Monday, September 7, 2015

One Character, Nine Systems: Part 7

Last week, I proposed an experiment of generating the same character in nine different editions/variations of the D&D game. In the first post we introduced Junco Eliade, now it's time to give him some crunch. In this iteration we'll use:

Dungeons & Dragons, 3rd Edition
Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition was the first edition of the game put out by Wizards of the Coast, rather than TSR, and represented a significant overhaul of the rules: ascending ACs and attack bonuses, level-selective multi-classing, point-based skill systems, feats...everything. The shear number of rulebooks and rules expansions could be overwhelming (especially since the advent of the Open-Gaming License allowed third parties to create their rules and add-ons that were compatible with the game). There was also a re-print and revision 3 years after the initial release, dubbed v3.5, which invalidated several of the earliest publications. For the sake of this experiment, we will be using the revised v3.5 rules and will consider all books published by WOTC after 2003 for D&D 3rd Edition to be in scope (though it is unlikely that we will use rules from more than 1 or 2).

Race: Dwarf, Hill
3rd edition has countless sub-races of dwarves throughout its numerous splat-books: Hill, Mountain, Deep, and Gray dwarves in the Monster Manual, Dream Dwarves in Races of Stone, Glacier Dwarves in Frostburn, Aquatic, Arctic, Desert, Jungle, and Earth dwarves in Unearthed Arcana, and many more. As with 2nd Edition we will take the precedent of earlier editions and go with the most common/generic dwarven subrace: Hill Dwarves, as they appear in the Player's Handbook.
Class: Cleric 2nd / Fighter 1st
3rd edition has no racial limitations on classes. Multi-classing is handled significantly differently from previous editions. Rather than choosing two classes and advancing them simultaneously, each time the character gains a "character level", he must choose which class to advance, gaining the next numeric "class level" in the class chosen. Since his role as a Cleric features more prominently in Junco's description than his combat prowess, we will give Junco levels of Cleric in a 2:1 ration to his fighter levels.
3rd edition also introduces the idea of a "Favored Class". Characters that multi-class suffer a penalty to their earned experience, but ignore that penalty for their racial favored class. Dwarves have Fighter as their favored class, so Junco will not suffer any experience penalties (he is effectively treated as if he were a single-classed Cleric for determining experience penalties.
"Character" Level: 3rd
Minimum XP: 3000
Alignment:  Lawful Neutral
Hit Dice: 10+1d8+1d10+9
Average Hit Points:  29
With 3rd edition, characters start with maximum hit points for their class at 1st level. New hit points at each level are gained based on the class chosen. Since Cleric is his primary focus, Junco's first level will be in Cleric, with one additional level of Fighter and Cleric thereafter. Constitution modifiers are added to rolled hit points at each level.
3rd Edition includes "Racial Substitution Levels" for certain combinations of class and race, giving slightly different powers based on those combinations. Dwarves have racial substitution levels for the Cleric class, so those will be used here. One key advantage is that he will gain a d10 hit die for his first level of Cleric. The combination of gaining maximum hit points at first level, the increased die size, and a larger racial bonus to his Constitution score significantly increases Junco's average hit points compared to previous editions. 
  • Str: 9 -- -1 modifier
  • Dex: 16  -- +3 modifier
  • Con: 17 -- +3 modifier
  • Int: 16 -- +3 modifier
  • Wis: 11 -- +0 modifier
  • Cha: 6 -- -2 modifier
3rd edition has no ability requirements or limitations based on Race or Class, erring on the side of allowing any combination desired to the player. It does grant modifiers to ability scores from the character's choice of race. Dwarves gain a +2 bonus to Constitution, and a -2 penalty to Charisma (double the modifiers from AD&D).
Dwarf Abilities:  
  1. Dwarf base land speed is 20 feet. However, dwarves can move at this speed even when wearing medium or heavy armor or whose speed is reduced in such conditions).
  2. Darkvision: Dwarves can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and dwarves can function just fine with no light at all.
  3. Stonecunning: This ability grants a dwarf a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn’t stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A dwarf who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if he were actively searching, and a dwarf can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A dwarf can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up. Dwarves have a sixth sense about stonework, an innate ability that they get plenty of opportunity to practice and hone in their underground homes.
  4. Weapon Familiarity: Dwarves may treat dwarven waraxes and dwarven urgroshes as martial weapons, rather than exotic weapons.
  5. Stability: Dwarves are exceptionally stable on their feet. A dwarf gains a +4 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground).
  6. +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison: Dwarves are hardy and resistant to toxins.
  7. +2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like effects: dwarves have an innate resistance to magic spells.
  8. +1 racial bonus to attack rolls against orcs (including half-orcs) and goblinoids (including goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears): Dwarves are trained in the special combat techniques that allow them to fight their common enemies more effectively.
  9. +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against monsters of the giant type (such as ogres, trolls, and hill giants): This bonus represents special training that dwarves undergo, during which they learn tricks that previous generations developed in their battles with giants. Any time a creature loses its Dexterity bonus (if any) to Armor Class, such as when it’s caught flat-footed, it loses its dodge bonus, too. The Monster Manual has information on which creatures are of the giant type.
  10. +2 racial bonus on Appraise checks that are related to stone or metal items: Dwarves are familiar with valuable items of all kinds, especially those made of stone or metal.
  11. +2 racial bonus on Craft checks that are related to stone or metal: Dwarves are especially capable with stonework and metalwork.
  12. Automatic Languages: Common and Dwarven. Bonus Languages: Giant, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, Terran, and Undercommon. Dwarves are familiar with the languages of their enemies and of their subterranean allies.
Characters in 3rd edition are automatically fluent and literate in Common and their native tongue. They also gain a number of "bonus languages" equal to their Intelligence modifier (3 for Junco). The "Bonus Languages" listed under the race description are not learned automatically, but rather are those which are allowed to characters with exceptional Intelligence. Thus this incarnation of Junco knows a total of 5 languages.

