Strategic Primer: Character Advancement

On Wednesdays I write about Strategic Primer, my strategy game. The current campaign still needs more players.

Strategic Primer at present borrows much of its model of many aspects of the world from the d20 system, with “Jobs” replacing “Classes.” But in this post I’ll outline one area that system per se doesn’t cover, namely character advancement.

In a lot of tabletop RPGs, adventuring seems to be the primary, if not the only, way for characters to advance; in towns most people are first-level commoners. That works for those games, but won’t for Strategic Primer, where most “characters” are non-combatant workers. I’ve been thinking about how to manage advancement for a long time, and this is the result. (This is in parallel to, rather than a replacement for, the normal combat-experience-based advancement, for what it’s worth, but I won’t be keeping track of experience points unless a player asks me to check whether that system would give a better result for a character. And this is still subject to change; if you have comments or questions, let me know.)

All Jobs will have a number of associated Skills. For instance, the Explorer Job might have observation, map-making, food gathering, stealth, and fast movement as its associated Skills. (A character is of course not limited to Skills associated with a Job it has levels in.) Beyond the normal number of ranks in Skills (which might go away if and when I develop a dedicated character-management tool), a character can gain “levels” in skills. Each level is equivalent to two ranks in a skill.

Every time a worker trains in or uses a skill, the character’s chance of gaining a level in that skill increases slightly. (This counts no more than once per hour, but each hour of lengthy use or training counts separately.) I’ll determine at the end of each turn which workers, if any, gained levels in skills. The chance of leveling resets to zero when the level is increased (or, more precisely, gets reduced by 100%, then raised to zero if negative–continuing training even if it puts the character beyond a certainty of leveling won’t be penalized).

Similarly, every time a character levels a skill, the worker’s chance of gaining a level in a Job increases slightly, and I’ll determine at the end of each turn which, if any, advanced a level in a Job. But a worker has to have gained at least two levels in at least half of the Job’s associated Skills to level in that Job. Each level in a Job counts as two bonus levels in all its associated Skills.

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