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Stryyke
2021-07-08, 07:12 PM
I've always felt like we were stuck in, possibly, antiquated systems of levels and HP. So I've been working on a different system that integrates time into the progression process. No more going from lvl1 to 20 in a year. Let me know what you think. Poke holes. But keep it civil. No "that sux" type stuff, please.

So the system is built on feats, as the means of progression. There is no standard HP progression, and no levels. Only known feats. So a few of the feat descriptions look like this: (this is an example, not a finished product. please only consider the form)

Feat Description HP gain Atk gain MP gain Ability Point gain Skill point gain

Two Weapon Fighting Use 2-1 handed weapons of any size, 1 1 0 0 1
one in each hand, without penalties.

Toughness Train your body to withstand more damage 10 0 0 1 0



Each feat is learned over time. For lower power feats you would train them for 1 month, during which you would have to do a minimum of 20 training sessions dedicated to the feat, and use it successfully in battle at least once.

While you are learning the feat, you may use it in battle with a % chance of success, based on how many training sessions you've done. So at Zero training sessions, you could attempt it in battle with a 0% chance of success. After 1 out of 20 training sessions are complete, you could use it in battle with a 5% chance of success. At 20 out of 20 training sessions, you could use the feat in battle at 100% chance of success.

As the feats get more powerful, they could take longer, and have more strict requirements for completion. Like taking 3 months, training 90% of the days, and having to be used in an actual battle situation 10 times, before it's officially learned.

Obviously there would be many more feats than in any of the current iterations of D&D. The rewards from learning the feat are applied at the first short/long rest after meeting the criteria for completion.

This is just a short overview, but I think that should give you an idea of what the system entails. Since this is sort of my baby, I'm obviously going to be blind to any number of issues; so feel free to bring up any issues you see.

EDIT: Sorry, I don't know how to keep the formatting. It kinda scrunches everything up.

InvisibleBison
2021-07-08, 07:34 PM
There is, I think, the seed of an interesting idea here, but much of the specific details of this implementation I find wanting:


Why do feats provide different amounts of HP, attack, etc? If feats are meant to replace levels, they should all be roughly equal to each other, as levels are (or are supposed to be, anyway).
I don't see how you could briefly describe your character. In a level-based system, you could say "I'm a level 5 blaster wizard" or "I'm a level 19 TWF ranger" or suchlike. In this system, there's no apparent analogy for these sort of build capsules, which makes communicating about your characters much more difficult.
What constitutes training? Can it be done while adventuring (time allowing), or only during downtime? Do you need to train with an instructor of some sort? If so, do they need to have the feat, and if they do how did they get it?
How many feats does a character get? Do more powerful feats cost more than less powerful ones?
How do you acquire non-combat abilities?


In general, I don't see what this system has to offer over any other non-level based system.

Anymage
2021-07-08, 07:46 PM
Classless systems where you spend xp directly are nothing new. D&D in particular won't and shouldn't turn out that way, for a few reasons. First being that class and level are highly tied to product identity. Second being that, assuming everything goes well, a class system makes it easier to assume that two characters of the same level can participate in the same encounters. Classless games tend to have more risk of trap options or simply not spending build points on important campaign abilities like combat or stealth.

I do wonder what your goal of making feats the quantum bits of your system is. Players tend to prioritize what makes them more effective at what they wanted to do in the first place, so expect a lot of cookie cutter builds that focus on getting core numbers up. A system that let you bump up stats directly with xp would probably be a simpler base to work from.

Glimbur
2021-07-08, 10:50 PM
I can see the appeal of a more modular system. You can gate more powerful stuff behind minimum HP or MP, and require better spell casting to have the lesser spell casting module first. So your starting fighter takes Adept Shield Use, Cleave, and Tough feats which give passive buff to shield use and an active shield defense, the ability to hit two enemies at once, and more hp and AC than a more active module. Later on he can buy Expert Shield use and Great Cleave, or maybe he wants Sword Master instead.

The wizard takes Apprentice Evocation, Adept Ranged Combat, and Lore(kobolds) to get some spells, the ability to use them at range better, and some knowledge on kobold and kobold adjacent things (really just took it for the spell points and the low pre-requisites). Helps him buy Lore (Dragon) later on though, and that unlocks the Dragon Disciple line of feats which he is very excited for.

Monks, gishes, clerics, rangers... lots of hybrids are doable with the right modules. Require both hp and spell points for mystic fighter stuff, have all special abilities run off the same spell point pool, and just let the character building run wild. The biggest challenges I see are: getting enough balanced modules and skill classes. What modules does a rogue take? Skills are a little trickier to make balanced against more direct combat stuff. Workable, but expands the work load even more.

Anonymouswizard
2021-07-09, 10:26 AM
Yeah, this isn't anything new. Study based progression goes back to Traveller and Runequest (which has both learning from study and learning from experience).

At the end of the day replacing 'classes' with 'feats' is a pretty minimal change here, you're pretty much just having a bunch of one level classes. It's not that it's necessarily a bad thing, just that it's not a massive change compared to going levelled without classes.

Xervous
2021-07-09, 12:19 PM
Past a certain quantity of feats youíve approached a build point system, just with extra complexity. How many feats are you aiming for anyways?

Stryyke
2021-07-09, 01:34 PM
Past a certain quantity of feats youíve approached a build point system, just with extra complexity. How many feats are you aiming for anyways?

I hadn't planned on capping it. Since time is an element of progression, that limits what a character would be capable of in a campaign.

But I'm not sure what you mean by build point system. Each feat has a unique use. Learning how to parry has a practical use in combat.

