"Oh cool... So you're STILL working on this?" -- A guy at GenCon

"If I see Drah-koo-lah, I will. kick. him. in. the eye!!!" -- My 4 (almost 5) year old daughter. She GETS it!

"Meatpie Forever!" -- A playtester at GenCon 2013

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dr. Van Helsing, I presume

Thus far, we've covered The Valiant, The Half-Breed and The Exotic. Now I'd like to introduce you to another class that will be appearing in Transylvanian Adventures. I apologize for the detour into the pages of the Transylvanian Grimoire with the Exotic and Half-Breed. But you must understand, it is so easy to get lost in these woods.

May I present, to you, the Polymath!
The Polymath is a learned scholar whose broad knowledge has come to account for those things which philosophy and metaphysics cannot explain. The Polymath is an expert at distilling fact from folklore and using that information to his or her advantage.

What the Polymath Does

  • Polymaths are masters of Ritual Magic. They can even circumvent other types of magic with their mojo. Making them kind of the magical "trapfinders" of the party. Oh dear, I've said too much.
  • The Polymath is the only class at 1st level who knows how to Stake a Vampire. That could be useful, no? Other classes just beat them down and put a plank of wood in their chest. The Polymath knows how to kill them for good.
  • Polymaths can advance into Alchemy or one of the other magical disciplines that will be covered in The Transylvanian Grimoire. But they can't do "quick cast" spells. These would be spells like Magic Missile or Fireball.
  • The Polymath is amazingly fluent in a plethora of spoken and written languages. An inventive player should find all sorts of wonderful opportunities to use the Polymath's mastery of language.
  • The Polymath helps prevent allies from dying and can assist allies in healing in a way that differs from the Exotic. If the Exotic is the "nurse" of the party, the Polymath would be closer to an EMT.
  • The Polymath is a master researcher and can remember facts and folklore off the top of his head.
  • The Polymath has an extensive network of friends, acquaintances and penpals that he can use to find equipment and information for the party.
  • The Polymath doesn't do a whole lot of flashy stuff in combat. He's not bad. Just doesn't have a lot of flashy things to do. He's very useful, though. And really nice to have around in all sorts of situations. 
  • The Polymath would appeal to those who like to plan and strategize -- setting up various wards and rituals to use as environmental advantages in an epic battle.


The obvious one is the wizened, old Dr. Van Helsing from Bram Stoker's Dracula and the litany of old codgers who pour over books and scrolls to find out how to defeat the forces of darkness -- from Gandalf to Giles. Another inspiration for the Polymath was Sherlock Holmes. Maybe not the pit-fighting, Muay Thai boxing Robert Downey Jr. version. But, hey, how you play it is how it's real. If you want to have your Polymath do MMA fights... well... um... inspire me to write a bit about "multi-classing" in The Transylvanian Grimoire.

Other Uses

If using the Transylvanian Adventures rules and classes outside of the setting or genre, Polymaths are a good approximation of a wizard. They do Rituals. They study. They wear spectacles. If I had to do a traditional fantasy RPG comparison, the Polymath would be somewhere along the lines of a multi-classed Wizard/Cleric.

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