Author Topic: [3.5] Houserules Balance Question?  (Read 4969 times)

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Sinfire Titan

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Re: [3.5] Houserules Balance Question?
« Reply #60 on: October 05, 2010, 01:25:16 AM »
Of course, I'm making a project for mechas in D&D so this may be kinda hypocrital, but hey, even in Super Robot Wars the characters strip every salvageable piece they can from the battlefield to upgrade their own machines!

Save you some trouble: Look into the MoI. Incarnum lends itself well to mecha design, or at least power armor.


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oslecamo

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Re: [3.5] Houserules Balance Question?
« Reply #61 on: October 05, 2010, 01:42:41 AM »
Save you some trouble: Look into the MoI. Incarnum lends itself well to mecha design, or at least power armor.

That's more or less how we're doing it, with mechas as pimped out armor. But then we need proper weapons, an energy system, almost fully protection of the pilot, bigger sizes, combining mechas and colossal blades on top of some other stuff. We'll also add a touch of Tome of Battle for combo attacks.

veekie

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Re: [3.5] Houserules Balance Question?
« Reply #62 on: October 05, 2010, 10:43:19 AM »
Wouldn't in that case just be better to play Exalted where you laugh at the "common people" problems and everything is powered by how awesome you are? Where Golden cities filled with jewels are at every corner and you don't care because a single donkey's jaw turns into a massacre weapon when in your hands? Ok there's the ocasional super artifact but those are strongly controled by the GM.
In all seriousness, no, despite the hype, Exalted is still highly item dependent, someone with good equipment will generally beat the tar out of an unarmed specialist. But that digresses. Wealth is significant, but the serious problem here is that the regulation of wealth varies. It does handle monty haul better than item starvation though, but thats because all useful magical equipment requires commitment, and committing your essence that way leaves you less fuel for your personal abilities.

The key concept of equipment as character power source is highly contingent upon the equipment being at the character's wealth level. However, only magical equipment manages to contribute noticeably to character power(a handful of exotic materials aside). In this case, players are exactly as strong as the equipped wealth they have, and if they manage to obtain more/less wealth than they are supposed to wield, their power is thrown off the scales.

In any adventure where a character's magical wealth is strictly material in nature(loot, magic mart, either way), you have these issues:
-If the magical wealth can be translated to and from material wealth, any means of increasing material wealth will increase magical wealth. Cue looting everything off the dungeon, including the adamantine doors and entire dismantled traps. While this behavior can be fun, it is disruptive in games where greed is not the primary motivator.
-If magical wealth cannot be purchased, then you have the issue where all their items come from loot/rewards. Unless you expend a large amount of effort to tailor all equipment to characters, characters will tend to be underequipped for their type. In the opposite direction, characters will be overequipped as there is no reason to dispose of old equipment.
-If magical power is mainly immaterial and directly derives from personal power(i.e. Incarnum), you lose the aspects of magical items.

So, basically, you need a few things
-A limit to magic items wielded. Limiting this by item slot or item quantity is irrelevant and only serves to confuse the issue. Limiting by vertical power(level) remains problematic as if someone gets hold of a dozen different types of wands of the same level, they have massive horizontal power of flexibility. Therefore, we limit it by item value, directly. Item crafting won't bypass your character's capacity to fuel magic items, though it will increase the variety of items you can expend said capacity on.
-Availability of item gain. Now, gaining equipment via plot is a time honored method, but too dependent on DM distribution skill. Using the above limiting mechanism, you can shower items on your players, or keep them spare, upgrading mundane to magical as they adventure. As long as the above capacity is filled or close to, this has no major problems.
Remember also that many items of legend had no special attributes until their wielder MADE them special. Hercules' hydra blood arrows, for example.

So the idea is this:
A number of spirit points equal to the original Wealth By Level.
Characters may attune equipment up to their capacity of spirit points, attuning an item being a free action, but releasing attunement being a full day. You can attune something that someone else is attuned to, but it takes a full day to break the other person's attunement.
Any attuned equipment can be used, regardless of who attuned the item.
Expendable items costs spirit points equal to the value of the charges used.
Lost spirit points(i.e. via expended items or destroyed equipment) recover at the rate of 1% of the character's WBL per day, up to a maximum of his WBL.
A character can turn any equipment he has used regularly for at least a week into any standard magic item of the same type by expending it's new value in spirit points. He can convert a lesser magic item into an enhanced version of itself this way. Major Artifacts cannot be altered in this manner unless specifically stated otherwise. Lesser Artifacts can be so modified if the character is capable of creating artifacts and is at least as powerful as the original creator.
Equipment can be attuned for less than their maximum value, if they have a lesser version. If a character invests the value of a +2 Belt of Strength into a +6 Belt of Strength, he gains only the benefit of a +2 Belt of Strength.
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oslecamo

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Re: [3.5] Houserules Balance Question?
« Reply #63 on: October 05, 2010, 01:43:07 PM »
The key concept of equipment as character power source is highly contingent upon the equipment being at the character's wealth level. However, only magical equipment manages to contribute noticeably to character power(a handful of exotic materials aside). In this case, players are exactly as strong as the equipped wealth they have, and if they manage to obtain more/less wealth than they are supposed to wield, their power is thrown off the scales.
And how's that exactly a bad thing?

