Tuesday, September 7, 2010

EMP: Section 1 Characters - Races

Character Races

Racial requirements for stats remains by the book, except there will be no difference for male and female characters. The requirements have to be met both BEFORE and AFTER stats have been modified for race.

All character races have every class available to them with no level limits. 

That is a pretty radical departure from LL and 1st edition. Ultimately, I want players to have lots of options. I'm not overly concerned with the 'balance' achieved with level limits nor the fantasy styling that says Dwarves don't cast spells or only Gnomes and Humans can be Illusionists. I will give something back to Humans since they now share the formerly unique quality to be any class and achieve any level.

'Balance' is arbitrary and over-rated. What exactly are we balancing? One of D&D's core features is that every class offers a significantly different play experience. Balance is one of those concepts that is mostly useless for D&D. You can't run any kind of statistical analysis or use objective criteria in a game that is open to player and DM interpretation and collaboration. Ok, my Fighter variant is unbeatable in situation A, but a well run game should have nearly infinite situations. The obvious cases, like a class that has D20 for HD, casts spells, and can fly at will, are just that, obvious.

Realistically, if someone can pull off amazing rolls and be an Assassin/Paladin, all the more power to them. According to their abilities, that type of character would be 'better' than a plain Fighter. Yet, a sandbox game is, ultimately, more based on player skill rather than character skill. Let the Assassin/Paladin be stronger than a Fighter; the players are pulling the strings and the game world reacts to the player's decisions, not the character's stats.

Perhaps not every person is mature enough to see this. Maybe they have played in games where the play is mostly tactical and consists of miniatures and fights in hard coded rules and situations. Well, then they are not really playing D&D, at least, not the type on which I would want to base a campaign.

As for style goes, that is an easy one. Each game world has its own style. If the DM chooses to mimic Tolkien fantasy or any established D&D setting, so be it. I'm creating my own style here, just as every DM should. Once you are in the realm of fantasy and fiction, the rules are all malleable. Sure, you sacrifice some of the familiarity and commonly held conceptions that transcend gaming tables, but you gain variety.

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