Saturday, April 22, 2017

Substititutions for Flavor

all too often. a particular reflavoring or reskin of a character concept will end up with some problematic abilities that make very little sense for the new concept, this is where i introduce concept based substitutions.

as part of a Reskin of a Class or Race, a character can do the following things for concept purposes

0. a concept must be pitched for the modified character, consisting of a cultural background and home region as appropriate to the setting, as well as values and standards.

1. a character may shift around racial attribute modifiers wholesale to better represent their new species or subrace. the Game Master has final say over any shifted attributes. if an Elf moves their +2 dexterity over to their Constitution, they must place that -2 penalty they would have had to another attribute. maybe they move it over to charisma, this is recommended not only for new Subraces, but for members of existing races that grew up exposed to different cultures or for reskinning a specific race to represent another,

2. a character may swap around resistances or immunities for equivalent resistances or immunities, 1 for 1, conditions for conditions and damage types for damage types. the GM may need to review the damage or condition types being substituted to ensure things are fair. swapping the rarely used necrotic resistance for ubiquitous fire resistance gives a race a lot of defensive gain, swapping cold resistance to gain fire resistance is fine, as is swapping radiant for necrotic

3. a character may swap circumstances for which an ability applies on a one for one basis. stone cunning can instead be applied to woodland areas instead of caves, but should be renamed something like Woodwise. to represent the purpose of the new ability

4. a character may swap out proficiencies and bonuses with weapons or skills for equivalent weapons or skills on a one for one basis. swapping longsword for rapier or scimitar or swapping battle axe for shortsword is fine, or swapping out longsword for katana. as long as the weapons make sense for the cultural background of the species. while trading stealth or insight for perception is fine, trading away animal handling or performance to gain perception is a bit iffy, trading away performance to gain animal handling is fine, this is best reviewed case by case

5. if the character is a member of a class that gains armor proficiencies but not unarmored defense, they can swap out armor and shield profiicencies for unarmored defense as long as they forever opt out of armor proficiency when they multiclass

6. look at the final product, and ensure the character isn't a modified race or class exclusively designed for a single purpose, such as being the best pyromancer or the best scimitar wielder. be wary of cultures developed to thinly veil these solutions behind story shortcuts. you are merely designing a character of an exotic background, not crunching numbers to fight better.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Close Quarters combat revision

Pierce the Gap (Requires Dexterity 13)

You have learned to deliberately make precise strikes to vulnerable vital areas with light weapons. Before you make an attack with a light weapon that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty lo the attack roll. If the attack hits, you add +10 to the attack's damage.

the benefit of Trading Accuracy for Damage, i hear lots of people say is a powerful benefit, especially in the hands of a rogue. but i wanted to retain that benefit, for primarily dexterity based fighters rather than for non rogues. so i changed the name and removed the other 2 benefits.  i wanted to keep this core mechanic, but it was intended to make dual wielding viable or to make other dexterity based characters work.

New 5th Edition Feat in Need of Review and Critique

i am working on a feat for the flavor of a Close Quarters combatant who gets inside the reach of their opponent's weapon and strikes weak points with a small weapon for extra damage. the basic idea was inspired by classic knife fighting and other forms of close quarters combat and is designed for tight spaces. i really don't want to give up the Sharpshooter/Great Weapon Master Benefit though but i need something to keep it valuable.

the original feat had a third benefit in the middle, but the benefit was too potent and too questionable in when it applied.

Close Quarters Combat
*Before you make an attack with a light weapon that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty lo the attack roll. If the attack hits, you add +10 to the attack's damage.

*you have advantage when attacking an opponent you are engaged in a grapple with when using a light weapon you are proficient with

Sunday, September 11, 2016

i am fucking sick of Power Armor

i have played in 8 Fallout themed homebrew campaigns with the same GM since i started savage worlds in 2010. you know what they all had in common? we had to collaborate with the Enclave as thier Fetch Dogs. it was pretty much "we need you to go to X Zone to Steal Y Item from Z faction." in a repetitive loop.

we always end up with fucking power armor by the 4th month, Pip Boys by the 2nd, and mimiguns by the 6th. then it is pretty much 4 months of hosing foes in lead and recovering valuable items. no matter the group. any character identity is lost to identical gear.

we have to snowflake ourselvves in the beginning. which screws us over, knowing how annoying the loss of identity is. here is what i want to see.

1. Player characters shouldn't be running around in power armor unless they are filthy rich

2. other armors should be competitive

3. miniguns should only be on vehicles

4. if players are going to all have pip boys. don't perk tax us to use them.

