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Author Topic: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?  (Read 3650 times)

Pat

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #45 on: January 18, 2022, 07:19:50 PM »
Yeah, this is pretty much my felling about all of this stuff. One additional issue with racial level caps is that they can get messy if the group actually does reach high level, then you're stuck with a lower level character for perpetuity, cuz non-humans are apparently too retarded to advance after a certain point, which doesn't make a lot of sense conceptually speaking and is just an artificial measure. Plus a lot of groups end up ignoring them anyways, or working around them with increased XP requirements for higher levels.

I prefer XP penalties as a balancing factor, but agree that they feel "cluncky". Though, I'm a strong believer in the idea that you can have (almost) any character ability you want, as long as you "pay" for it somehow in-game. Point buy tends to be better for this. You could just charge races with greater abilities an extra amount of "points" equal to whatever those extra abilities would normally cost.

An XP debt might be better for level-based games. Once you pay off your debt you may advance normally. But till then you're stuck at level 1 or whatever. The two benefits I see in XP Debt vs XP Penalty are that 1) you only pay it once, then never have to think about or keep track of it ever again, and 2) you could work out precise XP costs for different types of abilities and pay for all the extra stuff you're getting exactly what they're worth (presumably).
You're not stuck with a lower level character in perpetuity. You can just pull a non-halfling character out of your binder, and start playing them. Or pick a retainer, and make them your PC. Or even start from scratch with a new 1st level character. Because the way XP works in old school D&D, at least up until name level, is characters of much lower level catch up fast. Generally speaking, if the party just reached 8th level, and you're first level, then by the time they reach 9th level, you'll be 8th level. That's how doubling XP at each new level works: XP to reach level N = XP to go from level N to level N+1. Sure, those low level party members can be fragile during that compressed period of advancement, but they're easily replaceable. Playing the underdog forever can be tiresome, but playing the underdog for a brief period is often very fun.

And the caps do enforce a certain feel to the setting. No, it doesn't match whatever specific genre you think it's trying to emulate. If you really want to play Tolkien elves, for instance, then they should all start at high levels, and have a level cap at least 3 times the human limit just because. Also there should be common humans, and those with elvish (Numenorean) blood, and the latter are superior to the first group by every racial measure. But if you ignore what you think the rules should do, and look at what they actually do, while the result may not be your taste, that becomes a matter of personal preference not an objective assessment of overall value.

The real thing racial level caps do is enforce scarcity. This operates at the setting level, where all the highest level characters will be human. This creates a human-centric world, since there is more range and power, which encourages putting demihumans in isolated backwaters, and making them more archetypal than varied. This also operates on the player-selection level, where many players will skip demihumans in favor of humans with fewer long-term limitations, even if the demihumans have mechanical advantages out of the gate. If elves are always superior to humans and have no limits, or even if they're equal and perfectly balanced across all levels, then you lose some of that strangeness and exclusivity, that sense of the rare or alien. It also creates a sense of something waning, or diminishing, or ceding the world to more vibrant and diverse races. Which is actually very Tolkienesque, even if the means are not.

Note, I'm not saying that level limits are ideal in many circumstances, or even my preferred way of handling things. Just that GnomeWorks is an insufferable asshole with no redeeming qualities, and that level caps do have real effects both on the world and party composition than some people like, and that the barriers you're describing are less formidable than you're making them out to be.

The idea of an XP deficit doesn't really work. Just look at the B/X elf as an ironic example. Starts with 1d6 hp, armor and attacks of a fighter, and the 1st level spell of a 1st level magic-user. But it takes 4,000 XP to reach 2nd level, by which time the 1d8 hp fighter will have reached second, then third level. That period where everyone else reaches 2nd level while you're stuck at 1st level is a fragile time, when the elf is at their weakest and most likely to die. An XP deficit would just keep them at that stage indefinitely.

It's a little off track, but I think a better approach to elf 1 is to split it into two tiers. Start them as fighters with 1d6 HD, and no spells. Then at the 2,000 half level stage, give them the magic-user spell and maybe a boost of hp to tide them over to 2nd level (even +1 would help). The idea is to smooth out the progression by introducing the two halves of their class abilities in stages. This still doesn't address all the issues with the class, but it is a way to work on that 2nd level problem.

