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Classic Fantasy -Tips for new players: How to play XX class?

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Classic Fantasy -Tips for new players: How to play XX class?

Postby umbraldragon » Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:04 pm

Over the course of several game systems and a multitude of gaming sessions, I've always come across the same questions and I think it would be cool to get different perspectives on how to approach playing the different character classes in Classic Fantasy. Consider that the setting is the Realm or perhaps Greymoor, then what are you suggestions, as varied as they may be, on how to play a Paladin/Cavalier or a Ranger? :ugeek:

Note: I'll add my own perspectives to this later since I am pressed for time, but I wanted to get this out there first. thanks!
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Re: Classic Fantasy -Tips for new players: How to play XX cl

Postby raleel » Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:55 pm

umbraldragon wrote:Over the course of several game systems and a multitude of gaming sessions, I've always come across the same questions and I think it would be cool to get different perspectives on how to approach playing the different character classes in Classic Fantasy. Consider that the setting is the Realm or perhaps Greymoor, then what are you suggestions, as varied as they may be, on how to play a Paladin/Cavalier or a Ranger? :ugeek:

Note: I'll add my own perspectives to this later since I am pressed for time, but I wanted to get this out there first. thanks!


what do you mean "how to play"? moral, philosophical, mechanical, optimization?
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Re: Classic Fantasy -Tips for new players: How to play XX cl

Postby umbraldragon » Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:46 pm

Let's see maybe this will help. I usually try to get a feel for the player characters right away, with the understanding that character development will happen over a period of several sessions and further development over a year or more of gameplay.

I've seen some beginning players make assumptions about how classes should be played and even how some races should be played. I chose Paladins since this class always seems attractive yet, IMHO, one of the most challenging classes. As a result I often seen some Paladins apply a heavy handed dose of "repent or die" in situations that might be considered inappropriate or unnecessary. Without seeing a Paladin played by an experienced gamer, they don't have much to go by and have to rely on the GM to be familiar enough to either call into question the actions of the Paladin or earn a kudos from the Goddess. For instance, is lying totally out of the question?

My suggestions for playing a Paladin is first understanding what the deity is about and secondly, what is the character about. These can be two drastically different things. In Classic Fantasy, Nimue is the patron deity of Paladins. Her virtues are: Chivalry, Honor, and Justice. What exactly does this mean?

Chivalry: bravery, military skill, generosity in victory, piety, and courtesy to women; or, courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak. Hmm...doesn't say kill anyone who doesn't agree with you. So what about Honor?

Honor: distinction, recognition, privilege, glory, kudos, cachet, prestige, merit, credit; men and women of high moral worth or great achievement.
Is there Honor in helping an Orc family relocate to better farmland?

Justice: Fairness, equity, impartiality, objectivity, neutrality, honesty; or the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals.
I think you get the picture by now.

I think a Paladin needs to accept that they are almost unique in the world. They are called and chosen to be the embodiment of the Goddess. They should never resort to violence unless there is a valid reason, and then they should be the embodiment of Nimue's Justice.

They should reflect mercy and goodness. Doesn't mean they don't drink wine with dinner, or share some beer in moderation. They should exhibit tolerance, and humility. if the goblins of the vale, as mean and cruel as they are, aren't harming anyone, why pick a fight with them?

They should not be so easily offended. They should be confident in the honor they have earned. They should be a little thick skinned and accepting of others right where they're at. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are converts. Some may never see eye to eye with the Paladin's views.

In a sense what I'm saying is that a Paladin has an opportunity to play a very in depth and interesting character right out of the box, without having to annoy everyone with their Holy Righteousness. As long as they aren't so quick to unsheathe their swords at every offense or go on a suicide mission without thinking things through they can lead long productive lives.

