Posts Tagged ‘design


Chi Concentrations

Each kung fu style is based on one or two methods of using Chi, called chi concentrations. The full list of these is:

  • Spirit
    • Building Chi
    • Chi Control
    • Focusing Chi
  • Body
    • Power
    • Speed
    • Toughness
  • Mind
    • Awareness
    • Meditation
    • Mysticism

The Chi Concentration exploits available for practitioners of styles utilizing these follow:

Continue reading ‘Chi Concentrations’



The time has come to discuss races in Dragon In Ninth Heaven. There are a variety of racial options in the genre, like fox spirits, but I don’t want to extend the game there yet – there’s enough detail just in the things discussed so far!

Racial traits

Height (range)
Weight (range)
Ability scores: +2 to two stats
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 Squares
Vision: Normal
Languages: Common and one other
Skill bonuses: +2 to two skills
3 racial traits, usually one as a power
Racial trait examples:
When you’re bloodied, you gain a +1 racial bonus to attack rolls
Your healing surge value is equal to one-quarter of your maximum hit points + your Constitution modifier.
+5 racial bonus to saving throws against poison.
You can use your second wind as a minor action instead of a standard action
You move at your normal speed even when it would normally be reduced by armor or a heavy load. Other effects that limit speed (such as difficult terrain or magical effects) affect you normally.
When an effect forces you to move—through a pull, a push, or a slide—you can move 1 square less than the effect specifies. This means an effect that normally pulls, pushes, or slides a target 1 square does not force you to move unless you want to. In addition, when an attack would knock you prone, you can immediately make a saving throw to avoid falling prone.
You gain training in one additional skill selected from the skill list in Chapter 5 of the Player’s Handbook.
You can use elven accuracy as an encounter power (reroll an attack roll, using the second roll).
At 1st level, you choose an at-will power from a class different from yours. You can use that power as an encounter power
You grant allies within 10 squares of you a +1 racial bonus to Diplomacy checks.
You gain a +5 racial bonus to saving throws against fear.
You gain a +2 racial bonus to AC against opportunity attacks.
You can use second chance as an encounter power (force enemies to reroll an attack that hits you, they use the second roll even if it is lower).
You know one extra at-will power from your class.
You gain a bonus feat at 1st level. You must meet the feat’s prerequisites
+1 to Fortitude, Reflex, and Will defenses.
You gain a +1 racial bonus to attack rolls against bloodied foes.
You can use infernal wrath as an encounter power (gain +1 to hit an enemy who has hit you in the last turn, add a stat modifier to the damage if it hits)
You have a +1 bonus to all defenses against attacks made by bloodied creatures
When you make an Athletics check to jump or climb, roll twice and use either result.
You have a +1 racial bonus to Will.
You gain a +2 bonus to speed when charging.
The first time you are bloodied during an encounter, you gain 5 temporary hit points. The temporary hit points increase to 10 at 11th level and to 15 at 21st level.
You have the furious assault encounter power (attacks that hit deal and additional 1[W] or 1d8 damage)

The time has come to discuss races in Dragon In Ninth Heaven. There are a variety of racial options in the genre, like fox spirits, but I don’t want to extend the game there yet – there’s enough detail just in the things discussed so far!

A race definition in D&D 4E looks as follows:

Racial traits
Height: (range)
Weight: (range)
Ability scores: +2 to two stats
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 Squares
Vision: Normal
Languages: Common and one other
Skill bonuses: +2 to two skills
3 racial traits, usually one as a power

There is some variation to the individual races (like humans only getting a bonus to one statistic), but the end result seems moderately balanced. Reductions in one area usually result in additional or more powerful racial traits.

