I was just wondering what tg's opinion was on them, and by "level up" I don't just mean traditional levels. I also include games like Shadowrun or BESM where you gain points for abilities.
So your character wouldn't improve at all?
I guess, but only if it was relatively short-lived.
Like a zombie survival game, or something.
I don't exactly like stories where the characters don't learn from their experiences, and improve/adapt.
what if you just gain the abilities themselves, no points?
Like, real life people improve. And good stories are based on growth. So you need some way to represent that. It doesn't have to be numbers, and I suppose technically it doesn't have to be mechanical at all, but most growth other than mental/spiritual does usually result in either additional abilities or more strength in those you have, which are things that should be a thing mechanically represented.
I obviously can, but my character can't.
Those bigger numbers represent his accumulated experience, and what he's learned.
Plus, when you play many modern systems, character knowledge is assumed to only follow their stats.
Want to plan an ambush?
It doesn't matter how well you know how to as a player, if your character has no skill in tactics, your ambush is going to go pretty poorly.
Closest to that that I can think of is Stalker: The Scifi RPG.
It works, but it's extremely narrative based system.
Hell, it doesn't even have randomizing element to it. No dice, no cards.
Kingdom of Ooo does something similar.
It does have levels, but they're basically just hero points. Make your or a friends roll better by a stage, make up a fact related to an ability you have (if you're say a prince, you know stuff about your kingdom. if you're a monster hunter, you know about monsters, etc.), or heal one hp of your total 3.
So basically going up a level just means you get to be a tad luckier each adventure.
Its honestly one of the best Apocalypse World simplification stripdowns I've ever seen. Should have been released as a generic system instead of given an adventure time coat of paint.
which is why I've been making a version of it stripped of the thin layer of adventure time paint.
I hope the original creators won't mind too much.
Been looking for a new name to call it...
Yes, but how do I represent when my character can pick a more complex lock? Does it say so on my sheet? If so then I have advanced in some way and so go against what we were trying to create, same with less time.
Such tasks that can't be replicated by the player (most things that aren't talking based) have to be represented by a system or not included.
.. So you're saying you DON'T play games where there are no levels?
OP didn't say no advancement. just no levels or ability point gain.
presumably hes wanting to avoiding "I grew, so my character gets +1" instead looking for something more narrative.
I can see why he'd want to make one though.
A lot of players/dms find +1 to be a lot of bookkeeping/non-immersive/stale.
Especially someone that feels burnt out on 3.5 or similar, where a lot of people complain that "I get +1 or a collection of +1s" is 90% of the experience.
The probability didn't change, but the narrative consequence of a certain number can. Say you roll a 2d6. 1 means you did shitty, 12 means you did well. What "shitty" and "well" mean changes based on your character. You don't really need added numbers involved, you just need a DM able to creatively adjust his baselines of difficulty based on the circumstances.
A die pool based game would be a good alternative to the standard one die plus modifiers.
Sure, for one shot games or a system that doesn't work off of traditional dice. The reward for long term investment isn't as strong in a system like this because there is no objective way to mark progress and leveling is a skinner box style progression. If the goal of the game were measured another way, perhaps by wealth aquired or followers aquired then that would help.
Unisystem Buffy was essentially like that. You didn't truly level. There were three tiers for a character starting out, and higher literal power tiers had less narrative power (whatever they called the plot points system... probably just plot points.) The tiers were actually relatively balanced (considering it came out during the OGL era.) As you got more literally powerful, you would become less narratively powerful, and vice versa, so essentially you never leveled, you just moved sideways between a sliding ratio of narrative power to literal power.
dice pool is still a number.
a number that you add +1 dice to when you get better at it, unless you go the aforementioned checkbox route.
So are you talking whitewolf, or are you talking DnD 4e/5e's skill system, but where being good gets you advantage not your proficiency bonus added to the roll?
that's pretty neat.
what was its narrative power structure?
Esentially, it's a ballance between having higher stats, that boost your rolls all the time, versus having more Drama-Points (Googled what they were called) which allow you to boost single important rolls, or do other temporary-boost-like things that can be written off as pluck/luck. As one increases, the other decreases.
It's an interresting idea. At first, I liked it, then when I got my character how I mechanically wanted him, I didn't like it, then when I started making changes for character/plot reasons instead of mechanical crunch reasons, I liked it again.
hmmm. feels a little like the Stars Without Number way of doing psychic powers.
you either spend mana points on any power at all.
Or you invest them permenantly, and can thereafter use that power for free.
So you either specialize in being good at one particular thing, always, or you can be good at everything, but only so much before you run out of points, with most characters I would think deciding to be somewhere in the middle.
