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#1 Rike Nore

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 03:26 AM

I'm new to the boards, and if there was already a similar thread I apologize but I could find one.

 

I'm looking for any rules on creating new and different classes. I've already started to break down the class in the core book, trying to figure out who they are balanced but honestly it doesn't look like they are.

What I want to do for my new game is get rid of the base classes completely. And let the players build their own. Something along the lines of how they already spend DP. 

An Example: you start with 30 class points, you spend 5 to increase your Life points per level. Spend 2 points to decrease the cost of Attack from 3 to 2.

Something like that. I think the cost of improving each item, will have to depend on a class type you chose first. So it would be cheaper for a Fighter to improve Life Points and attack then say a Mystic.

Has anyone done or seen anything along these lines? Is anyone interested in helping me create rules like these?

Let me know and thanks.



#2 Rii Nagaja

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 07:30 AM

I haven't seen anybody doing something like that, but always heard rumors and speculations about it being possible or not.
I would like to brainstorm about it, though at the start I only have indications for difficulties to offer.

 

So first a problem that may arise making something a 'generation through points' tool in general. It can be exploited.
Whenever you offer a system that let's you spend points to choose and improve abilites, there will always be the PG-fraction that instantly has its calculators readied to find the optimal solution for their character. There is this urge to make the things efficient and well thought out- -I know it all to well.
So for a concrete example, if you want to make the jump from 3 to 2 DP for the block ability cost 2 of the class-generation points, everyone would feel themselves pushed to just choose that for either dodge or block - whatever they want to go with later. But looking into the books tells you that most combat classes have both at cost 2 DP, so that you choose after you elected your class. This is even more of a problem for the cheapening of secondary skills.
You can generalise this problem to the point where class generating players would do the hell choosing just fluff relevant skill or whatever boni, because that would always draw on their capability as fighters/mages dotdot. E.g.: Why would I have +10 style per level as an acrobatic warrior, if I could just get another +10 acrobatics, which leads to incredible uncounterable combat boni later with the right build? Same with leadership and persuation, or any cheapening of skill branches.

So the original classes kind of serve as tool to force some more 'inefficient' but stylish and realistic-real-human fluff onto the players and the GM.
Making it a paying system would draw that away or in return punish those who actually invest points into secondary abilities (/or any other kind of 'unfocused' build), because they will always stand back a bit against the full center hardliners.

This is allready a huge problem to consider.

Another one, in combination with the first, is the missconception that a open class generating system will inherently lead to new and interesting, but through the equality of the generations points, well balanced classes. As I said first, people tend to optimise their character build if there are no forces restraining or punishing them for doing so. So most classes will come out as (overstated examples) "Evokation-magic Ninja" with all points in summoning, zeon, hide/stealth and rest in battle, but no general magic, no banish, bind, or control. Another one: "KI Weaponsmaster" 10 MK per level too low? Class change to technician for 60 DP later? Meh! How about a combo class that allows class change for 40DP without cost, where you also get rid of the "Feats of Strength" per level bonus and the cheap lifepoints multiple (that nobody uses anyway) and get increased MK, maybe KI for 1 DP allready (as preperation for later)  in return?
Optimisation like that is breaking for sure. You will see players justifiying their classes with very strange artifical logic ("he has only trained how to make poisons his whole life, so he gets an +40 poisons per level bonus"). :( Convenient logic, but still not real at all.

 

But this is honestly a problem of any point paying system that exists so far, so you can expect that there have been different approaches to counter this (very natural) behaviour.


One for example is to make every further investment into an allready improved group of skills/or whatever even more expensive than the last time, so that the costs grow exponentially. You will never get the same amount of ware for the same price, which leads to some pondering if the focus of +10 here might be worth it, if you could get an overall spread +10 in five different skills for the same cost, and wouldn't that be more handy and efficient now?
I think that is kind of intelligent, because it doesn't actually restrain the player/GM in anything. Strategy is stays open, but you have to sacrifice something if you still go powerstriving to the limit. :) It is more a kind of politics instead of a solid wall. Encouragement instead of prohibition.
This only appears suitable for more longterm investment systems however, so it would be more a thing for the DP investment. Mini payment systems, where every option does only have 2 or 3 steps don't really work with it, but the principle is a good thing.

