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Author Topic: D&D Campaign setting help  (Read 30278 times)

ackblom12

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D&D Campaign setting help
« on: 10 Jan 2008, 22:54 »

I'm currently working on getting a D&D campaign setting ready for mid to late Febuary and I'm needing some advice or at least some help being pointed in the right direction to a existing manual or the like that could help me out.

The world is going to be fairly Arcanum like. Steampunk with magic still playing a large role in the world. The difference is that Technology has not advanced to quite the same level and Magic and Technology won't interfere with each other. Guns for example will be around, but will not be to the same level that they are in Arcanum. Probably more along the lines of the arquebus and other muzzle loaders.

At some point in the history of this world something involving magic occurred and permanently scarred the world and the populations view of magic. What this was has not yet been decided upon, but I have a couple of ideas. This caused a period of time where magic was banned entirely and a purging of magic users began, basically an Inquisition for actual magic users. Once it had calmed down, the Kingdom thought things through and decided that rather than ban magic, it would be heavily regulated instead.

Magic users require a license to use their craft (to be legal at least) and destructive magics are banned entirely, with the exception of possibly a small number of Battle Mages and royal bodyguards. There are still Enchanters who make more mundane magic items, and if licensed to do so enchant weapons and armor for those who are licensed to purchase it. If people find magical items in their explorations, they are grandfathered in and use them as normal, but may only legally sell them to a Kingdom vendor so that the items may be properly recorded, researched and circulated.

Science of course started getting much bigger during the purging and was pioneered by civilians who were eager for something to fill the void that magic had left. Once magic was back, Science continued to grow due to the heavy regulations and is well on it's way to replacing magic in many ways, but as it is magic is still highly sought after and still excels in many areas. It is magic after all.

Now, part of the problem I'm having is that I need to find some material, preferably d20 though not absolutely necesarry, that could help me integrate the steampunk elements into the game with a decent balance with the magical elements. If need be, I'll make it more Steamy and less magical if I can't find a decent campaign setting that doesn't balance them.

I still want it to be a Fantasy game in a more medieval setting, but with a lot more magic than the usual steampunk setting allows for. Problem is I have no clue how I would be able to balance the two. Any suggestions at all would be greatly appreciated, and I'll also try to get more of a description of the game world and celan up the current description if anyone is interested.

Always a good idea to have someone to bounce ideas around with.
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Boro_Bandito

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #1 on: 10 Jan 2008, 23:10 »

Dude, make it like a team of sort of Police force type guys hunting down a rogue destructive magic user/ possibly necromantic type person, whose been sucking souls from people and setting fires or something.
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Yeah, I mean, "I won't kill and eat you if you won't kill and eat me" is typically a ground rule for social groups.

ackblom12

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #2 on: 10 Jan 2008, 23:15 »

At some point I have to. There's just too many fun things we can do with most of the rogue wizards being fairly powerful. A shadow guild of some sort for rogue wizards is also a must have cliche.

It's just the whole problem of integrating the steampunkyness into the gameplay mechanics, and it's bothering me.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #3 on: 10 Jan 2008, 23:18 »

Well, for one thing your characters, being part of the establishment of science over magic, would be a large part of it.
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Yeah, I mean, "I won't kill and eat you if you won't kill and eat me" is typically a ground rule for social groups.

ackblom12

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #4 on: 10 Jan 2008, 23:33 »

Well, I'm not necessarily sure I'd say they're part of the science establishment, so much as science has just been proven to be more accessible to the general public, and in general is becoming easier and easier to produce and use.

Magic is still pretty widely used amongst those that are able to get hold of it. Not that you're average civvie cares too much about it anymore.

Oh yeah, and there is a department of Kingdom Security. There has been no comment on whether or not they have been using illegal scrying on the citizens.
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Narr

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #5 on: 10 Jan 2008, 23:47 »

Might I suggest something along the lines of how Athkatla polices magics?  (You know, Amn, from Baldur's Gate 2.)  It's policed by quite possibly the most powerful wizard enclave ever, which creates a fun hypocritical government system.

As for the actual game mechanics, I couldn't help you at all with the steampunkiness.  I believe there are gun systems set up in the basic D&D manuals anymore (like early firepower weaponry type stuff) and as for larger robotic type things, have fun with golems?
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Windswift19

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #6 on: 11 Jan 2008, 00:00 »

If you feel like reading through it T&T (Tunnels and Trolls) has some very nice and adaptable rules to pretty much everything... and a huge sense of humor (spell: "Take That you fiend!")
They have some online stuff as well such as free dungeons and a link for books and playing materials atflying buffalo.

To let you know how adaptable it is: we made it into a Harry Potter world for my nieces to play.
Hope it helps!

add: Also to make things easy, they use pretty much only d6s, and have lists for random monsters, dungeons, etc. which I can link for you if you would like.
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ackblom12

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #7 on: 11 Jan 2008, 00:06 »

That's pretty much what the "Department of Kingdom Security" is, though with nowhere near the power. Even magic users that work for the kingdom though are carefully watched and measures are up to deal with them if the need arises. Wizards are basically 2nd class citizens in this world. They just happen to be 2nd class citizens that have a useful and powerful talent that happens to be on the path of being replaced.
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ackblom12

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #8 on: 11 Jan 2008, 00:08 »

If you feel like reading through it T&T (Tunnels and Trolls) has some very nice and adaptable rules to pretty much everything... and a huge sense of humor (spell: "Take That you fiend!")
They have some online stuff as well such as free dungeons and a link for books and playing materials atflying buffalo.

