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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 260 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Starting Designs for a Fantasy (aD&D-like) RPG - stuck already  (Read 14318 times)
Excalibur
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Posts: 94


« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2010, 03:41:14 PM »

Well, how about this idea: Your stats are your hitpoints. As you take damage, the stat associated with the damage is decreased. The more damage you take over time, the less effective you'll be in combat. Additionally, if the damage to a stat reduces it to less than 1/4 of the starting score, it is permanently reduced by one.

So, using D&D as an example, most physical combat is going to do Str, Dex, or Con damage. Magic could do damage to any stat.

What would this mean? Well, if your physical stats are reduced to 0 (or below) then you die. If your mental stats (conceptually Int, Wis, and Cha) are reduced to 0 you can go insane, become a vegetable, or be scarred badly (or all 3).

The problem with D&D is that darned Charisma stat. They slapped it onto paladins, bards, etc. just to give it a use. It makes sense to a point, but I take issue with it.

So, back to your re-imagining. Why don't you think about the kinds of damage someone will see during combat, through poison, etc. What would that damage affect? Is there any damage that would make someone less wise? Less strong? less intelligent? less charismatic? Then build your stats off of that. Everything else can be "feats" for lack of a better term at the moment.
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-Curt
Ar Kayon
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Posts: 190


« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2010, 07:42:34 PM »

Fallout's SPECIAL system does a good job of balancing out stats.  I always blasted up my intelligence because it determines how many skill points per level you get (In F2, if any stat goes below average, you pay for it).  In D&D, intelligence only affects non-combat related skills, which is inconsistent and retarded if you think about it.
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Excalibur
Member

Posts: 94


« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2010, 07:54:47 PM »

Fallout's SPECIAL system does a good job of balancing out stats.  I always blasted up my intelligence because it determines how many skill points per level you get (In F2, if any stat goes below average, you pay for it).  In D&D, intelligence only affects non-combat related skills, which is inconsistent and retarded if you think about it.

Quite so. This is why I like to create skills for to hit: melee and to hit: ranged. Makes it more realistic, for the most part.
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-Curt
stefoid
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Posts: 319


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« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2010, 12:16:41 PM »

I just want what weapon you fight with to matter.

absolutely!    that is the heart of it.  But to do that doesnt necessarily mean adding adding layers or 'realism' to a system.  You could accomplish that aim in many ways that involve adding layers of crunch or go the other way with a deceivingly simple abstraction. 


Quote
a quick word on min-maxing.

Someone said something along the lines of - play with people who play the way you want them too.
every min-maxer I have every played D&D with has come from a 3rd edition table. I think that system breeds min-maxing
but what i meant was I'd like to ensure (as much as possible) that my system does not do that. does not breed/support min-maxing

Again, I ask WHY?  Why dont you like min-maxing?  Isnt it just a case of players seeking characters design decisions that matter?


Quote
So what my brainstorming hs come up with is --- the seedling of an idea - but here it is. as close to all Abilities need to give some advantage
to a character no matter the class/role
ex - why shouldn't (in 2E AD&D terms) Intelligence and dexterity or even wisdom etc give a bonus to a "to hit" number or the "to damage" number
what if
intelligence gave a damage bonus
Wisdom gave a to hit bonus
and dexterity giave a to hit bonus
Maybe fighters wouldnt have stats that end up like this so often

STR - 17
DEX - 14
CON - 16
INT -  5
WIS -  8
CHA -  4


I understand what you want, but I dont think thats a good solution - danger is it could take design decisions away form the player  - what it dosnt matter if I am super tough or super smart, it just ends up that I do extra damage either way?

