Thursday, April 25, 2013
More on the major changes I'm contemplating for Liber Zero. Traditional old-school fantasy role-playing games explain everything about creating characters first, including picking a class. In fact, considering how ability scores can range from having only a slight impact on the game to determining what race and class a character can be, character class is the only consistently important part of character creation. What characters actually do (how to handle combat, what happens when you encounter a trap, etc.) may actually be glossed over in the player section of the rules, relegated to the GM section.
I want to invert that. Describe ability scores, hit dice/hit points, and movement first, then basically everything you need to play the game without any character classes, as "zero level" mundane types. I suppose that seems similar to DCC RPG, but I'm not necessarily talking about a "character funnel"; I'm talking about how to handle mundane challenges, in case someone wants to use the game for historical or non-fantastic adventure.
In fact, I'm also considering including my background system as a sort of simple skill system, so that it will be easy to tailor character creation to specific settings. I probably won't include very detailed rules about defining what is and is not a background; I can reserve that for Liber Blanc, the supplement. So what this would look like is a slightly more defined but open-ended version of the Secondary Skills system from the DMG.
The classes would be defined after explaining how to handle classless play, as if they were an add-on. I'm thinking of naming the core classes Hero, Magician, and Talent. Thieves would be Talents, but there would be brief examples of other talents, like Charmer. A fourth optional class would be Hybrid, which would include clerics (Hero/Magician Hybrid,) but there would also be examples of Hero/Talent and Magician/Talent Hybrids. How far I would go with describing class variants is still up in the air, but it's possible I could go full-bore and include an updated version of the class construction system. But most likely, I'd reserve that (and the many write-ups I've posted here) for later publications.
I figure I need to make changes like this because I'm going to include the rudiments of the level titles. The class names above are the default (mid-level) title, but there would be a beginner title, a high-level title, and the "name-level" title. Other than beginners, the titles wouldn't be linked to specific levels; the mid-level title applies once the character is "about hero level", the higher-level title can kick in any time a couple levels later, and "name-level" kicks in once the character does something specific, like build a castle.
Sound too radical yet?