Thursday, May 3, 2012

Player Classes for KAFKATON: Existential Adventures


"For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration."

The Iconoclast is a modern man who has rejected the social order in favour of his own unchained will. He casts aside comradeship, shame, order and morality; no outside force influences him; he acts solely by his own will. He accepts the uncaring emptiness of the universe and is thus freed of all fears. In response to this, society reviles him and tries to suppress his true nature.

The Iconoclast does not hesitate to use violence when he wills it. This lack of compunction gives him a +1 bonus to attack rolls per level. In addition, he will always act first in the first round of combat, unless he is surprised.

No force in the world can turn the Iconoclast aside from his will; thus, he is wholly immune to any mind control, fear or social influence attacks.

Hit die: d8
Archetype: Meursault (The Stranger), Kirilov (Demons)


"Because I'm a scoundrel, because I'm the nastiest, most ridiculous, pettiest, stupidest, and most envious worm of all those living on earth who're no better than me in any way, but who, the devil knows why, never get embarassed, while all my life I have to endure insults from every louse."

Where the Iconoclast voluntarily exiles himself from society, the Paradoxalist is deliberately ostracized by his peers. Beginning as an intellectual, the Paradoxalist falls from grace after he begins to explore the outer limits of modern rationality. Finding only contradictions and infinite recursions in this logical and moral void, the Paradoxalist becomes insane; but it is a cold, intelligent form of insanity. Wracked with self-loathing and unable to cope with social interaction, most Paradoxalists spend decades in seclusion as they return endlessly to their insoluble conundrums.

The Paradoxalist will find that inside the walls of Kafkaton, his  paradoxes can have physical manifestations. At the start of each day, the Paradoxalist can choose one Paradox to obsess over per level. Each Paradox has certain ongoing effects, but it can also be expended in a fit of angry ranting in order to produce a major effect. Thereafter, the Paradox is resolved for the rest of the day, but will likely return to plague the poor lunatic tomorrow.

The Paradoxalist becomes obsessed with certain tasks. Whenever he rolls a die and fails on a check that normally could not be tried again, he may try again but with a -4 cumulative penalty. Also, for each reroll, there is a 20% chance the Paradoxalist will be unable to escape his obsession, and must continue to try fruitlessly at the same task for 1d6 hours.

Hit die: d4
Archetype: The Underground Man (Notes from the Underground), Dog (Investigations of a Dog)


"I am quite detached from this affair, I can therefore judge it calmly, and you, that is to say if you take this alleged court of justice at all seriously, will find it to your great advantage to listen to me."

The Bachelor is a proud man, a man who works a well-paid job and most likely engages the affections of several eligible ladies. Though he has few close personal connections, he is well-liked by everybody and expected to do well in his career.

That is, before he was sent to Kafkaton. Now he is merely a lost soul like the others, but unlike his companions he refuses to accept this. The Bachelor continually tries to assert his authority over the strange machinations of the town. He trusts in reason and due process even after it has betrayed him many a time.

The Bachelor is well-educated and well-connected. He gets a +1 bonus on reaction rolls per level. Also, for any creature or object he encounters, he has a 2 in 6 chance of knowing something about it from his previous discussions with other boarders or locals.

The Bachelor's most powerful ability is his power to Register a Complaint. When things seem to be going badly or unfairly for the Bachelor, he may use this ability to petition the powers that be. There is a base 50% chance that they will respond with some form of arbitrary aid. This chance is modified by +10-30% based on how cruel the situation is, and by -30% for each Complaint after the first per session. If the roll fails, nothing happens if it is the session's first Complaint, but if it is the second or later, the powers of Kafkaton will dole out an arbitrary punishment instead.

Hit die: d10
Archetype: Josef K. (The Trial, The Castle), The Explorer (In the Penal Colony), Bachelor (Pathologic)


"Let me be cursed, let me be base and vile, but let me also kiss the hem of that garment in which my God is clothed; let me be following the devil at the same time, but still I am also your son, Lord, and I love you."

The Supplicant was once a religious person, possibly a priest or chaplain but just as often merely a devout member of the laity. Before or after arriving in Kafkaton, the Supplicant had his faith severely shaken. The Supplicant now has a complex, almost neurotic relationship with God, struggling with faith, despair and fear. The Supplicant does not doubt that God exists, but he doubts the nature of God - is God good, or cruel, or merely indifferent?

The Supplicant can pray to God for blessings at the start of each day - one Prayer per level. These Prayers have specific effects, but the exact time when they come into play is up to the caprices of God. The Supplicant can ask God to bring in the Prayer at a certain time, but there is only a 50% chance (+5% per level) that God will answer. Furthermore, if there is a time when the Prayer could actively harm the Supplicant or his party, there is a 50% chance that God will answer the Prayer then.

The Supplicant can also present a holy symbol to Turn Evil. All the inhabitants of Kafkaton are evil, save for the petitioners (PCs). However, the Turned will not flee or be destroyed, only stand where they are and watch the Supplicant. If they are attacked, the spell is broken. The Supplicant rolls 1d6 per level, and is able to Turn that many hit dice of creature for that many rounds.

Hit die: d6
Archetype:Alyosha (The Brothers Karamazov), The Officer (In the Penal Colony), Devotress (Pathologic)


(Note: At first I tried to make these writeups gender-neutral like you really should do but it was very difficult. Not least trying to come up with different name for 'Bachelor'. The characters upon whom the classes are based are almost all male, and the whole genre of European existential-horror is very male-oriented. So eventually I just settled on "You can play a female character in this game, but it's not the norm.")
(Note II: I haven't actually read Demons or The Brothers Karamazov so I am kind of guessing at their content based on Wikipedia articles. What can I say.)

1 comment:

  1. Totally awesome! godlike. so good.
    The Bachelor reminds me of Lee Marvin in Point Blank.