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Monday, July 3, 2017

Tenth, Fifth, Half, Whole

I’ve got a vague inkling of an idea I’d like to muse about.

You may have noticed that, in the Highlander Mage post, I wrote that these magic-users gain the ability to cast 1st level spells for free (more or less) when they reach Level 8. Or, to put it another way, that the spell level they can cast for free is 1/8th their character level. But I’m thinking the number should be 1/10th, because it makes it very easy to eliminate dividing by some number and instead just dropping the last digit of the character’s level to get the spell level. 10th level wizards can cast 1st level spells for free, 20th level wizards can cast 2nd level spells for free.

But also, I’m still thinking about very simple class customization schemes. It’s better to use just a handful of easy to remember numbers, for example 1, 2, 5, and 10, and the equivalent fractions.

The Max Spell level of pure spell-casting classes is 1/2 their character level. So, too, is their hit dice. Their high-level abilities like enchanting kick in at level 10.

Compare that to a combat class (Fighter.) Their hit dice are equal to their level, and they get no spells… but if we wanted to broaden spell casting ability, we could say that their Max Spell level is 1/10th their level and must be trained at great expense, so that Fighters couldn’t even cast a single spell until 5th level, if you are rounding to the nearest whole number.

Any extraordinary ability could be generalized to fit that pattern. A Thief class (slightly revamped) would have hit dice equal to half their level, and a bonus to Thief skill rolls equal to half their level. If a non-thief character wanted to learn Thief skills, they would require special training and the bonus would be equal to 1/10th their level. Of course, under this scheme, it might make more sense for non-combat classes to likewise have reduced combat ability equal to 1/10th their level. Not quite as extreme as in Lamentations of the Flame Princess, for example, but not what most old school players are used to.

The 1/5th modifier would kick in for mixed class concepts, where the class has more than one special ability. A magical thief class would have 1/2 hit dice, 1/5th max spell level, and a thief bonus of 1/5th level. The 1/5th modifier would also be used for customization of magical schools, which is an idea I’m still mulling over.

To summarize:
* hit dice are on a 1:1 basis for mundane classes (Fighters)
* non-mundane classes (spell-casters and extraordinary talents) have half hit dice
* magic or talent level is half level
* having two extraordinary talents or spell-casting ability drops modifier to 1/5th class level for each
* any out-of-class ability can be learned with a 1/10th class level modifier
* high-level abilities appear at 10th level and have a modifier of 1/10th class level, where appropriate

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