Some Queries for our Backers

54 posts / 0 new
Last post
Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10
Some Queries for our Backers

I have a few questions I'd like to ask. These are minor points within the game, but they weigh on me.

blizack
Joined: 2011-07-16 15:35

Let's hear them.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Question #1: Elven Cloak and Boots
As it stands, elven cloak and elven boots make Hide in Shadows and Move Silently irrelevant. A 1st level fighter in an elven cloak and boots hides and sneaks better than a 14th level thief. What if instead of their current ability, they worked as follows:
Elven Boots: These boots completely muffle all sounds of walking. Commonly used by elven nightblades, they add a +8 bonus to any proficiency checks to move silently. Characters wearing elven boots can always move silently with a throw of at least 8+.
Elven Cloak: This iridescent cloak is made by the magical and nimble hands of the elves. It allows the wearer to blend into his surroundings to the point of becoming nearly invisible. The cloak adds a +8 bonus to any proficiency checks to hide in shadows. Characters wearing elven cloaks can always hide in shadows with a throw of at least 8+.
This makes the cloak and boots still very useful to non-thieves (giving them a 65% chance to hide), and invaluable to thief-types, letting them hide/sneak as a thief of much higher level.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Question #2: Wands of Detection and Swords of Detection
For legacy reasons relating to old versions of D&D, the range and duration of detection spells and detection items do not line up.
Specifically:
*Wand of detecting enemies lasts 1 round; "detect evil" spell lasts 6 turns
*Wand of detecting magic lasts 1 round and has 20' range; "detect magic spell has 60' range and lasts 2 turns
*Wand of detecting traps lasts 1 round and has 20' range; "find traps" spell has 30' range and lasts 3 turns
*Intelligent sword's detection of good/evil lasts 1 round and has 20' range; "detect evil" spell has 60' range and lasts 6 turns
*Intelligent sword's detection of traps lasts 1 round and has 10' range; "find traps" spell has 30' range and lasts 3 turns
My question is 'would it harm game balance to have the sword and wands work as the spells'? The advantage is that this would square those effects with the magic item creation rules. The disadvantage is that it does make those effects more powerful. That said, at higher levels (where such items are common), I've never seen PCs lack for such spells, so I don't know if that's a concern. Please share your thoughts.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Question #3: Sword Powers
For legacy reasons, intelligent swords have two types of powers, "detection powers" and "spell-like powers". What they do not have is proficiencies.
Would it be worthwhile to integrate proficiencies into intelligent swords?
Would it be worthwhile to add special sword types that have built-in proficiencies?

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Question #4: Bards
The current Bard class defaults to "Magical Music" for every Bard. This is a classic bard power, of course. However, it raises the question whether every 1st level bard in the world genuinely can charm and enslumber with his music? It seems both too powerful an effect to be universal, as well as too stereotyped to make room for a breadth of bards.
What if instead, Bards got a bonus class proficiency of their choice at 3rd and 6th level?

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Question #5: Minor Rules I'm Missing
Are there *minor* rules the game is missing that should be added? An example of "minor rules" is the Character Aging rules - game mechanics that take only a paragraph or two, and do not heavily interact with other game systems.

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

off-the-top-of-my-head:
#1 - your suggested change is def. better
#2 - I think the advantage outweighs the disadvantage. Remember that in the explanation you say the wielder has to be concentrating on the effect, so the wielder gives up possible other actions to attain the longer spell duration.
#3 - Hmm, I dunno about this one - swords would become proficiency expansions (a bit like familiars) - so they are almost extra characters. I could understand if they were crafted by binding the spirit of a mage/cleric to them in some sacrificial ceremony.

James S
Adventurer Conqueror King BackerPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2011-07-29 12:36

