Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Beacon 7.5

I've updated the current PDF of the Beacon rules, it's the 7.5 draft now.  This version of the rules lines up with the changes I made to the Roll20 character sheet in February.  As always I wanted to fix more things then I had time for and I had to weigh the need to have the new rules available against fixing unfinished items or formatting.  You will see some stuff in red that is under revision along side the stuff in purple which is highlighting new content or changes.  The Pdf isn't as pretty as I'd like, but its usable.

This version of Beacon has a lot of changes and includes new rules or tools that I've been using for some time in my playtesting.  This release is really the 'Skill' release and many changes involve the skill system.  During playtesting I noticed that the power creep was starting to become very noticeable around levels 6 and 7.  I tried to address this by halving the dice bonus from skills.  At the same time I was able to make skills more important in all aspects of the game.  In most cases I am trying to give players choices in how they can progress their character builds by choosing where to put their skill points.  I also had noticed a problem with the way spending coin to add experience points was causing some players to outpace others as well as generally making leveling up too rapid.  Changing the level requirements from instead of "XP plus treasure equals the level target" to "XP and treasure both equal the level target" allows for a lot more treasure in the game in general, and doing this means that I don't need to put any arbitrary limits on how much a player spends on their advancement.

Other important tweaks to the game were reworking the attack bonuses to utilize the physical skill, adding the rogue's ability to have a 'special' skill and changing the hunter environment bonus to apply to any non-combat skill checks instead of just survival rolls.  Any place I could take out a lookup table or special class rule related to a particular skill I tried to do that.  I did wind up making a new class of 'small' weapons which are the same as light weapons but have less encumbrance.  This change primarily serves the character sheet, but is necessary in the game because of the way weapons are abstracted.  I balanced this out somewhat by removing the special rules for two-handed heavy weapons and codifying how bonuses are applied to these (now three) categories of weapon.  Small weapons get no bonus for STR, light weapons get an attack bonus and heavy weapons get an attack and a damage bonus.  I do like having weapon damage being set instead of rolled but at the same time I've added back in some complexity like weapon damage types blunt, slashing and piercing.  Damage types are good fun in combat I think and give reasons for PCs to carry specific weapons again.  

I've removed the monster section for now, I plan on replacing it with more of a 'monster builder' section instead.  I still use the basic idea of 'everything based on hit dice' when running monsters, but I have found that having large monsters always using large dice for initiative does take away from combat.  I still rely heavily on number and type of HD for coming up with monster stats, but I've gravitated toward having monsters with multiple HD types per attack and special abilities which I want to reflect in the rules.

The direction of Beacon for a while has been to abstract many of the game processes while still retaining meaningful resource management to support the expedition style play I want to encourage.  This release finally has the table for making camp while on an expedition, and lifestyle chart for cost of living between adventures.    The goal of these changes was to make the fun bits more fun and the bookkeeping more streamlined.

Finally I am still working on fixing the spells, something that is taking longer than I ever imagined.  I like a lot of the newer spells I've put up which are more quirky and less generic than the original spells I brought over from the d20 SRD.  There are still a lot of spells that are not suited for point spend still, but that number is dropping.  Next release I hope to have most of the spells out of the red and adapted for microlite style magic.

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