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Posts posted by Sammael

  1. Incidentally, I don't have anything new to report, but I'd just like to inform those who are still paying attention to it that I have a new URL for my FAQ:




    (I am finally migrating my sites from Google Pages - which is about to be terminated as a service - to a normal hosting service included for free with my domain registration)

  2. We've been through this before.


    Unless Obsidian actually bought it, the original engine (or what remains of it) is OWNED by Interplay (what's left of it), and releasing it to the public would be illegal.


    Even if it were released, the original engine's graphics pipeline was HORRIBLE to work with. BIS people had a hard time working with it. Modders would have to spend ages working on a single map, let alone a whole module's worth of maps. Besides, the engine is horribly outdated by now, and would likely look a lot worse than NWN2's engine. It's just _not worth it_.

  3. The Mystary engine is horribly outdated by now. Plus, the art pipeline of the engine was hellishly difficult to work with, so even if they did release it to the public, it's highly doubtful that the community could do anything with it.

  4. Whatever the edition, I'm getting a bit tired of them re-hashing/re-using alot of the old materials, book titles, and themes yet again. Manual of the planes, fiend folio, etc. all the rage back in the 80's, yet you see versions for 3E/4E. Thought it was amusing, but they've actually re-released the 80's endless quest books(choose your own d&d adventure)... No new stories, just the original writings wrapped in, I assume, new covers... as if this was great writing to begin with. I"ve seen several Vecna, Kos, and tomb of horrors articles on the wotc/d&d main page lately. Once again, Forgotten Realms is the main game world.


    D&D remains so steeped in, and dependent upon, nostalgia. Wish they could break away from that and come up with some new ideas again. Like in the 80's... when dragonlance, the colored box sets, and such, were all new...

    Honestly, what do you espect? Not all new players have access to OD&D/1st/2nd edition materials, and even those who do want to see them converted to the new game rules. I have no idea what you're talking about with respect to the endless quest books, I've never seen one made for D&D. If the game has planes (as it should), there should be a Manual of the Planes to deal with the cosmology. Sure, it shouldn't just rehash the same old stuff - it should add new stuff to the mix. And it does that.


    Forgotten Realms is not the main game world in 4E. The plan is to release one setting per year, and FR, being the most popular, got released first. They don't plan to publish additional setting books for FR. In fact, you would be hard pressed to even recognize the current version of that setting as Forgotten Realms.


    As stated, Eberron is the shiny new game world which was invented for 3.5E, and it will be updated to 4E this summer. The year after that, they will either publish a new setting or update one of the old favorites.


    And new stories are published all the time, they just draw upon the tons of rich lore from previous editions to establish themselves as parts of the continuity. If you have a story set in Greyhawk, of course it will likely mention Vecna, Kas, Tomb of Horrors or Temple of Elemental Evil at some point. If you have a story set in Scotland, I'm sure William Wallace and the Loch Ness monster are bound to pop up eventually.


    Ironically, one of the main criticisms of 4E is that it breaks too many ties with D&D traditions and severs itself from the continuity. I tend to agree with it.

  5. I just finished revising 1st level (tier 1) druid spells , so I figured I'd post them here as another preview. As a general note, druids are now spontaneous casters. Druid spells are called invocations, since I am trying to make a distinction between various types of magic effects - bards get spellsongs, clerics get prayers, druids get invocations, and mages get spells. Druids begin play with 2 tier 1 invocations known, and they gain 2 more at 2nd level. At 3rd level, they gain 2 tier 2 invocations known, and so on. They begin play with 2 tier 1 slots (plus bonus slots equal to their Wisdom attribute - which is the equivalent of 3.5 Wisdom modifier), and gain 2 more slots at 2nd level. At 3rd level, they gain 2 tier 2 slots, and so on.


    The statblock should be pretty self-documenting, except for a few details. First of all, to reduce bookkeeping, I eliminated durations. Instead, I am using the "sustain" mechanic - if the caster wishes to prolong the effect, he must spend actions in the following rounds to concentrate on it. Most effects require only a minor action to be sustained. However, if the caster wishes to sustain multiple effects, he will have to sacrifice his standard and move actions to do so, since you only get 1 minor action per round. This will (hopefully) also get rid of the ridiculous amount of buffs and ongoing effects that was so prevalent in 3.x.


