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 Post subject: Races as Classes
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:38 am 
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I'm really stoked about the DCC RPG. Everything I've read thus far sounds awesome, except for one thing: races (other than human) as classes. I'm having a hard time accepting the fact that a game based on classic fantasy literature would say that the only difference between Legolas, Elrond and Galadriel was their levels.


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 Post subject: Re: Races as Classes
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:43 pm 
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I'm not sure it's as simple as this. The "race as class" model in general provides a template for basic things that an elf (for example) can do, such as fighting with a sword and casting spells.

The DCC rpg is supposed to support both the "race as class" and "race as not a class" models, so that a "race as class" character can be dual classed (perhaps elf and fighter) or could pick a single class with "elf" being more of a background choice but without the cool options.

At least, that's the way I understand it.

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 Post subject: Re: Races as Classes
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:52 pm 
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Also, from my understanding, demi-human characters will be differentiated by their 0-level profession. Effectively making one Elf considerably different from another -- either by caste or region or whatever.

I actually prefer race as class.

But a lot of that is how I approach demi-humans in the game. I don't mind having stereotypical elves because I usually don't have more than one Elf in a party. Very rarely more than one or two demihumans in a party of 6.

I don't have demi-humans running around willy-nilly with humans in most of my campaigns. So there's no need for me to "humanize" them. Or to make one special from another because they're already pretty unique in the party as is.

In my games, Spock is a Vulcan. What the heck is that? It's whatever Spock is. Similarly, Chewbacca's a Wookie. Not a Wookie Soldier/Techie/Whatever. He's just what Wookies are.

That's kind of how demi-humans are in my games.


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 Post subject: Re: Races as Classes
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:10 pm 
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smathis wrote:
But a lot of that is how I approach demi-humans in the game. I don't mind having stereotypical elves because I usually don't have more than one Elf in a party. Very rarely more than one or two demihumans in a party of 6.

I don't have demi-humans running around willy-nilly with humans in most of my campaigns. So there's no need for me to "humanize" them. Or to make one special from another because they're already pretty unique in the party as is.

In my games, Spock is a Vulcan. What the heck is that? It's whatever Spock is. Similarly, Chewbacca's a Wookie. Not a Wookie Soldier/Techie/Whatever. He's just what Wookies are.


Just wanted to second this perspective. It is a good point that Legolas, Elrond, and Galadriel would be different classes...in a game where elves went out to adventure. But Appendix N is chock full of human adventurers...and virtually absent of demi-humans. It's actually kind of surprising how few demi-humans exist in the original inspirational sources. Except for Tolkien, there basically aren't any. A game of old-school D&D is, in my mind, a bunch of humans with a handful of demi-humans who are special primarily because of the simple fact that they ARE demi-humans.

I've already gotten a lot of mixed feedback on "races as classes," and I know it irks some people. The good news is that the target audience for this product is me, so I'm comfortable declaring the core audience will still be satisfied. :) Seriously, though, the class system is very simple and it will very, very easy for bloggers and third party contributors to come up with what are essentially race-class "combo classes" (e.g. "elf warrior" and "elf wizard" instead of just "elf"). In the same way that the core rules don't include a ranger or barbarian or bard, they don't include differentiation of "demi-human subclasses." But such material can be easily integrated by those who wish to do so.

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 Post subject: Re: Races as Classes
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:53 pm 
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goodmangames wrote:
I've already gotten a lot of mixed feedback on "races as classes," and I know it irks some people. The good news is that the target audience for this product is me, so I'm comfortable declaring the core audience will still be satisfied. :)


How selfish of you! Don't know you the DCC RPG has to fully, 100% satisfy the buying public like Pathfinder did for ex-3.x gamers...oh, wait, it didn't! Well, 4th Edition was exactly what all ex-3.x gamers were looking for...oh, wait a minute...! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Races as Classes
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:11 am 
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goodmangames wrote:
smathis wrote:
But a lot of that is how I approach demi-humans in the game. I don't mind having stereotypical elves because I usually don't have more than one Elf in a party. Very rarely more than one or two demihumans in a party of 6.

