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Apprentice Sneak Peak: The Priest

11 Apr

I discussed my changes to the priest before, here is the current vision for the class. I’ll be covering domains next week.

Priest

Lvl

Base Attack Bonus

Fort Save

Ref Save

Will Save

Special

1

+0

+0

+0

+2

Spells, Domains, Divine Might

2

+1

+0

+0

+3

3

+1

+1

+1

+3

4

+2

+1

+1

+4

First Domain Capstone

5

+2

+1

+1

+4

6

+3

+2

+2

+5

7

+3

+2

+2

+5

8

+4

+2

+2

+6

Second Domain Capstone

9

+4

+3

+3

+6

10

+5

+3

+3

+7

 

Divine Might(Su):

The priest gains his wisdom bonus to both spell damage and healing.

 

Domains(Su)

The priest chooses two domains based on his god. Choosing your god or goddess’s domains should help define their role in the world. A god of Sky and Storms is very different diety to serve than a goddess of War and Death. This choice grants the priest a power associated with that domain, as well as a spell list. Once the priest reaches level 4 or 8, they gain one of their domain’s capstone ability. Domains can be found in the Spellbook document.

 

Spells(Su)

A priest knows all of his domain spells, plus a number of spells listed below from the Priest spell list.

 

Spells Known

Level

0

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

1

3

2

2

3

3

3

4

3

1

4

4

4

2

5

4

4

2

1

6

5

5

3

2

7

5

5

3

2

1

8

5

5

4

3

2

9

5

5

4

3

2

1

10

5

5

4

4

3

2

 

Additionally, Priests can study sacred texts and scrolls to learn a new spell. Doing so takes one day per spell level of the spell. Each day he must study it at least two hours and expend ointments and inks worth 50g per spell level(level 0 spells cost 25g).

 

A priest may prepare a number of spells each day listed below. This number is increased by the priest’s wisdom score(see page 2 of Class document). Spells can be prepared in spell slots of higher level. Level 0 spells do not require preperation and can be cast at will.

 

Spells per day

0

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

-

2

-

3

-

3

2

-

4

3

-

4

3

2

-

5

4

3

-

5

4

3

2

-

5

5

4

3

-

5

5

4

3

2

-

5

5

5

4

3

 

Casting a prepared expends the spell slot, clearing it for the day until the priest takes a long rest to reprepare his spells.

A priest may expend any prepared spell of the same level or lower to cast a spell off of their domain lists instead.

All priest spells have verbal components and require a holy symbol in hand.

 

Hit Die: d6

Proficiency: Simple weapons; light armor; shields.

Skill Focus: Choose 1: Arcana(Int), Diplomacy(Cha), Dungeoneering(Int), History(Int), Knowledge(Int), Insight(Wis), Perception(Wis), Nature(Int) and Religion(Int)

Skill Points: 3+Intellect modifier per level.

 

Apprentice Sneak Peak: Skill System

04 Apr

I was always unsatisfied with skill checks in D&D. In 3.5, the checks became trivial if you spent any points in it, and impossible if not. In 4E, the skill checks scaled with your level, but still ended up being a binary at high levels.

One of my design goals overall for Apprentice is “A +1 should be a +1, not just a catch-up mechanic.” We did this with bonus to hit modifiers(If you take Weapon Focus, it should be a +5% damage, not “I have to take this or the monsters take 5% less damage after level 4.”
We decided to apply this  to skills. This means that overall skill points and bonuses should be a lot lower than in 3.5, but each skill bonus is 5% more likely to succeed. So we needed a new scale:

Skill points are 0-10.
0 is Inept. You are not very good at this skill at all. On easy things, you might get lucky, but otherwise…
3 is Proficient. You know your way around this skill. You can complete difficult tasks most of the time.
5 is Master. You know this skill like the back of your hand. Easy things come automatically to you.
7 is Grandmaster. You have not met someone else with as much skill as you do.
10 is Legendary. There are no equals in this field. Kingdoms seek your abilities and stories are told of your mastery.

