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RPG Skills

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Here is something that I am currently fumbling with. I have a character advancement system that works like this (it''s nothing new or special). 1) Players commit goblin genocide for experiece, complete quests for experience, do other things for experience. When they rack up enough experience they advance to the next level. 2) When players advance in level they are awarded quite a few things a) there is the inherant increase in hitpoints, damage output, mana, etc b) they recieve points to spend on new skills that are class specific (rogue pick lock) c) they recieve points to spend on generic skills (faster swimming) and d) they recieve points to spend on their character stats (strength, stamina, wisdom, etc). NOTE: Each level, a character will recieve an automatic bonus to his stats 3/level for major stats, 1/level minor and 1/4 levels tertiary stats. The extra points at each level (probably 2-3) are simply at the players discretion to spend. Now my problems. Your base abilities are calculated at level 1 by some function. Say hitpoint gain per level is determined by your starting stamina. 1/10 of your starting stamina for instance. So a warrior starting with 100 stamina will get 10 extra hitpoints per level automatically. Now, all of that extra stamina you gain through levels, spell buffs, armor stats should also affect hitpoints, but how much? I am thinking that extra points in stamina that are permanent would give more hitpoints than extra stamina from armor and spells because these are not permanent. But I''m not so sure this system is working out because, say at level 2 you get 3 extra stamina. If I give 1/1 hitpoints then at level 2 the player recieved a total increase of 13 hitpoints (10 base + 3 extra from added stamina). However, based on this, a player going from level 99-100 would get the same 13 hitpoints which at level 100 isn''t a whole lot at all. Another strategy to this would be to simply calculate your number of hitpoints based on current stamina and level alone. Problem with this is that if you go to 100 levels, the hitpoints and other numbers tend to get overly massive. Second problem. I am having skills increase through use. Your ability points gained at each level are used to learn new techniques, but a newly learned technique isn''t perfect, you have to practice it to master it. For instance, you learn thrust which deals a max of 10% extra damage to what you would normally do if you use the ability. But when you first start using thrust you only see an extra 8%. As you practice using thrust you work your way to the full 10%. I can use this also for things like requiring a player to actually master a lesser skill before the trainer will teach a more advanced skill. This isn''t really a problem but more of an opinion. How likes this? Who would prefer to simply buy/learn the ability and have it work perfectly? Who prefers having to improve the ability through use and actually having to master some abilities before learning new ones? Third problem (the main one at this time). Say I have your general rogue skill of lock picking. Obviously, I want this skill to increase through use but at the same time, it is somewhat based off of dexterity. I was thinking along the lines of buying abilities that teach you the basics of a certain type of lock. You take that ability, find a suitable lock and practice on it. Does my picking time decrease (do I get faster?) or do I simply succeed more often? Also, in the event that I succeed then I conceivably got a little better, but how?. Then the factor of dexterity. If I start picking at level 1, my dexterity as a rogue will be very low as compared to level 100 (because of armors, inherant stat increases etc). So, if dexterity is a major key then a level 100 would automatically be better than a level 1 at lockpicking even though neither of them has ever picked a single lock. This doesn''t hold to the getting better only through practice that I was hoping for but I can see really no other way of doing it. Since I''ll probably have to live with that part of the skills I then focus on HOW do I use character stats. Say I have a generic lockpicking skill. As this skill increases so does my lockpicking ability (but in speed? success rate? ability to open more difficult locks of the same type? all of the above?) I also want these skills capped to a certain rank per level to fit in with other skills. I was thinking of something like this. Lockpicking skill can inscrease 5 points per level. Each point increase makes it more likely that I succeed as oppose to fail. Then my dexterity affects how quickly it takes me to pick the lock. Higher dexterity means it will go faster (whether I succeed or fail). Then those ability points can be spent on learning how to open different locks in the general case. Like at level 2 I purchase the ability to pick deadbolts. Not all deadbolts are alike so I can increase my deadbolt ability by actually practicing on deadbolts. As it increases so do my chances of a success (on deadbolts). I can have some deadbolts be simply impossible to pick without a deadbolt skill of X level. But if I do this, then what good is a general lockpicking skill? Maybe have locktypes in progression Hasp, Chest, Deadbolt, Masterlock and you have to master each one in progression and completely do away with a generic lockpicking ability? The same premise would apply to many if not all skills. Right now for melee battle I have a general offense skill that increases 5 points per level no matter what type of melee you do (assuming you do enough melee to raise it the 5 points). I also have a skill that increases as you use a particular type of weapon (slashing, blunt, etc). Then there are techniques learned from a trainer (Ruby Slash to borrow one from DAOC). So on any swing during battle you have a chance on increasing offense, weapon skill, specific weapon, and technique. But I am wondering if this is overkill? I personally like to see the constant advancement through a level as opposed to a simple DING you got stronger, and it won''t happen again for a few more hours. My offense was being used in part to determine my chances to hit and also in part to determine damage output. While things like weapon skill I am using purely to determine damage output. Guess this turned into more of a preference post than an actual question post. Hopefully your preferences will help me answer some of these issues before I just throw my hands in the air and go buy some GURPS or D&D rulebooks Thanks Webby

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