This system is based off of the foundations of the D20 system, though contains many drastic changes that alter how character creation and progression are handled. This system has been developed to place a much greater amount of control in the player’s hands on how to construct and build their character- Not confined to class or role.
[[This system is currently a work in progress, and relies heavily on the framework of the D20 system (DnD 3.0, 3.5e, Pathfinder), so most things like feats, skills, classes, and saves and such are referred to when mentioned.]]
[[Lightened notations in double brackets are just author comments where I note some flaws that I’ve run into and have no immediate solution for.]]
Mechanically, characters are comprised of six main attributes; Strength, Dexterity, Vitality, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Personality, each one of these directly governs a different aspect of your character. Do not let this dictate your character’s habits, behaviors, and traits, however- They are merely a representation of their in-game qualities and abilities. If you want your character to be smart or personable, but they’ve only got a 9 or 10 in INT or PER, worry not. Above all, your character is what you make of them.
Note: All skills are derived from the ability score that governs them. Skill points applied to a skill takes the modifier into account.
To start character creation, take three six-sided dice, and roll them together. Add up the total and write it down on a sheet of paper. Do this 5 more times until you have 6 scores.
After you do this, place them in whichever attribute you think best fits until you are happy with your allocated stats. Next, you will choose your race!
Different races have different qualities, attributes, and innate abilities that will change the way you play, or even change the original stats you rolled for your character just moments prior. Some races are stronger, faster, weaker, wiser, or meaner than others… So it’s important to keep that in mind when creating your character, but again, do not let your character’s race determine their personality! Many races are versatile and diverse, and any race can fulfill a role that another race can.
Races and their racial bonuses may be taken from Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 in exactly the way they are presented, though you may want to omit Hit Die bonuses as they are not relevant in "This System". After you choose a race, and apply the appropriate changes to your character, add proficiencies, bonuses, etc. you may move onto the next step.
A character’s health is at its base 10 (+ or – the character’s VIT modifier, of course.)
As your character progresses on their journey, they will accrue experience and knowledge. At the very start, your character will have a total of 5 Journeying Points, or JP for short. These will be used to alter your attributes, buy special abilities for your character, and give them the proficiency to use certain weapons and wield certain armors from the get-go.
As it stands at the beginning of character creation, your character is not proficient with any sort of weapons or armor, barring a limited selection which is detailed in the Equipment section (And those proficiencies granted by your Race). Proficiencies with more advanced equipment must be learned (Bought) using JP.
This is not the only thing JP is good for, Journeying Points may be used to do the following:
Buy skill points for skills:
1 JP spent will give you 2 Skill Points to allocate wherever you wish. You may apply as many points into a skill as you wish. If you want your character to be good at something, you can be!
1..2..3 JP spent will increase a single save by 1. Separate saves under the same Attribute, like VIT for example, has Fortitude Save, but also Poison Save and Disease Save. Choose one of these only.
[[I haven’t yet decided how to scale saves, to allow a 1:1 increase, 2:1 increase, or 3:1 increase.]]
Buy Feats and Proficiencies:
Each Feat or proficiency costs 2JP. Feats that have prerequisites pertaining to Base Attack Bonus may be ignored. Feats may be found in any splatbooks of the D20 system.
You may increase the raw values of your Attributes with Journeying Points directly. The cost for this is 1JP + the modifier of the next attribute. So for example, the modifier for an attribute of 12 is +1, so 1JP + 1 (Modifier of 12) = 2. It will cost 2JP to increase an Attribute of 11 to 12. The math follows the same all the way upwards.
Negative modifiers, however, will always count as a 0 in terms of the math. So increasing a 7, whose modifier is a -2, to an 8, whose modifier is a -1 will only cost 1JP. But this does not mean that increasing a 7 to a 9 also only costs 1JP, you must step up each number sequentially in order to increase your attributes correctly.
One important note, though, is that some races have innate bonuses to their basic attributes such as STR or INT. During the improvement of your Attributes, there may come a time where the numbers reach up past 20, though it will take a while. At its base, the maximum any Attribute can reach innately (That is, naturally by a character’s progression as the game goes on) is 30. Any race that offers a bonus or penalty to an ability score will increase or decrease this cap. For every +1 or -1 a race innately alters an attribute, the maximum or minimum that ability score can ever naturally reach increases or decreases by 5.
For example, an Elf has a +2 to DEX, and a -2 to VIT. An Elf’s Dexterity will not cap off at 30, but 40 instead… But on the downside, it’s VIT can only ever get as high as 20. This rings true for all races across the board.
This, however, is not a hard limit when it comes to spells or items that alter a character’s Attribute directly. If your STR is 30, and an item adds a +2 to STR, your Strength may effectively become a 32 for as long as that item is in your possession, or spell’s duration lasts.