Skill Points:

When you create your character, or level up, you may allocate your skill points to any skills. Skills are on a scale of 0-10. As you level up, you gain more skill points to allocate. Mastery is achieved at rank 5, but those who surpass it often become legends.

You gain a number of skill points per level based on your class. In addition, you gain your Intelligence modifier in bonus points at each level. You cannot have more points in any individual skills than your level +3.

Rogue, Bard: 4 skill points per level
Priest, Inventor, Sorcerer: 3 skill points per level
Wizard, Fighter, Monk: 2 skill points per level
Paladin, Barbarian: 1 skill point per level

Choosing early on to master a few skills, or to be okay at a couple can be difficult, but as your character gains experience, their mastery or breadth of mastery will both increase. The DCs do not change as you level up, so there is no trying to keep up. Every skill point you get directly translates to higher chance to succeed in the chosen skill.

Skill Focus

Classes and some feats also give Skill Focus. Skill Focus means when rolling that skill, you roll two d20s and take the higher result.

Skill DC

When making a skill check, add the associated ability score to your skill rank and add this to a d20. Depending on how difficult the task, the DC is as follows:

Easy 8
Moderate 13
Hard 18

Various things like using tools can give bonuses to this check, while things like rain or combat can give negative to the check.

 

Apprentice Sneak Peak: Barbarian Class

01 Apr

The Inventor is a very complex class. There are easier classes to play, of course:

Barbarian

Lvl

Base Attack Bonus

Fort Save

Ref Save

Will Save

Special

1

+1

+2

+2

+0

Rage, Damage Resistant

2

+2

+3

+3

+0

3

+3

+3

+3

+1

Frenzy

4

+4

+4

+4

+1

5

+5

+4

+4

+1

6

+6

+5

+5

+2

7

+7

+5

+5

+2

8

+8

+6

+6

+2

9

+9

+6

+6

+3

Greater Frenzy

10

+10

+7

+7

+3

Rage

As a swift action, the barbarian goes into a furious rage a number of rounds equal to 3 plus Constitution modifier.  The barbarian cannot enter rage again until after a short rest.

Level

Bonus to attack

Bonus to damage

Fast healing

Speed bonus.

1

+1

+0

2

+5

3

+1

+0

4

+10

5

+1

+1

6

+10

7

+1

+1

8

+15

9

+1

+2

10

+15

10

+2

+2

10

+20

A Barbarian in medium or heavy armor doesn’t receive a bonus to speed.

 

Damage Resistant

The Barbarian gains 1 DR at each level.

 

Frenzy

At level 3, a barbarian can make two attacks with her 2-handed melee weapon as a full-round action with a -2 attack penalty on all attacks.

 

Greater Frenzy

At level 9, when using Frenzy, she may make three attacks, but all her attacks take -4 attack bonus.

 

Hit Die: 2d4 per level

Proficiencies: Barbarian is proficient with all martial and simple weapons. In addition, a Barbarian is proficient in light armor.

Skill Focus:  Choose 1: Acrobatics(Dex), Athletics(Str). Endurance(Con), Nature(Int) or Intimidate(Str or Cha).

Skill Points: 1+Int modifier per level.

 

Designing Scrolls

31 Mar

Today started as a playtest for the Artificer, but ended up with a redesign of Scrolls for the Apprentice System. First of all, I should identify what my design goals were for Scrolls:

1. Scrolls can be expensive(compared to grenades and wands)

2. Scrolls are powerful(very important compared to wands)

3. Scrolls are unpredictable

 

My old design was 1/4th of an item and caster level equaled your level. This was okay, but it definitely failed Design #2. A level 1 scroll cost 1/9th of a level 1 Wand, but 1/4th of a level 0 Wand. So it wasn’t amazing for Design#1 either. Design #3 was pretty spot on with 50% failure chance to use, which was awful since it failed Design#2.