Question #1: Elven Cloak and Boots
I like both of these, but it depends on the value of them and their commonality. My thinking is roughly this:
Thief types have specialist skills that make them valuable to a party
Spellcasters have a range of spells that can duplicate (to some extent) some or all of the thief abilities – Knock, Spider Climb, Invisibility, Silence 15' radius, etc.. (I don't know if those spells are in the game btw, but they're common enough)
Elven Cloak and Boots also duplicate some of the thief abilities, and are usable by all other classes. That should make them incredibly valuable.
There should be some sort of in-built niche protection for thieves to ensure that they are always valuable to a party. A +8/8+ rule gives significant advantages, but a high level thief should always be better.
Question #2: Wands of Detection and Swords of Detection
System parity would be my preference. At higher levels it probably doesn't matter so much, at lower levels they'd be incredibly useful. Alternatively, any spell that goes into an item has its effects reduced, diluted if you will – that's parity in the opposite direction. There may be other ways to balance it, to do with Concentration durations on spells and not wands, for example.
Question #3: Sword Powers
Firstly, whilst Intelligent swords are legacy I much prefer the idea that any weapon has the potential to be intelligent. I've always felt that it's somewhat rubbish that only swords get to be smart. That aside..
If familiars can have proficiencies (and that's a clear way of gaming the system), why not swords? That said, I'd expect a proficiency in a sword to be equivalent in 'cost' to a spell like power – but not necessarily equivalent in power. Proficiencies might well get a lot more use than other abilities.
Question #4: Bards
I like the idea that Bards use words, and sound as the basis for many of their powers. That flavour, I think, is important to keep for the 'classic bard'.
Question #5: Minor Rules I'm Missing
Not that I've noticed so far, but I've been concentrating on 'what is' rather than 'what is not'. I'll have more of a think.

Veketshian
Adventurer Conqueror King ContributorPlayer's Companion ContributorDomains At War Contributor
Joined: 2011-07-10 01:52

#1 - I like your suggested change. It would be very pleasant to see skilled people be rewarded for being skilled rather than replaced by magic items.
#2 - I have a feeling the reason the magic items' spells ended up with shorter durations is because back then, you had to plan out your spells, so it would be more effective if you sacrificed that one spell slot for "Detect Evil" rather than planning in advance and whipping out your wand of detect monsters. There's also the consideration that non-magic users can use the wands, so it's more accessible in that regard. ACKS allows for spellcasting on the fly, but magic items are very rare. I think the lower duration or range is still acceptable for magic items, but perhaps not as harsh as it currently is. Maybe just a quick and easy rule like cut the duration in half or reduce range by one-third because a "fresh" spell is more powerful than one stored in a container for a few months or wizards concentrate more when pulling it out or something. Perhaps there could be a system where if the item crafter puts in that much more oomph, time, or materials, the spells in the magic item work as well as if a wizard casted them personally. Just a thought.
#3 - Intelligent items can't access all general proficiencies. It'd be silly to see a sword ride on a horse or tend to patients. The intelligent items would probably just know languages, sagey bits of lore, or can identify arcane or divine symbols. I don't see this as a concern of gameplay balance but rather another character where you can go, "Hey, do you know what this is?" I think it would be nifty if they had proficiencies, but I can't possibly imagine them having many. Maybe 2 at most. There wouldn't be that many to choose from. Ideas for specific intelligent items with built-in proficiencies that I can think of immediately are staves that can identify arcane symbols from whatever organization built it or holy avenger swords that can intimidate in Infernal (or whatever chthonic things use to communicate).
#4 - I accept that the definition for bard has always been some performer. Taking Musical Magic away would give less reason to shoot for the performance angle. What I rather see is an adventuring scholar show up in the Player Companion. Decent fighting capability, decent arcane magic, Loremastery, but no kissy face, look at me abilities. This is probably more personal preference, though.

Longshanks
Lairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-09-15 12:31

#1 - Agree about boots and cloaks. I would suggest +8/10+, so that those items add a "proficiency level" power; 8+ for a non-thief still seems to steal the spotlight from the bona fide sneaking classes. That said, I haven't done the math, so whatever yall think best.
#2 - I agree about Veketshian about the background reason for the discrepancy. Make it the same as the spells; the magic items are still valuable because its one more casting 'slot' you get for one more day, while I don't mind magic items like rods and staves replacing spells anyway.
#3 - No need for proficiencies. I think you could add some Sage-type powers to the sword based on other rolls. I would suggest Sage powers to go with any motivations rolled (slay orcs=orc sage) and to add a history column (Sword of great warrior, great wizard, etc have corresponding sage power of military tactics or loremastery).
#4 - No, please don't take this from bards. I have a Bard in my campaign now and it's really no problem. Seducing women is both commonly known about bards and not overpowering, while soothing beasts I limit to natural beasts and so also works. These are not overpowered, but just the sort of useful and sensical things that make bards fun to play without breaking the lore of the game world.
#5 - Simple statement of mounted combat, combing the saddle, riding, and warhorse rules would be nice. I would like Skirmishing rules, preferably something like Pendragon: characters fight as normal, if they all defeat their enemies their unit does well, if they half defeat their enemies their unit takes high casualties, if they all lose their unit it wiped out. Maybe with an extra Leadership style roll to influence the results. (But any sort of skirmish rules for 10-100 a side battles would be good.) Finally, I'd suggest some greater examples of Conqueror and King levels of play. Conqueror needs some clearer objectives, I'm confused about what levels this really represents and what the characters can do that's "new": lead warbands before gaining followers? go on arbitrage expeditions? For King I'd definitely like to see what larger kingdoms look like, how they interact with the PC domains, examples of kinds of plots you have going at these levels.

