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kenjigoku
2013-11-11, 02:57 AM
Which do you prefer?


Class based systems
Skill based systems
Some combination


Please explain why as well.

BWR
2013-11-11, 04:01 AM
It doesn't really matter, as long as the system is decent. If forced to choose I would probably go with a classless system, simply because you (should) have more flexibility for customization and not have to rely on package deals.

Lorsa
2013-11-11, 06:03 AM
I could explain why better if you first explained what you mean by the various categories. D&D for example have classes, but it also have skills and freedom to choose which ones you want so does that make it a combination?

Ravens_cry
2013-11-11, 06:12 AM
Classed systems, all other things being equal, certainly take a lot less system mastery to just play.
I was able to make my first 3.5 character by going through the books. It took me about a day, and it probably wasn't the best Sorcerer ever, she was a half orc, and the highest I rolled, before adjustments (duh), was 17, but it was playable.
Compare that to Mutants and Masterminds. I've had the books for several years, and I still am having a hard time distilling a concept into the available powers and skills.

Krazzman
2013-11-11, 06:26 AM
From what I got so far:
Class Systems.

I like DnD, I disliked DSA.
I like SWSE, I disliked GURPS.
But on the other hand I wasn't really fond of Warhammer Fantasy RPG but liked Shadowrun.

I think my problems with Classless systems were a) the systems, b) the set powerlevel, c) the dm/party and d) my scatterbrainyness and not being able to read any sourcebooks before building.

Shadowrun I first encountered with a Pregen Char.
DnD I built a horrbile Elf Rogue.
DSA wasn't fun because I felt left out and made fun of for in character decisions.
GURPS was weird because I had a concept and then halfway through the DM stopped helping me built it and basically said deal with it and as such I was useless.
And SWSE seems good so far (only played a level 1 Jedi for two sessions without any Combat Encounters so far).

TheTrueMooseman
2013-11-11, 08:16 AM
My favourite systems right now lie somewhere in-between, where the classes give access to the skills you can buy, i.e. 40k RP, SW: EotE. It means there are still recognisable archetypes that mesh well with the source material, while ensuring that no two characters are the same and allowing a good deal of player choice.

erikun
2013-11-11, 08:41 AM
In theory, I'd be inclined to say both systems. The idea behind class system - at least, in concept - is to allow a player to build a character quickly and to theme with the campaign. Your D&D character, in a world where fighting in manditory and high HP is standard, will have combat bonuses and a number of HP each level. It's build right into the class. You don't need to worry about not taking combat skills, or forgetting about increasing saving throw bonuses, because everyone gets those automatically. You can focus, instead, on the other aspects like spells and skills. This would, in theory, work just fine with other themes as well: a murder mystery campaign would give classes with investigation skills, a court intrigue plot would have classes with social skills, and so on.

The problem is, I rarely see that to be the case. :smallannoyed: The only class systems I've noticed lately have been D&D and the various D&D-like systems, and D&D within the last decade has been anything but "quick and to theme". What's more, several generic classless systems have been quite better at that than any class system I've seen - HeroQuest RPG and Fate have both been great at generating interesting characters quickly and making sure they have at least the skills you'd expect for a specific setting.

Eldan
2013-11-11, 08:47 AM
In most point buy systems I've tried, I have one problem. There tend to be very few truly interesting abilities for the characters to buy. In a lot of them, you don't learn new melee techniques, you increase your melee skill. You don't learn new unique spells, you increase enchantment to a higher level. Even the mechanics are often quite samey, in that no matter your character's power source, you roll the same dice, then fluff them differently. It becomes a bit dull, after a while.

There's exceptions, of course. M&M was always quite excellent.

Necroticplague
2013-11-11, 09:35 AM
I prefer a combination of the two. An entirely point-based system often ends up with PCs that have to make hard choices between having interesting abilities and actually being competent at anything. In a class-based system, the classes can unsure you have at the least the basics covered, so you can't get screwed over because, say, you forgot to buy up to your Toughness/Dodge cap. Ideally, in y eyes, you'd have a class providing basic competencies, and then an amount of points to spend on more interesting features.

Black Jester
2013-11-11, 09:37 AM
There is literally nothing you can do with a class-based system you cannot do better or equally well with a classless system. The opposite of this statement is rarely true (and the only reason I write 'rarely' is because I am open to the idea of a truly adaptable and non-restrictive class system; I am not sure that one exists or that it is even more than a mere theoretical possibility).

