It's been a bit since I discussed gaming, and for reasons I have posted before it's been difficult to sit down and post something, beside even trying to get the group together to play. But here it is and I have some thoughts to share.
Can we look outside the "box" when it comes to gaming, when you sit down and roll up that fighter is he just that, a fighter, and that is all he will ever be? Or do you look at him and picture him as a Noble Knight, or Savage Barbarian. Can two players with character exactly the same stat wise not play fighter in very different ways?
We have been told, by the great and mighty that OLD SCHOOL play sux because it lacks options...well the great and mighty are morons.
When did more rules equal more options? Well I think I know, it was when the Game Master got lazy, it's when the player was coddled and when selling a game became more important than playing a game.
"Now wait, Eric we don't want any edition wars here", and I agree I don't and this ain't got Bantha Poodu to do with any Edition. What we have is the inability for Game Masters and Players to look beyond the RAW (Rules as Written) or even the lack of rules to create a game and setting that is enjoyed by all but is also a exercise in free will and unlimited options.
A year or so ago me and a group of players sat down to run through Paizo's Kingmaker Adventure Path, a game I was very much looking forward to playing and hopefully a game where we could really run wild. For those that don't know the Kingmaker Adventure Path is a hot mess of Sandbox fun, and had a real "Old School" feel to it, hex maps and all. We decided to run the game as lethal as was possible, sucking it up when rolls went bad, and just rolling up new characters as we had to. It was pure awesome.
Now what's the point here? Well I rolled up a sub par, Barbarian character, billed as a sickly guy, named Grimjack had a 10 constitution and a pitiful 14 strength, not very Barbarian by the "Character Build" crew, and well, on top of all that, my character utterly refused to be healed by the party cleric. Grimjack hated any other god but his own and as such would not allow the cleric to touch him.
I took a sub par Barbarian and through the use of a background story developed a character I fell in love with. He wasn't great, and yes he died, but I had a blast playing this guy. I sat down determined to play outside of what was expected of this type of character.
Pathfinder however hampered alot of what I could have done, it's true. With all its Options and Feats and Spat Books, I was limited.
Looking at DCC RPG I have the Fighter, with DCC's lack of skills or feats one may say that the game lacks real depth in character creation. I say you need to use your imagination, the player and the Gamemaster.
"Yes, Eric Imagination, like I'm some kind of idiot, explain yourself!", Well I would simply say, if three guys sat down at a table to play three Fighters, that where all stated out the exact same way, using a little Imagination or the "Rule of Imagination" these three players can and will have very different play experiences.
First, flip the Character sheet over, don't look at it, don't even think about the stats or the Hit Points or even the saves. Think about what kind of Fighter you want to play.
"ERIC! I can't do that, I'm a Fighter that's all I can be!", No sir, you are LIMITING yourself and the game you are about to play.
Now think about it, Player "A" decides he really wants to play a Barbarian, Savage and Brutal. Player "B" decides he wants to play the Noble Knight, Honor Bond and Righteous. And then Player "C" decides to play a Swashbuckler, Dashing and Suave. But while this is all fine and dandy you may ask,"Eric I understand this, but without the rules to create a Barbarina or a Knight or anything but a Fighter that's all I will be." and it's here I would say your wrong.
Now flip that paper over, where it says class, write, Barbarian, write Ninja, write whatever you want to be. Sit down with your Gm and discuss this, ask him to help out, look over the RAw and see where your "Idea" best fits when it pertains to the RAW class. Ninjas probably work best as Thieves Knights, work as Fighters, etc...
Now it comes to equipment and weapon choice, throw that garbage about "Class build" out of your head, buy equipment that would reflect your chosen class, what Ninjas carry Katana and there are no rules for Katanas, here a novel idea, work with your GM and make it up...SHOCK & AWE!
Knights needs a code of Chivalry, write it up, bind yourself to it and don't get pissy when your GM slams you for not living by the code you developed, GM's if Bob is gonna play a Knight and live by a code, compensate him, give him a bonus here or there, a stat plus, a family sword that's magical, even make up a talent or ability. Just ensure it reflects a minus vs. a positive line of thought.
The key here is not limiting yourself, by the RAW or lack of RAW, but stepping outside the game and playing or doing something you and your players will enjoy. The game should be shaped by the players, not the players being shaped by the game. Breaking the game should never be an issue when players and Game Masters share the same expectations for play.
Using your imagination is what Gaming is all about, and when we allow or Imagination to be dictated by the RAW I think we lose something important in Role Playing, something the separates our hobby from all the other pass time out there.
NOW with all that said, I have no problem creating new classes, I have done it for Ganth and never intend to stop, I also see no harm in buying up all the Character splat books you can, but maybe we tend to rely on the RAW of Character Creation to much and need to use the Rule of Imagination more.