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Terminology & Base Mechanics?

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:17 pm
by Shadow Elf
I have been trying to read the d20r stuff, and while I really enjoy reading the fluff and the mechanics, I find that the articles do not stand on their own without a knowledge of the underlying system. Any chance we could see a post which defines things like Prowess and other terminology, chargen and level-up, mechanics new and old, and other related entities? I have a very shaky understanding on 3.5e, so I cannot even approach the items with that mechanical grounding. I looked through the d20r fora here, but could not find any kind of thread where terminology might be concentrated in a sort of Rules Compendium.

Re: Terminology & Base Mechanics?

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:37 pm
by DragoonWraith
Well, most of it's from 3.5, and a lot of the rules that aren't defined are not because they're the same as 3.5's rules. At some point, Fax'll definitely want to write those down, but since this is still a work in progress, that hasn't happened yet.

That said, you're certainly right; a lot of this stuff isn't easily learned because it's spread across the Wiki, GitP, here, and simply in conversations between Fax and other people suggesting things.

Anyway, I'll try to sort out some of this for you.

Leveling is identical to 3.5, at least in terms of "gain a certain amount of XP, gain a level, choose your class for that level, gain its class features, skills, saves, HD, etc." You can choose any class you qualify for at any level, like 3.5, gaining the first level (if you've never taken that class before) or the next level (if you have) of the class, along with whatever class features that level gains. There are no multiclassing penalties (but see below about bonus feats for singleclassing).

Like 3.5, you gain a new Feat every third level. You also, unlike 3.5, gain a bonus feat every fourth level of a single class (so Class 4, Class 8, Class 12, Class 16, and Class 20). Like 3.5, you gain an Ability Score boost every fourth level, but unlike 3.5 (and like 4E IIRC?), you may add 1 to any two Ability scores, rather than only to one (can't be the same one though).

Also, a generally important term is "Hero Value" - this is equal to half your level, rounded up. It gets used all over the place, but most notably in terms of multiclassing feats and skills.

Chargen is as it is in 3.5, excepting the things that are different (whoo! how's that for a completely unhelpful statement?) - basically, you choose a race, class, and determine your ability scores (rolling or point-buy; either way you'd use the same systems as 3.5, which IIRC are not quite the same as 4E - I recommend just finding an online 3.5 PB calc). Now you fill in various details on your character sheet (BAB, saves, HP, fluff stuff like height and eye color, etc.), and you'd then make any decisions relevant to your race or class (e.g. the Human race is allowed a Bonus Feat, so they'd pick that), and figure out your starting skills (which have changed dramatically from 3.5), and your initial Feat (which have not, and are in fact fairly similar to Feats in 4E). At about this point, you'd start figuring out your Prowess, which is new with D20r.

Prowess is sort of like "martial skillpoints". It's specifically geared towards martial characters, who gain the most of it, and not so much for spellcasters and the like, who gain less of it. At any given time, you have a Prowess maximum equal to BAB+3, which at 1st level means it's either 3 or 4. Prowess can be spent on Investing feats, or weapon proficiencies (which are technically sort of Investing feats themselves, though rarely called out as such). What you get for your Prowess depends on the Feat in question; see the individual descriptions for those.

For the weapons, there are actually two separate systems currently written down; I'm not sure which Fax is going to go with, though. There's the Weapon Group Proficiencies, where every weapon group is treated differently, and Weapon Properties, where you're basically buying special properties for a given group of weapons.

The current skill system is probably going to change, but until it is here's how it works (at least some of this is likely to remain): every class gains certain Skill Sets, each of which contains about four skills, plus they usually allow the character to choose an extra Skill or even a whole extra Skill Set freely. You also gain your choice of a number of skills equal to your Int modifier (ability modifiers are the same as they are in 4E).

Anyway, any skill you've gotten (either through one of your pre-set Skill Sets, one of your chosen Skill Sets, or from one of your choices of extra Skills), you're considered an Apprentice in. Any skill you've got in two different places (two skill sets or in a skill set plus you chose it separately, or you chose it separately twice), you're a Journeyman in. Any skill you don't have at all, you're Untrained in.

Unlike 3.5, there are no "trained-only" skills, so being an Apprentice doesn't let you do things you couldn't before, it just improves your check. Being a Journeyman does open up new options, though, and being a Master opens up some more (you can only become a Master through a particular class feature, though).

A skill check is generally 1d20 + the skill's key ability modifier + your Wisdom modifier. If you're an Apprentice in the skill, you also get to add your Hero Value. If you're a Journeyman, you get to add the skill's key ability modifier again. Thus:
  • Untrained: 1d20 + key Ability + Wis
  • Apprentice: 1d20 + key Ability + Wis + HV
  • Journeyman: 1d20 + 2*(key Ability) + Wis + HV
  • Master: (same as Journeyman but with new options to roll for)

Anyway... that's a lot of it. I hope that helps you reading the D20r material! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

Re: Terminology & Base Mechanics?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:38 pm
by Shadow Elf
That was an extremely helpful reply. Thanks very much!

Re: Terminology & Base Mechanics?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:46 pm
by Fax
Made a Basic Changes thread, which may or may not see some more augmenting as I remember things.