Keith here to kick off the first in a long series of blogs discussing the new versions of the iconic characters that we did in Core. When designing these characters, we did things in roughly this order:
- Delve into the character’s current backstory.
- Evaluate the character’s capabilities in the RPG.
- Examine the character’s new art.
- Examine every old version of the character to cherry-pick the best parts (using designer definitions of best).
- Focus on powers and capabilities that would feel good in any and every adventure we make from here on out.
- Make sure the final result feels different enough in play from the previous versions that veterans aren’t bored.
Some things changed with Pathfinder’s new edition, like Valeros using a shield, Harsk dual-wielding axes, Fumbus... existing. Little things like that.
To start this blog series, I wanted to do one of the four characters we put in the Core Set Quick-Start scenario. So, let’s talk about Sajan.
Hawkmoon, an invaluable contributor on of our forums, once wrote all about how Rise of the Runelords Sajan was the best character ever. One of my goals for the new Sajan was making sure he felt different, but still passed “the Hawkmoon test.” Thankfully, Hawkmoon was excited for the changes and liked the new Sajan.
With Monk Class Deck Sajan, we switched away from the multiple blessings and punching to focus on his use of slashing weapons, particularly that temple sword he’s often holding. This version was dubbed Stabby Sajan. We also bumped Sajan to a starting hand size of 5, which is a huge quality of life improvement for a class that’s supposed to feel agile.
I’ve played a number of monks in the RPG, and one aspect that I felt we could focus more on is how versatile and well-rounded monks are in the RPGs. Or, at least, try to be. They are great at all saves, have a fair number of useful skills, and really like having a good Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, and Wisdom. Monks are pretty much the example class for Multiple Ability Dependence, where you need more abilities than you can afford to increase. Core tries to emphasize the monk’s versatility in a few ways by giving Sajan a more human monk-like array of “okay but not great” stats, and by letting you be “pretty good” (though not great) at more things by recharging your blessings on any check and having more skills.
Core Sajan keeps a couple weapons in his deck, because he’s got a sword and dagger prominent in his artwork. Thankfully, Core includes some more weapons that use Acrobatics, and knives in Core can be used to help others.
Another benefit that Sajan derives from Core that isn’t obvious at face value is that Core has so many more diverse blessings. As a character who likely blesses every turn, with blessings as his primary card type, this lets you really customize Sajan’s deck in an interesting way. Want to be ready to avenge? Pack a Calistria’s Sting. Want extra dice against monsters, and you’re okay fighting the occasional summon? Grandmother Nightmare has your back. Nothing to worry about there.
Curse’s Harrow blessings open up an entire world of character capabilities for Sajan. Cycling The Big Sky lets you deal with scourges. The Sickness is a good blessing to save for slightly riskier rolls, when you need to make checks a little easier.
Both roles offer a reroll option, since you’re probably rolling a bunch of dice at most things, but you don’t necessarily have a great bonus. Padaprajnas master all aspects of warfare, so that role offers better skill and proficiency with weapons alongside improved teamwork feats. Iroran Dedicant focuses more on perfection of self, improving his unarmed fighting skills and giving him ways to turn any roll into success. Iroran Dedicant also offers a unique ability (not for everyone) to shift around your skill and card feats as you play, letting you adapt to different adventures and correct past choices you might regret.
And that’s our new Sajan. In testing, we found him more flexible and interesting to play and advance. Hopefully, you’re enjoying him too!
Adventure Card Game Designer
Core Design: Sajan
Friday, August 30, 2019