Overview

 

Probably the most prolific suggestion for post-cap development has been earning points, similar to the combat maneuver system, to be spent on bonuses.

Typically people propose earning the points in one of two ways:

1 – Gaining points at milestones of experience amounts.

2 – Sacrificing experience (or even experience gain) to gain points.

In the latter case, the post-cap perks would typically be earned more quickly since progress in the ordinary skill system is being traded away instead of working in tandem with the new postcap system.

Essentially the idea is this: at every X amount of Post-Cap XP (I think a million XP is a rather solid number), you are awarded a “point” that you may spend on any number of small cap-exclusive bonuses. Some bonuses may cost more than one Post-Cap Point (henceforth known at PCPs).

-RIMALON (June 13, 2010)

[…] for characters already 2x or 3x cap or more, implementation will basically be a gimme if it’s based on EXP. So someone would have to decide that either that is OK, or a different method of gaining these points would be required that’s outside the EXP system. Something like an elite level to the Adventurer’s Guild.

-ARCHIGEEK (Nov. 7, 2013)

PERKS would need to be created that would target the variety of motivations that people play the game […] and allow for diversification of builds. […]

Right now we have a very lackluster parabola of skills wherein the x is levels and y is diverse skills displayed in builds in comparison to others and the highest vertex seems to be somewhere around 65.

Additionally, allowing PERKS before cap would allow for further diversification. I imagine it would still require trading in experience, which does of course impact systems such as level progression. […] I would imagine that there would need to be a few parameters: (a) they can never lose a level, (b) if you now have less tp because of less xp, something migrates down (let them SET which skill migrates down so it is automated), (c) level-gate the PERKs.

Allow PERKs to directly compete with SKILLS. Very similar to a CMAN system, but interesting to everyone whether they are focusing on an artisan track or combat track or whatever; these PERKS would need to target all progression paths and not just combat.

-ARMYJEN (January 1, 2019)

You could still do it via exp, if it was such that you had to toggle your post-cap exp into elite mode rather than TP mode. Only experience directed at the elite powers would count rather than getting them as well as training points. […] 

>experience elite

As one of the elite adventurers of the lands, you have chosen to put your experience towards gaining elite powers rather than mundane training points. Your next elite power will be available after 1000000 more experience points.

>experience elite

It just takes so loooong to get those elite powers. You have chosen to switch back to steady accumulation of training points. Your next training point will be available after 432 more experience points.

Maybe sell a fixexp potion for bounty points/SIMUCOINS allowing a chunk of post 10M exp to be switched from TPs to elite powers.

-RATHBONER (November 7, 2013)

Illustrations

What would some of these new skills and abilities look like? Hundreds have been proposed from 2010 until now, so below is merely a small sampling:

Skill Mastery: +2 Skill Bonus to any trainable skill.

Physical Mastery: +10 to Max Health and +3 to Stamina Regeneration.

Wizard – Advanced Shielding: +60 second duration for spell 919, Wizard Shield.

Cleric – Resurrector: 1x per day, Cleric may instantly dismiss the cooldown normally accrued after raising a body.

Sorcerer – Sacrifice Mastery: +25 base mana return of any successful sacrifice. 

-RIMALON (June 13, 2010)

Feint Mastery 1A – Reduces RT of single-target Feints by 1 second.

Feint Mastery 2A – Feint can now be set to feint and then instantly attack, using an increased stamina cost. Prerequisite: Feint Mastery 1A.

118 Web Mastery B (two ranks max) – Area webs gain a luring quality that makes enemies in adjacent rooms more likely to walk into yours. With two ranks, area webs gain a minor Provoke effect to increase overall spawn rate.

-LEAFIARA (Dec. 27, 2018)

Paragon Weapon Master (Squares Only) – Gain +5 AS per rank for melee and ranged physical attacks.

Arcane Crafter (Pures, Bards) – Prereq: 200 ranks of MIU – Each rank grants the equivalent of a workshop bonus to the success roll of 420, 517, 714, 735, 925, and RECALL. Stacks with actual workshop bonuses.