Stryyke
2021-07-09, 01:50 PM
There is, I think, the seed of an interesting idea here, but much of the specific details of this implementation I find wanting:


Why do feats provide different amounts of HP, attack, etc? If feats are meant to replace levels, they should all be roughly equal to each other, as levels are (or are supposed to be, anyway).
I don't see how you could briefly describe your character. In a level-based system, you could say "I'm a level 5 blaster wizard" or "I'm a level 19 TWF ranger" or suchlike. In this system, there's no apparent analogy for these sort of build capsules, which makes communicating about your characters much more difficult.
What constitutes training? Can it be done while adventuring (time allowing), or only during downtime? Do you need to train with an instructor of some sort? If so, do they need to have the feat, and if they do how did they get it?
How many feats does a character get? Do more powerful feats cost more than less powerful ones?
How do you acquire non-combat abilities?


In general, I don't see what this system has to offer over any other non-level based system.

A) Most feats would only provide a 1 tic increase in any aspect. But I planned on doing a series of feats that allowed ability point increase, which would give a higher bonus.
B) Why would you need to briefly describe your character? I mean, if you needed to, for some reason, you could just say "My name is Valens, blade specialist" or something like that. Just let the character decide how they want to be identified.
C) I've been kind of batting that around. I think the best situation I've come up with is that you have to be shown a technique, but you can do all the practice sessions on your own. Maybe 1 training session dedicated to learning from someone else. But I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to just being able to a "I'm trying something new" scenario too.
D) As many as they can learn. But each feat has a time commitment to learn, which would naturally limit what someone could learn.
E) Same way. Training, and then using.

I would say the biggest difference is that advancement has a time requirement. It's not good enough to just "buy" it, and you can't just try it out a few times, and reap all the benefits. With levels, either the DM decides when you level, or you have XP. Either way, you can get really powerful in just a few months. You can become nearly godly in a year. With this system, the most you could increase your HP, for instance, would be 21 in a year, or slightly over. And that's if you completely forgoe all other potential growth. It more closely replicates a sensible progression time-line.

Grod_The_Giant
2021-07-10, 05:01 PM
While training times can work, purely time-based advancement runs into the "DragonBall" problem-- if a more powerful threat arises, all you have to do is go off and train into you're strong enough. It favors characters who stay home over those who go out and do stuff, which is... sorta the opposite of what most RPGs want. You're much better off with a hybrid system, where you earn experience traditionally but turning it into new abilities takes time.


But I'm not sure what you mean by build point system. Each feat has a unique use. Learning how to parry has a practical use in combat.
Traditionally, there are two main ways RPGs approach character creation, class-based and point-buy.

D&D is the iconic class-based system. As you gain experience, you gain pre-determined abilities in a certain order. You might be able to tinker around the edges, but ultimately most of your character's abilities are earned by following an established template. There's usually a steep power curve, with the scale of adventures rising significantly as characters advance.

Point-buy systems, like GURPS or Mutants and Masterminds, throw out the safety net. Instead of having a template to follow, you turn experience points directly into character abilities, and increasing (say) your marksmanship has no effect on your health or spellcasting ability. They're much more customizable, but also much harder to "balance," and party members can wind up with very different capabilities in different areas.

---------

If your experience is mostly with D&D, I highly encourage you to check out other systems. The hobby is incredibly varied, and there are games out there using all sorts of different mechanics to present different themes.

Anonymouswizard
2021-07-10, 05:21 PM
Traditionally, there are two main ways RPGs approach character creation, class-based and point-buy.

D&D is the iconic class-based system. As you gain experience, you gain pre-determined abilities in a certain order. You might be able to tinker around the edges, but ultimately most of your character's abilities are earned by following an established template. There's usually a steep power curve, with the scale of adventures rising significantly as characters advance.

Point-buy systems, like GURPS or Mutants and Masterminds, throw out the safety net. Instead of having a template to follow, you turn experience points directly into character abilities, and increasing (say) your marksmanship has no effect on your health or spellcasting ability. They're much more customizable, but also much harder to "balance," and party members can wind up with very different capabilities in different areas.

This is a pretty good summary. I will note that levelled classless systems are becoming more common, and levelless classed system encompasses the pretty popular playbook dynamic, but they're the two classic ways of handling it.


But yes, this system falls into several traps that some designers have gone out of their way to point out, primarily it discourages interaction with the intended core of the game. For this reason most games with time-dependent advancement either build in reasons you can't just time skip two decades or make going on the adventure give more advancement than training (such as BRP giving you the chance to increase five skills a session, but only if they got meaningful use).

Also, training is boring, I want it to happen off screen (just like my character's day job as an accountant). Game time is for the interesting stuff, and most of the training my character is doing isn't interesting (assuming she isn't procrastinating). And if you're just letting players have X weeks of training time whenever it makes sense then congratulations, you've basically recreated both milestones and point buy.

Mendicant
2021-07-10, 05:32 PM
Are you.familiar with E6? It's a D&D variant that does this exactly for advancement after sixth level. Classes at the start help maintain that thematic core and give characters a more equal base, and then everything after that is a feat.

MrStabby
2021-07-10, 05:42 PM
Actually I quite like it. It has promise.

The simple version falls into the trap others have picked up, but you kind of spoteed and dodged that with:


I

As the feats get more powerful, they could take longer, and have more strict requirements for completion. Like taking 3 months, training 90% of the days, and having to be used in an actual battle situation 10 times, before it's officially learned.


