As a hobby, I’ve been designing the basic rules for an RPG system that I’ve always wanted to build/play. Taking from all my favorite games, I’m trying to concoct a system that is very character focused with an emphasis on variety. I’ve played one game, Elder Scrolls 4, which provided an incredibly flexible system in designing a character. In their system, you could either utilize a pre-defined class, or allocate points and skills to a dream class. While the level of customization does, indeed, make for an interesting game in terms of character generation, I found that the lack of focus did little for the game itself. Of course, the game was designed for a single player, so by using that premise, one would need a character capable of handling numerous situations.
However, one thing I’ve learned about so-called “all-classes” (that is, where you try to give every single ability under the sun to a class), they generally are either overpowered or overwhelmingly confusing. In a single player or character environment, I can understand. In my case, I’ve always felt partial to party systems, whether it was multiplayer or a single player controlling multiple characters. As a result, the so-called uber customizable system just never had a ring for me.
That all said, I wanted to share the various classes that I’ve defined up until this point. Now, there might be one or two that have little to no description. That’s fine. Part of what I have done is enumerate as many character classes and overlaps from the various games I’ve played over the years in an attempt to see how many I could come up with. More than likely at some point, I will remove some classes because they are too specific to a particular game (for instance, Bard’s Tale 3).
Without further ado, here is my current list of classes:
Fighter/Warrior – Tanking, Can use all weapons, armor, weapon specialization. Some inspirational leadership. Abilities geared for damage reduction from armor knowledge, increased number of attacks faster than most classes (per level), unlimited tactics (other partial classes may have limits on tactical combat such as fighting in the open vs sneak attacks)
Berserker – High damaging fighter, no shield, dual weapons, use lighter armor. Fast strikes that can encompass multiple enemies. May lose control and damage comrades. Immune to mind control during enrage. Recklessness makes berserkers vulnerable and more susceptible to damage.
Gladiator – Famous fighter. Sponsored by a patron. Receives periodic gifts depending on success in arenas. Reputation/social status play crucial elements to a gladiator’s elevation. Periodically, the gladiator must confront tougher challenges in order to progress further and receive benefits from their patrons. Besides random gifts bestowed by the patrons, gladiators may request from their patrons specific items that scale as the gladiator improves in levels. Can rally more followers because of his high reputation.
Barbarian – High Hit points, can use all weapons, use lighter armor, some magic resistance, fast movement. Limited rage. Jump assault, high evasion (for tanking) or massive single target damage. Requires more space for fighting. Decent food gatherer. Poor etiquette and may receive hostile treatment in towns/civilized areas. Limited stealth in uncivilized settings.
Paladin – Holy warrior, Wear all armor, melee fighter, minor buffs, limited healer, cannot use ranged weapons. Possesses abilities to thwart undead and demons (evil). Tanking capability involves heavy armor usage, shield blocking, resistances and self healing. Can wield special holy weapons that provide bonuses against evil enemies. Must follow strict ethos (PVP oriented?)
Knight/Cavalier – Noble warrior, wear heavy armor, melee fighter, cannot use ranged weapons. Inspirational fighter. Immune to fear. Shield comrades from fear. Tanking involves heavy armor usage, shield blocking, front line tactics. Higher level knights/cavaliers have best recruiting capabilities.
Ranger – Woodsman, wear heavy armor, dual weapons, ranged weapons. Limited nature spell power. Receives bonuses in natural surroundings. Best food gatherer and tracker. Some stealth ability, only in natural settings while wearing light armor and having no companions.
Hunter – Ranged assassin, focuses on traps, single shot damage. High understanding of anatomy provides best ranged critical hits in the game.
Archer – Ranged fighter, uses moderate armor, short melee weapons. Bonus with ranged weapons but generally specializes in a single ranged weapon.
Beastmaster – Ranged fighter, uses light armor, pets do primary damage. Can utilize more pets simultaneously at higher levels. Pets are trainable and can level. Pets can provide a tanking function.
