Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director
Today, we'd like to talk to you about one of our more recently-implemented classes in Project Eternity: the paladin. The paladin has been a staple of fantasy RPGs for decades and it was one of our most quickly-funded stretch goals during the Kickstarter campaign. As one of several melee-oriented classes on our roster, paladins presented some unique challenges for us and we'd like to share their development process with you.
Paladins have a strong tradition in FRPGs. While the class represents different things to different players, it often conjures images of legendary European figures like the Twelve Peers of Charlemagne, El Cid, and the Knights of the Round Table. Players who like playing paladins often think of them as devoted, principled, brave, and unrelenting. They stand out because of their single-mindedness and unwavering dedication to their cause.
In Project Eternity, we wanted paladins to maintain their sense of selfless passion and zeal without being bound to concepts like "alignment" or a universal moral code. We also wanted their mechanics to be distinctive from the other classes while reinforcing their role in the world. Area designer Bobby Null has always liked the marshal class from D&D 3.5, which is conceptually similar to the warlord in 4E: combat leaders who are at their best when they are augmenting their teammates. This is the approach that I took when developing Project Eternity's paladins. They have persistent modal auras, strong single-target healing and buff abilities (contrasting the broad AoE effects of clerics), and can passively grant bonuses to teammates in close proximity.
In the game's lore, paladins are zealous champions of a cause that may be religious, philosophical, or cultural in nature. The "foundational" paladins in this part of the world were the legendary elite guards of Darcozzi Palace in the Grand Empire of Vailia (now Old Vailia). They set standards for selfless dedication, unwavering loyalty, and inspiring leadership that have become the pillars for similar orders that have sprung up in the two millennia since they were founded. Even among orders where the chosen cause is perceived as bleak or malevolent, paladins always place the cause ahead of their own personal interests.
In Defiance Bay, recent experiments performed by animancers and ciphers suggest that paladins' souls are continuously "burning" wellsprings of spiritual energy that are overflowing their physical vessels due to the paladins' fanaticism. When ciphers have tried to directly perceive paladins' souls, they have described the experience as uncomfortable or painful, not unlike gazing at the sun.
All paladins currently begin with the following abilities:
- Reviving Exhortation (Active) - Paladins can command an unconscious ally to awaken and get back up with an immediate spike in Stamina, though the target will lose half of the regained Stamina after a short duration.
- Zealous Barrage (Modal) - The paladin and all allies standing within 3m have their attack and ability speed increased. Cannot be used with Zealous March (below).
- Faith and Conviction - Paladins have an inherent bonus to all defenses (Deflection, Fortitude, Reflexes, and Psyche).
As they advance, they gain additional abilities in the same spirit, such as:
- Coordinated Attacks - The ally closest to the paladin attacking the same target as the paladin has a bonus to Accuracy.
- Shake It Off (Active) - The paladin can command an ally to temporarily ignore existing Hostile effects for a short duration. The effects are suspended; they do not lose any of their duration and will resume as soon as Shake It Off expires.
- Inspiring Triumph - Allies within 4m gain a temporary bonus to all defenses when the paladin downs an enemy.
- Zealous March (Modal) - The paladin and all allies within 3m have their movement speed increased. Cannot be used with Zealous Barrage.
In playtesting so far, our test paladin has been very useful in combat, with the melee group often centering around her to gain the benefits of her Zealous auras and Coordinated Attacks. While several other classes have Stamina healing abilities, the paladin's Reviving Exhortation can turn the tide if party members start dropping late in a battle. However, using it too early can spell disaster for the revived character if the granted Stamina boost runs out in a long fight.
Optional Talents for the paladin will focus on shaping the passive or active bias of the character: widening the effects of Zealous auras; granting additional uses or increased potency for targeted commands; or giving paladins more direct offensive and defensive capabilities if players want to boost their paladins' personal viability.
Wild Orlans - What Do They Look Like?
Though we've previously shown one concept of a hearth orlan (the "orlan detective"), many people have asked and speculated about what the other orlans, the so-called wild orlans, look like. Wild orlans have the same general range of stature and build as hearth orlans, but are almost entirely covered with hair.
Though they can be found on a few continents, wild orlans in this part of the world are typically found in the deepest forests of Eír Glanfath. In recent centuries, the biases of surrounding colonial cultures have driven them even farther from new settlements. Considered savage and uncontrollable by many Dyrwoodans, Vailians, and Readcerans, wild orlans often find interactions with outsiders strained if not outright violent. Many colonists pre-judge all orlans as untrustworthy and bloodthirsty, but within that vein of racism, they often classify wild orlans as "the bad ones". Given the difficulty of concealing their hirsute bodies and faces, prejudice follows them in most colonial areas.
We'll continue to develop the paladin more over the next few months, but we'd like to hear what you think of the concepts and mechanics we've come up with so far. Similarly, we hope you like the less- and more-"beastly" branches of the orlan race. We developed the different appearances based on widely conflicting player (and developer) desires for the race to be both more andless wild. What do you think of the direction we're taking? Thanks for reading!