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31  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.
32  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
33  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.
34  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.
35  Community / License to Improvise / [Notebook] The Champion on: October 15, 2014, 05:38:31 AM
  A bit of a hybrid between the Soldier and the Martial Artist for use in modern settings opposite the Predator (a ranged combat specialist). A few quirks set it up to be good fun for Drakes and other beast PCs so it may still be of interest to GMs using the standard spread of classes.

  An ancient warrior for the modern world, the champion embraces the artistry, the discipline, and the ferocity of hand-to-hand combat when others have moved on to firearms as the dominant mode of armed conflict.
  In your campaign, a Champion could be…
•   A fearsome mob enforcer who settles most disputes quiet-like.
•   A professional athlete who knows how to play as rough or gentle as the situation requires.
•   A wisecracking scrapper unafraid to bring a knife to a gunfight.
•   A simple monk roaming the world dispensing wisdom to the innocent and a righteous beat-down to the wicked.
•   A crazy old hermit practicing fighting skills from a more civilized age.

  Party Role: Hand-to-hand Combatant. The champion works quick and in close, without the collateral damage or noise associated with a shootout. In settings with non-human character options, the Champion can be a superb way to emphasize your natural attack abilities.
  Build: Dip into Champion if you want to have a powerful and surprising “ace up your sleeve” when enemies believe they have cornered you and come in close. Commit to Champion if you want to be the pre-eminent threat on the field in most interior spaces.

Class Features
  Favored Attributes: Strength
  Class Skills: Athletics, Bluff, Crafting, Haggle, Intimidate, Notice, Resolve, Ride
  Skill Points: 4 + Int modifier
  Vitality: 12 + Con modifier per level
  Starting Weapon Proficiencies: 6

Core Ability
  Deadly Flourish: Before spending you skill points from Career level 1, you gain 1 rank in each of the 8 Champion Class Skills. During your initiative count before or after your normal actions you may spend 1 action die to make a free melee or free unarmed attack. If it is your last action die the attack gains keen 10.

Class Abilities
  Relentless Pressure: At Level 1, the cost to activate critical hits on ranged attacks against you increases by 2 dice. Once per round when one of your melee or unarmed attacks misses all of its targets, you may re-roll that attack.

  Celerity I: At Level 2, your melee and unarmed attacks gain +1 reach and your maximum Athletics rank increases to your Career Level + 6.
  Celerity II: At Level 11, your melee and unarmed attacks gain an additional +1 reach (for a total of +2 reach) and your maximum Athletics rank increases to your Career Level + 7.
  Celerity III: At Level 19, your melee and unarmed attacks gain an additional +1 reach (for a total of +3 reach) and your maximum Athletics rank increases to your Career Level + 8.

  Bonus Feat: At Levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19, you gain one additional Melee Combat, Unarmed Combat, or Species feat.

  Uncanny Dodge I: Your senses are supremely sharp, letting you react quickly to danger. At Level 4, you retain your Dexterity bonus to Defense (if any) even when flatfooted.
  Uncanny Dodge II: At Level 8, you never become flanked.
  Uncanny Dodge III: At Level 12, you gain a +4 bonus with Reflex saves made to avoid traps, as well as a +4 bonus to Defense against attacks made by traps.
  Uncanny Dodge IV: At Level 16, the first time in each scene when an attack reduces you to 0 or fewer wounds, the attack instead misses you.
  Uncanny Dodge V: At Level 20, you never become flatfooted and may not be targeted with Coup de Grace actions unless you’re held, paralyzed, or unconscious.

  Brawn: At Levels 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18, your Strength rises by 1.

  Indomitable I: At Level 10, you gain Monstrous Defense 2, reducing the threat range of all attacks against you by 2. (see FantasyCraft, page 234).
  Indomitable II: At Level 20, this increases to Monstrous Defense 4.

  Eternal Warrior: At Level 14, you begin each scene with your full Wounds and vitality. If you have less than half of your vitality remaining at the beginning of your initiative count, you recover vitality equal to one-half your Class Level (round down).

