"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 30, 2012

Last Man (or Woman) Standing



Into the fray with the Charger…

The Charger is a stalwart warrior seeking to sharpen himself against the whetstone of destiny. The Charger chooses not to back down from any adversary and pursues the thrill of battle for its own sake.

Whence fore the Charger?

Most people who are familiar with the tropes of Hammer Horror and Gothic Fiction are probably scratching their heads right about now. Where exactly did this Charger notion come from? The Charger is the only class with such a conspicuous absence from the books and movies upon which Transylvanian Adventures is based. Up and down. Left and sideways. No Chargers.

Why is that?

The reason for the Charger involves another tenet upon which Transylvanian Adventures stands: playability. It became noticeable early on in Transylvanian Adventures' development that there was a hole in the spectrum of classes. Transylvanian Adventures lacked the prototypical "I hit them with my axe" class.

During playtests with DCC, I also noticed there were some players who wanted to play more of a Fighting Man and for whom Mighty Deeds weren't appealing. These players were quite happy to go the "hit 'em with my axe" route. It was sheer serendipity that these two issues intersected so well.

So What is a Charger?

The Charger is an old-school Fighting Man. Not in the vein of a DCC Warrior either. The Charger is a straight-up Fighter. He (or she) jumps in, bashes things around and walks away ready for the next combat.

Whereas the DCC Warrior does all this fancy fighty stuff (like tripping people, disarming them and sundering weapons), the Charger just plays whack-a-mole. And does it very effectively. The Charger is a veritable Cuisinart of Minions.

Thus far, the Charger has been well-represented in playtests. He does what he does and reduces the need for his player to really think all that much. That's not a bad thing, in my opinion. More a matter of taste.

The Charger is accessible and, most importantly, very easy to play.

What the Charger Does

Compared to the other Transylvanian Adventures classes the Charger doesn't appear to do that much. But the Charger is very effective at those things it does…

  • The Charger's game is one of attrition and the Charger's player banks that she can reduce you to zero Hit Points before she gets there. In most cases, the Charger wins this bet.
  • The Charger has an anemic path for Weapon Upgrades but is terribly effective with the weapons he uses. The reason for this? The sole reason for the Charger's existence: "I hit you and you hit me until one of us falls over".
  • The Charger has an intimidating presence on the battlefield. It is bluntly obvious to everyone that this is not a person you'd want to mess with.
  • The Charger has one of the only "healing" abilities in Transylvanian Adventures. It's a self-healing ability called "Dutch Courage". Thanks to bholmes over on the DCC forum for that name.
  • Did I mention the Charger was terribly effective with the weapons she knows? A weapon upgrade for a Charger is a "game-changer". That's why they tend to cost a little more. When you play the Charger, you'll see how effective you are with a club. Extrapolate that to a two-handed sword…
  • Putting the Charger smack in the middle of a bunch of low hit-die monsters is very bad for those monsters' future prospects of living. Think an OD&D Fighting Man with something like 8 arms. As of yet, only one "minion" has survived close up combat with a Charger. Well, to put it another way, only one minion that was in close combat with the Charger was not killed by the Charger. He threw himself out a window. To get away from the Charger. And died from the fall. This was a 1st level Charger.
  • No one does free whacks like a Charger. Those familiar with the most recent version of the Fighter from the most recent edition of the "World's Most Popular Fantasy Roleplaying Game" will have an idea of why this is so. If a Charger locks you down, you best stay put. Or jump out a window.
  • The Charger is strong. Or rather the Charger has an inner toughness and drive that translates to great feats of Strength and Stamina.


Where to Go From Here

The Charger just does one thing. And how a player wants to make the Charger better at that one thing varies. For some players, the Charger is a breath of fresh air. These players don't really want to get involved in machinations, intrigue, mysteries, magic or lots of rules. They just want to kill things and be really good at that. The Charger serves this purpose beautifully.

Inspiration

There really aren't many fictional inspirations relevant to the genre to list out here. The Charger could range from a Pit Fighter to a Knight, really. Just based off my typical entertainment one might say Brienne from the Song of Ice and Fire series could be built as a Charger. The more muscle-bound, cinematic version of Conan could too.

Other Uses

If using the Transylvanian Adventures rules and classes outside of the setting or genre, Chargers are the easiest fits. They are Fighting Men, in contrast with the Warrior class in DCC. They'd make good Dwarves, Half-Orcs or Half-Ogres. Or Barbarians. Or Bezerkers. In classic terms, the Charger would be considered a Barbarian/Fighter with either side gaining more traction based on how the player upgrades the character over time.

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