A few years back, I had other posts on this site. I took them down on purpose. That’s my prerogative, as it’s my blog and all that jazz. The decision wasn’t based on anything so much as my desire to start fresh. See, I’ve changed my mind on gaming, since last I wrote anything here, and I feel that those previous posts no longer accurately reflect my position. There are some things that remain constant and I will address those topics again, starting with this one: f^@# point-buy systems.
I wrote before about AD&D (2nd) and an option to create your own classes. It’s listed in the DMG. Basically, you address each skill/ability as a unique talent that a character might possess. That talent has a cost assigned to it. As you add abilities to your “new” class, the cost goes up. This total, then, is multiplied against a static value for each level of experience (at some incremental ratio, like 400 for level 1, 800 for level 2, 1600 for level 3, etc.). Thus a class with many powerful abilities might have a high total modifier and characters in that class take longer to go up levels.
“That’s not a point-buy system.” Correct, disembodied voice inside my head, it is not. A point-buy system gives a set number of points to the player who can construct a unique character by purchasing abilities. The player might even take limitations or flaws that give back points; regardless, the goal is to spend all available points and use future points to buy new (or to upgrade old) abilities.
Take note: there are three critical differences between the AD&D custom class system and a standard point-buy system –
- A point-buy system puts the points (and the decision) in the hands of the player.
- A point-buy system provides a clear limit by assigning a starting pool of points.
- A point-buy system is usually associated with a point-based advancement system.
This is why I like the AD&D custom class system: it doesn’t do those things.
Point-buy systems place too much into the hands of the player. I don’t mean to say that player agency is bad, or that players shouldn’t be able to make choices about their characters, or anything else that you might misunderstand about that statement. I mean simply this: stop letting your players waste their time on character creation. That is bulls#!^. They should be wasting their time playing the f^@#!#& game.
So yes, I use a custom class methodology for designing my game. But the classes are set. I have the option of changing them and I welcome input from the players concerning which classes should change, why they should change, and whether there’s a need for a new class (presumably to address a gap in the game world). But I retain the right to veto stupid decisions.