After a couple of hours of reiteration, I present to you the newly designed Scrolls. Reminder: Skills have dramatically changed(I’ll post on it later). A “level 1 item” costs 40g.

 

Scrolls

Scrolls are one-time-use magic items. Unlike a spellbook, which is magically inert, scrolls capture and harness the actual spell for the wise to use. Most magic users prefer Wands for their longevity, but scrolls can contain powerful spells and are useful for spells that will not be cast daily.

Name

Caster Level

Cost

+1 Scroll

+2 Scroll

+3 Scroll

Level 1 Spell

1

5g

10g

15g

20g

Level 2 Spell

3

11g

22g

33g

44g

Level 3 Spell

5

25g

50g

75g

100g

Level 4 Spell

7

55g

110g

165g

220g

Level 5 Spell

9

225g

550g

775g

1100g

Each scroll has a set caster level. However, you can make or buy more powerful versions of the same scroll. +1 Scrolls are cast at +2 caster level, +2 Scrolls are +4 caster level, and +3 Scrolls are +6 caster level.

So a “Scroll of Magic Missile” would be cast at level 1, but a “Scroll of Magic Missile +3″ would be cast at level 7.

To use a scroll of a spell you do not know requires an Arcane(arcane spell list), Religion(priest or paladin spell list), Perform(bard spell list) or Nature(shaman or druid spell list) easy DC(8) check. If a spell is on multiple spell lists, you may choose which skill to use. Each bonus +1 to the scroll adds +2 to the DC. So a +3 Scroll would add +6 to the DC.

Failure on the skill check results in the spell exploding dealing 1d6 per your level fire damage, but the scroll remains intact.

Spells that require the constant use of a spell slot(like Create Undead) only last 1 hour. Spells that require concentration can only be maintained for 5 rounds.

 

Apprentice Sneak Peak: Inventor Class

28 Mar

Inventor

Lvl

Base Attack Bonus

Fort Save

Ref Save

Will Save

Special

Inventions

1

+0

+2

+0

+0

Inventions, Breakthrough

2

2

+1

+3

+0

+0

3

3

+2

+3

+1

+1

Breakthrough

4

4

+3

+4

+1

+1

5

5

+3

+4

+1

+1

Breakthrough

6

6

+4

+5

+2

+2

7

7

+5

+5

+2

+2

Breakthrough

8

8

+6

+6

+2

+2

9

9

+6

+6

+3

+3

Breakthrough

10

10

+7

+7

+3

+3

11

 

Inventions(Ex)

An inventor always has a bag of tricks. These Inventions cover basic everyday inventions. An inventor player is encouraged to come up with their own designs, with DM approval. See Spellbook Inventor’s page for full listing.

 

Breakthroughs(Ex)

In additional to everyday inventions, an inventor has huge breakthroughs in certain technology that allows them to perform above and beyond trinkets. Breakthroughs are categorized, but unless otherwise stated do not require you to stay to one category.

 

Weapon Technology:

These breakthroughs in weapon technology make their castor handguns into formidable weapons. Choosing any of these breakthroughs automatically give you the Basic Castorgun invention.

