Archive for November, 2012

Some ideas I’m working on for converting the D&D4E Essentials rules to the Microlite format:






There are 4 Stats: Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Mind (MIND), and Charisma (CHA).

Roll 3d6, total the three dice and assign to one stat. Repeat for the remaining stats.

Stat Bonus is (STAT – 10)/4, round toward 0



Humans get a +1 bonus to all skills and +1 to saves

Dwarves get a +2 bonus to STR

Elves get a +2 bonus to MIND

Halflings get a +2 bonus to DEX

Gnomes get a +1 bonus to MIND and a +1 bonus to DEX

Half-Elves get a +1 bonus to MIND and a +1 Bonus to CHA



There are four defenses; all attacks will target one of these defenses:

Armor Class: this is calculated by the armor’s value, plus a shield bonus, plus the DEX or MIND bonus (whichever is higher) if the armor is light armor.

Fortitude Defense is equal to the character’s level/2 + STR .

Reflex Defense is equal to the character’s level/2+ DEX or MIND score, whichever is higher

Will Defense is equal to the character’s level/2 + MIND or CHA score, whichever is higher.



Physical, Subterfuge, Knowledge, and Communication.

Skill Rank = character’s level + any bonus from character’s class or race

Skill Roll = d20 + skill rank + applicable Stat bonus + any situational modifiers versus GM-assigned Difficulty Rank.


Saving Throws: If a character is suffering from some debilitating effect, he can make a saving throw once per round. Roll a d20; if the result is 10 or higher, the effect ends.




Fighter: gets a +1 bonus to attack rolls and a +1 bonus to damage rolls. These bonuses each increase by +1 at 5th level and every 5th level thereafter. Fighters wield all weapons and can wear any armor type. Fighters get a +3 bonus to the Physical Skill. If wielding a light weapon, the Fighter may use the DEX bonus instead of the STR bonus for attack rolls. Also, fighters may use a second light melee weapon in their off-hand; attacks are at a -2 penalty. Once each battle, the fighter can roll the damage die twice on a successful hit. At 5th level, the fighter can add this bonus damage roll twice per battle, and an extra time per battle for every 5th level thereafter.

Fighters can assume fighting stances that modify their attacks. The fighter can switch stances at the beginning of each round.
The aggressive stance adds a +2 to damage rolls (ranged or melee).
The precision stance adds a +1 bonus to attack rolls (ranged or melee).
The mobility stance allows the fighter to move up to half his speed after a successful hit (ranged or melee). This movement is subject to opportunity attacks.

The cleaving stance allows the fighter to make a second attack against a new target after felling an enemy (melee attacks only)

The shielding stance allows the fighter that holds a shield to attack an adjacent enemy that attacks an ally or that tries to move past or away from the fighter (melee attacks only).

The quick change stance allows the fighter to sheath a weapon and draw another weapon at the beginning of each round.


Cleric: can wield maces, slings, hammers, and staves, and can wear light or medium armor. Clerics get a +3 to the Communication skill.

Clerics can exercise their faith to produce miraculous and near-miraculous effects. All faith powers are available at 1st level, unless otherwise noted.

Heal: the cleric can heal one creature a number of times a day equal to his level. The amount healed is equal to the cleric’s level times 1d6.

Turn Undead: the cleric can cause undead creatures to flee with an attack roll. The cleric can target one undead creature per experience level per round with this power. This power targets the undead creature’s Will defense. If the attack roll is 10 points or greater than the undead creature’s Will defense, the creature is destroyed.

Healing strike: the cleric makes a basic attack against one creature. Whether he hits or misses, he can heal one ally that is within 5 squares of himself. The amount of healing is 1d6/2, rounded down, but minimum of 1 point. The cleric subtracts the same amount from his own hit points. Alternatively, the cleric can cause an ally within 5 squares of himself to make a saving throw, at no hit point cost to himself.

Create water: Once per day, the cleric can cause a container to fill with potable water, up to one gallon of water can be created. At 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the cleric gains an additional use of this power.

Create holy water: once per day, the cleric can cause a vial of water to become holy water, which can be thrown at undead creatures for 2d6 damage. At 3rd level, and every 3 levels thereafter, the cleric gets an additional use of this power.

Bless: the cleric can add a +1 bonus to his own and any ally’s attack rolls and saving throws. The cost is 3 hit points per target. The effect lasts until the end of the battle, or for 10 minutes if used outside of battle.

Raise Dead: at 5th level, the cleric can call recently deceased persons back from the dead. The deceased cannot have been dead for longer than 24 hours. The cost is 10 hit points times the target’s experience level.

Divine intervention: at 10th level, the cleric can petition his deity to directly intervene in some situation. The player describes what he wishes to happen, but the results of this intervention may be determined by the Game Master.

Rebuke sickness: the cleric can cause himself or an ally to make a saving throw against disease or poison once per day for every three levels of the cleric. Alternatively, the cleric can cause a quantity of comestibles to be cleansed of all rot and poison, making them safe to eat.

Strike of justice: at 3rd level, the cleric can add an extra 1d6 fire, thunder, or lightning damage to a successful attack once per day, with an additional use of this power for every 3 levels after.


Rogue: Rogues can wield light weapons, shortbows, crossbows, and longswords. They can wear light armor. Rogues get a +3 bonus to their Subterfuge skill. When wielding light melee weapons, rogues may use their DEX bonus instead of their STR bonus for attack and damage rolls. In battle, rogues seek to attack enemies against whom they have some advantage. If a rogue that has advantage against an enemy successfully hits the enemy while wielding a light weapon, short bow, or crossbow, then the rogue can effect a sneak attack, which adds an extra 1d6 damage against the enemy for every three levels of the rogue. **Any time an enemy has a player’s character on opposite sides, then the player characters have advantage against the enemy** Rogues also try to remain mobile throughout a battle. The rogue has tricks that allow him to remain mobile and at the same time make deadly attacks.

