"Heroic" House Rules

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Beragon
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"Heroic" House Rules
So after recently reading "The Children of Hurin" and a great deal of R.E.H's stories of Conan, including "Hour of the Dragon," I've settled on a few house rules to add to ACKS to bring about a more Sword & Sorcery feel to my games and let the players play the part of characters who are larger than life. Starting Ability Scores: You can choose your character's scores using the following restrictions: - The sum of all your scores must not exceed 75 points. - The sum of all bonuses/penalties derived from the scores must not exceed +4. - Only one score may be an 18. - No score may be less than 8. Starting Experience: All PCs start with 2,500 XP. Hit Points: All PCs start with maximum hp for 1st level. At levels 2-9, PCs gain the indicated amount as follows (modified by Con as usual). d4 = 2 hp per even level; 3 hp per odd level d6 = 3 hp per even level; 4 hp per odd level d8 = 4 hp per even level; 5 hp per odd level Notes on the above rules: 1) I'm allowing the players to choose the type of character they'd like to be. I know I'll get more-or-less cookie cutter ability arrays, but I'm okay with that. They also start with a very good base level for scores (12.5 on average). That's not on Conan's level IMO, but I plan to grant bonus points to add to their scores as they level (perhaps around 5th level) so they can grow into such scores. The score limits are there to mitigate min/maxing. 2) I like the concept of starting the players at a higher level than 1st to represent their characters as more heroic. It's the least intrusive way to make a character so. 3) For hp, the PCs get the benefit of max. hp at 1st level and a standardized progression ensures that a PC won't end up with an unlucky roll for hp. Game Play Rules: Hit Points: Hit points (only in the case of PCs and important NPCs) strictly represent energy level, luck, and minor wounds(nicks, cuts, bruises, minor burns, etc). So for example, even if you get hit by a fireball spell and fail your save, as long as you have at least 1 hp left, you have only minor burns. The verisimilitude of this is going to depend largely on my description of the damage caused and somewhat on the players buying into the idea that hit points aren't exactly "life points" when they "hit" Malkus the Vile, their arch enemy. Natural Healing: Due to the above assumption of what hp are, natural healing of hp gets a boost and is equalized amongst all the classes. For each day that a PC obtains adequate rest and nurishment, a character will recover 20% of it max. hp (take your hp total and divide it by 5 to get this number - round fractions to the nearest whole number). Spell Casting: A caster can always use a higher-level spell slot to cast a lower level spell. For instance, a mage who can cast 3rd level spells may use a 3rd level spell slot to cast a 1st or 2nd level spell. Special Maneuvers: Except for Sunder, all listed penalties to attack throws for these maneuvers are dropped. (And consequently, related profiencies provide a bonus instead of reducing the penalty). Fighting Defensively: This is a movement option that must be declared. The combatant may not move (unless a fighting withdrawal is also declared) and suffers a -2 on attack throws, but gains a +2 AC bonus against attacks he's aware of. Dodge and Parry: A combatant may attempt to dodge or parry an attack he is aware of. If a combatant is hit in combat, and has not yet acted that round, he may forego his action, and attempt a save vs. Paralysis (this choice must be made before damage is rolled). If successful, the character avoids the damage. I'm not sure I'll include this last rule yet, but I'm really tempted to. Optionally, I've made a table for it that trades a lesser effect for the damage. A summary of it: Roll 2d6: 2 drop an item in hand 3 Glancing blow (d3 non-lethal damage) 4 Off balance (-1 to initiative next round) 5 Give Ground (you can avoid the damage if you fall back 5') 6-8 Unscathed! (no consequences) 9 Wardrobe Malfunction (an article of clothing, jewelry, or exposed item, such as a backpack, belt pouch, etc. gets damaged) 10 Damaged Armor (armor or shield's effectiveness reduced by 1) 11 Dive (you must go prone to avoid the damage) 12 Damaged Weapon (your weapon suffers either -1 to hit or -1 to damage) Let me know what you think.nike air max acg specs , Air Jordan 1 Low "Triple White" 2019 For Sale
Jard
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these all look pretty good. not to spoil your fun, though, but there's a thread a few pages down where alex detailed a campaign he was starting in order to playtest some "heroic fantasy" rules in the same vein. ultimately he had to give up the campaign due to too much else being on his plate, but maybe if you encourage him enough he'll pick it up again ;-)

Beragon
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Yes I know of that thread. I don't know of the rules for that campaign however and I would venture a
guess that the character creation rules are more or less the standard ones for ACKS.

