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Howdy. I'll jump right in. Ideas welcome.
I am fleshing out my class/advancement system for an upcoming game project some friends and I want to do. I wanted to create a class-based system where the player creates their own class in a flexible-enough fashion that self-nerfery IS possible. I am not interested in hand-holding, but freedom and uniqueness.
Before I begin, I must note that my races are elementally-aligned and thus experience some Talents differently than dissimilarly-aligned races.
Level-based. Science Fantasy/Planetary Romance/Steampunkish.
My system has 40 Talents. These range from Blademastery to Fire Channeling to Subterfuge to Engineering to Survival to Beastmastery, ect. All are trees structurally, though no abilities are automatically gained by level. Points must be spent for every ability. The trees aren't perks that affect automatic class skills, but are instead made up of the skills themselves. Choices must be made.
A player chooses, at creation, one Primary Talent, two Secondary Talents, and one Tertiary Talent from any available to their race (the only restrictions here are, say, a water-aligned race trying to learn fire talents, ect.) for a total of four Talents.
These Talents define not only the class created, but determine the advancement of stats (Str, Dex, ect.) For example, a Primary Talent of Crushing Weapons will advance STR the fastest, while the two Secondary Talents would affect whatever relevant stats they govern to a lesser extent. This forces the player to choose 2-3 stats to level consistently, though I will provide alternate methods for raising ancillary stats situationally.
Primary Talents gain their own experience the fastest through usage, while Secondary and Tertiary Talents progress slower, respectively. Should a player wish to eschew some advancement "points" from Secondary or Tertiary Talents, they can instead spend those to advance down more paths of their Primary (the specialist approach.) Tertiary Talent points can likewise be used thusly for Secondaries. A Primary Talent may never exceed character level.
Elemental alignment colors certain branches of Talent Trees so that different factions have different styles of the same Talent. There are also dedicated Racial Talent Trees should the player want to be even more diversified
Weapon and Armor choices are not limited arbitrarily. Rather, Armor affects Powers, Stealth, and Mobility adversely the heavier it is, while weapons other than Power Staves will render powers (spells) less-effective and more Fatiguing. This allows for hybrids, but ensures that a hybrid will never be as good as a specialist while allowing for total freedom over class type. Obviously, using a weapon one isn't trained in will result in lulz.
It is also important to note that I am combining Stamina and Mana into one bar: Energy. Hybrids can pull off some very versatile stuff if built right, but since their physical and magical abilities draw from the same pool, they can scarcely be godlike.
Crafting Talents are included in the 40 available Talents, and so take up valuable space as one or more of the character's four Talents if chosen. However, every Crafting Talent has not only creation tools within it, but also tools that contribute to warfare in the field, such as the Engineering ability to operate siege weaponry more effectively or the Weaponsmithing ability to apply dynamic effects to allies weapons. Overall, as crafting is a big part of the game, even those not engaged in the field will have a huge effect on the tide of battle.
Currently playtesting the sweet spot for current max level. The Talents max out at 20, though each has enough branches to require over twice that to "max out" should one specialize. I don't want to limit the player in a frustrating manner, but I DO want to force some choices to be made regarding their character type. Last thing I want is a ton of maxed-out Swiss Army Knives.
Kinda burned out on this right now, so any ideas or critiques are welcome.