Tortured Earth Advancement System
Tortured Earth is a game powered by status effects. All abilities, combative and non-combative have status effects integrated as a key component of the ability. A character swings a sledgehammer, it deals 1d8. The damage is fixed by the weapon and non-adjustable. What is adjustable, and the main reason a player wishes to cash in points, are the status effects. Based on their investment pattern, the character may cause Bleed, Bludgeon, Stagger, or Befuddle. These effects are directly tied to the rank of the ability.
I have posted in forums like Reddit and Facebook about the advancement system. Of course, you must sift through all the flash judgements to find the kernels of discussion and interest. Those players having tried the system really like the adaptability and flexibility of the character builds. This flexibility is largely due to the activation and customization of status effects.
Unlike spells having fixed descriptions, the direction Tortured Earth takes is one of versatility. A character has a maximum description for a fireball. They can choose to downsize the effect with no penalty. They simply cannot exceed that maximum. Under normal conditions, a status effect activates at 1 LP or 1 MP damage per rank. Through Skill Mastery investment paths, the character may deal more damage per rank. At maximum investment, they will be able to deliver 1d6 additional points of damage per rank.
Of course, creatures and villains have varying degrees of activation based on their challenge ratings.
These multiple advancement options provide players a chance to experiment with character builds and proficiencies without making major point investments. Once a character development path has been chosen, Skill Mastery of skills may be selected and advancement along a specific path can begin. Until that decision has been reached, the skill can be left as a Generalist ability and be available on an ‘as needed’ basis.
To accommodate the experimentation of abilities, a point pool system has been implemented. A player must invest 5 points in a skill before excess points can be allocated to a point pool. A skill having less than 5 skill points in it is not eligible to have excess uses per day applied from the point pool. This is designed to simulate learning. Once a base operation (5 skill points) has been developed in a skill, the skill is eligible for multiple uses per day. If a player wishes to try a new ability, they may place a single skill point in it. That point is locked to that ability and they will always have 1 use-per-day allocated to that skill. If the skill is something they do not appreciate, they simply do not put more points in it. If the skill is something they wish to use more often, more skill points may be allocated to it.
If the skill is to be advanced, the player may pull 5 uses-per-day from the point pool and convert it to +1 Rank. The available uses-per-day are reduced, but the ability they choose does gain +1 to its rank. This increases the potency of the status effect associated with the ability.
If there are other game developers reading this, I’d love to hear about methods you use to facilitate advancement.
Thanks for reading!
K. B. Kidder
If you are checking out this blog for the first time, you may access our website by clicking here: Tortured Earth
If you are interested in the creature development process, you may submit your own creatures by filling out the following form. We will review the forms before publishing the creatures to the website. Creature Creation Form
If you would like to see what Tortured Earth looks like, the GM portion of the rule book is available as a free download on the Tortured Earth Home Page. Tortured Earth Beta GM Guide
And finally, I have created a Tavern Generator and Loot Generator. Both are free downloads and can be adapted to a wide range of story settings. Both are written in Excel. If you are using a tablet, you can download a free version of Excel and operate it live at the game table.