Two birds with one stone: Magic Items and Weapon Expertise

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I've read through the thread and can't seem to find an answer to a question I have: Why go with a bonus at 1,5,11,15... instead of 1,6,11,16.. as it matches the magical item bonuses? Level 5 magical items tend to be +1 and this proposed system has the +2 bonus at level 5.

Also, what happens if you do not allow magical items the tier bonus of +1,+2,+3 and just rule that the magical item crit bonus' apply at the rate of per plus? For example, +1d6 at character level 1-5, +2d6 at character level 6-10, etc. Therefore, a character could find a sword at level 3, already have the +1 through his character instead of the item, and when he gets to level 6 (or 5 for whatever reason) he could then immediately apply the inherent +2 and +2d6 on crit.

I like this system and wish to apply it, but these are nagging concerns you see.
I've read through the thread and can't seem to find an answer to a question I have: Why go with a bonus at 1,5,11,15... instead of 1,6,11,16.. as it matches the magical item bonuses? Level 5 magical items tend to be +1 and this proposed system has the +2 bonus at level 5.


I did this as a personal choice but with these reasons to back it:
It's not guaranteed that every character in the party will get a +2 weapon by the time they're level 6. Since these "player bonuses" happen automatically, I found it best to keep the bonuses on odd numbers to avoid drastic jumps in bonuses as it wouldn't overlap with the half-level bonus.

Also, what happens if you do not allow magical items the tier bonus of +1,+2,+3 and just rule that the magical item crit bonus' apply at the rate of per plus? For example, +1d6 at character level 1-5, +2d6 at character level 6-10, etc. Therefore, a character could find a sword at level 3, already have the +1 through his character instead of the item, and when he gets to level 6 (or 5 for whatever reason) he could then immediately apply the inherent +2 and +2d6 on crit.


That isn't a bad idea at all. I figure we chose the whole "effects based on double the enhancement" for the same of simplicity.
I've seen other variations of this where the number of crit dice isn't based on the weapon but the character level. If you wanted to use that, just add a crit dice for each "player bonus" granted at the appropriate levels.

As for not even having enhancement bonuses whatsoever, that wouldn't be too hard to work with. Just give players access to the Expertise feats again in case they need them and base crit dice on character level (as mentioned).
Now for me, I prefer weapons have a small role in attack and damage bonuses than none at all, but that is my personal preference and in no way are the rules limiting you to that.

Another bit of food for thought:

I just implement the rule as per first post of this thread with my group, and as they get the hang of it I'm going to strip magic items of enhancement bonuses beyond +1 and give them +1 attack and damage at level 11 and +1 again at level 21.  Then weapons become their properties and powers and crit bonus dice and so forth. 

All weapons are either mundane or +1, the epic level weapons have more awesome abilities and powers. 

The same will go for armour, I eventually want to strip it down so that all armour is +1 as with weapons - but armour is more complicated so I haven't put thought into it yet.  For now, I want to ween them onto the "magic weapons are only a little special" because I don't want them to feel like their character is their items, but instead just that their items are a unique embellishment their character has.  Without, they would still be powerful. 

This also gives them more resources to pour into upgrading, advertising and outfitting their adventuring guild hall (and perhaps someday expanding out to other locations).  But that's a campaign specific detail, though it's partially what motivates the changes I'm making.
Nice. I like the concept. It's pretty clear that this was the original intent of the system: "to make characters more than just the sum of their items". Or something like that. Tongue out
This is something we have MMOs to thank for mostly, and working to reverse that concept is taking a while.
One of my players started DMing, he's using this rule, but I also hear his items have +8 enhancement bonuses at level 6. I'd rather not go into detail as to the other abominations he's made, but it's clear he still can't get WoW out of his head when he's at the table.
I see, the tier bonus for magical weapons is there to replace the expertise feat tax. I like it and thank you for the clarification. Even though it doesn't match the feat perfectly (+2 coming at level 15, +3 at 25) it's nicer to link the bonus to the tier rather than a level in the middle and I like it. Thanks to all involved, this thread and previous, for helping to create this system.
Hey, this thread is back.  Hi there!


Thanks to all involved, this thread and previous, for helping to create this system.

Quick question:  "This thread and previous."  Which previous thread are you referring to?  I'm curious to hear.

I've read through the thread and can't seem to find an answer to a question I have: Why go with a bonus at 1,5,11,15... instead of 1,6,11,16.. as it matches the magical item bonuses? Level 5 magical items tend to be +1 and this proposed system has the +2 bonus at level 5.

I actually prefer the 1, 6, 11... progression.  Those jumps that PrimeSonic described, dangerous as they might sound, have actually been happening for a long time now.  Remember how you get +1 to your ability scores at certain levels?  If you started out with an even ability score, your ability bonus will go up by 1 at levels 8, 14, 21, and 28.  That means you're already getting a total of +2 to attacks at levels 8, 14, and 28.  Adding 6, 16, and 26 to that mix doesn't seem like a bad thing to me.

Also, what happens if you do not allow magical items the tier bonus of +1,+2,+3 and just rule that the magical item crit bonus' apply at the rate of per plus? For example, +1d6 at character level 1-5, +2d6 at character level 6-10, etc. Therefore, a character could find a sword at level 3, already have the +1 through his character instead of the item, and when he gets to level 6 (or 5 for whatever reason) he could then immediately apply the inherent +2 and +2d6 on crit.

