Tag Archives: fifth edition fantasy

Getting Social with Social Classes for RPGs

Social classes and RPG classes are two very different things, but when they start to mix things can get really sticky very quickly. Just look at the barbarian in Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder. Almost always represented as a class for tribal berzerkers, the class could just as easily be used to build an urban gladiator. Take it a step further: the berzerker could be the king of a tribe or a landless peasant.

Social Class in Action!
Photo by Lou Levit

Why’s this important? Social classes were an important aspect of the medieval age, and navigating social classes can make for interesting interactions at the table.

RPG Classes are Jobs

Think about RPG classes as jobs. As a first level fighter, you have some on-the-job training, and are on the path to learning more, through leveling. When you multi-class, you’re effectively learning two jobs.

Most RPGs I’ve played blur the lines here, and as you level you also rise in status. Effectively, the social class you’re born into has very little impact on a character unless the GM is using a specific system to represent it.

And Social Classes?

Each social class contains a number of jobs, similar to how you could be a cat burglar rogue, a bandit rogue, or an assassin rogue. Could you be a level 1 noble or a level 7 peasant?

The hierarchy of European feudal society goes something like this:

  1. The Church
  2. The Monarchy
  3. Nobles and Barons
  4. Knights
  5. Tradesmen
  6. Peasants

We can simplify this into three groups that are representative of the largest portion of the population:

  1. Those who prayed – the clergy.
  2. Those who fought – the knights.
  3. Those who worked – the peasantry.

Here’s my first attempt at defining each of these as RPG classes, compatible with the fifth edition SRD:

Clergy Class

As a member of the clergy, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per clergy level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (5) + your Constitution modifier per clergy level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: Brewer’s supplies, calligrapher’s supplies, cartographer’s tools, or clerical supplies
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Choose three from History, Investigation, Insight, Medicine, Persuasion, Religion, and Literacy (yip, Literacy is now a skill)

Knight Class

As a knight, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d10 per knight level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (6) + your Constitution modifier per knight level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: All armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Choose two from Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Perception, Religion, Stealth, and Survival

Peasant Class

As a peasant, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per peasant level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (5) + your Constitution modifier per peasant level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: Carpenter’s tools, cobbler’s tools, cook’s utensils, glassblower’s tools, leatherworker’s tools, mason’s tools, potter’s tools, smith’s tools, weaver’s tools, or woodcarver’s tools
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, and Survival

Design Notes

The clergy class is quite similar to the cleric and the knight to the paladin, for obvious reasons. I figured the clergy would have a d8 Hit Die, representing their better living conditions. Peasants get a d8 for being hardy, but a d6 Hit Die could also make a lot of sense.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

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The Manual of Masks

Masks are eery and mysterious — even a “funny” mask can seem ominous and threatening. Masks can represent a culture or tell a story — there’s so much to these objects that can inspire your game, and that inspired me to write the Manual of Masks, a supplement for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, now available on the DMs Guild.

Manual of Masks Cover Preview

Recently I gave you a sneak peek at two of the player options featured in the book. The Manual of Masks also includes new adventuring gear, including the alchemist’s mask, armored hoods, and the infamous iron mask. There are also rules for headshots, called shots, and hit locations. Rounding everything off are 12 new magical masks.

Manual of Masks Layout 1

M.T. Black, a best selling creator on the DMs Guild, called the book “Very creative and well written. There is something in this little supplement for everyone!”

The book is $1.25 on the DMs Guild.

Buy the Manual of Masks

Future Plans

I’ve already started work on the next 10 pages of the book, and the plan is to upgrade it later in the year. The update will likely include a section on Mask, the god of thieves, some cursed masks (so much fun to be had!) and some mask related adventure seeds. I’d love to add more class options, so featuring Mask will be a great way to offer more options for the cleric class.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

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2,500 Tons of Awesome

Greetings friend

Rising Phoenix Games has some new, exciting titles for you.

Climb into the Praetor or Vindicator Class Kaiju-Hunter mecha and take the battle to the stars.

Mecha—A Field Guide introduces two new mecha along with all the rules for operating, customizing, and combat with these iron giants, all fully compatible with the Starfinder Roleplaying Game. Three powered armor suits, new weapons, and armor upgrades expand your ironclad arsenal.

Forest of Secrets is the newest installment in the Choose Your Destiny series of solo and 1-on-1 adventures, compatible with fifth edition fantasy. Written by David N. Ross, it includes a useful forest generator for use in your games. Can you survive the Forest of Secrets?

Death Queen and the Life Stone kicks off the Choose Your Destiny series with an undead queen attempting to rise again. Can you escape her trapped temple and stop her, before it’s too late?

Death Queen and the Life Stone cover

Get the most out of Death Queen and Forest of Secrets with Welcome to Scarthey, your guide to the world of arcane studies.
Inside you’ll find details of the University of Scarthey, introductions to key NPCs, and plenty of player options.

Last up, Gear Heart is an encounter involving agents of the University of Scarthey attempting to uncover the secrets of a mysterious tower.
A short adventure for a party of 4 characters between level 1 and 5, compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Have a great adventure
Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.