Leveling Attack, Defense & Damage Bonuses

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Star Wars Saga Edition made some interesting rules for level-dependent effects.

Every level gained gave the following.

Star Wars Saga:
+0-1 Attack
+1 Defense
3.5, 4.5, or 5.5 HP
1/2 damage bonus
1/2 skill bonus

The disadvantage of these this system is that Force Powers (Spells equivalent for D&D) is based off of the Use the Force Skill which only increases by 1/2 every level but defenses increase by 1 every level. So, by level 20, skills will hardly work since they'll either fail or do half damage.

Another disadvantage is that a person with non-full BAB will have 15 BAB vs. 20 BAB at 20th level. If this is extrapolated to high levels then the non full BAB will never be able to hit people of equal level.

How about

Idea 1:
+1 Attack
+1 Defense
3.5, 4.5, or 5.5 HP
+1 damage
+1 skill bonus

I am trying to think of good possible systems that can last forever. So that the game could easily last forever. Attack and Defense stay with each other, so no numerical discrepancies at high levels. Skill based attacks stay consistent with defenses, so no problems there. Damage increases less than average HP increases.

This system could go on forever past 20, 60, 100 etc.. However, the damage and skill bonuses do increase very quickly compared to stat bonuses. The system could do

Idea 2:
+1/2 Attack
+1/2 Defense
3.5, 4.5, or 5.5 HP
+1/2 damage
+1/2 skill bonus

Of course this makes even levels awesome and odd levels more boring. Damage keeps up even worse with HP gain which may be good or bad.


I'm just thinking. What are all of you all's thoughts?

As a general statement. Does the game really lose anything by making every type of character gain an attack bonus when they level?
You conveniently gloss over the fact that Skills are +5 for trained and +10 for skill focus.

d20 (average 10.5) +10 (level 20) + 10 (skill focus) = average 30.5 (No Charisma modifier)

10 (base) + 20 (heroic levels) = 30 (no class bonuses)
True, but I'm talking in a hypothetical situation which doesn't have to include the +5 for trained and +5 for Skill Focus.

One way around this is to make the base defense bonuses +5 for a class. So if it was a Jedi perhaps +3 +3 +3 or a Scoundrel +5 Ref + 4 Will

But we need to talk about it. I do like +5 bonus for trained and the +5 bonus for skill focused, but if we need to get rid of skill focus or chop it down to +3 or +2 we can do that. Alternatively, we can make skill focus grow stronger as one levels rather than the base +5 it gives initially.
Untrained skill use should NOT keep up with the challenging situations.
It is there is SWSE so that even untrained characters could preform certain task at a minimal level (repairing, climbing, jumping, etc.), thus JosephKell has a valid point!

If everyone would have the same BAB/save/skill/etc then each character would be perfectly balanced. And they would be boring also...
In the system that you have proposed characters differ in their hp and the number of skill they have. Not so much difference.

BAB 20 level guys are definitely not ordinary guys. A 20the level fighter is most probably the best combatant available around. So why it is a problem that he can hit something 25% better than the best scroundel around (who is not famous of being a great warrior, but for thiefing the emperor's crow from his own head)? Hey in D&D a 20th level wizard is a considerable melee combatant even without spell! Just imagine the number of 1st level townguard he can defeat with a staff!
Thus varying BAB should remain.
Damage In similar vein I would suggest BAB/2 as a damage modifier, thus creating a difference between a fighter and a wizard. Remember the damage bonus is installed to offset the removal of multiple attack (the +20/+15/+10/+5 type).
Defense Ref/Fort/Will can definitely be +1/level. Fine with me. AC should increase in a different manner. It can be a source of differentiation. Like rogous being very good at avoiding blows, but not dealing blows. AC increase can be like BAB increase or less spread out with bad ending at +15, medium at +17 and good at +20.
Skill either retain the original skill point system, where skill increased +1/level (preferred!!!), or use the SWSE model. The effect of trained and skill focus should not be ignored!
Thank you kunadam for responding.

You make a few interesting points and I'll respond to them with numbers

1. I'm not actually understanding what JosephKnell is saying. If you're level 20 with skill focus and trained it's 10.5 (avg) +10 (level) + 10 (Skill focused +Trained) = 30.5 vs. 10.5 (avg) +10 (level) = 20.5 Untrained

2. You make an interesting point, you could make it so that only trained skills of your character get the level bonus. Perhaps untrained skills get no bonus or 1/4 bonus or something

3. The game will be fun because of the talents and feats and uniqueness that each class has. BAB should not make a class feel less unique

4. I want to create a D20 game system that can potentially level on forever and be fine numerically. This is why numerical differences between Attack, Defense, and skill has to be even I believe. Yes, you are right a 15 BAB vs. 20 BAB isn't a big deal at level 20. It's a big deal at level 40 though when it's 40 BAB vs. 30 BAB, and it gets worse after that.

5. BAB/2 as a damage modifier is an interesting idea. I think that level/2 is easier and simpler and better and fine though. It is an interesting idea, however.

6. Defense Bonuses related to BAB is interesting, however the same problem erupts when this happens and you apply it to a large scale beyond level 20.

7. Skill points take too long in my opinion for little benefit. I prefer the SWSE method. Ideas for a better system are always open of course. :D
You really think a Fighter 20 and a Wizard 20 should have the same BAB? That seems pretty weird to me.
You really think a Fighter 20 and a Wizard 20 should have the same BAB? That seems pretty weird to me.