Honestly fighting with this in my homebrew right now. PCs start out on top and there is really not much room for improvement. There's also little need for it. I'm looking at other ways to build investment and improvements - I'm mostly leaning towards capping character stat increase, which should be hit fairly quickly.
how about do away with stat increases alltogether?
Just something like "add a detail about your character."
Everybody starts out with a certain number of blurbs of backstory and personal description.
(maybe with a system for taking flaw traits to gain an extra traits, to a limit)
Then you get to add things as you go.
>Have a character mention their long-lost brother to the group, and establish their character more through their relationship with them (which also gives you ideas for incorporating him, and having him become important in some way)
>Have a character discover some new capability.
>Have a character create a particular relationship with an npc or a party member
The experience of a richer narrative, fuller world, and better RP become their own player rewards.
If you couch it right, make it something you get to have, not something you have to do.
I think something like this would be the rub.
But I'd say "character change" rather than just growth. Plenty of awesome stories come from character's destroying themselves. Elric, Brad Armstrong or, hell, any Lovecraft protagonist, all are characters that are defined by how they ruin themselves.
Which way the change goes, I think it should be best treated the way we treat items.
In most games characters have their stats, which often feel safe, balanced and steady through out the game. Stats may grow but they do so on the player's terms.
Items, on the other hand, can play just as large a role as stats but have the potential to be much more fluid or precarious. Items must be found and their entire nature may not be known immediately. They can be purposefully sought out by players but are ultimately the property of the world itself. And most of all, they can be taken away.
Here is a game where the entire page is inventory space:
>2 Strong(+2) Arms, 2 Strong(+1) legs, both complete with 5 digits each
>1 head with 2 weak eyes(-2) and 2 ears, 1 mouth with a few teeth missing
>Misc. healthy organs
>Around the body
>Dirty clothes w/ wallet, lighter, keys and swiss army knife in pockets
>Father's grey jacket (2) w/ smokes in the breast pocket (1)
>Rucksack w/ dried food, scratchy blanket, bottle of water, revolver and map
>Broken eye glasses
>In the head
>Name: Oswald Harker (3)
>Memory: youth, unexplored (*)
>mild schizophrenia (-*)
>Identity/talent: boxer (+1)
>Talent: fishing (+3)
>Memory: Tessie is gone (*)
>Pact: With the mysterious Mortimer Woo (*)
>Habit: Keen listener (+1-4)
>Habit: Keep the mouth shut (2)
>Vision: The tree with the sign of three (-3)
>Misc. fuzzy thoughts
Number is from 1-5, indicates the usual strength of the trait. * means not yet known
+/- mean the tendency to help or hurt
Or something like that.
This is the argument I get in with action rpg's vs what I'd consider "actual" rpg's in video games. I don't consider something like Dark Souls an actual rpg even though it has stats and levels because the main determining factor of success is the player instead of the characters abilities. In a system I prefer when the player is separated as far as possible from the abilities of the character.
I play GURPS and I appreciate things like the "human calculator" advantage or the "common sense" advantage that helps in allowing stupid players to play smart characters. Or disadvantages that force a cautious player to play a reckless character ect. When I'm a player I play RPG's to experience and immerse myself in another role and another character. Simulation helps this far more than "rules free" play for me because I've never seen someone separate themselves from the character in rules free, people always just make up shit to fill whatever agenda they have. That might be "fun" I guess but its not experiencing another role or character its just projecting yourself into the game.
I find that if you really slow advancement down, players focus on in-setting power more. Things like building an army, starting businesses, getting into politics and whatnot.
I imagine that behavior would be even more encouraged if there's no advancement.
>Simulation helps this far more than "rules free" play for me because I've never seen someone separate themselves from the character in rules free, people always just make up shit to fill whatever agenda they have
euugh. I hate those. get better players.
>I find that if you really slow advancement down, players focus on in-setting power more. Things like building an army, starting businesses, getting into politics and whatnot.
Isnt that a lot of what 2e did?
sure, you gained levels, but like, 60% of the things you got were like control of your own castle, or an army of followers, a higher prestige in your druid clan or whatever.
Taking out systems like the Shadowrun karma means there is no way for the character to evolve, since all his skills are contained within the stats, and Shadowrun is already super anal about character progression (becoming an expert in one field can literally take years), including general knowledge skills.
On the other hand progression can happens around the character, like items, contacts, followers, etc.
You know, most FPS games are like this. You might find new weapons sure, but otherwise you experience the narrative essentially unchanged. Could we l lift storytelling mechanics to be applied in tabletop games from them?
