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A fantasy RPG written by Sean K Reynolds, focused on easy gameplay, martial/caster balance, and rewarding social interaction.
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Expanding Options, Traditional Fantasy Races

Posted by Sean K Reynolds (Creator)

Hello again. I recently had some revolutionary thoughts about two important choice-based aspects of the game.

Expanding Options

As I've been working my way through the Spells chapter, I had a realization.

Currently, each of the classes lets you choose some kind of feat (cronk, spell, or stunt) at each character level. So if you're a warrior, at every level you automatically learn a new cronk. If you're a wizard, you automatically learn a new spell. If you're a rogue, you automatically learn a new stunt. For the sake of the rest of this update, let's call these "bonus cronks," "bonus spells," and "bonus stunts."

And there's a rule in the feats chapter that says "instead of the bonus feat granted by your class, you can always choose to learn a 'generic' feat, like Brew Potion, Diehard, or an armor training feat."

But what these rules actually do is limit warriors to learning a lot of feats, and if they want to learn stunts or spells, they have to train (with "downtime") with a PC or NPC to learn that. Likewise, a wizard who wants to learn a cronk or stunt would have to train to do it. So another way of looking at that warrior's bonus cronk is "you can pick anything EXCEPT a spell or a stunt." And another way of looking at that wizard's bonus spell is "you can pick anything EXCEPT a cronk or a stunt."

Because so much of what I'm trying to do with the game is to increase character options, that sort of limitation is pretty lame. So here's what I'm doing for the playtest:

Instead of warriors getting bonus cronks, wizards getting bonus spells, and so on, every class can pick one feat (of any type) at each character level. If you're a warrior and you decide to pick a spell at every level, that's fine. If you're a rogue and you decide to pick a cronk at every level, that's fine. Or any combination of cronks, spells, stunts, and generic feats that suits your character concept. And so on.

So the differences between the classes comes down to your Health per level, your martial and spell bonuses, your resist roll bonuses, and some specific class abilities (like your aura). Other than that, every class is "pick one feat at every level." And within that framework, you have an incredible amount of choices for customizing your character by choosing feats and spending your skill points.

Traditional Fantasy Races

There is a place for "traditional" races like elves, dwarves, halflings, and so on in a fantasy game. If you want to run a typical fantasy game, you prolly want stats for those races, regardless of the rules system you're using.

But my game doesn't have to be typical fantasy. Especially because there are a zillion games out there that already give you those races. There has been talk in the blog and here in the updates about unusual races like the dragon-like drachann and the spider-like arachnith, and the idea of a "race builder" set of rules. And I've already talked about the divine entities associated with the Five Moons, such as Lafreesh the Lynx Moon. And I've talked about the role of shapers in the setting.

So if you put two and two together, then the standard races for this game could be humans and human-people who took on traits appropriate to one of the moon-entities. So people who devote themselves to Lafreesh might have shapers give them more feline traits, either as an homage to her or in an attempt to become closer to their concept of perfection. One of the moon-entities is a lizard creature (which I hadn't revealed until now), which suits the drachann race. One of the moon-entities is a spider creature (ditto), which suits the arachnith race. Another is a plant creature (ditto), and the backers voted that they wanted a plant-like humanoid in the monster book, so I might as well make it a PC race option in the Corebook.

So the Races chapter will have 3E-like stats for humans plus these other five races. And it'll have a short section with game stats for traditional fantasy races as well, but the focus will be on humans and the five shaper races.

For now, gotta get back to getting these spells finished up (as it turns out, turning vancian effects into at-will effects usually requires a lot of rewriting and power-squishing).

(And speaking of plant people, here's a Gerald Lee sketch of how they might look.)



King of Vrock, William Buxton, and 4 more people like this update.


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    1. William Buxton on

      I am wondering if there's an assumption of having X type of powers for Five moons now the gates are open? Such as classes may give bonus boosts/day for use in Cronk/Spell/Stunts for example. Another being if the game assumes at certain lvs, PC's take X cronks/Spells, and X Stunts?