« Last Edit: January 18, 2022, 07:43:15 PM by Pat »

Pat

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #46 on: January 18, 2022, 07:38:56 PM »
Then you're further compounding your idiocy, because you're criticizing the OSR based on self-reported data from a competitor using a different set of rules.

Right because obviously it's impossible there's any amount of correlation there. Not to mention the earlier study - which you reference - also showed similar information, which IIRC was done before 3e came out. If two sets of data show roughly the same trends over 20 years, pretty safe bet they're representative of the lay of the land.

Will there be outliers? Fucking obviously, nigh-everything falls into a normal distribution. And don't give me that "WotC is a competitor using a different set of rules" garbage, you know damn well that it's basically the same shit. One is old, likes flowery language and obtuse mechanics; the other is a bunch of SJW fucktards trying to push progressive agendas. It's still godsdamn elfgames.
It's still a biased study, based one company, relied on self-selection, and was based on an atypical sample pool. The 2e survey was in Dragon, and the number of players who subscribed to Dragon was small, and highly invested. I'm guessing the more recent data is similar, probably based on subscribers to the online platform. Those badly fail at the idea of a representative sample.

And even if we make the huge jump based on almost no evidence at all and assume all your assumptions are true, then it still isn't relevant because one of the fundamental principles of the OSR is taking people back to a forgotten mode of play. That's why Finch's Primer exists, or Philotomy's Musings. There were several seismic shifts in how the game was played, and I'm not talking rules. I'm talking the social dynamics around around the table. And by the time the 1980s came along, the Gygaxian mode was all but extinct. That's why I referenced Gygax's table, because a lot of the rules were designed based on assumptions very alien to modern players. Gygax played with dozens of players, multiple DMs, multiple times a week until the wee hours, and players dropped in and out regularly. They shared characters between campaigns, each player had a portfolio of many PCs that they brought out or left in the sheaf depending on the level requirements and other factors for a night's adventure. In that context (and other contexts, like the wargamer heritage or sword & sorcery influences), many of the rules of old school D&D that seem at first blush to be awkward or optional, like retainers or morale or reach or level caps, actually gel into a coherent mode of play and implied world.

Also, not everything falls into a normal distribution. It's a common pattern, and allows us to draw conclusions when it's proven to be the case. But if it hasn't been proven, it could be chainsaw distribution, a hockey stick, or nearly anything else. I'd guess this is a likely candidate for a long tail, because it involves a very open-ended result.

« Last Edit: January 18, 2022, 07:41:54 PM by Pat »

FingerRod

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #47 on: January 18, 2022, 09:06:05 PM »
I would fire the cleric, and then add elf, dwarf and halfling race as class. Which is six. If you held me to five, drop the halfling.

Jam The MF

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #48 on: January 18, 2022, 10:17:00 PM »
I would fire the cleric, and then add elf, dwarf and halfling race as class. Which is six. If you held me to five, drop the halfling.

It might be fun to drop all of the human character classes; and just play Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings from OD&D.  Their limitations won't matter as much, if they aren't constantly compared to human PC classes.
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ShieldWife

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #49 on: January 18, 2022, 11:11:34 PM »
Alright, four classes:

Fighter, Rogue, Magic User, Race.

Each one would be highly customizable, so a fighter could be a berserker style barbarian, a heavily armored knight, a lightly armored Dexterity based swashbuckler and so on. The magic user could get healing magic from a god, could learn spell magic to shoot fire balls, and so on.

So the 4th class is the racial class, which could represent some sort of inherited powered based on race, species, or ancestry. This could of course include elves and dwarves, but also also cover a character who had faerie or demon ancestry, or other inborn abilities. Take just one level of the race class and you could have your basic elf or dwarf combined with some other class presenting training. Take more levels and the natural powers of the character’s ancestry continue to develop and become more powerful. This might be more trouble than it’s worth will all of the power sets it may include though.

VisionStorm

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #50 on: January 19, 2022, 12:01:39 AM »
An XP debt might be better for level-based games. Once you pay off your debt you may advance normally. But till then you're stuck at level 1 or whatever. The two benefits I see in XP Debt vs XP Penalty are that 1) you only pay it once, then never have to think about or keep track of it ever again, and 2) you could work out precise XP costs for different types of abilities and pay for all the extra stuff you're getting exactly what they're worth (presumably).

That was the approach in 3e, called Level Adjustment.

