Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Allowing Class Abilities to Leak into Other Classes

Last night was our usual game night and Rusty's character went through trails so he could finally reach 5th level. Which is good because now I don't have to carry his slacker ass any longer. Anyways, his class of mage has this ability to deflect magic. Being a different class of mage I want to learn that ability.

The discussion that followed was that I would need to switch classes and become a dual class character. Or they would put my character on the higher xp chart. Or as I suggested allow me to learn this ability at a lower level.

I'm not interested in switching classes. If this is the price I would chose not to learn the ability. Being placed on a higher xp chart would be doable, but I would want to learn the ability at the same level then. Or if the Gm decided to allow me to learn this magic shield at a lesser ability then I would be cool with that also. Anything Rob decided will be fine by me. We will discuss it later on this week on how to approach this.

This is some of the things I like to do to push the class abilities a little and in turn it helps Rob develop his campaign world. He always listens to suggestions. I don't want to do anything that will screw up the balance of his world. I just like to see what areas I can expand my character into.

Curious to hear what others have done in this situation.


  1. Interesting. This is an annoying side effect of class-driven systems. it's not particularly realistic and motivated only by arbitrary (in the realism sense) rules (which AREN'T arbitrary in the game balancing sense).

    Because the rules are there to balance characters, I'd allow it BUT there should be a trade-off. Interfering with one of your class' abilities? Social stigma for both the teacher and the student for having broken a sacred trust? Mental problems or a curse deriving from magical incompatibilities?

    I think those are much more interesting than an XP or level scheme.

  2. It was an interesting conversation last night. One way to handle it would be to allow characters (or maybe just your character) the ability to "buy" one ability from another class. Maybe keep the core features of each class out of bounds, but things like the magic shield could be learned if there was a logic to how and why. You would then have to earn extra experience points to cover learning the additional skill/ability. How much xp would depend on how much of affinity there is to your current class with the desired skill/ability as well as your access to information about it.

    Part of likes the character class at archtype. I think it is a fundamental aspect of early D&D and the more recent retro-clones. But I also like being creative with a game. Really, when you come down to it, what's the harm? It won't cause global warming or a world financial meltdown.

  3. Well if this is GURPS you just do the roleplaying and pay the higher cost for the magery (or rather the normal cost as I cut all the cost of the non-thothian magery down)

    Just need to fix my XP table.

    @Siskoid, the Order is totally anal on the secret of the Shield of Magic (a form of Magic Resistance). So there are severe in-game consequences for going rogue on this issue.

    From an in-game standpoint you think security would have been broken long ago in the several centuries of the Order's existence.

    However the problem is that to use the Shield you need to adopt the Order's way of spell casting (vancian) and only two of the arcane magic classes do that, the Mountebank, and the straight Magic-User. The other classes either cast through rituals only or have a completely different memorization scheme for spells.

    So the secret does get out but mainly in cultures where magic dominated by the Order of Thoth anyway and eventually either they wind up joining the order anyway or get uncovered years later and hunted down.

    Some to flee to other lands but then they have to go up against the other orders of magic without the backing of the Order of Thoth and it can be a real struggle.

  4. Syrivald is a very loyal member of the Order of Thoth. Very loyal.

  5. That's rich detail that can be mined for all sorts of consequences! But if Syrivald won't teach it, and the other caster's brain "doesn't work that way", how does he learn it in the first place?

    Is there a possibility of doing spell research? ("Hey, I like that effect, let's see what kind of ritual I can put together to simulate it.") Doesn't seem likely at relatively low levels, but...

  6. Sure spell research could uncover it, which is how it came about in the first place.

    Some rambling detail

    First there were the ritual only classes, and the clerical classes which had memorization from the get go. One culture, the Ghinorians, expanded their empire throughout the wilderlands. When they came into contact with the elves from who they learned the spontaneous Trehaen magic (like D&D 3.X sorcerors).

    From the fusion of the old ritual magic-users and the trehaen elven magic came the standard magic user who figured out how to what the clerics did with the limitation that they needed a spell book to study from.

    In the chaos after the Ghinorian empire fell these magic users started to prey on one another. The discovery of the Shield of Magic allowed the Order of Thoth to be founded and eventually dominant pushing the rogue mages to the fringe of society both mundane and magical.

    The Mountebanks, which Tim character is, are street magic users. The need for survival on the street has left them with inferior magical ability but conversely they know a bit more about fighting (mainly in what they are allowed to use) and have some useful abilities.

    For those who don't have the Majestic Wilderlands, ritual magic is similar to that of D&D 4.0 where you pay so many gp in components and you cast the ritual. In MW the highest level of ritual you can cast is limited by your level.

    The problem with having thought out this background it is reasonable to extrapolate things like; I want to learn to have Shield of Magic, I want to be able to combine levels like the Order of Set, and so own.

    The trick is to make that work with the class and level system.

  7. I often think about this...but I never do anything about it! It's a problem with D&D, but one of those probs that if solved actually makes it less D&D. DM's are supposed to be stingy with everything....especially this kind of stuff.

  8. And yet there will always be a player in every group who wants to play a race that isn't available, or a concept that doesn't quite fit the rules.

    (Part of why I liked AD&D 2nd is how they encouraged customization, both in the core book and with their kit splats.)

    And that makes the campaign less generic, so it's not a bad thing per se. I'm starting a Savage Worlds Evernight campaign tomorrow, and the setting doesn't allow non-human clerics (the only god is the Sun god). I've allowed a player with a love of Dwarves to play a Dwarven Sun Priest anyway. It makes him the only one, and that's already more "epic". It's a Star Trek formula, I suppose. Worf is the only Klingon in Star Fleet, Data's the only android, etc. It gives the "party" an importance. Much in the same way that the LotR Hobbits are the only Hobbit adventurers.

  9. Crap, this discussion makes me want to go dig out my copy of MW.

  10. While I have run into players that just want odd combinations for the hell of it, most it comes from the fact that verisimilitude (realism) is a big part of how I run my campaign. While I can go overboard, (see Hunt for a Cow, Harn Weather Charts) on the rules the heart of it is that I try to roleplay realistic motivations and attitude for my NPCs and cultures.

    Players can and often do figure stuff out by concluding C if they known A and B. The Shield of Magic question is a logical from learning how the magic orders work.

    With GURPS and similar system to just pay the points/xp and the ability is your if you roleplay everything right.

    With D&D I need to come up with a D&Dish solution.

    Also I don't concern myself with Mechanical balance much. Much of the balance comes the consequences of dealing with the people, and cultures of my setting.

    Tim ran into that when he asked in-game about this. The head of Syrivald's Conclave mentioned that he had to get specific permission from the Grand Conclave in order to allow Ashling (Tim's character) to join. This is because he is an elf. If he was human the conclave's council could and would have made the decision on their own.

  11. It's not particularly realistic and motivated only by arbitrary (in the realism sense) rules (which AREN'T arbitrary in the game balancing sense).

    You *do* realize you're talking about the ability to deflect magic spells, right?

    Realism is whatever the rules or the GM say it is. If that's just the way magic works, then that's just the way magic works. Arguing whether the way magic works is realistic or not is non-sensical; if you want realism take out magic altogether.

  12. "Realistic" is probably the wrong word. Let's say "internally logical".