Sunday, July 26, 2015

Character Optimization in Monvesia

"Optimization" seems to be a good word for areas related to either the creation or customization of characters--and house rules related to each.

Ability Scores

The Player's Handbook presents three methods of generating ability scores:  4d6, standard array, and point-buy.  These methods have become fairly standard in fantasy roleplaying.  Of the three, my preference is for point-buy--which allows for both individuality and balance.  I disagree with the Player's Handbook in regards to the highest ability one can purchase, however.  

Using the 4d6 method, there is potential for having an 18 in an ability before applying racial modifiers.  Even with allowing for the freedom of point-buy, I disagree that 15 should be the highest, purchasable ability score.  

In my games, I will allow a player to purchase an ability score of 16, which would cost 11 points.  While still limited to 27 points (keeping the same "Standard array"), this would allow for an extreme array of either |16, 16, 11, 11, 8, 8| or |16, 16, 13, 9, 8, 8|.


I was not originally inclined to allow for multiclassing in Monvesia.  The setting had its roots in BECMI/RC D&D, which does not "really" allow for multiclassing, at least not for low-level characters.  The exception here is that, in the Immortals rules, the Polymath path to immortality requires a special kind of multilassing:  A character must complete 36 levels in one class before experiencing fores amnesia to reach at least 5th level in another class to seek out an artifact--and repeat until all four [human] classes have been mastered.  One of the heroes of legend, [St.] Jostin, had completed such a task.

In Pathfinder, as with other 3.x games, multi-classing worked in a similar fashion to 5th edition--but without the restrictions.  Under these rules, anyone could dip into any other class to pick up weapon and armor proficiency or easy access to skills.  It was a system that was easily abused, leading to nearly every character to be multiclass.  Experience with multiclassing in this system was point two against allowing it in the 5th edition incarnation.

5th edition provides many ways for cross-class deveopment--inluding both archetypes (Totem Warrior, Eldritch Knight, Way of the Four Elements, Arcane Trickster) and feats (Magic Initiate, Martial Adept, War Caster).  However, these options to not cover all possible class combinations.  Luckily, the 3.x-style of multiclassing has been fixed: adding ability score requirements and reducing starting proficiencies.

For the time being, I will allow multiclassing in Monvesia.  The reasons are threefold:
  1. I cannot determine an in-setting reason for preventing it.
  2. Issues from 3.x have been corrected.
  3. It is expected.  *sigh*


Feats are one of he best additions to the game to come from 3.x; and I was pleased to learn that they would continue in 5th edition.  Unlike 3.x & 4th edition, 5th edition feats are more complex.  In many ways, a 5th edition feat could be a combination of several 3.x or 4th edition feats.  To use feats, you give up ability scores increases ... but can still choose feats that increase ability scores.  Some feats even allow for limited cross-class development.  I see no reason not to use these rules in Monvesia

Unlike races, classes, and backgrounds, I am not going to explore every feat in the game.


Dragonmark (Unearthed Arcana) is a good example of a setting-specific, flavor feat, and there is no reason to adapt it to Monvesia.  Therefore, this feat is unavailable.
The presence of planetouched races (aasimar, genasi, tiefling), as well as my adaptation to the Draconic Bloodling sorerous origin would make any adaptation of this Eberron-secific feat redundant.

Elemental Adept

If any feat could be considered iconic to Monvesia, this would be it.  Members of non-spell-casing races will first need the Magic Initiate feat.  For the purposes of refleccting Monvesia's elemntal structure, add the following damage types as options:  necrotic, radiant.

Weapon Mastery & Tool Feats

The following, expanded feats from Unearthed Arcana are available in Movesia:
  • Weapon Mastery Feats
    • Blade Mastery
    • Fell Handed (axe & hammer mastery)
    • Flail Mastery
    • Spear Mastery
  • Tool Feats
    • Alchemist
    • Burglar
    • Gourmand
    • Master of Disguise

Home-Brew Feats

The following home-brew feats would be appropriate additions to a Monvesia campaign:

Edited April 10th, 2016; June 28th, 2016.

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