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Choose your own class, but don't take forever?

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Paul Ott
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Joined: 01/22/2018

Hello, I'm working on an RPG-lite board game (full character progression and a complete game in 2-4 hours).

I love the idea of multiclassing in RPGs. I love making weird builds and combinations.

After years in development, I now realize I can't make weird builds in my game because I made the classes random through treasure.

You can trade with other players, or--since the max you can have active is two--if you get more than two you can start weighing which ones you want. This might happen 1/3 of the time.

I did this to speed up turns. I don't want new players to sit there and read through all 18 classes (lots of different classes, each has two unique powers) each time they could get one. The powers are also fairly detailed, as you might find in a RPG.

How do you give people options in customizing their character, but without slowing down gameplay or making new players feel lost?

My only thought is to make a second, very specific scenario that starts the players with two classes of their choice and gives them a clear objective. Something like, "Last one alive wins." I've been playing against myself and enjoy thinking up new builds. It's like a different game.

I'd love to figure out a way to allow building your character to happen naturally as a part of adventuring though, without slowing it down or hindering new players too much.

Maybe you get one at random, but you can swap with the deck for a small fee? New players might stick with what they have, but experienced players might have a specific build they're willing to pay a fee to do?

Daggaz
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Joined: 12/19/2016
Separate the classes into

Separate the classes into groups (melee stealth magic as classic example) and let treasure lead players into the groups, thus narrowing the list of optimal choices but still allowing player control.

Of course, players should have the option of playing unoptimally if they want to otherwise they lose sense of control and interest in the game.

Corsaire
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Joined: 06/27/2013
Daggaz wrote:Separate the

Daggaz wrote:
Separate the classes into groups (melee stealth magic as classic example) and let treasure lead players into the groups, thus narrowing the list of optimal choices but still allowing player control.

Of course, players should have the option of playing unoptimally if they want to otherwise they lose sense of control and interest in the game.

+1

Paul Ott
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Joined: 01/22/2018
This is a very good idea and

This is a very good idea and I am going to do it. They are already divided into three groups based on the game's three stats.

Maybe I can make a cheatsheet with each class and summarizes their two powers as well.

Thanks.

Daggaz
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Joined: 12/19/2016
You can add to this a method

You can add to this a method to keep the decision tree flexible for the players, so that they don't feel too forced even by the optimal path. You see this in a lot of RPGs actually, with varying degrees of successful implementation.

What you do is give each treasure piece a major and a minor bonus, and these two bonuses are optimal for different class-groups. Or you can give the item a single bonus, but the mechanics of classes dictate that this bonus will be strongest for one class-group, and ok for another class-group, but not very optimal at all for a third-group (perhaps useful if you have nothing else but guaranteed to be replaced with any optimal item).

Now the player finds the cloak of Thieves and its awesome-sauce if he wants to have a stealthy character, but it's also fairly decent for a melee-orientated build as well, etc, etc.

Not only do you keep a greater range of control in the game for the player (I dont know many people who play DnD and prefer getting a character from the DM), but you present more interesting decisions to the player. If they get a lot of items that are minor items for a caster, do they want to pursue a hybrid build or continue with the main-line?

Balancing all of this is two-sided (item bonuses vs character build mechanics) and easier said than done, but worth the investment. Final note: you need to keep in mind whether or not player choices regarding character builds are locked in or flexible. Most RPGs have a strong degree of permanence, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Jay103
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Joined: 01/23/2018
That gives great depth to the

That gives great depth to the item design. Major and minor is always a good way to go I feel.

Paul Ott
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Joined: 01/22/2018
Yes, this is good advice. The

Yes, this is good advice. The way the Classes work is that each one gives you a bonus to one of the three stats (stats double as health, so higher stats also means more health which is always good). You also get the corresponding Weapon card for that Class.

Weapon cards have different powers on the front and back. If you're going to play your Thief Weapon card, you have to pick which side you're going to use this turn. Generally, every class has something useful for every character.

If a character is perfectly suited for both of the Thief Weapon's powers, for example, that simply means they have more options each turn, which is a marginal increase in power. Each turn, they still can only play one of the two sides of the Thief Weapon card.

Daggaz wrote:
Final note: you need to keep in mind whether or not player choices regarding character builds are locked in or flexible. Most RPGs have a strong degree of permanence, but it doesn't have to be that way.

This is something I did start considering last night. As it was, you were locked into that Class/Weapon because there was no picking.

I do have some rules in place to prevent people from using lots of Classes in a turn, or swapping between each other. This should work smoothly with allowing people to pick a Weapon when they play a Class:

It costs an action to place a Class card into play and get the +1 stat bonus. Then the following turn you get the corresponding Weapon card. If you get disarmed or take the Class card out of play, then the Class card goes into your hand, you lose your +1 bonus, and the Weapon card goes back to the deck.

With the new rule, playing it again can allow you to pick a new Weapon card on your next turn for the category of classes you have. So you can swap, but it has costs. I like it.

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