I'm not quite sure what you're asking here, but whatever it is I think PrimeSonic answered pretty well.  I'll just add my two cents:

The reason I kept the crit dice tied to weapons, rather than characters, is pretty simple: I wanted to keep magic items powerful.  If all your magic sword does is give you a fun power once per day, then for the rest of the day it's indistinguishable from a regular sword.  You could get the same benefit from a regular sword with a potion tied to its pommel.

If, however, your magic sword deals extra damage on a crit, suddenly you have a reason to keep it around.  Without it, a crit is just "yay, max damage."  With it, it's "Whoa, max damage PLUS all these extra dice!"  And while that extra damage won't show up all that often--once every twenty attacks, right--there's still that chance, each and every time you roll, that your sword could suddenly make its presence known with a heaping handful of magical pain.

In other words, although you won't see a significant difference in your actual rate of success when you go from a regular sword to a magic one, or a magical one to a more powerful one, you'll still feel way more powerful every time you roll a crit and see the crazy damage increase.  This goes perfectly with my philosophy of "fewer but cooler".

Also, just as a side note, there are certain weapons and implements that are only balanced because they don't give any bonus to crit damage.  Handling those would be difficult if crit dice were an inherent bonus. Either you'd lose your inherent dice whenever you picked up such an item, which is weird, or you'd keep them, which would be overpowered.

Another bit of food for thought:

I just implement the rule as per first post of this thread with my group, and as they get the hang of it I'm going to strip magic items of enhancement bonuses beyond +1 and give them +1 attack and damage at level 11 and +1 again at level 21.  Then weapons become their properties and powers and crit bonus dice and so forth.

All weapons are either mundane or +1, the epic level weapons have more awesome abilities and powers.

The same will go for armour, I eventually want to strip it down so that all armour is +1 as with weapons - but armour is more complicated so I haven't put thought into it yet.  For now, I want to wean them onto the "magic weapons are only a little special" because I don't want them to feel like their character is their items, but instead just that their items are a unique embellishment their character has.  Without, they would still be powerful.

Sure, I guess that's cool.  I mean, it's not really "the rule as per first post of this thread" in any conceivable way, but it's fine if that's what you're into.

Just one thing I'd like to address, though:
I want to wean them onto the "magic weapons are only a little special" because I don't want them to feel like their character is their items.

I don't quite understand this point of view.  No, that's not quite right.  I understand it, I just think it's a little weird.

I mean yes, of course it shouldn't cripple a character to lose all his magic items.  4e characters are badasses; they don't need items to make them cool.

But the thing is: why can't items be awesome too?  Why can't there be magical staves of legendary power?  What's wrong with a weapon that can chop mountains in half?  Magic items shouldn't need wielders to make them cool, either.

Magic items have been a staple of the genre since the very beginning.  What would Achilles be without his armour?  What would Arthur be without Exaclibur?  What would Bilbo Baggins be without the One Ring?

The answer is "Still awesome, but not quite as much so."  Powerful magic items, properly handled, don't detract from a character; they enhance it.  Finding a new item doesn't detract from the finder's glory.  He's still the one who delved the dungeons of eternal dread, fought its ferocious guardian, and claimed its fabled helm as his prize.  The fame and glory aren't a property of the item itself; they're found in the gaining of the item.

So yes, by all means don't let the items overshadow the characters.  Just don't take that to mean that items should be weak.  There's a middle ground.
Hrm, you raise an interesting point.

My view came from a lengthy discussion I had with a player when he posed the scenario of his character hanging from a branch over a rushign waterfall faced with the choice "drop his sword or fall".  With no other options present to him, he decided due to the incredible power his sword gave him that without it he was as good as dead anyway so would take his chances with his fall.

The system presented in the first post I think does, upon deeper reflection (and having played a couple sessions under it, with no personal ammendments as of yet) accomplish this desire - to make the sword less valuable than the character.  The +6 Vorpal Bastard Sword at epic level was simply too good compared to the character, but the +3 is completely reasonable to throw away in exchange for your life. 

I totally see what you are saying about the awesomeness of items, but the examples you give are the types of items I cast as Artifacts, or Wondrous Items (to borrow from 3.5).  However, I have decided not to "mundane-ify" the magic items of this partiuclar campaign.  Maybe in a low-magic world sometime in the future, sounds neat to me, but this game is going to run with this houserule as written.
Glad you like it.

Your "drop the sword or fall" example is kind of a funny scenario, if you think about it.  On the one hand, refusing to drop the sword could be a completely metagame decision, with the player recognizing that he'll be severely gimped without it.  On the other, this could just as easily be a "Frodo at Mount Doom" or "Indiana Jones with the Grail" situation; the decision is made entirely for RP reasons, and good, complex ones at that.  It's weird, but a character could make exactly the same choice for wildly different reasons.

Of course, the way you describe it, it sounds like your player's reason is the first one.  And that's oh well.  But there's a bright side: now that you know your player is the sort who might do this kind of thing, risking his life for a magic weapon, you can use that knowledge to put him in some really interesting situations.

