Chapter 1 - Getting Started

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NEW TERMS

Base Defense Bonus: Place holder; this will be the definition for a concept aimed at making defense during combat active rather than passive. This is part and parcel of my proposed focus on Armor as DR and the elimination of traditional Armor Class.

GENERATING A CHARACTER

ABILITY SCORES

Each ability partially describes your character and affects
some of his actions.

Strength (Str)
Strength measures muscle and physical power. This ability is important for those who engage in hand-to-hand (or “melee”) combat, such as fighters, monks, paladins, and some rangers. Strength also sets the maximum amount of weight your character can carry. A character with a Strength score of 0 is too weak to move in any way and is unconscious. Some creatures do not possess a Strength score and have no modifier at all to Strength-based skills or checks.

You apply your character’s Strength modifier to:
• Damage rolls when using a melee weapon or a thrown weapon, including a sling. (Exceptions: Off-hand attacks receive only half the character’s Strength bonus, while two-handed attacks receive 1–1/2 times the Strength bonus. A Strength penalty, but not a bonus, applies to attacks made with a composite bow.)
• Climb and Swim checks.
• Strength checks (for breaking down doors and the like).

Change: Note that, in my proposed system, Str does not affect melee attack rolls. One's actual ability to succeed in a melee attack role - that is, to succeed in what is essentially a touch attack - is a matter of hand-eye-coordination, speed, and skill. Strength plays a role in the amount of impact, cutting force, or penetration an attacker can inflict, and thus how much damage one will cause in battle. As such, in a system where armor is represented logically (as a factor that helps reduce damage rather than as a factor that helps you avoid a strike), Strength remains the critical ability score for a melee combatant.

Dexterity (Dex)
Dexterity measures agility, reflexes, and balance. This ability is the most important one for rogues, but it’s also useful for characters who wear light or medium armor or no armor at all. A character with a Dexterity score of 0 is incapable of moving
and is effectively immobile (but not unconscious).

You apply your character’s Dexterity modifier to:
• Melee AND ranged attack rolls, including those for attacks made with bows, crossbows, throwing axes, and many ranged spell attacks like scorching ray or searing light.
• Base Defense Bonus (BdB), provided that the character can react to the attack.
• Reflex saving throws, for avoiding fireballs and other attacks that you can escape by moving quickly.
• Acrobatics, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Fly, Ride, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth checks.

Key Change: Obviously, the fact that Dex now affects all attack rolls. See Str, above.

Constitution (Con)
Depending on my final combat system choices, I may introduce some new mechanic to Con.

Charisma (Cha)
Charisma measures a character’s personality, personal magnetism, and ability to lead. It does not equate to appearance. Charisma is the most important ability for paladins, sorcerers, and bards. It is also important for clerics, since it affects their ability to channel energy. For undead creatures, Charisma is a measure of their unnatural “lifeforce.” Every creature has a Charisma score. A character with a Charisma score of 0 is not able to exert himself in any way and is unconscious.

You apply your character’s Charisma modifier to:
• Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Perform, and Use Magic Device checks.
• Checks that represent attempts to inf luence others.
• Channel energy DCs for clerics and paladins attempting to harm undead foes.

Bards, paladins, and sorcerers gain a number of bonus spells based on their Charisma scores. The minimum Charisma score needed to cast a bard, paladin, or sorcerer spell is 10 + the spell’s level.

Key Change: Removing appearance from the mix. Fact of the matter is, Charisma and Appearance do not go hand-in-hand. A very charismatic person that is also very handsome certainly has an advantage with people concerned about looks, but looks in and of themselves do not make one charismatic. Conversely, looks will not make an individual charismatic when they are actively being rude, insulting, etc.

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