World of Esaene (ENWorld)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I always feel that I'm getting too far ahead of myself and need to slow down in some of the changes I make. I know they're good, but it's too much to do at once and I somehow get lost in the shuffle. I have decided to take a more iterative approach in the time being, especially with the lack of time I have.

I want to start with the base SRD classes and work from there. Since I'm using Elements of Magic as my base magic system, I'll also throw in the three classes from there as well.

  • Barbarian - Just a flavor of fighter. Can safely be eliminated as long as class abilities are rolled up into ability trees.
  • Bard - Tradition of spellcaster.
  • Cleric - Tradition of spellcaster.
  • Druid - Tradition of spellcaster.
  • Fighter - Standard
  • Mage - Standard
  • Mageknight - Standard?
  • Monk - Flavor of fighter. I've never been a fan of this class.
  • Paladin - Mageknight variant?
  • Ranger - Fighter-light?
  • Rogue - Standard
  • Sorcerer - Mage
  • Taskmage - Standard
  • Wizard - Replaced by Mage

When broken down, this leaves:
  • Fighter - includes Barbarian, maybe some Monk stuff
  • Mage - Magic heavy
  • Mageknight - Fighter/mage
  • Ranger - Essentially a fighter/rogue hybrid
  • Rogue - Skill heavy
  • Taskmage - Rogue/mage or skilled mage

I would like to get down to a good core of classes that covers all of the basics and allows a player to play just about anything. I may just start with the basics big groups and go from there.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Weapons updated

Weapons will be given a base damage and the attack roll will determine the amount of extra. Base damage equals a static number + size modifier, the static number based on medium damage. To determine the base, divide max damage by 4 and round up. This is all computed beforehand so no one has to do it on the fly.

d2 +1
d3 +1
d4 +1
d6 +2
2d4, d8 +2
d10 +3
2d6, d12 +3

Damage, as previous stated, is determined by degree of success. Melee is base attack + strength mod + other bonuses. Because of this, you don't add strength into the base weapon damage - it's already accounted for. The other things to modify are threat range and critical.

Critical is a bonus to wound damage on any critical hit. Multiply the critical multiplier by the weapon's base damage, adding one to the base for each extra threat range. A rapier (1d6, 18-20/x2) has a base damage of 2 and a critical value of 8 (base 2 + 2 for the added threat range, multiplied by 2 for criticals). Whenever someone rolls a critical hit with a rapier, add 8 points to the damage for wounds only. This value scales with base damage for size.

Range is actually a factor of strength, whether it be muscle or mechanical. The standard range increment is assuming a average strength. The base is 10 x some modifier; Add the strength modifier to the base 10 and remultiply. See below for examples. Mechanical weapons are slightly different and will be covered later.

Crossbows have a default mechanical strength. Heavy crossbows have a strength of 14, which is the strength needed to crank them (either manually or by winch). This affects criticals and range respectively. Light crossbows have a strength of 10; the range of a light crossbow will be adjusted accordingly.

Bows have an inherent strength value. If a character (using two hands) has a lower bonus than the bow's strength, they suffer a penalty to hit and range. The strength of a longbow is 10 (+0), whereas a composite longbow has a strength 12 (+1), increasing the range. Composite bows with increased pull will increase the range as appropriate. A composite longbow with a Strength 18 (+4) will have a range increment of 140 (10+4)x10. Of course, someone with a 10 strength would suffer a -4 penalty when using it and would not be able to string it at all. You need to be able to match the bonus with two hands in order to string a bow. When using a bow that has a draw greater than you can pull, the range defaults to your strength and you take a penalty to the difference.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


The goal is to allow healing without it overcoming the game completely. I want to break it down into two philosophical concepts:
  • Ignoring trauma/wound penalties
  • Healing wounds
Ignoring trauma/wound penalties
There will be some magic, class abilities (like rage) and maybe herbs/drugs that allow a character to ignore existing trauma. In essence, the penalty for being wounded (fatigue) is ignored. This is important, as it allows characters to function when they should long ago have succumbed to exhaustion and pain. If a character is ignoring wound trauma, they effectively have a recovery of 1. Any addition to the recovery modifier are against the base value, however, not the effective level. This will allow someone seriously injured to heal on a normal night of rest instead of needing complete bed rest.

Some of this may be accomplished by giving the target "false life" - temporary wound levels that will disappear after the duration. This may be the only way to keep someone dying alive long enough for healing. Note: This can really open some interesting game avenues, with necromancy, bound foci, linked lives, etc. More on this later!

Healing wounds
To determine your Recovery modifier, calculate an ability modifier from your current amount of Wounds. In other words, a character with 2 wounds would have a -4 modifier.

