I’m that guy who keeps rambling on and on in the comments on KJD-IMC. Well, one of the guys who keep rambling on in the comments. Kjdavies finally got sufficiently fed up with me posting new ideas there to let me just make actual posts and be done with it!
Like a lot of other people seem to be doing lately, I’ve been designing some roleplaying games (blatant advertising: WRPS, Hōpara). When I saw kjdavies had decided to go the whole hog and turn KJD-TIER into a full game in its own right, I felt sufficiently inspired to offer a few suggestions.
One of the main hassles in D&D is the class system. It works fine as long as you stick to exactly what’s on offer, but the second you decide something like “hmm I’d rather gain extra powers for my paladin mount than throwing spells around”, you have to start figuring out how to compare incomparables. How many spells do you have to trade in for a breath weapon? How many skill points is a feat worth? If you downgrade your BAB, how many extra uses of smite evil can you get? Are four oranges better or worse than three apples?
There aren’t really any objective answers to the above. Instead you have to fudge it, and if different people have different opinions on exactly what fudge to use then someone is left unhappy. Echelon isn’t really objective either, of course, but at least it has everything already split into approximately-equal chunks. You can easily remove a spell thread talent and put in a breath weapon in its place. Then you could shift your Martial Training down a tier and bring in Improved Smite Evil. Much easier! Players who still can’t quite get what they want can make new house talents and, as long as they’re approximately the same sort of “power” level as the existing ones, everything will just work without extra poking around needed to fit them into the existing ruleset.
Here are some links to stuff I’ve been proposing and working with. Some of the ideas use older versions of the Echelon rules, and the ones that don’t are either random musings or work-in-progress, so don’t rely on anything here making sense mechanically. But it’s good for discussion!
- Intersystem test: This was an experiment to see how well I could take a given character concept (expressed in a few sentences) and render it using Pathfinder, WRPS, and Echelon. The different versions of the character aren’t supposed to be mechanically equivalent, just produce something similar in theme. Pathfinder predictably performed the worst (in particular Dorchfia and Delton require new creature types or templates to do properly!). Echelon and WRPS both gave good renderings; the only problem Echelon ran into was dealing with very bizarre concepts like Delton (to be fair this was a pathological case included specifically as a stress-test). Hōpara isn’t included in the test as it wasn’t written at the time; I might add it….
- Fantasy archetypes: Essentially this is how you can go about creating something like a class in Echelon. A predefined set of talents for the start of Expert tier lets you pick up and play, while still retaining the freedom to switch up your talents according to taste.
- Giant list of proposed talents: Great big messy list of ideas. Take with a pinch of salt. Most of these are the ones needed to render a decent archetype for each of the 11 base classes in D&D 3.5. So far the Shield Proficiency talent has been adopted (with modifications, obviously) into the game, so that’s nice! There are also links on this page to a proposal for divine powers, and one for psionic powers. Also also, there’s a list of the spell thread talents as defined by the stuff on the Eldritch Weaver article (I just reformatted the lists really).
- Some musings about undead beings: They’re one of the most iconic RPG enemies, but they also work a lot differently to normal creatures. Time to talent up the place.
Okay, that’s all the interesting stuff I can think of. I’ll finish by listing my stats:
GreyKnight the human paladin (XL 10)
- Str 6
- Dex 5
- Con 7
- Int 7
- Wis 6
- Cha 8
- Great Fortitude
- Skill: Stealth
- Skill: Knowledge (history)
- Iron Will
- Capstone: Smite Evil
- Channel: Healing
- Skill: Knowledge (arcana)
- Weapon Focus (knife)
- Improved Martial Training
- Nature Affinity
- Capstone: Aura of Courage
- Martial Training
- Skill: Knowledge (religion)
- Skill: Survival
The end! No moral.