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1  Community / Off-Topic / Re: The Silver Screen: Movie News, Reviews & Reactions 2014 on: October 23, 2014, 06:01:42 PM
Man, that Ultron trailer is SERIOUSLY stuck in my head now. And its somewhat hilarious how much of the screen time is frittered away on an Ironman-Hulk fight that could be nearly irrelevant to the main story. Must be nice to have something that badass and iconic you can use as a throw away subplot/loose footage.
2  Community / Off-Topic / Re: XCOM (Reactions, stories, let's play setups, etc...) on: October 23, 2014, 08:06:01 AM
  Its like seeing the inner rage and embarrassment of Farthest Star given a voice Smiley.
  Humans get to be the dominant species in their slice of the galaxy, and have had a few episodes where they've met the alien and the knee jerk reaction to things that startle us has lead to tragedy - mostly for the other guy. On the whole they are trying to do better, and the people who actively pursue lifestyles that could lead to a first contact are well coached in not opening fire just because it's revolting, but accident still happen and the thoughtful types back home just keep hoping we don't stumble over anything that could hit back really hard...
3  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: October 23, 2014, 07:55:24 AM
  I just cruised over to my local gamestore to pre-order it about 10 hours ago. I had successfully let it sneak up on me. Gotta get some work down today because tomorrow belongs to BE Smiley.
4  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Why Did I Do This? on: October 19, 2014, 10:13:52 AM
5  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Halloween Spirit on: October 18, 2014, 02:31:34 PM
In the holiday spirit I recommend browsing the Magic the Gathering's gothic horror block Innistrad just to soak up the luscious art Smiley.

For a bit of Mastercraft crunch, how about some alignments Grin!

Alignments of Innistrad

Church of Avacyn
  “What cannot be destroyed will be bound”
  Dedicated to the survival of Man in the face of Innistrad’s countless terrors. In particular the Church tries to ensure the “Blessed Sleep” preventing the faithful from being violated after death.
  While the Church has enjoyed a living god in the form of the Archangel Avacyn for centuries, she has mysteriously vanished some months before our tale begins.
  The Church’s reach extends to all four of Inistrad’s provinces, but its strongholds and manpower are chiefly gathered within the Province of Gavony. The church is lead by the Lunarch from its central cathedral in the city of Thraben. The office is currently held by Mikaeus, a man of genuine passion and faith and a beacon in these dark times.
  The Church's militant agents are known as cathars and are lead by Guardian-Captain Thalia.

Paths: Angels, Good, Heroism, Knowledge, Protection,
Alignment Skills: Athletics, Ride, Search, Tactics
Ritual Weapon: Longsword (marked with the collar of Avacyn)
Avatar: Moon Heron
Opposed Alignments: Crimson Courts, Cult of Whispers

The Wood-Ways
  “Living wood is the bane of many evils...”
  With the faltering of the protection offered by the Church of Avacyn, many have turned to Innistrad’s older practices, known as the Wood-Ways. These practices were never truly abandoned in the province of Kessig and as a result that region has faired better than many in these dark days.
  Many Werewolves also practice the Wood-ways and humans and werewolves sometimes reach momentary accord through these rites. This has led to some conflicts between human Wood-worshipers and slayers dispatched by the Church, but usually the warriors of Avacyn will turn a blind eye to these pagan practices, putting the survival of race ahead of questions of dogma.

Paths: Nature, Protection, Travel, War, Wilderness
Alignment Skills: Blend, Ride, Search, Survival
Ritual Weapon: Shortbow
Avatar: Wood Elemental
Opposed Alignments: Cult of Whispers, Stitchers

  “Igor? Bring me the brain!”
  Many forms of dark science and necro-alchemy lurk in the mansions and cellars of Inistrad, and have taken root particularly in Nephalia. Stichers are best known for their reanimated creations, alchemical zombies known as skaabs, but they have created numerous other devices and creatures through their experimentation at the edge of sanity.

