In my last post, I discussed a possible fourth class for a generic fantasy AGE System. This came from one of Chris Pramas’ conversations with his Twitter followers, where he said that one of the reasons why he may consider a fourth class is the majority of gaming groups have four players and this should make it easier for these groups to just pick one character from each of the four classes and go. Putting aside the question of the size of the average gaming group, there were some interesting comments brought up in that Twitter discussion about what class that should be. I weighed in, arguing that what was missing in for a generic fantasy AGE-based game was a true ranged weapons archetype. If I want to play Dude With A Bow And Arrow, the Rogue class says it’s the one to go with (heck, even the image of the Rogue is the Dude), but to actually aspire to Legolasian heights, initially Warrior sounds better.

However, I think there is a better – and easier – way to achieve this character idea instead of creating a whole new class. Indeed, there is a simple way to get in both that Priest class and live up to the description of the Rogue as the one that’s supposed to be the archer: each class has paths.

Take a look at Pathfinder’s Sorcerer class. You take the class and pick one of nearly a dozen bloodlines that flavor the character. In that game, your Sorcerer with the Elemental Bloodline (air) will have different abilities than your Sorcerer with an Infernal Bloodline, yet they’re both the Guy That Doesn’t Forget His Spells When He Casts Them. It’s actually pretty cool and easily portable to the AGE system.

Let’s look at the Rogue class in Set 1. As the class powers go, he’s still the Sneaky Bastard In A Fight. Backstab and Bluff are nice abilities that says you are getting right up into that guy’s face and inserting several pieces of sharp metal in his ribs before he realizes what’s going on. But if you want to play Dude With A Bow And Arrow, you’re stuck with picking up Archery Style (novice) at third level (which puts you a degree behind the Warrior Legolas), and you have a basic class ability that you’d never use. Instead, let’s create Rogue class paths: a melee track and a ranged weapons track. We keep the same class powers, but for Backstab, it now reads “You can inflict extra damage with a melee attack or a ranged attack…. You must choose between melee and ranged attacks when you first gain this power.” Level 4, Bluff, same thing – it modifies the Backstab option you took at Level 1.

(Although, the Rogue ability that makes the Pierce Armor combat stunt only 1SP instead of 2 might make that Level 4 Rogue (Archer) look to be a better path than the Level 4 Warrior for the Legolas-minded.)

Likewise, the Mage could easily be split into D&D’s divine/arcane divide by just saying that you decided if the Level 1 Lance skill is an Arcane Lance or a Holy Lance. If you really wanted to port over your D&D Cleric, you’d probably create a Turn Undead class talent that only divine spellcasters can take. This class talent would be something like Set 2’s Repulsion Field spell, only it affects the non-living and doesn’t require the Mind Blast and Force Field prerequisites. This would probably come in as options to replace the Arcane Lance or Spell Lance class powers, depending on how effective it is. Set 2 shows how with specializations, the Mage can go even further to fill that Cleric-as-healer role with the Spirit Healer specialization or go into the more recent editions of D&D where the Cleric is a rather decent frontline fighter by adapting the Arcane Warrior specialization.

So again, opening the floor to you. Are there any class changes you’d make for a generic fantasy AGE system? How would you handle a priest or an archer for your generic fantasy game?

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