I originally posted this at The Piazza, but as it seems their forums have died (I only get a Type 404 Error page whenever I attempt to go there), I thought reposting this elsewhere was worth a shot.
I love the World of Warcraft tabletop RPG; the opportunities it presents for adventuring in the world of Azeroth are just so enticing to me. However, I also have to confess that I found myself loving the rules update when D&D switched from edition 3.5 to edition 4. It did not pass my notice that a lot of 4e detractors wrote it off as "world of warcraft the tabletop game", and so, having built up a collection of the actual WoWcraft D20 books, I would like to run with this dismissal.
However, I have no real experience with homebrewing crunch for any edition, and so I'm here to ask if anyone would be interested in giving me a hand with this crunch-heavy project.
What am I interested in doing? To summarize, these would be my goals for this "netbook"...
* A list of 4e rules-based Azerothian races. Most ambitiously, I would seek to not only cover the actual game races (human, Ironforge dwarf, High/Blood/Night elf, Orc, Jungle/Forest troll, Worgen, Draenei, Forsaken, Tauren, Goblin), but also races from the original 3.5 tabletop (Pandaren, Dark Iron Dwarf, Nerubian, Naga, Harpy, Satyr, Mok'nathal, Half-Orc/Ogre/Elf, etc) and perhaps even some of the minor "variant" races from the game, such as the Tauren's Northrend kindred the Taunka - hey, if the Tuskarr can be considered a player race in the tabletop game...
* Examining the classes that could/should be present in a 4e Warcraft campaign setting. Some classes could be used straight up from the 4e rulebooks - the Warrior can be handled pretty well by the Fighter, yes? Some would need new powers or optional class features to be more appropriate to the setting. And some would need to be created from scratch. The tricky part is discussing which classes from the two games (video and tabletop) fit into which category.
** An optional expansion would be to list up the "barred" classes, explain why they are bared, and then offer posssible justifications/reasons for including them if desired without going the "planar traveler" option vaguely hinted at in books such as Shadows & Light.
* Figuring out rules for handling the Runecraft and Technology systems from 3.5
* Anything else I may have missed
Because the idea has been haunting me and I don't want to risk forgetting it, I'll share some thoughts I have on what a 4e "Azerothian Warlock" would look like. In my eyes, this would be an entirely new class; a Shadow power sourced Striker (with Controller inclinations), who functions something like a cross between a standard 4e Warlock and a Sorcerer in terms of powers and who relies on pets and summoning powers to reflect his lore/prior edition focus on conjuration & summoning.
A Warlock's minions would use much the same rules as a Ranger's beast-companions (see Martial Power), and there would be five options; Imp, Voidwalker, Succubus, Felhunter and Felguard. However, to make the Warlock unique, there would be two special changes. Firstly, a Warlock gets more than one minion; they gain a second minion at level 11 and a third minion at level 21. In addition, all Warlock minions use the equivalent of the Instinctive Effect rule possessed by Druid summoning powers (see Primal Power). This means that, while a Warlock PC doesn't get more actions per round than any other class, he or she still benefits from having multiple demons called onto the field of battle at the same time, as his minions will be able to move to attack or defend or interfere with the enemy even whilst the Warlock is doing something else. They also have the Summoning/Dismissal "feature power", an at-will class power that lets them remove one of their minions from the battlefield and then resummon it elsewhere - this can not only let them avoid having to perform a costly ritual to raise/rebond a minion, but can also be used for its tactical advantage.
However, to keep the Warlock from getting too complacent, and to match the lore, all Warlock summoning powers have the Intrinistic Effect (Dragon 385) rather than the Instinctive Effect. In short? This means that whilst a Warlock's permanent minions are faithful, summoned demons will go berserk and be a danger to everyone, including the Warlock himself, if left unattended.
I would love to do this with you, mainly since this was once a side-project of my own. I have on my computer two write-ups of each horde race on my computer. It was after a few tries I realized that translating what the game had was not always the best way to go. I created the second write-up with the ideology that I wanted the experience to be translated, not the effects. I wanted a troll feel like he was playing a troll, although berserker worked very little like it does in the game.
I'll get my hands on the tabletop rules so I get where you are coming from, while I bring 4e and homebrewing experience to the table.
When translating the classes there are a few major setbacks:
Very item reliant (although that is very easiliy fixed)
There are no cooldowns or casting time in a pen'n'paper game
Channeled spells are really iffy, I've tried it, it didn't work.
And by god don't use the Beastmaster pet rules, I'll take care of the rules for the warlock pets, okay? xD
What we have to focus on is what feels like the class, not what looks like the class. For example, although it might look mandatory to give your imp all the powers he possesses in the game we HAVE to drop some of them, in order to simplify and to ensure everything doesn't bog down.
Same goes with talents and class powers; we have to cut away a lot of stuff.
So, let's have at it. How would you like to start?
Well, I think the first thing we should maybe do is figure out precisely what are the specific tasks we'd need to tackle to get this done; classes (with discussions of the Tabletop's Variant Classes and Racial Iconic Classes), races, etc.
