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OOC General D20 and Tabletop RPG Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource' started by LightWarden, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Jul 13, 2008
    Hmm... Well, what I usually do is help them through the character creation process, explaining why they should take X, Y, and Z to suit their character ideas and then what the effects are in sort of generalized terms, like "If you get this feat, you're really good at lying" and the like.

    Then when a rule applies during the game itself, you tell them what the rules require them to do and why as it comes up. As for teaching actual roleplaying, I can't think of much outside of "Learn by example"...[face_thinking]
  2. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    Generally, it's a decent idea to make sure you have people with different skills, such as social skills, Treat Injury, mechanics/computer skills and whatnot. It's probably also a good idea to make sure you have some ways of either getting in people's faces or hanging back and shooting. Nobles with Inspire Courage are always useful. Really, it depends on what you want them to do, but I cannot stress the "find cover" approach to battles enough. Get them in the habit of rolling a d20 if they want to do something unusual.
  3. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Mar 3, 2003
    One of my friends, he's a DM, suggested rolling characters up for them first time around, before that getting a general idea of what they want to be. (Gender, species, rough idea of class and what sort of things they want their character to do) Character creation took me a while to get.

    I'm still planning the campaign, but it's going to have a few interesting options that can be explored later on. Like some smuggling, perhaps.
  4. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    Just a heads up here, you might want to attend [link=]Worldwide D&D Game Day[/link] at your local game shop today if you want to take 4e (or the Player's Handbook II) for a test run.
  5. Glass_Onion

    Glass_Onion Jedi Youngling star 2

    Dec 29, 2005
    Right, I'm not sure if I'm in the right topic. But I've been looking around trying to figure out where to ask this so I'm sorry if it's the wrong one. I tried searching and just got more confused.

    Me and a few mates want to start doing a Star Wars RPG, they love D&D so know the D20 system, and I've got a basic understanding of it. I've been given the task of finding out what we need and all that jazz after agreeing on the [link=]Knights Of The Old Republic[/link] era.

    Anywho I'm guessing the book linked above is what's needed instead of the Game Masters guide? But what else do we need to get? And I mean everything, right down to the dice if possible.
  6. SirakRomar

    SirakRomar Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 30, 2007
    What system do you have? The [link=]Core-Rule Book for the Star Wars Saga Edition[/link] is needed in addition to that. That´s where the core rules come from. Kotor Guide only gives you the Era specific details.

    Nothing else despite that really. If you play Second Edition Star Wars (which is closer to D&D rules than the Sagaedition, I think) there is a fantastic fan-made Kotor Sourcebook out there. It has good ideas in it, anyway. So you shoudl download it, if you find it somewhere.

  7. Glass_Onion

    Glass_Onion Jedi Youngling star 2

    Dec 29, 2005
    We don't play it (yet), we're looking to start so have nothing. Only RPG stuff they have is a D&D players book and a few random dice due to the Gamemaster temporarily moving elsewhere for her acting stuff. :p

    I'll Google around for that fan made book though when I get home. Any other info you know off like writer? Or would it be against one of the rules to say who?
  8. SirakRomar

    SirakRomar Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 30, 2007
    It is [link=]here[/link]

    More game based, than comic series. (Which wasn´t out back then)

  9. Glass_Onion

    Glass_Onion Jedi Youngling star 2

    Dec 29, 2005
    Awesome. So this can be used with that core rule book?

    Just to double check, are there no player guides? Couldn't find any on the WotC website. Would dice just be D20, D6 and D4? And all I need is that Core Rulebook to get started? And if I want KotOR it'll be that PDF or the campaiign guide depending on whether I prefer the games or comics? If I get the official one I'm not in any way limited to stories or characters from the comics are we?
  10. DarkLordoftheFins

    DarkLordoftheFins Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 2, 2007
    Hey Glass. The Fansourcebook uses 2nd Edition Rules. No longer in print. But easy to come by on e-bay. They were quite similar to D&D. Dices needed are d20, d10, d6 and d8 . . . last two for damage only. So one is enough.

    The official sourcebook is for the new Saga Edition. Which is quite different from what has come before. It has nice pics (which you will also find on wookieepedia, actually) and stats for comic-stuff AND game-stuff. Doesn´t limit you at all.