Mage/Wizard/Magic User – Spell memorization. Requires concentration, verbal and physical components to cast spells. Moderate lore abilities. Increased enchanting capabilities. Very limited weapon and armor selection (cloth only)
Warlock – Demons, damage over time, curses
Conjurer – Summon creatures, create items. Manipulate matter (move walls). Conjured creatures provide tanking and other utility functions depending on the type of creature summoned.
Necromancer – Summon dead creatures, deals with death, convert dead bodies into personal army (percentage of abilities as in real life). More powerful undead types can be created from the dead as the necromancer increases in levels. Raised creatures have limited duration.
Monk – (Wis, Con) Martial arts expert, no armor, no weapons (primarily), some thieving, some priestly abilities. Improved immunities as the monk increases in levels.
Sorcerer – Spell Power. Regenerates over time.
Illusionist – (Dex, Int) Relies on trickery/deception, physical component, mental soft damage. Some thieving. Extremely powerful crowd control type of abilities (blinding, deafness, mesmorization)
Thief/Rogue – Stealth fighter, wears lighter armor, dual weapons, some range, advantage when fighting from the rear. Can construct traps of varying power. Usual thieving capabilities (pick pockets, detect/disarming trap, pick locks, stealth, climb walls, other forms of detection). Has some knowledge of poisons through alchemy.
Assassin – Evil thief, focused on killing, poisons. Bounty hunter. Some alchemy. High critical melee attacks while in stealth mode.
Swashbuckler – (Str, Dex) Combat oriented thief, focused on dual weapons and evasion
Acrobat – (Dex) Thief focused on evading attacks through agility. Very hard to hit in combat. Minor illusionist spells.
Bard/Lark – (Dex, Cha) Limited melee fighter, power from singing, light armor, light weapons, limited illusionist spells. Spells are invoked via singing.
Geomancer – (Str, Int) Earth warrior/mage. Limited melee, earth elemental magic school. Can wear heavier armor.
Alchemist – (Dex, Int) Relies on potions for effects, cannot be silenced, requires physical components. Requires a lab and beakers. Moderate healing capability but no resurrection abilities. Ranged AoE type of fighter. Can simulate a number of spell realms (except holy/unholy and arcane). Not a true spell caster. Therefore can wear light armor. Use specialized weapons (launchers)
Psionic – (Int, Wis) Mental spell caster, cannot be silenced. Requires that enemies have intelligence for efficacy. Light armor. Typically ranged fighter. Requires high degree of concentration for efficacy. As long as
Cleric/Priest – (Wis) Cannot use sharp weapons, moderate armor. Defensive magic and healing. Limited offensive spells. Holy power.
Druid – Nature priest, shapeshifter, can use sharp weapons, limited armor (non-metallic)
Shaman – Paganism, Elemental powers, melee fighter, totemic powers. Performs rituals with other shamans to boost powers. Offensive buffing and minor healing capability. Light armor
Death Knight – Unholy power, anti-paladin, no shield, disease, frost. Assaulting enemies drain power and transfer to the death knight. Induce fear, coercion (as opposed to inspiration). Limited necromancy. Code of contact is similar to a paladin’s in that their behavior is quite strict. However, this strictness is defined by their willpower, something they gain through increasing in levels.
Demon Lord – Demonic fighter, unholy power. Limited demon summoning (gate). Moderate melee fighter, utilizing hordes of minor demons to wreck havoc on their foes.
Samurai – Eastern knight, immune to fear, penalties to using non-eastern weapons, armor. Does not use a shield. Induces intimidation.
Kensai – Weapons specialist, no armor. Focus on a single weapon. Can dual wield with that weapon without penalty. High initiative. Cannot use ranged weapons. High parry and dodge. Limited multi-person attack. Extremely high single target damage as a result of concentrated attacks.
Bushi – Masterless warriors
Yakuza – Large gangs, information specialist
Ninja – Assassins of the shadows, specialized weapons, some alchemy
Sohei – Priest warriors of monestaries, can use heavy armor and weapons, but do less physical damage as a result of inability to specialize. Can use faith based spells
Shukenja – Eastern priests
Wu-jen – Eastern mages