I Need Some Ideas

Happy 4th of July everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted in almost a week. I just started my new class and I’ve been sort of addicted to the Wii Fire Emblem as of late. However, my laziness has not been in vain since playing a ton of Fire Emblem has given me an idea: I want to create a Fire Emblem/Shining Force style board game.

Fire Emblem Battle

It would be a grid based combat game where players have a certain amount of units that can move around and battle with other units. Once I had the basic idea down, I needed to figure out how to make this game different than just playing a game of Warhammer or doing DnD 4th edition combat scenarios. Then it occurred to me: What if I mix together Fire Emblem style combat with Settlers of Catan building/resource gathering?

So here is the gist of the game: There is a grid playing board in which each square is a certain terrain that generates resources. Players build towns/cities on the squares in order to generate resources. These resources are then spent to buy various combat units, which can attack an opponent’s towns/units. Victory is based on a point system. A player gets a victory point when they slay an opponent’s combat unit or when they destroy a settlement. The first to a certain amount of points (10?) wins the game. Alternatively, a player wins if all of their opponents’ units and towns are destroyed.


The Board Will Probably Look Similar to Settlers

Combat between units is based on percentage rolls (2D10). Each unit has a hit score, which is usually a number close to 100, and a defense score. In order to calculate if a unit can successfully hit another unit, take the attacking unit’s hit score and subtract it by the defending unit’s defense in order to get a percentage. For example, if I have a unit with a hit score of 110 and my opponent has a unit with 50 defense, then I have a 60% chance to damage the defending unit. The attacking player then rolls 2d10 and if he successfully hits, he deals a set amount  of damage depending on the unit type.

There are six different unit types. Players can also spend a certain amount of a resource to ‘promote’ their units into upgraded classes with better stats.

-Soldiers —> Legionaries are the bread and butter combat unit.

-Cavaliers —> Knights are mounted units. They can travel farther than Soldiers, but they do less damage.

-Archers —> Snipers are ranged combatants. They can attack at a distance and are very accurate, but don’t deal that much damage.

-Rogues —> Assassins are weak combat units, but they can steal items and resources from other players.

-Mages —> Wizards are fragile ranged combatants. When a player builds a Mage, they draw a Spell card (think of them like Chance cards). Then once per turn, instead of attacking with your Mage, you may play the Spell card from your hand (these Spells are one shot effects).

-Clerics —> Bishops are fragile healers.

Each unit has a Hit, Defense, Health, Damage, and Movement Scores. For example, here are the stats for the Soldier Class:

Hit: 100, Defense: 40, Damage: 2, Health: 4, Movement: 3

This means that Soldiers can take a total of 4 damage before they die, they can move 3 spaces in a turn, and deal 2 damage upon a successful hit. Each player will have a reminder sheet in front of them detailing the stats of each class. Town’s only have defense and Health stats and when a Town’s health gets to 0, it is destroyed. A player with no units or towns on the board loses the game.

In addition to units/towns, players can also spend their resources to buy additional spells for their Mages or to buy Items. Items are similar to development cards from Settlers and can do things like strength your units, fortify towns, give you resources, etc.

I’m still not sure what resources should be in the game. I was thinking that Gold, Ore, and Food (Wheat?) are definitely going to be included, but I don’t know what else to include. I’m also looking for a good non-random way to generate resources. I don’t want to use the Settler’s style die rolls since I already have a random element in combat and I don’t want players to do too much dice rolling.

If anyone has any ideas for the game, or is interesting in play testing it once I have a first draft done, let me know.

4th Edition Review

Gamers as a whole are slow to embrace change. Whenever there is a sequel to a game that differs markedly from the original, there is always an uproar. So its no surprise that when Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition came out, it didn’t get received well. Thats not to say that people absolutely hated it, but there were tons of people who continued to just play 3.5. Is 4th edition really that bad? Not really, but I wasn’t a huge fan when I tried it.

Now, I’m by no means an expert on 4th edition. I ran a campaign that lasted a whole two adventures. I was going to wait to write this until after I had some more experience under my belt, but since Jason still hasn’t started his online campaign, I decided to just do it now.

