Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears

They are the truest of romantics. Art by: Kay Neilsen
 
There are those who wander the streets of the city, armed with blade and charm. They are the city's children, perpetual pilgrims wandering her form. Urban lords and ladies, above law and reproach, made mad by their love for an endless place. Blessed beggars all, they flourish upon alms and the city's favor. They are her emissaries, traveling to lesser polises to whisper the city's regards into storm-drains and blind alleys. It is to them that the city gives the fullness of her love, and are favored more than any other citizen.

Mad Poets and Priests of the City
The Infinity City, like all cities, is filled with the dispossessed living on its fringes. What sets our city apart, dear reader, is that our city will embrace a select few into its inner mysteries. Orphaned children, destitute nobles, lost men and women, as well as so many others find themselves at the mercy of the city on one night or another. On nights charmed by the city herself, these poor folk are lead to hidden places of a city cell, some through drunken stupor others from the need to find warmth. These selected of the city are drawn by warm light streaming down alleys and the sounds of quiet revelry. If followed, the signs and sights lead these blessed castoffs to places of haven called Statios.

All city cells possess a Statio, though few citizens would know it, for the city keeps them close to her bosom and away from prying eyes. Statio are always hidden down secret ways, streets and alleys that the eye never notices despite being in plain view. Each Statio is attended to by two individuals called the Lord/Lady of Ways and the Lord/Lady of Gutters. If judged worthy by the two, an initiate is given extensive education and training to make them into the children of the city. Time in the Statio is elastic, with the perception of time's passage rarely matching its reality. In what might be weeks, months, or years these initiates are educated by the Lord/Lady of Ways in the arts, history, and philosophy; children and the uneducated needing more time than those whose already possess knowledge on such subjects. During their time at the Statio the Lord/Lady of Gutters teaches these hopefuls in the ways of survival, violence, and city-craft. Such time and education in these charmed places has a tendency toward quixotism and madness. By the end of their time at the Statio these individuals have become consummate poets, erudite scholars, and exceptional street fighters. In their last moments in the Statio they are given the title of Dominus/Don (m) or Domina/Dona de la Urbas (Lord/Lady of the City), though most often simply go by Don/Dona <insert name here>. Upon leaving the Statio these individuals spend the rest of their days wandering the city and upholding the Regula Urba (Rule of the City), behaving in a manner similar to Don Quixote. Those that live to an old enough age come back to the Statio and take up that mantle of Lord/Lady of Ways or Gutters. Those that die upon the city's blessed streets are given, by tradition, burials or cremations with the highest honors the neighborhood state can bestow. A neighborhood state that ignores this tradition risks the city's ire, in which it can cut it completely off from the rest of the city cells or from reality itself.

They are knights of strange wonder. Art by: Quique Alcatena

Dons and Donas are treat with a weary form of respect by the majority of the citizens who provide them with alms of money and goods. These crusaders of the city wander about, protecting citizens and upholding the honor of the city; though what exactly the 'honor of the city' is has differing definitions depending on the Don/Dona. Living charmed lives where the city provides for their needs, these individuals live their lives as if they were characters in chivalric romances. Neighborhood states allow them to go about their mad business out of fear of the city's ire and because they generally keep the street safe. Constables of various neighborhood states are allowed to place a Don/Dona in 'protective custody' for a period of no longer than two full days, which usually amounts to making them comfortable in a holding cell to keep the individual from making too much trouble. For the most part they are seen as insane, but well meaning, mascots of the city.

They are all quite mad, but their madness is beautiful. Art by: Sidney Sime

A Class
Sometimes I feel like my only friend is the city I live in... - Red Hot Chili Peppers

While this class is geared towards the Infinite City, it can be transplanted into most game worlds. The class functions largely like a combination of Thief, Bard, and Ranger.

OSR / AD&D
Hit-Dice: D8 (+2 HP per level at level 10+)
THAC0 / To-Hit Progression: As a Thief
Saves: As Rogues
Experience Levels: As Priest
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: As Rogues
Skill Proficiencies: As Rogues
Initial Character Funds: 2D6 x 10 gp
Special Abilities:

City Blessings: These are a set of percentile skills that represents the city's favor for the Don/Dona. These skills represent a character's training in charming roads, people, and places into helping the character. To keep the use of these abilities, the Don/Dona must obey a code of conduct. Those who break such a code must return to the Statio the trained them and ask the two attendants for a quest to regain the favor of the city. Such questions usually involve peril to the offending Don/Dona. The code is:

Thou shalt defend the City.
Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
Thou shalt make war against the wicked without cessation and without mercy.
Thou shalt live on the charity and mercy of the City, owning no residence, keeping only what thou can carry.
Thou shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
Thou shalt have no other family, never taking a husband or wife, nor siring or carrying a child. Thou art married to the City, though she is merciful and gives her blessing in seeking “temporary company”.

