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Author Topic: Rick moscatello  (Read 2753 times)

BedrockBrendan

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Rick moscatello
« on: July 06, 2015, 09:42:06 PM »
BY RICK MOSCATELLO

We’ve just about wrapped up all the easy ways to have 5e play a bit more like “old school” games, but there are still a few minor and major fixes to consider. First, we need to change the over-strong Moon Druids.
     
Moon Druids especially are pretty far from old school, which just didn’t have characters with such open, and awesome, reusable powers at low level. Moon Druids are really aberrant compared to other characters, but only from levels 3 to 6, after which they’re not quite so dominating.
     
Still, that’s a lot of play. Consider restricting to only ONE use of Wild Shape between short rests until level 7, which is still quite powerful, and not really addressing the issue with this power.
     
The real problem is the “magic as science” paradigm, which allows the player to always pick the bestest, most useful form…a big cat, for the most part. The only “easy” fix is to set up a table for the Moon Druid transformation, randomly choosing between dog, rat, squirrel, or whatever. That’s the best fix, but making such charts is tedious and depends on the campaign. If you don’t have the time for that, here’s a simpler chart that might work for you:

Wild Shape Chart:
Whenever a Druid invokes the Wild Shape ability, roll a d20 on the chart below to determine the maximum CR of the form the Druid can choose (Add +1 to the roll for every 2 Druid Levels, Circle Of The Moon Druids add an additional +2 to the roll):

D20 roll                     Maximum CR, movement restrictions
12 or less: ¼ , no Fly/Swim
13-17: ½, no Fly
18-20: 1, no restrictions
21 or greater: Druid Level/4, or Circle of the Moon Druid Level/3, no restrictions

This makes the Moon Druid far less likely to just turn into something awesome, every time, and now, when the druid gets a good animal form, the druid will have some motivation to try to keep it, instead of just “I don’t care if this animal gets hacked up, I’ll just become a carbon copy on my next bonus action anyway, then we can rest and hour, and I can do it all over again in a perfectly predictable way.”
     
This may seem alien to the modern player, but even spells like reincarnation, raise dead, and resurrection still required a roll on a chart to see if they worked in a beneficial way.

Resistances and Vulnerabilities:

While most comparisons between the DPR (“damage per round”) of the various classes show them all coming out basically equal (yes, I know it’s not exactly old school to compare classes this way…), something has been left out: resistances and vulnerabilities.
     
This really hurts the “non-magic” classes, which are basically stuck bashing monsters with variations of pointy sticks. Meanwhile, the magic classes get a free ride against all the monsters resistant to non-magic damage, and get a double bonus against all the vulnerable monsters.
     
Old school games didn’t allow for this, and “one trick pony” characters ran a real risk of encountering monsters that were simply immune to that one trick.
   
5e has copied down all the stereotypes of the old school monsters, but neglected to account for power creep of the spellcasters as the game evolved. To think there was a time when a wizard could actually run out of spells! The horror!
     
Some monsters have “magic resistance” in 5e, but it’s fairly weak, merely granting advantage on saving throws (not particularly useful against no-save spells, for example). Here are a number of resistances that should be shuffled into an “old school” campaign, along with some notes:

Force Resistance: Warlocks are the ultimate one-trick pony, almost nothing is resistant or immune to the force damage of Eldritch Blast. Force damage is really just bludgeoning damage, but “meta” so that nothing is safe from it. Turn it back into bludgeoning damage. Skeletons should be vulnerable to force (all those fragile bones), and many metallic/crystalline creatures should likewise be vulnerable. Now that we know what’s vulnerable, that should also be the guideline for what gets resistance: things without bones. So, oozes, jellies, and such should be resistant to sonic damage, which just ripples through them to little effect.  

Minor Magic Resistance: Cantrips are all over the place now, but fairly magical creatures should be unimpressed by such petty magic. So, minor demons and devils (CR 2 or less), and well as lesser magical constructs, should be resistant to cantrips, and get advantage on saves. Outright immunity is against the main paradigm of 5e (everyone can always do at least a little something), but there needs to be an accounting for the much heavier magic of the 5e world copared to old school games. For spells that grant saving throws, a roll of natural 19 or 20 means the cantrip does nothing, and Minor Magic Resistant creatures that make this roll can completely ignore any effects of the spell (for spells with such lingering effects, the creature can repeat the roll every round).

Moderate Magic Resistance: Much like Minor Magic Resistance, this applies to spells up to 3rd level. Basically, any creature that innately casts 3rd level spells (eg, Nagas) or spell-equivalent effects (eg, Genies) is going to be fairly resistant to such a level of magic, and many demons and devils (CR 7 to CR 3) will require major magic for them to notice. Note that “low level” spells cast at a higher level count as a higher level spell for this type of resistance. For spells that grant saving throws or have lingering effects, a roll of natural 18, 19 or 20 means the spell does nothing, and any effects are ignored as above.

Ultimate Magic Resistance: As the others, but up to 6th level spells. This may seem harsh, but, over the years, the old “it takes magic to beat magic” paradigm merged with the “all classes can do anything equally well” paradigm to make spellcasters very dominating, leaving little room for yahoos that just want to swing a sword. Again, major demons and devils, as well as adult or better dragons and those few creatures that can cast spells of this level innately would have this level of resistance. There’s no reason that magic needs to be all-powerful, any more than golems need to be in every adventure, just so the non-magic characters can feel a little useful. For spells that grant saving throws, a roll of natural 17, 18, 19 or 20 means the up to 6th level spell does nothing much like above.

Resist Magical Fire: This is a special type of Magic Resistance, that only applies to magical fire. Magical fire used to be distinctly different than “normal” fire in old school games, as weird as that sounds (there were spells and items that treated “magic” fire as different from “normal” fire, even if a thermometer said both burned just as hot). Anyway, creatures in 5e have regeneration just like creatures in “old school” games, but now it’s almost impossible to build a party that doesn’t have, built-in, multiple ways of stopping regeneration, infinitely often. In over 40 rounds of combat against trolls in my campaign, a troll has only managed to regenerate 1 time…it’s gone from a scary ability to a weird footnote from “the old days.” So, many regenerating creatures in the 5e world, obviously, must have developed a way for regeneration to still matter at least sometimes. This ability, in addition to resistance to magical fire damage, magical fires of below 3rd level don’t stop regeneration (Chill Touch still works as advertised, since that’s the actual point of the cantrip, and of course there are still acid attacks, which might meet a similar resistance…).

These are just ideas, of course. The thing is to realize that 5e is a new game, with loads of new rules suddenly interacting with loads of other new rules, and trying to interact with “legacy” rules of decades of D&D. It’s unreasonable to expect everything to work perfectly out of the box, so don’t be afraid to change the rules to make a game more interesting for you and your group.