-TARLEQUIN (Dec. 25, 2018)

Innate Strength (Can do all stats): – Costs: 2 4 6 8 10 – This ability raises your base Strength by 2 points for each ability level.

First Aid Mastery: Cost: 10 (One Rank) – Upon training this ability, the user’s bandages will not fail when the injured person enters combat.

-ARAMIUS (Mar. 23, 2012)

Never slipping on ice patches

Bonus defense against crawler screeches

Chance to struggle to live like a troll king

[later]

Speed Freak – Whenever you use an MSTRIKE, either open or focused, there is an X% chance per rank to gain another swing.

-SHAFTJ (Nov. 7 and 14, 2013)

You’re My Inspiration: Your accomplishments are so inspiring to those around you, you give ambient combat bonuses to people you are grouped with who are not also role models.

Mana Marvel: You’ve become so adept at casting your spells, they all take 1 less mana (per rank) to cast, possibly skill up to 3 ranks, minimum mana cost is 1.

-ASPEN (Nov. 14, 2013)

Alternatives

 

Another fairly common proposal is simply having a way to increase skill caps, which accomplishes similar effects to the above but would (some hope) potentially require less development work.

I considered giving the increased skill caps topic its own page, but the dilemmas that face the implementation of post-cap abilities as proposed often are the same dilemmas facing the implementation of increased skill caps as proposed below.

I’d like to see something like, every so many exp (5m or something) you gain the ability to train one more level’s worth of skills. No added level, just a slightly higher skill cap.

-JOEKRYSTEL (June 13, 2010)

I do like the whole “phantom” level for training purposes idea (being able to train in everything as if you were level 101, etc). It’s simple, sort of boring, but it gets the job done!

-RIMALON (June 13, 2010)

[regarding CMANs] Capped folks should eventually be able to learn them all. They are combat maneuver techniques. We’ve been around a while. We’d know them.

-KHARIZ555 (Oct. 14, 2016)

[…] could bump a 1x skill to 2x, or in rare cases 2x to 3x (CM for warriors, elemental / spiritual lores for wizards / clerics) with the limitation that once they increase the skill cap they can’t use enhancives for that skill anymore.

-LEAFIARA (July 13, 2018)

Challenges

 

The major difficulty with these proposals boils down to whether it renders characters overpowered.

The whole point of the cap is balance. It allows GMs to design things without having to consider a gigantic range of skill. As soon as you allow advanced skills beyond the cap, you’re just peeling back the entire reason for having it in the first place.

-ARCHIGEEK (Nov. 18, 2010)

Factually, the game is not designed for 3x, 4x, 5x postcap. The game is designed for cap. Postcap people already exist outside the realms of hunting balance the game is designed for. Though I wouldn’t personally support any ability to turn on tripling or doubling a skill you can’t otherwise do.

-ASPEN (Nov. 14, 2013)

Though there’s no clear consensus on whether ways to gain additional post-cap power must inevitably be too overpowering, even vocal advocates of post-cap development acknowledge and struggle with the risks that they could become such:

What I’m having trouble wrapping my head around is how we’re to achieve these goals without side-stepping the issue having a level cap was intended to address in the first place. Ideas such as uncapping skill ranks are really no different from uncapping level, practically speaking. […] You create separation between newly-capped players and players further into post-cap, requiring an endless curve of development for fewer and fewer people – exactly the situation the cap was put in place to address. […]

Further, I struggle to think what can be done with this combat system to design enemies that are genuinely more challenging, necessitating new abilities. Adding AS/DS/CS/TD is fine. […] But it doesn’t change the gameplay one bit. […] the game is already easy for players once they’ve reached a point where most of their relevant combat skills are capped out.

Tacking on new and more powerful abilities without simultaneously designing new challenges that require them only exacerbates the problem. But what ACTIVE abilities drive that requirement? It doesn’t seem worthwhile to only increase passive combat values.

