Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cap 99

I rather like the idea that there’s a ceiling to character progression; there is a maximum limit to how powerful you can get. This doesn’t necessarily fit a supers game (where Superman pretty much sets the bar for most things at a pretty high level), but in a fantasy game, this is a cool conceit. I always liked this about the old school Dragonlance setting, where you were capped at level 15. If you were level 15, you were among the best in the world. In MMORPGs, you can only get so powerful; you work to balance the numbers to squeeze every conceivable bonus you can out of those numbers.

This also appeals to my design sensibilities in terms of challenges to players; build the coolest character you can in 99 character points. Story-wise, this also fits; mortals killed their goddess, and their ability to attain her stature has been cut off. She was the conduit to great personal power; that conduit has been dissevered.

If this is the case, you have to also be limited to the total number of points you can get from magic; it seems like half your CP total is a very generous amount. I’m almost thinking 1/3, since many heroes will get further boosts from spells cast by themselves or allies. Even so, we’ll go with half your CP total (rounded up) as the allowed amount for now. At 99 CPs, you can have 50 CPs in magical bonuses from items… note that such magical bonuses do not affect your total wounds. Torom below still suffers 99 wound before he has to start rolling to stay vertical…

You can build a very cool character with 99 character points +50 from items. To whit, here’s an optimized dwarf fighter:

Torom Thudershield (99 CPs, +50 CPs from items)
Fighting +12 [30 CPs; +10 Gauntlets of Fighting] (Shield Use); Might +10 [20 CPs; +10 Belt of Might]; Stamina +11 [25 CPs; +5 Ring of Stamina; +1 shift from dwarf] (Armor); Speed +6 (2 CPs; +10 Boots of Speed)
Focus +7 [6 CPs; +10 from Amulet of Focus] (Warding); Intuition +4 (+1 CP; +5 Ring of Intuition); Resolve +5
Torom attacks with a great axe +11, dealing +21 damage with each successful strike.
His armor and cloak allow him to soak +12 physical damage and +8 magical damage.
His great shield gives him a pool of 12 points to add to armor soak rolls each scene, applied to either his own soak rolls, or of allies within the same unit.

He’s got about as much fighting and stamina as you can get… he could squeeze another point or two into each of them, but he’d have to give up quite a bit to get those points. I’d like for him to have higher resolve, but +5 is respectable. His speed keeps him from having to worry about missile attacks (he can close the distance with most foes quickly), and his high soaks will keep him involved in the fight for a long time.

Conceivably, you could have several ‘builds’ for your main character, based on the situation… Torom can swap out his boots of speed for a helm of leadership when he wants to stand back and command his dwarf army, for instance.

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