    But actually the perfect place for these questions is the games-forum. They are our experts around here.
  11. Winged_Jedi

    Winged_Jedi Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 28, 2003
    Don't really know a lot about D&D outside of my experience with Neverwinter Nights, but thought I'd give that [link=]What D&D Character Are You? [/link]test a shot.

    [blockquote]Neutral Good Human Bard/Cleric (2nd/1st Level)

    Ability Scores:
    Strength- 16
    Dexterity- 15
    Constitution- 17
    Intelligence- 16
    Wisdom- 14
    Charisma- 16

    Neutral Good- A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

    Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

    Primary Class:
    Bards- Bards often serve as negotiators, messengers, scouts, and spies. They love to accompany heroes (and villains) to witness heroic (or villainous) deeds firsthand, since a bard who can tell a story from personal experience earns renown among his fellows. A bard casts arcane spells without any advance preparation, much like a sorcerer. Bards also share some specialized skills with rogues, and their knowledge of item lore is nearly unmatched. A high Charisma score allows a bard to cast high-level spells.

    Secondary Class:
    Clerics- Clerics act as intermediaries between the earthly and the divine (or infernal) worlds. A good cleric helps those in need, while an evil cleric seeks to spread his patron's vision of evil across the world. All clerics can heal wounds and bring people back from the brink of death, and powerful clerics can even raise the dead. Likewise, all clerics have authority over undead creatures, and they can turn away or even destroy these creatures. Clerics are trained in the use of simple weapons, and can use all forms of armor and shields without penalty, since armor does not interfere with the casting of divine spells. In addition to his normal complement of spells, every cleric chooses to focus on two of his deity's domains. These domains grants the cleric special powers, and give him access to spells that he might otherwise never learn. A cleric's Wisdom score should be high, since this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

    Kinda like it. I seem to have rolled very high attributes. I assume that was random and not linked to the answers?

    Also never thought of a Bard/Cleric before. Is it a common combination?

  12. Saintheart

    Saintheart Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Dec 16, 2000
    Actually, Wings, I think the attributes are entirely linked to your answers. :)

    As for bard/cleric combinations ... I haven't run across them before, but I can think of two main reasons why they aren't utilised much:

    (a) There's a school of thought that taking more than one character class in the long run weakens your character's abilities as against "pure" characters. The D&D system doesn't encourage being an all-rounder, which would be about the only reason one would start combining bard levels with cleric levels; the game's actually slanted at specialisation to the point of just about being a mathematical argument for the caste system.

    Let's say you've got two characters in a party, one as a bard 5/cleric 5 and the other a straight 10th level cleric. The 10th level cleric will have access to 5th-level spells, while the multiclasser will have access to only 2nd-level cleric spells (and 2nd-level bard spells, I might add). That in itself is a serious difference, because 5th-level spells are seriously potent stuff -- raise the dead, flame strike, shifting planes, etc. And usually the type of opposition one runs into at level 10 needs that potency of magic. It's a similar thing with the bard: a bard at level 10 can cast Greater Heroism and similar such buffs, and his song is much more effective at boosting allies' attack rolls. By contrast, level 2 magic for clerics and bards is considerably less powerful: cure moderate wounds, anybody? The key to remember here is that having a somewhat wider range of spells to cast doesn't necessarily translate to greater effectiveness as a character (and particularly so for bard/cleric combos, since the bard can already cast some clerical magic anyway).

    My personal theory -- which I suspect may also apply to the Star Wars RPG system, since it's again WOTC who built it -- is that if you're going to start taking levels in classes other than the one you want to be, the benefits of doing so have to outweigh the delay in advancement you're imposing on yourself. Some classes are better than others for this; a level or two in fighter will give you some extra feats; two levels in ranger will give you Two-Weapon Fighting for free. And some types of character allow you to swap out some abilities for others -- ramza, Light, and I were working on a 'bardadin' you'd see Light referred to earlier in the thread, and though we couldn't get it to work at level 7, it's a truly terrifying thing to behold if you do it right (we'll have to post that up someday ... hmmm).

