So, my website is down for the time being, and I'm unable to work on the character classes - I was in the midst of updating the "Speaker" classes when the site went down for maintenance. Bad timing is timed badly.
Anyhow, I thought I'd take the time to go over the Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons prestige classes, and how they might be represented in my game system, since one of my little side-goals is to eventually give everything in Third or Fourth Edition (or First, or Second, ... eventually)
a home, even if it takes a little translation to get there.
I figured I'd start with the prestige classes that appeared in the Dungeon Master's Guide,
since those were pretty much the first. I mean, I guess. The Player's Handbook
doesn't have any, and the DMG
is the only core book with prestige classes, so ... "start with the core," I guess.DMG
prestige classes include: Arcane Archer, Arcane Trickster, Archmage, Assassin, Blackguard, Dragon Disciple, Duelist, Dwarven Defender, Eldritch Knight, Hierophant, Horizon Walker, Loremaster, Mystic Theurge, Red Wizard, Shadowdancer, and Thaumaturgist.
First, a note on my system and how it handles skills and classes. In a word, it doesn't. I suppose that's two words. Or three, if you count the contraction as two. I mean, actually the classes aren't what makes the game go 'round. They're just one option, and they're an offshoot of skills, which also are an option for the game. So any discussion of classes and skills is really just talking about one part of the game, which isn't even integral.
is a class-based system, so it's probably one of the first things that players fresh from D&D will look for -- my system uses twelve skills, grouped roughly into four categories: Athletics, Discipline, Initiative, Academics, Creation, Cultures, Intuition, Perception, Survival, Deception, Persuasion,
Each skill has a corresponding "base class," which is really just a fancy way of describing a specialist in the skill as it pertains to the setting. Scribes
(survival), and Bards
Similar to Fourth Edition, each class will be designed with the intent to hold its own in combat, or in any arena of the game, which includes exploration, character interaction, item creation, and puzzle-solving, among others.
So, where do prestige classes come in? Well, rather than creating a system of generic fantasy archetypes for players to choose from in order to create their own generic fantasy character, the system starts everyone off with cool, specialized powers and abilities from first level. Rather than offering a buffet for players to pick and choose (and always coming back to the same kinds of characters because that's all they know),
my system offers players a meal over multiple courses.
In other words, rather than trying to make every character class as robust as possible in order to fit every possible archetype, a character class will be built with a specific power and flavor in mind, with fewer options made available at once. Do you want the chicken, the beef, the lamb, or the shrimp? Do you want the soup or salad? Fruit or vegetables? Would you like milk, juice, water, or coffee to drink?
Rather than inundating players with options right out the door, they have a simple platter to choose from. And I've gotten away from my point. Wait, no I haven't, because I was talking about how prestige classes make things more delicious. Right.
The Arcane Archer
is a class that enables its members to imbue their arrows with magic to make them more potent. Using my system, this class would probably be rendered as a form of Smith, based on their ability to modify and/or enhance objects. The closest equivalent to "Arcane" magic in my game's setting is probably derived from the Spectral state, so ultimately you're probably looking at a bow-wielding Smith of the Spectral state.
The Arcane Trickster
is an incredibly generic prestige class. I'm still not sure if my system will have an equivalent of the Sneak Attack class feature from Dungeons & Dragons, so it's difficult to make a decision based on that. Thematically,
however, my game's equivalent would probably be a Sneak of the Spectral state (similar to the Arcane Archer above), though much more than that would basically be up to the player.
is a prestige class that enables its members to alter the nature of their own magic. They understand the rules of magic, and they understand how to break the rules of magic. This class is another that would probably belong to the Spectral state, and more than likely would be based on the Scribe.Assassins
are another class, fairly generic in its name, with flavor that makes it somewhat unique to Dungeons & Dragons.
To be an assassin by occupation, one must be able to kill by any of a number of means, so long as they're successful. D&D Assassins, however, have special resistances to poison, and a nigh-supernatural ability to deliver death with a single attack. Like the Arcane Trickster, they are probably Sneaks of the Spectral state.
