View Full Version : Lemme run this by you guys for a minute. (mod to DnD level-up system)

12-26-2010, 01:23 PM
Alright. Basically, take the standard class system (and level up system), and do this; rather than get everything in stages (once a certain amount of exp is obtained), use exp to buy the individual things. Basically everything on the character sheet would be bought except ability scores; feats, BAB, hit dice, class-specific abilities, saves, skill points, you name it. The costs of everything would be scaled so that characters would be about equal to their standard-system counterparts. Also, yes, someone would be able to buy things normally above their level; however, they'd have to trade that for something they'd normally have at that level. Like, say, saves or hit dice.

In order to make this properly, I'm going to need some help. The first real idea I have of doing this is finding as many class creation systems as possible and strip-mining them for an idea of how to price everything. Right now, the only one I can find is this. (http://rumkin.com/reference/dnd/media/classconstruction.pdf) Anyone wanna give some assistance, or any ideas they may have? I'd like people to reserve judgement on "This sucks!" statements until after this actually gets tested, if you don't mind. Thanks for any suggestions!

12-26-2010, 01:41 PM
i don't have any good class creation systems, but i offer to be a tester of your new system if you get it together and working.

12-27-2010, 11:15 AM
Dude, you just invented the skill based system. That is how things like Hero and GURPS work.

12-27-2010, 11:38 AM
They had this same kind of system in the 2ND edition skills and options books to my recollection. There was also an on-line engine (that is now defunct I believe) shortly after 3e came out. I believe it used this:
http://members.multimania.co.uk/nitecore/Downloads/DD-d20-ClassGenerator.pdf as a base and extrapolated beyond. I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to break it down into a ramped experience point buy system.

12-27-2010, 07:27 PM
Even if similar to skill based sytems, this would be very different from them. Especially when it comes to familiarity and game mechanics. You could easily get a group of D&D guys into this before they would jump ship to a lesser system.

12-28-2010, 01:53 AM
Different system. I hardly consider D&D the best system, and I play it.

12-28-2010, 07:33 PM
You know the old saying, you say 'patota' I say it correctly. :lol:

12-28-2010, 07:59 PM
Rab's got the right idea. I'm wanting this to be something for the versatility/customization lovers who don't want to switch to an entirely separate system. Ideally, this will be balanced enough to be usable in a party that has standard characters as well. I just hope that it's not going to be too easily abused by game-breakers.

12-28-2010, 11:10 PM
That system hasn't been invented yet. I'm not holding my breath either.

12-30-2010, 11:56 PM
You know, the more I have been reading the StarWars Saga system, the more I see it was a damn good system. It uses talent trees which is similar to what you are suggesting. I personally feel it should have been the next system for 4e but instead, we got 4e in all its glory. :P

12-31-2010, 10:23 AM
By all accounts, Saga was meant as a test run for ideas moving toward 4e. Some things were thrown out due to playability issues and others due to the intended future direction the top brass sought. It is like D20 Modern was a transition and testing phase for other ideas after 3e. Unfortunately, sometimes the fixes and grand money making schemes of the company make the end result less rather than better.

The only real problem I see, is accurately 'pricing' the various abilities. Many abilities are more powerful and sought after over others. You almost need broad categories for the characters to start with, like that of D20 Modern. That way it is easier for say a fast Hero to buy evasion or a tough hero to buy damage reduction. I think it would take some testing to properly price abilities and get away from classes. Maybe run through some free-for-all sessions to see which things rise to the top.

12-31-2010, 11:53 AM
Mutants & Masterminds. D20 skill system in which all the factors are bought with power points not levels. Now, its a superhero game, but if you are looking to break down D&D into a skill based system, there is your model all neatly tied with a bow. They are into the sercod edition which tells me that they have already worked some of the kinks out of it.

12-31-2010, 08:00 PM
Not all heroes are created equal. There is a built in fail with power points. The powers are unequally leveled. The M&M system can create horrible unbalance. The D20 type system used in M&M 2e is over simplified. It destroys the crunch and comfort of the original, putting too much into the hands of some knotheaded GM with a flair for tights.
(My opinion of course, feel free to actually play it and see what you think) Some of it could be helpful, but it isn't all worked out that way and packaged up so neatly. I think it would be harder to incorporate classed and unclassed heroes in one game with their model.

01-01-2011, 01:09 AM
I'm not going to argue with that as I have not played the system. However, it is likely worth the examination if you are trying for a skill based D&D simply for the fact they did go there.

A little piece of advice given me by Bob Aspirin many a decade ago. If you are looking to write a given thing, look at how other people have done it. Even the bad examples have something to teach you.

