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 Post subject: Stripping class and level from d20 - collaboration needed!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:31 pm 
Noise Maker
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Today, Daremonai and I were talking a little about an idea he had (and other people have had before him): could we remove classes and levels from the six20 system to make a totally customisable character creation system?
After all, why should my ability to fight increase when my ability to use magic increases? Why should my skill with lock picks be better just because I've also become harder to injure?

As six20 is still in development, but uses the d20 system at its core, I thought it would be best to thrash this out as a project for generic d20 fantasy.
Assume we only have to emulate three character classes: warrior, mage and rogue. The warrior can use any weapon, armour and shield, and improves in combat faster than others. The mage casts spells, but is unskilled with weapons and easily hurt. The rogue is tricky and skilled at many things, an all rounded - but competent with only a few weapons, and some armour.
Each of these classes is assumed to be equally powerful. Let's say that each class has 100% power, and then try to assign values to the elements that make up that 100%. To start with, let's just look at 1st level. We can add higher level powers later.

Warrior: attack bonus 1, defence bonus 3, all weapons and armour (equal to 4 feats), high toughness, +2 to one save, 2 skills.
Mage: attack bonus 0.5, defence bonus 1, one simple weapon and no armour (less than 1 feat), low toughness, +2 to one save, 0th and 1st level spells, 4 skills.
Rogue: attack bonus 0.75, defence bonus 2, all simple weapons, one martial weapon, light armour (equal to 3 feats), +2 to two saves, medium toughness, skill mastery, 10 skills.

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 Post subject: Class- and level-less d20 - collaboration needed!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:20 pm 
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Altair-the-Vexed wrote:
Warrior: attack bonus 1, defence bonus 3, all weapons and armour (equal to 4 feats), high toughness, +2 to one save, 2 skills.
Mage: attack bonus 0.5, defence bonus 1, one simple weapon and no armour (less than 1 feat), low toughness, +2 to one save, 0th and 1st level spells, 4 skills.
Rogue: attack bonus 0.75, defence bonus 2, all simple weapons, one martial weapon, light armour (equal to 3 feats), +2 to two saves, medium toughness, skill mastery, 10 skills.


Let's go algebraic on this problem: Multiply through by 4 to get rid of the fractions, and let the three levels of toughness be 3, 2, and 1 respectively. Saves are 'v', skills are 'k', mastery is 'm', and spells are 'p'.

  • 4a + 12d + 16f + 12t + 8v + 0p + 8k + 0m
  • = 2a + 4d + 0f + 4t + 8v + 4p + 16k + 0m
  • = 3a + 8d + 12f + 8t + 16v + 0p + 40k + 4m

The difference between each class must be equal.
  • Warrior vs Mage: 2a + 8d + 16f + 8t = 4p + 8k
  • Rogue vs Mage: 1a + 4d + 12f + 4t + 8v + 24k + 4m = 4p
  • Warrior vs Rogue: 1a + 4d + 4f + 4t = 8v + 32k + 4m

From this comparison of the differences, we can immediately see that:
  • k is smallest
  • f is small
  • p is large
  • a is largest

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 Post subject: Re: Class- and level-less d20 - collaboration needed!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:18 pm 
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Altair-the-Vexed wrote:
The difference between each class must be equal.
  • Warrior vs Mage: 2a + 8d + 16f + 8t = 4p + 8k
  • Rogue vs Mage: 1a + 4d + 12f + 4t + 8v + 24k + 4m = 4p
  • Warrior vs Rogue: 1a + 4d + 4f + 4t = 8v + 32k + 4m

If the differences are all approximately equal, then
    4p + 8k = 4p = 8v + 32k + 4m
That 8k is almost negligible - or is it? I'll keep the assumption for now, and see how it works out.

Let's see how these stack up as fractions of the 100% of a character's power.

4a + 12d + 16f + 12t + 8v + 0p + 8k + 0m = 100%
2a + 4d + 0f + 4t + 8v + 4p + 16k + 0m = 100%
3a + 8d + 12f + 8t + 16v + 0p + 40k + 4m = 100%

We have 8 variables: let's assign them guesstimate values based on their weight that we found in the first post:
    k = 1
    f = 2
    d, t, v, m = 5
    p = 8
    a = 10
From that we end up with
  • Warrior: 40 + 60 + 32 + 60 + 40 + 8 = 240
  • Mage: 20 + 20 + 20 + 40 + 32 + 16 = 148
  • Rogue: 30 + 40 + 24 + 40 + 80 + 40 + 20 = 274
Not too terrible for a first try - we're in the same sort of region for the rogue and the warrior, but we're way off with the mage: about half the value of the rogue. That seems about right if we bear in mind that "4p = 8v + 32k + 4m" - p must be much larger than v and m.