      I'm also concerned that Cronks may not get to do supernatural things, and PC's all use spells by the higher level game. Due to Narrow definition of Cronks, and Spells more open definition of being able to "Break the expected laws of physics". I'm definitely hoping Cronks & stunts both, will be doing such things right along spells, without just being bigger numbers.

      (I brought this up in more depth in the Blog, if anyone interested)

    2. JCR on

      Excellent! I'm all in favor of expanding options so that players can play the character they want instead of what the rules allow them to play. Typically, in other games, you were forced to multiclass in order to approximate getting to, or at least close to, the character you wanted.

      As a long-time player of both D&D and class-free games like Shadowrun, I'm thrilled to see things moving this direction.

      I do agree that perhaps we no longer need the tripartite distinction in the ontology of feats and could eliminate the signifier terms and just call everything a feat. But, I do get keeping the distinctions for flavour and ease of quick reference.

      Also, am I the only one who keeps reading "Lafreesh" as "Larfleeze" from DC/Green Lantern?

    3. Missing avatar

      Bret on

      I'm liking that you are removing more of the class restrictions.

      Are there going to be feat trees, even for magic? That would still make it so that those who specialize in spell crafting play very differently than those who focus on melee.

    4. Missing avatar


      Thanks for explaining that, Sean! I wasn't certain how I felt about this adjustment, but knowing that you've considered the same things makes me even more excited to see how you deal with it, especially knowing that you still intend to have classes excel at their specialties.

    5. Cyrad on

      I assume the wizard will have much stronger class-unique abilities. Otherwise, there's not much reason to play a wizard unless you want to heavily invest in spells with attack rolls. You can play a fighter and get all spells that rely on utility or resist DCs, becoming as good as a wizard in that respect. The bonus feat paradigm made sense to me, but I trust this decision and look forward to hearing more!

    6. Missing avatar

      Jive_Turkey on

      I am all for this. If this setup goes to print I can see obstacles with some players who do better with a more defined structure to their advancement, but I think it will provide an overall benefit. It's still in testing though so maybe we'll regret our soiree in the harsh light of dawn but for tonight, let's get weird.

    7. Sean K Reynolds 2-time creator on

      @Sleet I was just about ready to make that jump when I remembered that the game still differentiates between making an attack with a weapon and making an attack with a spell. Because I want warriors to be good at the former, wizards to be good at the latter, and so on, I'm gonna keep the distinction in the game. For now. So the difference is:
      * cronks are abilities that are generally about attacks or defenses
      * stunts are abilities that are generally about skills
      * spells are abilities that are unusual or tend to break the expected laws of physics
      The results of the playtest may push changes that make these differences entirely meaningless, so I'm willing to leave that as a possibility.

    8. Missing avatar


      So, now that cronks, stunts, and spells aren't class restricted and the only thing separating them is flavor (this one's magical, this one's tough, and this one's tricky), is there much point in using those terms instead of just calling them all feats? Or, on the other hand, leaving all of those other feats generic instead of sorting them into the one that they best associate with?

    9. Sean K Reynolds 2-time creator on

      @Daryl considering that the five classes have unique abilities, and some of those abilities vary by what your class level is (like a fighter's weapon training in 3E), and they have different base stats, it still most definitely is a class system.

    10. William Buxton on

      {So if you put two and two together, then the standard races for this game could be humans and human-people who took on traits appropriate to one of the moon-entities}

      I totally picture those Dragon Ball-styled audience scenes, where have bunch of random animal people, with possibly other types, and regular humans as well:

      I'm also a grand supporter of all races exotic.

      As for power selection, I thought that's what Heroic Feats were for, as they allowed PC's to pick any actual feat, or simply just take another power of any kind. Though I understand that may later on force certain characters to have certain "minimum level" till they can played, so ye want to seek to do away with such.

      This does mean ye want to ensure that all the powers of a given level, are level appropriate for the type of expected challenges they would be facing at that point. So it'll be interesting to see how Cronks & spells 20th+ versions compare to completing those challenges.

      Lastly...Oooooh what's behind Mystery Moon NUMBER FIVE?!...I look forward to finding out.

    11. Daryl Putman on

      This, effectively, makes Five Moons RPG classless :(