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  1. #1
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Here are some playtesting comments regarding my experience with some of the BRCS feats and associated skills:

    Master Administrator - I've mentioned before that I revised this one in regards to seasonal domain maintenance. I have it allowing the DC for seasonal maintenance to be 10 + [1/2 x seasonal maintenance in GB). I've found that works well to keep maintenance savings within reach for a slightly longer duration. Normal DC's are [10 + GB maintenance], rather than 15 base. By the time characters level up high enough to make such a high DC, their domain expenses tend to be too high to reach without the Master Administrator feat anyways. This is especially true for landed regents with armies.

    Also, this feat granting a +2 synergy bonus to all Administrate-based domain actions is EXTREMELY powerful. What regent in their right mind wouldn't try to take this feat as soon as possible? That's +2 to all Create, Rule, and Contest actions for holdings AND provinces! That's an enormous advantage for a single feat.

    Similarly, Regent Focus: Rule Province has become another "must have" feat for landed regents. It grants +4 to ruling provinces, which is normally very risky (expensive) and difficult to achieve.

    So here's what has become a bit too formulaic in my game: Every smart (read: competent, relative to the competition) landed regent takes Master Administrator and Regent Focus (Rule Province). A 2nd level character could then gain +7 to his/her Rule Province actions (5 ranks in Administrate = +1, +6 for the feat bonuses). Doesn't this ring of game imbalance?

    Here's my suggested alternative:

    Lower the advantages of the Regent Focus feat to +3 to the selected focus, making it the equivalent of the 3.5 Skill Focus feat. Alternately, make it +2 if you base domain action synergy bonuses on skill bonuses rather than ranks [see below].

    Do away with the +2 domain action synergy bonus of the Master Administrator skill, but make it more useful regarding domain maintenance [see above]. Let it still give a +2 skill bonus to the Administrate skill itself, and the reduced DC for seasonal maintenance. This is quite an advantage all by itself.

    Ranks vs. Bonuses: When calculating synergy bonuses for Domain Actions, give a +1 bonus for every +5 skill bonus in the key skill (rather than +1 per 5 ranks). This rewards talented rulers, and significantly raises the value of skill-enhancing feats. Talented rulers are ones who have important political attributes like Intelligence and Charisma, and who focus their skills in synergistic ways (Diplomacy is a prime example of one that can really stack up).
    In my opinion, this is more realistic system that doesn't make things quite so level-dependent. Bonuses based on skill ranks are strictly limited by character levels, which is rather narrow minded and restrictive. Open up the system to talented young regents with "the right stuff," and Cerilia's competitive balance might be better represented.

    Master Merchant is another "Uber-Feat" that needs to be toned down. +2 to all merchant and trade-related domain actions, including diplomacy?!? It's every guildmaster's wet dream, yet it's exclusive to Brechts and Khinasi, giving them a powerful advantage. Sorry to all you Brecht-lovers out there, but all this really encourages (in my own game) are Brecht and Khinasi merchants setting up shop in Anuire because the competition is "soft."

    I would propose to drop the domain action bonuses, and instead expand the skill bonuses to include +2 to Appraise, Profession: Merchant, and Diplomacy[Bargaining]. It's already better than most feats right there, and if you use skill bonuses to calculate domain-level synergy bonuses, well worth taking. But the skills are very specific to merchants, hence the reason I'd allow 3 rather than 2 skill bonuses (comparing to other skill-enhancing 3.5 feats).

    Master Diplomat: Same goes here. Drop the domain bonus (take Regent Focus for that advantage), but expand the feat to grant a +2 synergy bonus to Diplomacy and Sense Motive.

    Finally, a note on establishing prerequisites: It seems a little ridiculous to have 1st level characters with feats like Master Administrator or Master Merchant. The current prerequisites are based only on attributes and race, but not at all on experience. Giving them a name with "Master" implies skill mastery and specialization. So here are a few suggestions for revised prerequisites, scaled for racial preference without making them exclusive (I think anyone can learn these kinds of specialties with time and experience, but cultures that expound these values give their people an early advantage). Note that elven and dwarven racial feats should (IMO) remain exclusive racial feats, as should the regional training feats. These are much more distinctive for each race, especially the non-human "secrets."