Of course, not every classless system is good, and every class-based one is bad. There are really good systems using classes and really bad ones avoiding them. But even the best class-based systems are pretty mediocre when compared to truly well designed games (e.g. Gurps). Classes (and levels, their ugly step siblings) are basically an anachronism of truly oldschool gaming, and with the exception of this environment they always feel obsolete and unnecessary restrictive, even if the rest of the game is fairly well designed.
The reason for this is simple: pretty much any class-based mechanism is a purely metagaming-based concept with no true correspondence within the actual setting that justifies its existence. As a result, they are mostly artificial and forced onto the system without any real interconnection with it. As such, pretty much any class system forms a burden on the immersion process during the game and remains as an alien object within the game as a whole that needlessly complicates the suspension of disbelief through overtly artificial mechanical aspects. Classless systems usually fit much better within the actual setting and come so much closer to fulfill the main purpose of any RPG rules, namely the mechanical adaptation of the events and people within the game.

AstralFire
2013-11-11, 09:57 AM
Star Wars Saga is a very good example of the advantages of a class-based system; class levels are essentially narrativium incarnate, which is central to play in the system. I object to the notion that class or skill based inherently lean a system towards any particular way, except in that class-based systems are more likely to inherit D&D mechanics and sensibilities that have no place being in the world they're attempting to emulate.

Mark Hall
2013-11-11, 10:21 AM
Star Wars Saga is a very good example of the advantages of a class-based system; class levels are essentially narrativium incarnate, which is central to play in the system. I object to the notion that class or skill based inherently lean a system towards any particular way, except in that class-based systems are more likely to inherit D&D mechanics and sensibilities that have no place being in the world they're attempting to emulate.

And, of course, I took it farther by making the system classless (http://rpgcrank.blogspot.com/2013/07/classless-saga-and-other-alterations.html), though not levelless.

That said, I usually prefer classed systems, as they make it easy to define broad roles and make sure they're filled, leaving you with less gaps in a party. But this also ties into my usual preference for game styles.

Psyren
2013-11-11, 10:28 AM
Star Wars Saga is a very good example of the advantages of a class-based system; class levels are essentially narrativium incarnate, which is central to play in the system. I object to the notion that class or skill based inherently lean a system towards any particular way, except in that class-based systems are more likely to inherit D&D mechanics and sensibilities that have no place being in the world they're attempting to emulate.

Do they have an SRD anywhere I can look at? Or do you just have to dive in and buy the books on the... strength of the Star Wars brand?

Jay R
2013-11-11, 10:37 AM
They have different purposes, and create different games. In a game like Flashing Blades, somebody who started as a Noble should always be different from somebody who started as a Rogue or a Soldier. In contrast, gaining a new power in Champions is much more fluid.

Similarly, in original D&D or AD&D, a class was a complete lifestyle that set you apart from people in other classes.

However, a system like D&D 3E, in which all classes are always open to pretty much anybody, and people routinely have more than one, is neither one. It's a hybrid form, a little closer to a classless system in which each increase is done by modules. ("Do I want Thief level two or Wizard level three next?")

AstralFire
2013-11-11, 11:43 AM
Do they have an SRD anywhere I can look at? Or do you just have to dive in and buy the books on the... strength of the Star Wars brand?

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6651498

I made a thread to allow people to get a sense of how the system works. It's not as good as a System Resource Document, but at least you can see some of the changes.

valadil
2013-11-11, 11:47 AM
I thought I preferred systems with classes. Really what I like is levels. I want to get a huge increase in power upon reaching a milestone rather than a slow but steady increase that amounts to the same thing.

shadow_archmagi
2013-11-11, 12:00 PM
I prefer a combination of the two. An entirely point-based system often ends up with PCs that have to make hard choices between having interesting abilities and actually being competent at anything. In a class-based system, the classes can unsure you have at the least the basics covered, so you can't get screwed over because, say, you forgot to buy up to your Toughness/Dodge cap. Ideally, in y eyes, you'd have a class providing basic competencies, and then an amount of points to spend on more interesting features.

Yep. Classes serve two purposes, in my mind:

#1: They take the "basics" and make it automatic, thus standardizing progression and making it easier to avoid extremely high/low competency levels

#2: They can provide nifty things without making the player feel like they're 'spending' on them. If my hacker gets the ability to code underwater at level 3, that's silly and wonderful and I'm happy about that. If I'm trying to figure out how to spend 3 character points, I'm unlikely to choose underwater coding over something more useful.

