Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Calidar Mages vs. D&D & Pathfinder

While looking into describing a character class in a manner usable with different RPGs, I ran into a challenge, as the scales each game system uses to measure experience are widely different. Calidar, which is meant to be system neutral, relies on a simple percentile scale to express the “Life Forces” of both monsters and characters. It is a tricky feature because this rating does not always convert accurately into all RPGs. There is a bit more to this than just how far up an experience progression table a character rises.

the fiveby Sindacollo  /  / ©2008-2019 Sindacollo

Since my goal is to describe a magic-user variant for my current project, Calidar “On Wings of Darkness,” I decided to look up the experience levels characters need to earn before acquiring the ability to cast at least one Level 9 spell in various game systems. From this point onward, this threshold is referred to as “top level” in this article. It seemed to be the common denominator for magic-users across the board (I used the median XP progression chart for Pathfinder). As expected, results vary with each game system, as follows:
D&D 5e & Pathfinder: Level 17
AD&D (1e, 2e): Level 18
D&D BECMI: Level 21

The good news is that these experience increments aren’t that far apart. A more problematic challenge concerns exactly how many actual experience points each system involves. The rates at which experience is accrued in each game vary hugely at various points in the magic-users’ progression charts, especially as regards how quickly lowest levels can be attained vs. highest levels.