Longshanks
Lairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-09-15 12:31

I have a question:
#A - what is the timeline for releasing more Auran Empire information? I'm using a modified Birthright/Cerilia in my current campaign, but I'd love to see some thoughts on this well-thought out late Roman/Byzantine empire setting/gazetteer.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Based on this random sample of 4 enthusiastic backers:
#1) yes
#2) yes
#3) mixed and not worth focusing on right now
#4) no, don't change bards
#5) summary of mounted combat

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Longshanks - I would assume a minimum of 3 months. I have a lot of material written, but the translation of "Alex's notes" into "usable material" is slower than one would hope.

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

#4 - a 1st level Bard's not just some O-level musician/storyteller so I would expect some almost-preternatural honed ability to connect with others through performance - but as it stands:
'These abilities require one minute (6 rounds) of playing and may not be used if combat has already begun.'
one minute is too short - maybe change to
'These abilities require three minutes (18 rounds) minus (Bard's level rounds) of playing and may not be used if combat has already begun.'
This reinforces that it's not just WAM BAM SEDUCED YA MAM, although it doesn't have to be Freebird length - just nearer 3 minutes for low-level bards. It takes time to soothe the savage beast.
#5 - are there swimming/drowning/falling rules ?

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Question #6: Potion of Polymorph
A potion of polymorph (self) grants its imbiber the ability to polymorph self once per round for the duration of the potion. It is otherwise as the arcane spell of the same name. On the other hand, the polymorph self spell merely allows you to change yourself once. This creates an inconsistency between the two.
Is the best choice:
a) To allow the caster of Polymorph Self to change shape once per round, akin to how wizards are sometimes describe fighting in myth and legend (and Disney movies)
b) To remove the 'once per round' power from the potion
c) To assume the potion represents a higher level spell, perhaps a 6th level spell called 'Polymorph Self Repeatedly'

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Question #3B: Sword Powers, Part II
What do you think of this list of "Sword Motivation" Opponents:
1 Animals
2 Beastmen
3 Constructs
4 Fantastic Creatures
5 Giant Humanoids
6 Humans & Demi-humans
7 Summoned Creatures
8 Oozes & Vermin
9 Undead
10 Opposed alignment (lawful if chaotic, chaotic if lawful, either if neutral
Does it make sense that, if these sorts of swords are breathtakingly rare, the enemy types should be fairly broad, to make the swords quite powerful?.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Question #3C: Sword Powers, Part III
At present, when a sentient sword is used to attack a being that fits its motivation, a special power is used against the opponent. These powers are determined by the alignment of the sword. A chaotic sword will petrify an opponent of the appropriate type. Likewise, a lawful sword will paralyze an opponent of the appropriate type. Saving throws are allowed for each of these effects. A neutral sword grants the sword wielder a bonus of +1 to Armor Class, attack throws, and saving throws when combating an opponent of the appropriate type.
The questions are
(a) Should the special powers be battle-ending (petrify and paralysis)?
(b) If not, would making the chaotic power be "energy drain" instead of petrify, to allow for "Stormbringer"-esque swords, be cool?
(c) What should the lawful power be if something other than paralysis?
(d) Is the neutral power as lame as it seems relative to the others?

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

UPDATE: Based on this random sample of 5 enthusiastic backers:
#1) yes
#2) yes
#3) mixed and not worth focusing on right now
#3b, #3c) no answers yet
#4) no, don't change bards
#5) summary of mounted combat, summary of swimming/drowning
#6) no answers yet

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

It's almost as if our backers don't check the ACKS forums at 8pm Friday night.

