True20: Eberron v1.0

When I was putting together the Eberron mod for Green Ronin’s Dragon Age system I came across one of their other systems: True20. Much as I like Dragon Age, it was apparent that it was going to be much easier to convert Eberron to True20, especially as a lot of work had already been done in this area (on the True20 forums and the True20 wiki)!

I’ve tried to compile these ideas, together with some of my own, in this document:  True20 Eberron v1.0. You’ll need the True20 rules, of course, and at least the Eberron Campaign Setting book by WotC.

Finally, although this mod was developed with Eberron in mind, it could quite easily be used to run any D&D style campaign with True20 rules.

More information on True20 can be found at true20.com.

Hope you like it!

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AGE: Eberron v0.1

Well finally here is the first version of my mod for playing in the D&D Eberron setting using the AGE rules. There’s still lots to do, but folks may find this useful – even if they’re not using it in that setting.

You can download it from AGE – Eberron v0.1.

Enjoy!

Vaelorn

Posted in AGE of Eberron, Dragon Age, Dragon Hack | 4 Comments

Josh Jarman’s Dragon Hack playtest

It looks like the link to the Dragon Hack play test (basically, D&D with AGE rules) on Josh Jarman’s site is down/not working. So I’ll host it here in the meantime…

Dragon Hack 2 playtest

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The Power of the Mind – Psionics in AGE

While working through the AGE of Eberron modification (possibly to be renamed as Fourth AGE: Eberron!) I ran into the issue of psionics. Psionics are certainly a part of the Eberron setting—possibly more so than most other fantasy background. The Dal Quor, kalashtar, Inspired, etc are all psionic features. But as I was thinking about how to model that I realised that I certainly didn’t want to (or have the time for) replicate the entire 3.5/Pathfinder psionic system, which—to be frank—seems to be more like an alternate magic system, with dozens of powers (spells) and so on.

I remembered that the old Traveller RPG had a simpler psionic system, so dug the old books out of the loft and had a look. This is the result: the psionic talents give quite broad based talents, but I’ve added specializations based on the PF prestige classes like Soul Knife, Psion and so on. This is just version 0.1 – I’d love some feedback!

Power of the Mind – AGE Psionics v0.1

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Dragon Hack and the Set 3 Open Playtest Rules

So at last we have some Set 3 rules! Here are my initial thoughts, with a vague slant as to how they  will play in Dragon Hack (and AGE of Eberron).

First, a couple of things that all point to an underlying system that I think pervades Dragon Age:

  1. Set 2 introduced advancement points to slow down ability increases.
  2. In Set 3 Health/Mana increases slow down. I was suspecting something like this would be introduced, dropping one or other of the 1d6 or Con/Magic bonus.
  3. Set 3 also has double focuses. I had also wondered if this would be in there, but wasn’t expecting the +3 (rather than +4).

This, I believe, suggests that all character improvement is done under diminishing returns, unlike almost every other system I’ve seen (not that I’ve seen a great deal!). Coupled with the talent system – which typically does not make characters more powerful so much as more varied in their abilities – it will be very interesting to see how high level play works compared to, say, 4th ed D&D. This seems to tie in with  characters getting only one more specialization as they level to 20 – there had been speculation that there might be two, i.e. one every 5 levels.

The new talents look good, and should fit into any game nicely, not just Dragon Hack. The exception might be Runecrafting, as this is not really a D&D ‘thing’.

The specializations are also good. The chevalier is vaguely similar to the Lancer specialization I came up with for AGE of Conan! But this illustrates one of the strengths of this system – these specializations can easily co-exist with one another. Of the others, the Force Mage and Keeper seem the most tied to the Dragon Age setting and also to the Dragon Age magic system. This also applies to the Shapeshifter, which duplicates one of the Druid abilities.

The Guardian is a nice warrior specialisation that would work well with the Fighter class talent. Looks like I’ll have to rename the Guardian specialization I came up with to a Defender! Specialization naming may be becoming an issue here – there is now a Ranger specialization for rogues which could be confused with the Ranger class talent for warriors. But it shouldn’t be too hard to keep them straight, and a little bit of multi-classing shouldn’t hurt! The Marksman also conflicts name-wise with the specialization described in Kobold Quarterly #20. But all in all, some nice ideas in all of these!

A couple of final thoughts for now:

  • Mages don’t get extra talent degrees at level 13 and 17. Is this a typo in the play test document?
  • Level 20 warriors get a bonus to ‘warfare’ stunts. Could mass combat rules be on the way in the full Set 3 rules?
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Converting Pathfinder spells to Dragon Hack, part 1

This is the 1st in a (very) irregular series of posts setting out some thoughts on how we might convert some Pathfinder spell effects to the Dragon Hack mod. This post is primarily about stats and laying the groundwork… I don’t have any answers – yet!