    Those who are familiar with druid spells will notice that many invocations detailed below combine the aspects of multiple older druid spells. The reason for this is twofold; first, with the greatly reduced number of invocations known (druids automatically gained knowledge of all spells on their spell list), I had to make invocations more flexible. Second, many spells were so bad that practically nobody every memorized them, or only did so once or twice for some campaign-specific reason.


    Several spells didn't make the cut for various reasons.


    To compensate for loss of spell power, druids now get wild shape (albeit limited) from level 1. More on that in the near future.



    Animal Empathy

    Action: Standard

    Target: Self

    Check: Earthlore + Wis

    Sustain: Move

    Components: V, M


    You become able to communicate with animals in a limited fashion, using body language and guttural sounds. You can make Insight, Intimidation, and Persuasion checks to calm animals, befriend them, and obtain valuable information. You receive a magic bonus on these checks equal to your Earthlore rating. As long the invocation is sustained, all animals see you as one of their kind and their initial attitude towards you is indifferent.


    Material component: Special scent that has a calming effect on animals


    Chilling Wind

    Action: Standard

    Area: Line

    Check: Earthlore + Wis

    Components: V, S


    You unleash a blast of cold air that extends up to the close range. The blast deals 1d6 points of cold damage (plus 1 point of additional cold damage per rank in Earthlore) to all creatures within its path and is sufficiently strong to extinguish small fires.


    If you direct the invocation at the ground under your feet, you can use chilling wind to propel you upward, up to the invocation's normal range. At any point during your ascent, you can take a step in any direction, which ends the invocation immediately.


    Create Water

    Action: Standard

    Range: Close

    Check: Earthlore + Wis

    Components: V, S


    You create a volume of water which may not exceed 10 liters per rank in Earthlore. The water is wholesome and pure, and you can decide whether the created water will appear in containers prepared to receive it, as a downpour, simply fill the ground creating mud (10 l of water is sufficient to turn one 1 m2 of earth into mud), or as a stream that can be used to daze opponents (Acrobatics + Dex to avoid).



    Action: Standard

    Range: Medium

    Area: Plants in a 10 m radius spread

    Sustain: Minor

    Check: Earthlore + Wis vs. Acrobatics + Dex

    Components: V, S


    Grasses, weeds, bushes, and even trees wrap, twist, and entwine about creatures in the area or those that enter the area, holding them fast and causing them to become entangled. Entangled creatures can break free by taking a standard action to make a Deftness + Dex or Athletics + Str check (DC = original Earthlore check result).


    The affected area is treated as difficult terrain until the end of the encounter (or longer, if the effect is sustained).


    Each round on your turn, you can spend a move action to direct the plants once again to entangle all creatures that have avoided or escaped entanglement.


    Special: If you are wielding a shillelagh-imbued weapon when you use this invocation, you get a +1 magic bonus on the check and can sustain both effects with a single minor action.


    Obscuring Mist

    Action: Standard

    Area: Spread centered on invoker

    Check: Earthlore + Wis

    Components: V, S


    A thick misty vapor surrounds you and extends up to the close range. Once created, the mist is stationary and persists until dispersed. The vapor reduces visibility to 1 meter - within the mist, creatures that are 1 meter away have concealment and those that are further away are treated as invisible. Moderate wind disperses the mist in 1 minute, and stronger winds disperse it in 1 round.


    In areas of low humidity, such as deserts, the mist is formed from sand, dust, or other particles appropriate to the terrain, but the effect is the same.


    Produce Flame

    Action: Standard

    Target: One combustible object

    Range: Close

    Check: Earthlore + Wis

    Components: V, S


    You ignite one combustible object within range. The power of this invocation is sufficient to immediately light a moderately-sized bonfire. If you ignite a worn object, the creature wearing the object takes 1d6 points of damage per round until it extinguishes the flames (flames can be extinguished as a standard action). If you ignite an object you are holding, you do not take any damage and the object inflicts +1d6 points of fire damage if used as a weapon.


    Purify Food and Drink

    Action: Standard

    Target: 1 kg of food or drink (10 food items) per rank in Earthlore

    Range: Touch

    Check: Earthlore + Wis

    Components: V, S


    You make food and drink pure and suitable for eating and drinking, regardless of prior conditions. Furthermore, eating or drinking some of the food and drink purified in this manner heals 1 hit point per food item eaten (up to a maximum of 10 hp per creature per day).



    Action: Standard

    Target: Self

    Check: Earthlore + Wis

    Sustain: Minor

    Components: V, S


    Any weapon you wield (which must be made mostly of wood, stone, or combination of the two) becomes imbued with the power of earth, reinforced and more potent in combat. Such weapons gain a +1 magic bonus on attack and damage. If you throw the weapon, it retains the bonus until it hits or misses the target, but if anyone else picks it up, the magic disappears.


