All's quiet on the blogging front. Or it has been anyway.
It's got nothing to do with the fact that Prince of Nothing took issue with my previous post critiquing his anti-artpunk manifesto. More of that series will be coming sooner or later.
I've been working on work stuff, plus I gave my TSR-East Marches rules a thorough simplification. I had everything all sorted the way I wanted it. The four big classes with three subclasses each, two martial arts classes (with and without spellcasting) for wuxia types, plus four demi-human race-as-class classes. I had even called the draft "TSR East Marches Character Rules - Final" with art and everything in place so I could distribute it (which means I still could...)
But something about it was bugging me. It was just too bulky, and I knew without playtesting that one of the demi-human classes and the with spells martial arts class were wonky.
So, I thought about the essential archetypes of Asian fantasy and fiction. And I thought about the classes of D&D. If an archetype could be done just through styling a Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User or Thief that way (many can!) I don't need a class for that. And the ones that didn't quite fit (or didn't fit at all) needed their own class.
I also went back to separate race and class. Funny, but that's actually simpler than trying to balance the demi-human classes since only ONE of them was a Fighter analogue. Also, the races have more broad archetypes that they could easily fulfill.
Oh, and I found out about a type of Korean monster I'd not heard of before, the Yeongno. It comes from local (Gyeongsang-Namdo, Busan and surrounding areas) traditional masked dance/ceremonies. Depending on region, they can be a goblin-like humanoid similar to dokkaebi (but less djinni-like), a lion-creature, or a dragon-like creature. Obviously, I am using the humanoid depiction, and replaced the dokkaebi race with the yeongno (pronounced like the English words 'young no').
|Humanoid-type Yeongno. Punish corrupt rich people.|
Races: Human, Koropokuru (dwarves), Shenmin (spirit folk), Vanara (monkey-folk), Yeongno (oni/goblinoids)
Classes: Cleric, Fighter, Kensei, Magic-User, Sohei, Thief, Xia, Yakuza
As I mentioned, most of the classes can cover quite a few archeytpes, and some overlap. Any of them could be a wandering hero of Wulin type (Dragon Gate Inn, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, etc.), for example. That's basically just an adventurer. Each class description includes a short list of possible takes on the class. For example, a Fighter could be a samurai/ronin, hwarang, wandering do-gooder, military official, mercenary, and so on.
Kensei, as you would guess, are weapon masters. They share Fighter and Xia abilities. This version actually came out closer to the 1E AD&D version than I had originally designed them.
Sohei are warrior-monks, and share Fighter and Cleric abilities. Also fairly similar to 1E OA, but I give them spells from level 2 (old school Cleric style).
Xia are martial artists, and are pretty much just a different version of the AD&D Monk/BECMI Mystic. Unarmed fighting, mystical self-improvement, snatching pebbles from palms, etc.
Yakuza are a bit different from in 1E OA. They are more social, and get a "call in a favor" ability, plus a limited selection of thief skills and magical tattoos.
All classes go to 15th level. Demi-humans get a small number of classes (all can be a Fighter), and level limits between 6 and 10.
After I had the new class & race setup done, I edited the spell lists a bit, and slapped it all together. I still need to add art, but the whole thing is now 40 pages including cover (useful charts and tables on back of cover page) and 2-page character sheet at the end. It had been 48 pages in the previous version.
I'm happy with this. Simple, slim, fewer choices to confound new players.
Now I need to make a few revisions to the TSR-East Marches Bestiary & Treasury to match the new class/race setup. Once that's done, I'll finally be ready to start designing the adventure locations of the East Marches module I'd like to produce.