We Don’t Need No Stinking Classes

Talents
Artwork by Robert Whelehan

Are classes Needed?

Everyone loves classes. The mere thought of a fighter or rogue instantly gives the player a mental imagery of what their character will look like or be like. We thought long and hard about this when designing Mythril. Classes are awesome for game design, but they also pose limitations at the sake of balance. We wanted a game where you can be anything you want, but also realize that your character will never be great at everything.  So, we thought to ourselves, are classes needed? If not, how do we do it? In the end, we created talents.

Talents

Every character gains benefits as they level up. To do that without a class system, we use the talents below. Every other level, you pick a new talent to build your character the way you want. Here are the talents we created in order of level:

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Spell Slots vs Mana Points

When we were creating the spell mechanic for Mythril, the question of having spell slots vs mana points came up quite frequently. While setting a fixed number of spells per level can make design easier, we opted for mana points and here are our reasons:

Spell Failure

In many tabletop RPG’s, you have a limited number of spell slots. When you cast them, they automatically succeed. Some spells require a saving throw, but they are still successfully cast. That’s all fine and well, but why not have spells fail? Just like missing an attack roll in combat, it only seems fair that spells can fail as well. Liking the idea of this, we started using mana points. This allows the caster to have more chances to cast between rest periods. The chance of failure is lower than attacking an opponent and we felt that it should be. Mana points are a precious commodity and hard to get back in our game. The main reasons were to give a caster more chances to be relevant at lower levels and allow for critical failures and successes.

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Armor Class vs Damage Reduction

One of the big struggles we had was armor class vs damage reduction for Mythril. The original thought was to give characters a bonus to hit every other level, giving them the ability to hit higher defense scores as they progressed. While it was good in theory, here were the issues we ran into:

Using a bell curve with armor

A quick trip to anydice.com shows the bell curve for 2d6:

2d6 probability Armor Class vs Damage Reduction

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Making my own RPG

Why am I making my own RPG?

As someone who has been playing role playing games for the last 25 years, creating my own RPG has been on my mind for a long time. I loved the old school RPG’s, but they are broken at higher levels. The latest editions are awesome as well, but they have too many crunchy bits for my group and I. We want a rules lite game and balance at the same time. As someone who loves playing and designing games, I knew it was time to start making my own RPG.

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