It’s that time again! Today’s 2 for Tuesday is short and sweet as I’m running out of time (been working hard on the anthology Kickstarter). Still, hopefully you’ll find it interesting! I’ll talk about races in Cosmothea, and then move on briefly to the concept of classes and leveling.
Part 1: Races
When selecting a race, you gain a small boost to your abilities and a handful of “racial talents” (such as the Axcii’s Cat-like Reflexes and Pheromone Glands). Each time your character gains a new level, you may purchase additional racial talents, if desired (there’s plenty of talents to pick from for every race and various types of talents, so you wouldn’t likely buy a racial talent every level). There are thousands of worlds in Cosmothea, so if you come from one that is atypical, your GM may also allow you to purchase special racial talents as well.
Due to the rulebook getting too big, I had to trim down the list of “starter races” down from 16 to 12, but the others will reappear again later. There’s a good mix of races: 4 traditional races, though with some untraditional back-stories and talents, and 8 original races. I will also be setting up the Creature Compendiums such that players can run most of those as well, with GM permission. That means that I’ll be including a fair number of talents for those critters as well, though my goal will be to keep those critters fairly easy for the GM to run. As for the races, currently, the core rulebook has the following (you’ll see pics of all these before long, and hear more about them too, trust me): Axcii, draeva, dwarves, elves, gnomes, humans, klatu, nehi, orynii, sygman, taager and xeelotian.
Part 2: Career Paths and Leveling
For starters, Cosmothea uses something called career paths, but you can think of them kind of like classes in D&D, though not as restrictive. I know that D&D popularized the concept of classes at least among pen and paper games (and gained some enemies for it along the way) and the notion of leveling (again to the chagrin of some), but Cosmothea does things a little differently than some games. Some gamers expressed a dislike of classes, perhaps being reminded of how D&D pigeonholed you into taking certain feats or class features and that levels sometimes came with boring stuff or even hardly anything at all (read dead Fighter levels).
I think that a good number of disgruntled gamers will be pleased with the way I’ve handled career paths and leveling. Gamers wanted more freedom than they felt they were getting, and levels were sometimes disappointing.
Early on in Cosmothea’s development (remember I’ve been working on one iteration or another for the past 34 years) I decided that classes were inherently a good thing, because they helped establish clear iconic themes. But that players should still have the freedom to make a lot of changes. And I decided that levels should always matter. I wasn’t trying to fix D&D. I’ve been going my own path for longer than I can remember, but I do listen to gamers too, and of course I am a gamer, so I have been doing it this way for quite some time now and the players have always liked it that way.
This latest version of Cosmothea retains that high degree of freedom and pushes the envelope even further! Players can customize their career paths to death, and even make up new ones, as desired. I have a Personal Growth mechanic that extends player control even further. Essentially, players can follow a theme or go off on their own and make pretty much anything they want, without a bunch of math and complication, which in my mind, is a good thing. That’s all for today. Have a great week all, and as always, I’d love to hear from you. Cheers!