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Subject: Character classes in a Dungeon Crawler: your preferences and help! rss

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Paul Wagner
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In fiddling with a dungeon-crawler, I'm wondering what people's personal preferences are for naming character classes, especially regarding males and females. Do you want the classic names with feminizations of certain classes, or do you prefer neutral characterizations? See below.

(Assume this dungeon-crawler has four character types in it: a magic user, a priestly type, an archer/thief type, and a fighter type. Also assume that it won't matter if you are male or female, the character(s) will play exactly the same.)

With that in mind, in the written rules and in gameplay would you prefer:

1.) For the magic user, the names Sorceror and Sorceress, Wizard and Witch, or simply denote him/her as "Magic-user"? Or something else?

2.) For the priestly type, would you prefer the terms Priest and Priestess, Abbot and Abbess, Deacon and Deaconess, or simply denote him/her as "Acolyte" or "Lightbringer" or some other general reference?

3.) I'm thinking that since the Archer/Thief has several "jobs" that he/she must be versed in, the inclusive "Rogue" should work fine for both males and females. If you have something else you'd like to suggest, do so.

4.) For the fighting type, I'm at a bit of an impasse. Warrior and Warrioress seem ... strained. Warrior/Amazon? (But Amazons were most renowned as being archers!) Warrior/Valkyrie? Is the term "Fighter" general enough to include both males and females? Something totally new such as "Arms-handler?" Do you have another suggestion?

Thanks for your feedback.
 
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ART
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1) Mage

2) Rogue (I'm more partial to Thief though)

3) Cleric

4) Warrior

Those names can be used for both. There are female Warriors. Either make two of each class, for male and female or make two female and two male. Though the Warrior does not NEED to be a male. It can be a female.

My preference would be to have an option for female and male of each class.
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Jo Bartok
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Not sure if I like the stereotypes so much tbh.
But otherwise I am interested... really a "crawler"? What makes it special?
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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Prior to this thread, I have never heard anyone suggest that "warrior" or "fighter" were gender-specific titles. I don't think most would bat an eye at a female "wizard" or "priest", either.


Personally, I kind of like it when games come up with unusual classes. For instance, in Darkest Dungeon, your party might include the Occultist, the Vestal, the Grave Robber, and the Hellion.

However, I really only enjoy that if you are actually offering a new slant on the playstyle. If you're going to use the big four, I don't think it particularly matters if you name them something clever--especially because they're so commonly-used that many players will recognize the collection regardless of their names.
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Chris Stanton
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Mage, Rogue, Cleric, Fighter

The strengths here are that they are neutral & most people will end up calling the classes this anyway.

If you can, double-sided with one gender on each & have the two sides dressed in the same style- if the male fighter is shown in a chainmail hauberk & breeches, the female fighter should be wearing the same
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Wizard/Rogue/Cleric/Warrior

And just FYI, the male form of "witch" is "warlock", not "wizard".
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Ren
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Seconding what everyone else has said, neutral names are better. Consider that if you go with male/female names in the rulebook, people will default to using male names in online discussion anyway, also some people will get upset that you're using female names to be "pc" and some people will get upset that you put the male names before the female names... Neutral class names avoid all of this.

Mage/Cleric/Rogue/Fighter or Warrior all sound good to me. (Bonus: they're inclusive for folks not identifying as either male or female.)

Although, since there are so many dungeon crawlers, it would be nice to have creative classes, or at least have them creatively-named. For example in Gloomhaven there's the Scoundrel (Rogue), Spellcaster (Mage), Brute (Fighter/Warrior) and so on...
 
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Tomáš Sládek
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There's a reason the "big 4" so often use the established Warrior(Fighter)/Priest(Cleric)/Mage/Rogue(Thief)

They are gender neutral and thus avoid language issues and also carry a well-defined meaning and expectations that come with it (thought Priest is not quite the same thing as a Cleric). I would stray from these names only if your classes have something that makes them distinct from the usual archetypes.
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I agree with what everyone here has mentioned. Keep it simple!
Unless, you decide to create new/less common classes, which would be more original and attractive to play with!
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    Yeah, but the gender neutral/basic terms are very vanilla in a setting where you're looking to create a rich flavor.

