Sunday, June 15, 2014

[Eberron] Theorycrafting - Professions

In my continued effort to keep my work up on my GURPS Eberron conversion I wanted to share some insight to the work I've been keeping on the back-burner as my life continues on it's turbulent ups and downs.

One of the biggest challenges on trying to convert GURPS to more of the Hack'n Slash combat driven spells of Dungeons and Dragons is the element of Realism. Though GURPS is a generic system, and allows for Cinematic-style rule modifications. So with that in mind, I know that most of the existing material will simply not do, and I'll have to focus on using the core GURPS Campaigns and Characters, Powers, and Thaumatology to build what I need to really make this work.

The Goal

The ultimate goal here is to have each player chose two core elements to their character: Their Race (Origin) and a Profession (Class) that gives them two significant connections to the world. All players will act in some adventuring style character, who exists beyond the normal financial obligations of many and thus working on a contract basis.

The goal is to create a template that can easily implement any combination of these two, and still allow for both simple and complex character generation. It should allow for progression similar to a class-based system that emphasizes their character deeds over "Experience through Slaughter." Experts of Boiling ant hills need not apply.

This same template format needs to allow a pool of points that can augment already existing profession and racial traits, each bought using points that reflect good role play. These same points can be used to buy success in skill rolls, and provide additional "action surges" that can provide temporary and instant surges of energy for whatever ability a character may attempt to use.

Energy and Deeds

In a heroic fantasy setting it is all about attempting deeds and staying in character. This need not always be heroic, but can work as long as players stay in character and move the plot along for the enjoyment of all. To bring us up to this point, I'll list what we have put together so far, with a brief explanation of each point.

  • Deed Threshold: Originally called a Deed Reserve in my original post, players will still have their reserves but this time acts as a pool of daily points more iconic of threshold magic in GURPS Thaumatology. This will typically equal half the sum of their Will and Health (HT), and if players wish they can purchase more over the course of their adventures.
  • Limited Threshold: This expending energy from the threshold can not exceed the maximum as typical of Threshold magic, though some cursed or magical equipment may lift or completely remove this limitation somewhat.
  • Threshold Recovery: Players will start with recovering a small amount of energy every 24 hours. A small investment of character points can typically enhance this, similar to that of regeneration or accelerated healing.
  • Surge Reserve: The Reserve now fits into it's own element here, in that the players gain Surge Points that they can fuel potent powers and actions simply for acting in character. Points in this reserve can only be earned in achieving in character goals, staying in character, or otherwise following along the proverbial rail-road the GM may or may not be laying down.
  • Action Surge: Eberron is one of the most popular systems that use this type of mechanic. Players would typically have a pool of points they could spend to make a specific roll better. Our Deed Reserve acts in this same capacity, allowing players to buy success or fuel costly powers.
Between the two energy pools (Deed Thresholds and Surge Reserves) it is the hope of this theorycrafter that players will have a number of options to fuel Action-Based Profession abilities, actions, and powers. There is room for conflict, rewarding good fun and allowing players to modify otherwise bad rolls.

Now we have the fuel and the means of getting the fuel, so how are we to use that to help our soon-to-be mercenaries?

Profession Templates

True to GURPS fashion, professions need to have a group of like-themed point pools during character creation. To fit it in line with the idea of Profession Levels and the Wildcard Skills to which I'll be incorporating them with, I'll want these pools to incrementally increase with each PL! Step. The generic template for all professions will follow these points:
  • Physical Characteristics: This includes all beneficial Ability Scores and Secondary Characteristics.
  • Racial Advantages: These include beneficial (social or physical) advantages and skill enhancements that reflect the players race and/or origin.
  • Disadvantages: This will act as a minimum pool of negative elements of a character often reflecting physical or social disadvantages.
  • Profession Advantages: This pool will include advantages, skills, or Wildcard Skill Focus enhancements.
  • At-Will: This will include any advantage(s) that can be related to one's profession or race that requires an action to use at no cost.
  • Threshold Powers: Any advantage that requires both an action and a Deed cost.
Each Profession Level will provide a passive increase in Wildcard Skill relative skill, a base Hit Point increase, and a base increase to a players choice of Advantage, At-Will, Threshold Power pools. Players may augment additional traits through good roleplay and using their Surge Reserve.

Final Thoughts

From here on out, I've got the layout I need and I simply need to put together the value of each of the pools. The largest concerns will be to balance the cost of each Threshold Power while still controlling the potency of those same powers. Many of this will likely need some more playtesting to see how well it works, especially since this is a tad bit outside of a normal realm of many of the Heroic Fantasy books on the market right now.