To let you know how adaptable it is: we made it into a Harry Potter world for my nieces to play.
Hope it helps!

add: Also to make things easy, they use pretty much only d6s, and have lists for random monsters, dungeons, etc. which I can link for you if you would like.

Would be greatly appreciated. I'm always open to some new systems and material.
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Windswift19

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #9 on: 11 Jan 2008, 02:24 »

hmmmm here are the links for you:
I took them from a file my uncle gave me so I hope they help!

<A HREF="http://eposic.org/rpg/tnt/animdice.html" ADD_DATE="1194587748" LAST_VISIT="1195502688" LAST_MODIFIED="1194587750"> Dice Roller[/url]
<A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/~athorne/trolls/index.htm" ADD_DATE="1194236215" LAST_VISIT="1195502688" LAST_MODIFIED="1194236216">Aaron Thorne's Tunnels & Trolls Page[/url]
<A HREF="http://www.avatarspiritmedia.net/index.php" ADD_DATE="1195018171" LAST_VISIT="1195502688" LAST_MODIFIED="1195018172">Avatar Spirit[/url]
<A HREF="http://www.aarg.net/~minam/dungeon.cgi" ADD_DATE="1194585815" LAST_VISIT="1195502688" LAST_MODIFIED="1194585817">Dungeon Generator[/url]
<A HREF="http://eposic.org/rpg/event-gen.html" ADD_DATE="1194588207" LAST_VISIT="1195502688" LAST_MODIFIED="1194588207">EPOSIC RPG Event Generator by Michael Eidson[/url]
<A HREF="http://eposic.org/rpg/personae.html" ADD_DATE="1194588047" LAST_VISIT="1195502688" LAST_MODIFIED="1194588047">EPOSIC RPG Persona Generator[/url]
<A HREF="http://eposic.org/rpg/weather-nonjava.html" ADD_DATE="1194588820" LAST_VISIT="1195502688" LAST_MODIFIED="1194588820">EPOSIC RPG Weather Generator, JavaScript version, by Michael Eidson[/url]
<A HREF="http://www.freedungeons.com/" ADD_DATE="1194238755" LAST_VISIT="1195502688" LAST_MODIFIED="1194238756">Free Dungeons - Free RPG Adventures[/url]
<A HREF="http://www.freedungeons.com/rules/" ADD_DATE="1194673509" LAST_VISIT="1195502688" LAST_MODIFIED="1194673509">Tunnels & Trolls - Rules[/url]
<A HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunnels_and_Trolls" ADD_DATE="1194236063" LAST_VISIT="1195502688" LAST_MODIFIED="1194236064">Tunnels and Trolls - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/url]

That's pretty much what the "Department of Kingdom Security" is, though with nowhere near the power. Even magic users that work for the kingdom though are carefully watched and measures are up to deal with them if the need arises. Wizards are basically 2nd class citizens in this world. They just happen to be 2nd class citizens that have a useful and powerful talent that happens to be on the path of being replaced.

Kind of reminds me of FFXII where all the technology has superseded magic and magic is just another device to use, mostly unknown...  you could also look at (going way far back) FF III magic is almost unheard of and where it is it's squashed... don't know if you've played either game but those might be some other examples for you to base some of it on... 
« Last Edit: 11 Jan 2008, 02:28 by Windswift19 »
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bryanthelion

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #10 on: 11 Jan 2008, 05:36 »

They do have a TINY bit of guns and bombs in the dungeon master's guide. But I would suggest ebberon? I heard that was steam-punky.

Also, I'm afraid your campaign might be a little bit strict. I mean, unless your playing with experienced players, the pc's would be like "Uhh, thats dumb, why cant I use arcane missles?". But thats only if you dont have a good, easy going group.

Also, I would like to ask for advice for a campaign I'm doing.

Okay,
The PC's enter into a town, with a woman, frantically asking for help. The pc's ask whats wrong, she responds "My children!" She wheeps "I..told them.. to go down to the well to get a pail of water, but they never came back!!" shes hypervenhilating "They're names are Jack and Jill, please help them!" Anyway, it leads to an underwater dungeon with loads of creatures. I hear theres a bunch of 1-5 level seafaring monsters. So, do you guys think this would be a good dungeon?
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ackblom12

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #11 on: 11 Jan 2008, 07:51 »

FFIII is actually a much lower level of magic than I'm wanting. Magic is restricted, not an ancient force that has been mostly lost with time. FFXII is a little closer to what I'm lookin for though. A little more magicky, and slightly less techy, but not by much. Just think of it as midway to becoming a full steampunk world after being a magic based world for a very long time.

Also, thanks for the links. :)

They do have a TINY bit of guns and bombs in the dungeon master's guide. But I would suggest ebberon? I heard that was steam-punky.

Also, I'm afraid your campaign might be a little bit strict. I mean, unless your playing with experienced players, the pc's would be like "Uhh, thats dumb, why cant I use arcane missles?". But thats only if you dont have a good, easy going group.


Eberron is Steampunky, but it's steampunky in a sense that Magic is very common, a lot more common than I'm wanting it to be. Tech and Magic have practically melded in that world. It's very interesting, and if I ever give up on finishing this project I'll probably head over to Eberron.