If you have requirements contingent on actual adventuring to gain full use of the abilities then many of the problems go away. I would actually encourage more exotic versions of this: "defeat an enemy in single combat", "speak to a dragon", "visit the plane of elemental ranch dressing", "lift an intergenerational curse". I think that having a small bonus and a larger "activated bonus" for having met the non time conditions of a feat would a) let you stack these up and get some benefit right away but also b) encourage you to get out into the world to power up by fullfiling your aspirations.

I like the linked building blocks of active and passive abilities. I think this could be the basis of a fun system.

Cluedrew
2021-07-10, 05:44 PM
You're much better off with a hybrid system, where you earn experience traditionally but turning it into new abilities takes time.In principle yes, but it doesn't have to be a traditional. I'm not actually sure where the line is for that but anything that forces an element of proactivity would be good enough. XP for overcoming challenges, XP for reaching narrative milestones it doesn't really matter. I'm just lean into a weird one for fun.

You may have used the word feat because that is what D&D calls its trait system, but let's lean into it. Each feat has a feat associated with it, in terms of an actual act you have to do with it to master it. For instance twin weapon fighting's feat might be defeat a notable foe while you are using two weapons while toughness training will be take a blow that does a certain amount of damage. - Now don't use just this, power-gaming in this system will probably be almost entirely about engineering the situations you need to leave up, but it forces you to go out and do things.

I believe Traveler (I'm operating off of hearsay) used training but the system's main loop was such that down-time was a luxury you couldn't always afford. And being able to afford that meant going out and doing big things.

Anonymouswizard
2021-07-10, 06:05 PM
Hello bookkeeping!

Stryyke
2021-07-10, 11:00 PM
This is a pretty good summary. I will note that levelled classless systems are becoming more common, and levelless classed system encompasses the pretty popular playbook dynamic, but they're the two classic ways of handling it.


But yes, this system falls into several traps that some designers have gone out of their way to point out, primarily it discourages interaction with the intended core of the game. For this reason most games with time-dependent advancement either build in reasons you can't just time skip two decades or make going on the adventure give more advancement than training (such as BRP giving you the chance to increase five skills a session, but only if they got meaningful use).

Also, training is boring, I want it to happen off screen (just like my character's day job as an accountant). Game time is for the interesting stuff, and most of the training my character is doing isn't interesting (assuming she isn't procrastinating). And if you're just letting players have X weeks of training time whenever it makes sense then congratulations, you've basically recreated both milestones and point buy.

Hmmmmm Well obviously training wouldn't necessarily have to be role played. It could, I suppose, if someone wanted to; but "I'm going to train ______ tonight before racking out," seems perfectly viable to me.

As for discouraging interaction with the intended core of the game, I'm not sure I could get on board with that statement. For one, I do have baked in a practical use requirement to learn a feat. And while someone could, hypothetically learn 100 feats over 10 years, and then get in one actual battle and get super strong within a single short rest, a simple time limit on training efficacy could eliminate that entirely. Also, I would like to think that people who play, do so for camaraderie and good story. The players would be invested. Most stories don't last 10 years, so skipping 10 years to become super-powerful would essentially mean you let the BBEG win.


Actually I quite like it. It has promise.

The simple version falls into the trap others have picked up, but you kind of spoteed and dodged that with:



If you have requirements contingent on actual adventuring to gain full use of the abilities then many of the problems go away. I would actually encourage more exotic versions of this: "defeat an enemy in single combat", "speak to a dragon", "visit the plane of elemental ranch dressing", "lift an intergenerational curse". I think that having a small bonus and a larger "activated bonus" for having met the non time conditions of a feat would a) let you stack these up and get some benefit right away but also b) encourage you to get out into the world to power up by fullfiling your aspirations.

I like the linked building blocks of active and passive abilities. I think this could be the basis of a fun system.

Yes. I will go over the feat list and see if I could add in more interesting requirements.

As for the small and larger bonus, I don't think I would include that in the base system. If someone were to use the system, they could homebrew something like that; but I intentionally left the permanent bonus until the end of training. Too many people might start training a bunch of different feats, just for the smaller bonus, without ever intending to complete the training. And if there was something to forestall that, like limiting the number of feats you could train at once, the system would become more like a daily bonus type situation. People would start "training" the feat whose bonuses suited what they were doing on a given day. Besides, I included a system whereby the player can use the feat during the training period, with only a chance of success.

Stryyke
2021-07-10, 11:05 PM
Hello bookkeeping!

A valid concern. But I doubt there would be much more bookkeeping than already exists in the game. We're talking about learning, at most, 12 feats a year; but almost certainly less than that. In other systems, you could get to level 15+ in a year. How much bookkeeping does a lvl 15 character have? Tons.

Anonymouswizard
2021-07-11, 12:59 AM
A valid concern. But I doubt there would be much more bookkeeping than already exists in the game. We're talking about learning, at most, 12 feats a year; but almost certainly less than that. In other systems, you could get to level 15+ in a year. How much bookkeeping does a lvl 15 character have? Tons.

What's a level? All my character has to track is Minor and Significant Charges. Oh, right, I'm supposed to pretend we all only play the worst game currently being sold.

Satinavian
2021-07-11, 01:56 AM
Thoughts on that based on systems that had similar stuff.

- It allows you to build very one sided. Whether this is good or bad or needs more limitations is something you must decide
- The time requirement will work. But it harshly couples progession to time. This will restrict timeflow and pacing for your campaign. That will be quite annoying at times.
- The training details counting sessions and the trying out based on session numbers is needlessly complicated for what it provides
- Especcially the "use it once to learn it" is bad. It has several drawbacks at once. It forces the PC to base their combat tactics on stuff they want to learn, not on stuff that would win the fight. It really punishes abilities with cost per use. Many abilities will be circumstancial and players might wait forever to actually learn them long after they paid the time for them. Plot might dictate which character progresses based on the stuff it provides. Many passive abilities can't really be actively used.

