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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:48 am
  

Wanderer

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Are there any non magic, non psychic OCCs that actually gain mechanically interesting options upon leveling? I'm not looking for spells or psionics (though that might be the only real option).

Basically, I find leveling in PB to be fairly dull unless you are a caster class. I was wondering if somewhere in all the rifts stuff there were 'warrior' or 'adventurer' classes who got more upon leveling than simply a few skill % and a +2 to pull punch. Things like the Psi-Warrior comes close, though really that is just pre-chosen psionics.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:06 pm
  

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Champion

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Tywyll wrote:
Are there any non magic, non psychic OCCs that actually gain mechanically interesting options upon leveling? I'm not looking for spells or psionics (though that might be the only real option).

Basically, I find leveling in PB to be fairly dull unless you are a caster class. I was wondering if somewhere in all the rifts stuff there were 'warrior' or 'adventurer' classes who got more upon leveling than simply a few skill % and a +2 to pull punch. Things like the Psi-Warrior comes close, though really that is just pre-chosen psionics.


Elite eastern martial artists can be interesting as they level up.

Cyborgs can be fun if you give them a "per level" enhancement budget. This same principle can apply to other tech-centric classes.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:57 pm
  

Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:49 am
Posts: 96
Hotrod wrote:
Tywyll wrote:
Are there any non magic, non psychic OCCs that actually gain mechanically interesting options upon leveling? I'm not looking for spells or psionics (though that might be the only real option).

Basically, I find leveling in PB to be fairly dull unless you are a caster class. I was wondering if somewhere in all the rifts stuff there were 'warrior' or 'adventurer' classes who got more upon leveling than simply a few skill % and a +2 to pull punch. Things like the Psi-Warrior comes close, though really that is just pre-chosen psionics.


Elite eastern martial artists can be interesting as they level up.


Any particular reasons? Do they gain new abilities? And from which books (Japan, China, China2?)

Quote:
Cyborgs can be fun if you give them a "per level" enhancement budget. This same principle can apply to other tech-centric classes.

[/quote]

Sorry, I forgot, I'm not looking for tech based characters either. Should have said that.

I'm looking for stuff that might be ported elsewhere (like to Palladium Fantasy).


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:59 pm
  

Champion

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:22 am
Posts: 1900
Sooooo...

No Tech, No Psionics, and no Magic..

What exactly does that leave?

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:57 pm
  

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Champion

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Tywyll wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
Tywyll wrote:
Are there any non magic, non psychic OCCs that actually gain mechanically interesting options upon leveling? I'm not looking for spells or psionics (though that might be the only real option).

Basically, I find leveling in PB to be fairly dull unless you are a caster class. I was wondering if somewhere in all the rifts stuff there were 'warrior' or 'adventurer' classes who got more upon leveling than simply a few skill % and a +2 to pull punch. Things like the Psi-Warrior comes close, though really that is just pre-chosen psionics.


Elite eastern martial artists can be interesting as they level up.


Any particular reasons? Do they gain new abilities? And from which books (Japan, China, China2?)

They gain new special moves with level, and some gain special supernatural powers. China 2 has several of these, as does Japan.

Tywyll wrote:
Quote:
Cyborgs can be fun if you give them a "per level" enhancement budget. This same principle can apply to other tech-centric classes.



Sorry, I forgot, I'm not looking for tech based characters either. Should have said that.

I'm looking for stuff that might be ported elsewhere (like to Palladium Fantasy).[/quote]

No tech, psi, or magic... that leaves very little to play with. I suppose you could take a character who makes his/her own armor, and as he/she acquires new skills, you could incrementally improve the armor's MDC, add new features, et cetera, until you're strutting around in a tricked out pimp suit of body armor. There's nothing in canon to support that, so you'd have to make it up as you go, and tech features likely wouldn't be appropriate for Palladium Fantasy, but you might be able to get away with something like what Hiccup has going on in the How to Train Your Dragon sequels.

Really, though, other than the Martial Arts stuff, I think you should look at Ninjas & Superspies as well as Heroes Unlimited.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:45 pm
  

Hero

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Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
Sooooo...

No Tech, No Psionics, and no Magic..

