Wednesday, January 20, 2016

B/X-5 Design Log: Elf Conversion

"I wear so many animal skins...
and yet somehow my midriff is still bare..."
So this is my first attempt at the B/X Elf class using the SRD5 as part of my B/X-5 Core Rules effort.

B/X-5 Core Rules

My issue is that 5e gives some mechanical toy for every level. B/X classes, on the other hand, have very little that change from level to level other than to-hit numbers and spells.

To remain compatible with 5e, I'm still giving some bonus or feat-like present to PCs at each level... but it's a challenge simplifying the classes to maintain a more B/X philosophy.

Keeping that in mind, this is the first draft of the B/X Elf class. I'm not completely satisfied, as it still feels "too fiddly" to me. The Elf is based on a Ranger, but will have more Druidic spells, rather than Arcane. When I'm finished it might be more of a mix of Arcane and Divine spells similar in style to a Bard but with a "Nature" flavor.

Anyway, let me know your suggestions as this is an early draft and still wildly in flux. Here is the B/X-5 Elf.

Elf 

Racial Traits

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Keen Senses. You have proficiency in the Perception skill.
Fey Ancestry. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic cannot put you to sleep.
Night Vision. Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were normal light. In darkness, you can see the outlines and silhouettes of creatures and objects within 30’. You can’t discern color in darkness, only the gray silhouettes of objects and creatures. In darkness, you are not able to read printed writing (such as a scroll or chalk on a wall).
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Elvish.

Class Features

Hit Dice: 1d8 per level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + CON modifier
Armor: Light or Medium non-metal armors (except Elven Chain), wooden shield
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons.

Level
Bonus
Features
Cantrips
Known
Spells Known
0th*
1st
2nd
3rd
1st
+2
Natural Explorer
2
̶
2
̶
̶
̶
2nd
+2
Spellcasting
2
2
3
2
̶
̶
3rd
+2
Fighting Specialization (melee/range)
3
3
3
3
̶
̶
4th
+2
Specialization Skill, Ability Score
3
3
4
3
̶
̶
5th
+3
Extra Attack
3
4
4
4
2
̶
6th
+3
Specialization Skill, Natural Explorer
3
4
4
4
2
̶
7th
+3
Arcane Weapon
4
5
5
4
3
̶
8th
+3
Specialization Skill, Ability Score
4
5
5
4
3
̶
9th
+4
Land's Stride
4
6
5
4
3
2
10th
+4
Hide in Plain Sight, Natural Explorer
4
6
6
4
3
2
*  An Elf regains all 0-level (cantrip) spell slots upon a short rest.

Ability Score Increase. You may add 1 to a single ability score: Strength, Dexterity, or Wisdom.

Arcane Weapon. When you receive the Arcane Weapon benefit, you choose either ranged or melee weapon based on your specialization. When casting a touch attack spell as your action, you may use your bonus action to attack with your melee or ranged weapon to cast the spell upon the target. The target takes normal weapon damage in addition to any damage or effects of the touch spell. 

[Design note: The idea is that B/X-5 would not have sub-class paths like 5e does. However, fighting styles or "specializations" would be the way to customize a class in a particular direction. For the Elf, the customization is between ranged or melee fighting. Specialization skills chosen from that point on would optimize the PC in one direction or the other.]

Specialization Skill. You may choose one combat skill related to your specialization (melee or ranged):

Disarm (melee). On your attack action, take -4 from your to-hit roll on an opponent with a melee weapon. If the attack succeeds, the opponent takes half damage from your attack and must make a STR save. On a failed save, the weapon knocked 0' - 10' away (roll 1d6. 1-2=0' [target's feet], 3-4 = 5 feet, 5-6 = 10 feet). Can only be used on a weapon or object held in hand. Natural weapons are immune.

Parry (melee).  As a reaction to a melee attack, add +4 to your AC after the attack roll, but prior to the damage roll. The attack roll must hit the new AC in order to do damage.

Power Strike (melee).   On your attack action, take from -2 to -4 from your to hit roll. Add damage to the attack equal to the amount taken off your to hit (+2 to +4).

Bulls Eye (range). As a bonus action, you may take extra aim at an opponent  to target a vital spot. Your attack action takes -2 penalty to hit, but your damage roll receives a +5 bonus if the attack succeeds.

Double Shot (range). As a bonus action, you can take an additional ranged attack at a different target within 5' of the target of your attack action.

Snipe (range). As a bonus action, you take extra aim in order for your ranged attack action to ignore 1/2 cover or 3/4 cover.

[ Additional melee/ranged specializations to be made available to Fighters, Dwarfs, Elves and Halflings. This is a short list to show the kinds of options I intend to offer. ]

More Design Notes


A few things I tried to do to balance against other 5e classes: 1) The Elf level benefits are based on the Ranger, but they get none of the Ranger Archetype benefits. 2) The spell casting spell slots are the same as the Ranger/Paladin except for Cantrips which will be spell-slot limited, unlike in 5e. 3) The melee/caster combination does make them strong, but they have lower HD (d8 vs. d10) and their spell abilities are probably less powerful than a Paladin, but on par with a Ranger. 4) To keep them viable as Fighters as well as Magic-Users, I gave them the specialization skills, which are similar, but way less powerful than Battlemaster maneuvers. They will have limited usability (like with Superiority Dice, but using a mechanic that doesn't violate WotC's copyright). I'm thinking they will be limited to level/2 uses per short rest. Also, the only get 1 per level (4, 6, and 8), rather than 3 up front like a Battlemaster. The specialization skills will probably need some tweaking. For me, the areas of most concern are the combat specializations and the Arcane Weapon. I admit Arcane Weapon could be a bit of a game changer, but for the moment, it can only deliver touch spells and I can limit its overall utility by shaping the Elf spell list appropriately (which will be more Ranger/Druidic than Wizardly). I need to put this comment as a design note in the article. Thanks for the brain jolt to make me think it through a little. I'm open to suggest changes if you think there may be a better balance.

[ Update 01/26: After some really fantastic feedback from the B/X community, I will likely scale back the martial side of the Elf class to use instead on the Dwarf and Halfling builds. The Elf will still have some martial capability, but I will have to balance it against the other demi-human races. ]
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...