[System Hacking] Reducing Class Creep

Sangrolu

Social Justice Ninja
Validated User
I'm just wondering... what's so bad about class creep?

That's a serious question, not a threadcrap. It seems to me like more classes allows more customization in the long run than four set classes you have to work within. But I might be missing something, so feel free to argue with me.
I think there are some logistical problems to keeping track of and managing character progress when you have a lot of classes. Sometimes you may want a character who blends the features of two classes, but they may not synergize well. If you could have a class that covers both bases, you just pick the class features that fit your vision the best.

That said, I have had players who want a class that delivers them a character without "expanding the decision space" associated with making that character... it's just what some people expect of class based and makes the game easier for them.

Personally, I take a middle ground. I think that the "three classes" approach of True20 defeats the purpose of a class based system; I really see no point in not chucking classes in that situation; the classes have to define some structure. I think a 6-12 class selection is a good one for a game, but prefer not to have more to manage than that.

Related to the management issue is the cash and "I can't play my character because the book's at home/not published" issue. I just don't want to have to buy -- or wait for the publication of -- half a dozen books just to finally see that character class that is just what I want out of a character, nor do I want to have to drag all those books around.
 

Lord Mhoram

Registered User
Validated User
I'm all for power creep :) so I would use the gestalt rules. Create a second base class for purists ie a second "class" that would fill in all sorts of special abilities or extras for someone that is a fighter, cleric, wizard, sorc, rogue. So while your paladin is a Cleric/Fighter gestalt (and use the paladin abilities as special "feats" or as a talent tree in cleric) a true cleric would be a Cleric/special - with the special being all sorts of niftier cleric stuff.

Alternately, you can strip down the special abilities of the nonbase 4 into "half classes" so you have fighter, wizard, monk, cleric. There is a half class called "paladin" that is basically paladin special abilities, same with monk ect - so a classic paladin is a Fighter/Pal, a classic monk is a fighter/monk or a rogue/monk.
To balance the base classes, use the above idea and have 4 "true class 1/2 class" so there is an add on 1/2 class for fighter that is all about even more feats (or the special combat stuff from book of nine swords ect), a cleric base only has spells, so the turning and some other stuff is the bolt on. Wizards have the familiar and bonus feats (likely faster) as their bonus, rogues get thier sneak attack and other special abilities there.

Not really thought this through, just throwing things out. :)
 

Dagor

Registered User
Validated User
Well, one reason class creep happens is, of course, that splats sell.

I mean, I'm sure WotC could put out a good, solid sourcebook on how to create your own viable classes for your own home campaign -- but where'd be the profit in that compared to being able to fill supplement pages with their own 'official' prestige classes and stuff?
 

Sangrolu

Social Justice Ninja
Validated User
Well, one reason class creep happens is, of course, that splats sell.

I mean, I'm sure WotC could put out a good, solid sourcebook on how to create your own viable classes for your own home campaign -- but where'd be the profit in that compared to being able to fill supplement pages with their own 'official' prestige classes and stuff?
I was under the impression that question was being posed from the customer standpoint... :cool:

That said, we aren't just talking WotC here, and this sort of need can be met through third party products and leave you with a more satisfying end result. For example, I use the ranger combat style variants in FFG's Wildscape, I feel no need to use the scout and can realize more character concepts than wotc will ever publish.

Similarly, though WotC provides "theme mage" classes like the dread necromancer, shadowcaster, and beguiler, the Eldritch Weaver in Green Ronin's Advanced Player's Manual, I can realize all of these concepts and more, arguably in a more balanced and self-consistent fashion.

Finally, one time I was playing a second world sourcebook game werein one player wanted to play a commando good at hand-to-hand combat, but the mystical ascetic vibe of the monk wasn't right. The Martial Artist from Goodman Games' Beyond Monks filled the bill without resorting to prestige classes or odd multiclass combinations.
 

Scurvy_Platypus

I'm Rolpunk, bitches
I'm just wondering... what's so bad about class creep?

