Saturday, February 21, 2009

4e a la carte?

I gave up on my original Project 39 idea, making 4e more multiclass friendly and less videogamey as being too much work. Then yesterday something someone said sparked and idea that has been running rampant in my brain the past 24 hours.

One of the gripes that some multisystem players have with d20 is the pigeon-holing of characters into class structures and restricting advancement along those guidelines. That got me to thinking, why couldn't the system be set up so that if someone wanted to buy a feat, skill, or stat, they could do so?

My brain quickly started breaking down character advancement into blocks, things that improve and would need to be purchasable. There were a couple of questions and one big caveat that sprang to mind.

The caveat was that doing this made measuring a given character's power level much more difficult. I wasn't worried about munchkinism (too much). I play and run in systems where characters buy advancement such as Champions and my iteration of Marvel Saga. If the GM feels something would be unbalancing, he says no. Also, characters have to have justification for purchases, not just because it gives a games-mechanic advantage.

THe two big questions were how do I handle character creation and should advancement costs be linear (a la Champions) or progressive (a la Cortex)?

My first thought for character creation was to reverse engineer all of the classes into their basic building blocks and assign costs. That idea lasted maybe 30 seconds. Then I thought about having first level characters be pretty much "as is" in the current rules, as it represents the formative years for your character. Also, since all 1st level characters are presumably balanced, everyone starts on an even playing field. Finally, it saves me from deciding costs for things like class features and healing surges.

Regarding the second question, I'm leaning towards progressive. Part of that is probably because progressive advancement will keep a game from power-bloating out of control longer than linear.

Now I just need to decide on costs for skills, feats, talents (my own house system), attribute points, powers, defense increases, hit point increases, and attack bonus increases.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So are we looking at a potential Star Wars rebuild?

9:17 PM  
Blogger Oz said...

I'll use my D&D game as my first lab, as it only involves 2 players and this game has had multiple iterations of the rules already.

If it works out well, then I'll look at converting Star Wars. One thing I like is that such a system would greatly expand the mechanical lifespan of a game.

3:34 PM  

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