Sunday, March 25, 2018

We've Got No Class (in LotFP)

UPDATE ON JUNE 17: Version 2.0 is HERE.

So Daniel Sell wrote a nifty classless (or perhaps more accurately, multi-class) advancement system called "How to be an adventurer" on his blog, which I believe was later featured in The Undercroft #9. Recently, Brent Ault did some cool tweaks to it and produced his own classless system for LotFP. I really like it, but unfortunately I can't seem to find a working link to it at the moment. Fortunately, I did print up a copy of it earlier for reference here.

UPDATE: Brent re-uploaded it HERE!

Now I present my own tentative tweaking. Assume LotFP rules as written wherever I don't contradict them below. You also might as well assume that I'm paraphrasing or outright quoting Brent Ault or Daniel Sell below, except where I make my own changes. I wanted to simply list my changes to Brent's system instead of practically reiterating the whole thing, but again, I don't currently have a link to his version. HERE IT IS.

This is meant for a setting with only human PCs, but as with Brent Ault's version, Perks "can be combined to create traditional races, or something that is wholly original."  I don't have anything in here like the different aging rates or encumbrance for mounts in the default LotFP rules, though. You could probably add those back in as Perks if you want, although you might also have to allow more perks per character if you want to include all of the standard features of a specific race in a given character.

Character Creation
  • Roll your attribute scores.
  • Select a Path: Fighting, Proficiency, or Casting. If you're creating a character above first level, choose one Path per level (you can take the same path for multiple levels, of course). Record your HP and any skills, spells, spell slots, attack bonuses, and combat options.
  • Select your two Perks.
  • Record your saving throws.
  • Roll 3d6 x 10 in silver pieces to purchase equipment.
  • Before selecting a Path, every character begins with a +1 base attack bonus and a 16 in each saving throw category. Each level, including 1st, you must opt for either Fighting, Casting, or Proficiency.
  • Fighting: +1 base attack bonus (maximum of +10), 8 HP, and 2 points deducted from saves of your choice. The first time you take this path, you gain the fighter's combat options (Press, Defensive Fighting, and the better form of Parry).
  • Proficiency: 3 skill points to expend, 4 HP, and 4 points deducted from saves of your choice.
  • Casting: One spell slot (use the Vaginas Are Magic rules), 4 HP, and 2 points deducted from saves of your choice. The first time you take this path, you receive a spellbook with 3 random spells. Every time you take this path after the first, you learn one additional random spell. (You can also learn spells through adventuring and study, as usual.) If a spell has an effect that varies by caster level, only count your Casting Path levels, not your total number of levels. Magic-User and Cleric spells are one and the same.
Select 2:
  • 3 free skill points to distribute.
  • 2 points deducted from saves of your choice
  • Extra +5 items before encumbrance penalties.
  • +1 to a chosen attribute modifier.
  • A reduced 1-in-6 chance of surprise.
Saving Throws
All saves start at 16. No saving throw can go below 2.
  • Fortitude: Replaces Paralyze and Poison saves. Modified by Wisdom.
  • Reflex: Replaces Breath and Device saves. Modified by Wisdom.
  • Will: Replaces Magic saves. Modified by Intelligence.
Skill List
  • Architecture
  • Athletics (Add Strength Modifier) (Replaces Climb, Open Doors, and Swimming)
  • Bushcraft
  • Languages (Add Intelligence Modifier)
  • Medicine
  • Seamanship
  • Search
  • Sneak Attack
  • Stealth (Includes the functions of Sleight of Hand)
  • Tinkering
Experience and Leveling
  • All characters follow the fighter's experience table from Rules & Magic.
  • Level 9 is the maximum level.
  • Once Level 9 is reached, every additional 120,000 experience points grants you +2 maximum HP. In addition, pick an ability score and roll 3d6. If you roll higher than the current ability score, that score increases by 1 point. No ability score can increase above 18.

Summary of Main Differences From Brent Ault's Version
(In case the link gets fixed and you'd rather work from his excellent PDF)
  • Level 9 maximum.
  • After Level 9, every 120,000 XP gives you 2 HP and the chance to increase 1 ability score. Pick an ability score and roll 3d6: if you roll higher than the current score, it goes up by 1 (maximum 18).
  • Fighting Path gives exactly 8 HP, other Paths give exactly 4.
  • Saving Throws start at 16. Minimum is 2.
  • Different saving throw categories, only 3 total. Fortitude replaces Paralyze and Poison, and is modified by Wisdom. Reflex replaces Breath and Device, and is also modified by Wisdom. Will replaces Magic, and is modified by Intelligence. 
  • Proficiency Path gives 3 skill points per level.
  • Vaginas are Magic casting system.
  • Free random spell for each level of Casting Path taken after the first.
  • Some changes to the Perks list - removed darkvision, increased free skill points to 3, increased saving throw deduction to 2 points.
  • Clarified that the first level of Fighting Path gives the fighter's combat options, and that only Casting Path levels count toward spell effects (e.g. If a PC with 3 levels of Casting and 6 levels of Fighting casts Magic Missile, the spell will do 3d4 damage).
  • If you're going by Rules & Magic for determining what ability scores modify, Strength doesn't add to melee damage (but does add to the Open Doors skill), and Constitution doesn't modify any saving throws.
  • Silver standard, as per Rules & Magic.
  • The skill list is the same as in Rules & Magic, with the following exceptions. Climb, Open Doors, and Swimming are condensed into Athletics, which is modified by Strength. Sleight of Hand and Stealth are combined into one skill, named Stealth. Medicine and Seamanship are added.

One Last Idea (Fighting Path)
In Zak's Class System, the Warrior class can randomly roll up this ability: "Finally! A second attack per round. You divide your attack bonus however you like between opponents/strikes. You get an extra attack per round every time you re-roll this result."

I'm tempted to allow all PCs with at least one Fighting Path level and an attack bonus of +2 or more to do this. But instead of limiting it to, say, two attacks per round, I would let the attacker divide their attack bonus among however many targets there are within range that they wish to hit, but with some caveats. You can't attack the same target twice in the same round; a roll to hit represents your best efforts to injure an opponent in one round, not one single swing or stab or shot. So if there's only one enemy in front of you, they get your whole attack bonus in one attempt to hit, but if you have a +10 bonus and you're surrounded by five enemies in melee range, you can take one swing at each of them with +2 to hit, or at two of them with +5 to hit, and so on. And you can only do this with a ranged weapon if it realistically has a high enough rate of fire to allow multiple attacks in one round. And every attack that round has to be made with the same weapon, so you can't swing at the enemy in front of you with a sword and shot another guy with a bow at the same time. (I don't know what I'd do about throwing weapons yet. Or the combat options. Or movement.)

On the upside, I think this would make each Fighting Path level more useful and meaningful, and would make combat a bit more interesting. On the downside, it might make combat too easy. I guess I could allow fighter-type NPCs and monsters to do it, too, but would that make combat too difficult?

I'd love to get some feedback on this idea. Has anyone tried something like this? How did it go?

I was planning to test my random advancement system inspired by Green Devil Face #5 when I get around to starting that online campaign with my friends, but now I'm thinking about asking if they want to try these rules instead.