Thursday, April 17, 2014

Classy Titles for Characters

One of my favorite bits of flavor from 1E was how each class had a title associated with each level.  I was missing this in our LotFP games, but when this "titles and their progression into other titles" from Sellswords & Baronies of the Shattered Empire was posted on the OSR forums by Claytonian JP, I was inspired to bring them back.

I used a number of resources (ie, random google searches) in addition to Dyson's Dodecahedron (for his titles + abilities), Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG (for the way it does skill progression), and of course the PHB, DMG and Unearthed Arcana 1E, to create the following title progressions.


Rules for all classes:  Once a title is gained, the next tile must be decided immediately (either randomly or chosen, depending on the class).  Some steps must be taken to gain that title (like getting the appropriate weapon, trying to do something in character, getting training, etc.)  Each title is gained halfway between the next level.

I'll start with the Fighter since it's the most straightforward:

Fighter Title Advancement (PDF)

All 1st level Fighters start off as Veterans.  The player gets to choose where to advance next.  They can pick anything from the first row (Mariner, Horseman or Militaman).  Let's say they pick Militiaman.  This one will be fairly easy to demonstrate, they need to attack things while on foot to qualify.  Once they've reached enough XP to be halfway to level 2, they become a Militiaman and gain its benefit.  Now they must pick their next title.  There are lines connecting Militiaman to Horseman or Spearman.  Let's say the player chooses Horseman.  Now they must ride a horse (and probably attack while riding it) before they can gain that title.  At level 2.5, they will gain the title and benefit if they have demonstrated it.

Note that staying in a single column will allow the Fighter to reach the more powerful titles at the end of the track quicker, but they may end up with some less interesting abilities by moving straight through.

Once they reach the black dividing box, they must pick a column and stick with it for the last two advancements.  These provide interesting role play scenarios and powerful abilities.

Cleric Title Advancement (PDF)

Being Lawful, the Cleric works differently.  They must pick their progression early on and stay on the same column.  They have three main choices: become an evil cultist that worships a dark god, become a healer, or become a paladin.  At the end, however, all three face the same fate: become a martyr in the name of their god, or give themselves over to be the embodiment of their god on Earth.

Magic-User Title Advancement (PDF)

As a human entangled with the forces of Chaos, a M-U doesn't get to choose (usually) while advancing.  They roll a d4 and only get to choose if they roll a 4.  The three columns have general themes, the first relates to the dark arts, the second to a sort of "scientific" understanding of magic and the third is magic that comes from innate power.  If a M-U has managed to complete an entire column, then they can choose from their final title, if not, it is determined randomly.

Specialist Title Advancement (PDF)

The Specialist has the most flexibility of all.  The only restriction is they must have at least one title from a previous row before they can pick one from the next row.  All of their abilities are numerical so that when they reach the final title of "Master" they can pick one of the Titles again.  So if they pick Burglar twice, they become a "Master Burglar."


I am still working on two other Title progressions but they are not ready to post.

The Dabbler (replaces the Elf, which I don't allow in my game).  Being Chaotic, they also roll randomly.  The abilities that go along with these titles, however, are very different from the M-U.  They have access to things like tumbling, playing instruments, falconing and dueling.

The Sidekick (replaces both Dwarf and Halfling, which also aren't allowed) is the most unusual progression.  On the left side is the "dwarf" column and you can pick either Guide, Squire or Dogsbody as a beginning title.  If you choose the "halfling" side, you can start off as a Sneak, Hunter or Herbalist.  There is a center column that both sides have access to.  Almost all of these abilities work to buff the party, prevent them from getting lost, have access to equipment, potions, etc.  They offer big choices for the player because each choice locks you into a certain set of titles and abilities.

I'll add the PDFs of both of these here when they're finished.

UPDATE:  I no longer use the Dabbler or Sidekick (or any classes, really).  However, all of the titles that would have gone to these two classes are now combined into one set of titles under the "Defensive Focus" mechanic.  See these two posts for updates: I Have No Class! and The Long Overdue Titles Post.