Monday, January 16, 2017

Separate Race and Class in LotFP VERSION 2.0

Since I'm not entirely happy with how it turned out the first time, I decided to try again.

At character creation, the player chooses both a race and a class. Available races are Humans, Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings. Available classes are the Fighter, the Cleric, and the Magic-User.
EDIT: I've added the Fool class and the Specialist class as well.

Human
  • Hit Dice: d8 (+3 HP per level after Level 9)
  • Minimum First-Level HP: 6
  • Saving Throw Table: As chosen class
  • Experience Table: As chosen class
  • A Human receives a +1 bonus to their Charisma modifier.
  • A Human gains and distributes skill points as the original Specialist class (i.e. 4 skill points at first level and 2 skill points per level after that).
Dwarf
  • Hit Dice: d10 (+4 HP per level after Level 9)
  • Minimum First-Level HP: 8
  • Saving Throw Table: As original Dwarf class
  • Experience Table: As original Dwarf class or chosen class, whichever is higher/worse
  • A Dwarf receives a +1 bonus to their Constitution modifier.
  • A Dwarf gains points in the Architecture skill as the original Dwarf class.
  • It takes 5 additional items for a Dwarf to gain the first encumbrance point.
  • At character creation, a Dwarf must roll on the Dwarven Curses table. Each time the Dwarf gains a level, they may choose to either keep their current curse or risk rolling on the table again for a replacement curse.
Elf
  • Hit Dice: d6 (+2 HP per level after Level 9)
  • Minimum First-Level HP: 4
  • Saving Throw Table: As original Elf class
  • Experience Table: As original Elf class or chosen class, whichever is higher/worse
  • An Elf receives a +1 bonus to their Intelligence modifier.
  • An Elf gains points in the Search skill as the original Elf class.
  • An Elf is surprised in combat only on a roll on 1 on a d6.
  • An Elf reacts differently to certain spells and holy water as per the original Elf class. Magical aging does not affect an Elf, but natural aging does.
  • An Elf Fighter can cast a spell from a wand, staff, or scroll as if they were a Magic-User of half their level (round down), but only if they first make a successful saving throw vs. device; if the saving throw is failed, the spell is not cast, but the appropriate charge (if it is a wand or staff) or spell (if it is a scroll) is lost as if it were cast. An Elf Fighter can cast spells in this way when up to Heavily encumbered.
  • An Elf Magic-User can cast spells one-handed as per the original Elf class.
  • An Elf Magic-User has the same number of starting spells and the same spell progression table as the original Magic-User class (as do Magic-Users of other races).
Halfling
  • Hit Dice: d6 (+2 HP per level after Level 9)
  • Minimum First-Level HP: 4
  • Saving Throw Table: As original Halfling class
  • Experience Table: As original Halfling class or chosen class, whichever is higher/worse
  • A Halfling receives a +1 bonus to their Dexterity modifier.
  • A Halfling gains points in the Bushcraft skill as the original Halfling class.
  • A Halfling starts with 5 points in the Stealth skill, and this increases to 6 points at Level 10.
  • A Halfling is physically small; they can generally fit into smaller places than Humans, Dwarves, or Elves, and they add less encumbrance to riding animals (see Rules & Magic p. 39). However, they cannot use large weapons, and must use medium weapons two-handed.
  • Generally, a Halfling must eat twice as much food per day as a Human, Dwarf, or Elf in order to avoid suffering the effects of starvation (e.g. 2 "days' worth" of rations per day). However, if a Halfling sleeps for at least 8 hours in a 24-hour period (instead of the minimum 4 hours needed to merely avoid sleep deprivation), the Halfling only needs to eat the normal amount of food the next day (i.e. the remainder of that 24-hour period) in order to avoid the effects of starvation.
Global Changes
  • The spell Read Magic is removed from the game, and is no longer needed in order to use spellbooks or scrolls. If you want to keep Read Magic, then Elf Fighters should probably start with the spell and be able to cast it so that they can still use wands, staves, and scrolls.
  • Alignment is not officially restricted by race, only class, although based on the different ways that certain spells and holy water affect them, Elves are arguably still treated as Chaotic for the purposes of spell effects regardless of class. If you want to use racial alignment restrictions, then it might make sense to limit Dwarves to Lawful alignment and Elves to Chaotic alignment while allowing Humans and Halflings to choose any alignment. But honestly, you could probably ditch alignment entirely, as is my preference.
  • All races age at the same rate, namely that of Humans. If you don't like this, you can use the original aging chart (see Rules & Magic p. 35) or make up your own rules.
  • Magic-Users of all races can cast from a wand, staff, or scroll when up to Heavily encumbered, but otherwise can only cast spells when up to Lightly encumbered.
Notable Changes from the Last Version and Other Notes
  • Elf Magic-Users can no longer cast while up to Heavily encumbered, but only up to Lightly encumbered, unless they are casting from a wand, staff, or scroll.
  • Dwarf characters no longer continue to add their Constitution modifier to their hit points after Level 9. Their 10-sided HD, Consitution modifier bonus, and excellent saving throws already make them really hard to kill, so this additional trait seems like overkill to me, especially since I'm now giving them +4 HP per level after ninth and I've bumped their minimum starting HP to 8. I also dropped this trait because I don't like how it's a race-based (or originally, class-based) feature that doesn't actually benefit all members of that race - just ones who already have a positive Constitution bonus. I don't care for Intelligence-based spell limits or ability score-based XP bonuses and penalties in certain editions of D&D for a similar reason. I admit this is probably at least as much a matter of personal preference for me than a matter of gameplay balance or anything else.
  • Human characters are greatly simplified compared to what I originally wrote, and are now basically in line with the optional version I added to the last post on January 2.
  • I don't see the need to note that "Halflings receive a 1-point bonus to AC when not surprised," since as far as I can tell that would be the natural result of having a +1 bonus to their Dexterity modifier anyway. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
  • In order to make Halflings feel a little less under-powered in terms of skills, I decided to make their Stealth skill work as well indoors as outdoors (which I also did in the last version), and I decided to let them eventually reach a total of 6 points in Stealth.
  • Since I don't like the Search skill, I'm inclined to give Elves a different skill specialty instead. I'm not sure what the replacement should be, though.