That's a serious question, not a threadcrap. It seems to me like more classes allows more customization in the long run than four set classes you have to work within. But I might be missing something, so feel free to argue with me.

-Jeff
I won't really argue the point with you, as it really does boil down to a matter of personal preference. I will however give the lists that I figured out earlier on this month. Some people might argue a bit with the numbers, but as far as I'm concerned if WotC wants to call something a class/prestige class/feat, it gets counted. Even if it sucks. :D This is strictly WotC books only, with all the duplicates that I could find removed:

Base Classes: 125 (112 not counting Epic versions)
Prestige Classes: 695 (686 not counting Epic versions)
Feats: 2,620.

That's a lot of options for those that groove on it, and a lot of stuff to sort through for those that are less interested.

I'm thinking that giving the basic classes modularity, with a list of class abilities to select from instead of a fixed progression, such as what WotC is now doing with substitution levels and variant class features, or the Generic classes in Unearthed Arcana, and somehow improving the multiclassing mechanism to allow for this, like the concept of initiator level increasing with non-initiating class levels in the Book of Nine Swords, would result in a more elegantly constructed ruleset... and allow me to dump the idea of a class for every concept in favour of the tools to construct every concept.

Any suggestions?
Heh, I just went through this for someone else...

If you're willing to pay money, I've got a few suggestions:

Grim Tales (Bad Axe games). This is a d20 modern based book that's really nice. It provides a bunch of options for dialing up or down the lethality of the game, and you could certainly run either modern or fantasy games using the rules. It's focus is towards low magic, but it would be a fine base to work from.

Buy the numbers. You can find it here: http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=2909
This is derived from the "regular" (not d20 modern) SRD. It presents an entire method of being able to buy class abilities, HD, and everything using XP. It effectively goes for making a classless/levelless system, although people (including the author) have cautions about keeping an eye on folks that really like to optimize (I tired of hearing "powergame"). It comes with a number of options for how to implement the different costs and what some of those effects might be.

Really, although the system as it's presented allows for basically instant buying of class abilities, you don't have to use it that way. Instead you could basically set it up so that it looks like regular D&D (X number of XP = Y level) and simply give people all there stuff when they reach a level like normal. It presents some work for you to do behind the scense setting up stuff, but the players never have to see it, and you wind up with classes that are built/balanced the way you want.

One slight note: like most of the stuff out there, it treats Feats in a completely neutral fashion. By which I mean, it doesn't attempt to put any kind of value on a Feat, other than how many Feats the character already has. So if there's a Feat out there that "sucks", it's not going to be cheaper under this system. The goal of this product wasn't to try and balance out crappy system choices, merely to try and develop a consistent method to build classes.

Point Buy Numbers. You can find it here: http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=3690
This is a work derived from Buy the Numbers, and is tied to the d20 modern SRD. James Hargrove did a review of it that wasn't very positive. I haven't bothered picking this one up, because I really haven't had any kind of a need for it. If I do ever have a need, I'll consider picking it up despite the review. Read the review from RPGNow. The one that's posted here at rpgnet is actually written by the author. For me, even though the author rubs me the wrong way, I'm ultimately interested in the work that's done. The RPGNow review does point to where there can be problems using the system (as well as presentation issues), but I'm not expecting the system to be self-regulating so it's not an issue to me.

I appreciate that a _huge_ chunk of work has already been done for me by these authors, and the fact that the d20 modern based one is derived from the other one is something I personally like. It means that there's a good chance that even if some oddness were to be found in the d20 modern version, it shouldn't be too difficult to tweak it around to where you want.

If you don't want to spend money, you've still got options.

The Anime SRD. http://www.opengamingfoundation.org/animesrd.html
If you're not interested in spending money, I think this is probably the best way to go. It's the SRD of BESMd20, which gets a pretty fair amount of dislike/hate, but I think is personally underrated. You really don't have to use the whole Anime SRD system, you're really just after the whole point building system. There's a pdf of it that was done up by one of the Evil Hat fellows, and you can also get it from the Guardians of Order website too. As an extra bonus, you can pick up their Mecha SRD which was used as the basis for the fantastic Mecha Compendium Deluxe by DreamPod9.

