Chosen class design discussion

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CharlesDM
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Chosen class design discussion

[I thought I saw a similar post to this one go by, but perhaps the forum gremlins are at it again.]

Although the pledge rally is “For the Chosen!”, I think a Chosen class must represent more than one character, even many characters.

I think, like Paladins, Chosen should be Lawful and should lose class powers if that changes.

Alex mentioned the new class might use the new Fate rules. Potentially, all heroic fantasy campaign characters might have Fate points. Maybe Chosen have more, and/or recover them more quickly. Over and above campaign Fate points, maybe Chosen have a recharging 1 Fate point per day, increasing to 2 Fate points per day at level 7, and 3 at level 13.

Maybe we can create the mechanics and themes for different types, or paths, of Chosen? My first thoughts are Empyreal Chosen, Fated Chosen and Slayer Chosen.

Empyreal Chosen would be “messengers from god”, with inspirational and healing powers. They might be feared by the church of their god. At high levels, they might summon an Empyreal (angel) – probably ending most problems with their church …

Fated Chosen would be the tools of fate. They might be destined (more Fate points), and, experimentally, I wondered if they might “push their fate”, being able to recharge Fate points by risking Corruption. Obviously, if their alignment changes due to Corruption, their done.

Slayer Chosen would be … chosen to slay things, like undead or a dragon. Maybe they have a damage multiplier that scales with level, similarly to Backstab? But how would it work … Can we create the “opposite” of Backstab? Hmmm, the Slayer must reveal herself and challenge … a target with more Hit Dice than her(?). As in, “But no man am I!”

Please contribute to this discussion, and if you like these ideas enough to hope they make it in the book, please consider pledging “For the Chosen!”

Jard
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The snippet Alex shared implies that Hero points are gotten once in the lifetime of a character. someone who can recharge them would be a mighty adversary indeed.  I have absolutely NO idea how to balance that.  Good luck Alex ;-)

I agree the Chosen should represent many archetypes.  Already listed were luke skywalker, David from the Bible, and if Bilbo or Frodo were humans.  I'll once more recommend everyone check out The Alice from Red & Pleasant land to suggest that sometimes heroes become them because they accidentally fell into wonderland or had their baby brother kidnapped by a goblin king.  A chosen hero seems unimportant at first, but through being surprisingly clever and a series of fortunate plot confluences, they become the most important person of all.  I think the Alice mechanics are one example of how to pull that off obviously the table of level up effects is much too random for something like ACKs, and the exasperation die as written is too tied to the setting, but I think the underpinning ideas are ripe for adaptation, at least in part.

 

golan2072
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I love the Challenge ability - truly heroic. A bit like the biblical David standing up to Goliath.

Alex
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I think the three paths you've outlined are good ones.

The "Front Stab" idea is magnificent. I'll have to give some thought about how to make that work.

 

Aryxymaraki
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I have no problem with a neutral Chosen, though I'd agree that they probably shouldn't be Chaotic.

I think a Fated Chosen might go well with dice tricks; roll a d20 at the start of the day and replace any roll with the stored roll, force allies or enemies to reroll, that sort of thing. (Though that might fit into the overall Chosen umbrella as well, I feel like Fated Chosen would have more of them.)

Jard
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I agree with Ary, I think Neutral Chosen are probably ok. 

Dice tricks are interesting, anything that fundamentally reinforces the idea that "this character will suddenly be lucky for seemingly no reason" because "it was for the story" or "because fate/the gods willed it".  

 

DrPete
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I like it :) An idea I had was "Guided Shot" which is basically an "auto-hit" power. A single attack can automatically hit (as if a natural 20 was rolled). Basically, this would be a modified magic missile attack. Would this be a bladedancer type fighter (low armor with divine protection) or a heavier fighter? The farmboy type thing suggests it should be more lightly armed...
Jard
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Would this be a bladedancer type fighter (low armor with divine protection) or a heavier fighter? The farmboy type thing suggests it should be more lightly armed...

