PDA

View Full Version : Does this Character Creation Exist?



8BitNinja
2017-12-09, 02:05 PM
So I was wondering if this idea was applied to any other games. If so, which ones.

So the idea is that character creation doesn't have a class, but background. The background doesn't give you any special feats or abilities, but just gives you bonus starting skills. Here's an example that I'm going to use with an Old West setting (doesn't have to be this, I just want to use this as an example)

Three characters are made: John, Clint, and Audie. All three of them want to eventually become master gunslingers, but each have a different way to do that. John chooses the Lawman background, Clint chooses the Ranger background, and Audie chooses the Soldier background. While all three of them give them increased firearm skills, John ends up becoming a better diplomat at the start, Clint has better horsemanship skills, and Audie has better melee skills. Even though the three have different proficiencies at the start, all three of them end up becoming gunslingers due to working in the right skills and choosing the right feats.

So does a system like this exist?

Khedrac
2017-12-09, 04:58 PM
I would expect most classless systems to be able to do this.
Examples from over 30 years ago (just to show how long this has been around):
RuneQuest 3 (Avalon Hill version): All skills have default base % chances. A character's culture changes a few base chance. Pre-adventuring experience comes from what job you had which grants from 1 to 5 percentage points per year to certain skills (totalling 40 points/year iirc).
Traveller (origial GDW version): all characters start on retiring from their first career. What skills one starts with depends on both what job one had (army, marine, navy, scouts, merchant or other) and what duties one had (so both Navy and Scouts can pick up starship pilot {also navy} but scouts are more likely to get weapon skills that merchants who are more lilely to get other skills).

Lapak
2017-12-09, 06:35 PM
Burning Wheel works more or less exactly in this fashion if I recall correctly; it refers to them as lifepaths and you get to pick several that add up to your character's starting point.

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-09, 07:06 PM
Traveller:
-Roll ability scores.
-Pick background skills.
-Pick career, roll skill gained, check for mishaps, roll for event, check for promotion, repeat. Twelve careers as a base in the latest editions, Agent, Army, Civilian, Drifter, Entertainer, Marines, Merchant, Navy, Nobility, Rogue Scholar, Scout.
-Once you leave a career (via choice, mishap, or being forced out by a low advancement roll) roll for benefits.
-Start play or enter new career.
-If you can get in the noble career, get at least three terms, and roll well on the cash take watch any GM who didn't ban anagathics or limit your terms cry as you go through sixteen or more terms in various careers. Aim for 20+ terms and at least 100 ship shares, get at least one ship.
-Decide na skull package as a group, assign skills from it so the party at least knows the basics for what they want to do.

Other systems use similar Lifepath methods (which is the general accepted term for this).

JAL_1138
2017-12-09, 07:33 PM
So I was wondering if this idea was applied to any other games. If so, which ones.

So the idea is that character creation doesn't have a class, but background. The background doesn't give you any special feats or abilities, but just gives you bonus starting skills. Here's an example that I'm going to use with an Old West setting (doesn't have to be this, I just want to use this as an example)

Three characters are made: John, Clint, and Audie. All three of them want to eventually become master gunslingers, but each have a different way to do that. John chooses the Lawman background, Clint chooses the Ranger background, and Audie chooses the Soldier background. While all three of them give them increased firearm skills, John ends up becoming a better diplomat at the start, Clint has better horsemanship skills, and Audie has better melee skills. Even though the three have different proficiencies at the start, all three of them end up becoming gunslingers due to working in the right skills and choosing the right feats.

So does a system like this exist?

Savage Worlds Deadlands is almost literally that. Right down to the Old West. (Although it's more that you have a set of abilities you can put points into, like ranged or melee combat, riding, etc., and certain professional edges have minimum reqs for each skill). You can also roll for background stuff that gives you some extra things.

(I may be describing it somewhat wrong, been a while since I looked at the rules and I haven't played much, but what you described reminded me a LOT of Deadlands).

It's not a perfect system, but it works reasonably well from the (very limited) experience I've had with it.

The Glyphstone
2017-12-09, 07:45 PM
The Iron Kingdoms RPG is almost like that - you pick two backgrounds from a list of stuff like Mechanic, Soldier, Spy, Thief, Mage, etc., and each gives you a certain set of starting skills and some talents/abilities. If there is an overlap, then you start with that skill at one rank higher.

tensai_oni
2017-12-09, 08:29 PM
I believe OP's point isn't only to have a system where a background influences your character's starting skills, but one where all characters with the same class-equivalent are roughly on the same level as their class-equivalent-important abilities are concerned. What different backgrounds provide instead are different side skills, ones that also can be important but are less key to the class's functioning.

ImNotTrevor
2017-12-10, 01:25 AM
Stars Without Number actually does this really well, but sorta comes at it backwards.

There are only 3 classes, but since your background determines your skills, there is a wide range of ways to be any one class. Being a Warrior can involve being good with vehicle combat just as much as it can involve fist fights and gunslinging.

8BitNinja
2017-12-10, 01:27 PM
I believe OP's point isn't only to have a system where a background influences your character's starting skills, but one where all characters with the same class-equivalent are roughly on the same level as their class-equivalent-important abilities are concerned. What different backgrounds provide instead are different side skills, ones that also can be important but are less key to the class's functioning.

The idea was a system where there is something that exists similar to a "class" but it just determines starting proficiencies and skills. For example, a character might start out as a good head on fighter, but he could end up being a good sneaky character in the end.

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-10, 02:06 PM
The idea was a system where there is something that exists similar to a "class" but it just determines starting proficiencies and skills. For example, a character might start out as a good head on fighter, but he could end up being a good sneaky character in the end.