Cleric Abilities:
    1. Clerics are proficient with all simple weapons, with all types of armor (light, medium, and heavy), and with shields (except tower shields).
    2. A cleric casts divine spells which are drawn from the cleric spell list. However, his alignment may restrict him from casting certain spells opposed to his moral or ethical beliefs; a cleric can’t cast spells of an alignment opposed to his own (a Lawful cleric cannot cast spells with the Chaotic descriptor). A cleric must choose and prepare his spells in advance. To prepare or cast a spell, a cleric must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a cleric’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the cleric’s Wisdom modifier.
      1. Prepare and cast 4 0th-level spells per day.
      2. Prepare and cast 2 1st-level spells per day, plus 1 1st-level Domain spell.
    3. If your cleric is not devoted to a particular deity, select two domains to represent his spiritual inclinations and abilities. The restriction on alignment domains still applies. Each domain gives your cleric access to a domain spell at each spell level he can cast, from 1st on up, as well as a granted power. Your cleric gets the granted powers of both the domains selected. With access to two domain spells at a given spell level, a cleric prepares one or the other each day in his domain spell slot. If a domain spell is not on the cleric spell list, a cleric can prepare it only in his domain spell slot.
        • Granted Power: Add all Knowledge skills to your list of cleric class skills. You cast divination spells at +1 caster level.
        • Knowledge Domain Spells:
          1. Detect Secret Doors
        • Granted Powers: Add Survival to your list of cleric class skills. For a total time per day of 1 round per cleric level you possess, you can act normally regardless of magical effects that impede movement as if you were affected by the spell freedom of movement. This effect occurs automatically as soon as it applies, lasts until it runs out or is no longer needed, and can operate multiple times per day (up to the total daily limit of rounds). This granted power is a supernatural ability.
        • Travel Domain Spells
          1. Longstrider
    4. Spontaneous Casting: A cleric who is neither good nor evil can convert prepared spells to either cure spells or inflict spells (player’s choice), depending on whether the cleric is more proficient at wielding positive or negative energy. Once the player makes this choice, it cannot be reversed. This choice also determines whether the cleric turns or commands undead (see below). 
    5. Smite Giants (Su): A dwarf cleric can attempt to smite a giant with a melee attack, similar to the way a paladin smites an evil creature. He adds his Constitution bonus to his attack roll and deals an extra 1 point of damage per cleric level. The cleric can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 1 + her Con modifier (minimum once per day). If the cleric accidentally smites a creature that is not a giant, the smite has no effect but still counts as one of the cleric’s daily smite attempts. This substitution benefit replaces the standard cleric’s ability to turn or rebuke undead.
    6. Bonus Languages: A cleric’s bonus language options include Celestial, Abyssal, and Infernal (the languages of good, chaotic evil, and lawful evil outsiders, respectively). These choices are in addition to the bonus languages available to the character because of his race.
    3rd Edition includes the idea of "Substitution Levels" and "Alternate Class Features" which allow for a very large degree of customization for characters. The Dwarf Cleric racial substitution levels, in particular, gives Junco considerably more combat versatility than in previous editions.

    Note that, since Junco has a Wisdom score of 11, he will not be able to cast Cleric spells of greater than 1st level without finding some way to increase his Wisdom in the future. Thus, with 3rd edition, we see the first point where his randomly generated ability score distribution is truly sub-optimal for his chosen class(es).

    Fighter Abilities:
    1. A fighter is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all armor (heavy, medium, and light) and shields (including tower shields).
    2. At 1st level, a fighter gets a bonus combat-oriented feat in addition to the feat that any 1st-level character gets.
    There are no restrictions on weapons or armor from combining the Cleric with other classes in 3rd edition, so Junco has access to the full range of weapons and armor allowed to a Fighter.

