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chrlpolk

Starting Exile 1 with D&D Archetypes

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I usually end up with some variation of the D&D archetypes, but figured this time I would specifically go for developing my party in such fashion (with some slight balancing decisions).

 

Barbarian
Health 22
Str 6; Dex 4; Int 1
Edged and/or Bashing, Throwing, Defense
On level-ups: Add to fighting-related stats.  Eventually add a few points of Assassin to emulate Rage.

 

Paladin
Health 22
Str 5; Dex 3; Int 4
Pole Arm; Archery; Defense
Priest (3)
On level-ups:  Add to fighting-related stats.  In keeping with the tradition of Paladins having limited Cleric magic, I am not planning on adding additional points to Priest or MP.

 

Thief
Health 20
Str 4; Dex 6; Int 1
Edged, Throwing, Defense
Disarm Traps, Lockpicking
On level-ups: Focus on thieving skills, with some addition to fighting.  Eventually add lots of Assassin, and some poison and luck.

 

Cleric
Health 20; SP 6
Str 4; Dex 3; Int 4
Bashing, Defense
Priest (3)
On level-ups: Increase Priest magic with minor increases to fighting.

 

Bard
Health 12
Str 4; Dex 3; Int 4
Mage (3), Priest (3)
One level-ups:  Focus on Item Lore with minor increases to archery.  In keeping with the Bard's "Jack Of All Trades" reputation, I will not raise magic abilities.

 

Mage
Health 10; SP 10
Str 4; Dex 3; Int 6
Mage (3)
On level-ups:  Focus on Mage skills.

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It's going very smoothly!  Almost like there's a reason these archetypes came into being....

 

The Bard is a bit lackluster, without songs and conversation benefits.  The way experience is doled in this game, he's falling behind.  I've given him 2 points in Item Lore and will focus on increasing Archery so he can score some EXP.

 

Just for kicks, I begin each playing session with "We All Live in The Pit" from Parks and Recreation.  Totally the unintended soundtrack for this title!

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1 hour ago, chrlpolk said:

It's going very smoothly!  Almost like there's a reason these archetypes came into being....

 

Was going to say that D&D was one of the big influences for Exile, but the systems are very different.  And yet I'd imagine the way most people run their PCs looks a lot like D&D classes.  Probably this is partly cultural, but in large part because it works.

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D&D was one of the big influences on early CRPGs.  Ultima and Wizardry were most frequently cited as influences, by Jeff, in the Exile days.

 

I'm going to disagree with the "it works" part.  I mean, yes, to a certain degree there are obvious correlations: if you're attacking in melee, you're going to be positioned to take hits in melee, so boosting offense and defense together makes sense.

 

But Exile's mechanics are not flat at all; the optimal way to do things often flies in the face of traditional archetypes.  Early Strength is useful for magic-users (for the free HP at level-up) and some spell levels at character creation is nice for anyone (free SP).  It's generally more productive to have warriors learn some Arcane Lore than having just mages specialize in it.  etc.

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3 hours ago, The Rural Abjurer said:

But Exile's mechanics are not flat at all; the optimal way to do things often flies in the face of traditional archetypes.  Early Strength is useful for magic-users (for the free HP at level-up) and some spell levels at character creation is nice for anyone (free SP).  It's generally more productive to have warriors learn some Arcane Lore than having just mages specialize in it.  etc.

 

I've played this game in all kinds of configurations in its heyday, including where every character learned all magic.  I just thought for kicks I'd do an AD&D iteration.

 

Building on Thaluikhain's last comment.  It does make me curious about certain developments in these games.  In AD&D 1st Edition, for instance, Bards were a Druid subset and were crazy difficult to acquire, considered an uber-class.  Then players starting "dumbing down" the bard because A) nobody could meet the requirements legitimately, and B) if they did manage, they were so overpowered compared to other characters the game wasn't fun. Then Bard's Tale came out, and by the time AD&D 2nd Edition had come a few years after that, Bards were a subset of Rogues and progressively became the class we know today.  Did "The Bard's Tale" flip AD&D's model, after AD&D players rejected the initial Bard class?

 

Likewise, when I was very young, my friend's older sister introduced us to the original D&D.  Where you didn't have "Fighters" you had "Fighting-men", and dwarves and elves weren't races they were classes.  I think the evolution of high-fantasy gaming is fascinating!.

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It has been 30 years since I have spent any time with the Ad&D rule books, but I thought that the original Bard Class was a multi-class where you had to hit a certain level as a fighter and a thief before you could get your druidish and bard abilities.  The Barbarian was not an original first edition class either, it was added later in first edition supplementary material.  If you wanted, you could create a Ranger with a small amount of magic and nature lore.  I never really played with Druids, illusionists or Bards, I remember the Monk as the over powered class.

