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Thorvald

Is there a good way to implement classes?

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Like the title says. :-) I like it when character archetypes have some sort of ability exclusive to them, but I didn't want to go into a full-blown d20 style of class and levels. I'm thinking of doing it the Cyberpunk 2020 way, essentially treating classes as special, mutually exclusive advantages available for free, each with a single ability that would hopefully remain useful throughout all levels of play.

Something like:

 

Warrior - Bonus to Initiative rolls.

Scout - Once per combat per target, gain a bonus to damage rolls when attacking from Stealth.

Sorcerer - Can "keep up" a single spells for free without it counting towards your actions for the round.

 

Has anyone thought of doing something similar? Any suggestions?

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Yes, but don't call them "classes". That tends to give connotations of D20 using D6, which fans of D6 usually cringe at.

 

Call them archtypes, or professions, or something along those lines.

 

Then, like you just mentioned, include special things that are applicable only to that particular archtype or profession.

 

Contrary to normal class based characters, however, you don't want to limit the skills that a character can advance in. That's generally the antithesis of D6's gift of granting all players equal opportunity to skills and tasks regardless whether they know it or not. If you want to start an archtype or profession with a limited list of skills to choose from to allocate starting skill dice, that's something that could certainly be acceptable. But when it comes to advancing characters with CPs, you don't want to tell them that they can only advance a limited number of skills based on their archtype. If you want that sort of limitation, you might as well just play D20.

 

The thing to do is to offer incentives, rather than restrictions, for the archtypes or professions. Say you have a Warrior archtype. Come up with a list of skills that the Warrior initially gets to choose from. Say 12 or 14 skills most commonly associated with that character type. Then offer a starting "perk" (whatever you want to call it) for a character in that particular archtype. In this case, you give the Warrior archtype a bonus of +1D to initiative. Then you can also create an advanced perk that the character has to build up to. Maybe put in certain skill prerequisites (Melee combat at +7D, Stamina at +5D, and Lore at +4D) in order to get the advanced perk. In the example of skills above, you could put the advanced perk at something like "Weapon Shield: character can use their weapon to automatically block 1 attack per round, either from a melee attack or a ranged attack - but not a magic attack - this is a free action"

 

If you didn't want prerequisites you could simply put a fairly high price tag on the advanced perk for the archtype. Say 25 CPs or 30 CPs or something like that.

 

With this method, you can initially make the characters be fairly distinct. Warriors would be different from Wizards, which are different from Scouts, which are different from Rangers and so on. Once the game is going, let the players advance whichever skills they want, so if you have a Warrior that wants to learn Etiquette, they can. They'll just a refined Warrior rather than a brutish warrior. This way not all Warriors are the same as they advance. And then some Warriors might go for the advanced perk while others might want to just spend their CPs on boosting skills and disregard the advanced perk.

 

I've got fairly extensive notes on things I've done in an attempt to integrate some more style and differences between various character archtypes. One of these days I'll get my fantasy material put up and it will demonstrate the various things that I'm talking about here.

 

Hope this helps some.

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In my homebrew we have something like a class system, but geared to be as open as possible for the d6 system. We have specific schools within the setting that offer unique training in skills that we refer to as feats. These are distinguished from the general list of abilities that everyone has access to, and require instruction/training to be attempted. They are effectively powers, or groups of powers, which function similarly to the Star Wars D6 force powers. But instead of just putting experience points/training as a Jedi, you could train in a variety of schools (Brawler, Elementalist, Illusionist, Assassin, Shaman). There is no penalty for "cross classing" and we have had plenty of odd combinations of Necromancy casting marksmen, priest/prophet/gladiator/frost mage, martial arts trained blademasters, and biomancer secret agents. We've also had several forgo any academy training and just use general abilities, putting points into social skills, dodge, and weapons. Generally the "class"-based feats give special bonuses (to damage or hit rate with a particular weapon, to movement, avoidance, or resistance), or they allow the user to do something otherwise impossible (raise dead, cast a fireball, speak with plants, grow claws, etc). There is enough range that no two characters ever feels quite the same, even if both are trained in the academy of geomancy.

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You can also use Special Abilities, advantages and disadvantages to get "class-flavour". Making the only way to get them to belong to that class, only a character starting at that "class" can have that special something.

For example, warriors could have some combat bonus, plus not needing to specialise in every set of weapons, since they can use them all from start (just one "weapons" skill). Thieves, on the other hand, can have invisibility (only working when "hiding in shadows", or something like that), but they only know how to use the types of weapons they have put skill pips in.

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Yes, but don't call them "classes". That tends to give connotations of D20 using D6, which fans of D6 usually cringe at.

 

Too late, already cringed. :cool:

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Sorry for the thread necromancy, but I'm thinking of using d6 to run a game for a niece into Harry Potter etc. and am thinking through using something other than D&D for the first time in my life.