Alex
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1) I really like these rules
2) We have been talking about setting our next ACKS campaign in Middle Earth
3) I really really like your 2d6 chart for effects of a successful dodge/parry!
4) It's clear that you and I are thinking almost point for point about the same issues in simulating heroic fantasy

Beragon
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On your point #2, I've been tempted of late to do:

1) a Middle Earth-like campaign
2) a Hyborian Age-like campaign
3) a blend of the first two
4) just plop the PCs into R.E.H's Hyborian Age alongside Conan

I can't decide which one to settle on...

With regard to the chart, there are a few loose ends on it, such as if you roll "10", but aren't wearing any armor, what happens?

Aryxymaraki
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I want to preface this by saying there is nothing at all wrong with your HP system, but I know one that I like a lot and I wanted to share.

I like the vit points/wound points split from Star Wars d20. The way it works is that every character has a number of vitality points equal to the HP they would normally have, and a number of wound points equal to their Con score.

Vitality points represent energy level, scrapes, bruises, and other minor injuries. They heal extremely quickly (the original system had them at 100% healing with a full night's rest, but I would probably do what you did and make it 20% for a day of rest).

Wound points represent real lasting injuries. You regain 1 wound point per day of full bed rest, under normal circumstances. (A character with the Healing proficiency would get you an extra 1d3 per day.)

Critical hits deal damage straight to wound. (So in ACKS, a nat 20 with Weapon Focus in the weapon used.) Because no matter how good you are, a dagger in the eye is a dagger in the eye. (Or, as ended one our longest-running Star Wars campaign, even 13th level Jedi die when they fall from just below orbit to a planet's surface. Falls from a great distance go straight to wound too.) You might also decide that some spells (Dismember comes to mind) deal damage straight to wound as well. (One houserule I used for a bit in 3.5 when I was using VP/WP was that 'save or die' spells actually just dealt damage straight to wound, and it was save for half.)

For most monsters, you can simply assign them wound points equal to their normal HP value. A goblin would have approximately 4.5 wound points, for example, while a 9 HD vampire would have approximately 40.5. For adversaries, you could give them an appropriate vitality and wound point split, and of course, anyone with class levels would have VP and WP just as a PC would.

Tom Hudson
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Sounds similar to Crypts & Things? Take damage to hit points, when those drop to 0 take damage to constitution, when that drops to 0 die. HP heal quickly, con heals slowly.

Beragon
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I actually had house rules very much like this for a time when I was running Pathfinder. I derived them from the 3E Unearthed Arcana rules, which are very similar to what you've written here. It was a little more complex than what you have here. My players really liked it, but what I found was that I was doing more of the accounting of their hp/vp than they were.

Since you brought it up, I'll do some thinking on it. It would certainly fit into a "heroic PC" campaign... sort of giving the PCs pseudo plot armor.

Aryxymaraki
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(Replying to both in one)

I don't know Crypts and Things, so I have no idea how similar they are in play!

It is very similar to the 3.5 Unearthed Arcana version, for a reason ;) The 3.5 Unearthed Arcana is a reprint/rework/expanded version of the same rules. Some differences may also have arisen from the fact that I was just posting them off the top of my head and might not have been 100% accurate to RAW.

CharlesDM
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"Spell Casting:
A caster can always use a higher-level spell slot to cast a lower level spell. For instance, a mage who can cast 3rd level spells may use a 3rd level spell slot to cast a 1st or 2nd level spell."

This is your only mention of magic -- do you envision any other changes to magic, spells or spell-casting classes? I like flexibility and have considered the change above in general, but have not done so due to "breakthrough" spells like the no save sleep spell.

Your dodge/parry table has a lot of interesting results! I wonder how often players will sacrifice an action to use this option? What if a potential cleave were sacrificed for a dodge/parry? This would make higher level characters and Fighters better at dodging than other characters.

Thanks for posting!

jedavis
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Shoot, I didn't realize the down-conversion of spells wasn't already a rule until this thread. Looks like the availability of Cure Light Wounds might be going down...

