Friday, 29 July 2016

Classes Revised

My last post was a revision of skill points for Explore, which means a slight revision of the class system is needed. I described the class system here - it is basically the same skill system but with less bookkeeping.

In short a class is a pre-selected set of starting skills (worth 10pts) and then every time your XP doubles you go up a level (100XP is level 1, 200XP is level 2 etc) and go up one level in every skill.

The rule change has no effect on the non-spell using classes, for example:
Melee: Char Level+2
Parry, Athletics: Char Level+1
Unarmed, Thrown: Char Level
At level 1 that's Melee 3 (4pts), Parry 2 (2pts), Athletics 2 (2pts), Unarmed 1 (1pt), Thrown 1 (1pt) - so 10 points in total (100XP). (You can see for yourself that at level 2,3,4 the pts required are 20,40,80).

But most of the spell using classes are like this:
Air, Earth, Fire, Water: Char Level
Any two magic skills: Char Level +1
Melee, Parry: Char Level
Which is Air 1 (1pt), Earth 1 (1pt), Fire 1 (1pt), Water 1 (1pt), leaving only 1pt for fighting skills (as a spell caster they only have 5 points to spend). Note the magic skills (e.g. Runes) are free - but they are also liable to be dumped from the rules.

Hence with 1/2/4 pts to spend I'd choose the following fighting skills:
@ Level 1: Parry 1.
@ Level 2: Parry 1, Melee 1
@ Levels 2+: Parry, Melee: Char Level-1

So I might write this as:
Air, Earth, Fire, Water: Char Level
Any two magic skills: Char Level +1
Parry: Char Level-1 (min 1)
Melee: Char Level-1 (min 0)
This change covers all the sample magic using classes except the Healer which now becomes:
Healer: Char Level+1
Body Control: Char Level+1
Parry: Char Level-1 (min 1)
Melee: Char Level-1 (min 0)
Note that Athletics (which gives half the level as a bonus to kill) could also be a useful skill for occasional fights for spellcasters, but in general parry and melee are better so that skill isn't included for spellcasters. If you want to break with convention and have a muscly wizard you can at any point switch to using the full skill system.

Apologies for the technical nature of this post - it takes a lot of play testing and tweaking to iron out issues with rules but I think it's worth it in the end - and the journey is fun.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Skills Revised - Training to be a Wizard

I described my skill system here. In brief:

For every 10 XP you get to spend 1 point on skills.
You start with 100 XP and 10 skill points to spend.

Skills cost 1 / 1 / 2 / 4 / 8 / 16 / 32 / 64... points for 1st / 2nd / 3rd... level.

Thus for example, third level costs you 1+1+2 = 4 points. You don't have to add this up as when you cross them off:

1 / 2 / 4 / 8 / 16 / 32 / 64...

The total cost is the first number not crossed off.

Spells cost you twice as much as other skills - i.e. 2 / 2 / 4 / 8 etc.
This means that whatever decisions you make early on don't have a big impact later on - if you decide that spending one point in athletics was a mistake then in time that measly one point becomes unimportant.
Secondly it doesn't matter when you spend your points on your skills - that first level in athletics always costs 1 point no matter when you spend it.

Together this means that the metagame of skill choice is downplayed - choose what you feel like and stop worrying about the "best choice".

We've been playing with this system for about two years now and the characters have maxed out at tenth level in some skills, and this has laid bare a known quirk in the design - due to the low relative cost and high usefulness of spells all characters can now cast some spells.

When it comes to a Wizard taking a couple of levels in fighting skills that's fine  - this is precisely what the rules were designed to encourage - but a Fighter suddenly learning some spells seems wrong. But I couldn't see how to fix this without breaking the system.

Then I realised I could replace the "spells cost you twice as much" rule with the following:
If you learn spells then you only get 1 skill point per 20 XP.
If you only take fighting skills, then this is the same as before.
If you only take spell skills, then this is the same as before.
A Wizard who starts learning fighting skills can still do so, they just cost more (as do all skills) - so a slight change (in effect this is just a -1 penalty on all non spells skills).


If a Fighter who has spent 100 skill points (1000 XP) wants to learn one spell list to first level this doesn't cost 2 (as in the old system) - they have to get another 1020 XP before they have 101 skill points and spell ability.

In game the explanation is simple - they have to train to become a Wizard - and the longer you leave this the more difficult the training.

So with this system (which I'm not imposing retrospectively on the current campaign!) it makes sense to have pure Wizards, Wizards with a bit of skill at fighting, and also true Fighter - Wizards, but not Fighters with just one or two spells.