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GoblynByte

Discussing a "classless" system…

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Someone brought this up in another thread. I personally have mixed feelings about classes. They work in some cases and don't in others. But I think we should take an honest look at the idea. What be the benefits?

I will say this: I'm having a tough time figuring the mechanical benefit of careers in EotE.

Niche protection of the PCs? Well, the careers skills are often redundant with those you get with the specialization. Also, their use in niche protection is somewhat dubious as the distribution of which career gets which skill is more literal than game balanced.

I wonder if it would be better if they just plotted out a slew of talent trees (the same ones they already have) and disassociated them with any careers. Then just let every character pick 4 career skills and buy up to 3 specilizations (talent trees) at the same progressive cost (10 x number of trees). These trees would also come with associated career skills. Then you get 6 points to distribute across your career skills.

You'd get more or less the same effect and you could still go with the D6 route and give "suggested" careers with three talent trees and career skills. These could basically be the same as the existing careers.

In the end, all you'd be eliminating would be the extra cost for "non-career" specializations.

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            This is an interesting idea, and I must say it would follow the theme of Guerilla warfare types who have a strange mix of skills and are not necessarily professional soldiers with a strict skill set.

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Jegergryte said:

So basically re-writing the career into "archetypes" that serves as examples of skill and talent constellations? I could support that notion.

So basically increase the starting XP and add a few steps to character creation?

It's certainly an idea.

As suggested, keep the various specializations, but instead of only getting a free rank in two of the listed trained skills, you'd get a rank in all four.  And as there's no longer any careers, just use the "part of your career" cost for buying new specializations.

As for the starting career skills, perhaps change it so that players choose four skills, gaining a free rank in that skill in addition to it becoming a career skill.

Or, just bin the entire concept of career vs. non-career skills, and just use the career skill cost for all skills.  In that case, I'd just let the PCs choose to gain a free rank in four different skills, and then get just two ranks from their initial specialization.

Probably wouldn't even need to increase the starting XP if the non-career skill cost is deep-sixed.

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 I think it would work just as well to have each specialization be it's own career.  Then moving on to new careers still has some archetype underpinnings (pilot, scoundrel, etc), but you aren't constrained on preconceived notions of what careers lead into others.  To avoid cherry picking the best talents in order to get the "right" build, set some threshold of xp that a character can spend in a career (what we now know as specializations) that will allow for reduced xp costs to hop into a new career.  

I like career systems similar to WHFRP 1,2,3  where character growth is granular, rp driven, and variable…but the career system we have in EotE isn't really a career system.  Its just a class and archetype system that seems to have been slightly undermined by this week's update.

I say make it more like WFRP with short burst careers that lead into any combination a player could want.  Want to be a Pilot/Smuggler/Politico?  Done and done.  Just provide a reason via xp thresholds to hang out in a specialization/career long enough to reduce the xp cost to hop to a new tree/career/specialization.

 

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On the surface it would be a lot like WEG's templates. They function superficially as classes, keeping flavor and suggesting ability groupings and quick concepts. But it would allow greater flexibility without sacrificing balance. You'd still get the gimmick of the classes just without the issues that come with missing the mark in balance and coverage.

For example, there would still be the pilot, scoundrel, and thief talent trees, and the Smuggler career would still use them, but this career would only be a suggestion and there would be no cost difference between any of those three trees and, say, the same character buying the slicer talent tree. You'd get one talent tree for free, pay n for your second tree, and n x y for your third (or some formula therein).

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So, really, this nuance could be implemented with only a few changes that site which specializations you can buy (from "in your career" to "buy any you want based on concept") and how much they cost (just remove mention of "non-career" specializations). The careers that are in the book can be kept as WEG-style templates or archetypes. New players can pick them up real quickly.

This could also be a good way of solving the "not all scoundrels are Smugglers" debate I've seen tossed around the boards. happy.gif

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I like the notion of this thread, but I want to play devil's advocate a little bit.

We're looking at this from the mindset of gamers ingrained in the hobby and in the the system. An idea like this doesn't scare us or turn us away from the game, because conceptualizing characters has become part and parcel of who we are long ago.

But this isn't a campaign world that very few people may ever have contact with. This isn't an RPG designed after a popular miniatures game (that even as popular as it is, most people from outside of the hobby will have never heard of it). This is Star Wars! This is going to attract the attention of people who may have never even heard of a roleplaying game before just on the strength of the name alone. Just listen to Jay's story about the gamers he met at GenCon in one of the more recent Order 66 episodes. And I do think that the game needs to be designed with that in mind.

