Thursday, June 2, 2011

7K - A touch of class

Every superhero has an origin, but he also has training. To represent what kind of training, we are going to use the class system from d20. It's pretty straightforward. When you gain a level, you can take that level in any base class. If you meet the prerequisites for an expert class (nee prestige class), you can take a level in that, too. You will gain stats, skills, and a special ability at every level. (Yes, you gain an ability at every level. There are no "dead" levels.) There are no penalties for multiclassing.

So, currently, there are nine base classes in the system. They are:
  • Burglar - You are the master of the urban environment. You are able to scale sheer walls, run along rooftops, bypass locks, and surprise fair damsels in their bedchambers. You also have many connections in the shadier parts of town.
  • Courtier - You have mastered the fine arts of seduction, small talk, gossip mongering, and politicking. You are the master of repartee, often able to dissuade thugs and similar undesirables with a single well-placed insult. You also maintain many friends at the highest levels of society, giving you a great deal of leverage to get things done indirectly.
  • Gallant - You are the stereotypical swashbuckler. You are always ready to defend your honor with your blade. You are also capable of remarkable feats of derring-do. And, above all, you do it all with style!
  • Grifter - People do what you want them to do, even if they rarely recognize it. While most grifters use their silver tongue to avoid resorting to honest work, some are (relatively) honest merchants, or even diplomats. You have the gift of reading people, deducing what they want most, and convincing them that giving you what you want will help them get what they want. You aren't necessarily evil, though. You just know that you can't cheat an honest man, and the rest of them deserve what they get.
  • Hunter - You are the master of the wild areas between the cities. You can live off the land, follow the most obscure tracks, and use a bow with deadly accuracy. While it is true that the untamed forests are rarely the scene for the swashing of bucklers, rebels against the Empire of Acnev are likely to need your skills to survive.
  • Pirate - How can you have swashbuckling without pirates? You are a master of the waves, a world traveler, and a connoisseur of dirty fighting. You also hold out eternal hope for the classic tale of the noble lady who falls for the scoundrel...
  • Sage - You know things. Many, many things. And, as they say, knowledge is power, half the battle, and the key to the universe. You may negate a deadly poison with the perfect antidote one day, decipher an ancient text the next, and design a machine to collapse the walls of the jail on the third. Never underestimate a man who can defeat you with only his mind.
  • Soldier - You are a career military man. While you may have some experience with duels, your life has been spent drilling for battle. You know how to use many weapons with proficiency. But, almost as importantly, you know how to maintain discipline in the face of onrushing danger.
  • Wizard - You are a master of the arcane arts and occult rituals. Your solutions often take time, and can involve some truly strange requirements. But, if you can succeed, the results are far beyond anything any other mortal can manage.
You may have noticed that the origins focus on how your character is a superhero, while the classes focus on how your character is a swashbuckler. This is very intentional, in order to work to balance the influence of the two genres.

Traditionalists may have noticed that there is no priest class. That is because, honestly, it doesn't make a great deal of sense. If you want to play a holy man on a holy quest, choose the paladin origin. If you simply want to play a member of one of the clergies, courtier or sage will serve you well.

At present, I only have some vague ideas for what expert classes to include. So, we'll hit that in a later post.

Each class grants you several basic bonuses to various stats. Listed briefly, we have:
  • BAB - Base Attack Bonus. This covers your basic combat skill, and modifies all of your attack rolls.
  • Def - Defense. This represents how good you are at getting out of the way of incoming damage.
  • Vit - Vitality. As noted in an earlier post, this represents how good you are at taking a blow.
  • Wit - Wit. This is how clever you are with words, and modifies your repartee attacks.
  • Res - Resolve. This is how good you are at saying "no." It allows you to defend against repartee.
  • Sts - Stress. As noted in an earlier post, this represents how much mental and emotional fatigue you can take.
  • Skl - Skills. This represents how many skill points you gain at each level.
  • Wea - Wealth. Rather than accumulating coins, you will spend wealth points to determine your possessions.
  • Init - Initiative. This determines how quick you are to react when a situation becomes hostile.
BAB, Defense, Wit, Resolve, and Initiative grant bonuses to various rolls. Those bonuses can be either High, Medium, or Low.
  • High bonuses are equal to your class level.
  • Medium bonuses are equal to 3/4 of your class level minus one, i.e., (L-1)*3/4.
  • Low bonuses are equal to one less than 1/2 your class level, i.e., L*1/2 - 1.
There will be charts detailing this, for those who don't like the math.

Vitality, Stress, Skills, and Wealth all grant points. Vitality and Stress are just added to your current total, where Skills and Wealth are used to purchase ranks.
  • High bonus grants 12 points per level.
  • Medium bonus grants 9 points per level.
  • Low bonus grants 6 points per level.
Again, these values will be on the chart.

In addition to these bonuses, each class gains one (or more) special ability each level. When you pick your class at first level, in addition to the standard ability, you also gain a core ability. You may only have a core ability from your first base class, and an additional core ability from your first expert class. With this mechanic, it actually matters which class you choose first, as that will shape which tactics you fall back on first in a crisis.

When you take the first level in any base class, you also gain certain weapon proficiencies common to that class. Note that, unlike with core abilities, you gain the weapon proficiencies for all your base classes, not just the first one. If you need a proficiency that you do not have, you can spend a feat to learn it.

You will notice that some of the abilities have Roman numerals after them. These are known as tiered abilities, and you gain additional benefit the more tiers you have. If you have the same tiered ability from two or more classes, add together all of the tiers to see what effective tier you have. For example, if you have Uncanny Dodge I from both burglar and pirate, you gain the benefit of Uncanny Dodge II. If you have Uncanny Dodge III from burglar and pick up Uncanny Dodge I from an expert class, you would be considered to have Uncanny Dodge IV.

Multiclassing is simply a matter of selecting a different class when you level up. There are no XP or other penalties for doing so.

Each class will also have a list of class skills. Any class skill costs 1 skill point to raise 1 rank. Any skill that is not a class skill, a cross-class skill, costs 2 skill points to raise 1 rank. All skills may only be raised to 3 ranks above your character level (e.g., a 6th level character can only have 9 ranks in any skill). The Power skill is not on any class skill list, but is always considered a class skill for any PC.

Did I miss anything? Probably. I'll have to go back over the class mechanic descriptions from my various d20 books to figure out what I didn't cover.

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