Blessings
A character begins with 23 points to place in the following abilities, putting no more than 20 in a single ability. At every level, the character gains 11 more points to place into these abilities. These functions work perfectly in the Infinite City, as well as any city that the Don/Dona has spent at least a half hour relaying the Infinite City's regards via whispers to storm-drains and alleys. Outside of a city, the Don/Dona needs to keep a piece of cobblestone with them from a street in the Infinite City. This piece acts as a kind of holy symbol, and can be as small as the character's thumb. If a character loses this piece of cobblestone, they must return to the Infinite City to get a new one. These abilities are not effected by encumbrance or armor.

Blessing of Travel: This skill encompasses a character's ability to move about an environment in various ways. As long as the character is in the City, another urban environment, or carries a piece of cobblestone from the Infinite City this skill has the same function as the skills Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, and Climb. Furthermore, this ability allows the character and one addition person per 2 levels to travel via secret ways. If the character pulls an individual into a secret way, but is not at a high enough level to do so, the extra individual immediately becomes disoriented and separated from the character (no save).
These secret ways are kept hidden from the rest of reality through feelings of disinterest and minor bouts of forgetfulness that these paths engender in all those not initiated into the secrets. A secret way effectively increases the character's speed by cutting the distance between two places. At 1st level a character has an effective travel speed of x2 normal movement speed. This travel speed multiplier increases by 1 for every 2 levels after (e.g. x3 at 3rd level, x4 at 5th level, etc). Thus, if a 1st level character could normally travel 20 miles in a day, a character of this class could travel 40 miles using this ability. To find a secret path takes 1 turn (10 minutes) of concentration. If something breaks the character's concentration, like taking damage or engaging in another action, then they must start over again. This ability does not function in enclosed spaces like cave systems, dungeons, or in buildings.
Base Rating: Wisdom Score x 2

Their charm is capable of reaching the most jaded of hearts. Art by: Kay Nielsen

Blessing of Charming Demeanor: This ability has two functions: to improve the morale of allies and to ingratiate the character to others. Use of this blessing is considered a dice equivalent action. The effects of the blessing lasts for a number of minutes/rounds equal to the character's level + 1D6. This ability is by no means quiet, and requires the character to speak animatedly.

Improve Morale: With the character's zest for life, and knowledge of many inspiring tales, they may improve the morale of those around them. A number of people equal to ½ the character's level rounded up who are able to hear the character, receive +1 to AC, to-hit rolls, damage rolls, and saves. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels after the 1st (e.g. +2 at 5th level, +3 at 9th level, etc...). Dons/Donas are somewhat mad, and speak to themselves to bolster their own morale, effectively they may choose themselves as one of the recipients of these bonuses.

Ingratiating Charm: After speaking with a person for at least a minute, if the character makes their skill roll successfully, the target must make a save versus Spell. If the target makes their save they are immune to this ability for the next 24 hours. If the target fails their save, they act as if under the effects of a Charm spell. This ability can be used multiple times on the same target as long as they do not make their save. Any target with a mind can be effected by this spell. Magic resistance is only ½ as effective against this ability since it relies on both magic an the charm of the individual. The target must be able to understand what the character is saying. This effect cannot be used in combat, and any aggressive actions made towards the target by the character, or anyone the target believes to be working with character, immediately ends the effect.
Base Rating: Charisma Score x 2

Blessing of Locale's Allegiance: This ability allows the character to implore a particular location for assistance. This assistance can take the form of providing a needed item/service, hindering an enemy, or finding a particular item/person. This ability takes a round to activate, after which the player rolls for the character's skill. If the roll is successful the character either is provided with a needed item, the locale temporarily hinders the character's enemies, or the character is put on the trail of their desired target for a time.

Fulfilling Needs: In using this skill, the character convinces the area to provide them with a particular mundane item or service. A mundane item is any non-magical piece of equipment or food (money, jewels, and valuable art do not count). A service can be something as simple as 'a safe place to sleep' or 'someone who will have sex with me for free'. These services don't include extravagant or outlandish things like 'a wizard who will cast Wish for free' or 'a noble who will give me his castle'. A character can ask for a number of things/services from a locale in a day equal to their level plus a modifier based on their Charisma score (13: +1, 16: +2, 18+: +3). A locale is defined as a general location such as: this cave system, this dungeon, or this city. Particularly rare items or services can be difficult to get from a place, resulting in penalties to the skill when trying to get such an item or service: Uncommon item/service -10% and Rare item/service -20%.