When you have someone who has never played an RPG before, but knows and loves Star Wars, they can come to the table and say "I want to play a bounty hunter." Or "I want to play Han Solo." And with the way the career system is structured, it gives the player an immediate idea of where to start, more than a handful of random talent trees ever could.

That kind of model works for us - but I'd argue that while we may be a target market, we're not the only one. Hell, we may not even be the biggest one. We're just the one they asked to beta test the rules for them. I say if it works for your table - go for it. Make the system your own and remove careers from the game as you see fit. But I do believe they need to stay in the final product when you look at it from a "Star Wars" perspective instead of as a "roleplaying game" perspective.

Just my two creds.

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Cyril said:

I like the notion of this thread, but I want to play devil's advocate a little bit.

We're looking at this from the mindset of gamers ingrained in the hobby and in the the system. An idea like this doesn't scare us or turn us away from the game, because conceptualizing characters has become part and parcel of who we are long ago.

But this isn't a campaign world that very few people may ever have contact with. This isn't an RPG designed after a popular miniatures game (that even as popular as it is, most people from outside of the hobby will have never heard of it). This is Star Wars! This is going to attract the attention of people who may have never even heard of a roleplaying game before just on the strength of the name alone. Just listen to Jay's story about the gamers he met at GenCon in one of the more recent Order 66 episodes. And I do think that the game needs to be designed with that in mind.

When you have someone who has never played an RPG before, but knows and loves Star Wars, they can come to the table and say "I want to play a bounty hunter." Or "I want to play Han Solo." And with the way the career system is structured, it gives the player an immediate idea of where to start, more than a handful of random talent trees ever could.

That kind of model works for us - but I'd argue that while we may be a target market, we're not the only one. Hell, we may not even be the biggest one. We're just the one they asked to beta test the rules for them. I say if it works for your table - go for it. Make the system your own and remove careers from the game as you see fit. But I do believe they need to stay in the final product when you look at it from a "Star Wars" perspective instead of as a "roleplaying game" perspective.

Just my two creds.

I don't really disagree with any of that. That argument goes a long way towards my mixed feelings regarding class-based systems. But that would be where the archetypes would come in. Much the same way that WEG was designed, and even the way the Beta is designed now, you'd have those already prepped classes ready to go. Nothing would change in that respect. In fact, to the uninitiated player the difference would be negligible because they could still say "I want to play Han Solo" and take the existing Smuggler career that would list three suggested talent trees. The packages are offered the same as they are now, but the power is given to advanced players to be responsible for their own builds without an arbitrary tax on customization.

When you boil it down to the bone, what I'm arguing is this: what effect on game balance do we really get from having a tiered cost for career vs. non-career specializations? I mean, look at it honestly.  Would it really change anything to have the same cost for all specializations? Does the power of a Smuggler with the Slicer specialization really need to be tempered?

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Just to clarify, keep the cost for multiple specializations for a single character. Have each successive specialization cost more than the last. But remove the added cost of non-career trees. That would be the only change.

Another way to look at it is that with the current system you're doubling up on the limiting accessibility traits. You're already limited from which talents you buy based on the specialization you own. Why limit it even further based on the career you choose?

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Let me write this out in a more formal manner just to provide a solid example of what I'm suggesting. Here would be my only change to character generation…

Using an Archetype: Pick an archetype. This gives you a list of 8 starting career skills in which you can place 4 starting skill points. The archetype also lists three specializations often associated with that style of character. Each specialization lists 4 skills that also become career skills. You get one of these specialization for free and you may place two skill points in any skill listed in that specialization. You may purchase additional specializations for 10 for the second and 15 for the third. You may not purchase any more than 3 specializations and you do not gain starting skill points in any of these additional specializations.

Designing a character without an archetype: You may design a character based on a concept of your own. To do this you come up with a description of your concept. Such as Starship Thief or Outlaw. Pick a list of 8 skills that are important to the concept of this character. These become your career skills and you may pick four of them in which to place a skill rank. Pick one specialization and count the skills provided as career skills. Pick two of them in which to place a single skill rank. You may buy up to two more specializations using the same formula presented above. The skills in each specialization become career skills but you do not get any free skill ranks to place in them.

All choices of character design must be approved by your game master.

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I like this idea.