    Master Administrator:
    Int 13+
    Anuireans, Khinasi: 5+ Ranks in Administrate
    Others: 8+ ranks in Administrate

    Master Merchant:
    Int 13+, Cha 13+
    Brecht, Khinasi: 5+ ranks in Profession: Merchant
    Others: 8+ ranks in Prof: Merchant

    Master Diplomat
    Cha 13+
    An, Br, Kh: 5+ Ranks in Diplomacy
    Others: 8+ ranks in Diplomacy

    Military Genuius
    Int 13+
    An, Vos: 5+ ranks in Warcraft
    Others: 8+ ranks in Warcraft

    Great Leader
    Cha 13+
    An: 5+ ranks in Lead
    Others: 8+ ranks in Lead

    Spymaster:
    Cha 13+, Int 13+
    5+ ranks in Gather Information

    Conqueror:
    An, Vos
    -The character must have conquered at least 1 province through military force.

    Regent Focus:
    5+ Ranks in the key skill for the focus (Administrate, Diplomacy, etc.), and
    The character must have successfully performed the chosen domain action at least 3 times as a regent or lieutenant.

    How about adding Elite Regional Rogue Training (giving +2 instead of +1 to the listed skills; Prereq: Regional Rogue Training)?

    That's all on that note, folks.

    -Osprey

  2. #2
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    Osprey:

    I *love* the suggestions... I have always been an advocate for using Skill bonus instead of Ranks when determining Domain bonuses. I can create a 5th level character with +20 to Diplomacy, yet only see a +1 or +2 when it comes to a Domain action.

    This rewards the characters with high INT, WIS and CHA, who show talent even at early levels, and increases the power of the Blood abilities, since some of them grant bonuses to skills.
    "It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion -- and usually easier."

    - R. A. Heinlien, from The Collected works of Lazarus Long

  3. #3
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    Allow me to say that there is a serious reason that is completely mechanics-related and prohibits the use of Skill Bonuses instead of Ranks in order to determine whether you are able to achieve something or not: the potential that ability scores and bonuses have to change on the spot!

    Consider the following situation: two scions have the supposed requisite Skill Bonus, one due to Ranks, the other due to high Ability Scores. They both have the same feat or ability that is tied to the Skill. Now, if the two happen to be, let's say, poisoned, attacked by a monster with an ability damaging/draining ability, or otherwise suffer such effects, the first one won't have a problem, since the only way to lose ranks happens only when you lose a level (a case that can harm a character pretty badly anyway, is not so common, and is considered as one of the most violent attacks&#33, but the second will suffer! If his feat was supposedly achieved because of a high Ability Bonus that he now no longer had, he would no longer be able to use it!

    Considering the fact that such: "Am I able to use my feat now or not?" situations are frustrating for players and can lead to hurt feelings, or feelings of unfairness, not to mention that there are too many ways to temporarily or indefinitely boost your ability scores, but no way to get extra ranks!

    I think that flavour is less of a demand in such a case. Don't you?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Allow me to say that there is a serious reason that is completely mechanics-related and prohibits the use of Skill Bonuses instead of Ranks in order to determine whether you are able to achieve something or not: the potential that ability scores and bonuses have to change on the spot!

    Consider the following situation: two scions have the supposed requisite Skill Bonus, one due to Ranks, the other due to high Ability Scores. They both have the same feat or ability that is tied to the Skill. Now, if the two happen to be, let's say, poisoned, attacked by a monster with an ability damaging/draining ability, or otherwise suffer such effects, the first one won't have a problem, since the only way to lose ranks happens only when you lose a level (a case that can harm a character pretty badly anyway, is not so common, and is considered as one of the most violent attacks&#33, but the second will suffer! If his feat was supposedly achieved because of a high Ability Bonus that he now no longer had, he would no longer be able to use it!

    Considering the fact that such: "Am I able to use my feat now or not?" situations are frustrating for players and can lead to hurt feelings, or feelings of unfairness, not to mention that there are too many ways to temporarily or indefinitely boost your ability scores, but no way to get extra ranks!

