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Yossarian
2006-03-12, 01:59 PM
Hi all. I'm quite new to D&D, but I'm an avid tinkerer in game design (both the number-crunching bits and world-writing bits) and find myself brainstorming ideas for a world setting. Now I don't expect to be coming up with anything useful anytime soon, being as I have only the very barest familiarity with the game system, but I figure by the time I have enough experience to start thinking about doing anything serious I should have plenty of material to work with.

This leads to a question of preference: if the world I'm laying the foundations for features a race or class which is similar to, but functionally distinct from one of the core races/classes, is it better to reuse names to link them to core material, or to come up with new names to hammer in the point that they're different? Like say if the traditional D&D concept of "paladin" didn't fit in your world, but you wanted a different sort of holy warrior interpretation available, would it be a better idea to rewrite the paladin class and say "Here, paladins work totally different in this world" or to scratch paladins out entirely and say "No, there's no paladins here, you can be a ______ instead."

This is a pretty academic question for me, but I was just curious as to what others think on the subject.

tgva8889
2006-03-12, 02:11 PM
Depends if it makes sense to you in your world to still call this "new class" paladins. If it doesn't make sense, then change the name. If you change the paladin class, it will be as if it was always that way to the people of your world. This is the same for other classes, though most people in the world do not refer to them as classes. To them, a Paladin would be some kind of holy warrior against good, while a fighter would be a trained soldier and a barbarian would be a wild man who uses his rage to implement his power.

Basically, the people of your world see classes as just types of people. The guy in the armor is probably a soldier to them, even if he has a warhorse. If you want to change the paladin class, do what you want with the name, it won't matter. If you wanted to use it together with the paladin class, then change the name.

Yossarian
2006-03-12, 02:40 PM
Indeed, the people in this world have no concept of a "character class". I'm not writing the setting for the fictional people who live in the setting; I'm writing it for the players who may someday be playing it, who will at least in part be thinking of them as "classes".

So, to rephrase the question somewhat: if I have something that is somewhat like a paladin but different, will it be easier for players to grasp if I just call it a paladin, or should I rename it so they won't get hung up on the differences between the "pseudopaladin" and the paladins they're used to?

Hallavast
2006-03-12, 02:48 PM
Ha! Ever heard of the "Knights of Solamnia"? They replace paladins in dragonlance. Giving these new classes different names will certainly give your world some flavor... the downside, however, is that some insensitive players might poke fun of your new class names... >:(

For instance, whenever one of my players refers to the knights, he always puts the words in quotations ... jerk ...

SilverElf4
2006-03-13, 02:47 PM
In my own campaign, paladin is just a word used to describe good, armored heroes. Sometimes thats a cleric on horseback, and sometimes that's a specialty holy-warrior type that I came up with to replace the paladin class.

In the introductory write up, I listed classes that could be taken as-was, classes with minor changes, and then classes with major changes, and then listed banned classes, and finally with a big bold heading, new classes.

It was messy to look at, but the players appreciated the categorization when they went to make characters.

The_Logic_Ninja
2006-03-13, 03:19 PM
Yossarian--depends on how different it is. You can call it a "Paladin variant" and warn players it doesn't play like a typical paladin.

MrNexx
2006-03-13, 06:17 PM
I would suggest an alternate name, myself; it helps to divorce the altered class from the original in the minds of the players to be a "Crusader of Barsoom" instead of a "Paladin". Even if they never refer to themselves as a Paladin IC, there's still going to be that hanging in the back of their heads.

Gordon
2006-03-13, 08:27 PM
For instance, whenever one of my players refers to the knights, he always puts the words in quotations ... jerk ...

A player after my own heart. :D

Ultimately it depends on whether you think the new names will be flavorful enough that they reshape the way your players think about the setting and the game. If Athasian "Bards" poison people and assassinate their hosts routinely, then it might be worth coming up with another name for them. If the "Knights of Solamnia" are basically just Paladins with the serial numbers filed off, then you get no real bang for the buck of making the players say the extra three syllables, and are essentially wasting their time.

I guess for me, that's whaat it boils down to-- are your names making the world more exciting and intriguing, or are you wasting the players' time?

thatguy
2006-03-13, 09:41 PM
Ah, the Athasian bards. Who doesn't miss them? So cool...you won't find that level of coolness in FR I'll tell you what.

MrNexx
2006-03-14, 04:34 AM
Ah, the Athasian bards. Who doesn't miss them? So cool...you won't find that level of coolness in FR I'll tell you what.

Eh... I would've prefered if poison was just one of several options for an Athasian bard. After all, if they're all known to be assassins, who on earth would let them into the house?

Gordon
2006-03-14, 08:25 AM
Eh... I would've prefered if poison was just one of several options for an Athasian bard. *After all, if they're all known to be assassins, who on earth would let them into the house?

"Yes, we all know rock stars do drugs, but we still invite them to the party, because everyone wants to hear 'em play."

1. They're also the easiest way to identify arcane artifacts without practicing magic or just handing them over to the Templars.
2. With luck, you aren't the target, but one of your guests is.
3. Lord So-and-so had them in his house last month, and if you turn them away, he'll take it as a personal insult. Risk of minor problem is better than open warfare with another aristocrat.