In the PF core rulebook there are 623 spells; DA has 56 in Sets 1 and 2. For reference these are broken down by school of magic like this:

Abjuration          73
Conjuration        103
Divination           50
Enchantment      60
Evocation            81
Illusion                47
Necromancy       61
Transmutation   143
Universal            5

and by class like this:

Bard          163
Cleric        235
Druid        168
Paladin     45
Ranger      51
Sorcerer   395
Wizard      397

Clearly it will not be possible to convert all the PF spells – it would take ages! (Or AGEs even… ha ha!) We should also consider the number of spells available to mages: At 20th level a PF wizard with high Int could probably have access to 40 spells per day (about 4 each of spell levels 0 to 9) – about 10% of the total available to him. A Dragon Hack mage of the same level might have between 13 and 20, depending on talents and specializations. (Interestingly this is similar to a 4th ed character, which has about 17 powers at level 30, discounting racial and feat powers.) One could take this “10%” figure to arrive at a final spell list of 150 to 200 spells or so, roughly 3 to 4 times the size of the current Dragon Age list. Still quite a lot.

Of course, the DH mage can cast as his spells as long as he likes as long as he has the mana for it. But if you were to merely transfer the spell list “as-is” he would have nowhere near as much choice – it has to be cut down somehow.

The first thing we can do is concentrate on spell effects, i.e. don’t have spells that simply duplicate effects but at higher levels. So Cure Light Wounds and Cure Critical Wounds are basically the same; Charm Monster and Mass Charm Monster should be the lumped together;  Restoration, Greater Restoration and Lesser Restoration likewise; Summon Monster I to IX ditto. Applying this “filter” brings the total number of spells down to 539, which unfortunately is still quite high.

Some other possibilities for reducing the number of spell effects to convert include:

  • There are buffing spells for each ability, like Cat’s Grace, Bear’s Endurance etc. These should be fairly easy to convert (see Heroic Offense, for example).
  • A number of spells are effectively Arcane Lance (Magic Missile, Acid Arrow etc). These could be emulated by having magic school talents allow the mage to add that damage type to their Arcane Lance (e.g. Journeyman Primal allows your Arcane Lance to do Fire damage etc).
  • Some effects can be granted by the various degrees of the magic talents. There isn’t much scope for this, but you could save maybe 10 or 12 spells that way. But this would be a good way to simulate cantrips.
  • Following on from the first “filter”, there are many similar effects under different names. Heal, for example, has the same basic effect as Cure Light Wounds. Many of the Divination spells are similar in nature, just varying in degree of effect.
  • Alignment spells (Detect Good, Detect Evil etc) could be combined into “Detect Enemies” and so on.
  • Some spells have the same effect but applied to different types of target, e.g. Hold Person, Hold Monster etc. These could be combine into a single “Hold Creature” spell.

Finally for this post: should we retain the Dragon Age magic schools, or switch to the PF ones? To be honest, I’ve never thought that PF or D&D wizards identified themselves by school particularly, although PF wizards can choose preferred schools. So I’d say we keep the Dragon Age ones and – very broadly – map the PF ones as follows:

Creation: Conjuration, Transmutation, Abjuration
Spirit: Divination, Enchantment, Illusion
Entropy: Necromancy
Primal: Evocation

However, “Entropy” is not really a PF/D&D term. I’d suggest calling it “Destruction” or “Necromancy” just for flavour. Similarly “Primal” is fine as a school, but it could easily be split into “Nature” and “Elemental” if there are enough spells. Druids could then pick one as of these as a preferred school, for example. It would also necessitate an additional Magic talent, which could allow more flexibility.

Posted in AGE of Eberron, Dragon Hack | 3 Comments

Changelings

A description of changelings for AGE of Eberron/Dragon Hack. Notice the cunning way in which I’ve avoided having to create a background table for them!

Changelings are subtle shapeshifters capable of disguising their appearance. They evolved through the union of doppelgangers and humans, eventually becoming a separate race distinct from either ancestral tree. They do not possess the full shapechanging ability of a doppelganger, but they can create effective disguises at will. This ability makes them consummate spies and criminals, and many changelings live up to that potential.

If you choose to play as a changeling, modify your character as follows:

  • Add 1 to your either you Dexterity or Cunning abilities.
  • You gain the Communication (Disguise) ability focus.
  • You receive the Novice degree of the Racial Talent: Changeling.
  • You do not have a standard background, but may roll on the background table of any country of origin you choose, even if you do not conform to its stereotypical race or class. However, you always gain the ability increase and ability focus listed above, not that from the chosen background.

Racial Talent: Changeling

Novice: You have the power to alter your form. As a Major action you can take on the form and features of another humanoid creature. Your clothes, armour and equipment do not change. If anyone has a reason to suspect your true nature (e.g. you are imitating another person) they must make a TN 15 Perception (Seeing) test to realize it. You also gain +1 to Communication (Deception) tests.

Journeyman: You are experienced at blending in to other cultures. You gain one language of a culture or nation you have been exposed to or lived in. Your shape change ability has become well practiced: the TN to see through your disguise is now 17.

Master: Your shape change ability is instinctive: you can change form as a Minor action. It has also made your body supernaturally malleable: you can change your height to impersonate small creatures (such as gnomes and halflings) and beings such as goliaths. You also gain +2 on any attempt to escape bonds or grabs.

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