View Full Version : Advancement Based on Personality Traits

2008-01-13, 01:52 AM
I've been idly considering making a tabletop system for a setting I came up with last night, and I was wondering. One thing that always bothered me was the arbitrary assumption of linear experience progression. Combined with my dislike for the nine-alignment system I had an idea for advancement. It's kinda sloppy right now, but I'm curious what people think about the principle.

Characters have multiple "experience" pools, essentially separating progression into several distinct fields. Fighting and surviving encounters might benefit a character's Warrior and Athletic pools, but does nothing for their Personality or Craft pools. Likewise, working as a tradesman might improve Craft, but does nothing for one's fighting ability. Achieving a 'level' in each pool is guaranteed every 100 points, but a player may attempt to 'force' advancement by rolling d100 against their current score. Failure here may incur an experience penalty.

Advancement in a given pool allows the PC access to one to 1d6 points, to be used to purchase improvements to one's skills (and possibly attributes, but I'm thinking this is a low-advancement system). The number of times a character has advanced serves roughly as their 'level' or challenge rating in that particular field.

In addition, there is another experience pool, the Self, that advances solely through acts of noteworthy character- achieving important plot points, good or bad deeds, and so forth- which is advanced at the Gamemaster's discretion. Rewards from the Self pool would be the equivalent of racial feats.

Now we get to Drives. Essentially, upon creation of the character, instead of merely picking an alignment, their maker selects one or more of several Drives- personality attributes that help define the character and influence advancement. For example, if a character is bloodthirsty and enjoys violence, lethal combats provide a small experience boost and merciful ones a small experience penalty, while a merciful character has the exact opposite reaction. If a character's drives are consistently flaunted they may be reassigned accordingly.

What do you guys think? This is admittedly a VERY sloppy, amateurish system, but I'm new to this.

2008-01-13, 02:33 AM
I like what I'm hearing so far. Your "Experience Pool" concept reminds me of the Elder Scrolls computer games, wherein skills (weapon/armor proficiencies, schools of magic, and stealth/speed/acrobatic abilities) each develop separately, and advancing class-specific skills ten times allows the character to reach the next level, gaining hit points and ability boosts.

The Self idea intrigues me. Is the self somewhere along the lines of an alignment gradient where a character could slowly change alignments, i.e. becoming slightly more evil for misdeeds and vice versa, rather than instantly dropping from, say, good to neutral? Now this calls KOTOR and Fable to my mind...

Drives sound like a good method of guiding a character toward specialization. If spending a year as a librarian in a time of peace will lower a character's weapon skills slightly, the character might be more inclined to teach a martial arts class that would keep them in peak condition.

I'd love to see these further developed, so keep up the good work.

2008-01-13, 02:50 AM
Self is essentially the 'heroic' or 'villainous' element of a character. It is advancement in the Self pool that purchases feats, racial abilities and advancement, and provides significant attribute and power boosts. Advancement in Self is essentially closer to a real 'level up' than any of the other pools, coming as it does from doing great and characterful things. I.E killing a street thug won't give you Self points, but saving a woman from a depraved rapist in the process might.

Drives are more what you're thinking of. Instead of say, being simply Lawful Evil, a character might have the Power, Ambition, Ruthless and Bloodlust Drives. Of course, I may expand it beyond simply Drives and into a full-blown system of general personality traits.

The idea, in any case, is essentially to create a system whereby a character derives real reward and effects from his actions, as well as to more adequately describe people who cannot simply be rendered down into one of nine types. Furthermore, it avoids the intrinsic judgment calls some of the alignments make- a lot of our antiheroes might be called Lawful Evil, for example, but is it the person's innate evil, or is it simply response to cruel circumstance?

2008-01-13, 03:30 AM
Nice idea, but sounds VERY WoD.

2008-01-13, 08:52 AM
I think it sounds AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!<enter air guitar solo here>

what is WoD?

2008-01-13, 12:51 PM
World of Darkness. A campaign setting and game system by White Wolf that focuses on a whole bunch of emo werewolves and vampires. (Wizards and Frankenstein monsters too, with the setting reboot. All still very emo.)

2008-01-13, 03:33 PM
First, note that you are making a game, not a reality simulation.

What kinds of actions do you what the players to make their characters do in this game?

The game should encourage those actions.

In D&D, the encouraged actions are "go out and adventure".


Now, if you wanted to make a heroic/non heroic advancement track system, I'd try by folding it into my task resolution system, rather than trying to shoe-horn it in at the experience/advancement stage.

Here is an example of one such system...

First, roll Xd10 at the start of the round based off of your Heroic level. This is your Action Pool for the round. Arrange it by sets -- if you roll 2 2 5 6 7 9, you have (2 2) as a set, (5) as a set, (6) as a set, (7) as a set, and (9) as a set.

Next, pick a skill to use. Roll Yd10 (different color) based on that skill. Dice that don't match an Action Pool set are discarded. Dice that do match an Action Pool set are an action with that skill.

The "Strength" of the Action is (# of dice in the combined set), (number of the set).

Ie, you roll your action pool of (2 2 5 6 7 9), and then you try to swing your sword. You have 4 dice in sword -- so you roll (1 3 5 9).

You have one possible set -- the 5 from your action pool, with the 5 from your sword pool. So you can make one attack at 25 power.

If you get multiple matches, you get multiple actions.

After your first action in a round, you can burn an action pool die and make another skill roll.


A child might have a hero pool of 1d, an adult 2d, and a typical veteran soldier 3d.


You respond to attacks with active defenses. They have the same "burn a die per extra action beyond the first" mechanics.

And the split between "heroic level" and "skill level" is quite strong here.