Undercrypt
Adventurer Conqueror King BackerPlayer's Companion ContributorDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-07-21 00:40

#1: I like these changes, they'd need to be very rare at the current power level. Even +8 seems like a lot to me for something that's always active. How much would they cost to make?
#2: Bring the wands up to function like the spells, both for standardization and to be consistent with item creation rules. Creating an item of Detect _____ shouldn't need an odd rule exception to match what you'd find in the field.
#3: I wouldn't give the swords proficiencies, because most of them seem like a really poor fit.
#3B: I like the list. "Humans & Demi-humans" is most of civilization, but I like it anyway.
#3C: I'd rather see a broader range of special powers that aren't necessarily alignment-based. (Chaotic swords always petrifying things seems bizarre.) That makes sense if sentient swords are created by the Greater Powers of the Alignments, but that doesn't seem to be the case here (and I forget where that's from). This would be a good place to use proficiencies; a special power could be that while fighting against foes that match the motivation, the wielder gains the benefit of Proficiency X. In that context...
(a) Some of the could be, and that would be awesome.
(b) That would be great to add to the list.
(c) Vorpal is always good too.
(d) Yes, but that would be another good choice to add to the list.
#4: Since it's a campaign class presumably flavored by the implied setting, it seems fine as it is. (I really like that Loremaster version of the class that came up, though.)
#5: ...I'll ponder that...
#6: Once-per-round polymorph is nice and mythic, but - never having played that situation - it sounds like it would grind combat to a halt while you figure out new stats for each change. I'd remove the "once per round" from the potions.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

UNDERCRYPT #1: I like these changes, they'd need to be very rare at the current power level. Even +8 seems like a lot to me for something that's always active. How much would they cost to make?
APM: A cloak of elvenkind costs 25,000gp, as do boots of elvenkind. The set would be 50,000gp.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Question #8: Transmogrification
Transmogrification: The character has mastered grotesque arts of transformation. The character can cast polymorph spells and create magical crossbreeds (see Crossbreeding in Chapter 7) as if he were two class levels higher than his actual level of experience. Targets of his polymorph other spells suffer a -2 penalty to their saving throw.
Should I include this proficiency?

Veketshian
Adventurer Conqueror King ContributorPlayer's Companion ContributorDomains At War Contributor
Joined: 2011-07-10 01:52

#5 - Quick start rules or flowchart for random encounters. I realize this after just having a botched encounter with two giant rattlesnakes. Should I be seeing these things 560 yards away? How do I catch them unaware? Why is it that giant rattlesnakes can catch up to us but tuataras can't? What rolls should we be seeing where the Judge goes, "Well, that's not important, moving on." Should the Judge be making 6 rolls just to be blown off by a group not willing to fight 6 HD characters 400 yards away? These are the issues we just ran into tonight trying to run this.
Also, knowing the saves for 0th level guys would be awesome. And I second mounted combat rules now that I'm rocking a lamellared warhorse and a lance. Thanks.

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

(repost - board just ate my post)
3b - broader caregories are fine even though some are broader than others.
3c - I think all sentient swords should energy drain whatever the alignment. Maybe it gives a +1 bonus if an influence check has to be made if it's killed a prefered enenmy that day.
6 'B' but if use 'C' then I'd cut the spell duration to [Caster Level] rounds.
- where's '7' ?
8 - No, it should be a specialist class variant**, one for the player companion maybe. I think it would really unbalance Casters if you allowed generic mages to possess it alongside all their other spells.
**who have a slower attainment of other spells compared to mages.

Longshanks
Lairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-09-15 12:31

Q3B/C - I like the list of enemies, I also endorse the suggestion of NOT having them be petrify/paralyze. Go with energy drain from the proper opponent, that's cool.
6 - I like the repeating polymorph, but I'm afraid of calculating new stats every round. That said, err on the side of having a simply way to calculate stats every round, rather than changing the potion to work once.
8 - I love this power, but yeah, it's unbalancing IMO. I suggest having some Auran mage-varients like transmogrifiers.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

TO UPDATE:
#1) yes, change elf cloak and boots - done
#2) yes, rationalize wands and sword detection with the spells - done
#3) no, don't worry about sword proficiencies - OK
#3b) yes, special motivations are good - OK
#3c) yes, change the powers - OK
#4) no, don't change bards - OK
#5) summary of mounted combat, summary of swimming/drowning, flowcharts - noted
#6) concerns over complexity of changing stats every round
#7) I reserve the right to ask #7 at a later time :-|
#8) no, transmogrifier is too powerful
Re: 8, do you feel that Black Lore of Zahar is overpowered as well?
Here is my current Black Lore text:
Black Lore of Zahar: The character has studied the terrible necromancies of ancient Zahar. He can control undead as a Chaotic cleric of one half his class level. If the character casts spells that require a saving throw versus Death, his targets suffer a -2 penalty on the save. Finally, the character can cast necromantic spells (such as animate dead) and conduct necromantic research (see Necromancy in Chapter 7) as if he were two class levels higher than his actual level of experience.
The only change from the v26 version of this proficiency is being able to do Necromantic magic research as if 2 levels higher.
Is that overpowered?
What part of Transmogrifier was overpowered? The magic research, the saves, etc?