Mastikator
2013-11-11, 12:10 PM
Pure skill, each action is a skill roll, each skill has its own experience meter.
Only seen one system actually do this, it was less book keeping than class based systems actually, and more balanced by leaps and bounds. It even had built in diminishing returns that created an incentive both for mastery of few skills and for being rounded.

Razanir
2013-11-11, 12:12 PM
I could explain why better if you first explained what you mean by the various categories. D&D for example have classes, but it also have skills and freedom to choose which ones you want so does that make it a combination?

Skill-based systems specifically refer to systems where your "class", so to speak, is just an amalgam of skills you're trained in. If you've played Final Fantasy II, that's an example of one.

Knaight
2013-11-11, 02:01 PM
I tend to favor classless systems, with a scant handful of exceptions. If old school style involving strong archetypes is specifically desired, classes are fine. In practice, this basically works out to classless systems, plus Torchbearer. There are also hybrids along the lines of lifepath systems (e.g. Burning Wheel), and I do sometimes like those. That said, my favoritism towards classless systems is pretty clear. There are more exceptions that take it yet further away from the traditional class based system than there are that bring it closer - such as Microscope, in which there are no player characters, characters do not have statistics, there is no GM role, etc.

Eric Tolle
2013-11-11, 02:23 PM
I like "Skill+" systems, where there are skills and other traits that define a character. Fate would be one such system. where aspects ( short descriptive sentences) and stunts ( traits that allow you to bend the rules) mean that characters with the same skills can be very different.

Besides, having the aspects " Last surviving member of the Ghost Battalion" or " Barely controlled fury" are much more evocative than "Barbarian 5 with the Power Attack and Superstitious feats".

Tengu_temp
2013-11-11, 02:23 PM
I prefer classless systems - they give me more freedom and options in creating exactly the characters I want, without forcing them into the mold of a specific class. Though it seems that, apart from Mutants and Masterminds and Spirit of the Century, most of the games I play are hybrid in a different way: you pick a broad class, like a clan in Vampire or an archetype in LotW, and it gives you access to one or two abilities specific to that class, but everything else is entirely point buy.

kenjigoku
2013-11-11, 02:50 PM
Thanks for everyone's input. My friends and I keep discussing the merits of both class based and "skill" based systems.

I never really considered playing a game which hybrids them. In general the games I have played are either one or the other.

So far I have gathered that class based systems are too restrictive (which is how I tend to feel about them. House-rules abound for some flexibility). But that rigidness applies a consistent framework on which the game can be entered and played with.

For "skill" based systems, you wind up with 4th edition's [same stuff, different wrapper] approach to characters. But the advantage is your character in a sense can "do more".

Ideally, one would like a hybrid, where class can define what you specialize the most in but have plenty of freedom to move around and learn "skills" without significantly hampering the power of your character. My personal concern with a hybrid system is, if you do not have a power limit (so no levels and whatnot) what is stopping the elves (or other long lived races/begings/etc) from taking over the world since they can get N "skills" and class traits?

Isamu Dyson
2013-11-11, 03:36 PM
I generally prefer classless systems, but some class-based systems (like D&D, d20 Modern, and Spycraft) are so close to my heart that I continue to play them.

It's nice being able to play a highly competent martial artist at the beginning of an adventure instead of waiting, say, five or more levels. Of course, there are tradeoffs (being a specialist means you are less of a generalist), but that is a given.

Spore
2013-11-11, 03:54 PM
I am a flexible player. I like both systems, however a well balanced classless system is to die for. I like making choices, I just do. If my character doesn't fit into x amount of classes, I am quickly getting frustated. Because of that I start to base my characters on classes instead of vice versa.

In my opinion, systems like D&D and Pathfinder restrict the fluff of a certain class too much. I'd like a system of generic classes with "purchasable" class features. Creating a red mage is always the test subject for me. It takes physical prowess, decent spellcasting of ALL schools and acceptable defensive capabilities. The closer I can get to a working red mage (while offering as few abundant class features as possible - a bard is not red mage for me), the better the system.

Or to explain the build in Skyrim skills: Onehanded, Light Armor, Destruction, Restoration.

Komatik
2013-11-12, 08:32 AM
One thing about classless point buy systems that can end up disappointing is that rigid formulas for stuff rarely add up in a way that makes sense.