5. ammunition shouldn't be as easy to replace

6. reduce the damned cash flow. but also reduce prices

7. lower the damned number bloat. if you couldn't get an extra 6-16 toughness from your armor. foes with 16+ toughness won't be needed. it makes lesser threats dangerous again.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Powergaming? is it truly as horrible as Credit is Given?

i know that many people complain about powergamers for ruining the hobby. but how many of you honestly beleive the concept of powergaming could be something positive? something constructive? how many good things were born out of an honest desire to not actually drastically fall behind your companions? how many things were born out of a desire to tell a grandiose, epic and exaggerated story in the vein of various tales from mythology, anime or even fantasy fiction? if a mary sue is a wish fulfillment character inserted by the author? how many of us have wishes we desire to fulfill? how badly do we desire to fulfill these wishes?

i used to think being called a powergamer was a bad thing because of the stigma that surrounded the label and my desire to avoid the stigma. but everybody optimizes numbers to some extent. Archetypes, classes and roles in many RPGs prove this to be true. i realized, i was using a redundant word to hide from the shame of something i was exposed to for a little over 20 years.

everybody wants their character to be effective, to contribute to their role in a team. nobody wants to be the character that is carried, whether due to their character's age, disabilities or level. it is a primordial urge. Separate but Equal is an important thing in RPGs. i mean, murderhobos and minmaxers themselves aren't a bad thing. rather, it is jerkwads and elitists that are the problem, people who cause tension for their fellow players by simply being rude.

i mean. building a combat optimized character isn't an issue. building a socially optimized character isn't an issue. using dice to overcome a character's role despite an IRL deficiency isn't an issue. the issue, is players who feel a desire to bully other characters and rub their face in it.

do any of you think powergaming is honestly a bad thing? do you think any of the grandiose and epic wish fulfilment characters that pervade our world's literature is honestly a bad thing? Power Gamed Characters aren't Exclusive to Anime, many characters in Mythology, Comic Books, Literature and Stories dating back older than the written word, include powergamed wish fulfillment characters.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ilina Rants about D20

"3.5 Problems mostly still exist in Pathfinder, such as the Candle of Invocation trick to chain gate an infinite number of Ifriti for an infinite number of Wishes. all they really did, was inflate health pools for casters and remove a mountain of key martial tools that were mandantory for speeding up fights in d20. like Pounce or Shock Trooper. and most of the issues they removed, they eventually brought back. you still have slow and grindy fights, because every martial character absolutely required pounce and shock trooper, and you can get neither without houseruling in 3.5 content.

but most of the overpowered buffs are still overpowered. Save or Dies are now useless. Casters are tougher than they used to be, and well, all the things needed to speed up a fight to a reasonable pace are effectively gone from players. leading to longer and more grueling fights than the ones in 3.5. but even with 4e Sized Health Pools, healing spells still aren't good enough to save you from most things. because healing spells still use their 2nd edition numbers. which are inferior to the numbers that are actually needed for healing to be viable.

so Pathfinder fights take forever, and you spend long amounts of time being poked by a wand to heal between fights. because wizard health pools are literally doubled thanks to a combination of favored class bonus, the increase in minimum hit dice, the addition of flexible bonuses to several races, and the buffing of the toughness feat. meaning, by playing a human, you can start with your 20 INT and 16 Con. and literally receive 9 hit points per level, or pretty close to 15 hit points at level 1."

an old Quote of mine from Happy Jacks

oh; i just love d20. just as much as i enjoyed having to powergame and murderhobo during my childhood. Pathfinder, is the Literal Representation of everything i dislike about my d20 heavy childhood.

there is absolutely no difference between prestige class bloat and archetype bloat. especially when both are little more than page filler made to sell more books because player character options sell. now you know why i prefer savage worlds. i prefer trappings and substitutions over entirely new races or classes built around 1 new fighting style.

in fact, the Pathfinder Race Builder isn't balanced at all. it is designed to make the core races look equal while making splatbook races look imbalanced. it is also the primary reason players ner Aasimaar, Fetchlings, and Suli. because they pay tons upfront for situational low level abilities that are forgotten by level 3.

dwarves are literally nickle and dimed with bonuses. but nobody cares about how high you can jack a dwarf's saving throws. try a dwarven archer and wreck your foes.

Pathfinder is built around the concept of core races being better for cheaper. it is built around wizards being gods d20 is designed to be powergamed, to be metagamed, to be shattered. d20 is for munchkins.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Random Stats and Racial Abilities? why are they still here?

a simple Question and i will make this blog short.

the Munchkins need a set of Pads to Stuff their brassieres so they can make themselves feel like they have a bigger cup size than one another. i'm flat as a pancake and i am proud. and i will tell you some of the biggest problems i have with the Concepts of Random Stats and Racial Abilities

Point 1: Random Stats Inflate E-Assets

you remember that point where your friends make fun of you for something you are lacking? this can be anything from Endowments, to money or even confidence. i won't give you a sob story of the feelings that led me to power game in my youth but i can tell you i did it to feel special, to stand out, to earn friends and respect, to be loved. and it didn't end well, my powergaming habits cost me more tables than i kept, but even worse, was my lack of filters. both made me really hard to game with.

and while powergaming made me feel badass when i was rolling stuff my character was good at. i wasn't really being fair to my companions. while i play a lot of underage female characters due to the large moe following that has happened since the early 1990s at the very least. i have used that to actually try to keep my characters alive. usually by making them a low priority target. "you don't want to kill the 79 year old elf in the gothloli dress? you want to kill the 150 year old dwarf in plate"

as you can tell, i have a habit of giving my characters a far higher level of intellect, wisdom and charisma than i truly possess IRL. especially charisma,  and well, i suffered from many years Roll-Playing instead of Role-Playing.

