Base or Core Classes

Mark Dunder

Mongoose
From my meager understanding about this, and to follow up on some threads I felt were getting too personal. Core (base) Classes are simply the starting points to build a character with. My sense of all this is shown by the issue on whether the Knight should be a "Core" class. I think this is fairly simple to answer; what can be built from the Knight? Is there some sort of Errant Knight maybe? A Paladin Knight (heaven's forbid)? What can you build up from a Knight?

I think a core class should have the ability to build other "sub" classes from. If the submitted class for candacy cannot easily support other sub classes, then I would say it cannot be a core class.

Heck! What do I know, I don't even own the game!
 

Damien

Mongoose
I think a class should be whatever particular vocation seems correct for the setting. Look at all the RPGs out there - I don't think any of them that are class-based actually use the same classes. For example, - The LotR RPG has a Mariner class - extremely fitting for Lord of the Rings, but nonsensical and superfluous in D&D.

Taking the knight for example (not to start another knight debate, it just makes a good example):

It is a career path that is different from a generic soldier. But it also includes various other vocations which are not exactly the same. A steppe nomad who excells at combat may be a knight, or a heavy cavalryman trained for the better part of his life, or a particular mercenary-company captain known for his horsemanship and prowess. . .


So what -makes- a good base class? I have no idea. There really is no defined role. It's not always a vocation ("Nomad") nor is it always a background/lifestyle ("Soldier"). It can be rigidly defined ("Pirate") or extremely lose in scope ("Soldier"). I don't think there's any good universal way to decide what makes something desirable as a class. It's an entirely personal decision.
 

Mark Dunder

Mongoose
I get you on that, even though I argued for and against it. I still think Priest would make a very good class by itself. You can build non magical Priests such as the Priests of Mitra, or evil black magic users such as the Priests of Set. Or you can have white magic users such as the Priests of Asura. For my Conan setting, I like to have Priests doing all kinds of things for good or evil.
 

Castel

Mongoose
Actually i´ve seen that base classes are allways very subjective.

Considering all characters start at 1st level, a base class must reflect your past and present...
Taking the knight for example, and experianced knight would be a Soldier with "noble blood", and young knight a "Noble", reflecting how much battle they have seen, relfecting your past...

One may also see base classes as were and how you spent your last years before the adventure, for example you were born a commoner and started young in the army... well it´s a 1st level soldier.

1st level characters have to reflect their past so a base class must be very general about it characteristics...
In conan there are these main types of characters from wich you can reach all existing characters, each representing special characters from REH.

The noble, the commoner,the soldier, the nomad, the theif, the temptress, the scholar, the pirate, the borderer or the barbarian, they each represent a style of life...

A base class is something that you are born with, consider it as your soul...

I think we have enought, and hope that S&P will bring some alternative Classes so people who don´t like to multiclass can lose themselves in hundreds of classes if thas what they want...

But for me it´s "Long Live Variant Rules"
 
dunderm said:
I get you on that, even though I argued for and against it. I still think Priest would make a very good class by itself. You can build non magical Priests such as the Priests of Mitra, or evil black magic users such as the Priests of Set. Or you can have white magic users such as the Priests of Asura. For my Conan setting, I like to have Priests doing all kinds of things for good or evil.

The game has that. It is called "Scholar" but it is essentially exactly what you are describing. It can be sorcerous, non-sorcerous, and the whole bit, just as you describe. I am confused on what you are calling for.
 

Mark Dunder

Mongoose
I don't mean to be disparaging about the Scholar class, I just don't find that much in the stories I've read. I do find a lot of Priests, so why all the fuss over scholars? Many priests may not be scholars by virtue, but they may eventually take up scholarly persuits. Particularly, I feel Mitran Priests may concentrate more on rituals that don't exactly require any scholarly skills. Aquiring converts, hunting down witches, things of this nature. This can all be learned by rote. Only high priests need to worry about reading and writing. I know the middle ages had priests that were scholars, but as far as I know (I may be wrong), many of them weren't. I don't know, I started reading Conan back when I was a kid (a long time ago, believe you me), and scholars seem very rare and more in the background for me. Just not what I envision going around the Hyborian world having adventures, nor do I see the scholar as what a priest starts from. I think more so, it is the converse. IMO.
 

