Monday, September 14, 2009

The Heresy of Uniform Progression Tables?

I am seriously considering making uniform progression tables for this Dark Sun project. Despite their heretical status, I don't disagree with the theory behind them. Past implementation? Not so good. But the theory is sound. The fact is that saying some classes are weaker than others so they advance faster has never sounded totally kosher to me. Because the weaker class needs less experience, they advance faster and so become relatively stronger, which kind of washes out and makes it complicated to know how strong a character is. I'm not saying it's a horrible idea or the game is broken or anything melodramatic like that. But maybe changing it isn't the worst thing ever either.

Uniform progression has some real advantages. First, it's dead-easy to know how strong a character--any character--is. It also removes the need to really scrutinize XP awards. Indeed, you could just let characters gain a level when you think they have earned it. I kind of hate tracking XP myself. The trick, of course, is in having classes that this works for. Can it be done in D&D? I honestly don't know.

But the more I look at the classes for Under the Dark Sun, the more it looks right for them. Sorcerers don't have nearly the power-jumps of Magic-Users: there are no Fireballs for one thing and anyone can have psychic sorcery for another. Conversely, they can use weapons and armour. Sure, Slayers kick the most arse, but Survivors aren't much weaker in combat or Hit Dice and have some actually useful abilities, the best physical saves, and the best chance to work out ancient artifacts. Heck, I'd actually play a Survivor and I have always hated playing Thieves in D&D.

As I looked at the Spellcraft & Sorcery tables for this, I keep fiddling and fiddling and the charts are looking more and more alike. All of this leads me to consider become a heretic.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a fan of uniform progression tables - as long as an effort is made to make the classes mesh power-wise in the standard assumptions of the game. If the game is about combat, then the classes should be of equivalent combat prowess, and if the game expects that it will be a strong 50/50 mix of combat and social events, then a class that is weak in one but strong in another is fine.