Random Stats. allow the player who miraculously rolled high, or cheated their scores, to have a massive unfair advantage that blatantly allows their characters to dominate greater foes than the characters with weak or even fair stats. and god forbid you have a character that has mostly penalties traveling along with a character that is purely bonuses. the latter will brag about his higher bonuses, while the former will complain and whime about their worse penalties. this can lead to very specific mindsets, especially for players who have horrible luck or players with extreme luck. most players who ask to roll in a point buy game, just want more stat points than the others.

better to deny the rolls first. and better to deny a randomly generated character that was made at home without a credible witness, but with the player's "lucky dice." where are these lucky dice that cap the important half of my stats and leave the other half in above average or even professional range?

Point 2: Racial Abilities are just as munchkin

i won't list a unique system for it. but most people that generally choose a race, are generally doing it for a racial ability that allows them to perform some broken gimmick, or simply want a racial stat bonus or few in whatever their primary stat for their build is going to end up being and don't care about the penalty to a stat they don't intend to use. while this is especially true of d20, and of the Various Editions and Retroclones of a specific popular nearly 50 year old Game Franchise that everybody knows the Title of. i will say the real reason people want different races to have different abilities, is so they can feel more powerful when they make that Orc a Barbarian, when they make that Dwarf a Fighter, when they make that High Elf a Wizard, when they make that Bunny Girl a Tavern Wench, when they make that Nymph a Shaman or when they make that Catgirl a Ninja.

in fact, entire balancing mechanisms are applied to keep races in line, when in reality, most players are either going to play the Races as blatant Steriotypes, or play them as themselves but with a cute accessory such as a pair of Butterfly Wings or a pair of Bunny Ears. really, if your race has any advantages that are outright not standard? why don't they buy them with advantages and disadvantages? whether gained from character advance or from taking the disadvantages at character creation?

are you really playing a bunny girl from a race of bunny warriors turned tavern wenches by years of being forced into slavery? or are you playing yourself with a bunny eared hairband because bunny ears are the new fashion trend you saw in an anime?

Point 3: Social Status is just as munchkin

it is fine to have a social status on paper, but if you want that social class to actually buy you in game benefits. you should have to invest metagame resources into those benefits. being attractive without the benefits for free is fine, but if you actually want the social benefits of being attractive, please spend those advances. you needn't take an attractive advantage to play an attractive character, but if you want to use that attractive appearance for social benefits, spend some damned advances.

Point 4: Background Restrictions do not balance a merit/edge/feat

if a feat/merit/edge is so powerful that you have to restrict its access to being taken at character creation, restricted its access to a certain alignment, or added behavioral restrictions such as a code of conduct to it, all you have truly done, is create an option you fear is too powerful and too munchkin to be used in certain builds. if you attach alignment restrictions or a code of conduct to a class, you are essentially saying the class is too powerful and you were desperate to balance it because you didn't know how to nerf it, by applying a character creation restriction to an Edge/Merit/Feat, you basically said that it is too powerful to be considered fair and has to be balanced by being taken at a point where it would be assumed to be considered sub-optimal.

Point 5. Arrays both outclass point buy and random stats at the expensive of variety. 

Arrays, though accused of killing character variety, actually don't, any character variety percieved to exist, actually truly doesn't in most class or archetype based systems. most systems can support maybe four or five character types with minor variations, and usually by shoehorning other Archetypes into the four or five. Systems like Cypher are smart enough to Admit this with Warrior, Adept, Explorer and Speaker. i mean, there is bleed-over between the four, but that is intentional to allow concept flexibility, most people playing a specific archetype with a specific playstyle, will play that archetype with the same overall play-style, regardless of how high their primary attribute is. using d20 as an example, it doesn't matter whether you have a 14 dexterity or an 18 dexterity. a character who defaults to archery as a combat style, will generally default to archery, regardless of what their actual dexterity score is and whether or not the campaign will allow them to increase it. characters who default to archery, usually tend to be human turrets. you will rarely ever have a mounted archer, or a flying archer, who mostly do those things for situational gimmicks. usually because most places have dimensions that rarely accommodate flight or mounts.