To calculate your wealth at the beginning of the game, take 4d6 and add them up, then multiply that number by 10. If you have a positive Personality modifier, you may add that into your 4d6 roll (For example, if your PER modifier is +2, you would roll 4d6+2 * 10).
In "This System" you don’t start with a class! Your first level will be in a default class called Basic (You can write ‘Basic 1’ on the Class line of your character sheet. This allows you to feel out your character, their personality, and their interpersonal connections before devoting themselves to a vocation or role off the bat. It also shares the benefit of not forcing your character into a personality or stereotype based on the class they would have otherwise chosen at the beginning of the game.
In "This System", your character levels up each time they accrue a total of 5000xp. When your character levels up, they gain 4 Journeying Points to spend on whatever they please… Beyond that, character progression lies solely in your hands! You choose exactly what to give your character each level, be it exceptional prowess with a specific weapon, bolstered magical power, gaining more hit points, altering an Attribute, or learning all the skills you can get your hands on.
The rules for Attribute increasing are detailed in Character Creation above, but here are listed several benefits and options you may gain and unlock by investing points into specific Attributes. It is important to note that you may save JP between levels for future use, buying more expensive abilities, or increasing larger Attributes later on.
For every point your VIT increases beyond its initial value, you gain 1 extra hit point. For example, if your VIT was a 10 at the beginning of the game, and since then you have increased it to a 14 (Without the use of bolstering items or buffs at the current point), you will have 3 extra hit points!
[[I’ve run into a small issue where players that start with a lower VIT at the beginning and increase it will have a higher total HP at the end than those that start with a higher VIT at the beginning and increase it at the same rate.
I suppose they can take feats to increase their HP to supplement this but the inequality is still present.]]
You may employ the very foundation of your willpower to defend your mind and body against the effects of magic and baleful spells. By spending a total of 6JP, you may unlock the ability to resist magical attacks.
At its most basic, you acquire a d12 to roll as Spell Resistance against any spell slung your way. You add your WIS modifier to this as well. By spending 3JP after unlocking the ability, you may gain an additional +1 to this bonus, and you may continue increasing this bonus thereafter.
By spending an amount of time and dedicating a portion of your gathered experience, you may unlock a potential that rests within you; Spirit. Unlocking Spirit costs 9JP and a week’s meditation total, and you must have a non-negative Personality Modifier in order to do so.
Your Spirit allows you to cast spells from within your very essence, effectively transforming you into a Caster. Being a Caster comes with many of its own benefits. You are instantly granted a Mana Pool equal to 3 + your PER modifier. After this is done, you are able to research and develop spells to cast, whose rules are detailed in the Spellcasting Section.
[[Actions and such take mostly the same precedence in the D20 system]]
Actions in Combat
These are the following actions you can take in combat. Most usually, you may take a Standard Action and a Move action, though there are other circumstances and other types of actions you can take.
This type of action takes little to no effort at all, such as dropping an item, falling prone, speaking, passing an item to someone.
This action takes very little time and effort to execute, and may be used in conjunction with a Standard + Move action, or a Full action; But only one Swift action may be taken a round. This includes certain skills, among miscellaneous circumstantial actions, though they are not quite as common as other types of actions.
This action takes considerable time and effort, and takes up a large portion of a turn. Only one Standard action may be taken a round. These types of actions include Attacking, Grappling, using an item, casting Spells.
This action takes a considerable amount of time and effort, you may make a Move action in conjunction with a Standard Action, or you may take two move actions in one round at the sacrifice of a Standard action. This includes moving your character’s move speed, climbing, swimming, tumbling, jumping, drawing a weapon, pulling out out an item, taking Partial Defense
Full Round Action:
These types of actions take up much more time and effort than the other actions, and require full committal to execute, If you take a Full Round Action, you cannot take any other type of action in a round except a Swift or Free action. This includes Full Attacks, Full Defenses, casting certain advanced Spells.
Attack: You may attack as a standard action. Roll 1d20 plus your Strength or Dexterity modifier (Depending on the weapon) and if the number you roll equals the target’s Armor Class, the land hits, and you can apply damage.
Full Attack: You may attack any number of times in a turn, though each subsequent attack beyond the first is at a -5 penalty. This does not apply to certain special attacks like Two Weapon Fighting, or Flurry of Blows.
Grapple: You may engage in a grapple with another creature, your Grappling skill is determined by your STR modifier + your DEX modifier. You and the creature roll these against each other to determine the victor. Equal scores denote a draw, and no advancement on either side.