For example, in Warhammer an elf can cost X points, an elf with a spead can justifiably be X+Y points and an elf with a bow be worth X+Z. But they tried a unit that had both spears and bows, and costed them at X+Y+Z. The unit ended up being utterly worthless due to ridiculous overcosting for years on end.
That's why predefined packages are useful - they enable you to assess a whole and make a judgment on it's overall value.
Often a jack-of-everything needs to be very close to a specialist's power in each of his individual capabilities to be worth consideration. There's a very real danger of leaving such archetypes boringly lackluster, yet the danger of competency is creating a bit too powerful an archetype. I'd say leaving them slightly, tantalizingly overpowered is better. The best way to ensure that, say, a druid and a sorcerer are both viable despite being equally powerful casters in this fictive setting of ours is to create stylistic differences.
I at least am a total sucker for style and another character being more powerful than mine isn't much of a drag as long as mine is competent (whether it's an RPG campaign of a head-to-head contest like a fighting game).

There's also systems like WHFRP 2nd Edition that throw wrenches in jack-of-all-trades concepts because everyone gets the same advances. A warrior-sorcerer career loses most of it's luster if you fall noticeably behind on swordsmanship because you need to spend the next ten advances to catch up to where the party sorcerer got to in three. The dual advancement that is the whole point of the career, feel-wise, is put in jeopardy in such a system.

The thematic freebies that feel cool but you wouldn't actually want to invest build points in ever are a pretty interesting benefit I hadn't looked into previously.

Lorsa
2013-11-12, 11:06 AM
Thanks for everyone's input. My friends and I keep discussing the merits of both class based and "skill" based systems.

I never really considered playing a game which hybrids them. In general the games I have played are either one or the other.

So far I have gathered that class based systems are too restrictive (which is how I tend to feel about them. House-rules abound for some flexibility). But that rigidness applies a consistent framework on which the game can be entered and played with.

For "skill" based systems, you wind up with 4th edition's [same stuff, different wrapper] approach to characters. But the advantage is your character in a sense can "do more".

Ideally, one would like a hybrid, where class can define what you specialize the most in but have plenty of freedom to move around and learn "skills" without significantly hampering the power of your character. My personal concern with a hybrid system is, if you do not have a power limit (so no levels and whatnot) what is stopping the elves (or other long lived races/begings/etc) from taking over the world since they can get N "skills" and class traits?

I still don't quite understand how you define class-based vs. skill-based systems. It would help for the discussion as now people are using their own definitions which may lead to contradictory answers.

For example, if I use what I "think" you mean, I prefer "skill-based" systems. They offer much more freedom in terms of character generation and it's often easier to move from one role to another (which is something I often like to do).

Class-based systems only real advantage is that in theory they would be easier to "balance", as in keep the power level between the various PCs on a similar level. When a class-based systems fails at doing this it has lost its only benefit in my opinion and should abandon the design.

Waar
2013-11-12, 11:15 AM
Having played both loose class sytems, fully point-buy systems as well as systems with mostly symbolic classes, the difference is not that big. As of yet I have never seen a rules heavy strict class system (as in no/very little multiclassing and class independent choices) but I imagine the diference between that and a loose class system would be greater.

So I prefer a system with several interesting choices, classes optional but not too strict.


I am a flexible player. I like both systems, however a well balanced classless system is to die for. I like making choices, I just do. If my character doesn't fit into x amount of classes, I am quickly getting frustated. Because of that I start to base my characters on classes instead of vice versa.

In my opinion, systems like D&D and Pathfinder restrict the fluff of a certain class too much. I'd like a system of generic classes with "purchasable" class features. Creating a red mage is always the test subject for me. It takes physical prowess, decent spellcasting of ALL schools and acceptable defensive capabilities. The closer I can get to a working red mage (while offering as few abundant class features as possible - a bard is not red mage for me), the better the system.

Or to explain the build in Skyrim skills: Onehanded, Light Armor, Destruction, Restoration.

Funny how you explain the test for class based systems with a skillbased, class less system :smallamused: (as for the elder scrolls try crusader or spellsword instead of bard, maybe a Dunmer :smalltongue:)

Edit:

I still don't quite understand how you define class-based vs. skill-based systems. It would help for the discussion as now people are using their own definitions which may lead to contradictory answers.

For example, if I use what I "think" you mean, I prefer "skill-based" systems. They offer much more freedom in terms of character generation and it's often easier to move from one role to another (which is something I often like to do).