  Table 1.6: The Champion
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Def Init LS Lgnd Abilities
  1    +1  +1   +1  +0   +1  +0  +0  +1  Relentless pressure, deadly flourish
  2    +2  +2   +2  +0   +1  +0  +0  +2  Celerity I
  3    +3  +2   +2  +1   +2  +1  +1  +3  Bonus feat
  4    +4  +2   +2  +1   +2  +1  +1  +3  Uncanny dodge I
  5    +5  +3   +3  +1   +3  +1  +1  +4  Bonus feat
  6    +6  +3   +3  +2   +4  +2  +2  +5  Brawn +1
  7    +7  +4   +4  +2   +4  +2  +2  +6  Bonus feat
  8    +8  +4   +4  +2   +5  +2  +2  +6  Uncanny dodge I
  9    +9  +4   +4  +3   +5  +3  +3  +7  Bonus feat, brawn +2
 10   +10  +5   +5  +3   +6  +3  +3  +8  Indomitable I
 11   +11  +5   +5  +3   +7  +3  +3  +9  Bonus feat, celerity II
 12   +12  +6   +6  +4   +7  +4  +4  +9  Brawn +3, uncanny dodge III
 13   +13  +6   +6  +4   +8  +4  +4 +10  Bonus feat
 14   +14  +6   +6  +4   +8  +4  +4 +11  Eternal warrior
 15   +15  +7   +7  +5   +9  +5  +5 +12  Bonus feat, brawn +4
 16   +16  +7   +7  +5  +10  +5  +5 +12  Uncanny dodge IV
 17   +17  +8   +8  +5  +10  +5  +5 +13  Bonus feat
 18   +18  +8   +8  +6  +11  +6  +6 +14  Brawn +5
 19   +19  +8   +8  +6  +11  +6  +6 +15  Bonus feat, celerity III
 20   +20  +9   +9  +6  +12  +6  +6 +15  Indomitable II, Uncanny dodge V

(click to show/hide)

36  Community / License to Improvise / Re: "Suspicion" - the Police Procedural Content Generator on: October 15, 2014, 03:30:33 AM
  A good observation. My instantaneous reaction is hints are broader, having value outside of investigations, but it still might work out to use them in class abilities - possibly unrestricted, possibly with an "only during investigations" caveat. Or hint's may be used in place of/to buy leads. Which has some hilarious implications for the Priest class in an investigative scenario Smiley. Keeping a psychic on the payroll has surprisingly good pay-out too.

  But I do still really dig calling the thing that add suspects to the pool "leads".
37  Community / License to Improvise / Re: "Suspicion" - the Police Procedural Content Generator on: October 14, 2014, 08:10:35 PM
  Dealing with class abilities for classes I want to excel in procedural mystery settings/scenarios, I'm finding I need to define two currencies - Leads and Clues.

  Clues are in the system now, and they are for the most part HUGE. Given that I want to manage cases as a shuffling suspect lists, rather than point to someone clues need to be structured/phrased as eliminating 1 or more suspects. A big enough clue might eliminate all but one suspect, but its still moving forward via process of elimination.

  Leads would be the other side of the coin and serve to add suspects to a manageable pool of suspects. Because they generate choices rather than reduce them they can be given more freely and earlier in the process, making them a good candidate for mechanics in the lower power/level range. Right now clues are mostly forcibly granted by level 10/20 class abilities. Lead generators could come much earlier.

  Getting closer Smiley.
38  Community / Off-Topic / Re: The Silver Screen: Movie News, Reviews & Reactions 2014 on: October 14, 2014, 09:02:30 AM
Saw Dracula Untold.

I give it a 6.5. Spoilers follow.

(click to show/hide)
39  Community / License to Improvise / Re: "Suspicion" - the Police Procedural Content Generator on: October 14, 2014, 07:00:11 AM
Good call. Those kind of linkages can actually arise from all three categories. Something to add in for all of them.
40  Community / License to Improvise / Re: "Suspicion" - the Police Procedural Content Generator on: October 14, 2014, 03:02:16 AM
Would people mind brainstorming on categories of clues common to investigations? Maybe for stories you've seen and recall?

my off the cuff stuff is~

  Voluntary Witnesses (come forward)
  Involuntary witnesses (interrogation)

Background checks
  Registered Property
  Career history
  Criminal records

  Scene analysis
  Object/Material identification or provenance

I'd like to see if I've missed anything common or obvious.