    But a lot of multiclasses are just plain pointless. There are some very powerful but truly ugly character builds out there which take "dips" from a good five separate classes or prestige classes, but these are much more devoted at raping the rulebooks for all they're worth rather than playing a character as such. Generally:

    <img src="">

    (b) Another reason, over and above general character optimisation, is that single-class clerics are just plain awesome if you build them right. Not for nothing does the phrase "CoDzilla" exist -- it refers either to "Cleric of Doom" or "Cleric or Druid", and it's a pretty decent measure of what a high-level cleric or druid can do. More versatile and more flexible on spells lists than comparable mages or sorcerers; can wear armour; can basically take the front line if they prepare themselves right. They can't do everything, of course, but for sheer versatility and power, clerics or druids tend to outstrip other classes at the higher levels.
  13. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    [link=]1d6 minutes of silence[/link].

    Anyways, one of the things about D&D is that it's a game where the core mechanic is rolling a die and trying to get as high of a number as possible. The number you add to that die roll goes up as you increase in power, and the things you're up against also tend to become more difficult as you increase in power. It's not like some game books where everything depends on if you have or don't have a particular set of skills. Thus you can make it so you're a 20th level character who has a level of 20 different, but you'll have an utterly useless character, who at best has managed to put some points into class skills they all share, and at worst has a bunch of 1st level spells, poor HP, a terrible BAB and can't wear armor without half of his class abilities deactivating.

    This problem is compounded with casters, who not only suffer from the fact that their current abilities aren't increasing but they don't get higher level spells. As Saint has mentioned, higher level spells are many times better than lower level ones. Given the fact that new spells are the most commonly released material, most other things pale in comparison to more spells of a higher level.

    Now, D&D is a game that uses numbers, as such there's a whole metagame devoted to figuring out how to use the rules to maximize any desired numerical outcome. These combinations tend to blossom with each new book WotC releases. There's a host of rules and theories for this sort of thing, but I don't feel like cracking open that can of worms on this board. But rest assured, though Saint may find the bard/paladin build to be "truly terrifying", I can safely say that until you've seen a character hit godhood at 5th level, you ain't seen nothing.

    Saint is onto the general idea that it involves comparing what you give up vs. what you get. Of course, he's somewhat fuddled on the details. To give an example, he suggests taking two levels of ranger to acquire Two-Weapon Fighting. Considering that Two-Weapon Fighting is on the fighter bonus feat list, the same thing could be done with a single level of fighter (which leads to the joke that "Fighter is a 4 level class, the remaining 16 levels are a printing error", simply because most people use it or flaws to get quick feats for their combinations).

    Most builds rarely stick to single classes, or even levels of multiple classes, because the true power tends to be in prestige classes since most of them offer you abilities in addition to the abilities you'd normally get for your regular class. Prestige classes, feats and spells are the things that are the easiest to churn out, and as a result tend to be home to the most game-breaking abilities in existence due to the fact that they can mingle with each other like some sort of weird virus and spells as innocuous as "Locate City" can be turned into spells that do thousands of points of damage.

    But yes, casters play under a completely different set of metarules regarding ability selection and tactics. I'm not going to explain exactly how this works because as Saint has mentioned, just out of the box clerics and druids are already pretty potent, and attempts at optimizing with the right spell, feat and prestige class selection can turn them (and to a lesser extent other, other caster) into the stuff nightmares are made of for the DM.

    I'm perfectly fine with not dragging this board into the munchkin arms race.
  14. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    So, I've got [link=]a game[/link], Casino Royale, and I've pretty much lost two of my players, so I'd like to get a replacement. I'm posting this here rather in one of the other boards because I like most of you, and you guys might actually understand the concept of party balance.

    The only prerequisite is that you read the thread, and I'd prefer it if your character be associated with some sort of government security organization unless you can otherwise make a really good case for why your character should be aboard this ship and why the other agents should work with you (hint: "they hired you" is not a good reason).

    For those of you who take an interest in Star Wars Saga Edition, I'm using those rules to run the game behind the scene. If you'd like to build a character of your own, here's some house rules:

    -12th level, any book goes.
    -Feats are at 1st and every even level, rather than 1st and 3rd. Bonus feats remain the same.
    -Any skill usable untrained is a class skill for everyone because I really don't care that much.
    -You get a bonus talent every 4 levels, which can be from any talent tree you have access to. Note that in the case of talents with prerequisite talents, you must have enough levels in classes/Prestige classes that offer that talent tree that you would be able to get both normally. Thus you couldn't get Improved Armored Defense if you only had one level of soldier.
    -Ability scores: 18, 10, 12, 17, 12, 15. Or use point buy, I guess.