My suggestion is to start with a blank slate, and write down in priority order, what you are trying to achieve and most importantly why, why, why.   I think the reason you are stuck is that you intuitively want certain design goals, but you arent actively aware of what they are.  Once you have explicit design goals at all stages of the process, you can easily eliminate any idea that doesnt work towards them, or does but is unnecessarily complex.
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greyorm
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« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2010, 02:55:05 PM »

My suggestion is to start with a blank slate, and write down in priority order, what you are trying to achieve and most importantly why, why, why.   I think the reason you are stuck is that you intuitively want certain design goals, but you arent actively aware of what they are.  Once you have explicit design goals at all stages of the process, you can easily eliminate any idea that doesnt work towards them, or does but is unnecessarily complex.

Not that this isn't an excellent suggestion, Stef, (IT IS!) but given Nec's admitted unfamiliarity with game systems beyond a narrow range of D&D(ish) material, and hence familiarity with solutions outside those presented in that range, it may also be helpful for him to read and maybe test out a wider range of systems to see how non-D&D(ish) systems have approached and solved the same design issues he comes up with. (Since even if you can identify what/why your design goals are, if you have only ever seen one type of solution, not solving your problem in a similar manner is going to be difficult.)
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
stefoid
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Posts: 319


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« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2010, 03:11:22 PM »

My suggestion is to start with a blank slate, and write down in priority order, what you are trying to achieve and most importantly why, why, why.   I think the reason you are stuck is that you intuitively want certain design goals, but you arent actively aware of what they are.  Once you have explicit design goals at all stages of the process, you can easily eliminate any idea that doesnt work towards them, or does but is unnecessarily complex.

Not that this isn't an excellent suggestion, Stef, (IT IS!) but given Nec's admitted unfamiliarity with game systems beyond a narrow range of D&D(ish) material, and hence familiarity with solutions outside those presented in that range, it may also be helpful for him to read and maybe test out a wider range of systems to see how non-D&D(ish) systems have approached and solved the same design issues he comes up with. (Since even if you can identify what/why your design goals are, if you have only ever seen one type of solution, not solving your problem in a similar manner is going to be difficult.)

Well, at least until he works out explicitly what he wants out of his game, nobody can help him there.  Oh, you want to accomplish that?  have a look at this for ideas.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2010, 11:01:15 PM »

Quote
Someone said something along the lines of - play with people who play the way you want them too.
every min-maxer I have every played D&D with has come from a 3rd edition table. I think that system breeds min-maxing
but what i meant was I'd like to ensure (as much as possible) that my system does not do that. does not breed/support min-maxing
One thing that can happen is that a game doesn't actually do anything. So people start min maxing with the numbers simply for anything to do at all.

So one way to avoid that min maxing is to make sure your game does something - it's not just a set of table top wargaming stats then all the stuff where people invent imaginative stuff that happens is just whatever happens at the table...cause 'whatever happens' easily slides into min maxing.

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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #37 on: March 18, 2010, 01:51:25 AM »

Necromantis,

When I design techniques, I strive to create a "zero-sum" or "zero-difference" effect, which means that numerically, no technique is superior to another.  They are only superior by virtue of circumstance; the right technique at the right time.  This design criterion for skills, abilities, and even attributes may help you to prevent munchkinism. 
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Necromantis
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #38 on: March 18, 2010, 08:14:10 AM »

Ar Kayon
Is there a place on the net or in a store or here at the forge where I can get a copy of your game? (assuming its finished)
While I admit that I think my goals might differ from what you have come up with, I am very curious about the character building and ... well all the rest.
I am new to the forum and my general perusing has not yet yielded a section in the forums that has complete games for people to check out and perhaps playtest.
Though admittedly I have not put a lot of effort into finding one. 
maybe I can even add to the play-testing section.

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Necromantis
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #39 on: March 18, 2010, 08:23:47 AM »

Ar Kayon
Is there a place on the net or in a store or here at the forge where I can get a copy of your game? (assuming its finished)

Man .. had I just looked down a couple of posts. --- Ignore that last post

Wow. just wow.

