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  1. #1
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    I`ve been thinking of writing new character generation rules for a
    Birthright campaign, that don`t yet deal with Bloodlines (I`m still not sure
    how I want to represent them -- I think the way the original bloodline rules
    worked was kind of stupid.)

    Basically, this is an attempt to try to take the focus off magical items in
    D&D, while keeping the same relative power-base (so that I can still use
    those higher CR monsters and awnsheighlein) on the characters, rather than
    their gear. Also, some rules are going to be kind of changed to represent
    my campaign style.

    Anyway, I just wanted to toss out my draft agenda/ideas out to see if anyone
    here has any comments or additions that they`d like to suggest.

    Two notes: * I am primarily concerned with non-spellcasting classes
    * This is not an attempt to convert Birthright to 3E,
    so much as to start my own version of a Birthright d20.


    - Damage resistance will be based on a rarity chart similiar to the chart
    found in the "4 Colors To Fantasy" superhero d20 product. So that instead
    of a +2 weapon, Damage Reduction can be negated with either a +2 weapon or
    something in the "Rare" category, such as "fresh, blessed springwater".
    Knowledge checks, divination spells, and trial-and-error are all appropriate
    methods for finding these weaknesses.

    - Characters will no longer have magic rings, cloaks, boots, swords,
    sheaths, socks, toe-rings, etc. At most they will have about 4 or 5 items
    in the entire party at the campaigns magical peak. Most of these will be
    organized like a template (so that possessing one of these items might be
    like an ECL+1, allowing me to guilt-free raise the challenge rating and
    calculate experience as if they were one level higher.

    - Backgrounds can be chosen based on the Wheel of Time backgrounds, although
    I will probably beaf them up a little to make them worthy of an ECL+1. Such
    backgrounds will not represent coming from particular cultures, but rather
    membership in particular organizations (that I just don`t have the time,
    energy, or inclination to make prestige classes for). )(They are effectively
    single-level classes, but have no requirements.)

    - All characters will start the game at 3rd level, and anything that has an
    ECL cost also grants hit dice.

    - Classes must be rewritten along similiar themes to the PHB and to other
    d20 products such as Star Wars and Wheel of Time. All classes will have a
    Reputation mechanic, and a Defense bonus. Fighters will be powered up by
    getting a high defense bonus, Armor Compatibility (allowing defense to stack
    with armor) broken up into light, medium, and heavy increments, and bonuses
    to Wound points. Other classes (including the final Spellcasting Class)
    will be balanced (as best I can) to this fighter in the design process.
    I`ll put further notes on this process later.

    - Characters will get bonus Wound points, like the Vitality/Wound system
    but all other dynamics of that system will not be used. Characters will
    still be fatigued when their wound points get hit, but critical hits will
    not effect Wound points and damage reduction always applies to either your
    hitpoints or your wound points as normal.

    - Every character can choose two skills as background skills. They are
    always class skills for that character. Feats can be chosen to acquire
    other background skills. (Adaptive Learning)

    - There is no max skill rank based on level. However, every 5th "rank" of
    skill, the rank cost goes up by a point. So getting 5 ranks in a skill
    costs 6 skill points, 10 ranks costs 16 skill points, etc. (I haven`t
    decided if Skill Emphasis will grant a bonus, additional ranks, or just an
    amount of skill points automatically spent on that skill.)

    - Characters will make use of the Action Point system from Star Wars and
    d20 Modern. Basically, everytime they level up, characters will gain a
    number of Action Points based on their level. Action Points can be
    (permanently) spent to gain a "+1d6" to any task resolution (d20) roll. New
    feats and class abilities (and possibly blood abilities) will allow Action
    Points to be spent in different ways.
    [Most of my characters dislike the idea of a non-replenishable resource,
    however, so I might change it so that characters gain one Action Point
    whenever they level up or take a particular feat (or class ability), and
    those Action Points are re-usable each campaign day.]

    - I applaud Star Wars and Wheel of Time`s effort to assign "Challenge
    Ratings" to skill checks, but I don`t think they did a good job. I`m going
    to look into this further and try to break down the percentage chances of
    succeeding at various DCs, the amount of resources it consumes (in terms of
    skill points and feats), and the likelihood of having any particular skill
    in order to come up with a more structured and logical method of giving PCs
    experience based on successful skill checks. (I may adopt the "complex
    skill check" idea that so many other game systems use, which will give me
    more freedom with giving out XP, but may interfere with the whole "Take 10"
    "Take 20" mechanics. We`ll see.)

    Those are my ideas so far regarding ways to place the emphasis of character
    power back on the characters and less on the character`s gear.