I don't have demi-humans running around willy-nilly with humans in most of my campaigns. So there's no need for me to "humanize" them. Or to make one special from another because they're already pretty unique in the party as is.

In my games, Spock is a Vulcan. What the heck is that? It's whatever Spock is. Similarly, Chewbacca's a Wookie. Not a Wookie Soldier/Techie/Whatever. He's just what Wookies are.


Seriously, though, the class system is very simple and it will very, very easy for bloggers and third party contributors to come up with what are essentially race-class "combo classes" (e.g. "elf warrior" and "elf wizard" instead of just "elf"). In the same way that the core rules don't include a ranger or barbarian or bard, they don't include differentiation of "demi-human subclasses." But such material can be easily integrated by those who wish to do so.



First: I'd like to say that I like what Smathis has said here.

Second: Joeseph you mentioned earlier in another topic that you planned on publishing one rule book a year and lots of adventures. How many third party rule books do you plan to green light? I guess I'm worried about a huge wave of third party rules crashing over the game and washing away the appendix N vibe you have created.

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 Post subject: Re: Races as Classes
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:03 am 
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goodmangames wrote:
In the same way that the core rules don't include a ranger or barbarian or bard, they don't include differentiation of "demi-human subclasses." But such material can be easily integrated by those who wish to do so.


As a long time fan of basic D&D, I don't really have an issue with race as class. On the other hand, I have always had problems with trying to reconcile the class system in D&D with the fantasy that I read. How do you represent Conan in D&D without multiclassing or a barbarian class? How about Elric? These guys aren't just fighters.

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 Post subject: Re: Races as Classes
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:57 am 
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mshensley wrote:
How about Elric? These guys aren't just fighters.


Technically, Elric is some sort of Elf-thing. Not really human at least. But good questions all around.

I think a game gives itself a lot of leeway by not defining what a "Fighting Man" is. A "Fighting Man" then could be a paladin, a musketeer, a pirate, a knight, etc. The "type" of Fighter then becomes a matter of flavor and skill-set (however that is represented). But once we start defining those other classes, the concept of a Fighter becomes more restricted, necessitating the need for other classes. In fact, the more we define the other classes the less sense a straight up "Fighter" class makes.

Still, the idea of hybrid classes is definitely in the literature. No matter how you slice it, Conan is a Fighter/Thief. Grey Mouser is a Thief/Magic-User. Kane is a Fighter/Magic-User. Elric is... probably an Elf. :mrgreen: And there are instances of "Fighting Men" characters in the literature that fit the mold of the traditional "Ranger" as well. So a Fighter with skills that aren't necessarily Thief skills or, rather, are a subset of Thief skills geared more towards outdoor survival.

So, I can imagine how the game could handwave something like Barbarian. Heck, that's what we did in OD&D. But I can't reconcile how it reflects characters in the literature like Conan who is, unequivocally, both a Fighter AND a Thief. Not unless there's some sort of multi-classing or hybrid class in there.

Great questions.


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 Post subject: Re: Races as Classes
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:05 am 
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DCCfan wrote:
Second: Joeseph you mentioned earlier in another topic that you planned on publishing one rule book a year and lots of adventures. How many third party rule books do you plan to green light? I guess I'm worried about a huge wave of third party rules crashing over the game and washing away the appendix N vibe you have created.