It was pretty universally panned, on top of it not really working out all that well..

No, Level Adjustment increased your ECL, which affected both, you XP gain from defeating enemies, as well as how much XP you must earn to level, based on your ECL. So that you always got less XP per Kill/Defeat, but needed more to level up, based on your LA.

An XP Debt would be a flat one time amount that doesn't continue to increase as you level. The reason I came up with the idea of XP Debt was precisely to get around LAs, cuz I found them too punishing at higher levels and added complexity to having to figure out how much XP you actually need to level up.

Pat did bring up an issue with having to pay the XP Debt in full before you can advance that I address in my reply to his post, at the end of this post.

Quote
It's a trade off kind of thing. Greater customization adds more work during character creation (and advancement as well, if progression involves some kind of point system), and doesn't always produce consistent results. But then again I always questioned how consistently powerful or useful different classes are in class & level systems. I see people complain about the 5e Ranger being too weak all the time (in other editions as well, come to think of it).

I was speaking specifically in regards to classes in a class-based system. If you just throw together bits and pieces from a number of classes together into one character, you're probably going to get weird synergies, anti-synergies, and redundancies. You also lose the notion of class identity, which can be an important factor.

Ah, OK. But a lot of that still applies to multi-classing regardless, so I'm not sure it's an entirely escapable issue, specially if you want customization options.

Quote
Yah, I can be an asshole as well, but I usually wait till I'm locked in an argument with someone for a few posts before my inner-asshole comes out, lol

I just can't be asked to care, today. Attack the arguments or not, I don't give a damn about your personal opinions of me. Who are you, that I should care? Say dumb shit, get called out for it. If you take it personally, that's on you.

You didn't make an argument initially till I asked you what you thought, though. But whatevs. I'm used to people being angry at forums, I suppose, lol

Yeah, this is pretty much my felling about all of this stuff. One additional issue with racial level caps is that they can get messy if the group actually does reach high level, then you're stuck with a lower level character for perpetuity, cuz non-humans are apparently too retarded to advance after a certain point, which doesn't make a lot of sense conceptually speaking and is just an artificial measure. Plus a lot of groups end up ignoring them anyways, or working around them with increased XP requirements for higher levels.

I prefer XP penalties as a balancing factor, but agree that they feel "cluncky". Though, I'm a strong believer in the idea that you can have (almost) any character ability you want, as long as you "pay" for it somehow in-game. Point buy tends to be better for this. You could just charge races with greater abilities an extra amount of "points" equal to whatever those extra abilities would normally cost.

An XP debt might be better for level-based games. Once you pay off your debt you may advance normally. But till then you're stuck at level 1 or whatever. The two benefits I see in XP Debt vs XP Penalty are that 1) you only pay it once, then never have to think about or keep track of it ever again, and 2) you could work out precise XP costs for different types of abilities and pay for all the extra stuff you're getting exactly what they're worth (presumably).
You're not stuck with a lower level character in perpetuity. You can just pull a non-halfling character out of your binder, and start playing them. Or pick a retainer, and make them your PC. Or even start from scratch with a new 1st level character. Because the way XP works in old school D&D, at least up until name level, is characters of much lower level catch up fast. Generally speaking, if the party just reached 8th level, and you're first level, then by the time they reach 9th level, you'll be 8th level. That's how doubling XP at each new level works: XP to reach level N = XP to go from level N to level N+1. Sure, those low level party members can be fragile during that compressed period of advancement, but they're easily replaceable. Playing the underdog forever can be tiresome, but playing the underdog for a brief period is often very fun.

You still can't continue to advance with that one character, though, which was my point.

And the caps do enforce a certain feel to the setting. No, it doesn't match whatever specific genre you think it's trying to emulate. If you really want to play Tolkien elves, for instance, then they should all start at high levels, and have a level cap at least 3 times the human limit just because. Also there should be common humans, and those with elvish (Numenorean) blood, and the latter are superior to the first group by every racial measure. But if you ignore what you think the rules should do, and look at what they actually do, while the result may not be your taste, that becomes a matter of personal preference not an objective assessment of overall value.

