Friday, March 4, 2011

The 4E Greek Mythology Campaign: Classes

First a note on power sources:
  • Martial, Divine, and Arcane all fit very well as-is. I see no need for changes.
  • Primal is a little problematic with its references to the wolf spirit and the great serpent and the like. I'm really leaning towards just not allowing them for now as it's easier to add them in later than it is to remove them.  
  • Psionic is one that I was going to ban altogether but I can see it coming from a scholar/philosopher school of thought brought to a combat-worthy point. It would be centered in the most civilized parts of Achaea and would be relatively new, having been developed since the Trojan War. I can see Athena being associated with it and some of the other gods being jealous of this new power and making moves to squash it, fueling some of that divine competition that is such a part of the myths. 
Classes by Power Source

  • Fighter: The core of any good adventuring party. Sword or Spear and Shield is a popular choice for Achaeans and Achilles would be the best ever. Hercules is the greatest Brawling fighter of all time. Since I'm trimming out the primal classes the Battlerager fighter takes that role for barbaric types. The "Knight" from Essentials becomes the "Hoplite" for Achaeans and instead of sword or hammer it becomes sword or spear for the special power choices. The Essentials Slayer is also there for more barbaric types. This class might represent soldiering time or just training and natural talent, especially for the nobility.
  • Ranger: The country cousin of the fighter. Lighter armor, more mobility. Two weapon use is not strictly historical for Greeks but we can roll with it. Bow rangers fit right in. Marauder and Hunter rangers work alright as well. Beastmaster rangers are probably shepherd types from the pastoral areas - yes, in these dark times it takes a ranger to protect the sheep. 
  • Rogue: The light-armored, sneaky hard-hitting type. This might be Jason or even Theseus depending on how you interpret the stories. In any case it has a place in the campaign. The Essentials Thief fits in especially nicely here. I would think this would come from natural talent and maybe some criminal backgrounds.
  • Warlord: The fighting leader, I might nominate Odysseus as a possible Bow Warlord. Patroclus in the Iliad is the ultimate warlord, sacrificing himself to give Achilles a rage bonus to defeat Hector! All types are welcome here. I see this as mainly nobles and a few military leaders.
  • Cleric: Should play a large role in the game although I see them as mostly human in the campaign world. I would think that Melee clerics would be more common (especially for Athena and Ares) but Laser clerics have a place, especially for Apollo. Aphrodite and Demeter could have mostly Pacifist clerics. Zeus and maybe Posiedon would have a fair number of Storm Warpriests from Essentials while Apollo might also use Sun Priests from this as well. I envision these as being based out of a temple in a particular city but free to wander as needed to spread and reassert the faith, especially of a god commands it.
  • Paladin: Less common but I may use this to represent the divine-blooded fighter. While Martial types could be favored by a god, Divine types other than clerics might be directly descended from a god which would explain their unusual power. The Essentials Cavalier Paladin would be there for the Paladin player who does not want to be of divine heritage while the other Paladin types cover the godblooded fighter type.
  • Avenger: The divinely birthed stealth fighter or rogue equivalent. They can call upon the power of the gods and hit people with sharp things as well. I can see Hera, Artemis, and Aphrodite all having a fair number of these. 
  • Invoker: The godblooded origin for magical types, especially blasty magical types. They still might have gone to a school to train their powers, they just work a little differently. Zeus and Apollo might favor these, and even Hephaestus might get in on the act.
  • Runepriests: not allowed. Wait for the Norse Campaign.
  • Wizard: The learned magical scholar type fits in well in many ways. The Essentials Mage fits in here too. I see these mostly arising from cities where there would be small schools devoted to magical learning rather than solitary master-apprentice pairings.
  • Warlock: I almost want to leave these out as some of the pacts really don't fit the flavor of Mythic Greece but if we look at them as deals with minor non-divine powers then I think I can get my head around it. It's "forbidden" magic and as such this is the one that would have a master and apprentice relationship carried out in towers and ruins in the wilderness rather than learned in the cities. The Vestige pact seems especially appropriate for tapping into forgotten powers from before the rise of the Olympians. The Essentials Hexblade seems especially inappropriate for the game but I'm willing to give it a chance for now - maybe they are swordmages who went to the dark side. The Fey pact options for Warlocks might work for Wilden or Satyrs or Centaurs as tapping into the essence of nature, filling in nicely for some of the Primal classes and powers.
  • Sorcerer: These are basically another flavor of wizard in this campaign - they still would train at a school but have a slightly different focus than wizards. They represent a split in the philosophy of arcane schooling and train more for combat than the traditional scholarly wizard does. 
  •  Swordmage: The Arcane Fighter which I see as mostly a non-human profession. In fact I see it mainly as a Minotaur thing though I will not restrict it to them only. It's a fusion of martial and arcane training that should be fairly rare in the campaign world. 
  • Artificer: This one is an arcane leader type from Eberron which I have zero experience with but it really seems to fit. this class is the tinkerer, alchemist, and potion-brewer type of wizard where most of their magic is tied up in "stuff" rather than throwing fireballs. I see this as almost exclusively human, representing the dabbler/inventor/genius type of character who often goes along on heroic expeditions. Hephaestus could be widely revered among these types.
  • Bard: Certainly a fit for Heroic Greece this class is made up of wandering storytellers who form their own community within the nation. Reputations spread far and wide among bards and they will often accompany heroes on quests to gather stories for their own epic works. Bards generally do not form schools or training centers, but those who show an aptitude will often be taken under the wing of an older bard and shown the ropes. In these dark times they have learned to use their knowledge to defend themselves and their companions even though battle prowess is not their main focus.
  • Monk: this one is the most like other classes and can represent the ultimate development of the wrestling (Pankration) that was so common in ancient Greece. Some of the power names aren't really in tune with the flavor of the game so we will change them when they come up. I'm thinking this might be associated with Sparta and largely restricted to schools there. It would also be largely human but other races might have learned the techniques from a human teacher outside of the school.
  • Ardent: I envision the whole psionic power source as starting from one school in Athens where discipline and focus lead to a breakthrough and result in the psionic powers present in 4th edition. The teachings of the school slowly spread to other cities as students travel and by the time of the campaign there are schools in several cities but Athens is still the center. Ardents are the leader types who also tend to be the biggest teachers of the Way and the ones doing the most to spread its teachings to others. I see it as mainly a human thing but the school would accept students of all races who show promise so if someone wants to be a Minotaur Psyker they can do it. 
  • Battlemind: the fighting psionics, these would have come about the first time the School of the Way was asked to help repel an attack on the city. Students developed new abilities and put them into a separate training program for warriors.
  • Psion: the academics of the Way spend a lot of time philosophizing about this new power but rarely go out adventuring. Their powers tend to be less about damage and more about doing things at a distance with the mind. These are the core faculty and often the leaders of discovering new techniques within the school.

 That's where it stands right now. We will likely start with these options for class and the race options from my other post and get the game going, leaving further refinement for after we start things off. I'm going to have a little more input for this game on classes and races to try and come up with a party that makes sense. If we can work it in this weekend I will share the results next week.