 

You can also use Special Abilities, advantages and disadvantages to get "class-flavour". Making the only way to get them to belong to that class, only a character starting at that "class" can have that special something.

For example, warriors could have some combat bonus, plus not needing to specialise in every set of weapons, since they can use them all from start (just one "weapons" skill). Thieves, on the other hand, can have invisibility (only working when "hiding in shadows", or something like that), but they only know how to use the types of weapons they have put skill pips in.

 

I'm thinking along these lines too... I like to use templates, and it seems simple enough to give each template a little something different... an archer might get free dice in missile weapon (bow), thieves get extra streetwise, the druid ("biomancer" in my game) gets an animal companion, etc. I'm thinking it's going to work out nicely, at least for this issue.

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Hi Barrataria, I agree with the advice given in this thread so far but I'll throw in my two cents as well. Personally, I think one of the problems associated with the d6 system is rolling too many dice. I prefer combat rounds to move quickly but having to count out lots of dice and then sum their total really slows things down when every character is attempting multiple actions in a round. One of the ways I deal with this in my campaigns is to come up with lots of advantages, spells or special abilities to spend their character points on but I design them so that they don't give bonus dice to skills. Instead, they allow a character to use a skill in a unique way or gain an ability they would not be able to attempt otherwise. For example, instead of a fighter character getting bonus dice to add to his weapon skills, maybe he gets to choose some special combat manuevers (sort of like what they've done in the latest DnD Next playtest material).

 

P.S. As someone who was introduced to roleplaying with the D6 system, I'm curious what a D20 veteran thinks of the system. Are there things you don't like about it that you feel D20 does better?

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Hi Barrataria, I agree with the advice given in this thread so far but I'll throw in my two cents as well. Personally, I think one of the problems associated with the d6 system is rolling too many dice. I prefer combat rounds to move quickly but having to count out lots of dice and then sum their total really slows things down when every character is attempting multiple actions in a round.

 

Thanks, I use MiniSix combat to cut down on the dice rolls. I actually like the d6 mechanics for all the non-combat things, and ditching all/most of the dodge rolls is (for us anyway) a small price to pay for a real "unified mechanic'. I am stingy with the CP too (and don't use Fate points) so that cuts down on the 20D type rolls.

 

Also, I really think d6 will be great for young players... here's your character sheet. For those abilities, those numbers are the number of dice you get to roll to try to do something. Let's play! A couple years ago I played in a D&D type game with experienced game-players (not RPGs, but lots of games) and they were continually asking which dice to roll for what, what's high or low, etc. Plus, as others (maybe you) have noted, rolling a fistful of dice is more fun than rolling one!

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One of the ways I deal with this in my campaigns is to come up with lots of advantages, spells or special abilities to spend their character points on but I design them so that they don't give bonus dice to skills. Instead, they allow a character to use a skill in a unique way or gain an ability they would not be able to attempt otherwise. For example, instead of a fighter character getting bonus dice to add to his weapon skills, maybe he gets to choose some special combat manuevers (sort of like what they've done in the latest DnD Next playtest material).

 

Hey Option, this thing you mentioned sounds a lot like some material I've come up with. Basically, ways to have differences in characters without just amping up the number of dice that a player rolls. How much of this have you created?

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Hi Grimace,

 

I’ve messed around with the concept a lot but I've only finalized/balanced one full set of "special abilities" which was for a modern day paranormal campaign where the player characters are supernatural beings who live amongst humans in secrete and investigate/hunt other supernatural creatures who are stirring up trouble. The special abilities were tied to the race of the character so I had 15 for vampires, 14 for lycanthropes, 13 for “unbound” humans (humans who have broken down some mental barriers allowing their brains and bodies to work outside their usual boundaries). I also had magic users but none of my players were interested in that so I never fleshed out the system for that one.

 

Lately I have been trying to do something similar for a dark fantasy campaign and have been raiding my Savage Worlds and Gurps books for ideas. However, this time I am trying to make the abilities more generic so the players can mix/match them since I’m not really planning to have races for this setting. Instead, each player character would be a unique being whose special abilities come from their unusual backgrounds or from contact with the supernatural.

 

If you’re looking for ideas, I would highly recommend the Gurps 3rd edition core book and the first Compendium (which includes a mind-boggling amount of advantages). The latest edition stuff might be as good or better but I haven’t looked at it so I can recommend it. The Savage World core book also has a fair amount of special abilities (called Edges) which has given me some neat ideas as well.

 

Are your special abilities more generic or geared toward a specific genre/setting?

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More generic in nature. Well, generic in terms of the being quasi-related to a skill, but not to a particular type of character or race of character.