Class-based systems only real advantage is that in theory they would be easier to "balance", as in keep the power level between the various PCs on a similar level. When a class-based systems fails at doing this it has lost its only benefit in my opinion and should abandon the design.

I think the OP refers to the difference between getting stuff at level that you get for xp, and buying stuff for xp. For instance, consider the difference between drakar och demoner 6th and 7th edition.

Jay R
2013-11-12, 11:24 AM
It's a somewhat meaningless question.

I've seen good systems with classes. I've seen bad systems with classes.

I've seen good classless systems. I've seen bad classless systems.

Both can work well; both can work badly.

Decide what you want to do in your next game, and pick a well-written system that does that.

CarpeGuitarrem
2013-11-12, 11:32 AM
What Jay R says. That being said, I tend to find that classless systems are usually better games, or at least games that I like better. But then there's the Apocalypse World family of games (including Dungeon World, Monster of the Week, Monsterhearts, etc.) which leverages classes incredibly strongly and does them nigh-perfectly. Well, compared to everything else I've seen.

GungHo
2013-11-12, 12:12 PM
I prefer classed systems because they provide defined templates, but I'm also a big believer in, if not necessarily making sure all classes "balance", making sure all classes can have fun and all classes adequately fill the niches in the system, while also allowing for folks to be a little estoteric if they'd like. I do not use/apply the tier system in my games, but I do understand the tiers and that I do need to gear challenges toward what is actually being placed before me, at all levels of play.

I don't mind classless systems, and they can work well if people have a goal in mind, but you do as a DM have to provide a lot of guidance to people so that they understand what type of game they're going to play and basically have the courage to either change your game to suit what's actually coming out on the other end of the sausage machine or reject characters that are just not suitable for what you're going for. As such, I do emphasize a templated approach at the beginning and then tell people to customize from there.

My favorite system, as has been mentioned here a few times, is SAGA, for a lot of the reasons mentioned here. I do not ignore the warts of it, but I do occassionally adapt it for fantasy, as it does some things that Pathfinder just wishes it could do. It takes a bit of work to pull in magic, but since I personally do not like Vancian magic, the alter/control/etc power pools and feats can work. I really wish they'd have developed that part into a more official product.

Knaight
2013-11-12, 03:34 PM
One thing about classless point buy systems that can end up disappointing is that rigid formulas for stuff rarely add up in a way that makes sense.

For example, in Warhammer an elf can cost X points, an elf with a spead can justifiably be X+Y points and an elf with a bow be worth X+Z. But they tried a unit that had both spears and bows, and costed them at X+Y+Z. The unit ended up being utterly worthless due to ridiculous overcosting for years on end.
...
Often a jack-of-everything needs to be very close to a specialist's power in each of his individual capabilities to be worth consideration. There's a very real danger of leaving such archetypes boringly lackluster, yet the danger of competency is creating a bit too powerful an archetype. I'd say leaving them slightly, tantalizingly overpowered is better. The best way to ensure that, say, a druid and a sorcerer are both viable despite being equally powerful casters in this fictive setting of ours is to create stylistic differences.
I at least am a total sucker for style and another character being more powerful than mine isn't much of a drag as long as mine is competent (whether it's an RPG campaign of a head-to-head contest like a fighting game).

Putting aside how lots of classless systems aren't really point buy, this is often handled fairly well through scaling. Take Qin: The Warring States: A martial oriented character might have Metal 4, which is their general fighting ability. They can get a +1 with 1 weapon for 1 point. +2 is 4 points. +3 is 9 points. As such, the dedicated spear elf and dedicated bow elf would both have 9 points in combat skills, for +3s. The one with both has 8, but gets two +2s. Because of the action system also favoring those with more points, this actually works out to be fairly even.

Though it is worth noting that Qin doesn't have elves.

Raimun
2013-11-12, 09:09 PM
I don't really have a preference.

What matters is how versatile and unique characters you can make with the system.

Some class systems are really good at this, like Pathfinder. Class determines a large portion of your capabilities but you still have a lot freedom. Race, Skills, Feats, Traits, Favored Class bonuses, Class and Race Archetypes, etc. all give you tons of options that let you make the kind of character you want.

I especially like traits and class archetypes since they can give you new class skills. For example, I've rolled a Barbarian with good charisma and social skills and it has been really fun to play... in and out of combat. You actually feel more heroic if you are more than a beatstick.

Of course, classless systems can be fun too.