– The game is easier to learn. 4th edition is pretty heavily influenced by WoW (it even categorizes the classes by Tank, DPS, AoE, and Healer), which means anyone who has any experience playing an MMO can pick up 4th edition rather easily.
– The game has more options for classes and races. With just the first two players handbooks, you have like 30+ classes to choose from.
– The game uses a grid system exclusively, and spells and abilities often alter people’s position on the grid system. This makes combat a bit more interesting since there is more movement on the battlefield, and its easier for the players to visualize.
– Encounters are easier for the DM to design. In addition to this, a lot of monsters are classified as Minions, which all have 1 hp. This makes swarms a lot easier to manage for the DM while still being relatively challenging for the PCs.
– The game is better supported. Wizards is constantly making minor balance changes and errata to the game.
– Characters at level 1 are more sturdy and more powerful. Wizards won’t just die to a lucky enemy critical like they would in 3.5.
– There are less ways to build classes. For example, in the Player’s Handbook, it tells you that you can build a trickster rogue or a brawny rogue. All of the rogue powers fit into one of those two rogue archetypes. So while there are more classes to choose from, you are more limited in what you can do within each class.
– All classes get special powers now. For fighters, they manifest themselves as unique combat tricks. The problem is, you almost never make a regular melee attack because of this. You are almost always using a special power in some way or another. JSJ griped that his Fighter just felt like he was playing a wizard.
– Powers really make the game feel like your playing an MMORPG. During the game, most players just used the same powers over and over again. It really did feel like Jules’ character was yelling out “Starstorm! Starstorm!” every time she casted. She might as well have been saying “Hot stuff coming your way!” (to get that reference, go here)
– Non combat spells are now rituals, and casters only get a small amount of them. No longer can you make an interesting non-combat wizard/sorc. Your basically stuck just being a blaster wizard if you want to go magic, and I honestly can’t tell the difference between all of the magic using classes anymore because of this.
– Since all enemies and PCs have increased HP, combat takes longer … much longer. The introduction of minions helps this out a little bit, but not enough.
– Character all having healing surges now. Healing surges are powers you can expend to gain by a small percentage of hit points, and all characters get multiples of these a day. The problem I felt, is that it makes the game too easy for the PCs. I had them enter a dungeon filled with traps that did high damage, only to just have them shrug off every trap using healing surges. Characters get all of their healing surges back with just a days rest, so unless you have them fight encounter after encounter, the PCs will never get challenged.
Final Verdict: I wasn’t too impressed with 4th edition. I think this is mostly because of my D&D playstyle. From the player’s perspective, I like the freedom to do funky stuff with my characters and I like interesting non combat spells. 4th edition takes away both of those joys away from me. From the DM’s perspective, I like my combat encounters to have a storyline purpose, and because of that I don’t like to have too many encounters in a single adventure. Healing surges discourage this kind of DMing strategy, as the PCs were never once challenged in my adventures because of this. I do enjoy that they make things easier to run a campaign. I didn’t have to flip through the book looking for obscure rules all the time. Overall, while I appreciate the changes they made in this edition, I just don’t think the system is a fit for me.
On that note, I may have found that is: Pathfinder. I’ll save my Pathfinder explanation for a different post, but its basically 3.75 edition. It took a lot of the things that made 4th edition awesome (like easy to create encounters and sturdier characters) but kept the game in a basic 3rd edition shell. Expect a Pathfinder review in the near future.

Fortune’s Folly

A while ago, Jason decided that he was going to start an Eberron campaign, and I have been shamelessly procrastinating when it comes to creating my character. Jason will be doing the campaign through a message board system, to make it easier for everyone involved to meet up given Jason and Josh’s hard to plan around schedule. I am particularly excited for this since I don’t have any experience as a player character in 4th edition, and I need the PC experience so that I can write an accurate 4th edition review soon. Anyways, because I need a place to put all of this stuff, here is my character for this Eberron campaign:

When not disguised, she looks sorta like this Kor Cartographer.

Martina Lin (Marris Longblade) , Level 1
Doppelganger, Fighter
Fighter Talents: One-handed Weapon Talent

Str 16, Con 13, Dex 14, Int 14, Wis 11, Cha 12.

AC: 16 Fort: 15 Reflex: 12 Will: 12
HP: 28 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 7

Endurance +5, Intimidate +6, Athletics +7

Acrobatics +1, Arcana +2, Bluff +3, Diplomacy +1, Dungeoneering, Heal, History +2, Insight +2, Nature, Perception, Religion +2, Stealth +1, Streetwise +1, Thievery +1

Level 1: Blade Opportunist

Fighter at-will 1: Sure Strike
Fighter at-will 1: Reaping Strike
Fighter daily 1: Villain’s Menace
Fighter encounter 1: Steel Serpent Strike

Adventurer’s Kit, Longsword, Identification Papers, Standard, Wine, Bottle, Traveling papers, Torch, Grappling Hook, Hide Armor, Light Shield


Martina was born in the Kingdom of Sharn. Her father is an antiquities professor disguised as human, for the Morgrave University. Her mother, also disguised as a human, was a bar wench for a tavern her father liked to frequent. Unfortunately, her mother died during her childbirth. Stricken with grief, her father took Martina to the university and raised her as if she was his human daughter.

Martina was a bit of a rebellious youth. She quickly learned of her true nature as a Changeling and liked her true appearance a whole lot better. Her father often chastised her, telling her it wasn’t safe for her to walk around in her true form. She hated living at the University and was intensely bored of learning about ancient history and artifacts. Martina valued freedom above all else, and when she turned 14, she fled the university. She has not talked to or seen her father since.

The first thing she did in the outside world was assume her true form. She firmly believes that Changelings should not have to constantly hide their true nature. Her wish to this day, is that people stop seeing Changelings as evil duplicitous beings. She spent a year on her own in the city living honestly. She worked as a maid for a demi-human only inn called the Misfit Hideaway. This was the happiest period in her life. It was the only time in her life where was truly able to be herself.

One night, when she was walking back from the marketplace, Martina was harassed by a group of local ruffians for walking around in her true form. The encounter quickly became violent. She was raped by the group and left to die in an alleyway. Miraculously, she managed to survive the encounter, and spent the next few months recovering. She became cynical and disenchanted. She finally realized that there was no way she could remain in her true form at the present time. She also realized that she needed to learn how to protect herself and be intimidating. She took the form of a human male named Merris Longblade (the name is lame on purpose), and joined Sharn’s army.

Her human/anime form.

After completing basic training, Martina defected from the military as it was too constraining for her. Despite her new found pessimism, she still has a desire for freedom. She left Sharn for good, and is currently roaming around the country from city to city, taking up mercenary work where she can to feed herself. She is an eternal wanderer, longing for a day where she can return to her true form and be accepted.

When in a city, Martina usually sticks to the poor/crime ridden sections of the city (docks district for example). These areas are more of a melting pot of races, so she feels comfortable there, although she still remains in human form. As a man, Martina acts dense and tries to downplay her intelligence. Her cynicism still shows itself when trying to be a man. She rarely tells people about her true form and never discusses what happened to her on the night which changed her life. At her best, Martina is principled and pessimistic. At her worse, Martina is mistrusting and secretive.