Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Atlantean RPG Classes, Part III, and the Last of the Arcanum

Jumping right in with dual-classed spellcasters, the Charlatan is a Magician/Rogue dual-class, beginning play with 1st level Enchantment spells, Magical Mixtures, and some con-artist style Rogue skills.  As they level up, they learn how to make Toxic Powders, Philtres, Scrolls, Potions, and Minor Magic Items.  However, they don't learn higher level Enchantments, as most other Magician-types would.  Instead, every other level (when other classes would pick up higher level spells) they have the option to learn more Rogue skills, learn a new weapon, improve their attack bonus, or learn 1st level spells of another style (excepting Divine Magic).  Of course, with their Rogue skills and other spell use, a Charlatan could fairly easily convince someone they were a Divine spellcaster, if they wanted to.

The Enchantress/Enchanter is a Magician/Harlequin dual-class, making them a good option for players who like magic-wielding bard characters.  They are all proficient in both Art and Music, giving them bonuses to success when assisting other spellcasters in creating golems, and allowing them (eventually) to influence emotions like bards in many versions of D&D.  They begin with Legerdemain (non-magical stage "magic") and Magical Mixtures in addition to 1st level Enchantment spells.  As they level up, they learn Acting, Acrobatics, Ancient Lore, Philtres, Potions, Scrolls, Minor Magic Items, and Rods, Staves, and Wands.  Additionally, at higher levels they are able to create glass Orbs of Enchantment, containing any Enchantment spell until the glass is broken.

Mages are a collection of Astrologer dual-classes, with slightly different abilities depending on their secondary class.  Magi are Astrologer/Priests, with the ability to turn undead and convert others to their faith.  Cabalists combine the study of Astrology and High Magic, and gain a bonus in coercing summoned demons or devils to do their bidding.  Archimages are Astrologer/Magicians, with no additional abilities, but without the alignment restrictions the other Mage classes have.  All Mages are able to build an observatory as Astrologers, and gain the extra spell per day in the same way.  Mages start out with Chirography and Magical Mixtures, and learn Linguistics, Decipher, Ancient Lore, Scrolls, Minor Magic Items, Runes, Rods, Staves, and Wands, and Greater Magic Items as they level up.

Monks are of the Eastern type, like Shaolin monks of our world as opposed to Franciscans (see Savant below for those), and as such are Martial Artist/Mystics, beginning with Acrobatics, Stealth, Martial Arts, and Mysticism spells.  Unusually for spellcasters, they don't learn any magical skills as they level up, instead picking up improved versions of Martial Arts, and several degrees of Archery skill, culminating in Zen Archery, allowing them to shoot at enemies they can't see.

Paladins are Warrior/Priests or Warrior/Shamans, depending on what culture the individual is from, and are the only spellcasters able to wear armor.  They are immune to fear, and have Mounted Combat skills in their basic and advanced forms.  They don't get a lot of bells and whistles as they level up, just attack bonuses, weapon proficiencies, etc, as other highly skilled combatants get, but being able to wear armor and cast spells is a pretty major ability in and of itself.

The Savant is either a Scholar/Priest or Scholar/Mystic.  Savants, like Scholars, pick up many skills as they level up, but  have different lists of skills to choose from depending on whether they are Priest (generally skills appropriate to Western style monks) or Mystic (martial arts hermits) types.  Regardless of which path they choose, they are able to turn undead, and eventually make Holy Items, Scrolls, Minor Magic Items, Rods, Staves, and Wands, and Greater Magic Items.

Sorcerers are the only class to use Sorcery as a major magic style (as opposed to learning one or two spells through extracurricular XP expenditure, or Charlatans learning 1st level Sorcery).  They can also choose either Black Magic or Enchantment as their secondary style.  Sorcerers begin play with knowledge of Magical Mixtures, and learn Herbal Elixirs, Toxic Powders, Potions, Scrolls, Minor Magic Items, Alchemical Dusts, Rods, Staves, and Wands, Greater Magic Items, Magical Weapons and Armor, and Machina as they level up.

Thaumaturges are Magician/Alchemists.  As their worldview is of such a magic-based slant, as opposed to the science based view of Alchemists, Thaumaturges and Alchemists can't work together on a project, and probably bicker incessantly when part of the same party.  Thaumaturges work a little differently in creating formulas, particularly for Homonculi and Aqua Vitae, and they can't make Essences.  They start out with Magical Mixtures and learn Herb Lore, Toxic Powders, Philtres, Herbal Elixirs, Venoms and Poisons, Potions, Alchemical Dusts, Minor Magic Items, Advanced Alchemical Substances, Rods, Staves, and Wands, Golems, Greater Magic Items, Homonculi, and Aqua Vitae.

The Witch/Warlock is another dual-class with options.  Good Witches are essentially Druid/Magicians, while evil Witches are Druid/Necromancers.  Either type can pass through any type of terrain without leaving any real trace.  Even Hunters or other skilled trackers can only determine that something passed through, but won't be able to follow the trail.  Witches start with Herbal Remedies, and learn Venoms and Poisons, Herbal Elixirs, Philtres, Potions, Runes, Scrolls, Minor Magic Items, Rods, Staves, and Wands, and Major Magic Items as they level up.

Witchdoctors are Shaman/Necromancers.  They have a particularly cool power: they can make a juju by binding the spirit of a slain spellcaster into the shrunken skin of their head, and the spirit must truthfully answer any questions put to it.  Just don't overdo it, because if you ask too many too fast, the spirit can escape and seek vengeance.  As Witchdoctors level up, they gain the ability to make Toxic Powders, Venoms and Poisons, Magical Mixtures, Runes, Minor Magic Items, Rods, Staves, and Wands, Greater Magic Items, and Magical Weapons and Armor.

The Witch Hunter is a Hunter/Mystic, acting as an assassin or bounty hunter specialized against spellcasters.  They have some of the Hunter's tracking and stealth skills, and their Mysticism allows them to resist a lot of magical detection or coercion on their missions.  Witch Hunters don't learn any new skills as they advance, but do gain in attack bonuses.

And lastly, Wizards are spellcasters combining High Magic with either Enchantment or Black Magic.  They begin with Magical Mixtures, and gain knowledge in Toxic Powders, Philtres, Potions, Scrolls, Minor Magic Items, Rods, Staves, and Wands, Greater Magic Items, Magical Weapons and Armor, and Golems as they increase in power.  With the assistance of an Alchemist, they can also create Homunculi.

Thirty-two classes, not counting variants within a class...not too shabby.  They're all different enough to be interesting, and cover a wide range of character types, but without a huge sprawling mass of rulebooks.  Due to the standardization of skills, no class takes more than a page to describe, with the whole book clocking in at 168 pages. 

I'm honestly kind of surprised that this RPG isn't more widely known than it is.  Several times over the years I've had a moment of nostalgia and searched for it, just to see what others had to say about it, and have never really found much.  (For that matter, I'm surprised it's never been rereleased as a PDF, what with the interest in retro-gaming that's caught on the last 8 years or so.  I know there is an Atlantis RPG out there with the same setting, but it dropped the class/level scheme in favor of a more indie game approach.)  I suppose that's part of the reason I started with this series of posts...to help some other poor slob on his stroll down memory lane.  Feel free to start up a reminiscence about your past games.

At any rate, the next time I pick this up, I'll talk a little about the Bestiary.  I don't expect to go into a whole lot of detail there, so I should get it done in one post.

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