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

This bit: 'character can cast polymorph spells [snip] as if he were two class levels higher than his actual level of experience.'
To cast Polymorph spells (4th lvl), the Mage has to be 7th Level. So, is he able to cast Polymorph Self at 5th Level, to become a creature with Hit Dice as if 7th Level ?
If so, at level 6 he can change into a Woolly Rhino (8HD) doing 2d12 damage for 14 (6+8) turns. or a Hill Giant, Giant Octopus or Juvenile Dragon.
Am I interpreting this wrong ?
I just think the power is such a gamechanger in combat and evasion that to allow a mage to access a more advanced version at a lower level could be unbalancing. I don't mind it as much if this is their one specialisation and they're a bit iffy with other types of spell.

Undercrypt
Adventurer Conqueror King BackerPlayer's Companion ContributorDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-07-21 00:40

#8: Mages and Spellswords don't get Polymorph spells until Level 7, and mages don't start crossbreeding until 11th level, so it's either a class proficiency you take at level 6 in anticipation and deal with a "useless" proficiency for a level, or you take it at level 9 (Spellsword) or 12 (Mage) when it's immediately useful. Since it specifically says spells cast, it presumably wouldn't apply to things like wands and potions, so I don't see a lot of potential abuse at low levels.
Seems in line with Black Lore and Elementalism, I'd say go for it.

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

'a class proficiency you take at level 6 in anticipation' - I misread the proficiency table, sorry. As most players are unlikely to take a 'useless' option at level 6, and instead gain it at the higher levels as Undercrypt points out, then I retract my misgivings.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I think I need to re-write the text. The intent is not that you can cast Polymorph at 5th level. The intent is that when you cast Polymorph, you do so as if you are 2 levels higher. That's relevant for purposes of how powerful a creature you can turn into. For example, a 7th level mage could take the form of a 9th level creature. That's all I meant.
Same for Black Lore and animate dead.

Undercrypt
Adventurer Conqueror King BackerPlayer's Companion ContributorDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-07-21 00:40

Given that (I didn't think about early access to spells) I still like it and it doesn't seem too bad.

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

Yep, go for it :)

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Question 3D) Sentient Swords
Proposed New Rule:
When a sentient sword is used to attack an opponent that fits its motivation, a special power is used against the opponent. These powers are determined by the alignment of the sword. A chaotic sword will energy drain an opponent of the appropriate type by one level per point of magical bonus. A lawful sword will strike an opponent of the appropriate type for one extra damage die per point of magical bonus. A neutral sword will grants the sword wielder a bonus to Armor Class and saving throws equals to its magical bonus when combating an appropriate opponent.
EXAMPLE: Blackguard is a chaotic +3 vorpal two-handed sword with a motivation to destroy lawful opponents. It energy drains 3 levels from any lawful opponent it strikes.
Question: Is an "energy drain" or "striking" bonus of 1 per +1 of the weapon too much? Should it just be one level of energy drain and double damage?

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

I don't think it's too much, given how rare and potentially wilful they are - esp. when you look at the swords in yr reading list like Erikson's Dragnipur.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

