Base classes unbalanced?

migutse

Mongoose
Hi,

As I stated in my other post Im starting a new B5-campaign (my first). Before starting to make the characters I read through the character creation part of the book and was a bit disappointed with the character classes. I liked the innovative use of the D20-rules to create interesting character classes, but found that many of the classes seemed unbalaced.

For example Agent seemed very powerful. It has ok BAB, hit points and skill points. It also has a large supply of class skills and good class abilities. On the other hand Diplomat and Worker seem underpowered. Diplomat is like the Scientist, but with fewer skill points. Ofcourse they have different skills/abilities, but I still think that the Diplomat should have 8+int skill points. The Worker class could be a usable one, but it is in my opinion the most underpowered class. It has very limited class abilities combined with average class skills, skill points hit points and poor BAB. For this class to work it would need to have much better class abilities and/or a second good save.

Any comments are appreciated. Especially if you have made any house rules to the classes.
 

Tegman

Mongoose
Hi, one house rule that I have made is that all classes get 4+INT skill points every level. I think that 2 is too low in a science fiction game).

I also let all characters get one general feat if the new level's row is feat free, but the extra feat must fit the character. I got the idea from someone else on this forum and it makes the characters more diverse.
 

Mongoose Si

Mongoose
migutse said:
The Worker class could be a usable one, but it is in my opinion the most underpowered class. It has very limited class abilities combined with average class skills, skill points hit points and poor BAB. For this class to work it would need to have much better class abilities and/or a second good save.

Any comments are appreciated. Especially if you have made any house rules to the classes.

It was said somewhere that the worker class was initially intended more for NPCs than players which is why they are not so powerful. In one of the downloadable Signs & Portents (forget which issue) there were some rules updates for this class.

I have a player who is a human worker. Yes he is not as powerful as the other players, but it is more challenging and he seems happy enough playing that class. I also tend to be much harsher with the more powerful player characters which helps balance things a bit ;)
 

Mongoose Gar

Mongoose
2nd edition incorporates boosts to all the classes you mention. Workers are still intended primarily for NPCs, but Scientists get lots of nice bonuses and Diplomats are the absolute masters of Influence.
 

migutse

Mongoose
After pondering about the base classes, I came in to the conclusion that I would enjoy a free classless system for my B5-campaign. This way the characters would be more balanced and the players would be able to create any kind of a character they want without class restrictions. Last night I thought about how this could be done and I came up with an idea for a classless character creation system. Any comments are appreciated since this is just a sketch I made in a couple of hours:

At first level everybody gets to choose 14 class skills, gets d6+3 hit points, 3 feats/abilities and 32 +int (x4) character points. BAB and weapon proficiencies are replaced by weapon skill that must be bought for each category seperately. Hit points and saves must also be bought with character points. Class abilities work the same way as feats, but they may not be taken before the character is at the level where the ability was introduced for the corresponding character class. Some of the abilities are prequisites for other abilties (like sneak +d6 must be bought before sneak +2d6). PR-rating ability lowers the character points by 0/8/16 at the first level and 0/2/4 at the following levels.

At each level the players gets 14 + int character points. The maximum for saves, skills and weapon skills is level+3. HP have no max. Below is the summary of the system and a few examples of how the level advancement compares to the current system:

Point at first level: 32 + int (x4)
Feats/abilitiest at first level: 3

Starting HPs: d6 + 3
Starting saves: 0
Class skills: 14

Points/level: 14 + int

Feats or abilities/level: 1

Costs:
Skill: 1
Weapon skill: 2
Save: 2
Hit point: 2

Maximum for skills & saves: level+3

Examples:
Scientist: 1hp (2) + 1 weapon skill (2) + 1 save (2) + 8sp = 14
Soldier: 2hp (4) + 2 weapon skills + 1 save (2) + 4 sp = 14
Telepath: 1hp (2) + 1 weapon skill + 1 save (2) + 4-8 sp = 10-14
 

Otyugh

Mongoose
First of all, hi everybody.

I am new to this forum but a long term Role Player/DM and big B5 fun.

As far as the balance issues, I agree there is some work to do but is true that the worker is more like a NPC class... if you think about it in real life, a SAS team going in to action with a plumber in the team.

It’s all a matter of training so they are supposed to be weaker in some ways.

I often look at it but I never really got a big problem with my players as they all dual class sooner or later to make a more 3 dimensional character.

We have an agent/diplomat, lurker/telepath... etc.

B5 after all is more about role play, networking and player's skill IMO.

M :mrgreen:
 

mthomason

Mongoose
My feelings on this one...