DCC RPG will be published under the OGL, so many elements of the rules will be freely usable by anyone. But to actually use the DCC RPG term and logo, a publisher will need a license from Goodman Games. I haven't written the license yet but it will be very simple: "As long as what you're producing doesn't suck, you can have the license." I'll grant the license to good product, and publishers whose work I admire...and not to other folks. Will that be a huge wave of rules? I don't know yet, but if it is a huge wave, I can at least commit that it won't suck. :)

As for multi-classed characters from classic literature, I completely agree: many of the classic characters are clearly multi-classed when expressed in D&D terms. Gygax actually statted up Conan in an early edition of Dragon Magazine...as a multi-classed fighter/thief (see http://deltasdnd.blogspot.com/2010/06/g ... conan.html ). My interpretation is that John Carter is the only "true" fighter in the Appendix N literature (Burroughs actually refers to him as a "fighting-man" at one point, mimicking the exact class name of early D&D in a way that I haven't seen repeated elsewhere). Many of the remaining characters are fighter subtypes: Holger Carlson is a paladin, Valgard is a barbarian, and Aragorn a ranger. And the others are multi-classed: Elric an elf, which in early D&D was a multi-classed fighter/wizard, and so on. The beauty of the original "core" D&D classes is that it actually captures such a wide range of possibilities in just a few core archetypes.

The fighter and wizard classes are probably the only "pure" classes in that you can find strict representations of them in Appendix N literature (notably, John Carter and the many wizards of Vance, Lovecraft, REH, de Camp & Pratt, and others). The thief seems to reflect skills gathered from various characters: reading magical scrolls comes from Vance's Cugel, climbing walls seems to come from REH's Conan, hiding in shadows seems like a Grey Mouser skill, and so on. As for the cleric, that's discussed elsewhere...there are definitely some strong opinions on that class.

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 Post subject: Re: Races as Classes
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:25 am 
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goodmangames wrote:
DCC RPG will be published under the OGL, so many elements of the rules will be freely usable by anyone. But to actually use the DCC RPG term and logo, a publisher will need a license from Goodman Games. I haven't written the license yet but it will be very simple: "As long as what you're producing doesn't suck, you can have the license."


:lol:
I'll finish reading the post once I clean the coffee off my monitor.

Classic!

goodmangames wrote:
As for multi-classed characters from classic literature, I completely agree: many of the classic characters are clearly multi-classed when expressed in D&D terms. Gygax actually statted up Conan in an early edition of Dragon Magazine...as a multi-classed fighter/thief (see http://deltasdnd.blogspot.com/2010/06/g ... conan.html ). My interpretation is that John Carter is the only "true" fighter in the Appendix N literature (Burroughs actually refers to him as a "fighting-man" at one point, mimicking the exact class name of early D&D in a way that I haven't seen repeated elsewhere). Many of the remaining characters are fighter subtypes: Holger Carlson is a paladin, Valgard is a barbarian, and Aragorn a ranger. And the others are multi-classed: Elric an elf, which in early D&D was a multi-classed fighter/wizard, and so on. The beauty of the original "core" D&D classes is that it actually captures such a wide range of possibilities in just a few core archetypes.


So...

And you knew this was coming...

How would we build a Holger Carlson, Valgard, Aragorn or Conan in DCC? Are there "multi-classing" rules?


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 Post subject: Re: Races as Classes
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:48 am 
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smathis wrote:
How would we build a Holger Carlson, Valgard, Aragorn or Conan in DCC? Are there "multi-classing" rules?


Rather than having builds, why not use backgrounds:

Holger Carlson - a human fighter with the background - 'displaced' (as in time/space) - with a good alignment.

Aragorn - a human fighter with the background 'woodsman' or 'scout'. So we know Aragorn is experienced at tracking, foraging etc and he can get a bonus or roll a better dice type when he draws on his background.

Conan - he's a fighter whose superb physical and mental attributes are to his advantage when sneaking/climbing. In play - Player Cunning helps the character avoid the Guards by doing something devious/ingenous rather than just rolling on a Thief skill.

Grey Mouser is a Thief with the background 'Adept' or 'Wizard's pupil' which gets him a bonus or roll a better dice type when he draws on that background to learn/cast a spell, read a scroll. His Agility makes him handy in a fight. Player Cunning helps him do the smart thing.

Valgard the half elf half troll changeling berserker - still just a fighter with an interesting background.

