Less Than Unique

templar-shield.pngDungeon World does an interesting thing where a character playing a class is the sole representative of the class in the world. They are the fighter or wizard and whatnot. It’s a nice gimmick, and a few games use it, because it underscore the role of the characters as protagonists, not just interchangeable pieces.

Contrast that with D&D 3e, which did something very clever with “NPC classes”, which followed the same general rules as PC classes, but were simply less awesome. Most NPCs who fought were “Warriors” of whatever level was appropriate, and while they were capable at fighting, they lacked the bells and whistles of the PC classes.

The game I’d like to see is somewhere between those two, where PC roles or classes are meaningful, but not unique. That diminishes PC spotlight somewhat, but the tradeoff is that it gives them a stronger social context. A world where you are The Paladin is maybe a little bit different than the one where there are a dozen Paladins, and you are one of them.

The exact number doesn’t matter a lot – it could just as easily be 108 Paladins. It just matters that there’s enough of a boundary that it matters, but not so much that it has no context.


9 thoughts on “Less Than Unique

  1. Jon Carcosa

    Maybe treat it so that it is level dependent. Sure there are plenty of level 3 Paladin but once you get to 7th level, you’re pretty much the only one. Kind of a take on the early edition where there was only one Great Druid or Grand Master of flowers… maybe minus the having to fight for the position.

    1. Rob Donoghue Post author

      Yah, tiering is a really fund compromise, and one I would have loved to use 4e’s paragon paths and epic destinies with.

  2. Sigfried mcWild

    What about Exalted? There’s only 300(ish)* Solar exalted, 300(ish) Lunar exalted and 150 Sidereal extalted, which are then further broken down in 5 castes each.

    *and then Solars lose some numbers to corrupted variations…

    1. Rob Donoghue Post author

      In fact, that is one of my favorite things about Exalted (and you’re right, it’s an excellent template)

  3. Michael Pureka

    I think from conversations with the folks behind Dungeon World, they don’t mean that there is only one Paladin in the world, but rather than there is only one Paladin who uses the Paladin rules and does those specific Paladin things. This is actually mostly a “rules” thing, rather than a “world” thing, though.


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