Monday, 9 September 2019

DREAD's rules: on second thoughts, Level Cap at lvl 9

Change of mind: let’s cap level advancement at level 9

odin's last words to baldr

I really love the roleplaing community on the interwebz.
I miss the days where most of our hobby was united in G+ and the reach of blogs was multiplicated by posts on G+. The G+ comments were directly on the blog, the discussion was alive.
The discussion still exists though, but more in niches.
Out of the discussion concerning the last Blog post I made (DREAD's rules: Level Cap at lvl 8), I came to realize that my first instinct (to cap at level 9 and not 8) was a better idea.
So this post is about taking some part of the last post and retconning to "Hey, I always meant 9" and accepting that i was wrong and letting everyone access the thoughts of some gamers/readers with more rules-wisdom than I have.

Why level-cap-at-lvl-8?

My main idea to cap at lvl8 was to exclude the "circle of teleportation"-spell. The other reasons are still valid at lvl 9.
The save reason is even more valid at level 9, because the main 2 Saves of a character will improve.

Why level 9 then?

Well, to be honest, the main reason is bounded accuracy, its increase to be exact. Reaching +4 accuracy makes it a good "last goodie", but also makes expertise even more relevant.
Barring all casters from level 5 spells just for one spell also felt half-brewed.
Barring players from "Greater Restoration", for example, seems a bit brutal in a setting with powerful monsters with possibly long lasting negative effects from their abilities.

Spells restrictions:

So I went through the lvl5-spell-list and decided to ban 2 spells from my game (officially, at least - no one knows what happens in the secluded glens of the elves or on the peaks inhabited by the remnants of the cloud giants' empire):

  • Circle of teleportation (“Tree stride” seems not too game breaking in comparison - and having elves creating Tree-Jumpways as a kind of secret quick-travel road seems to me like the kind of thing being with centuries of life-span could invest themselves into)
  • Raise Dead (Reincarnate is fun, in my opinion, and finding a lvl 9 druid will be a challenge, if you have no favors left with the elvish courts)

Reincarnate will get a new table, the races listed being not all accessible in this setting

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

DREAD's rules: Level Cap at lvl 8

Level Cap at lvl 8


Why limit your players to Level 8?

First the TLDR-answer

  • sweet spot of 5E
  • less important save rolls
  • no "Fast-travel"-teleportation
  • mono-classing is a better option
  • main attribute 20 reachable

A bit more detailed:

  • In my experience, reaching lvl 11 in D&D5 changes everything, and it means that the characters suddenly reach a much higher level of power.
  • In my opinion, it is much more difficult to offer the players a good challenge without going much over the top in the plot after level 10.
  • The Tier 2 of D&D5 (lvl 6-10) is in my opinion the sweet spot of the edition: Challenges are possible, even with a lot of low level enemies, but it is possible to estimate the risks of such an encounter.
  • My practical observation is that after that, the outcome of encounters seems to become much more random, since saves then become so much more important and decisive. If you fail your first save in the round of combat, then you're out. If more than half the party fails the save, then the encounter is doomed to be mortal (sometimes even for the whole party). Since i'm a very unfortunate player, I tend to sit more than half of the time at the table side without being able to do anything. And that's a fun killer, in my opinion.
  • Capping the level at 8 doesn't completely takes saves out of the equation, but makes building encounters without having to rely on saves much easier to build. And if the opponent is a spellslinger, the max difficulty to resist his spells should be around 16 (still high, but doable).
  • So why not capping at level 10 ? - that wouldn't change anything for the spell saves... My main reason is lvl 5 spells, particularly "circle of teleportation". I don't want travel to be instantaneous over long ranges (1] I want the travel element of the game to stay something challenging and 2] I don't want to think about the societal and economical consequences of the existence of such a magical wonder)
  • Level 8 also means the second ability increase for mono-class characters or balanced 2-class characters, and this is the opportunity to reach 20 in your main attribute in my campaigns (I either use shared randomized attribute pools [numbers are random, but all players use the same pool of random numbers], or point buy with 16 as highest limit). I feel this "natural customization limit" of the characters needs to be reached. After that, only magic and alchemy can help your alter ego getting better.

Does that make sense to you?

Edit: apparently it didn't completly fit and some of your remarks made me modify the cap level to 9:
DREAD's rules: on second thoughts, Level Cap at lvl 9

Monday, 2 September 2019

DREAD's World (2/6): The prophecy of the "Dawn of the Vile Moon"

The Dawn of the Vile Moon

Gustave DorĂ©—The fourth Horseman, Death on the Pale Horse (1865)

What players might know:

51 years after the Severance and the arrival of the Humans on Perfu, a mystical event rattled all civilisations in the world:
During that moonless night, all seers, augurs, diviners, oracles, and fortune-tellers had the same vision.
The "Dawn of a vile moon" was coming. Noone could tell when, but all, from the goblinoid shamans to the High-Harbingers of the forest-folks, agreed on the fact that it was coming.

"Whence the moonless night reaches her middle and the stars align, a gaunt rider will fly before a hitherto unknown bloody moon, followed by his legion of horned minions.
Shepherded by their bleak General riding a TerrorGeist, this dread-swarm will bring war to our lands and herald an age of chaos, destruction, and despair.
Brace yourself for darker times, folks of Perfu, for the Dawn of a vile moon is coming erelong"

Only Pythonia, the oldest human oracle, saw the "Dawn of a vile moon" for what it really is: The arrival of the Infinite Horde on Perfu.
She recognized the leader of the armies heralded by the "Dawn of a vile moon" as Phongor — the Inquisitor of Hell — who was the General of the Infinite Horde on the lost home of humanity.
In the years following what will be called the "Night of the Prophecy", the cultures that were in contact exchanged information and realised that all their seers had the exact same vision of the future, reinforcing the credibility of the Prophecy.
Since they already were perceived as bad seeds, the human kingdoms failed to inform their partners that they identified the threat coming towards Perfu.
Since then (around 200 years), an arms race has taken place, but since the Dawn of a vile moon did not happen, those weapons have been used against neighbours. Otherplace, cults attempting to hasten the coming of the Dawn of a vile moon have flourished and withered.
The coming of the Dawn of a vile moon is not forgotten, and times are getting darker.
Will your Characters be ready and survive the Dawn of a vile moon?

How did the devils come to Perfu?

It took them 666 moon cycles, but the devils that were mingling with humanity, possessing a host or assuming a covert identity in urbarin society, did find a way to reach through the planar boundaries, after traveling with humanity to Perfu during the Severance.
The bloody sacrifice executed to power the devilish spell nearly razed the two biggest goblinoids tribes around the inner sea. Even though scouts from different nations did find gruesome rests of the slaughter, all nonchalantly ignored the finding, considering it condescendingly as a random act of violence in a depraved monstrous "society".
Contact has been made to the Infinite Horde and since then, the devils have worked toward the opening of a bridge to allow passage to Perfu to the rest of the Infinite Horde