Weekly Design Blog for Steampunk Musha #6: A Class by Any Other Name

This blog is being reproduced here, as it was part of the original Weekly Design Blogs for Steampunk Musha series that was lost when our information was wiped. The artwork is not fully reproduced. See This Post for more information on that. This blog was originally posted Feb 10, 2016.

Hello All,

So in addition to the 11 new classes to be included in Steampunk Musha from the Kickstarter(Bosozoku, Calligraphy Master, Clockwork Disciple, Geisha, Kabukika, Machinist, Nikobo, Ryoushi-Oni, Shangti Cowboy, Zhanshi Minstrel, and Zhao Jun) and two prestige classes (Maboroshi Guardand Yakuza), we’re also planning on offering a kind of ‘support’ for at least 14 of the existing classes in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (currently, Fighter, Barbarian, Rogue, Alchemist, Kineticist, Medium, Monk, Ninja, Occultist, Psychic, Samurai, Shaman, Sorcerer, and Spiritulist).

That support is tentatively planned to be a short discussion of how to play these classes slightly differently and thus more ‘in theme’ with the setting of Steampunk Musha, including modified names for the classes used on Rosuto-Shima, AND we’re planning currently to include three original, world-specific archetypes for each of these classes.

To give you all an example of what the kind of basic text for “how to play this class in SpM” I give you the following — a rough write up (i.e. my fellow Design Team members haven’t torn it to shreds yet) for the Ashigaru, the Fighter class in Steampunk Musha.

Note: All text, titles, etc. are tentative only — we’d love your feedback about this kind of design and inclusion.

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Ashigaru (Fighter Class)

While the noble samurai is the iconic “warrior” — bushi — of the Lands of Rosuto-Shima, less than a tenth of the people that try to live by the Code of Bushido (see Chapter 2) are even roninafter the Warring States, let alone full samurai. The common footsoldier or man-at-arms is most often known by the name ashigaru. These “lightfoot” soldiers were commonly trained and equipped by wealthy samurai or other feudal lords for national conscription. Today on Rosuto-Shima, ashigaru are as likely to be employed by merchants and others made wealthy by the influx of gaijin money and trade.

In Steampunk Musha, the ashigaru are played using the standard fighter class with the following changes to represent the different choices in weapons and armor available in the Steampunk Musha game-world of Rosuto-Shima.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

An ashigaru is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, including martial firearms, and with all armor (heavy, light, and medium), but not proficient in shields. See Chapter 6 for what count as martial versus gaijin weapons and armor in Steampunk Musha.

Alternate Fighter Weapon Groups

See Chapter 6 for additional weapon fighter groups that can be chosen by ashigaru.

In addition to using this slightly modified fighter class, a number of archetypes printed inPathfinder Roleplaying Game books are solid theme choices for Steampunk Musha warriors. While the classic ashigaru is well trained in the use of the many ken (swords), yari (spear),naginata (polearm), and yumi (bows), any veterans of the Warring States are as likely proficient in at least matchlock firearms if not even more modern guns. But the Way of the Warrior holds mastery of a single skill set above other things, so that the archerpolearm mastertwo-handed fightertwo-weapon warrior, and weapon master archetypes are all common throughout Rosuto-Shima. Alternately, schools of warriors specializing in specific styles can be represented best by archetypes like the free hand fightermobile fighterunarmed fighter, and even those fighters with great discipline pushing their bodies to the limit as unbreakable. Finally, while some read bushido as holding specialization in the highest regard, others believe a more general learning of weapons and strategy should be emphasized, represented in themartial master and tactician archetypes.

Beyond these archetypes, almost any type of fighter can be found as a gaijin mercenary for hire in port towns or in places like Shangti. In general though, these foreigners are viewed as not following the true bushido spirit of the Warrior’s Way.

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So — what do you think? Would that kind of basic discussion and three new archetypes that tie into various aspects of the world of Steampunk Musha make for a fitting introduction to the world and help you design a fighter to play in a game set on Rosuto-Shima?

Lucus Palosaari, Editor & Project Manager at Fat Goblin Games (Like us on Facebook!)



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