Friday, December 2, 2011

miscellaneous design notes

I love it when the solution to things just fits together based on the infrastructure you have in place.  I'm just going through and tightening up the Beacon book, looking for punctuation, spelling, consistent nomenclature and such, and I'm finding little gaps in the rules which I'm plugging up.
Dr. Killenger faces off against Dr. Orpheus
One such gap was spell interruption due to combat.  Now that magic users can't just rip off a spell on their turn, but have to prepare their spells and then wait till the melee phase to cast them, the counterspell is actually usable and useful.  Such was the intent.  There is also now chance that they will get hit with an arrow or have their teeth bashed in before the spell is cast.  I was worried about how to rule this up and was thinking of saving throws and concentration checks but but then it all just made sense this is d20 - just increase the DC when they cast.  I figure a distraction should move the base DC from 10 to 15 (difficult) and an actual attack on the caster would raise it to 20 (hard), or even higher if there was lots of violence going on.  A mage impaled on a spear barely ripping off his teleport spell with some crazy roll comes to mind.  No need for any new stuff here - just the way I likes it.

I also specifically set the definition of a turn which is:
A turn is the amount of time it takes for the players and their opponents to complete a basic round of actions.  This is somewhere around 1 minute, however may be much quicker (in the heat of combat) or a little longer (picking your way through a dark cavern) depending on the situation.  It is certainly less than 10 minutes. 
I want to make it clear to everyone that it's around 1 minute, it's highly mutable, and it's less than 10 minutes.  I don't care how fast you can run in your backyard with a backpack full of pathfinder books.  Anyone at my table that says that six second combat turns are more realistic now gets rocks falling on their character.  All the spells now use this convention so that if they have durations based on turns it says turn (not min.) and units longer than a turn are stated in real time units like hours or days.  Anything less than 10 minutes however is quantum time as far as I'm concerned.

I did end up dropping the spell widening/lengthening rule.  It never saw play in the play test and I'm thinking it really would just make spells harder to balance with not much benefit.  Someone would figure out the edge cases here and game the system I'm sure.

I had written up a little bit on fast melee weapons which would apply to things like daggers and rapiers, and allow you to use them in the missile phase instead of the melee phase of combat.  It seemed like a cool thing on first blush to give some differentiation to the weapons and all that.  But, I started proofreading the rule explaining it, and  like most things that break across simple classifications like (melee and missile combat) it began to seem too messy so that's now gone.

Lets see, what else?  Oh I tweaked the default racial starting abilities to include some skills.  Elves for instance get Survival and Knowledge and +1 Charisma now as an example.  Dwarves get Fabrication.

I'm in the home stretch now, hoping to get this done by next week so The Bane can play it for Christmas.


  1. Oh.... you ARE Santa Clause!!! Kinda bummed about the spell Widening/Lengthening though. I tend to like a little variety when I play Mages. Which is not often, mainly because of the fire-and-forget rigidness of it all.

    But, I do hope to get some Beacon in over the near holidays. Thanks!


  2. Ah, the turn is defined! I like that it's malleable, and I have no problem with this definition. How does it interact with melee movement?