Saturday, January 23, 2010
Human Character Class as a Culture
Despite embracing OD&D (warts and all). I still want to make sense of some things inheirent in the game. Its a hold over from my earlier days when I quested for some type of realism. I was also one of those types who tried to rationalize the continuity errors in Star Trek. I don't mind race-as-class in the game but I did want to try to reason out the weapon/armour restrictions for Clerics and Magic-Users. Despite the nonsetting background of the early game they seem very set in a specific models of their character types. I was looking for a good reason to tell players as to why it there were no Gandalf types in my game (never has more aurguments been spawned by that sword swinging wizard). Way back at the start of this blog I postulated that Thulsa Doom was a cleric despite his sword wielding. In that case I figured it was because of his alignment. However the beginnings of an idea were formed then. If you can break them you can make them, (rules that is). So what would be plausible for players to accept if they asked? Well I started to think; how did charcters aquire their skills? And how would this fit into a background I was constructing? My initial idea was that there were schools for training. This is a common theme in fantasy stories. A school for magic or for a fighting style. This satisfied me at first. But when I looked at non-humans I realized that they were described as cultures. They were not only race-as-class but culture-as-class. This could work for humans too. Having the weight of an entire cultural background to backup the weapon/armour restictions makes alot of sense to me. History is full of cultures know for a predominant trait. As I am building a culture based in antiquity these cultures could be based around city-states. Human lands could be dominated by three city-states. Lets call them alpha, beta and gamma for now. Alpha is a warrior culture and is where Fighters are from. Beta is a theocracy and trains Clerics. And Gamma familiar with the ways of scorcery teaches Magic-Users. Gammans use Alphan mercenaries to protect themselves so they never bother to teach any fighting skills of their students. In fact they look down upon the soldiery profession. Beta despite teaching fighting arts never developed the fine metalworking skills to make large blades. So they distain the use of them. Three cultures for the human character classes. All of that sounds better than becuse the rulebook says so.