What exactly does that leave?

Heroes Unlimited mutants with continuous mutation who gain powers as they level up.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:08 am
  

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dreicunan wrote:
Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
Sooooo...

No Tech, No Psionics, and no Magic..

What exactly does that leave?

Heroes Unlimited mutants with continuous mutation who gain powers as they level up.


Either this or a DMA/WMA from N&S. Honestly the tech-based characters are typically front-loaded with their stuff vs the mages and the like needed to level to get more stuff.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:50 am
  

Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:49 am
Posts: 96
Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
Sooooo...

No Tech, No Psionics, and no Magic..

What exactly does that leave?


Something with unique abilities? Something that has moved beyond the DnD paradigm that nonmages are only differentiated by gear? I was hoping in the plethora of Rifts books there might he some class that got abilities as it leveled, something for characters who don't want magic or psi. Gear is boring because everyone uses it.

I know about MA abilities from NSS and those are the closest to what I am looking for, but the system is very first ed and doesn't work easily with second.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:10 am
  

Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:49 am
Posts: 96
The Beast wrote:
dreicunan wrote:
Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
Sooooo...

No Tech, No Psionics, and no Magic..

What exactly does that leave?

Heroes Unlimited mutants with continuous mutation who gain powers as they level up.


Either this or a DMA/WMA from N&S. Honestly the tech-based characters are typically front-loaded with their stuff vs the mages and the like needed to level to get more stuff.


Yeah agreed. It's one of the things I don't like about old school systems is a lack of mechanical options for characters who don't cast spells of some kind. You are pretty much the same at first level as you are at tenth, only usually with better gear. But the casters also have better gear so....hey ho.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:10 am
  

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Champion

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Tywyll wrote:
Yeah agreed. It's one of the things I don't like about old school systems is a lack of mechanical options for characters who don't cast spells of some kind. You are pretty much the same at first level as you are at tenth, only usually with better gear. But the casters also have better gear so....hey ho.


Men at arms are really not "pretty much the same" at level 10 as at level 1. Look at the NPC generators in my signature. Take the C.S. Grunt. A level 10 character has 50% more attacks per melee, +5 or +6 more to strike with any skilled weapon (which means they never miss in melee and are ~25% more likely to hit a parrying/dodging opponent), +3 or +6 more to dodge or parry with a melee weapon, making them more likely to avoid getting hit, and most of their skill rolls go from "eh, maybe you'll succeed" to "rolling is mostly a formality at this point." In hand-to-hand, level 10 grunts can dual wield, making them far more effective in melee.

This is setting aside the fact that these NPC generators don't include new skill selections as the NPC levels up. With additional physical skills, these statistical advantages become even more pronounced. This also sets aside the fact that grunt equipment doesn't change (most of my other NPC generators include higher-damage options at high levels, but grunts get standard-issue stuff at all levels). This also sets aside the fact that properly-played level 10 grunts will likely be smarter about when and how they fight, and they will know and use all kinds of tricks to defeat their enemies in ways that won't occur to a fresh level 1 character.

A single level 10 grunt with my NPC generator is worth two level 1 grunts in a straight-up fight. With good skill selections and equipment upgrades, a single level 10 grunt could be worth 3-5 basic level 1 grunts.

Now, I get it, the upgrades aren't as flashy as new spells or psionics, which bring wholly new capabilities to a character in a level-up, but not all characters are meant to be Swiss Army Knives that you add a new tool to each level. It's also true that grunt combat power doesn't generally ramp up as sharply as that of most magic and psionic combat powers (they have no weapon doing 1D6 MDC per level of experience). That said, statistical gains from combat skills make a significant difference, and I wouldn't consider a level 1 and a level 10 character of any class to be "pretty much the same."

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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:31 am
  

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Comment: The Munchkin Fairy
Tywyll wrote:
Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
Sooooo...

No Tech, No Psionics, and no Magic..

What exactly does that leave?


Something with unique abilities? Something that has moved beyond the DnD paradigm that nonmages are only differentiated by gear? I was hoping in the plethora of Rifts books there might he some class that got abilities as it leveled, something for characters who don't want magic or psi. Gear is boring because everyone uses it.

