Thursday, February 24, 2011

What is Class Free?

In a previous post I mentioned I was working on something called Class Free 2.0. I thought I'd explain a bit, since this project is my main reason, er, excuse for not actually writing blog posts.

A while back, like 1999 (eep!), I started running a new campaign for my long term gaming group using 2nd edition AD&D coupled with a bunch of house rules and a point-buy character building system. Over the course of the four-year long campaign and several subsequent games this set of house rules was expanded and refined into Class Free 1.0.

Class Free 2.0 is a ground up rebuilding of the Class Free 1.0 concepts and features using D&D 3.5 / d20 as the core model. It's a much more deliberate, front loaded project than the first version, which grew and expanded based on the needs of the campaign. The main features of CF2.0 are:

  • Point-buy character creation - there are no classes, though the core classes of D&D 3.5 formed the basis of the cost system and there are structural limits in place to support various character archetypes.
  • D20 dice mechanics - consistent use of the d20 + mods, roll high model throughout the system. That probably sounds trivial, buy my gaming group has a very old school mind-set. Breaking the low is good AC mindset is hard!
  • D&D 3.5 combat model - CF1.0 made an attempt at the standard / move / full action round. CF2.0 fully adopts this model.
CF2.0 still uses a leveling model for advancement. Characters begin play with 100 character points (CPs) and gain 100 more each time they gain a level. Players spend CPs to improve their character, purchasing everything from BAB, to hit points, to saving throw bonuses, to magical abilities. Most mundane features are subject to either a per-level spending limit or a total cap based on level. Magical abilities are structured around realms of power, each with a core adept's path that defines access. Thus far there are three main realms:
  • Arcane - the realm of the wizard and sorcerer (original I know.) Wizards use research and lore to build a repertoire of spells, from which they select and memorize their daily spells. Sorcerers have a specific spell list and use mana to charge their spell casting.
  • Divine - the realm of priests and shaman. Priests receive their allotment of spells from their deity and cast them using boons. Shaman bind elemental, natural or primordial spirits and use them as power sources, a potent but risky path.
  • Physical - the realm of martial adepts who learn advanced combat techniques and martial kata to enhance their combat abilities. Martial adepts power their kata with chi, which is generated by combat action.
I'm also playing around with a mental realm, but thus far it hasn't come together.
So there in a nutshell is Class Free 2.0. Unfortunately I'm not being ultra-careful about use of licensed material, since this is primarily a personal project for my group, so I doubt I'll be publishing actual excerpts or the final result. That means you're stuck reading summaries like this.

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