Another example are the conditions of the world. If your campaign consists of die hard fights out of every tree shadow, of course players will optimise for fight. If you are only playing detective stories, players may even focus on their non-combat abilites only and crazily overhype them.
There is a game named Shadowrun, where in the 4th edition the generating and skilling system is totally free, but still doesn't come out unbalanced. I think one of the main reasons for that is that their world really requires any kind of skill, and on the same time low skill levels aren't so heavily punished (while higher scores don't give you that much of an advantage on most/standard occasions). This setup lead to an overall very realistic character building for any player, where every skill was used and even tertiary knowledge skills would be sometimes purchased for fluff … aand because it may actually be useful.
Totally class and limitless, yet balanced - I was impressed. So, if you can manage to construct the right mixture of pressure in your rpg world and have a system that let's everybody achieve at least something in everything they try, you can actually have that naturally without any kind of politics and barrier. Of course, for Anima, this would be not yours to decide.

The last example is what Anima actually does with its clear spending limits in the DP growth. I don't think this is a particularly clever system, because I hate hard restrains for their absolute decision barrier and slightly predetermined development, but it is quite a valid solution too. Since you don't have anything to do with the 40 extra DP per level, you could as well invest them into something personality building aside (though Anima kind of messed up that there is no individual limit on every skill, so it may be more efficient to  focus and have one 'superskill' instead of being an all around Mr. Useless). So at least some character building gets forced on you (a good thing here).
I would recommend this solution for a small payment system like this, though I am not sure. You could determine that a prowler class could spend around 18 points (60%) for secondarys while a fighter class only gets 9 or 12 or whatever.
There could be type related limits on single skills, MK or Magic, or everything could just get increasingly more expensive (like with the attribut point 10 which costs double with the payment method).

What I am sure of is just, that there is some management and detouring needed if you want to prevent strangeness overload. Creators will still seek optimal solutions, but you could establish some valid balance between a 'concentrated' and a diversed build with the right politics, so ideally nobody is getting punished.

Taking the pressure of am I?



#3 Beadle

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 04:25 AM

Ouch.  This is a seriously difficult undertaking.  That's not to say it's impossible, but it would take a LOT of work, and a lot of restrictions placed on it.  And it's kind of the reason for having a Freelancer type in the first place, but admittedly it doesn't cover every option.

1)  I don't think you can completely abandon Classes entirely.  Whatever character you come up with will need to have some defined Class, even it it's a brand new one.  The reason for this is that you will need to select an Archetype (or a Dual Archetype).  This may sound counter-intuitive, if you're going for a "class-less" system, but it's the only way to specify certain aspects,

e.g. i)  Max percentages for different Primaries - Classes that focus on one type of Primary (Warriors/Wizards/Mentalists etc) max out at 60% on that Primary, ones that focus on more than one, e.g Warlock, and pure Prowlers max out at 50% on all of them, and only the Freelancer has all three max out at 60%.

e.g. ii)  Players may find they want to change their characters' focus as they go through the levels, learning different skills / gaining more Martial Knowledge etc.  Unless you're going to SEVERELY limit your players' potential for development by saying "We don't have classes, so whatever choices you make for your class build at the start, you will be stuck with forever.", you need to know how much it will cost to switch classes at a later date.  That depends on an Archetype.  And the GM would have to approve the Archetype for that character.  You can't realistically say in most cases that a player who focuses on Magic & Intellectual skills to start with (and has expensive costs for other things), but then wants to focus on Combat, Psychic Power and Athletic skills later is in the same Archetype group.  They have to pay more to switch.