-DrPete

maybe they're like the dwarven machinist where they start off with light or medium armor but have the chance to spend proficiencies to go higher?

ZeroSum
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maybe they're like the dwarven machinist where they start off with light or medium armor but have the chance to spend proficiencies to go higher?


-Jard

Sounds good to me. Gives that extra "zero to hero" destiny vibe.

Tywyll
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I love the idea of a chosen and the three paths as listed above sound really good.

What if Chosen isn't a class by itself but either a template or race that can be added to existing classes? Something like the Heroic Paths from Midnight.

Think about a Fighter who becomes a Chosen and gains different bonuses at different level. Maybe his xp cost is equal to a wizard or something for balance.

DrPete
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Jard
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hilariously, SMBC's latest cartoon is also weirdly relevant to this brand of D&D

http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/dungeon-classes

jedavis
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> What if Chosen isn't a class by itself but either a template or race that can be added to existing classes? Something like the Heroic Paths from Midnight.

I've been looking at using the beastman mystic paths from Axioms as a basis for prestige-class-like "side progressions" for human classes for ACKS. Thinking about using it for paladin, for example (join knightly order, go on quest, pay some XP, your fighter gets some paladin abilities - doesn't need to be its own class). Something similar might serve here as well, particularly because chosen fighters and chosen wizards both seem thematically appropriate to me. Perhaps even... chosen halflings d:

I like "front stab" a lot (could steal from Pathfinder paladin's Smite Evil, which bears a slight resemblance), and agree that neutral chosen might make sense.

Another option to support the "farmboy to unstoppable" progression of the class would be to change the scaling-rate on abilities and HP. For example: start with d4 HD, which upgrades to d6 at 4th, d8 at 7th, d10 at 10th, and d12 at 13th? (with die-size changes retroactively changing previous dice as well). That averages out close to a d8/level across the entire level range (for two class-points and 1kxp), but scales nonlinearly instead of linearly. Suffering the d4 at low levels is the cost of being able to exceed d8 at high levels (granted, you run into the classical "quadratic wizard" problem, but demihumans with their level limits and front-loading already pose similar problems). Not necessarily a good idea, but something to kick around (I'm a little drunk at the moment).

golan2072
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This will also be a perfect match for David, who initially had no proficiency in armor but later learned how to use typical armor for his period (probably scale) as well as a shield.
 
I also like the Peasant Hero vibe here - think David, Jeanne d'Arc, and Luke Skywalker. Of these, Luke wasn't REALLY a peasant but did grow up as one. I'd start the Chosen with the simple weapons of the underdog and let him earn martial proficiency later on using proficiencies or as class abilities.

It's the Common Man chosen by God(s)/Fate to leave his farm and fight for the Cause of Law (or Balance for a neutral Chosen).

 

 

 

maybe they're like the dwarven machinist where they start off with light or medium armor but have the chance to spend proficiencies to go higher?

 


-Jard

 

Sounds good to me. Gives that extra "zero to hero" destiny vibe.


-ZeroSum

Aryxymaraki
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Another option to support the "farmboy to unstoppable" progression of the class would be to change the scaling-rate on abilities and HP. For example: start with d4 HD, which upgrades to d6 at 4th, d8 at 7th, d10 at 10th, and d12 at 13th? (with die-size changes retroactively changing previous dice as well). That averages out close to a d8/level across the entire level range (for two class-points and 1kxp), but scales nonlinearly instead of linearly. Suffering the d4 at low levels is the cost of being able to exceed d8 at high levels (granted, you run into the classical "quadratic wizard" problem, but demihumans with their level limits and front-loading already pose similar problems). Not necessarily a good idea, but something to kick around (I'm a little drunk at the moment).


-jedavis

IMO a d4 hd melee class is not a playable character.