Paths: Air, Curses, Knowledge, Skaabs, Treachery
Alignment Skills: Bluff, Crafting, Haggle, Investigate
Ritual Weapon: Scalpel
Avatar: Skaab Decimator (enhanced flesh golem)
Opposed Alignments: Crimson Courts, The Wood-Ways

The Crimson Courts
  “It was not fate that brought you into my clutches. No, that was all my doing”
  Prior to the Coming of Avacyn, Innistrad was ruled by vampires. Their four great bloodlines (Falkenrath, Markov, Stromkirk, Voldaren) still hold sway in Stensia Province, and their power is spreading rapidly in Avacyn’s absence.

Paths: Beauty, Blood, Darkness, Strength, War
Alignment Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, Sneak, Tactics
Ritual Weapon: Bite
Avatar: The Lord of Lineages (master vampire)
Opposed Alignments: Church of Avacyn, Stitchers

Cult of Whispers
  “Every soul has its price”
  The Cult of Whispers counts the both the necromantic Ghoulcallers and those who traffic with demons amongst their ranks. While different branches serve different demon lords, they exercise remarkable ‘professional courtesy towards each other. Rumors about that the cults have infiltrated all levels of the provincial governments and even the highest levels of the Church itself.

Paths: Contracts, Death, Evil, Strength, Treachery
Alignment Skills: Blend, Bluff, Disguise, Sneak
Ritual Weapon: Dagger
Avatar: Reaper from the Abyss (demon)
Opposed Alignments: Church of Avacyn, The Wood-Ways
6  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New Base Class: The Inspector on: October 16, 2014, 06:01:06 PM
The basic concept/mechanic you had - get a clue (by whatever means), kick in a +15 to the roll after the fact was really tasty without being all that ridiculously powerful. I just keep seeing characters from Elementary or NCIS sitting up all night with a pile of document/photos and then having something new to share with the team the next morning without ever leaving the house/office. Letting the Inspector review other people's clues is equal parts useful synergy and potentially smarmy Wink.
7  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New Base Class: The Inspector on: October 16, 2014, 05:37:46 PM
That's disappointing; understandable though. You were the person I figured would be able to polish Sudden Insight the best. I'll have to wait and hope for some advice from some of the other LoI regulars.

Having just watched all of season 2 of Elementary over the last week, I'm feeling pretty steeped in consulting detective motifs at the moment Smiley. I'm also feeling pretty good about the number 1 enemy of the investigator being the clock...

Just tinkering I get something like...

  Deductions I: At level 1, your Wisdom rises by 1 and whenever you or a teammate gain a clue you may spend 6 hours reviewing the clue to improve its quality by one step (eg. Fruitful to illuminating).
  Deductions II: At level 10, your Wisdom rises by 1 and you may perform your review in 1 hour.
  Deductions III: At level 20, your Wisdom rises by 1 and you may perform your review in 1 minute.

Alternatively if you wanted to go back to having a flawless pair in A, these could go into B quite neatly. There is good precedent for time reduction effects in B with both the Explorer and Sage.
8  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New Base Class: The Inspector on: October 16, 2014, 04:37:03 PM
  Very glad I sat down and banged out more of mine before reading through this as there are a lot of interesting ideas at work here. Now I have only a couple slots left to fill before facing the temptation to replicate goodies found here Smiley. The sharp senses ability was definitely an "oof, missed that one" for me Smiley.

  Personally I would avoid having both a flawless ability at level 1 and a skill cap booster in 2/11/19 in the same class. Keep in mind also they serve different purposes - one allows spectacular successes along with semi-frequent failures, while the other doesn't drive up the peak performance at all but is constantly warding off the whoopses. The two have very different feel in play - genius vs. meticulousness. If you need the class to cover a lot of potential ground go with the skill cap but allow choices. Having it pop at 2/11/19 but letting players pick the order the skills are boosted (or which three out of a list of more than 3) lets the class cover very different concepts even at it's earliest levels.

  I admit I plan to cheat and cheat vigorously - since I'm basically reinstituting some of the old dramatic conflicts as very stripped down mini-games I've also allowed myself the luxury of assuming the existence of a "Detective Feat Tree". Again, this is with an eye towards one class supporting a multitude of mechanics with greater player control over how the see themselves in the role. It also means that after giving over the spine (C slot) to feats I have to concentrate on the absolutely essential in all other slots.