    If it helps, the current group is at present:
    -Markus Carfax: Male Human Scoundrel 13/Saboteur 1. Computer specialist and con man.
    -Halon: Male Ubese Scout 5/Soldier 7. Specializes in tracking, sneaking, and hitting things.
    -Stent Kannat: Male Zeltron Noble 12. Specializes in interactions.
    -Boz'rir (Boz) Girange: Male Human (Lorrdian) Scoundrel 6/Scout 6. Specializes in infiltration and deception.
    -Ryn Solass: Male Balosar Noble 2/Scout 7/Scoundrel 3. General con man.

    Yes, one of the characters is level 14, since that character had been in four previous games. The two players I lost had been in three previous games and were level 13.5.
  15. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    The guys behind PvP, Penny Arcade, and... uh... Wil Wheaton have teamed up once again to bring you [link=]Session 3 of their D&D game[/link]. Seriously if you have the slightest interest in RPGs or having fun, you should probably listen to these.

    So, D&D 4th edition. It's been over a year since it was released, and we've already got a healthy supplement of splatbooks. May as well bump this thread to provide an introduction to 4e just as we talked about 3(.5)e, on the off chance that someone might be considering running a game on the forums.
  16. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    So, might as well start talking about 4e before the month is out.

    Anyways, to start with you still have your six ability scores. They assume you use a 22 point buy, where you start with 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 8 and have 22 points to boost them and then assign them to your six ability scores as you wish. Note that the costs go up the higher the ability score bonus. So while it may cost only 2 of your 22 points to boost a 10 to a 12, it'll cost 5 to boost it from 10 to 14, 9 to boost from 10 to 16, and 16 to boost from 10 to 18. This ensures that characters are probably all on the same general power level, though some may choose to specialize for greater power at the expense of being less well-rounded. Note that no matter what, you absolutely want at least one ability score to be 16 or higher, since the game mechanics are balanced on the assumption that you have a 16 in one score, which the game refers to as your Primary score. This is the score that the majority of your abilities key off of, such as Strength for Fighters, Dexterity for Rogues or Intelligence for Wizards. Your secondary ability score is an ability score that doesn't necessarily dictate your abilities, but enhances the effects of them. So a fighter might have an attack that uses Strength (his primary ability score), but also allows him to add his Constitution modifier to the damage, representing throwing his weight into the strike or something.

    The six ability scores are as follows.

    Strength: Rather self-explanatory, it's your character's physical power. Determines how much you can lift, is the basis for your basic melee attack (swing weapon at dude), and boosts the Athletics skill. This is the primary ability score for heavy melee characters like the Fighter.
    Constitution: Your character's health and vitality. Instead of your constitution modifier being added to your HP at every level, your constitution score itself is added to your HP at 1st level, along with the HP you get from the 1st level in your class. Your Constitution modifier is added to your Healing surges per day (I'll explain more about this later), as well your Endurance skill. Now, in 3rd edition, your Constitution was used to determine your Fortitude, but in 4e, you add the higher of either your Constitution or your Strength modifiers to do so (a strong body is a strong body, after all). When it comes to primary ability scores, this one is definitely the rarest, since it's only the primary ability score for a few specific types of Warlocks, representing channeling physically taxing magical energy using your body as a conduit for the powers you have made your compact with.
    Dexterity: Your character's agility and coordination. Modifies your Initiative, is the basis for your basic ranged attack (shoot weapon at dude), and boosts the Acrobatics, Stealth and Thievery skills. The primary ability for finesse-based attackers like Rogues.
    Intelligence: Your character's learning/reasoning/memory ability. Unlike 3rd edition, has no impact on skills or languages known. Boosts your Arcana, History and Religion skills. Like with Fortitude, in 3rd edition your Reflex was determined by your Dexterity, but in 4e it's determined by the higher of your Dexterity or Intelligence modifiers. Similarly, in light armor, you add the higher of your Dexterity or Intelligence modifiers to determine your AC. While a dexterous character might simply jerk out of the way of an incoming attack, an intelligent character might predict or read the attack and get out of the way before it gets too close. The primary ability for coordinated and calculated characters like the Wizard.
    Wisdom: Your character's sense and sensibility. Boosts your Dungeoneering, Heal, Insight, Nature and Perception skills. The primary stat for characters who act with guidance and discipline like the cleric (sort of, I'll explain later).
    Charisma: Your character's personal presence. Boosts your Bluff, Diplomacy, Insight and Streetwise skills. As your pattern-recognition abilities
  17. SirakRomar