It doesn't matter if they're unbalanced, the players aren't in competition with one another and shouldn't expect even treatment in everything. The "role playing" all too often gets lost under emphasis of the "game". Also bear in mind that the GM can easily hand out goodies to a character who is falling behind the others. All too often these kinds of issues can be dealt with without resorting to numbers - the Diplomat may be underpowered on paper, but at higher ranks they theoretically have access to the resources of their government. Just because the numbers don't add up on the character sheet you shouldn't lose track of the power to divert a warship that can do far more damage than any character could.

At the end of the day the players should have their idea of what they want their character to be, and the rules are just a tool the GM uses to model it for them - it's not a miniatures game with points values, it's a set of guidelines for an interactive story with multiple authors.

But all of that is of course just my opinion - if your players don't like that view and want a game of numbers and dice, then of course you should let 'em have what they enjoy :)
 

migutse

Mongoose
I also believe that role-playing should come first and the game mechanics second. However I think however that in a level-based system that uses character classes the classes should be at least somehow balanced. It just seems odd that you can make an equally good technician/lawyer/etc with the scientis class as with the worker class and still get some extra abilities. I generally favor classless/non-level systems for most of my games, but with B5 I decided to give it a go. Now however I feel that I'll use the classless system I described above instead. It will give the players the possibility to create any stereotype that they want, but aren't punished for choosing a particular one.
 

Otyugh

Mongoose
migutse said:
I also believe that role-playing should come first and the game mechanics second. However I think however that in a level-based system that uses character classes the classes should be at least somehow balanced. It just seems odd that you can make an equally good technician/lawyer/etc with the scientis class as with the worker class and still get some extra abilities. I generally favor classless/non-level systems for most of my games, but with B5 I decided to give it a go. Now however I feel that I'll use the classless system I described above instead. It will give the players the possibility to create any stereotype that they want, but aren't punished for choosing a particular one.

The system you described above is very interesting; my only fear is that everybody is a "generic" character and at times it leads in two dimensional characters.

On the other hand, somebody could call himself a Ranger and made a character that does not meet the standard to actually be one.

I would include some sort of professions that give contact, resources and wealth that you can be part of if you meet a number of requirements.

I personal prefer the class levels as they represent, IMO, a path, a direction, a commitment to something that the character embraces.

M 8)
 

mthomason

Mongoose
Also any shortfall in a given class should be looked at as a challenge rather than a penalty, the same as when you roll low stats. Without players deciding to keep their low stats, Raistlin Majere would never have been created...
 

Otyugh

Mongoose
mthomason said:
Also any shortfall in a given class should be looked at as a challenge rather than a penalty, the same as when you roll low stats. Without players deciding to keep their low stats, Raistlin Majere would never have been created...

Hehehe... how many memories; my goblin warrior with STR 8, henchman of a party... lasted 10 levels till my curiosity got me in a cave toe to toe with a dragon.

M :wink:
 

migutse

Mongoose
Otyugh said:
The system you described above is very interesting; my only fear is that everybody is a "generic" character and at times it leads in two dimensional characters.

On the other hand, somebody could call himself a Ranger and made a character that does not meet the standard to actually be one.

I would include some sort of professions that give contact, resources and wealth that you can be part of if you meet a number of requirements.

I personal prefer the class levels as they represent, IMO, a path, a direction, a commitment to something that the character embraces.

M 8)

I agree with you that if you are building a ranger of an officer the characters should have some skills that the players might not otherwise pick. I also like the classes for example in a high-fantasy D&D-game where the archetypes will typicly be very strong. In a general moder/scifi campaign the characters should be generally more rounded. I think that this is also the idea in the B5 base rules where they state that multi-classing is recommended. I will just take this a bit further.

Im hoping that my characters will pick a certain archetype and try to build their character around the archetype with the classless system, adding a few flavours. I hope that the campaign situation where there are just 3 players trying to run a small tradership/firm will lead them towards archetypes. They'll need at least one very good pilot so that they don't get lost in hyperspace and someone to negotiate the deals. If they all just build jack-of-all-trades types of characters they will have a hard time in the campaign. The character building session will be next friday, so then I'll know what they make of the system.

I have to say that my biggest inspiration for going for the classless system was BAB which I don't like at all. I don't know why a 20th level scientist should always be superior in combat against a 1st level soldier, allthough the situation. With my system the scientist can skip the weapon skills alltogether and concentrate fully on knowledge skills. I also don't like multiclassing because it has some strange flaws: why does a Soldier/Scientist have more skill points if he picked the Scientist as his first class than if he picked Soldier? He propably spent his youth the same way whether he decided to go to the military before university or vice versa.
 
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