Vahnavoi
2021-07-11, 05:21 AM
Fun fact: in 1st Edition AD&D, progression actually includes a time component. Once you reach sufficient experience points to gain a level, you have to spend several weeks of training and a heap of wealth to secure that gain. I don't know when this rule was dropped, how widely it was applied in actual games etc., but time costs for training are not new. Neither is advancement-by-activity.

This said, the basics of your system aren't bad, but you need to explain better how the time component is supposed to work in a real game. What is the expected ratio of real time to play time?

For example, in my games, the fifteen-minute-work-day is perfectly literal: it takes fifteen minutes of real time to go through one in-game day. So if it takes a month of game time to acquire a feat, the expected real time cost is 30 times 15 minutes, or 7,5 hours, which is roughly 2 four-hour play sessions.

Is two sessions of play for a feat a suitable rate of progression? If not, what is? Note: there can be other stuff happening amidst training. I'm not assuming "I train for a feat" to be sole content of game days - if it was, it wouldn't take fifteen minutes per day.

Pauly
2021-07-11, 07:15 AM
Personally I much prefer classless systems and advancement by learning new skills.

However, imagine yourself asa player going through the process you describe for acquiring new feats. Does this sound like fun? Or does it sound like a lot of paperwork and frustration until you master your new skill? A skill you already paid for by gaining the XP. Might you feel that the game is taxing you twice to pay to acquire a skill?
I have no issue with the training/time to acquire a new skill, but itís something that is far better off happening off screen. It can be assumed the character was working on it already during their adventures. It can be the campaign clock skips 2 weeks to train their new skills. It can be pay a bunch of gold to a temple and get a download from the matrix. Itís your world/game you can justify it however you want. Just make screen time fun and exciting.

Cluedrew
2021-07-11, 07:42 AM
What's a level?In point buy systems that use really big purchases (as in a starting character may only have one) character creation points are often called levels. Or maybe they are called levels when they usually come in chains, where you have to buy the first "level" of a chain of upgrades and then the next and so on until you hit the end of the chain. A prime example is Lancer, which does have some extra things going on as well, but centers all of them on the spending of license levels on upgrades from about two dozen length three chains. I did see your white text, I don't care, I'm running with this joke.

Stryyke
2021-07-11, 08:26 AM
Personally I much prefer classless systems and advancement by learning new skills.

However, imagine yourself asa player going through the process you describe for acquiring new feats. Does this sound like fun? Or does it sound like a lot of paperwork and frustration until you master your new skill? A skill you already paid for by gaining the XP. Might you feel that the game is taxing you twice to pay to acquire a skill?
I have no issue with the training/time to acquire a new skill, but itís something that is far better off happening off screen. It can be assumed the character was working on it already during their adventures. It can be the campaign clock skips 2 weeks to train their new skills. It can be pay a bunch of gold to a temple and get a download from the matrix. Itís your world/game you can justify it however you want. Just make screen time fun and exciting.

I wouldn't develop a system I, myself, wouldn't enjoy. Also, the training would take place off-screen.

Ideally, I would want to avoid time skips entirely. In story terms, skipping ahead in time is essentially letting the BBEG win; and such actions could be "punished" simply by letting the BBEG get proportionally more powerful. But it does seem to be a recurring theme, among posters. So I had mentioned putting a time limit on training efficacy before. Do you think that could solve that particular problem?


Fun fact: in 1st Edition AD&D, progression actually includes a time component. Once you reach sufficient experience points to gain a level, you have to spend several weeks of training and a heap of wealth to secure that gain. I don't know when this rule was dropped, how widely it was applied in actual games etc., but time costs for training are not new. Neither is advancement-by-activity.

This said, the basics of your system aren't bad, but you need to explain better how the time component is supposed to work in a real game. What is the expected ratio of real time to play time?

For example, in my games, the fifteen-minute-work-day is perfectly literal: it takes fifteen minutes of real time to go through one in-game day. So if it takes a month of game time to acquire a feat, the expected real time cost is 30 times 15 minutes, or 7,5 hours, which is roughly 2 four-hour play sessions.

Is two sessions of play for a feat a suitable rate of progression? If not, what is? Note: there can be other stuff happening amidst training. I'm not assuming "I train for a feat" to be sole content of game days - if it was, it wouldn't take fifteen minutes per day.

That's fair. But I think that time passage in any campaign is highly dependent on the story being told. That said, this is the first thing mentioned that really gives me pause. Thinking back to my last few games, it took almost 6 IRL months to get through a month of game time. Having your character have no gains for 6 IRL months wouldn't be fun at all. Hmmmmm.



It forces the PC to base their combat tactics on stuff they want to learn, not on stuff that would win the fight.
Many abilities will be circumstancial and players might wait forever to actually learn them long after they paid the time for them.

I have systems already in place to deal with the things I deleted from your post. But these two things, I'd like to investigate further.

Is forcing players to use new tactics necessarily a bad thing? I've always thought it less, forcing them to use something they don't want to use, and more giving them access to something they do want to use. I'm not sure how allowing someone to learn how they would use a new skill in combat is problematic. Can you give me an example where this would be bad?

I mentioned above having training efficacy on a time limit. Do you think that would deal with your second statement?