    SirakRomar Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 30, 2007
    Sounds to me, like the massive MMO dreams of them are in preparation. Same class-diversion, same lines of thought. Translated into P&P. I think computer games had an unhealthy influence on D&D, lately.

    I like my old set of rules (think it´s 2nd Edition) and when I play with my girls all few years, I´ll stick to them.
  18. DarthXan318

    DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 12, 2002
    Hey now, don't be hatin' on MMOs. :(


    Say what you will about them, I think they're a magnificent testing ground for game systems. If you have several million people playing a game at once, inbalances and inconsistencies become obvious very fast, and the developers can fix them on the fly rather than having to release a new set of rulebooks. I doubt the old-school grapple rules would have survived long in a MMO... although, hey, maybe. The computer does all the calculations anyway. But I digress ...

    We've been playing 4E over AIM (with a thread in the NSWRPF for record-keeping) and so far I like the new rules. They've done away with a lot of the funky options you could take, streamlined the magic system, cut down the amount of math necessary to build a character (by a little, anyway) and introduced some alternatives to combat in Skill Trials - or whatever you call them, I've forgotten, but you basically roll for skills rather than attacks. Quite nice. I'm also digging the Paragon Path/Epic Destiny things, which seem a lot more intuitive than Prestige Classes.
  19. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Jul 13, 2008
    Personally, as a DM I enjoy the rudimentary class divisions. They've existed more or less in the past, but now they're a bit more obvious, which makes it easier to coordinate a party without having to go through, read all the class descriptions, spell lists, etc. to determine which class falls under what category.

    For example, let's say we've got a five player party. Hypothetical Player A, whom will call Bill, decides that he wants to be the guy who heals and buffs his teammates in combat, but he's not really acquainted with DnD. The DM can just tell him "Oh, hey, you want to play a Leader," and point Bill to his relevant class options. Bill has effectively skipped what used to take a long time scrounging through and explaining classes and their roles. Not to mention the DM no longer has to memorize all the classes, as he can now simply point to a general designation rather than trying to explain them all.

    Classes are also a boon to the DM in the form of the monster and trap classes, which give you an idea of a monster's role in an encounter in one simple word. This makes the encounter creation process a hell of a lot easier, particularly if, like me, you tend to not have as much prep time as you'd like.

    I'll take a slight tangent here, because as Xan pointed out, there's a bit of a flawed premise at work here. The bulk of MMOs, WoW included, were heavily influenced by DnD, at least at some point. And, conversely, they've taught the rule creators a good deal about simplification and streamlining. My main hang up with 2e is how damnably unintuitive it all is. You can't be race X and be class Y, but you can be race Z, but you'll have fewer levels to work with than race W, but if you're race Z you can multiclass, whereas race W can't, but race W can dual class, and you all have different THAC0 scores, which you have to find on a table rather than just calculating. Not to mention you're wielding a longsword that's, like, four times it's actual weight in real life, but I digress.

    The point is every edition has its merits and flaws, and its worth trying them all out to find out which is right for you.
  20. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    So, once you've got a good idea of what you want to do, here's how you go about building your character.

    In no particular order...

    Hit Points: They're still here, but the system is a bit different. No more rolling for HP (yay), and the difference between the amount of HP classes get is much smaller. So you no longer get situations where one player of one class can literally take enough damage to kill one player of another class three times over. Each class gets between 10 and 17 HP to start with, to which their Constitution Score (not modifier) is added, meaning you're probably going to start between with between 20 and 40 HP, making even it so even the weakest characters don't have to worry about being capped by housecats (as funny as it is, it makes for pretty poor heroic adventuring). As classes level, they gain a fixed amount of HP based on the class, ranging from 4 to 7 HP per level. Obviously, melee defending classes tend to get the most HP while ranged controllers tend to have the least, though there's a lot of variability (example: Barbarians (a striker class) get about as much HP as a fighter or paladin, since they're up there on the front line pounding away).

