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Thoughts on Specializations

Description: Why did I think making a game based on a JRPG series was a good idea

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Thoughts on Specializations

Post by Snorb »

Still working on Microsty Star, which is an m20 game based on my favorite JRPG series, Phantasy Star. (Mostly Phantasy Star Online, but a lot of influence from the Genesis games.) Your character has a choice of three character classes (Hunters, which are big, strong, and tough, experts with melee weapons; rangers, which are agile, swift, and expert marksmen; and forces, who are frail and masters of psionic techniques that are almost similar to d20 spells.) and starting at second level, you choose a specialization.

Your specialization does three things for you:

  • You add half your character level (rounded down) to a very narrow circumstance.
  • You can spend a Nei point (action points for those familiar with d20 Modern or Unearthed Arcana) to use a unique-for-your-specialization ability.
  • You qualify for feats that give you new abilities.

My idea was to base the specializations on the eight party members from Phantasy Star II (plus Rune from Phantasy Star IV.) This feels like a good idea to me, but the issue is figuring out what in the world these specializations actually do. My notes are scant here:

Biologist (Hugh) [My friend who I mention below suggested removing this specialization as he feels it's redundant with the field medic specialization. I prefer to leave this in because, hell, even if he's the least useful party member, he's still a PSII party member.]

  • Passive ability: Add half your character level to damage rolls made against beasts, monstrosities, oozes, and plants.
  • Nei point ability: Nothing yet.
  • Feats: Nothing yet. Poor Hugh; even in the pen and paper game nobody wants him in the party. ;_;

Elite Soldier (Rudo)

  • Passive ability: Subtract half your character level from all incoming damage (to a minimum of 0 damage.)
  • Nei point ability: (Reaction) The damage you just took is delayed until the end of your next turn.
  • Feats: Nothing yet.

Esper (Rune) [Unlike the other eight specializations here, Rune is from Phantasy Star IV.]

  • Passive ability: Add half your character level to the number of times per day you can use techniques.
  • Nei point ability: You can cast one Esper magic spell you know.
  • Feats: Esper magic! Twelve of them, from Bindwa (paralyze a creature temporarily) to Flaeli (massive fireball)! If Rune or Kyra could use it in Phantasy Star IV, it's available to you with the right feat slots!

Field Medic (Amy) [The best Phantasy Star II character. Prove me wrong.]

  • Passive ability: Add half your character level to all healing you perform (whether through the First Aid action, using a monomate, or casting the Resta technique.)
  • Nei point ability: (Swift action) Choose one living creature (human, genic, Moatoob, or Neudian) within 60 feet of you. They recover 1d4 + Charisma hit points. Any abilities that improve hit point recovery (such as your passive class bonus or the Empathy feat tree) improve this ability.
  • Feats: You can treat more patients with first aid (Ward Medic) or healing techniques (Saresta), perform surgery to remove ongoing conditions (Surgeon), use first aid to treat poisoning (Poison Specialist), or transfer hit points from yourself to another living being (Sak).

Guardian (Anna) [She's more like a bounty-hunter in-game, but her character bio calls her a Guardian.]

  • Passive ability: I'm leaning towards "add half your character level to damage rolls made against humanoids," but see below.
  • Nei point ability: (Swift action) Choose one humanoid you can see. You can add half your character level attack and damage rolls made against that humanoid. [This is basically the paladin smite.]
  • Feats: Nothing yet. I'm leaning towards adapting paladin-style abilities from Pathfinder 2e or finding a way to make this specialization high-risk, high-reward.

Martial Artist (Nei) [This was added at the suggestion of a friend whose favorite PSII character was Nei. Never mind the fact that she dies a third of the way through the game and is officially listed in-universe as having no job.]

  • Passive ability: Add half your character level to damage done with unarmed attacks and claws.
  • Nei point ability: Nothing yet.
  • Feats: Nothing yet.

Tendou Zanhaken Master (Rolf) [Yes, I played the Phantasy Star II Text Adventures.]

  • Passive ability: Add half your character level to damage done with swords (shortswords, longswords, bastard swords, greatswords, and daggers)
  • Nei point ability: You can spend a Nei point to use a Tendou Zanhaken feat that you know.
  • Feats: Not gonna lie, these are Chaz's special skills from Phantasy Star IV. Air Slash, Cross Cut, Earth Bind, Explode, and Rayblade.

Thief (Shir)

  • Passive ability: When you successfully attack a creature one of your allies is in melee combat with, add +Xd6 to the damage roll. (X is half your character level, rounded down.)
  • Nei point ability: You become invisible for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma (minimum 1 round.) This invisibility breaks if you do something to call attention to yourself (interacting with another being or making a loud enough sound, for example.)
  • Feats: Nothing yet. Shir doesn't do a lot of theft in Phantasy Star II, so I gotta come up with some thiefy feats.

Wrecker (Kain)

  • Passive ability: Add half your character level to damage rolls made against constructs and synths.
  • Nei point ability: Nothing yet.
  • Feats: Nothing yet; I'm leaning toward adapting some of Kain's machine-specific techniques from PSII.

As always, any thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated. _

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I wrote stuff:
The ArrrPG - A game about pirates.
Nakama: A Game of Magical Girls - A game about being Sailor Moon ripoffs PARODIES.
Intervigilum - A PbtA-ish game about being knights against the Dark.

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Re: Thoughts on Specializations

Post by quaffeine »

If I'm understanding these right, that they stack with the PC's "base class," I'd say they're a really nice rules-light approach to sub-classes, though better because they're not dependent on the base class.

I'm working on something a little crunchier for my game, but as the ideas are pretty similar... I like it!

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