What about the person being shaped into this embodiment? Were they recruited willingly, or did they not want the position? Did they come from Nobility or were they a farmhand just a few months ago.... :ugeek:
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Re: Classic Fantasy -Tips for new players: How to play XX cl

Postby Matt_E » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:35 am

umbraldragon wrote:They should never resort to violence unless there is a valid reason


If your party is like the murder hobos I have dealt with, and played myself :P, then this probably will be the biggest challenge to playing such a character "the right way", and integrating her/him into a group of, um, less committed individuals.

The questions you are asking are the ones that (should) come up for any well drawn PC or NPC, I think. Most murder hobos are not well drawn (sorta by definition), but even they can have distinctive personality traits or actual codes that truly affect their behavior in play. These are the most important aspects of characterization, really; the game-mechanical stuff is only how we express these underlying truths about our alter egos.

To me, it's important not to have the cart leading the horse; therefore, have the character concept in place first, then during roll-up apply the game mechanics to get the result you already had in mind. In other words, don't choose an archetype (class) and then lather on some shallow personality; rather, start with a well drawn personality, then choose the archetype that most closely matches, tailoring the last bits for a really good fit. You may find, for example, that the character you at first thought would be a Fighter is better expressed as a Thief with a concentration on close combat, or that your Paladin should really be a Cleric, or that your Druid should really be a Ranger.

In Mythras, a lot of this deep-down personality stuff will end up being reflected mechanically in terms of Passions. Your paladin in CF has a lot of this pre-baked into the class definition, with old D&D-style Alignment being translated elegantly into Passions, as anticipated. Paladins have an especially narrow path to walk, but in that sense it could be even easier to roleplay one, as long as everyone is on board regarding what "right behavior" means. That's what your thinking out loud above is all about, it seems to me.

That's fine and proper, and should be done interactively with the prospective player, and maybe the whole crew, IMO (and not just for paladins :-)). On the one hand, you don't necessarily want every character to have more intimate knowledge of his mates than is realistic, according to your particular campaign setup, but, on the other hand, you do want the players to understand the likely flow of the game, which is rooted in character interactions, which are rooted in "right" roleplaying according to personalities as defined up front. This will help to avoid grumbling about goody two-shoes after three sessions, etc.

All that sounds rather grand and formal. It's really much easier and more natural than that, I think. Just sit down with everyone for a full Session Zero devoted only to character creation (and a little discussion of game-world context, unavoidably). Go around the table, most experienced player first, asking about the intended character, and then defining her mechanically. If each player comes with a paragraph or a page of notes on backstory and defining traits, it should be pretty easy. Make sure everyone understands that initially, prior to evolution over many sessions, "proper" roleplaying of each character will be defined by what is said and done around the table at this Session Zero. If you intend to hand out bonus XP for noteworthy "proper" roleplaying--and this is not a bad idea, IMO--, then tell them all now, to inspire them and make your job as GM easier. :-)
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Re: Classic Fantasy -Tips for new players: How to play XX cl

Postby umbraldragon » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:45 pm

Thanks so much Matt. I like to show some of my beginning GMs and players other views on subjects like these to get a better perspective. Not everyone wants my advice (hehe, imagine that!) and it's better to see it from another experienced GM/Player. Also, sometimes what we take for granted as experienced players happens naturally for us, but may not even occur to new players. Keep in mind, I am a teacher and most of my "new" players and GMs are about 15 to 18 years of age. The fact that I start them with Mythras is important to me and since I've introduced Classic Fantasy, I thought why not get some other perspectives for them to see. Thanks again and also thanks to anyone who might offer their perspective on how to play the classes and races. We're using Classic Fantasy as written and the Realm Map.
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Re: Classic Fantasy -Tips for new players: How to play XX cl

Postby umbraldragon » Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:17 pm

Rangers. Most of the time is spent patrolling the edges of the forest, either the outer edge if they serve a human king, (using fantasy tropes here) or the edge of Elven home if they serve an elf queen. They are often given the task as scouts and watchers of the woods in service to a liege. As a result they may be part of a brotherhood which meets occasionally. This often results in very independent characters who have a tendency to be introverts keeping an eye on their woodland charges making sure nothing is out of place.