    Healing Surges: One of the big differences between this edition and previous edition is how healing works. In previous editions, healing powers usually restored certain quantities of HP, often with a die roll. While they still do to some extent, one of the problems is that the die used by low-level spells usually rendered them rather useless in-combat since it doesn't really help if you heal the fighter for 10 damage when he or she is slugging away at a monster that does 30 a hit, and the fighter in question is at 70/300 HP. Healing surges are tied to your Healing Surge Value, which starts at a base of 1/4 of your maximum HP and goes up with items and abilities. This means that Cure Light Wounds is actually a totally valid option in epic levels, since it restores HP equal to your healing surge value. Classes are differentiated by the number of surges they get per day, ranging from 6+ Con modifier to 10+ Con modifier, with defenders having the highest amount. Most healing effects require you to spend a healing surge, but restore HP equal to your healing surge value, so it's usually a good-sized amount. Healing surges are intentionally nebulously designed for the DM's convenience, just as HP is. If a fighter and a wall both have 100 HP, and an attack does 10 damage, does that mean that the fighter takes ten attacks to the chest before dropping to the ground, or does he or she dodge/negate the first nine getting steadily more fatigued before the last one connects? It's up to you. If it's all direct damage, then the use of a healing spell might be closing the wound while the use of a less magical option such as a second wind or a warlord's ability might represent the character using heroic resolve to push past the injury until the fight's over and it can be treated (you may spend Healing Surges as you wish outside of combat to represent resting and minimizing the effects of your injuries to the point where you can heroically operate). The default assumption is that HP is your ability to not only absorb punishment but receive narrow misses through skill, luck and resolve. So when your character runs out of healing surges, it means you're pretty much tapped out in terms of luck or resolve, overwhelmed with fatigue and generally in danger if you keep fighting.

    Defenses: AC is back, and upwards as always, and joining it is the system that was often used for saving throws. Classes are not only differentiated by their HP and surges, but by their defenses as well.
    -AC: Your Armor Class, this represents your protection against most physical attacks like sword blows or arrows. A great deal of attacks target this defense and it's always a good idea to have it. Your AC is primarily based on your armor, of which there are two categories. Light armor (in order of protection) is in the form of Cloth, Leather, or Hide Armo
  21. Penguinator

    Penguinator Jedi Grand Master star 6

    May 23, 2005
    I would love to get involved in ToF, but my ridiculous lack of ability with understanding 85% of DnD gets in my way.

    However, that entire post seriously helped.
  22. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Jul 13, 2008
    Definitely helpful for SoNL, yes. ToF, however, runs on D&D 3.5, which is something of another beast, particularly with regard to class features.

    However, as luck would have it, there's coverage starting on the following page of this very same thread:
  23. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    To be quite honest, a lack of knowledge of the rules shouldn't really stop anyone from playing ToF (or D&D in general). Every D&D player was new at one point, and this was the first game of D&D that most of our players, past and present, had ever played. If you can develop a character, make decisions, and maybe do basic math, you can play D&D. To be quite honest, the last part is optional, as Saint and I can do all the (minimal) number work for you.

    Anyways, I was going to explain some races or classes, but I figure I should first fill in some of the general world fluff. 4e is generally modular, designed so that you can adapt it to whatever particular setting you want, or so your DM can fill in the blanks as he or she wishes. For those DMs who don't feel like doing that, the modules and products released for the core line have a sort of implied setting, generally referred to as "Points of Light." The idea is that the world is in the middle of a Dark Age, covered with all sorts of dangerous things that can take you down. Civilizations may serve as individual points of light where things aren't as dangerous, but darkness is everywhere (and so is opportunity for heroism).

