... now with 35% more arrogance!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Class Systems

I don't have the post(s) I wanted to write about story in old school RPGs ready yet, so instead I'll point to what Thomas Denmark has posted about Gygaxian Systematization. The post caught my attention because, as readers have probably guessed, I have a tendency to work out systems as well. I especially like systems built out of a small number of elements that produce a lot of rich detail, like the production rules I was developing for my psionics rewrite, or like Thomas's six-class system.

It's also interesting that I have a potential six-class system of my own. I earlier wrote about re-defining classes as completions to the statement "I solve problems by ____" (force, magic, trickiness, persuasion, spiritual aid.) This is combined with a restriction on class abilities to one scaled ability that increases with hit dice and one general ability. This produces these stripped-down classes:
  • Hero (Fighter): solves problems with force/athleticism/fighting
    • use any weapon or armor
    • attack multiple 1 HD opponents per turn
  • Trickster (Thief): solves problems with craftiness/subtlety
    • turn any distraction into a surprise attack (backstab in combat)
    • add HD bonus when using stealth or subtlety
  • Charmer (Bard): solves problems with persuasion
    • use persuasion on any opponent you can communicate with (even in combat)
    • Add HD bonus to persuasion attempts
  • Saint (Cleric): solves problems with spiritual aid
    • sense and communicate with any spirit
    • add HD bonus to persuade or command spirits
  • Mystic (Magic-User): solves problems with magic
    • understand and use magic spells and items
    • prepare spells up to same level as HD
There's a pattern here: Heroes and Tricksters solve problems with tangible, natural solutions, Charmers solve problems with intangible, natural solutions, and Saints and Mystics solve them with supernatural solutions. This leaves room for a second intangible solution class. I have an idea for this (the Genius) but haven't settled on the details yet.

The other nagging part of this class system is whether there should be two more supernatural classes to mirror the tangible vs. intangible distinction for the natural classes. My love of system says yes, but my love of simplicity says no. I'm leaning much more towards ad-hoc modifications of six established classes versus creating a multitude of pre-defined classes.

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