Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Action X - Still Ruminating on Classes

In a nutshell -With Action X, I'm trying to do with the Modern SRD what Blood & Treasure did with the fantasy SRD. The challenge - the SRD has a lot of history behind it - many editions of D&D with all the wonderful nonsense that goes along with it. The Modern SRD does not and, even worse, it's just so damn boring and mechanical. Worse yet - it keeps making my writing boring and mechanical.

So - I bring an appeal to all of the geniuses that read this blog - what are the modern archetypes you'd like to see in a fun role-playing game not set in a fantasy milieu. By "modern", I pretty much mean from Victorian times to today (or beyond into the near hard sci-fi future or even pulp sci-fi future).

I started with numerous classes, then boiled them way down and now I'm left feeling uninspired by them. Now I'm beginning to turn back to my original idea of a dozen classes that really hit the archetypes of modern action/adventure. I can't hit every archetype of course, and new classes can always be added, but I'd like to get a strong core of fun classes that will spark people's imaginations.

Some ideas (some of which are advanced classes in the Modern SRD, but which will need some TLC to make them anything more than collections of dry, boring bonuses to dice rolls) and some ideas for inspiration:

Brute (Mr. T) - hate the name; love Amazon, but that only applies to the ladies

Daredevil (Clyde Beatty, Howling Mad Murdock, Allan Quatermain)

Detective (Sherlock Holmes, Philip Marlowe, Jim Rockford, Thomas Magnum)

Gangster (Bonny & Clyde, Tony Montana)

Gunslinger (Lone Ranger, anyone from a John Woo flick)

Hacker (they abound in the news these days)

Martial Artist (Bruce Lee) - the name is so boring, though, but ninja and kung-fu master are too specific

Psion (Prof. X)

Scientist (Professor from Giligan's Island, Spock) - maybe Brainiac would be a better name

Soldier (Sgt. Rock, Captain America, Hannibal Smith)

Sorcerer (Willow, Dr. Strange)

Spy (James Bond, Mata Hari)

I've thought about throwing in some odd balls as well - Cyborg, Mutant, Vampire - stuff like that. Almost a "race as class" concept for modern gaming.

So - any additional ideas out there? Let me know in the comments. Dangit - I want to make a fun modern RPG!


  1. I like "Heavy" to "Brute." Implies strength without necessarily implying "dumb."

    Also: How about a "MacGyver" class! C'mon, the name "MacGyver" is practically its own archetype! You could even call this class "The Guy" as a play on words.

  2. The problem I see is that different 'modern' adventures would have different divisions of 'classes'.

    For example in one game 'Criminal' might be a single class. In another game everyone might be a criminal, and the classes would be things like Burglar as opposed to Getaway Driver. In a police procedural there would be no PC criminals.

  3. If you don't like "brute" try "bruiser". "Martial Artist" is just fine I mean it serves right? Is it safe to assume your spy will serve as a thief or can I suggest you add "thief" or "burglar"...?

  4. Yeah, "Heavy" is a good term. What about a gadget guy. A Gageteer. And I think you could use a thief type class, a cat burglar or safe cracker. And possibly a religious themes...Mad Prophet, The Minister and so on.

  5. Con Man. Doubles as Politician.

    I just finished watching SGU, which is both "now" and "sci-fi". That's heavy on Scientists and Soldiers. The scientists double as hackers, insofar as they spend a lot of time trying to decipher the programming of an alien starship. There are only two that don't fall one way or the other, and one is a Spy, and the other gradually becomes Alien-Hybrid Savant, so....

  6. How about a Survivalist (Crocodile Dundee, John Locke, Sarah Connor)?

    Seems to be distinct enough from any of the above categories to be its own thing, although some Brutes or Daredevils might be a little of this too.

  7. Hi John, you like to come up with unusual things: think outside of traditional archetypes to come up with more. I mean, you're the man who came up with the Kringle class, so be good, for goodness sake (heh-sorry). But what about crazy things that you come up with yourself? If I make another role playing game, I will make classes that are words that don't even exist, with weird varieties of powers and abilities.

  8. Kung fu for martial artist, MacGyver is needed more than gangster to my mind.

  9. I think the daredevil might work as a survivalist - I picture it as a rugged adventurer who specializes in physical skills and outdoorsy stuff. The brainiac (or whatever I'll call him) would suit for a MacGyver/gadgeteer sort. The con-man is a good one and one I meant to include (i.e. Face from the A-Team), and could be used for a fire-and-brimstone preacher sort. All-in-all, great contributions and suggestions, folks. Very helpful.

  10. Great ideas so far! I totally agree that you need a "talky" character, and "Face" or "the Face" seems like a good name. I prefer broad classes that players can interpret themselves, so "Brainiac" and "Daredevil" seem spot on. Gangster seems very specific. Could the "Detective" be called an "Investigator" or something like that, allowing for snoopy journalists and the Scooby gang? I agree, "Martial Artist" doesn't seem like the most exciting name, but it is quite generic without going to "fighter" or "unarmed warrior". Looking forward to reading more!

  11. Quick update. I delved back into Action X last night and so far the class list is:

    Adept (magic spells using a skill check)
    Dragon (the martial artist i.e. monk)
    Psion (psychic phenomenon using a skill check)

    Still pondering detective (i.e. how to make it work) and hot rod/ace (driving or piloting skills - might make the vehicle something like a d20 "animal companion" - problem here is how suitable would it be for most adventures)

    I might also do additional classes/races when I cover different genres - a vampire class, for example, or a mutant race.


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