As far as how strict the campaign is, my player's are getting a good run down of what the world is and for the time being an arcane caster isn't allowed for the PCs. I might lift that restriction later for new PC's, and at some point I'll probably figure in a way to let them multi into an arcane class if they wish.
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SevenPinkerton

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #12 on: 11 Jan 2008, 08:34 »

I've played mostly D20 modern lately and I'm not sure how well they go together, but D20 Past http://ww2.wizards.com/Company/Products/Default.aspx?doc=177400000 is one of my favorite books ever in terms of different eras of technology.
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bryanthelion

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #13 on: 11 Jan 2008, 09:27 »

I really want to try out d20 modern! Its just, I'm too afraid to spend THAT much money on something I've never played before.
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Windswift19

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #14 on: 11 Jan 2008, 21:24 »

happy to be of service!
hmmm well there's also the FFX and X-2 where magic is all done using software (computer generated outfits) or the VII using materia or something like that
(sorry for all the FF references I just know them pretty well)

another Idea for you would simply be that your characters each have a techno-spellbook which can download new spells, but only with proper authorization, and the allotment of battery charge is dependent upon the capacitor you buy or upgrade to... something like that, where it uses the same general basis as the D&D system but you decide the mods.  And as rewards they can be given disks containing a new spell, or upgrade their personal assistant bot...  You can mess around with specifics in that sense, however if you want to keep the players in line a piece of technology can break down...

Another possibility is that people might not be able to cast or use magic without some sort of artificial or mechanical means, we can't harness electricity directly, we have to channel it into forms and then use it to make things work, so conceptualize it as another type of energy needing an instrument and study in order to utilize...

again just a couple more possibilities!
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ackblom12

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #15 on: 11 Jan 2008, 23:44 »

Another possibility is that people might not be able to cast or use magic without some sort of artificial or mechanical means, we can't harness electricity directly, we have to channel it into forms and then use it to make things work, so conceptualize it as another type of energy needing an instrument and study in order to utilize...

Oooo, now this is something I'm going to be integrating. I've been so bent on the act that the world hasn't totally made the transition to steam punk, it never occurred to me that some form of overly decorative implant could be what limits a caster's magic use. It would also be a very visible way of identifying a magic user for profiling purposes as well as be a homing beacon of sorts and if it breaks, their magic is totally unavailable. I was having a hard time trying to figure out how exactly they were able to keep the arcane casters down effectively, but I think this fixes that problem nicely.

I know it's slightly different from what you're suggesting, but i think it acting as an inhibitor would make a lot more sense for this world.

Also, I guess one more detail is that Divine magic is still accepted in this world, for both PCs and NPCs. They aren't necessarily well liked, but science hasn't advanced to the point that medicine works adequately. An Implant may be forced however for legal status.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #16 on: 11 Jan 2008, 23:56 »

The one thing I can tell you, is that if you're intent on running a steampunk campaign, you're probably best served by looking somewhere other than D&D. The mechanics just aren't built for it. Maybe there's an open license book or two on it, but just like if you made all the alterations to the setting and rules by hand, it's likely to be really unbalanced.
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Windswift19

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #17 on: 12 Jan 2008, 00:57 »

I know it's slightly different from what you're suggesting, but i think it acting as an inhibitor would make a lot more sense for this world.

truthfully i was simply suggesting a train of thought, and hoped it would lead you in the direction you needed, so no worries!
You could also incorporate creatures that fed upon the bio-magic energy this synthesis created, thereby nullifying it, or bringing about another plot element... The other concept is that it could be a literal bio-mechanical inplant that can take damage and heal itself as the character heals. 

Also, I guess one more detail is that Divine magic is still accepted in this world, for both PCs and NPCs. They aren't necessarily well liked, but science hasn't advanced to the point that medicine works adequately. An Implant may be forced however for legal status.
You might also want to incorporate other implants for other classes, clerics call on divine power, and could have special communication which call upon their God, and if they call too much they get blocked for a time... Paladin's swords are connected to them and act as a direct focus for their God's energy, which is upgraded as they gain experience... things like that, though that's a lot of work...
The implant could be a way of interacting with the health of the individual, a means for healing that allows magic and prayer to effect the body...
The other thing is that if magic is seen as something that is harnessed through machinery you can make "Plus 1 swords" that way by including mechanics, therefore identification would be easier if you knew what to look for, and you could upgrade equipment with the right technology and parts... (sorry the forum was changing the plus symbol to "I have nothing of value to add." for some strange reason...)

Another possibility is that for lower level majick users, they have to lug around some heavy and bulky machinery (similar to an alchemist) and measurement equipment in order figure out new ways of harnessing the energy, as they get better the scanners and other tools of their trade get smaller and smaller, and eventually evolve into cybernetic implants...
Probably not what you were going for but a possibility nonetheless if you want to severely limit the power of a magician.

Anyway if you want more on this let me know and I'll help you brainstorm!
« Last Edit: 12 Jan 2008, 01:02 by Windswift19 »
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #18 on: 12 Jan 2008, 13:42 »

Personally I'd probably just adapt the stuff myself, and rebalance on the fly (by fudging dice rolls and messing with values) as necessary. Requires some delicacy and a good poker face, but it's quite doable.
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ackblom12

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #19 on: 12 Jan 2008, 16:10 »

The one thing I can tell you, is that if you're intent on running a steampunk campaign, you're probably best served by looking somewhere other than D&D. The mechanics just aren't built for it. Maybe there's an open license book or two on it, but just like if you made all the alterations to the setting and rules by hand, it's likely to be really unbalanced.

Honestly, I think you're underestimating how much tech Wizards has introduced since 3rd Ed, especially with Eberron out. I just need both the magic level to be more in line with something like Dark Sun, where it's still powerful but not common, and the tech level to be a bit further along than your usual fantasy setting. Most of the changes are history and campaign "flavor" that need to be fleshed out. I don't plan on any character having a W40k Tech Priest like character running around.

The gameplay itself shouldn't need a ridiculous amount of change outside of possibly making a new class or two and introducing a "Mechanic" skill.

