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Tyr: Character Trees

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From Tyr. A player starts as simply that—a player. He has no specific designation or affiliation with any type of character stereotype. Based upon his actions, specialization opportunities arise with experience. A player who spends their time hacking and slashing with his sword may be given the opportunity to become a warrior; one who picks pockets may become a rogue; a player spending his time in a church may become a cleric; the process continues. I would estimate that this first level of specialization comes quickly, perhaps on moving from level 0 to level 1, one of these may become available. Specialization is offered to those players meeting a certain set of prerequisites, but meeting those prerequisites in no way forces one to specialize. The player could easily be given the opportunity to become a warrior when attaining level 1, and hold off. Spending level 1 pick pocketing, he could be given the opportunity to specialize as a rogue. He may spend level 2 going to church, repenting his ways, and at level 3, he may be given the opportunity to become a cleric. The character tree makes each new branch exclusive. First off, only one level of depth can ever be available for specialization at one time. So if a cleric is allowed to specialize as a priest in the future, that is not available for a generic player to specialize in. They must first specialize as a cleric, and then spend at least X levels before they may specialize further, even if they currently meet all of the requirements to become a priest. Upon specializing as a cleric, they have made an irrevocable change to the state of their character. They no longer may specialize as a rogue or a warrior; those paths are forever unavailable. Specialization grants the player several benefits. They may gain experience in certain areas or for certain acts faster than a non-specialized character. They may be given benefits when using certain skills (ex: the traditional +1 to combat for a swordsman) that would not be available to general characters. They will be given access to guilds built around their specializations. They will be able to attain special skills that non-specialized characters will never have access to. Specialization is balanced in several ways. As mentioned earlier, once a path is chosen, it can never be taken back. While some attributes may increase quicker, others may slow down (ex: swordsman increase strength twice as fast as normal, but increase intelligence only ½ as fast as normal). Specializing may result in certain generic skills becoming disallowed, that may remain for general characters (ex: an evil rogue may not be allowed in a goodly church). So while specialization makes certain areas of your character more powerful, it also makes him less versatile—similar to reality. Ideally, specialization would go roughly 3-4 levels deep from the root node. Any player choosing to specialize should be given at least 3 opportunities to do so, no matter what path they choose. Some possible paths can be seen here. This image shows a quick idea but it is only 2 levels deep. Your thoughts? The Tyr project is here.

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Whoa, whoa, whoa. You can''t go back? Can you gain other skills?

If I (Player) work my butt off to get some mad gladiator skills, does that render it absolutely impossible for me to gain the skills associated with a wizard? Can I not be a knight with a rudimentary understanding of fire magic, or the ability to make a horseshoe with hammer and tongs? I''d prefer to be able to develop skills in more than one class.

One of my favorite characters from fiction is Friar Tuck. He''s a bona fide monk, and has all the powers, authorities, and knowledge that that role entails, but when TSHTF, he trades in his robe for a tunic of lincoln green and takes it to the man with enormous physical strength and a mastery of every weapons available at the time. The system you describe renders such heroes impossible, so I don''t like it.

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Hmmm...Somewhat conflicting, somewhat misleading.

For the most part, other skills will be available and learnable. It is a balancing act though to add this type of variety. Specialized characters become more proficient when doing something in their specialty, and less proficient when doing a polar opposite. For example: most programmers pick up new programming idioms/techniques/languages much faster than a non programmer would. This is also linked to a logical aptitude. Now, this very aptitude for logical learning may limit your ability to think more abstractly /emotionally (hopefully you understand what I am getting at and we don''t start talking about data abstraction ). So for you to learn how to draw people''s faces may take you longer than the average person. I want to represent this in game; A wizard will gain skills required for wizardry at a greater rate than a fighter, while gaining skills for fighting at a slower rate than a generic player.