2)  Assuming the Anima Studios guys have made sure that the pre-existing classes are balanced, you have to go through a process of comparing different classes to understand the "price" of each aspect.  You'd start with similar classes and gradually work from there, until you can reasonably tell how each different bit balances.

e.g. Paladins have the same basic stats and number of Secondary skill bonuses as Dark Paladins.  Banish is 2 points cheaper for them, whereas Control is 2 points cheaper for Dark Paladins, and Dark Paladins also have 1 point cheaper Intellectual skills.

Therefore, you can assume that:  -2DP per Banish Point = -2DPper Control Point & -1DP per Intellectual Skill.

To get to a fully balanced point-buy system, you have to do a LOT of this kind of maths.

3)  Then you need to apply certain caps on things, in line with the character classes in the books.  Nothing should cost more than 3 points, and nothing can cost less than 1 point (obviously).  No level bonuses for Secondary skills or Primaries should be more than +10 (except Zeon and Psychic Points, which have to be scaled appropriately, and can't be lower than the bonuses for, say, a Warrior).

 

Like I said.  This is a LOT of work.



#4 ElricOfMelnibone

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 09:05 AM

I've made several "specialization classes" (four for each base class from the game), which are variant of the original classes, and of course I had to use a balancing tool for it, hence I calculated roughly a CP value for most stuff, based on the CP cost of advantages. Here goes:

+5Life Points/Level (Base +5/Level) = 1/2CP

+5Initiative/Level (Base +5/Level) = 2CP

+5MK/Level (Base +10/Level) = 2CP

+1PP/(-1Level) (Base +1/3Levels) = 1CP

-1DP/Attack (Base 3DP) = 2CP

-1DP/Block (Base 3DP) = 2CP

-1DP/Dodge (Base 3DP) = 2CP

+5Attack/Level (Base 0) = 3CP

+5Block/Level (Base 0) = 3CP

+5Dodge/Level (Base 0) = 3CP

-1DP/Wear Armor (Base 3DP) = 1CP

+5Wear Armor/Level (Base 0) = 1CP

-1DP/Ki Point (Base 3DP) = 1CP

-5DP/Ki Accumulation (Base 30DP) = 1/2CP

-1DP/5Zeon Points (Base 3DP) = 1CP

+25Zeon Points/Level (Base 0) = 1CP

-10DP/Magic Accumulation Multiple (Base 70DP) = 1CP

-1DP/Magic Projection (Base 3DP) = 2CP

-1DP/Single Summoning Ability (Base 3DP) = 1CP

-1DP/All Summoning Abilities (Base 3DP) = 2CP

+5Single Summoning Ability/Level (Base 0) = 1/2CP

+5All Summmoning Abilties/Level (Base 0) = 2CP

+10 All Summoning Abilities/Level (Base 0) = 3CP

-5DP/Psychic Point (Base 20DP) = 1CP

-1DP/Psychic Projection (Base 3DP) = 2CP

-1DP/Single Secondary Ability (Base 3DP) = 1CP

-1DP/All Secondary Abilities in a Field (Base 3DP) = 2CP

+5Single Secondary Ability/Level (Base 0) = 1/2CP

+5All Seconadary Abilities in a Field/Level (Base 0) = 2CP

+10 All Secondary Abilities in a Field/Level (Base 0) = 3CP

 

Cost of other stuff in the equation should be calculated with a bit of common sense…also, some limits should be used. Attack/Defense/Projection costs should NEVER fall below 2DP/Point. A class should never grant more than +10 Initiative/Level. A maximum Class bonus of +10 should be granted to anyone Secondary Ability per level…and so on…I believe that classes in the core rulebook should give a rather reasonable idea of what the boundaries of abilities should be. Anyway, my own classes sometimes go past those bounds, with a class (Barbarian) getting +30Life Points/Level and another (Defender) getting +15Wear Armor/Level. Anyway, that's about the way I built my 80 Specialist Classes…

 



#5 Rike Nore

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 11:34 AM

Good to see some responses. I'll start with Rii.