Give him an important item.  Not necessarily a powerful one, but one that has some real importance of an RP sort.  Maybe it's a +1 Avalanche Mace that belonged to his father until he was murdered by a warlock; with this weapon, and no other, has he sworn to take his vengeance.  Maybe he's given the key to the kingdom in recognition of his service to the crown; the key works as a Chime of Opening, but that function pales in comparison to the prestige of merely owning it (or the shame of losing it).  Maybe the shield just looks really cool and unique, and if he loses it he'll never find one that looks the same.

I guess what I'm saying is, it's okay for players to value their epic item as if it was +6, as long as three of those plusses are sentimental value.

Oh, and about "mundanifying" items in low-magic campaigns, I completely agree.  My system would be utterly inappropriate in such a campaign.  Much better to use the standard itemless system in that case.  Likewise, my system would also be a bad idea in a kick-in-the-door, no-plot, dungeons-only, Final-Destination campaign.  My system is made for high and heroic fantasy, and should be used as such.
Lgfig, I was referring to other threads i've seen on the topic of houseruling the "broken" math of the game, be it house rules for feats, inherant bonus', etc. You've sold me on why the crit damage should stay with the weapons instead of with the characters themselves, thanks.

Does anyone have any updates to this system after having some time to incorporate it in their game?
Yeah, I actually just updated it the other day.  Added some other scaling itels to the mix, made a few special exceptions for artifacts and alchemical items, and expanded the list of masterwork armours.  I also rewrote certain parts of the discussion section to reflect some of the points that have been raised in the thread.

I believe your math is off by three points when it comes to expected static damage output. Here's the division of bonuses for the standard system compared to yours as I calculate them.


Standard:


  • +6 from enhancement bonuses

  • +3 from feats

  • +6 from iron armbands of power/bracers of archery


For a total of +15.

In your system:
  • +6 from mastery bonuses

  • +3 from enhancement bonuses

  • +3 from feats

  • +6 from iron armbands of power/bracers of archery


For a total of +18.

Normally I wouldn't mind a slight +3 power creep to static damage, but as I understand it, static damage is what breaks one of the most unbalanced aspect of 4th edition: powers granting multiple damage rolls (such as the ranger's ranged and two-weapon fighting line). As such, my suggestion is to find a way to take away the +3 extra static damage. The two easy solutions I can think of are either to take away the enhancement bonuses from the calculation of damage rolls or (my own favorite) to get rid of the damage increasing line of feats like weapon focus, astral fire, dark fury, etc.

However, this does have the side effect of making it easier for implement wielders to get their +3 feat bonuses to damage on all their powers in spite of the damage type...

Finally, I want to congratulate you on your homebrew rule, I used to have a very similar system for my magic item deprived homebrew setting (with slightly higher mastery bonuses, to balance the complete lack of enhancement bonuses). However, I've recently had world events in my setting that caused magic items to slowly reappear, I believe your math is perfect to maintain the balance and general magic level for this new era of my homebrew setting; I plan on using it accordingly. So big thanks to you for sparing me all the math!
Oh yeah... I remember noticing the +3 damage and discounting it as not important, but I never did take multiattacking into account.

I'm not a big fan of the idea of removing damage bonuses from magic weapons, myself; magic swords should cut better (+damage) as well as having better balance (+to hit).

Removing the damage feats would fit logically with the rest of the system, but I'm not too keen on that, either.  My system is about removing the need for feat taxes (among other things), but nobody would ever call Weapon Focus a feat tax.  Moreover, one of my favorite series of feats is the "racial weapons" one; that is, the feats that give proficiency in some superior weapons and +2/+3/+4 damage with them.  If Weapon Focus were lost, those feats would be just proficiency and +1 damage, which is kind of weak.
(But other than that, it's a reasonable suggestion.)

My current favorite idea is to remove mastery bonuses to damage, while doubling enhancement bonuses to damage.  That is, +1 weapons get +2 damage, +2 get +4, and +3 get +6.  This follows the same pattern as crit bonuses, and retains the desired balance.  What do you think?

And thanks for the kind words!
My current favorite idea is to remove mastery bonuses to damage, while doubling enhancement bonuses to damage.  That is, +1 weapons get +2 damage, +2 get +4, and +3 get +6.  This follows the same pattern as crit bonuses, and retains the desired balance.  What do you think?



Sounds good! And another possibilty could simply be to cut in two the item bonus to damage from Iron Armbands, Bracers of Archery, Staff of Ruin. I never liked these items anyway; they only reduce the number of interesting items for their proper slot. Perhaps with a lower bonus to damage people would be attracted other my flavorful pieces of equipment...
The more I think about this idea, the more I like it.  I need to read the whole thread closely, then I'll reply with my ideas.
Sounds good! And another possibilty could simply be to cut in two the item bonus to damage from Iron Armbands, Bracers of Archery, Staff of Ruin. I never liked these items anyway; they only reduce the number of interesting items for their proper slot. Perhaps with a lower bonus to damage people would be attracted other my flavorful pieces of equipment...


That's... wow.  That's beautiful.