I know about MA abilities from NSS and those are the closest to what I am looking for, but the system is very first ed and doesn't work easily with second.


The amusing thing is that even modern D&D has moved past that Paradigm. 5e, For that matter, 4e and Pathfinder, all have a variety of nonmagic based classes that gain a variety of unique and useful abilities just...."Because" basically.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:40 pm
  

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I think it's also important to note that some skills bring key utilities to a player.

Horsemanship: Exotic can bring all the special abilities of the animal you fly to bear.
W.P. Net brings a tremendous power to disable an opponent.
Skills that enable the making and use of toxins can allow you to paralyze, stun, cause hallucinations, and other effects (this is handier in Palladium Fantasy than Rifts).
Trap construction/emplacement skills provide ward-like capabilities and are awesome for ambushes.
Breed Dogs allows you to train dogs to do all kinds of useful things like track, chase, and attack a target.
Paired weapons can double your combat power in melee (this is situational, but pretty awesome)
Detect Ambush provides the same function as the Sixth Sense power.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:45 pm
  

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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:48 am
  

Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:49 am
Posts: 96
Hotrod wrote:
Tywyll wrote:
Yeah agreed. It's one of the things I don't like about old school systems is a lack of mechanical options for characters who don't cast spells of some kind. You are pretty much the same at first level as you are at tenth, only usually with better gear. But the casters also have better gear so....hey ho.


Men at arms are really not "pretty much the same" at level 10 as at level 1. Look at the NPC generators in my signature. Take the C.S. Grunt. A level 10 character has 50% more attacks per melee, +5 or +6 more to strike with any skilled weapon (which means they never miss in melee and are ~25% more likely to hit a parrying/dodging opponent), +3 or +6 more to dodge or parry with a melee weapon, making them more likely to avoid getting hit, and most of their skill rolls go from "eh, maybe you'll succeed" to "rolling is mostly a formality at this point." In hand-to-hand, level 10 grunts can dual wield, making them far more effective in melee.

This is setting aside the fact that these NPC generators don't include new skill selections as the NPC levels up. With additional physical skills, these statistical advantages become even more pronounced. This also sets aside the fact that grunt equipment doesn't change (most of my other NPC generators include higher-damage options at high levels, but grunts get standard-issue stuff at all levels). This also sets aside the fact that properly-played level 10 grunts will likely be smarter about when and how they fight, and they will know and use all kinds of tricks to defeat their enemies in ways that won't occur to a fresh level 1 character.

A single level 10 grunt with my NPC generator is worth two level 1 grunts in a straight-up fight. With good skill selections and equipment upgrades, a single level 10 grunt could be worth 3-5 basic level 1 grunts.


Sorry I wasn't more specific. Yes, noncasters get better, their numbers improve. But so do casters. There is nothing unique or particularly interesting about that improvement. A new skill every 3 or 4 levels is hardly game changing (and again, is nothing unique or particularly interesting that the spell casters don't also get).

Quote:
Now, I get it, the upgrades aren't as flashy as new spells or psionics, which bring wholly new capabilities to a character in a level-up, but not all characters are meant to be Swiss Army Knives that you add a new tool to each level. It's also true that grunt combat power doesn't generally ramp up as sharply as that of most magic and psionic combat powers (they have no weapon doing 1D6 MDC per level of experience). That said, statistical gains from combat skills make a significant difference, and I wouldn't consider a level 1 and a level 10 character of any class to be "pretty much the same."


I don't need every class to be a swiss-army knife (and in fact allowing magic to function that way is a problem in game design in general, but that's another topic). But I do prefer players to have different mechanical options beyond the ones they started with after 10-20 sessions. I like players to have levers they can use on the world, like casters ALWAYS get in every system. Those levers should allow the player to feel like they can do things beyond saying 'I attack', 'I attack', 'I attack'. And those options should be meaningful...a lot of options in PB and other systems seem to provide those options, but are really suboptimal choices in most situations.

That said, the China 2 mystic martial arts are in the right vein of what I'm looking for. I wish they weren't limited to the martial arts fluff, but its a place to start.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:50 am
  

Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:49 am
Posts: 96
Nekira Sudacne wrote:
Tywyll wrote:
Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
Sooooo...

