Sunday, October 4, 2015

Character Development in DragonRaid

LightRaiders (i.e., player characters in DragonRaid) have ten Character Strengths (listed here).  There are also abilities derived from these strengths.  All LightRaiders have Courage, Endurance, Hope, Knowledge, Listening, Quiet Movement, Vision, Wisdom, Evade Enemy, Recover From Injury, and Resist Torturous Investigation.  “Wisdom,” for instance, “gives men good judgment in determining a course of action.”  On the other hand Knowledge “consists of understanding gained by experience, as well as the amount of information gathered over one's lifetime.”  A character's knowledge 'level' is determined by finding the average of Joy, Patience, Goodness, and Faith.  

Extrapolating the “Fruit of the Spirit” to concepts like physical capabilities and weapon use is an arbitrary exercise.  For example, Vision is determined by finding the average of Patience, Faith, and Hope; Listening is figured by adding Patience and Self-Control to twice Peace and dividing the total by four.  A derived ability only improves to the extent that its constituent 'strengths' increase.

There are also elective abilities of which each LightRaider is allowed to have three.  Among these are abilities that allow a character to use certain weapon types:  Battle Axe, Military Fork, Spear, and War Hammer.  A character has an Ability Level of 1 for any of these elective abilities “not specifically chosen.”
  • Blend With Surroundings – “the ability of a LightRaider to blend into a natural setting.”  With an ability level of 10, a character “has a good possibility of making himself almost invisible in wide-open places.”
  • Climb Skillfully – Self-explanatory.  “A character with a (Climb Skillfully) Ability of 10 may be able to climb up polished stones that have no handholds.”
  • Converse With Animals – similar to the Talk with Locals ability (see below), “except that it involves communicating with non-talking animals” (as opposed to talking animals).  A character having this ability at level one – the default – “may have trouble communicating with animals.”
  • Hatred Of Evil – “a burning desire to destroy evil in any form.”  When attacking dark creatures, a character with this ability deals more damage and has an enhanced chance to hit   Love is included in the formula for figuring this ability.
  • Merciful Compassion – “a feeling of deep sympathy for another's suffering or misfortune.”  This ability “is necessary in order to help a dragon slave or a fellow LightRaider in trouble.”
  • Persuade Foe – “the ability to talk an opponent into doing something you want him to do.”
  • Righteously Mingle With Evil – “a character's ability to resist being soiled in evil surroundings.”  With an ability level of 10, a character “can attempt to go into the most evil situation and yet avoid being tarnished by his association with evil beings.”
  • Sense Evil – “the ability to sense evil coming from dark creatures or dragon slaves.”  At ability level 10, a character “may even sense traces of evil in creatures who are basically good.”
  • Talk With Locals – “the ability of a character to talk with the people living in a certain locality.”  I guess this means 'speaking with NPCs' (assuming the NPCs live somewhere).  A character at the highest ability level “has a good way with people and can probably communicate with a hostile person without getting angry.”
  • Track Enemy – “the ability to follow a creature.”
  • Water Movement – “can be classified as one's swimming ability,” but just calling it 'Swimming' was apparently out of the question.
It is evident that some of these abilities substitute for actual role-playing.

By meeting certain requirements, a LightRaider may adopt a special role, most of which grant useful benefits.  For example, a character with sufficiently high scores in Endurance, Righteously Mingle With Evil, Hatred Of Evil, and Self-Control can become a member of the OverLord's Guard.  It is assumed that starting characters will not have special roles but given the random nature of character generation, the possibility exists.  One assumes that a character can only qualify for one special role at a time; however, this is not expressly mentioned.

The special roles are as follows:
  • LionWarrior, WolfSoldier, and BearKnight – Characters in these roles have a telepathic connection to a particular talking animal.  If the lion or wolf is killed, the OverLord does not give a replacement; however, the character may “take up another special character role.”  Although not specifically stated, this would seem to apply to bears, as well.
  • AnimalMaster – A character in this role can have two to four non-talking animals.  There is no telepathic connection.  “If these animals are lost or killed, the AnimalMaster may not replace them for one year.”  Available animals include rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, owls, muskrats, lynxes, foxes, skunks, deer (either stag or doe), rock goats, beavers, and porcupines.  Eagles, Black Bears, and Badgers are also available but count as two animals each.
  • Renewer – This is the healer of DragonRaid.  The Renewer can use the Renewer's WordRune (Isaiah 53:5) three times per day.  Each use heals a number of Physical Vitality points equal to the Renewer's 'Recover From Injury' ability.  A Renewer can heal the same character more than once and can even heal him (or her) self.
  • Knight of the Way – This is what many games would call a ranger.  Such a character “automatically receives a permanent bonus of 2 in each of the following areas:  Track Enemy...Evade Enemy...Blend With Surroundings.”  Of course, a character must already have high scores in these abilities in order to qualify for this role.  The description states, “A Knight of the Way may specialize in one particular environmental setting,” but the benefits of specialization are not mentioned.
  • OverLord's Guard – Otherwise known as an AppearanceChanger.  A character in this role can change his or her outward appearance twice a day “into the form of other men or women.”  Having adopted a different form, “the LightRaider is undetectable by any creature except dragons.”  Whether or not dragons automatically detect an altered form is a matter of conjecture.
  • RescueMaster – Characters in this role have “been taught to overcome great obstacles and difficulties to rescue someone or something.”  On becoming a RescueMaster, a character “receives a permanent bonus of +2 in his Climb Skillfully, Blend with Surroundings, and Water Movement Character Abilities.”  Similar to the 'Knight of the Way', a character must have high levels in this abilities before becoming a RescueMaster.
  • RaidLeader – A RaidLeader is, in essence, a party leader.  Of course, a group of LightRaiders can have a 'leader' even if none of them qualifies for this the RaidLeader 'special role'.  According to the rules, “There can be only one RaidLeader in a party.”  If more than one LightRaider qualifies as a RaidLeader in a given party, they “roll a Starlot” to get the job.  The benefits of being a RaidLeader in terms of game mechanics are not listed but “The OverLord will judge the RaidLeader for his faithfulness to his team, especially in the area of humility.”
  • Guardian of the Light – Only LightRaiders who have “achieved a perfect 10 in all nine Character Strengths” may become Guardians of the Light.  “This should be the goal of every LightRaider.”  Like the RaidLeader, there are no 'game mechanic' benefits associated with this role.  Usually, Guardians teach and assist other LightRaiders; rarely do they go on missions into the Dragon Lands.  This would seem to be a 'role' for retired characters.

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