3 comments:

  1. I am interested in what you're doing, and this is definitely a better iteration, but taking out the specialist just feels wrong to me. On the other hand, you've just changed out specialists for humans, which is kind of cool. How have these changes looked in the game you're running?

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    1. Well, in the game I'm currently running, I'm using the "Myth" classes I've posted about before. There's basically a Fighter/Specialist, a Fighter/Cleric, a Dwarf/Halfling (with some bombing and engineering abilities added), and a Magic-User/Alice. (And more recently, a Fighter/Elf and a Goblin variation on the Dwarf, but they haven't seen much play.) The Magic-User/Alice is probably overpowered, but at least it's fun, both according to what my players have said and from my perspective as the DM. The Fighter/Cleric may be similarly overpowered at high levels (and this has been a VERY high-level game in LotFP terms), but I don't think it gets as ridiculous as soon, and again, feedback and results have been positive. The Fighter/Specialist, which is the closest to what I'm doing here with the separate race and class thing, actually hits the sweet spot pretty nicely, in my opinion, although your mileage may vary.

      Also, I've given a very small number of skill points (1 per even-numbered level) to all classes in addition to what they normally get (which is nothing for the F/C folks), and my players seem to really appreciate it. If the Specialist was its own class I probably wouldn't do that, because skill points are all the Specialist really gets to make them feel, you know, special (as a class, I mean). But since all my classes are basically hybrids I don't think it makes anybody LESS special. The F/S is still far and away the main person the party goes to for doing skill-based stuff, and the others only use their skills either for VERY specific tasks (like the Dwarf's unique, class-exclusive explosives-based tinkering) or for desperate situations in which the F/S isn't around or can't help. Well, and sometimes they like to give it a shot just to show off or because the F/S is being too slow or something, but THAT only happens what they actually have enough skill points to even compete with the F/S, which isn't that often.

      I guess my main worry with these separate race and class rules is that they'll lead to the same problem I have with the "Myth" classes, which is that it's hard to challenge the players in combat. Traps and curses and puzzles and strange magic still worry them, and they devote a lot of time and thought and effort to cleverly dealing with such problems, but combat is an absolute breeze for them. But to be fair, that is certainly not all because of the "Myth" classes - they are really smart and, in my opinion, good at the game, and on top of that they have a ton of absolutely ludicrous magic items at this point, and on top of THAT, I think LotFP as written gets very unbalanced in a lot of ways at high levels, at least in the magic department. So if I were to use these race and class rules, I would be willing to bet that they wouldn't be NEARLY as "broken" as my "Myth" classes as long as I stick to the LotFP philosophy of magic items more closely and become a little stingier with the XP awards.

      I mean, my current campaign was launched with the very premise of creating something broken and over-the-top in terms of what levels of power would be possible, so I don't really regret much of anything, but I'm not sure how valuable such a campaign would be for playtesting certain things, you know?

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  2. Yeah that makes sense. And I kind of think every RPG (that I've played anyway) kind of breaks down around level 8-10. It basically goes from the first Matrix to the 2nd; the threats aren't threatening anymore.
    Giving all characters a skill point at level up isn't bad though. It's nice to have something to look forward to, and more than just another roll on the HP die and possibly better saves.

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