(I don't consider thieves a melee class because they do not engage in melee; they backstab someone and either kill them/force them to flee, or they lose the fight.)

I feel like I don't really like the adjusted hit die mechanic in general, because it leads to strange massive power spikes (a 4th level character going from d4 to d6 HD gains on average almost as many hit points as they gained in their entire career to that point; they would have had an average of 9 hp at 3rd level, then reaching 4th brings them up to 6 + 3.5 + 3.5 + 3.5 = 16.5, almost double what they had at 3rd level). It also brings up the potential swinginess of rerolling your entire HP pool, or the complicated math required if you want to maintain your distance from average on each roll (not to mention needing to remember every HP roll you've ever made if you go that route).

Alex
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My current thought process:

  1. The Chosen is built as a Fighter (HD 2, Fighting 2), but with tradeoffs to reduce starting weapons and armor to peasant implements and leather armor.
  2. At 1st level, class powers include some ample number of Fate Points or luck benefits to help the character survive.
  3. Starting at 2nd level, and each level thereafter, the Chosen gains the ability to choose from a new class power, that might be weapon training, armor training, various proficiencies, etc.
  4. The Chosen has beastman-like "paths" he can go down to learn eldritch magic or ceremonial magic if desired.

That allows us to simulate a pure fighter-type chosen, a variety of variant chosens based on selected class powers over time, and the various hybrids of magic-using chosen. 

Open question is whether the Chosen should be human or nobiran.

 

Jard
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My current thought process:

  1. The Chosen is built as a Fighter (HD 2, Fighting 2), but with tradeoffs to reduce starting weapons and armor to peasant implements and leather armor.
  2. At 1st level, class powers include some ample number of Fate Points or luck benefits to help the character survive.
  3. Starting at 2nd level, and each level thereafter, the Chosen gains the ability to choose from a new class power, that might be weapon training, armor training, various proficiencies, etc.
  4. The Chosen has beastman-like "paths" he can go down to learn eldritch magic or ceremonial magic if desired.

That allows us to simulate a pure fighter-type chosen, a variety of variant chosens based on selected class powers over time, and the various hybrids of magic-using chosen. 

Open question is whether the Chosen should be human or nobiran.

 


-Alex
I like 100% of this. I'm inclined to suggest nobiran to cut down on the chance of an entire party of chosen ones, plus the nobiran class powers seem on-theme.
Aryxymaraki
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I like all of it as well, but my inclination is for it to be human, because a Nobiran is not a random peasant chosen by fate, they've already got a heroic lineage backing them up.

koewn-admin
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I've popped this over to the Heroic Fantasy playtest forum; link left in General.

moorcrys
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I agree with the nobody-to-somebody human. It seems to be more in keeping with the theme than a Nobiran. Nobiran begin play being exceptional.

jedavis
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(also re: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/dungeon-classes : I noticed today that "political economy" is actually listed as an example specialty for the Knowledge proficiency in ACKS...).


-

It always makes me happy when these little things get noticed

The Dark
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Another option to support the "farmboy to unstoppable" progression of the class would be to change the scaling-rate on abilities and HP. For example: start with d4 HD, which upgrades to d6 at 4th, d8 at 7th, d10 at 10th, and d12 at 13th? (with die-size changes retroactively changing previous dice as well). That averages out close to a d8/level across the entire level range (for two class-points and 1kxp), but scales nonlinearly instead of linearly. Suffering the d4 at low levels is the cost of being able to exceed d8 at high levels (granted, you run into the classical "quadratic wizard" problem, but demihumans with their level limits and front-loading already pose similar problems). Not necessarily a good idea, but something to kick around (I'm a little drunk at the moment).