Really, that's a perfect solution.  It elegantly solves both the damage imbalance and the problem of those overpowered items.  In fact, if you think about it, those items could be considered an 'item tax' in the same way as Weapon Expertise is a feat tax.  Since part of the point of my system is to cut down on taxes, that makes your idea even more perfect.

I'll add a clause about item bonuses to the OP.


My current favorite idea is to remove mastery bonuses to damage, while doubling enhancement bonuses to damage.  That is, +1 weapons get +2 damage, +2 get +4, and +3 get +6.  This follows the same pattern as crit bonuses, and retains the desired balance.  What do you think?


This is a cool idea, but I think it swings the balance of power further back towards "items are required, otherwise you are gimped."


And another possibilty could simply be to cut in two the item bonus to damage from Iron Armbands, Bracers of Archery, Staff of Ruin. I never liked these items anyway; they only reduce the number of interesting items for their proper slot. Perhaps with a lower bonus to damage people would be attracted other my flavorful pieces of equipment...


THIS.


Also, a different thought I had was to give characters a +1 to attack at first level, but not a +1 to damage.  The effect of this would be that their damage output at 30th level would only be two points higher than normal instead of three.

As far as iron armbands and the like, what if you were only able to apply the bonus to damage once per round? Or even once per standard action (thus letting you use action points to full effect)?  That would balance multiple attacks better.


Not wanting to sound rude, but we already considered a lot of combinations. I only chose this 1,5 pattern because it spreads the bonuses out a little more smoothly.

...

All characters receive the following at levels 1,5,11,15,21,25:
+1 to all attack rolls
+1 to all defenses
+1 to all damage rolls



I agree with the reasoning behind 1,5,11,15... instead of 1,6,11,16... It makes the power curve more smooth, with more +1 per level bonuses and fewer +2 per level jumps.  As I just said, I would amend this to give +1 attack and defense at first level, but not +1 damage.



Another thought I had was to give the mastery bonuses at 3,7,13,17,23,27.  I chose those levels because I wanted to smooth the power curve as much as possible.  It turned out to be only slightly more smooth than 1,5,11,15... so is not worth the extra effort.
Well, I've already said why I prefer the 1, 6, 11... progression, so I won't reiterate that.  I might add, though, that I think a daily power is already plenty for levels 5, 15, and 25.  A daily plus a +1 to everything would be overdoing it.

But really,  it doesn't matter all that much which levels you choose.  The bonuses will all get there in the end.


So anyway, I've been thinking about giving this system a proper name.  Can't just keep calling it "my system" all the time.   (Plus, it's not entirely mine anymore, what with all the input I've gotten from you guys.)  A few random ideas:

The "One Stone" System - just because that's what the thread is called.
The Mastery System - mastery bonuses are how it works.
The Revised Item Progression - that's what it is.
The Middle-Ground Progression - ditto.
The Intrepid System - what it encourages its users to be.

Those are pretty middling-quality, though.  Is anyone here better than me at naming things?

I don't want to call it "The Igfig System" for a few reasons, the foremost being that I've got a few other systems in the works and I don't want people to get confused in the future.
One Stone

It is unique and will cause the least confusion.  I love this system btw, and will be using it.
Well, I've already said why I prefer the 1, 6, 11... progression, so I won't reiterate that.  I might add, though, that I think a daily power is already plenty for levels 5, 15, and 25.  A daily plus a +1 to everything would be overdoing it.


I understand your reasoning here.  However, since characters are already getting a feat, a utility, AND a +1 everything at 6, 16, and 26, giving an extra +1 seemed silly to me.  Getting a daily AND a +1 everything at 5, 15, and 25 doesn't seem like overkill to me when compared to the alternative.  But as you said, the system works either way.


The "One Stone" System - just because that's what the thread is called.
The Mastery System - mastery bonuses are how it works.
The Revised Item Progression - that's what it is.
The Middle-Ground Progression - ditto.
The Intrepid System - what it encourages its users to be.

Those are pretty middling-quality, though.  Is anyone here better than me at naming things?


The second option is the most descriptive, but is kind of boring.  The third and fourth are too general, and the fifth doesn't seem like it fits.

"One Stone" is certainly unique and I like it, but it doesn't really describe the system.  What about something particularly descriptive, such as "Heroic Fantasy alternate item progression?"
Err, nope. Not better, but I go for simplicity, and the "Hero System" might work. Super simple name, but fitting since it accentuates the role of the player's progression over items.

Also, damnit why didn't I see this before I started my campaign!!

Any suggestions how to implement this with an already started campaign, other than just making the players trade in all their gear, and apply the new rules? 
Locke: [after mugging a merchant for his clothes] It's a little tight, but the price was right.
Unfortunately the name Hero System has already been taken.  I also want to avoid the word "Heroic" lest people mistakenly connect the system with the Heroic tier.

If you're still in the heroic tier, it shouldn't be too hard to make the switch to my system.  If you drop Expertise, decrease enhancement bonuses by 1 and add a +1 or 2 mastery bonus, numbers are likely to stay about the same or maybe increase a little, which your players should be fine with.  Even at higher levels, the change should be pretty straightforward.
Masterwork light armour no longer exists. Masterwork heavy armour...

