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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Do You Custom Design Classes for Your Campaigns?

I don't custom design classes for my campaigns, but I have written classes. About 3 years ago, I wrote a Bard class for Knockspell Magazine (last issue of I recall - I'd hate to think my bard killed a magazine) and I wrote some Halfling racial classes for S&W a few years back. I neither case were the classes written for a specific campaign.

That being said, I do know that some DMs do design specific classes for their campaigns or tweak existing classes to make a better fit.

Do you write such classes? Have you played in a campaign with custom classes? Pros and cons? Tell us a bit about your custom classes.

15 comments:

  1. Yup. Create and alter classes for a campaign a lot of the time. Every class in my last campaign was new or tweaked. I enjoy the way moving things about helps players experience the new.

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  2. I don't tailor them to specific campaigns but I often tinker with classes for games or make new ones.

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  3. I frequently create classes, but rarely for a single campaign. If it's good enough to be a whole class, I usually just add it to the list of available classes. It's relatively rare that I create a new class whole cloth, though - most are tweaks and variants.

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  4. Custom classes? Shoot, I don't always allow 'official' classes from the expansion. The more RPG's I play, the more I'm drawn back to the old RuneQuest system where a character 's abilities are defined by the starting backa round and the player's in-game choices

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  5. Well, when I have time I do, specially if it's a request from one of the players. Sometimes it's just a tweak with existing classes, sometimes it's something new altogether.

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  6. Yes. As the B/X rules use race-as-class, my creations have filled some rather obvious voids, most notably the Dwarven Cleric, Elven Ranger and Halfling Defender.

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  7. I made up a BX homage game. The regular classes are pretty standard. The Halfling gets to pick two Thief abilities. The MU is more like the Elf. I added a Gnome with pick pockets and a little bit of Elf magic.

    Now I'm making a pirates setting with just humans. The classes are Tradesman, Scoundrel, Missionary, Naturist, Necrotic, Athletic, and Voodoo priest, name TBD. The only one that resembles a classic D&D class is the Tradesman, which is a pretty straight port of the Dwarf- I just replaced infravision with a skill constructing traps and buildings called Engineer.

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  8. I may tweak, but I don't create new classes.

    Back in the day we would sometimes run theme games, where a bunch of us used an "NPC" class from Dragon Magazine. Like all bandits or ninja.

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  9. Yes. I made up a set of Oriental classes for an Asian campaign and specialized classes for a Cyber-pulp game. I actually consider the demi-human classes to be optional.

    It's simple enough to make up a new class that there's no reason not to for an exotic environment. What's tough is making sure the class is balanced (not necessarily equal) to the regular classes. There should be trade-offs in abilities. I'm actually still struggling to make sure any class presented is fun and playable and that none of them are suboptimal choices.

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  10. I've been creating custom magic users to translate the gist of the C&S mages to a D&D environment. Ed Simbalist and Wilf Backhaus are probably spinning in their graves, since C&S was a rather strident reaction to D&D's shortcomings.

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  11. I love building classes for my campaigns. I think it adds something special to the campaign when you do that and it makes it a more coherent setting in the eyes of the players, especially those who take up the challenge of playing a new class.

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  12. All the classes in my campaign are custom classes based on the classic classes. for the exact reasons trollsmyth gives.

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  13. I have some favorites that I try to use regularly (the Witch, the Bandit - which I rename "Outdoorsman" - the single-class Bard, and the Mountebank now that I have Joseph Bloch's excellent version). I do think that a couple of special classes designed for a setting help to give it some of its flavor. In the Middle Sea world that I am preparing, for instance, there are two classes (both based on previous designs, but tweaked for the setting), the Dragonlord and the Timelord, which help to present some of the peoples better than the straight classes and subclasses of AD&D do. I may also develop a Bullrider class for the Davrai, which would have the special ability to ride bulls or even bull aurochs into battle, since that people are especially known for that ability but I don't wish to make it generally available, even to the general population of the Davrai.

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  14. I play 3e/Pathfinder, so most of my classes are prestige classes. But I make a lot of them.

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  15. I hadn't designed classes since I was a very wee lad... but now I'm putting together a set of OSR rules for myself (and whomever wants to take a look -- still under development) and finding that I want to build some "race as class" options other than straight up "Dwarf", "Elf", or "Halfling"...

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