Dungeons & Delvers: Paladin Preview

In our Age of Worms playtest campaign, Kelly wanted to take a level in paladin, which meant we had to at least hammer out the first level, something that I'd been meaning to do but spaced (along with a bunch of other things).

Back when Melissa and I were working on The Paladin for Dungeon World, we knew we didn't want to make it mostly a fighter/cleric hybrid, with maybe a few unique moves on the side; after a bunch of research and thinking, we eventually settled on having them gain various powers by embodying virtues.

Each virtue you choose gives you a bonus and an action or activity you're forbidden from doing, and the 2-5 and 6-10 moves boost them up even further (since you only got three at 1st-level, there were also advanced moves that let you choose more).

We wanted to do the same thing for the Black Book paladin, but we ran into a few issues way back when Melissa and I first tried hashing it out. The first was that some of the virtues didn't convert easily. For example, Charity let you transfer HP by touch (their wounds vanish and appear on you). Pretty easy, though it's harder to heal physical damage in Dungeon World: just slap on bandages and they're gone.

The virtue of Temperance was trickier. In Dungeon World you could turn a 10+ into a 7-9, which would let you later turn a miss into a 7-9. Doesn't feel right in a traditional d20 game, but I think now I'd have it modify the ready action, or give you some other bonus if you delay your initiative and let the bad guys go first.

The other issue was starting class features. Fighters get +1 to hit and damage rolls, and on Fortitude saves. They can also use any weapon and wear any armor. Seeing as paladins are at their core fighters, it makes sense to give them access to all of their class features, too. At least the melee stuff, though if we just stop there there's nothing to differentiate them from fighters. On the other hand, if you give them anything else, then it means that they're inherently better than melee fighters.

One option fighters have at 1st-level, is that you can swap out your damage bonus for another talent. We did this because Adam wanted a fighter that could utilize maneuvers, without having to wait until 2nd-level: we tried this out, and despite his lack of a damage bonus his character was still pretty brutal on the battlefield.

So for the paladin we're (currently) doing it like this:

Base Wound Points: 6+Constitution
Wound Points at Higher Levels: +4+Constitution
Base Vitality Points: 4
Vitality Points at Higher Levels: +2

Weapons: You can use any melee weapon.
Armor: You can wear any type of armor, and carry any type of shield.
Skills: Choose any three skills.

Everything above is what fighters get, except they're only proficient in melee weapons. For class features, they get +1 to attack rolls and Fortitude saves. Instead of a damage bonus, they start with holy strike and get to choose a single virtue:

Holy Strike: You gain a +1 damage bonus against demons, evil undead, and similar entities, and you can harm them normally even if they would normally require special substances or magic weapons. Some demons have damage resistance that can be overcome by silver, magical, or blessed weapons, and in Melissa's upcoming adventure there is a demon that is completely immune to non-magical weapons.

Virtue: Choose which virtue you most embody.

  • Charity (Sacrifice): As a Standard Action, you touch a creature and transfer their injuries to you. You lose a number of Wound Points, and they regain twice as many. This does not restore VP, and any excess WP gained are lost. You cannot reduce your WP to less than 0, and if the transfer would reduce you to 0, you fall unconscious as soon as the transfer is complete.
  • Chastity (Purity): You are immune to all poisons and disease.
  • Diligence (Persistence): In Dungeon World this gave you +1 forward (ie, +1 on the next move you make) when you "missed". Fighters get Press the Advantage, which gives you a +1 bonus whenever you keep attacking the same opponent, so I think for the paladin getting a one time, non-stacking +1 bonus when you fail an attack, save, or skill check and attempt the exact same action (ie, attacking the same creature, not attacking in general, climbing the same wall, etc).
  • Humility (Bravery): You are immune to fear, and allies that can see you add your Charisma to any saves or checks made to resist fear.
  • Kindness (Loyalty): When you use the aid action, you can add your Charisma to your check. You cannot be compelled, magically or otherwise, to betray your friends.
  • Patience (Mercy): You gain a +1 bonus on any check made to prevent conflict. You cannot be compelled, magically or otherwise, to kill a helpless creature.
  • Temperance (Restraint): I'm thinking that when you take the ready action, you add your Charisma when (if?) your attack is triggered. I'd like to add a further bonus that can be gained when you take your time or wait before giving it a shot. But, not sure right now: thoughts?

Not sure whether we want virtues to be gained at a set rate, or if you can use talents to pick up more whenever you want. We do want talents to build on virtues, giving you more out of them, though. Also have other things we can convert from the Dungeon World paladin. I'm thinking that they won't get the fighter's damage bonuses, but otherwise will be pretty much the same.

What do you think? Anything missing? Things you want to see? Suggestions on how to make it better (or just add more stuff to it)?

You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book in whatever format you want!

It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, 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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