Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My “Basic” ideas

So, the announcement of Basic D&D has my wheels spinning with ideas on how to expand it to feel more like an “AD&D” –styled game. Here is a short list of the ideas I have so far. My plan is, once I have that PDF in hand, to begin detailing these (and more) out, and probably post them for free here (depending on whether 5E is OGL-supported or not).

How new races work will be somewhat dependent on how certain aspects of character creation are handled. Will each race have those familiar +/- to specific abilities? How about racial limits on level and/or classes? How do racial abilities work within the framework of the 5E rules?

Half-Orc* – Ok, this one should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, even passively. In a nutshell, I would probably handle Half-Orcs as Humans with a few Orc traits. Darkvision, bonuses to Strength, with a corresponding penalty to Charisma (never a fan of penalizing their Intelligence or Wisdom). Probably a Dwarf-like mining affinity, and some kind of Rage ability.

Half-Elf* – Much like the Half-Orc, the Half-Elf would be basically Humans with some Elf traits. Low-Light (or Dark) Vision, probably some kind of affinity to magic, including the resistance to Charm and the like. Depending on how things are done, I could also see an ability +/- as well.

Gnome – This is where some of my personal quirks would come out. I have always believed that Gnomes are nothing more than Dwarves with Halfling blood (or perhaps Halflings with Dwarf blood), so I would base this race on those two races, mixing abilities from each.

Katumon – This is a race that I have used in various games for decades. I recently detailed them in my aborted attempt at a Retro-Clone, Hero’s Journey. Basically, they are a cat race with a society similar to Feudal Japan.

Like races, classes will also depend on how things are presented in the 5E rules. But here are some ideas on how I see some of the more popular classes being created using the “Core” classes.

Barbarian* – Barbarians are largely just Fighters with a few extra abilities and limitations. I would limit their allowable armor to nothing more than Medium (generally), and give them a Rage ability similar to Half-Orcs, but probably more nuanced. They would also have some kind of limited damage reduction and/or magic resistance.

Ranger – In my mind, Rangers are more-or-less just Fighter/Rogues who specialize in outdoor settings. They would have limits on armor as well, plus some kind of tracking ability, and maybe special fighting styles.

Paladin – What is a Paladin but a Cleric-lite with the ability to use edged weapons? That would be where I would start with Paladins. Their spell-casting would probably be more limited than a cleric, and they would have the bonus ability of Laying on Hands. They would be the “Knights” of a standard D&D world, and would be modeled after the Teutonic Knights of history (which I just finished a research paper on last week). They would also fight as well as Fighters.

Monk* – As a huge fan of Martial Arts, I need to have some kind of Monk class. I’ll probably handle them more-or-less as Fighters who specialize in empty-handed attacks, and unarmored defense. Possibly with a few mystic abilities mixed in.

Bard – I am actually debating on this one. I have a love/hate relationship with Bards, as a whole. I like the way 3E did them, but I’m not sure that level of intricacy would work for a Basic game. I might just leave them out, and have a “Bard” be an NPC-class, or a PC can take some skill in Performance, and call himself a Bard, though he would still, functionally, be a Fighter/Rogue/Etc.

That’s what I have for now. My basic premise is to build off of what already exists, rather than create things from scratch. So, anyone have a race or class that they think would enhance Basic?

*These are also detailed in Basic Arcana, and chances are that most of what I did there will be pretty portable to 5E.

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