D&D Evolved

Alright, so this weekend I am starting my first D&D campaign, and it is a homebrewed Evolve themed tabletop dungeons and dragons campaign. There was some interest about it in the D&D thread, so I thought I’d make a separate thread talking about it so I don’t clutter the other one. So lets jump in!

So starting with mechanics. For people familiar with D&D, I am working with a middle ground between 3.5E and 5E. I really like the depth of the skills and feats of 3.5E, but I also liked the streamlining of 5E so I ended up combining a lot of the 3.5E skills into one (i.e. hide+move silently = stealth, spot+listen=perception, etc). Meanwhile, I am using things like rolling with advantage and disadvantage.

So here are the character sheets:





Character%20Sheet%20Evolve%20Campaign-5

Lots to talk about on these. So first off, weapons. I wanted to emulate the uniqueness of Evolve’s weapons, so I worked out more detailed weapon mechanics. First, all weapons have ammo. This isn’t literally a resource in a traditional sense, ammo is unlimited just like in the game. However, reloading is important. Once a weapon is used a certain number of times, it must be reloaded. This is a free action, but the weapon cannot be used on the same turn it is reloaded. Also, switching weapons and using a new weapon reloads the last one used automatically. This forces some diversity during combat without being restrictive - it incentivizes having multiple weapons in your load-out so you can switch weapons every few turns. Second, each weapon can have a number of auxiliary effects (ie if somebody had a lightning gun like markov, it could have a branching property or a ramp up etc). I don’t like health sponge combat, so I want choices in combat to be more about tactical use of a weapon’s special effects than a straight up dps race. Players can hold up to 6 weapons, and they can borrow up to 2 from any member of The Crew they recruit during the duration of the game.

Spells work the same, but no magic is allowed - every effect is considered to be the result of some sort of technological source.

As for skills, after combining everything I could, I added a bunch of sci-fi skills such as hacking, knowledge (biochemistry, technology, physics, planetary), Craft(chemical, electrical, mechanical), pilot, etc. I also rearranged diplomacy into persuasion, intimidation, and bluff (my players have a habit of confusing diplomacy and mind control, so this is to prevent that). Finally, if a feat is chosen from 3.5E that effects a removed or changed skill, it will change to the equivalent 5E feat. (For example, if a 3.5E feat boosts hide and move silently, it will instead boost stealth and dexterity).

Next up are animal companions, vehicles, and mechs. Animal companions work the same as vanilla D&D. Vehicles work the same as animal companions, but must be piloted by a player character to function. While in a vehicle, their stats become the vehicle’s stats. Mechs are also piloted, but instead of having their own stats, they have a set of modifiers that alter their pilot’s skills.

Ok, so very obviously, I skipped over some details. Like that mystery skill. Those involve some plot related spoilers. Anything that spoils the plot, I am going to put in a detail tag and spoiler cloud. If you are one of my players, or if you intend to use this yourself one day as a player, don’t dip in there. It’ll ruin the plot twists that come with the campaign. You’ve been warned.

Spoiler territory

Ok, so that mystery skill is the equivalent of insight from bloodborne and acts as a sanity mechanic. I extrapolated the idea of Patterson being the driving force behind the monster invasion, and essentially turned him into a lovecraftian entity that serves as the final antagonist. Extrapolating Kala’s story, the more characters interact with things he left behind in the world, the more they understand the truth, and the more the truth influences them. For example, once insight reaches a threshold, they will actually be able to interact with Patterson as a somewhat ghost like entity. At extremely high insight, they will unlock specialized end game powers. I’ll elaborate on this more later.

Anyhow, that’s a lot of typing for now. I’ll come back and add more about races and classes next time I am at my desktop! If this holds people’s interest, I’ll continue posting progress reports on the campaign as I go, even after lining up the baseline mechanics for everybody. If you have any thoughts, questions, or suggestions, throw them my way! I’m always down to improve things!

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mfw I wanna get into D&D and this is the tightest shit since the valve on the air compressor in my garage but I got nobody to play this with
3c0

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Sounds really cool! Got me thinking about pitching the monsters as enemies now to my dm.

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I’ve got a whole system for converting stats from the video game into the tabletop game. I’ll make a whole post about it!

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That would be appreciated!

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This would be incredible, haven’t posted in a log time with work,gaming, and table top, but my DnD exploits have grown.

Fought and defeated an Ancient Black Dragon over the weekend. Took 2 hours, and we were almost wiped once. Stronger than the lowest hp ones, but def wasn’t max health potential.

If there’s any way I can help in running one of these one day, let me know, would love to play!

