but you don't get all of the goodies that a single-classed character got when he started at level 1 in that class. IIRC you just get one of the bonus bits, not all of them. For instance, if you multiclass into soldier (the "Fighter" class of SW Saga), you don't automatically get all of the weapon/armor proficiencies.

This will almost certainly be used in 4th edition. We know multiclassing restrictions are gone, and it makes sense (in that case) to give lesser benefits to somebody who multiclasses into class X than somebody who started there.

(To be clear: If you are a 1st level Soldier, you get half a dozen feats that grant various weapon-group and armor proficiencies. If you multiclass into Soldier, you get to pick ONE of those half-dozen, and any others you want, you'll have to buy the usual way. Thus, a Scout who picks up a level of Soldier is not necessarily proficient with medium armor -- but might be.)

6. Not all stuff causes AoOs. Grappling and standing up, for instance, do not trigger AoOs.

Since reducing the number of AOO-causing actions has been specifically mentioned in the blogs, this is definitely in.

Note also that in SWSE, Withdraw is a move action, and you move half your speed. That means you can make an attack (a standard action) and then withdraw (a move action) in the same turn -- but doing that will never get you far enough away to deny your opponent the ability to reengage you.

Also note that charging is a standard action that moves you up to your speed, so you can move in a curvy line as a move action, then charge in a straight line as a standard action, so charging is easier to deal with.

6a. There are no 5-foot steps in SW Saga. Any move is a move action.

See my previous comments about withdraws. There's no such thing as a 5' step, but if you want to you can use a withdraw action to move one square, as a move action, and you'll never take an AOO for doing so.

8. All rolls are attack rolls. There are no saving/defense rolls.

9. Reflex Defense is now an amalgamation of the Reflex save and Armor Class.

The first is clearly in, and the second is clearly out. It's confirmed that there are FOUR defenses in 4th edition -- AC, Reflex, Will, and Fortitude, where AC includes your armor and Reflex is effectively your "touch AC". Note how mechanically useful that is -- a fireball and a ray both attack the same number (your reflex defense), and there's no confusion about what happens when you're flat footed or whatever.

10. Your Reflex Defense includes the greater of your character level or armor. So, without uber armor, mid level characters are better off without it.

This is probably out. That's a rule that's meant to reflect the generally armorless universe of Star Wars, and in the armored-up D&D universe, it's not necessary. Also, because AC and Reflex are different things, there's no paradox to armor applying or not applying against explosive attacks.

11. Everything can be critically hit.

And it appears that there's no such thing as a confirmation roll. If you roll a crit, it's a crit. Period. Nobody ever looks at you and steals your thunder by saying, "Sorry, you didn't confirm."

13. Death occurs when you are at or below 0 hit points and the damage dealt exceeds your damage threshold, which is your Fortitude Defense. This is functionally the massive damage rule. Force points can be used to avoid death. An unconscious character can still be the victim of a coup de grace, though.

Probably in, no data. There were early complaints that it was too hard to kill PCs, but that seems to be more along the lines of being unable to stop the fighter from getting enough healing to stay on his feet -- not the difference between death and unconsciousness.

On the other hand, that method is designed for SW, which lacks any method to rez a dead character. It's not clear that this will carry over into D&D.

14. Certain effects (powers, poison, etc.) reduce your status, which is an independent measurement from your hit points. These essentially lower your combat effectiveness and movement and eventually lead to unconsciousness.

It looks like condition track is out for 4th edition; Dave Noonan's blog (or was it a podcast?) discussed working on the names for various status conditions. The Spined Devil's stat card confirms that Slowed is a status condition, and Dave Noonan talked about how Nauseated is a nice mechanical condition, but the word is over-descriptive -- limiting you to a move action doesn't necessarily have to do with stomach distress, though the name suggests that it does.

15. New heroic characters start with triple max HP for their class, plus Con bonus.

It's confirmed that starting characters are much tougher than in 3rd edition. Whether they specifically gain triple-max-hp or not, won't be known until the system is released.

16. The skill system is extremely streamlined. If a skill can be used untrained, anyone can roll adding their character level and ability score modifier. Being trained in the skill simply gives you a static +5 to the roll. Certain skills can only be used if you are trained. Many of the skills are amalgamated: "Perception" replaces Spot, Listen, and Search, for instance.

It seems clear that the SWSE skill system IS the 4th edition skill system, with some tweaks. However, the Spined Devil monster card lists both Perception and a seperate entry for Spot -- whether this is a typo or reflects some sort of specialization mechanic (allowing you to have a better Spot than Listen, for example), is not known.

18. Prestige classes are retained. Multiclassing between PrCs is fine.

Some comments have suggested that PRCs may not be out, but will be greatly curtailed. This is, again, something we probably won't really know until the release.