Beragon
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Yes I do envision a few other changes to magic in general. Perhaps they aren't actual changes so much as play considerations. Very little of this is set in stone and I'm open to any ideas:

1) I want to mitigate or eliminate any spells that are essentially plot breakers, or spells that trivialize many natural challenges that would fit well in this type of campaign. Alex made a list in a thread awhile back, though I can't remember where. Here's my list:

Spells I would consider eliminating: Detect Evil, Read Languages, Create Water, Create Food, Tongues.

Spells I would consider reducing the power of: Knock, Find Traps, Locate Object, Speak with Dead.

2) With regard to the Sleep spell in particular, I know what you're driving at, but I don't have an answer, other than I'd like to change spells as little as possible, simply because it's a lot of work.

3) I've also been considering having cantrip-styled spells for arcane casters.

I envision it as building on the concept of Spell Signatures. Coming up with them would be mostly up to the player and approved by the GM. Rather than try to explain it, here are a couple examples:

Light:
Cantrip - the caster may illuminate any translucent object (essentially a light bulb) roughly the size of an apple to shed light as a torch, as long as the caster is conscious and holding it. It may be affixed to another implement such as a wand or staff. Yes... I sort of ripped this whole idea from the scene of Gandalf in LOTR, leading the Fellowship through the Mines of Moria.

Ventriloquism or maybe Magic Mouth:
Cantrip - the caster can speak without moving his lips and counts as taking the Mimicry proficiency twice.

There is a lot of fertile ground here IMO. I'd probably want to limit the number of them... perhaps equal to the number of 1st level spells known? I'd also seriously consider them off limits for the most popular spells (such as sleep and magic missile... though making people drowsy could be really fun!).

4) Magic Items: I would prefer to limit the amount of magic items quite a bit... Conan, nor Turin have any magic items for the most part. Actually doing that though kinda rains on the fun for players... they always get excited at the prospect of a new magic item.

Jard
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for #4:
just don't make them magic items. what's the difference between finding a ring that gives you the ability to cast jump or knock once per day in a dragon's hoard vs. the act of slaying a dragon being such a monumental feat that you become a warrior so fierce you can simply do that? same with spider climb, giant strength, just about anything that involves enhancing physical capabilities. They also can't turn around and sell such boons for money, nor can their companions loot their amazing skills from their body when they die.

jedavis
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Except, perhaps, by eating their hearts to gain their strength...

Alex
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Jard, I love this idea. But how do you implement in play?

With a magic item, you can give a +1 sword. One member of the party gets it. How do you give out a +1 to hit and damage bonus in a way that one member of the party gets it? If it's training, why isn't it available to everyone?

Does one end up creating a 4E-style "Powers" tree from which characters pick at defined levels, instead of having magic weapons?
Does one use 3.5-style "inherent bonuses" to replace magic items?

Jard
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In fact many of these things are possible once you realize magic items don't have to be magic items. I can think of a few scenarios off the top of my head.

First, perhaps everyone DOES get it, but at a cost, the cost being the price of a +1 weapon, which must be paid in order to hire 1 on 1 attention from an ancient fighting master who can teach you his ways. One month or more of study may be necessary, in fact the time spent "crafting" it may require not only the master, but the student.

This leads to all sorts of potential madness, such as a fighting type performing "spell research" to discover new fighting styles, which he then teaches to others who seek him out.

But if all that's a little bit too out there, you could simply do something like giving whatever benefit you've concocted to the person who scored the killing blow, or to whoever built enough of a rapport with the grouchy martials arts master who is only willing to teach one student (and learning it is much different from being enough of a master to teach it).

4e also did "inherent bonuses" for dark*sun, so it's certainly not unheard of. I think the reason you don't see it much in old school is twofold: 1) nobody thought of it yet and 2) the +s weren't essential to the math of being able to hit things yet.

You should be able to do low magic and then life is just difficult but feasible for old-school PCs. However if you know your PCs will be sad if they don't get a carrot every once in a while but you want the FEEL of low-magic, you could use some substitutions like the ones proposed above.

Alex
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Brilliant stuff. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Beragon
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Hey Jard, I've been thinking about this, it's a really great idea for a mythic campaign. I'm slowly reading "The Saga of the Volsungs", and Sigurd eating the dragon's heart and thus gaining the ability to understand the speech of birds is a perfect example of this. I also recall D&D's Castle Amber having a few encounters where PCs could get permanent benefits that didn't involve receiving an actual magic item.