The real thing racial level caps do is enforce scarcity. This operates at the setting level, where all the highest level characters will be human. This creates a human-centric world, since there is more range and power, which encourages putting demihumans in isolated backwaters, and making them more archetypal than varied. This also operates on the player-selection level, where many players will skip demihumans in favor of humans with fewer long-term limitations, even if the demihumans have mechanical advantages out of the gate. If elves are always superior to humans and have no limits, or even if they're equal and perfectly balanced across all levels, then you lose some of that strangeness and exclusivity, that sense of the rare or alien. It also creates a sense of something waning, or diminishing, or ceding the world to more vibrant and diverse races. Which is actually very Tolkienesque, even if the means are not.

Note, I'm not saying that level limits are ideal in many circumstances, or even my preferred way of handling things. Just that GnomeWorks is an insufferable asshole with no redeeming qualities, and that level caps do have real effects both on the world and party composition than some people like, and that the barriers you're describing are less formidable than you're making them out to be.

Perhaps, but there's also a balance component to level caps (since demi-humans have benefits humans don't), which is what interests me most and tends to be my primary concern about this stuff from a game design PoV.

The idea of an XP deficit doesn't really work. Just look at the B/X elf as an ironic example. Starts with 1d6 hp, armor and attacks of a fighter, and the 1st level spell of a 1st level magic-user. But it takes 4,000 XP to reach 2nd level, by which time the 1d8 hp fighter will have reached second, then third level. That period where everyone else reaches 2nd level while you're stuck at 1st level is a fragile time, when the elf is at their weakest and most likely to die. An XP deficit would just keep them at that stage indefinitely.

It's a little off track, but I think a better approach to elf 1 is to split it into two tiers. Start them as fighters with 1d6 HD, and no spells. Then at the 2,000 half level stage, give them the magic-user spell and maybe a boost of hp to tide them over to 2nd level (even +1 would help). The idea is to smooth out the progression by introducing the two halves of their class abilities in stages. This still doesn't address all the issues with the class, but it is a way to work on that 2nd level problem.

This is a good point, but that sort of applies to AD&D multi-class characters as well, which would also need like 4k+ XP to reach level 2 in both classes.

However, in regards to my proposed XP Debt thing this is an issue I've considered before that came up when I've tried it in play before (but forgot last post :P), and I ended up awarding 50% XP ahead, then the other 50% to pay off the debt. I may need to adjust it further if the pay off amount ends up being too high. But the basic idea is to pay a fixed one time amount, rather than get stuck with an XP penalty forever (or having to track Level Adjustments like in 3e) over a handful of racial abilities that might not even be that useful at higher levels.

Granted, paying the XP Debt in installments adds to the complexity, but then again the alternatives are also kinda complex and trap you into paying extra XP forever. And this complexity goes away the moment you pay off your debt (unlike the alternative).

Pat

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #51 on: January 19, 2022, 01:07:56 AM »
This is a good point, but that sort of applies to AD&D multi-class characters as well, which would also need like 4k+ XP to reach level 2 in both classes.

However, in regards to my proposed XP Debt thing this is an issue I've considered before that came up when I've tried it in play before (but forgot last post :P), and I ended up awarding 50% XP ahead, then the other 50% to pay off the debt. I may need to adjust it further if the pay off amount ends up being too high. But the basic idea is to pay a fixed one time amount, rather than get stuck with an XP penalty forever (or having to track Level Adjustments like in 3e) over a handful of racial abilities that might not even be that useful at higher levels.

Granted, paying the XP Debt in installments adds to the complexity, but then again the alternatives are also kinda complex and trap you into paying extra XP forever. And this complexity goes away the moment you pay off your debt (unlike the alternative).
Regarding multi-classing in AD&D, at least it spreads out the abilities over time (M/T advances to 1/2 then 2/3) instead withholding them all improvement until you paid the XP toll for both classes (elf 1 to 2 in B/X is equivalent to going straight from F 1/M1 to F 2/M2 in AD&D, with no interim F 2/M 1). That's particularly important for hp, because the jump from 1st to 2nd level is so great (doubling combat endurance). Still don't think the math works with the installment plan XP penalty.

Stepping back a bit, I think it helps to compare the demihumans of B/X to their human counterparts. The elf in particular, because the elf is a composite of two classes.