Continue reading ‘Races’



The previous post talked about chi skills, but I believe that Lighfoot, an important movement power, needs more discussion. Here is the definition of the Lightfoot skill from the d20 version of Dragon In Ninth Heaven:


Lightfoot is a movement-based skill, allowing the user to leap great distances, run up walls and even change direction in midair. The specific powers are:

  • Allows increased move speed, DC 10 for +5 ft. move, DC 20 for +10 ft. move and DC 30 for +15 ft. move.
  • The Lightfoot skill acts as a competence bonus to the Jump skill and removes all limitations imposed on the distance of a jump by a character’s height. Jumps that are longer than a character’s movement speed are possible, and will leave the character in mid air until their next action, when they can finish their movement.
  • Lower body weight, allowing travel over fragile objects (eg. water, tree leaves) and up and down as though they were normal ground. A DC of 20 is required for movement at half speed and a DC of 25 enables travel at full speed.
  • Changes of direction in midair require a skill check with DC 25. If this skill check is failed then the character will immediately drop to the ground.
  • Slow fall, reducing the distance of the fall by 5 ft. per 5 DC.

Only one Lightfoot skill check is required each round, and the character may use any ability that has a DC lower than the skill roll. Activating Lightfoot is a free action.

Continue reading ‘Lightfoot’


Chi skills

There are several skills that deal specifically with Chi in Dragon In Ninth Heaven, and I want to explore how they should be dealt with in this edition of the game. The list of skills that matter from the older editions are:

  • Lightfoot
  • Chi Awareness
  • Chi Healing
  • Chi Channelling

Continue reading ‘Chi skills’



I have previously discussed stances, but I want to go into more detail today.

Stances are a particular type of daily power. They are used by the Barbarian (rage powers), Warden and Monk, and start with a powerful attack and provide ongoing benefits for the rest of the encounter. This is a perfect mechanic for Dragon In Ninth Heaven, fitting into the style of a class or kung fu system. Here’s an example from the Monk class:

Way of the Winter, Wind Monk Attack 15
You spring into the air and perform a roundhouse kick, creating a bitter draft. You dance on the wind as it washes over your foes, draining their strength.
Daily ✦ Cold, Implement, Psionic, Stance
Standard Action Close burst 2
Target: Each creature in burst
Attack: Dexterity vs. Fortitude
Hit: 2d6 + Dexterity modifier cold damage, and the target is weakened (save ends).
Miss: Half damage, and the target is weakened until the end of your next turn.
Effect: You assume the autumn wind stance. Until the stance ends, whenever you are hit by an attack, you can shift 2 squares as an immediate reaction.

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In my previous post I discussed weapons and how unarmed attacks could work in Dragon In Ninth Heaven. This post will discuss armour. Many of the same issues with weapons apply to armour in the D&D game:

  • AC changes based on class role
    • Light +2AC
    • Medium +4AC
    • Heavy +6 to +8
  • The AC of armour increases by 2-5 points in each armour type in the paragon and epic tiers
  • Armour enchantments are expected
  • Characters are expected to have magical armour as they progress, this is built into encounter design and the way attack powers scale

In the Dragon Tiger Gate comics (and other related sources like Heaven Sword, Dragon Sabre, The Four Constables, Hero, Storm Riders, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, etc.) armour is very rare on characters, and usually cosmetic. In fact, when a character does wear armour, it is usually destroyed mid battle.

So how should this be handed in the game?

Continue reading ‘Armour’



In the last post I mentioned that I wanted to discuss weapons. Moving into a game that has a focus on unarmed combat has significant problems integrating with the D&D model. Some of the problems that need addressing are:

  • Different classes and roles have access to weapons with varying damage dice. This ranges from 1d4 to 2d6 in the Player’s Handbook.
  • Magical weapons are a fundamental part of the D&D game. Treasure acquisition and equipment upgrades are part of player motivation and enjoyment.
  • Weapons have varying proficiency bonuses (+2 or +3 in most cases) and also provide valuable weapon properties like high critical strike damage and reach.
  • Changing weapons requires a minor action – is this of any significance?
  • Weapons cost money to acquire, and can be disarmed.

All of these issues need to be discussed and a resolution provided. More after the break.

Continue reading ‘Weapons’

May 2018
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