Overall, I think it looks very good -- the system is going to be a lot more streamlined, and removes complexity only where that complexity causes slowdowns and confusion -- not where it's fun, like picking new powers at level-up. And thank you, it seems like they've finally eliminated the "5th level fighter" problem, where some levels give you absolutely no benefit.
I think a good guess on how Talents will work would be to look at Modern d20, they have classes that give out talents and feats.... no dead levels... and talents scale.
...What I would like to have (and I admit this is personal taste, and thus might not coincide with other's taste) where level 1-3 is for beginner characters (acolytes, novices, green soldiers). level 4-6 is the level of veterans. 7-10 the elite troops. The truly outstanding levels start with 10+.

I completely understand what you're saying there kunadam and I agree with your descriptions of those Levels. I think you'll find that having Lvl 1 characters who are more survivable won't take away from those roles. Most DMs in 3.5 either give extremely generous RP awards to get characters past Lvl 1 or they fudge rolls to keep low level characters alive. In SWSE, you don't have to do either. Lvl 1 characters in SWSE can have adventurers the same way Lvl 12 characters can without coddling or fudging. I hope we do get (3xHD)+Con Bonus HPs for Lvl 1 characters and if it isn't in the book, I'll just House Rule it.
Your hope is probably more well founded than mine.
Fudging roll can be made part of the rules by an action point system, which allows reroll. That is OK with me, PC are destined to be heroes, in time. They survive where others would not. 3xHP is just not elegant. IMHO
I don't remember where I read it, but I believe there is a rumor going around that D&D 4th will double the HD at first level. This seems to feel right to me. Triple was good for Star Wars because heroes are invulnerable to stormtroopers. In D&D, no one is invulnerable to anything. But, at the same time, I'm tired of my first level Wizard having almost the same HP as a cat. And I shouldn't have to bring up the starting level to fix that.
Double hp might work. Then there could be a real 0th level.
1d8 hp or 1d6 hp. +0 BAB, +0 saves, 3*(6+Int) skill points (I like skill points)
Share +3 among the saves, none can have a +3. With feat/skill selection reflecting background.

Have 1st level as any other level. Your BAB, save, skill point, etc from your class, the very same you would do from 1st to 2nd, from 2nd to 3rd, etc.

That would be great.
0th level = NPC classes IMO. If you want to start the PCs off as completely average, inexperienced people then start them with NPC classes and have them 'graduate' into PC classes.

I really don't see, say, a fighter as being some kind of totally badass swordmaster right from level 1. When I hear stuff like "Anyone with PC class levels is exceptional" I take it to mean they have exceptional potential. You may be a quicker study than the other students, you may grasp deeper concepts that they don't, but at level 1 you're still totally inexperienced and a 5th level warrior is going to kick your ass.

I agree that playing characters at 1st level where they aren't at all distinguished or powerful can be fun, and that's just the point - I want to PLAY those levels. A lucky critical from an Orc one-shotting the character I put a lot of work into developing is just not fun, it makes me not want to play those levels where I otherwise would.

I do agree to an extent though. 3x HP coupled with Saga style death rules and action points might be a bit too much.

Either way it's super easy to house rule.
So Level 3 becomes effectively Level 1?!? Why is that more acceptable to you?

Because the PCs are not the only characters in the game world.
As for myself I would like to have a system, where a 1st level character is one fresh from military academy / wizard school / etc. (S)He is definitely not Joe Average the farmer, but s(he) is not a seasoned veteran or an archmage.

What I would like to have (and I admit this is personal taste, and thus might not coincide with other's taste) where level 1-3 is for beginner characters (acolytes, novices, green soldiers). level 4-6 is the level of veterans. 7-10 the elite troops. The truly outstanding levels start with 10+.

In D&D 3.5, a PC is elite from the very beginning. This is represented by the fact that PC classes are a great deal more powerful than NPC classes. A green soldier is a level 1 Warrior; a level 1 Fighter may be fresh out of boot camp, but he was the one who graduated from boot camp with honors and is the most promising soldier seen in many generations.
If the saves are handled differend it would be funny to see how they implement the paladin. Paladins are about high AC and high Saves esentially.
That would be easy. Even in 3rd his high save come partially from Divine Grace. That would remain.
I hope they keep the condition track - one of my favorite additions.
I hope they keep the condition track - one of my favorite additions.

Looking at the Spined Devil stats, I think you're out of luck; the only hp mechanic I see is the Bloodied condition.
Yeah, I read the other posts.

I may houserule condition track in, instead. Special Conditions is the bane of my existence.
Special Conditions is the bane of my existence.

Yep, 3rd edition Nausea is a killer (as in way overpowered).
I highly agree with the Condition Track. Instead of having a mechanic that makes the characters tired or injured as they lose hit points, we get one that allows them to dish out more damage. We'll see when the game comes out, but I really think I'll be houseruling the Condition Track in and maybe even ditching the Bloodied mechanic.