Campaign of the Month: November 2007

Bodhisattva Complex

Update Journal #2 - Faerun is Flavor Country

Indeed it’s been some time since my first update. I blame this on two things – my getting a new job that is both physically demanding and a time drain, and more importantly finally being able to play Mother 3 IN ENGLISH. I went through it in Japanese when it first came out, but let me say…battles are so much easier when you have more to go on than little item icons and an understanding of hiragana that is rudimentary at best. Nonetheless, the translation was well worth the two-year wait. SUCH a good game.

Anyway, on to the meat of the entry. It’s no real secret that I’m not a fan of the Forgotten Realms setting. At all. In fact, I openly revile it. But, thanks to Wizards’ inexplicable need to get material to us the players really really fast, I can thank the FR Player’s Guide for providing me a very workable new class for Malcolm in the Swordmage. “But Josh,” you say, “Malcolm uses guns! That won’t work with the Swordmage’s powers!” Ah, but it will if I change the restrictions of all those powers from melee weapon to ranged. Simple as that I have a Gunmage without having to worry about Iron Kingdoms being updated to 4e. Which, sadly, might not ever happen. Best campaign world EVAR.

This still leaves the problem of Milo and Charlotte, though. Fortunately I hear that the Martial Power book will have a ranger variant who uses an animal companion. This…really solves the Milo problem since I wanted that for him in the first place. So, with a few dips into Cleric he’s practically building himself at this point.

Which still leaves the glaring problem of Charlotte, or more specifically the Bard class. I know that Player’s Handbook II is scheduled for a January release, and really that isn’t too far off, but I’m really impatient about getting Complex up and running again, so I might not be able to wait that long. I have been working on my own custom Bard which I’ve been told is very good, but in order to avoid the whole “Charlotte is broken” situation again it’ll require significant playtesting to work. Playtesting I might not even be done with before PHBII is out. So at this point who knows what will happen.

Last item on the agenda in this update is the concept of Fortune Points, or FP. I came up with the idea when mulling over the posibility of my custom Bard having a pool of “luck points,” kind of like Luck feats or the 3.5 Bard spell, Improvise. Our playgroup is much more story-oriented than anything, so sometimes we get away with murder at the table. Dice fudging happens a lot more often than it should, and lately I’ve felt that Complex has suffered for this (it could also have to do with me being a relatively green DM who doesn’t like seeing people do badly). So I decided to come up with a simple way to let people “fudge” every once in a while without letting it get out of hand. That way is FP.

Every character starts play with 2 FP and gains an additional one per tier advancement, obviously capping at 4. A player can spend one FP per enconter to re-roll an attack or damage roll or skill check. I omitted saves in this because I figured it would make a Leader’s save-granting abilities much less potent in the long run. FP is restored only after an extended rest or when gaining a level mid-session that would bump up your tier. If any character gains access to a class feature that allows them to use action points to re-roll attack or damage rolls, et cetera, that class feature instead grants the character an additional FP.

Pretty simple, I think. It allows the player to tempt fate a little without it getting out of hand. I think it goes a long way in making Complex feel more like the games that inspired it.

Next update I’ll hopeully have some sample 4e soulmelds to show off!

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