Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Musings About Class Design

Art by Wayne Reynolds
Recently, I've caught the class designing bug. Ever since Paizo released the Advanced Class Guide Playtest and my disappointment with the "hybrid classes", I've had this urge to create some new base classes for Pathfinder, like the Mountebank (a magical con artist) and the Warlock (a warrior who made a pact with a mysterious entity for power). However, as I work on these classes, a thought occurred to me:

Why am I doing this?

Well, the most obvious answer would be that its fun. Sometimes it's just entertaining to take a concept and see if you can make something enjoyable to play out of it. However, that's not the only reason why I'm doing all of this.

I've mentioned before that I believe a class should have a unique role within the game, something that you really can't achieve with an already existing class. The Swashbuckler concept is a good example of this since you can't really make an adequate version of the concept with the existing options. So, sometimes you want to create a class that will allow your players to utilize this role better.

You might also design a new class to represent a new concept within your campaign setting. For example, let's say your campaign setting possesses a lot of steampunk elements. Since there is this abundance of technology, you decide to design a class built around it. Thus, the Artificer or Gadgetteer is born.

Finally, you might design a class to replace an existing one that you find lackluster or downright broken. For example, you could design a class called the Crusader which is similar to the Paladin, but doesn't require you to be Lawful Good. On the other hand, you might design a revised version of the Monk in the hope of making it less wonky and MAD.

In the end, I guess there are a lot of different reasons why someone might design a new class. Hopefully this post ends up being somewhat coherent and doesn't turn out to be random ramblings.