[MUD-Dev] Classless systems

Steve Houchard stevehou at engin.umich.edu
Sat Jul 22 10:30:52 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

On Fri, 21 Jul 2000, David Bennett wrote:

> On Fri, 21 Jul 2000, Ryan P. wrote:
> > The major point I think needs to be decay and dampeners. By decay I mean
> > that stats/skills/whatever needs to decay quickly when not in use. If
> > skills can be trained, why can't stats? If you start working out big time, why
> Depends on how you look at it.  I think making stats changable adds too many
> variables inthe the equation and makes characters significantly harder
> to balance and deal with.  It is much easier to control only one variable
> than two...

If you only allow one variable to change then you're stuck with a one
dimensional character progression.  I'm personally quite fond of multiple
dimensions of progression.  Tough to balance?  Sure.  I think it's
worthwhile though because it opens up many more possibilities.  

What I've done is implemented a monotonically increasing progression cost;
each successive level costs more than the last.  As a result, advancement
can get expensive rather quickly but it keeps the numbers within a
manageable frame.  Skills and stats are then on a sliding scale somewhere
on the cost axis with stats and some skills being more expensive than
others.  Furthermore, stats start on a base 10 scale typically around 6 or
7 while skills will tend to start much lower.  

Because stats are harder to train than skills it initially looks like the
experience cost is prohibitively high but at some point it becomes cheaper
to train the stat than the skill (a skill roll in my system is a composite
of some governing stat and the skill in question).  Maybe an example would

The scale I use is:
	cost	1 3 6 10 15 21 28 36 45 55 66 78
	level	1 2 3 4  5  6  7  8  9  10 11 12

which is trivially easy to enumerate algorithmically.  I initially tried
the fibonacci sequence but it grew far too quickly for the number range I 
wanted.  I also usually bump the level 1 cost to 5 as to not be too easy
to pick up new skills.  Stats are adjusted as cost + 3, i.e., I move up
three indexes on the chart so training dexterity from 6 to 7 costs me 55
points.  The haggle skill is unadjusted so training it from 6 to 7 only
costs 28 points.  Experience points are supposed to come at a constant
rate per unit time regardless of level but in practice it tends to rise
slowly but steadily.  

Skills are initially typically much lower value than stats (less points to
spend in character creation).  Characters spend their first few levels
training their primary skills.  It isn't uncommon to see a level 4 or 5
fighter type (no classes) have a 9 sword skill.  If that same fighter has
a 6 dexterity and wants to get better with a sword, it costs an equal
amount to train the skill and the stat.  

The end result is a theoretically unbounded progression scheme along many
dimensions that's in practice bounded by time (sometime after level 15 or
so, it becomes way to difficult to advance along the character's primary
skill set).  


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