    I think that flavour is less of a demand in such a case. Don't you?
    I think you misunderstood something here. If you notice in the first post, all of the prerequisites for Feats are based on Skill Ranks, not skill bonuses. This is reasoned as being based on the idea that "Master"-type feats require a degree of actual experience in addition to natural talent. Natural talent in this case refers to ability score minimums (which already exist for these feats - I changed very little of those from their BRCS versions).

    Generally, I reason that once a feat is learned, it is permanent, barring things like memory loss (i.e., permanent level loss), Feeblemind effects, or the like. And those things should happen rarely.

    My proposal was specifically to make Domain Action synergy bonuses based on skill bonuses rather than ranks to reflect the [generally slight] advantages of natural talent and skill-focused feats.

    Does that clarify things, and sufficiently address your concerns?

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    I would keep the Regent Focus at a +4 to the revelant ability instead of lowering it to +3.

    There are many feats in the 3.5 SRD and the BRCS that give a +2 to two seperate skills. Those feats give a total of +4 to skills. I see no real difference between a +4 to one skill than a +2 to two.

  6. #6
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    Rather convincing, Osprey, but you forgot one thing here: your idea is based on a, admittedly interesting, house rule. But this is still a house rule, and a house rule that defies standard allowances for feats (when you do not meet any of the prerequisites, you lose it until you meet them again). Not to mention that since they do have prerequisite ability scores, they are more readily available to talented people. Others won't get them at all; giving them to such characters faster as well is not a good idea.

    On the other hand, Destowe, I have to agree with Osprey's point: a +4 bonus in one skill is better than +2 in two skills. Furthermore, while The Wheel of Time had several rules that deviated from the standard rules of 3e, there were some very interesting ones. One of them, called Skill Affinity, was a feat that replaced Skill Focus for that campaign setting, and actually gave a +3 bonus to any one skill!

    Hmm, I checked it in my 3.5e PHB: Skill Focus now does give a +3 bonus instead of a +2 bonus as well!

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by RaspK_FOG@Oct 8 2003, 11:33 PM
    Rather convincing, Osprey, but you forgot one thing here: your idea is based on a, admittedly interesting, house rule. But this is still a house rule, and a house rule that defies standard allowances for feats (when you do not meet any of the prerequisites, you lose it until you meet them again).
    You seem to be confused rasp. Ospreys suggestion does not violate stardard rules for feats. The prerequisites listed were ability scores and ranks in relevant skills. The only slight, and intriguing, derivation was requiring fewer ranks for certain cultures.

    regarding regent focus, I think it should be lowered to a +2 for certain domain actions, and a +3 for the rest. Rule Province and Rule holding are both so commonly used that a bonus to either is signicantly more valuable than a similar bonus to just about any other.

    Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a night. Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.

  8. #8
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    Osprey,

    Thanks for your suggestions they have been noticed and will be considered during the revison of section on skills & feats in the revised BRCS. I'm not sure which, if any, of your suggestions will be used, but thanks for making them.
    Let me claim your Birthright!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    Originally posted by The Jew@Oct 9 2003, 02:54 AM
    You seem to be confused rasp. Ospreys suggestion does not violate stardard rules for feats. The prerequisites listed were ability scores and ranks in relevant skills. The only slight, and intriguing, derivation was requiring fewer ranks for certain cultures.
    On the contrary, there is a breach of standard rules in Osprey's suggestions, and while I find it as a rather interesting idea, it is a house rule:

    Generally, I reason that once a feat is learned, it is permanent, barring things like memory loss (i.e., permanent level loss), Feeblemind effects, or the like. And those things should happen rarely.
    I, for one, disagree that such effects as ability damage (in spite of draining) should be used rarely; if PCs can do it, so can NPCs, especialoly villains or monsters! From spell to poison to special attack...

  10. #10
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    Rasp, you're grasping at straws here... the discussion is not about someone's house rules, it's about how to tone down potentially overpowered feats, and change how Domain action sysnergy bonuses are calculated.
    "It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion -- and usually easier."

    - R. A. Heinlien, from The Collected works of Lazarus Long

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