This is probably why I don't see the need for a Cleric class - if you have a Human who has a religious background 'priest', 'monk', 'novice', 'holy man' whatever - you can then have him be a more paladiny/witch hunter/soloman kane one by making him a fighter or a more spellcaster/ shaman type by picking Magic User/Wizard. The player should probably pick a non-neutral alignment. A holy person has a better chance at turning the unholy than johnny neutral with his wooden crucifix.

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 Post subject: Re: Races as Classes
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:41 pm 
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geordie racer wrote:
Rather than having builds, why not use backgrounds:

Holger Carlson - a human fighter with the background - 'displaced' (as in time/space) - with a good alignment.

Aragorn - a human fighter with the background 'woodsman' or 'scout'. So we know Aragorn is experienced at tracking, foraging etc and he can get a bonus or roll a better dice type when he draws on his background.

Conan - he's a fighter whose superb physical and mental attributes are to his advantage when sneaking/climbing. In play - Player Cunning helps the character avoid the Guards by doing something devious/ingenous rather than just rolling on a Thief skill.

Grey Mouser is a Thief with the background 'Adept' or 'Wizard's pupil' which gets him a bonus or roll a better dice type when he draws on that background to learn/cast a spell, read a scroll. His Agility makes him handy in a fight. Player Cunning helps him do the smart thing.

Valgard the half elf half troll changeling berserker - still just a fighter with an interesting background.

This is probably why I don't see the need for a Cleric class - if you have a Human who has a religious background 'priest', 'monk', 'novice', 'holy man' whatever - you can then have him be a more paladiny/witch hunter/soloman kane one by making him a fighter or a more spellcaster/ shaman type by picking Magic User/Wizard. The player should probably pick a non-neutral alignment. A holy person has a better chance at turning the unholy than johnny neutral with his wooden crucifix.


All very good points, geordie. I wouldn't object if DCC embraced that approach.

I also agree about Clerics. I'm not sure where they fit in, although Joseph made some great comments about their inclusion in Appendix N. But it appears that they're less healbots and more exorcists. Which I would find agreeable. I understand the need for magical healing to "keep things going" down in the dungeon. I've just always had a hard time rationalizing them in an Appendix N style of setting. I'd almost rather find some way to accelerate healing in DCC and remove the need for Clerics to be the "Medics". That's probably too much to ask.

About the closest I've gotten to wrapping my head around Clerics is treating them as "White Wizards" -- who practice a different kind of magic from other Wizards -- or ripping off the Priest(esses) of Shallya in Warhammer FRP.


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 Post subject: Re: Races as Classes
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:52 pm 
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Hi, first of all I am following passionately these topics, and the hype/drooling keeps on growing bigger and bigger. :mrgreen:

Talking about RaC (Races as Classes), I've never seen them so limitating as they could seem at first sight.

It's true - as already said - that RaC depict a rather shared racial template, saying what members from that specific race are supposed to be able to do.


By the way, IMHO a single RaC can be seen from different perspective.

Let's make an example, from Moldvay's Ruleset.
Reading the book, Halflings can:
- add +1 to ranged attacks
- add -2 to AC against Large (using the 3E size scale) or greater creatures
- add +1 on initiative
- hide outdoors (detectable 1 time on 10) or in shadows/hollows if in a dungeon (detectable 2 times on 6)

Does this behavioural description fit only with Halflings? Not IMHO.
What else, then?
Uhm.. a classic elven archer?

Using the same template, IMHO you can implement an elf able to:
- add +1 to ranged attacks
- add -2 to AC against missile attacks if still using coverage but spotted (a little change from the dual feature)
- add +1 on initiative
- hide outdoors (detectable 1 time on 10) or in shadows/hollows if in a dungeon (detectable 2 times on 6)

In a similar way, you can use the bone structure of the dwarf to make a ranger with few changes (2 on 6 in tracking, 60ft vision at moonlight or starlight if human or 60ft infravision if elf) or you can use the elf to have - as said - an Elric.


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