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1  Community / Off-Topic / Re: XCOM (Reactions, stories, let's play setups, etc...) on: July 27, 2015, 05:43:24 PM
Oh yes.  Terminator, Rainbow Six/Ghost Recon, Jagged Alliance, SHIELD, GIJOE... there are so many different settings this system could handle.  And we probably won't see 'em.  Tongue

  Heh hehh hehhh. I'm working on a little sumpthin'-sumpthin' along those lines right now...  Grin

  (actually your list suggested a couple of thing I can use a checks to see if I've covered all the bases... thanks!)
2  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Torg returns in 2016 as Torg: Eternity on: July 23, 2015, 04:09:43 PM
  Still running around squeeing. TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG-TORG!! Such an amazing structure for gaming. A global clash of alternate genre-realities. Epic (high)lords of pure evil. Gospog armies of setting-flavored minions. Magic and technology, miracles and mad SCIENCE!

  I'm so happy for you Pat! I'm a HUGE fan of the game and I know your love for TORG dwarfs even mine Smiley. So cool its coming back with your name in the bylines!
3  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: How to balance encounters? on: July 23, 2015, 12:03:32 AM
  Glad you liked it Grin. It's basically the sum of a bunch of necessary parts - The setting keeps the players well back (if one pulls a bow you can say there's all sorts of poles and ratty banners making it impossible to get a clean shot despite being reasonably you can make out most of the action). A physically big challenger is easily understood as an above average gnoll without the players ever seeing numbers. Finishing a foe with a broken weapon is textbook 'hard core' credibility building. The healing potion simultaneously explains why he'll be fresh and ready despite a hard fight while also making the chief look well equipped/prepared. And everybody loves the implications of the warrior so with it he spots you in the middle of a life and death fight and just shelves that knowledge until it's time to look bad ass in front of the troops. And being called guests instead of invaders says "unexpected, but hardly a threat" without actually spitting on the players.
4  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New kind of class? on: July 21, 2015, 09:19:24 PM
Hmm...

Silver General seems like it is just a different wording of Expertise: Tactics
Quote
You may always take 10 with this skill. Also, taking 10 with this skill doesn’t take twice as long and taking 20 takes only 10 times as long.

  Oh no. Very different. Formidable skills you roll the check... which means you have the chance to threat/crit.

I think the difference here is that Expertise allows you to Take 10 without rolling but forces you to always get (10+bonus) as the result, whereas Formidable <Skill> lets you roll normally but raises the 'skill floor' to a minimum of (10+bonus) while still allowing you to potentially roll higher. Still, I feel like it does take away from the power of Expertise by effectively being "Expertise+".

  Fortunately expertise is picked from a list so you can avoid duplication pretty easily. Formidable is better, but it only appears in much higher value slots (A slot, sometimes 10/20).

Quote
How does the Winged Flight interact if you already have Winged Flight?  Such as for drake players or those with Heritage/Legacy feats?

  I'm thinking a general rule of gain a +2 on all Acrobatics checks to maneuver while flying for each additional instance of winged flight (keep the best speed from among your options).
5  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New kind of class? on: July 21, 2015, 07:52:53 PM
Another caster, this time with fluff tuned for Sunchasser -

Dawnbringer [Renown Class]
  The Spirit of Triumph will at times specially bless a worthy soul to serve as focus for the needs and hopes of the peoples of Anmai.
  In your campaign, a Dawnbringer could be…
•   A child-soldier elevated to a symbol of the struggle against the Bloodghost and the Crone
•   A wily general chosen by the light to thwart a great darkness
•   A scarred veteran who must now look beyond their own glory to secure the needs of all

  Power: Angelic inspiration
  Party Role: Backer

Class Features
  Requirements: Career Level 3+, Military Renown 1+
  Favored Attributes: Intelligence, Constitution
  Caster: Each level in this class increases your Casting Level by 1.
  Spell Points: (Class Level × 2) per scene
  Class Skills: Acrobatics, Bluff, Haggle, Intimidate, Medicine, Notice, Resolve, Search, Sense Motive, Tactics
  Skill Points: 6 + Int modifier
  Vitality: 9 + Con modifier per level

Class Abilities
  Silver General: You may make Bluff and Resolve checks with your Intelligence modifier. You gain formidable Tactics.
  (Whenever you roll a 1-9 on a Tactics check, turn the die to ‘10’. If you gain the same formidable skill a second time, you instead gain a bonus Skill feat.)