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  2. #2
    While I think some of the stuff you want to include is good - it looks like
    a smorgasbord approach rather than a comprehensive one. I do not think some
    of these things will fly together well at all.

    Check out my website (http://www.mabinogin.com/Woundpoints.htm) for various
    mechanics using WoT/SW rules inplace of D&D. The Armor DR needs to come down
    some. Their are a chunk of PrCs & some classes as well. (some good some
    bad - I take submissions, what can I say?).

    You have too many very large and sweeping changes to take as one post. Why
    not try breaking them into cohesive chunks?

    Couple of notes: Blood lines might work as Templates - they should not be a
    Stat, unless it is made useful/penalizes all characters.

    > - Backgrounds can be chosen based on the Wheel of Time backgrounds,
    although
    > I will probably beaf them up a little to make them worthy of an ECL+1.
    Such
    > backgrounds will not represent coming from particular cultures, but rather
    > membership in particular organizations (that I just don`t have the time,
    > energy, or inclination to make prestige classes for). )(They are
    effectively
    > single-level classes, but have no requirements.)

    This sounds like a squirm to give players lots of skill points without
    experience points. "You belong to the elite warriors of the waste. Add +5 to
    your wilderness lore.....what?....No you do not go up a level but your
    effective level is +1"

    > - Classes must be rewritten along similiar themes to the PHB and to other
    > d20 products such as Star Wars and Wheel of Time. All classes will have a
    > Reputation mechanic, and a Defense bonus. Fighters will be powered up by
    > getting a high defense bonus, Armor Compatibility (allowing defense to
    stack
    > with armor) broken up into light, medium, and heavy increments, and
    bonuses
    > to Wound points. Other classes (including the final Spellcasting Class)
    > will be balanced (as best I can) to this fighter in the design process.
    > I`ll put further notes on this process later.

    I am not sure if Defense has a place in BR. It works well in settings that
    use little to no armor. That is not BR. It could be done but why? If you
    wanted to use Damage Reduction for armor instead of AC, it might be worth
    the effort.

    > - Characters will get bonus Wound points, like the Vitality/Wound system
    > but all other dynamics of that system will not be used. Characters will
    > still be fatigued when their wound points get hit, but critical hits will
    > not effect Wound points and damage reduction always applies to either your
    > hitpoints or your wound points as normal.

    I do not get what you are saying here? They get the extra 10-18 Hit Points
    but don`t have any of the negative effects? Take a look at the WP/HP rules I
    directed you to earlier. It prevents instant kills - still mimics serious
    damage and such. There are others versions on the net that attempt to port
    WP/VP into fantasy - each takes a slightly different spin. I chose to leave
    all of the weapons alone rather than converting them all to my system but
    you might want to try something a little different.

    > - Every character can choose two skills as background skills. They are
    > always class skills for that character. Feats can be chosen to acquire
    > other background skills. (Adaptive Learning)

    I think everyone should have the option to select a feat for `adaptative
    learning` but if you use the character creation system for WoT (mentioned
    above) that kinda negates the need to do multiple free skill bonuses.


    Maybe more on the rest but I would have to look at it better.

    Randy Madden
    Eosin the Red

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  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    > While I think some of the stuff you want to include is good - it looks like
    > a smorgasbord approach rather than a comprehensive one.

    Well, it was organized that way on purpose.
    I`m only starting to work now on the specifics; what I posted before was
    just brainstorming (whatever you think of, write it down whether its good or
    not) and requesting other people`s brainstorm ideas.


    >I do not think some
    > of these things will fly together well at all.

    I`ll let you know when I`ve reorganized it. In the meantime, I`d appreciate
    whatever other ideas you might have.


    > Check out my website (http://www.mabinogin.com/Woundpoints.htm) for various
    > mechanics using WoT/SW rules inplace of D&D. The Armor DR needs to come down
    > some. Their are a chunk of PrCs & some classes as well. (some good some
    > bad - I take submissions, what can I say?).

    I`ll take a look at it.
    Thanks.


    > You have too many very large and sweeping changes to take as one post. Why
    > not try breaking them into cohesive chunks?

    Eventually I will, but as I said, this was just a brainstorm. The first
    phase in any project is when I write down everything that I want to change
    or every objective that I want met in the changes. (Normally I do the
    latter, but when I present it to other people I present the former.)

    Also, many people tend to accept changes to a system better if they are
    presented with all the changes together. When asked an opinion on specific
    changes, they usuaally want some framework in which to think about it, and
    more often than not, they use their own campaigns as a base with weird
    results.


