Of Thieves and Rogues, part 3

So how do we handle having old style thieves and new style rogues in the same game while covering all there issues?  Let’s start by taking a look at each issue.

Issue Redux

The Conflict Dependency Issue

The problem here is that the character’s effectiveness depends heavily on what kinds of challenges the group is facing.

This can be mitigated with a few tricks, such as:

  • Making the character useful in every kind of challenge, even if they don’t excel in all of them.
  • Give the character the ability to bring their primary skills into an on off challenge. An example might be using stealth skills to tell when an opponent is hiding something in a social challenge.
  • Have the character gain a special resources if they haven’t gotten to use their primary skills in a while.
The “Decker” Issue

This issue arises when there are challenges that some characters can not meaningfully participate in.

Here are a few ways to work around this:

  • Make sure every character has at least some ability to participate in most challenges, even if indirectly.
  • Have the special challenges run in parallel to a more general challenge.
  • Give the character with special access the ability to bring their allies into the challenge. For example, a thief might be able to share their stealth bonus with the party by guiding their steps.
The Skill Balance Issue

The issue here can be summed up as: If two classes are balanced in one area (such as combat) but imbalanced in a second (such as skill uses) then they are imbalanced as a whole.

There are couple ways to adjust for this:

  • Bring down the overall more competent class in the area they’d previously been balanced. This promotes more specialized characters.
  • Bring up the overall less competent characte in the area they’re weaker in. This leans toward more well rounded characters

Thief vs Rogue Review

The thief is an overall poor combatant with one strong trick, but a strong set of infiltration skills.
The rogue is a strong combatant with a significant skill edge over other classes.

If you wanted to put both character types in a single class, you could start with the weakest of both approaches with the option to build toward either extreme. In this case, that would mean a class with a significant skill edge but poor combat skills. The player would then have the option to either pump up the combat or skill aspect of the character.

Summing It Up

It looks like you could build a strong class which covers both roles by sticking to the following principles.

  • Give the class a basic level of competence in all types of challenges you expect them to run into. This competence does not need to be the same for every class and every challenge type. A given character can play a special role in each type of challenge.
  • Ensure a higher level of competence in the classes signature type of challenge. This ensure the class will stand out in certain well known areas of expertise.
  • Give the character enough ability improving resources to bring at least one weaker area up to top notch levels if desired. This gives them the option of either mastering an odd area while still being strong in their primary or mastering their primary while having enough left over to bolster their weak points.

Next Up

Now that we’ve got some guidelines we’ve got a good starting point for how the class could be redesigned. However, before we get into that I want to touch on a few more points such as areas of expertise and character progression.

I’d also like to say I’m sorry update have been so scanty lately, I’m on the tail end of that nasty cold I was talking about and it’s sapped a lot of my time. I’m working on building up some buffer post this weekend so you folks will have some stuff to look at during the week. I’ll probably pop up a Mezzo update tomorrow and try to clear some of those points I mentioned above over the coming week.

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Published in: on May 30, 2010 at 11:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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