Athas.org's original charter: 3.x development


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #42

Any chance of addressing the magic/psionic imbalance in the prestige classes?

Even if not, I’d like to update the docs myself and submit them for review, if possible. Then I could knock out a chapter or two per session. Easier than posting each and every one individually (for me). I can see if it would be easier for you to work off of posts.

My first goal is the core book. Those bookmarks need to be fixed badly, and internal linking would be nice, not to mention an index. Equipment and prestige, likely next. It’ll partly depend on what books everyone is using.

The thing is, my group that is starting up the Dark Sun campaign has three 20+year rpg grognards in it. They are sure to spot stuff. I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity while it lasts. First session is this weekend.

Thanks in advance, regardless of the decision.


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #43

Speaking of updating, because of the charter, are we allowed to reference the other published psionic material? If we can, and that reference extends to reprinting, it might be nice to have a section, or even an Adaption source book, about how the various other psionic materials might be used or modified to fit Dark Sun.


#44

Not sure what you mean specifically, but there will be little to no new material. Just trying to correct errors.
I am checking on your offer to help.


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #45

I have sent you a pm about it. =D Thank you for the reply.


#46

We are limited to the material in the SRD only.


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #47

With all respect, I am uncertain if I should believe that to be true when non-SRD creatures, books and so forth are referenced and listed right in the core Dark Sun book.

As such, an Adaption book would be well within the demonstrably non-SRD material already used (and parameters already permitted and accepted by WotC) in Athas’s published books.

Please help me to understand. Perhaps I have erred in my logic somewhere?


#48

They don’t want to provoke WoTC. Although WoTC hasn’t formally revoked athas.org’s official status, the status is unclear. Using adaptions of WoTC IP other than what has already been used might spur WoTC into action.

That said I think a better target for adaption would be the OGL content from Dreamscarred Press for pathfinder, and adjusting it to 3.5e shouldn’t be too hard.


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #49

I can see that logic, though I am still not convinced. Given that the books already reference non-SRD material. An adaption handbook would not provide sufficient details to use the referenced original material without the original books. And any “use this instead of that” stuff would be covered under our existing license, mandate, and charter. Athas is supposed to constantly produce new 3e content. Producing content for 4e or 5e would technically violate the wording of the charter, if I am understanding it and the related emails correctly.

Thanks for suggesting that, though. Interesting suggestion to target other OGL material for adaption. Are there any official thoughts on that idea from any Templars or Overcouncil members?


(Sébastien Gamache) #50

Remember that on my web site, I have put a version of the core r7 pdf where I tried to correct the bookmarks last year.

siltskimmer.org

And btw, my web site, even if not much happen, is still online and if you need a place to put your material, let me know and it will be done.


#51

I think I visited it once. I think I was looking up Kreen religion or something.


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #52

How did you do on correcting the bookmarks? I’ll eventually wander over and take a look.


(Sébastien Gamache) #53

Used Adobe Acrobat PRO.


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #54

Nice website. Like the layout and classic color scheme.


(Sébastien Gamache) #55

Old stuff that would need a little love, but thank you :slight_smile:


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #56

Happy New Year (or soon to be, depending on culture and location) to all.

I am curious - Pathfinder started out touted as the ‘fix’ to 3.x, but has gone down pretty much the same road as WotC did in the end… becoming what it fought against. 4th and 5th both have their points, but neither captures the full “modular” and “build-able” aspects of 3rd, which, I for one, find to be the most compelling aspect of the RPG. Dreamscarred and M&M both offer “buy-your-options” packages converting everything to either a point buy or some other select-whatever-you-want method - sounds interesting, but I haven’t looked over the details yet.

So, what were the aspects of 3rd that needed tweaking in your opinion? Bring out your brokenness and let me know, please.


#57

well, in some ways the problem was the sheer scale. people felt like they had to buy all the supplements, but let’s be honest, most people don’t have that kind of money.

the character creation mechanics were meant to be really balanced and tried to take every possible option into account. unfortunately, this resulted in them being really complicated. feats often duplicated each other’s effects even when in the same book.

the edition lended itself way too easily to munchkining, with easy magic items everywhere. eberron built itself around this problem, filling it’s world with huge amounts of low level items but making high level items so rare that i don’t think that setting had any portable major artifacts at all, which definitely helped. But settings like forgotten realms suffered as adventurers started to become walking magical fortresses.

there were minor problems as well. the truenamer from the Tome of Magic and the entire Weapons of Legacy supplement were exceedingly broken, and the truenamer was so broken that there was actually no way to fix it. It was either so weak as to be useless, or so overpowered as to break the game, depending on whether the player optimized their stats or not. the shadowcaster was not much better, being unusually weak, but at least that was fixable.