No Tech, No Psionics, and no Magic..

What exactly does that leave?


Something with unique abilities? Something that has moved beyond the DnD paradigm that nonmages are only differentiated by gear? I was hoping in the plethora of Rifts books there might he some class that got abilities as it leveled, something for characters who don't want magic or psi. Gear is boring because everyone uses it.

I know about MA abilities from NSS and those are the closest to what I am looking for, but the system is very first ed and doesn't work easily with second.


The amusing thing is that even modern D&D has moved past that Paradigm. 5e, For that matter, 4e and Pathfinder, all have a variety of nonmagic based classes that gain a variety of unique and useful abilities just...."Because" basically.


Yeah, I know. I wish PB would follow suit. I don't think that they gain those abilities 'just because' but instead because its fun and its good game design IMHO. It keeps players engaged. It's not right for every setting, but when you are playing heroes in a magical setting, then why not?


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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:22 am
  

Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:49 am
Posts: 96
Hotrod wrote:
I think it's also important to note that some skills bring key utilities to a player.

Horsemanship: Exotic can bring all the special abilities of the animal you fly to bear.
W.P. Net brings a tremendous power to disable an opponent.
Skills that enable the making and use of toxins can allow you to paralyze, stun, cause hallucinations, and other effects (this is handier in Palladium Fantasy than Rifts).
Trap construction/emplacement skills provide ward-like capabilities and are awesome for ambushes.
Breed Dogs allows you to train dogs to do all kinds of useful things like track, chase, and attack a target.
Paired weapons can double your combat power in melee (this is situational, but pretty awesome)
Detect Ambush provides the same function as the Sixth Sense power.


Yeah, those are cool and all, but barring a few exceptions, most of them are just as available to casters as non-casters. So casters can train dogs, build traps, and fold the fabric of reality at their whims.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:14 pm
  

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Champion

Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2001 1:01 am
Posts: 2570
Location: Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy
Tywyll wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
I think it's also important to note that some skills bring key utilities to a player.

Horsemanship: Exotic can bring all the special abilities of the animal you fly to bear.
W.P. Net brings a tremendous power to disable an opponent.
Skills that enable the making and use of toxins can allow you to paralyze, stun, cause hallucinations, and other effects (this is handier in Palladium Fantasy than Rifts).
Trap construction/emplacement skills provide ward-like capabilities and are awesome for ambushes.
Breed Dogs allows you to train dogs to do all kinds of useful things like track, chase, and attack a target.
Paired weapons can double your combat power in melee (this is situational, but pretty awesome)
Detect Ambush provides the same function as the Sixth Sense power.


Yeah, those are cool and all, but barring a few exceptions, most of them are just as available to casters as non-casters. So casters can train dogs, build traps, and fold the fabric of reality at their whims.


I agree with your point, but I think you have the underlying problem exactly backwards. Let me explain:

Let's say you roll up a knight in Palladium Fantasy with major psionics. The knight gives up half of his OCC-related skills, and all his OCC skill bonuses are halved. Thus, picking up some psionic capabilities makes him less effective than a knight who gets those extra skills. I see this as an acceptable trade-off (though this trade-off appears to be limited to Palladium Fantasy, not RUE. Or did I miss something?).

Now consider a wizard who wants to take on other roles. He has 8 OCC related skills and four secondary skills. In Palladium Fantasy, any skill can count as a secondary skill. For his secondary skills, he can therefore spend two on hand-to-hand: expert and also take athletics and body building. The wizard already had one W.P. of choice, so just like that, the wizard is now a competent fighter, and he still has eight OCC Related skills he can use to pick up enough Rogue (any) and Espionage(three with bonuses) skills to become a pretty decent thief/spy as well. Granted, the wizard's SDC base starts off low, and he takes more penalties for wearing heavy armor, but weightless/silent armor is a thing, and his physical skills have made up the difference.

As both characters level up, the knight's player is wondering if the OCC related and secondary skills he gets with level are also halved. Meanwhile, the wizard takes horsemanship, paired weapons, and more physical skills and weapon proficiencies to close the gap with his knight-friend more, all the while getting his normal wizard development of spells, PPE, scroll conversion, et cetera..

