Martial arts characters easily fit into the Striker and Defender roles for classes. The examples of the Bard and Warlord give some direction for leaders in the game (since I picture this as a game without much magical healing). There are some challenges filling the Controller role.

Controllers usually have powers that:

  • affect areas
  • have long range
  • force movement or cause movement impairing effects

All of this is possible with some of the kung fu styles that exist in the older version of Dragon In Ninth Heaven. The Master of the Holy Flame and Master of the Ghostly Form prestige classes and the Glorious Lotus kung fu style (only in the supplement) all have elements of this. Clearly there is more work required, and this would require a specialist kung fu style to go with it.

Bear with me while I take a detour…

In previous versions of Dragon In Ninth Heaven, a character could choose any kung fu style they wished, regardless of their class. The style granted a few attack powers and granted access to some feats. The basics of the class did not change, and were not influenced by the kung fu style chosen. This was a deliberate choice, as I wanted all kung fu styles to be available to any character.

With the way that D&D 4E works, granting exploits at various levels, I’m not sure that allowing this separation of class and kung fu style makes sense any longer.

After going through this thought process, I think I’ll go with a structure as follows:

  • Classes belong to a role (as usual)
  • Kung fu styles provide a distinctive flavour, and will be tied directly to a class
    • A style may be limited to a role, rather than a class. This would allow balancing of powers relative to the amount of damage that a role does, or the power types that a particular role has access to.
  • Each class will have access to at least one kung fu style, preferably more.

The specific classes which apply to each role will be the subject of a future post, but here’s a few rough ideas that I have at the moment. Kung fu styles and the classes are overlapping here because I’m not sure if I want to separate them yet:

  • Striker
    • mobile, skirmishing fighter who delivers high damage strikes to a single target
    • kicking based kung fu style which concentrates on multiple strikes and multiple opponents
    • kung fu style that is based on ranged, chi based attacks
    • kung fu style that inflicts damage over time using poisons or crippling strikes
  • Defender
    • power based kung fu style that is based on counterstrikes
    • martial artist who concentrates on throws and moving opponents across the battlefield
    • a hard kung fu style that focuses on being able to resist strikes
  • Leader
    • not sure yet, I need some more research here
  • Controller
    • kung fu style that is based on circular, ranged, chi based attacks, entangling and tripping opponents
    • A mystical style that damages the environment, causing damage and maiming opponents who enter those zones

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August 2009
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