The base classes in Nilvein are Fighter, Thief, Magic-User, Cleric, and they are meant to prioritize very specific playstyles. From combat to utility to support. I thought hard about including more classes, particularly because I like what Arnold K. puts out in his Glog, but I think most of what makes up a class can be handled by just a few changes in equipment and in-game approach.
In the end, I think this puts more emphasis on the little choices you make. Wearing less armor makes you move faster. Picking the right spells makes you that kind of Magic-User. And sneaking around in the woods will make you a ranger. Even a Druid could have an animal companion if they wanted, all they would need to do would be to cast charm monster on an animal.
That kind of stuff is what I’m more interested in - less in chargen options, but more in the kind of character that evolves through play. I know players like having a lot of players options - but with my limited time to run games, I want to start off quickly and move into the good stuff, which is playing.
The burden on the GM though is to give lots of cool in game options for customizing your character. More spells that a necromancer would want to learn. Giving them a ring of Charm skeleton. Giving them a staff of bone that can revivify any dead creatures bones for a number of rounds equal to the PC’s level so that they can answer questions or perform basic tasks until they fall into the dirt again. That, to me, is a much more interesting version of a Necromancer than just another class.
Additionally, I don’t mind giving away special abilities like Feats, but only as something that happens in game because of something specific your character did. Training in the mountains with a hermit master, or ingesting some strange fungus from another world - this kind of organic discovery of abilities, to me, makes the game feel more full of wonder and possibility, rather than a menu of items you pick from in a book.
This system only works if you actually prioritize the game and give your players in game options - otherwise it’s going to feel like they’re straight out of central casting. But overall, I think the rewards are more worthwhile.
hmm If you haven’t read Brendan’s post over at Necropraxis about ablative armor then you should do so. I’ve been looking for something like this for...
Null.hack is a cyberpunk RPG that I’ve been working on. You play as a character in a Robocop, Akira, Blade Runner, Neuromancer type world - and less...