Friday, September 18, 2015

13th Age Paladin


13th Age is an amazing game. Combining bits of indie story-telling with kick-ass action from the other d20 games 13th Age is easily the best of the modern d20 games (in this humble blogger's opinion). Each of the classes to fit around a different theme. They fit together pretty well...except that blood paladin. What is with d20 game and their inability to get how a paladin operates?

Out of all the d20 games I've played I've felt that 4th got the paladin the best, warts and all. The paladin in 4th edition was the rockstar of the figher classes, taking on crowds and laughing with impunity as the hordes crashed against him like waves against a rock. Sometimes I'd leave my DM speechless with how much damage I'd soaked up for the rest of the party. I would usually take double my full HP a battle and would not need to heal afterwards! Things like a critical hit would make me wince, sure, but it was only a flesh wound and my paladin could (and did) walk it off. Not that the paladin didn't have any weaknesses. A radiant-resistant enemy could laugh off my mark and my paladins went through healing surges (the recovery method in 4th) like a Russian did with vodka. The adventuring day would end because my paladin had run out of surges and could no longer block for anyone, nevermind protect himself in the midst of battle. Paladins also require a very competent healer to back them up as they play front man because, unlike the other defenders, paladins would pick fights with whole swarms of bad guys and needed the group to make sure he wouldn't fall flat on his face. It took a lot of trust to play a paladin, because if your teammates didn't back you up you were dead very quickly. Fortunately that was never a problem, as the other players were relieved to not need to spend more than two healing surges after each battle.

I don't get that feel in 13th Age. I just run in and smite things. The impression I've gotten from the online 13th Age community is that they're just as unimpressed as I am. So I decided to hack it. After talking with Andy and having some frank discussions about the state  of the Negative Zone this is what was cooked up. The following is a class feature:

Divine Challenge: Whenever you engage or are engaged by an opponent you gain temporary hit points equal to your Charisma modifier plus your level. Apply the double and triple rules for the Charisma modifier as normal. Temp hp gained this way stacks with itself. This caps at half your HP.

In addition, Smite has been renamed to Channel Divinity. You can either gain the bonus to damage as stated in the class feature or your can use it to burn a recovery. The feats that increase damage also increase healing by the same amount.

The class feature was designed with a meta in mind. Paladin players will be looking at this class feature and thinking "MOOKS!". Good. The intent is for paladins to throw themselves into battle against their enemies, shrugging off damage and tying up their foes while healing off wounds that should kill them and killing them as fast as possible.

Obviously, this is not playtested. I haven't gotten the math crimped down, nor do I know for sure how this will affect paladin play. If anyone reading this blog does try it out on their paladin please let me know, because it might be a while before I get around to testing it!

Remember, if you ain't charging into battle with the brazen faith that your god will protect you you ain't a paladin.