Lvl

Basic Castorgun

1-3

1d6

4-6

2d6

7-9

3d6

10

4d6

  • Castor Gun Mastery:
    • Rifling: Your castor gun’s range is increased to 120ft and has +1 Crit.
    • Improved Power Couplings: You gain the Battle Strategy feat, which allows you to use your Int bonus for attack and damage. You gain your Int bonus to damage again at level 5 and 10.
    • Utility Attachments:
      • Auto-Scope: You gain +1 to attack with your weapon. This bonus increases to +2 at level 8.
      • You gain the Flame Thrower minor invention.
      • Prismatic Applicator: Your weapon can now deal fire, cold, necrotic, radiant, acid, sonic, or electric damage in addition to it’s normal types. You can choose any damage type for your weapon to deal, but changing damage type takes a full-round action.
      • Riot Gear: As a move action, an inventor can flip a switch on their weapon to instead use the energy to create a small sonic boom. Successfully hitting a target deals half damage in sonic damage but forces the enemy to be pushed 5ft per three levels and make a Fortitude save or fall prone. DMs may require a reflex save if attempting to push off of a ledge or other dangerous areas.
      • Advanced Weapon Technology: Requires at least one other Weapon Tech breakthrough.
        • Gatlin Castor: As a move action, an inventor can switch her castor gun into a Gatling castor. When making attack rolls with her Gatling castor, roll twice and take the higher result. Her castor damage is reduced by 1 damage per level while attacking in this mode.
        • Explosive Charges: An inventor’s weapon ignores 1 DR/level.
        • Improved Riot Gear: Your riot gear’s push range is doubled and the DC is increased by 1.
        • Sea of Flames: Your flamethrower range is increased by 15ft.
        • Prismatic Applicator: A new applicator allows you to heal a hit target equal to your bandages total.

 

Demolition Tech:

While many corporate inventors sell grenades like alchemists would potions, adventuring inventors keep special stock of more powerful grenades to control and harm large groups of foes. Grenade inventions that grant bonuses with grenades do apply to purchased grenades. Any of these breakthroughs grant you the Basic Grenade invention.

  • Explosive Grenades: An inventor invents the Acid and R22 grenades.
    • R22 Grenade: An inventor can spend a standard action to lob a explosive grenade up to 30ft. Targets 10ft radius burst take 1d6+1 per two levels, Reflex halves this damage.
    • Acid Grenade: An inventor can spend a standard action to lob a poisonous grenade up to 30ft. Targets in 5ft radius burst take 1d4 per two levels, Fortitude negates. This cloud lasts 3 rounds, and any creature ending their turn in it takes 1d4 per two levels acid damage, no save.
    • Utility Grenades: An inventor invents the Flash and Sticky grenades.
      • Flash Grenade: An inventor can spend a standard action to lob a specially crafted grenade up to 30ft. Targets in a 5ft radius burst must make a Fortitude save or take 1d4 per two levels and become blinded (all enemies have total cover for +4 AC) and deafened(25% fail chance on spells) for 1 round. This duration increases by +1 every four levels.
      • Sticky Grenade: An inventor can spend a standard action to lob a specially crafted grenade up to 30ft. Targets in a 5ft radius burst must make a Reflex save or take 1 per level and become immobilized for 1 round. This duration increases by +1 every four levels.
      • Grenadier: Requires at least one other grenade breakthrough.
        • High Payload: The area burst on an inventor’s grenades are doubled and deal a bonus 1 damage per level.
        • Rocket: An inventor makes a ranged touch attack against a foe as a Standard action. Hit target takes 2d6 per level damage. Can only be used once per short rest.
        • Trap Adaptation: An inventor can toss a pocket trap based on one of their grenade inventions as a standard action onto an unoccupied square within 30ft. After one round, the trap activates. Stepping in the square triggers the trap, setting it off. The trap deals twice as much damage as a grenade of the same type. Sticky, Acid and Flash all last one turn longer. Otherwise they are treated as the base grenade. The trap can be hidden with an appropriate skill check.

 

Medical Technology

The field of medicine is a new one, most people relying on cheap and reliable healing spells, but you are an expert that only sometimes kills your patients. You gain Basic Bandages minor inventor automatically with any of these breakthroughs.