Personally I'd probably just adapt the stuff myself, and rebalance on the fly (by fudging dice rolls and messing with values) as necessary. Requires some delicacy and a good poker face, but it's quite doable.

Most likely what I'm gonna be doing. No matter how well this is laid out before hand I'm gonna be finding things that need to be fudged and messed with as we go for future sessions.

I'm gonna be posting some stats for firearms later so I can hopefully get some feedback sometime tonight.
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ackblom12

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #20 on: 13 Jan 2008, 12:42 »

Firearm stats! I don't have any actual names for them yet, just basic stats.

Pistol - 2d6 dam, Ignores Armor, Short Bow Range, crit x3, Backfires on a 1 (1d6 dam to user), misfires on 2 or 3, Requires 1 full Round to load

Pistol 2 - 2d8 dam, Ignores Armor, Composite Short Bow Range, Crit x3, Backfires on 1 (1d6 dam), misfires on 2, 1 full Round load

Rifle - 3d6 dam, Ignores Armor, Long Bow Range, Crit x3, Backfires on 1 (1d8 dam), misfires on 2 or 3, 2 full rounds load

Rifle 2 - 3d8 dam, Ignores Armor, Long Bow Range, Crit x3, Backfires on 1 (1d8 dam), misfires on 2, 2 Rounds load

There will also be Mithril forms of both that will not backfire, but will still misfire on a 1, and maybe a 2.


The next problem will be making a class that specializes in guns, and if anyone wants to brainstorm with me in this thread or on messenger it'd be greatly appreciated.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #21 on: 13 Jan 2008, 12:54 »

Are you creating a base class, or a PRC?

You might want to consider a variety of feats to be prerequisites for use (exotic weapon prof., toughness, whatever) and make those feats either part of or requirements for the class. That is, if you're only going to have a select group of people using guns (re: samurai w/ katana) otherwise an exotic proficiency ought to be sufficient.
« Last Edit: 13 Jan 2008, 12:58 by Kid van Pervert »
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #22 on: 13 Jan 2008, 13:10 »

If all firearms ignore armor, then what's the point in armor at all?
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #23 on: 13 Jan 2008, 13:25 »

Define "ignores armor."  If you're turning guns into ranged touch attacks, then that's a might bit overpowered, don't you think?
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ackblom12

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #24 on: 13 Jan 2008, 14:25 »

Are you creating a base class, or a PRC?

You might want to consider a variety of feats to be prerequisites for use (exotic weapon prof., toughness, whatever) and make those feats either part of or requirements for the class. That is, if you're only going to have a select group of people using guns (re: samurai w/ katana) otherwise an exotic proficiency ought to be sufficient.

I really need to remember to put in more info when I post. :P

The class we'll be making will be a base class, and we'll probably end up making a Prestige after we have the base done, most likely something along the lines of the Musketeers.

As it is, they will require an Exotic Proficiency. For the majority of the populace, decent guns will be hard to get for sheer cost reasons. I will probably be adding in some shittier guns that the poor folk will use, but the decent guns are  going to be pretty damn expensive due to the obvious jump in quality, as well as the fact that it's almost impossible to not get them fairly ornate since they are as used as a status symbol as well. Plus, the cost of repairing the weapons when they backfire, since they are all handmade, will be steep. Probably half the full price of the gun.


If all firearms ignore armor, then what's the point in armor at all?

Due to the price of guns, it's fairly rare to find people with decent guns. They are around enough that heavy armors like Full Plate are being used more as decoration and formal occasion wear, but medium and light armors such as breast plate and leather are still quite common. The most common way of killing a man is still beating or stabbing them to death with a melee weapon, but guns have started to make enough of an impact that diminishing returns on heavy armor make them nowhere near as adequate as they used to be.

Define "ignores armor."  If you're turning guns into ranged touch attacks, then that's a might bit overpowered, don't you think?

Ranged Touch Attack would be accurate. I'm probably going to be lowering the damage die by 1 for the guns once we get going, but with a 15% chance of not getting a shot off every other round with a pistol, or every 3 rounds with a rifle, I think it might balance it out.



EDIT - Also, if you have magical armor, Ring of Protection or the like the AC bonus from that will still work against guns, just not the armor itself.
« Last Edit: 13 Jan 2008, 14:55 by ackblom12 »
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #25 on: 13 Jan 2008, 14:56 »

Guns as ranged attacks are a tricky issue; ROF and the base attack bonus of the characters involved could be a sticky issue though; I'd take a look at what a decently powerful Warlock's vanilla eldritch blast is capable of and work from there.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #26 on: 13 Jan 2008, 15:16 »

I don't know, you can tell the Warlock is more or less meant to be a campaign villain's class, not a PC's. It's deliriously overpowered. Unlimited once-per-round auto damage, like giving a mage a wand of magic missile with unlimited charges, but with much more damage.

The problem with guns is that they're more or less advanced versions of crossbows, and as any halfway seasoned player will tell you, 99% of the time crossbows fucking suck compared to longbows or even shortbows, which do (marginally) less damage but can be fired multiple times in a single round. If all your guns are muzzle-loaders (and it sounds like that's the case) then they basically are to crossbows what a two-handed sword is to a longsword, plus added risk of critical failure and less accuracy. Adding in revolver tech would significantly change guns for the better, but might also break them.

