Tuesday, September 10, 2013

1 Character, 13 Systems - Part 5: d20, Pathfinder and Microlite20

    I described my character, Korsanian, in a previous post here.
    From the old to the new, let's step into the d20 era with Pathfinder, and take a short detour into "d20 lite" with Microlite20:

Books Used: Pathfinder core rulebook, Advanced Race Guide, Advanced Players Guide
Approximate time to create: 70 min

Korsanian Vambrae  -  Cursed Wood Elf, Wizard (level 1)
Alignment: Neutral Good
Favored Class: Wizard (+1 skill pt)

Str  8 (-1)
Dex  8 (-1)
Con  8 (-1)
Int  19 (+4)
Wis  18 (+4)
Cha  11 (0)

HP: 5
AC: 10,  touch 10, flat  10
Saves: Fort  -1,  Ref  -1, Will  +6
immune to sleep, +2 vs enchantment/charm and illusion
BAB: 0, CMB: -2, CMD: 7
Init: -1

Racial Abilities:
Humanoid (elf)
Small size (+1 size AC, +1 size to hit, -1 size CMB/CMD, +4 size Stealth)
Slow speed (20')
Specialized Attributes (+2 Int & Wis, -2 Con)
Linguist (can choose any languages for bonus)
Elven Immunities (immune to sleep, +2 save vs enchantment/charm)
Elven Magic (+2 CL to overcome spell resistance, +2 Spellcraft to identify magic items)
Low-light Vision
Keen Senses (+2 Perception)
Illusion Resistance (+2 saves vs illusions) [this is because he can innately feel magic, and thus realize something is not real but a spell]

Class Abilities:
Arcane Spellcasting
Arcane Bond: Familiar- cat, +3 Stealth, 1 HD (2 HP), Saves +2/+2/+6, +1 natural armor, Alertness feat when within arm's reach
Arcane School: Abjuration/Counterspell- +1 abjuration spell slot/level
Resistance- when prepare spells choose one energy type to gain resist 5
Disruption- melee touch attack, target must make concentration check (DC 15+(spell lvl x 2)) in addition to any other checks, to cast a spell or use a spell-like ability, if fail the spell is wasted, lasts 1 round, usable 7/day
Opposition Schools: evocation & conjuration- takes 2 slots to memorize, -4 to skill checks
Proficient with club, quarterstaff, dagger, lt/hvy crossbow, no armor or shield

Scribe Scroll (see magic item creation rules for costs)
Point-blank Shot (+1 to hit and damage w-ranged weapons within 30')

Caretaker- +1 Heal and class skill
Militia Veteran - +1 Survival and class skill

Craft (alchemy)  1  (+8)
Heal  1  (+9)
Knowledge: Arcana  1  (+8)
Knowledge: Nature  1  (+8)
Linguistics  1  (+8), knows 5 extra languages
Spellcraft  1  (+8, +10 to identify magic items)
Survival  1  (+9)
Stealth  0  (+6)
when familar w/in arm's reach: Perception 0 (+8), Sense Motive 0 (+6)

Quarterstaff  +0 to hit  1d4-1 B dmg  20/x2 crit  double, monk
Light Crossbow  w/in 30' +1 to hit, 1d6+1 P dmg; otherwise +0 hit 1d6 P dmg  19-20/x2 crit  80' range inc
  w/20 bolts


Backpack, Bedroll, Blanket (winter), 10 Candles, Flint & Steel, Lamp (common), Oil (5 pints), Trail Rations (4 days), Rope (hemp) 50', Waterskin, Traveler's Outfit (purchased 1 extra 1st level spell for 20 GP)
4 GP, 7 SP
Load: Light 1-12 lbs, Medium 27-53 lbs, Heavy 54-80 lbs (has 10 lbs weapons, 44 lbs total gear)

Caster Level: 1 (3 to overcome spell resistance)
0th (DC 14)- 3 + 1 abjuration (not lost when cast)
1st (DC 15)- 2 + 1 abjuration

Spells Known [(a) abjuration spell, (x) opposition school spell]:
0th- Arcane Mark, Bleed, Daze, Detect Magic,Detect Poison, Disrupt Undead, Ghost Sound, Haunted Fey Aspect, Mage Hand, Mending, Message, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, Read Magic, Resistance(a), Touch of Fatigue
1st- Protection From Evil(a), Identify, Break, Vanish, Detect Secret Doors, Memory Lapse, Erase, Comprehend Languages