    In the beginning, there was... well, no one really knows. After a certain point, there were at least two planes: the Astral Sea and the Elemental Chaos. The Elemental Chaos is matter and energy, whirling in a chaotic unstable mess across an infinite plane, where rivers of fire trace paths over free-floating motes of earth and clouds of steam and lightning. The Astral Sea is an infinite silver void, in which thoughts, dreams, ideas and aspirations take form. No one really knows what happened, but from the Elemental Chaos arose the Primordials, powerful tempestuous creatures embodying the forces of creation and destruction, while from the Astral Sea coalesced beings of pure ideal that would come to be known as the gods. From the matter and energy of the Elemental Chaos, the Primordials birthed a roiling, seething ball of the first creation along with the great beings known as titans to help them shape it. Looking down from the Astral Sea, the gods were intrigued and decided they could improve it, imbuing it with a semblance of the order and permanence of their realm, separating the elements into oceans and continents, creating the sun, moon and stars as they scattered life across it, eventually mixing the astral essence with matter to create beings with the help of their own servants, the angels.

    The Primordials found this strange permanence to be anathema to the whirling chaos of their essence and objected to these interlopers- the two sides fought in what would be known as the Dawn War. Though individually powerful, the Primordials were bested by the combined efforts of the gods, and they were slain, imprisoned, or exiled to the depths of the Elemental Chaos. The world itself had spoken, spirits declaring that it would no longer be a battleground between the two forces, instead it would be a balance between matter and essence, influenced by both yet ruled by neither, with none to disturb the great cycles of life.

    But the war had been costly for both sides. In the era before creation, a deity had scoured the universe for a source of power with which to bend all to his will. He found a single shard of pure evil, whose touch so corrupted him that it drove him into the depths of madness. He buried the shard within the elemental chaos, creating a whirling maelstrom at whose depth sat a black point of utter destruction- the Abyss. Its churning creation spat forth creatures of utter fury devoted only to destructions- demons. Meanwhile, its touch corrupted several primordials, creating some of the beings which would come to known as the Demon Lords. In the Astral Sea, the powerful angel Asmodeus stole a shard of the pure evil that was the Heart of the Abyss and forged it into a ruby rod with which he struck down his master. But the deity's dying curse turned the domain into the hellish realm of Baator and its inhabitants into the devils n
  24. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    So, Races. Gone are the days of racial penalties, instead there's a new format where racial features are almost entirely positive (exception: being Small instead of Medium, though it's not *that* bad if you're not a weapons user). The racial breakdown is usually as follows:
    -Name of Race
    -Average Height & Weight ranges
    -+2 to two ability scores
    -Size: So far, Medium or Small. Truly Large races don't work well in this game)
    -Speed: 6 squares is the norm, though some have 5 and some have 7)
    -Vision Modes: Normal, Low-light, or Darkvision. The latter two now eliminate penalties for low lighting and darkness respectively, with no distance ranges or anything like that. Darkvision is now much less common than it used to be
    -Languages: Usually common and one other.
    -Skill Bonuses: Usually +2 to two different skills
    -Passive Racial Bonus: Pretty much the broadest form of bonuses, lots of variation
    -Alternate Origin, if any. Some races are descended from people who aren't from the normal World, and thus may be subject to different effects
    -Racial Encounter Power: A racial ability that might be helpful in combat situations

    I won't be listing the actual mechanics for the most part, but I will try to go through all the available races so far and describe the fluff and general ideas. Again, though some races may make better fits for some classes, there usually aren't any truly bad ideas since feats and such can actually make interesting combinations.

    Player's Handbook 1

    Dragonborn: Dragon people, supposedly descended from dragons if not the draconic deities themselves, dragonborn tend to be big and powerful beings who treasure the memory of the ancient dragonborn empire of Arkhosia and seek to act with honor and win glory. Each one has its own particular breath weapon, such as fire, cold, lightning, acid or poison. In short- proud warrior guys.

    Dwarf: Supposedly forged from the stone and earth, dwarves are a stocky and hardy type. They're very communal, and place a great emphasis on the role of the divine. They're difficult to move, both literally and figuratively, and can be quite tenacious in whatever they do. In short- dwarves.

    Eladrin: Elven beings who maintain a strong connection to the Feywild and its magic (which can even allow them to teleport short distances by stepping out of the normal world), their longevity makes them seem almost aloof and detached from the world. They tend to value arts and education, and often seek to bring grace and skill into everything they do, from daily life to magic and swordsmanship. In short- magical art Vulcans.