  • Field Medicine:
    • Synthetic Bandages: As a standard action, apply bandages to a touched ally’s wounds. The ally heals 1d6+1 each level plus your Int modifier.
    • Nullify Powder: As a standard action, apply this sparkling blue powder to an ally to remove 1 negative effect.
    • Nanotech:
      • Nanobots: As a standard action, heal one target within 60ft over 5 rounds for 2 HP per level. Can only apply to one target at a time. While under the effects, the target gains +1 to saves.
      • Neuro-Attack: Standard action. 60ft range. Target must make a Fort save or be shaken for 5 rounds. Can only apply to one target at a time.
      • Advanced Medicine:
        • Nanobot Swarm: As a standard action, you can heal everyone in a 10ft burst centered on your nanobot target for 1d6 plus a bonus 1/level for each remaining rounds on nanobots. This removes the nanobot effect.
        • Targets effected by your nanobots also gain your Intelligence bonus to their saves.
        • Nullify Powder: Now removes up to 2 effects per application and can be lobbed like a grenade up to 30ft.
        • Neuro-Attack: Now Dazes the target instead of Shaken.
        • Bandages: Your bandages now heal for an extra +1/level.
        • Med Bot: Instead of attacking, your clockwork can heal a target with a touch for 2HP/level each turn.

 

Clockwork:

You are not only adept in building robot-like clockwork robots, you are adept in making one to attack. You gain the Basic Clockwork invention when choosing any of these breakthroughs in addition to one Combat Clockwork.

  • Defensive Build:
    • Heavy Plating: Your combat clockwork has 20 HP/level and +1 AC. This AC bonus increases by +1 every four levels. Replaces Light Plating.
    • Small Arms: Your combat clockwork deal 1d6 bludgeoning damage plus 2 per two levels damage.
    • Threat Analysis: Your combat clockwork can have a big burst of speed, moving 30ft as an immediate interrupt if you are struck. If he is able to move into your square, he pushes you 5ft and takes the blow. Once used, this cannot be used again until the clockwork is repaired.
    • Offensive Build:
      • Light Plating: Your combat clockwork has 15 HP/level.
      • Heavy Arms: Your combat clockwork deal 1d6 bludgeoning damage plus 2 per level and gains +1 to attack. This attack bonus increases by +1 every four levels. Replaces Small Arms.
      • Overload: The inventor upgrades his Clockwork Bot to overload its own attack circuits to make a devastating blow that ignores all damage reduction. Once used, this cannot be used again until the clockwork is repaired.
      • Clockwork Mastery: Requires at least one other Clockwork breakthrough.
        • Positronic Memory: The inventor upgrades her Clockwork Bot to deal the Inventor’s Intelligence on damage. Additionally, the Clockwork Bot has an Intelligence score of 6+1/level and can speak one language.
        • Weakness Analysis: The inventor upgrades the combat Clockwork to analyze the weaknesses of a distracted foe. When the bot is flanking with an ally, it deals a bonus 1d6 per three levels. If combined with Clockwork Team feat, those bots each gain 1d6 per five levels.
        • Electric Coils: When your combat clockwork attacks, it deals an extra 1 damage per level to all enemies in 10ft.
        • Self Repairing: Your clockworks gain Fast Healing 2/level. In addition, a clockwork can repair as the Mending spell as a standard action, including itself.

 

Sidebar: Clockworks

An inventor has the ability to build remarkable machines. These clockworks use mechanical gears, but often take the shape of humanoids, cats, or horses.

Commanding any clockwork is a move action, and they will continue doing the command until unable or given another order. The inventor’s clockworks have the same AC, saves, attack bonus and skills as the inventor. The Clockworks have HP and damage based on which invention or breakthrough the inventor got them from.

Unless otherwise stated, an inventor can only have 1 combat Clockwork and one minor clockwork at one time. Some feats and inventions effect all clockworks, while others specify which type of clockwork.

 

Hit Die: d6

Proficiency: Simple weapons; light and medium armor;

Skill Focus: Choose 1: Arcana(Int), Diplomacy(Cha), History(Int), Knowledge(Int), Insight(Wis), Perception(Wis), and Technology(Int)

Skill Points: 3+Intellect modifier per level.

