Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Class: Guardian Spirit

Instead of playing as a wizard character or a thief character, you play as a guardian spirit who watches over an NPC character.  The NPC that you are protecting is called your ward.

In terms of theming, you can be a westernized guardian angel watching over a luckless adoptee, an ancestral spirit watching over a scion of a dwindling house, or a nature spirit watching over a child who was abandoned in the woods.

Wards are usually orphans, children with evil stepparents, or survivors of great tragedies.  They are usually brave and virtuous except for a single flaw (see below).

hello child
i am your guardian angel
i'm here to decorate
your room is depressing as fuck
The Guardian Spirit

You're a spirit.  You cannot interact with the world except through your ward.  If your ward goes to see a psychic or takes some weird drugs from a shaman, they (and the rest of the party) might be able to see you directly, even talking to you, but until that point you're basically a dissociated game mechanic.

That doesn't mean that you shouldn't put some thought into how your character looks.  Will you wear the traditional white toga, for example?

Your Ward
You're the guardian spirit's ward, a level 1 commoner.  (Base them off the cleric in whatever system you are using.)

Yes, the player controls both the guardian spirit AND the ward (you have 2 characters, basically), but there are two big caveats here:

1. The guardian spirit is bound to the ward.  They're basically a floating combat mechanic that can cast 1 spell per turn.  They can't scout, they can't talk, they can't explore.  They just float along behind the ward, undetectable and utterly unable to interact with the game in anyway except for their miracles (see below).

2. The ward is under the player's control, just like a normal PC, EXCEPT when the ward is tempted by their flaw (see below).  When that happens, control is shared with the GM.  Basically, wards will always indulge their flaw.  Greedy wards will always steal, short-tempered wards will always get angry, cowardly wards will always run away when things get bad (like a PC who makes morale checks!).

Every ward has a flaw (chosen by the player).  It can be greed, fear, pride, avarice, low self-esteem, or an inability to form lasting friendships.  This is their great failing.  This is what keeps them from becoming a truly great person, and this is why you became their guardian angel in the first place.

Without you, their flaw will drag them down to frustration and mediocrity, but if you rid them of their flaw, they can become truly great.

You also can't use any Miracles (see below) to help them bypass their flaw.  If your ward's flaw is greed, you cannot keep them from trying to pocket money from the church box.

They will fail, and you will be sad, but this is part of the journey.

You must lead your ward to rid themselves of their flaw.  This cannot happen before level 3.  Once you succeed, your ward is finally ready to become a Hero of Good in the world.  (Or Evil.  There's no reason a guiding ancestral spirit can't be evil, ready to shape them into a beautiful despot.)  This also means that you don

Exactly what constitutes "overcoming your flaw" is ultimately between you and your DM, but the only condition is that a flaw must be overcome with a virtue.

A greedy ward, eager for wealth after a life of hardship, steals everything that isn't nailed down.  But after liberating some slaves, he sees their abject hardship and is moved by charity.  He decides to give them every penny that he owns so they can buy a farm, and is doing so, lets go of his flaw.

A cowardly ward fought alongside her friends for the entire dungeon, but upon encountering the dragon in room 22, was so overcome by fear that she fled back the way she came.  While her companions entered combat, she crouched behind the doorway, crying in terror and shame at her cowardice.  Finally, after hearing her companion's screams, she is moved by fellowship and rushes back into the fray, her tear-streaked face shouting a battlecry, and in doing so, lets go of her flaw.

this bridge is unsafe
go home
and wash your hands
that other kid is filthy
Guardian Points
You have a number of guardian points equal to 1 + half your ward's level, rounded up.

To everyone watching, these look like happy coincidences.  They're analogous to spells, in the way that it costs 1 guardian point to invoke one.  However, you don't have a stable miracle list (not all miracles are accessible all the time).  Also, they are "cast" by the guardian spirit, so the ward can do a full turn's worth of actions in a given turn AND the guardian spirit can cast a miracle simultaneously.

At the start of each day, the number of accessible miracles is equal to 1 + half your ward's level, rounded down.  The first of these miracles is good fortune, and the other ones are determined randomly every day.  

Good Fortune
Your ward rerolls a d20 roll, using the better of the two results.  

1. Auspicious Weather
The local weather alters in your favor.  This effect cannot do any major changes (no tornadoes), but it can turn a sunny day into a cloudy day, and a cloudy day into a downpour.

2. Bad Fortune
Someone else (not your ward) rerolls a d20 roll, using the worse of the two results.  

3. Deus Ex Machina
This is only usable when the ward's death is both immediate or inevitable.  (Being trapped in a room with a crush-trap ceiling qualifies.  Being cursed to die in 3 days is not immediate.  And solo-fighting a dragon is not inevitable because the dragon might miss all its attacks).  It basically functions as a get-out-of-jail-free card that only works at the last minute (the turn before death).  This miracle is unreliable: the chance of it working is only X-in-20, where X is the ward's level (max 15).

4. Drop
Creature must save or drop held item.

5. Fated Path
When confronted with a blind choice between two (mostly) identical alternatives, the ward picks the most beneficial one.  Choosing between two identical doors?  Two identical chests?  If the DM doesn't know which of the two is better, the player can clarify ("The ward hopes to find treasure." "The ward wants to escape the dungeon.").  If there are multiple choices (e.g. three identical doors) this ability merely eliminates the worst choice, and then is determined randomly.

6. Find Item
Your ward stumbles across whatever item they most need most as soon as it is plausible (usually in the next room in the dungeon).  This is limited to common equipment that doesn't cost more than 10 gp (examples: ropes, rations, shovels, battered swords).

7. Flee From Death
Ward takes 1d12 less damage from a single source.  Alternatively, the ward gets +4 on a save vs Death or Constitution loss.  This miracle can be used anytime, even when it is not your turn.

8. Forget
Creature must save or forget something recent or minor (within reason).  Guards might forget to replace the ward's shackles before putting your ward back in their cell, or goblins might forget to blow the alarm horn at their belt.

9. I Just Met You, But I Trust You Implicitly
People often take an inexplicable shine to your ward.  As the charm spell, except you can only use it on strangers that your ward is meeting for the first time, and in a non-combat situation.  This is nonmagical and pseudo-permanent.

10. Lucky Hit
After your ward's attack hits, you can choose to turn it into a critical hit.  Alternatively, the hit does normal damage but includes some beneficial side effect.

11. Lucky Break
A tool or mechanism breaks or jams.  Can be used to foil traps as they occur, e.g. trap door jams after opening halfway, preventing your ward from falling.

12. New Friend?
You meet a non-hostile person or animal.  They make sense given the location and place.  Roll a reaction roll as usual, to see how useful the new friend is.  GM's discretion.

1 comment:

  1. I really like the concept and the miracles, but I think that the "class" is somewhat weak.
    If I understand it correctly, per system, it comes down to a commoner who can cast a very small amount of random determined spells (plus the flaw). So, essentially, a weaker version of a cleric.
    Or am I missing something? Does the ward also level in some sort of way?
    Also, random is fine and all, but maybe dampen it. Like maybe making miracle casting somewhat like a D&D sorcerer, you get some spells known randomly and spontaneous casting slots (especially as the "spells are a type of creature" fluff of Canterra does not apply for miracles, right?).