UPDATE: Mounted Combat
I believe this summarizes all of the extant rules on mounted combat.
*****
MOUNTED COMBAT
While combatants will rarely be mounted in dungeons, they will often be mounted during wilderness encounters. The following rules summarize the mechanics of mounted combat.
MOUNTED INITIATIVE AND MOVEMENT
The rider and his mount move on the rider’s initiative number. When the initiative number comes up, they may move up to the mount’s combat movement distance. After movement, either the mount or the rider may attack an opponent in range. The mount may run at triple its normal combat movement rate, but neither the rider nor mount may then attack (except in a charge, described below).
After any attacks are resolved, the rider and mount may not move again until the next round. If they are engaged they must abide by the rules under Defensive Movement. Riders wishing to cast spells must keep their mount stationary. In lieu of moving or attacking, the rider may dismount.
MOUNTED ATTACKS
If the rider and mount remain stationary, both may attack. Otherwise either the mount or the rider may attack when their movement is completed. In order to attack while mounted, a rider must have the appropriate Riding proficiency for his mount.
Under some circumstances, a warhorse (or similar creature, e.g. dire wolf) and its rider may make an attack after a running move, called a charge. To qualify for a charge, the rider and mount must be unengaged and have a reasonably clear, straight path to an opponent at least 20’ away. The charge gives a +2 bonus on the attack throws, but the rider and mount take a -2 penalty to Armor Class until the next time their initiative number comes up. Charges with spears, lances, pole arms, and the natural attacks of certain monsters deal double damage on a successful charge.
EXAMPLE: Marcus is armed with a lance and mounted on a medium warhorse (60’ combat movement). His opponent, an ogre, is 90’ away across flat, even ground. Marcus and his warhorse make a running move to engage the ogre. This qualifies as a charge (because the ogre was more than 20’ away and they had a clear, straight path) so both Marcus and his mount get to attack. Marcus will attack with his lance and inflict double damage if he hits. His warhorse will strike with its two hooves. Both Marcus and his warhorse get +2 to their attack throws, but suffer a -2 penalty to AC this round.
When a rider conducts a force back or overrun special maneuver, the Judge should use the mount’s size to evaluate whether the opponent receives a saving throw penalty because of size difference.
MOUNTS AND DAMAGE
A character in combat without a military saddle must save v. Paralysis every time he or his mount is dealt damage or be knocked off the mount. If a mount is reduced to half its hit points, it must make a morale roll or flee the battle. A character with Riding proficiency may attempt to calm his fleeing mount. This allows the mount to make a new morale roll each round.
If either the character or mount is reduced to 0 hit points, the character falls off the mount and takes 1d6 damage. Characters falling off of aerial mounts take 1d6 per 10’ fallen.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

SWIMMING AND DROWNING
Any combatant without a swimming movement rate (described in Chapter 8 under Monster Characteristics) must make a swimming throw each round he is in water too deep for him to stand. The target value for the swimming throw is equal to the combatant’s encumbrance in stone. If the water is cold, rough, or fast-moving, the Judge may impose a penalty on the swimming throw of -2, -4, or more.
A successful swimming throw allows the combatant to move and act during the round. Swimming movement may be based on either the combatant’s combat or running movement rate, in either case being ¼ the normal rate. A swimming combatant using combat movement may attack after his movement. A swimming combatant using running movement may not attack, and is subject to exhaustion as per running.
A failed swimming throw means the combatant begins drowning. A spellcaster that begins drowning loses any spell he was attempting to cast that round. Drowning combatants cannot take any actions and no longer make swimming throws. They sink 10’ per round per stone of encumbrance, and will die after 10 rounds unless rescued.

Undercrypt
Adventurer Conqueror King BackerPlayer's Companion ContributorDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-07-21 00:40

The target value for the swimming throw is equal to the combatant’s encumbrance in stone.
That's wonderfully elegant and easy to remember.

James S
Adventurer Conqueror King BackerPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2011-07-29 12:36

