Thursday, 17 November 2011

House Rules, Part the Second: Classes, Backgrounds and Factions.


There are Three groups of classes, four including Demi-humans. Yes I'm going with race-as-class. However the demi-human classes pretty much resolve as being based off of one of the other three groups.
The three groups are Fighting Man, Holy Man, and Magic User. Fighting Men are, quite naturally combat orientated. Holy Men are a mix of combat and magic typically with religious overtones. The Magic User is the spell specialist.
The Fighting-Man Classes are currently:
  • Archer.
  • Barbarian. Mighty hewed, sneaky, good climbers and hard to surprise.
  • Outlander. Comes from another world, typically somewhere called Dirt, or Ground, something like that. Highly adaptable but start off at a disadvantage when it comes to languages and weapons they're proficient with. May start with a Background at level 0.
  • Rogue. Although I may rename it Scout as many of the thief abilities come from the Criminal Background. Sneak attacks, superior climbing and stealth come from the rogue. For stealth I'm using the surprise rules. Rogues, Barbarians and Halfling Adventurers get a bonus to their surprise rolls.
  • Warrior. I almost just called it the "Fighter". Gets weapon specialisation as a class feature.
The Holy Man Classes are currently:
  • Monk. Currently just a placeholder.
  • Slayer. Roughly your classic B/X style cleric with Turn Undead and spells beginning at second level. I've also granted them Wisdom modifier to damage against undead.
  • Theurge. A miraculous spellcaster. Spells begin at first level but they have no turning ability except through spells.
The Magic User Classes are currently:
  • Thaumaturge.
Finally the Demi-Human Classes are:
  • Dwarven Adventurer. Based off of what I like to think of as the "Holy Man Template". Dwarves get the ability to cast "Runes" at 2nd level and can create "Permanent Runes" from 5th.
  • Elven Adventurer. The classic mix of Magic User with added Fight.
  • Halfling Adventurer. Sneaky and fighty. Halfling Adventurers are so sneaky that they can be practically invisible to anyone other than another Halfling.


To more accurately model fantasy characters from literature I decided to split off what a character does while adventuring, their Class, from what they do the rest of the time, or did before they became an adventurer. Not a unique idea, I know. Lots of d20 games had something similar. In my case Backgrounds give access to specific abilities or subsystems which improve as the character's class progresses in experience. A specific example would be the Healer who can speed up the recovery of injured comrades but also use the healing system to combat diseases. Backgrounds can also provide a non-adventuring income for characters.
Finally NPC's who don't have an adventuring class are typically modelled on their background instead.


Factions, called "Sodalities" in my original notes, are the guilds, churches and societies that litter the typical D&D style fantasy world.They're mostly a roleplaying thing but I decided that there should be system based effects depending upon which of them the PCs decide to join and interact with. At the least intrusive level a character's "level title" would be based upon their rank within a given faction and not their actual experience level. That said my default presumption is that a character's experience level and their faction rank would be linked, based upon their level when they joined said faction. However my thoughts are leaning more towards making progression in some factions at the very least be based upon actual deeds and accomplishments, including "dead man's shoes" style progression. So for example a character progressing through the ranks through a criminal faction may have to successfully perform a certain number of tasks for that faction to progress further. A character progressing through an Arcane College may have to learn and cast a spell of a particular level to prove their worthiness to progress.  There would be system-based benefits from progression, access to libraries of spells, henchmen provided by an increase in rank, discounts of certain items, as well more roleplaying based benefits.
Factions would accessible through class, background and roleplaying. A character could be a member of more than one faction, since factions would be limited by geography and/or interest. If conflicts did arise they would just be grist for the mill of providing adventure for the PCs.

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