    The neutral terms are fine for basic rules exposition, but in examples I'd make it a point to use gender-specific terms with specific examples in the class. "Taliya, Sorceress of the Stone attempts to open a locked door with a Knock spell" is a lot better writing that "A magic user attempts to open a locked door with Knock spell."

             S.


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Chris Stanton
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Sagrilarus wrote:

    Yeah, but the gender neutral/basic terms are very vanilla in a setting where you're looking to create a rich flavor.

    The neutral terms are fine for basic rules exposition, but in examples I'd make it a point to use gender-specific terms with specific examples in the class. "Taliya, Sorceress of the Stone attempts to open a locked door with a Knock spell" is a lot better writing that "A magic user attempts to open a locked door with Knock spell."

             S.





"Taliya, Mage of the Stone attempts to open a locked door with a Knock spell"

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Benj Davis
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Attika wrote:


1.) For the magic user, the names Sorceror and Sorceress, Wizard and Witch, or simply denote him/her as "Magic-user"? Or something else?


Wizard, mage, magician, magi are all unisex.

Quote:
2.) For the priestly type, would you prefer the terms Priest and Priestess, Abbot and Abbess, Deacon and Deaconess, or simply denote him/her as "Acolyte" or "Lightbringer" or some other general reference?


Priest, cleric, prophet, healer, psychopomp...

Quote:
3.) I'm thinking that since the Archer/Thief has several "jobs" that he/she must be versed in, the inclusive "Rogue" should work fine for both males and females. If you have something else you'd like to suggest, do so.


What are the "jobs" in question?
Ranger, scout, infiltrator, spider, shadow.

Quote:
4.) For the fighting type, I'm at a bit of an impasse. Warrior and Warrioress seem ... strained. Warrior/Amazon? (But Amazons were most renowned as being archers!) Warrior/Valkyrie? Is the term "Fighter" general enough to include both males and females? Something totally new such as "Arms-handler?" Do you have another suggestion?


Warrior is unisex.
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Jordan Ackerman
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A lot of us would likely play a class despite the gender.

Depending on your game, you could choose to make the only warrior class a female, for example, and if the game design was good, people would enjoy playing that character.

You may also let players choose their gender and class themselves, allowing the player to decide if they call themselves sorcerer or sorceress.

Using gender neutral class descriptors is probably the least offensive given the delicate social climate, but to me fighter/mage/cleric/rogue feels dated to the late 70's and early 80's. Your game had better be pretty good for me to play a generic fighter/mage/rogue/cleric party when I could be playing any of the other dungeon crawls out there with more interesting character designs. You don't need to be as extreme as Gloomhaven and invent new classes, but make sure your theme and character designs are compelling if you opt on using classic class names.

I guess what I am trying to say is, go with what makes your characters the most interesting and then see if you have a political correctness problem. Not the other way around.
 
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Paul Wagner
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Thank you, everyone, for the responses. Informative. Insightful. Helpful.

Continuing with my thought processes:

Quote:
From Agent Chi: "My preference would be to have an option for female and male of each class."


Exactly. Right on the money. I'm going to make both a male and a female of every class, I just want the _name_ of the class to be descriptive, not off-putting.

Quote:
From Toc13 ...if the male fighter is shown in a chainmail hauberk & breeches, the female fighter should be wearing the same


Check. Definitely.

Quote:
From Antistone: "Prior to this thread, I have never heard anyone suggest that "warrior" or "fighter" were gender-specific titles. I don't think most would bat an eye at a female "wizard" or "priest", either.


In looking in the dictionary (Wiktionary), there is an entry for Warrioress, so I shy from using the term Warrior if that tends to denote a male. (But Warrioress is just such an awkward word! And more than one? Warrioresses? Gah!)

Same for Priest and Priestess -- and priestess is a much more commonly used word!

Wizard, to my mind, still suggests a male spellcaster. I think the books of the Harry Potter series have done much to (thankfully) dispel that notion, though. It's probably just me, too old-school...


