System Design Journal #3

Last time we discussed the creation of a core profession with my profession design framework. The Warrior (Fighter) is a pretty basic class and I was surprised to find out that my breakdown of profession abilities and how I weighted them created an experience table almost identical to the one in the AD&D Players Handbook. This time we are going to look at another core profession with a little more going on in the way of profession abilities, the Magician (Magic-user).

The experience tables for the two versions look like this.

I never realized how much variation there is in some of the original class experience tables. I always thought (obviously never really looked closely) that there was simple doubling going on (to a point), then after reaching 9th level the class gained fixed amounts, which by the way is how my tables work. So what we see here is a Magician Profession that has a steeper start on the experience chart, without the statistical bulge at mid-levels. It stays steady up to 9th level and then levels off as level plateaus become fixed. It all ends up at 18th level only about half a million experience points apart from the original AD&D chart. However, one thing I am considering is continuing to double experience as long as the class gains additional hit dice. That would mean doubling XP for two more levels with the Magician. I’ll need to think about this a little more.

One thing to note here is that this is the standard base Magician. School Specialists will all have their own experience charts (slightly steeper in all likelihood), descriptions, spell progression and customized spell lists just as the Illusionist is presented. And these classes will all top out at 9th level spells. There will also be a variant specialist called the Arch-Magus able to cast 10th level spells. The experience table for this profession will be incredibly steep, making the Magician look like a gentle climb. This profession is meant to describe the ancient mages of myth and legend who created earth shattering effects capable of warping the very fabric of reality, and even challenging the primacy of the gods and cosmic powers themselves.

That’s it for now. For the next installment, it is time for me to start tackling some of the thorny species balance problems I’ve been avoiding. To restate I am thinking about initially balancing all ability adjustments to zero sum, then developing a positive or negative modifier based on species special abilities and then using that modifier as a whole number in the ability equation. This will allow for imbalanced modifiers to abilities. For the column I’ll probably present two different species, one core and one expanded, and talk a bit how I derived their ability adjustments, and level caps. Until then I hope well see robust discussion on professions!

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