First, I find the system a nice refreshing change of pace but the rules could be clarified in some areas.

I would love it if someone could explain the math for me regarding building custom classes and the fighting value trade-offs and the associated XP penalty.

First, I don't fully understand the need for a 150xp penalty for trading in each tradeoff for a custom power.  While I can see it being abused if my math is correct you are essentially asking the character to pay an extra 340% per custom power gained for the equivalent power traded.  I understand if you don't want to do an even swap of power for power because of the sheer number of fighting powers available through weapon and armor selection.  But the math is crazy on this if you ask me.

If I look at the Value 2 (fighter) versus the value 1b (thief) there are 8 power trade offs according to the table:

• 1 custom power to reduce armor selection from unrestricted to board
• 1 custom power to reduce armor from broad to narrow
• 1 custom power to reduce weapons from unrestricted to broad
• 1 custom power to reduce to eliminate one fighting style
• 2 custom power to eliminate fighter bonus damage from melee and missile
• Now the only differences are the increased attack throws and cleaves, presumably for arguments sake lets say they are valued at 1 power each.

So, assuming for this arguments sake that the difference between a value 1b and a value 2 is 8 custom powers, divide that by the xp cost difference between the two values (500) and you get 62.5xp per custom power.

Here is where I get confused.

If you did a trade off for custom powers one for one that is a 100% exchange.  You are not paying anything or gaining anything other than the power swapped.

if you traded a power reduction for a custom power then asked the character to pay 62.5% xp per power extra that is a 200% increase/penalty. Crazt talk, but workable.

So why are the rules asking for a 340% xp increase for a custom power swap?

It is cheaper to spend 200 xp and buy value 1 thievery for 3 skills at 66.66xp per skills and trade them in for custom powers than to pay 340% to trade in a power and increase your xp for the equivalent 340% increase.

According to the math for the fighting value trade-offs then I should be able to do the following:

1. Take a 1b value fighting (thief) take the narrow armor down to restricted and restricted to none gaining 2 powers I don't have to pay XP for.
2. Then take the weapons selection from Broad to Narrow gaining 1 custom power
3. Then use 1 custom power to increase the thief attack throw rate to value 2.
4. Then use the other custom power to cleave.
5. Then bank the other custom power for something fun.
6. Now I have what I want for 500xp, a value 2 fighter with no armor and narrow weapons, I save a value purchase point, and I have a bonus power.
7. Right? According to the math if you reverse engineer the trade off table this should work right?

Alternatively, do you think it would be fair to gain 2 powers by going from unrestricted armor to narrow and converting them to one custom power that you don't have to pay additional XP for?

I admit that I am not Steven Hawkings, but the math isn't making sense to me, or even just simple logic of having such a steep price for swapping one power with another.

(Not an Autarch, but) The point here is to differentiate the classes based on the build values.

Just as no class is allowed to take Thief skills without points in Thievery, I would never allow a class to get the Fighter attack throw/cleave progression without taking the appropriate ranks in Fighting. You *can* take a custom power that increases attack throws by 1, but I would not allow a class to take that power more than once.

[quote="witness"]

(Not an Autarch, but) The point here is to differentiate the classes based on the build values.

Just as no class is allowed to take Thief skills without points in Thievery, I would never allow a class to get the Fighter attack throw/cleave progression without taking the appropriate ranks in Fighting. You *can* take a custom power that increases attack throws by 1, but I would not allow a class to take that power more than once.

[/quote]

Fine, but that doesn't change the math or the steep cost of swapping trade-offs for other powers.

I'm okay taking the Value 2 to get fighter progression and all that but I want to take rune flesh which makes armor obsolete so trading it in for something else (or even to pay for rune flesh) makes sense, but it is cost prohibitive at 150xp extra on top of trading in an armor slot.  Personally, as I have shown above, I think the 62.5xp is more fair.  It still offers a 200% penalty per swap and doesn't defy logic or simple math.

[quote="witness"]

(Not an Autarch, but) The point here is to differentiate the classes based on the build values.

Just as no class is allowed to take Thief skills without points in Thievery, I would never allow a class to get the Fighter attack throw/cleave progression without taking the appropriate ranks in Fighting. You *can* take a custom power that increases attack throws by 1, but I would not allow a class to take that power more than once.