The D&D Blackguard
, sometimes referred to as an Anti-Paladin, has powers similar to those of a paladin, albeit of a darker nature. My game's setting has no alignment system, and so the line between the two is much thinner than in D&D. Blackguards are champions and leaders of the Powers That Be (whether fighting for good or ill), and as such, are likely Marshals of the Empyreal state.
A Dragon Disciple
is a strange creature, focused toward unlocking its own potential through the exploitation of magic that dwells within its blood. As dragons in my setting are akin to a force of nature rather than a beast of supreme magical power, my system's equivalent of the Dragon Disciple would likely be of Brave of the Elemental state.
, or swashbuckler, is geared toward winning fights through skill and finesse honed through practice. They rely primarily on martial prowess, and as such, are most likely Braves of the Natural state of magic.
The Dwarven Defender
would be regarded as a Natural Soldier. Never mind the racial requirement, as the setting simply doesn't include dwarves.
The Eldritch Knight
is another pretty generic class. Though they're depicted on a flying carpet in the DMG,
they have no cultural theme, and their only requirements include a combination of martial and magical training. As such, they're more than likely Braves of the Natural or Spectral, or even the Primeval state.
While it might be tempting to call a D&D Hierophant
a kind of cleric, they're actually more akin to the Archmage (above). They are therefore more than likely Scribes of the Empyreal (or possibly the Ethereal) state, depending on whether they're agents of the Powers That Be, or follow the voices of their Ancestors.
The Horizon Walker
is probably an Elemental Hunter. Since they focus on survival in a variety of hostile environments, be they natural or extraplanar, they probably utilize the Elemental state -- and since the majority of their powers grant them a familiarity with the environment, fluidity of movement, and/or some kind of offensive bonus against native creatures -- Hunter.
, is first and foremost a Scribe, though what type of Scribe is difficult to determine. The first and most likely option is Spectral, since that state is the most concerned with research and the closest equivalent of Arcane power. The second option is a tie between Sidereal and Ethereal, though it leans a little bit more toward Ethereal. Honestly, the class's flavor is so generic it's difficult to place.
When it comes to the Mystic Theurge
, you're probably dealing with a Scribe of either the Ethereal or Sidereal state. Since the D&D class draws power simultaneously from Arcane and Divine sources, they would probably fall somewhere between the Arcane and Divine equivalents in the Wheel of States. Therefore, likely Ethereal.Red Wizards
, being focused on the single-minded pursuit of one school of arcane magic, are more than likely Scribes of the Spectral state, as most of the wizard prestige classes in the DMG
are. I mean, really. They're just a bunch of different wizard specializations, aren't they?
is thematically related to performance dance and illusions. As the vast majority of illusions spring from the Primeval state of magic (being the magic of wondrous mystery and enchantment), it is likely that the Shadowdancer is a Primeval Bard. If they're more geared toward deceiving enemies, they'll be a Primeval Sneak. Either way.
prestige class is geared almost specifically toward divine summoners. Summoning is not, by itself, a spellcaster archetype supported by my game system in its purest form, though any one of the leader-type classes could be considered a summoner of sorts (Bard, Cleric, Mystic, or Marshal). Since the Thaumaturgist seems primarily oriented toward calling on powerful extraplanar allies, I'm going to go ahead and call this an Empyreal Cleric and be done with it.
So, to review, that's
Arcane Archer - Spectral Smith
Arcane Trickster - Spectral Sneak
Archmage - Spectral Scribe
Assassin - Spectral Sneak
Blackguard - Empyreal Marshal
Dragon Disciple - Elemental Brave
Duelist - Natural Brave
Dwarven Defender - Natural Soldier
Eldritch Knight - Spectral Brave
Hierophant - Empyreal Scribe
Horizon Walker - Elemental Hunter
Loremaster - Spectral/Sidereal/Ethereal Scribe
Mystic Theurge - Ethereal Scribe
Red Wizard - Spectral Scribe
Shadowdancer - Primeval Bard
Thaumaturgist - Empyreal Cleric