I had to stop myself to think about why I had difficulty designing the Hypnotist class. Generally, I expect things I’m confident about doing to be fairly straightforward, but I found difficulty putting one foot in front of the other while working on this particular mini-project. It isn’t like I haven’t designed a character class before, I designed several for Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition.

I had a thought this evening that I might try to apply next time I sit down to work on the class, and it’s kind of a weird one: as I was thinking about the paladin from Diablo 2, I asked myself “why does this class exist?” It isn’t immediately weird until you start to contemplate the pretentious “deeper meaning” of the question. People cultivate a certain set of skills for a reason — why does the paladin exist?

Rather than looking to history for my answer, I wondered about the game world: what is it that paladins do well, that their existence might be justified in a world like this one? They must have been created and organized to deal with a particular type of threat, and whatever that threat is, they should be able to handle it well. Now, whether they succeed at this in Diablo 2 is beside the point.

My question to myself is now this: what was the Hypnotist class developed to do? Non-Player Characters don’t take class levels unless they’re serious about something, so what’s so serious that a character might take up the mantle of a Hypnotist? What reason have they got for being? I think when I’ve managed to answer that question for myself, I’ll be able to move forward and design some more Hypnotist powers.