So, yes, look at M&M, even if as a bad example.

Rabkala I'm curious to know specific examples you can point me at, but I don't wish to derail Aleucard's thread. PM me or start another thread.

Aleucard, in plain speaking I don't want to discourage you. But I would strongly suggest a study of other skill systems to find the balance points therein. Hell, if you can make a skill based fantasy d20 work I'll line up to get some. I like the idea. Good game systems are hard work, They involve lots of checking, rechecking, play testing, and adjustments when the inevitable problems crop up. Be ready to toss anything out or bring new ideas in. First thing, make hamburger with all the D&D sacred cows.

To Wit: The back of the Hero 5th Edition book goes into how the system works. How to modify it and create new powers. That would likely be worth your time if only for the basic concepts.

01-01-2011, 12:05 PM
You throw up straw dogs and paper tigers to desperately prove something, then have the audacity to demand proof when they are knocked down? The game doesn't carry the d20 license, maybe that should tell you something. Power flaws and personal weaknesses can be seriously broken. Skills are over priced when compared to powers. Not all powers are properly balanced. People can deliberately neglect certain aspects to easily min - max a character into ridiculous one trick ponies to break games.

As a great friend told me, "How vain it is to sit down to write, when you have not stood up to live."

01-02-2011, 12:24 AM
No, I wanted your opinions. You speak as someone that knows the game. I suggested M&M because it was a skill system. I'm not arguing your interpretation, I don't know the game to argue squat. I have it, but I' haven't made the time to read it never mind play it. I wanted to know why you came to those conclusions so as to be better informed myself. If you're going to get all prickly about it never mind. I didn't want to hijack the tread, as I stated.

You are seeking offense where none was meant or offered.

01-02-2011, 01:56 AM
i have played exactly once, shortly. the dm disappeared about the time my character managed to successfully mind control the villain as he was about to escape us all. i had left the rest of the party and was doing my own thing, and suddenly the villain tried to escape through the room i was in. whoops.

the character creation process was an interesting one. i find i tentatively agree with the skills being cost heavy though with the hard/fast limits on saves, abilities, dc, skills, and damage per level, i found there was less ability to abuse the point buy system than normal.

back on topic: i think one of the main challenges to making a point buy system, is that it tends to weight towards combat or skills. if you treat all abilities equally, then the combat min-maxers will have a field day focusing abilities to the limit, while the more rp oriented types who build more (let's avoid the term balance here) distributed characters will suffer in comparison. and if you try to tweak your system numbers to artificially prevent some imbalance, then you limit your audience belike. skills are halfway rp-type effects anyway. hmm, i find i don't have enough time to elaborate much. ah well. ^^

01-02-2011, 08:46 AM
In short if you weight combat and non combat equally, you actual penalize non-combat, but if you weight combat more heavily then it suffers.

Perhaps a separate pool of points? You get X for combat and Y for non-combat related skills. This would prevet everything being poured into the combat side. Twooy did something like this with Combat and non combat proficiencies. I can';t say I was totally happy with the breakdown.

Then you have the further question. What constitutes a combat skill? If we are eleminating the idea of class; spell casting has to be put in the pool as well. Do you start paying points by spell? A spell casting slot, can be use either for combat (Magic Missile) or non combat (Mend). You would need to break down the cost in terms of which spells, how often, and still make the melee combatant mean something.

You are also dealing with a spell point system, unless you assign a cost level to each advancement in the current system.

Brrr, a can of worms to be sure to be sure.

01-02-2011, 06:34 PM
Hey, one other system to check out for skill based point or exp buy would be Rolemaster. Its a percent based system, but has lots and lots of point and exp bought abilities.

01-02-2011, 10:10 PM
I have played M&M, though I am no expert in it. I unintentionally 'broke' the game with my character building. Admittedly, I approach things from a more mechanical standpoint and am first a fan of D&D. A good power-gamer or rules lawyer could probably have it bent out of shape far earlier. M&M seems to need the fluffy cinematic approach and a no nonsense GM (from my brief experience).

My irritation comes from the fact that chasing other systems for answers is clearly not what the original poster wants. The whole debate seems a moot point. While they might give you some ideas, most are so foreign to D&D that conversion would probably destroy it. It is difficult enough to be an expert mechanic in one system without trying to master several systems. Most people would have no desire to chase down and buy books from other systems because they might have a small chance of being useful. He doesn't want to convert to another system. He doesn't want to go to a completely classless game, but have classed and classless heroes side by side in balance.