The elf is overpowered at 0 XP, when everyone is first level. Basically a fighter + magic-user with 1 less hp and some extra racial abilities. But when the fighter reaches 2,000 XP and 2nd level, that hp deficit jumps from 3.5:4.5 hp (on average) to 3.5:9. That's a big difference. There are no other real benefits, because saves and attacks don't improve until 4th level. And then when the magic-user reaches 2,500 XP, the 1 hp penalty (2.5:3.5) changes so the magic-user is tougher than the elf, and most importantly the number of spell cast doubles. The elf starts looking feeble.

But then as 4,000 XP is reached, the elf levels along with the fighter, and still lags significantly behind the fighter in toughness (7:13.5 hp), but overtops the magic-user (7:5), and gains the MU's second spell. At 5,000 XP, the magic-user jumps slightly ahead again (7.5:7 hp), and gains a 2nd level spell. From that point on, the elf lags in toughness, tending to be closer to the mage (say 150,000 XP: fighter 36 hp, elf 24.5 hp, MU 20 hp), and lags just a bit in spells (either a spell level behind, or half as many of the highest level spells). Attacks are 0-3 points worse than fighters, averaging roughly a -2/3 penalty (yes less than a -1 to hit). Saves are typically the best of the fighter and the magic-user's, occasionally a bit less. Racial abilities get less useful over time, but with the tight spell economy of B/X and the lack of spells that replace every last ability, infravision, finding secret doors, and extra languages will remain useful. And then the cap hits, but it's not much a cap if only using B/X: E 10 has the same XP as F 12, so the fighter only has two extra levels to grow. Magic-users get a potential 3 level advantage (M 11 = E 10 = F 12). If BECMI rules are introduced, it's more complicated.

The relative power progression is very erratic. The elf 1 to 2 jump is the most abrupt, which is why I propose delaying one of the class abilities, and creating a half-level in between. After that, my impression is that the elf should consistently lag. Having them 2 levels behind a magic-user in casting prowess and 3 in fighting, and thus always being a spell level/attack (not quite a save) tier behind, would be an interesting approach, though that's more new school thinking than old. The erratic jump in power from levels, as different classes progress at different rates and at different times, is one of the key features in the player rewards system in old school D&D. The lack of uniform leveling means relative power levels fluctuate, with everyone being better/worse at different times. And going up in level becomes a personal reward instead of a communal experience.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2022, 01:11:51 AM by Pat »

FingerRod

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #52 on: January 19, 2022, 07:41:10 AM »
I would fire the cleric, and then add elf, dwarf and halfling race as class. Which is six. If you held me to five, drop the halfling.

It might be fun to drop all of the human character classes; and just play Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings from OD&D.  Their limitations won't matter as much, if they aren't constantly compared to human PC classes.

That is something I have never thought of. Interesting. Most of my OD&D campaigns have been human-centric.

VisionStorm

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #53 on: January 19, 2022, 08:16:10 AM »
This is a good point, but that sort of applies to AD&D multi-class characters as well, which would also need like 4k+ XP to reach level 2 in both classes.

However, in regards to my proposed XP Debt thing this is an issue I've considered before that came up when I've tried it in play before (but forgot last post :P), and I ended up awarding 50% XP ahead, then the other 50% to pay off the debt. I may need to adjust it further if the pay off amount ends up being too high. But the basic idea is to pay a fixed one time amount, rather than get stuck with an XP penalty forever (or having to track Level Adjustments like in 3e) over a handful of racial abilities that might not even be that useful at higher levels.

Granted, paying the XP Debt in installments adds to the complexity, but then again the alternatives are also kinda complex and trap you into paying extra XP forever. And this complexity goes away the moment you pay off your debt (unlike the alternative).
Regarding multi-classing in AD&D, at least it spreads out the abilities over time (M/T advances to 1/2 then 2/3) instead withholding them all improvement until you paid the XP toll for both classes (elf 1 to 2 in B/X is equivalent to going straight from F 1/M1 to F 2/M2 in AD&D, with no interim F 2/M 1). That's particularly important for hp, because the jump from 1st to 2nd level is so great (doubling combat endurance). Still don't think the math works with the installment plan XP penalty.

Stepping back a bit, I think it helps to compare the demihumans of B/X to their human counterparts. The elf in particular, because the elf is a composite of two classes.