Partial Defense: Taking this type of defense increases your AC by +2 until the beginning of your next turn. (Misc)
Partial Defense after a Move: If all you do in a round is take a single Move action, you may take a Partial Defense for a bonus of a +4 instead of a +2 (Misc)
Full Defense: Taking this defense hunkers down your character into a readied position, ready to brace against an attack. This action takes up the whole turn, and gives you a +6 to your AC (Misc)
You may play "This System" without classes at all! However, if you choose to use classes from the D20 system, 3.0, 3.5, or Pathfinder, some changes are in order. Firstly, when you take a class, you will not gain the numerical benefits of the class as they are in the other RPG systems including the following; Base attack bonus, Save increases, Skill points, Hit Die increases.
When you take a class, you gain only the abilities listed under the Special column of the chart (In order, mind you.), in addition, if the class is proficient with any type of weapon, armor, or shield, instead of gaining all of them, you may choose a single Weapon proficiency, Armor proficiency, and Shield proficiency with a single Weapon, Armor, or Shield in their scope.
For example, if you take a level in Ranger from 3.5, at the first level you will only gain First Favored Enemy, Track, Wild Empathy as Special abilities. The Ranger is also proficient with Simple & Martial weapons, Light & Medium Armors, and Shields. So you will choose one Simple or Martial Weapon (Such as the Scimitar or Longbow), one Armor (Such as Leather Armor, or a Breastplate), and one Shield (Such as a Kite shield, or a Small Shield). Those proficiencies you choose will then be given to you for free, but any other type of equipment you wish to be proficient in must be bought using Journeying Points upon your next level-up.
(As a DM, you may also choose to put prerequisites on certain base classes if you so choose, such as requiring a certain Attribute to be high enough, or something else of the sort, but this is not mandatory.)
[[The main line of thinking here is to take out the element of taking a single level of a class, and then instantly acquiring the knowledge on the use of 60 weapons, and 12 different kinds of armors (using a conventional Fighter, for example…)]]
Unless granted by a racial feature or class, you are not proficient with any sort of weapon or armor, and using such incurs a penalty.
Using a weapon that you are not proficient with means that you take a -4 on all attack rolls, disarm checks, sunder checks, involving that weapon.
Using armor that you are not proficient with incurs halved Movement Speed (After the Armor’s movement penalty is taken out, if any), and a penalty equal to the AC bonus of the Nonproficient Armor on all physical skill checks (STR, DEX, VIT) and on all attack rolls.
Easy-To-Use Weapons and Armor:
Some armors and weapons are so simple and easy to use, that anyone can put them on, or pick them up and perform just fine. These incur no penalty for not being proficient, though it is suggested they are passed off for better, more effective weapons and armor once one is able to do so.
The following two lists are all of the weapons and armor (Barring improvised weapons) that a character can wield at no detriment to themselves.
[[Chart died in translation to Google Docs]]
Armor Rules, AC, DR, and Armor Health [[Experimental]]:
Armor is broken up into several components that make up your total AC; Armor Bonus, Shield Bonus, Dexterity Bonus, Size Bonus, Natural Armor Bonus, Deflection Bonus, and Misc.
None of these armor types stack like-with-like, with the exception of Armor. When it comes to wearing Partial Armor (Helm, Gloves, Boots, Belt, etc.) in conjunction with Full Armor (Leather Armor, Chainmail, Breastplate, Field Plate), these bonuses do stack.
Damage Reduction (DR):
When it comes to wearing armor – your total Armor Bonus (Partial Armor + Full Armor) – add up the sum of all of these armor bonuses, and then divide that number by two, rounded down. Half of your total Armor Bonus is then converted into Damage Reduction. This new number can be then subtracted by any physical damage your character takes in combat.
So say your total Armor Bonus is 7. Your Armor bonus does not change, but your DR versus physical attacks now becomes 3/–, and if perhaps you are stricken with a Battleaxe in combat, taking 8 points of damage, you may apply that DR 3/– to make the damage 5 instead of 8. Doing this damages your armor, however, and is explained in further detail in the next section, Armor Health.
As a choice, you may allow the armor you’re wearing or shield you’re wielding to take a blow for you. When you do this, you apply your ADR (Armor Damage Reduction) or SDR (Shield Damage Reduction) to an incoming physical attack. To calculate either of these numbers, take the total combined armor bonus of your partial armors, and your full armor, and stack them together. Take that total number and then divide it by two, rounded down. That new number is your ADR, and you will do the same for SDR.
Using your Armor or Shield in this fashion damages it, however, and your Armor and Shield both have a limit to the amount of damage they can absorb for you in place of your HP. Calculating the amount of abuse your armor and shield can withstand – Your AHP (Armor Hit Points), or SHP (Shield Hit Points) – is easy, as it equals the total AC bonus of your armor, or your shield.
