Tag Archives: Optimization Problem

Prestige Classes and Other In-Game Content Generation

I’m going to reference another of -C’s posts from Hack & Slash.  This time, it’s about Prestige Classes.  In the post, -C notes:

The problem with codifying prestige classes is that players cannot help but focus on what they are going to be instead of what they are. This isn’t a problem with prestige classes, this is a problem with codifying them. So we don’t need a book of prestige classes, we don’t need a book filled with restrictions and limits and builds. We really don’t even need rules on how to construct a prestige class.  What do we need?  Simply the idea that perhaps somewhere in the world is someone willing to teach you something you don’t already know.

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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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