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Necromantis
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #40 on: March 21, 2010, 01:34:02 AM »

So I think I have solved my Priest issue (communication-- see below) and along the way have realized some other things (with the help of others here at the forge) some other things I don't like about any d&d ability score system. I am trying to incorporate those things as well. I will explain what I mean by that in a moment. First let me state my goals concerning the characterists/ability score/statistics/attributes section of my RPG construct.

Allow me to say that The goals I have thus far set  concerning my characteristics (as I will henceforth call them) are subject to change. They are also a a stand alone element of my overall plan (which is not complete as of yet) by this I mean that I haven't worked out the ins and outs of how these characteristics relate to skills, or combat, or anything else....at least not to the point of confidence yet.

Now. My goals concerning my characteristics.
  • I want to describe all the different aspects of what makes a person an individual as accurately as I can and still be able to differentiate between the different attributes.
  • I want the characteristic's uses to reflect their entire uses in real life. More accurately I don't want the each score to have one function (as i originally did in this post)   An example would be Knowledge. - This effects more than just a wizard's ability to learn spells. It would also make a difference (though maybe not as large) to a fighters technique or an archers practiced aim. I hope this is clear. Its hard to describe accurately. One of the reasons I like this is because I think it will allow min-maxers (or, as i have seen people try to disguise it: gamists) a more balanced, realistic character. 
  • I will be using a 3d6 system - such as in D&D - I like the odds for failing or succeeding - and critical success or failure have the same chance. 1 in 20.
  • I want all my characteristics to have importance. Maybe not equal importance but, some importance beyond the occasional skill check. i'd like to avoid empty stats (see earlier in this post for what I mean by empty stats)

I would also like to add that I do understand and/or have tried out several dive pool mechanics for attributes/traits/what have you, and its not that I don't like them. I just (at this point) Prefer the 3d6 method, please don't waste time in an attempt to dissuade me from this or convince me of the benefits of a dive pool or diceless type system. I don't say this to sound mean or harsh. I just don't want to waste time on it. I have considered it well, asked my players, and weighed my options taking into account what is most fun (to my group at least) and 3d6 is the winner.

Currently I have not enthused by a point-buy type system either. This seems to be where most of the games I see coming out are heading and while Do like the idea of it i am not convinced its the right system for me... at least not yet.
I don't know most of the terms used around the forge to describe certain mechanics - so if i describe something - but title it incorrectly - please forgive that. I would think that people how are smart enough to design whole or partial systems for roleplaying games wouldn't get hung up over my calling something by the wrong title even if i describe it accurately. Correcting my wrongness is fine - and expected. "thats called _____  not ______" is sufficient"

A BREAKDOWN OF MY RPG'S CHARACTERISTICS

Might This characteristic dictates the ease in which a person lifts, pushes, swings weapons, carrys, Etc.

ProwessPrecision This characteristic dictates the accuracy and economy of a persons movements, whether to aim a fist, weapon, parry, or ranged weapon.

AgilityForbearanceHeartinessKnowledgeReasoningCommunicationAppealThis characteristic dictates how others view a person based on physical appearance and demeanor. Grooming, style, physical features,cheer and confidence all play vital roles in how appealing a person is.



In terms of what they do within the system.
Here is a quick breakdown - just general ideas - nothing in concrete yet.

sooo..... thoughts?
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Necromantis
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #41 on: March 21, 2010, 02:56:16 AM »

I would also like to add that I do understand and/or have tried out several dive pool mechanics for attributes/traits/what have you, and its not that I don't like them. I just (at this point) Prefer the 3d6 method, please don't waste time in an attempt to dissuade me from this or convince me of the benefits of a dive pool or diceless type system. I don't say this to sound mean or harsh. I just don't want to waste time on it. I have considered it well, asked my players, and weighed my options taking into account what is most fun (to my group at least) and 3d6 is the winner.

I am not sure how I typed that wrong twice.. maybe microsoft word "fixed it for me" I seem to recall typing it out as dicepool.