I agree and/or already planed on almost everything you mentioned. I was already figuring on having staged improvement, +1 attack 2 cost x, and +1 attack 1 cost y. Also same with innate bonuses +5 and plus +10, +10 being the limit with most things. I'm not worried too much about the players Min/Maxing, there a decent bunch, and I'm running a RP heavy game with combat being limited to a very few, very hard battles. I like Anima because the game is meant to be played by overpowered characters.

I'm looking for a balanced system to make classes, not a system to make balanced classes. Every campaign I run, no matter the system, I beef up my players.  It makes it funner for me to make them very badass, and then try and kill them fairly. I will add your suggestions to my notes.

 

Beadle.

1) I don't plan on abandoning classes completely. The first step will be choosing and Arch Type, which each will have it's own baseline, and costs. So a Fighter will spend less to improve attack, and Domine less to improve KI. And this will place the limits on DP spending and respecing(classes changing)

2) Already had a spreadsheet started before making this post. The difficulty of it is what caused me to make the post. Hoping there might already be something out there to save me time and homicidal rages.

3) Caps will be in place. I like my guys, and trust my guys. But give a fat kid the keys to a candy shop and we all know what will happen.

 

Elric.

That will help out, thanks. See what someone else did will give me a good starting point.

 

I would like to add that the classes in the core book are very balanced. But that's the issues my group is having, there too balanced. There are only minor differences between the similar classes, and some obvious combos that are missing.

Thanks for the help so far, keep comments and suggestions coming. I'll start posting what I have done as soon as I can. Working and holidays always eat all my free time. But I'll try to get something up by the end of the week for anyone interested.



#6 Beadle

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 08:07 PM

 Yeah, there are a few obvious combos missing.

Mentalist-Prowler, Domine-Mentalist, Domine-Wizard, and Domine-Prowler are the ones that leap out.  But in some cases there might be a reason for this.  If you've noticed how dangerous a Warrior-Mentalist can get, you'll realise that a Domine-Mentalist or Domine-Wizard could get very broken, very quickly.

And Elric, that list is fantastic.  The only thing that's really difficult to judge is the impact of reduced MA costs that the Tao has, or the Weaponmaster's equivalent with modules.  Partly because they're difficult to scale accordingly.  And other than the +5 Style bonus, that reduced MA cost is all a Tao gets, so you'd need to assume it uses a lot of CP in your system.  I suppose the best you could do with the MA thing, if you were offering a limited benefit, would be to say that this Tao-Whatever hybrid gets no Style bonus, has the same price for his first MA as a Tao, and thereafter the costs are 15/35 (as opposed to 10/20 for Tao, and 20/50 for everybody else), and that this benefit costs 50% of their allowable CP.

I don't think you CAN do the Weaponmaster modules benefit as a partial benefit.  The DP prices vary so much between modules so they're not easily divisible, and you also have to pick out the other benefits that a Weaponmaster gets (unlike a Tao, he DOES get other stuff), so it's just too messy.

 



#7 Rike Nore

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 11:44 PM

Actually those are the least of my worries. Ignore those 2 classes for the moment, or all classes with special adjustments. and find a reasonable method, just apply it in reverse to those classes and what ever is left over in the end is what they cost.

From what I'm seeing, Psychic skills are the most expensive. The Mentalist has the least about of over all improvements, but this is because Psychic powers are very strong and should cost more.

Magic seems to be the cheapest. Which this is the only system that I haven't memorized the magic system, so I don't know the details.

The Weapon Masters reduce module cost isn't all that powerful from my perspective, unlike the Tao's reduced martial arts cost. Although the martial arts are cheaper, you are still limited in how many you can have so it's not super powerful.