Call me dense, but I could use some clarification. If one of my characters has +2 Leather now under the original system, what would he then have and how would this affect his AC? (using simplest example I can think of...see below, since its more specific)

my understanding is --
  • by-the-book: 14 AC broken down as +0 AC no such thing as mastery, +2 from armor, +2 enhancement (character possesses Magic leather armor +2, lvl 6 item)

  • my guess at using your system: your system: now 15 AC, broken down as +2 AC from mastery, +2 armor, +1 enhancement (character possesses Magic leather armor +1, still a lvl 6 item)


Please, correct me if I am wrong.

Also..Regarding implementation, your system should be made even easier to work in, due to the fact I gave everyone 1 free expertise feat each at 1st level. However, I did notice a peculiar thing about the conversion of these 7th level PCs. That is, applying your system would cause the following for them:
  • +2 jumps in most if not all of their Defenses

  • +2 AC (or only +1 if they had some +2 armor before)

  • +2 to all attack roll (or only +1 if they had weapon/implement expertise in that attack type before)

  • +2 to damage (or only +1 if they had some +2 weapon/implement before)


errr- does that seem right? although, perhaps it was just my distribution of slightly lower level gear which caused the disparity-though I am loathe to think that my oversights cost them that much in the way of numbers Embarassed

for the record, what I gave them as 7th level PC gear, was:
  • One Lvl+0 item 

  • Two Lvl-1 items

  • One Lvl-1 item's-worth of gold pcs

(Should probably restore this all to normal if I do the changeover..)

Locke: [after mugging a merchant for his clothes] It's a little tight, but the price was right.
Masterwork light armour no longer exists. Masterwork heavy armour...

Call me dense, but I could use some clarification. If one of my characters has +2 Leather now under the original system, what would he then have and how would this affect his AC? (using simplest example I can think of...see below, since its more specific)

my understanding is --
  • by-the-book: 14 AC broken down as +0 AC no such thing as mastery, +2 from armor, +2 enhancement (character possesses Magic leather armor +2, lvl 6 item)

  • my guess at using your system: your system: now 15 AC, broken down as +2 AC from mastery, +2 armor, +1 enhancement (character possesses Magic leather armor +1, still a lvl 6 item)


Please, correct me if I am wrong.

You've got the basic idea right, although these specific numbers are a bit off because you're not including the 1/2 level bonus.  A level 6 character with level 6 Magic Leather and no Dex or Int bonus has AC 17 by the book, and AC 18 by my system.

Also..Regarding implementation, your system should be made even easier to work in, due to the fact I gave everyone 1 free expertise feat each at 1st level. However, I did notice a peculiar thing about the conversion of these 7th level PCs. That is, applying your system would cause the following for them:
  • +2 jumps in most if not all of their Defenses

  • +2 AC (or only +1 if they had some +2 armor before)

  • +2 to all attack roll (or only +1 if they had weapon/implement expertise in that attack type before)

  • +2 to damage (or only +1 if they had some +2 weapon/implement before)


errr- does that seem right? although, perhaps it was just my distribution of slightly lower level gear which caused the disparity-though I am loathe to think that my oversights cost them that much in the way of numbers Embarassed

for the record, what I gave them as 7th level PC gear, was:
  • One Lvl+0 item 

  • Two Lvl-1 items

  • One Lvl-1 item's-worth of gold pcs

(Should probably restore this all to normal if I do the changeover..)


Yeah, you're shortchanging your players a bit in the item department.  If you look at p. 125 of the DMG, you'll see that magic items should usually be higher level than the PCs that find them.  This is because each PC only gets, on average, one new item each level.  That means that when you get a new item for a slot, it'll be about five levels before you find something else to replace it.  If the item was a level lower than you when you found it, it's six levels lower than you when it gets replaced--close to useless.  If the item started out two levels above you, however, it'll only be three levels behind when it gets replaced.
I am pretty sure I understand, but before I go saying the wrong thing..the system does intend for a +1 aftershock sword from before to give no crit bonus right? you only get the power right? (since +1 divided by 2 is .5, rounded down to 0, then times 2 is still 0d6 added to crit)

and likewise, another example, say a +3 aftershock weapon. that would be identical to a +2 aftershock weapon right? (3/2 is 1.5, rounded down to 1, then times 2 is still +2d6 to crit, thus achieving the "jump" in damage when getting a new more powerful weapon)

EDIT: The alternative method I see for these edge cases is to use the unrounded number for the multiplication, thus giving intermediary weapons like the +1 aftershock a +1d6 to crit, a power, but no enhancement bonus. And under that method, a +3 would give +3d6 to crit, a power, but only +1 enhancement bonus. However, I am fairly certain that is NOT how you intended for it to work though, right?

Locke: [after mugging a merchant for his clothes] It's a little tight, but the price was right.
What?  No.  A +1 weapon deals +2d6 on a crit, a +2 weapon deals +4d6, and a +3 weapon deals +6d6.  That's it.
What?  No.  A +1 weapon deals +2d6 on a crit, a +2 weapon deals +4d6, and a +3 weapon deals +6d6.  That's it.