If the characters are captured and stripped naked, you say they just laugh it off and break out of jail by powering up their loincloths and chicken bones of their meals to use as weapos as mighty as the artifacts they holded the day before?

If the characters find the ancient stash of magic stuff, they just pass by because they have nothing to gain from it?

That simply doesn't make much sense to me.

In any adventure where a character's magical wealth is strictly material in nature(loot, magic mart, either way), you have these issues:
-If the magical wealth can be translated to and from material wealth, any means of increasing material wealth will increase magical wealth. Cue looting everything off the dungeon, including the adamantine doors and entire dismantled traps. While this behavior can be fun, it is disruptive in games where greed is not the primary motivator.
Again, that can be easily solved by:
-One-shot traps.
-Just don't put adamantine doors on your dungeon, just like you don't put doors made of major artifacts? Really, that's like trying to kill a predator by throwing them chunks of fresh meat.
-Time limits. Sure you can strip the dungeon down to the last piece, but by then the orcish horde will have rolled over the city you were suposed to protect, the evil sorceror will have completed his dark ritual and the princess will have been eaten by the dragon that kidnapped it.
If the characters have ilimited time to do as their please, then that's where the real problem lays.

-If magical wealth cannot be purchased, then you have the issue where all their items come from loot/rewards. Unless you expend a large amount of effort to tailor all equipment to characters, characters will tend to be underequipped for their type. In the opposite direction, characters will be overequipped as there is no reason to dispose of old equipment.
Agreed there.

-If magical power is mainly immaterial and directly derives from personal power(i.e. Incarnum), you lose the aspects of magical items.
Wait, isn't that what you want?

So, basically, you need a few things
-A limit to magic items wielded. Limiting this by item slot or item quantity is irrelevant and only serves to confuse the issue. Limiting by vertical power(level) remains problematic as if someone gets hold of a dozen different types of wands of the same level, they have massive horizontal power of flexibility. Therefore, we limit it by item value, directly. Item crafting won't bypass your character's capacity to fuel magic items, though it will increase the variety of items you can expend said capacity on.
-Availability of item gain. Now, gaining equipment via plot is a time honored method, but too dependent on DM distribution skill. Using the above limiting mechanism, you can shower items on your players, or keep them spare, upgrading mundane to magical as they adventure. As long as the above capacity is filled or close to, this has no major problems.
Except by then the players have absolutely no reason to stop to pick up anything.
-Ancient vault of magic items? Who cares? I can power up my stuff to whatever I want!
-You want me to help you and will reward me materially? Don't care again! I have no use for it!

So the only resource that matters now is exp that it's gained from killing stuff. Congratulations, we move from a greed-motivated party to a party of homicidical maniacs that now can't even be controled by promises of material rewards.

Remember also that many items of legend had no special attributes until their wielder MADE them special. Hercules' hydra blood arrows, for example.
Eerr, no. The hydra's blood was already very poisonous before Hercules slayed it. The lion's skin was already indestructible before it was strangled. Hercules is more of a player sweet-talking his way with the DM to geting the monster's powers for his benefit.

So the idea is this:
A number of spirit points equal to the original Wealth By Level.
Characters may attune equipment up to their capacity of spirit points, attuning an item being a free action, but releasing attunement being a full day. You can attune something that someone else is attuned to, but it takes a full day to break the other person's attunement.
Any attuned equipment can be used, regardless of who attuned the item.
Expendable items costs spirit points equal to the value of the charges used.
Lost spirit points(i.e. via expended items or destroyed equipment) recover at the rate of 1% of the character's WBL per day, up to a maximum of his WBL.
A character can turn any equipment he has used regularly for at least a week into any standard magic item of the same type by expending it's new value in spirit points. He can convert a lesser magic item into an enhanced version of itself this way. Major Artifacts cannot be altered in this manner unless specifically stated otherwise. Lesser Artifacts can be so modified if the character is capable of creating artifacts and is at least as powerful as the original creator.
Equipment can be attuned for less than their maximum value, if they have a lesser version. If a character invests the value of a +2 Belt of Strength into a +6 Belt of Strength, he gains only the benefit of a +2 Belt of Strength.

Again, you're playing Magic of Incarnum by now. Once you get very basic equipment (aka from lv1) you have absolutely no reason to ever pick anything from the floor again. Why risk curses and waste effort searching for magic items when you can do everything by yourself costing just a little time?