  Victory’s Hand: At Level 2, you may purchase ranks in the Spellcasting skill, learn spells from the blessing, glory, and healing disciplines, and cast Level 0 spells you know.
  You have specialized in the blessing, glory, and healing disciplines: when casing spells from those disciplines you consider their level to be one lower (to a minimum of 0). However, when casting spells from any discipline you are not specialized in you consider their level to be two higher (e.g. what is normally a level 3 spell from most disciplines would be level 5 if you attempted to cast it).
  If you would gain this ability more than once you instead gain an additional spellcasting feat.

  Circle of Power I: At Level 3, you may cast Level 1 and lower spells you know.
  Circle of Power II: At Level 5, you may cast Level 2 and lower spells you know.

  Winged Victory: You grow wings or are able to manifest wings of silver light at will. At Level 4, your Constitution rises by 1 and you gain winged flight 40.

  Table Paragons.3: The Dawnbringer
Lvl BAB Fort Ref Will Def Init LS Lgnd SP Abilities
 1   +0  +0   +0  +2   +1  +0  +2  +1   2 Silver general
 2   +1  +0   +0  +3   +1  +0  +3  +1   4 Victory’s hand
 3   +1  +1   +1  +3   +2  +1  +3  +2   6 Circle of power I
 4   +2  +1   +1  +4   +2  +1  +4  +2   8 Winged victory
 5   +2  +1   +1  +4   +3  +1  +4  +3  10 Circle of power II

6  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New kind of class? on: July 21, 2015, 05:06:24 PM
Very interested by this premise- partially because I never got into 4e but always was curious to see how well their (relatively) hyper-specific class/paragon concepts would translate to other systems, and then especially because the idea of "bite-size base classes" has been on my mind a lot. Though it's not necessarily the norm, I've noticed at my table, the players almost exclusively build characters with base > expert (and occasionally) > master in mind, to the point where I started questioning the need for levels 10+ on base classes, and somewhat even 5+. It's definitely interesting to see your execution of this, especially knowing that I'm not the only one interested in smaller classes accessible earlier to provide a quick sugar rush of thematic, specialized abilities that don't need to be quite as powerful as the master classes' offerings.

  I like the description 'sugar rush' Smiley. So far it looks pretty decent that the benefits are in the B/M/S feat range of cool (maybe a hair on the high side) but they actually demand a higher level of commitment to acquire them. Something I'll be refining as I crack open a book and pick another paragon path to adapt at semi-random.

  Its interesting to consider that by adding a core ability they could potentially dump their requirements entirely - players could just start out as one of these, ride it a couple of levels, and move on. I don't know that I want to go there, but it's something I'm watching. It does seem like it would be a neat tool for low level/short campaigns. Strangely more like MMOs and other video games where class sets a LOT of information about how the character plays. Spycraft/Fantasycraft has always strived to have a small set of flexible classes, but sometimes - if you find just your flavor of cool - its nice not to have to think about it and just get on with the getting on. A larger set of less flexible classes can do that and still be pretty satisfying, I think.

Quote
Also, especially excited about Strike of the Shifting Winds and Dance on the Red Wind. Travelled-spaces-to-damage is a mechanic I've toyed with a lot in various drafts of homebrew ideas and it's always affirming to see others come up with the same notion, then the idea of ignoring STR to damage is something I'd never even thought about, but now LOVE the premise of. It's a very evocative mechanic, and I'd say it really elegantly conveys the fluff it's trying to capture.

  The traveled spaces to damage conversion in SotSW took some doing to get the language right. The +10 cap helps stop the super whacky. "on foot" was a critical bit of polish: I keep thinking 'what if the windrunner and the target are both on a moving train, together? I don't want it to be a question of is the bonus +0 or +10...' Smiley Glad you like them. The DotRW effect has me thinking about all kinds of other attribute-nulling situations like being so inscrutable that other's can't add their WIS mod to skill checks targeting you, or so hard-hearted they can't add CHA mod to skills targeting you. Or so fast (the flash) they can't add their DEX mod to their defense against your attacks. It'll be interesting space to explore for a while.