    Static Charge

    Action: Standard

    Range: Close

    Target: One creature or object

    Check: Earthlore + Wis

    Components: V, S


    You imbue the target with an electrical charge.


    If the target is a creature, whenever it moves or comes into contact with another creature, it takes 1 point of lighting damage. The effect persists until the target releases the charge, which requires a standard action and inflicts 1d6 points of lightning damage to the target.


    If the target is an object, the first creature that comes into contact with the object takes 1d6 points of lighting damage and is paralyzed for 1 round (Endurance + Con negates paralysis). The charge dissipates after 1 day.


    Survival of the Fittest

    Action: Standard

    Target: Self

    Check: Earthlore + Wis

    Sustain: Minor

    Components: V, S, M


    Your ability to survive in the wilderness is greatly increased. You do not suffer any ill effects from temperature extremes; you always know the direction you're facing; you gain a +4 magic bonus on checks made to detect natural hazards (including snares and pits), and creatures trying to track you take a -10 penalty on checks made to follow your tracks.


    Material component: A chunk of soil from the current terrain which must be smeared on the invoker's face

  6. You only have 8 classes?


    That's pretty old school..

    The ones I removed (barbarian, monk, sorcerer) are generally redundant under the revision. Barbarian and monk are just fighters with an appropriate selection of class features, skills, and feats, and sorcerer and wizard were essentially merged to create the "mage" class (think of it as a sorcerer who can change his spell selection every day).


    I'm also doing away with prestige classes. They caused a needless struggle to meet the prerequisites, forcing players to plan their characters from level one in order to qualify. Under the revision, many former prestige class abilities will be presented as restricted feats (i.e. they can only be taken after the character fulfills an appropriate in-game challenge).


    While I do dislike 4E, I think it has some good points, and some parts of my revision are undoubtedly inspired by certain 4E elements. I will not, however, try to pidgeon-hole classes into "combat roles." I also won't streamline the game to the point where it seems that all classes play the same (one of the bigger shortfalls of 4E, IMO).

  7. I've mentioned a couple of times that I'm working on a revision of D&D rules, basically my own "3.75" version of D&D. While there are some good concepts in 4E, it simply doesn't feel like D&D to me anymore. Unlike other critics, I guess, I decided to try and overhaul the system myself, which is not a small undertaking by any stretch of imagination. Progress is slow, but the overall framework is done and what remains now are the details - let me tell you, going through every single spell in the PH and revising it to fit the new rules is not a fun job.


    Anyway, I guess I have the first "finished" thing to show: I completed the character sheet today since I'm going to start a small playtest campaign to see how badly I've managed to screw up the balance. You can download the sheet here: http://duke.sammael.googlepages.com/DD3.75charactersheet.pdf


    I won't comment on the system in great detail yet (although I will entertain any questions that may arise from looking at the sheet), but I will state that my goals in revising the system were as follows:


    1) Speed up gameplay

    2) Remove redundant elements (classes, skills, spells, equipment, derived stats, etc).

    3) Eliminate magic item dependency

    4) Rebalance the classes to make them more fun and viable in all sorts of situations

    5) Eliminate the slew of different bonus types and reduce bonus stacking

    6) Flatten the power curve somewhat


    Constructive questions and comments are welcome.

  8. Josh, you mentioned multiclassing for spellcasters being problematic in 3/3.5E. How would you solve this?

    IMO, there is no good way other that to rewrite the system. I have a feat-based solution, but it's too costly under the default 3.5 rules (one feat every 3 levels). It goes something like this:


    Practiced Spellcaster

    Prerequisite: Ability to cast spells

    Benefit: Choose one of your classes which grants spellcasting ability. Your spellcasting ability is improved as if you took another level in that class. You may gain new spells and new slots, depending on your class description, and your caster level increases. Your spellcasting ability may not exceed your character level.

    Special: You may take this feat multiple times.


    So, if you took an evenly multiclassed Fighter 10/Wizard 10 (for example), and assigned all feat slots to Practiced Spellcaster, you would end up with a character that has the fighting ability of a 15th level fighter (roughly) and spellcasting ability of a 16th level wizard (roughly). It doesn't work as well for spellcasters with multiple spellcasting classes. Frex, A Cleric 10/Wizard 10 would end up being effectively a cleric 13/wizard 13. Better than what is normally available, but still not as good as... *shudder* ... Mystic Theurge, and at the cost of feats.


