Friday, March 5, 2010

Revised Skill System

I fucking hate the normal skill system i 3e and 4e. They're equally pointless in both editions, and in 4e especially, the skill challenge system stinks. Both stifle creativity. So I actually made re-proficiencies ala 2e. These may require tweaking for your game, but I adore them.

Revised Skills

Each character starts with 3, plus one per INT MOD. Thieves get an extra +2, and bards get an extra +1. The DC for all of these abilities is 10. Unless otherwise noted, there is no penalty for failing a check, though botches may be penalized at DM discretion

Prep Skills
These checks may only be made at the start of each 24 hour cycle.

Armorsmithing: Dex. +1 masterwork bonus to AC for the day.

Cantrips: Int. You may memorize +2 first level spells, for the day.

Cooking: Con. +5 temporary hit points for party, for day.

Healing: Wis. Check to heal party additional +15 hp at the start of that day.

Inspiration: Cha. +1 morale bonus to your saves for day.

Meditation: Wis. +1 bonus to spell DC for day.

Strategy. Int. +2 morale bonus to party initiative for the day.

Tarot. Cha. When the chosen player rolls a natural 1 on attack rolls and saving throws no longer fumbles, but still fails.

War Machines: Int. Your attacks with siege engines enjoy a +2 masterwork bonus for the day, and inflict extra damage equal to your level.

Wild Magic: Con. Your spells enjoy a +2 luck bonus to their DC, for the day. If you fail this check, your spells suffer a -1 luck penalty to their DC, for the day.

Weaponsmithing: Str. +1 masterwork to attack rolls and touch spell DC for the day.

Combat Skills
Each of these may only be used once per encounter.

Alertness: Wis. Sense invisible creatures or gain +3 to save vs traps, as immediate action.

Balance: Dex. When you are hit by an area of effect ability, you may shift 15 feet as an immediate action.

Bandaging: Wis. Targeted player is healed his CON score.

Beast Taming: Cha. You may cause a single creature with a bestial level of intelligence to not take action during the first round, unless it is damaged, as an immediate action.

Diplomacy: Cha. You may cause a single intelligent target that is not inherently hostile to you to not take action during the first round, unless it is damaged, as an immediate action.

Dueling: Dex. Shift one space as free action.

Intimidation: Cha. Target that you have hit this turn is Afraid for encounter (no save), as move action.

Juggling: Dex. You gain a +3 bonus to your AC and saves against ranged attacks until the end of your next turn, as an immediate action. This ability may be used after a ranged attack has just hit, in order to make that attack missed (assuming -3 to that attack would be sufficient).

Jumping: Str. Add +2 to speed for one move action, or +4 speed if all you are doing this round is moving.

Mnemonics: Wis. Swap single spell for a different spell that you possess, as standard action.

Monster Lore: Int. Get resistances and vulnerabilities of a creature, as free action.

Parrying: Dex. +3 to AC until your next turn, as free action.

Poisoning: Int. Your next hit to hit this encounter inflicts additional poison damage equal to your level, move action. This skill botches on a natural roll of 1, 2, or 3.

Rallying: Cha. +1 morale bonus to attack rolls and spell DC for party, as free action.

Training Skills

These may only be used when the character that possesses them gains a level.

Endurance: Con. +1 max hp.

Research: Int. You may add an additional spell to your spell or prayerbook, of any level that you can cast.

Atropaics: Wis. You may attempt a skill check to un-equip a cursed item from a player, even before its level duration is finished.

Philosophy: Wis. You gain +8 XP.

Salvaging: Int. You gain you level x 50gp.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More Interesting Magic Items

I hate the magic item system in normal D&D. In 3e the items were bland, boring, and the vast majority of them were inferior to a few very specific items that boosted ability scores and shit. Plus there were seventeen slots, plus ioun stones. The end result was that your items were more important than the choices you made when designing your character. In short, terrible.

In 4e, you still use way too many items, and many of them are horribly bland, but at least they add additional abilities instead of just being longsword +1s or whatever. I hate a lot of the new systems, but at least the items are generally more interesting than a hat that gives me +2 wisdom.

I only use a few magic item slots: head, neck, cloak, armor, belt, feet, hands, ring, and weapon. Nine is plenty, though, especially since I prefer items to be a little more useful, though without modifying the basic nature of a character too much.

Nice Items Vs. Game-Changers

A nice item gives you bonuses that are handy, like for example a cloak that gives you 10 fire resistance. A game-changer is an item that changes the way your character operates, like an item that gives you +4 speed. There's a big difference there in how much it affects your character. One helps you out, okay, but another will modify everything you do or change your strategic options in nearly every combat. Thus, game changer. Here are a few ideas for items of each category. I don't bother pricing items in GP value, so you're on your own with that. And suck it up if you don't like "per encounter" abilities.

Nice Items

Wolf-Hunter Ushanka
+10 cold resist. +1 ranged weapon damage.

Armadillo Cloak
You ignore damage from the first thirty feet of any fall.

Countering Ward Amulet
When you succeed in a saving throw against a spell, the source of that spell suffers 15 electric damage and this amulet shatters.

Iron-Band Belt: During the first round of combat, you enjoy a +3 bonus to AC.

Life Charm: When you roll a natural 20 on a saving throw, this charm breaks and you heal 20 hp.

Swordstring Charm: You enjoy DR 3/-. When you are hit with a critical hit, this charm breaks and you suffer an additional +20 damage on the critical hit.


Huntsman's Ring
Your attacks during the first round of combat enjoy +1 to critical threat range.

Boots of Dancing
Any time you take a five foot step, you may move two spaces. You cannot use this ability if you are wearing heavy armor.

Hellfire Trident
Trident +1. When you score a critical hit with this trident, you may immediately cast a fireball spell as though cast by a 6th-level Wizard, using your Charisma to determine difficulty class.

Staff of the Apprentice
Quarterstaff +1. Your first-level spells enjoy a +3 bonus to their DC. Once per encounter, you may cause a first level spell that you cast to inflict maximum damage. That spell cannot otherwise be modified with metamagic or class abilities.

Duelists' Wand
Your spells enjoy a +1 bonus to their DC, and any spells with short range are increased to medium range.

Belt of Superior Spell Components
You reroll any results of 1 on damage dice, when casting spells.

Sharding Armor
Half plate +1. Any time you are struck for damage with a melee weapon, the space in which you reside becomes covered in magical caltrops that fall off of your armor. These caltrops do not inconvenience you, but the first creature to enter their space will take 5 damage and cannot move further on that turn, at which point the caltrops in that space crumble to dust. Un-triggered caltrops crumble to dust at the end of the encounter.