Also, to keep with the week 4 update of no limit on specialisation ('cause it makes little sense with such a limitation), any specialisation beyond the first three has increased cost? so the second and third costs 10 and 15, but the fourth costs 40 xp. Thus the three first specialisations constitute your basic "career" and anything beyond is just extra - and costly.

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Callidon said:

 I think it would work just as well to have each specialization be it's own career.  Then moving on to new careers still has some archetype underpinnings (pilot, scoundrel, etc), but you aren't constrained on preconceived notions of what careers lead into others.  To avoid cherry picking the best talents in order to get the "right" build, set some threshold of xp that a character can spend in a career (what we now know as specializations) that will allow for reduced xp costs to hop into a new career.  

I like career systems similar to WHFRP 1,2,3  where character growth is granular, rp driven, and variable…but the career system we have in EotE isn't really a career system.  Its just a class and archetype system that seems to have been slightly undermined by this week's update.

I say make it more like WFRP with short burst careers that lead into any combination a player could want.  Want to be a Pilot/Smuggler/Politico?  Done and done.  Just provide a reason via xp thresholds to hang out in a specialization/career long enough to reduce the xp cost to hop to a new tree/career/specialization.

 

I have been thinking along these lines myself, as the current careers only give access to 8 career skills and the opportunity to buy specializations, specializations only give you access to a few more skills (some more than others) and access to a single talent tree.

So the answer would be to convert all current specializations into their own careers with access to about 8/10 skills at character generation, and access to a relevant talent tree (although the trees still need an overhaul).  This would also mean that we would need a few more talent trees to go with the current careers, but that shouldn't take too much work.

By using this method it would be easy enough to allow players/gms to develop new careers to fit specific concepts and also allow for the introduction of advanced careers, I am not how advanced careers could fit in the system as is but these were always fun as part of wfrp.

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GoblynByte said:

Designing a character without an archetype: You may design a character based on a concept of your own. To do this you come up with a description of your concept. Such as Starship Thief or Outlaw. Pick a list of 8 skills that are important to the concept of this character. These become your career skills and you may pick four of them in which to place a skill rank. Pick one specialization and count the skills provided as career skills. Pick two of them in which to place a single skill rank.

Is there a like button on this site?

I think this should be the way to go. It allows more flexibility in character creation and the way characters are built, and removes the headache of the career/non-career specialization argument. However, I still don't like the limit of 3 specializations. If a character wants to be a jack of all trades, master of none, let them be just that. I second the idea of the 5 times number of specs as a cost for the first two extra, but then make it ten times, that way excessive growth is limited.
1 = free, 2 = 10 xp, 3 = 15 xp, 4 = 40 xp, 5 = 50 xp, etc.

One other note - with this system of "classes", I don't think any skills granted by additional specializations should be considered career skills. If we allowed that, it would be possible (just as it's possible now, but far more expensive) to get virtually every skill as a career skill. A character could potentially just take new specs until he has every skill he wants as career, then level skills.

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Class-based systems can often paint game designers in a corner, especially when it comes time for them to write out iconic characters in a licensed setting. Trying to get the source material to jive with the arbitrary, game-based balance system can often produce wonkey results.

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About career skills. Let's say you pick 8 to start with, for example from an existing career - now called archetype - or your own 8 (as in GoblynByte's write up above). Then you get additional from your first three specialisations, as these constitute your specific career, however it is made up. Any additional specialisations only supply you with access to talents, no new career skills.

 

EDIT: Or we could just drop the "career" skill notion. Pick some starting skills with a free rank, and all skills are increased by paying rank x 5 XP (or if we want to make it slightly more expensive rank x 5 +5). It would be similar to WEG and D6.

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Jegergryte said:

 

EDIT: Or we could just drop the "career" skill notion. Pick some starting skills with a free rank, and all skills are increased by paying rank x 5 XP (or if we want to make it slightly more expensive rank x 5 +5). It would be similar to WEG and D6.

 

 

I was thinking this whilst walking the dog.  For starting characters just let them pick 6 skills and have a free rank in each.

We could then tie talent trees to skills and let starting characters choose two talent trees that relate to these starting skills?

And then spend xp to increase any skill and to buy talents on those two specific trees.

I would probably introduce the opportunity to buy new talent trees when a character increases a rank in a linked skill?

This would keep character creation and progression relatively simple and free-form but the book could have lots of career/archetype suggestions on types of skill/talent tree combinations for new players to choose from if they wish?

It would mean some rationalisation of the talent trees but we have another thread for this.

