Irregular Progressions

Copyright Tim Dugger © 2004

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"The changes to the system take effect after normal character creation"

Introduction

Since the publication of HARP, several people have asked for a method to allow them to run HARP as if it were a level-less system. HARP is mostly there already, only having a few professional abilities tied to levels along with when Development Points are awarded. The purpose of this document is to present an alternate progression system that allows HARP to be run without using levels.

System Basics

Character Creation for a Level-less HARP System (LHS) will remain identical to what it currently is. The player will select his profession, race, culture, and stats as per normal. He will also figure his total number of Development Points (DPs) normally as well. A Starting character will then spend double his DPs to purchase skills, spells, talents, and other special starting options as he sees fit for his character.

The changes to the system take effect after normal character creation, once play has actually begun. Instead of awarding Experience Points to the players, the GM will instead award Development Points. The character may then save or spend these DPs accordingly. The player will also be responsible for tracking two new items on his character sheet as explained below.

New Items to Track

Since the GM is awarding Development Points directly, it is up to the player to keep track of two new items on his character sheet. These are Available DPs and DPs Spent. Available DPs are those development points awarded by the GM that have not been spent yet. DPs Spent are those that the player have used to purchase skills, talents, or other items purchasable by development points.

Level Based Effects

HARP has very few level based effects. In order to make them work properly using this LHS, some minor adjustments must be made. Instead of using the character's level to determine when these abilities are gained, we will use his number of DPs Spent to determine when the bonuses from the level based abilities take effect. These level based abilities all take effect every third, fifth or seventh level. Use the following table to determine when they get applied using this system. The character's starting DPs are not counted in determining when these effects should be applied.

Level Gained

DPs Required*

Every Third

Every 135 DPs

Every Fifth

Every 225 DPs

Every Seventh

Every 315 DPs

* Beyond initial starting DPs

Example: Fred is playing a Fighter. When creating his character, his stats give him 45 DPs. This means that he actually gets to spend 90 DPs. As a Fighter, he gains a +10 bonus to one weapon related skill every fifth level. Using this system, he would gain that bonus for every 225 DPs spent. His initial 90 DPs are not counted for this, so he needs to have an actual DPs Spent of 315 before he gains his second +10 bonus and 540 for the third such bonus. The first bonus was gained during character creation.

Skill Rank Limits

Another level based effect is the number of skill ranks that a character is allowed to have for any given level. For starting characters, the limit remains the same, no more than 6 ranks in any skill. Once play begins and the character earns some DPs, there needs to be another mechanism to govern this. Using this system, we once again depend upon the number of DPs Spent to determine the maximum number of ranks allowed. Just divide the total number of DPs Spent by 15 (and round the result to the nearest whole number) to determine the maximum number of ranks allowed in any skill.

The following table gives a column of DPs, and a column showing the maximum number of skill ranks allowed.

Total DPs

Max Skill Ranks

Total DPs

Max Skill Ranks

90 or less

6

765

51

135

9

810

54

180

12

855

57

225

15

900

60

270

18

945

63

315

21

990

66

360

24

1,035

69

405

27

1,080

72

450

30

1,125

75

495

33

1,170

78

540

36

1,215

81

585

39

1,260

84

630

42

1,305

87

675

45

1,350

90

720

48

1,395

93

Awarding DPs

As play progresses, the GM will award DPs to the characters, just as he would experience points using the normal system. The following table is a variation of the experience point table and shows how many DPs should be awarded for each type of goal accomplished based upon its difficulty.

Difficulty

Major Party Goal

Minor Party Goal

Major Personal Goal

Minor Personal Goal

Routine

0

0

0

0

Light

1.5

1

1

0.5

Easy

2.5

1.5

1.5

1

Medium

5

2.5

2.5

1.5

Hard

10

5

5

2

Very Hard

15

7.5

7.5

2.5

Ext Hard

20

10

10

3

Sheer Folly

25

12.5

12.5

3.5

Absurd

50

25

25

5

As you will note, the table awards DPs in increments of one-half of a DP in some entries. This is correct, and the player will record this on his character sheet under Available DPs. However, a character may not spend only half of a DP, so when he spends the DPs, that half of a DP will remain until additional DP awards brings it up to a whole number.

Example: Nick is playing a Fighter. During the course of play, Nick and the other players accomplish a Minor Party Goal of Very Hard Difficulty. The GM awards each character 7.5 DPs for accomplishing this goal. Nick now has 7 DPs that he can spend on increasing his skills, or he can save them until he has enough for gaining that desired Instinctive Defense Talent. However, Nick may not spend the 0.5 DP that his character received. He will have to wait until his character is awarded more DPs, and hopefully get another half DP to bring that up to a whole number.

Bonus DPs from High Stats

In HARP, a character gains a number of DPs each level based on his stats. However, when using the LHS, this can become problematic in that DPs are awarded directly to the player rather than experience points. The following guidelines can be used to allow for the gaining of bonus DPs from high stats. Conversely, low stats can result in less DPs being received than are actually awarded.

The following table shows the number of Bonus DPs that a character acquires every time he is awarded DPs. As you will notice, the table does also include half DPs. As with regular DP awards by the GM, half DPs cannot be spent until the character gains enough additional DPs to bring it up to a whole number.

Bonus DPs

Stat

DPs

01-05

-3

06-15

-2.5

16-25

-2

26-35

-1.5

36-45

-1

46-55

-0.5

56-70

0

71-80

0.5

81-90

1

91-100

1.5

101-102

2

103-104

2.5

105

3

Example: Nick's Fighter has the following stats, and they give him the DP adjustments as shown:

Stat

Score

DP Adjustment

St

90

+1

Co

87

+1

Ag

85

+1

Qu

70

+0

SD

68

+0

Re

57

+0

In

63

+0

Pr

45

-0.5

Total DP Adjustment

+2.5

This means that every time the GM awards DPs to Nick's character, he receives an additional 2.5 DPs. Thus, using the above example, instead of receiving only 7.5 DPs, Nick's Fighter would have received 10 (7.5 + 2.5 = 10) DPs from successfully completing a Minor Party Goal of Very Hard Difficulty.

Multiple Professions

One of the key features in HARP is the ability for a character to have multiple professions. By having multiple professions, the character will pay different costs for his skill depending upon which profession he is advancing. Using the LHS system presents some problems with being able to do this easily.

There are two main options that a GM may select to handle the issue of players who would like multiple professions for their characters.

Option 1: Counting DPs

When using this option, when a character gains a new profession, he must spend a minimum of 45 DPs on that profession before he can change his costs back to his original profession. After that, he must spend a minimum of 45 DPs on whichever profession he is currently using the skill costs for before switching costs. This option adds several things for the player to keep track of in addition to the items described above.

Option 2: Averaged Costs

Using this option, when the character gains a new profession, instead of changing his costs to that of the new profession, he instead averages the costs of each skill category (rounding up to the nearest whole number).