To everyone, as far as the Fighter goes, a little background here...

The original Dungeons and Dragons game (1974), had only three character classes in it.

The cleric.
The magic-user.
And the fighting-man.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighter_(Dungeons_%26_Dragons)

It wasn't until 1978 that that last title changed to fighter.

And in 1989 (just ONE generation ago), the 2nd edition of the Player's AD&D handbook helpfully listed many examples of fighters: Hercules, Perseus, Hiawatha, Beowulf, Siegfried, Cuchulain, Little John, Tristan, Sinbad, El Cid, Hannibal, Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, Spartacus, Richard the Lionheart, and Belisarius. (Everyone notice something missing here?)

But it would seem as far back as 1989 at least the term fighter did not exclude females, though it didn't exactly welcome them. So I'm thinking/hoping it's both a descriptive and neutral term by now...

For the thief-type, I'm still happy with "Rogue". Ironically, I personally think of a Rogue as being a female character, though that stems from my enormous love of -- and way WAY too many hours spent playing -- the computer game Diablo 1 (1996). Yes, I'm a huge fanboy of the original blush. Ahem.

That leaves only the magic-user. Again, I want to try to stay away from naming conventions that have both male and female versions (so, no sorcerer/sorceress, warlock/witch). Also, Mage comes from Magus, which is a Latin masculine noun; plus, if you change just ONE letter of it you get ...

So I'm thinking something more along the lines of magic-user. Spellcaster. Maybe Wizard. Maybe Mage?? I'm not sure yet... Anyone have strong feelings on these?

Second to last, for those wanting more flavor (looking at you, Sagrilaris. Darn it! And thank you.), I'm thinking that there _may_ be character sheets involved here. You'll name your character and then choose and record his/her class. And in naming your character you can use any honorific you wish, such as the Bold, the Lion-hearted, Priestess of, Sorceress of, Brother, Sister, etc. Nearly whatever you'd like. Just so long as you understand exactly what your character class is (and isn't) capable of.

Lastly, I know all this looks rather PC. However, I see this as being merely commonsense. If the character classes play exactly the same for both males and females, why give them class names that have gender-heavy connotations? Why set out to create a trigger and then a battle that simply doesn't need to be fought?

And fought it would be. Anyone else see this -- now closed -- thread?
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1371536/so-one-playable...

So this is where I'm leaning with everyone's contributions so far.

Fighter
Cleric
Rogue
and something-something.

Final thoughts?

 
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Benj Davis
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Nobody uses warrioress.
 
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Andrew Lowen
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Jlerpy wrote:
Nobody uses warrioress.


Fearing backlash for not using the right terms is a good example of an agenda creeping into Games. Keep the agenda out.

And under that logic, what if the Warrioress identifies as a Warrior anyway? 😂
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Lowenhigh wrote:
Jlerpy wrote:
Nobody uses warrioress.


Fearing backlash for not using the right terms is a good example of an agenda creeping into Games. Keep the agenda out.


Actually, I don't think it's an agenda of anybody.
Or it should be the agenda everybody, if you see it as: "I want to make a game for everybody, that you can play with your fiancé and everybody can identify with his character".

Secondly, if there is a outrage because you named a ressource "slaves" (like in 5 Tribes) and send replacement cards to the enraged customer, there is financial risk involved.

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jkrenner wrote:
Lowenhigh wrote:
Jlerpy wrote:
Nobody uses warrioress.


Fearing backlash for not using the right terms is a good example of an agenda creeping into Games. Keep the agenda out.


Actually, I don't think it's an agenda of anybody.
Or it should be the agenda everybody, if you see it as: "I want to make a game for everybody, that you can play with your finacé and everybody can identify with his character".

Secondly, if there is a outrage because you named a ressource "slaves" (like in 5 Tribes) and replacement cards to the enraged customer, there is financial risk involved.



Well my point was just that designing a great game shouldn’t care about feelings like that. Call things what they are - I might quite enjoy a game with a Warrioress and would love to play the character if she was fun. But don’t name it that because you want to avoid hurt feelings and offending someone.