Strom

Mongoose
Priest is too restrictive a title for a core class as written in the core rules, IMO. Just like in D & D, a magic user is the class but there were different titles as you earned as you gained levels - In the Conan RPG, Scholar is the broad title of the core class in which priest, acolyte or Sorcerer, etc. are the tiles that fall under the heading of Scholar.
 

Damien

Mongoose
I don't mean to be disparaging about the Scholar class, I just don't find that much in the stories I've read. I do find a lot of Priests

And I don't think I can remember a single Howardian mention of the word "Borderer" (my memory may just be bad, though). It's not about the name, but rather the intent and design of the class. As it were, you could take the Scholar and call it "Priest" and it would function -excellently- as a priest. I think that's what Vincent is saying.
 

arnon

Mongoose
dundrem: I think you are reading too much into the title of the name "Scholar" (after all, what's in a name? ). If I wanted to play an Archer I would probably take some levels in Soldier (and maybe also in Borderer), on the paper he'll be a Soldier, in my mind an Archer.

Same goes with the Scholar class. Want to be a priest, sure, go ahead, focus on Diplomacy, Sense Motive, Know (religion), etc. etc., take extra feats and skill points instead of learning magic, and voila, you got a Priest.

But as you keep telling us, you do not have the books and rules, and so are driving blind...

arnon
 

Taharqa

Mongoose
Damien said:
I don't mean to be disparaging about the Scholar class, I just don't find that much in the stories I've read. I do find a lot of Priests

And I don't think I can remember a single Howardian mention of the word "Borderer" (my memory may just be bad, though). It's not about the name, but rather the intent and design of the class. As it were, you could take the Scholar and call it "Priest" and it would function -excellently- as a priest. I think that's what Vincent is saying.

I am fairly certain there are a couple of references to borderers in Beyond the Black River.

To dunderm- RTFM. As I said on your original post, you are taking the term "Scholar" too literally.

Any class-based game is always going to face this dilemma, because inherently any finite set of classes is not going to capture everything. I don't see classes as "real things" but rather as useful simplifications for clusters of skills and abilities. If we were interested in a a game which focused on the peasant economics of a medieval village, then we would have different classes - we might have a blacksmith, tanner, bowyer, priest, etc. All of the classes we care about here might be summarized simply as "adventurers" not because they are all the same, but because for the purposes of our game, the differences between them would be irrelevant. Of course, this game ould be boring. But the basic point is that the set of classes that any game has are not some real representation of the world, but rather a useful device to make the game manageable.
 

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
"Beyond the Black River" does contain the term borderer, border-man, -men, woodsman, woodsmen, frontiersman, forester and the like:

"'The demon isn't going to get Tiberias' head if I can help it,' he growled. 'We'll carry the body into the fort. It isn't more than three miles. I never liked the fat fool, but we can't have Pictish devils making so cursed free with white men's heads.' The Picts were a white race, though swarthy, but the border men never spoke of them as such. Balthus took the rear end of the litter, onto which Conan unceremoniously dumped the unfortunate merchant, and they moved on down the trail as swiftly as possible."

"'Some kind of devilment,' muttered the forest runner. 'They might have gathered here to watch Zogar's magic-making. He'll make some rare magic with our carcasses. Well, a border-man doesn't expect to die in bed. But I wish we'd gone out along with the rest.' The wolfish howling of the Picts rose in volume and exulta- tion, and from a movement in their ranks, an eager surging and crowding, Balthus deduced that someone of importance was coming."

"Conan reached his long arm for the wine-jug. The forester stared at him, compar- ing him with the men about them, the men who had died along the lost river, comparing him with those other wild men over that river. Conan did not seem aware of his gaze. 'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance."

"Not even a Pict could trail them over naked rock. 'How did you get away?' he asked presently. Conan tapped his mail-shirt and helmet. 'If more borderers would wear harness there'd be fewer skulls hanging on the altar-huts. But most men make noise if they wear armor."