Question #3B: Sword Powers, Part II
What do you think of this list of "Sword Motivation" Opponents:
James – It makes sense that if the swords are breathtakingly rare, that the enemy types being broad is a way of making the swords quite powerful. That said, the list strikes me as being something more appropriate to a ‘bane weapon’ than a sentient motivation and that being such it may be a tad simplistic and general. I’d be more intrigued by a motivation that is more to do with a goal, a quest the sword must accomplish, than by a ‘slay all creatures of type x’ thing. I’m more liable to apply a referees hand and give the sword a specific motivation pertinent to the campaign (though I may use this table for inspiration).
I think ‘Animals’ is potentially flawed. Would the wielder of the sword spend his days slaughtering horses, livestock and pets?
Question #3C: Sword Powers, Part III
The questions are
(a) Should the special powers be battle-ending (petrify and paralysis)?
(b) If not, would making the chaotic power be "energy drain" instead of petrify, to allow for "Stormbringer"-esque swords, be cool?
(c) What should the lawful power be if something other than paralysis?
(d) Is the neutral power as lame as it seems relative to the others?
James
a) I’d prefer not, though Mages get battle-ending powers anyway, so this degree of power isn’t as silly as it appears.
b) Energy Drain is a marmite power in my experience. Some people love it, some hate it. I think a Chaotic sword that sucks the lifeforce from those it hits and uses it for its own ends *is* cool though.
c) Geas, alignment change towards Lawful, or some similar ‘bring law to the world’ power. Make those hit by the sword fall to their knees and beg for forgiveness.
d) Yes. It’s not battle ending. The Neutral power could be immunity to ‘battle ending’ powers to provide a counterpoint to the Lawful and Chaotic swords, or it should have some battle-ending power of its own.
Question 3D) Sentient Swords - Question: Is an "energy drain" or "striking" bonus of 1 per +1 of the weapon too much? Should it just be one level of energy drain and double damage?
James – If these swords are as super ultra rare as they are supposed to be, then it’s probably not too much. They *will* have a huge impact on a game, but if you allow one into your game I think you have to accept that.
It’s also important to point out that there’s no way of determining how many +1s a sentient sword has, from what I can see in the rules atm. Looks like there’s a table and some text missing from the rules.
Question #8: Transmogrification - Should I include this proficiency?
James - Yes.
Question #6: Potion of Polymorph
James – Remove once per round. Make it in line with Polymorph Self, the spell.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I think ‘Animals’ is potentially flawed. Would the wielder of the sword spend his days slaughtering horses, livestock and pets?
APM: Um....ok, so its sort of lame.
James – If these swords are as super ultra rare as they are supposed to be, then it’s probably not too much. They *will* have a huge impact on a game, but if you allow one into your game I think you have to accept that.
It’s also important to point out that there’s no way of determining how many +1s a sentient sword has, from what I can see in the rules atm. Looks like there’s a table and some text missing from the rules.
APM: I think I might revert to the idea that any sword can be sentient, as they do in B/X.
Question #8: Transmogrification - Should I include this proficiency?
James - Yes.
APM: Done!
Question #6: Potion of Polymorph
James – Remove once per round. Make it in line with Polymorph Self, the spell.
APM: Done!

James S
Adventurer Conqueror King BackerPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2011-07-29 12:36

APM: Um....ok, so its sort of lame.
I know I shouldn't, and I'm sorry, but that made me laugh. Imagine the look on Dragomar the Warlords face as he holds aloft 'Thaldim, Sentient Sword of the Seven Terrors' for the first time and realises that this most potent of blades is dedicated to the destruction of the household cat.
APM: I think I might revert to the idea that any sword can be sentient, as they do in B/X.
Can I ask, without seeming like a complete idiot - why is the pedigree of intelligent weapons limited to swords? I mean, why is always, and only, swords? Is it something to do with the most famous historical weapons being swords? Where did the concept of intelligence come from?

Charlatan
Adventurer Conqueror King ContributorPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerDomains At War Contributor
Joined: 2011-08-08 15:20

James: I think the legacy limitation to swords is at least partially an attempt to shore up fighters (and to a lesser extent thieves) at higher levels:
- few classes could actually use swords
- the magical treasure tables tilted strongly to swords
- the most powerful weapons were all swords
Given that sword use is more prevalent in ACKS, and Fighters are juiced up in other ways, it's possible that restricting this phenomenon to swords is not necessary. I'm also sure I'm not the only one that ever introduced a non-sword with a will into their game :)

James S
Adventurer Conqueror King BackerPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2011-07-29 12:36

So was it an artefact of the original game then, rather than something that came from a historical inspiration?
I've made no secret about my desire for intelligent 'other weapons', because I've always felt that the legacy was a bit strange, but I've never really thought about why and where it came from.
Your 3 points all make sense - though I'd say fewer classes could use Polearms! :) Maybe swords was the only appropriate crossover between Thieves and Fighters..
It's such a curious rule!

Undercrypt
Adventurer Conqueror King BackerPlayer's Companion ContributorDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-07-21 00:40

If sentient swords weren't explicitly designed to get Stormbringer into the game, I'd be very surprised.
Aside from that, swords are appropriately mythic weapons. Good swords take a much higher degree of technology to create (in terms of metallurgy and smithing) compared to pretty much any other era-appropriate weapon. (Except maybe composite bows, but even then.) Techniques for creating the proper alloys, and which alloys to use where, were jealously guarded secrets. And, of course, many were named, which is almost the signpost for sentience. It kind of makes sense historically.
Besides, putting weapons with a dominating ego solely into the hands of the characters with the lowest intelligence and wisdom is comedy gold.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I have a neat idea on sentient swords versus other weapons. Stay tuned!