    Attack Rolls:  +2 Base Attack Bonus

    Characters in 3rd edition have a Base Attack Bonus (BAB) based on their level in their chosen classes. This is an additive bonus. Multi-class characters simply add up the bonus provided by their levels in each class. Junco gains a +1 bonus from having 2 levels of Cleric, and another +1 bonus from his 1 level of Fighter.

    Saving Throws:
    • Fortitude:  +8
    • Reflex:  +3
    • Willpower:  +3
    Saving throws in 3rd edition are broken down into three categories: Fortitude, Reflex, and Willpower. Like the character's Base Attack Bonus, these are additive, with bonuses gained from class levels, as well as bonuses from a specific ability score (Constitution for Fortitude, Dexterity for Reflex, and Wisdom for Willpower). Junco gains a +3 bonus to Fortitude and Willpower from his Cleric levels, and a +2 bonus to Fortitude from his Fighter level.

    Characters in 3rd edition gain a number of points to spend on skills based on their Intelligence and class levels. These skills, like attacks and saves, are additive with a bonus equal to the number of points spent in the chosen skill, plus a relevant ability score modifier. Each class has a list of "class skills" from which he can purchase bonuses on a 1:1 ratio (1 skill point  = +1 skill). Purchasing skills from outside of these class skills is done at a 2:1 ratio (2 skill points = +1 skill). 

    Junco gains a number of skill points equal to 8 + four times his Intelligence modifier from his first Cleric level, then 2 + his Intelligence modifier for his following levels of Cleric and Fighter, for a total of 30 skill points. 

    Junco's class skills as a Cleric are: Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (any) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Survival (Wis). His class skills as a Fighter are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Ride (Dex), and Swim (Str).
    • Concentration: +8 (5 points)
    • Knowledge (Religion): +8 (5 points)
    • Knowledge (History): +8 (5 points)
    • Heal: +5 (5 points)
    • Survival: +5 (5 points)
    • Climb: +4 (5 points)
    Another significant change is the "try anything" approach. While skills are strictly defined in 3rd edition, most skills can be used "untrained" allowing any character to use them (albeit with limited chance of success. These untrained skill checks are effectively just checks against the relevant ability. Here are the untrained skills available to Junco.
    • Str (-1):  Jump, Swim
    • Dex (+3):  Balance, Escape Artist, Hide, Move Silently, Ride, Use Rope
    • Con (+3):  
    • Int (+3):  Appraise, Craft, Forgery, Search
    • Wis (+0):  Listen, Sense Motive, Spot
    • Cha (-2):  Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Gather Information, Intimidate, Perform

    A new feature of 3rd edition, Feats are special feature that either gives the character a new capability or improves one he or she already has. Each character gains 1 feat at 1st level and may select a new feat at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter, and may gain additional bonus feats based on his choice of race or class(es). Being third level, Junco gains 2 feats, plus one additional combat-oriented feat for his level of Fighter.
    • Scribe Scroll: You can create a scroll of any spell that you know. Scribing a scroll takes one day for each 1,000 gp in its base price. The base price of a scroll is its spell level × its caster level × 25 gp. To scribe a scroll, you must spend 1/25 of this base price in XP and use up raw materials costing one-half of this base price. Any scroll that stores a spell with a costly material component or an XP cost also carries a commensurate cost. In addition to the costs derived from the base price, you must expend the material component or pay the XP when scribing the scroll.
    • Weapon Focus (Staff): You gain a +1 bonus on all attack rolls you make using the selected weapon.
    • Rapid Reload (Heavy Crossbow): The time required for you to reload your chosen type of crossbow is reduced to a free action (for a hand or light crossbow) or a move action (for a heavy crossbow). Reloading a crossbow still provokes an attack of opportunity.
    While arguably meant to instill increased versatility, the every feat has certain prerequisites, greatly limiting the options that a given low-level character can select. These are further restricted by being largely optimization-centric, such that many Cleric-specific feats require scores of 13 or better in Wisdom or Charisma. These limitations, along with the requirement of having a specific stat of 10 + the spell level in order to cast a given spell, means that "good" (read as: optimized) characters of given classes or combinations of classes end up with very similar statistics. While nothing in 3rd-edition stops us from making a Fighter/Cleric with low Strength and Wisdom, he does end up substantially hampered in his ability to cast spells and with a much smaller selection of available feats to choose from.

    In Junco's case we have selected feats that reflect his historical penchant for fighting with a Staff and Heavy Crossbow, along with Scribe Scroll, which expands his versatility as a spellcaster and somewhat makes up for the lost Cleric levels from 3rd-edition's system of multi-classing, and also fits with his role as a scholar.