 

 

Certainly AD&D was a huge influence on Wizardry, Ultima and Bard's Tale, and Jeff would have played most or all of them.  Wizardry even had the six character slots and analogues for the Paladin and Ranger classes.  There were also other paper based systems that were in many ways closer to how Jeff does skills and abilities than AD&D or Wizardry.

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The original AD&D 1st edition bard required reaching certain levels in the 2 classes before starting as a bard as well  as high stats so it took a long time even with switching as soon as possible. Most of the best classes had those high stat requirements if you wanted to do well with bonus spells or other abilities. 

 

Monks started out like mages as weak from low hit dice and armor. It took several levels until they became powerful just like mages getting their first fireball spell.

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Yeah, that's the ridiculous requirements of original Bards.  High attributes, also.  You had to reach Level 5 fighter, dual class to Thief until level 5, then dual class to a Druid, at which point you were a "1st level Bard" and used Druid magic, with a song that charmed.  See what happened there?  Your DM had to allow 2 dual class changes.  Also, Half-Elves could be bards, even though only Humans could dual-class in the official rules!  So you couldn't become a Bard unless your DM bent the rules, and since your DM was already bending the rules to allow Bards, why not say, "Look at this character sheet from another game where I'm a Bard!"  Then you had this 50 HP level 1 Bard playing with your 3 HP, 1-spell level 1 Magic-User on a Level 1-5 campaign - you can see the imbalance!

 

"I cast my 'sleep' spell, then I hide behind the Bard!"

 

But the thing about the Bards that made balancing difficult was that, unlike other dual-class rules, their hit dice at level up was added, making them the highest HP potential in the game.  Each level, they also progressed in Druid magic (the progression was similar to Paladins' use of Cleric spells, except Bards started at 1st Level).  They attracted henchmen at Level 5.  Their XP requirements were about on par with the Druid's, so even if you put them in a party that was of a higher level for balancing, they still became the uber-class of the campaign through rapid level-ups, higher HP's, Druid magic, a charm song, Lore identification, etc.

 

And so it's a difference seeing the Bard more normalized now, to the point where people don't like them because they're too balanced and even considered weak.  So I wonder how much The Bard's Tale, which drew its influence from AD&D, in turn influenced the later AD&D editions!

Edited by chrlpolk
added more about bard balancing

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I grew up on 1st edition and remember well the transition to 2nd. There were lots of changes to restore game balance. Even without video games the biggest fix was making dragons more powerful to make them feared again instead of easy loot. Part of the problem was revisions in Dragon magazine to clarify rules kept changing and unless you followed all of them and the supplemental books you could easily get exploitive classes. That's why players referred to some game masters as running Monty Haul worlds where you could become extremely powerful in a few game sessions.

 

There was the Alchemist class in one of the earliest Dragon issues that allowed for making a potion wielding character that could duplicate the mage class and have a chance of converting magic spell scrolls into the ability to make a potion with the same effect. The original version was over powered and got replaced by a different, weaker version about 5 years later before getting dropped completely.

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Just finished the game with this setup!  Oh, the nostalgia!

 

Admittedly, it was not optimal.  Even late game, that strategy of having everyone know level-1 Priest spell "Cure Minor Wounds" is useful, as you can take whatever damage and you just get taken to 0, and next hit you're dead.

 

I also now understand why future games only use 4 characters.  With the experience system, you easily end up with a few characters several levels ahead of the others.  At the beginning, my two melee characters were consistently 3-4 level above everyone else, mostly due to taking advantage of bottlenecks at doorways.  This "Magic User" character rapidly caught up once he learned mass-damage spells, and the "Cleric" character to lesser extent.  But I had to grind (have other characters pass their turn) to let the "Thief" and "Bard" catch up.  That slowed down the adventuring quite a bit.

 

I plan on finishing all the games in the series, but I will create a new party to take advantage of the neph and slith races that become available.  Maybe I'll do archetypes again, but as was pointed out elsewhere in this thread, it isn't optimal to this game without tweaks.  Just depend on how I feel the day I do it!

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56 minutes ago, chrlpolk said:

I also now understand why future games only use 4 characters.  With the experience system, you easily end up with a few characters several levels ahead of the others.  At the beginning, my two melee characters were consistently 3-4 level above everyone else, mostly due to taking advantage of bottlenecks at doorways.  This "Magic User" character rapidly caught up once he learned mass-damage spells, and the "Cleric" character to lesser extent.  But I had to grind (have other characters pass their turn) to let the "Thief" and "Bard" catch up.  That slowed down the adventuring quite a bit.

 

In E3, ran into that a lot, the dedicated Mage using fireballs goes up rank really fast (could be casting haste spells, which are more cost efficient, but just simpler to batter people with fireballs).  Usually have 3 melee fighters, and have to keep swapping out who is first because they get more kills.  Walking through a dungeon, walk up to a low level monster, enter combat mode, first fighter hits, end combat mode and the party is a few space away from the monster who can't hit back right away and do it again if needed.

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