Great games have their niche and accept that some just won’t like them. You try to design a game for “everybody” and you might get “nobody” to be a passionate fan.

Great games will develop passionate fans that will be angry for one reason or another as it is 😜
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The Joker
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Lowenhigh wrote:

Well my point was just that designing a great game shouldn’t care about feelings like that. Call things what they are - I might quite enjoy a game with a Warrioress and would love to play the character if she was fun. But don’t name it that because you want to avoid hurt feelings and offending someone.

Yes. My point was: Try to avoid to hurt somebodies feelings or offend someone.
 
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The Joker
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Especially if it's easy to print a female character on the backside of the player board (Andor, 5-minute-dungeon,…)


Lowenhigh wrote:
Great games have their niche and accept that some just won’t like them. You try to design a game for “everybody” and you might get “nobody” to be a passionate fan.

I'll second that 100%.
Unfortunately, it's something easier said than done.
It's hard to keep the motivation to work on a game high, when you are thinking about what other people might like … (= designing for somebody else)
 
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Ben Van Buynder
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Like most people said, stereotypes classes are used often and in their way they can be fun, but I personally want some special classes in my games.

Magic users can be elementalists, mesmers (but this might be GW2 copyrighted), illusionists, arcanist, spellslinger, sage... Some are more gender neutral than others and people won't notice you "avoided" the entire gender thing.

For a close combat class I always loved the idea of a gladiator, but you don't see those often. Martial artist, monk, lancer, dragon knight, berserker, ... It also has quite the list.
Going with warrior and amazon is fine too.

There are options enough to make your classes sound more unique / gender neutral, but that also raises expectations of the player. They will want something more unique to the class than just regular warrior skills and such.

I personally couldn't care less about gender specific naming. Like some said already, if the class is nice and fun to play then the gender doesn't matter. Or rather it shouldn't matter, men wouldn't mind it being a woman. Feminists however.................
I can't be arsed by feminists to be honest. I will always give women the respect they deserve, but if they are going to demand respect they will get none.
(The rule is treat someone with respect and get respect in return, imo.)

Anyway I do prefer the term Enchantress above Enchanter, what could also be a nice class. What you certainly must not do is having different stats for the male and female version of a class, ONLY change the name, gender and appearance nothing more.
 
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Wallack Wallack
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Maybe late to the party but in the one I'm designing, classes don't exist.

Instead when you create your character you select an archetype and skills.

Archetypes are simply a better version of the skills available, so for example if you get the archetype warrior and then a skill to cast spells you are a warrior mage. If you select the archetype mage and a skill to be like a warrior you will be a mage warrior.

This is talking about it in a very simplistic way, is a bit more complex than that, but the difference will be that the mage warrior will cast spells better than the warrior mage but will fight worse.

The idea is that with skills you build the character you want the way you want it (within the posibilities the game offers) so you have more freedom and customization that way.
 
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Jason J
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For the Dungeon Crawl I am working on I am naming by job name, almost all of which are non gender specific.

For example: Time Traveler, Alien, Circus Performer, Secret Agent, Treasure Hunter, Super Hero, etc can be seen as either male or female. Only a handful of my characters like Princess or Ancient Sorceror actually refer to a specific gender
 
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Martin Larouche
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Dungeon crawlers are a dime a dozen nowadays...

So i'd rather it be a little different.

- Neuro-psionic (aka wizard)
- Buccaneer (aka thief)
- Frontier ranger (aka warrior)
- Engineer (aka cleric)

The theme could at least set it apart from the typical fantasy flare.
A group of people boarding a ship works the same way mechanically as in a dungeon.

And that's the typical sci-fi route...

Why not have a totally new genre in dungeon crawlers. Pirate dungeon crawl?
As in:
- Voodoo priest (cleric)
- Rogue (thief)
- Militia-men (warrior)
- Undead revenant (wizard)
Explore ancient temples for cursed treasure and board ships. Paths in the dense jungle... all different kinds of dungeons, which really are just rooms and corridors in games. Does not really matter if the corridor is made of stone walls or dense trees...
 
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