This wizard just spent every optional skill becoming a discount ninja and paid no price for it. He's just as effective at magic as a wizard who spent his optional skills on nerdy skills. In fact, he's actually slightly better! The wizard-ninja's physical skill selections bump up his PPE a few points thanks to his increased physical endurance attribute.

This is the fundamental problem: Since no skills affect magic or psionics, Magic users and psychics can pick up all kinds of other capabilities with no impact whatsoever on their primary focus areas. Fighters can choose new skills that make them better at their main role. Magic users and psychics can't. So instead of taking "magic skills" like improved meditation, magic combat, and other such skills that could make them cast spells with fewer actions, make some spells more potent, give them limited ability in a related discipline like wards or circles, or grow their P.P.E. base, we get wizard-ninjas and wizard-scholars.

Having more special moves and options for men-at-arms to take as they level up is a good thing, and I'm all for it. I've even come up with some house rules that make melee combat and equipment choices far more interesting, but neither approach solves this underlying problem. What would help solve the underlying problem would be to have magic and psionic skills be a thing that's generally more important to players than becoming a second-rate ninja.

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Check out my maps here!
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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:54 am
  

Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:49 am
Posts: 96
Hotrod wrote:
Tywyll wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
I think it's also important to note that some skills bring key utilities to a player.

Horsemanship: Exotic can bring all the special abilities of the animal you fly to bear.
W.P. Net brings a tremendous power to disable an opponent.
Skills that enable the making and use of toxins can allow you to paralyze, stun, cause hallucinations, and other effects (this is handier in Palladium Fantasy than Rifts).
Trap construction/emplacement skills provide ward-like capabilities and are awesome for ambushes.
Breed Dogs allows you to train dogs to do all kinds of useful things like track, chase, and attack a target.
Paired weapons can double your combat power in melee (this is situational, but pretty awesome)
Detect Ambush provides the same function as the Sixth Sense power.


Yeah, those are cool and all, but barring a few exceptions, most of them are just as available to casters as non-casters. So casters can train dogs, build traps, and fold the fabric of reality at their whims.


I agree with your point, but I think you have the underlying problem exactly backwards. Let me explain:

Let's say you roll up a knight in Palladium Fantasy with major psionics. The knight gives up half of his OCC-related skills, and all his OCC skill bonuses are halved. Thus, picking up some psionic capabilities makes him less effective than a knight who gets those extra skills. I see this as an acceptable trade-off (though this trade-off appears to be limited to Palladium Fantasy, not RUE. Or did I miss something?).

Now consider a wizard who wants to take on other roles. He has 8 OCC related skills and four secondary skills. In Palladium Fantasy, any skill can count as a secondary skill. For his secondary skills, he can therefore spend two on hand-to-hand: expert and also take athletics and body building. The wizard already had one W.P. of choice, so just like that, the wizard is now a competent fighter, and he still has eight OCC Related skills he can use to pick up enough Rogue (any) and Espionage(three with bonuses) skills to become a pretty decent thief/spy as well. Granted, the wizard's SDC base starts off low, and he takes more penalties for wearing heavy armor, but weightless/silent armor is a thing, and his physical skills have made up the difference.

As both characters level up, the knight's player is wondering if the OCC related and secondary skills he gets with level are also halved. Meanwhile, the wizard takes horsemanship, paired weapons, and more physical skills and weapon proficiencies to close the gap with his knight-friend more, all the while getting his normal wizard development of spells, PPE, scroll conversion, et cetera..

This wizard just spent every optional skill becoming a discount ninja and paid no price for it. He's just as effective at magic as a wizard who spent his optional skills on nerdy skills. In fact, he's actually slightly better! The wizard-ninja's physical skill selections bump up his PPE a few points thanks to his increased physical endurance attribute.