 Though in some respects I don't see myself finalizing my solver classes without having a look at my Thief and Con-Artist, as the two sides of the coin should definitely play off each other a bit. Holmes is made vastly better by having a Moriarity. You might do the same here with less labor by re-reading the Burglar and Assassin classes and asking 'how can this class better pit itself against those?'
9  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Notebook] The Champion on: October 16, 2014, 04:02:25 PM
  Personally I prefer that it be spelled out right there rather than forcing a page flip Smiley. Doubly so after people arguing "frenzy must only apply to NPCs because it says 'this NPC' in the text..." Still, it would be best to use unified terminology. Good catch. Will tinker.
  On the bright side its one less class ability I have to come up with an NPC XP value for Grin.

  ...and yeah, I'd forgotten free attacks had the 'final' restriction folded directly into them Tongue.

10  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Notebook] The Champion on: October 15, 2014, 11:14:52 PM
Its a good suggestion. I recently realized that one of the role-models for this class is a relatively low power version of Captain America (shield with +3 reach *giggle*). My current thinking is the 10/20 slot will need to provide some protection against crits (coupled with the level 1 ability) to lay the ground work for the gamebreaker's steady regeneration. It may prove as simple as "You gain 3/6 grades of Tough."

(This class is also intended to support the typical Jedi Knight - there's all kinds of humor in putting Force feats in the species tree.)

EDIT: Went with reduced threat range on incoming attacks. You can still headshot a Champion 20 but damn do you have to really mean it.
11  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Notebook] The Champion on: October 15, 2014, 01:43:51 PM
  Battlewise is definitely under consideration. There are enough tricks to support it, but it could be a bit overwhelming to have that many choices. It's more useful you're using extra proficiency options like the ones that open up crits on undead or constructs. Likely I'll change it to 4 + some other minor perk but I'm still pondering.

  Added a little 'heal up off camera' benefit to the gamebreaker. This is semi-native to the New Pie where one-track damage adjusts the consequences of crits, but your concern it well taken.
12  Community / Off-Topic / Re: D&D 5e Going Live In July on: October 15, 2014, 01:29:29 PM
Finished going through all the classes. Hat's off to the minds behind those - there is polish there the likes of which you rarely ever see.

Essentially every class has a branch point - usually at 3rd level (the Sorcerer branches at level 1). About 75% of the class is shared between all the branches, but the packet of 4-6 abilities does a really good job of flavoring the rest of the mix. And because the format is so consistent, presenting new branches is going to offer game expansibility for years. In Mastercraft terms its a lot like the class gets steps along a path at 3/7/11/15/19 and can chose from 2-3 paths, but once the choice is made, you have to stick with that singular path. It loses a little flexibility but it lets the jumps between the steps be a little more variable to fit in and around the other more fixed progressions.

Every class has an attribute bump (or feat) at 4/8/12/16/19. Its basically pulled out of the "career level table" and folded into each class. Because classes generally have only one ability per level (with a few exceptions at the lowest levels) this means they effectively save on total class ability slots (entirely dropping what would be the D ability in a Mastercraft base class). With simplicity being so highly prized in 5th ed, its a good call. Especially as the 16 remaining slots tend to be unique effects rather than progressions (with one very notable exception - spells).

Gaining access to a new level of spells after 1st (what we'd Circle of Power in these parts Smiley) occupies the class ability slot for that level, meaning full casters lose 8 of their 16 class abilities to their magic. In the process of beating down spell casters to something sane (gods I'm jealous of the new spell structure - no more varies by caster level... ever) they worked out a single unified progression for all "full casters" (Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard) and in turn a repeatable structure for the "half casters" (Ranger, Paladin). Then they took that half-caster tech and made it a selectable branch within the fighter and thief. Fighter/mage is just a branch within the Fighter class now Smiley.

Several classes also use a very consistent "Class resource = class level" that kicks in starting at level 2.

Multi-classing is good but not flawless - certain combinations do result in conflicts that generate dead levels.

For the first time in a long time I'm looking at D&D classes that don't boil down to a feat chain. It's equal parts refreshing and meaty. There will be stuff to mine for quite a while.
13  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New Class - The Trooper on: October 15, 2014, 11:51:59 AM
Normally I would revise the initial post, but this one's be stable for about a year, so I'm going to put my revisions here in line. The original D ability, Assault! isn't wrong so much as more fiddly that it needs to be. with this class having both deep pool of feats in its spine and a selectable E ability there is just a LOT of moving parts. This should pare it back while still delivering beefy Combatant/Backer mojo.