I'm reminded of the arquebus (or whatever the muskets were called) in 2nd ed. They were mostly used by a spacefaring race of militaristic hippo people (ahh, Spelljammer). Their damage was a flat d10, but they had rolling criticals, meaning that if you rolled 20, you did double damage and kept rolling until you stopped getting 20s. If you were insanely lucky you could get hundreds of damage in on a single shot.
« Last Edit: 13 Jan 2008, 15:24 by Kid van Pervert »
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #27 on: 13 Jan 2008, 15:17 »

I like the exotic weapon proficiency idea obviously. Also, I imagine it will take a bit of time to reload a weapon? How advanced are you talking here? Are there weapons that hold more than one shot, or is everything a huge derringer? There should be a good amount of feats to go with guns, depending on how advanced you're planning on making them. I would keep a nice range implemented, but if these are going to be anything less developed then a revolver, there should be some kind of subtraction from each dice roll to hit a target because of the extreme innacuracy of the weapons. I'm also a fan of taking a long time to reload the weapon, and regular cleaning, otherwise there is more of a chance of the gun having one of many adverse effects, eg squibfire, misfire, etc.
You as the DM could even note each character's guns and add minuses to them privately depending on the amount of use and time elapsed since their last maintenance check.
« Last Edit: 13 Jan 2008, 15:26 by MusicScribbles »
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #28 on: 13 Jan 2008, 15:33 »

I don't know, you can tell the Warlock is more or less meant to be a campaign villain's class, not a PC's. It's deliriously overpowered. Unlimited once-per-round auto damage, like giving a mage a wand of magic missile with unlimited charges, but with much more damage.

I've found that's a problem only when a sorceror or some other goofball with a tiny hit die is present and the Warlock starts picking on them. As a GM, I find it kind of hilarious because I've had Clerics sitting there whining about the Warlock's eldritch blasts while quietly ignoring the fact that they're paralyzing everyone, wearing platemail and swinging a mace for ridiculous amounts of damage multiple times around while their pet skeletons carry their luggage for them. If anything, they're really good from levels 1-5, somewhat underpowered relative to other characters in the 5-12 level range and then don't really come back until high levels with PrCs. Which, is about when everyone gets out of hand anyway, and pure casters have been ruling the earth for about 8 levels.


Except for fighters and rangers of course, the poor bastards.
« Last Edit: 13 Jan 2008, 15:56 by Whipstitch »
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #29 on: 13 Jan 2008, 17:16 »

One of the best characters I've ever made was a rogue/cleric of all things.  He was mostly rogue with some cleric levels tacked in later mostly to help will saves!  The ridiculous saving throws of my character + improved evasion + slippery mind made enemy casters a total joke.

Anyway, Warlocks are overpowered.  I don't see how anyone could claim otherwise.  After I got Ammon Jerro in NWN2, he was responsible for the vast majority of my total damage done, despite the fact my favored soul raped things up to that point.  It's basically the ability to cast a powerful nearly unavoidable attack every round with medium base attack bonus and the ability to wear light armors with no penalties.  Take the right eldritch blast feats and you can cast what's essentially a fireball every single round, which is completely absurd, especially if the DM is one that likes to spot your party in situations where resting isn't really viable.  When were they even introduced on paper, by the way?  I was unaware of them as a class until I saw them pop up in NWN2.

ANYWAY ABOUT GUNS:
Even with the "drawbacks" to guns as you've made them, a character with high base attack bonus and a lot of dexterity would be next to unstoppable given enough ammo.  Make everything single-shot sort of like crossbows, and make reloading a move-equivalent action (again like crossbows).
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #30 on: 13 Jan 2008, 17:41 »

Even with the "drawbacks" to guns as you've made them, a character with high base attack bonus and a lot of dexterity would be next to unstoppable given enough ammo.  Make everything single-shot sort of like crossbows, and make reloading a move-equivalent action (again like crossbows).

What you just told me was that my current build is too powerful, but I should make them have a much faster ROF. I think I might be misunderstanding what you're suggesting.

The problem with guns is that they're more or less advanced versions of crossbows, and as any halfway seasoned player will tell you, 99% of the time crossbows fucking suck compared to longbows or even shortbows, which do (marginally) less damage but can be fired multiple times in a single round. If all your guns are muzzle-loaders (and it sounds like that's the case) then they basically are to crossbows what a two-handed sword is to a longsword, plus added risk of critical failure and less accuracy. Adding in revolver tech would significantly change guns for the better, but might also break them.

My main problem with introducing revolvers and the like is that in that case, I'm basically going to be doing nothing but making bows with gunpowder. After all, part of what I'm trying to accomplish is a fun and viable alternative to bows and guns in a world where guns have just been introduced in a viable fashion, not necessarily a replacement for them.

Then again, I'm not real sure how I had managed to completely skip over the whole issue of mutiliple attacks in a round. To be fair though, having a weapon that is an almost guaranteed hit along with the higher damage and crit damage is going to be a nice opener. Definitely something I need to think about though.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #31 on: 13 Jan 2008, 17:55 »

So, are we talking flintlock pistols and other assorted black powder weapons? You could essentially make these guns work in a completely different way from how those of our world do.
You could give them a gearlike mechanism (Which is much more steampunk) that can be upgraded with different kinds of gears, making these guns highly personalized. This is just an idea though. What I'm trying to say is that what you do with guns should make them identifiably different from bows and crossbows and ranged magic attacks not just cosmetically, but statistically as well, creatively even. So that they don't replace bows and crossbows, make their failing be their complete and utter unreliability, or maybe you need constantly replace the parts. What ever it is you do, make them fun to play, because I've used guns before in D&D (One of the handbooks has them, I think it might be the Epic Level Handbook.) and they just didn't enough different from other ranged weapons except that they were extremely uncommon as well as their ammunition. Bows and crossbows can be enchanted, so can guns be technologically augmented?
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #32 on: 13 Jan 2008, 18:01 »

Have you thought about instituting an Arcanum-style magic / tech opposition? If you're open at all to more complex tech and such, having spells cast upon a gunner give penalties would be a smart balancing mechanism. The more complex the tech, the more (and more severe) penalties you can accrue. Muzzle-loaders, being rather simple, would get maybe a -1 to hit penalty or the gunner would get -1 AC when he comes into contact with magic. A flamethrower, on the other hand, might explode. This would apply to both beneficial and harmful magic, so if a PC wants to carry around a hand gatling cannon, he'd better be ready to drop it as soon as he gets hit with a magic missile or a haste spell.