 

OK time for work



#8 ElricOfMelnibone

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:53 AM

I must say again that my system WASN'T meant to create entirely new classes, but ONLY to modify existing ones, making "variant" or "specialist" classes, similar to kits in old TSR D&D 2nd and a half edition. Balancing for Taos and Weapon Masters is definitely tricky as is for any other "special rule" which cannot be fully encompassed by advantages/disadvantages. Several of my classes are under playtest right now and so far I'm rather satisfied with the balancing. I'm not posting all of my creations because several of those are "Elan Champion Classes" and many of those are referring to some additional "Elan Entities" I'm playtesting in my campaigns. Now, since I'm not entirely sure of the "good quality of the product", I'm not posting the entire thing, although I might actually post somewhere else those specialist classes that don't refer to my own Elans. I hade made it in an old post, but much work has been made since then so I'm probably making a new topic.



#9 Beadle

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 05:07 AM

Oh, absolutely understood.

But you could certainly extrapolate your system to make a new class if you felt the need to put the effort in.

For example, a "Ninja" (ack…. overused word, and probably inappropriate, since they'd almost certainly be armed) Class might be a Domine-Prowler hybrid (Part Tao, Part Assassin).  Get part of the Tao's MA benefits, and part of the Assassin's skillset.

Personally, I'm happy enough with the existing classes, at least for now.  But there's certainly scope for creation.



#10 Beadle

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 05:20 AM

Hi Elric,

I was really interested in seeing how your CP-system worked out (because it looks great), so I had a go at applying it to the standard classes in the book.  Yeah, I really was that bored.  :)

There's quite a lot of disparity between classes.  The system is really harsh on non-combat classes, and also seems to favour classes that don't specialise.

I also added in a figure (plucked from the top of my head) of 1CP for -5 Life Point Multiple (Base=20), because that hadn't been taken into account.  Working it out as well as I could, it goes something like:

 

Warrior - 37.5 CP

Acrobatic Warrior - 38.5 CP

Paladin - 43.3 CP

Dark Paladin - 44.8 CP

Weaponsmaster - 32 CP (+ Special benefit of 1/2-price modules.  Maybe +3CP?)

Technician - 42 CP

Tao - 32 CP (+ Special benefit of 1/2-price Martial Arts.  Maybe +5CP?)

Ranger - 38 CP (+ Special benefit of +10 Ki Detection.  Maybe +1CP?)

Shadow - 37 CP (+ Special benefit of +5 Ki Concealment.  Maybe +1/2CP?)

Thief - 34.5 CP (+ Special benefit of +5 Ki Concealment.  Maybe +1/2CP?)

Assassin - 37 CP

Wizard - 28.5 CP

Warlock - 45.8 CP

Illusionist - 33 CP

Wizard Mentalist - 33.5 CP

Summoner - 28.5 CP

Warrior Summoner - 44.8 CP

Mentalist - 20 CP

Warrior Mentalist - 38 CP

Freelancer - 26.4 CP (+ Special benefit of cheap class switching.)

 

This is why Class Creation is so difficult.  Balancing is a nightmare.  0_o

I suppose it partly comes down to a lot of the "Reduced DP Cost for xxxx" benefits having a decent CP-value, but effectively just being optional.  A Warlock has a lot of options for spending his DP, but at the end of the day he still only has a certain amount to spend.  Just because he gets cheap combat skills, cheapish magic skills and sort-of mid-range Ki costs, he can still only spend the same amount of DP as a Mentalist.  The Mentalist just has less options for what he spends them on.



#11 ElricOfMelnibone

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:16 AM

Classes in Anima are not balanced "CP wise". They are pretty much balanced by playstyle…that's why I prefer making alternative classes by balancing them in comparison to a specific class.



#12 Rike Nore

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:15 AM

One thing I'm currently trying and I think it will help even out the CP scales, it not having a single "Base" for all classes.



#13 ElricOfMelnibone

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:47 PM

 There's also one factor in class balancing which is not considered by the CP system: the % allowance on primaries. Warlocks seem to have tons of CPs, but they can only put up to 50% on combat and supernatural, while a wizard can put up to 60% on supernatural and a warrior up to 60%.

