Monday, July 15th was our first session of Works and Days. Most everyone had completed their characters by the time we sat down, and I’d only just finished the campaign standard and wanted to review it with the players present.

Works and Days: Roll Call (Jul 22, 2013)

There was a lot to cover — I consider game balance to be part of the game master’s job, and there were quite a few things I wanted to do that were going to impact game balance significantly. “Bounded accuracy” was in, and magic items were out.

Second, I changed stacking versus non-stacking bonus interactions. It seems as though this was the most confusing change because of how bonuses are treated across the game. I had hoped it would be simple: untyped bonuses are now typed.

I identified five major bonus types: race, class, power, feat, and item. Armor, shield, proficiency, and enhancement bonuses were consolidated into “item” bonuses. You may already be aware that, “like bonuses don’t stack” in Fourth Edition. This takes that concept and makes it easier to apply by eliminating untyped bonuses.

Powers grant power bonuses. Feats grant feat bonuses. And so forth.

It gets muddy around the proficiency/enhancement area, and when you combine armor and shield bonuses. Where do those all fit in? The primary exception I see as valid is that some effects increase an existing bonus rather than adding a new one.

They have a requirement that helps to balance out the effect. A shield is a primary example of this sort of enhancement. A suit of armor adds an item bonus to defense, and a shield increases an existing item bonus from armor (even if that bonus is +0).

Some feats do this — such as “Improved Armor of Faith” for the Avenger.

The other major exception is if a class, feature, or power should happen to grant a bonus of another type. Most of these are spelled out pretty plainly — sometimes a class, feat, or item grants a power bonus. Sometimes another type is granted.

That understandably took a while to explain.

Everyone introduced their character to the group — with everyone else taking notes and whatnot — and I brought in a final piece of character creation. I asked everyone to come up with something specific they envied about the other characters.

That done, we had about an hour or two left to begin.