Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Looking for your feedback about skill advancement

I posted this over at Google+ earlier today, but didn't see any responses as of yet, but I'd sure love some advice. As I'm refining notes for Rad Astra classes I'm designing, I'm trying to allow PCs to advance at a nomimal, yet fair, pace. Meaning, I don't want them to get too powerful too quickly. So I posed the following question:

When crafting a new class and your working on your advancement table for skills do you:

A. Typically throw Level 1 characters a bone (+1 for a skill particular to their class)?

B. Tend to start them at zero and they get the +1 (or whatever bonus) when they hit Level 2?

C. Something else? (explain)

So the idea here is to give first level PCs something to shoot for right off the bat. Their skills aren't refined until they advance one level (e.g., they've used them at least once or they've paid to advance through some sort of training).
Here's an example of a skill set for Starbarian:
LevelPilot Ancient TechSurvivalWeapons SpecialistBeast WhispererStealth
1 Tendertoes+1+2+1d4+1+2
2 Furfang+1+1d4+1d4+1+2+1d4
3 Bonescratcher+2+1d4+d4+2+3+1d4
4 Battleaxe+3+1d4+1+1d4+3+1d4+1d4+1
5 Warrior at Arms+1d4+1+1d6+1d6+1d4+1+1d6
6 Doom Dealer+1d6+1d6+1d6+1+1d4+2+1d6
7 Moon Mauler+1d6+1+1d6+1+1d6+2+1d6+1d+1
8 Vanquisher of the Void+1d6+2+1d6+1+1d6+3+1d6+1+1d6+1
9 Guardian of the Galaxy+2d6+2d6+2d6+1d6+2+2d6
10 Champion of the Cosmos+2d6+1+2d6+1+2d6+1+1d8+2d6+1

Here's one way I could scale it back, by dropping bonuses a level or so, while still keeping most of the greater bonuses in the higher levels:
LevelPilot Ancient TechSurvivalWeapons SpecialistBeast WhispererStealth
1 Tendertoes-----
2 Furfang+1+2+1d4+1+1
3 Bonescratcher+2+1d4+1d4+1+2+2
4 Battleaxe+3+1d4+1+1d4+2+1d4+1d4
5 Warrior at Arms+1d4+1d4+2+1d6+1d4+1+1d4+1
6 Doom Dealer+1d4+1+1d6+1d6+1+1d4+2+1d6
7 Moon Mauler+1d6+1d6+1+1d6+2+1d6+11d+1
8 Vanquisher of the Void+1d6+1+1d6+1+1d6+3+1d6+1+1d6+1
9 Guardian of the Galaxy+1d6+2+2d6+2d6+1d6+2+2d6
10 Champion of the Cosmos+2d6+2d6+1+2d6+1+1d8+2d6+1

Anyone have experience with this approach? Something else?  


  1. I like to give players something to shoot for right away, so that hitting level 2 feels like they've made real progress and increased their survivability a bit. And then I like to give a final bump at level 10, so that hitting the level cap means something.

    In between you can slow down the progression, flatten the curve (so to speak), but stagger the improvements between each of the class skills so that players can feel like they're making at least some progress each time they level.


    1. That sounds like a sound approach, I hadn't thought to give a little boost on the top level. Thanks edowarsblog, you've given me something to think about!