Also, it’s use of the greyhawk setting as the default lead to some overly stale tropes becoming more and more stale. don’t get me wrong, i like greyhawk, but… it’s effect on the overall franchise was very bad. too many gods with ridiculous portfolios that no one would worship if it wasn’t for their granted domains, and i particularly disliked the way churches were portrayed. any religion that was even remotely organized was immediately turned into a “burn the witches” trope. I mean, there is room for that sort of thing, but…

Eberron kinda fixed that aspect by trying to directly counter it with the Church of the Silver Flame, which shows a much more realistic view of an organized religion, which is less villainous and more altruistic/incompetent, in that they overreact to everything. But if you look at what is often done with that idea in practice, it just ends up looking like that same stupid trope.

there were too many races, to the point where they started to blend together. i mean, do you really need a species of elf for every environment? they did some cool stuff with the core classes when they remembered that they could make new ones, but buy in large most of the effort seemed to go into creating prestige classes. I like prestige classes, but after awhile, they started to look a lot like each other as well.

oh yeah, and new classes often ended up with tiny spell lists compared to the original classes just because of when they showed up, which kinda hurt their playability.

but honestly, even with all that in mind, it was a great edition. the presence of Eberron and athas.org’s Dark Sun definitely helped a lot, and i still consider it my second favorite setting next to first edition. because they spent so long on the edition, they had time to really delve into the worlds they had crafted and experiment with different things. in terms of world building and options, it was probably the best we’ve ever had.


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #58

I’m not sure I agree about the scale… after all, while Greyhawk was one of the two oldest campaign settings for D&D, the SRD provided a free alternative to getting a fair amount of the ‘look and feel’ of Greyhawk. Admittedly, almost all of the settings specific stuff was in the Gazetteer, but that was one book for comparatively cheap. All the supplements you speak of are simply options. Nice options, but still.

Duplication, yes - but that was hampered by the policies for development at WotC. While it doesn’t address the issue of overlapping stuff in the same book, creators had to design each book (for the most part) with recourse only to the core books.

“Munchkining” is a people problem, not a rules problem, as I’ve long said. But you do have a valid point, some rule systems are more open to abusive players than others. And NI or ∞ loops don’t help. Basic spell, grammar, and math checking is always good. It is also good to keep in mind however, that if options are open to players, they are open to the DM as well, and there is always someone who is stronger, faster, smarter, or simply better than you. This is as true in game as well as out of game.

However, I don’t think that too much magic isn’t the real problem. From the beginning, D&D was a game of EPIC HIGH fantasy. Magic is supposed to be prevalent and earth shaking. The unconscious assumptions built into the magic system and the game itself, legacies from the original creators which were never addressed or questioned certainly make it challenging when designing new stuff, admittedly. And Mordenkainen is a MarySue character if ever there was one. Even in 3rd, he’s in the 30’s level wise, not to mention how much he messes with stuff.

Religion… again one looks to legacy attitudes and concepts injected by the original creators to understand that one. You can probably infer that there was some dislike of religion on the part of certain people.

Race and class creep. Yeah, it’s a great idea, and in some ways rather realistic, considering. But, they needed to make more of the mini-classes, and less of the standard 10/20 stuff to really inject variety, without running stale.

I’m known for my detest of the Vancian system, so don’t even get me started on magic or spells. I wasn’t very happy that they made psionics sorta-yet-another-version-thereof, but at least with the power point and augment system, there is some leeway and unique feel.

I fully agree about the building and options aspects - that is part of the reason why Athas should stick to it’s Charter and keep producing more quality 3x material. And only 3x material officially. I have no issue with people contributing to other editions, but here, on Athas, 3x should remain forever king, and all official product should be actively looking towards improving the rules and mechanics as well as expanding upon the setting and roleplaying support materials.

The options are why 3x is my favorite D&D system, the ability to mix and match and create your own concept… class… if you will, by merging different classes and prestige to make a mix of abilities uniquely yours. Me personally, I like systems that are flexible, provide lots of cool options, yet also scale up into the epic world-shattering levels of power.


#59

I agree that Pathfinder has fallen into the same trap as 3.5. They also have some classes that are conceptually weak in my opinion, like the Summoner and Alchemist.

But what is worse is their agenda driven writing in their models and adventure paths. I won’t say anymore as the subject is so fraught.


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #60

Good point, good point.


(Thanos Maravelias) #61

I like the idea! Personally I’d prioritize 5e adaption, just because there’s some support in 3.x and none in 5e. But that said, extra content never hurt anyone! Especially not 3.x! Especially past a threshold long-since crossed!