As for not being able to do certain things; this is more of a balance issue than a reality issue, as well as a design issue. From a design perspective, by making the specialization irrevocable, you add more importance and gravity to the act, and hence heighten the suspense for the player while also establishing a greater player/character bond. As for balance, if you give a wizard the ooportunity to get the "Ultimate Kill Everyone for a mile Fireball from Satan" spell, there should be some tradeoffs. This may be as simple as saying wizards can''t use edged weapons that have a length greater than 1 foot. This also makes everyone aware of potential weaknesses in their character, which should affect their general strategies of playing. I am a firm believer that no character should ever be completely invincible. Difficult--even near impossible--to kill is good for powerful and advanced characters; at the same time, unless someone is made a demi-god, they should be mortal.

Now, there is nothing wrong with specializing a character, reaching a point that you are happy with your skills/attributes, and then attempting to improve upon the skills that were shorted during your initial training. But a slower raising of these skills is still justified, as age can be detrimental and you need to offset how quickly you imporved your specialized skills in comparison to a generic character. With enough work anything is possible, but it should require work.

So Friar Tuck is not impossible, but nor is he commonplace. A hero of magnitude and ability to switch roles so quickly and effectively should be difficult to come by (and is this not why there is 1 friar Tuck, and why he in fact is a hero?).

The Tyr project is here.

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quote:
Ah, touché! Armed with this new understanding, I find it much easier to approve of your system.
smiling evilly

Exxxxxxxcellant.

One other point to add, that I bypassed completely. A player can stay generic and get a smattering of all primary skills at a normal rate for as long as he wishes; specializing just increases the rate for some skills while also unlocking some uber-skills to further entice one to specialize.

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I''ve planned of usingsuch a system for my turn-based strategy games units.. They can evolve different path as they wish, and the choices they get are influenced by their evilness/goodness.

The problem will lie in play balancing those, and keeping them really different after 4-5 levels....

Not to mention i plan 8-12 races, oh well.....

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Yeah, it starts to get almost out of hand from a balancing POV when you start multiplying all of the numbers together. I am thinking that originally I will have 4-5 races, and not exclude them from any character specializations; race will affect attributes completely seperately. Specializations 3-4 levels deep, with a minimum of 5 first tier spcializaions, and 3 second tier, and 2 third/fourth tier. So it definitely adds up, but I think the benefit is worth the expense if it is abstractly designed well enough from the get go.

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Yeah, since its a strategy game with many abstracted units, it dont have to be as precise as your system, but I do intend to provide basic classes possibility for each race, and make half some special classes for the race...


OO ahoy

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I''d have thought a better lock-out system would be to have lockouts start at high levels and work down - for example, a system where achieving a level N specialisation locks out all specialisations not within 4 steps up or down (including the root at level 0) - so, for example, a level 4 specialisation still lets you learn any level 4 specialisation descended from the same level 2 specialisation (2 steps up, two down) and any level 2 specialisations from the same level 1 specialisation (3 steps up, 1 down) but no other level 1 specialisations, and no descendents of other level 2 specialisations. Similarly, level 1 specialisation lets you go down to level 3 on any branch (1 up, 3 down) but only lets you reach level 4 among its own descendents. To summarise the options: can go to level 4 in several closely related disciplines (all under the same level 2 specialisation); can go to level 3 in several loosely related things (all under the same level 1 specialisation) and reach level 1 in anything else; can go to level 2 in whatever takes your fancy, but never get any further.

So Friar Tuck the priest/warrior (level 2 in two different fields) can do some pretty nifty fighting, and can pray up a storm, but can''t do the really cool tricks in either field. Robin Hood, on the other hand is a longbow sniper (level 4) with various other ranger tricks, and a few thief skills (level 2) and can do things with an arrow you wouldn''t believe, live wild in the forest and even do a little breaking and entering, but when it comes to magery or the divine, he''s out of his depth and sinking fast...

Oh, and looking at the diagram, it seems to me that Tradesman might be better as a level 2 subdivision even with Noble and Labourer (or something similar) - Nobles get leadership skills, and probably get bonuses to education, Tradesmen have professional skills, money making skills, and possibly appraisal skills, Labourers have increased strength and stamina, and bonuses for primary industry... you get the general idea

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