Cultural Specific Character Classes

The inspirational art post on Mithras wasn’t as random as it might appear. I originally saw it doing some research at Wikipedia for a new character class for my spring campaign (live in a college town and your game is ruled by the academic calendar). I wanted something interesting as an alternate cleric and like Erin Smale’s Perfect Class articles so figured I’d build a Mithric Initiate.

As I was writing it up I realized that I had the following classes either written up or to be written up as player options:

  • Humans:
    • Fighters
    • Magic-Users
    • Druids (southern human clerics)
    • Initiates of Mithras (northern human clerics)
    • Cleric
    • Outsiders (Simon Tregarth/John Carter types based on the Grognardia version)

  • Elves:
    • Female Elves (stock Labyrinth Lord Elves)
    • Elven Borders (male ranger types)

  • Dwarves:
    • Dwavern Warriors (stock Labyrinth Lord Dwarves)
    • Dwarven Marines (trade underground for sea skills)

At this point I wonder if I shouldn’t go whole hog and add a cleric for the third human culture and culture specific fighters and magic users (actually, the third culture the cleric/magic users could combine). I’m even thinking of doing away with human mages altogther. The if you want to be a wizard type you have to be a female elf but that might be a bridge too far. As it is, I worry I’m over detailing the world. What’s in the clerics, the sex selected elves, and the two dwarf classes is 50%+ of existing cultural detail, though. It would all fit in 16 pages of a 64 page rules book, if it took that much.

Is culture specific versions of the classes a bit too far? It’s the logic of Palladium and I have to say on one level I like it.

2 thoughts on “Cultural Specific Character Classes

  1. I hope not, or my Martial Flavor isn't going to do too well!

    I'd say, it's all up to what you have passion and time for. Just as long as you're making the class variants because you want to, and not because you expect your players to be as excited about them as you are – that will cut out the inevitable heartbreak when your player goes “but I had this great idea for a destruction-themed cleric that doesn't work in your variant.”

  2. One think I liked about Rolemaster and MERP was that what culture you came from influenced starting skills/etc.

    The new Arduin Eternal has similar adjustments to skills and such based on culture.

    I really dig the idea but dislike class proliferation and stratification (as in all members of class Foo are from culture Bar).

    It's harder to do with class based systems. 3e Prestige are too heavy handed. I think the template system (from 3e monsters) is maybe a good way. Take base class and add template(s) that alter/add/subtract abilities.

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