Oh, and when calculating stuff:

+10Ki Detection/Level = 1CP

+5Ki Occultation/Level = 1/2CP

As for Tao's and Weapon Masters' discounts, I'd say your calculation might be right.

Overall I prefer modifying existing classes because I believe that allowing complete class customization would easily allow munchkin builds (something which is already possible in this game) to a much higher degree.



#14 Beadle

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:26 PM

That %age max is an important factor, but it has one issue with trying to cover it with a CP-value.

Freelancers.

They can spend up to 60% on each, officially, but clearly they can't spend 60% on Combat, 60% on Supernatural, and 60% on Psychic, because that's 180%.  So again, it's a benefit that gives them options, but they can't choose ALL of the options.

 

Oh, and for the record, I agree about not needing to create new classes.  In fact I don't think there's even really any need to change the existing ones.  A Psi-Prowler and Domine-Prowler class would be good, but not essential.



#15 ElricOfMelnibone

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 02:31 AM

I made them (the Psy-Prowler and Domine-Prowler). The Psy-Prowler is a specialization of the Warrior-Mentalist (the Psyssassin), and the Domine-Prowler is the Ninja specialization of the Shadow class.

You can find both in the "Specialist Classes MKII" topic.



#16 Heart of the Tiger

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 08:27 PM

Reducing the cost of Block from 2DP/point to 1DP/point, like the Weaponmaster does, should be worth double the cost of reducing it from 3/point to 2/point.

Changing a limit from 50% to 60% should be worth 5CP if taken 1x, 9 CP if taken 2x, 12 CP if taken three times and so on. Reason: You cannot spend more than 100% of your DP.



#17 Beadle

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:03 PM

Heart of the Tiger said:

Reducing the cost of Block from 2DP/point to 1DP/point, like the Weaponmaster does, should be worth double the cost of reducing it from 3/point to 2/point.

Changing a limit from 50% to 60% should be worth 5CP if taken 1x, 9 CP if taken 2x, 12 CP if taken three times and so on. Reason: You cannot spend more than 100% of your DP.

What?!

As far as I am aware there are NO classes for whom Block only costs 1DP (and the same with Attack, Dodge, Magic Projection or Psychic Projection for that matter).  It would be utterly broken if that was possible.

And the 10% increase in Primary max is much less valuable than the difference between 2DP and 3DP for Block, Dodge, Attack etc.  Much less.  In fact, for the third type of Primary (only really applicable for Wizard Mentalists), the extra 10% is virtually useless.  No more than 1/2CP, or MAYBE 1CP at a push for that.



#18 Heart of the Tiger

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:24 PM

My apologies, I meant Wear Armor, and I sincerely think that is justified, as it halves the cost do inrease that primary ability.

And no, the 10% extra is not useless, it's actually pretty damn powerful, because it allows you to have attack and defense at their limits and another 10% of your DP to purchase Martial Árts, Impossible Weapons and ki stuff. Maybe its not worth 5 CP as that really is much but it is surely worth 3CP at least, with the diminished cost if taken again.



#19 Beadle

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:54 PM

Ah, Wear Armour makes much more sense!  :)

And as for the %age increase, I'd definitely agree it's useful.  I'd go along with 3CP for the 1st Primary, 2 CP for the 2nd Primary and maybe 1/2CP for the 3rd.  Because really… if a Wizard Mentalist (the only class really likely to utilise 3 primaries) has both Magic and Psychic powers to use for attack and defence, his Combat Primaries aren't going to be used much at all, so allowing him an extra 10% is going to be pointless - he won't be using the 50% he already has!



#20 Heart of the Tiger

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 12:34 AM

Beadle said:

 

I'd go along with 3CP for the 1st Primary, 2 CP for the 2nd Primary and maybe 1/2CP for the 3rd. 

 

 

That's ok. Multiple 60% limits are just there to give you a choice.






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