Thursday, July 23, 2009

More class-less musings

Why do I get my best ideas at work or when I'm driving?

Anyways, I've been chewing on character creation for my latest a la carte iteration of d20. The one advantage of classes was they made character construction easy and relatively balanced. Giving the players free reign opens things up to balance issues, both intentional and unintentional.

Novice players I figured out an easy fix in designing beginning packages themed around different kinds of characters like Woad Warrior, Hedge Druid, Faith Healer and Ley Raveller. I'm thinking there won't be any mechanical benefits, players building characters from scratch can get the exact same results, but it will make it easier for someone who wants to play a "healer" type and not spend two hours crunching mechanics to pick the Faith Healer template, plug in a couple of things and go.

Think on this led to a chain of ideas. I was considering how to handle Weapon Proficiencies, trying to decide how detailed I wanted to get and how to balance how many feats a starting character should have when I had the heretical thought "get rid of them."


In most systems not having a proficiency inflicted a penalty. But since I was replacing Attack Bonus with Combat Skills, did I really need a penalty. If Phil Farmer picked up a sword, what would the difference be between him and Bill Badass? Well Bill would have skill ranks and Phil wouldn't. If Phil later got a little training or practice with the sword, he wouldn't leap from -4 to 0 by buying proficiency, he'd go from 0 to +1 by buying a skill rank.

Eliminating weapon proficiencies meant not having to worry about giving starting characters enough feats to be adequately diverse in weapon choices without finding an artificial means to prevent a min-maxer from loading up on a narrow focus.

I'll also be handling skills the same way. Instead of a penalty for not having a skill, it will just be a lack of bonus. This get rids of the rank zero skills I've used in other iterations of a la carte.

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