 

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Being a veteran WEG player, I agree with a lot of what is being said here. Give each character 6 skill ranks and the choice of 1 spec for talent trees, maybe two. I was also thinking that each spec should have one "iconic item" that a character gets for free if it's their starting spec. A medpac for a doctor, blaster carbine for a hired gun, tool kit for a mechanic, etc. Tinkerer specs could even start with one free attachment for their gear, possibly even with the chance to roll for one free mod before gameplay begins.

After that, keep it simple for purchasing new skills, 5 x new rank; or even 5 x current rank, with a 10 XP cost for rank 1.

Just throwing that out there.

-EF

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Jegergryte said:

I like this idea.

Also, to keep with the week 4 update of no limit on specialisation ('cause it makes little sense with such a limitation), any specialisation beyond the first three has increased cost? so the second and third costs 10 and 15, but the fourth costs 40 xp. Thus the three first specialisations constitute your basic "career" and anything beyond is just extra - and costly.

Well, I suppose they could stick with that. To be honest, I hadn't even noticed that they had removed the 3 spec. limit. I'm glad they did!  But I would still stick to my thought of the same cost for all specializations. The increasing cost per spec. would end up being prohibitive enough, I'd think, to go beyond three or four specs. I mean, since you get repeat talents in many trees, the benefits of taking more than a few would have diminishing returns when compared to the cost.

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So then.

If we could sum it up.

This idea is that we scrap the current notion of careers. What comes in the rulebook is then some suggested archetypes, combinations of specialisations that might work well together.

As GoblynByte summed up, updated with the additional ideas, these archetypes can be used as presented in the book (ie the current careers), or more experienced players can create their own archetype. Pick 4 skills which get 1 rank, and then pick a specialisation, add 1 rank to two of the listed specialisation skills - of course this could be optional if the player prefers two other skills, but some limitation isn't bad I think. So either 4 with 1, then 2 with 1; or 6 with 1 if opting out the specialisation skills. I kind of like the 4-1 and then 2-1 limitation, it gives specialisation a bit more to say on initial skills and training.

Anyways, onwards. The first specialisation is free, the second costs 10 and third costs 15 XP - these constitute your archetype (or career if you will) - any further implication of this could be interesting to explore.

If opting out career skills, which I am assuming in this summary, specialisations only give access to talents - the initial specialisation can also grant an item fitting the specialisation as suggested by EldritchFire - I love that idea. Further specialisations, ie the next two (and any after that) only give access to more talents - which I think is a good reward really. No free skills (as per current rules) and no new career skills, as these are abolished.

Any specialisation beyond three could have increased costs, 10 x the total number of specialisation including the one being bought, so fourth costs 40, fifth 50 and so on. Expensive, as it should be. Although (as this forum tells me about new posts when I try to post) keeping the price the same, might as well work. It depends on what sort of implications combined talent trees (ie career/archetypes) could have. So let's say I have pilot, slicer and assassin - these three constitute my career or archetype - could these three then give me certain bonuses? penalties? I know, its a whole new can of worms… might as well keep the lid on it…

As there is no more career skill, I think all skills should cost 5 x rank bought. The old non-career skill xp cost could also be used, but its a bit steep I think. Of course, one detail during character creation could be that those initial 6 skills are cheaper to increase, during character creation only. That way further skill increases could cost more, ie 5 x rank +5. Include EldritchFire's skill cost idea here might be worth a closer look I think, I like that new skills cost a bit more, although I'm not sure 5 x current is the way to go, but that might be a good idea. So skill pricing is not settled, but doing away with career skills might be a good idea, especially if increasing the cost of the first rank in a new skill bought.

In the instances where a player wants to have two ranks in a starting skill (similar to when the current career and specialisation skill overlap) that is okay, but limits the number of starting skill accordingly. So if a player decides to have two free ranks in lets say pilot (space) he is left with only 5 starting skills, with only four which he can increase further. I know, a glitchy idea, needs a bit more work. We might just have to drop the notion all together of two free ranks in a starting skill - I know I won't cry over that.

I have not ventured into the idea of lupex of tying specialisations/talent trees to skills and let characters in that way "qualify" for a talent tree… but it might be a good way to go. I have not explored the idea thoroughly yet, so I'm not going to say anything more about that than "I think it begs further inquiry and exploration" - in other words, I find it intriguing.

DISCLAIMER: This summary is of the posts I have understood and which I have seen as "linked" in my understanding. I might have overlooked some people's input - I apologise for that, it was not intentional. I see a reference to WHFRP, I have no experience with that game - although the notion seems similar to the other suggestions, at least in the same spirit. Please add more ideas. And above all discuss and create!