I certainly understand that there are no +4 and up weapons. I also understand the +1 giving a +2d6 on crit. But this is confusing me for the first time now..cuz you said 'no', but it sounds like you are agreeing with what I said..I am asking specifically about low level weapons (5th and under). Perhaps I should reiterate in more specific terms what I was asking to clarify:

-Correct? An originally +1 aftershock weapon would become an effective +0 aftershock weapon (no dmg on crit, no enhancement, and only retain the aftershock property)

-Unless you are also implying that these items level 5 or less no longer possess any special qualities; something I originally did not understand to be the case (using the example of an originally +1 aftershock weapon, it would become a normal +0 mundane weapon, thus doing away with level 5, and under, magical weaponry)

(The edit part on the previous post was referring to the possibility of another situation, which I didn't think was the case, and I feel you have made clear is not the case.)
Locke: [after mugging a merchant for his clothes] It's a little tight, but the price was right.
The thing I was rejecting was the idea that there's a direct relationship between a weapon's enhancement bonuses in the two systems.  (Sorry I didn't make that clear.)

There isn't.  You can't map old-style weapons directly to new-style ones.  Don't think about "originally" or "effective"; that just invites confusion, as you can see.  There's only the old system and the new system.  A +2 magic weapon in the old system does one thing, and is level 6.  A +1 magic weapon in the new system does something else, and is also, coincidentally, level 6.

So yeah, there are no magic weapons at all in the level 1-5 range.  Also 11-15 and 21-25.  Same goes for armour and neck slot items.
Okay, despite what Igfig said in the first post about not trying to change or improve his system, I still wanted to do my own take on it.  I've been thinking about this for a while now and here's what I've come up with.  I did quite a few tests to make sure the math added up correctly, as is shown by the comparisons listed below.

So to reiterate, the breakdown for the bonuses for attack and defense should be as follows:
+29 Total
+15 from 1/2 level
+6 from mastery bonuses
+3 from enhancement bonuses
+4 from stat boosts
+1 from miscellaneous

I wanted the power curve to be as smooth as possible. 
I did away with the 1/2 level and combined it with the +6 mastery bonuses to give a total of +21 from level dependent bonuses.  You now get a +1 to all attacks and defenses at every level above 1 except 4, 8, 11, 14, 18, 21, 24, and 28.  That's a total of +21.

I chose those levels because those are the levels where your stats increase (which means depending on your starting stats you have the potential to get a +1 to attack, damage, and at least one defense).  I didn't want to stack a level dependent +1 on the same level as a stat boost dependent +1.  I'm just picky about it, and I do realize it adds a little bit more complexity to the system.

I made a spreadsheet to compare attack bonus progression under my modification to that of core. I wanted to compare how smooth the power curve was and make sure that at any given level the attack bonus under this houserule was not too high or too low compared to a standard game.
Attack_Bonus_Comparison
It only adds up to 28 at the bottom instead of 29 because it doesn't count the "+1 from miscellaneous."
I also have comparisons for Non-AC defenses and AC in light armor.
NAD_Comparison
Light_Armor_Comparison



I also wanted to address damage output.  Earlier in the thread we had discussed the breakdown of damage bonuses, but it was added up wrong.  Here's what it should be:
+15 total
+6 from enhancement bonuses
+4 from stat boosts
+3 from weapon focus
+2 miscellaneous
(+6 from Iron Armbands of Power, Staff of Ruin, etc.)

I added a +4 bonus to damage from mastery.  You get a +1 to all damage rolls at levels 4, 11, 18, and 24.  I chose those levels because if you started with an even number in your main attack stat (it seems most players do) stat boosts would give you a +1 to attack and damage at levels 8, 14, 21, and 28.  That leaves 4, 11, 18, and 24 as kind of "dead levels" (since you don't get a level dependent bonus on those levels -- see above), so I gave +1 damage at each of those levels.

The new damage breakdown is as follows:
+15 total
+3 from enhancement bonuses
+4 from stat boosts
+4 from mastery bonuses
+3 from weapon focus
+1 miscellaneous
(+3 from Iron Armbands of Power, Staff of Ruin, etc.)1

Yes, there's also a comparison spreadsheet for damage progression:
Damage Bonus Comparison
The first column in the middle is without the item bonus from Iron Armbands, etc.  The second column in the middle is including the item bonus.



Totalling the attack and damage progressions from above, the total level dependent bonuses are as follows:
At levels 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30:
Gain a +1 to all attacks and defenses

At levels 4, 11, 18, 24:
Gain a +1 to all damage rolls

At levels 8, 14, 21, 28:
(assumed from stat increases) Gain a +1 to attacks, damage rolls and at least one defense

Here is a spread sheet showing a summary of all level dependent bonuses, including feats and powers: Summary_of_Benefits
And a breakdown of the same: Breakdown_of_Benefits

In the breakdown, I listed the total number of "perks" per level.  A "perk" is any choice or bonus gained at that level and includes attack powers, utility powers, class features, feats, and attack or damage bonuses.  I counted stat boosts at 8, 14, and 28 as perks because (as discussed above) they usually give you a +1 to attack, damage, and at least one defense, but didn't count stat boosts at 4, 18, and 24 for the same reason.  The +1 to all stats at levels 11 and 21 were enough of a "perk" to count, whether they increased your main attack or not.

