Thursday, June 23, 2011

Building Talent Trees: "Classes" for The Last Fleet

So far I've run two sessions of my Last Fleet campaign, with the next coming up this Saturday. For this version of our homebrew system (Action Cards) I've been trying a trick I've used before. Players don't have classes per se, but instead have concepts. Based on that they get to buy the usual skills and such. But each also has a "Talent Tree" with two branches that grant them new powers and tricks. I'm trying to emulate the way classes operate in MMORPGs and other CRPGS. The first part of the trick is that I'm building the trees as the game progresses. I had them tell me some things they'd like to be able to do and I built the first six items on their trees based on that. Then, every other session, I will solicit their input about what else they'd like. Since that can change as the game progresses, I hope the players will be able to develop the character they really want. The second trick is that these talent items cost points, but they also require a "Learning Experience." Meaning that the player has to have failed significantly in a session at least once in order to spur them to develop a new approach. A player can only have one Learning Experience held at a time. I hope this will help simulate the way characters in drama comes to pick up new talents. Below are the talent trees I built for each character at the start. Tomorrow, I'll post the newest ones with notes on what the players requested.

Sherri: Dweena Squint, Goblin Scout/Gadgeteer

*Meshed Blunderbuss: Dweena may spend a point of Focus to reload weapon without taking an action. Blunderbuss may be used to parry without unusual weapon breakage. (Hard Gear Start)

*Blunderbus Blast: Dweena does +1d Damage when firing her blunderbuss normally. Blunderbuss Spread: Dweena may spend a point of Focus and fire at up to three adjacent targets; damage is 7d. (Hard Gear 1)

*Expert Staff: Dweena possesses an excellent staff giving her a redraw related to her direct work activities. Additionally, they can usually lay their hands on standard goods and equipment quickly, and more exotic goods given time (and their availability in the fleet). (Soft Gear 1)

*Cling Boots: These boots allow Dweena to move along any solid, flat surface. This includes planks, ship bottoms, walls and ceilings. They are heavy and loud. (Hard Gear 1)

*Sky Squid: Dweena may make an attack which freely tags "Blind" without rolling damage. This has a short range and may only be dodged. Additionally, the Sky Squid provides an alert when opponents approach from the rear. The Squid also acts as a parachute. (Soft Gear Start)

*Goggles: Dweena may ignore the Dim Lighting tag. Built-in lenses allow magnified vision to pick out small details on surfaces and objects. They also protect the eyes from blinding tags. (Soft Gear 1)

Ward: Marreg Warmane, Orc Warrior

*Ice Cutter: Meshed Magical Blade: Marreg may activate after a successful hit- any 9’s & 10’s rolled on damage count as two HP. This requires one round to recharge. Alternately, if he spends a point of Focus, 8-10 counts as two wounds. (War Chain 1)

*Warrior Prowess: Marreg always does +2d damage with any muscle-powered weapon. (War Chain Start)

*Far-Leap: Marreg can leap twice the distance of even a strong man. This includes running leaps and standing leaps. He can hurdle tables, animals, etc., easily. (Hunt Chain Start)

*Bellow: As an action Marreg may bellow, applying a Startled tag to all Mooks present. This can also be used to draw attackers and disturb prey. (Hunt Chain 1)

*Social Sledge Hammer: Marreg does +1d social damage to non-Orcs when attempting to intimidate. He also reduces social damage done to him by non-Orcs by 2-points. (Hunt Chain 1)

*Slam: Marreg may slam into an opponent after making at least a half move. This does 3+4d damage and may more easily tag a target with Unbalanced and even Knocked Down. This is an attack action. Slam does not lower defense, but the tags it can inflict do lower defense. (War Chain 1)

Kenny: Whet Bloodlaced, White Elf Pistoleer/Empath

*Combat Reflexes: Whet goes first in a standard combat round, except when surprised. This ability does not affect one-on-one duels. (Blazing Branch Start)

*Pistoleer: Whet does +1d damage with pistols. Rapid Volley: By spending a point of Focus, Whet may fire two pistols on the same round at two different targets in any arc. Damage is 1+5d. This requires having a pistol in each hand. (Vigilant Branch Start)

