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Class Archetypes

Discussion in 'The Gazebo' started by Neanderthal, Sep 16, 2018 at 9:59 AM.

  1. Neanderthal Arcane

    Neanderthal
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    Designing a new game world and rule system, got the basics down pat but me players are wanting new takes on character classes so I'm brainstorming new shit.

    Its a low magic setting, with a lot of internal consistency where fantasy elements are far off and rare (so more fantastic,) however PCs are going to be unique individuals, partly because there's not much magical equipment on offer so they'll need the edge.

    Now I've got the Monk alternative worked out, he's a telekinetic who can manifest his powers very powerfully but only about an inch from his body, so when he stops a blade or punches through a wall its not his body doing it but his will and telekinetic field. Discipline, willpower, and quite a bit of physical ability due to mastery of the self.

    Thieves will be masters of shadow, half Keeper, half Shadow dancer, able to manipulate darkness and cloak themselves in it. At higher levels they'll start to gain even greater powers over it, able to shadow walk, and manipulate darkness almost like a Wizard.

    Barbarians I'm thinking are rooted in ancestor worship and sagas, to such a degree that they'll carve stories and phrases into their flesh that will actually manifest powers. Strength and weaponskill in the right arm from one saga, defense and shielding on the left arm from another tale, runes of sight on the eyelid, health over the heart, armour and wound warding over the ribs say, yadda, yadda. Need to be half nekkid like Barbs of old, show their proud bodywork to the world.

    I'm thinking Fighters having soul weapons and armour that they summon into being and that adapt with them. Mages for shits and giggles not being magic at all but technologists who use contraptions and alchemy to simulate wizardry, a grenade is a fireball, a sleep spell is a tranq dart and so on, Arthur C Clarke thing.

    Any ideas, improvements?
     
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  2. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    "low magic setting"
    "all the classes have significant innate magical powers"

    Ok buddy.

    Anyways, some other good archetypes would be something with a powerful animal companion, and magic users in general can be subdivided into a lot of archetypes (movement, illusions, stationary enchantments, personal buffs, personal debuffs, divination, creation or summoning of things, either temporary or permanent, animated or not, physically transmuting things, and of course direct elemental/force manipulation. Most games kind of shit the bed on wizards by giving them ALL that stuff at once, often at too little cost. You could easily make an entire class just around the divination school of magic and nothing else in most DnD editions.
     
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  3. Ninjerk Arcane

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    How is this low-magic? You're just calling it different things.
     
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  4. Neanderthal Arcane

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    There's almost no magic items, magic is feared and shunned by the majority of the populace, the divine is an unknown so no open gods or clerics, and there is a price to almost every power utilised, as well as unintended consequences.

    The pcs are unusual, freaks if you will and unless successfully hiding their powers will be treated as such.
     
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  5. Ninjerk Arcane

    Ninjerk
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    Low tech world?
     
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  6. Neanderthal Arcane

    Neanderthal
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    At face value yes, however there are creatures (Trolls placeholder name) that are extremely technologically advanced, to the point where their arts seem to be magic to other species.

    The Trolls are survivors of an apocalypse on their own world, fled it and terraformed this one, seeded the species that would take over the world and then sat back to caretaker the world.

    They are guilt ridden at destroying their own world, jealously guard their technology and sometimes subtly guide the other species. They are like huge, misshapen Dwarves clad in power armour and breathing like Darth Vader through their rebreathers.

    Heroes seek them out in quests, Wizards seek their knowledge, and those who cross them too many times or discover too much simply disappear.
     
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  7. Alex betthurt

    Alex
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    Well, one obvious remark is that if PCs are, by necessity, unusual people; then you should try to figure out what usual people are like. One of the really cool things about D&D is how the character classes are not only PC options; but they are also setting elements. If you look at early Greyhawk books, you will see how classes and levels are not only for PCs, but actually part of how the world work. You can define a thieve's guild or a fighter's army by the number and level of its members.

