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Thousand Suns™ Update

March 26, 2007

Classless

I’ve decided, after much deliberation and consultation with appropriate experts, to eliminate classes entirely from Thousand Suns™. In their place, players will build a “meta-class” by choosing their race, homeworld, and occupation/training. These three will provide starting ability bonuses/penalties, core skills, combat bonuses, save bonuses, and feat selection choices. I’m working out the specifics but I think I’ve got a set-up in which any combination of these elements will produce a character of roughly the same power at level 1.

Yes, I haven’t gotten rid of levels; I can’t really. Levels will serve two distinct purposes. The first is simply to provide players and GMs with a method of comparing power levels, which I think is sufficient reason to keep levels. The second is that levels will provide hard caps to certain things, like skill ranks, combat bonuses, etc. so as to again ensure that advancement, while not uniform, is still within the same general ballpark power-wise. That’s necessary because, at each level gain, characters will acquire character points to spend as they see fit, whether it be to gain new feats, increase saves, or whatever. There will be slight points penalties if a character wishes to learn, say, feats from a different tree than his occupation/training allows but it’ll still be possible, certainly no harder than multiclassing under standard D20 rules.

In the end, this just felt like the way to go. I have never had a problem with classes in vanilla fantasy gaming and I think that in very specific implementations of space opera (such as Star Wars) they can work just fine. However, Thousand Suns is intended as a generic space opera version of D20, even if it does include a setting of its own. Consequently, I found myself increasingly “genericizing” further even the very generic D20 Modern base classes to the point where they barely served any purpose any more. I think the new structure is better because it also allows me the freedom to ditch advanced and prestige classes. I have a much simpler mechanic now so that, for example, if I were to create an unusual psionic feat tree accessible only to members of the Psi Division of the Imperial Navy, I don’t need to come up with a prestige class to represent this. I can focus instead on the things that really make space opera gaming fun and not worry about how to pad out 5 or 10 levels of abilities just to create artificial mechanical roadblocks to a player’s getting the kewl powerz he wanted in the first place.

This is good. I am pleased.

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