A few days ago I posted a prototype warrior character sheet for Five Moons RPG (here’s a direct link to the full-sized character sheet preview). There were some questions on that blog post and on the kickstarter update about it, so this blog is about answering them (some of these are reposts of answers I already gave, with more info).
Why the dropping/consolidation of Charisma into Psyche? CHA has long been the redheaded stepchild of the various iterations of the game. If it’s not a primary stat for your character, it’s a dump stat. Unlike all other stats, it also represents something completely arbitrary according to race or culture (appearance)–an 18 CHA character is considered “attractive” to dwarves, elves, orcs, humans, halflings, aboleths, angels, demons, and lizardfolk. By dumping CHA and folding it and WIS into PSY, I get rid of a dump stat, consolidate internal-presence and external-presence into one stat, and lose the weirdness of a universal beauty standard. Not coincidentally, it means there are five stats instead of six, and five is a recurring theme in this game. 😉
Does the Energized Weapons ability let you use a boost for extra damage? Yep! Here’s the full text of that ability for the playtest document:
Energized Weapons: Choose one energy type (cold, electricity, or fire). When you damage a creature with a melee or ranged weapon (manufactured or natural weapons, but not spells), add 1 point of damage of this energy type to your weapon damage. Boost: Add an additional 5 points of energy damage of this type.
So the game has broad skills with some specific applications? Yes. In the same way that Pathfinder has the Craft, Knowledge, and Profession skills have many subskills, Five Moons RPG consolidates some skills, so (frex) Move covers acrobatics, climb, ride, and swim. Characters will be able to specialize within those subskills if they want. Structuring them like this allows characters to have a bonus on the broad skill (like, “warriors treat Move as a class skill”).
There’s an awfully large column for attacks. Will a typical character have a bunch of different attack options? I think it’s helpful if a player can pre-calculate modifiers to their attacks so there’s less on-demand math required. For example, Akiko’s player could have a separate line for using her longsword with Power Attack (updating the attack and damage bonuses in advance).
Where are the “Misc” skill bonuses coming from? Those are the warrior’s class skill bonuses.
In the center column, why does she have a +6 for her Weapon bonus ? That requires a bit of explanation.
I’ve long been annoyed that a 1st-level fighter’s attack bonus is only +1 more than a 1st-level cleric’s, rogue’s, or wizard’s attack bonus (+1 BAB vs. +0 BAB). Yes, the character’s ability scores and feats like Weapon Focus might enlarge that gap, but at the basic level “the character who is trained in all sorts of combat” is only 5% better than “the character who is somewhat trained” or even “the character who isn’t trained in weapons.”
Warriors in Five Moons RPG have an ability called warrior mastery, which increases their martial bonus by +5 (“martial bonus” is BAB, but only for weapons and natural attacks… there’s a similar sort of attack bonus for magical attacks). This has two main consequences.
One, it means warriors are really good at hitting things (as they should be). The warrior class is consistently better at hitting opponents than any other class.
Two, because abilities like Combat Expertise and Power Attack trade a flat –5 penalty to your attack roll, it means a warrior could use those sorts of abilities all the time (see earlier question about extra attack lines), spending the +5 from warrior mastery against the cost of those abilities, and still have a better attack bonus than a cleric, rogue, or wizard. If the warrior encounters a creature that is hard to hit, they can stop using those abilities and attack at their full potential (hitting more consistently).
Why does the warrior have such a low Resolve score? Currently it’s 2 + PSY at 1st level. I want to see how that goes in the playtest, but I don’t want warriors to be inherently bad at social interaction. It also depends on the mechanics of the multiple uses of the Resolve ability.
Because you have piecemeal armor, are you going to have separate hit locations for armor, or armor providing damage reduction, or temporary hit points? I think specific hit locations are a lot more complex than what I want to do with this game. Armor as DR is an interesting concept, but (likewise) a bit more than I want to get into with this game. AC is a simple concept and mechanically it does sort of represent damage reduction (frex, armor that adds +4 to your AC turns about 20% of the attacks against you into misses, so it’s “absorbing” those hits). Armor-as-temporary-hp is also an interesting idea, but I’d like to keep it simple.
Also, the listed armor “slots” on the character sheet are partly for the piecemeal armor system and partly relating to the magic item body slots. PF has a lot of magic item slots that an actual suit of armor covers: the actual armor slot, two layers of clothing under that (the body and chest slots), two slots over that (belts and shoulders/cloaks), three slots on the head (eyes, head, and headband), two more slots on the arms (hands and wrist), feet, and shields. The system needs a lot of work to make it less overlapping and redundant, and without the concerns of legacy items insisting on having their own slots (“What do you mean I can’t wear my helm of telepathy and my headband of vast intelligence at the same time?”)
What is the justification for Con as a stat? Because I think Con is different enough from Str (or any other ability score) that it has value in the game as its own thing. If there is strong playtest evidence to show that having Con as a separate stat is a liability, I’ll consider removing it.
Isn’t 6 health at 1st level really fragile? Remember, in Five Moons RPG, a 1st-level character is basically an apprentice, a much lower power (and competence) level than a 1st-level D&D or PF character. Just a step up from a commoner, really. A 3rd-level character in Five Moons RPG is about the equivalent of a 1st-level D&D or PF character, and will have about the same health as a character in that game.
With the lower starting point for ability scores, how are PCs supposed to beat Str checks to open doors or break things? Some of the skills also cover general applications of that ability—Move, for example, covers types of physical exertion, and is used for applications of brute strength.
How will the Resist progression work? I want to avoid 3E/PF’s problem that different progressions in each type of save means at high levels characters tend to autofail or autosucceed. I think it’s more consistent to give the same base progression for all three “saving throw” types, but (depending on your class) giving you a bonus at 1st level to your “good saves.” So if your good saves are +3 more than your bad saves at 1st level, they’ll be +3 more at 5th, 10th, 15th, and so on (modified by your ability scores, special items, and so on). So you won’t have a situation where an incoming enemy attack Fort save DC is an autofail for the rogue and wizard (because Fort is a bad save for those classes) and an autosuccess for the cleric and fighter (because Fort is a good save for those classes).
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…
I’ve also been working on:
- Creating the Five Moons RPG equivalents of rogue talents and low-level spells (and wow, rogue talents are sad and are getting a power-up).
- Creating prototype rogue and wizard character sheets (expect those next week).
- Once the rogue and wizard prototypes are done, I can finish the Example of Play video (I have the script written for it and will be recording the dialogue this weekend, so all that will remain is creating the visuals).
- Discussion of martial/arcane balance and how those paths will look.
If you like this post and where these ideas are going, please check out the kickstarter for my Five Moons RPG, which uses these ideas. Thanks!