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 Hi,

I've just read through this and am finding it incredibly useful. I'm working on a related issue - trying to tidy up the specialisations into thematically groups of talents - and I think that the two ideas work well together to allow a lot more flexibility in character creation. Details are here if you are interested: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_foros_discusion.asp?efid=323&efcid=46&efidt=723629&efpag=0#725732

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Jegergryte said:

As there is no more career skill, I think all skills should cost 5 x rank bought. The old non-career skill xp cost could also be used, but its a bit steep I think. Of course, one detail during character creation could be that those initial 6 skills are cheaper to increase, during character creation only. That way further skill increases could cost more, ie 5 x rank +5. Include EldritchFire's skill cost idea here might be worth a closer look I think, I like that new skills cost a bit more, although I'm not sure 5 x current is the way to go, but that might be a good idea. So skill pricing is not settled, but doing away with career skills might be a good idea, especially if increasing the cost of the first rank in a new skill bought.

I'd recommend keeping career skills. At character generation the Archetype provides 8 career skills and any additional specialization adds 4 more career skills. You get 4 points to add to your archetype career skills and 2 more points to add to the career skills provided via your first specialization. The cost to increase them is cheaper for career skills and more expensive for non-career skills. In other words, this would not change.

If the player decides to design his own archetype, he gets to name the archetype and decide which 8 skills he wants to have as his main career skills and can put 4 skill points in them. He then gets 4 additional career skills per specialization and 2 skill ranks for the first (as per usual).

Again, the only change I am suggesting is removing the non-career specialization cost and adding a paragraph or two about designing your own career (or archetype, if that term would fit better). Some terminology and organization might need to change to make the ability to create careers a little more "core" to the experience. But otherwise everything else would be pretty much unchanged.

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GoblynByte said:

 

If the player decides to design his own archetype, he gets to name the archetype and decide which 8 skills he wants to have as his main career skills and can put 4 skill points in them. He then gets 4 additional career skills per specialization and 2 skill ranks for the first (as per usual).

Again, the only change I am suggesting is removing the non-career specialization cost and adding a paragraph or two about designing your own career (or archetype, if that term would fit better). Some terminology and organization might need to change to make the ability to create careers a little more "core" to the experience. But otherwise everything else would be pretty much unchanged.

 

 

I should add that this is exactly how it was done when designing a template in the old D6 system. You were supposed to list the skills that were most appropriate for the flavor of your character. The only difference then was that these listed skills did not provide any discounted cost over any other skill. They served more as a guide for developing your character. So with this method there would be a more mechanical aspect to picking your career skills, but I don't imagine there will be too much of an opportunity for abusing that customizability.

So the existing careers in the current book would become suggested archetypes with the list of 8 career skills already chosen. The specializations then become suggested specs. for the theme of that archetype. They would take on a form exactly like the templates listed in the back of the old D6 books. Accessibility is preserved for the inexperience, flexibility is obtained for the veterans, and flavor is maintained for everyone.

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GoblynByte said:

 

Again, the only change I am suggesting is removing the non-career specialization cost and adding a paragraph or two about designing your own career (or archetype, if that term would fit better). Some terminology and organization might need to change to make the ability to create careers a little more "core" to the experience. But otherwise everything else would be pretty much unchanged.

 

So basically your suggestion boils down to keep the system as is except drop the additional cost for non-career specs but keep the inflated cost for non-career skills.

And, allow a player to design his own career and spec with gm approval which is already inherent in any rpg?

I prefer the idea of dropping the notion of career skills, and removing the structure of choose a career then choose a spec.  If you take these things away then it truly becomes a classless system.  The only issue then becomes, what do we do with talent trees (eg how do we get them, but this could be covered by a flat xp cost to buy access to a new tree but you get one/two for free at character gen)

I do like the idea of archetypes but the system as is has these split across careers and specialisations, lets just cut this down to suggested careers, which would include Smuggler, Scoundrel, Thief and Pilot without the artificial separation.  Each suggested career would have a number of skills listed and the player gets to increase 6 by one rank and each suggested career has a couple of suggested talent trees.

This would simplify the 'create your own career' option by just saying pick 6 starting skills to increase by one rank at character gen and then pick one/two starting talent trees.

I would then allow any skill to be increased using the same xp cost, depending on ranks etc.

One thing that WEG did well was KISS and this would emulate that quite well.

 

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