The Justification for NOT Using Supplemental Classes

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Hackworthy
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The Justification for NOT Using Supplemental Classes

Post Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:57 pm

Hello, everyone. I just got into BFRPG this month and last night ran my first session. I started with DnD 3.5 about 15 years ago, moved to 4e briefly, ran screaming from 4e to Pathfinder and played that from about 2012 to 2016. By the time I quit Pathfinder my group had accumulated probably close 100 sourcebooks and supplements, it was absolutely insane. People were building characters drawn from a dozen books and the whole thing became this nauseatingly byzantine exercise in rules-lawyering that felt claustrophobic. I quit Pathfinder disillusioned and Pathfinder 2e or DnD 5e offer nothing that makes me want to go back to either. Even 3.5 is too bloated for me to roll back to. So, looking for something pure and simple I stumbled across the core book of BFRPG on Amazon. I love this system and prefer to run it with very little in the way of supplements. (I only use Gnomes, Half-Humans, 0-Level Spells, Secondary Skills, Armor and Shields and Arcane Bolts for Magic-Users.)

All of that said; I had a lengthy debate with one of my players about the lack of classes we, as people who started with 3.5, consider to be "Core". I.E.: Rangers, Monks, Paladins, Druids, Bards and Barbarians. I personally didn't want to include the supplements for these classes because I enjoy the simplistic purity of the 4 true core classes. I mean, am I not correct in asserting that those other classes aren't needed because they're just an alternate way to define one of the true core classes? I mean, for example: A Cleric who worships a nature goddess IS a Druid, if he worships a death god then he IS a Necromancer. He has the appropriate powers, he can dress himself however he wants and follow whatever ethos is suitable. This leaves the freedom for the GM and Player to take a more nuanced approach to these kinds of characters. I also allow a Fighter or Rogue to learn Orisons based on his Wisdom modifier or Cantrips based on his Intelligence modifier which to my mind allows one to create a "Paladin-like" or "Ranger-like" character. Any Fighter can essentially be a Monk or Barbarian if he wants to. Am I wrong here? I don't want people to feel like I'm being unfairly restrictive but I feel like I'm keeping things nice and, well, basic for everyone and giving people the freedom to define their character however they want.

I guess what I'm wondering is: Has anyone else come to BFRPG from a later edition of DnD and how do you get your players to adjust to the change?
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teaman
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Re: The Justification for NOT Using Supplemental Classes

Post Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:05 pm

I allow players to use supplemental classes, but THEY keep track of all the class features. Same for races beyond human, dwarf, elf and halfling.

That said, it is much easier for me as a DM when they stick to the standard classes. That still leaves a ton of room for variety. I've had a single player run a tough, NFL type fighter and a swashbuckling fighter. Both boilerplate fighters, but played completely differently. One was tactical and tough, the other rushed into danger in a noble fashion. Both memorable because of the enthusiasm and creativity of the player rather than the stats.

This may not help much, but it's my experiences.
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Re: The Justification for NOT Using Supplemental Classes

Post Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:25 pm

Keep it as simple and fun as the table can.

Both simplicity and sense of fun will change form table to table, find your group's balance and go with it.
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SmootRK
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Re: The Justification for NOT Using Supplemental Classes

Post Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:39 pm

Put me in for extra stuff like some classes, races, spells etc. I like having some extra bits, especially the sort of stuff to help make characters that really cannot be vanilla core 4 classes.

For instance, the fighter as written just works best as a generic sword and board fighter. There is nothing built into the class that really helps realize a fast and dexterous swashbuckler. If the fighter has good dex, he still benefits most from wearing platemail?! Sometimes one needs something tailored a bit... so wahlah, pre-built classes can make things work a bit better for a particular vision of a character archetype.

So yeah, I like a few extra choices. That said, I am still fairly strict in that I stick to just a few such options whenever I can. I wrote up my own versions of Rangers, Paladin-ish types, etc. and I stay away from many other similar options. I believe my basic assortment covers the tastes of most players really well without having to let things devolve into the mess that the 3e morass of options became.

I also like MORE of certain things... spells, magic items, monsters, etc. more more more of this sort of stuff is always welcome.
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Hackworthy
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Re: The Justification for NOT Using Supplemental Classes

Post Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:18 pm

Played again last night, things are going good. Everyone is liking the system aside from the continued class gripe. I'm considering allowing the Quasi-classes supplement for the next campaign as a compromise.
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Re: The Justification for NOT Using Supplemental Classes

Post Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:22 pm

We recently hacked our BFRPG rules/ campaign with Knave RPG which is a classless RPG. Knave is really too simple to be used on it on and, of course, we love BFRPG and it has everything that Knave lacks . . . rules for various situations, spells, bestiary, etc.