Obviously not all perks are equal (attack powers are better than utilities, class features are better than feats, etc.) but it helped me to see which levels already had a lot going on and which levels didn't.  I used this to decide on the final breakdown for level dependent bonuses, as I wanted every level to have at least two perks.



So in summary, really the only difference between what I have decided on here and what Igfig put forth in the first post is that instead of adding 1/2 your level to attacks and defenses and then an extra +1 at 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, 26 I decided to break that +21 down differently over the 30 levels.


1 I nerfed these items as discussed earlier in the thread
There is however, still the problem of masterwork heavy armor.  I looked at doing it the way Igfig described in the initial post.  That gives a +2 to masterwork heavy armor at paragon tier and an additional +2 at epic tier.  This is how it works out:
Heroic: +1 armor, +0 MW bonus, total=+1
Paragon: +2 armor, +2 MW bonus, total=+4
Epic: +3 armor, +4 MW bonus, total=+7

Didn't like it.  The jump of three points between each tier is as bad or worse than the jump if you were using PHB1 only, before they smoothed the progression in AV1.

Instead I wanted to do away with masterwork armors and just say heavy armors get +2 AC per enhancement bonus instead of +1.  That is +1 plate gives +2 AC (+10 total), +2 plate gives +4 AC (+12 total) and +3 plate gives +6 AC (+14 total).  But this doesn't solve the problem either because it puts the AC of heavy armor users one point below light armor users at epic (two points if the light armor user picks an epic destiny that boosts Int or Dex).

So that means the progression needs to be +1 armors give +2 AC, +2 armors give +5 AC and +3 armors give +7 AC.  It goes +2, +3, +2, which is awkward but works.

As above, heavy armors give +2 AC per plus instead of +1, but then +2 and +3 armors are masterwork and thus get an ADDITIONAL +1 AC.  If you wanted, you could say +3 armors give a bonus to a NAD (or resist/all for plate) in addition to the extra +1 AC.
So the breakdown for that is
Heroic: +2 armor, +0 MW bonus, total=+2
Paragon: +4 armor, +1 MW bonus, total=+5
Epic: +6 armor, +1 MW bonus, total=+7 (plus NAD bonus)

I made yet another spread sheet to compare this method to the AC progression of heavy armors in core:
Heavy_Armor_Comparison

In the spreadsheet, the numbers highlighted in green are where the AC jumps more than two points in one level.  This method will definitely work, but I don't know if it is optimal at epic levels because I've only played in heroic and paragon tiers so far.




Does this solve the heavy armor problem?  Or are there still kinks to get worked out?



There's a few ways to alter this so it makes sense and seems less arbitrary:

You could say that ALL magic heavy armor is masterwork.  Instead of the +2 AC per plus as described above, the magic armor only gets +1 AC per enhancement bonus but then gets extra MW bonuses as follows:
Heroic: +1 armor, +1 MW, total=+2
Paragon: +2 armor, +3 MW, total=+5
Epic: +3 armor, +4 MW, total=+7 (plus NAD bonus)
This is just a different way of describing the method I outlined above.

At epic tier, heavy armor gets an additional +1 AC from being masterwork, instead of the NAD bonus.
Heroic: +2 armor, +0 MW, total=+2
Paragon: +4 armor, +1 MW, total=+5
Epic: +6 armor, +2 MW, total=+8
I really don't think you need this one.  If you look at the comparison, the modified progression already ends up one point higher than the original progression.

Or you could just give a flat +1 AC to heavy armor users at mid-paragon, like level 15 or 16.
Heroic: +2 armor, +0 bonus, total=+2
Paragon: +4 armor, +1 bonus, total=+5
Epic: +6 armor, +1 bonus, total=+7
This simplifies things a little by going back to "heavy armor gives +2 AC per enhancement bonus instead of +1" as described above, but then you have to remember to throw in the extra +1 halfway through paragon tier.
If you really want a perfectly smooth progression, maybe you should get rid of masterwork armour and just grant the bonus automatically to characters wearing heavy armour.  I know I argued against that earlier, but that was that system and this is this system.


Your point about the damage breakdown is a good one: we certainly did get the calculations wrong.  However, I've been doing some research into damage breakdowns for my next big project, and I discovered something interesting: between level 1 and 30, average damage increases not by 15 points, but rather 29.

A typical at-will power will deal about 1[W]+ primary ability modifier + secondary ability modifier damage.  Assuming the character is using a standard one-handed military weapon with 1d10 damage and +2 proficiency, the breakdown would look something like this:

























SourceBonusNotes
Primary ability increases+4
Secondary ability increases+4
Enhancement
+6
Item
+6
Feat+3
Epic at-will+61d10 -> 2d10
Miscellaneous+1often SWF
Total30

The reason it adds up to +30 instead of +29 is that most PCs will take either Weapon Focus or Superior Weapon Proficiency at first level.


Speaking of taking things at level 1, I realized that the 1,6,11... progression for mastery bonuses has a nasty flaw: if you get a bonus at level 1, it doesn't really count toward increases over the course of thirty levels because you've had it the whole time.  The obvious solution is to remove the level 1 bonus and put it somewhere else; the obvious question is "where?"  The three options I'm currently considering are:   
  • put the bonus at level 30, for more capstoning

  • reinstate Weapon Expertise as an epic feat that grants a +1 bonus to attacks... I'm not considering this very seriously.

