While I’m excited by the concept and the new options it presents, the new role scheme puts a damper on the work I was doing before for the classes and their powers. I was working on class powers before the wedding, and the powers were based on the roles I assigned to the classes. Those roles were in turn based on the skills I assigned to each class. The new model turns my previous work on its head.

I think the best way to describe it would be to describe the previous model as a long chain. As I came up with new ideas, I added new links to the end of the chain to add choices for character creation and development. The new model separates the links of the chain and rearranges them in a snowflake pattern.

Each character has, on one branch, a role. Those roles are skirmisher, artillery, leader, soldier, and brute. Choosing a role itself could be considered a cosmetic choice, but each role serves another function — it determines a character’s initial strengths and vulnerabilities. Because the choice of role includes a drawback (vulnerability to two other roles), I would consider it a branch unto itself.

The second branch of role is equipment — the weapons, armor, accessories, and other gear that enable a character to perform their role to the fullest extent of their ability. Character role, class, and state are all separate from one another, which means that you can have your wizard of big bad-nasty darkness magic wielding a celestial axe of kung-fu awesomeness while repelling down the Cliffs of Insanity.

It’s a combination of removing the restrictions without taking away the bonuses and other things that otherwise make an individual choice awesome. Do you want to play a wizard who wields awesome spells to warp the fabric of reality? That’s cool, I won’t pigeonhole you into being a frail old dude with a staff. You can still play one, though!