[/quote]

Also, why does it matter to you if someone wants to spend multiplepowers to get +1 to hit?  Eventually if the math is solid it would be better to just take the Value 2 in fighting...unless of course the math doesn't add up.

(Note: I am not an Autarch, this is based on my recollection of Alex explaining it, and I might be wrong, but it makes sense to me.)

I believe the reason why this is happens is because Fighting 2 offers so much effectiveness by default, you can trade away some of it without actually losing anything significant.

If you trade away a single weapon style, with Fighting 2, you can still leave the class with both an offensive and defensive weapon style, or two different offensive choices. With Fighting 1, trading a single one away locks you into just one fighting style; trading both away locks you into ‘single weapon, no shield’!

Similarly, with the unrestricted weapon selection, you can trade it down to Broad and not lose any real effectiveness; a Broad weapon selection can still cover both your melee and ranged needs without any issues. You don’t actually lose anything.

And if you’re not actually losing anything, it’s not really a tradeoff; thus, the XP cost comes in, to make sure you are actually trading away something of value for the power(s) you’re gaining.

In the specific case of trading off armor for flesh-runes, it does appear somewhat expensive at first glance. The rule is more geared to make it costly to trade down weapon types and styles that weren't likely to be used for things that help out more often (which *should* be costly, as it's essentially adding build points to your character which normally reduces max level and is restricted to nonhumans). So as a GM I might be swayed to allow discount in such a situation.

That said, it's also arguable that abilities like flesh-runes offer more utility for Fighting 2 types than they do for Fighting 1 types, as they get more use out of the dual benefits of decent AC, damage reduction, and lack of encumberance. So work with your GM to figure out what makes sense. (And if you are the GM, feel free to just try it out. If it causes you unexpected problems you can probably talk your players into a fix, especially if you let them know up front you're discounting it from the official rate.)

[quote="BAMF"]

Also, why does it matter to you if someone wants to spend multiplepowers to get +1 to hit?  Eventually if the math is solid it would be better to just take the Value 2 in fighting...unless of course the math doesn't add up.

[/quote]

For the same reason a +2 bonus on saves is 1 CP, but Hardy People is 2.5. Stacking bonuses are intrinsically problematic.

One of the core requirements I imposed on myself in creating these rules is that each of the four core classes had to end up as the ideal blend of effectiveness versus experience point cost for what it was trying to achive. I did not want to create a system where it was possible to be better than a fighter at fighting and have the same XP cost, or better than a mage at arcane magic and have the same XP cost, etc.

In the initial iteration of the custom class rules, there was no XP cost for trade-offs. But, as Aryxymaraki points out, at Fighter 2 your selections are so diverse that reducing yourself to broad weapon selection, or from 3 to 2 fighting styles, is not really much of a penalty. It's possible to play from level 1 to level 14 with broad weapons and 2 fighting styles and never once feel like you've missed out from their lack.

Now, you can make a "swordmaster" who is better at sword-fighting than a fighter, by using fighter trade-offs, but the XP cost will be greater. Or, you can build a specialized fighter-type, like the explorer, by using thief class category 1, but then your HD will be lower. Or, you can keep the hit points at 1d8 and use thief class category 1, but then your fighter value will be lower.

Reducing yourself from plate to chain is, however, a major tradeoff (because effectiveness of armor class as a defense scales nonlinearly → https://wanderinggamist.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-nonlinear-effectiveness-of-armor.html ), which is why I have been reverting the tradeoff costs for trading down armor in my games.

So the rule you are using is that fighters who tradeoff armor don't pay the XP penalty ? I could see that as being fair, provided that one doesn't introduce too many AC-buffing proficiencies or powers.

Because if you took the equivalent of graceful fighting + weapon and shield fighting style proficiency that's already making up for part of the gap.

Something else to note is class proficiencies - a thief 1, fighter 1 is cheaper than a fighter 2 with armor and weapon tradeoffs, but the class will not save as a fighter, and thus not have the fighter’s more frequent class proficiencies and save reductions.

[quote="Alex"]

One of the core requirements I imposed on myself in creating these rules is that each of the four core classes had to end up as the ideal blend of effectiveness versus experience point cost for what it was trying to achive. I did not want to create a system where it was possible to be better than a fighter at fighting and have the same XP cost, or better than a mage at arcane magic and have the same XP cost, etc.