The elf is overpowered at 0 XP, when everyone is first level. Basically a fighter + magic-user with 1 less hp and some extra racial abilities. But when the fighter reaches 2,000 XP and 2nd level, that hp deficit jumps from 3.5:4.5 hp (on average) to 3.5:9. That's a big difference. There are no other real benefits, because saves and attacks don't improve until 4th level. And then when the magic-user reaches 2,500 XP, the 1 hp penalty (2.5:3.5) changes so the magic-user is tougher than the elf, and most importantly the number of spell cast doubles. The elf starts looking feeble.

But then as 4,000 XP is reached, the elf levels along with the fighter, and still lags significantly behind the fighter in toughness (7:13.5 hp), but overtops the magic-user (7:5), and gains the MU's second spell. At 5,000 XP, the magic-user jumps slightly ahead again (7.5:7 hp), and gains a 2nd level spell. From that point on, the elf lags in toughness, tending to be closer to the mage (say 150,000 XP: fighter 36 hp, elf 24.5 hp, MU 20 hp), and lags just a bit in spells (either a spell level behind, or half as many of the highest level spells). Attacks are 0-3 points worse than fighters, averaging roughly a -2/3 penalty (yes less than a -1 to hit). Saves are typically the best of the fighter and the magic-user's, occasionally a bit less. Racial abilities get less useful over time, but with the tight spell economy of B/X and the lack of spells that replace every last ability, infravision, finding secret doors, and extra languages will remain useful. And then the cap hits, but it's not much a cap if only using B/X: E 10 has the same XP as F 12, so the fighter only has two extra levels to grow. Magic-users get a potential 3 level advantage (M 11 = E 10 = F 12). If BECMI rules are introduced, it's more complicated.

The relative power progression is very erratic. The elf 1 to 2 jump is the most abrupt, which is why I propose delaying one of the class abilities, and creating a half-level in between. After that, my impression is that the elf should consistently lag. Having them 2 levels behind a magic-user in casting prowess and 3 in fighting, and thus always being a spell level/attack (not quite a save) tier behind, would be an interesting approach, though that's more new school thinking than old. The erratic jump in power from levels, as different classes progress at different rates and at different times, is one of the key features in the player rewards system in old school D&D. The lack of uniform leveling means relative power levels fluctuate, with everyone being better/worse at different times. And going up in level becomes a personal reward instead of a communal experience.

Yeah, this pretty much matches my experience with multi-classed characters back in my 2e days, where multi-classed characters looked like they needed twice as much or more XP to level up at level 1 and it seemed like a steep climb. But as characters got to higher levels closing in on level 10+ they would eventually only lag like two or three levels behind the rest of the group (or single classed characters at least). However, multi-classed characters advancing in different classes at different rates wasn't that significant in terms of getting a few extra HP at least, because you still had to split your XP between all your classes and you also had to divide the HP gained by the number of classes you got, which meant that you still advanced almost at the same rate as an OD&D elf and didn't get that much extra HP, even if you managed to advance a low XP class like Thief before a higher XP class like Mage.

Pat

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #54 on: January 19, 2022, 09:21:20 AM »
Yeah, this pretty much matches my experience with multi-classed characters back in my 2e days, where multi-classed characters looked like they needed twice as much or more XP to level up at level 1 and it seemed like a steep climb. But as characters got to higher levels closing in on level 10+ they would eventually only lag like two or three levels behind the rest of the group (or single classed characters at least). However, multi-classed characters advancing in different classes at different rates wasn't that significant in terms of getting a few extra HP at least, because you still had to split your XP between all your classes and you also had to divide the HP gained by the number of classes you got, which meant that you still advanced almost at the same rate as an OD&D elf and didn't get that much extra HP, even if you managed to advance a low XP class like Thief before a higher XP class like Mage.
The doubling XP at each new level means a double-class character will typically lag 1 level behind single class characters, and a triple-class character will typically lag about 1.5 levels behind. This changes when XP plateaus at name level, at which point multi-class characters no longer lag a fixed number of levels behind, but gain new levels based on the ratio of the XP needed to gain each new level.

So a double class character who is 2nd level will have as many XP as a single class character who is 3rd level, and that same 1 level different applies when the double class character is 8th level, and the single class character is 9th. For triple class characters, increase the difference by roughly half a level. But if we assume XP plateaus at 9th level, then a single class character going from 24th to 36th level will gain 12 levels, but for the same amount of XP a double class character will only gain 6 levels (in each class), and a triple class character will only gain 4 levels.