Give me an alternative that scales into epic levels and doesn't permanently end up rendering a Wizard a 5% chance to hit. ;)
Epic bab rules?
That's possible, and I have thought of that, but it's kind of messy since after level 20 everything is the same, and people are encouraged to multi into only Full BAB classes before 20 and then multiclass into whatever they'd like after that (since their BAB would be the same with Wizards).

However, I would rather perhaps that the Warrior type classes would have plenty of opportunities for intrinsic bonuses to attack as a part of their class abilities. Perhaps some generic talents and feats that only fighters could get?

So perhaps only fighters and not wizards would get abilities that increased their attack bonus.
epic BAB progression was a problem, like skill x4 at first level. It made multiclassing very restrictive, because who in his right mind would strat as afighter and switch to rogue at lvl 2 or start as a wizard and switch to fighter at lvl 20...

I personally have no problem wth a wizard hitting only at 20 against an equal level fighter. A fighter can´t cast spells to insta gib the wizard, so at least he should be the better warrior. If the wizard wants to hit, he hould multiclass.
However vs an equal level wizard he should hit quite often, so maybe defnse scaling like bab should do fine.

But wearing armor also has to be considered in DnD, so ac can improve even slower, or equally slow for all classes, so that the wizard is easier to hit because he doesn´t wear armor.

my suggestion would be retain bab as it is, use reflex safe as base boni for AC and you have already a quite usefull progression for 3.5.
Give me an alternative that scales into epic levels and doesn't permanently end up rendering a Wizard a 5% chance to hit. ;)

I guess I don't fundamentally have a problem with that. I mean, fighters have a 0% chance to cast a spell, why should wizards be able to fight?

The right trick, IMO, is to figure out a way so that spells, special abilities like sneak attack, and plain fighting all stay comparably effective ad infinitum. That way, a 100th level wizard, fighter, and rogue would all be effective, but the wizard would cast, the fighter would fight, and the rogue would sneak.

Anyway, the 4e designers seem to think they've hit on a solution. I'm eager to see it.
I guess I don't fundamentally have a problem with that. I mean, fighters have a 0% chance to cast a spell, why should wizards be able to fight?

The right trick, IMO, is to figure out a way so that spells, special abilities like sneak attack, and plain fighting all stay comparably effective ad infinitum. That way, a 100th level wizard, fighter, and rogue would all be effective, but the wizard would cast, the fighter would fight, and the rogue would sneak.

Anyway, the 4e designers seem to think they've hit on a solution. I'm eager to see it.

Yeah, I'm thinking that armor and other stuff warriors will already have. So at equal levels it doesn't matter what the warrior and the wizard are to each other. I would guess perhaps that a warrior might have armor that gives him +8 to AC. Levels equal out the defense and attack. So the wizard would have to get a 10+8 to hit him barring other factors. So warriors can still be tanks throughout their entire lives. I think this also removes there to be any need for concepts such as touch AC. Armor adds to your AC period which is good and simpler.

One general thought of mine is that BAB as a whole is a poor attempt at balancing. It seems to me it would be better to put everyone on a level playing field, and if fighters need advantages in hitting then give them class abilities and whatnot, but not BAB.

I agree with you about scaling abilities ad infinitum. I'm eager to see what they do as well. I have a feeling though that like for 3rd edition, they're really only planning for levels 1-30 and the rest of the levels will be an afterthought and unbalanced.
I do not see any need for a system that scale to infinite levels (or close). At infinity any minor difference between characters become infinite. The only exception would be that the difference between the two BABs (for example) is a saturating function of level, thus after a while the difference stay constant. Exactly the the old epic rule...

Lets assume everyone have the same BAB (+0.5 / level), HP (1d6), saves (+1/level) and skill progression (4 skill pick and SWSE progression). That is balanced in itself. The only difference is then talents and feats (or whatever you want to call them). Fine.

Everyone gets one feat every level. The guy that are better at fighting can take a feat that gives them +1 attack bonus. Similarly the wizard type can take one that gives them +1 caster level (remember everyone gets +0 caster level / character level, thus wizards would need it).

It might even work! Would scale rather OK. But in order to build a wizard one needs to take the same feat (or feat tree) every time in order to keep on advancing as a wizard. Boring, as then they might ask why not built it into a class?
You might give the characters 2 feats / level. But then you give more room to optimization which will surely break the system.
The problem with BAB scaling isn't that a wizard has zero chance of hitting at high level, it's that the rogue can't hit either. Or the fighter/wizard can't hit. It also screws up multiclassing at some levels due to fractions not adding.

My solution: Front load BAB. Everyone gets their class level to BAB. Classes also grant a class bonus to attack, like the class bonuses to Defense in SW:SE. That way everyone scales the same, but the fighter always has a better chance of hitting than the cleric or wizard. The difference doesn't need to increase except through abilities and feats (i.e. Weapon Focus).

There might also be a class bonus to spellcasting, and the two could be balanced off each other. For instance, maybe the fighter gets +3 class bonus to attack and +0 class bonus to spellcasting. While the wizard gets +0 to attack and +3 to spellcasting. The cleric could get +1 to attack and +2 to spellcasting.
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