    Elf: They too once came from the Feywild, but unlike the eladrin the elves are much closer to the World. They're both remarkably agile and incredibly perceptive, which make them dangerous marksmen. Not so aloof as the eladrin, elves tend towards passions and impulses, enjoying all the world has to offer. In short- speedy hippies.

    Half-elves: The children of humans and elves, half-elves often find it easy to pass between cultures. Natural leaders, their experiences often give them the ability to survive and thrive in many different situations. In short- face characters.

    Halfling: A small race, halfings are often nomads who travel the waterways in close communities or fearless and curious wanderers in search of adventure. They're stealthy and love trickery almost as much as community, and tend to be a fortunate bunch. In short- kender if kender weren't kleptomaniac manchildren.

    Human: Adaptable and resourceful, humans can be found everywhere doing everything. They can be ambitious, sometimes to the point of corruption, but also tolerant and open to diversity. The human empire of Nerath managed to unite a broad spectrum of beings, and was the last of the great powers to fall. In short- if you've got no other ideas, roll a human.

    Tiefling: Ages ago the human empire of Bael Turath made deals with devils to gain power, becoming the first tieflings. Bael Turath fell upon Arkhosia, and the two empires fought each other to extinction. But just as some
  25. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    So classes. Before I go into the specific mechanics and flavor of the various classes, here's a more in-depth overview of the various roles and combat options.

    Defender: Defenders go where the action is. The center of the group, they're everyone's buddy, drawing attacks away from their weaker allies and using their strong defenses, high HP and plenty of surges to soak as much damage as they dish out. They tend to be predominantly melee, and the few ranged powers they have usually involve dragging the enemy into range and keeping them there. Once they're in your face, a defender is hard to escape and even harder to ignore, a key feature of all defenders being their ability to mark targets.

    -A marked creature takes a -2 penalty on all attacks that don't include the being that marked the creature. This represents some sort of mundane or supernatural means of drawing the target's attention as a credible threat or getting under the target's skin.

    While being marked by any creature can be an annoyance, being marked by a defender can be especially painful thanks to the defender's immediate action ability.

    -When it's your turn, you have your usual assortment of standard, move and minor actions. When it isn't your turn, you still have a few options. An immediate action is triggered by an event or enemy action, and you only get one until your next turn rolls around. Depending on the ability, it's either an immediate interrupt, which goes before the triggering action and might even negate it, or an immediate reaction, which goes after and responds to the action. There's also the opportunity action, which is provoked by an enemy action, and you get one opportunity action per enemy turn each round, the most common being an opportunity attack when the opponent's guard is lowered by something such as moving or using a ranged ability in melee. Free actions take effectively no time and you can use as many of them as you want whenever you want, limited only by the ability. One such example would be talking, so you can feel free to converse with your allies or your enemies even when it isn't your turn.

    Defenders share a key feature in that whenever they've marked something, they have an ability they can trigger as an immediate action, usually in response to the marked opponent ignoring them or moving away. The abilities vary, but they usually mean that it was a very bad idea for the opponent to do that, often involving damaging the target, weakening it, or negating the attack or movement. Since it's an immediate action, you can't use it on every opponent if you mark more than one, so you need to pay attention to where you are and who you're tangling with to keep them away from your little buddies.

    Striker: A striker's goal in battle is to find high priority targets and put them in the ground, often in rather messy ways. They usually accomplish this by doing the most amount of damage of all the other classes, but often have abilities that can limit the power or abilities of their foes. Most strikers usually have a source of high damage, be it some sort of secondary stat or condition, or simply using a high number of damage dice. Awareness is vital for a striker, figuring out which enemies are tied down, heavily injured or otherwise vulnerable for an assault, often in the form of targets granting combat advantage.

    -Unlike in previous editions, many conditions that granted bonuses to attacks against an opponent or penalties to that opponent's defenses have been folded into a situation called Combat Advantage. Combat advantage is one of the most common sources of bonuses to hit, being a +2 bonus to attack that applies whenever the defender is somehow overwhelmed or caught off-guard, a combination of the 3.5e situations in which the target was "denied Dexterity bonus", flanked, or prone when targeted by a melee attack. An enemy in such a situation is said to be "granting combat advantage" or "granting CA" for short.

    Positioning is key,