-jedavis

IMO a d4 hd melee class is not a playable character. (I don't consider thieves a melee class because they do not engage in melee; they backstab someone and either kill them/force them to flee, or they lose the fight.) I feel like I don't really like the adjusted hit die mechanic in general, because it leads to strange massive power spikes (a 4th level character going from d4 to d6 HD gains on average almost as many hit points as they gained in their entire career to that point; they would have had an average of 9 hp at 3rd level, then reaching 4th brings them up to 6 + 3.5 + 3.5 + 3.5 = 16.5, almost double what they had at 3rd level). It also brings up the potential swinginess of rerolling your entire HP pool, or the complicated math required if you want to maintain your distance from average on each roll (not to mention needing to remember every HP roll you've ever made if you go that route).


-Aryxymaraki

My original comment got ate up, but it boiled down to this: why not just add 1 HP per existing level when the hit die steps up, rather than go through fiddly math, since 1 HP is the average difference between rolls on each die type?

The Dark
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My current thought process:

  1. The Chosen is built as a Fighter (HD 2, Fighting 2), but with tradeoffs to reduce starting weapons and armor to peasant implements and leather armor.
  2. At 1st level, class powers include some ample number of Fate Points or luck benefits to help the character survive.
  3. Starting at 2nd level, and each level thereafter, the Chosen gains the ability to choose from a new class power, that might be weapon training, armor training, various proficiencies, etc.
  4. The Chosen has beastman-like "paths" he can go down to learn eldritch magic or ceremonial magic if desired.

That allows us to simulate a pure fighter-type chosen, a variety of variant chosens based on selected class powers over time, and the various hybrids of magic-using chosen. 

Open question is whether the Chosen should be human or nobiran.

 


-Alex
I'm in favor of human, just for the zero-to-hero feel.

One thought I had was to start the Chosen off as HD 0, Fight 2, with weapons and armor traded down to Restricted. This gives 6 Custom Powers and 2 Build Points in reserve. 5 of the CPs can be traded to get 1 CP each at levels 2-6 and 8-12. The last can be traded for 2 CPs at level 7. One CP at level 7 can then be traded for one each at 9 and 13, and one at 9 for one each at 10 and 14, giving 1 CP each for levels 2-9 and 11-14 and 2 at level 10. The BPs become CPs at level 1 (stay with me here), so we have a class that gains 2 powers at levels 1 and 10 and 1 power every other level, for a total of 16 powers. These powers can be spent on the following:
HD boost (4: from d4-d6, d6-d8, d8-d10, d10-d12)
Armor boost (3: from Restricted to Narrow to Broad to Unrestricted)
Weapon boost (ditto)
Arcane magic (6: 1 to cast each spell level as a Mage of the same level)
Divine magic (5: 1 to cast each spell level as a Cleric of the same level)
Thief skills (10: no access to Backstab)
This gives a total of 31 powers to select from with the 16 powers they gain, and makes it possible to go with a completely non-caster build or with a pseudo-Wonderworker that eventually gains full Arcane and Divine casting.

Aryxymaraki
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My original comment got ate up, but it boiled down to this: why not just add 1 HP per existing level when the hit die steps up, rather than go through fiddly math, since 1 HP is the average difference between rolls on each die type?


-The Dark

Still results in 'hey I gained one level and doubled my HP!', which I think is an issue for playability.

I'd be much more ok with it if it didn't involve starting at d4 to d12; if you start at d6 and get +1 hp per level, once, to bring you to d8 average, that doesn't have the same kind of problems. I'm not sure of the point, though, since all it does is increase the variance in leveling; level 1 characters are already weak, you don't need to be 'extremely weak, even for a level 1 character' for the archetype, in my opinion.

jedavis
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Whoa, something has gone rather strange here, probably due to the thread-mirroring... my previous post appears to have disappeared, but then I quoted myself, and spoke from what seems to be Alex's perspective.

In any case, reposting that I think Nobiran makes a lot of sense, since royal/divine lineage is common in Chosen One myths, combined with peasant upbringing as a cover story to protect the infant from the forces of darkness.

Fabio Milito Pa...
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I like Alex idea. I prefer human with some hefty requirement.
Jard
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