What are the classes I’ve created? How do they measure up to one another? What’s the difference between one striker and one defender and one leader within the same suit? Some of the classes are a result of translation, though ultimately none of them will resemble the classes they formerly were. What are the classes of Swords? What are their skills? What sets them apart?

Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragonsuses the term “striker” where online games may call them “DPS.” I like striker if only because it’s an actual word, rather than an acronym. You can’t pronounce DPS, though I’ll admit the moment I typed that, I started thinking “deeps” or “deepus” or “depious,” but I’m weird like that. (Besides, that last one had too many syllables.) I’m going to continue to refer to the role as “striker.”

I would have to dig through my notes from the last few years to figure out when I decided that four roles was too many. Maybe it started when I played the party wizard in my Fourth Edition game, but I realized that “control” is something that should belong to all roles equally. The controller role by itself is horrendously broken (Third Edition wizards, clerics, and druids) one way or the other.

One of the big things, though, is I’m not trying to design a group-oriented dungeon-crawling game like Dungeons & Dragons. The game I’m designing is intended to be a storytelling game. It makes sense to start in the realm of the familiar, with mages, thieves, priests, and warriors, but that isn’t where the game is meant to stay. Character roles do serve a purpose in storytelling, however, consider the five-man band.

But those aren’t necessarily five characters based on five roles. There’s a certain amount of redundancy and overlap between the character types, it seems much more likely to me that there are maybe three character types that can simply be mixed and matched like LEGOs to form different, complete characters.

That’s like the argument I made for why there were fewer roles than Dungeons & Dragons was positing. Because if they made the classes themselves (Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) into the archetypes, then they’d wind up with the very situation they have now, creating miniscule variations on those same four character types, trying not to step on anyone’s toes. Not accepting there isn’t that much to do.