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Discussion on Allowing Supplements, Third Party, Homebrew, Etc.

   
Quote:
Originally Posted by JAMRenaissance View Post
How feasible is it to run an ALL PoW/Psionics/SoP campaign? One of these with only core-only PF?
I've seen a 3.5 game which used everything WotC except Core, and a crazy (tristalt!) PF game where the only classes allowed were 3rd-party ones (DSP, Spheres of Power, etc) - though I'm pretty sure regular feats and stuff were still allowed.

Obviously, yeah, a system's "Core" typically includes all the rules and stuff, which are pretty necessary; however it almost always also includes some content (since some is required to play the game), which is usually not.

@Peacemonger - the point I was trying to make before is that it's not always a case of pros and cons. For example, if I'm setting my game on (a not-too-magical/modern day/real-life-like) Earth, I probably don't want to allow races other than human. At that point, though, there's not really a lot of weighing-up to do - my decision is basically made for me. Same goes for material I'm unfamiliar with - the pros are unlikely to outweigh that fact, whatever they are. Yet in other circumstances, those concerns don't even exist as factors so it would almost be silly even to consider them.

Thus, the decision really has to be made game-by-game. My approach is to allow everything I don't have a good reason not to; obviously there are a few of these disadvantages to allowing stuff, but for me they're pretty small. That doesn't mean there aren't circumstances where you might want to ban, though.

Yep, agreed. That's why there's a separate section on the first post for the points brought up that don't fall under pros or cons.

From my experiences with several of my old tabletop groups that did allow quite a bit of third party stuff, you either need to have a fairly casual "who gives a damn about balance" attitude or a fairly high level of system mastery. Otherwise you end up with stuff that makes playing a Truenamer and a Spell to Power Erudite in the same game look attractive. You also need to be willing to retcon and rewrite problem abilities. Sometimes you really need to do the same with official material, sometimes even core, but you're much more likely to fall into a trap with 3rd party stuff that uses some weird new subsystem that nobody really understands yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAMRenaissance View Post
I have a question, as I try to analyze this question:

How feasible is it to run an ALL PoW/Psionics/SoP campaign? One of these with only core-only PF?

Would anyone consider running ONLY this material, and, if not, why?

As background, I am not deeply familiar with any third party ruleset. The major ones /CAN/ stand alone, right?
Spheres can absolutely stand on its own; if anything, I think it works much better by itself than mixing and matching. That's why they've put out archetypes for every core class that swaps out the regular Vancian spellcasting for Spherecasting, so you can easily play all-Spheres.

PoW isn't intended to work solely by itself, but it can work as a replacement for all the non-spellcasting characters. It's pretty explicitly designed to bring the "warriors" up to the power level of the "wizards." You could definitely run a campaign with just the DSP psionic classes, since they have a healer (Vitalist), a rogue (Cryptic), a wizard (Psion), a bard (Tactician), several flavors of warrior (Psychic Warrior, Soulknife, Marksman), and then a few more weirder classes on top of that. It might be a little light on options, but you could do it. Interestingly, I think you might have the most success if you ran nothing but DSP classes—swap all the magical classes for psionic and all the mundane classes for Path of War. That would probably work out really well.

Dreamscarred has definitely put out enough stuff to be their own game. Even more so if you also mix in Akashic magic. And they've written stuff to blend their various products together too. I can totally see an all Dreamscarred game working well.

There's also plenty of stuff which works off existing PF material, though, whereas Spheres of Power is presented as a stand-alone system.

DSP-only would probably actually work OK - their stuff is pretty well-balanced with itself, at least (a few caveats aside) and actually you have plenty of options for "magical" classes - the way they made warriors compete with magic classes appears mostly to have made the warriors be magic classes; a lot of PoW disciplines are entirely supernatural, way more than ToB (which was mostly mundane, contrary to the whole "sword magic" thing). Psionics are the only "real" casters but if you mix in those and also the Akashic you've got quite a range on offer.

Spheres and the DSP stuff are also two of the better-written and better-balanced sets of third party/homebrew material. I find the language in Spheres to be a tad out in places, especially SoM (though that's mostly because of the dumb "attack action" thing which I dislike probably slightly more than I should). DSP has a lot of feature creep and "and also" abilities, plus there are a couple of oddities, as always - no more than regular 3.5 or PF, though (Wilders also spring to mind - it baffles me that they took the 3.5 class and then added some incredibly poorly-balanced "Surge Bonds" which make little sense and were not really necessary at all - though the Rage Bond is pretty cool).

That stuff is only slightly behind Paizo in terms of quality, and probably no worse than, say, Complete Psionic (seriously, did anyone even bother editing that thing?), though usually the first party published stuff has a decent minimum level thanks to at least some amount of editing and stuff. Other homebrew stuff can vary pretty wildly.

I've been wondering whether or not we're asking the right question. As is, there is an implied "Standard Pathfinder vs Standard Pathfinder with STUFF", but I think at this point the STUFF has developed to where we should really ask do we want to play Pathfinder or do we want to play SoP...







 

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