Trying again, with a larger value of p, and decreased v and m:
    k = 1
    f, m, v = 2
    d, t = 5
    a = 10
    p = 15
  • Warrior: 40 + 60 + 32 + 60 + 16 + 8 = 216
  • Mage: 20 + 20 + 20 + 16 + 60 + 16 = 152
  • Rogue: 30 + 40 + 24 + 40 + 32 + 40 + 8 = 214

Better, but the mage still lags behind the now nearly equal warrior and rogue.

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 Post subject: Re: Stripping class and level from d20 - collaboration neede
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:35 pm 
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I've thought of a revision:
A character's defence is always at least 1 - so rather than the warrior having 3 times more defence than the mage, and 50% more than the rogue, the warrior has double the rogue's bonus, and the mage has no bonus at all.
Similarly, the mage is as tough as an ordinary person, while the rogue and warrior are each a little tougher.

Our formulae now look like this:
  • Warrior: 4a + 8d + 16f + 8t + 8v + 0p + 8k + 0m = 100%
  • Mage: 2a + 0d + 0f + 0t + 8v + 4p + 16k + 0m = 100%
  • Rogue: 3a + 4d + 12f + 4t + 16v + 0p + 40k + 4m = 100%
But this only decreases the mage further in comparison to the other two classes, so we need to increase the weight of the spell casting ability.
    k = 1
    f, m, v = 2
    d, t = 5
    a = 10
    p = 20

Substituting in these new values to the new formulae:
  • Warrior: 40 + 40 + 32 + 40 + 16 + 8 = 176
  • Mage: 20 + 16 + 80 + 16 = 132
  • Rogue: 30 + 20 + 24 + 20 + 32 + 40 + 8 = 174

Again, we're almost there - the warrior and rogue are neck and neck, but the mage is a little behind. The gap is 42 points. If we make spells worth 30 points, instead of 20, then we've got this spread:
  • Warrior: 40 + 40 + 32 + 40 + 16 + 8 = 176
  • Mage: 20 + 16 + 120 + 16 = 172
  • Rogue: 30 + 20 + 24 + 20 + 32 + 40 + 8 = 174

Close enough?

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 Post subject: Re: Stripping class and level from d20 - collaboration neede
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:13 pm 
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So - to put this into practice: a 1st level character has about 175 units' worth of cool stuff that they can do (hitting thing well, soaking up damage, being highly skilled, casting spells, etc).

These units should be converted into Experience Points for use in game.
Experience Points (xp) in the d20 game are handed out for defeating challenges - traps, puzzles, social encounters, monsters and villains, and so on. Advancement to a new level (when one gets a whole raft of new powers and increases to the existing ones) happens when you reach 1000 xp.
If we divide 1000xp by 175 units, we get nearly 6.

With all this preamble out the way, I propose the following:

Starting characters have 1000xp to spend.
  • Attack bonus: 60 per +1
  • Defence bonus: 30 per +1
  • Vitality: 30 per die step
    • i.e.: from 1d4 [the default] to 1d6 costs 30, from 1d4 to 1d8 [two steps] costs 60, and from 1d4 to 1d10 costs 90.
    • d12 is the maximum die type
  • Saves: 12 per +1
  • Feats: 12 each
  • Signature skills: 6 per skill
  • Spells: 480 x level
    • The lower levels must be earned before the higher levels
    • 0th level spells count as 1/2 a level
  • Skill mastery: 12 per skill (must be a signature skill)

I'll just leave this opus here and see what everyone makes of it, while I think about character advancement.

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 Post subject: Re: Stripping class and level from d20 - collaboration neede
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:17 pm 
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Not sure what it means but making P 31 brings mages directly in line with warriors.

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 Post subject: Re: Stripping class and level from d20 - collaboration neede
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:35 am 
There's a minor problem with your suggestion for vitality; if you have a cost for die size increases but not for the initial die, where does it come from? We no longer have levels, so either you're stuck with one HD for all time, or you get d4 hit dice for free (in which case I'll take 90 of them...for now). It might also be worth applying your point weight to a leveel 6 character, to see if they still come out roughly equal.


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 Post subject: Re: Stripping class and level from d20 - collaboration neede
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:58 am 
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What about forcing a minimum spend on A, D, T, V, K every time you level. They are the stats that everyone increases every level.

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 Post subject: Re: Stripping class and level from d20 - collaboration neede
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:01 pm 
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I've not yet looked at advancing a character beyond starting out: these are just the costs for creating a new starting character.
Advanced characters will have more things to factor in.

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 Post subject: Re: Stripping class and level from d20 - collaboration neede
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:25 pm 
As an alternative to having a spell progression laid out like the caster class already has, I would split "p" into Caster Level, Spells Known and Spell Slots - meaning that you could choose to gain higher-level spells (with a caster level prerequisite, of course), stock up no a wide range of spells, know only one or two spells but be able to cast them dozens of times, or any combination of the above, without being restricted to the same set progression as everyone else.

I'm working on the maths for this, and will present them once I've got something approaching a robust model.


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