Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Making Them Useful: Scholar

Fun classes, but challenging
A section that I really liked from Dungeon Fantasy 2 that was missing for the classes in Dungeon Fantasy 4 was the Make Everybody Useful aside that explains interesting ways to make a character useful, which helps tailor adventures to be exploited by the abilities of other classes and lets someone else stand out in unique ways.

That section is one of the best
things in here, besides all
the other good stuff in here.
A scholar has two main tools at his or her disposal: Book-Learned Wisdom, a codified form of Modular Abilities from the basic set, and Wild Talent. So these two are the ultimate and most immediately obvious tools for allowing a Scholar to stand out. In the template for skills, there is an opportunity to learn several varieties of hidden lores, several healing skills, and rudimentary casting spells. As the book suggests in the Customization Notes, some exotic weapons also exist in the template to enable some unusual abilities like lasso and whip.
Speaking of the Customization Notes (p.9,) I will not repeat them in detail here, but these also give some interesting ideas for how to make a cohesive picture of a character with the choices given.
Putting this together, I offer the following as tailored situations where a Scholar can shine:
Bunches of weird things
a scholar might like,
  • A scholar with several hidden lore skills can be good at recognizing specific monsters or certain patterns when a situation presents itself. A GM can look at a Scholar's Hidden Lore skills and assume that they were chosen because the player thought they were interesting concepts. Alternatively, an activity that requires a hidden lore specialty they have not mastered yet is an excellent impetus to learn something new, a common Obsession for Scholars.
  • Similarly, take a look at some of the skill families under the professor in Customization Notes, and you can see that a Scholar, positioned correctly, can be a pinch hitter for a lot of the other main casters from Dungeon Fantasy 1. Any way that is recommended to make them useful in the original Make Everybody Useful aside could potentially apply.
  • Wild Talent allows a Scholar to be a wildcard stopgap in any unusual situation. Want to introduce a crazy dwemer vehicle that no one has any good reason to know how to drive? Guess who can (once a session?) No one knows the weakness for a crazy underwater Were-wolffish? Guess who might? Insane occurrences that don't make much sense give a chance for the Scholar to know things that no one in their right mind could know.
  • Because of Book-Learned Wisdom discovering a library or maps, or both is a never ceasing fount of power for a Scholar. Similar to Wild Talent, Book-Learned Wisdom allows a Scholar to prepare for parts unknown in ways that other players can't, by quickly memorizing Area Knowledge or different Survival specialties.
  • A situation involving social intrigue in a very specific or insular community can allow a Scholar to play the part of a spy by learning the appropriate specialties of Savoir-Faire, new Cultural Familiarities, and extra Languages. With an etiquette book, a fashion magazine, a language book, and a point or two in disguise or acting, you can almost emulate a slow version of Social Chameleon that is even more versatile.
For a Scholar, books that can teach rare skills for Book-Learned Wisdom are probably the most mechanically useful treasure. Artifacts that are strange and unique like in the 40 Artifacts or Glittering Prizes might also work, though, who wouldn't want a treasure like those?
Lots of weird treasure scholars
might like.

Other Thoughts and Closing

Specific cases where a Scholar absolutely outshines a different template are kinda hard to find, because the Scholar's proclivity is being the ace in the hole, or the jack-of-all-the-trades-we-didn't-cover. This means though that a Scholar with a sense of direction and character development can be good at a lot of different things. 
Like a lot of difficult problems, the biggest key to solving this problem is communication. Scholar is a wonderful "Gray-Area" template, but that means it isn't as easy to prescribe a sure-fire winner of a unique adventure opportunity as other classes. Making sure you know what your player wants and why is critical. Ask your player why? until you are certain beyond a shadow of a doubt what they want out of their character. Anyone else have any really good adventure hooks to tickle the Scholar's palate? I'd like to hear it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...