The problem with that approach, which is apparent to anyone who's played Arcanum, is that by and large magic is more versatile, practical and useful than steampunk tech, and if you're making your characters choose between magic and tech tech still won't really be a good option. The best method would be figuring out a happy medium.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #33 on: 13 Jan 2008, 18:14 »

That sounds along the lines of Mage: The Ascension, which would be more of a battle between magic and technology, which in that case you can just play Mage with the Middle Ages variant, but Old World of Darkness stuff is hard to find because Vampire and Werewolf were so much more popular that they made New World of Darkness, and they took Mage and made it angsty and derivative.
I would make this steampunk tech thing a power to rival magic, but not give them minuses against eachother. Maybe tech stuff could have advantages over magic because it is a more powerful kind of arrow, but it is more unstable. Magic on the other hand could have the ability to perfectly counter this, and so on, which is why gun-related feats would be so much fun.
If you can somehow make guns that use gears and steam instead of gunpowder, and then let them be augmented with new gears and such like you would imbue or enchant a bow, this would be awesome.
Piercing arrows, and deep-impact bullets.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #34 on: 13 Jan 2008, 18:19 »

Anyway, Warlocks are overpowered.  I don't see how anyone could claim otherwise.  After I got Ammon Jerro in NWN2, he was responsible for the vast majority of my total damage done, despite the fact my favored soul raped things up to that point.  It's basically the ability to cast a powerful nearly unavoidable attack every round with medium base attack bonus and the ability to wear light armors with no penalties.  Take the right eldritch blast feats and you can cast what's essentially a fireball every single round, which is completely absurd, especially if the DM is one that likes to spot your party in situations where resting isn't really viable.  When were they even introduced on paper, by the way?  I was unaware of them as a class until I saw them pop up in NWN2.

They've been in the PnP game a pretty long time now; they were added in with the Complete Arcane book. They were found to be mildly underpowered and were subsequently buffed, actually. Why? Because a fireball every round isn't that good unless you're playing a computer game where battles are always constricted into tight areas within your Ability's attack range due to the limitations of a computer monitor, especially when you consider that the Wizard has already crafted his own Wand of Fireballs by this point and has moved onto Cone of Cold, Horrid Wilting and Negative Energy burst by the time you've started matching his Fireball's damage potential. In pen and paper archery focused characters can routinely slaughter Warlocks for the majority of the game. Here's why: A level 12 Warlock's Eldritch Blast deals 6d6 and is subject to spell resistance, firing into a melee and cover modifiers, so it's almost but not quite guaranteed damage, which is nice, but since it's a standard action you can't fire it off more than once a round even with Haste on, EVER, unless you have the Quicken Innate Spell feat (which takes forever to pay off), and even then the archer still has the range advantage. Seriously, 21 damage on average? A round? Unless you're hitting a whole swarm of critters that's not very good, and even then you're better off with a hardcore disabling spell from a Mage or Sorceror; it's not nearly the game changer that a Sleep type affect can be. I've seen level 1 Orc Barbarians who deal more damage than that in a round while raging, and if something's within Cleave range it will be to multiple targets as well. The bow deals physical damage and therefore can't a effect a wider range of enemies, but the bottom line is by level 5 you can threaten damage with it twice a round and gain another attack at level 6 as a fighter and once you gain the appropriate prestige classes you're often tripling a Warlock's single target damage output in any given round with a decent build and bow. In all honesty, Warlocks are good for about 5 levels at which point true casters pwn the crap out of them like they do everything else past a certain level range. That's just D&D for you. As a general rule, if you're a powergamer and not a Cleric, odds are you're doing it wrong.
« Last Edit: 13 Jan 2008, 19:00 by Whipstitch »
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #35 on: 13 Jan 2008, 19:47 »

Even with the "drawbacks" to guns as you've made them, a character with high base attack bonus and a lot of dexterity would be next to unstoppable given enough ammo.  Make everything single-shot sort of like crossbows, and make reloading a move-equivalent action (again like crossbows).

What you just told me was that my current build is too powerful, but I should make them have a much faster ROF. I think I might be misunderstanding what you're suggesting.
Oh, sorry, I didn't notice the two rounds to reload thing.  That's actually rather, well... weak.  I can't imagine a scenario where that'd be useful outside of an opening attack just to drop it off later and close in with something that sustains better in a fight.  With the way damage works in the D&D universe, anyone over level 5 would close ground in one round and have a field day eating a ranged character alive that had to take two whole entire rounds to reload.

