Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Star BAB issue

So my players and I had a long, long chat about my reasons for upping the Star's BAB and I thought I'd share my reasoning here:

1. No one took the class. I pay attention to this kind of thing, and tend to think player choices over the long term can provide clues to balance.

2. Even when players DID take the Star class, it was usually for a specific reason and usually short term. None of the other classes saw this pattern. Players were more willing to take the class and stay in it long term.

3. When players wanted a high Reputation they tried to get it by other means, such as perks.

So why did the Star wind up being the only class with a low BAB to begin with?

In playtests, the Star was quite possibly THE most powerful class. But in actual play, seemed less powerful. As I pondered this, it occured to me that the Star was nerfed repeatedly during the "round robin" phase of the playtest.

Everytime I do a book, we do a round robin phase, to balance the classes against each other. The Star really dominated that phase of the playtest, because of wealth and followers.

These two factors are both much more pronounced in a one on one setting (like the round robin playtests) than in a group setting.

For example, an 8th level Star with Professional Reputation (total Rep of +12) can have a 6th level follower. But let's assume he wants other things, like some access, but considers a follower a core part of his character and devotes two-thirds of his RP to a single follower.

Spending 8 points on a follower gives him a 4th level henchman.

In the round robin, where it's 8th level PC against 8th PC, having a 4th level flunky is a HUGE advantage.

In an actual PLAY session, with four 8th level PCs, a 4th level Henchman is an afterthought.

In the final analysis, there just wasn't enough justification for that low BAB in the other things the Star got.


mikelaff said...

Are you guys using magic in your game? Stars make good spellcasters.

Chuck said...

Actually, it was head to head comparison with the Empath (the other class that gets Magic as a class skill) that really sealed the deal.

Star gets: low BAB, 1 good save (Will), 1 medium save (Ref) and two poor saves (Fort and Rec); medium Defense bonus, high Reputation bonus, 6 skill points/level, 4 perks.

Empath gets: medium BAB, 3 good saves (Fort, Ref, Will), 1 medium save (Rec), medium Defense bonus, low Reputation bonus, 6 skill points/level, 2 perks.

Basically, even with the two free perks, most people preferred the Empath for mages.

mikelaff said...

interesting - I would have thought the increased spellbinding perks would make the star mage more desireable.

Chuck said...

It's an advantage, but in the baseline magic system, where you also need to make a saving throw against fatigue, the Empath's great saves makes that a wash.

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