Either way - DICE POOL not DIVE POOL. Wink
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Excalibur
Member

Posts: 94


« Reply #42 on: March 21, 2010, 08:47:50 AM »

Man, and here I was hoping to go swimming...

Anyway, those stats seem pretty decent. I think, overall, the best way to tie knowledge into your to-hit is to simply make to-hit a skill and use knowledge & prowess/precision as the stat bonus for it.

That being said, I think you should unify your resolution mechanic so that everything uses 3d6 + modifiers (if I'm not mistaken, you're using 3d6 instead of 1d20).

Your Melee Combat: Swords (say) skill would stat that the character gains +x to hit an opponent based on the rank of the skill, the knowledge modifier, and the prowess modifier. The Ranged Combat skill would be the same only it would use precision rather than prowess. HECK! If you've got a unified mechanic, you could even support a backstab to hit that uses knowledge, prowess, AND precision.

Though, you might want to have the bonus be an average of the stat modifiers rather than adding.

I see that you have a stat which governs arcane spell learning and spell level cap. Why not do the same for divine spellcasting? I like that you've got stats that govern spells per day for each...Again, I might make this a skill or two. Thaumaturgy for arcane spells, Prayer (or similar) for divine spells. Afterall, you have to be skilled enough to learn the more powerful spells and rites associated with these systems. This is usually done through character level (which I detest) but I really like the idea of forcing a player to decide which is more important, swinging that dagger around or improving their spellcasting.

A few real world-ish examples:
Stage magicians don't automatically know how to perform different kinds of tricks (Prestidigitation is very different from Thaumaturgy, but this will work as an example). They have to practice (put points in a skill) the trick in order to learn it properly. You have this covered with your stats which give limitations based on a character's ability to learn and retain knowledge.

Now, look at the clergy of any given religion. They don't simply pray to their respective gods and know how to do the religion's rites or even the proper prayers. Some people who go to seminary, for example, fail because they are unable to memorize or learn the psalms or scriptures. They aren't able to learn all the prayers or rites the church requires of a priest. If you're striving for "realism" why aren't you bringing this into the game system? Sure, in the game, the gods do exist and impart their divine favor upon their priests but even though that divine energy is there why should a priest be able to cast "Holy Word" if they've never learned it?

That is one of the major issues I have with D&D (all versions that have clerics & wizards). While the Wizard needs to work his butt off in order to learn spells (in AD&D, they had to roll d% in order to learn a spell) the cleric simply "divines" the rites and words associated with a given spell. This is one of the main reasons clerics are slightly more powerful than wizards.

So, I suggest you do the following:
  • Add that divine spellcasters also have spell level limits based on a stat (perhaps this is where Piety comes in. You're not pious enough to obtain higher level divine spells).
  • Add that divine spellcasters also utilize knowledge to learn their spells.
  • Use a unified dice mechanic for everything where 3d6 is rolled for to hit, to learn spells, to perform a skill, etc.
  • Convert some of the AD&D game mechanics into pure skill progression rather than level progression. If you want "realism" you're going to have to do this since it will force players to make choices about what is more important to them.
  • Skills that I think would be good: Melee Combat: (Swords, Axes, Pole Arms, Clubs/Blunt, etc), Ranged Combat: (Bows, Crossbows, Slings, Thrown, etc.), Thaumaturgy, Prayers and Rites, Use Armor: (Light, Medium, Heavy, Shield), Dodge, etc.

Yep, you see me putting dodge in there. I would say that avoiding an attack is an important skill to have. Someone who has had years of practice in combat would be able to anticipate and learn how to dodge an attack while someone who is new to combat would not know how to do so at all. In 4th Edition D&D and in some alternative combat rules (Unearthed Arcana for 3E, Sword & Sorcery's Advanced Player's Guide) they introduced defensive bonuses to the classes. Again, based on level (bleargh) but it seems more realistic that someone with more experience would know how to defend better. I just added that the person has to want to learn how to defend better. Anyway, you could say that for every 5 points in the dodge skill you gain a +1 to your AC (or -1 if you're sticking with 2nd Edition AC rules).