 

It sounds as if you've done more in terms of powers/perks for types of characters rather than for general usage. Also sounds like you've created a fair amount of them. 42 by my count, which isn't anything to sneeze at. :)

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Many of the advantages/powers I created for the paranormal hunters campaign were related to a particular skill. Most often it allowed characters to do something with a skill that would simply be impossible for a normal character (such as use their climbing skill to scale a perfectly smooth surface). I've tried making my advantages completely genre/setting/race generic but I found that to be very difficult. For one thing, many of the skills/attributes we use change depending on the genre we are playing so it becomes difficult to link advantages to specific attributes/skills. Also, I've found it difficult to determine the value/cost of an advantage without knowing the genre/setting. Some kind of strength-enhancing advantage would be very valuable in a gritty low-magic fantasy campaign but much less valuable in a game that takes place in the Harry Potter world. Another thing is that some advantages clash with the intended feel of the setting. For example, advantages that give big boosts to magical powers feel out of place in a setting where magic is rare and not overly powerful.

 

Have I misunderstood your description or have you found a way around these issues? Either way, I'm interested to know more.

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Too Late Two Cents

 

For a while we've been running a Labyrinth Lord (and bits from the Advanced Edition Companion) game powered by Mini Six, as a straight graft. We have even based characters from generators.

 

The only real 'problem' is the sliding scale of cost for spells and I'm still tweaking the Fatigue system we borrowed from GURPS.

 

Outside of that, we all know the classes and how much the players color inside the lines depends on how much of a hard ass the GM wants to be.

 

Otherwise, Cleric lean more toward Paladin and with a wider array of skills Thief are more Rogue, Skills also help Mages be more than a One Pump Chump.

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P.S. As someone who was introduced to roleplaying with the D6 system, I'm curious what a D20 veteran thinks of the system. Are there things you don't like about it that you feel D20 does better?

 

I was introduced to RPGs with TSR's AD&D, and then went on to play WoTC's 3rd Edition D&D before trying out D6 Star Wars. One of the only things I think that the D&D franchise does, not the system mind you, is flush out so many aspects of their campaign world. They have hundreds and thousands of monsters to choose from, magical weapons and spells out the wazoo, and even multiple planes of existence all ready for you as a GM to use. My issues with the D20 system are the clunky, non cinematic shin kick to death way of doing everything. A character's worth is defined most of the time by his contributions in a fight and his attributes, not who the character is and what experiences he's had. D6 uses skills to reflect a person's ability, even if someone is less naturally adept at doing something, it doesn't mean that eventually, they can't train enough to be as good as someone who has natural talent. It's a system that doesn't tell its players: "unless you have the highest possible attribute, don't bother going down that route."

 

To respond to the initial poster's comment, I think there are some admirable aspects of a class, which can be covered by using templates and giving them special abilities like some of the ones out of the Fantasy Core book. Designing a possible selection of special abilities for someone attempting to go a particular route is not an unreasonable approach. A fighter who say has the Combat sense ability because he's spent his entire life training for battle and is rarely caught unaware, or a thief who can climb what seems to be a completely smooth surface, or a ranger who never gets lost. These are all things that can be done with the system as it's written. I hope to see more on your class ideas, especially since I'm working on converting over monsters from D&D.

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We did a lot of exploration with this concept when we created Azamar. It is something we found fell better, from a game mechanics perspective, on the character race rather than the character type. Inherited abilities work better across races. On the same token, we created a modular Features system that essentially provides "special abilities" trees, that often require a base race or character type, but are otherwise free form. I think character types should earn their chops, so making them spend experience on benefits within certain conditional guidance just makes sense. If you are a warrior, you have X, Y, and Z to choose from. If you choose X, you can choose X1, X2, X3, Y, and Z, etc. We restricted certain character types to certain races because it made sense that certain races would pick up certain professions as a general rule. Original character concepts are not difficult though, especially those antithetical to the norm - it just requires a bit of back story and thoughtful development between the player and GM to create a deeper character with a unique background.

 

Thanks - J.

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We did a lot of exploration with this concept when we created Azamar. It is something we found fell better, from a game mechanics perspective, on the character race rather than the character type. Inherited abilities work better across races. On the same token, we created a modular Features system that essentially provides "special abilities" trees, that often require a base race or character type, but are otherwise free form. I think character types should earn their chops, so making them spend experience on benefits within certain conditional guidance just makes sense. If you are a warrior, you have X, Y, and Z to choose from. If you choose X, you can choose X1, X2, X3, Y, and Z, etc. We restricted certain character types to certain races because it made sense that certain races would pick up certain professions as a general rule. Original character concepts are not difficult though, especially those antithetical to the norm - it just requires a bit of back story and thoughtful development between the player and GM to create a deeper character with a unique background.

 

Thanks - J.

 

That is a really interesting way of doing it, and it definitely fits with the feel of D6 with being able to customize your character in a less than totally linear way of doing things.

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