Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Incremental Leveling in standard 4th Ed. D&D

Well, GenCon was awesome!  I've been playing RPGs now for 30 years, and this was great.  I appreciate the few people that folks that recognized me from KickStarter and stopped me to say "Hi!", and discuss the rules and/or campaign, it was fun being recognized even if it only happened a handful of times.

I also had a great time talking with my fellow software designers in the exhibit hall, even though some didn't want to get down to the nuts and bolts level of their applications.  The artists that I talked with too were great, and really seemed to be eager to work with me on my project.  I found for sure three that I really hit it off with, and had a lot of art samples with the style that I'm looking for.

I tried to be brief in most cases as I know they have to tolerate a lot, people love to talk about their 50th level triple class character that goes around hunting deities, or every character they ever played for that matter.

Many people I spoke to at GenCon were interested in one of the stepping stones that I came to on the journey to my new class-less rules, this was the breaking down of the experience point system to a more flexible point-buy system.

Essentially, what I did was to do was ask "What do characters gain for the 1,000xp that they spend from leveling from 1st to 2nd?", then mathematically break down what is gained for each ability that is gained.  Then repeat this for every level from 1st to 30th level.  The resulting math is surprising simple and very mathematically accurate, typically within +/- 5% of what the players handbook states.

On top of this, it looks like if a character always learns the next ability that is the least expensive, then they will progress just like the PHB states.  The major difference is that the characters change a lot more frequently (but probably not more than once a night, it may be annoying/time-wasting if after every encounter the players gain new abilities that they must decide on).

Using this fractional level system, not only allows partial level progression between nearly every game session, but characters can now improve in different areas.  They can forego gaining hit points, skill adjustments, and defensive bonuses to gain another power or feat.  Or, they may not like any of their 5th level Daily choices or 6th Utility Powers, and chose to go directly to their 7th level Encounter Power.  Or even, be happy with their characters powers and go directly after hit points and defenses.

The cost of these have been broken down in a PDF that I'm creating that will be available soon for those that have contributed to my KickStarter (in any amount).  I have it complete in a form that I've given to my players in a campaign about a year ago, but just want to pretty it up for a wider distribution, and to be sure the explanations are all contained in the document.

This will also serve as sort of a sneak preview to the expanded system that I'm created from my rules, as the one that I'll be sending out is designed to be used as an alternate to the 4E xp system, but assumes all powers and feats gained follow the 4E rules (i.e. Avengers must stick to Avenger Powers, or to multiclass characters follow the same mechanism as they would in the traditional 4E system).

In the Open Gateway rules, the classes and races themselves have been modularized, and players can mix and match these is a much more flexible manner.  To create exactly the characters that they wish to play.

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