    So, if you want a good low-magic world, you need to have a good grasp of what the norm is; what the people in there and maybe the PCs themselves experienced most of their lives. If the PCs are to run afoul of the organised crime in a given city of your world, what kind of trouble would they be looking at? How would they try to get to them? How many people would they deploy? What would be their abilities, etc.

    Another thought I would offer you is to make magic subtly different from what people expect of it, rather than just painting it over with a tech coat. For instance, if the wizard preparing the fireball spell is really just setting up a grenade, maybe have the chemicals influence the specific effect of the spell. For instance, one certain mixture might be explosive, another might be incendiary, etc. So, you might introduce this into the setting by having the spell vary its effects randomly. If the player investigates, he might realize that the different kinds of chemicals he uses making the grenades can change a whole lot of how the spell work and thus make the spell more, instead of less, useful for himself. My point is that it is (or at least I think it is) interesting to make these background elements subtly and gradually change how the game itself is played.

    Anyway, I hope this is of use, and have fun gaming!
     
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  8. Zed Duke of Banville Arcane Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
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    All the classes have significant innate magical powers except mages. :M
     
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  9. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Lucy, this word doesnt mean what you think it mean.

    It's medium at least.

    "low magic" is not a fancy marketing word. it has very concrete requirement and description~
     
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  10. Neanderthal Arcane

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    Well there's a little bit of an Arcanum vibe going on as well, I'm thinking of calling the tech wizards "alchemists" or maybe "tinkers."

    While there is a separate/opposed faction that deals with psychic/soul powers, and they would more fit the mage archetype. I'm working on a class for them, though it might also necessitate a species restriction.

    laclongquan yeah I'm fine wi you calling it medium if you want mate.
     
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  11. Ninjerk Arcane

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    Make your psychic types bards--they disguise their uncanny abilities with the power of SONG.
     
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  12. Falksi Magister

    Falksi
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    I getchya, "low magic" in that it's everywhere but a tool ala a hammer, so not game changing (e.g. You'd sooner take a hammer into a fight than you're bare-fists, but it's an advantage, and absolutely no guarentee you'll come out on top like an AK-47 would be)

    I always like to stick as many semi-naked sexy females in, well, everything tbh, and this is clearly missing some.

    Go for a spin on the typical Amazonian types. Instead of dominant spear chucking warriors, have them as a super intelligent group of sexy women who comminicate with each other via a hive mind & forever weave the fates of others through seduction & manipulation. Or something.
     
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  13. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Sound more like Crazy Skalds than Barbarians.
     
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  14. J1M Arcane

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    Doesn't sound low magic. That's fine, but confusing.

    With so much magic flying around, consider adding a nullifier class that can ignore/remove various (all?) types of energy. Could lead to some creative situations, such as absorbing light from a room or heat from an object, suppressing magical wards, etc.
     
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  15. Night Goat The Immovable Autism Patron No Fun Allowed

    Night Goat
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    Is there any good reason to use a class-based system? I don't think it's ever been done for a reason other than "because D&D did it".
     
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  16. Neanderthal Arcane

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    Good fucking point.
     
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  17. Ninjerk Arcane

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    Yeah, why didn't Sir Galahad just use magic?
     
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  18. Night Goat The Immovable Autism Patron No Fun Allowed

    Night Goat
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    Neanderthal I do like the magic types that you've come up with, but I like players being able to choose things a la carte rather than being locked into classes. If you do go with a classless system I would have those be different areas that players can invest in, such that you could be really good at one thing, kind of good at two things, etc. It seems more organic to me than the all-or-nothing or clunky multiclassing systems that class-based systems have. If you want the PCs to be balanced between being good at magic and being good at other things, rather than minmaxing one or the other, consider having their supernatural abilities and other stats bought with different currencies.

    Another thing I like is the idea of the setting being mostly low-magic, but player characters (and hopefully rivals and villains) are special. It seems like it's always either everyone's a shit-covered peasant, or there's a max-level retired adventurer behind the bar at every tavern and every city guard is covered in glowing magic shit.
     
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