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suliman

Alternative names for fantasy classes

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I want to have some more originality to my rpg classes for a tactical rpg. These are my names for now, and they are a little bit too much standard...

The names come from the architypical role I want that class to fill in the game, but yeah, any idea of name variations?

Strong frontliners:
Templar    
Barbarian    
Cleric (healer and knight sort of. Paladin style)    
Black knight

Medium range, agility based:
Mercenary (soldier type, lots of weapon flexibility)
Assassin    
Ranger (outdoorsman type of class)   
Archer (specialist in bows and crossbows)    

Squishy magic users:
Sorcerer (classic damage class)    
Priest (support and healing)    
Warlock (dark magic)    
 

Edited by suliman

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Sometimes it is good to use standard names for things. Using standard names for classes makes it easier for players to learn what each class does. Using new names makes the learning curve longer (for the same standard classes), and all you get in return is some originality (but not much, if the classes are still standard in everything except their names). You should think about if that trade-off is worth it.

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Unless the classes you've drawn up are mechanically drastically different from "standard classes," you need some other practical reason for new labels, lest you confuse the players unnecessarily.

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Agreed with the above. If your classes aren't mechanically creative, I'd strongly consider sticking to standard names that many players will already understand.

 

That being said, you could perhaps look at names from different cultures.  Taking a priest for example, you might substitute a shaman, kirkman, padre, oracle, etc.  Of course, keep in mind that some of these may also have certain pre-established meanings to players.

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I like the idea of finding new names and say take it a step further and abandon the high-fantasy setting, keep the same concept, slow speed tank units that deal heavy damage, mid range units with more speed and less damage, and of course the squishy special skill users. The basic concepts of strategy the SRPG genre are rooted divide all military combat units into 3 groups,infantry, artillery and cavalry.  Each has its' strengths and weaknesses and is effective against one while being vulnerable to the other. It's easy to default to knights, archers and mages when translating this concept to video games because that is the standard for so many of the best SRPGs, but at it's core it's just a basic grid based rock, paper sciscors game.   If you have something awesome that will stand out like a story that absolutely needs to be told in a Tolkenesque high fantasy setting or a bunch of assets made and work done on a fantasy.  Of course you should try and find a game play mechanic to make it stand out but I think a different story and setting will do just as much to make you stand out.  Take for example "Shadowrun", it took the basic table top mechanics of "Dungeons and Dragons" then changed the settings and made their own distinctive world out of it.  There are the same basic concepts, magic, orcs, fairies, dragons, but it's in a cyberpunk setting and set in alternate future dystopian versions of real world cities.  The series has managed to stand out and have longevity compared to the countless other D&D clones of the time and has been around for about 30+ years. 

First, decide on a setting.  If you have your heart set on high fantasy medievil we can work from there but see if you can't come up with anything else.  It doesn't have to be Shakespeare, it can just be the Shmoobles wanting to fight the Schmobbles because they took all the Schmoopty, the important thing here is where is this happening?

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I like the high fantasy setting for this project so it will likely remain.

Im actually going for a mix of hero quest (the classic board game), darkest dungeon (gritty gothic/lovecraft) and battle brothers (slightly more realistic medieval).

So while the mechanics are classic, I was looking for a way to make the classes sound slightly more original while still maintaining that old-school feeling. Hard, I know :)

Edited by suliman

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Okay, we can work from there.  For the high fantasy setting are you locked in to Tolkien style?  If not I would recommend going the Witcher route, it can still be medieval European influenced and high fantasy, but instead of relying on the classic LotR and English tropes their world was based around Slavic mythology and had a very Eastern European feel to it.  I'm not saying do Russian stuff because they did, it's already been done, what I'm saying is look at the different cultures there from about 1000-1500, earlier or later if you choose, then look at how they fought and what their units were named.  I recommend Machiavelli's "Art of War", just like the better known Chinese counterpart it goes into the different types of units and how they were used.  It focuses mainly on the different city states that would become Italy but it is the only comprehensive written piece on Medieval tactics written at the time it is discussing. 

So basically like the other poster said, for things like "knight" I would pick a culture that interested me, find what their equivalent of a knight was (landed gentry with authority given by a monarch with the expectation that they and their resources will be used to help that monarch if he so needs it) and try and write the qualities they were most known for into the unit.  If the story and game is fleshed out already and the names are just a cherry on the sundae I would hold off on changing them, let the Beta testers name them because the name will directly relate to the experiences (most likely frustrations) they give players, it would make sense and be a little more creative than using a map and google IMO.

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If you're just trying to find a simple source of inspiration, you could also try searching the definitions and looking through the list of synonyms.

For example, when I look up the definition of "mercenary" I get the following synonyms:

Quote

soldier of fortune, professional soldier, hired soldier, hireling; private army; informalmerc, hired gun; historicalfreelance, condottiere; archaicadventurer, lance-knight

or the definition of "barbarian" gives me these:

Quote

savage, brute, beast, wild man/woman, troglodyte; ruffian, lout, thug, vandal, hoodlum, hooligan, rowdy; boor, oaf, ignoramus, philistine, vulgarian, yahoo; informalclod, clodhopper, roughneck

 

Obviously not all relevant or useful, but there are some potentially useable names there.

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It sounds like you already have a working list for what you need.  95% of classes for fantasy games are fighter/mage/thief, and the only real extension to the list is Dungeons & Dragons classes.

With a better view of what you want, I've pulled up some more names for you.
Knight - Sure, the word isn't obscure, but it's rarely used as a class name
Shaman
Man-At-Arms - Going by historical definition, can be used for cavalry or "weapon flexibility"
Sniper
Mystic
Druid - Yes, it exists in D&D, but history doesn't have a lot of names for spellcasters
Necromancer
Berserker

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20 hours ago, Lendrigan Games said:

It sounds like you already have a working list for what you need.  95% of classes for fantasy games are fighter/mage/thief, and the only real extension to the list is Dungeons & Dragons classes.

With a better view of what you want, I've pulled up some more names for you.
Knight - Sure, the word isn't obscure, but it's rarely used as a class name
Shaman
Man-At-Arms - Going by historical definition, can be used for cavalry or "weapon flexibility"
Sniper
Mystic
Druid - Yes, it exists in D&D, but history doesn't have a lot of names for spellcasters
Necromancer
Berserker

You're right, they're better.

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