I figured for this post I would go back and update an older post. My Dungeons and Dragons Mechanics! Here is the original post.
These mechanics are a hodgepodge of things I’ve taken from a few sources, mostly DnD 4e, Savage Worlds, and 3.5/Pathfinder.
*It is important to note, I am not a big fan of 4e (this is just my opinion and not knocking on ANYONE who enjoys the game- to each their own), however many of the mechanics of the game I actually like quite a bit and, as such, have incorporated them into my Pathfinder game.
• All characters initiative going up every even level. This makes sense to me. Adventures of level 12 still going at their original +2 (because they don’t have a great dex or imp initiative) just seems very non-epic to me.
o How do you update Monsters from 3.x to reflect the initiative boost? Simple, look at their challenge rating or level advancement, and ½ that. There is their new bonus to initiative. If they have a rapid strike or quick draw feat give em +2 initiative.
• I’ve kept healing surges, to lighten the load on the healers, but they only get 2 + CON Mod (min of +1) healing surges per day.
• Bloodied- I’ve kept bloodied, but when bloodied characters take -2 to all roles, showing that they are becoming fatigued.
• One thing that really annoyed me with 3.x is status effects. These effects are difficult to keep track of. “You are poisoned, feared, etc for 2d4 rounds.” I like 4e use of it goes on the whole encounter, but at the end of your turn, you get a save. I’m keeping that, but using 3.5 saving throws.
• Quick Draw feat gives an additional +2 to Initiative. I like this.
• We now reroll initiative every round rather than rolling at the beginning and then the number remains static throughout the encounter. My players constantly were getting frustrated when they would roll really bad in initiative and then sat through a whole combat at really low number when everyone else is going much higher. So I asked them if they would be interested in rerolling initiative each round and everyone agreed.
o In Savage Worlds you use a deck of playing cards and every round the card is collected and each player gets a new one. We did not like using cards because it takes time out of playing gathering them up, reshuffling (if a Joker is drawn) and then dealing them out. I use a d20 (I have to get the d20 involved in Savage Worlds SOMEHOW). A 19-20 is considered a Joker for the purpose of Wild Cards. Also rolling a 5 or below is a reroll for anyone with the quick edge. –End SW Mechanics-
One of the things that always got to me about many role-playing games is the length of combat. Something that many GM’s and players have struggled with. To me combat should be fast, furious, deadly (Almost sounds like a Savage Worlds plug here.. And I originally wrote this before I tried Savage Worlds.. heh) without the really striving for TPK. What I decided to do was create a style of “minion” or “mook,” for lack of a better term. They don’t have 1 HP, but can definitely be killed in 1 to 2 hits. To make them more of a threat, I give them a higher initiative, higher attack, and up their damage and saves. So if the creature has an axe that normally does 1d8 damage, I up it to 2 or 3 d8.
The next style of enemy has slightly higher HP and doesn’t do as much damage, but has some tricks up their sleeves that can make them just as nasty, but again, they can go down in 2-4 hits.
Then it goes to mini-boss and boss type creatures. These can be anything- A goblin king, a shambling mound, a chaos beast, or a lich. I look at what the MM says their abilities, stats, etc are, use those as a base, and up or lower damage stats and etc. Usually I do this on the fly and have gotten decently good at providing a challenge for my players.
I like Eberron’s rules for Action Points. You get 3+ your level and they add +#d6 (depending on level) to your attack, save, skill check, ability check rolls when you decided to use one. They come in handy, and allow the players to be exceptional. My players LOVE action points as it has saved their butts repeatedly and AP add an epic cinematic feel to the game.
An Extra Action-
One thing that I hardly see players take advantage of is Blocking or Deflecting a melee attack, grappling (sometimes), or sundering a weapon. Why? I think that this is due to DnD being a battle of HP attrition. Players do not want to sacrifice their attack to try to block or sunder, etc, because they WANT to hit the baddie first and whittle Its HP before It can whittle down theirs.
In my original post I had come up with the concept of Fencing Points, and while it was fun I felt it just added another layer of bookkeeping for the players. Not something I really want.
So I came up with the idea that each player gets an additional action that can be used at any point during the round to be used as a block, deflect, sunder, or grapple. To make the game more epic feeling I’ve also added that it can count as an additional melee attack at the characters base attack bonus. They cannot move to the target, It must be within striking (or ranged- bow or crossbow or throwing) distance.
Simple, not much to keep track of, save the player has to remember to USE it before initiative is rolled otherwise it is lost.
Alright.. So this is my new updated mechanics.
I dropped using 4e powers for my characters, again because it was more record keeping and we found that my players were forgetting to use them, or in all honesty, just “meh” about using it.
Feel free to comment and/or offer feed back on these, just no trolling please. Feel free to borrow or use any of this.
Again, thanks for reading!!