In the initial iteration of the custom class rules, there was no XP cost for trade-offs. But, as Aryxymaraki points out, at Fighter 2 your selections are so diverse that reducing yourself to broad weapon selection, or from 3 to 2 fighting styles, is not really much of a penalty. It's possible to play from level 1 to level 14 with broad weapons and 2 fighting styles and never once feel like you've missed out from their lack.

Now, you can make a "swordmaster" who is better at sword-fighting than a fighter, by using fighter trade-offs, but the XP cost will be greater. Or, you can build a specialized fighter-type, like the explorer, by using thief class category 1, but then your HD will be lower. Or, you can keep the hit points at 1d8 and use thief class category 1, but then your fighter value will be lower.

[/quote]

Okay, I am new here obviously, so forgive me when I ask are you one of the creators?  You imply that with your tone in your reply.

Also, what is an Autarch?

Okay, what you say makes sense to a point. But giving people the option to create or swap powers and then not a mathematical formula that follows any kind of logic (At least for me) is frustrating.

I get a penalty and on the surface 150xp isn't that much, but it adds up quickly if you do it more than once.

I think I mentioned above that I wanted to take the Rune Flesh power which prohibits armor, so armor is basically worthless so why not trade them in.  Of course, that is your point, where is the cost if you are trading in something you aren't using anyway.  But what if you traded them in for something with a simular effect? Better yet, why not trade them in even up, 4 custom powers to ditch all armor and apply it to rune flesh which only costs 3?  Basically, you are trading one form of protection for another, not gaining flight at first level or something. In that regard, protection traded for protection, I think it makes sense even trade.

Alternatively, do you think trading from unrestricted to broad and broad to narrow could be worth 1 power without any XP penalty instead of two powers with an XP penalty?

[quote="witness"]

In the specific case of trading off armor for flesh-runes, it does appear somewhat expensive at first glance. The rule is more geared to make it costly to trade down weapon types and styles that weren't likely to be used for things that help out more often (which *should* be costly, as it's essentially adding build points to your character which normally reduces max level and is restricted to nonhumans). So as a GM I might be swayed to allow discount in such a situation.

That said, it's also arguable that abilities like flesh-runes offer more utility for Fighting 2 types than they do for Fighting 1 types, as they get more use out of the dual benefits of decent AC, damage reduction, and lack of encumberance. So work with your GM to figure out what makes sense. (And if you are the GM, feel free to just try it out. If it causes you unexpected problems you can probably talk your players into a fix, especially if you let them know up front you're discounting it from the official rate.)

[/quote]

Well, I'm not DMing this one, just playing, but the DM did provide me with the custom rules so I know he is open to new things at least on the surface.

I think everything else I have in the custom class is within specs with this whole trading in armor/weapons for skills/powers from the fighter value 2 holding things up. Actually one other issue, but this is the most pressing.

So, not only your opinion but others reading this as well, please reply a yes, no, or maybe to the following along with why:

1. Would you allow a player to trade in, free of XP penalty, protection for protection from Fighter Value 2 and ditch all armor (4 custom powers) including shields for Rune Flesh even up (cost: 3 custom powers)?
2. Would you agree to 1 if the player agreed if it for some reason was unbalanced and they re-worked the class later if it caused problems?
3. If a player had Rune Flesh, would you allow that player to create a custom power that allowed the damage reduction of rune flesh to effect magical attacks as well as non-magical attacks for the cost of 1 custom power?  If no, what about the cost of 1 custom power but you couldn't get it until 5th level? keep in mind that the normal damage reduction of the power is pretty much worthless from 4th level on as 5th level monsters bypass this and most non-monsters will most likely have some sort of magical attack to thwart the non-magical reduction. If no, do you think such a thing should cost perhaps 2?
4. Would you allow a trade in of Unrestricted to broad and broad to narrow for weapons, from fighter value 2, to give the character one single weapon that they can bond with (rebonding to another weapon taking 1 hour) and then for 1 custom power wielding the bonded weapon they get a +1 to hit at first level, +2 to hit at 7th level, and a +3 to hit at 13th level.  Readying/sheathing a bonded weapon is a free action for no additional XP cost? What about with an additional XP cost?  You are giving up a ton of weapon options and if you get disarmed you could be screwed for combat. On the surface, I think it falls in line with page 97 under creating custom powers.

