Sunday, February 07, 2010

Would You Say I Have a Plethora of Classes?

There’s been some neat discussion around and about over new character classes for various versions of D&D. In spite of my numerous additions to the field (My LL game currently includes six new classes: rogues, gnomes, pixies, nixies, half-ogres, and witches) I remain rather loyal to the notion that what most folks want to play can be a variation on the primary themes of the original character classes. So while I enjoy adding classes, and it is pretty easy, I try not to go crazy about it. And while I admit there’s a heavy dose of Rientsian “if it’s fun, wallow in it” in my choices, I do try to make certain that my classes fit at least one, if not both of the following criteria.

If I’m going to create a new class, it has to fit my campaign setting. Sure, one of the joys of LL is how generic it is within the realms of fantasy, but I’m not making these for addition to the LL core book. These are for my game primarily, and I share them with you because I think they’re cool and some of you might get something good out of them. But my witch class, for instance, is built around concepts that are pretty specific to my campaign. Most folks don’t want to touch gender with a 10’ pole, and I can certainly understand that. It’s one of my favorite themes to play with, and so I have the witch class.

Mostly, however, I’m trying to do things that the basic classes don’t touch. My gnomes exist to highlight the hireling rules. Witches bring in the 1e druid spells. Rogues let me do funky things with the to-hit tables and offer a magic-dabbler class. Half-ogres offer a powerful bruiser to the players and let me play with my weapon damage rules.

The odd ducks in the list are the pixie and nixie classes. The pixie was a request from a new player (who hasn’t been able to start yet, though the character is done, I think) while the need for a nixie class grew out of a transformation that happened in the game. Because both classes have interesting powers and challenges, I couldn’t simply use elves and say that was close enough, but the elf class was the model for both of them. That said, both fit my fluff and crunch criteria, the pixie being a tiny flier and the nixie having a handful of Aquaman’s abilities.

However, I don’t have a courtier class, or a raconteur calls because I don’t want the dice to do those sorts of things. That sort of thing is for playing out. Just like I don’t want any “social combat” rules, I really don’t want any classes predicated on that sort of thing, either.

Art by Howard Pyle.


Erin Palette said...

Don't forget my Octopus class!

trollsmyth said...


The first version of that post had me talking about the "Doom & Tea Parties" game, not my LL games in general. (And yes, ladies and gents, I've already broken my no-new-games resolution for '10. *sigh*)

But yes, Erin is playing an octopus PC mostly based on this one.

(And no, I haven't forgotten I owe you a post on that adventure. :) )

And I was also just reminded that I did come up with a lizardfolk engineer PC class as well, though nobody is playing that character as yet.

Natalie said...

Partly this is because no one's played one in game for any length of time, but the rogue doesn't seem to have a clear place in the milieu. Witches, clearly, have a very specific place; the rest of the classes you've made have actually been races. But even compared to the other human classes -- clerics and sorcerers both have very specific roles in the setting, and fighters are kind of "everyone else," which makes it kind of unclear exactly what rogues are supposed to be. And while I could see someone running one as a PC, I'm not sure why we'd hire one as a henchmen, rather than a proper front-line fighter or a proper magic-user.

Are you ever going to get around to writing up a hierodule? Or have you changed your mind about that since you wrote the half-ogre post?

trollsmyth said...

Re: Rogues - originally, the setting was going to be Birthright's Cerilia, where only blooded characters could be full wizards. Those without a magical bloodline could only be magicians, and the rogue was sort of my version of them, with a bit more hitting power.

But if I had it to do over again, I might drop them entirely and give the elves the rogue to-hit table.

Re: Hierodules - I'm really not sure. In the game, they've kinda become a particular flavor of witch. I wanted to riff on Taichara's psionics, but I'm not sure she's going to finish that, and I've a ways to go if I want to build it up into something that can actually be a character class.

That all said, if someone decides they really want to play one, I'm sure I can knock something together based on 2e spheres and schools of enchantment, charm, and illusion.

Anonymous said...

I don't really understand "fluff" and "crunch" .. . do you have any way of communicating this idea that doesn't sound stupid?

Erin Palette said...

Crunch: the mechanics of the game. Hit Dice, classes, skills, etc.

Fluff: background details which flesh out mechanics to make them a part of the setting.