Apart from having no levelling, FATE has something like this. You have Refresh that you spend on giving your character distinctive features, character traits, etc., and the number of Refresh left over becomes the maximum size of your "do stuff" pool (for gaining bonuses on rolls, acting against your instincts, or otherwise gaining a narrative advantage).
So basically, characters with high Refresh are average people with few notable traits, but are unpredictable and can pull off insane stunts. Characters with low Refresh are well-defined and can be potent in their area of expertise, but they're not as flexible.
The Dresden Files RPG really plays up how characters with 0 Refresh lack free will - they literally can't act in any way that isn't described by one of their aspects, and they can't ever push themselves harder than normal. It also uses the idea of spending Refresh in-game as a sort of corruption mechanic - buying more supernatural powers makes you less human.
So I've been playing in a UK larp for several years now with no levelling up at all. A fresh starting character can have just the same abilities as somebody who's been in the game since day 1.
On top of this, you can freely restat your character between events (which are, in world, annual. So if between games you join the army, come back next game statted as a legionary).
It works really well. The game becomes about hard skills and politics rather than the oldest players winning everything.
If you're in the UK, and you larp, come to Oddyssey, it's brilliant.
I kind of want to make an RPG system about the "trapped in an MMO" type game story. The defining feature would be two characters the player and the avatar. This fits in because you would have the "player" not have skills/abilities that change via xp or points and you could have the Avatar gain xp in the most gamish way imaginable and actually have it be immersive and in character.
Just a thought.
Honestly what's been going on so far has been great, I just wanted to gauge people's opinions on the matter.
I was mostly wondering because one of my greatest concerns is that without a levelling system players will lose interest in the game.
Pendragon doesn't give points or anything. If a player knight fills some requirement regarding the use of a skill, like getting a really good roll while wrestling, then he might increment the skill value that year. I think Call of Cthulhu does something similar, although it gives chances to increment the skill after time spent practicing it. Both exceptionally good and bad rolls give a chance to improve a skill.
But the idea of improving abilities and powers only with practice and performance means you don't run into paradoxical advancement. By that I mean getting better at basket-weaving as a result of murdering a room full of police officers, or becoming better with a bow when you haven't touched it in years.
Sure, as long as there is some system of reward for staying alive.
Even if the reward would be that you get to play a little longer, that would still work, as long as the game is really fun to play.
That depends on what they're there for. And gaining levels isn't synonymous with character advancement anyway.
You could easily have a game where the characters don't grow stronger automatically, but have to go on quests for that explicit purpose (learning a new skill, gaining an artifact weapon, awakening supernatural heritage, etc.) if they ever encounter an enemy who's too strong for them to handle.
Or you could have horizontal advancement rather than vertical, which is common in games with less focus on combat than something like D&D. Sometimes you get an in-between situation like with >>44703678 and >>44707613 where growing stronger isn't always the best choice.
>And gaining levels isn't synonymous with character advancement anyway.
Except it is.
Definition from the D&D 4 wiki: Levels are the basic measure of player character advancement in Dungeons & Dragons. Characters gain levels by earning experience points (XP). When a character's total XP equals or exceeds the amount needed for the next level, the character gains a level.
>You could easily have a game where the characters don't grow stronger automatically, but have to go on quests for that explicit purpose (learning a new skill, gaining an artifact weapon, awakening supernatural heritage, etc.) if they ever encounter an enemy who's too strong for them to handle.
Except that a soldier doesn't have to go on a super duper special mission to become more proficient in shooting things: shooting moving targets during target practice is perfectly reasonable in that regard (and that counts as XP which is the acronym for Experience)
Incredible, isn't it? It's like there is an actual reason that they call it experience and that it is needed to level up! Mindblowing, I know.
Simply remember that there is a reason behind that logic and that this logic makes more sense than anything else.
I frequently play Shadowrun and Cyberpunk 2020, which have point abilities rather than hard levels.
Dark Heresy had levels in the first edition, which second edition seems to have largely dispensed with.
If you look at Hit die as meat points, I agree.
I usually describe it like they get a small bruise or a shallow cut, until they actually take enough damage to fall unconscious and/or die.
Regarding class ability, I don't know what you mean.
But I do agree that point buy and point gain systems are superior than other systems.
Class Features like, At level 8 in pathfinder the Bard gains the ability of using "Dirge of Doom" or at 12th level "Soothing Performance". But yeah I guess hit die as a sense of attrition in combat makes more sense with those types of systems. I play GURPS so hit points are very much meat flesh for the most part.
I'm playing some DH recently and I understand... maybe. A little bit.
Anyways, the abilities are probably because the bard becomes more awesome when he levels up and can learn better stuff. Like irl. First you learn how to ride a bicycle, then a motorcycle and then a car. And maybe a fighter jet.