Heroic Souls RPG

Design Entry 001
Initial Set Up
  • Set up small bits of the wiki, log, and other pages to facilitate work.
  • Invited design members to game.
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Thoughts on Magic : Belief Magic
Arcana dribbles

I have a general idea of how I want to distinguish magic in the system. Three “schools” of magical arts with a fourth discipline that attempts to utilize all three schools to achieve results with less effort. Today I want to get some thoughts out on the school of belief magic.

Belief magic is sort of the arcane equivalent of western academies soft sciences. In D&D terms, it starts with illusions and charms, but it also accomplishes interesting feats through the placebo effect. Clerics, paladins, bards, barbarians, and warlocks would all be D&D classes that thematically could be seen as tapping into the power of belief magic.

Common themes of this school include:
Perception is reality
Truth is what the majority believes
Repetition reinforces

Students of belief magic, as of the campaign setting, have not studied deeply the underlying mechanics of the school. The most learned pure belief mages are the gifted priests of the gods, and the various clergies around the world have not overcome dogmatic obstacles to truly determine the source of the powers they wield.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how they would like to see this school expanded? I foresee designing two- four combat classes based upon the school.

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Thoughts on Mechanics: Leveling and Tiers of Play
Crunchy dribbles

Using 5th edition D&D as a base for this system allows for pretty clean breaks in tiers of play, as the proficiency bonuses create tranches of gameplay. To that effect, the first two tranches stretch into approximately 8th level. All classes are well into their subclasses by this point, warriors have an extra attack, and casters are nearing the last level of normal tier spells.

Within this system, I believe that 90-ish% of the world’s population should be below 9th level in each of their directions of growth. Up to this level, training and experience alone can bring about increases, but advancing beyond 8th level requires more than killing a few 100 more goblins or studying tomes like your final is tomorrow. Past level 8 each class will have various milestones requirements that must be met for a character to gain their next level. Heroic soul levels will specifically require more and more risk to be taken on by the character, but the other directions of growth might not necessarily require direct risks.

An example of a 8 to 9 level requirement for a belief based class might be “experience a crisis of faith and reaffirm your beliefs” or “spread a rumor that begins to propagate across national boundaries”.

For player benefit, the leveling requirement will be very transparent, and my hope would be that they encourage players to expand how they play for characters as they enter the third tier of gameplay.

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What do you do with a problem like Pablo?
How do you catch a thief and make him not sneak attack?

I admit it. I was addicted to 3rd edition D&D. The symmetric design, organic multiclassing, and simplicity of the d20 really compelled me. Yet for all the good things that 3rd edition have us, it was not a perfect system for every campaign and every world structure

One problem that always bugged me with 3rd edition was trying to create non- combat experts that were not just bad at combat because I would just casually let them participate in fights. I wanted the mechanical background to be present so that a player could look at an npc after the fact and know roughly the choices they made to get where they were. I wanted Pablo to be Pablo.

Pablo was an NPC in an old campaign that I wanted ti be a master thief with no real combat ability or even the ability survivability to take normal hits.

Pablo never got an official character sheet because I always needed to adjust how he played. Essentially, he was a level 1 rogue with a dozen out of combat levels that would appear to explain how he could bluff and subdue with the best.

The current beta of the Heroic Souls leveling system where levels are gained in different directions is a direct answer to fixing Pablo. In a heroic souls game, Pablo would be a 1/4/10/1. (Combat/ social/ expertise/ heroic), and I believe any character could follow in his footsteps.

Does anyone else have character ideas that they think the heroic souls system would model well?

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Thoughts on Mechanics: Stealing What Works
Crunchy dribbles

5th edition has a simple base of mechanics that are based upon small numbers interacting with each other. Proficiency bonuses are standard across levels, but some classes double the bonuses. Advantage and disadvantage allow two tools for better or worse. Some classes get a pool of dice that they can spend on select roles.

The largest advantage I see to this system is the ability to have a non-shifting scale of difficulty classes for rolls. I love the idea of letting the world define what is impossible or improbable. As such, I fully want to maintain the inherent simplicity ofthe system.

I want to integrate a few lessons on design that I’ve learned from those girls and boys over at Paizo from their a Starfinder system. Some classes have bonus dice that scale with level, but they can forego the dice to allow reroll the original dice. These dice are limited to specific rolls, but they are used everytime the roll is made. Every class can attack twice at penalty, and various classes can attack more for increased penalties.

I also have a few unique ideas that could be interesting to integrate. I think some classes should be able to forgo a d20 roll and roll a 3d6 instead. This would normalize the roll at the expense of being rid of the 19 and 20 results. I would love to even have a high risk class that forego the d20 for an exploding 3d4. The statistics onthe average rolls would be fun to compute, but I think it could be fun to have that high risk reward type class.

Can anyone else think of interesting mechanics we can create or steal to make this system fun?

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