One of the major features we will be adding if our Kickstarter is funded is character customization. Today, I’ll be looking in detail at what that means, and the new options you’ll be afforded once we’ve developed this feature.
When you level a character in Conclave, you get some mix of the following benefits:
- A new ability
- More skill points
- A new trait point
- More Health
In the beta, you have no control of any of these: every character follows a preset path that is determined wholly by your archetype. For example, all level 2 Vanguards get +7 to Bludgeon, +3 to Tactics, and gain the Persevere skill. Once character customization is in place, however, you’ll have options with ability choice, skill point assignment, and trait point assignment.
The most important of these is ability choice, because Conclave’s combat is so heavily ability-driven. Sure, your various stats matter, but their effect is subtle, behind-the-scenes. Abilities are what define what you can do, and take front stage because you select from them over and over. Put another way, abilities are much of what create characters’ identities in combat. And today, those identities are pretty narrow. All Runecasters focus on damaging, ranged magic, with a touch of protective buffing. All Rogues rely on striking vulnerable foes in melee. And so on.
This will still be true for 1st level characters once customization is in place. Every Rogue will still start out being able to go Into the Shadows and Dash about. But as characters level up, they’ll grow more and more divergent, exploring a larger ability space defined by their skill point allocations and their player’s interests. We are really excited about this, as we’ve never meant for your archetype to be a railroad for character development – that was just a necessary expediency during the beta. In the future, you’ll see Vanguards who are shield masters, and those who are battlefield tacticians; Beacons who are true masters of the polearm, and others who are focused on inspirational healing; Rogues who love dirty tricks, alongside Rogues who are dueling experts; True Bows finding perfect clarity in the magic of True Sight, or with a battery of trick and utility shots; Runecasters who manipulate terrain, or use Lore to uncover the secrets of their foes.
As you level, you’ll be able to select from a variety of different abilities to add to your character. We have at least twice as many abilities defined for characters as are actually available within the game currently – and that’s just for characters levels one to five. Once character customization is open, all those abilities will be available to you. However, most have specific requirements that your character must first meet before you can access them. The majority of these are skill-based: you’ll need a Bludgeon score of 15 to access Sweeping Blow, for example, or a Lore of 30 to choose the new Secrets of Mortality. Others have trait requirements (e.g., Agility 8 is needed for Twin Strike), and still others require that you already have some other ability (e.g., the new Gale needs both Air Rune and Runecasting 20).
I’ll leave you with a few abilities that might make their way into the final version of the game, though no doubt they will be tweaked after playtesting; I hope these inspire you to think about new directions your Conclave characters could take in the future:
Requires Earth Rune, Runecasting 20
All squares in a 5-square line emanating from you become rough terrain. Check your Runecasting against the Agility of each combatant in those squares. If you succeed, the combatant takes 5-7 bludgeoning damage.
Part the Veil
Requires True Sight 20
All unnoticed foes within three squares are revealed and become dazed.
Requires Fortitude 7
You become enraged. You must be at least lightly wounded to use this ability.
Requires Light Blade 20
Until the beginning of the next round, if an adjacent foe attacks you, make a free attack with your weapon on that foe.
Requires Persuasion 20
All inspired allies recharge a random ability.