Wait, it's actualy obscenely stronger than Magic of Incarnum. Any caster has any spell ever printed at the reach of it's finger tips as long as they have a sheet of paper available. The party is a group of artificers in steroids!

And, again, you go from a party partially motivated by greed to a party fully motivated by slaughter, as exp is now the only gainable resource that matters. They won't stop to strip the dungeon of everything yes (actualy they won't stop, period, why risk trapped chests?). But they will stop to butcher everything they find.

I would say that your system is disruptive for parties not motivated by slaughter, but if that's how you like to play I guess it would work very well.

Prime32

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Re: [3.5] Houserules Balance Question?
« Reply #64 on: October 05, 2010, 02:24:09 PM »
The key concept of equipment as character power source is highly contingent upon the equipment being at the character's wealth level. However, only magical equipment manages to contribute noticeably to character power(a handful of exotic materials aside). In this case, players are exactly as strong as the equipped wealth they have, and if they manage to obtain more/less wealth than they are supposed to wield, their power is thrown off the scales.
And how's that exactly a bad thing?

If the characters are captured and stripped naked, you say they just laugh it off and break out of jail by powering up their loincloths and chicken bones of their meals to use as weapos as mighty as the artifacts they holded the day before?

If the characters find the ancient stash of magic stuff, they just pass by because they have nothing to gain from it?

That simply doesn't make much sense to me.
Not as mighty, since a chicken bone is a worse weapon than a sword (a guy optimised for full plate will likewise be handicapped). But being able to fight decently without relying on your fancy deathstick is badass and makes you seem more skilled. And characters will only pass by the "ancient stash of magic stuff" if it would be in-character for them to do so. ???

Quote
Except by then the players have absolutely no reason to stop to pick up anything.
-Ancient vault of magic items? Who cares? I can power up my stuff to whatever I want!
-You want me to help you and will reward me materially? Don't care again! I have no use for it!
You can still have reasons. Maybe dragons can only be harmed by the Sword of Dawn.

And seriously?
DM: "This is enough wealth for your greedy rogue to retire to a life of luxury"
Rogue: "Pass."

Quote
Again, you're playing Magic of Incarnum by now. Once you get very basic equipment (aka from lv1) you have absolutely no reason to ever pick anything from the floor again. Why risk curses and waste effort searching for magic items when you can do everything by yourself costing just a little time?
Characters should have motivations in addition to the players.
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[spoiler]Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.[/spoiler]

Sinfire Titan

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Re: [3.5] Houserules Balance Question?
« Reply #65 on: October 05, 2010, 03:03:19 PM »
Again, you're playing Magic of Incarnum by now. Once you get very basic equipment (aka from lv1) you have absolutely no reason to ever pick anything from the floor again. Why risk curses and waste effort searching for magic items when you can do everything by yourself costing just a little time?

Err, even Meldshapers like magic items. Especially if they are abusing the Mage's Spectacles soulmeld, in which case they have a very good reason to loot things (provide more cash for more wands and such).

Quote
And, again, you go from a party partially motivated by greed to a party fully motivated by slaughter, as exp is now the only gainable resource that matters. They won't stop to strip the dungeon of everything yes (actualy they won't stop, period, why risk trapped chests?). But they will stop to butcher everything they find.

What kind of campaign are you playing in? Here's a fun trick: Read some of the PbP forums here. Only a handful of players will act like that. Its more common in inexperienced groups that haven't gotten the idea of Role Playing down all of the way.

And there are other ways to gain XP besides killing shit. All you need to do is render the encounter meaningless (be it via actively avoiding the encounter, talking your way through things, or a simple Grease and Run).


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veekie

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Re: [3.5] Houserules Balance Question?
« Reply #66 on: October 05, 2010, 08:23:11 PM »
Should have remembered about expendable items.

Fixed

A number of spirit points equal to the original Wealth By Level.
Characters may attune equipment up to their capacity of spirit points, attuning an item being a free action, but releasing attunement being a full day. You can attune something that someone else is attuned to, but it takes a full day to break the other person's attunement.
Any attuned equipment can be used, regardless of who attuned the item.
Expendable items costs spirit points equal to the value of the charges used.
Lost spirit points(i.e. via expended items or destroyed equipment) recover at the rate of 1% of the character's WBL per day, up to a maximum of his WBL.
A character can turn any equipment he has used regularly for at least a week into any standard magic item of the same type by expending it's new value in spirit points. He can convert a lesser magic item into an enhanced version of itself this way. Major Artifacts cannot be altered in this manner unless specifically stated otherwise. Lesser Artifacts can be so modified if the character is capable of creating artifacts and is at least as powerful as the original creator. Expendable items cannot be created in this manner.
Equipment can be attuned for less than their maximum value, if they have a lesser version. If a character invests the value of a +2 Belt of Strength into a +6 Belt of Strength, he gains only the benefit of a +2 Belt of Strength.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."