NaGaDeMon 2012, Status Check November 19

It’s November 19, and I haven’t had anything resembling a formal status check.  I should fix that.

On the project page I identified the following bits to be developed.

Status 2012/11/02

RSRD Game Elements

Given that I am starting from the Revised System Reference Document, the following game elements will be considered.  I might apply them roughly as-is, change them, drop them altogether, or do something else entirely.

Game Element Status Date Notes
Ability Scores not started 2012/11/02 Dropped; to be replaced by talents.
Races not started 2012/11/02 Cornerstone Talents.  Lose Level Adjustment, instead just have the LA-causing benefits happen at higher tiers.
Classes not started 2012/11/02 Archetypes (talent sets often taken by that archetype), probably keystones (cap and corner).  Class abilities will likely become talents.
Prestige Classes not started 2012/11/02 Probably capstones marking achievement, and Archetypes (talent sets often taken by that archetype).  Class abilities will likely become talents.
Skills not started 2012/11/02 Talents, with 4e-style behavior (bonus plus extra effect); extra effect increases with tier.  Consider mining Epic rules for increased skill abilities, right now the core skill effects are pretty mild.
Feats not started 2012/11/02 Talent building blocks, early drafts will likely refer to feats directly for effects.  Examine Iron Heroes, especially mastery talents.
Spells not started 2012/11/02 Talent building blocks, early drafts will likely refer to spells directly for effects.  Spell-related talents (such as magical traditions) may simply list the associated spells.
Domains not started 2012/11/02  Talents with powers at each tier.  Divine powers are expected to be fueled by divine channelling rather than by spell casting.  Many divine characters will be casters, many won’t.
Monsters not started 2012/11/02 As characters, constructed from talents.

Status 2012/11/19

Given that I am starting from the Revised System Reference Document, the following game elements will be considered.  I might apply them roughly as-is, change them, drop them altogether, or do something else entirely.

RSRD Game Constructs

Game Element Status Date Notes
Ability Scores not started 2012/11/02 Dropped; to be replaced by talents.
Races not started 2012/11/02 Cornerstone Talents.  Lose Level Adjustment, instead just have the LA-causing benefits happen at higher tiers.  None documented yet.
Classes not started 2012/11/02 Archetypes (talent sets often taken by that archetype), probably keystones (cap and corner).  Class abilities will likely become talents.  None documented yet.
Prestige Classes in progress 2012/11/19 Many can definitely be capstones, I have some examples already (Arcane Archer, Dwarven Defender, Shadowdancer).  Examination shows that many RSRD prestige classes, at least, are not particularly good candidates for capstone talents.  I’ve had a look through other sources of prestige classes and found them significantly richer.
Skills not started 2012/11/02 Talents, with 4e-style behavior (bonus plus extra effect); extra effect increases with tier.  Consider mining Epic rules for increased skill abilities, right now the core skill effects are pretty mild.
Feats N/A 2012/11/19 Talent building blocks, early drafts will likely refer to feats directly for effects.  Iron Heroes, Agents of Faith, and FantasyCraft have all been mined for talent material, and I would like to go back and mine the Iron Heroes classes for more.
Spells not started 2012/11/02 Talent building blocks, early drafts will likely refer to spells directly for effects.  Spell-related talents (such as magical traditions) may simply list the associated spells.
Domains done 2012/11/19 Many created from Agents of Faith. Divine powers are expected to be fueled by divine channelling rather than by spell casting.  Many divine characters will be casters, many won’t.
Monsters not started 2012/11/02 As characters, constructed from talents.

I’ve done a lot of work, but don’t seem to have made a lot of specific progress on the items above.  I think that’s a little misleading.

Echelon Game Elements

From the table above, it looks like I haven’t addressed much.  That is misleading, I think, because much of what I have been doing is groundwork for what comes next.  I expect things to soon start moving pretty fast.

Echelon doesn’t have many moving parts, really.

Game Element Status Date Notes
Character Scores done 2012/11/19 In character creation document.
Character Creation and Evolution in progress 2012/11/19 In character creation document.
Task Resolution in progress 2012/11/19 In core rules document.
Cornerstone Talents in progress 2012/11/19 In cornerstone talents document, will cover races.
Common Talents in progress 2012/11/19 In documents according to origin: Iron Heroes mastery featsFantasyCraft featsAgents of Faith domain feats, new talents.  Still want to do “Skill talents” and Iron Heroes class abilities talents.
Capstone Talents in progress 2012/11/19 On web site: Creating from Prestige Classes, Arcane Archer, Dwarven Defender, Shadowdancer.
Archetypes not started 2012/11/19 Will do, not sure about formatting.
Spells not started 2012/11/19 Using RSRD spells more or less as written (may override things like duration and range to simplify, but that can be done on an ad hoc basis for now).  Will want talents for spell knowledge, might go with something like Eldritch Weaver Threads for this pass.
Monsters not started 2012/11/19 To be done much as characters.  Once I finish bootstrapping some talents these should go quickly.