    Under my reworked d20 system, there is an array of Practiced X feats which let you pick and choose class abilities, and you get a 1/2 level bonus to all skills (and spellcasting is vaguely skill based). For example:


    Practiced Arcanist

    Prerequisite: Character level 5, Arcana 1,

    Benefit: You learn one mage spell of your choice, which you can use once per day. The level of spell must not exceed your Arcana rating.

    Special: You may take this feat multiple times. Each time you take this feat, you can either choose a different spell or gain another daily use of an already known spell.


    Arcana mentioned above is a replacement for Knowledge (Arcana) and a key skill for the Mage class, which is a combination of Wizard and Sorcerer. Under my revised system, you get feats every even level, and they are generally nowhere near as exciting as they used to be under 3.5 (exciting abilities are all moved to class features). Thus, under this system, you could have a Fighter 10/Mage 10 who maxed Arcana (10 ranks of Arcana @ level 19), which would enable him to have full progression of a 10th level Mage (i.e. spells of up to 5th level), plus at least 1 spell per day for spell levels 6-10. You'd be weaker than a full Mage (who gains up to 4 slots of each spell level), but you could "keep up" in terms of relative power, since you would have access to the most powerful spells.

  9. he's mentioned elsewhere, maybe even in this painfully long thread, that he's actually doing it in chapters/modules, so the first bit he's releasing isn't the whole thing. in fact, it might even be within the last few pages.




    I spent an hour last night searching for such a post, but couldn't find it. Josh, care to comment again on this?

  10. IIRC, TBH was originally supposed to be between 25 and 40 hours of playtime. Of course things will be left out - we cannot expect Sawyer to create the same game which had a whole team of devs behind it. Hopefully, once the core game is done, he will find the time to add additional content incrementally.

  11. Vista is slick and efficient. Perhaps I can't really judge that on a weaker system as mine has 4 Gb RAM, but with that it runs like a dream. HD space shouldn't really be a problem in the days of terrabyte hard disks, either.

    Also, developers will pick it up once DX11 matures (at the latest, when the next-gen console hardware uses DX11 gfx processors) due to many advantages over the stone old Win XP and DX9 API. It's time to let it go. Embrace the awesomeness that is Windows Vista/7.

    Heh. I guess that's why the meetings I had last year all ended up with "and please don't even try to advertise Vista... it will lower our Office 2007 sales." Most MS people I talked to were pretty negative about Vista. They were forced to use it themselves and they couldn't stand it. As a developer, I was willing to give Vista a try at first, until I learned that roughly half development tools I was using at the time wouldn't work under Vista, or would work in a diminished capacity. Oh, and those are Microsoft development tools I am talking about.


    Here's an anecdote from a MS lecture we had on Vista back in 2007. The lecturer was employed in one of the MS training centers, and he was going by the book, praising this feature and that (while the audience was spewing sarcastic comments). At one point during the lecture, a high-ranking MS official walked in and asked the lecturer which part of Vista he was discussing at the time. The guy replied "UAC," since he had spent the previous half hour trying to convince us that UAC was the best thing since sliced bread. The MS honcho then turned to the audience with an apologetic look and said "don't worry, it can be turned off..."

  12. You know, I think Cube D Cube and MC Comb recently contributed to a new Torment fan patch (really).




    Wow, I just read the readme files for those patches, and they are great! I'll have to reinstall Torment now and try to get them all to work together with the high-resolution fix - the last time I tried something like that, the game wouldn't start...

  13. The Ministry of Mortal Affairs approves. Unfortunately, the demonic Wizards of the Coast who hold the artifact known as "The License" likely will not. We must engage in an unholy crusade to wrestle the artifact from their grubby chaotic claws and take it to the Obsidian Temple of the Planes.


    Or something like that, anyway. I would easily spend $100 for a modern update of the game (change nothing). I would spend twice that if cut quests were put back and endgame areas (Ravel's Maze, Curst, Outlands, Baator, Carceri/Curst Gone, Fortress of Regrets) were redone with the same level of detail as Sigil.


    And this is one game where even the ruleset could remain as is - I don't need feats and prestige classes to enjoy Torment.

  14. Hello! This time, I'm a bit behind on the news, since I generally only visit the Obsidian community once a month (and RPG Codex even less frequently), but I hope Sawyer will give me more incentive to visit (and more material for the FAQ, of course).

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