I would actually recommend looking more for "World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game" - it's a 3.5 "update" for the original 3rd edition game ("Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game"), and is honestly, in my opinion, the better game, relying a lot less on level adjustments and prestige classes to cover things.
That said, I'll try and follow your suggestion, but I'm not entirely sure I'm understanding it...
The first thing to remember is that we're aiming more to convey the "feel" of the game and it's original tabletop descendent; neither will perfectly transition rules-wise to 4e, and so we shouldn't pull our hair out trying.
Now, races. Firstly, we should list up all of the ones from the videogame and from the tabletop; I can and will list those up at the end of this post. I don't think WoWTRPG differs too much from the WTRPG in that matter, so I'll just list the WoW races alright?
Secondly, we should examine the races and discuss matters relating to them; which races are simply unfeasible under 4e's ruleset, being too powerful to be possibly broken up into a race, racial PP and racial ED? Which ones can be handled by taking an existing 4e race and just making bloodlines (see the Dragonfear Dragonborn, Blightseer Tiefling, Forgeborn Dwarf and Winterkin Eladrin) - for example, could we just take the Dwarf and make an Ironforge (Stoneflesh racial power), Wildhammer (Reckless racial ability?) and Dark Iron (Fire Resistance racial trait) bloodline for it? Which ones are basically just 4e races with campaign specific backlore? And which ones would have to be created from scratch?
Finally, comes the crunch of working on those races that need to be scratchbuilt; are they viable as just plain races? Are they powerful enough to warrant a racial paragon path (for example, Harpies, Ogres)? Are they so mighty that they need a racial epic destiny to convey their full power (such as the Spiderlord ED for Nerubians)? And so on.
Next up, classes. These would follow a similar "pattern" to the races; is a class unique enough (such as the Warcraft take on the Warlock, who is basically a pet class) to warrant its own class? Or is it an existing class with maybe some new powers or even some variant class features? Or is it even just an existing class with maybe a rename - for example, is there anything that would particularly differentiate a "Warrior" from a 4e Fighter?
Technology and Runecraft need to be discussed, especially the former, given how important techno devices are to the game.
Any other bits and pieces that might be brought before us would also need to be addressed. For example, what domains would the Holy Light, Forgotten Shadow, Dragon Aspects, Titans or Eternals/Ancients grant?
But, right now, I think it's best for all our sakes to just pick one particular topic - races, lore, whatever - and work on it first. Tackle this project a piece at a time, that's what I say.
Now, those playable WoW races I mentioned at the start...
Videogame: Human High Elf Night Elf Dwarf (Ironforge) Draenei (Exedar) Worgen Gnome Orc Troll (Jungle) Tauren Forsaken Goblin Blood Elf
Tabletop RPG: Human High Elf Night Elf Dwarf (Ironforge) Dwarf (Wildhammer) Gnome Half-Elf1 Furbolg Ancient Protector Dryad Keeper of the Grove Mountain Giant Orc Troll (Jungle)2 Troll (Forest) Troll (Ice) Troll (Sandfury) Troll Drak'kari)2.5 Troll (Zandalar) Tauren Forsaken Goblin Blood Elf Ogre Ogre Mage Mok'nathal3 Centaur Half-Orc Abomination Dwarf (Dark Iron) Dragonspawn Murloc Naga Pandaren Quilboar Satyr Tuskarr Dragon Flamewalker Nerubian Sea Giant Gnoll Leper Gnome Harpy Kobold Makrura Trogg
1: The default Half-Elf is a human/high elf cross, though options are also provided for night elf and blood elf variants, though both are extremely simple to handle.]
2: Trolls are virtually all the same; the books even say "reuse the Jungle Troll racial profile/class from the corebook". The only difference is that Ice and Sandfury trolls both trade theri racial bonus to Tumble checks for a bonus to Balance checks, and they have resistance 5 to Ice and Fire respectively.
2.5: These are basically "great trolls" or "dark trolls"; Drak'kari are Great Ice Trolls, Zandalar are Great Jungle Trolls - they differ from the regular versions in that they are Large, have +2 Strength, and +1 level adjustment in addition to having three racial class levels.
3: The Mok'nathal is an Orc/Ogre hybrid; the only difference for a Half-Ogre (human/ogre hybrid) is changes in appearance and the fact that they count as having human blood rather than orc blood.
The book of vile darkness 4e contains the demonogist as a paragpn path or theme, and their schtick is the quasit familiar that is a tiny devil bound to your service. Sound's like the WoW warlock to me. Probably worth a look.
As for races I'd advise looking into Crimson Concerto's Minotaur fix for the tauren, regular minotaur are not good.
I'd focus on orcs and humans next, Are standard 4e humans in line with your target? if not what about the essential's variant?
Next the orc: I based most of my advice for mhbjarkistef's homebrew orc around the WoW archetypes so they might be a good starting point, I'd remove the run-charge ability in favor of an alternate feature though.
A similar adjustment to the half-orc's charge boost, and maybe a new power should cover them