So if for example, like above, your combined total Armor AC Bonus is 7, then your AHP is 7! If your shield gives you 3 AC, then your SHP is 3!
When you apply your ADR or SDR, you subtract that number from your AHP or SHP. So if your AHP is 7, and your take an incoming blow for 8 points of damage, apply 3 ADR/–, taking the remaining 5 points of damage to your HP, you will take 3 points of damage to your AHP.
At this point, your total AC does not decrease, BUT, if you absorb a total amount of damage equal to your AHP (So, 7 points across any number of attacks), your Armor is then considered ‘Broken’. The same applies to your Shield & SHP.
You also have the option of applying less of your ADR or SDR in order to preserve your total AHP and SHP, taking the remaining damage directly to your own HP instead.
When your AHP or SHP are reduced to zero from absorbing physical damage via ADR or SDR, they are then considered ‘Broken,’ but do not worry! They are not rendered utterly useless in this state.
When this happens, take your total Armor Bonus or Shield bonus, whichever is Broken, and divide that number by two, rounded down. This is going to reduce the amount of Damage Reduction your Armor or Shield can apply as well, so for divide that by two as well, rounded down. (Your AHP and SHP do not change, they will remain at 0.)
You may use the new halved AC and DR without putting your armor at further risk, and the Broken status effect will go away automatically after an hour of down-time, rest, travel, etc. So long as it is not involved in a new battle, your armor will be repaired within an hour. This takes the assumption that the characters will be tending to their equipment in their downtime.
**Note, all AC and DR has a minimum value of 1, even after being halved.
Pushing your Equipment beyond its limits
If you’ve Broken your armor or shield in battle, you may still decide to push it beyond its limits. Normally, Broken armor may only apply one-half the regular AC and DR values, but you may continue to use the original full DR value while putting the integrity of your armor at great risk.
Two rulesets may be applied:
1.) When you decide to use any DR value over the halved Broken value, your armor begins to accrue damage again, this time into the negatives. The negative AHP or SHP may equal its positive value (So if the AHP is 7, then -7; 3, then -3, etc.). When the negative HP finally reaches this total negative limit, the armor is now considered Shattered. At this point, your Armor piece with the highest AC value is now destroyed, rendered totally useless until it is repaired during your free time with a Craft Armor check, DC = (15 + AC bonus of the Shattered piece). You may also bring the piece to a smith or tailor to have it repaired at a cost.
Continuing to push armor after the highest AC piece has broken goes down the line from highest AC pieces to lowest.
2.) Each time you decide to push your Broken armor past it’s halved limit, there’s a 30% chance a random piece will Shatter, following the same rules as in #1 for repair.
[[This I could use some help on. It works as it stands right now and adds a lot of survivability to the players with the newly established lower health ceiling, however it’s a little convoluted and could afford some simplification, quite honestly.]]
As an adventurer, you have certain needs you must fulfill to survive while on the road and out in the wild while on your various journeys. The first of which is food…
Your character must eat something each day to avoid starvation. You can go several days without consuming anything, though this gets more dangerous as time goes on. You may go a whole day without eating without any sort of drawback, though for each day beyond the first that you do not eat, you must perform a Fortitude save upon waking up with a DC of 10. For each day beyond the first DC10 Fortitude Save that you do not eat, the DC increases by +2.
If there comes a time during your foodless days that you fail one of these Fortitude saves, you will gain the status of Fatigued; unable to run, charge, and taking a -2 penalty on their Strength and Dexterity.
Should you go hungry for any longer, and fail a second fortitude save after becoming Fatigued, you will advance status effects to Exhausted; Moving at half speed, and your -2 penalty to STR and DEX becomes a -6 penalty.
If your character happens to be without food for an extreme amount of time and fails a Fortitude save while Exhausted, they will have died of starvation…
These penalties will remain until your character eats something. Merely drinking things will not satiate the need for food.
Your character requires at least 8 hours of sleep each night to function at a healthy level. Should you go without sleeping for a whole night, you will have to make a Fortitude save as the next day arises to avoid the exhaustion of Sleep Deprivation, with a DC of 10.
If you fail this Fortitude save to avoid sleep deprivation, your character incurs a -2 penalty on all Attack rolls, Skill checks, and Saves. For each subsequent day that your character goes without sleep, the DC increases by +2, and for each subsequent failed save, the penalties stack another -2 penalty as well.
This effect goes away as soon as your character accrues their next full 8 hours of sleep.
In addition, Sleeping can help your character’s wounds heal naturally, albeit slowly. Each time your character gains a full 8 hour rest, their HP is restored by an amount equal to their VIT modifier (Always at least 1, if the modifier is negative.)