IGN - The Evolution of RPG Archetypes
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May 5th, 2013, 07:45
Wait, the Monk as a fighter?? I'm not so sure about that.
So what are these archetypes, really? I mean, you could say that Mass Effect soldiers were actually like mages with rapid-fire wands but I don't think that would really fit. I think it comes down to tools and skills.
Fighter: uses tools that most people in the setting understand. Swords, guns, armor, shields… stuff that's common enough that you can outfit entire armies with them. As they advance they become quite good at using those tools but never in any kind of mystic way. For instance, an expert fighter might be able to throw a longsword effectively but he wouldn't be able to throw it like a boomerang, have it cut off four or five heads, then catch it as it returns.
Mage: uses arcane tools that most people don't understand and can't use. Spells, psionic powers, special favors from deities… you can't outfit an army with this stuff. They're a clever lot so they can use them in ways you might not expect but not in ways you wouldn't believe possible.
Specialist: uses normal tools but in more arcane ways. The thief's legendary backstab and the martial artist's use of common weapons or even just their own fists go here.
Theoretically, there should be a class that uses arcane tools in arcane ways. Like a magic user that only knows Continual Light and Magic Missile but has practiced with both spells so often that she can fire off 30 missiles and hit 30 different targets or toss a that light spell right on to an attacker's retina. I can't recall that ever being done, though.
And, of course, you can get bunches of hybrids.
I smell a… wumpus!?
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