Friday, May 19, 2017

There's A Feat For That (TAFFT) - an approach for d20 fantasy games

When I first heard that 3rd edition D&D was a thing, and that Feats would be one of the major features, I thought it was a brilliant idea.  Rangers, Cavaliers, and Barbarians could all just be Fighters who had chosen particular Feats to express their flavor of martial prowess, making it easier to shade between character classes and play the characters we want to play.  Alas, instead we retained all the class creep, and got new Classes and Prestige Classes as the defining feature of any given character.  Splatbooks reigned supreme.

I took my notion back to my lair like an old bone, and gnawed on it until I came up with the TAFFT system.  There are existing d20 systems that take a similar approach, True20 notably, and I probably need to take a look at ACKS (Adventurer Conqueror King System), but here's the basic idea:

Design Principles

1) This is D&D. Character classes, leveling up, polyhedral dice, fireball spells, etc. The goal is to have a very simple d20 system at its core, pulling in rules and complexity only when desired. A whole group of people should be able to create new 1st level characters in 30 minutes or less, and just start playing.

2) Four character classes only: Cleric, Fighter, Mage, Rogue.  All character concepts should be doable with those, in combination with what Feats you choose.  Multiclassing is allowed and encouraged.

3) There's A Feat For That - Do you want to be a barbarian who rages, an archery expert, a wizard who specializes in necromancy?  There's a feat for that.  By using Feats, you can customize your character to get just the character you want to play.  Feats are also where game mechanics lie dormant until needed. How does Flanking work?  It doesn't exist in the game until you take the Flanker feat - now you get a +2 bonus under certain conditions, and nobody else has to worry about it.  If you personally like Action Points (where you get to add some bonus dice to a roll that needs a bump), or a Luck mechanic for re-rolls, you can take that as a Feat and play that way.  The rules stay simple except when they come into play for your character's special abilities and your own favored style of play. Because feats provide so much definition for characters and game play, you get a Feat every time you level up.

4) Use the SRD, but sparingly.  For things like magic and equipment, it's useful to rely on the phenomenal resource that is the d20 SRD, but only as necessary.

Character Creation (v.0.2)

Roll for stats in order, best 3 out of 4d6 for each.
Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma
Swap any two stats to help play the class you want.

Choose race

Human: bonus feat

Dwarf: -1 Dex +1 Con
     Low-Light Vision

Elf: -1 Str +1 Dex
     Bow +1 to hit
     Hearing +2
     Speak w/Forest Creatures

Goblin: -2 Str +1 Dex +1 Con
     Missile Attacks +1

Trollblooded: +1 Str -1 Wis +1 Con -2 Cha
     Low-Light Vision
     Magic Resistance
     Passes for human
     Smell +2

Choose class

ClericArmor: Any but plate. Weapons: Any simple. Hit Dice: 1d8.
     Access to Divine magic.  Saves: +1 Fortitude, +1 Will.

Fighter Armor: Any. Weapons: Any. Hit Dice: 1d10.
     +1 to all Attacks, Expanded feat selection for combat.  Saves: +1 Fortitude, +1 Reflex.

Mage Armor: Cloth. Weapons: Dagger or staff. Hit Dice: 1d6.
     Access to Arcane magic.  Saves: +2 Will.

Rogue Armor: Leather. Weapons: Sword, bow, and any simple. Hit Dice: 1d8.
     Thief skills and backstab ability.  Saves: +2 Reflex.

Calculate stat bonuses:

3: -4
4-5: -3
6-7: -2
8-9: -1
10-11: 0
12-13: +1
14-15: +2
16-17: +3
18: +4

Examples:  A 13 Strength gives a Strength bonus of +1, and 9 Charisma provides a Charisma bonus of -1.

Calculate secondary attributes:
Melee attack: Str bonus
Missile attack: Dex bonus
Hit Points: Roll class hit die three times, take best roll and add your Con bonus
AC: 10 + equipment bonuses + Dex bonus
Move: 30 ft, or as dictated by armor.
Dwarves max 20 ft, Goblins max 25 ft.
     Fortitude: 10 + better of Str bonus or Con bonus
     Reflex: 10 + better of Int bonus or Dex bonus
     Will: 10 + better of Wis bonus or Cha bonus

Apply race/class bonuses
All classes apply modifiers to Saves. 
Race and class may affect attack bonuses as well.

Pick 2 from the following list:
Alchemist, Blacksmith, Brewer, Carpenter, City, Cook, Desert, Farmer, Fisherman, Forest, Healer, Herbalist, Herder, Hunter, Jeweler, Magic, Mason, Merchant, Military, Miner, Mountains, Musician, Nobility, Nomad, Potter, Sailor, Scholar, Scout, Scribe, Sea, Servant, Squire, Steppes, Swamp, Temple, Underground, Weaver.

Notes: Dwarf must take Underground.
Elf must take Forest.
Cleric must take Temple.
Mage must take Magic.

Coming soon: Feats!

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