So even without level caps, high level demihumans who multi-class are pretty severely penalized (though this isn't that important, unless the game is played to very high levels). This is complicated of course by erratic XP progressions (AD&D is further from the ideal than B/X), level caps, different XP requirements for different classes, attack/save progressions slowing down or capping, hit points switching from dice to bonus pips, spell levels capping or stretching out, and so on. But ignoring all the quirks, it's an abstraction of the underlying math.

Multi-class characters in AD&D ideally have the average of hp for their component classes, but in practice they have much less because of rounding. For instance, the average of 1d6 is 3.5, but the average of 1d6/2 can be 1.167 to 1.5 depending on whether you round down or up -- and notice that even doubled, both those numbers are less than 3.5. This is aggravated by the fact that multi-class characters will be a level or a level and a half behind.

I tend to think multi-class or composite class characters should have more hp, but fewer powers.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2022, 09:23:10 AM by Pat »

Shrieking Banshee

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #55 on: January 19, 2022, 12:09:55 PM »
XP debt is a crap mechanic. In all the forms I have seen it, it sucks. Its either too weak or too strong.

Shrieking Banshee

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #56 on: January 19, 2022, 12:10:09 PM »
XP/Char Creation debt is a crap mechanic. In all the forms I have seen it, it sucks. Its either too weak or too strong.

VisionStorm

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #57 on: January 19, 2022, 12:54:56 PM »
XP debt is a crap mechanic. In all the forms I have seen it, it sucks. Its either too weak or too strong.
XP/Char Creation debt is a crap mechanic. In all the forms I have seen it, it sucks. Its either too weak or too strong.

They're ALL crap, or at least flawed, mechanics.

Giving some races more power than others will ALWAYS be an issue, no matter how you handle it, at least if you care about balance or some races being more attractive choices than others. Question is, which one is least crap, cuz they're all flawed in some way, and I don't think there's a way around that. Best you can do is mitigate the problems, not vanish them completely.

Even making races artificially weaker doesn't work, cuz its not an authentic presentation of what that race is supposed to be like. Though, I can understand long lived races like elves starting out at low levels for balance purposes, despite them being implied as what would be called "high-level" creatures in RPG terms within fiction. But they should still get their basic capabilities, like special senses, resistances or ability bonuses and such--which inevitably leads us to some races being stronger than others (and back to the start of this post). There is no silver bullet solution once you go down that road.

Jam The MF

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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #58 on: January 19, 2022, 09:38:20 PM »
I would fire the cleric, and then add elf, dwarf and halfling race as class. Which is six. If you held me to five, drop the halfling.

It might be fun to drop all of the human character classes; and just play Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings from OD&D.  Their limitations won't matter as much, if they aren't constantly compared to human PC classes.

That is something I have never thought of. Interesting. Most of my OD&D campaigns have been human-centric.


I have a good idea like that come to me, maybe once in a blue moon.
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Re: Feeling open minded.... Which "Other" Class fits in best with the Core 4?
« Reply #59 on: January 21, 2022, 07:17:17 AM »
Quote
They're ALL crap, or at least flawed, mechanics.

Giving some races more power than others will ALWAYS be an issue, no matter how you handle it, at least if you care about balance or some races being more attractive choices than others. Question is, which one is least crap, cuz they're all flawed in some way, and I don't think there's a way around that. Best you can do is mitigate the problems, not vanish them completely.

Even making races artificially weaker doesn't work, cuz its not an authentic presentation of what that race is supposed to be like. Though, I can understand long lived races like elves starting out at low levels for balance purposes, despite them being implied as what would be called "high-level" creatures in RPG terms within fiction. But they should still get their basic capabilities, like special senses, resistances or ability bonuses and such--which inevitably leads us to some races being stronger than others (and back to the start of this post). There is no silver bullet solution once you go down that road.

I think ultimately making some power-caps as explanation for setting in human-dominance is relatively weak idea.
In The Witcher world elves are bit stronger than men, in Middle-Earth wood elves are slighly better while Eldars are wuxia superhero level compared to human (with Numenoreans somewhere in between). In both cases elves fade away, while era of man arised.

As one dwarven character in the Witcher explained: "it's because you breed like fokin rabbits, and it's enough for yer wench to sit on male pants for her belly to grew" ;)
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