After the first batch of articles on game design and variant rules, I now have enough material for an initial playtest. At this stage, the game is little more than a glorified 4E mod, so what follows are a bunch of rules changes you can apply on your D&D games. If this goes well, we will then proceed to work on more substantial systems, like character conditions, and the mathematical framework.
These rules have all been introduced in previous articles, but are put together here for your convenience. I am interested in all kinds of feedback, including obviously game experience, but also general impressions, and theoretical considerations. Note that, although I keep falling behind in answering article comments, I still read them, and intend to provide answers as soon as I can.
Proposed rules changes
1- Monster Healing
Monster Commander: Before every encounter, the Game Master selects one of the monsters (usually the most powerful of intelligent one)as the Commander of that monster party. The commander gains the Commanding Word power:
Commanding Word. Minor Action (2/encounter, 1/turn). Close burst 5. Target: You or one ally in burst. Effect: The target regains hit points equal to 5+ (2.5* its level).
2- Last Effort
Last effort: Whenever a character starts a turn, if the majority of characters in their party are bloodied, dying, or dead, that character becomes desperate until the end of the encounter.
(Desperate is a new character condition, defined below)
Desperate: A desperate character gains:
A +2 bonus to all attacks
A -2 penalty to all defenses
For each of the character’s attacks that hits but doesn’t crit, roll 1d20. On a roll of 19-20, the attack becomes a critical hit.
3- Action Points
Action point usage: Once during each character’s turn, that character can make an Action Point Check. This is a d20 check with a DC determined by the current combat round (see table below). If the check succeeds, that character can spend an action point that turn, unless he has already spent an action point this encounter.
If a character is allowed to spend an action point outside of his turn (e.g. from a paragon path feature), he makes an Action Point Check. If the check succeeds, the character can spend the action point that way. A character can never make more than one Action Point Check per round.
(Note: A character cannot spend an action point unless he has succeeded in an Action Point Check that turn).
Round- Action Point Check DC
1 - Impossible (no check)
2 - 15
3 - 10
4+ – Automatic
4- Encounter Attacks
Encounter Attack Usage: A character that uses an encounter attack power becomes Fatigued until the end of his next turn.
Fatigue: A fatigued character cannot use encounter attack powers. Certain types of powers can also be affected by the fatigued condition.
Attack powers not causing fatigue. The following powers do not make a character fatigued, and can be used by fatigued characters:
Channel Divinity Powers
Magic Item Powers
Non-attack powers affected by fatigue. A character using any of the following powers becomes fatigued until the end of his next turn; these powers cannot be used while fatigued:
Backstab (Thief Utility)
Bladesong (Bladesinger Utility)
Augmentable psionic powers are affected as follows:
A character that uses the most expensive augmentation of an augmentable at-will attack becomes fatigued until the end of his next turn.
The most expensive augmentation of an augmentable at-will attack cannot be used while fatigued.
Any other augmentations or unaugmented powers do not make a character fatigued, and can be used by fatigued characters.
5- Daily Attacks
Daily Attack Usage: A character can only use one daily attack power each encounter.
Exceptions: The following powers do not count towards the limit of one daily attack per encounter:
Magic Item Powers
6- Short Rests
Healing in a Short rest: During a short rest, any player character can spend a healing surge to regain all hit points. A player character with no healing surges regains hit points up to his bloodied value at the end of a short rest.
7- Healing Surges
Running out of Healing Surges: A player character with no healing surges left cannot use daily powers nor action points. If an effect causes that character to lose a healing surge, he takes damage equal to half his bloodied value instead.
Replace the following rules related to dying characters with the text below:
Characters reduced to 0 HP: When a character takes damage that leaves him with 0 or less hit points, the character is knocked prone and dying, and must make a Death Saving Throw.
Death Saving Throw: Some game effects require a character to make a Death Saving Throw. The character makes a saving throw: on a success nothing happens, and on a failure, the character loses a healing surge. A dying character rolling a result of 20 or higher becomes stabilized.
Healing a Dying Character: A dying character that receives any amount of healing becomes stabilized. In addition, the effect of healing on that character depends on the character’s current hit point total:
If the amount of damage healed is equal or greater than the character’s negative hit points, the character’s hit point total becomes equal to the amount of damage healed. The character is no longer unconscious, and is weakened until the end of his next turn.
If the amount of damage healed is less than the character’s negative hit points, subtract that amount from the character’s negative hit points. The character remains unconscious.
Coup de Grace: When a character targets an adjacent unconscious enemy with an attack, the attack is considered a Coup de Grace against that enemy. In Coup de Grace attacks, missed attack rolls are treated as hits.
(Other death-related rules are left unchanged. Notably, dying characters still roll death saves each turn.)