The beginning of 2009 has been extremely busy for me, and I haven’t had quite the time I wanted to devote to the various design projects that I’ve been working on. In addition to being busy, I had increasingly started to think that maybe Fluidity had run its course. My first thought was to place the entire project on indefinite hiatus, but, between Threshold Magic and the psudo-level system that I’m posting below, I think that maybe I’m not as done with Fluidity as I thought I was.

I have several non-d20 design projects in the works, and I think that working on a well-made and balanced spellbook for Ethercraft and Threshold Magic (using the Elementalism model) would ultimately take away from those projects. So, for the foreseeable future, while I’ll still be designing and posting here, the Fluidity Project and the associated systems are going to remain in their current stage. I may offer more new material for Fluidity going forward, but between the giant library of 3.x compatible material and the continuation of Pathfinder, there should be enough material out there to support an ongoing Fluidity game.

Also, right as I was finishing up the Elementalism rules, it came to my attention that Eclipse: the Codex Persona (get a shareware copy here) is essentially doing what I’m trying to do with the Fluidity Project. While it’s not a complete clone of my vision, it’s close enough. I am planning to spend some more time with it to see if I can cobble together some conversion rules to make a parallel Fluidity and Eclipse game a viable option. Since Eclipse is fully compatible with 3.0, 3.5, Modern, Future, and many other d20 products, characters built with either system should be fully compatible, but character advancement over the course of an ongoing game might be an issue.

During my play testing, it’s become pretty obvious to me that a point-buy system of this scope, while great for organic character growth from the very start of game, quickly becomes unwieldy and is completely unsuited to play that starts using experienced characters.To partially solve that point, I’ve cobbled together a quick and dirty psudo-level system that should allow a player to relatively quickly build higher level characters without having to allocate hundreds of character points (CP).

The linchpin of the new system is tying the Challenge Rating (CR) and CP scales together. In d20 every character level is roughly equal to a single level of CR. For example, a 5th level character is CR 5. Which means that to defeat a single 5th level character should use up roughly 20% of a 5th level party’s resources. In the Fluidity Project, 18 CP is roughly equal to a single level of CR (or character level as the case may be).

For higher level play, instead of taking a mound of CP and trying to build a character from the ground up, the characters are built using a CR baseline. In the previous example, instead of being thought of as a 90 CP character, the character would be a CR 5 (or 5th level) character. Each CR level grants a small package of abilities that are assigned before the next CR level is taken. And, I think for balance purposes, each CR level should definitely be fully assigned before the next one is taken.

After the game starts, characters can either grow organically after every session (like normal) or simply gain a new level every time the character earns 18 CP. Either way, the characters would be supported by the existing CP system (1 CP for attending a session, 1 CP for each encounter and 2 or 3 CP for a challenging or deadly encounter.)

Each CR level grants 9 CP that can be spent on any purchase that the character legally qualifies for (feats, levels of mana, etc) and any 3 of the following (a character can choose any option more than once):

  • +1 level BAB
  • +1 level BDB
  • +1 HD
  • +1 level of saves
  • +1 level of skills

This, of course, only solves the problem of being handed a pile (perhaps hundreds) of CP and being told to make a character who can survive high level play. But, that’s a major hurdle, since character creation can take hours and anything that helps balance high level characters while makes character creation easier for the player is a step in the right direction.