 

 

Example Inventions:

Name Category Effect
Basic Clockwork Clockwork Small clockwork can carry 5lbs per level, fit into Tiny spaces, and deals 1d2 bludgeoning damage and has 3 HP/level. It can only communicate with inventor. If destroyed, an inventor can spend 5 minutes to rebuild one.
Mechanical Horse Clockwork Large clockwork horse can carry 300lbs, move 40ft. It also has drink dispenser and cup holder. Storage space for 5 cubic feet of stuff. 10HP/level and deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage.
Device Relocator Utility Install a device on any Tiny or smaller item or one of your Clockworks. As a swift, press a button to teleport the item to the inventor. Can create one per two levels(min 1).
Ear Worm Utility Install a small device in your ear that allows you to understand any language.
Flight Shoes Utility Requires level 5. You and your clockworks can fly at their base speed, or 30ft, whichever is higher.
Mending Utility An inventor can automatically repair any object medium sized or smaller as a full-round action. Repairing anything larger takes 10 minutes per size over medium.
Mental Relay Utility Two small diodes can be attached to two different creature’s heads and allows telepathic communication over any distance. Additional diodes can be created to add to the same network for 50g a piece.
 

Apprentice Sneak Peak: Races

21 Mar

I’ve talked a lot about Apprentice over time, but I figured I’d start actually previewing some of the actual systems.

We’ll start with Half-Elves.

Half Elves (Or Half Humans)

Ability Scores: +2 to Dexterity and Charisma

Size: Medium

Skill Ranks: +2 to Diplomacy and Streetwise

Speed: 30 ft

Languages: Common, Elvan

Vision: Low-light

Metropolitan: +1 to skills  checks while in a city.

Physical Description: Half elves are physically just as the name suggest. Their ears are not as long or pointy as their elven brethren, but they are not nearly as thick or tall as their human relations either.

Politics: Anywhere there are High Elves and Humans, there will be half elves. They enjoy equal social standing as the other two groups in most countries. In many areas, the line between the three groups is very blurred.

As you can see, I went with the “+2 to two stats” for the races, rather than 3.5′s inconsistent sometimes-negative-sometimes-positive. There are races that don’t fall into this +2/+2, but a majority do.

The second big change was having the skill bonuses be Skill Ranks instead. This is in part due to the new Skill System(which I’ll cover later).

The fantasy behind a Half-Elf is that they show up wherever humans and elves mix, which is most commonly in a big city. Many different systems have covered this in different ways, but I went the simple route of giving them more expertise while in a city.

Humans

Ability Scores: +2 to any one stat

Size: Medium

Skill Ranks: +1 to any two skills

Speed: 30 ft

Languages: Common

Vision: Normal

Versatility: Humans characters start with a bonus feat.

Physical Description: Humans in multitudes of sizes, shapes, skin tones, and hair colors. One elven scholar once remarked that there are as many types of humans as there are types of trees, or nuances in magic.

Politics: Humans make up the majority of most countries. Dragon blooded humans usually join the Golden Dragon Clan, who’s main base is in Deregal, but serve their purpose of hunting down any remaining dragons in all countries.

I don’t have a lot to say about humans other than their theme is versatility, which I think they give in spades. Their bonus feat is a major boon, thus them having 2 less Ability Scores and Skill Ranks than most.

Gnome

Ability Scores: +2 to Intellect and Constitution

Size: Medium

Skill Ranks: +2 to Technology and Diplomacy

Speed: 30 ft

Languages: Common, Gnomish

Vision: Normal

Tinker: A gnome starts with one Lesser Invention from the Inventor class. This counts as the Minor Invention feat.

Average Height: 5’1’’-5’6’’

Average Weight: 120-170 lbs

Physical Description: Gnomes stand slightly shorter than elves, but are much less slight. Their ears are much less dramatically pointed, and their eyes are slightly larger.

Politics: Gnomes typically do not venture far from Gnomeron. While the other races continued to use dragon magic, gnomes decided instead to focus on experimentation and technology. During the dragons’ reign, gnomes were the laboratory experiments and assistants. So they eschewed many of the analytical practices performed by the dragons. Because of this cold analytical mind that some gnomes have, many other races distrust gnomes who travel outside of their country.