[…] To put it another way, adding 50 AS effectively changes nothing if you also raise the target’s DS by 50. You can create separation this way such that a newly-capped character can’t successfully complete these new challenges while a post-cap character can, but the gameplay ultimately doesn’t change. This is a problem if the premise is that we can’t have nice things because hunting is already too easy for post-cap players.

-BLACKKOBOLD (December 26, 2018)

I don’t think it’s true in a blanket sense that these basic numbers can’t change the gameplay. […] a post-cap ability that adds 2 AS per rank up to 50 AS […] sure, for a paladin it’s just a dull and obligatory linear improvement in what she already does. For a ranger, though, it would mean no longer needing 608 and still coming out 20 AS ahead. For a cleric it would mean a better ability to go into the Scatter and fight Vvrael destroyers.

[…] I’d actually be more open to an AS-boosting post-cap skill exclusive to pures than the same skill exclusive to squares, since the latter would definitely come with an enemy DS increase while the former probably wouldn’t.

But really I’d rather have an ability like that available to all, so we add 50 AS but only add, say, 20 to enemy DS. 

[…] Point being that raising the power ceiling for mutant builds doesn’t require an arms race of offense vs. defense, but raising the power ceiling for archetypical builds does. (Or if there’s a way it doesn’t have to, I haven’t thought of it yet.) And raising it for both at once might mean an arms race too, but a less intense one on the enemy side of things.

-LEAFIARA (December 26, 2018)

Others hoping to avoid quandaries of overpowered characters turn to solutions such as only keeping a limited number of post-cap skills active at once or offering mutually exclusive skills.

After accomplishing difficult and time consuming tasks, you unlock levels of different feats and valors. You could pick to have a single feat and a single valor active at a given time (or maybe two or three with some unlocking tasks). The process to switch from one to the next would have to be done at some specific location (inn or town or something) so as to avoid quickly changing during combat to gain all the benefits at once.

[…] Killing 5,000 orc type creatures post cap would give you the first rank of the Valor “just”. Having just level 1 active gives you +5 AS/CS/and CML against the typical anti-civilization creature types (orcs, goblins, trolls, giants). To unlock level 2 of justice you would need to burn 250 warcamps.

[…] The benefits could be bonuses to stats and skills, special attack and defense boosts against different types of attacks, faster travel options, the ability to avoid fading ithzir or empathy effects on an attack… the options are endless.

Feats could be limited to specific cultures, races and skillsets. […]

-JOEKRYSTEL (August 8, 2015)

One possible answer [to not making characters too overpowered and sidestepping the point of the level cap] […] is to have [multiple] series of mutually-exclusive post-cap abilities where, like 1213/1216 or 1609/1617 or martial stances, only one can be active. 

Slayer’s Intent – Enemies have reduced EBP against your focused mstrikes and aimed melee attacks.

Combat Fury – Enemies have reduced EBP against your unfocused mstrikes and unaimed melee attacks.

Speed Blitz – +X% chance per rank to get -1 RT on melee attacks or -2 RT on aimed melee attacks.

Battle Strategist – Your melee attacks get additional crit weighting and a phantom endroll boost when in a group, improving with number of group members.

[…] a player playing for the long term would have sights on eventually learning all of them… but having all of them might be too overpowering, so they could be limited to only picking one or two active at a time. And then you could switch between them depending on the situation, at some cost of RT, stamina, or anything else that makes sense.

-LEAFIARA (December 26, 2018)

That takes us to our next section, wherein people look for a way to bring more nuance to a post-cap ability system.

Next Section

 

Part 3 focuses on skill trees, prestige classes, and other methods of differentiation within a profession.

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Leafi

Leafi reports on current events in and around Wehnimer’s Landing, where she can often be found dashing about day and night! She also hosts public Town Hall meetings in the Landing and helps with numerous TownCrier projects behind the scenes, including entirely too many proposals that create more work for Luxie. Does this lass’s troublemaking know no end?