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A Case Against Leveling Systems

Discuss general topics relating to HeroQuest that don't fit well in the categories below.

A Case Against Leveling Systems

Postby torilen » Friday April 19th, 2013 5:10pm

I was doing some thinking about using level-up systems for HQ, and I think I
may have talked myself out of the idea. I think I may have talked myself out
of ever wanting to offer (through any sort of leveling system):
- more body or mind points
- increase attack or defense
- more spells
- more powerful spells
- anything similar to the above

My reasoning for not wanting to use them again:
It greatly diminishes the use of special monsters or evil-wizard-controlled
evil characters. It also diminishes the use of special allies for the heroes.
Consider the following: the heroes run into a powerful wizard (similar to
elminster from forgotten realms). He might seem awe-inspiring at first, but
then the heroes might say, 'ah, I'll be able to do that someday'. This would be
because the leveling system allows them do so. They may have to wait for several
quest packs to go by, but they'll get there eventually.

On the other hand, if there is no leveling system...if the only way heroes can get
better attacks/defenses/spells/body and mind points/etc. is through magical items,
then special foes and allies will seem even more special and more inspiring. Those
magical items will be even more special and more valued...especially if you allow
only a certain number of items to be used or carried at any one time.

Now...I'm still on the fence of whether to allow the learning of new skills through
some sort of education system...I'll have to think on that for a while (for example,
allowing the heroes to learn alchemy, so they can make their own potions).


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Re: A Case Against Leveling Systems

Postby Daedalus » Friday April 19th, 2013 6:52pm

Skill cards could be cool. You could also just as well assign a skill as an ability of an artifact and stay within the published design track. Using your example, you could design an Alchemical Flask artifact card or have the Heroes discover the secret Transmuter's Libram artifact. Not that artifacts are necessarily better than skills--they're just already established.
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Re: A Case Against Leveling Systems

Postby Thrawn » Friday April 19th, 2013 10:25pm

This is the dilemma I've always looked at with leveling, and I'll be the first to say that many leveling systems give too much and don't cost enough. When I put forward my system of basically buying a skill, I was looking at certain things.

1) I went with more spells over "better" spells. Spellcasters fall off badly as the game progresses, and giving more spells helps to keep them useful.
2) I put a big limit on how much you could advance mind or body points, since the increases were based on skills.
3) I never went with flat out additions to combat and defense dice. I tried to make everything situational so there are tradeoffs to using those skills.

The system of having a 1 use skill card per quest should be balanced even better while adding variety as well.


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Re: A Case Against Leveling Systems

Postby Darkforce44 » Saturday April 20th, 2013 11:07am

Well said Torilen. I've always hated every leveling system I've ever seen. Like Thrawn said "many leveling systems give too much and don't cost enough". Compared to the original monsters, the Heroes are already overpowered after the completion of the Game System (except for the Wizard).

Heroquest already has its own leveling system through acquiring artifacts and it works perfectly. There's no reason to deviate from this idea. There just needed to be more Wizard artifacts to increase his spell casting abilities.
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Re: A Case Against Leveling Systems

Postby Ethica » Saturday April 20th, 2013 3:57pm

I'm not keen on levelling either, except by the use of equipment and artefacts. I have artifacts that increase each of a heroes stats. There is also a being they meet who grants them "gifts".

It's fine if heroes get tougher so they can take on more baddies. Cause the bosses also get bigger, more powerful and more badass.

This may be sacrilegious to say but if you decide on a finite limit to the number of quests in your game you can have enough artifacts to meet all that will be necessary to get to the end.


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Re: A Case Against Leveling Systems

Postby Thrawn » Saturday April 20th, 2013 4:17pm

This is a good point. Heroes tend to have a shelf life in this game, and I'd argue that the early career of heroes is the most exciting part, while purchases still advance the character, and where most artifacts will make a noticeable difference to the character (without having to make more ridiculous artifacts.)

(This is actually some of the direction I'm writing in. Alternate "starting" quest sets to allow new campaigns with new heroes.)