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Do 'eet!

I’d love to compare notes on that Takran. I’d LOVE to see how a Stage 3 Bob stacks up against an ancient red dragon from 5e, because if its done right, each of the Monsters would be a boss-tier in their own right.

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You might be able to get people to play with you over chat. Years (emphasis on years) ago, I did dnd over IRC with a group of friends and it worked pretty well. You could use Slack or Discord or something similar.

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So, what, I’d use Roll20 or some website like that for a game? (Though I’ve heard some nasty shit about the guy who owns Roll20 recently, but I know there’s a few options for online RPGs)

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There’s a trick to this comparison - it depends on the party! I use an excel spreadsheet that has all my players stats in it. I do some math and run some averages, rescale the data according to the numbers used in Evolve, and extrapolate values from there. This ensures that I’ll never line up a completely unbeatable monster, but it’ll never be too easy either.

I haven’t run a sim of Bob at stage 3 against a level 20 party, but I know that a stage 3 gorgon against a level 15 party is relatively comparable to an ancient green dragon. The trick is where that power ends up allocated. Monsters tend to have a bigger health pool and more abilities/actions, but each action is more manageable than those of a dragon. That way there is very little opportunity to one shot, but the party has to act and react to control the situation to prevent it from escalating (and ideally, they’re gonna wanna find and kill the thing before it stages up).

If the trend goes the way I expect, I think a stage 3 level 20 Bob would be scarier than an ancient red dragon. That said, I also expect to give my party some insanely broken abilities by that point to balance it out. I’ll let you know more exact numbers as soon as I run a realistic test with it!

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Yeah. Or you could get a bot that does random rolls that everyone can see so no one’s cheating.

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Lots of people just use google hangouts or whatever, as if they’re around a table but… not.

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As you were combining some of the skills, did you purposefully decide to not look at Pathfinder? As Paizo has already done a good bit of work streamlining d20 3.5 rules.

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Perfect for theater of the mind style ttrpg.

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Not so much. I’m not familiar, but I’ll definitely take a look!

Pathfinder is a refinement of 3.5 D&D. When WotC published D&D 4th Ed. Paizo (who had been publishing Dragon Magazine, then Pathfinder Periodicals for D20 content) was worried about the more restrictive license that WotC developed. So they further refined the D20 system, and released it as the Pathfinder Roleplaying System.

Right now Paizo is doing an open playtest for Patfhinder 2nd Edition. I haven’t looked closely at it myself (there’s a free .pdf available), but it seems to combine some elements of Pathfinder with some concepts of D&D 5e.

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Oh, something that might also be of interest is Starfinder. Pathfinder’s sci-fi sister.

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Ok, back at it with Character Races. I have nine options for my players to pick from, though there is a lot of overlap. Options are as follows. Mechanics are under the dropdown menu.

