Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Super-Daily" Powers

In 4th ed. it's been a while since I played a Wizard, but after a recent session where the "Arcanist" was complaining, amongst other things about the change of the name from Wizard to Arcanist, their insight in the what was wrong with the Wizard caused me to dwell on some of the deeper issues in 4th Ed. D&D.

We've all heard the complaints about how "Every class is the same", especially from the non-4E gamers that we know, and to some extent these are very true.  One class may have a Str vs AC power that deals [W]+Str and immobilized or knocks target prone, while another one will have a Dex ve Reflex that has the exact same game effect, but different flavor text.

This is the biggest complaint I heard from the 3.5/Pathfinder crowd about 4E classes.  They really liked the vast differences in each class, with its strengths and weaknesses.  In 4E the game tried to give these distinctions by the Role of the characters, Leaders vs Strikers and Defenders vs Controllers, which seemed a great way to distinguish what the strength and weaknesses were...but now after so many power books have been released the lines are blurred greatly from the classes original intent.

Good for the players, that want a Striker/Controller or some other combination role.  Though, I think this speaks directly to what I'me trying to do in Open Gateways, I think die hards can argue what-ever side of this that they want.  What I think players really want is the customization factor to make the character that they want.

Taking this back to the original point, the Wizard of previous editions was largely a one-trick pony.  Give me a larger group of weaker baddies and I'll hit them with my Sleep spell, or Fireball as it struck my fancy...but when the wizards acted it had a huge impact on the direction of the battle.

This ability came with the penalty of not being able to act very many times before they required rest.  People that played Wizards in previous editions really dislike the equallizing that has been done in traditional 4E.

I'm dealing with this by the addition of effectively creating "Super-Daily" powers, that allow various paths to spend their daily, and effectively tap a second Daily to gain a times two benefit on the first one.

On top of this, their needs to be a broader range of their abilities, which I'm handling by having a class of rituals that can be "snap-casted" by trading in a Daily power of equal level.  There is another category or Rituals that can be pre-cast that work effectively by trading in an encounter power of equal level as the ritual to produce the effect.

This returns the functionality to Rituals like Silence, or even Anti-Venom could be reworked to do this.  I'm essentially going through my favor spells from all the other games I've played and categorizing them as candidates for Powers (At-Will, Encounter, Daily, or Super-Daily) or as Ceremonies (standard Ritual type, possibly with the ability to be snap-casted or triggered).

These simple changes gives players of the traditional "Wizard" class the old-school functionality that they once possessed, and giving them a more significant/specific role in a party than the other controllers.  Mass groups of creatures will howl in fear when they hear a Wizard shout "Fireball" from the back of the party, a (4d6+Int)x2 is after all, pretty close to a 10d6 fireball of the early days.

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