What's Chromatic, you ask? Why, it's d20 revision (in the same vein as my own d20 Rethought project) whose creator goes by the name of Consonant Dude. The project is currently on hiatus/in development limbo to give the creator a chance to figure out whether he wants to keep working on it; but even if he decides to toss the whole thing in the dumpster, at least this gives me a chance to compare and contrast the decisions we've made while seeking to improve the same underlying system.
I should probably start by noting how the two of us are, as near as I can figure, coming from very different places. While it'd be an oversimplification to just say that he's "old school" and I'm not, Consonant Dude's work is influenced by experiences with early D&D rulesets he played games with as a kid in the 1970s. Meanwhile, I first started playing D&D when 3.5 was already looming on the horizon. I've never had to compute a T.H.A.C.0 value, and first edition AD&D was already ancient history before I ever set foot (or diapered derriere) on the mortal plane. In other words, I suspect that there are going to be some points where I'm just not going to be able to follow his thinking and explanations all the way. But we'll see. Going from post to post:
The idea of having bonuses be calculated as set progression+ability modifier is interesting, even if in practice it's just replacing a simple act of addition with a chart- I assume the formula will also be provided, to reduce the need for lookups. There are some interesting opportunities for implementation here, allowing for instantly graspable character optimization options that will likely make more sense to a beginner. I find myself wondering if "natural" couldn't be used to pave a middle ground between untrained and familiar, rather than just being one step above the former.
Moving into a more stream of consciousness format:
- "I want to tie levels directly to how potent a character is." I understand what you're saying about NPC classes, but this strikes me as largely irrelevant- I've yet to see the idea of weaker NPC classes confuse anyone or impede gameplay. On the other hand, this might be overanalyzing but I'm interested in how you define "potency".
- Monster classes sound like a fine way to implement enemy combat roles, in fact I'd say that as a design element the class fits this niche more comfortably than it does with PC character creation.
- Competence modifiers sound more like competence levels or ranks to me. Though I suppose you're probably trying to say that your competence modifier depends on your level and your competence "rank" or whatever.
- Do you intend to have any hard mechanical bonus for a crit? Can skills roll crits in your system?
- Why do effect rolls have a name? Can something in this system alter effect rolls?
- APs could be a recharging resource pool used to pay for slots and make it possible to roll a crit.
- I suggest having high-ranking slots be per-day, mid-rank be per-encounter and low-rank be at will. Alternately, an at-will power could cost more slots.
- With regards to leveling down: I'm including a mechanic that allows people to "trade out" prior selections as they make new ones, on a 1:1 ratio. When you get a bonus feat, you may get an extra bonus feat by dropping one of your old bonus feats. Naturally, this may invalidate character options if you lose a prerequisite.
Oh, and to give some info on how d20 Rethought compares: Alot of basic priorities are the same, such as simplifying the math of min-maxing. There are some similarities in terms of progressions too; an untrained check uses your level and your ability modifier, with the only other possible mods being circumstance bonuses/penalties and the action bonus.