One big change was not making Gnomes small sized. I’ve always preferred the teenager-sized gnomes to the 8-year-old-sized gnomes. Their ability also allows them to use an Invention from the Inventor class, which we’ll be covering next.

 

How much damage is versatility worth?

07 Oct

We’ve gotten back into the groove of playtesting and working on Apprentice. Lately, our question seems to be around: how much damage/healing numbers is okay to give up for versatility?

Specifically we are looking at the Priest class.
Theme: Divine Wizard. Robe wearing, castor.
Kit: Heals, Light, Darkness, God-theme
Original Mechanic Concept: You can choose two domains at level 1. If you want to be a DPS priest, you choose two DPS domains. If you want a Healing priest, you choose two healing domains.

We’ve encountered problems with this design: players want to choose based on character theme, not numbers.
Yes, Death/Fire/Sun/Chaos all increase damage and Nature/Healing/Earth/Protection all increase healing, but Healing/Fire is a strong theme. Also some of them aren’t that compatible. Death gives you Inflict spells, which don’t work well with the Chaos domain’s power and Protection, Nature, and Healing all buff completely different types of healing spells.
The Priest is versatile during character creation, but not day-to-day the way Shaman is, or week-to-week like the Inventor. So maybe we were too harsh on the priest.
I’m considering “baking in” a slight heal/damage buff, but still allow two domains. A few domains might need to get nerfed to compensate, but perhaps giving them a bit more turn-to-turn versatility will make choosing domains based on theme or utility less awful feeling.

Update:

So I’ve went with my suggestion at the end. Basically I was splitting the two parts of a “DPS package” of Stat-mod to damage and +1/level to damage into two different domains. Instead, I’ve added the Stat-mod to the base class, and made sure the various domains offer different ways to increase damage, but never more than +1/level. In addition, I’ve given all priests Ray of Light(ranged touch radiant damaging spell) and Cure Minor Wounds for free, but given them both a buff in numbers. This will give the priest more versatility in everyday use, rather than just versatility in their character creation.

 

iOS Game Reviews: Part 1: Currently Playing

25 Aug

I’ve decided to start doing some game reviews of iOS games as I play them. I’m going to be listing their current price, but many I have picked up on sale. I’ll be linking to AppShopper, where you can save games to be notified of when they are on sale, and see their historic prices.

 

Currently Playing:

Plants Vs Zombies 2 (Free): This is the Free to play(F2P) sequel to the widely successful Plants Vs Zombies($1). If you are a fan of the first one, the sequel adds tons of new tactics and plants. Since it is F2P, they expect to gain their money from micro-transactions. However, PopCap did well in making these micro-transactions options or speed boosts. Zombies have a chance to drop keys, which you can use to unlock new plants or abilities(like keeping sun from digging up plants), or you can pay $2 to unlock them automatically. For $3 a pop, you can get some of the special plants like the Mimic, Jalepeno, or the new Power Lilly(who creates Plant Food, which gives big temporary powerups for your plants). These  plants are optional, but you cannot unlock them without paying. The only one I have is the Squash(which I bought for $3.99 as a bundle), and I honestly don’t feel like I need them.

Overall: 5/5. One of the best F2P models out there, and completing a zone unlocks additional challenge-mode stars in each level, which exponentially increases gameplay, which the first one lacked.

 

Infinity Blade 2 ($6.99): This is another sequal, this time to the beautiful game Infinity Blade($5.99). Note that I spent $2 and $1 respectively on each. I’d definitely wait for a sale on these two. That being said, they really push the iOS gaming in terms of graphics. The actual gameplay can be repetitive at times(the main mechanic of the game is if you die, you start back at first boss again with all your stuff and grind out lives). But if you like action games, knowing when to parry, dodge, or block gives you a huge advantage. (I typically spam parry, but I’m not terribly good at the game).

