It's been a couple of days since the last post.
I've been discussing a few ideas with various communities, including game design groups, the LARP community I'll be running with, a few wider LARP groups, and a local NERF group. It looks like a NERF driven LARP is enough of a novelty tnat people are intrigued. That means brand new players.
I also showed some of my existing players some minimalist rule sets, such as this one, and they were shocked at how such things could be called a formal set of rules.
So, once again we're aiming for a sweet spot of "not too heavy, not too light". Lots of people seem interested in the idea of a formal game economy, and a decent system of development for both characters and equipment. It feels like I'm on the right track.
Three is the magic number.
I'm looking at three general categories that define a character (race, culture, and occupation/career), and three levels of progression before mastering something.
The progression is always consistent. First an attribute (which opens access to specific career paths), then a skill (which allows usage of equipment, and also functions as a prerequisite for certain career paths), finally a special advantage that functions during games. Once a character has purchased all three, they might gain automatic access to a more advanced or spdcialised path, where the progression cycle starts anew (attribute, skill, advantage).
Race is something characters start with, it can only be bought during character generation, and may not be improved later. Characters don't need to buy levels in 'Race', but if they don't, they're generally considered to be generic mixed breeds with no special powers. If they buy up to three levels, they manifest more of the appearance and traits associated with the race. Buying 4-6 levels of 'race' takes the genetic traits into specialised areas.
For example... the first 3 levels of the mutant race might start with a physical boost, then a choice from a Scavenger, Strength, or Psychic skill, then finally an advantage in the form of an extra Hit Point. This would open up access to specific paths of 'Animal Mutant', 'Degenerate Mutant', or 'Psionic Mutant', each with their own progression paths.
Culture is similar, it can be bought at character generation fairly easily, but the basic levels can still be bought later. It's harder to pick up the nuances of a subculture, I haven't fully decided whether to ban players from picking up new culture levels after character generation, make it more expensive, or limit it in some other way.
After character generation, the most common thing players will improve in their characters is their occupation/career. Characters will be able to move from three levels of basic through three levels of a veteran career, and on to three levels of an expert career. Characters following this progression may simply work through it from start to finish...but characters may also jump into a career progression at veteran or expert level if they meet the relevant prerequisites (attributes, skills, possessed equipment, and/or fulfilled quests).
The three levels always applies, but a character may always go back once they've mastered a career to pick up the extra skills that could have been acquired while they were in the role.
This basically means we need a substantial number of skills.