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I'm playing a D&D 3.X/Pathfinder/Heavy Homebrew game playing a Warlock-esque character, and was wondering if there was a 'easy' way of 'importing' focuses from 4th edition.

Secondarily, I know there's many different kinds of focus, and I was wondering if it was possible to combine multiple focuses into a single focus and how much that should cost, especially as I've noted that most of the +1 focus cost seemingly nothing...

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closed as unclear what you're asking by Miniman, Szega, KorvinStarmast, Sdjz, Thomas Jacobs Oct 14 '18 at 22:10

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    \$\begingroup\$ Which part of focuses are you wanting to import? The rules in 4e are very different from the 3.5e ones. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Oct 14 '18 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm afb atm but I remember that each 'kind' of focus added to something different, and they were all ludicrously cheep (15 - 20 gp for +1 benefits)... I was wanting to help my warlocks attacks and abilities using the foci... Of course similar things would be available to virtually everyone in the world after this implementation lol \$\endgroup\$ – AOKost Oct 14 '18 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Honestly, my knowledge of 4th edition is very limited... \$\endgroup\$ – AOKost Oct 14 '18 at 19:09
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So in 4e, spellcasters use focuses like warriors use weapons: every spellcaster has to have one, and they can be magical and impart bonuses on attacks made with them (and everything that affects foes is an “attack” in 4e).

In 3.5e and Pathfinder, spellcasters do not have any “weapon” equivalent the way focuses work for 4e spellcasters. Instead, spells are completely independent and just work. They can’t get these bonuses, but are also not supposed to need them, so it’s often an advantage (no need to spend money on a weapon).

Ultimately, I think the 4e approach is superior; I think that parallelism helps keep warriors and spellcasters in similar boats. It’s also pretty fun! You get more options and more ways to customize your character.

But since 3.5e and Pathfinder spells are designed around there not being such bonuses, adding those on top is problematic. If nothing else, they have to cost a whole lot more than weapons do: consider the chasuble of fell power in Complete Arcane, which costs 8,000 gp to add +1d6 damage to eldritch blast or 18,000 gp to add +2d6 to eldritch blast. Adding +1d6 or +2d6, to a single invocation, is costing approximately what a +2 or +3 weapon costs.

Now, warlocks are underpowered, and the chasuble of fell power is arguably overpriced (at least excepting when you use to qualify for things, which might justify its cost). But other spellcasters are very powerful. If you are doing this as 4e does—making it a part of spellcasting in general, invocations included—you are going to have to rebalance every magical effect in the game. That is, clearly, not anything like easy. You’d be better off throwing them all out and starting from scratch, maybe using the originals for inspiration at best but nothing more.

And if you seriously do that, you’re going to be reinventing the wheel a fair bit, because that sounds a whole lot like you’re just recreating 4e. Better to just play 4e at that point.

If you do this as a warlock-only thing, it’s probably easier. They’re lower power, so you can probably afford to give them straight-up bonuses without imbalancing the game overall. It’s still not easy. Particularly since 3.5e invocations are much more varied than 4e powers (which could be relied upon to require an attack roll and probably deal some amount of damage, which were things you could give standardized bonuses to). And especially since part of the goal is to have a variety of different focuses you might use, all of which has to be considered against all of the invocations.

So no, there is no “easy way” to handle this. It is going to be an extended, involved project, probably requiring playtesting and several iterations.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The "Homebrew" portions is a system I found called Custom Characters that's a 'classless' system, where you can break every class down and purchase their individual components piecemeal through experience, and the same goes with every other character aspect, (HP, Saves, Skills, etc). Spells are calculated (in this system) with a DC of 10 + character level + Spell Level + Highest Mental Modifier, so things are already drastically different, and Unarmed damage progression has been drastically altered too. Your suggestions are greatly appreciated! \$\endgroup\$ – AOKost Oct 14 '18 at 20:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AOKost ...I didn’t make any suggestions, unless you consider “spend a great deal of effort designing, playtesting, and iterating a complete system” to be a suggestion. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 14 '18 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your reference of Chaucuble of Fell Power is a good starting point, with your comment that it could be considered over priced... \$\endgroup\$ – AOKost Oct 14 '18 at 21:15

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