RPG Maker Game Development Log #11: Adding Character Classes Title

RPG Maker Game Development Log #11: Adding Character Classes

Character classes are a common feature in RPG games.  In this article, I'll talk about how I changed my game design to add Character Classes to my game.

Adding Character Classes

Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, Thief - these are all the classic character classes from D&D.

The benefit of using classes is that each character in the group was a well-defined set of skills they bring to the group.

Yes, the Thief might be able to fight, but not as well as the fighter can.  The Fighter might be able to spot and disarm traps, but not as good as the Thief.

These archetypical Classes have managed to stand the test of time for games where the typical party size is 4 members.

My game design didn't originally have Classes, so I am going to make some changes.


Changing My Game Design

I will have to modify my original design ideas a little to mesh better with the RPG Maker game engine's pre-defined systems.

My original design is based loosely on the current edition of the classic sci-fi RPG Traveller from Mongoose Publishing, which uses a skill-based system.

While Traveller considers itself a skill-based RPG, it still packages these skills into themed sets according to Career.  Careers are used in character generation to help define the type of character skills you should end up with at the end of character generation.

If you want to be a Pilot, then a career in the Space Navy, Space Merchants, or Scouts would be a good choice.

If you want to be good with guns and explosives, then maybe some time spent as a Marine would be good for you.

When players make new Traveller characters, they usually choose to take 3 or 4 career terms usually in 1 or 2 Careers.

Careers are virtually Character Classes and Traveller characters are allowed to "multiclass" without penalty.  You could spend 1 term as a Marine then 1 term as a Scholar then 2 terms as a Drifter before starting play.

Careers As Classes

Even though Traveller is a skill-based game, people still talk about their Scout character or Marine character, so Careers and Classes could be interchangeable with a little tinkering.

I'll start by converting 2 of the most popular Careers in Traveller: Scout and Merchant.

Each of these Careers can be further broken down into 3 specialties, giving us a wider range of possible nuances for Classes.

  • Scout
    • Surveyor
    • Explorer
    • Courier
  • Merchant
    • Merchant Marine
    • Free Trader
    • Broker

 I need to do some tests to see what works better, just having Scout, Marine, and so on, or the Career subcategories as individual careers.

Custom Character Classes 

adding careers to my rpg maker dream game


Characteristics In RPG Maker

Traveller characters use 6 Characteristics:

  • Strength
  • Dexterity
  • Endurance
  • Intellect
  • Education
  • Social Standing

RPG Maker has several built-in Parameters that could be adapted for Traveller Characteristics:

  • Attack
  • Defense
  • Magic Attack
  • Magic Defense
  • Agility
  • Luck
  • Hit Points
  • Magic Points

The Traveller Characteristics can be roughly mapped to the RPG Maker Parameters like this:

  • Strength = Attack
  • Dexterity = Agility
  • Endurance = Defense
  • Intellect = Magic Attack
  • Education - Magic Defense

But what about Social?  Social Standing is similar to Charisma in D&D, but also functions as your social status.

The remaining Parameter, Luck, doesn't have a Traveller equivalent.

Let me think about this... hmmm...

OK, I'm going t make a new Characteristic called "Fate".  Fate will play a role in your social interaction rolls during role-playing, but mainly will control if the character gets beneficial states applied and resists negative states during combat.

Social status only comes into play in games about Nobles.  If I need a way to represent Social Status, I will address it later.

In Traveller your hit points are your Str+Dex+End.  On the average character (with Characteristics of all 7s) that would total 21 hit points, so I will start out with that as a base.

RPG Maker Parameters Mapped to Characteristics 

adding careers to my rpg maker dream game


Wrap It Up

OK, I'm satisfied with the conversion so far.

I'm flexible with the design at this point, so I'll just keep doing what I'm doing.


Join My Game Dev Journey!

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Click here for more articles in this series about my RPG Maker game dev journey.


Your Turn.  What Do You Do?

Do you prefer games with classes, or do you prefer skill-based games?

Please share with us in the Comments section below. I'm interested in learning more about whether people like skill-based or class-based games.


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