This is the fundamental problem: Since no skills affect magic or psionics, Magic users and psychics can pick up all kinds of other capabilities with no impact whatsoever on their primary focus areas. Fighters can choose new skills that make them better at their main role. Magic users and psychics can't. So instead of taking "magic skills" like improved meditation, magic combat, and other such skills that could make them cast spells with fewer actions, make some spells more potent, give them limited ability in a related discipline like wards or circles, or grow their P.P.E. base, we get wizard-ninjas and wizard-scholars.

Having more special moves and options for men-at-arms to take as they level up is a good thing, and I'm all for it. I've even come up with some house rules that make melee combat and equipment choices far more interesting, but neither approach solves this underlying problem. What would help solve the underlying problem would be to have magic and psionic skills be a thing that's generally more important to players than becoming a second-rate ninja.


I wouldn't say that this is me having the problem backwards. The skills in PB have never really provided the kind of actions and abilities I'm talking about/looking for. So whether a caster has them or not, they don't address my issue.

However, you have certainly outlined another problem of caster supremacy I hadn't considered!

I guess that's the problem, non-caster classes just don't stack up to caster ones. Now, in a PB game like Rifts with big mecha and giant guns, the damage output can be equalized and even raised in favor of the non-casters. But outside of damage, or in a setting that doesn't use all that tech, the non-casters just aren't as (mechanically) interesting as casters. At best you get classes where you start with some super powers but never get any more.

I'm thinking I might take the mystical martial arts and build some archetypes that only non-casters can use, kind of like a 15 level template that lays over your normal class, no matter what it is and provides some bonuses/abilities for leveling. I'm thinking the Shadow Knight, The Juggernaut, The Weapon Master (using that MA that provides all the WP), and maybe the Champion might cover most concepts (and keep scope creep from being too great).


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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:26 am
  

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Explorer

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Comment: Eternally Sleepy
I don't know if this is quite what you're looking for, but Nightbane get Talents as they level (1,4,7,10,12), plus the option of buying two new ones at each new level. You may counter that they're magic, but they're not spell casters (though they could be) and they're not psychics (though they could be). I don't think I'd port them to Palladium Fantasy, but they'd work fairly well in Rifts, Heroes Unlimited, or any of the other more heroic games. I know I was considering using portions of the Morphus Unusual Characteristics tables for mutants in my NGR game.

I hope this helps.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:04 am
  

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Comment: Palladium Books Canon is set solely by Kevin Siembieda, either in person, or by his approval of published material.
Tywyll wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
Tywyll wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
I think it's also important to note that some skills bring key utilities to a player.

Horsemanship: Exotic can bring all the special abilities of the animal you fly to bear.
W.P. Net brings a tremendous power to disable an opponent.
Skills that enable the making and use of toxins can allow you to paralyze, stun, cause hallucinations, and other effects (this is handier in Palladium Fantasy than Rifts).
Trap construction/emplacement skills provide ward-like capabilities and are awesome for ambushes.
Breed Dogs allows you to train dogs to do all kinds of useful things like track, chase, and attack a target.
Paired weapons can double your combat power in melee (this is situational, but pretty awesome)
Detect Ambush provides the same function as the Sixth Sense power.


Yeah, those are cool and all, but barring a few exceptions, most of them are just as available to casters as non-casters. So casters can train dogs, build traps, and fold the fabric of reality at their whims.


I agree with your point, but I think you have the underlying problem exactly backwards. Let me explain:

Let's say you roll up a knight in Palladium Fantasy with major psionics. The knight gives up half of his OCC-related skills, and all his OCC skill bonuses are halved. Thus, picking up some psionic capabilities makes him less effective than a knight who gets those extra skills. I see this as an acceptable trade-off (though this trade-off appears to be limited to Palladium Fantasy, not RUE. Or did I miss something?).

Now consider a wizard who wants to take on other roles. He has 8 OCC related skills and four secondary skills. In Palladium Fantasy, any skill can count as a secondary skill. For his secondary skills, he can therefore spend two on hand-to-hand: expert and also take athletics and body building. The wizard already had one W.P. of choice, so just like that, the wizard is now a competent fighter, and he still has eight OCC Related skills he can use to pick up enough Rogue (any) and Espionage(three with bonuses) skills to become a pretty decent thief/spy as well. Granted, the wizard's SDC base starts off low, and he takes more penalties for wearing heavy armor, but weightless/silent armor is a thing, and his physical skills have made up the difference.