Overall: 3/5. Great if you can get it on sale. Though this may be heavily skewed by my love of Tactics/RPGs over action games.

 

Bad Piggies($1): This not-a-sequel to Angry Birds($1) is a contraption racing game. You build your insane contraption using set parts, and try to get your piggie across the finish line. That is a generalization, but that is the core of the game. The game is more engineering than archery like Angry Birds, however, and I love it for that. I particularly like the end levels, where you get the whole lego box to work with and can make insane contraptions to try to beat your previous time.

Overall: 4/5. Priced right, good time-wasting, enough strategy to keep me involved.

 

Neuroshima Hex($2.99): This is my mobile equivalent to solitaire. There IS strategy in this board-game adaptation, but overall the involvement you have to do is lowered, and closing your phone doesn’t make a difference in this turn-based strategy. You choose one of your races(extra races can be unlocked for more money) which have a different deck of hexes. The symbols on the Hexes can be hard to learn at first, but use the ? button a lot to learn that +tall triangle means +1 ranged damage. Overall, players play their Hexes until either someone plays a Combat Hex, or the board is filled up. During combat, all of the same initiative tiles  fire at the same time, either hitting melee or range for 1-2 damage. Placing pieces on the board almost has a Go-like quality of trying to outmaneuver your opponent. He placed a 2 damage 1 initiative person attacking your base? Make sure to get something with higher initiative before combat starts!

Overall: 3.5/5. Price is a bit high(especially if you buy the extra races), but it provides solid pick-up-and-play strategy for when you have a few moments of boredom.

 

Quick Sheet

19 Aug

Quick Sheet is a tabletop system meant to get you into the game quickly, while allowing you to design any sort of character for any sort of setting. The system is to get out of the way of the most important part, storytelling.

 

Click here for the character sheet and how to make your character (in 3 easy steps!)

Click here for the “DM” guide and guidelines for the basic super hero system.

 

The benefits of the Quick Sheet system is that it is fast and adaptable. But it does have some weaknesses. This isn’t going to be as fully fledged combat as D&D or Apprentice. When heroes are damaged, they only have a few HP sometimes! So there is a lot more dramatic play involved, but much more dangerous overall.

This system does put a lot more on the DM during character creation than most, as players are all asking how many points their character has used at any given time. But during gameplay, it is one of the easiest to run! For most actions, roll 3-4 opposing dice, adding or subtracting dice if it is something the opponent would be good at or worse at. Making full character sheets(with more or less points than players) is fine, but shouldn’t be required overall. Also, don’t be afraid to fudge your rolls one way or another for dramatic tension.

The balance isn’t as knife edged as I normally run with. Having a character with 5 Strong, 3 Withstand Blows and a few Awesome STuff to augment the two will likely never ever go down to physical blows, but a good psychic attack(which attacks Smarts and does damage to their Psyche(which is Smarts+1)) can take them down.

In fact, we just had to implement the “no attack die pool over 8″ rule after such a character was made. The rule we decided to implement is that during combat, the max die pool you can ever roll is 8, but you can instead roll half of your normal die pool to deal or protect 2 damage instead of 1. We’re playing with the idea of applying this rule to out of combat abilities too, but the idea of “critical success” doesn’t always apply to everything players do.

Note, however, that to get over 8 die pool, you HAVE to have used your Awesome Stuff points to augment your stats or skills.

This is really only the second design pass version of this, and I normally wouldn’t even bother posting until the 5th or more design pass, but I think Quick Sheets is open enough to allow DMs to modify them however they please.

 
 

Update

19 Aug

Sorry for the length between updates. Our base computer went down with most of the art assets. Luckily, the new graphics card is set to arrive tomorrow!

 

As far as game design overall goes, I’ve been working on the tabletop RPG Apprentice system, as well as a quick pick-up and play tabletop RPG Quick Sheets. I’ll do a post later today with the entire system in a pdf if anyone wants to use it. :)

 

As far as Combat goes, feel free to check out the videos and description linked above.