Vahnavoi
2021-07-11, 09:48 AM
That's fair. But I think that time passage in any campaign is highly dependent on the story being told. That said, this is the first thing mentioned that really gives me pause. Thinking back to my last few games, it took almost 6 IRL months to get through a month of game time. Having your character have no gains for 6 IRL months wouldn't be fun at all. Hmmmmm.

It doesn't surprise me, because a lot of tabletop gleefully omit any idea of how long things are supposed to take in real time.

You are right that the scenario played puts requirements to passage of in-game time. That's exactly why you would want to address this in instructions for your rules.

For example: is in-game time continuous across play sessions, or are there breakpoints? You can recommened breaking a campaign into scenarios of finite durarion, with some time advancement between scenarios. So, a dungeon crawl can have a time budget of four in-game days to complete, with maximum of 1 hour of real time per in-game day. A dungeon crawl can then be followed by a month of recovery in-game. If players are quick at solving a dungeon crawl, they can try for another during the same play session. Complete two dungeons in four real hours, get two month in-game time for training. So on and so forth.

For very granular continuous time, like going through a megadungeon crawl in more or less real time, look for alternative methods of character progression. Instead of advancing by XP, training, recommend increased consumable magic items etc. temporary sources of increased ability, which then can be traded for more permanent advancements once the characters get out of there.

Anonymouswizard
2021-07-11, 10:04 AM
In point buy systems that use really big purchases (as in a starting character may only have one) character creation points are often called levels. Or maybe they are called levels when they usually come in chains, where you have to buy the first "level" of a chain of upgrades and then the next and so on until you hit the end of the chain. A prime example is Lancer, which does have some extra things going on as well, but centers all of them on the spending of license levels on upgrades from about two dozen length three chains.

Sounds interesting, I wonder why so few systems use such a system. I'm going to keep this charade up for a while yet.


I wouldn't develop a system I, myself, wouldn't enjoy.

You'd be surprised how common it is. Like, 90% of homebrewing skill, in my opinion, is throwing out the 29 bad ideas to continue working on the good one. And it normally takes working on the idea and possibly even playtesting it to work out what's unfun.


Also, the training would take place off-screen.

So basically after hyping it up it either has no impact or Jeremy the guy who wants Acrobatic Riposte because enemies keep tripping him has to sit out for seven in-game weeks?

Satinavian
2021-07-11, 10:16 AM
Is forcing players to use new tactics necessarily a bad thing? I've always thought it less, forcing them to use something they don't want to use, and more giving them access to something they do want to use. I'm not sure how allowing someone to learn how they would use a new skill in combat is problematic. Can you give me an example where this would be bad?Imagine an archer learning a feat that allows partially ignoring cover and getting in a fight with enemies that have cover and others who don't. To actually learn it, he now has to ignore the easy targets. And that is without getting into stupid stuff like abandoning scouting and stealth to learn something giving you a bonus when you are surprised.

I mentioned above having training efficacy on a time limit. Do you think that would deal with your second statement?How ? Imagine someone learning how to better fight construct. And then the next 5 gaming sessions no constructs appear.

farothel
2021-07-11, 12:29 PM
One of the main problems with systems like this is that your characters will quickly start to run too far apart. If I make a full fighter, concentrating on feats for that (which will include HP and attack bonus and stuff like that), and another character takes feats to be a super diplomat for instance (most likely without many HP and things), you end up in situations where during an encounter with both characters, anything that's an even fight for the fighter will simply crush the diplomat and a fight that's even for the diplomat is a walk-over for the fighter. We have noticed this with for instance Scion first edition.

To avoid this you need a lot of balancing and that's very tricky to achieve. I'm not saying it can't be done, but in the current level systems there is some form of balance build in (I'm not saying it's perfect because it isn't, especially at higher levels, but lets not reopen that discussion) as everybody gets HP increases and combat bonusses and stuff like that. And for instance Pathfinder 2E is quite balanced even at the higher levels (at least how we played it, maybe others have other experiences).

Vahnavoi
2021-07-11, 12:57 PM
While training times can work, purely time-based advancement runs into the "DragonBall" problem-- if a more powerful threat arises, all you have to do is go off and train into you're strong enough. It favors characters who stay home over those who go out and do stuff, which is... sorta the opposite of what most RPGs want. You're much better off with a hybrid system, where you earn experience traditionally but turning it into new abilities takes time.

The "Dragon Ball problem" isn't a problem that exist in Dragon Ball. Firstly, the training they undergo, especially early in the series, is interesting in its own right and you could just make a game out of doing activities like that. Secondly, when training itself isn't the focus, the characters are either playing catch-up or fighting against the clock - the antagonists are either moving towards their goal or training themselves. Often, the training the protagonists undergo only barely makes things even, and they have to pull out extra exploits to gain the final edge.

Thirdly, and this important for things that are not Dragon Ball: in Dragon Ball, training has exponential returns, and for some characters, apparently no limit. A sane game system has diminishing returns and some limit.

So if you pay attention to Dragon Ball, it pretty much tells you how to avoid this problem. :smallwink:

Pauly
2021-07-11, 06:42 PM
I wouldn't develop a system I, myself, wouldn't enjoy. Also, the training would take place off-screen.

Ideally, I would want to avoid time skips entirely. In story terms, skipping ahead in time is essentially letting the BBEG win; and such actions could be "punished" simply by letting the BBEG get proportionally more powerful. But it does seem to be a recurring theme, among posters. So I had mentioned putting a time limit on training efficacy before. Do you think that could solve that particular problem?

...