Humans
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Human base land speed is 30 feet.
  • 1 extra feat at 1st level.
  • 4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level.
  • Automatic Language: Common plus any cultural language you desire.
  • This is the vanilla D&D race. Nothing changed.
Cyborgs
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, Cyborgs have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Cyborg base land speed is 30 feet.
  • 1 extra feat at 1st level.
  • 4 extra skill points at 1st
  • Cybernetic Augmentation – chat with DM about what you would want for this. You will gain added functionality at the cost of weakness to things that harm metals and electronics (such as EMP)
  • Automatic Language: Common and Binary.
  • Same as Human, but with a custom augmentation. The augmentation can interface with computers, and can have any manner of utility, but they gain a weakness to electric attacks.
Hegemony Cyborg
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, Hegemony Cyborgs have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Hegemony Cyborg base land speed is 30 feet.
  • 1 extra feat at 1st level.
  • 4 extra skill points at 1st
  • Hegemony Augmentation – at any time, you can sacrifice as many points of your constitution as you desire and allocate them into any other attribute. This resets after a short rest.
  • Hegemony Augmentation – at any time, you can sacrifice health at the same value of one of your constitution to boost any skill, attack, or non-attribute numerical value on your character sheet. This resets after a short rest, but health only comes back after healing.
  • Equal susceptibility to biological and electronic threats.
  • Automatic Language: Common and Binary.
  • This one requires some explanation. We never learned what the hegemony was, so I based this faction off of the Rage Troopers, but amped up to 11. The primary mechanic of the Hegemony is to trade health and Max Health for bonuses to other stats. Otherwise they are like cyborgs. I will go into detail later on what I intended with this unusual choice in terms of my narrative.
Super Vok
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, Super-Voks have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Super-Vok base land speed is 30 feet, but can vary based on chassis.
  • 1 extra feat at 1st level.
  • 4 extra skill points at 1st level
  • Custom Chassis - Chat with your DM about what you would want your robot to look and function like. Body can easily be repaired via spare parts, and modified with all manner of tech.
  • Can easily self-modify to upgrade and alter your form.
  • High susceptibility to electronic damage, but immunity to biological threats.
  • Automatic Language: Common and Binary
  • Like a cyborg, but no organic bits. Can be repaired, but are more susceptible to electric and digital threats
Rank Rajat Mind
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, Minds™ have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Minds™ base land speed is 30 feet, but can vary based on chassis.
  • 1 extra feat at 1st level.
  • 4 extra skill points at 1st level
  • Custom Chassis - Chat with your DM about what you would want your robot to look and function like. Body can be repaired via spare parts, and if destroyed, your mind state will be preserved.
  • +2 intelligence for all chassis
  • Can project into and occupy any unoccupied mechanical body, but hard to modify. Occupied bodies take on your own stats with modifiers based on that body.
  • Considered to be in two places at once – both with your supercomputer mind, and with your occupied chassis.
  • High susceptibility to electronic damage, but immunity to biological threats.
  • Automatic Language: All human languages and Binary.
  • Like a Super Vok, but they can body swap their chassis as they progress. More connection to The Line too.
Gen 1 Basilisk
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, Gen 1 Basilisks have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Gen 1 Basilisks base land speed is 45 feet.
  • 1 extra feat at 1st level.
  • Automatic Language: Common and wild (communicate with animals)
  • Natural weapons – claws and teeth
  • Exoskeleton provides permanent +2 to AC
  • High susceptibility to mutagen
  • Extreme weakness to mental attacks
  • Bounty on their heads
  • Charisma, Intelligence, and Wisdom are cut in half. The largest one has the lost points added into strength. The second largest one has the lost points added into constitution. The smallest one has the lost points put into dexterity
  • Can go into a rage. Charisma, Intelligence, and Wisdom are all reduced to 1 during this time. All points drained are allocated with the same logic as above, along with the standard barbarian rage effects.
  • Full on mutant. Extreme power at the cost of big hits to charisma, wisdom, and intelligence. High genetic instability and automatically outlawed.
Gen 2 Basilisk
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, Gen 2 Basilisks have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Gen 2 Basilisks base land speed is 30 feet.
  • 1 extra feat at 1st level.
  • 4 extra skill points at 1st level
  • Automatic Language: Common and wild (communicate with animals)
  • Biological weapon and tool proficiency
  • High susceptibility to mutagen
  • special features based on what genetics are being used in their creation – talk to your DM.
  • Extended lifespan and resistance to disease
  • Bounty on their heads
  • More stable than gen 1, less stable than gen 3, options to modify with any animal characteristics, not just bugs and crabs. Automatically outlawed.
Gen 3 Basilisk
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, Gen 3 Basilisks have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Gen 3 Basilisks base land speed is 30 feet.
  • 1 extra feat at 1st level.
  • 4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level.
  • Automatic Language: Common and wild (communicate with animals)
  • Biological weapon and tool proficiency
  • Wings
  • biological rebreather – can breathe in vacuums and/or choose to survive without breathing fresh air
  • Can stimulate mutated glands in their brain to release a special hormone that provides +10 feet land speed and +5 hp regeneration for a few turns.
  • Exoskeleton provides permanent +2 to AC
  • High susceptibility to mutagen
  • Aversion to water
  • Extended lifespan and resistance to disease
  • Bounty on their heads
  • A Mutated human much like slim. They gain bug man powers at the cost of genetic instability and automatically outlawed.
Secret (Spoilers)

This class is the special talent. It can only be played if the player rolls a natural 20 before character creation. If they are successful, they can layer special talent over any other race. Special talents may use literal magic, breaking the “science only” rule.

So first thing you’ll probably notice is that this is probably crazy unbalanced. I’m very new to DMing, and when I use these, it is sort of a live playtest. If one player gets unusually powerful as a result of these stats, I’ll bring the others up to speed with treasures and tools etc. This is hugely experimental, and I am working on it on the fly! I am always down for feedback if anybody has some.

Anyhow, next time I’ll cover some of my stat conversions for hunters and monsters, then I’ll go into how I changed the lore along with my intended narrative. If interest persists, I’ll update with how my players are doing.

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Also, an image of my players’ characters. Session one went great!

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Or just have them use a wish of being a better gamer and insta winning :stuck_out_tongue: