I’ve been thinking about this, you know, Guild Wars has its professions, Dungeons & Dragons has its classes, and I have this firm belief that only the things that are important to the player should be important to their character. If, as a player, you don’t care about skills, you shouldn’t have to make skills a big part of your character. If you don’t care about race or class, you don’t have to choose any.

This means at least two things: the first is that every character should be able to function with only “core abilities,” like running, jumping, swimming, climbing, swinging a sword, casting a spell, arguing with the local baker over the price of bread, and so forth. The second is that choosing a race, class, or skills for your character can’t make them better than characters who don’t choose these things.

Not better, just more specialized.

That necessitates figuring out what the baseline powers and abilities are for average people, and then figuring out what choosing a race, class, or skill set actually grants your character. Many powers are available to all characters, and specialized powers are available to players who decide to specialize their characters.

In case you missed it, I wrote about the “Character Chassis” in July, and I’ve continued to puzzle over it since then. What I’ve started to realize is that basic powers need to be applied on a different scope, depending on the relative level and power of the character. When they’re in the Heroic tier, they ought to have access only to powers that can effect them and maybe a handful of people around them.

(We go into scope a little here.) Heroic characters can influence the area around them on a personal level or a local level, and occasionally (rarely) on a regional level — and even then, either only at the behest of a more powerful character, or when they’re on the cusp where the Heroic and Paragon tiers meet and blur together.

What this means in a small-picture sense, is that characters have a set of powers they can use in the dungeon and a set of powers they can use outside the dungeon. You can see, I’ve written about running an audience with the local ruler, and what kinds of things come into play in those kind of circumstances. That’s what you deal with.

So, keep these in mind: character chassis, and power scope. There are the things you can do “in the dungeon” (or “down below,” as cookiemonger refers to it), and then there’s things you do “outside the dungeon.” (Presumably just called “up top.”) Then, there are the things you specialize in, which are your specializations.