I think Endless is the Wind should recover Vitality equal to your Charisma Modifier (Minimum 1) instead of your Charisma Score.  As it is, even with a base 10 Charisma that is a lot of Vitality recovery.  Standard NPCs die fast enough that a player could recover from a couple of hits every round.  If they specialize in mowing down Standard NPCs they could go from near death to fully healed in one round.

  Tweaked to emphasize mobility but make the (big) self-heal more of a dueling/dramatic flourish effect Smiley.
7  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Torg returns in 2016 as Torg: Eternity on: July 21, 2015, 04:33:58 PM
OMG Grats!!
8  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New kind of class? on: July 21, 2015, 12:39:53 PM
  Yeah, comparisons to the levels 3-7 of a base class should be mostly apt if the renown/branch/whatever class is hitting its marks for power scale.

  The windrunner feels fun - its a mix of the Wildrunner paragon path in 4th ed and the fight choreography in Game in Thrones for the duel between the Mountain and the Red Viper of Dorn. I loved the presentation of the light armored fighter who on occasion rides his massive enemy's swings, allowing them to throw him clear of danger instead of trying to stop them (and getting hacked in twain in the process). Dance on the Red Wind comes straight out of that footage. Nullifying Strength-based damage as an alternative to wearing heavy armor.

  Returned the Demonskinner's tough hide to class level +1 (the reasons for going with +2 were not as good as the reasons to put it back to +1). Also did a little text clean-up so specializing in different disciplines across multiple classes disables the +2 spell level effect. On the whole the Demonskinner's B ability seems a pretty good tool for creating specialist casters and I really like that the casting starts at level 2, with the level 1 (A ability) setting up the flavor first. Its a model I can iterate on. And me being excited about casters is a rare thing Wink.
9  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New kind of class? on: July 21, 2015, 03:53:09 AM
Another attempt~

Demonskinner [Renown Class]
  The demonskinner is a portrait in the deepest commitment - a need for power that goes far beyond the boundaries of what most would consider sane. Whether in pursuit of personal ambition or to defend those they love the most, the demonskinner has stalked and flayed some of the most terrible denizens of the night to seize their power, wearing their very skins to channel the powers of the Pit.

  In your campaign, a Demonskinner could be…
•   A vicious lunatic drunk with powers seized in blood
•   A good man driven into dark pacts, clinging to the last light of his soul.
•   A calculating wizard who turns the darkest of powers against the darkest of plots.

  Power: Dark Magic
  Party Role: Wildcard/Backer

Class Features
  Requirements: Career Level 3+, Heroic Renown 1+
  Favored Attributes: Charisma, Intelligence
  Caster: Each level in this class increases your Casting Level by 1.
  Spell Points: Class Level × 2 per scene
  Class Skills: Bluff, Crafting, Disguise, Haggle, Intimidate, Medicine, Notice, Resolve, Search, Sneak, Survival
  Skill Points: 6 + Int modifier
  Vitality: 9 + Con modifier per level

Class Abilities
  Husks of the Pit: At Level 1, you gain tough hide equal to your class level +1. At the beginning of each round without taking an action you may permit your husks to seep, filling the area with a whispy spiritual miasma of ferocity. Until the end of the round your teammates within 50 ft. able to see you gain a +3 morale bonus to all their attack checks and all enemies able to see you gain a +3 morale bonus to any attack checks that include you as a target.

  A Vile Craft: At Level 2, you may purchase ranks in the Spellcasting skill, learn spells from the calling, energy, and shadow disciplines, and cast Level 0 spells you know.
  You have specialized in the calling, energy, and shadow disciplines: when casing spells from those disciplines you consider their level to be one lower (to a minimum of 0). However, when casting spells from any discipline you are not specialized in you consider their level to be two higher (e.g. what is normally a level 3 spell from most disciplines would be level 5 if you attempted to cast it).
  If you would gain this ability more than once you instead gain an additional spellcasting feat.

  Circle of Power I: At Level 3, you may cast Level 1 and lower spells you know.
  Circle of Power II: At Level 5, you may cast Level 2 and lower spells you know.

  Blood Calls to Blood I: At Level 4, if you have less than half of your vitality points remaining, all of your actions that inflict lethal or stress damage inflict an additional +5 damage.