Jard
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Yeah, the later days of 4th edition, especially the DMG2 and the Dark Sun books, really hammered home that many of the effects we limit to magical items don't necessarily have to be.

jedavis
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As regards 4, you could also use non-magical but significant items in their place. The Imperial Seal, Adamant Crown of the Old Kings, Battle Standard of the First Republic, and such aren't important because they're magical - they're important because they're symbolic, and impart moral authority to their possessor. The nobility is also likely to seek them, and to have the cash to purchase them from the PCs.

One thing I've also done successfully is providing rare books as treasure. Each such book covers a single topic in detail, and a week's study provides answers to a number of questions based on the quality of the book (which may be used immediately or saved for later). Information that lets you win a fight is on par with a magic sword for effectiveness, if not style.

Alex
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Definitely! In a 3.5 campaign I ran a few years ago, rare books where the mechanism by which you "unlocked" feats and classes from the splat-books, and also contained information from the setting.

These are all ideas it would be cool to eventually incorporate into "heroic acks".

golan2072
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Maybe make cantrips dependant on the spells memorized? For example, if you've memorized a fire spell, you'll be able to produce a small flame (such as from a lighter) from your fingers tip at will.

Beragon
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Yes, that is the idea. In my examples above, you would have to have the Light spell in your repertoire to be able to cast the cantrip example I gave.

koewn
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There's an old reference work for a Conanization of OD&D at the bottom of this page:

http://www.grey-elf.com/

including a lot of simple house rules that would be applicable still in ACKS/BX. There's two documents; one focused on sorcery.

Beragon
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Thanks for this link koewn! I skimmed through both pdfs last night and there is certainly inspiration in them.

I'm thinking that if you want to truly convey a sword & sorcery styled game that features larger than life characters as the PCs, you're going to have to address the default concepts of magic. The Acheron supplement proposes the best "magic taint" concept I've seen to date. I really want to include that concept in some fashion in my campaign. After giving it some thought, I've come up with the following. The use of magic can be organized into three categories:

Benevolent Magic = Light Magic = White Magic
Indistinct Magic = Shadow Magic = Grey Magic
Malevolent Magic = Dark Magic = Black Magic

Not new... but I think this type of framework to hang magic on will work really well with recreating a setting which has the feel of Middle Earth or the Hyborian Age. I'll post more.

golan2072
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This is similar to how this is done in Crypts & Things, a system I love. I had some thoughts about doing something inspired by it in ACKS for Barbarian Conqueror King but decided to keep the current system for the sake of making BCK as compatible with ACKS as possible. The idea is:

1) No Arcane/Divine divide. All spellcaster classes use the Sorcerer class category, which has the same XP and point requirements as a Cleric, but casts and learns spells as a Mage, and does not include Turn Undead (which becomes a spell). Why use the easier progression (as Clerics need less XP than Mages to go up in levels)? Because of what I present below, i.e. many of the combat spells are DANGEROUS and a Lawful caster will never cast them. Also I wanted sorcerers with swords...

2) Spells are divided into three categories: White (Lawful), Grey (Neutral) and Black (Chaotic). Lawful characters may learn only White and Grey magicks, Chaotic characters may learn only Grey and Black magicks, and Neutral characters may learn any spell. BUT Lawful characters get bonuses (maybe faster progression?) for Lawful spells, and Chaotic characters get bonuses for Chaotic spells.

3) White spells are all spells which restore an object or body to its initial state (e.g. healing), plus divinations and protection spells. Grey spells are most utility spells that distort reality to a degree (e.g. levitation, flight, illusions and so on). Black spells increase entropy in a massive way (e.g. fireballs) or tamper with life or death in a way related to undeath (e.g. necromancy).

4) Casting White spells is as usual. When casting Grey spells, the caster loses 1hp per spell level cast; a successful save vs. spells halves this (round up). When casting Black spells, the caster loses 1hp per spell level, no save allowed for this, AND must save vs. spells or lose 1 sanity (starting sanity is equal to Wisdom; when it reaches 0, roll on a "mortal mental effects" table for madness).

Beragon
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Yes golan, the Conan hack for OD&D that koewn provided the link to is very similar to that.

