For the Dungeon Run expansion I’ve been working on, I decided that I wanted to do at least four characters, and preferably 8–which would be enough for 1-2 of each class (war, prayer, magic, & talent). I did, for a while, toy with the idea of making up a fifth class, but that seemed to fly in the face of their “Shiny New Toys” design rule:
Each hero will be able to use roughly 75% of all treasure, which will be especially appreciated when mixed with the treasure cards from Dungeon Run. Now instead of treasures being a rare treat, heroes can spend more time focusing on choosing which horrible new tool they can wield against the others.
Having two new classes might be fun, but it would make creation of items more difficult, and exclude the new class from using most of the items from the previous edition (ie. any item that wasn’t marked as avaible to “Any” class). So, I stuck with the basic four.
The next problem was to come up with ideas for the general makeup of characters. The game already had eight in place, so most of the iconic D&D classes are already well represented. Adding new classes shouldn’t just be regurgitating the same old crap, but rather coming up with new and interesting interactions, plus having some new twists on the existing classes & races. As with the rest of the different areas, I started off by just brainstorming some ideas of what I might want to see. This included a number of bottom up concepts (where you come up with a general idea of what it does, but then need to flesh it out with a theme), such as:
- Makes use of Talent, rather than Brawn / Magic
- Takes damage as the game went on and only healed when rolling 6’s
- Has abilities that concern heavily with treasure and/or interaction with room tiles
- Serves as a buffer or “group hug” to the rest of the party
I also had a number of “top down” characters where I had a theme, but wasn’t sure how to make them into characters:
- A Ghost that can walk through walls
- A Necromancer – revolving around power over the undead
- A Beastmaster – who has control over animals
- Another “Stabbins” character – that penalizing other party members
These ideas really flowed with each other, playing back and forth until I came up with a set of eight that each seemed unique and somewhat balanced. Of course, they’re not perfect. It turns out that the Necromancer with the abilities listed was far too powerful at the onset. We played a couple of games with her before realizing we just had to tone her down.
One thing that you won’t get in the chart below are the various ability cards. For each of these characters, I came up with 10 ability cards–just like the original characters had. Those honestly took a LONG time to come up with suitable ideas that were unique, yet on concept. One way I did this was to give most of the characters an ability akin to the goat in the original game. That is to say, half of the characters have a single ability that grants them the keyword of another class of adventurer:
- WISDOM OF OTHERS: You gain MAGIC training.
- CONNIVING: You gain TALENT training
- RETURN TO THE OLD WAYS: You gain PRAYER training.
- THE MIND IS NOT ENOUGH: You gain WAR Training.
Each one was given to a different hero. And, though I didn’t plan on it, I seem to have inadvertently balanced these to ensure that there’s an even amount of these spread across all of the characters (ie. one of each class). Based upon the names of the abilities, you might even be able to discern which characters get which.
Anywho, that pretty much concludes the concepting phase of my design. Next, I would have to come up with a way to make cards with which to playtest these things. For now, see the chart below for my ideas about playable characters…
|The Wandering Minstrel||brawn character that can also use skill.||Elf||Talent||4||2||3||6||ENCHANTING VOICE: You may attack with your skill rating.||NIMBLE: As a free action, may pick up treasure in his tile. MINSTREL use this ability even when there is an encounter present.||DANCING COMPULSION: As a free action to force a player to discard an Enchanted item of your choice. Use this ability only once per turn.|
|The Cave Goblin Warlock||anti-character, based on skill and magic||Goblin||Magic||1||5||3||6||STAND ALONE: You suffer no ill effects for sabatoging other heroes.||DAEMONIC MASTERY: May re-roll misses when attacking Demons.||INFERNAL MIRROR: You may use abilities printed on other hero’s character cards that share a tile with you.|
|The Penitent||group hug, encourages people to help him and stay close||Human||Prayer||2||5||1||7||TURN UNDEAD: Roll an additional attack dice against UNDEAD monsters.||BLIND FAITH: May ignore negative effects of Special room tiles he reveals during that turn.||ASCENDENCY: You may ignore the first damage done to you during each attack.|
|The Restless Revenant||Ghost that can walk through walls||Undead||Talent||3||3||3||6||INCORPOREAL: Can move between adjacent tiles even if they are not connected by a corridor. Cannot be used to explore new tiles.||Chill Touch: As a special action, GHOST may place a single wound on a hero or monster that shares a tile with him.||POSSESSION: As a special action, you may move another hero a number of tiles equal to what they could normally move.|
|The Vampire Aristocrat||Brawn character that uses magic.||Undead||War||4||3||2||8||LIFE TRANSFER: Heal 1 damage for each 6 rolled when attacking a monster.||NO REST FOR THE WICKED: Instead of healing, the Vampire takes 1 damage when rallying.||VENGEFUL REBIRTH: The first time VAMPIRE dies holding the summoning stone, he instead heals to full life.|
|The Dwarven Geomancer||treasure centric magic character that can also use brawn. Range focus.||Dwarf||Magic||3||4||1||7||SEISMIC ASSAULT: As a special action, you may place a single wound on a hero or monster in your tile or in an adjacent tile.||ELEMENTAL CONTROL: Once per turn, you may rotate any one tile on the board up to 360 degrees. This cannot result in an illegal tile setup.|
|The Caller of Beasts||Elf||War||5||2||3||7||BEASTMASTER: You may re-roll any number of attack dice when fighting against BEASTS.||ADAPTATION: You may block one additional attack per combat round.||NATURE’S CLAIM: Roll 1 extra die for each enchanted treasure that the defending player has equipped.|
|The Culler of Souls||Human||Prayer||1||6||2||6||DEATHLY DOMAIN: Add +1 to Magic when fighting Undead monsters or heroes.||LOCUST SWARM: When you’re attacked, roll a single die. Ignore all damage suffered as a result of incoming attacks that match this die.||CALL OF THE UNDEAD: Each turn, reveal cards from the top of the encounter deck until you reveal an Undead monster. Place this as if using the summoning stone.|