Qwertystop
2013-11-12, 09:31 PM
Disclaimer: The following is all theoretical where specific systems are not mentioned - I have only played Pathfinder, 3.5, and Exalted 2e, so anything not mentioning them is based on general ideas, and if it mentions no system, it's theory.


A big point, for me, is that it's all a scale. You have pure point-based systems (I get the general impression GURPS is like that). You have pure class-based systems (D&D 1e, again a general impression). And then you have in-betweens - 3.5 and Pathfinder have multiclassing, feats, and skill points, so you are not very limited by class. Exalted 2e (probably also 1e, again that's a general impression from what I've heard) is entirely point-buy for progression, but what you can buy is limited by what character type you're playing.

For me, I like the wide end of class-based. Full point-buy seems too likely to have lots of traps against system mastery, and gives little structure. Narrow class-based is restrictive. Pathed point-buy (Exalted style) has enough options to be confusing, but also just restrictive enough to sting a little. Wide class-based systems have a lot of classes, so you have seeds for ideas, but if you don't want to go directly with one class you can mix lots of little bits.


Of course, that's all in theory, and I'm sure different systems modify different bits of that - Exalted isn't that confusing if you're going for the basics, and 3.5/PF have problems with ideas that require too much multiclassing - but that's the general feeling I have.

Fiery Diamond
2013-11-13, 02:21 AM
I thought I preferred systems with classes. Really what I like is levels. I want to get a huge increase in power upon reaching a milestone rather than a slow but steady increase that amounts to the same thing.

Same here. I like levels. I think keeping levels and having certain basic things you don't want to forget (combat skills, saves, hp, and so forth) automatically increase at each level by variable amounts based on how many extra points you want to spend on other things would be optimal.

Lorsa
2013-11-13, 04:36 AM
I think the OP refers to the difference between getting stuff at level that you get for xp, and buying stuff for xp. For instance, consider the difference between drakar och demoner 6th and 7th edition.

Level-based systems is not the same as class-based systems. Some of the old version of Drakar och Demoner for example had classes but you still bought stuff for XP.

Similarly, it is possible to have a level-based system that is completely class-less. If for example in D&D each level simply gave you some amount of skill points, ability points with which you bought things like attack bonus, hp and saves as well as special power points to buy feats and access to some spells. Even if these abilities and special powers are tree-based and thus have requirments that build on each other it is still a class-less system while being level-based.

Zavoniki
2013-11-13, 05:25 AM
I'm of the opinion that all systems are based on the same concept, whether its Class or Classless, it's all point buy. You have certain types of points(be they levels, Skill points, whatever) that can be spent on certain things that give you stuff.

Waar
2013-11-13, 06:40 AM
Some of the old version of Drakar och Demoner for example had classes but you still bought stuff for XP.


Did they now :smallamused:, must have missed those versions/extra books (my experience mainly comes from core books from 3 different versions)



Similarly, it is possible to have a level-based system that is completely class-less. If for example in D&D each level simply gave you some amount of skill points, ability points with which you bought things like attack bonus, hp and saves as well as special power points to buy feats and access to some spells. Even if these abilities and special powers are tree-based and thus have requirments that build on each other it is still a class-less system while being level-based.

Yes, true, I meant class level as opposed to character level :smallredface: (both opposed to level level :smalltongue:) So to clarify "I think the OP refers to the difference between getting stuff at level from your choice of class, that you get for xp, and buying stuff for xp. For instance, consider the difference between drakar och demoner 6th and 7th edition."

Now there are many systems that mix both classes and buying stuff for xp/points you get when you level up, dnd, SW SAGA, Rogue Trader all have classes with lots of several class independet choice.

While the white wolf games and Drakar och Demoner 7:ed/trudvagn have some traces of classes, but these are practically irrelevant or only relevant at character creation.

Lorsa
2013-11-13, 07:10 AM
Did they now :smallamused:, must have missed those versions/extra books (my experience mainly comes from core books from 3 different versions)

And admittedly I don't know much about the 7th version. I think my time with the game stopped at the 6th (or so I think, it had a level system anyway).

The 91 version (and Chronopia) both had "professions" that gave access to some certain skills that you then got to increase through XP. You could theoretically buy skills from other professions but that was usually too expensive to be worth it.

warmachine
2013-11-13, 07:45 AM
Classless. When I design a character, I answer various questions. What's he good at it? What's he bad at, which must be done by other PCs? How did he become good at what he does? Why is he adventuring? The answers that concern mechanics are described in terms of traits, capabilities and skills. Classes are just a collection of traits and skills that don't describe my concept.