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Re: A Case Against Leveling Systems

Postby torilen » Saturday April 20th, 2013 7:13pm

I've had a problem with only using artifacts and equipment (in place of leveling systems) because of the
inclusion of demons and angels in my monster list. I mean, the only real difference for demons and angels
is that they can only be hit by magical items and spells, they have more spells, and higher body and mind points.
Of course, they have higher attack and defense, but not as much as dragons (if I remember correctly).

So, I understand the concern about having to come up with ridiculous artifacts to accommodate harder and harder
foes. Not sure what to do about this, yet.

As far as a finite set of quests or number of quests - how silly of an idea is that? However, I do have a solution for
this. Use aging for your characters. This will take a bit of common sense and work on the part of the evil wizard,
but I think it could really add a good depth to the game.
Start all human heroes at around 25 or so. Humans live a maximum of 110.
Start all Dwarves/Gnomes at around 50 or so. Dwarves and Gnomes live a maximum of 400.
Start Halflings at around 50 or so. Halflings live a maximum of 250.
Start Elves at around 75 or 80 or so. Elves live a maximum of 1000.
Dragons live around 1000 years.

Now just figure out how long it would take to complete certain quest packs, and determine how old a hero
would be after each one. Again...this part will take a little bit of work and common sense...but I really, honestly
believe it would add some great depth to the game.

AND...when a human character gets to old to adventure, that hero can be retired, offer his gear to a younger hero
as a gift, and can be used later for research and information, or can be brought out of retirement at some point to
help as an ally to the heroes.
Dwarves and Elves can continue for a good while, so those heroes will stay the same a lot longer, gain more equipment
and treasure, and can be used as guides for newer heroes.


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Re: A Case Against Leveling Systems

Postby Thrawn » Saturday April 20th, 2013 7:31pm

Way too complicated for HeroQuest, and too much of an advantage for elves and dwarves if you did go that way.

By limited quests, when I put together a group, we basically have a "goal" of what we want to accomplish. Once that is done, we usually will put together something else. Last 3 groups I ran through were only held together for 12-14 quests. At the end of that quest pack, we disbanded. At about a quest a week, that's about a 3 month commitment. I don't usually run stuff open ended, including when I run RPG's. I have a finite end in mind that we are working towards to complete a story.


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Re: A Case Against Leveling Systems

Postby torilen » Saturday April 20th, 2013 9:17pm

Not to get off on a tangent, but normally, when I would DM for a D&D group, I simply created a fantasy
world, offered a few beginning plot rumors, and just let the players run their characters around the
world looking for stuff to do. Very open-ended, very "sand-box" style of play. It did require a lot on my
part, creating the world and all. But...that was my main hobby for a long while - fantasy world creation.
The only problem was creating all the NPC's for the characters to meet. I started creating a not-so-real
world, where villages only had 10 people, towns only had 20 or so, and cities only had 30 people or so.
Allowed me to create very real people for the characters to encounter, while keeping things limited.

In my personal game system, I've actually encouraged this style of creation for the GM's. I explain that the
game world is a world, and should be some-what real...but we are, in fact, still playing a game. I explain that
creating only a limited number of people allows the GM to focus on creating real personalities without having
to work themselves to death. As long as you make proportions the same across the board, it doesn't really matter.

So...a village would have maybe 10 people...a town 15-20...cities maybe 20-30. There would still be orcs and
goblins running around, but ogres and giants and such would be limited in number. Instead of lots of dragons,
there would only be maybe 2 or 3 of each type throughout the whole world. Instead of lots of bad guys, there would
be maybe 10 or 15 throughout the whole world.

I have a whole system set up to make proportions correct. BUT...I'll stop there, as I've rambled enough for now.


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Re: A Case Against Leveling Systems

Postby el_flesh » Saturday April 20th, 2013 10:03pm

Just expand on it. As Zarquon gets more powerful, so do his minions. You don't need to level them the same amount as the heros - that would be pointless - but it makes them more challenging than a throw away useless encounter.

Add more minis. HeroScape has some gooood dragons, for example. They can raise some *lemony goodness* big time.
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