Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Character Archetypes or: what is your D&D doing in my DWAITAS?

While I definitely don’t intend to convert from my own heavily house-ruled brand of 1st edition DWAITAS to any other system, I must say that several features of the new DOCTORS & DALEKS rulebook published by Cubicle 7 have struck me as particularly well thought-out, with a very strong accent on genre emulation. 

One of these features is the list of six basic character classes – reminiscent of the old D20 Modern ones (IIRC) but re-designed DW-style. The idea is simple: each of the six basic D&D attributes (Strength, Wisdom, etc.) is tied to a specific character class, which is clearly defined more as a heroic archetype than as, say, a profession or career, which is, IMHO, the perfect way to go. 

The six classes are: the Charmer (Charisma), the Thinker (Intelligence), the Empath (Wisdom), the Trickster (Dexterity), the Protector (Strength) and the Stalwart (Constitution). The names are self-explanatory and if you want more details on these classes, well, I direct you to the Doctors & Daleks players book. 

Each class provides a wide array of special talents and other signature abilities which (this being, basically, D&D) are acquired as the character gains levels (and which, incidentally, take this iteration of DW in RPG form in a completely opposite direction to the one followed by DW 2nd Edition, which took all our beloved traits out of the equation but I won’t elaborate on this).

As I was thinking about these six classes (let’s call them ‘archetypes’), I realized that they could be readily translated into Doctor Who RPG 1st edition terms, since the six attributes of the Vortex system are almost identical to the classic D&D six (with a few variations – Wisdom being replaced with Awareness and Constitution with Resolve… but these actually make things even more logical, e.g. Stalwarts being defined by their high Resolve). 

These six archetypes could simply be used as simple and elegant templates for beginning player-characters (especially with new players, I’d say), with their associated special abilities and talents being represented by (wait for it…) a list of possible good traits – YES!

 So here is the result of my little conversion work – and I must say I find it quite interesting. (BTW, for simplicity’s sake, I’ve limited the listed possible good traits to the ones listed in the 12th Doctor rulebook, leaving special traits out).

Let’s start with the ‘prime requisite’ attribute – the one which should be at least equal to 4:

Charmer = Presence

Empath = Awareness

Protector = Strength

Stalwart = Resolve

Thinker = Ingenuity

Trickster = Coordination

And now, on to the typical/recommended good traits:

Charmer: Attractive, Charming, Friends, Lucky, Noble, Owed Favour, Voice of Authority

Empath: Animal Friendship, Charming, Empathic, Friends, Hypnosis, Psychic Training, Sense of Direction

Protector: Brave, Indomitable, Military Rank, Noble, Quick Reflexes, Tough, Voice of Authority

Stalwart: Brave, Face in the Crowd, Fast Healing, Indomitable, Military Rank, Sense of Direction, Tough

Thinker: Biochemical Genius, Boffin, Percussive Maintenance, Photographic Memory, Resourceful Pockets, Reverse the Polarity of the Neutron Flow, Technically Adept

Trickster: Face in the Crowd, Keen Senses, Lucky, Owed Favour, Quick Reflexes, Resourceful Pockets, Technically Adept

Yes, by some quirk of fate, each list has the same number of typical traits (seven). These lists are not exclusive lists; they simply show which good traits would go well with each archetype; if you really want to make a rule about this, you could say that the character must purchase at least 2 points worth of these recommended traits.

I was amazed by how easy this little conversion work was – and, if anything, it shows that the underlying idea behind the six Doctors & Daleks classes is a very sound and apt one in terms of genre emulation, since it translates so nicely and easily to TOSTIL (That Other System That I Love J).

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