DigoDragon
2013-11-13, 08:51 AM
I suppose I'd say classless. I can go either way as long as the mechanics work well, but flexibility is a real nice thing to have for those odd ideas I get on character concepts.

Eldan
2013-11-13, 09:33 AM
So. It seems that my experience with classless systems is completely different from that of everyone else. Those few skill based point buy systems I've tried, I always had the impression that all the characters produced were very boring, mechanically. No interesting abilities, just mostly bigger numbers and the occasional small effect.
In fact, people here continue to mention how character building is more complex and allows more freedom than in class based systems. Freedom, I can see, but it just seems to me that in those systems I've tried, all characters are more or less the same, some just have slightly higher skill modifers than others.

Clearly, if so many people think differently, there must be others. Could someone give me a few examples of skill based systems that allow for interesting character builds?

Lorsa
2013-11-13, 09:58 AM
So. It seems that my experience with classless systems is completely different from that of everyone else. Those few skill based point buy systems I've tried, I always had the impression that all the characters produced were very boring, mechanically. No interesting abilities, just mostly bigger numbers and the occasional small effect.
In fact, people here continue to mention how character building is more complex and allows more freedom than in class based systems. Freedom, I can see, but it just seems to me that in those systems I've tried, all characters are more or less the same, some just have slightly higher skill modifers than others.

Clearly, if so many people think differently, there must be others. Could someone give me a few examples of skill based systems that allow for interesting character builds?

Well it depends. What do you consider to be interesting mechanical abilities? It is a bit hard to answer your question unless I know that.

It seems that what you are saying is that you haven't played a skill-based system that gives special effects at certain levels of abilities; and that the difference is only how well you perform certain skills. While that is true for some games that usually don't have special abilities (usually magical in nature?), it is certainly possible to get.

For example, if you play the nWoD games but remove things like clan, path, auspice, order, covenant etc from the mix then the games are completely class-less but would give special abilities upon increasing certain mechanical scores that wasn't accessible before.

InQbait
2013-11-14, 11:55 PM
I prefer classless systems because I feel that a character having a class is kind of restricting.
On the other hand, a character having a class can help define that character. When I create a character for any system, I almost always start with what "class" the character is. Then I go on to Alignment, Race, Gender, etc.

But almost any day of the week I'd prefer to play a system that has no mention of any classes. I create my own gaming systems, and classes are almost always never involved in them, because I feel like it would be too much like D&D. And it's like, "Oh, here's another level 1 Rogue." Or, "Oh, here's another level 1 Paladin." Or, "Oh, here's another level 1 Wizard."

I've created enough characters for D&D now that I am sick of it. Just sick of the whole classes thing. I want a classless system. And I don't much like levels anymore either. I say, use your God-given imagination powers and create a character that doesn't have a class. He/she is his/her own person.
And screw alignments while you're at it.

Honest Tiefling
2013-11-15, 02:36 AM
I think it matters more on what you intend to do, and the quality of a system. For a RP based game with quick combat, you need certain things. For a more involved tactical game, you are going to need a certain amount of rules.

Personally, for me, what matters is the amount of customization I can put into my character. If I feel like I am too similar to my party mates, or we cannot occupy similar areas without diversifying, I am not as attached to my character and less excited about the game, usually.

InQbait
2013-11-15, 03:19 AM
You make a good point, Honest Tiefling. I feel the same way you do. I've had experiences with skill-based systems without classes, and I've got to admit, sometimes I feel my character is not much different than the last guy. But, is that really a fault of the system itself, or is the fault of a player's lack of imagination? I mean, a character can have the exact same stats/skills as another character in the party, but, they will probably have different names and personalities (hopefully, unless they are clones).

The math/stats/rules are just there to keep the game consistent and fair and help it make sense. But, how your character acts and how they feel and think and their name is up to the player himself/herself. So, I propose that a class should not dictate how your character actually is. Decide the character "concept" before you pick a class, please.

GolemsVoice
2013-11-15, 10:09 AM
That's true, but using your ability is a big part of most RPGs, and even if your character might be totally different, if you use the same few abilities every game, they will feel boring.

erikun
2013-11-15, 10:40 AM
I'm not sure that I would agree with that.

