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View Poll Results: Do you prefer class-based or skill-based game systems?

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  • class-based

    2 5.88%
  • skill-based

    21 61.76%
  • a combination of the two

    11 32.35%
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  Click here to go to the first special guest post in this thread.   Thread: Poll: Do you prefer class-based or skill-based RPG systems?

  1. #1
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    Poll: Do you prefer class-based or skill-based RPG systems?

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    I'm curious if people prefer game systems that build characters using a class system or systems that have a classless, skill-based system?

    If you do prefer one or the other, please tell us why.

    If you think both systems have their merits, please discuss.

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    None of the above. I run Shadowrun because of the setting, not the mechanics. I'm not tied to a class or skill based system although I think Skills seems to make more sense.

    Carl
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    I'm point based Hero System addict that doesn't use classes or levels since 92.

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    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Thumbs up

    Skill-based, all the way.

    Great thread/poll, Hiraevun. Keep 'em coming!
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
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    That's an interesting question. In anything other than fantasy, I prefer a skill-based system. I'm a hold out on the class based system for fantasy simply because I've been playing D&D for so long, nothing else quite feels right. That's just from being so accustomed to it though. That is hardly reason to say that it is actually better in a fantasy setting.
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    I went with the combination, because I like to pull everything together in one pot, give it a stir and be able to have all kinds of variations available. The more combinations means that there are so many possibilities for a character, before you have exhausted the variations.

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    Another vote for skills alone. In the end skill mechanics provide far more flexibility than class-based advancement.

    About the only "classes" I like are the following:
    • "career" systems a la Traveller or Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay to shape a character's skills along sensible paths
    • templates a la GURPS, Mutants and Masterminds, or Unisystem to speed up character creation and possibly enforce particular archetypes.
    • an initial Mage/not-Mage decision in certain older games like The Fantasy Trip and Witchcraft which influence character creation and advancement, on the premise that some people have magical talent and/or lifelong training, and others don't.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Skill-based systems.

    I like the flexibility and the support for the idea that people don't fit into convenient little categories. Exactly why is it that a Wizard can't learn how to wield a sword or even begin the game knowing how to use one?

    I do like "templates" or even "career paths" which help give inspiration and guidance to common skill selection but otherwise the nitty-gritty of where to advance a character should be left up to the ideas of the player (and guided by the GM to ensure contextual appropriateness).
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    While I don't object to classes, I do enjoy skill-based systems more.

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    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    That's an interesting question. In anything other than fantasy, I prefer a skill-based system. I'm a hold out on the class based system for fantasy simply because I've been playing D&D for so long, nothing else quite feels right. That's just from being so accustomed to it though. That is hardly reason to say that it is actually better in a fantasy setting.
    Agreed.

    I couldn't possibly imagine playing dnd w/o a class system, so i agree. Other than that, the closest i will play to a class system is a career system, WFRP. Of course, i will never play a d20 game other than dnd. Kinda weird, i know. I hate class and d20, yet, i will only play d20 and class with dnd, go figure... and love every minute of it.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    I'm with Freejack, the setting is what attracts me to the games that I enjoy. However, I'm also with Farcaster in that any other setting besides Fantasy should be a skills-based system and fantasy should be class-based. I believe that for fantasy settings, a class-based system allows for portraying of the typical heroic archetypes to be an almost perfect fit.

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    Skill based all the way.

    Some players seem to have difficulty looking at a whole pot of points though, so I find that things like Clans, Tradition, Caste, etc... from White Wolf are an acceptable compromise.

    If gives you the 'norm' so to speak, but it's very easy to step away from that norm if that's what you want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dytrrnikl View Post
    ...I'm also with Farcaster in that any other setting besides Fantasy should be a skills-based system and fantasy should be class-based. I believe that for fantasy settings, a class-based system allows for portraying of the typical heroic archetypes to be an almost perfect fit.
    I'm no longer married to this idea as I once thought I was. Using class-like "templates" as a foundation for character inspiration is nice and maybe even preferable but (for me anyway) the less prescriptive and more evocative the "class" is when building your character, the better.

    That said, I play different games that use different systems in order to evoke a different play experience. Not every game needs to or should use the same method for character building and having different creation mechanics helps a game feel unique.
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    One really has to wonder how indicative the response here is... I realize that statistically, there haven't been enough votes to really get a viable result, but 0 votes for class based? Wow. Of course, it could just be because the P&PG forums are so big that many of us don't read every sub-forum, and the folks likely to read the Indie sub-forums are more experimental, but dang... the poll results definitely do NOT resemble my real life experience with finding gaming groups.
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    Thanks for all the responses so far. It's interesting to me that a couple of people stated that the setting rather than the mechanics attract them to a particular game. Very good to know. Thanks for sharing that.

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