Off the top of my head, I'm drawing a blank on Rolemaster. :deadhorse:

01-03-2011, 05:19 AM
There is a certain truth to that. What someone else did is not of necessity going to help you. However, research is not a bad thing. You truly wish to avoid reinventing the wheel. And frankly even bad examples are good examples. You now know that this direction is not fruitful.

As I see it me giving you an idea, and you saying ":nope,not want I need, I need X" has at least shown you something you are not doing and pointed you in the direction you wanted to go.

Classed and classless together. That is a hard nut. I'm thinking the customized classes option in Twooy, but that was designed to suck. The xp chart was harder on the customized classes than the book classes. If you built a fighter from the charts it would cost 1.5 times the xp per level of the fighter in the book. (Keep in mind that Twooy had different xp tables for each class.) Ergo it wasn't looking for balance it was more TSR nice idea, don't use it. Caveat again,that built classes, not an ala carte per level picking of abilities.

I would think that first step is breaking down the various elements that constitute the classes. Talking Straight up 3.5 here, one needs a common reference point.

Hit Die Advancement, and hit die.
BAB advancement
Saving throws.
Spell casting
Stat bonuses

Please correct if I missed something. Those are the game factors that change with level.

Now the part that is going to take lot of tweaking is weighting those factors for XP cost. You need a base, a foundation to lay the system on to start with. I'm going to suggest the Hit Die type. This is the thing that does not change in you character as they advance. Fix the Hit die type. The smaller the hit die, the more points they get to play with. You are creating a scale of toughness/flexibility.

I'll stop there and allow this to be picked apart. Yea, I think it has a weakness already. Have at.

01-03-2011, 01:57 PM
I may have missed something here, but i'm not sure he wants to mix class and classless... What i thought was asked, would be allowing characters to choose the order of which of their CLASS skills or abilities comes in. Like buying up their BAB, at the expense of a bonus feat.. or say a Pally, in PF, to take Aura of resolve, an 8th level ability, at 5th level at the expense of divine bond and an experience expenditure? not sure how it would work, but it is interesting to see if he comes up with a mechanic for doing so.
But i think his point is the option for characters to choose their advancement and class abilities, rather then go by the grid as given.

---------- Post added at 12:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:14 AM ----------

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Rolemaster is an Iron Crown system. Kindof obscure, I have only ever played it with 1 short running group. Character design is a nightmare, but after that it kinda moves and is fun IMO

01-03-2011, 03:04 PM
Rab's got the right idea. I'm wanting this to be something for the versatility/customization lovers who don't want to switch to an entirely separate system. Ideally, this will be balanced enough to be usable in a party that has standard characters as well. I just hope that it's not going to be too easily abused by game-breakers.
Emphasis, mine. But you also are correct Sneaksta,

Also, yes, someone would be able to buy things normally above their level; however, they'd have to trade that for something they'd normally have at that level. Like, say, saves or hit dice.

This is complicated by the fact your aren't just building a new class , but continueing to build randomly throughout it's life. You have to have a very good grasp of what everything is worth compared to others to pull this off. You also must know at what point would a person normally be able to get them in a single class or by 'cherry-picking' through classes and prestige classes.

Hit die type would not change if you stayed a cleric for 20 levels normally, but can through multi classing, prestige classing, and use of templates. Nailing anything down and building around it, starts to smell of classes to an extent.

In most of the games I run, I throw out the 20% experience penalties for non favored race progression and uneven multi class progression. These almost must come into play at some point in the ala carte menu for most games.

01-03-2011, 05:53 PM
Hardly necessary as random munticlassing build in it's own penalty.

I'm kind of holding back to hear from the original poster.

01-03-2011, 06:45 PM
Min maxers can ruin any game. So can rules lawyers, and munchkins etc. etc. etc. Best to play what you like and can find players to join in. Tough to find the right mix. Personally speaking, I kind of prefer skill based games, unless I can find role players who are less about rules and more about RP.

01-03-2011, 08:07 PM
Hardly necessary as random munticlassing build in it's own penalty.

I'm kind of holding back to hear from the original poster.

I actually had a player say it was still too restrictive even after I lifted the experience point penalties. He was a former marine who was a big wig regional manager for a company. I told him that he could ignore the prerequisites for prestige classes, but in his 15 level build (The rest of the party was 16th at the time) he had to have 5 base type classes and a nearly equal number of prestige levels in ; Fighter type, cleric type, wizard type, and rouge type classes. The character could make nearly any save thrown at him, but was completely useless at anything else. Random multiclassing is a penalty, especially for spell casting classes.

I also would like to hear from the original poster, at some point.