"Lifting his head as he licked his livid lips, he muttered, making himself heard with difficulty above the fiendish clamor of the Picts: 'So they got you, too!' 'Sneaked up in the water and cut the other fellow's throat,' groaned Balthus. 'We never heard them till they were on us. Mitra, how can anything move so silently?' 'They're devils,' mumbled the frontiersman. 'They must have been watching us from the time we left midstream. We walked into a trap. Arrows from all sides were ripping into us before we knew it. Most of us dropped at the first fire."

"The shaman was talking now, a harsh, guttural intonation that yet carried the hiss of a cobra. He thrust his head on his long neck toward the wounded man on the stake; his eyes shone red as blood in the firelight. The frontiersman spat full in his face. With a fiendish howl Zogar bounded convulsively into the air, and the warriors gave tongue to a yell that shuddered up to the stars. They rushed toward the man on the stake, but the shaman beat them back."

These examples should suffice for now...
 

Mark Dunder

Mongoose
Perhaps your right, I may be stuck on the term. I notice that some players seem to be in the same predicament as me. How many players are Priests of Mitra or Asura? How many are Priest of Set? I see some play Scholar-Sorcerers. I know there are the wizards of the Black Circle. Is this what they are duplicating? Aren't the Seers connected to the study of the stars and work with souls? This bespeaks of a deity, hince a priestly order. Does anyone play a Scholar-Witch, like Zelata? What about Pictish Shamen or Cimmerian Shamen (do they have such?). Magic in the Hyborian Age seems intrically related to the gods and priests. Is the Scholar class a way of keeping religion out of the game? I know some people may have issues on this. I think the battle between Set and the rest of the other gods of the Hyborians is very promenent in REH's world.

Soldiers can just be soldiers, Thieves can just be thieves, Nobles are nobles, Nomads are nomads, and I can't recall the other ones; all seem to be part of Hyboria. Scholar does not invoke any of the same feeling about the world of Hyboria as the other classes do, to me it seems to be a way to hide the real punch that I found in reading Conan, and that is the ever present priests. IMO
 
dunderm said:
Is the Scholar class a way of keeping religion out of the game? I know some people may have issues on this. I think the battle between Set and the rest of the other gods of the Hyborians is very promenent in REH's world.

Have you even read the rules?

Scholars can choose a background of lay priest and, when ordained, are eligible to take the Priest feat for additional stuff. The class is not a way of keeping religion out of the game. It completely does the things you are talking about. It is just a class name and does not necessarily mean some kind of academic. It is a flexible class to allow priests, academics, alchemists, witches and so on to use the same base.

dunderm said:
Scholar does not invoke any of the same feeling about the world of Hyboria as the other classes do, to me it seems to be a way to hide the real punch that I found in reading Conan, and that is the ever present priests. IMO

Again, I get the impression you have not read the rules. Priests are not hidden.
 

Mark Dunder

Mongoose
No, I have not read the Conan rule book in particular, as I have not yet bought it, and I might not at this rate. I have read many of the posts, and it seems to me that those that have read the rules, don't have a very good grasp on the Scholar. So I am attempting to present a view of how the "feel," if you will, of the world of Conan sees the Scholar as a base class. I have over 100 RPGs (paper & pencil, not computers), most of them do a decent job of giving you the feel of the genre or the world they represent. I'm saying that Scholar as a base class seems to be misleading and detracts from the feel of the game. So what if the rules make Scholar a base class? If they made Mutant a base class for Conan, would that make it ok? Are you going to throw the book at me, just because I espouse the view that I think the feel of Conan is not represented by using the Scholar as your base and not the Priest, as I feel it should be? In the Middle Ages, Priests were the Scholars, Alchemists, Scientist, and what have you. What is wrong with replacing the Scholar with the Priest. Just because some designer played God? I don't think so. IMHO.
 
dunderm said:
No, I have not read the Conan rule book in particular, as I have not yet bought it, and I might not at this rate. I'm saying that Scholar as a base class seems to be misleading and detracts from the feel of the game. Are you going to throw the book at me, just because I espouse the view that I think the feel of Conan is not represented by using the Scholar as your base and not the Priest, as I feel it should be? What is wrong with replacing the Scholar with the Priest. Just because some designer played God? I don't think so. IMHO.

