... now with 35% more arrogance!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clone Project: Class Level Titles

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I was planning to do level titles, something that's usually skipped by other retro-clones. Of course, this is because other retro-clones generally start with the WotC SRD and that doesn't include level titles, so those are considered covered as intellectual property instead of open game content.

Of course, there's always the option to not use level titles in exactly the same way. This post toys with that possibility. It's going to be a somewhat long post to explain something that is actually quite simple.

I actually don't like all the level titles, or even the way every individual level has a specific title. Some of the titles seem better as a particular kind of Magic-User, Fighter, or Cleric. They certainly overlap with some of the variant classes some GMs use. But I do like the idea that certain titles are usually used to indicate how powerful a character is (or is perceived to be.)

I'm going on the assumption that I want three standard titles per class: one for the beginning of the character's career, one for when they've gained a reputation as a master, and one for when they've become truly legendary. There will also be "floating" level titles, which aren't tied to specific levels, but to things the character can do.

"Name" level, the legendary level, is the point where the character has 100,000 xp or more; halfway in between name level and 1st level (round down) is "master" level. Thus:

F Level
TitleMU Level
TitleC Level

The Magic-User titles are significantly re-arranged, while the Fighter titles are only slightly shifted. Cleric titles are pretty much the same. Some of these have alternatives:
  • Lord: Lady, Baron(ness) or Marquis (Marquess) if landed
  • Magician: Mage
  • Acolyte: Brother/Sister
  • Patriarch: Matriarch, High Priest (preferred for Chaotic anti-clerics,) Saint (preferred for Lawful clerics)
In addition:
  • Fighters who use predominately one style of weapon or fighting technique can take a title related to their technique (spearman, gladiator;)
  • Fighters of 4th level + who take up a cause may use a title indicating their devotion to a cause (champion, defender;)
  • Magic-Users may take a title related to one of the spells they know (those with Animate Dead can call themselves Necromancers;)
  • Clerics who hold a religious rank may take that as a title, or may use a title related to spells they are able to cast (healer, psychopomp.)
It's my theory that this title system is different enough and avoids terms not in the public domain that it could be used without problem.

Edit: to make it even more distinctive, I could just ditch the level assignments. Each class has three titles: one for when first starting out, one for when more experienced, and one for when the character reaches 100,000 xp or more. Players can opt to start using the second title whenever they feel like, although until their characters build a reputation, NPCs might not use the same title...


  1. I had a somewhat similar idea a while back. Building on the ranks from Chainmail (soldier, Hero, Superhero) that got translated into D&D Fighter level titles.

    Like your idea above, I would have left the original 1st level title, the 'heroic' level title, and then a 'superheroic' level title.

    I've always been a fan of the level titles, just because they add that little bit of flair to the game, and they are totally illogical in most instances.

    Your idea to add in floating/achievement tied titles as well is a good one.

  2. Yeah, I never got why clerics spent exactly one level as a Buddhist ;)

  3. What purpose do titles fill in game terms? Or they are used in the gaming world referring to game terms?

    1. The titles are in-world references to perceived power. So, someone known to be a magician will be called a magician, but as they gain reputation, they may be called a wizard, because they are perceived to be more powerful.

      In game terms, though, it helps players make decisions about potential adventures. If they have low-level characters and someone suggests "go slay the Magician of Endor", they might consider it, but "the Wizard of Endor" would be another matter...