With a full night’s rest (8 hours of sleep or more), you recover 1 + your Recovery modifier in wounds. If that value is less than one, the character must undergo complete bed rest to heal. Any significant interruption during your rest prevents you from healing that night. Note: I probably should add in a mechanic for getting worse; either that or just make it a narritive challenge for the healer

If you undergo complete bed rest for an entire day and night, you recover twice your normal recovery if positive. For negative values or zero values, fractionalize the gain. A RecMod of 1 would be 2 wounds/complete day of rest (since recovery is doubled), a RecMod of 0 would be 1 wound/complete day of rest, a -1 would be 1 wound/2 complete days, -2 would be 3 complete days, and so on. As wound levels decrease, healing is quicker.

Magical healing in EOM is a number of dice, just like with evocation. We will treat it like evocation and make it a simple bonus of 1 + 1.5/MP. This bonus is added to a character's recovery. Duration will play a part in this. So a +10 healing effect to a dying character (0 wounds, -5 penalty) would give them a +5, effectively a recovery of 6. With a full night's rest, they will have 6 wounds and be out of danger.

Keep in mind, this is still only in the philosophic area right now and is subject to change.

Example of Healing
Paul the Peasant is burninated by Trogdor. He has a constitution of 14 (14 wounds) and is down to 0 and dying quickly. Helpful Harry the Healer is on the scene quickly and applies a +10 healing charm to the rapidly fading Paul.

Paul is stabilized (I need to add a quick mechanic for this, perhaps related to Harry's healing skill - I still want knowledge of healing to be very important) so vitality loss is not an issue at the moment. Paul's base recovery is -4: a base 1 + a recovery mod of -5; With the healing charm, his recovery rockets up to a +6, meaning he'll heal 6 wounds with a full night's rest. He'll be fatigued, maybe exhausted depending on his vitality situation, but should be able to travel the next day and begin the road to recovery.

The second night, Harry puts the same charm on him. This time, Paul's base recovery is only -1 (base 1 + recovery mod of -2 for his 6 wounds), so the healing charm makes his effective recovery +9. He'll completely heal up with a full night's rest. Not bad for someone on death's door less than 48 hours previous.

Monday, April 09, 2007


This was taken from rycanada on ENWorld, on his blog.

The highest-level PCs at the table get 6 Conviction, and for each level lower than the highest that you are, you get an extra point of Conviction. This pool is restored whenever the party has a night of complete rest (this effect cannot be magically reproduced). Conviction is spent as follows:
Table R-04: Conviction

ActionConviction Cost
Roll an extra d20 (if you declare before the roll)1
Roll an extra d20 (if you declare after the roll)2
Take an extra move-equivalent action on your turn**1
Take an extra standard action on your turn**2
Gain an extra use of another X/day ability, including spells2*

When you roll extra d20s, you take the highest roll. You can roll as many extra d20s on a roll as you can pay for.
** Each of these can be performed only once per round. If you have an extra move and an extra standard action, you can perform a full-round action instead. PCs have a death flag that they can raise in order to get 4 extra Conviction. This flag can be lowered by spending 4 Conviction. While a player-character's death flag is raised, they can suffer death as per the standard rules. While the flag is lowered, the player character can still be captured, imprisoned, fall off a cliff into a river and left for dead - but will not actually die. NPCs with names use the normal rules for death, but NPCs without names die at 0 hit points. Because this rule makes death something players have some control over, players should consider it very unlikely that their soul will be free to return in the event that they die (i.e. Raise Dead spells aren't likely to work).


Magic will be using a hybrid mana points system with Elements of Magic/Revised as a base. There will be no "cantrips per day" mechanic; casters can enter the mystic focus state and cast a cantrip whenever they like, so there is essentially no cost for this, only a concentration check.

Wizards have a small to moderate mana pool to draw spell power from. When that is exhausted, mana is drained from their vitality. The normal rules apply with this - half vitality is fatigue, no vitality is exhaustion.