That is just nomenclature; semantics at its worst. If you want to call it a priest class, go for it.

You wouldn't buy it because of a class name? Even though the class does exactly everything you mentioned?

If you haven't read the rules, why are you even arguing that the game ignores priests or is trying to hide religion?

I just don't know what point you are trying to drive. You seem to espousing a mere name change. Okay. Should we change the name of the thief class to rogue?
 

Mark Dunder

Mongoose
I just don't know what point you are trying to drive. You seem to espousing a mere name change. Okay. Should we change the name of the thief class to rogue?

It is not a mere name change, it is a concept. Priests are not Scholars, but can have scholarly duties and skills. Being a magic user does not mean you had to be a scholar (or you wouldn't have Pictish Shamans). I see a weakness in this game design and I have pointed it out. REH did not write about a bunch of scholars running about being priests or necromancers (alchemists are magic users in my book also). He did write extensively about all types of Priests.

Call me a crackpot if you'd like, but show me were REH wanted to have scholars masquerading as priests or necromancers?
 

Brass Jester

Mongoose
How is it a weakness in game design? You call them a Priest and create a Priest of Mitra. I use exactly the same rules in the book, but call them a Scholar, and create a Priest of Mitra. Either way the end result is the same, we've both got a Priest of Mitra who functions perfectly well using the RPG rules.
 

Damien

Mongoose
It is not a mere name change, it is a concept. Priests are not Scholars

Actually, most of them are. But that's beside the point. You may not realize it - but you ARE arguing a name change. The Scholar class does everything you want a Priest class to do - it simply has a name you happen not to like or agree with.

Ask yourself this: If the classes were numbered instead of named, would you still be making this argument. Besides a name, what does the Scholar not have that you think a Priest -should- have? Before you answer this - you may want to at least look at the Scholar class at your local gaming store. Fervently arguing about a class in a game system you have never read does come off as sort of.. ignorant, ya know?

The name is nothing. You shouldn't be referring to a character by their class name (unless it fits them) in-game anyway. I really don't see what your objection is. You seem to think that anyone who takes the Scholar class is first and foremost "A scholar." That's not true. You take the Scholar class and you are a Priest, or a Sorcerer, or a Sage - you are not a "Scholar who is also a Priest."

Any class can function this way. The Soldier isn't necessarily even a Soldier. He might be some guy with a natural aptitude for combat. Look at the set of abilities, not the name of the class. Class names are placeholders for whatever you choose to call the individual members of it in your game. You could have three Scholar PCs, one would call himself a Scholar, one would call himself a Priest, and one would call himself a Sorcerer.



"Beyond the Black River" does contain the term borderer, border-man, -men, woodsman, woodsmen, frontiersman, forester and the like:

I am fairly certain there are a couple of references to borderers in Beyond the Black River.

Ah, thank you gentlemen. It's been quite awhile since I read that story. As a side-note, which of the newer compilations (Coming, Conquering, Bloody Crown) has it? I have the Coming of Conan only so far.
 

Mark Dunder

Mongoose
How is it a weakness in game design? You call them a Priest and create a Priest of Mitra. I use exactly the same rules in the book, but call them a Scholar, and create a Priest of Mitra. Either way the end result is the same, we've both got a Priest of Mitra who functions perfectly well using the RPG rules.

For the same reason readers don't like some pastiche writers. How you present a game, can either reflect the genre or not. Although you can make any class from any class, the perception is not the same. You could make a scholar from a soldier, or a priest from a soldier, or a theif from a barbarian (gosh, could that be?). I can go on and on. I've seen this arguement before, and most likely so have you. Scholars are incredibly weak in this game system. According to all the posts, not me! Where in Conan, Priest are promenent and strong. They even put up a pretty good fight! In The Hour of the Dragon, the Priest of Asura came to Conan's aid in the alley when Conan rescued the Countess. They used weapons, not magic.

So I don't know, you can squeeze as many classes as you like from the Scholar, they are, IMO, weak and not fit for a life in Hyboria.
 
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