What Is The Purpose Of Character Class? - Page 2 of 2

Seeing it as a template is an interesting - Page 2 - Board, Card, RPG Reviews - Posted: 19th Oct, 2017 - 2:16pm

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8th Aug, 2016 - 9:27pm / Post ID: #

What Is The Purpose Of Character Class? - Page 2

Classes do impose some limitations, primarily in the mechanics or the system of the game; a fighter doesn’t have access to spells for example and a wizard is not proficient with most martial weapons (To use a Dungeons & Dragons reference), but I think they also provide a certain framework for characters. I don’t think that the class ultimately defines the character; the characters actions and interactions do that, but they offer a foundation on which to build the character and a reference for how the character may view the world.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have some restrictions and boundaries in place like those provided by classes. I’ve never much cared for what I refer to as the ‘beautiful and unique snowflake syndrome’ wherein every character is ultra-unique, powerful and can pretty much do everything or they are designed to have the game focus solely on them. In this case there is no need for a ‘party of adventurers’ that character is more suited for a solo game or they could just write a novel about the awesomeness of their character. Having a class puts some boundaries in place and to paraphrase the Dungeons & Dragons 5E Players Handbook, it helps them define their role in the world and how their character views the world around them. A fighter will tend to see things differently than a wizard or rouge and they’ve grown up focusing on different skills or abilities.

I appreciate both systems that are built on character classes and systems that forgo the use of class and use things like skill points, life paths, feats, etc. Separating characters into class can create a cookie cutter feel in a game, particularly if stats and skills are the focus of the game rather than a characters interactions or personality. In my experience with earlier editions of Dungeons & Dragons it seemed as though one fighter looked an awful lot like another fighter on paper. If you wanted them to be unique there were a few options available like proficiencies that altered the mechanics somewhat, or forming ability stats differently but for most part it came down to your description of the character and the personality you gave that character in the game rather than any particular mechanic within the system or the character creation process itself.

There are of course multi-classing options for those that want to mix it up a bit, along with other classes that are developed over time that attempt to merge various classes together. Personally, I was never a fan of multi-classing, prestige classes, or the like but that is a separate discussion.

As Malcombshaw suggested though, in the early days I think class was a good way to put a basic framework on a character in place and get started. If you wanted your character to be unique however; you had to do so through role playing and description. You weren’t going to get the beautiful and unique snowflake character via the game system for the most part. I think to some extent later editions (3.5/Pathfinder) tried to provide these things through skills, feats, prestige classes, etc. On the other hand this may have created situations in which players focused more on the number crunching and character “building” than on character development or personality.

I also agree with KNtoran in that classes can be useful in helping define the character’s role in the party; each class is pretty good at something but not necessarily good at everything so the characters need to work together and knowing the class of the characters helps them figure out where they fit in within the context of the party as a whole.

I think that my favorite style though would be systems that use a life path when developing characters. Traveller and Burning Wheel are good examples. They don’t have classes per se (Unless you’re dealing with T20), but a character is the result of the path that their lives took up to the point where they begin adventuring. There is no right way of course, but it is my preference.



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4th Oct, 2016 - 4:52am / Post ID: #

Class Character Purpose The What

I like classless systems so its up to you what direction you want to take with your character. I'm getting that kind of feel in ROK II because my character can learn combat or magic at the same time.



17th Oct, 2017 - 11:55am / Post ID: #

What Is The Purpose Of Character Class? Reviews RPG & Card Board

Character classes define boundaries and gives the character a sample of the restrictions of real life. For instance if every skill were available to every character then there would be no need to have a thief in the party or a cleric because one character could have the skills of both.



Post Date: 17th Oct, 2017 - 1:37pm / Post ID: #

What Is The Purpose Of Character Class?
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Page 2 Class Character Purpose The What

Defining a character class is a valid way of setting up a past that makes sense. No one has the ability to be an expert in all things, and even a super genius would not be able to claim expertise in a few things at most. While multiclasing allows for a spread of knowledge in a couple of fields, there is only a certain amount of time in a virtual ‘life’ to learn. By being able to define a character as a ‘class’ you also allow players to balance a party across such talents that their characters have, and not end up with melee only groups that get slaughtered by anyone with a high level hold person. While you can have a free form system that allows cross pollination of skills and such, you still will end up with a focus on one class category or another. Jack of all trades means master of none.

Attached Image Edited: Gknightbc on 17th Oct, 2017 - 1:39pm

17th Oct, 2017 - 6:37pm / Post ID: #

Class Character Purpose The What

I always used character class as a template for caracter creation. A template like you mentioned but I see it as more then just that as it fleshes out parts of a character I may not have thought of it only enhances what that character is.



19th Oct, 2017 - 2:16pm / Post ID: #

What Is The Purpose Of Character Class?

Seeing it as a template is an interesting perspective but following a class is only as good as your willingness to follow the rules governing that class. Maybe that's why there are so many home brew rules and variants because players do not like being restricted.



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