As both characters level up, the knight's player is wondering if the OCC related and secondary skills he gets with level are also halved. Meanwhile, the wizard takes horsemanship, paired weapons, and more physical skills and weapon proficiencies to close the gap with his knight-friend more, all the while getting his normal wizard development of spells, PPE, scroll conversion, et cetera..

This wizard just spent every optional skill becoming a discount ninja and paid no price for it. He's just as effective at magic as a wizard who spent his optional skills on nerdy skills. In fact, he's actually slightly better! The wizard-ninja's physical skill selections bump up his PPE a few points thanks to his increased physical endurance attribute.

This is the fundamental problem: Since no skills affect magic or psionics, Magic users and psychics can pick up all kinds of other capabilities with no impact whatsoever on their primary focus areas. Fighters can choose new skills that make them better at their main role. Magic users and psychics can't. So instead of taking "magic skills" like improved meditation, magic combat, and other such skills that could make them cast spells with fewer actions, make some spells more potent, give them limited ability in a related discipline like wards or circles, or grow their P.P.E. base, we get wizard-ninjas and wizard-scholars.

Having more special moves and options for men-at-arms to take as they level up is a good thing, and I'm all for it. I've even come up with some house rules that make melee combat and equipment choices far more interesting, but neither approach solves this underlying problem. What would help solve the underlying problem would be to have magic and psionic skills be a thing that's generally more important to players than becoming a second-rate ninja.


I wouldn't say that this is me having the problem backwards. The skills in PB have never really provided the kind of actions and abilities I'm talking about/looking for. So whether a caster has them or not, they don't address my issue.

However, you have certainly outlined another problem of caster supremacy I hadn't considered!

I guess that's the problem, non-caster classes just don't stack up to caster ones. Now, in a PB game like Rifts with big mecha and giant guns, the damage output can be equalized and even raised in favor of the non-casters. But outside of damage, or in a setting that doesn't use all that tech, the non-casters just aren't as (mechanically) interesting as casters. At best you get classes where you start with some super powers but never get any more.

I'm thinking I might take the mystical martial arts and build some archetypes that only non-casters can use, kind of like a 15 level template that lays over your normal class, no matter what it is and provides some bonuses/abilities for leveling. I'm thinking the Shadow Knight, The Juggernaut, The Weapon Master (using that MA that provides all the WP), and maybe the Champion might cover most concepts (and keep scope creep from being too great).

Honestly... I struggled with this same problem myself. I love mages. But I hated 'dual classing' into some sort of hybrid due to the way the skills worked. Over the years I carefully kept track of every skill or option that popped up in any book and I used them more and more.
As a result the 'pure mages' that I play tend to be far more magically oriented... They have put their skill slots in divination, mystic proficiencies, extra spells, meditation, IQ adding mental skills, boosts to psionics, obscure lores, and the like.

In the same vein I have tried to get a good pool of options for other classes.
I use the weapons specialization rules from Rifter 30. And if you want to make your fighters get something to match mages... let them take weapons mastery.
I use the Advanced Training from Heroes of Humanity.
I let men at arms buy various specialized training programs, or become professionals in various skills, or over level their weapons.

As a result the non-mages end up with some quantitative advantages in their particular areas of focus.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:13 am
  

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In the case of Palladium Fantasy, men at arms are generally portrayed as fairly normal people; giving them superhuman traits or capabilities (which tends to come with Palladium's eastern martial arts) seems inconsistent with the setting.

That said, if I were writing a 3rd Edition for Palladium Fantasy, I'd certainly try to throw in some non-fantastical special moves for men at arms, like perks, as they level up in addition to more magic specialization options. The Longbowman and Warrior Monk get some fancy trick shots already, which is a good start, but they don't seem to develop or scale.