Right now, I'm thinking of using the white, grey, black magic concept more as an organizational tool to differentiate caster-types rather than making outright house rules on the matter.

For example, black magic is practiced by "mages of the black cabal" and they have their own sets of spells, such as all the necromantic and transformation spells. However, for the "sages of the white council," such spells are forbidden, though maybe they have a few scrolls of them secreted away deep in the dungeons of their citadel hidden from those who would wish to use them!

I'm also wondering if I should re-skin the cleric class into divine spirits given mortal form (i.e. a Maiar equivalent).

Beragon
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Okay, so I've made a revision to character starting ability scores, and added a couple more. I got a chance to try them out this past weekend and I'm quite happy with most of them.

A change:
Starting Character Ability Scores:
I made the following changes:
- The total of all your scores added together must equal 72.
- The cumulative bonus from all your scores added together must not exceed +3.
- No score may be higher than 16.
- No score may be less than 7.

Essentially, this equates to 3.5's elite array (15,14,13,12,10,8), but is far more flexible.

Something new:
INCREASING ABILITY SCORES
Starting at 3rd level, when a PC reaches a new level, the player may increase one of his ability scores by 1 point. You cannot increase the same score two levels in a row. No score may be raised higher than a total of 2 points above its original total.

This results in a PC (at least one with 14 levels) having all original scores eventually increased by 2, although the player has control over how the increase happens.

Something new:
HEROIC SURGE
Once per day, at the beginning of any round, a PC may declare a heroic surge. He immediately regains 1 HD + Level worth of hit points. These hit points are temporary hit points and damage is dealt to them first. They last for 1 turn. The PC cannot declare a heroic surge if he is at 0 or less hit points.

This got used in the session, and I was very happy with how it worked and felt in the context of the adventure. With the goal of mitigating the prevalence and dependency of magical healing (potions, wands, clerics, etc.), mechanic-wise, this is more-or-less equates to giving everyone one "potion of healing" or one "cure light wounds" each day. I reserve the right to have important NPCs make use of it as well.

I'm still not sold on my Dodge/Parry mechanic idea. It was there, but did not get any use. I love the chart and the idea of dodging and parrying being options, but I haven't yet found a good way to include any of it yet.

I'm also considering something along the lines of a critical hit mechanic, but not in the traditional sense. I don't really want a mechanic that simply deals more damage, but instead does the following:
1) enhance the combat experience... perhaps the dodge/parry chart becomes an exceptional hit chart? A problem there is that I almost feel I would need two charts: one for humanoids and one for monsters.
2) make use of degrees of success... attack throws succeeding by 5+, 10+, etc., so that very good attack throws are rewarded for succeeding by a very high amount.

Beragon
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Another thought is to keep a "critical hit" within the same damage range as a normal hit, but have it be more likely to deal higher damage within that range:

succeed by 5+: roll two damage dice, and choose the highest result
succeed by 10+: roll three damage dice and choose the highest result
etc...

Example:
A fighter attacks using a sword two-handed. He needs an 8+ to hit and throws a 15, succeeding by 7...
For damage, he rolls 2d8, chooses the higher result of the two, and then applies any modifiers.

Beragon
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Putting dodge/parry mechanic on the back burner and contemplating a critical hit mechanic:

EXCEPTIONAL HITS
Characters score exceptional hits when they succeed on their attack throws by 5 or more. For every 5 points above the score needed to hit, in addition to the attack’s normal effect, the player rolls 2d6 and consults the appropriate chart below:

Humanoids
2 Disarm*
3 Knockdown*
4 Wrestling* or Brawl* (50% of either)
5 Force Back*
6-8 No additional effect
9 Wardrobe Malfunction
10 Damaged Armor
11 Damaged Weapon
12 Injured Appendage/Organ

Monsters
2 Injured Appendage/Organ
3 Injured Hide
4 Wrestling**
5 Give Ground
6-8 No additional effect
9 Brawl*
10 Knockdown*
11 Injured Attack
12 Injured Appendage/Organ

Note: If a rolled result does not apply to the target, treat the result for humanoids as FORCE BACK and treat the result for monsters as GIVE GROUND.