*Mounted Combat: Whet gains the ability Mounted Dodge- affecting himself and his mount. As well, his Mount’s # to be damaged increases by +1 while Whet rides. (Vigilant Branch 1)

*Precognitive Parry: Whet’s uncanny perception allows him a Parry redraw against any opponent with a mind and emotions. This does not work against automatons, vehicles or the like. This is considered an ability for redraw limits. (Vigilant Branch 1)

*Speedload: Whet may spend a point of Focus to reload one pistol without taking an action. Additionally, when carrying both pistols, he may parry with them as if they were a standard weapon. (Blazing Branch 1)

*Burst of Speed: Whet may make an additional half-move. This ability has a one-round cool down time. It does not reduces his defenses to make a full move when he does this. Alternately, Whet may spend a point of Focus to make an additional full-move, instead of half-move. (Blazing Branch 1)

Scott: Chain Firespinner, Scalebound Brawler/Fire Mage

*Tail Mastery: Chain may strike as Unarmed at a target behind him without penalty. This counts as an action. Alternately, he can spin and sweep with his tail, tagging up to three Mooks with “Knocked Down” as an action or freely by spending a point of Focus. (Talon Wing 1)

*Claw Expert: Chain does +1d with his Claws. He is not limited to a single parry per round. (Talon Wing 1)

*Rending Claws: The most potent Scaleborn have claws which can rip through wood and light metal. Additionally, by spending a point of Focus, Chain may add +2d to a claw attack. This ability does not have a cool-down. (Talon Wing 2, Req. Claw Expert)

*Fire Breath: Chain may project a short blast of fire, in his front arc. This can do 6d damage to up to three targets, and may easily tag “On Fire.” Note that the flames have no force behind them, only heat. This is a natural ability, not a spell. (Fire Wing Start)

*Fire Magic Initiate: Spell: By concentrating, the caster can affect a flame in one of four ways: double the size of a flame; cause an existing flame to make a standard move; sustain a flame without fuel; deepen the effect of an existing flame (extra damage). Casting requires an action; sustaining it requires concentration and line of sight. (Fire Wing 1)

*Scales: The Scaleborn’s skin protects as Medium Armor, without any movement or encumbrance penalties. This armor is “Enduring” meaning that it is difficult to tag with a weakness. (Talon Wing Start)

Jeanne: Lira Moondawning, Namir Rogue/Shadow Mage

*Dagger Mastery: When using a hand-carried or thrown dagger, Lira does +1d damage. This includes magically produced daggers. Lira also gains the ability “Throw Dagger.” (Rogue Path Start)

*No-Step: Lira may run along narrow surfaces or edges which would otherwise not support her weight: tree limbs, fall rope, gutters, etc. By spending a point of Focus, she can move without leaving tracks, even on the most delicate surface. (Shadow Path 1)

*Shadow’s Magic Initiate: Spell: The first step in this Shadow-based Wizard school. By concentrating, the caster can affect shadows in one of four ways: double the size of an existing pool of shadow; cause shadows to ripple and create a distraction; deepen shadows to conceal a person or thing within them; dim the lighting in an area to twilight. Beginning the effect is a spell-casting action; sustaining it requires concentration and line of sight. (Shadow Path Start)

*Shadow’s Guise: Spell: The caster may create an illusion which disguises them as a generic, same-sex member of another race. They will appear non-descript, without specific features. Close, intense examination will reveal the illusion, as will bright, direct light. Lasts for a scene, may be renewed. (Shadow Path 1, Req Shadow Magic Initiate)

*Enchanted Dagger: Lira’s dagger can fade to shadow and be resummoned as she wills it. Lira may spend a point of Focus to add +2d to her attacks with the dagger. This has a one round cool-down. (Rogue Path 1)

*Namir Agility: Lira automatically lands on her feet without damage for any fall 20’ or less. For falls up to 100’, she may make a Physical pull to land without damage. For greater falls, she can reduce but not eliminate the damage. (Rogue Path 1)