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1. Forgetting to balance enchantments. You have your two-handed weapon, 1h weapon & shield and dual wielding 1h weapons options. Which ones ill you go for? In most CRPG's you'd go for the last two. Why? Because the designers seem to forget that TWO magical items equals TWICE the magical enchantments, hence why such combos are almost always vastly superior to a 2h weapon. You have a paralisis enchantment on that big 2H axe? That's nice, I got a paralisyis enchantment on my 1h sword and a blindness enchantment on my 1h mace. I deal 2(3?) damage types and have twice the chance to incapacitate you. What's that? But you do more damage 2d6 +5 fire damage? Not bad. I do 1d8+5 fire and 1d6+5 ice damage. Opps. Looks like you underperform there too. 2. Loot/magic obsession. Finding loot is part of a CRPG charm. But it's not waht a CRPG should be about. It's not why we remember great fnatasy stories. Your average CRPG protagonists goes trough magical items faster than a starving man trough food. Magical items constantly discarded, used for 5 minutes untill a better weapon comes along. Long before the end of the game, every single inventory slot is filled with magical items. By the end, a character would cause a magic detector to explode. She sheer magniute of magical energy radiated over the hoards of legendary/epic items that the world hasn't seen in millenia would be OVER 9000!!! Magic and magical items are overused. When everything is magical, nothing is. Magic itself loses part of it's charm and "oomph". Powerful magical items are ntohing but trinkets to be discarded. When you think of Aragorn - was every single thing he carried magical? Did it have to be? Do characters in fantasy storeis switch equipment every 5 minutes? No, they find something nice and stick with it. It's one of the reasons I loved BG1 atmosphere so much. It felt so real. A qualtiy steel weapon was viable even at end game. You didn't finish the game with everything being a magical +5,+10 uber-item. 3. if less is more, more is less? Padding the game length with unnecessary, repettiive fight. Every road will have bandits. Or hostile wildlife with no sense of self-perserveation. And they will respawn. Sometimes entire game sections will be nothing more than padding (looking at you FF) /fillers. Because clearly, long game = automaticly better game. Right? Right?
I've been thinking about the barbarian class a lot since the beginning of this whole kickstarter and they, like monks, have always rubbed me the wrong way. I decided to read a little about the history of barbarians as well as previous PnP implementations of the "class." From a historical perspective, barbarian as a term has, except for a few notable exceptions, been used as a pejorative by different civilizations (mainly the Greek) to describe a savage outsider. Many of these outsiders were, of course, not savages nor were they bloodthirsty raging fighters. A more complete description can be found on wikipedia. From a gaming perspective, generally speaking, barbarians have always just been considered some sort of "raging fighter with low intellect" and seem pretty railroaded into a very narrow niche class. In fact, an earlier poll on this site singled the barbarian class as the least interesting for players to start with. Generally, barbarians are raging machines with d12 hit-dice, and pretty much always played as a low intelligence class. It is easy to see why such characters are rarely interesting to play and even less interesting to role-play. From this it seems to me that barbarians should not continue to be pigeonholed into such trite stereotypes, nor should they be known as just a "raging warrior with d12 hit-dice." Rather, the barbarian should embrace his/her description and the designers should find interesting mechanics for the barbarian. I have detailed a few below. The Barbarian Class The barbarian is ultimately a person from a tribe or group of peoples outside of what is known as "modern civilization." This does not mean that barbarians are ruthless savages, unintelligent, or uncultured. Rather they are of the disenfranchised groups whose culture has not become the norm. In city-states like the Free Palatinate of Dyrwood or Vailian republics, these people are always considered outsiders. However, barbarians have lived a life as outsiders and know the value of culture and tradition. They are thus welcomed into smaller villages and tribes as they show these people the respect that others do not. Similarly, because of the lives that they have lived without the "comforts" of modern civilization, many barbarians are hardy people. They are hard-working, many of them are intelligent, and above all else, they value their communities. Skill bonuses and maluses: 1- Barbarians do not know the common tongue. As such, they have difficulty communicating with the public of the modern city-states. They are generally looked down upon by people who live within cities. On the other hand, they are well-versed in languages outside of the common tongue (player gets to choose which language). Don't know common. Knows two non-common languages. 2- Hit dice. Because of their hardy lifestyles, barbarians are generally healthier and live longer than than their city cousins. Hit dice gets a bonus. 3- Barbarians because they are outsiders get very severe reactions from people. If they gain favor with factions, their reputation increases faster than normal. If they lose favor, their reputation decreases faster than normal. They always start with low reputations inside cities. They always have higher reputations in outlying tribes/villages. 4- Barbarians have used weapons to defend their communities from outside invaders. As such they have skill with certain tools that have been used as weapons. (Specifics here probably should be detailed when more is known about the weapons) These weapons are most likely tribal weapons like the spear, the hand-made axe, and bows. Perhaps some have skill with farming tools and peasant tools as they have seen these used. 5- Barbarians utilize their tribal communities and the ways of the tribes effectively. They will have bonuses that deal with utilizing such communal skills. For example, it could be possible for them to become extremely defensive of their party because they begin to see them as part of their family. So, if any of them get severely injured, barbarians defend them zealously as they would their own kin. This is obviously a very rough introductory sketch. I just think that it's a shame to continue the stereotype that all barbarians are supposed to be these "savages" that don't know anything and are dumb fighters. Expanding the class and allowing room for barbarians to be played in a variety of ways makes the class much more interesting and much more worthwhile. Let me know your own thoughts on where the barbarians should go. What sort of mechanics they should have and shouldn't have.