You can also give certain classes better rates for their attack/defense skills to further display the different methods in which characters who are a part of these classes deal with combat. For instance, a Fighter might gain +1 to hit every 4 skill points, a Rogue every 5, a cleric every 6, a wizard every 7...Do the same for defense: A rogue gains +1 AC every 4 points, a fighter every 4, a cleric every 5, and a wizard every 6.

********************************* Idea for a unified dice mechanic *******************************

While reading your post, I kept remembering the pain in the butt THAC0 was and AC being a negative number (as well as 0). It got me to thinking. What if you reversed the idea that you needed high numbers in order to succeed? I think Alternity did this. You were given a target number that was usually 20 - <some number> and you had to roll below it based on a d20 and another die. I forget the exact mechanics, I just bring it up here to give you yet MORE research material to look into Smiley But what I'm getting at is this: I don't know what your mechanic is straight off (the 3d6, I assume it replaces the d20 roll in a to hit situation). I was thinking that it would be interesting to roll under the difficulty rather than over it like in so many other games. Your ranks in a skill add to the difficulty number, making it easier to roll under. AC subtracts from the difficulty number making it harder to roll under. The 3d6 has a nice statistical bell curve that makes (the statistical chance of rolling an 8 on 1d20 vs 3d6 are quite different, btw) for a good choice in this type of mechanic.

Though, that kind of thinking is different from what people expect: More is better. Smiley Just an idea that jumped into my skull.
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-Curt
Necromantis
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #43 on: March 21, 2010, 11:09:39 AM »

That being said, I think you should unify your resolution mechanic so that everything uses 3d6 + modifiers (if I'm not mistaken, you're using 3d6 instead of 1d20).

Being that I am new to the titles of the different mechanics - I don't know the name of the one I have chosen to use, but no, You will roll 1d20 and add modifiers for checks not 3d6 + modifiers. Sorry for the confusion.

I'll go ahead and add why here. There is just something about rolling that 20sider that appeals to me and my players. I think its because after anyone plays enough, you know that "1" is there and you know that "20" is there and through experience you know about how rare it is.. The feeling we get when a critical success/failure is priceless and while something like your misinterpreted 3d6 method offers the chance for critical success/failure, Its more rare. That system would seem to push the numbers towards the middle (7-13- range). I am not against exploring it though. Maybe I'll roll up a couple of sets (one of each type) and half-ass play test them.


Now, look at the clergy of any given religion. They don't simply pray to their respective gods and know how to do the religion's rites or even the proper prayers. Some people who go to seminary, for example, fail because they are unable to memorize or learn the psalms or scriptures. They aren't able to learn all the prayers or rites the church requires of a priest. If you're striving for "realism" why aren't you bringing this into the game system? Sure, in the game, the gods do exist and impart their divine favor upon their priests but even though that divine energy is there why should a priest be able to cast "Holy Word" if they've never learned it?

Like I said, I am still ironing out the wrinkles in what each of the characteristic actually do. The more each Characteristic does, the better, so long as they are somewhat balanced. Its looking like knowledge is swiftly becoming the most important. I do agree with you .. Knowledge should affect all spell casting, Except for maybe witches and sorcerers (who will in my system spend points determined by forbearance or heartiness - as they magic comes from within - sort of a blood magic type thing)
I am not sure I expressed this well but Communication (empathy somewhat in this case) is working as the link between a cleric and his/her god through this link - the priest is able to gather divine magically energies - the better at communicating they are the stronger the link (and therefore the higher the spell level cap - sorry - forgot to mention that) they do however will still need to remember the rituals associated with each spell. so knowledge will need to play a part. i am open to suggestions there.

Add that divine spellcasters also have spell level limits based on a stat (perhaps this is where Piety comes in. You're not pious enough to obtain higher level divine spells).