If we're playing a game where we're doing much the same thing in the same situations repeatedly, then yes, I could see wanting to use new abilities to get the job done. I can only raid the orc encampment with my dwarven cleric so many times before I'd want to give the fighter or wizard or elf a try. However, not all games are going to be the same situation over and over. If a player is playing their character the same in a Star Wars expy as they are in a murder mystery, then it really isn't something the system can remedy.

In fact, we don't even need to get that much difference in setting to have individual play styles. One game could be stopping the orc raids from the west. One game could be about discovering and stopping the elemental cult. One game could be a murder mystery over the town werewolf. You could easily have all three take place in the same psudo-medieval setting, with the same sorts of classes available. And I think that I, at least, would be fine with the same "basic" rules without introducing a bunch of special abilities each game.

Arcane_Snowman
2013-11-15, 11:39 PM
It depends entirely upon the type of game and my mood, sometimes it's just nice to be able to take a class and a race and call it a day. Other times it's quite nice to crunch the numbers.

My favorite system however is a class-less system.


Clearly, if so many people think differently, there must be others. Could someone give me a few examples of skill based systems that allow for interesting character builds?
My best example would have to Ars Magica, whilst it is at it's core a point buy system, it puts a lot of emphasis on Virtues and Flaws (they have a minor parallel with Feats and Flaws for D&D) which allow you to change up a characters build extremely well.

JBPuffin
2013-11-16, 12:37 AM
...How about I shock you all with my personal favorite.

Pokémon: Tabletop United. It scratches a couple of itches, but in regards to class vs. classless, it does something very interesting...

First, everyone is playing one major archetype: Pokémon Trainer. Everyone has pets to fight for them, no matter how combat-optimized you are personally.

Second, there are Classes; these are simply feature trees with somewhat linear progression involved; usually you take two or three classes by the final level, but they can be ignored for the most part because...

Thirdly, there are Edges and Features; Edges are less powerful than Features, and they are used to boost your Skills, but often times you'll find you have quite a few spares of either. Most importantly, a Class is simply a string of Features; it starts with a "Class" Feature, which simply says you've used one of your 'slots' (maximum 4), then goes from there as a string of Features that further boost your capabilities in a certain direction. There are also General Features which everyone can, and might very well should, take.

Now, is it extremely genre-specific? Like all get-out it is; if you don't want to play Pokémon, you don't really play P:TU. But, as far as general ideas for a system go, it's a really intriguing blend of ideas. In order: everyone's a specific thing BUT they all have several niches they fill AND these niches are very malleable little buggers.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for RPGs in general and have looked into all kinds of systems. ATM, though, this is the one that sticks out to me the most. JB out.

Tengu_temp
2013-11-16, 06:49 AM
So. It seems that my experience with classless systems is completely different from that of everyone else. Those few skill based point buy systems I've tried, I always had the impression that all the characters produced were very boring, mechanically. No interesting abilities, just mostly bigger numbers and the occasional small effect.
In fact, people here continue to mention how character building is more complex and allows more freedom than in class based systems. Freedom, I can see, but it just seems to me that in those systems I've tried, all characters are more or less the same, some just have slightly higher skill modifers than others.

Clearly, if so many people think differently, there must be others. Could someone give me a few examples of skill based systems that allow for interesting character builds?

Two words (and an ampersand): Mutants and Masterminds. You have a vast amount of powers and feats to choose from, and all those powers are further customizable with extras, flaws, and power feats. You can build a hundred characters and still have fresh ideas. Hell, almost every fictional character you can think of can be built in M&M, and they will all be more or less accurately represented, good and bad at the things they're supposed to be good and bad at.

As a side effect, the game can be easy to break - the book warns the DM about some powers that can be easily abused, and there is sort of a level system at work (the game is fully point buy, but your caps on various things depend on your power level), but it's still a game where the DM has to oversee character creation to make sure nobody is too overpowered or too weak. It's not a game for people with the "it's legal by RAW, so I can take it" mentality.

Cikomyr
2013-11-16, 09:05 PM
I prefer systems that allows you to build your character through points (even if what you have to buy may be limited by certain choice you make) than one that gives you goodies based on what level you are.

For example: I love the vanilla point-buy system of Storyteller. But I also love the WFRP (1st and 2nd edition) rule sets, because it didn't forced a single player to beeline a certain career path to be "competitive" and relevant. Someone may altern between careers of traders and fighters, or thiefs and wizards.

basically, I dislike systems that forces you to keep following a certain progression if you have to be "competitive". It's much more fun if you are allowed (without penalty) to dabble around in order to follow your character's personal story, instead of caring about his power level.