Longshanks
Lairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-09-15 12:31

I like that sentience is restricted to swords. It is based on the historical and mythological background. We might come up with ubermagical hammers or axes, but swords deserve a special place because of Shakespeare, Lord of the Rings, Elric, Excalibur, etc. Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar fought with swords as their main weapon. I think pretty much every magical weapon in the Poetic Eddas was a sword. I think Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones is the only example I can think of as notable wielder of a weapon besides a sword. Lets keep the super powerful weapons sword.
On the proposed powers: I think these are great, with the replacement of animals for something else. As the probability of finding them currently exists on the treasure tables, these are not that powerful. As long as I can easily find exactly the "plus bonus" chart when creating the sword, these are not that overpowered. But I would really prefer a "forced surrender" or disabling (oh no, maybe paralysis is a good idea!) power for lawful swords.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

The mechanics below are closer to the original B/X & AD&D conception of sentient swords in that any sword has a chance to be sentient. I've modified it such that the chance is dependent on how powerful the sword is. I've also added a provision making miscellanous weapons half as likely as swords to be sentient, creating the possibility of sentient dwarven throwers, for instance
****
Particularly powerful magical weapons are sometimes thinking and intelligent entities, known as sentient weapons. These weapons have motivations of their own, and may or may not be hostile to their wielder. The Judge plays the personalities of these items in the same manner as an NPC.
A sword has a percentage chance to be sentient equal to its highest magical bonus x2. Other magic weapons have a percentage chance equal to their highest magical bonus. If the weapon is a life drinker, luck blade, vorpal blade, or dwarven thrower, the chance of intelligence is doubled.
EXAMPLE: The highest bonus of a sword +1, +2 versus spellcasters is 2, giving it a (2 x2%) 4% chance to be sentient. The highest bonus of a dwarven thrower is 3, giving it a (3 x 1% x 2) 6% chance to be sentient. The highest bonus of a vorpal sword +3 is 3, giving it a (3 x 2% x 2) 12% chance to be sentient.

Charlatan
Adventurer Conqueror King ContributorPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerDomains At War Contributor
Joined: 2011-08-08 15:20

Longshanks: The uber-weapon of Irish mythology is a barbed spear!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%A1e_Bulg
And of course you've got Thor's hammer, Odin's spear... apparently the Slavic god of thunder used an axe! I see the Welsh version of King Arthur goes for the trifecta, toting around a magic dagger, magic sword, and magic spear...
What Shakespearean sword are you thinking of? I see that Prospero had one (Gandalf is not alone!).
Alex: That's a nice compromise!

Longshanks
Lairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-09-15 12:31

Yeah, I think it's a moot argument now that such an elegant solution was found. ;)

Undercrypt
Adventurer Conqueror King BackerPlayer's Companion ContributorDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-07-21 00:40

Nice, I like that... the sentient weapons become less "created by the Lords of Chaos" artifact, more "sometimes the spirits infuse the blade" tribal.

Aldarron
Joined: 2011-08-02 21:17

Alex Wrote:
Question #2: Wands of Detection and Swords of Detection
For legacy reasons relating to old versions of D&D, the range and duration of detection spells and detection items do not line up.
Specifically:
*Wand of detecting enemies lasts 1 round; "detect evil" spell lasts 6 turns
*Wand of detecting magic lasts 1 round and has 20' range; "detect magic spell has 60' range and lasts 2 turns
*Wand of detecting traps lasts 1 round and has 20' range; "find traps" spell has 30' range and lasts 3 turns
*Intelligent sword's detection of good/evil lasts 1 round and has 20' range; "detect evil" spell has 60' range and lasts 6 turns
*Intelligent sword's detection of traps lasts 1 round and has 10' range; "find traps" spell has 30' range and lasts 3 turns
Dan:
Yeah except no. Meaning that they are closer than they appear. When D&D was being writen in '72 - '73 the game was framed around CHAINMAIL combat and there was no such thing as a "round". There were just game "turns" of about a minute each. In CHAINMAIL it is possible to have multiple "attacks" or "rounds" (throws of the dice) in each "Turn". So at some point, fairly late in the development, Gygax formalized that as the 10 rounds (minutes) per turn.
Thing is the spells were already written in the old CM turn and never revised to the D&D round. Thing also is that both Gygax and Arneson paid very little attention to the Turns/round thing in those days and, (especially Dave)frequently said turn when they meant what we would call a round - old habits. Gygax even confused the thing more when he wrote Swords and Spells and changed the length of a round to 2 minutes.
Upshot is that if you turned (heh) turns to rounds for the cast spells it would actually be returning to original intent, and easier to harmonize with the magic items as you see fit.

Pages