Tag Archives: Feats

First Draft: Feats

If you haven’t voted in my poll from last week, please do so.  It’s extremely important to the underlying math of the game.

Back to the current topic.  I have a love/hate relationship with feats.  With player customization a major goal of Lost Worlds, I want to have a source of differentiation outside of races and classes.   I’ve talked about making classes easy to create and add, but I don’t want to force players to create an entire new class to differentiate.

So, despite the risk of looking like a carbon-copy of D&D, I’m planning on a version of feats for Lost Worlds.  Some of the most fun I’ve ever had with players has been creating customized feats for their character that really helped mold the character they are playing into the vision they have.  The problem with the feat system is that there were so many, and classes began to lean so heavily on them, that they just turned into another optimization problem for the player to solve.

So here’s my current plan.  I’m going to have three types of feats in the game: Character Creation Feats, Distinction Feats, and Achievement Feats.

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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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The Optimization Problem

This is a post I’ve meant to write for awhile, but in writing the foundation of Lost Worlds, it just didn’t seem like it was quite time.  The following comment on my post about classes got me thinking a little bit more about the topic:

I think I would prefer the idea of build points being used to create classes.So as not to overwhelm players that don’t have the time/energy to go pick from massive lists of options a set of ready to go classes can be available. Essentially just build points allocated to recreate any one of the above mentioned classes.

To start, I want to give players lots of options, in fact, it’s my number 1 design goal.  The question is, what’s the best way to accomplish it.  The obvious, if somewhat dull answer, is to add more classes, more races, more feats, etc.  Clearly that would provide more options.  I could also move in the direction of what the reader above suggests, which is to break all the mechanics up into pieces and assign them a value – then allow the players to reassemble them into any permutation.  As he pointed out, you could certainly leave class structures in place for ready-made themes, but allow players who really want to customize the ability to mix and match to their heart’s content.  The third method, and this is the method that I’m really championing, is to provide a clear structure for adding an unlimited amount of custom content.

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