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Pre-Crossing gameplay

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  • Pre-Crossing gameplay

    I'm planning a campaign that's not Legendlore, but which has a similar “people from modern Earth cross over into a fantasy setting” notion to it. The catch is that I want to start the story out on Earth, and to spend a decent amount of time doing setup for the plot that will kick in once the Crossing takes place. Something more lengthy and involved than a Session Zero, where there's actual roleplaying and even possibly exploration and combat going on, as hints of what's to come slowly reveal themselves until a climactic event ends in the Crossing; and “nothing will ever be the same”.

    In order to do this, I need two things: first a way to represent characters in the modern world using mechanics compatible with D&D mechanics; and second, a way to transition from that to full-on D&D once the Crossing takes place. One difficulty I'm facing is that D&D Classes are ill-suited to the real world: anything that's not Barbarian, Fighter, or Rogue doesn't stand a chance of making sense in the context of the real world, due to a lack of availability of supernatural elements; and even those three have the problem that the way D&D leveling works would very quickly turn those characters into demigods.

    I'm considering a number of possible solutions here: first, I'm thinking of saying that while ion Earth, leveling up doesn't grant extra hit points or make attacks more powerful; but once the Crossing takes place, that changes. Second, I'm thinking of giving the players access to classes specifically designed to represent people living on a modern Earth; and when the Crossing takes place, they get to trade levels in these Modern classes for levels in Fantasy classes, as part of the process of Crossing over. The Modern classes need to be interesting enough for the players to want to pursue them in their own right during the first phase of the game; but they don't need to be as good as the Fantasy classes that will eventually become available, because of the “class swap-out” part of the Crossing.

    The catch is, what should these Modern classes be? I have a few ideas for what to do here; though I'll hold off on saying what they are until I get some feedback.

    How would you go about designing “D&D 5e”-esque classes to represent characters living on the modern Earth prior to the Crossing?

  • #2
    Something like Scion’s Callings (mortal-level), based on ‘job’ archetypes?

    Something based on Attributes, using something like TC’s Talent Gifts?

    MtAw Homebrew:
    Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
    New 2E Legacies, expanded


    • #3
      Some of my thoughts:

      First, I'm thinking of coming up with rough modern-day analogs of D&D5e classes: something like an Athlete class instead of the Barbarian class (still based heavily on physical performance; just not so much on the brute violence — though American Football and Rugby show that there's a place for even that); an Entertainer class instead of the Bard; a First Responder class (lifeguards, paramedics, firefighters, and maybe even beat cops) instead of the Cleric, representing people who put themselves in harm's way to save lives; and so on.

      Some classes need little to no conceptual adjustment: Fighter, Gunslinger, and Rogue are already where they need to be concept-wise, and just need to be adjusted for the grittier tone. Others strike me as not translating well at all: Sorcerers and Warlocks in particular are both a little too rooted in mystical elements to survive the transition: “reinterpreting” them for a modern, non-magical world would gut them. But I think I could manage with just about everything else: Monks become Martial Artists, Wizards become Scientists, Paladins possibly become Lawmen, and even Druids might be salvageable as game wardens and the like: focus on people who interact with flora and fauna on their careers. The Gunslinger basically is an adaptation of the Ranger to a non-magical baseline, but with guns instead of archery. I'm thinking of doing an Artificer-like Engineer class instead of trying to do anything with the Alchemist.

      And finally, I'm thinking of maybe adding a few classes: an Investigator (detectives and journalists) and/or a Merchant.

      That said, another possibility I'm considering would be a Civilian class that's designed to leverage one's Background, representing someone who didn't just start out as, say, an Activist, Medical Professional, or Working Poor, but who has continued on with their Background career, in a way that's useful to adventures. This would focus heavily on Features that enhance the Proficiencies that your Background supplies, possibly along with subclass options built around broad categories of Backgrounds (e.g., one for civilians with physically demanding jobs, another for intellectually oriented careers, and another for careers with a heavy social component, like salesmen and politicians).


      • #4
        Sorcerers could be Artists, playing into the trope of artistic genius as something you are born with. Warlocks could be Politicians, Activists, and Lawmen, with the heavy emphasis on tapping into a greater corpus of power. I imagine Paladins as First Responders, and Clerics as both ‘real’ clerics and the fortune-telling occultists.

        But the Civilian Class as the basic, with a very broad range of subclassses, do sound clean.

        Hmm, I’ve only really glanced at this gameline; maybe I want to go further…

        MtAw Homebrew:
        Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
        New 2E Legacies, expanded


        • #5
          Also, you could us Earth's Hackers as Mages on general - particulary Wizards.

          If you can go out of D&D previous mechanics - you can use simply Trinity Core with particular Origin and Role Paths as Earth part of the game.

          My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
          LGBT+ through Ages
          LGBT+ in CoD games