(and it's becoming clear surveillance plays a roll in finding suspects at various stages of the process.
41  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New Base Class: The Inspector on: October 13, 2014, 03:19:12 AM
I'm treating it as a spur to get off my butt and finish mine so I can come back and look it over in good conscience Smiley.
42  Community / Off-Topic / Re: D&D 5e Going Live In July on: October 12, 2014, 08:34:12 PM
Huzzah! You're flanked, I have the advantage!
Huzzah! You're prone, I have the advantage!
Huzzah! You're blinded, I have the advantage!
Huzzah! You're stunned, I have the advantage!

Huzzah! I've applied one disadvantage to you... and you can NEVER overcome it Tongue.

What's amazing about it is it requires no math - the analog computer that is the dice handles the computations for you. It takes D&D closer to World of Darkness than its ever been and there is a sizable chunk of the fun through storytelling crowd that are deeply math adverse. On the other hand it is really limited outside of fairly simple situations - it would work better if it were used more sparingly.
43  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New Base Class: The Inspector on: October 12, 2014, 02:16:42 AM
Largely keeping my nose out of here as Investigator is a base class in the New Pie spread for modern settings Smiley. Great minds and all that!
44  Community / Off-Topic / Re: The Idiot Box: TV News, Reviews & Reactions 2014 on: October 07, 2014, 03:01:10 AM
Just tracked down and watched the first hour/2 episodes of Rebels.

Recognizing it's children's fare and suffers the limitations of all such cotton candy, I like it.

Amongst other things it's adding some really useful ships and other hardware to the canon. The multi-roll Imperial micro-carriers is something we've needed to see for a long time - a combination troop-transport & tender for up to 4 TIEs is just about the ideal size to run a really well equipped team off of. The Ghost is also a fairly well optimized plot-platform - as long as we can break contact (via hyperspace), we can come back as long as we stay out of visual range... Nice.

And I rather like the Mandolorian-punk girl. Its a fair interpretation of the creed in my mind and there is just nothing wrong with girls watching the show seeing a teen female Mando' who can more than pull her own weight. And blow shit up. And blow more shit up. Then two-pistol down some stormtroopers before blowing more shit up.

And yes, their astromech is wonderfully guttural and crotchety.

Curiously, I'm looking forward to an occasional tie-in cross-over action with the Force Unleashed. Bail Organa is a start. More will almost certainly follow.
45  Products / Z-Corps / Re: Escape Routes & Safe Zones on: October 07, 2014, 01:02:47 AM
And I really don't think most bases would turn the non-infected away. Beyond it being the POINT of the military to protect it's civilian populace, and beyond the fairly simple numbers of every body you turn away is crawler coming back to try and kill you the next day, arriving civs equal the addition of one of the most important resources of all - manpower.

And honestly, I can't think of ANYTHING more corrosive to morale than having some percentage of your troops living with the nightmare "My family is out there and if God has been kind they are making their way here. If I'm not at the exact gate on the exact shift when they arrive, the guys on C shift won't know them from Adam and will turn them away..."

I don't see "arrivees" as going into a pen somewhere (other than maybe for a 12-20 hour quarantine period). Every single person who shows up is a person you put to work right now. You need to debrief them for any intel they might have. You're gonna need people digging latrines, helping barricade and reinforce every perimeter, apprenticing to your cooks, or practicing any practical trades they may bring to your labor pool. Most of all, in any readily accessible base near urban areas you need every team of 6-10 shooters you send out to forage enjoying the benefits of an equal number of people to help shlep supplies back. Gunmen need to keep their hands free and stay mobile coming an going. Someone has to carry half a supermarket back with them and civilians can fit into that role neatly.

I see it a lot more like Falling Skies (minus some of the abject dumb that show occasionally had) - with mixed military/civilian packs.
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