[quote="Arman"] Something else to note is class proficiencies - a thief 1, fighter 1 is cheaper than a fighter 2 with armor and weapon tradeoffs, but the class will not save as a fighter, and thus not have the fighter's more frequent class proficiencies and save reductions. [/quote]

I noticed that too, but I don't think others do.  Either way, I just want to have fun and play a class that fits my style and I think the custom rules are awesome, if hard to move things around to fit where you want them.

[quote="witness"]

Also, why does it matter to you if someone wants to spend multiplepowers to get +1 to hit?  Eventually if the math is solid it would be better to just take the Value 2 in fighting...unless of course the math doesn't add up.

-BAMF

For the same reason a +2 bonus on saves is 1 CP, but Hardy People is 2.5. Stacking bonuses are intrinsically problematic.

[/quote]

HA! If 3.0 D&D taught me anything, it is that very lesson! I'm just trying to find a fair balance.

“Alex” is Alexander Macris, designer of the ACKS Player’s Companion, among other things.

Autarch, LLC is the company which publishes ACKS, and “an Autarch” is forum parlance for a principal of that company.

I can only suggest letting your frustration be the mother of invention: create a formula which meets your needs (and please share it on the forums; I’m sure others would be interested). There is at least one alternative to power swaps on the forum, but I don’t know that anyone has taken on Build Points and Class Categories.

I believe Alex’s primary goal with the ACKS PC Custom Class rules was to create a framework for creating classes similar to “B/X D&D” classes.

I’m not sure I am following you. Perhaps you mean this should be an “even” trade, with no XP penalty? If so, see below.

The trade is “armor as equipment, with encumbrance, effects on movement, the possibility of removal and destruction” for “innate armor, which has no encumbrance, allows for speed, stealth, acrobatics, etc., cannot be removed or destroyed, and in fact doesn’t even have to be taken off or put on to bathe, sleep, etc.” Given no difference in cost, I think a reasonable person would choose the latter. The only downside is being potentially “scary looking” in some settings.

It depends. Every campaign is a law unto itself … For example, the ACKS PC doesn’t have “levers” for radically different campaign assumptions. Perhaps a world like Dark Sun should have different rules for Armor and/or Weapon trade-ins.

I hope this helps.

Welcome to the forums

1. Not typically. I've made several custom classes that use flesh-runes from a Fighting value of 2, and I think the final results tend to be pretty decent classes in spite of the increased XP cost.

2. I think I'd work it the other way, offering to rework the XP cost backwards if the final class seemed on par with any other fighter-types during play. There should be time in play to see how flesh-runes is working out. I suspect it will end up being better than you might think, but if I turned out wrong, I'd be happy to adjust.

3. Reducing magical attack damage by one point per die (which is what flesh-runes does for non-magic attacks) is pretty ridiculous I think. I'd think carefully before allowing it, and make it pricy. If you just wanted it to be per attack, I think I could roll with -1 at 7th and -2 at 13th (i.e., one less than it does against nonmagical attacks) at a 1CP cost.

4. I think I could roll with something like this as about a 2CP power. As above, I'd probably default to leaving the XP cost in place, but if the class as a whole seemed to be on par with regular fighters after playing, I'd work with you to reduce it.

Thank you for your opinions.  It has given me a few things to consider.

Thank you for your opinions.  It has given me a few things to consider.

Thanks for the Welcome reply :)

Okay, I do feel a bit like an idiot for not knowing that Alex is the creator...but strangely honored that he popped by the post. :)

I of course see your point regarding armor that doesn't need to be put on and such, but I'm not asking for an even exchange for no XP cost.  What I proposed was ditching all armor (and shields) 4 powers, for Rune Flesh, 3 powers.  That is huge I think.  Sure, it is built in protection, but it has its draw backs too.  Potentially with normal fighter armor being unrestricted you will have a much higher AC at low levels and at higher levels with shield+sword fighting style, magical armor and shields and such you will greatly out pace the AC provided by a +2 to AC at 1st level, a +4 to AC at 7th level and a +6 to AC at 13th level.  So I see your point regarding armor that doesn't way anything and such, but since you would have a hard time increasing the Rune FLesh armor versus the protection granted by normal armor I think it balances.