    > Couple of notes: Blood lines might work as Templates - they should not be a
    > Stat, unless it is made useful/penalizes all characters.

    I`m not really concerned with bloodlines at the moment. But thanks.


    >> - Backgrounds can be chosen based on the Wheel of Time backgrounds,
    > although
    >> I will probably beaf them up a little to make them worthy of an ECL+1.
    > Such
    >> backgrounds will not represent coming from particular cultures, but rather
    >> membership in particular organizations (that I just don`t have the time,
    >> energy, or inclination to make prestige classes for). )(They are
    > effectively
    >> single-level classes, but have no requirements.)
    >
    > This sounds like a squirm to give players lots of skill points without
    > experience points. "You belong to the elite warriors of the waste. Add +5 to
    > your wilderness lore.....what?....No you do not go up a level but your
    > effective level is +1"

    Okay, I`m not sure if what you said above necessarily follows from what I
    said, so let`s try to clarify this.

    To belong to the "elite warriors of the waste", a character would take the
    Wasted Warrior background instead of levelling up in his class, because it
    has an ECL of +1. Alternatively, if everyone, during character generation
    decides to take such a background, then they`ll effectively be a party one
    level higher for purposes of determining challenge rating.

    A quick example:
    So, instead of taking your 2nd level in Fighter, for example, you could
    become a 1st level Wasted Warrior Fighter. It would get you one bonus hit
    die (all things that have an ECL cost will grant hit dice, because I can`t
    find anything that compensates for not having hit dice), 4 skills that will
    always be class skills, a +4 bonus to one of those skills, a bonus feat from
    a very specific list, and probably one bonus package to balance it all out
    (either attack bonus, save bonuses, skill points, Spell Points, or Action
    Points).

    So, instead of levelling up, we can become a Wasted Warrior and recieve the
    following benefits:

    - +1d8 hit dice
    - stealth, wilderness lore, perception, and ride are all class skills
    - a +4 bonus to all wilderness lore skill checks
    - Blooded feat (grants +2 initiative and +2 to perception skill checks)
    - Special (+1 to all attack rolls)
    - Qualifies for the Wasted Warrior prestige class (if such a thing exists)

    Alternatively, two characters might decide to belong to the Imperial Heralds
    and recieve the following:

    Character 1: Character 2:
    - +1d8 hit dice - +1d8 hit dice
    - Class skills (bluff, diplomacy) - Class skills (bluff, diplomacy)
    - Class skills (Gather info, Perform)- Class skills (GatherInfo, Perform)
    - +4 bonus to Diplomacy checks - +4 bonus to Perform checks
    - Seductive feat - Cosmopolitan feat
    (+3 bluff/diplomacy vs females) (class skill [open locks] +2)
    - Special (+5 Action Points) - Special (+5 Action Points)
    - Membership in the Imperial Heralds - Membership in the Imperial Heralds

    As you can see, it`s a little more than a +5 bonus to Wilderness Lore and
    cheating the PCs out of a level. The point was to have new ECL effects that
    are actually balanced based on what you`d get if you levelled up.

    I`m still not happy with it, but that`s the general idea. It`s easier to
    implement than writing up whole prestige classes, better balanced, and still
    perserves the general feel of various organizations. (None of these are
    necessarily organizations or exact templates/backgrounds that I`m going to
    use.)


    > I am not sure if Defense has a place in BR. It works well in settings that
    > use little to no armor. That is not BR. It could be done but why? If you
    > wanted to use Damage Reduction for armor instead of AC, it might be worth
    > the effort.

    The "why" part is the most important aspect of all of this.
    The reason is because I want my D&D game to still be a D&D game, but
    translating 3E D&D characters into Birthright keeps having ludicrous
    results.

    The reason I`m giving a Defense bonuses to classes isn`t that people aren`t
    wearing armor, it`s because people aren`t wearing magical/enchanted armor.
    Other settings (such as Wheel of Time and Star Wars) that have replaced AC
    armor bonuses with Damage Reduction are also not made to use the D&D Monster
    Manual. My goal is to make level-based characters that are roughly equal in
    power-base to D&D characters, so that I can run D&D-esque adventures in BR.

    This way a high level fighter in this BR campaign will have a moderately
    comparable AC to a mid level fighter in a typical D&D campaign who has an
    Amulet of Natural Armor, a Shield +1, Full Plate +1, etc. The difference is
    that the higher AC is derived from his class abilities and natural Defense
    progression rather than all these bizzare magical enchantments and thousnads
    of thousands of gold pieces accumulated from god-knows-where and given to
    god-knows-who.