Some nifty capabilities you could throw in for melee fighters might be stagger/knockdown attacks, stun/knockout attacks with weapons, power attacks with weapons, special disarm moves, disabling attacks, extra damage for 2-hander weapons... honestly, I think you'd be better off just making your own melee power-up specialty perks than importing exotic hand-to-hand skills/powers.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:20 pm
  

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Is far as the first post goes, there's not a lot of things that have special abilities outside of magic/mind powers. palladium's a very low-gimmick system, which i think is a strong point rather than a weakness. the thing that makes a character unique is what the character brings to them rather than the class.

as far as the rest of you are talking, maybe the real issue is that magic/psionic classes need less skills available and/or maybe they need to pay a premium for some advanced skills like certain complex choices costing more than one skill choice for magic/psychic classes. limiting their secondary skill options by merit that they have to dedicate so much of their off-time to developing their magical/metal abilities makes a fair amount of sense to me and the magic sure makes up for it....

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:31 am
  

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I know it's probably not what you are looking for, but Servants of the Deep (WB7 Underseas pg47) have an interesting level progression. Although now that I look at it, they are also casters, and the progression is measure in years of service to the lord of the deep, not their experience level.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:52 pm
  

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You could also adapt some of the Advanced Training from Heroes of Humanity as a way to ramp up a skill-based character's abilities.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:11 am
  

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1970 wrote:
I don't know if this is quite what you're looking for, but Nightbane get Talents as they level (1,4,7,10,12), plus the option of buying two new ones at each new level. You may counter that they're magic, but they're not spell casters (though they could be) and they're not psychics (though they could be). I don't think I'd port them to Palladium Fantasy, but they'd work fairly well in Rifts, Heroes Unlimited, or any of the other more heroic games. I know I was considering using portions of the Morphus Unusual Characteristics tables for mutants in my NGR game.

I hope this helps.


Actually Talents are a great example of this idea done right. They are too magical to fit all concepts, but Nightbane as characters all get new abilities as they level up that are unique (as in, a mortal sorcerer can't also get them). So yeah, I dig Nightbane and what it did with Talents.

I would like something like that for more 'mundane' characters I guess?


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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:23 am
  

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Hotrod wrote:
In the case of Palladium Fantasy, men at arms are generally portrayed as fairly normal people; giving them superhuman traits or capabilities (which tends to come with Palladium's eastern martial arts) seems inconsistent with the setting.


Sure, this has always been an element of old school game design (thanks Gygax) and since PF was a AD&D game with house rules, he ported over that design philosophy. However, there are several issues with that...

For one, the source material that old school games are based on always portrayed larger than life heroes, not schleps who happen to wield a sword. Conan, Tarzan, John Carter, Cu Chulain, Beowolf et al definitely go beyond just high stats and skills. So I think it was a design flaw and limitation of early game design (where characters were more akin to wargame figures) than something to be maintained.

Another issue I have is the idea that the 'east' is somehow mystical or superior in some ways. That's just a form of racist orientalism. There is no reason to limit the ideas of superior training to one culture when the history the games are based on don't support it. In other words, if your world has mystical inscrutable martial artists and that's acceptable, then mystical hero-knights should equally fit.

Third, I don't run games set in the PF fantasy world so I'm not that interested in maintaining any kind of setting veracity.

Quote:
That said, if I were writing a 3rd Edition for Palladium Fantasy, I'd certainly try to throw in some non-fantastical special moves for men at arms, like perks, as they level up in addition to more magic specialization options. The Longbowman and Warrior Monk get some fancy trick shots already, which is a good start, but they don't seem to develop or scale.


Exactly. There should be more of this!

Quote:
Some nifty capabilities you could throw in for melee fighters might be stagger/knockdown attacks, stun/knockout attacks with weapons, power attacks with weapons, special disarm moves, disabling attacks, extra damage for 2-hander weapons... honestly, I think you'd be better off just making your own melee power-up specialty perks than importing exotic hand-to-hand skills/powers.


I was looking at the mudras and other abilities in Mythic China and there are some good ideas, but I would need to remove the 'cruft' of the 'mythical east' from them so most of them are probably more trouble than they are worth. However, the actual mechanical benefits of many can still be recycled.

Thinking about it more, I was thinking that the templates would provide 'mundane' style benefits to characters from levels 1-5. Characters level 6-10 would start to gain more mystical abilities and levels 11+ would be downright supernatural.


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