The Anime SRD provides a breakdown of the d20 fantasy classes, although it's not as detailed as it should be. Still it should be enough to get you where you're going, and also has a brief bit about d20 modern classes as well. If you go with the Anime SRD option, you might consider trying to use the BESMd20 classless option discussed here: http://www.geocities.com/kisnerp/rpgs/d20/BESM_d20/BESM_d20_Classless.html
There's also a brief variation of it here: http://stuff.mit.edu/people/chads/dnd/besmd20/classless.html

There's a system called the Class Construction Engine, by Khepri. You can find it here: http://www.community3e.com/class2.html (currently entry 92). It was updated from 3.0 to 3.5 by Magecraft, and can be found here: http://www.community3e.com/class.html (currently entry 17). The Khepri document seems to have been the usual choice of people that are looking to see if a new class they've made is balanced or not. Even folks over on the WotC boards used it.

There was another document that seems to be derived from/inspired by the Khepri one (and also mentions Buy the Numbers and BESMd20) done by tjoneslo on Enworld. You can find a link to it here: http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=114382

Also from Enworld is a system that I think was developed relatively independently by DrSpunj. You can find it here: http://www.enworld.org/forums/showthread.php?t=82858&page=1&pp=40 (go to post #211 on page 6 for a more recent version). I don't really know anything about this, other than it's been in use and seems to work for him and some other folks.

Hope there's something useful in all of that.
 

Dr. Halflight

Awaiting June 6th
I've been messing around with making all the base class abilities into talent trees.

Currently, I have the classes collapsed into:

Warrior: Full AB progression and good Fort saves.
Rogue: 3/4 AB progression and good Ref saves.
Priest: 3/4 AB progression and good Will saves.
Mage: Poor AB progression and good Will saves.

Each class has a list of talent trees it can select from, but the talent trees are not necessarily specific to any given class. For instance, Woodland Stride is available to Warriors (Ranger), Rogues (Scout), and Priests (Druid).

Nice work. Kudos to you. As for the Factotum, what if they had "virtual" Talents? I don't have Dungeonscape yet, I just know they're kind of jack of all trades. So maybe each Rank in their Talent Tree is an additional use of a "virtual" Talent per day?
 

Nelzie

Registered User
Validated User
Reducing class creep can be easy, really easy. There's only a few steps involved.

1. Use your own campaign world.

2. Provide a short list of what is and what isn't possible in your game world, this would include what classes are possible.

...or use a different game system that has better flexibility (Fully Point Based) or is more rigid (Strictly class based with no hybridization).
 

Jon Chung

I do it for the lulz
Validated User
I'm not interested in restricting options per se. Hmm.

More accurately, what I want to do is take the current, extremely large selection of pretty narrow classes and turn it into a very small set of extremely customizable classes, then change the multiclassing rules as well.

The ideal result is if someone wants to build, say, a Paladin, they slap the warrior and caster classes together, pick appropriate modular abilities from each, and go on their merry way.

Unearthed Arcana's generic classes are a good start, I think. Haven't gotten my hands on True20 yet, but I'm fairly sure I can use stuff from there.
 

MetaDude

Married to a Scientist!
Validated User
Reducing class creep can be easy, really easy. There's only a few steps involved.

1. Use your own campaign world.

2. Provide a short list of what is and what isn't possible in your game world, this would include what classes are possible.
Yeah! That's the approach I use. In my campaign, I have 11 base classes, all from the PHB except the priest (non-fighting cleric) and the paladin (which I've turned into a prestige class). I currently have 3 prestige classes: the paladin, the grey mage (an archmage type) and the bladewalker (custom class I made for an exotic NPC outsider). I also use the NPC classes in the DMG, for a grand total of 19 classes.

All class creep starts with the DM - that's where it can be ended, as well.
 
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