Posts Tagged With: 3.5e

Armor as Damage Reduction

I use armor as damage reduction in my game. Not terribly complex, simple as using the armor class as the damage reduction value. Playing for 8 months with it now, I haven’t had any issues with it (but the highest level any character has gotten in that time is 3rd, it’s kind of slow moving). But I think I will once levels start creeping a little higher.

See, I had the good fortune to be able to add another player recently,and in the process of explaining the armor thing, he asked if there were other ways to increase AC. I still use AC, it’s dex and shields which avoid hits, armor makes them less damaging. Which started me thinking, “Hmm… If AC is going to stay around 12-16 for most characters, BAB is going to become meaningless pretty quick.” So I thought some more and, as is my usual, I devised an elegant solution. Allow players to increase either BAB or a “class defense” bonus every time they would get an increase in BAB.

See, the reason it’s so elegant is 1) I don’t have to rewrite the class tables, 2) it provides another way to customize for the players, and 3) it keeps the balance of to-hit and AC aligned, while maintaining the damage reduction role of the armor.

I realize that keeping pace between to hit and AC will mean fewer attacks per round at higher levels, it also means there is an opportunity to unbalance characters, to focus either on hitting or attacking. Personality in combat through the rules.

But I think it all works.  I’ve kind of intellectually taken issue with the idea of 4 effective attacks in the space of 6 seconds anyhow, so this will also have the effect of making that more realistic, and making combat even more deadly than it has been in my game.

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A.M.I.S.S.

I’ve been working on bulking out the second entry in my Non-Vancian Spellcasting classes series, but I’m not going to have it done in time for Friday like I hoped, so I’ll post something else that isn’t finished to make up for it.

That’s right, my much-vaunted gigantic cross-referenced index of every monster published (nearly) I am releasing into the wild.  It isn’t finished but the Agglomerated Monster Index Sorting Suite (AMISS for short) is now available for viewing here:  LINK.  I have it set up so you can sort, filter, and list by every category available.  Feel free to save a copy to your own Drive to set your own filters, and keep checking back because you never know when I might be adding monsters to it.

As I said, it isn’t done yet, but it does have more than 500 individual monster entries included so far.  By the time I’m done, it may well have over a thousand.  I am totally finished with the Heroes of Horror and the Monster Manual III.  I am mostly finished with the Monster Manual/SRD monsters.  I plan to have in the final product the following:  Monster Manual/SRD Monsters, Monster Manual II, Monster Manual III, the Fiend Folio, Heroes of Horror, and any other books I own with monsters in them (version 3.5, but since there aren’t any stats included you should be able to utilize the list for any edition of the game).

What good is this list?  Well, it’s super cool for me because with the filters on I can compile in under a minute a custom random encounter table for any given CR range, climate, environment, organization, sourcebook, type, subtype, and even weight!  No more long prep time coming up with random encounter tables for Warm Forests 5, 10, 20, and 40 miles from civilization.  Just set the filters, =randbetween(1,n) the number of options, and off you roll!

Now, I should say that those entries are based on 3.5/Pathfinder monsters, so perhaps the CR listing won’t be as advantageous for you 5th Editioners out there, but hey, this is a tool I made for me that I’m sharing with you.  Feel free to copy it and edit to your heart’s content.  At least take a look at it, though.  Took me forever to get it this far.

Bonus:  On the second tab (titled “Calculation”) there is my rough guide for levels of encounters based on relative settlement level, as well as percent chance for any given encounter to be one with intelligent humans/demihumans.  Also a seagoing encounter table with weather events.  But wait, there’s more!  If you act now, you will see four whole days of hourly encounter rolls on that same sheet.  Refreshes at the editing of a cell!

Categories: Monsters, Rules, Setting | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Feats Revisited

I just had a brain flash.

Feats.  Coveted by players, contentious among DMs.  Not included in the first few incarnations of D&D, feats became an option in AD&D2, and fully integrated in 3.0.  They allow more complex customization of characters than straight up classes do, but there are so many options and some characters (I’m looking at you, fighters) get SO DANG MANY!

What is a “feat” then?

noun
noun: feat; plural noun: feats
  1. an achievement that requires great courage, skill, or strength.

So, ideally, a feat should be something extraordinary, requiring above average ability.  Hmm.  Granted, PCs are by definition extraordinary, but in different ways.  So why should feats be handed out across the board regardless of ability except that required to become a leveled character?

This is where I step in with my brain flash.  Feats as described in the PHB are extra skills and abilities or bonuses that you acquire as you level up.  Looking at the list, there are two varieties of feats: what I will call Learned Feats and Natural Feats.  Learned feats are those things which require some practice to become good at, say Two Weapon Fighting.  Natural feats are those which denote a superior skill in a certain area, such as the Athletic feat.  My proposal for the modification of the feat system is twofold:  First, assign “natural” feats at character creation, as they seem like the sort of abilities that one naturally possesses, and base the assignment of them on ability scores.  Second, limit the number of “learned” feats on Intelligence, because as we all know, intelligence is a measure of how well and readily we learn.

First, a table:

Feat Table 1

Hopefully that reads ok.  Anyway, each of these natural feats is presented with the key ability score that drives it.  For each point of modifier that a particular ability has (Like a Strength of 18 having a bonus of +4), there is a 20% chance for a character to have the natural feat at first level.  The maximum number of natural feats related to a particular ability score is the bonus value (4 at 18, 3 at 16-17, etc.).  If the percentage rolled for each feat indicates the character would qualify for more than the maximum allowed, determine which feats are gained randomly.

Granted, the feats in the PHB are slanted towards those with a high Dex, and Str and Con are woefully underrepresented.  But high scores in those abilities translate to better damage and HP, so I think it’s a decent trade-off.

As for learned feats, instead of one at first, third, and every three levels thereafter, I propose a total number of feats equal to 1+(Int bonus x 2), evenly divided over levels 1-20.  Thus, a character with a +3 bonus to Int will get the same number of feats as normal, while those with +4 Int bonus will get more.  +1 and +2 bonuses will receive fewer feats, but then, they aren’t super intelligent either, so it makes sense.  There’s only so much room in your brain for extra training, and if you are getting other class bonuses then it’s not a huge hinderance.

Fighters, though, also have all those bonus feats to deal with.  I’ve also cut back on the number of feats that fighters get if they elect to make Intelligence their dump stat.  Another table:

Feat Table 2

This is the schedule for fighter bonus feats based on Int bonuses.  (The number of bonus feats is 2+2Int if you want the formula).  See? It pays to be smart.  Other classes that get bonus feats I would adjust on a similar schedule, figuring a +3 bonus allowing the unmodified schedule, and lesser intelligence scores proportionately less, possibly with no Int bonus allowing at least 1 bonus feat.  I’m not completely heartless, after all.  Plus you got all those extra feats for being so dang dextrous, what do you have to complain about?

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Big Things Coming

I’ve been away a while, yes.  But I’m currently working on a few things that will be published here over the next couple of weeks. First up, something I like to call Heroic Weapons, then some comprehensive encounter tables, weather tables based on the Köppen climatic classifications, and a few other thing I’m preparing for a campaign I’m hoping to run in the near(ish) future (with all the hubbub about 5e, I should probably note that all of this will be for 3.5e as that is the system I am familiar with and own books for).

Stay tuned!

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