I mentioned above having training efficacy on a time limit. Do you think that would deal with your second statement?

A more streamlined suggestion.
Player declares he is learning feat [X]
This feat has a 20 Training Units cost.
The player is assumed to earn 1 TU per day in normal activities. So if they do mundane stuff for 3 weeks they get their new skill.
The player can convert XP into training units. So if they go adventuring they might learn their skill in one week.
Players can Ďbankí a certain amount of XP, so that if they donít use their XP on learning their current feat they can use it to accelerate a future feat.
XP can also be spent in other ways. EG re-rolls, buying plot points, buying useful contacts etc.

This gives the training and organically acquiring new skills aspect you want with reduced bookkeeping and rewards players for being active not sitting in a training montage.

Cluedrew
2021-07-11, 07:44 PM
Sounds interesting, I wonder why so few systems use such a system.Well you almost always have to mix it with other character creation tools, because they are huge purchases and often do not provide much in the way of customization on their own. Then there is the issue of chain length. To long and you have to stay with it for ages (even most or all of the campaign) or no one ever sees what is at the end of chains. To short and you loose any sense of progressing through the chain, which is one of the main advantages. An interesting solution to this can be found in DtD40K7e which lets you enter part way through a chain if you have enough related skills from similar levels.
I am saying serious things about levels. Its not entirely a joke.
To Stryyke: What are your goals with this system? So far I have seen "No more going from lvl1 to 20 in a year." which could help game feel but on its own have very little to do with most of these changes. So what do you actually want?

Duff
2021-07-11, 08:28 PM
First off, I'd say, if you want this, pick a different game. There's lots of games that are a lot closer to this, so even if you still need to do some work to get it how you want, there's less of it

But if you want to go ahead...


While you are learning the feat, you may use it in battle with a % chance of success, based on how many training sessions you've done. So at Zero training sessions, you could attempt it in battle with a 0% chance of success. After 1 out of 20 training sessions are complete, you could use it in battle with a 5% chance of success. At 20 out of 20 training sessions, you could use the feat in battle at 100% chance of success.

Given you can get 100% chance of success, why include the "You must successfully use it" Why not just give the training and the percentages, then once you finish training, stop the book-keeping.
Or, if you want successful use to matter, say that successful use means you've finished training in that feat

Stryyke
2021-07-12, 12:06 PM
Thanks for all the responses! Some really good stuff here. I need some time to ponder some of your suggestions and criticisms, but I wanted you all to know that I read them all. As we are starting to delve into the implications of various parts of the system, it takes a little longer to consider, and then construct a response. But this is precisely why I posted about it in the first place. 100 heads are better than 1, right! LOL Give me a few days, and I'll get back with ya'll.

Stryyke
2021-07-13, 12:48 PM
Given you can get 100% chance of success, why include the "You must successfully use it" Why not just give the training and the percentages, then once you finish training, stop the book-keeping.
Or, if you want successful use to matter, say that successful use means you've finished training in that feat

Very valid. Something I've considered, but maybe rejected for bad reasons. Like, it's different from what I'm envisioning in my head.


One of the main problems with systems like this is that your characters will quickly start to run too far apart. If I make a full fighter, concentrating on feats for that (which will include HP and attack bonus and stuff like that), and another character takes feats to be a super diplomat for instance (most likely without many HP and things), you end up in situations where during an encounter with both characters, anything that's an even fight for the fighter will simply crush the diplomat and a fight that's even for the diplomat is a walk-over for the fighter. We have noticed this with for instance Scion first edition.

This has the feel of a fallacy to me. Yes, someone could go 100% non-combat, and end up weaker; but that's something that's covered in session 0. "Hey guys, I want to do a non-combat character, who will need to be protected." Also, I'm not sure how many people would do that, anyway. Just because something COULD be done, doesn't mean it will be done.

But aside from that, with the number of core attribute increases, it could take IRL years before that degree of separation is achieved. Remember, you can only gain, at most, 21 additional hp a year in this system. And things like atk and dmg much much less, of course. And that's if you only take feats that increase that stat exclusively for an entire year.


Imagine an archer learning a feat that allows partially ignoring cover and getting in a fight with enemies that have cover and others who don't. To actually learn it, he now has to ignore the easy targets. And that is without getting into stupid stuff like abandoning scouting and stealth to learn something giving you a bonus when you are surprised.
How ? Imagine someone learning how to better fight construct. And then the next 5 gaming sessions no constructs appear.

Hmmmm. Fair. Either the system would have to exclude any specialized feat, that doesn't pop up routinely; or the DM would have to ensure that, if someone is training to combat constructs, constructs come up in game.

The system could include special dispensations for specialized feats. Perhaps a system where, once the initial training is done, one training session a month will keep it fresh; giving the DM time to work something into the campaign.

But the more I think of it, the more it makes sense as is. In such a situation, would the character randomly decide he needed to train to be especially effective against constructs, if there's no indication that he'll ever face them? And if he did decide to train to combat constructs, and he never faces one, that just means he wasted his time. Wasting your time on something not useful in a specific setting should be allowed, I think. It'll force people to not take stuff that they can't complete, just for the bonuses.

Duff
2021-07-13, 06:26 PM
This has the feel of a fallacy to me. Yes, someone could go 100% non-combat, and end up weaker; but that's something that's covered in session 0. "Hey guys, I want to do a non-combat character, who will need to be protected." Also, I'm not sure how many people would do that, anyway. Just because something COULD be done, doesn't mean it will be done.

