Design & Development: The Nomad

I based the nomad from A Sundered World loosely on the psychoportation psion specialist from 3rd Edition's Expanded Psionics Handbook, but rather than give it something like per-camp power points, we opted for a roll-and-hold move that lets you do things like teleport and manipulate things from a distance (including "manipulating" a sword into a creature's guts).

(If you want to see more details, I posted a preview of the class awhile back, and though A Sundered World was released just over a year later it's still very close to the final iteration.)

Since FrankenFourth is more of a traditional Dungeons & Dragons thing, we started out giving the nomad power points that recharged during a short rest. The idea was that this would allow Adam (Waive's player) to utilize his psychic powers more often, but when shit hit the fan he ended up just hanging back and burning through his power points tele-stabbing things.

Granted this strategy was effective at both killing monsters and keeping Waive alive long enough to take their shit, it just failed to properly evoke the feeling of a highly mobile mind-mage, so we're going to strike out in a drastically different direction. The first thing is that most if not all of the nomad's stuff is going to be usable at any time...

...with some caveats.

The first is what we're calling the "ripple" die. Reflecting the ever changing spatial fabric, the ripple die is rolled at the start of every round, or whenever the nomad tries to do something outside of combat (unless he happens to do two things in the span of 6 six seconds). It starts at a d4, and whatever value comes up determines the range of many nomad powers. As you level up, the die increases, and doing certain things can further modify it.

For example, short range teleports will be the ripple die's current value x 10 feet. If you roll a 4, then great you can teleport 40 feet that round, but if you get a 1 then you can only go 10 feet.

Same goes for the nomad's teleport-stabs, sensory projection, grabbing/placing things beyond arm's reach, and so on. We know that some people consider teleporting to be a super-big-game-destroying-deal (think of the pits and walls!), but we're hoping that the variable and overall limited distance will prevent what I suppose some would consider abuse.

The next thing are "tear" abilities.

Adam had initially pitched this idea back during A Sundered World's development. The idea was that fold (the hold currency that the nomad uses for many of its abilities) would be used for more passive things like teleporting, while a "tear" currency could be gained and used for more destructive powers. I'm not sure why it didn't make the cut: maybe we couldn't make the mechanics work, or I didn't think players would want to juggle two types of hold (in addition to hold from defend and potentially other moves), but we're giving it a shot this time.

These are for when the nomad wants or needs to risk tearing open the fabric of space for various reasons. Examples we've cooked up in a pair of G+ comments are to give you a bonus to the ripple die on the following round, dealing area-effect damage (based on the fabriquake move from A Sundered World: Player Fragments), creating a zone where everyone is hasted or slowed, teleporting a creature away (with or without damage), and even shuffling everyone in an area about.

Though these are also usable whenever, the nomad must make an Intelligence check each time he gives it a shot. Failure means rolling on a Calamity Table to see how it backfires: could mean you take some damage or are dazed/stunned, but you could also accidentally summon something from beyond space and time. Ideally I'd like to have one Calamity Table, but depending on how many tear abilities we cook up they might each have their own (or there might be a few tables and each ability will refer you to a specific Calamity Table).

Finally, some nomad abilities will be usable whenever-if-you-have-enough-time, or be passive effects. An example of the former is a really long range teleport, taking 10 minutes or 10 minutes per x miles or something like that, and an example of the latter would be a talent like Making Waves, which bumps up the next ripple die roll by +1 for each 10 feet you move on your turn (encouraging you to stay on the move).

If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

The Rogue is our latest alternate-addition to the Dungeon World core class roster. If you want something different and/or more flexible than the thief, be sure to check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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