Table Paragons.2: The Demonskinner
Lvl BAB Fort Ref Will Def Init LS Lgnd SP Abilities
 1   +0  +1   +0  +1   +2  +0  +0  +1   2 Husks of the Pit
 2   +1  +2   +0  +2   +3  +0  +0  +1   4 A vile craft
 3   +2  +2   +1  +2   +3  +1  +1  +2   6 Circle of power I
 4   +3  +2   +1  +2   +4  +1  +1  +2   8 Blood calls to blood I
 5   +3  +3   +1  +3   +5  +1  +1  +3  10 Circle of power II

10  Community / License to Improvise / Re: A Comprehensive Critique and Critically-Considered Correction of Crossbows on: July 20, 2015, 11:19:29 PM
  In practice many things that don't have any DR are relatively low threat. So if all your AP is wasted, you probably weren't in that much danger any way. But against dangerous stuff, the first point of AP is as good as a point of damage, and a point of damage is a very highly valued commodity indeed. Since almost nothing has just 1 DR, the second point of AP is effectively as good as the first. After that AP does lag behind true damage by a slight and progressively increasing margin, but is still quite desirable up to 5 or so against a broad range of threats. The 6th point of AP starts getting a bit specialized, but if you need it you really, really need it, since at DR 6+ were talking about targets that can completely shrug off many attacks entirely. This turtle-killer role tapers off pretty sharply after AP 10, but you have to deliberately over-build towards AP to reach that point.

  AP is valued higher than keen (which is much harder to leverage despite the shiny payout when you do), higher than accuracy, slightly lower than damage, and a little further below threat range. Its a very good middle of the spectrum tool and probably got a little over used, but only a little.
11  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: How to balance encounters? on: July 20, 2015, 03:02:33 PM
And a new question about encounters.

Is the Final Boss Preview acceptable in tabletop RPGs?

  Its acceptable in storytelling. Which is what tabletop RPGS are. Smiley

  The real issue in both cases (which are the same case, really) is pulling it off in a satisfactory fashion. Particularly as the players are likely to be very invested in the characters about to get thrashed.

  One of the functions of the Big Damn Heroes house rules (short form: PCs Never Die) is you can completely, unrepentantly drop the hammer and its understood it's not the final curtain. Without it can be a little tricky to pass the hint to he players that they're gonna get spanked, but that it's not game over. Particularly as while being surrounded by a hundred foes eloquently announces "oh shit", staging it so a small number of foes or even a single enemy is to be taken that seriously even before swords have been crossed takes some care and planning. Players generally believe anything in a room with them is a level-appropriate encounter. Visual cues to the contrary may need to be unsubtle.

  And it is all about staging. Having the big ol' chief of Gnoll roll up on you fresh and burly is one thing. Coming across the torch-lit battle pit where you have a chance to watch from the shadows as the chief of gnolls defend his position from a goddam HUGE gnoll challenger, beat said glandular freak of a pup to a bloody smear with the broken remains of his spear, chug a potion of healing like he's a cunning, crafty, well-prepared bastard the likes of which the player aspire to be, and casually turn to the players in their distant nook none of the rest of the tribe has even noticed yet and announce "We have guests..." can go a long way towards establishing "That is a scary-ass gnoll. And he may be old and scared, but he got those scars killing fools that thought themselves his betters..."

  And just to grind it in, the scene becomes dramatic right then as the chief turns his attention to them. Throw down at your own risk. Withdraw and consider your options is still on the table.
12  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Expert Class & Featchain] The Soulknife on: July 20, 2015, 05:37:01 AM
  Sure. Make upgrades a class ability Smiley. And limit it to a max number (might increase as you level but probably never more than 3) and a specific list of upgrades.
13  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Expert Class & Featchain] The Soulknife on: July 20, 2015, 02:18:02 AM
Some thoughts, editing, and aggressive effect pruning Smiley.

SPELLCASTING FEATS

Spectral Weapon Basics
  You can draw your favored weapons out of the aether itself.
  Benefit: Choose either Constitution, Wisdom, or Charisma. You may then select a number of weapons present in the campaign equal to your Spellcasting feats as your "spectral weapon types" (excluding siege weapons). You also gain a stance.
  Manifest Weapon (Stance): Upon entering this stance, your choice of a single 2h spectral weapon or one or two 1h spectral weapons from among those you have selected appear readied in your hand(s). The weapons have the appearance and statistics of normal, unmodified weapons of their type, except they have no weight, do not consume ammo, inflict force damage instead of their normal damage type, and inflict additional damage based on the chosen attribute's modifier rather than the modifier normally used (if any). If the weapon has the load quality it must still be reloaded and if it vanishes partially re-loaded it always reappears in the same state as when it vanished. These weapons vanish if broken, you leave this stance, or you lose control of the weapon.
  Special: This feat may not be taken as a temporary feat.