  • leave it as a floating "Miscellaneous" bonus and hope the player can do something with it.

Any more ideas?


Oh, and by the way... since we haven't found anything better, I hereby dub this system "The One Stone System".
I was thinking about the problems with progression some more just now, and I had a revelation.  No, more like two.  

The first revelation was that I don't actually like the idea of an automatic progression.  A bonus is far more satisfying when you've earned it, when you can look at it and say "That +1 is because I spent six months training with Master Song-Hei," than when the bonus is given for free at a predictable level.

The second was that there's already an event that happens roughly every five levels, in an unpredictable manner, and to one PC at a time; requires a serious effort to achieve; and has intentionally nebulously defined rewards.  I'm talking about minor quests.

It always rubbed me the wrong way that a PC's minor quest, a quest with intense personal significance, should benefit each PC the same amount.  I understand the balance reasons for it, and they're very good reasons, but that's how I felt.

But if we tie mastery bonuses to the completion of minor quests, suddenly that personal angle is back.  Back with a vengeance: not only are minor quests valuable, they're mandatory.  Any character that can't get involved with the world, that doesn't have goals or hopes or dreams, will find himself falling behind the people who do have a reason to fight.

I think that would be pretty cool.
This is a pretty fantastic idea.  I came up with something similar a while back, but I've never play-tested it.... mostly because I have yet to get a game above the heroic tier to even make it relevant.   

I remove all of the craptastic expertise and robust defenses feats that are so OP they pigeonhole all characters into taking them over taking unique flavor feats.

I also get rid of all masterwork armors, I find the execution to be a bit lackluster, especially considering there are no masterwork weapons.  Additionally, they are conceptually redundant with regular magic armor - they only exist to shore up a weakness in the math, and that's lame.  This change brings AC for light/no armor wearers in line with the growth from attacks and other defenses.  To compensate for the loss for heavy armor users, I imagine I'd grant a cumulative +1 bonus to AC at fixed intervals, such as every 7 or 8 levels, to all characters that would only apply while they are wearing heavy armor.  .  

I've reflavored "magic" arms and armor to simply be "superior quality" arms and armor.  This makes the label of 'magic' not so much of a crutch to necessarily apply to all gear a character is using as they rise in level; i.e. a Longsword +2 might simply be a masterwork quality longsword made with a particularly strong type (ex. Damascus) of steel, or it might be a once-mundane longsword imbued with some type of magic so that it is perpetually flaming.  I also use non-specific house rules for upgrading or reforging gear.  I find that simply reflavoring the 'magic' gear, along with providing relatively easy upgrade options,  removes some of the stress associated with the constant need to upgrade from both myself and the players, and removes some of the excessiveness associated with shopping and treasure parcels.  

So, characters go back to how they were before PHB2 in all respects, except their AC is slightly lower to match the attack bonus, etc., as well.  As for compensating for that loss - that's what I really need to playtest.  My first instinct is to let it be and to just slightly lower average encounter levels as characters rise to allow for high level encounters to be truly epic.... a level 30 encounter should be tough even if the PCs are level 30... right?  On the other hand I might just add in a tier based bonus to all attacks and defenses.
Heheh.  Yeah, lots of people have come up with something like this; the trick is to do it well.

Personally, I'm not a fan of doing away with masterwork armour...

If you don't want to get all crazy about recalculating numbers or replacing items, just consider the characters receiving some type of armor mastery bonus that increases the base AC of their armor by +1 or +3 per tier respectively.

This would work well as far as brevity and simplicity are concerned... but something feels off about it. Essentially PCs get a major free bonus just for putting on a suit of heavy armour--and not from the armour itself, mind you, but just by virtue of being heroes. I can understand armour mastery feats, since they represent extra training with a specific armour type, but this kind of thing, not so much. Mayyybe it would work if you only got the heavy armour bonus for armour you're proficient with? I'm not sure.


...but I can see where you're coming from, especially with the "enhancement bonuses as superior quality".  As long as your heavy armour bonus is granting four increases over the course of 29 levels, you should be good.

However, I wouldn't recommend trying to compensate for lower PC bonuses with decreased encounter levels.  As a general rule, you should keep your fixes as close to the thing they're modifying as possible.  The further you venture afield, the more likely it is that you'll fail to find a balance and just end up with something simultaneously over- and underpowered.  3.5 monstrous races, for instance: at-will SLAs of incredible power, but so few HD that they die in one hit.

And truth be told, a level 30 encounter should be just as hard for a level 30 party as a level 1 encounter is for a level 1 party.  They should have the same chances of hitting, deal the same damage relative to each others' hp, and inflict conditions of the same relative potency.

So yeah, a +3 mastery bonus to attacks and defenses is your second best option.  

(Your best option is of course the One Stone System, wink wink.)
Small update to reflect changes made in Essentials.  By that I mean the feats that grant a scaling feat bonus to one thing and a situational bonus to another.  I like those feats, but getting rid of the item bonuses completely would make them too weak.

My compromise: Expertise-style feats are back, but they don't scale with level.
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