@ Whipstitch:  You can always take the Acid shape eldritch blast to ignore spell resistance, and other ranged characters have to rely on arrows, which a good DM that's trying to make things realistic won't let you carry some absurd amount.  (I mean really, it'd be impossible to carry more than like 20 on your person at any given time.)  Warlocks also have the single best dispel effect ever with devour magic.  ALSO, if you're trying to powergame, you're a faggot because you're only talking about one goddamn character at a time which is utterly pointless because it's always about party management.  I hate powergamers that think 1v1 is the only thing that's worth talking about.  6v6, that's always a lot more interesting.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #36 on: 13 Jan 2008, 22:13 »

Agreed about the power gamers being lame part, but all I'm saying is if you -were- trying to go that way, Warlocks are a pretty piss poor choice, which kind of hurts the overpowered theory a bit. And bottom line is, 1 vs. 1 damage is a pretty good barometer when your schtick is never ending self-buffs and a never ending ray attack, since they're definitely not getting brought along for crowd control. Really though, about their only true strength is reliability, which is hampered a bit by their crappy hp total and the fact that they don't bring enough to the table to really conserve other people's resources. In my experience, yes, the Wizard is less useful than a Warlock once their spells are gone, but a Wizard's spells are powerful enough where other character's don't have to expend much if any of their own abilities if and when a Wizard pulls out the big guns. Honestly, by the time a Warlock can deal 3d6 per round the Wizard's got Fireball, which is basically the Hand of God once it first becomes available, which is handy considering Sleep held that honor up until that point but is finally starting to lose some of its luster. As far as the arrow thing goes, I know where you're coming from, and agree to an extent, but crafting an Efficient Quiver and a Handy Haversack or whatever the setting equivalent is isn't that expensive, and I've yet to see a decent archery build that doesn't have the BAB to pull out another type of weapon and still deal comparable if not better damage than the Warlock. Which is pretty sad, since non-casters or caster light characters generally aren't all that hot in D&D past the first 5 levels or so. As far as larger parties go, in my experience the larger the group, the more the fact that the Warlock is a 1 trick pony at low levels and a still-inferior-to-Divination-Magic scout at higher levels sticks out more.

Anyway, we're unlikely to get anywhere with further discussion. You've only played NWN2 with warlocks and I've only played tabletop with Warlocks, so we're basically looking at two different sets of circumstances and gesticulating wildly at eachother.
« Last Edit: 13 Jan 2008, 23:08 by Whipstitch »
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #37 on: 14 Jan 2008, 19:42 »

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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #38 on: 14 Jan 2008, 21:17 »

Let's not bring Sidney Lumet into this. He's too old.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #39 on: 14 Jan 2008, 21:44 »

He can roleplay like no other though and his gesticulations are top notch.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #40 on: 15 Jan 2008, 20:20 »

So, are we talking flintlock pistols and other assorted black powder weapons? You could essentially make these guns work in a completely different way from how those of our world do.
You could give them a gearlike mechanism (Which is much more steampunk) that can be upgraded with different kinds of gears, making these guns highly personalized.

This is what I think I'm going to do. I'll probably include the guns "as is" when we start playing in a more normal fantasy setting and working on basically making Arcanum 3.5 for a later campaign. I don't think there's anyway I'll have enough time to finish this before mid Feb unfortuantely.

Besides that, I can easily see these guns being a nasty nasty thing for any villians I might introduce to have. There are nastier things obviously, but if you get ambushed by bandits witha  good number of them, ouch.


Have you thought about instituting an Arcanum-style magic / tech opposition? If you're open at all to more complex tech and such, having spells cast upon a gunner give penalties would be a smart balancing mechanism. The more complex the tech, the more (and more severe) penalties you can accrue. Muzzle-loaders, being rather simple, would get maybe a -1 to hit penalty or the gunner would get -1 AC when he comes into contact with magic. A flamethrower, on the other hand, might explode. This would apply to both beneficial and harmful magic, so if a PC wants to carry around a hand gatling cannon, he'd better be ready to drop it as soon as he gets hit with a magic missile or a haste spell.

The problem with that approach, which is apparent to anyone who's played Arcanum, is that by and large magic is more versatile, practical and useful than steampunk tech, and if you're making your characters choose between magic and tech tech still won't really be a good option. The best method would be figuring out a happy medium.

I'm actually thinking that if I go with my original idea of the worlds view on magic and go with a world that's very much like Arcanum tech wise, it could work very well. Implants for legal mages and the like, along with the general populous's view of magic, combined with Musicscribbles suggestion of how custom tech weapons would work could make tech a very promising side of this world.



We should continue discussing these things. Arcanum in PnP form will make me very very happy.


I don't think I've ever wanted to learn D&D-gaming properly ever as much as right now, after reading this thread. I don't mean to derail or anything, but if anyone can point me to a good place to start learning via PMs (so to reduce off-topic posts in the thread) it would be greatly appriceated.

You might try the Wizards of the Coast forums, but honestly, you're best bet is to sit down with someone and have them show you. If you don't want to buy the Player's Handbook just yet, try and find a torrent (not that I would suggest such things) for it and I'd be happy to discuss it.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #41 on: 16 Jan 2008, 11:11 »

There's a D&D wiki out there that's endorsed by Wizards of the Coast (or at least Wizards knows about it's existence and doesn't close it down).  Link to the site = http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Main_Page.  It should be able to cover the basics if you want.

I would suggest picking up a copy of Neverwinter Nights or NWN2, actually.  While they had to adapt the rules to a computer RPG format and added in some non-standard combat mechanics (like the whole Parry thing, wtf), it's as close as you can get to 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons without playing the pen and paper format.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #42 on: 16 Jan 2008, 15:46 »

Guns are great.  And I love the feel you are going for, really.  It's just well.... what about the bard?... *cough cough*  I mean it seems that any sort of implant to practice magic wouldn't be deemed necessary for a low level bard.  It seems like that sort of thing would be reserved for people who had a real reason to use magic.  Unless you have some way to give me the bard similar things, but with science.. flash powder maybe? I like the harnessing magic thing, like batteries for magical power it seems reasonable that a bard would be able to buy charged magic-batteries to perform her spells. Maybe we could be limited to spells that can't do damage, or no combat casting?
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #43 on: 19 Jan 2008, 12:44 »

Bard will be treated as they are in Dark Sun.