This looks a little more like progress has been made, yes?

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5 Comments

  1. David Lamb

    Thanks for the update. I hope to see something on the basics of spellcasting sometime fairly soon. What I gather is that
    – caster level starts at level/2 (level bonus)
    – talents give + to caster level and give access to specific spell lists. I did find GreyKnights’ eldritch threads post from 2011, which gives me an idea of how that might work.
    – caster level determines what level of spell the mage can cast
    But I don’t know *how* CL determines spell level. The usual 2*CL+1? That would mean CL=1 at 2nd level gives cantrips, and I have the impression you once said cantrips come in at character level 3. But I can’t find where you might have said that.

    Also, are there still spell slots, and did you come up with a formula for them or are they listed specifically in the talents descriptions?

    • Right now in my head is something like:

      • Caster Level = Level Bonus + Caster Training Bonus
      • Steeped in Magic (cornerstone) gives +1 Caster Training Bonus/tier and some spell-like abilities such as detect magic
      • Caster Training (common) gives +1 Caster Training Bonus/tier, and possibly knowledge of common spells
      • Maximum Castable Level = Caster Training Bonus, and I am tempted to increase RSRD spell levels by 2 (no practical difference, it just makes it so you must be fifth level to cast what used to be first-level spells)
      • Eldritch Weaver Thread talents (and possibly Domain talents) give spell knowledge beyond common spells

      This means

      • Caster Training alone will get you knowledge of common spells and cantrips at fifth level (half-caster), with a maximum of RSRD-fifth-level spells at Legendary.
      • Steeped in Magic alone will get you some spell-like abilities but no spell knowledge at all.
      • Caster Training Bonuses from Caster Training and Steeped in Magic stack, to a maximum of the allowable Training Bonus, and you know common spells equal to or less than that.

      This feels a little clunky yet. I’m not sure how I want to handle magical traditions, I can see a few ways (including using cornerstones and/or capstones).

      • Yep, I think I was overthinking.

        • Spells are only increased by one level (cantrips are first-level spells now).
        • Spells cost spell points equal to caster level applied (like Expanded Psionics Handbook), to a maximum of your caster level (Level Bonus + Caster Training Bonus). These are typically ‘fatigue’ magic points (recover on resting), some spells will require more time to recover (see the Trailblazer rest mechanic.
        • Minimum casting cost is twice spell level.
        • Your maximum spell level castable is your Caster Training Bonus.
        • You have magic points calculated similar to hit points: (Level Bonus+Caster Training Bonus)*Tier — yes, this is somewhat lower than hit points.

        This lets me simplify the relationship between spell level, caster level, and Caster Training Bonus. It does mean a character can cast a a spell one level earlier than I had previously planned, where signature spell levels (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) can happen at the beginning of a tier, but I’m no longer quite so attached, given how the capstones are working out.

        • Caster Training Bonus is available up to +10, is that right? (+5 from Legendary talent, +5 from Legendary cornerstone). That means, if my numbers are right, a caster can exert his full caster level approximately (tier) times between rests if he casts nothing else.

          Number of cantrips castable without a rest, assuming maximum training bonus: Basic caster 1–2, Expert 10–12, Heroic 27–30, Master 52–56, Champion 85–90, Legendary 126–132. If you only have the ordinary training talent then it lags behind a bit, up to 96–102 at Legendary. Doesn’t lag too much, the limitation on maximum spell level = CTB is probably the main restriction on effectiveness.

          • I may have written the wrong thing yesterday, I was really tired.

            I may go back to having spells at SL*2+1, so cantrips (now level 1) are at third level, first-level (now second) at fifth, and so on. I haven’t decided.

            Caster Training Bonus can be as high as +2/tier, so taking Basic tier into account a dedicated caster could have +12 at Legendary (level 23).

            Your estimate of spells per unit time is correct, since they top out at (LB+CTB)*(TN) and you can spend at most (LB+CTB) on a spell. You are not required to spend the entire amount, but you are also no longer limited (you may drop 23 points on magic missile and get around 12 of them if you want… probably not terribly efficient, really, but you are allowed to).

            Note that some spells will have more significant cost — same number of magic points, but don’t recover on simple rest, requiring instead either a more significant rest (sleep!) or other conditions altogether (performing ritual sacrifice, say). For now I’d probably use the list described in the Trailblazer rest mechanic, linked in my previous comment.

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