Since my last post, my partner and I have been busy hammering out all the million details which have to be considered when balancing races. Although that task is far from complete, this post is a bit of an update to show those of you who may be interested in such things the way we're going about it.
We are taking an approach to race, class and skill gains which will have a familiar feel for ROM-stlye gamers, but which also has some significant (and we think awesome) changes. Our goal is to make a game which is easy to play but difficult to master, and to us that starts with character creation.
In creating a character, players will first choose a race, which comes with preset base stats: Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, and Luck. For example, Elves will start with Str 1, Dex 4, Int 5, Wis 4, Con 1, and Luck 5.
(Sidenote: currently we're working on a 5-point scale, which lends itself easily to balance and all that junk, and which will be doctored once things are all sorted out to reflect max stats of 25.)
Next, the player will choose one of only three very basic classes, each of which offers a +1 stat bonus: Mage, +1 Int; Rogue, +1 Dex; and Fighter, +1 Str. For example, an Elf Mage would get no class bonus to stats, since as an Elf his Int would already be maxed out, but an Elf Rogue would have as his base stats Str 1, Dex 5, Int 5, Wis 4, Con 1, and Luck 5.
Finally, players will have two bonus stat points to allot however they want. For example, a player could give his Elf Rogue character +1 to Wis and +1 to Str, or +2 to Con, or +2 to Str, or +1 to Str and Con. In other words, he will be able to tailor his character in the way which will best suit the role he intends to play. Note that currently we are discussing having these two bonus stat points occur not at creation, but later as the character levels or possibly as it accrues additional XP after reaching level 50.
Essentially, we are organizing skills by class and stat, and player access to skills will be based on those two things as well. Simply choosing the Fighter class, for example, will not guarantee that a character will gain access to all possible Fighter skills. An Elf Fighter, with a +1 Str bonus, can put both of his bonus stat points into Str and still only have a Str of 4. Although several good fighter skills will be available at Str 4, the very best ones will require Str 5, which no Elf Fighter will ever be strong enough to learn or use.
However, it will be possible (and encouraged) for players to learn skills outside their own class, which they can do at a -1 stat penalty. Our Elf Fighter may not be able to learn the most elite Fighter skills (which only a very strong Fighter can use). However, he would still have Int 5, which means that after factoring in the -1 stat penalty suffered when attempting to learn Mage skills, he would be able to learn everything up to rank 4. Not the best -- but close. Therefore, a player who wishes to play a warrior-like character who has some Fighter ability, some Mage ability, and some Thief ability would find himself with a very nicely rounded character. If he wants to play a very powerful mage with limited or nonexistant Fighter or Thief skills, he can do that too.
Although it may seem limiting, at a glance, to have so few classes, our concept of the game is actually designed to provide the opportunity for very rich character customization, because though there are only three basic classes to choose from, characters will not be limited to their class when it comes to gaining abilities.
As of right now, I have only finished crunching numbers for stats for four races: human, elf, dwarf, and giant. Still to come are Tiefling, Goblin, Orc, Ogre, Garou, Variel, Seidon, Dragon, Spirit, and Undead. Whew!
As I work, I'm putting all the data into one spreadsheet which I've made available online for anyone who is interested in the inside scoop as to race/class possibilities. If that's you, then direct your browser to: