Why True 20?

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Why True 20?

Postby critter80 » Mon Apr 11, 2005 6:25 am

I have Blue Rose coming in the mail, and I got it because of all the hype about the system, not the setting (I'm not making any judgement on the setting until I read it, though). My question is this: why take the time to convert so many other things to this system? What makes it so superior to the WotC version of d20 that you would invest all this time and energy? (I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't, but having not yet read the rules, I'm curious about what you think makes it far superior to d20.)
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Postby Stareyes » Mon Apr 11, 2005 6:53 am

I haven't actually played it yet (It would take time to develop a setting other than Blue Rose, and unfortunatly maybe one of my friends falls into the 'will both show up to games reliably and will not kill me for running romantic fantasy') but here's why I'm excited.

-- 'Roles': I started gaming with GURPS and BESM -- two generic point-buy systems. Yeah, sure, you could play a genre archetype, but you could also play somehting weird . My first GURPS game had a few of the staples (a wizard, a rather skittish medieval fantasy theif, a sci-fi bounty hunter) but it also had a ten-year-old supergenius with an imaginary friend who was a squire from another universe. Doing that kind of stuff with strict classes liek D&D or Palladium is more difficult.

-- 'Damage Saves' I once had to explain to a novice d20 player why her Dragon PC had the fewest HP in the party (because most everyone else didn't play a race wiht a huge ECL). It was very unintuitive to her, even when I switched to the VP/WP system (which made more sense, as she had one of the higher WP totals in hte game, and I think the explanation of VP related to experience worked). Damage saves seem slightly more intuitive -- if you get hit, you are probably going to get hurt.

That and I like the magic system.
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Postby timemrick » Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:07 am

Here are some of the changes I like so far (having just finished reading the book, and creating/converting a few characters, but not having played it yet):

1. Although D&D 3E's class templates are much more flexible than previous editions, they're still rather limiting. Blue Rose's roles start with a fairly simple baseline, then give you lots of leeway in choosing feats and skills. You can replicate d20 classes if you want, but you have many more options, too--and without any added complexity. Also, many feats dropped fairly minor prerequisites (such as +1 base attack bonus), so more characters have the opportunity to take them.

2. With role-based Defense bonuses, you don't have to wear 20-50 pounds of armor to have a decent Defense/AC.

3. I've always felt that D&D's magic system (in any edition) was counter-intuitive: the "prepare now, cast later" mechanic; the rigid spell levels and spell slots; and the lack of any sense of logical paths of study (where learning spell A makes spell B easier to learn). Blue Rose's arcana system has a very different feel, which I find refreshing.

4. Magic items are a little too common in d20--and a little too necessary for survival. Blue Rose focuses on rewards other than loot, and activities other than getting that loot.

5. Combat is streamlined, with the more fiddly tactical details removed. (Most d20 players seem to either love or hate threatened areas, attacks of opportunity, counting 5-foot squares for every action, etc.) Fights should (theoretically) go much faster, allowing more time for other interesting stuff.

6. Damage daves make it easier to track wounds than counting every single hit point. I especially like it as an improvement over how raising or lowering Con impacts HP in d20. In Blue Rose, changing Con makes damage saves harder or easier, serving the same purpose as adding or raising HP, but you no longer have to keep track of changes to maximum HP, too. Also, a drop in Con won't kill you outright until your score is completely delibitated.

7. There are many subtler touches as well, where a simple rule either replaces a lengthy passage in d20, or covers something d20 doesn't. Two examples: a simple formula for the difficulty of breaking objects based on their hardness; a library allowing a hero to take 20 on a Knowledge check.

You still won't be able to replace d20 with True20 for a traditional D&D setting without some work. The biggest obstacle is probably the relatively small number of arcana. The selection will be expanded in the Companion, but is unlikely to include all of the effects common to your typical, high-powered, over-the-top D&D game (with teleporting wizards strewing fireballs, lightning bolts, and conjured allies across the battlefield). Settings other than medieval fantasy would, of course, require even more work.
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Re: Why True 20?

Postby Yldarr » Mon Apr 11, 2005 11:33 am

critter80 wrote:I have Blue Rose coming in the mail, and I got it because of all the hype about the system, not the setting (I'm not making any judgement on the setting until I read it, though). My question is this: why take the time to convert so many other things to this system? What makes it so superior to the WotC version of d20 that you would invest all this time and energy? (I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't, but having not yet read the rules, I'm curious about what you think makes it far superior to d20.)


I wouldn't say far superior, but it is definitely better for many gamers.

Had True20's mechanics been the original d20 mechanics, then I think it would be easier to add more/change rules to increase complexity than it is to remove/alter rules to decrease complexity.

That being said, I find the conversion fairly simple; I'd just like more conversion notes from GR.
"d20 is a conspiracy, the Truth is out there...True20."

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