Not entirely a fallacy. But still, as you say, a non-issue with the right session 0. The related idea that session 0 may need to address is that this system would most likely have a greater difference between highly optimised characters and poorly optimised ones. So the non -combat character may be highly optimised, just for non-combat roles and that is also a conversation to have.
And of course, at some tables this will be more of an issue, at others a non-issue entirely.

Vahnavoi
2021-07-14, 02:26 AM
@Stryyke:
Just because something COULD be done, doesn't mean it will be done.

This is a very important observation. When doing white room design, it's easy to get stuck fixing perceived or imagined problems. So, take a break, play a few games, see if the problem really occurs. If it doesn't, don't spend much time on it.

farothel
2021-07-14, 02:37 AM
This has the feel of a fallacy to me. Yes, someone could go 100% non-combat, and end up weaker; but that's something that's covered in session 0. "Hey guys, I want to do a non-combat character, who will need to be protected." Also, I'm not sure how many people would do that, anyway. Just because something COULD be done, doesn't mean it will be done.

But aside from that, with the number of core attribute increases, it could take IRL years before that degree of separation is achieved. Remember, you can only gain, at most, 21 additional hp a year in this system. And things like atk and dmg much much less, of course. And that's if you only take feats that increase that stat exclusively for an entire year.


The fact that it goes slow is indeed a good thing, although some players might not like a slow progression. That's why I gave as example Scion (first edition) where the auto-successes make that there quickly is a big difference between optimized not optimized characters (especially after attaining demi-god status).

Xuc Xac
2021-07-14, 11:29 PM
The problem with characters leveling up and learning new abilities unreasonably quickly has nothing to do with the XP system. The problem is the GM skipping through time too quickly.

In the "Lord of the Rings", the fellowship is formed (my sword ... my bow... my axe... etc.) but doesn't leave Rivendell until 8 WEEKS later. They rest, stock up on provisions, eat well to put on a few pounds to burn off on the road, consult with the smart people who aren't going in order to get all the advice they can, and so on. In most RPG campaigns, that would have been "Ok, so the next day..."

Stop moving so fast. Reasonable PCs should be resting and doing a lot more down time stuff. "Hey, guys. We've had frost three mornings in a row and I saw a snowflake today. If the next village looks nice, let's find a place to stay for the next 4 months. I don't want to freeze to death on some snowy road in the middle of nowhere."

Stryyke
2021-07-25, 01:57 PM
The problem with characters leveling up and learning new abilities unreasonably quickly has nothing to do with the XP system. The problem is the GM skipping through time too quickly.

In the "Lord of the Rings", the fellowship is formed (my sword ... my bow... my axe... etc.) but doesn't leave Rivendell until 8 WEEKS later. They rest, stock up on provisions, eat well to put on a few pounds to burn off on the road, consult with the smart people who aren't going in order to get all the advice they can, and so on. In most RPG campaigns, that would have been "Ok, so the next day..."

Stop moving so fast. Reasonable PCs should be resting and doing a lot more down time stuff. "Hey, guys. We've had frost three mornings in a row and I saw a snowflake today. If the next village looks nice, let's find a place to stay for the next 4 months. I don't want to freeze to death on some snowy road in the middle of nowhere."

The inherent problem with this philosophy is that the BBEG probably isn't taking a break. One of the things that makes them so fearsome is that they have endless supplies of disposable followers. Because of that, such issues as bad weather aren't really a bar to their plans. This means that the heroes have to push through, and persevere; or risk letting the BBEG achieve his ambitions while they sip coffee at an inn.

Anonymouswizard
2021-07-25, 02:18 PM
To be fair, I've seen multiple attempts to add time components to levelling, but they're generally in the AD&D model of 'you get the XPs, reach the next level, then need X days or weeks of training to actually get the benefits', BRP and Traveller being an exception in my experience. I've also seen systems that let you collect advancements but only let them be spent in 'downtime' periods.

The thing with these is that it's just a limit on when you can level, not the whole process. It's to avoid the occurance of going into a dungeon, fighting your way through three of the fourteen levels, and suddenly being better at picking locks.Because of this 'training times' tend to be short, anywhere from 'when not actively on an adventure for a day' to 'a couple of weeks', because they're not so much about slowing advancement as they are controlling when it occurs.

Some games are more explicit about this than others. Righteous Blood Ruthless Blades even suggests shortening pre-level meditation if the timescale you're using doesn't support it.

In general you can scalew these times to what the BBEG is doing. Sauron allows months of downtime because even as a Maiar coordinating his empire of otrcs and negotiating alliances with human kingdoms takes a long time. If your BBEG is Big Jeff the local supermarket owner who's operating on a much smaller scale he might be able to recover from even major setbacks in a matter of days. If it's Smelly Jim the boy from down the road you might measure downtime in hours )I'm assuming in this game the PCs are kids around the same age as Smelly Jim).

gijoemike
2021-08-03, 02:31 PM
I have 4 questions or perhaps issues with the idea of this.


1. How can you play a campaign that is fast paced? Similar to Harry Dresden novel by Jim Butcher? 3 to 12 days to save the world. One couldn't expand or adapt to anything in such a short amount of time.

2. Archetype of rough street raised orphan. You never had any training. You learned how to fight by getting beaten and giving a beating. You learned to do X by failing a dozen times in actual use. There are many many stills that one learns by doing or can learn by doing without any formal training. I am thinking of innate powers of a sorc or dirty tricks of a rogue. Characters that go by their gut, instinct, ain't have no time for tha' book learning sort of character.

3. Why space out time and effort into months like this? I don't see a benefit to forcing time be an aspect of this. Give players xp, let them buy stuff with that xp. Maybe it is HP, a power, spell, feat, or attack bonus. Why overly complicate the system by grouping it all together in a feat?

