The struggle of character class against character class

In WHITEFRANK CLASSES I added a section on Anarchists. WHITEFRANK is one of the OSR games where not all characters have to have a character class. Anarchists have no class, deliberately. This is because they believe, and fight on the basis that, character classes are an oppressive system of enslavement that prevents ordinary non-classed characters from siezing the means of production. They teach the Marxist dialectic that the struggle of character class against character class is a political struggle. In the first sourcebook, Anarchists are plotters and terrorists, throwing grenades at diplomats and furious that the kingdom where they slaughtered all the knights and princesses turned into an empire and not their perfect classless society. Having purged one set of character classes, different even more tyrannical character classes took power.

It is contrasted with the struggle of Barbarian and Horse Nomad classes against neighbouring character classes who push them off or restrict their travel across traditional homelands. It is also contrasted with the largely no-class Humans who follow the High Church of the One True Way, who wish to end a different character class: Elves.

What I wanted to attack was the assumption or presumption that the composition of a game’s society must be static or status quo. A natural tension exists between Merchants and Princesses because the credit card type weakness of the Princess class is how Merchants make a lot of their money. Likewise if the Church prevails, the character class - and species - of Elf will disappear. But since the godlike female beings the Elves claim as ancestors are still around they will be drawn into a war with powerful Human forces.

I added this to keep the Minnesota Sessions flavor - negotiations, conflict, politics and wheeling dealing - as an essential possible layer of story telling and play.

Even in a planetary romance setting, one can see the shift in character classes as a political struggle. John Carter overthrows a character class of priests, Flash Gordon ends entire character classes of troopers and so on.

Oh, do a Capitalist class next where your scores are all really low and your not capable of doing anything on your own but you take all the fruits of the labor of all the other party members!

Interesting way of tracking the dynamics between the different types of character classes and the different roles seen in a setting or world. Though I feel like this gamifies the campaign more than normally seen, but makes keeping mechanics tracking easier since you can just make a generic stat block for a given social group or culture of people. IE and using your Anarchist example, you can have an Anarchist stat-block for a given organization, but have a different stat block generated for another Anarchist Organization who have either different motives or different modes of operation.

For example, in my Dreamland project I’m doing on my own, the King of the City of Roy would likely be constructed like a PC with a PC class, abilities and his own ability score line (though one reflective of how I see him in the story I feature him in) but the Court of Nobles that surround him would be given the generic Noble Class/Stat-block which would have slight differences depending on how special the NPC in question is (while still using either the strengths and weaknesses of the Generic Stat-block with tweaks for that particular personality attached to it).

Though I’m partial to bisecting the Stat-Block/class options NPCs and PCs have access to. This isn’t to stifle any creativity, but as a sanity saver since having so many different details to keep track of (at least in theory). Though I feel like in application this could be far easier.

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that is close to the Merchant class. They lend money and trade via caravans. They can speak well, have no special fighting abilities and use Barbarian Swordsmen as muscle. The game stresses inter-player negotiations or stories as much as violence so there are all sorts of nonviolent characters. But the Anarchist and the Church-Elf conflict are ways to have “natural selection” pressures. Likewise if enough Princesses are foreclosed on by enough Merchants, that will eventually result in the Merchants displacing the aristocracy.

Using the stat block type approach allows quick adoption of characters for use as NPCs with still enough detail to know how they’ll function. It does work well. I think sometimes the wall of text character sheets for NPCs is a way to hide story telling decisions and it shouldn’t be needed.

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Fair, at times I find Stat-blocks more than the size of a notecard to be a bit much when it comes to basic creatures or individuals for a given game. Though there is a certain point a small paragraph or blurb can give life to a Stat-block with a small table showcasing different aspects that can be played up can be helpful. What you describe through can be showcased in a web diagram with different colored lines showing their attitudes to one another.

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I think when it reaches the level of “Count Stroganoff has 3 points of Civility.” it’s complete nonsense. Hard to play a role when statistics are treated like artillery pieces with rounds chambered.

Part of that is dependent on the system and the context the rules are written in. Some systems i have seen use a scale of some variety to gauge behavior while others use an adjective before the given straight tied to the particular block. I’m more thinking of the later than the former (though the former option does has it place in the OSR and greater TTRPG scene).

Why I took the step of abandoning traditional statistics and went back that extra step to Braunstein / Brown Stone style was I think too often players hit “you don’t have enough points of Diplomacy” or “you’re Neutral, that isn’t how you’d do it” and even worse, the way morality becomes optional and it is no longer allowed to call something or someone definitely evil. Sickness, evil, hostility-- not difficult to “quantify” really. Likewise Skills should follow roleplaying I think, always. If a player solves something or tells a good story - GREAT! Bonuses should make rolls easier but rolls should not be determinative except where something is out of a person’s control in real life, if it at all possible.