The stick-and-move trick allows the rogue to move up to two squares before attacking, making the attack, and then moving two squares after the attack

The gang-up trick gives the rogue advantage against any enemy within 5 squares of him who has one of the rogue’s allies adjacent to him.

The sniper trick gives the rogue advantage against any enemy that has none of its allies adjacent to it.

The knock down trick allows the rogue to knock an enemy prone instead of causing damage.

At 5th level, the rogue can use his Subterfuge skill to create and set traps. A trap “attacks” the Reflex Defense of any creature that triggers it. Detecting a trap requires a Subterfuge check equal to 10 + the level of the rogue that set it.


The Mage

The mage can wear only cloth armor and use only daggers or staves. The mage gets a +3 bonus to the Knowledge Skill. The mage casts arcane spells. At-will spells can be cast at any time; Battle spells can be cast once per battle; daily spells can be cast once between each extended rest. The mage begins with the at-will spells “Read Magic”, “Magic Missile” and one other at-will spell of the player’s choice. All spells may be eventually acquired by the mage and enscribed in his spellbook, but he may only have up to three at-will spells, and one of any other type spell of each level prepared each day. A mage may only cast spells equal to or lower than his experience level.

At-will spells: Arcane Mark; Detect Magic; Ghost Sound; Light; Mage Hand; Magic Missile (auto damage equal to ½ character level, rounded down, plus MIND bonus, always at least 1 point damage); Prestidigitation; Read Magic

Level 1 Encounter Spells: Mage Armor; Shocking Grasp

Level 1 Daily Spells: Feather Fall; Floating Disk; Sleep


Level 2 Encounter Spells: Flaming Sphere; Knock; Levitate

Level 2 Daily Spells: Acid Arrow; Invisibility (can be sustained by forgoing any other activity); Spider Climb


Level 3 Encounter Spells: Dispel Magic; Clairaudience/Clairvoyance; Vampiric Touch

Level 3 Daily Spells: Fireball; Fly; Lightning Bolt


Level 4 Encounter Spells: Arcane Eye; Black Tentacles; Polymorph

Level 4 Daily Spells: Animate Dead; Dimension Door; Stoneskin


Level 5 Encounter Spells: Cloudkill; Feeblemind; Passwall;

Level 5 Daily Spells: Contact Other Plane; Permanency; Teleport


Level 6 Encounter Spells: Antimagic field; Contingency; True Seeing

Level 6 Daily Spells: Chain Lightning; Disintegrate; Geas


Level 7 Encounter Spells: Ethereal Jaunt; Power Word Blind; Spell Turning

Level 7 Daily Spells: Delayed Blast Fireball; Finger of Death; Plane Shift


Level 8 Encounter Spells: Incendiary Cloud; Irresistible Dance; Power Word Stun

Level 8 Daily Spells: Clone; Horrid Wilting; Trap the Soul


Level 9 Encounter Spells: Etherealness; Gate; Power Word Kill

Level 9 Daily Spells: Astral Projection; Meteor Swarm; Soul Bind


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Tonight I finished listening to the latest (and perhaps last) podcast in which Mike Mearls converses with the “Acquisitions, inc.” guys about the new rules for D&D that are being developed.  If you want to see the rules, you can sign up for the playtest packet at www.wizards.com/dnd.  Scott Kurtz (a.k.a. Binwin Bronzebottom) gave little input in the first couple of podcasts, but got really excited when the conversation turned to the fighter’s “expertise dice” rules.  Jerry (Oman Dran) is definitely on board with the new rules, and was from the first podcast, because he likes the older versions of D&D.  Mike (Jim Darkmagic) was initially more reticent to embrace the changes, but seemed to warm up to them by the last podcast.

Anyway, in my opinion, the PA guys would have done better to retire the AI characters and roll up new ones.  It would probably have been interesting for each person to take a different role than previously–Mike becomes the fighter, say; Jerry the wizard, and Scott the cleric. The Acquisitions, inc. belongs to the 4th edition era, and will not translate well to the new (which are actually old) rules, I think.  The team members are all 10th level adventurers, but Mearls did not have a finished set of rules for characters that high, so he had to jerry-rig some of the elements of character creation to switch the 4e characters to DDN.  Binwin becomes a “slayer”, who can do extra heaping amounts of damage, and sometimes accidentally hits his friends in the process.  I don’t remember exactly the changes made to Oman Dran, and they didn’t really get much into the changes to Jim Darkmagic beyond the “have to prepare/memorize spells”.  Oman’s background or theme or whatever it’s called includes the “commerce” skill (or the “negotiation” skill; Mearls begins with the first, but changes it to the second).  Binwin has a background trait that makes his character intimidating in taverns, or something like that.  There was some discussion about how to transform Will Wheaton’s character (Al, an Eladrin Avenger) into a DDN character. The best Mearls could come up with was to turn Al into a rogue of some sort. Blasphemy.There is some speculation on the wizards.com forum that they backed the characters down to 5th level, based on character sheets available from the podcasts.    The original Penny Arcade podcasts are some of the most entertaining media one can find on the Internet; these latest four podcasts are not the guys playing the game, so they are much more dull.  Perhaps the D&DNext version of their adventures will be just as entertaining.  I’m afraid, however, that what will end up happening is that Jim Darkmagic will own every encounter, while Oman and Binwin stand to the side, performing the duty of audience along with the rest of us.

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