I was excited about 4e when it first came out, since, after all, my Paladins would be mechanically awesome again. After a couple 4e campaigns I got a little disillusioned with it, but wasn't able to put much thought into it because I was about to enter into an asskicking new college semester. Then the summer came and I wanted to get back into 4e, but lo and behold! Carpet nuclear nerfing has made pretty much all of my characters something between mediocre and lame, and the new supplements that the WotC factory is pumping out are utterly and completely unappealing, and the way the game is designed it's incredibly difficult to put together much in the way of custom game material for it.
Since I was decidedly not going to play 4e anymore, I'd have to get my RPing fix from the 3.5e system. Considered Pathfinder, but I'm not too excited about it. I really just don't see Pathfinder doing that much with the system at all, really. Clerics and Wizards, IMO, are still huge powerhouses while Fighters and Paladins are still more or less the same (if maybe bumped up to tiers 4 or even 3).
Now that I'm following/joined up with a game on these boards, I'm seeing what kind of cool ideas there are out there like the stuff on the Dreamscarred Press SRD and just about everything Races of War. Further, while 4e does, by and large, suck, there are a few good ideas in there, and I'd like to bring those in as well. (I've actually put together the framework of a new skill list already, using the 3.5e skill system.)
That said, problem number 1 is the Wizard. I don't want to get rid of full casters/full manifesters, but the game pretty much needs them to be toned down. For that, I'm looking for help and input, starting with this idea: No 9th-level spells. Hell, no 8th-level spells, either. There are more of these spells that cause these Tier 1/Tier 2-level of problems then there are that don't, so I'd rather pick a few level 8's, stick them in as level 7 spells, and just get rid of the rest. Here's the breakdown of what I'm thinking for a basic progression:
|Level |||Pure |||Hybrid|
The Level column is the level of spells/powers known, the Pure column is for pure casters/manifesters (Wizard/Psion/Sorcerer/etc.), and the Hybrid column is for hybrid casters/manifesters (Bard/Psywar/Paladin/etc.). The numbers in the table itself are the levels at which said powers are obtained.
Casters have cantrips/orisons, Manifesters don't, so hybrid manifesters will basically have 1 power known and only bonus PP at first level while hybrid casters will simply have cantrips.
Hybrid classes will also have one or two class abilities that also get advanced when you pick up +1 level progression, similar to how Warlocks get their eldritch blast advanced when they get +1 level, or how DSP put out rules allowing Soulknives to increase the potency of their mind blades alongside a manifesting class when they get +1 level progression. This way there will be a reason to progress hybrid casting with +1 level progression classes outside of when you need so many levels in the class that it's just not practical to dip.
There won't be any base
classes that deviate from this. Sorcerers and Wizards both get 2nd level spells at their 3rd class level, the difference being that the Wizard will be able to cast 2-3 different spells once each per day while the Sorcerer casts the same spell 3-4 times the same day. This is, again, mostly about making all the casting classes, including the hybrid ones, viable picks for +1 level progression PrCs.
So here's what I'm bringing this up for: I'm looking for input on the finer details of implementing this idea. Obvious things are that a number of blasty-type spells will likely need their caps increased (3rd-level spells going to 15 dice, 5th-level spells going to 20 dice, 7th-level spells going to 25 dice), and the fact that most Powers have built-in baseline effects that will need to be adjusted to match their new PP costs. That stuff is relatively easy.
Less obvious are ideas to combat lower-level problem effects on the design level, as opposed to dealing with it as a DM (in the extremely unlikely chance that someone else would actually use my system). Stuff such as temporal acceleration novas (novae?), scry-and-die tactics, polymorph shenanigans, and just about everything that has an XP or GP cost to it. What else needs to be done to fit these classes into a nice, tidy Tier 3 package?