Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Measure of a Man (Abilities)

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One of the classic features of D&D is the set of ability scores: Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.  Part of me thinks that I can’t truly have a different game if I’m using the same set of ability scores – it’s going to be difficult to feel like I’m playing a new game, and difficult to associate a different culture to the play-style of that game, if I keep using them.  On the other hand, I don’t want to change for the sake of change if these really are the best choices – and they’ve certainly stood the test of time so far!

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Feats

I’m wondering if feats are worthwhile anymore.  Feats came around in 3e and persist into pathfinder and 4e.  They too had their origins in Non-Weapon Proficencies (NWPs) though, so they’ve  been around in some form for longer than 3e.  The NWPs that weren’t related to skills were often more like powers or talents.  In 3e, NWPs were formally split into a skill list and feats, which I think made a lot of sense given that construction and the evolution of the game at that time.

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Skills

Player characters didn’t used to have skills with which to tackle non-combat challenges, but they’ve been around now for quite some time.  Skills were born back in the day of non-weapon proficiencies (NWPs).  They made an appearance in AD&D and came into their own in 2e (which was my first exposure to role-playing games).  This incarnation of D&D realized that players wanted their character to be able to do more than fight in combat.  Non-weapon proficiencies hovered somewhere in-between what we know from 3e skills and feats.  They were broken down by class, so that a class had its own specific list of NWPs that were thought to make sense for the role of that class.  I’ll discuss the feat aspect of NWPs later, but for now let me focus on Skills.

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Gods and their Clerics

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A pantheon of gods is pretty clearly within the domain of campaign setting, but for Lost Worlds, we’ll need a default.  Older versions of D&D focused on a polytheistic world similar to Norse or Greek mythology.  I think with Lost Worlds, I’m looking for something a bit closer to Game of Thrones, where gods and church are prevalent  but for the most part, any particular region has only one god they worship (although some may still be polytheistic).

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Magic Should Not Be Boring

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Reading through the blog, you might think that I don’t really want to play a fantasy genre game, but instead a dark ages historical game.  My “low-magic” attitude though should not be construed to mean that I don’t like the idea of magic in my fantasy role-playing game.  On the contrary, I enjoy it quite a bit.  I think magic is too important to the setting to trivialize it.  That’s why I don’t want it to be boring.

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Multiclassing

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Multiclassing: it wears me out just thinking about all the twists this can cause for game mechanics, play balance, and immersion.  Even in the early editions of Dungeons & Dragons there was a process for acquiring multiple classes.  Older versions of the game have pretty brutal restrictions on multiclassing.  You’d have to be a certain race to access classes, only certain class combinations were allowed, you’d suffer XP penalties, you’d need very high core attributes, you could only ever switch once (and you couldn’t switch back!), etc.  I’ve already started tackling the issue of multiclassing with Prestige Classes in an earlier post, and I suppose the mere existence of Prestige Classes suggests a pretty free-form multiclassing system.  Still, it’s worth thinking about again to make sure I’m happy with the way it’ll work and to make sure I consider the potential for abuse in multiclassing before I start really designing the various classes and races.

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