The frame of my campaign begins with the awakening of the players and their escape after the beginning of the experience. The experiences give them a tattoo that they will discover gradually, assigning them exceptional abilities at a cost.
My general idea is that the power of tattoos increases with the level and allows them to do bigger feats with lower costs while "training". It will also be a driving force of the campaign (they will receive visions and, at first, tattoos will threaten their lives).
I'm trying to create a system that is not too unbalanced (note that the penalty is always applied in full at the beginning of the third round):
- Levels 1 to 3. They do not control their abilities. I (the DM) control exactly when they use it and how. Usually, provide epic backups on predefined situations to build the story. Penalty: Unconscious for 5 minutes, 15% health points lost.
- Level 3 to 7. They can summon it once per rest and per 24-hour period. It grants them a triple skill bonus on all rolls of the turn, stackable with any other bonus and a unique skill and advantage on the next turn. Sanction: Stunned for 3 turns, 15% Health was lost.
- Level 7 to 15. They can invoke it once per rest and per 24-hour period. It grants them a triple skill bonus on all turn shots, stackable with any other bonus, as well as an extra action without a turn during that turn. They acquire an individual skill and benefit on the next turn. Sanction: Stunned for 2 turns, 20% Health was lost.
- Level 16 to 20: They can summon it once per rest and per 24-hour period. It grants them a triple skill bonus on all turn shots, stackable with any other bonus, as well as an extra action without a turn during that turn. They gain double skill and advantage in the next round. Sanction: Stunned for 1 turn, 30% Health was lost.
The idea is this: they can use it to improve their performance and accomplish incredible feats, but it will cost them dearly and leave them unprotected and weak thereafter, so they have to think about twice before using them and when. Power can be invoked at any time, even in the middle of an opponent's turn, to provide, for example, a bonus for a save throw.
This is my first game on 5th and I use the tattoo as the main story pilot, but I'm afraid that the "powers" do not balance the game. Two questions:
- Since all players receive this: is it balanced between the different classes / races or will it be said that an assistant will benefit much more than a warrior?
- Is this balanced in terms of scenario or will it make the players too powerful and therefore they will tend to dominate the fights I will oppose them? What worries me here, is that I can not prepare every meeting assuming that they use it. Ideally, the presence of these powers can turn a difficult encounter into a medium difficulty, but it would be a pity if a "deadly" encounter became easy after using the abilities, so it will probably be out of balance.