They exist, but very very few of them use magic (the PC Bard will) and they make sure to keep it as on the low as possible. They occasionally use magic in public but they always have backup manners of doing tricks and entertaining in case they are questioned.

I'm still amazed that you like to play the bard. Not because it doesn't fit you, but because you're the only person I've ever met who likes the damn class. Silly woman.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #44 on: 19 Jan 2008, 14:46 »

Bard will be treated as they are in Dark Sun.

They exist, but very very few of them use magic (the PC Bard will) and they make sure to keep it as on the low as possible. They occasionally use magic in public but they always have backup manners of doing tricks and entertaining in case they are questioned.

I'm still amazed that you like to play the bard. Not because it doesn't fit you, but because you're the only person I've ever met who likes the damn class. Silly woman.

Favorite character I've ever played was a pacifist multiclass bard/sorcerer. Rockin' out* on a guitar made 3/4 out of illusion, 60ft in the air above an epic battlefield. THAT is what the Inspire Courage ability was supposed to be :D

Then I pwned a bunch of fools by webbing them into a building until the battle was over.


*nat 20'd the perform check. Sometimes the dice really are on your side :)
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #45 on: 19 Jan 2008, 14:59 »

Wait, why the heck would you make a Bard/Sorceror? A straight Bard is usually better off cutting to the chase and using illusions/enchantments to convince everyone to just kill the guy on their right and then clean up the mess and sort out the loot afterwards for you while a Sorceror just fires up Wail of the Banshee and calls it good.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #46 on: 19 Jan 2008, 15:59 »

Sorceror's still have a much wider selection of spells to choose from though.

Can I ask a question of D&D players here?
How do you play out combat? My group just recently started trying out tiles and 'makeshift' figures, and we're having trouble making the adjustment.
Also, I've always felt like a bad DM when I just let my players randomly multiclass as another class that they have no way of training for. I find it harder to really get them to roleplay in D&D, in comparison to when we play something like Hunter.
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #47 on: 19 Jan 2008, 16:02 »

The bard is a hard PnP class. Most people don't really know how to run one, and as a result just looking at the stats most people have no idea why you would. In video games they suck (except for the Blade in BG2, which was a meatier fighter/mage with lore and special abilities) But, like with just about any support / magic class, playing smart in a tabletop game can give you a significant edge in any situation. But that's easier said than done.

Quote from: MusicScribbles
How do you play out combat? My group just recently started trying out tiles and 'makeshift' figures, and we're having trouble making the adjustment.
Also, I've always felt like a bad DM when I just let my players randomly multiclass as another class that they have no way of training for. I find it harder to really get them to roleplay in D&D, in comparison to when we play something like Hunter.
Speed is essential. The slower the round, the quicker you get tired of the combat. We don't rely a whole lot on figurines and mats. They're good for figuring distance and AoE, but we usually just play hard & fast. Figure out initiative first round, stick to that, and go through the motions.

Honestly, while D&D is the most popular pen & paper game in existence, it isn't the best lended system to roleplaying by a long shot. It's a poindexter system, where most things are governed by numbers and dice (that having been said, it isn't rolemaster. Jesus, that game.) and it's incredibly easy to play as though your characters are their stats, since so much is accounted for in character creation you have a good sense of what your character absolutely can and cannot do from the get-go. You're less inclined to take risk, and less likely to think outside the possibilities afforded by your roll modifiers.
« Last Edit: 19 Jan 2008, 16:14 by Kid van Pervert »
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #48 on: 19 Jan 2008, 17:03 »

I have no beef with bards OR sorcerors. It's the idea of a bard-sorceror multiclass that's giving me headaches. I just have a rough time believing that the wider array of low powered spells you could pick up would offset the hit you'd take to caster level and would cripple your spell progression in both classes as well as hit points and BAB.

Anyway, I think it's important to remember that D&D's legacy lies in war games and that ol' Gygax himself comes across as a bit of a munchkiny powergamer.

While I don't agree with a lot of his other articles, Ron Edward makes some interesting points in this rather well done gaming article:
 http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/20/

I even have some anecdotal stories of my own that gibe rather well with the article; my uncle was in the military and played a very war-centric D&D campaign in the mid '70s at his base to kill time. They weren't roleplayers (yet) and they weren't playing adventurers so much as they were playing  a war party in a campaign against an orc horde, and at the time Dungeons and Dragons wasn't viewed as anything any more special than the other ways of playing such games. Their characters gained levels sure, but it had as much to do with going from rookies to veterans in a larger ovearching struggle and progress was measured more in "captured" objectives (which awarded experience points) than they were character development or other fuzzy roleplaying centric ideas. D&D has obviously evolved quite a bit since then, but it's worth remembering that D&D isn't Amber or even the WoD and the idea that you're playing a game and trying to win was never something that I think D&D's creators were really interested in downplaying.
« Last Edit: 19 Jan 2008, 17:05 by Whipstitch »
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Re: D&D Campaign setting help
« Reply #49 on: 19 Jan 2008, 19:19 »

I quickly browsed through this and my I caught on bard/sorcerer combo.


A better class ( and I don't get why the FUCK my DM didn't recommend this class to me) is the Beguiler. It has all these neat bardesque spells (and I think more thrown in) AND trapfinding.

So its like, "MOVE OVER BARD! The REAL silver-tongue is here."
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