Some questions to ask are:

1. How does your character feel about others trampling through the forest?
2. Who taught you to "see" the woods, and are they still around?
3. What made your character leave the woods in search of adventure?
4. Do you have a formal education? i.e. explain some of your skills like Lore.
5. How did you end up a Ranger?
6. Will you even entertain the idea of entering a city? a palace?
7. Do you prefer to go on foot or ride? Perhaps something other than a horse?
8. How did you come to have a species enemy? Why that particular enemy?

Rangers are very similar to Paladins in that they will try to protect the weak when possible and assist those in need when they can. They will often lead others through the forests safely and help find those who have gone missing near or in the forest. :ugeek:
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Re: Classic Fantasy -Tips for new players: How to play XX cl

Postby Icefield » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:32 pm

umbraldragon wrote:Rangers. Most of the time is spent patrolling the edges of the forest, either the outer edge if they serve a human king, (using fantasy tropes here) or the edge of Elven home if they serve an elf queen. They are often given the task as scouts and watchers of the woods in service to a liege. As a result they may be part of a brotherhood which meets occasionally. This often results in very independent characters who have a tendency to be introverts keeping an eye on their woodland charges making sure nothing is out of place.

Some questions to ask are:

1. How does your character feel about others trampling through the forest?
2. Who taught you to "see" the woods, and are they still around?
3. What made your character leave the woods in search of adventure?
4. Do you have a formal education? i.e. explain some of your skills like Lore.
5. How did you end up a Ranger?
6. Will you even entertain the idea of entering a city? a palace?
7. Do you prefer to go on foot or ride? Perhaps something other than a horse?
8. How did you come to have a species enemy? Why that particular enemy?

Rangers are very similar to Paladins in that they will try to protect the weak when possible and assist those in need when they can. They will often lead others through the forests safely and help find those who have gone missing near or in the forest. :ugeek:


I often have the problem of Ranger characters wanting to constantly be alone or doing Ranger things. I don't blame somebody for making a character to do a certain "job," but it feels like the character's class job can sometimes be the player's main desire, and the rest of the group is a distraction.
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Re: Classic Fantasy -Tips for new players: How to play XX cl

Postby threedeesix » Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:33 pm

Icefield wrote:I often have the problem of Ranger characters wanting to constantly be alone or doing Ranger things. I don't blame somebody for making a character to do a certain "job," but it feels like the character's class job can sometimes be the player's main desire, and the rest of the group is a distraction.


I don't really see that as a 'class' problem, and more of a 'I want to play a loner' problem. For example, playing a ranger Class is really no different then playing a member of the hunter Career. Both vocations will want to spend an equal amount of time in the wilderness away from civilization, where they're character's abilities will standout from the others. This can usually be mitigated by the Games Master picking a point in the adventure where each character will have a chance to shine. That way the player will be less likely to attempt to take off and find one for himself. And in the case of the ranger, this doesn't even have to be the wilderness, as their unique skill sets can be equally useful in the deepest of dungeons as well.

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Re: Classic Fantasy -Tips for new players: How to play XX cl

Postby Matt_E » Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:54 pm

It is difficult (for me) to justify having a loner in a party of adventurers. When this occurs there must be a good reason, and either the player or, more likely, the GM provides it (in the form of a plot hook). In one form or another, it's the loner's goals aligning with those of the others.

That does not mean friendship or loyalty, though, and over the course of play there are bound to be moments when the Passion (Loner) comes to the fore (and, yes, a true loner should have that as a Passion, IMO). Possibly the cooperation is to the degree that is unavoidable, and not one iota more.

I don't know that I have ever assigned the Passion (Loner) specifically, though I have used Antisocial several times. It's not exactly the same, but for most purposes it amounts to the same results.
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