Hindering Enemies: The character can beseech a locale to hinder their enemies. A number of people equal to ½ the character's level rounded up receive -1 to AC, to-hit rolls, damage rolls, and saves. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels after the 1st (e.g. -2 at 5th level, -3 at 9th level, etc...). These penalties last for a number of rounds equal to the character's level +1D6. A locale may only be asked once per enemy, or group of enemies, meaning after the duration of the effect or a failed roll their enemies are no longer subject to penalties.

Guidance: The character can beseech a locale to direct them to a particular individual in the locale or to a particular object. The character must spend a least 5 minutes talking to the locale, after which they may make the skill roll. If the roll is successful they are put on the trail of their target for a number of turns (10 minutes) equal to their level, after which they must make another roll (though without having to spend time talking to the locale) to stay on trail. A failed roll results in the character having to spend at least 10 minutes re-describing the item/individual to the locale (locales can get easily confused about who or what the character is looking for).

Base Rating: Intelligence Score x 2

They are prepared for whatever strangeness life might present. Art by: Joseph Clement Coll

Teachings of the Gutter
Outside of learning how to use weapons and armor, the Lord/Lady of Gutters taught their students some tricks in the ways of death and blood.

Street Fighter: When the character is in a city or an enclosed space, they gain bonuses to combat. While in these environments the character gets a +1 bonus to-hit and to AC. This bonus increases by 1 for every 5 levels after the 1st (e.g. +2 at 6th level, +3 at 11th level, etc...)

Dirty Fighter: The character knows how to exploit the weaknesses of an enemy. If the character attacks a surprised, flanked, or a target with their back to an obstacle they gain a bonus to melee damage equal to ½ their level rounded up.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess
Hit-Dice: D6 (+2 HP per level at level 10+)
To-Hit Progression: As a Specialist
Saves: As Specialist
Experience Levels: As Cleric
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: As Specialist
Initial Character Funds: 3D6 x 10 sp
Special Abilities:

City Blessings: These are a set of X out of 6 skills that represents the city's favor for the Don/Dona. These skills represent a character's training in charming roads, people, and places into helping the character. To keep the use of these abilities, the Don/Dona must obey a code of conduct. Those who break such a code must return to the Statio the trained them and ask the two attendants for a quest to regain the favor of the city. Such questions usually involve peril to the offending Don/Dona. The code is:

Thou shalt defend the City.
Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
Thou shalt make war against the wicked without cessation and without mercy.
Thou shalt live on the charity and mercy of the City, owning no residence, keeping only what thou can carry.
Thou shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
Thou shalt have no other family, never taking a husband or wife, nor siring or carrying a child. Thou art married to the City, though she is merciful and gives her blessing in seeking “temporary company”.

Blessings
The blessings of the city are treated as 3 distinct skills accessible only to this class. A character begins with 3 points to place in the following abilities, putting no more than 2 in a single ability. At every level, the character gains 1 more points to place into these abilities. The character may only put points into these 3 skills. All 3 skills start out at a rating of 1. These abilities work perfectly in the Infinite City, as well as any city that the Don/Dona has spent at least a half hour relaying the Infinite City's regards via whispers to storm-drains and alleys. Outside of a city, the Don/Dona needs to keep a piece of cobblestone with them from a street in the Infinite City. This piece acts as a kind of holy symbol, and can be as small as the character's thumb. If a character loses this piece of cobblestone, they must return to the Infinite City to get a new one. These abilities are not effected by encumbrance or armor. 

They know the secret ways between places. Art by: Quique Alcatena
 
Blessing of Travel: This skill encompasses a character's ability to move about an environment in various ways. As long as the character is in the City, another urban environment, or carries a piece of cobblestone from the Infinite City this skill has the same function as the skills Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, and Climb. Furthermore, this ability allows the character and one addition person per 2 levels to travel via secret ways. If the character pulls an individual into a secret way, but is not at a high enough level to do so, the extra individual immediately becomes disoriented and separated from the character (no save).
These secret ways are kept hidden from the rest of reality through feelings of disinterest and minor bouts of forgetfulness that these paths engender in all those not initiated into the secrets. A secret way effectively increases the character's speed by cutting the distance between two places. At 1st level a character has an effective travel speed of x2 normal movement speed. This travel speed multiplier increases by 1 for every 2 levels after (e.g. x3 at 3rd level, x4 at 5th level, etc). Thus, if a 1st level character could normally travel 20 miles in a day, a character of this class could travel 40 miles using this ability. To find a secret path takes 1 turn (10 minutes) of concentration. If something breaks the character's concentration, like taking damage or engaging in another action, then they must start over again. This ability does not function in enclosed spaces like cave systems, dungeons, or in buildings.

