There’s always someone looking to have someone else killed. Some warriors do it for Queen and country. Some do it for scumlords. Others do it for the glory or exhilaration of battle. A few do it for what they perceive to be the common good. Make no mistakes; a warrior is a killer. It may weigh heavy on their conscience, or they might carry it as light as a spring breeze, but there is always blood and death.
And that is how the entry for the warrior class opens in Delve. Often, class descriptions dance around the point when it comes to fighters and warriors. They describe actions that such characters take, ascribe benign motivations to martial skill, but I didn’t feel like doing that. Warriors are killers. It’s their business. It’s what they train to do. Their motivations might be pure, but their weapons and armor became soaked with blood and sprinkled with viscera more often than not. So I put that out in the open.
I think we sometimes forget that these games we play are fantasy. Often violent fantasies. And there is nothing wrong with that. It can be healthy, it can be cathartic, it can be fun. Roleplaying games allow us to visit other worlds that no longer exist and never existed in safe and enjoyable ways. To simpler times and strange utopias where the rules of everyday life do not apply. While modern societies’ problems are complex and nuanced, most of the issues in roleplaying games can be overcome with wit, magic, and feats of arms. It’s a compelling escape that taps into aspects of our genetic past and neural wiring and has been since the start—The joy of strategy, the thrill of adventure, the exhilaration of defeating your foes. This is the aspect of so many game-both ancient and modern.
-The great thing about these games is that you can engage in what is compelling without getting your hands dirty. I think H. G. Wells said it best (though a bit verbosely) in Little Wars.
“And if I might for a moment trumpet! How much better is this amiable miniature than the Real Thing! Here is a homeopathic remedy for the imaginative strategist. Here is the premeditation, the thrill, the strain of accumulating victory or disaster—and no smashed nor sanguinary bodies, no shattered fine buildings nor devastated country sides, no petty cruelties, none of that awful universal boredom and embitterment, that tiresome delay or stoppage or embarrassment of every gracious, bold, sweet, and charming thing, that we who are old enough to remember a real modern war know to be the reality of belligerence.”
If you are not familiar with Little Wars (or H. G. Wells), you should be. Wargaming for fun and enjoyment started with that luminary. While Gygax may be (one of) the fathers of D&D, Wells is the great grandfather.
When writing the warrior class for Delve, I wanted to look back to the roots as to why we find these games fun and compelling. There are many aspects—story, fantasy, and controlled violence. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not for everyone. I flit around enough on Twitter to know the arguments against it, and I want everyone to play the game they want to play for whatever reasons. But that includes…well…make-believe. I’m very interested in the human experience. Even the parts that we don’t want in modern societies. I’m interested in why, for so much human history, young and violent men shaped so much of history. Part of me wants to understand, so we never get there again (though Satan knows we’ve been flirting with such nonsense again). Part of me would like to drive it out through fun and cooperative methods.
I think it’s okay to indulge in your fictional dark side. I think it’s healthy, and like it or not, warriors, fighters, fighting-men, berserkers, barbarians are all classes that allow you to do so.
So, I’m blunt. I’m also blunt (or to the point) when I present the rest of the class.
Classes in Delve feature an introduction, putting the class in context to the game and the multiverse, followed by information important for when you take or level up in the class.
After the introduction, we talk about your character’s Hits. You gain Hits and Delve based on the people you choose (the Proto starts with four people: dwarves, elves, halflings, and humans) and your Endurance. You then add more Hits determined by your class. Warrior grants 10 Hits per level. This section gives information on how many Hits you increase when you succeed an achievement, and what you gain when you level.
The next section involves boosts—that is how the class modifies your primary attributes. In the warrior’s case, you gain a single boost applied to Agility, Endurance, or Might.
The section after that is about training. It lets you know what armor, weapons, and tools can use with some skill. The warrior is good with weapons and armor. That’s no surprise.
We’ve talked about this before, but each class also grants a pair of talents that every member of that class possesses. All of these talents are general talents that anyone can take. And, if you decide to multiclass into that class, they serve as prerequisites to do so. Here are the two keyed to the warrior.
After that, the class is a list of talents. At each level, a character can take at least one class talent. There are class talents for every level, but nothing to stop you from taking talents lower level than you are. And there might be some good reasons to do so. Early talents are often foundational. For instance, the warrior has Brawler, Duelist, and Chivalry as 1st-level talents. All of them talk to a specific type of warrior, but a generalist, or someone embroiled with a new kind of martial discipline may want to take them at later levels. The higher level you go, talents get more specific, or they build upon lower-level talents, or both. Not all of them are like this. Some are just more badass. But at each level, you get to decide what kind of warrior you are. And that’s the point.
This fundamental framework is what I think makes a good class. It’s simple, to the point, and allows you to make the character of a flavor that you want to play.
Of course, I don’t leave you all to your lonesome. With every class, I use the iconics as an example. For the warrior class, I use Brumtha Doomhammer. I tell you the choices I made when I created her to guide your own hero creation. This section gives you context for those of you who play Delve and decide to play one of the iconics. Brumtha, like all iconics, are the guideposts toward understanding the game.
Anyhow, if you want to learn more secrets about warriors in Delve, I’ve posted the first two pages of that class on my Patreon.
Hell, yes, it’s a shameless plug.
Come join me Monday, when we start talking Dragonlance.