    Here's where system knowledge comes in handy, it took me 90 min to make the AD&D character since I didn't know my way around the books anymore, but only 70 to do the even more detailed Pathfinder version since I do know those books.  I used the point-buy attribute system, with 20 points total (high fantasy), because I like point-buy better than rolling and since I had a specific character in mind.  I made my own race, tweaking the elf (but paid the same 10 RP as elves) - I had envisioned him being Small size from the effects of the curse [yes, yes, anybody who's read Alpha Flight might realize that the character of Puck was a part of the inspiration, I'll admit it].  Also it let me tweak the attribute bonuses since I wanted all his physical scores to be negative mods.  I kind of like that he has several racial abilities, rather than the one of 13th Age or none in D&D/AD&D, it makes his race seem like a meaningful choice.  Again all I've got is familiar when I want animal companion (both are 1st level abilities so why not swap them?).  Scribe Scroll is totally useless to the character concept.  I wanted him to have some alchemy stuff, but he didn't have enough money (I usually let a character w/the right craft skill buy things at half price (the skill itself says 1/3rd) but even so I didn't have enough money, being a poor wizard).  I'm happy I made a character who can actually shoot his crossbow halfway decently (the 13th Age base d4 and modified by Dex for damage sucked) - I figured as a relatively weak person he'd use a crossbow that didn't rely on his own strength for most of his weapon attacks.  I actually got some halfway decent spells, but the elusive counterspell is still spell level 3/character level 5 (while Pathfinder has rules where you can try to counter a spell, you have to cast the spell you are countering or take a feat to cast a higher-level spell of the same school- both of which make it effectively useless).  He was supposed to know all cantrips but I skipped the opposition school ones.  Gear sure does seem to weigh a lot, he doesn't look like he should be carrying nearly 40 pounds of junk.  I also gave him the maximum first hit die (a fairly common house rule, but I actually maximize both characters and monsters (I hate bothering rolling dice)).
    Overall he did not turn out too bad, better than I had anticipated actually.  By tweaking and layering elements I managed to get him fairly close to the concept.  13th Age still wins for giving him the counterspell ability out of the gate (this version's Disruption ability is close but not quite good enough), so this would be my second choice.  He did take a long time to make, and a lot of books to pull stuff from, but I'm satisfied that I did the best job I could.
    Now, one thing you may have noticed is as we have climbed the D&D evolution chain characters have gotten more and more complex.  However, that is not the way it has to be.  There is a fascinating game called Microlite20 that is based off the 3x/Pathfinder OGL but is way, way simpler.  Mechanically the numbers are about the same, but the level of detail is light-years apart.  So just for comparison, I'm going to present the Microlite20 version of my character below...

Books Used: Microlite20 (advanced rules with Charisma attribute and Survival skill)
Approximate time to create: 10 min

Korsanian Vambrae  -  Cursed Wood Elf, Mage (level 1)

Strength  11 (0)
Dexterity  11 (0)
Mind  19 (+4)
Charisma 16 (+3)

Race: Elf (+2 mind)
Class: Mage (can cast spells, no armor, +3 knowledge)

Physical  +1
Subterfuge  +1
Knowledge  +4
Communication  +1
Survival  +1

HP: 6
AC: 10
Init: +0
Melee attack: +1
Missile attack: +1
Magic attack: +5
Fortitude save: Physical + Strength
Reflex save: Physical + Dexterity
Willl save: Mind + level

can cast up to 1st level spells, does not have to memorize in advance, spells cost HP to cast-
  0th lvl- 1 HP
  1st lvl- 3 HP
damage from casting cannot be healed normally but is recovered after 8 hrs rest.
Can cast any abjuration, divination or necromancy spell.
Detect Magic (0th level) is a signature spell, can cast for 0 HP
Spell save DC 15

Quarterstaff  1d4 B dmg  20/x2 crit  double, monk
Light Crossbow  1d6 P dmg  19-20/x2 crit  80' range inc
  w/20 bolts


Backpack, Bedroll, Blanket (winter), 10 Candles, Flint & Steel, Lamp (common), Oil (5 pints), Trail Rations (4 days), Rope (hemp) 50', Waterskin, Traveler's Outfit (purchased 1 extra 1st level spell for 20 GP)
4 GP, 7 SP

    Now that's a nicely compacted character sheet.  Microlite gets rid of a lot of stuff, but still manages to keep the essential bits.  I love the spell system of dynamically casting and paying HP for spells, but you pretty much have to use the maximized hit die like I did here.  I rolled a little higher that I liked for Str/Dex, and got a really good Charisma roll, but came out okay.  The skill system is great, roll whatever relevant skill and attribute you think applies.  So remembering things would usually be Knowledge + Mind (which would be a total of +8, the same as most of his skills above), but you could even say Knowledge + Dexterity was to recognize a fighting style, or Knowledge + Strength to feel your way in the dark.  Things are purposefully left open for you to mix and match as you want.  This gives a nice old school feel to a new school game.  Letting Mind effect the to-hit rolls for spells means you don't need the stupid touch AC.  I was impressed when I first found this system and I'd be happy to try playing it, it looks cool.
    How well does it fit the character?  Hmmm... hard to say.  Since things are so generic, it doesn't hit any specific abilities I had in my character description.  But if a GM would let me cast any 1st level spell to counter any other 1st level spell I would be one happy guy and be right on target for the concept.  I do think you need a separate pool of magic points instead of hit points, the more I look at it, and I believe there's a variant that does that.  Still, he feels like a smart guy, on paper at least, so while the fit may not be perfect to the concept, it is close enough to hand-wave the rest of the way.  That's the thing about rules lite games, they depend a lot on the player and GM deciding together how things are going to work.  My only complaint is that I'd like to be able to get his survival skill up a point or two to match his background, you don't have any skill points here, just your class bonus and your level.  Overall, impressive and quick.
    I never did get into the 4th edition of D&D, so I'm afraid the D&D train is going to stop here.  Next time I'll try something different.

P.S.- For anyone keeping count; Microlite20 is based on the same OGL rules as Pathfinder, so they are technically the same system; but 13 also felt like an unlucky number, so while there are 13 systems there are 14 individual games :)

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