Some types of magic will change to fit the rules as a whole.
  • Magical evocation as it functions in elements of magic is a base 1d6 damage with an additional 1d6 per MP. This works just like a weapon does. A 1MP evocation is a +3 attack (2d6), 2MP is +4, 3MP is +6, 4MP is +7, 5MP is +9, etc. The formula would be 1 + 1.5/MP (rounded up).For example, a Fireball (Evoke Fire 10, Gen 4) would be a +16 attack. A saving throw for half damage will keep a strong character from taking wound damage. This makes low-level attack spells not very powerful on their own without some cleverness. Note: DR does not affect magical evocation unless it is physical in nature; Only ER will help with that. Magic has AP value equal to 1 + Cha Mod?
  • Magical healing only helps with wound damage. Vitality damage can be temporarily ignored with magic, but it fades. The only way to truly recover vitality is rest. Note: See Healing post about Magic adding to Recovery
  • Spell lists have other requirements, such as abilities, magical traditions (like combat styles mentioned in a previous post), or even skill levels. Knowledge is power and the magic should reflect that fact. Many spells will key off a character's existing abilities, such as a magical skill bonus should have a relation to the number of ranks a character has in the skill.
  • Magic items should not define characters nor should they be pervasive through the game. Most magic items help a character do something better rather than outright give them something they never had. Charms and trinkets are fine, but magic items should not be a requirement or crutch for heroes to succeed. Note: Spellcasters can make semi-permanent effects (longer durations without the MP cost) by an XP expenditure, like any magic item. The best example would be a healing rune. It is meant to assist healing on a person, so the spellcaster creates the healing effect with a 10 minute duration (like any magic item) and spends some XP to make it stick.


I'm eliminating Attacks of Opportunity and many feats. I'm trying to make feats simple bonuses and modifiers to the character. In place of that, I'm making maneuvers available to anyone who meets the requirements. Many times these requirements are a critical hit (succeeding by 10+) and sometimes may include such things as the type of weapon, the amount of damage done (usually wound damage), and maybe any combat styles they know (feats). Some existing feats need to be modified while others will be removed altogether.

The end goal is to provide a general framework for a character to develop (taking feats that would represent a specific style of training - like the different sword styles in Swashingbuckling Adventures/7th Sea).

You can break down the styles and grant benefits from there, maybe even as prestige classes. The base soldier class would represent general weapon training, while a prestige class would open up specific types of training - ways to fight. There are inherent advantages and disadvantages to each.

  • Dramatic. Eliminate the need for miniatures. They can be used, but should only be a point of reference, not a tactical mandate. One way is to eliminate Attacks of Opportunity. Another way to make combat more narrative is by changing the structure from Maneuver -> Success/Fail to Success/Fail -> Maneuver. Meaning the degree of success on a combat check opens up available maneuvers instead of attempting a maneuver and outright succeeding or failing.
  • Efficient. Make combat quicker by eliminating die rolls and having most variables pre-calculated.
  • Dangerous but fair. Combat should be inherently a dangerous activity, not approached lightly by anything. It should be gritty and lethal with enough leeway to allow characters to be seriously threatened without crippling the party. Characters should always be in danger, but it should not be life-threatening unless the player wishes it to be. One mechanic I found for this was use of action points. A character may gain action points by putting his character in mortal danger. In other words, if a player decides to make a "stand" against opponents, he will get bonuses by essentially opening himself up for character death. This is not to say that characters cannot be seriously wounded and left for dead, but the story won't dictate that they die at that time.

Wounds and Vitality

The quest for simplification continues still...

The wound/vitality variant is not the same as defined in UA or other games, such as d20 Star Wars.

Vitality is a measure of toughness and endurance. It is used to track non-lethal damage and fatigue. Configuring the mechanic this way enables you to use vitality for spells (like MP) and for general fatigue for other activities. So extended combat will do vitality damage to you the same as any other damage source - like trying not to drown.

At 1/2 vitality, a character gains the Fatigued state. At 0 vitality, the character gains the Exhausted state. Once at 0 Vitality, additional damage is taken as Wounds.

Wounds are exactly what is described - your physical ability to withstand damage. It is equal to your Constitution + size modifier. Some feats may add to this as well. In reality, it actually functions more like hardness than anything else.

Characters take X amount of damage and they have Y wounds. The character takes X in vitality damage, subtracting any damage reduction from armor and the like. If the remaining damage (X-DR) is greater than Y, the character takes that many wounds (New Y = X- DR - Y).

If a character takes any wound damage, they are fatigued. This state combines with Vitality, so a character at half vitality and some wound damage (fatigued+fatigued) is exhausted. A character at 0 wounds is dying and losing vitality each round. When a character is at 0 vitality and is wounded, they are unconscious. If they are at 0 vitality and 0 wounds, they are dead. Pretty simple, really.

The size modifier for wounds would also apply to damage, meaning that larger creatures would be much harder to kill easily - you have to continue to beat on them until they wear down. Smaller creatures would be harder to hit, but easier to take down with a solid blow.

Catching up

Been busy, although I have been writing and tweaking - just not on the blog. That needs to change, so I'll be doing a lot more tinkering here instead of in my notebooks and on my laptop.