  Rifle shouldered and ready, coolly and professionally sweeping his weapon and his gaze from side to side as he advances, the Predator is the iconic infantryman and a cornerstone of armed services and agencies. With the evolution of warfare has come the evolution of the warrior’s skills. The passage of time has seen the proliferation of these skills from hereditary men-at-arms and formal armies into the hands of private contractors and even solo operatives. Likewise the battlefield has changed from the rolling hills and woods of untamed countryside to the dirty block-by-block and door-by-door landscape of urban combat.
  In your campaign, a Predator could be…
•   A hardened mercenary undertaking paramilitary ops for the highest bidder.
•   A SWAT officer leading the way boots-first into the suck.
•   A cold-blooded vigilante seeking revenge against the crime family that destroyed their life.
•   A special ops operator with a classified dossier brimming with [mission accomplished] stamps.
•   A ruthless underworld enforcer known for his terrifyingly keen aim.

  Party Role: Combatant/Backer. While a premier combatant able to dominate most firefights, the Predator also places emphasis on squad tactics, working with other specialists to accomplish a wider range of missions than simply seizing ground and putting the enemy to rout.
  Build: Dip into Predator for a quick shot of military or paramilitary training. Commit to Predator to hone your entire team to a razors edge able to survive and triumph when the shooting starts.

Class Features
  Favored Attributes: Dexterity, Constitution
  Class Skills: Athletics, Intimidate, Notice, Resolve, Ride, Sneak, Survival, Tactics
  Skill Points: 4 + Int modifier
  Vitality: 12 + Con modifier per level
  Starting Weapon Proficiencies: 6

Core Ability
  Boot-Camp: Before spending you skill points from Career level 1, you gain 1 rank in each of the 8 Predator Class Skills. When you spend an action die to boost an attack check or confirm a critical hit, you gain fervor equal to your starting action dice. If this is your last action die, you instead gain fervor equal to twice your starting action dice.

Class Abilities
  Door Kicker: At Level 1, your attacks with ranged weapons ignore the penalties for being engaged and cannot be redirected. You gain 2 dice of sneak attack damage on all of your ranged attacks during surprise rounds and the first normal round of each combat. You also learn sign language.

  Hard Targets I: When dust settles, your guys are usually the ones still standing. At Level 2, you and your teammates gain a +1 teamwork bonus to defense and checks to avoid feints or ambushes.
  Hard Targets II: At Level 11, this bonus increases to +2.
  Hard Targets III: At Level 19, this bonus increases to +3.
  (Teamwork stacks, but cannot exceed +4)

  Bonus Feat: At Levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19, you gain 1 additional Basic Combat or Ranged Combat feat.

  Stay the Course I: Motivation and determination have seen you through terrible times. At level 4, you may spend a full action to give yourself and all of your teammates able to see and hear you 4 fervor.
  Stay the Course II: At Level 8, this increases to 6 fervor.
  Stay the Course III: At Level 12, this increases to 8 fervor.
  Stay the Course IV: At Level 16, this increases to 10 fervor.
  Stay the Course V: At Level 20, this increases to 12 fervor.

  S.W.A.T.: At Levels 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18, you may choose 1 of the following abilities. Each of these abilities may be chosen only once.
•   Always Ready: You may always act during surprise rounds.
•   Arms Drills: Your teammates may use any weapons you are proficient with without suffering non-proficiency penalties even if they lack the appropriate proficiency or forte.
•   Best of the Best: once per scene when you or a teammate who can see or hear you makes a skill check, they may apply the highest available skill bonus among you.
•   Certainty: Your error range with proficient attacks decreases by 2 (minimum 0).
•   Most Deadly: It costs you 1 fewer action dice to activate critical hits with proficient attacks (minimum 0).
•   Obstacle Course: once per adventure you may spend 1 hour practicing to gain 1 temporary Terrain feat of your choice until the end of the current adventure.
•   Sneak Attack: You gain an additional die of sneak attack damage.
•   Sterling Reputation: When you or your allies lose Reputation, the loss decreases by 2 (minimum 0).