Spectral Weapon Mastery
  Your spectral weapons can appear without warning and deliver heinous wounds.
  Prerequisites: Spectral Weapon Basics
  Benefit: You may enter the manifest weapon stance as part of taking a Coup De Grace or Refresh action (the coup de grace may be performed with a spectral weapon). You also gain a trick.
  Discharge (Spectral Weapon Attack Trick): This attack deals your choice of Acid, Cold, Electrical, Fire, or Sonic damage and then the weapon vanishes (even if you miss). You may use this trick a number of times per scene equal to the number of Spellcasting feats you have.

Spectral Weapon Supremacy
  Foes will learn to fear you no matter how far they are... or how close.
  Prerequisites: Spectral Weapon Mastery
  Benefit: The attribute that you chose as part of your Spectral Weapons Basics feat rises by 1. Also, you gain a trick.
  Soulbreaker (Spectral Weapon Attack Trick): If your target is a standard character with a lower chosen attribute score than yours, he immediately fails his damage save (damage isn't rolled). You may use this trick once per round.
14  Community / License to Improvise / Re: A Comprehensive Critique and Critically-Considered Correction of Crossbows on: July 20, 2015, 01:28:52 AM
Funny, I'm looking at the book and... the Longbow has 10D as their complexity, Standard Arrows have 7D, and the Armor-Piercing upgrade costs +2 more to the Complexity. Let me see, that's a total of a 12D for the bow and 7D for the set of 30 arrows? Yeah, I don't know about you guys, but those numbers aren't exactly a major problem when it comes to getting those. Assuming a 10 INT Soldier who's maxed out Crafting, he'll be able to make himself a Longbow at level 6, and a Longbow+AP2 at level 8. Oh, but he's level 6, so he chooses to get Master Weaponsmith as his Weapon Specialist ability; my bad, now he has the ability to build an even MORE tricked-out bow with only a couple of days of work. And it's even faster to his Archery Apotheosis if he has higher Intelligence, or if he's a Dwarf (now he can get it done by level 4 and 6 respectively), or if he's a Keeper with Crafting as his Trade Secret (whoops, looks like he only needs to get to level 2 and 4!), or if he combines any of those things at all.

  Other than having serious reservations about the SAME upgrade from ammo and weapon stacking (and in fact want to check whether upgrading ammo is allowed at all...), and noting the numbers are quite manageable if you're only doing a single upgrade (AP), devoting character options to being a good crafter is not devoting them to being an apex killer... and life is good. Tradeoffs have been made. Master weaponsmith does NOT scare me more than decisive attack, killer instinct, or most deadly. If anything a 6th level warrior taking master weaponsmith is a player I'm going to work with quite agreeably to see his particular build shine. And a player willing to play a Keeper to be the guy providing premium gear is also a player I generally want to see at my table. That's what the class is for Grin.
15  Community / License to Improvise / Re: A Comprehensive Critique and Critically-Considered Correction of Crossbows on: July 19, 2015, 10:25:05 PM
  I left some words out earlier I knew was going to haunt me later - crossbow damage shouldn't exceed average bow damage over time (given comparable levels of character option investment). But there's still room for the damage to go up some to create a better 'spike' weapon. And we all know a single large hit can be very helpful compared to a lot of individual d6s when you ram it through the window provided by a crit.

  Other possibilities include increased threat when aiming to make it a serious opening shot weapon, extra damage vs unaware (likely a feat ability). And there's a case to be made for a supremacy feat giving auto-kill vs standards based on having more AP than target has DR. making crossbows a better tool for delivering poisons could also differentiate it without chasing after raw DPS. Certainly feeds the drow hand-bow motif.

  I also see repeated reference to fully tricked out weapons with multiple upgrades and... um, are complexity limits NOT working to curtail that? Because the casual attitude being displayed on that front worries me a LOT more than crossbows underperforming.
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