I am looking for suggestions for an RPG system that handles character level and class level tracked separately. Ideally I would like to find something that does this based on XP spent.

For context, I'm looking to design a system that separates class level and character level. The goal is to have character level determine HP, defenses, accuracy and a few other things – "core" character stuff. Class level would determine abilities and equipment permitted. I want PC to have the capability to switch class at any time (think the Final Fantasy XI and XIV video games). XP will be used to "buy" abilities and stat increases, with only the abilities that match the current class available during play.

Right now, however, the trouble is figuring out a fair method for handling this. Clearly there is a lot of potential for bad balancing to turn the interesting strategic choices here into a boring one-best-choice situation.

As an example of how I'm imagining XP to work:

Player A has earned 600 XP. He has spent 100 XP into stats, 300 XP into Fighter stuff and 200 XP into Mage abilities. This makes his Class Level for Fighter 3, for Mage 2 and overall Character Level 6. Currently he has chosen Fighter as his active class.

I know that D&D 3 and variants of it do separate class levels at level up via multiclassing, but they don't do it based on spent XP, just choice of available classes. I know that the Warhammer RPGs do this in career tracks with ranks at XP thresholds. I am hoping that people who have further experience with games I may not have even heard of, might have recommendations for me.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why, what problem are you trying to solve? Do you really want game recommendations or are you looking for good examples of these kinds of mechanics and people's experience with them? As the question stands there's not really a "best answer." \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Dec 5 '13 at 22:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk The problem to be solved is in the first version before editing. I think it was expunged for having "not tabletop" taint, but I think completely expunging it is a mistake since it robs this of useful context. I'll dig it out. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 5 '13 at 22:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ One problem with answering this is that there are many point-buy systems such as GURPS and skill-based systems such as BRP which abandon the concepts of classes and levels entirely. I would really recommend that you take mxyzplk's question to heart - we can't help you because we don't know what you're trying to achieve and this question is just likely to generate a near-infinite list of equally-good answers. \$\endgroup\$ – gomad Dec 6 '13 at 13:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you more interested in finding a game that does this or finding helpful information/ideas on actually building it? While I can think of a couple of games that track overall character power based on XP spent, nothing that also involves class splitting. I recommend reading up on Siloing as a concept to seriously consider as you do your design. \$\endgroup\$ – user9935 Dec 7 '13 at 17:23

The first thing that comes to mind is AEG's systems for L5R and 7th Sea.

In 7th Sea, the character is its own entity. There isn't a specific level-based anything for them, they just accumulate skills, traits, and reputation. However, you can have a sword school and/or a sorcery which "level" by how much you buy the knacks within them. So you could have multiple sword schools at varying levels, although only one sorcery (which must be bought at character creation) that can increase in rank. Each level of each school/sorcery has its own advantages which separates character development form their "class"

Next is Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) which is a close match to the initial question because the character has an Insight Rank, which is based on all of their skills - not just relevant ones. (Note: I've literally had a bushi (warrior) who focused on his social skills but was still able to rank up as a fighter.) With enough plot development, characters aren't trapped within their schools and there are options.

I'd also recommend looking into a couple systems for Final Fantasy Tactics having been ported into RPG format, especially due to your mentioning the franchise in the original question.

  • FFRPG 3e has a level system that looks to have more of a sub-class system following one core job
  • FFT Realm seems to be closer to the original video game due to including the Job Points.
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