Iron Kingdoms 1
Dungeons and Dragons Some Disassembly Required
D&D serves its purposes for certain campaigns, but not for others. Since the system was originally built on D&D 3.5 I have decided to continue using it, however certain components are not useful or sensible to include for this campaign setting. The following ideas have been abandoned from traditional D&D.
Multiclassing limitations and experience: People have long, often storied lives. The limitation in D&D on taking multiple classes without an experience penalty is ultimately absurd; it is an artefact of the writers’ attempt to control the game environment. Any game master should impose his or her own means of control over munchkin gamers, but keeping a person’s character from pursuing a new direction in life is not useful and makes players focus more on their class than their character.
The classes exist to provide an anchor for the character within the ruleset, but the number-crunching should not be the purpose of the game, your character should be interesting for you and have a place within the game world. Whether a soldier is classed as a fighter, rogue, pistoleer, ranger, long gunner, or some other class, the important point to the character is that he or she is a soldier. If a character has training as a priest, he knows nothing of his own cleric lvl 1 stats, he only knows he is a novitiate within the Church of Morrow for instance.
Levels will be provided after important training has been accomplished in the game. While traditional D&D may allow for massive character growth within the span of a few days due to killing 70 monsters of a particular type and mounds of treasure should typically result, I feel heroes must endure much longer periods of time and training to improve their abilities.
Experience drain for item creation: This slows things down and leads to player disinterest in item creation. There is a dynamic within IK regarding possible permanent personal damage to a character for creation of high level items which adds further penalties to item creation for magical items which I prefer and will use the exp penalties for calculation of those further penalties, but the exp drain will not actually occur, it merely provides a useful calculus for the cost of item production. A preference exists within the setting for creation of Mechanika (which are composed of several magical items of low value which link mechanically together to form modular equivalents to magic items of high value, but can have components replaced if they fail, can be recharged, and allow items found as treasure to be useful to the players as they can have parts removed and replaced) instead of Magica based items. More information can be provided if a player is interested, and we will get into this more as we go through the campaign.
Attacks of Opportunity: These will occur less regularly than in traditional D&D 3.5. I never liked them, and while they will sometimes occur, they will be dependant on positioning during battle, and a reasonable acceptance that people in the middle of a fight do not have omnivision. If someone is behind you and bolts for it, or in front of you but you are suddenly distracted, you will lose an attack of opportunity as you did not have the ability to take the opportunity. There are situations where flanking will be possible where in traditional D&D it would not be. If three people are surrounding you, and you definitely could not see at least one of them, but do not meet the official flanking positioning rules, you will still have trouble defending against all of them. Your character’s directional positioning will end up mattering more for most fights as most people only have peripheral vision, and if they don’t notice something, they can’t defend against it. This includes small projectile weapons causing loss of dex bonus if the attack could not be reasonably dodged because the character was not aware of the attack. Only those with powers specifically designed to allow non-natural dodging will be allowed to dodge bullets. Reflex saves may be made under certain circumstances, but don’t try to rules lawyer your way out of getting hit.
Damage and Attacks: Unless you have special abilities to see the health of others, you will not know the level or health of a creature, or even necessarily how bad you have injured something. If a creature seems overwhelming, it may indeed be or your tactics for approaching it may be flawed. Killing something is not required, though, as most people and animals will have survival instincts unless they have been trained otherwise or are in large packs. If you shoot something from a long distance, you may not even know if you have hit the creature. You will roll damage and attack at once, and only i will know whether you have hit something if it is ranged unless there is a good reason for you to know. You will not know if you have killed something unless you check for a pulse. If something falls on the ground, it is not necessarily dead, and the body remains in play.
Extra Skills: If you wish your character to have gained training previously in other skills, this is entirely possible through paid training from a skilled practitioner. I strongly recommend characters with diverse backgrounds. By the time you enter the life of an adventurer, you should have at least 50 skill points spread around through all manner of skills not related to your class, and most of these should be social or worksman’s trade skills. If you choose university trained characters, you will need to take many different knowledge skills and skills in research. Growing up on a farm would have given you agricultural skills. You should all have had at least one profession, probably more like 2 or 3 unless you fancy yourselves members of the aristocracy. I don’t mind each character having a plethora of skills so long as they are explained in history that you develop. If your character can play the drums, throw it on there. You don’t have to be a bard to pluck a few strings, and soldiers in Cygnar are put through training that includes Cygnaran history and tactics knowledge.