Ummmm.... Any point buy system that uses templates?

Airk
2017-12-10, 02:46 PM
The idea was a system where there is something that exists similar to a "class" but it just determines starting proficiencies and skills. For example, a character might start out as a good head on fighter, but he could end up being a good sneaky character in the end.

Yeah, I haven't seen anything unusual here yet. What you've proposed is somewhere between lifepaths (Everyone who started as a mud farmer, graduated to caravan guard, and the mercenary will have basically the same skills) and templated point buy (where everyone who picks the "Bounty Hunter" template gets the same skills, that they can then add to.). If you were specifically looking to RESTRICT advancement to certain types of skills that might be harder, but it doesn't sound to me like that's what you had in mind.

So yeah. Uh. Burning Wheel? Any point buy game? (I can't recommend any off the top of my head, because it's been a long time since I was interested in playing the "Okay, I'll spend 7 points in sword, and 3 points in dodge, and 2 points in underwater basketweaving..." game.)

Martin Greywolf
2017-12-10, 03:36 PM
The idea was a system where there is something that exists similar to a "class" but it just determines starting proficiencies and skills. For example, a character might start out as a good head on fighter, but he could end up being a good sneaky character in the end.

Planet mercenary does this almost to the letter. You pick a role in mercenary company all PCs are leading as officers and a background, and that gives you starting skills. Only difference is that you then have a good amount of additional skill points to buy more skills with freely.

Altair_the_Vexed
2017-12-11, 05:57 AM
There are a bunch of semi-class-based systems that do this: d20 Modern has general classes, plus backgrounds (which grant skills and feats), with plenty of options and Advanced Classes for more specialism later on (sort of like D&D3.x's Prestige Classes, but with less entry requirements), D&D 3.x has the Generic Classes option from Unearthed Arcana (where you pick one of three generic classes, and all the stuff that would be class abilities in the regular D&D game is turned into Feats)...

Aneurin
2017-12-11, 12:40 PM
Dark Heresy 2e does this fairly well.

It has you pick a Homeworld, a Background and a Role. The Role acts almost like a class, it determines which advances are cheap to buy and which aren't. Background and Homeworld give you skills and talents and special abilties.

So a Hive-born Imperial Guard Warrior is a very different beast (and least to start with) than a Death World Outcast Warrior. Sure, they're predisposed to get good at similar things, but they start with different bases and aren't obliged to become cookie-cutter copies of each other through limited advancement choices.

Mark Hall
2017-12-11, 12:54 PM
Chronica Feudalis (http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/62966/Chronica-Feudalis?term=chronica+feuda&test_epoch=0&affiliate_id=315505) (which I believe is FATE-based) does this... you pick 3 mentors, each of whom gives you improvements to certain skills and some equipment, defining your final character.

Knaight
2017-12-11, 01:32 PM
The idea was a system where there is something that exists similar to a "class" but it just determines starting proficiencies and skills. For example, a character might start out as a good head on fighter, but he could end up being a good sneaky character in the end.

As was said, any point buy system that uses templates fits here. Those that don't use templates can generally have custom templates made for them pretty quickly, and if you haven't done so yet it doesn't mean that somebody hasn't. You're asking for some very conventional, very ubiquitous design features here.


Chronica Feudalis (http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/62966/Chronica-Feudalis?term=chronica+feuda&test_epoch=0&affiliate_id=315505) (which I believe is FATE-based) does this... you pick 3 mentors, each of whom gives you improvements to certain skills and some equipment, defining your final character.
They swiped Aspects, but that's about the end of the FATE influence. Everything else is different.

Jay R
2017-12-11, 01:36 PM
In Flashing Blades, you choose one of Noble, Gentleman, Soldier, or Rogue*. Each had a set of three skills that only cost you one point, a larger set that cost you two points, and the rest would cost three points.

*More options, including colonials, sailors, marines and pirates, are included in the Caribbean-based supplement, High Seas.

The Rogue, for instance, can get Cutpurse, Fine Manipulation, and Stealth for a single point each, but Etiquette costs three points by itself - so rogue characters don't take it.

Nobles get Etiquette, Heraldry, and Horsemanship for one point each. Soldiers get Captaincy, Strategy, and Horsemanship. Gentlemen get Bargaining, Etiquette, and Languages.

Fighting skills are on a different system.

A Soldier starts with the fighting skills of his regiment.
The school of hard knocks, which teaches him brawling, is only available to Rogues.
Archery school requires Dex or Wit 12+.
A fencing school teaches one dueling style, and gives +1 for a single weapon in that style. It can be taken in addition to Archery School or the school of hard knocks.
etc.

Each dueling style has a different short list of weapons, and some other abilities. The Italian school uses rapiers and longswords, and gives +1 to a thrust or lunge. The Cavalry style allows sabres and longswords, with +1 to a slash. French style has superior parrying. Old Style includes daggers, longswords, cutlasses, and two-handed swords.

So a Rogue would likely have brawling and the French dueling style, with +1 with a rapier.
A gentleman with a high enough wit might have archery and the Spanish dueling style, with +1 to a longsword.
Perhaps another gentleman with sufficient strength or endurance attended the Academy, and learned Firearms and Cavalry style.
A Nobleman might belong to a international fencing guild, and learn Italian Style, French Style, and Polearms, or three fencing styles.
The soldier's fighting skills would depend on his regiment. Dragoons know Cavalry style and and Firearms. Musketeers learn French style, firearms, and one more.

They can all use swords, but which swords, and what they can do with them, vary greatly.