I thought about having something like piety but the problem with that is. Since I my system characteristics are going to be rolled then arranged (example in a minute) Then you are forced to have a certain level of piety. - what if the lowest score you roll is an 8 and you don't want to be pious at all - do you then for that characteristic only get to choose the number. I didn't like this so I threw it out. 

This is usually done through character level (which I detest) but I really like the idea of forcing a player to decide which is more important, swinging that dagger around or improving their spellcasting.
You detest character levels or that they determine the level of skill/rank etc that a character has (ex. more powerful spells and rites)?

Gaining a character level is a very exciting and long awaited event in my groups. We look forward towards to the culminations of our experience. 
We also assume that during downtime characters are putting in practice time and getting better at certain things.. for example
In 2e D&D at level 4 (i think) fighters get a new set of proficiencies (both weapon related and non weapon related) - you have to assume that in order to gain proficiency with say a spear - the character is practicing with it. as the GM I won't allow learning a weapon that they have not had access to - like mancatcher or katana - unless a party member or some other such reason permits it

A few real world-ish examples:
Stage magicians don't automatically know how to perform different kinds of tricks (Prestidigitation is very different from Thaumaturgy, but this will work as an example). They have to practice (put points in a skill) the trick in order to learn it properly. You have this covered with your stats which give limitations based on a character's ability to learn and retain knowledge.

I have not in my system - worked out how exactly I am going to do skills. (horsemanship - juggling etc)
but I do know that they will relate to the characteristics and make success more likely - example
Juggling - Precision check with a + for having the juggling skill
example:
Benny has a 12 in precision and has rank 2 in juggling - he will need to roll under 14 on a d20.
(the +2 added for his juggling skill)

This is just rough work here. and nothing set in stone. I am still researching other systems for different ideas. 

thanks for the input. Looking forward to more.
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Excalibur
Member

Posts: 94


« Reply #44 on: March 21, 2010, 02:22:56 PM »

What I detest is tying things to your character's level. To hit, AC, Saving Throws, Spells, etc.

True, levels are an abstract way to display how skilled a character is, but I don't fully agree with tying so much to the character's level. Instead, I prefer to tie the number of skill points someone receives to his level and then make almost everything that was tied to level a skill. Saving Throws are a strange bit and I might consider leaving them level-bound. But to hit, # of spells, thieving skills, etc. can all safely be made into normal skills. Since everyone should gain the same number of skill points per level, you are able to set up charts that show how many spells per day a character can know.

For instance, if you give out 10 skill points per level gained, a wizard's spells could be a function of his Spellcasting rank. It'll be a balancing act especially with min/maxers in the mix. The balancing factor is that if they pour all their skill points into spellcasting, they're not improving defense or other skills and may end up becoming a liability later on.

The same could be said about dumping all of your points into attack. While you'll be able to hit almost anything, you'll get hit more often. Defense is probably the most squirrelly because you'd have to deal with walls that are rarely hit, but rarely land a blow.

D&D 3E did a decent job of limiting these kinds of glass cannons by limiting Ranks to your level +3. While this is still level-limited, it does give far more choice. I believe in AD&D 2E, Thieves are given the ability to point points into whatever thieving skills they want to (with limits I think) so that rogues are more apt to be different from one character to the next.

Unless you don't want a skill-centric game I think this is the most flexible kind of mechanic around that still uses levels and has some limits based on level. Palladium Books' games tend to be uber skill-centric, probably too far into that realm (for my tastes). But they give every skill a bonus based on level (eg 20% +5% per level). They don't take into account that the character does not use every single skill every adventure and you end up with characters that somehow get 98% in Knowledge: Occult when they were dealing with military coverups most of the time.

Though, Palladium has a crap load of interesting skills and if you get a chance to check out the Palladium Fantasy RPG 2nd Edition, you'll find it very similar to AD&D but different enough to give you more ideas towards your own game.
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-Curt
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