I had pretty much figured out what leaders and strikers could do, but for a long I was at a loss for how to make effective defenders without hideously over-complicating the rules. Leaders provided lots of passive bonuses to player powers, and that was cool. Always effective. Strikers, I decided, activated when powers used for extra attacks. Defenders protected stuff. Cool, but … lacking something.

Also, I’m using “role” to mean something else now, so I have to be careful how I use the term. There’s some reorganization of concepts behind the scenes (because I’m making it up as I go along), but the idea of classes (and skills) being divided between offensive, defensive, and supportive has been part of the game’s design for years — the terminology changed as I found new tricks for old dogs.

I thought that having classes and skills tied together was an unnecessary restriction. Just because clerics are designed with the Cultures skill in mind, doesn’t mean they should be the only ones with access to it. With the separation of classes and skills, it should be possible for the mage to be a cunning survivalist, for the warrior to be a smooth conversationalist, and for the priest to be a stealth infiltration expert.

So … generally speaking, the “offensive” classes (braves, scribes, hunters, and sneaks) and skills (Athletics, Academics, Survival, and Deception) are designed with the intent to activate a lot. The “defensive” classes (soldiers, smiths, scouts, and speakers) and skills (Discipline, Creation, Perception, and Persuasion) are designed with the intent to scrape together a defense under the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Finally, the “supportive” classes (marshals, clerics, mystics, and bards) and skills (Initiative, Cultures, Intuition, and Theatrics) are designed to grant bonuses to the effectiveness of player powers and other cards. I know it probably sounds simple, you’ll have to take my word that the hard part wasn’t the “what,” but the “how.”