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Hmm…well…I guess I’d say it’s a hybrid.

It’s all about training. You get XP and then you spend time training in something or with someone, you can choose to train in your profession, or your skills or your abilities and basically spend your XP. So it’s sort of like buying, but you can “buy” levels, attributes (e.g. knowledge/strength), stealth, etc.

So there are levels like in a classic system, but you don’t have to spend your XP going up levels, you could start learning a new profession, or new skills that don’t tie to a possession. The skill system is rather like the ones used in better MMPORPG’s but it predates all of them.

And I literally mean that; at the height of game development, AOL was a rising star! [Modem noises ensue]

So reading that you’d might say it’s a “buy” system. Except we use levels for determining chance of success, whether that’s in casting a spell and not dying or picking a lock, or making a clay goblet.

Incidentally, if you have the mana, and have studied a spell, a wizard can certainly “try” to cast a spell beyond their own level, just like in real life. Just be prepared to “fumble” it. Sort of like the wizard with the Cloud of Destruction.

[i]BTW: before anyone reads that bit about AOL rising…it literally hasn’t taken me that long to write the first book. So you don’t have to fear for the second, thinking “this guy makes George Martin look like a Harlequin Romance Writer in terms of speed”

I got stuck, paused, had to write my dissertation and then go out and get a job. I didn’t return to “writing” for about 7 years and in the mean time (10 years) have equally not finished several more long novels before finally, last fall realizing how to get unstuck and started cranking on cleaning up/finishing up Volume I. And am now cranking away on two, and have the plot through the third and maybe longer (if that’s what’s needed–and it probably will be).[/i]