    Similiar rationalizations exist as the reasons for all my other changes.
    The goal is to have 7th level d20-Birthright characters who are roughly
    balanced to 7th level 3E characters. Also, since PCs are often fighting
    NPCs in my games, I want to have NPCs that are comparable to monsters (in
    terms of difficulty or challenge) without giving them gobs of magic items
    for the PCs to loot.

    My Birthright campaign is fairly monster-heavy. On top of that, I love
    using awnshiegh (especially the minor ones), and I love using templates and
    ECL stuff for my NPCs and Awnsheighlein. I also don`t believe that most
    people`s character concepts can really be created until around 4th-5th
    level, so I want to start character generation there. In D&D your choice of
    classes don`t matter so much as your choice of Prestige classes and magical
    items -- I want to change that for my d20 BR game. I still want to use some
    of the medium and high CR monsters in the Monster Manual. Despite the fact
    that this is a fairly monster-heavy campaign, and that a frequent theme in
    these campaigns is war with other realms or invading orogs or whatever, it`s
    also a very magic-light campaign. Wizards, bards, druids, sorcerers, and
    clerics (all reduced to a Spellcaster class in my campaign [with specialized
    ECL templates]) are heavily retricted compared to their D&D 3E counterparts.
    There also are not nearly as many magical items in this campaign.

    Since I want the power bases to be roughly similiar, I have to take the
    focus off magical items, and power up some of the feats, class abilities,
    and template writeups of the various classes.

    It should be noted that none of the things I`ve suggested in this email has
    been actually playtested yet, as I don`t have a first draft of all these
    rules. This thread represents the most comprehensive work done on this
    project to date in terms of text, while most of my notes consist of
    equations, matrices, and taglines/reminders.


    > I do not get what you are saying here? They get the extra 10-18 Hit Points
    > but don`t have any of the negative effects?

    Yeah, actually that was exactly what I suggested earlier. Though the idea
    has been refined a little since then.

    All characters (in a moderately combat-heavy campaign without magic items)
    will recieve a number of additional hitpoints (called Wound Points) equal to
    half their Constitution (rounded down). This is free and has no drawbacks.
    In addition, each time you gain a hit die, you also gain one Wound point.
    (Fighters, as a class ability, will also recieve additional Wound points.)
    Once your hitpoints are reduced to 0 all damage you take starts going to
    Wound damage. Once you have to used up even a single Wound point, you are
    considered Fatigued. Use up all your Wound points and you are dead. Wound
    points are harder to heal than regular hitpoint damage. (Even by magic, it
    takes time and skill.)


    >Take a look at the WP/HP rules I
    > directed you to earlier. It prevents instant kills - still mimics serious
    > damage and such. There are others versions on the net that attempt to port
    > WP/VP into fantasy - each takes a slightly different spin. I chose to leave
    > all of the weapons alone rather than converting them all to my system but
    > you might want to try something a little different.

    I don`t really want to do anything else with the WP/HP system. I`m not
    trying to make combat more deadly, as many people attribute to the Critical
    Hit element of the VP/WP system, and I don`t want to make critical hits more
    distinct. It`s not my objective. My goal was to help compensate for a
    character`s lack of magical items in terms of combat power.

    My objective is three fold:
    1) to power up the basic classes or basic characters in a logical
    level-based manner that is somewhat believable in a "realistic fantasy"
    setting and equivilent in power to a D&D character of the same level (with
    magic items and whatnot)
    2) to take advantage of my favorite elements of 3E and rid elements of 3E
    that I don`t like (hasn`t really been discussed yet in this thread)
    3) to try to even out the power-up curve in D&D; so that, for example, a
    character with four levels in two classes is an equivelent power level to a
    character with eight levels in a single class. (Also not really discussed
    in this thread.)


    > I think everyone should have the option to select a feat for `adaptative
    > learning` but if you use the character creation system for WoT (mentioned
    > above) that kinda negates the need to do multiple free skill bonuses.

    Yeah, but I haven`t really decided if I`m going to use the character
    creation system for Wot. Like I said, I think if I use them, they should be
    improved a little and given an ECL. I also think they might be better in a
    Birthright setting for representing specific organizations (`cause we have
    so many of those and I think it`s cool to have rules to distinguish between
    them).

    But yeah, I agree with your above statement. One of my players, however,
    really insists that players should be able to create a background by
    choosing at least two class skills, and I generally agree with the
    principle. It`s worth a shot. But yeah, the Wheel of Time backgrounds kind
    of defeat the necessity of it.



    > Maybe more on the rest but I would have to look at it better.

    Ditto.


    -Lord Rahvin

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