Rethinking D20 Character Creation: Introducing the “Dual Class” and Character Point System

THIS IS A POST ABOUT D20 ROLE-PLAYING. NON-NERDS NEED NOT READ ANY FURTHER. SERIOUSLY.

I’ve been flirting with the idea of running a game for some friends of mine using modified character creation rules. These new rules would combine aspects of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, the D20 Modern system, and the character point / attribute system from BESM D20.

The players begin by creating 1st level Modern characters, which I will call their “Heroic” class. In addition to all the benefits of this first level, each character also receives ONE character point, which may be used to buy “Attributes.” Players receive ONE character point for every level they attain. A character may not spend more character points on any single attribute, than he has levels; for example, a 1st level character could only buy attributes with a cost of one point, a 3rd level could buy a three point attribute, etc. In addition, the DM may award character points for things like a character portrait, character history, journal, or other effort, such as keeping track of battle stats, keeping a calender of events, etc.

Players may also wish to purchase “Defects,” which are limited by level: a player may not buy more points in a defect than he has levels. For example, a 1st level character could only buy a one point defect. Character points may be “saved” in order to be spent on more powerful attributes as the game progresses.

Now, we enter the “Dual Class” idea. Upon reaching 2nd level, the player chooses a Dungeons and Dragons class to advance in, which I will call their “Adventuring” class. The player gains all the benefits appropriate for this class, but “stacks” it with his “Heroic” class to determine Defense and Reputation bonus. So, for example, our player decides to create a 1st level Strong Hero / 1st level Fighter. He is in all ways treated as a 2nd level character, with the Base Attack and Saving Throw bonuses of a 1st level Strong Hero / 1st level Fighter. However, his Defense and Reputation bonuses would be those of a 2nd level Strong Hero.

This “stacking” of Defense and Reputation will only accrue if the player takes levels in one of his first two classes, or adds a new Modern class. So, if our supposed player, upon reaching 3rd level took a level in the Rogue class, NO Defense or Reputation bonus would be added. If, however, he took a level in the Fast Hero class, he would gain the benefits of a 1st level Fast Hero; that is, he would have the Defense and Reputation of a 2nd level Strong Hero (1st Strong / 1st Fighter) and a 1st level Fast Hero.

I feel that the normal character creation rules for any of the systems on its own only allows for very limited (but still pretty fun) character types. With these rules, I think it is more possible to create really dynamic characters with varied powers. The only problem I can imagine encountering using this system for generating characters is that of Encounter Levels and Experience Awards. Since this method will invariably create tougher characters, should the EL’s rise too? Or should the XP awards be watered down?

I shall have to experiment with it and iron out the kinks as I go along.

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2 responses to “Rethinking D20 Character Creation: Introducing the “Dual Class” and Character Point System

  1. Great post. Have you looked at the Unearthed Arcana? There are a lot of options for running D&D in a vastly different manner than the core books. It may be worth a look. Nice site, btw.

    • Thank you Boccob!

      Yes, the Unearthed Arcana. I found the rules for UA to be more complicated, especially concerning “gestalt classes” … I don’t remember much of it, but I will check it out again.

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