Blessing of Charming Demeanor: This ability has two functions: to improve the morale of allies and to ingratiate the character to others. Use of this blessing is considered a dice equivalent action. The effects of the blessing lasts for a number of minutes/rounds equal to the character's level + 1D6. This ability is by no means quiet, and requires the character to speak animatedly.

Improve Morale: With the character's zest for life, and knowledge of many inspiring tales, they may improve the morale of those around them. A number of people equal to ½ the character's level rounded up who are able to hear the character, receive +1 to AC, to-hit rolls, damage rolls, and saves. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels after the 1st (e.g. +2 at 5th level, +3 at 9th level, etc...). Dons/Donas are somewhat mad, and speak to themselves to bolster their own morale, effectively they may choose themselves as one of the recipients of these bonuses.

Ingratiating Charm: After speaking with a person for at least a minute, if the character makes their skill roll successfully, the target must make a save versus Spell. If the target makes their save they are immune to this ability for the next 24 hours. If the target fails their save, they act as if under the effects of a Charm spell. This ability can be used multiple times on the same target as long as they do not make their save. Any target with a mind can be effected by this spell. Magic resistance is only ½ as effective against this ability since it relies on both magic an the charm of the individual. The target must be able to understand what the character is saying. This effect cannot be used in combat, and any aggressive actions made towards the target by the character, or anyone the target believes to be working with character, immediately ends the effect.

Blessing of Locale's Allegiance: This ability allows the character to implore a particular location for assistance. This assistance can take the form of providing a needed item/service, hindering an enemy, or finding a particular item/person. This ability takes a round to activate, after which the player rolls for the character's skill. If the roll is successful the character either is provided with a needed item, the locale temporarily hinders the character's enemies, or the character is put on the trail of their desired target for a time.

Fulfilling Needs: In using this skill, the character convinces the area to provide them with a particular mundane item or service. A mundane item is any non-magical piece of equipment or food (money, jewels, and valuable art do not count). A service can be something as simple as 'a safe place to sleep' or 'someone who will have sex with me for free'. These services don't include extravagant or outlandish things like 'a wizard who will cast Wish for free' or 'a noble who will give me his castle'. A character can ask for a number of things/services from a locale in a day equal to their level plus their Charisma modifier. A locale is defined as a general location such as: this cave system, this dungeon, or this city. Particularly rare items or services can be difficult to get from a place, resulting in penalties to the skill when trying to get such an item or service: Uncommon item/service -1 and Rare item/service -2.

Hindering Enemies: The character can beseech a locale to hinder their enemies. A number of people equal to ½ the character's level rounded up receive -1 to AC, to-hit rolls, damage rolls, and saves. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels after the 1st (e.g. -2 at 5th level, -3 at 9th level, etc...). These penalties last for a number of rounds equal to the character's level +1D6. A locale may only be asked once per enemy, or group of enemies, meaning after the duration of the effect or a failed roll their enemies are no longer subject to penalties.

A Don/Dona can ask for guidance from any place. Art by: Sidney Sime


Guidance: The character can beseech a locale to direct them to a particular individual in the locale or to a particular object. The character must spend a least 5 minutes talking to the locale, after which they may make the skill roll. If the roll is successful they are put on the trail of their target for a number of turns (10 minutes) equal to their level, after which they must make another roll (though without having to spend time talking to the locale) to stay on trail. A failed roll results in the character having to spend at least 10 minutes re-describing the item/individual to the locale (locales can get easily confused about who or what the character is looking for).

Teachings of the Gutter
Outside of learning how to use weapons and armor, the Lord/Lady of Gutters taught their students some tricks in the ways of death and blood.

Street Fighter: When the character is in a city or an enclosed space, they gain bonuses to combat. While in these environments the character gets a +1 bonus to-hit and to AC. This bonus increases by 1 for every 5 levels after the 1st (e.g. +2 at 6th level, +3 at 11th level, etc...)

Dirty Fighter: The character knows how to exploit the weaknesses of an enemy. If the character attacks a surprised, flanked, or a target with their back to an obstacle they gain a bonus to melee damage equal to ½ their level rounded up.

Those who assist me, I consider kings and queens of imagination. Art by Kay Nielsen

Acknowledgments
I was having trouble with coming up with abilities for this class. These folks helped me immensely.

Google +:
Gennifer Bone
Fabian Khalil
Olde House Rules
Michael Bowling
Matthew Gagan
Chris Angelucci
Thor Hansen

Facebook:
Gustave Lipfert – It's worth noting, this guy is always providing me with awesome suggestions.
Ragnar Hill
Luke Reynolds
Heather Stern