DAMAGED ARMOR
The target’s armor or shield is damaged – reduce its effectiveness by 1. A shield is the target 75% of the time if there’s a choice. Damaged armor can be repaired at a cost of 10gp per point of effectiveness. Armor that loses all effectiveness is ruined.

DAMAGED WEAPON
The target’s weapon suffers damage (-1 to hit or to damage determined randomly). Damaged weapons can be repaired for 25% of their cost, per penalty. If a weapon is damaged 4 times in this way, it is ruined.

GIVE GROUND
The monster must move back 5’. If this would do further harm to the monster (such as moving over a cliff), it gets a save vs. Paralysis to avoid the effect.

INJURED APPENDAGE/ORGAN
A significant part of the target’s body is at risk of injury. The target must save vs. Paralysis or have the chosen appendage/organ injured for the rest of the fight. The GM chooses what is targeted according to the situation and determines what the actual hindrance will be for the target.

INJURED ATTACK
One of the monster’s attacks (determined randomly) is temporarily incapacitated for 1d6 rounds. If the monster has only one attack, it gets a save vs. Paralysis to avoid this effect.

INJURED HIDE
The monster’s hide has been damaged, such that its AC is reduced by 1 for the rest of the fight.

WARDROBE MALFUNCTION
An article of clothing, jewelry, or exposed item (backpack, belt pouch, etc) gets damaged.

* If one of these special maneuvers is rolled, the character gets a free attempt to perform it if he wants to. The character does not make an additional attack roll – just the save vs. Paralysis is rolled (if required).
** In the case of Wrestling a large creature, the GM may allow the character to “climb” onto the monster.

Alex
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Very cool! I like how it makes the combats more interesting without making them more deadly. My only concern is that some of them will have a huge variance in effect depending on the judge, especially damage to items and appendages.

,

Beragon
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Thank You Alex. Interesting "crits" that give an advantage that's something else besides doing more damage is certainly the goal. I see what you're saying about the potential huge variance in damaged items and appendages, but I'm hoping the variance to be a feature rather than a bug. I'm worried that codifying it too much would make the whole a bit unwieldy and restrict narrative/spontaneous play. Perhaps listing examples would help.

Beragon
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Joined: 2012-02-26 22:57

Brainstorming a "dodge/parry" mechanic again:

This is an abstract interpretation of parrying and dodging by simply improving AC at the expense of decreasing your ability to hit. It assumes that you can dodge and parry easier when lightly armored rather than heavily armored, thus it's very advantageous to characters who wear little or no armor. The rule takes advantage of the Cleave mechanic.

You can spend potential cleave attempts each round to increase your AC. Each available cleave attempt spent increases your AC by 1 until your next turn. However, there are 2 caveats:
1) Each cleave attempt spent imposes a cumulative -1 penalty to your attack throws
2) You must subtract your AC bonus from armor worn from the bonus gained

Examples:

A 5th level barbarian in a loin-cloth (i.e. no armor) can spend from 1 to 5 of his available cleave attempts to gain a +1 to +5 bonus to AC.

The same barbarian has donned chain mail armor. He will gain no benefit from this defensive option unless he spends all 5 of his available cleave attempts, since wearing the chain mail armor reduces any bonus gained by 4. Spending 5 cleaves will grant him a +1 AC bonus, but he'll be attacking at a -5 penalty.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

koewn
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Joined: 2012-07-17 20:11

I think this is pretty good.

It's costlier than the d20 options (Combat Expertise feat, trade BAB for AC) by also requiring one to spend Cleave.

It's also limited to improvement over existing armor, also good.

It also completely eliminates Mage-types from doing this, since they have no cleaves to spend, and that's good too.

Looking at maximum application, the loinclothed barbarian at level 14 can gain an AC of 14, with a -14 to his attack throw, yes?

Presuming he's in a fight with other en-towelled humans in a sauna, he'd have an attack throw of 15+ to hit AC 0, ignoring any help from various proficiencies or magical weapons.

That's enough to get him to the door and out of the sauna unscathed.

...and now I'm trying to find the game theory answer to a sauna full of 14th level barbarians wearing towels all wanting the most advantageous combination of AC and attack throws.

/I can't believe I made it through that post without any innuendo

Beragon
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Joined: 2012-02-26 22:57

What a great example to bring up :)

So, yes, one of the reasons for the mechanic to exist is specifically to facilitate the possibility of (among other lightly armored heroes from stories) loin clothed barbarian-like characters who, like Conan, kick butt against swarms of low-level enemies while not often getting hit themselves.