  Seize the Moment: At level 10, once per session you may interrupt another character’s action, taking a half action before their action resolves. This action is so abrupt it does not cause other characters to lose the flatfooted condition or trigger readied actions. If the character can no longer perform the triggering act they lose that action rather than choosing a new action.
  At level 20, this ability may be used once per scene.
  Go, go, go!: In any crisis seconds are precious - and you know how to squeeze the most out of them. At Level 14, each round you or a single teammate of your choice that can see and hear you may take an additional aim, standard move, handle item, or reposition action during their initiative count. A character may not gain more than a single additional action per round from this ability.

Table 1.15: The Predator
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Def Init LS Lgnd Abilities
  1    +1  +1   +0  +2   +2  +0  +0  +1  Door-kicker, Boot-camp
  2    +2  +2   +0  +3   +3  +0  +0  +1  Hard Targets I
  3    +3  +2   +1  +3   +3  +1  +1  +2  Bonus feat
  4    +4  +2   +1  +4   +4  +1  +1  +2  Stay the course I
  5    +5  +3   +1  +4   +5  +1  +1  +3  Bonus feat
  6    +6  +3   +2  +5   +6  +2  +2  +3  S.W.A.T.
  7    +7  +4   +2  +5   +6  +2  +2  +4  Bonus feat
  8    +8  +4   +2  +6   +7  +2  +2  +4  Stay the course II
  9    +9  +4   +3  +6   +8  +3  +3  +5  Bonus feat, S.W.A.T.
 10   +10  +5   +3  +7   +9  +3  +3  +5  Seize the moment 1/session
 11   +11  +5   +3  +7   +9  +3  +3  +6  Bonus feat, hard targets II
 12   +12  +6   +4  +8  +10  +4  +4  +6  Stay the course III, S.W.A.T.
 13   +13  +6   +4  +8  +11  +4  +4  +7  Bonus feat
 14   +14  +6   +4  +9  +12  +4  +4  +7  Go, go, go!
 15   +15  +7   +5  +9  +12  +5  +5  +8  Bonus feat, S.W.A.T.
 16   +16  +7   +5 +10  +13  +5  +5  +8  Stay the course IV
 17   +17  +8   +5 +10  +14  +5  +5  +9  Bonus feat
 18   +18  +8   +6 +11  +15  +6  +6  +9  S.W.A.T.
 19   +19  +8   +6 +11  +15  +6  +6 +10  Bonus feat, hard targets III
 20   +20  +9   +6 +12  +16  +6  +6 +10  Seize the moment 1/scene, stay the course V
14  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Notebook] The Champion on: October 15, 2014, 11:33:25 AM
The Species Feat Tree is home to two (and a half) distinct types of feats.

"Developed" feats have prerequisites based on other traits like size category, natural attacks or winged flight speed. In general these represent learning how to better utilize a bodily feature better. They don't change your appearance or obviously set you apart from other characters who have the prerequisite but don't have the feat. Guts is part of this category, but was specifically added to the tree to prevent certain collapses that might otherwise occur from a lack of feats without prerequisites.

"Intrinsic" feats represent pretty fundamental biological benefits packages. They have the "level 1 only" limitation to prevent them from spontaneously manifesting as a campaign progresses (such as sprouting extra arms!) and to prevent them from being collected in large numbers over time like trading cards... "Hi, I'm a wolf-bat-dolphin-chihuahua elf!".

There is a rare-ish subset of the intrinsic feats that have the Special: text allowing them to be combined with other level 1 species feats. These are cases where mixing several together makes sense, but comes at a cost.

Some class abilities waive these restrictions *choughPaladincough* because progress in the class could plausibly offer the near miraculous metamorphosis that adding an intrinsic feat mid-story represents. GMs might choose to allow forces in their setting or specific events in the campaign to allow similar remarkable transformations, but the circumstances would be so specialized that they're not part of the RAW.
15  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New Class - The Trooper on: October 15, 2014, 09:39:30 AM
As it stands it does. Having gotten a good start on its hand-to-hand counterpart and generally grooving on the relative simplicity achieved there I'm looking at reducing the number of moving parts. New version should be up soonish.
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