We were trying to expand and add in the supplements with BFRPG because one wanted to be a bard and one wanted to be a ranger and so forth. But players kept forgetting their special abilities, bonuses, etc. - and as the GM - I have enough to keep up with. It was getting frustrating. And also, some were not keeping up with encumbrance and were basically loaded up like mini-tanks and were just wading through enemies/ fights.

The implementation of the Knave rules really solved both of these problems. There is no "class" and so now when someone wants to be a ranger, wizard, bard, etc., I say to them, "Cool, go find a guitar if you want to be bard." And then I look at the Bard class and give them whatever bonus/ benefit of the guitar/ whatever. If they want to be a ranger with a pet mountain lion, I say, "Cool, go find a mountain lion cub and find some training on how to raise and train a mountain lion . . . or some magical item/ spell to help with that." You get the point. And by the way, these desires to be something or other lead to quests and such. Good stuff

And nothing gets out of whack power/ benefit wise because Knave has a slot system for encumbrance. Carrying a guitar means that you cannot carry other items, gear, etc. that would help in other areas. Having a mountain lion with you would take up a couple of slots as well because, hey, you've got to take care of the big cat. It all works out and it extremely easy for me as the GM because I don't have to worry about all the extra rules and such.

I don't want to promote another RPG product on here or anything. I just wanted to share my experience of working with supplements and trying to make all the players happy. I love BFRPG and it is still the basis of our gaming and it always will be. It's just great material, it's free, and it's easy to run. But I thought that what we are doing might be able to help some.

I GM for my two boys and their friends, which are adolescents and teenagers. All they care about is fighting, looting, and doing crazy stuff. I love the way that we are playing now because it adds an extra dimension to all these things.
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SmootRK
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Re: The Justification for NOT Using Supplemental Classes

Post Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:35 pm

Hackworthy wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:18 pm
Played again last night, things are going good. Everyone is liking the system aside from the continued class gripe. I'm considering allowing the Quasi-classes supplement for the next campaign as a compromise.
Quasi-Classes are great way to greatly expand options for characters with just a few add-on rules. I use these often.
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Longman
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Re: The Justification for NOT Using Supplemental Classes

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 12:18 am

In regards to Druids, Necromancers, and so on, I think the answer depends entirely on what sort of spell lists you have. If you look at the Cleric spells in the core rules, only a few spells at 1st and 2nd level really stand out as 'Druid' spells: Charm Animal and Speak with Animals - and maybe Resist Cold, Resist Fire, and Find Traps if it was a version that detected outdoor traps.

If you want to say that your Druid is just a nature cleric, that's fine, but I would want to include some more actual Druid spells in the list. Same goes for any more specialised spell-caster. That's why a lot of the specialist spell-caster supplements are full of new spells.

In terms of archetypes like the barbarian - yeah, I agree, you could just say your fighter is a barbarian and role-play going into a rage and that could work well. Your rogue can be an 'assassin' by using the basic rules to actually assassinate people. Your fighter or rogue can take on a ranger role, by using ability rolls or secondary skills to emulate their outdoor knowledge. Personally I like using the specialist classes, but I can see that it's not always necessary to entire new classes for these archetypes.

But in the case of the spell-casters, I think it helps to have additional spell lists available if someone at your table wants to flesh out one of those archetypes like druid, necromancer, illusionist or whatever.
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Hackworthy
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Re: The Justification for NOT Using Supplemental Classes

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:19 pm

Yeah and I can see that, I've just watched the last two games I played (3.5 and Pathfinder) go off the rails so I'm hyper-vigilant about allowing much in the way of "extras". Though, if Chris Gonnerman's posts on the matter of companion books is any indication I guess there isn't too much to worry about. We're nearly done with the brief campaign I've been running and I've printed off the Quasi-class supplement to let people use for our next one. (Which will probably be Morgansfort, I just ordered the Morgansfort, Adventure Anthology 1 & 2, Field Guide and Equipment Emporium books) Frankly, I have a soft-spot for Paladins and Necromancers so I might break on this at some point. I just don't want to find I don't like having the supplemental classes then backpedal and really disappoint people.
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Re: The Justification for NOT Using Supplemental Classes

Post Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:41 am

In a few games that I ran, I allowed rumors and tales of unusual spells be heard which gave a magic user character a goal to go looking for (a quest). It took them a few levels worth of adventuring to gain enough information to allow them to specialize into a pyromancer, a tweaked version not a as written version.

You can do this with other supplements. Let the PCs start out as the core classes then spend time chasing rumors and getting specific training to morph into the supplemental class. This method allows you to tweak the supplemental class to represent your vision of your game setting better than just using it as written.
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