Following your example, King Conan (a 13th level fighter in ACKS) caught in a sauna by toweled, 0-level would-be assassins ideally would give up 9 cleave attempts and take a -9 penalty to hit for a base AC of 9. There would be no need of increasing it further since the entoweled opponents would then need 20+ to hit. King Conan would be hitting them on 11+ and still have 4 cleaves to use that turn. Note that the odds don't include any bonuses from Strength or Dexterity, which King Conan would likely have, skewing the odds even more in his favor.

And of course, the scenario would be complicated by the presence of a scantily clad, alabaster skinned woman... but that component is beyond the scope of the rule.

koewn
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Ah, good point on the maximum spend to hit 20+, didn't think about that.

If everyone's AC 0, then the max spend based on apparent attack throw of opponents is:

11+ - 9
10+ - 10
9+ - 11
8+ - 12
7+ - 13
6+ - 14

so King Conan can become nigh-unhittable (20+) by up to 5/6th level assassins, whiles still striking AC 0 at 15+.

I think there's something to be said on this about if you're high enough level, always be someplace where a lot of clothes that can hide armor is suspicious.

Saunas, bedrooms, harems, etc. Maybe a harem sized sauna with a bed? It's good to be the king.

Beragon
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Joined: 2012-02-26 22:57

Another thought on the above:
This idea lets all characters with access to cleaves reach the base target AC 6 (i.e. plate armor), albiet at penalty.

You can spend cleaves to increase your AC. Each cleave spent increases your AC by 1, but reduces your attack throws by 1 until your next turn.

Caveat:
Your AC bonuses from the following sources may not exceed a total of 6
1) mundane AC bonus from armor worn
2) Swashbuckling proficiency
3) Any Class ability like the bladdancer's AC bonus

Using the examples above:
A 5th level barbarian in a loin cloth can spend 1 to 5 cleaves to gain a +1 to +5 bonus to AC, albeit at a -1 to -5 penalty on attack throws

The same barbarian wearing chain armor can spend 1 or 2 cleaves to gain a +1 or +2 bonus to AC, albeit at a -1 or -2 penalty to attack throws.

staticispunk
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Joined: 2014-06-19 21:24

Is there a reason you aren't just saying "you can't increase your AC over 6 by expending cleaves"?

nDervish
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Joined: 2014-04-02 05:05

I would imagine it's because there are things which add to AC (shields, DEX bonus, magical protection,...) which aren't on the list of things which can't give a total of more than 6 AC. If you have no armor, DEX 16, and a +1 shield, then you could expend cleaves to get up to AC 6 of "armor" and then get the +2 DEX bonus, +1 for a shield, and +1 for the shield's enchantment for a total AC 10. (I'm assuming that the AC 6 "worn armor" limit excludes shield, because the post started by explicitly connecting AC 6 with plate armor, which is AC 6 with no shield.)

Beragon
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Joined: 2012-02-26 22:57

nDervish has it exactly right. This idea assumes that everyone who can cleave has the "right" to get up to a base AC of 6 if they have enough skill, but there is a cost to do so, which includes any or all of these:
1) you must spend cleaves
2) you must take a penalty to hit
3) you must wear armor
4) you must take proficiencies or have class abilities that grant an AC bonus

A base AC of 6 was chosen specifically because in standard ACKS, the best armor you can get is plate, which grants AC 6. Note that under this iteration, you can mitigate the penalties needed to achieve AC 6 by wearing better armor.

The intent of the rule is:
1) allow fighting types to wear lesser armor without losing the option to have the best AC they otherwise could have (the cost being attack penalties and cleaves)
2) Keep maximum achievable ACs at their normal levels (my first version doesn't do that)
3) mitigate hp damage
4) portray characters that look and feel like the ones in fantasy literature

I don't know if it's a worthwhile rule... it's hard to tell if my players will use it.

staticispunk
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Joined: 2014-06-19 21:24

That makes sense. I guess I wasn't thinking clearly. It seems to me though that the rule is a bit over complicated, and that if you're going to trade away attack bonuses for it it might be better to just put a simple cap on it than have a bunch of exceptions.