4. By grouping it all into one item of feat, skill, hp, attack I foresee balancing this and expanding on it will be a huge pain. Other systems allow players to spend xp to obtain bonuses in a skills based format.

Let me tell you about an alternative way of leveling in the game 13th age. In that game every class gets a feat, hp, attack bonus, skill, and power when they level. It is similar to milestone leveling. When the characters hit a time to level milestone they may choose one of the 5 items from the list. Next time they hit a milestone they choose another. Once every thing is choose they start over. Normal leveling gives all 5 at one time. spaced leveling gives just 1 aspect. The Wizard may choose a power, the fighter attach, the rogue HP and the ranger could choose attack as well.

Anonymouswizard
2021-08-03, 02:53 PM
1. How can you play a campaign that is fast paced? Similar to Harry Dresden novel by Jim Butcher? 3 to 12 days to save the world. One couldn't expand or adapt to anything in such a short amount of time.

Side note, I'd argue that in this model each book is an adventure with little to no advancement, while the campaign is the entire series with a year or so to train between each adventure.

Not that it matters, because there are many other decent examples. The Lord of the Rings, just to pick a classic.


Let me tell you about an alternative way of leveling in the game 13th age. In that game every class gets a feat, hp, attack bonus, skill, and power when they level. It is similar to milestone leveling. When the characters hit a time to level milestone they may choose one of the 5 items from the list. Next time they hit a milestone they choose another. Once every thing is choose they start over. Normal leveling gives all 5 at one time. spaced leveling gives just 1 aspect. The Wizard may choose a power, the fighter attach, the rogue HP and the ranger could choose attack as well.

I'll note that Cypher does something similar, where you need to advance four times in order to gain a Tier (level), and can pick from Stats, a new Skill, more Edge, more Effort, and a couple of other benefits. Once you've taken your fourth advance you go up in Tier, gain your Type and Focus benefits, and your choices of which advancement to take reset.

It's nice, I wish more levelled systems would be built around such systems.

Stryyke
2021-08-03, 05:56 PM
I have 4 questions or perhaps issues with the idea of this.


1. How can you play a campaign that is fast paced? Similar to Harry Dresden novel by Jim Butcher? 3 to 12 days to save the world. One couldn't expand or adapt to anything in such a short amount of time.

2. Archetype of rough street raised orphan. You never had any training. You learned how to fight by getting beaten and giving a beating. You learned to do X by failing a dozen times in actual use. There are many many stills that one learns by doing or can learn by doing without any formal training. I am thinking of innate powers of a sorc or dirty tricks of a rogue. Characters that go by their gut, instinct, ain't have no time for tha' book learning sort of character.

3. Why space out time and effort into months like this? I don't see a benefit to forcing time be an aspect of this. Give players xp, let them buy stuff with that xp. Maybe it is HP, a power, spell, feat, or attack bonus. Why overly complicate the system by grouping it all together in a feat?

4. By grouping it all into one item of feat, skill, hp, attack I foresee balancing this and expanding on it will be a huge pain. Other systems allow players to spend xp to obtain bonuses in a skills based format.

Let me tell you about an alternative way of leveling in the game 13th age. In that game every class gets a feat, hp, attack bonus, skill, and power when they level. It is similar to milestone leveling. When the characters hit a time to level milestone they may choose one of the 5 items from the list. Next time they hit a milestone they choose another. Once every thing is choose they start over. Normal leveling gives all 5 at one time. spaced leveling gives just 1 aspect. The Wizard may choose a power, the fighter attach, the rogue HP and the ranger could choose attack as well.

1) Well this format isn't designed for that sort of campaign. One progression system doesn't have to fit every scenario.
2) Training doesn't have to be formal, as in paid training. It's an hour a day to work on the muscle memory necessary to use the skill in stressful situations, or memorizing the information for the skill.
3) I explained my reasoning in spacing it out into months. To provide a more realistic time scale.
4) I really don't like the concept of spending points to accomplish something. That's literally the reason I started developing this system. That concept doesn't sit right in my head. If you like that kind of system, that's fine. I don't.

Anonymouswizard
2021-08-03, 06:56 PM
3) I explained my reasoning in spacing it out into months. To provide a more realistic time scale.

Realism is overrated. Does waiting around for X weeks while your characters train sound fun?Does having to choose between training and building connections sound fun? Do arguments over how much downtime players should have because one player really wants that ability while another wants the extra week to allow for more contingency if their plan doesn't work sound fun?

Realism should be at the bottom of your list when designing for RPGs. In what way does enforcing realistic time scales make the game more fun than, say, handing out an advancement/feat every session but only letting players cash them in during downtime? You can still ensure that periods of downtime represent realistic lengths, but what advantage do you get from mechanically enforcing realistic lengths that, let's be honest, 90& of groups are going to throw out as 'not fun'?


4) I really don't like the concept of spending points to accomplish something. That's literally the reason I started developing this system. That concept doesn't sit right in my head. If you like that kind of system, that's fine. I don't.

Okay, but honestly it still sounds really hard to balance, and what are the advantages compared to 'when you advance you can increase a stat by 1, learn a new Talent, Learn a new Spell, learn or X skills, or whatever'?

Also I really do suggest you look at Basc Roleplay, and maybe OpenQuest. They both do realistic advancement including improvement by use, and BRP even includes improvement by study (although not in every game, I don't remember it in CoC0.

But then again, considering I like d00 Lite, this system clearly isn't for me.