More Firmament

September 12, 2007

This is an old sketchy graphic I found, back when I was originally thinking about this concept.


I eventually need to go check out the SRDs and learn to play d20, but here are some preliminary thoughts on classes and leveling and stuff.

I think it would be pretty cool to implement something like a simplified version of the kind of “lifepath” system Luke throws down in Burning Etc. By this I mean, you create your character to start at a particular level, depending on the kind of game you want to run. And you pick various levels of various established classes, “multiclassing” your character before play even begins in order to establish their background. But, unlike in Burning Etc, there’s no set order you have to take classes in. If there are prerequisites required for certain special classes, they’re things like “three levels of class Z” instead of being long chains of prereqs that aren’t clearly indicated in the rules (some of the Burning games really need charts to show how you reach certain lifepaths).

Ideas for possible classes:

  • Lost: Each level of lost represents 6 months of wandering alone through space. You get special skills and abilities this way, things that aren’t easily gained through other classes, but you also go batshit insane if you spend too much time lost. Then again, after a while, you get used to being alone and it may not bother you as much.
  • Homebody: After spending a long period lost or after a bad initial encounter with swinging, some people choose to stay close to home for a while until their nerves settle down a bit and the nightmares stop. Maybe you spent a couple years just traveling in between the same 5-10 bright, nearby stars, visiting known crews and becoming an expert on the local neighborhood. Sometimes doing that for a bit is all that keeps you level-headed.
  • Cartographer: Somebody’s got to map the unknown regions. You spent some time on a crew, keeping records of everywhere you’d been and trying to map unfamiliar parts of the cosmos together.
  • Shepherd: You worked finding lost sheep in complex search and rescue ops.
  • Bandit: You fleeced travelers for our own benefit or just to survive.

There are surely bunches of others.

3 Responses to “More Firmament”

  1. Neat. Per our implicit agreement, I’m going to stay largely out of the way while you navigate your way through d20. But that’s an interesting idea to explore. Instead of D&D’s central focus on level advancement through acquisition of XP, we could make level advancement take place entirely in chargen and find some other method of advancement in game, if any. (I am reminded of Traveller’s chargen mini-game, for example.)

    Other class ideas:

    -Comet: More highly skilled at the actual process of travel.
    -Siphon: Able to draw energy from the stars to … shoot lasers out of your eyes (or, you know, something less lame).

  2. Jonathan Walton Says:

    I just stumbled across the Character Background rules from Unearthed Arcana. They’re not part of the SRD, but may be OGL, not sure. In any case, they provide great inspiration for this kind of Lifepath-style thing. I also like the Traveller idea that the things you did in your life aren’t entirely up to you. If we could make them somewhat unpredictable but still guided by player choice, that would be awesome.

    I like your class ideas too. Seems like we could put the various FX rules to good use if we could have some characters who could draw power from the stars to do… something. Not sure what that something should be, though. I feel like something non-combat-oriented could be really cool, though. Like some weird cosmic perception powers that let them navigate freely, or maybe things that let them swing other people, maybe even powers that let you make other people lost.

  3. Star Power: Or how ’bout communicate with or perhaps locate people across distances, i.e. practical though not actual telepathy or person-radar?

    As for the SRD/OGL issue, the components of the background system there are in the SRD = fair game. Ideas can’t be copyrighted and, by extension, aren’t relevant to the SRD/OGL issue. We can certainly use that concept as long as we use our own expression of it (which we would want to do anyway, natch).

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