Saturday, August 18, 2007

The end of the race?

One of the first new ideas they've added to 4.0 is the idea of a levelled race. That is, your race doesn't just decide some starting features, and have no increased functionality as your character progresses. They state that they "wanted race to matter all the way up through a character's career", and I think they've got a really good idea there.

While we were working on xmld20, one of the things we did was to take monsters and separate the racial abilities from what should be considered class abilities; we took our cue from the Savage Species book, and we believed strongly in the idea that all monsters should be considered as having monster classes, with a small portion of their make-up being from their actual race. Of course, we never did much consideration into whether the portion we separated into the monster race was balanced with the rest of the player races. Having the race have levels as well as the class just seems to extend, or perhaps reform this idea for monsters, and it seems will apply to the new 4.0 PCs as well.

The few things hinted at here, such as the dwarven resilience and elven evasion, almost sound like ideas that were used in Dungeons & Dragons Online, for their enhancements, which could be race and/or class oriented. While these enhancements were first frowned upon as a lame way to increase the perceived levels available in the game, I think they add a versatility to a game where your party make-up can be with anyone else in the world, not just your buddies around a table, so it makes quite the difference to have your human fighter significantly different than the next guy's.

We'll have to wait and see how they handle these racial progressions, how often the options occur, and how balanced they are -- this being something to fuel the forums for years to come.

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