Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Reinventing the Citizen Type

A couple of items to get out of the way before I start. I realize that in this article I am taking the Citizen type out of the context that Ken intended in the 7th edition rules. Also I do not see the Citizen type as described to be unplayable as I discussed in my last post, but the changes described here may make them a bit more of an attractive option to more players and gives them a great deal of flexibility. It also allows the Citizen type to cover almost any character concept not included in the Warrior, Wizard, Rogue archetypes.

The Citizen type has recently been the subject of some discussion. There are those that really like concept, those that hate it, of course the majority who could care less. I have gradually started to move toward the first camp. I do think that the three basic types (Warrior, Wizard, Rogue) are perfect for most situations in T&T and these types can be easily customized with detailed backgrounds from the players imagination without need for complex mechanical differences. But there is a gap; what if a player does not want to play one of these archetypes? I feel that the Citizen type fills this gap rather well.

Unfortunately, the Citizen type as presented in the 7th edition rules is typically viewed as being too weak to be playable. Ken himself advised in the type description that the Citizen should not be used for player characters. But as I discussed in my previous post and as have others, I don't think this is the case. That being said, I have formulated an idea that could "reinvent" the Citizen type to give it wider appeal. From a comment in my previous post it seems that others have had similar ideas.

In order to reinvent the Citizen type we should consider abilities of the other types. Looking at the Warrior type in 7th edition as an example, it gets the following abilities:

Use of any armor or shields
Use of any weapons
+1 combat add per level
Double protection from armor
1 Talent to start
+1 Talent per level

These abilities reflect the Warrior's focus on learning to fight. We can model a reinvented Citizen using the basic number of these "perks" as a guide.

In 7th edition the Citizen gets the following abilities:

Use of any armor or shields
Use of any weapons
Use of magic
1 Talent to start
+1 Talent per level

Very similar to a Rogue, but these abilities are tempered by the following disadvantages:

Half normal personal adds
No starting spells
Spell casting requires a INT and DEX Saving Roll
Rogue-like magic restrictions

So as it stands the Citizen can use weapons, but not very well, and magic, but not very well.

My concept of reinvention is to make the Citizens all about Talents. To do this, Citizens start at first level with three talents.

My justification for starting with three talents goes back to that Warrior's abilities listed above. The warrior gets three basic "bonuses" to start: +1 combat add per level, double armor protection, and one talent. The citizen also starts with one talent so should get two more to catch up with the Warriors other two abilities. Yes, Citizen's can also cast magic so you might consider this an ability, but I feel this ability is tempered by their overall lack of proficiency with weapons and spell casting. A restriction to the three starting talents is that they cannot be combat or magic related. If you want a character that can fight or use magic, choose a Warrior or Wizard, not a Citizen.

This modification allows the Citizen type to cover a lot of different character concepts that fall outside of the archetypal Warrior, Wizard, Rogue construct without an excessive number of types.

You want an alchemist? Choose a Citizen and pick talents of Alchemy, Astronomy, Herbalism

You want a healer? Pick talents of Healing, Herbalism, Poisons (for the antidotes).

How about a beast master? Pick talents of Animal Husbandry, Animal Training, and Animal Calling.

A scholar? Literature, History, Language.

So, with one change the Citizen becomes more attractive, especially in group play with a Game Master where the use of talents can really be advantageous. In the end it is up to the ingenuity and imagination of the player to make the character function in the game through the use of these talents rather than trying to swing a sword alongside the Warriors or cast spells with the Wizards.

Anyone up for a Citizen game?


  1. I'm even more 'radical' than you: in my games, Citizens start with four talents. One of these talents is their specialisation and they get +1D6+6 to start with in this particular talent. But then they only get very limited access to magic.

    1. Nice. I'm glad to see others have the same idea. How has this modification worked for you?

    2. Well... We are currently playing in a very magic-low game so I cannot really fathom the importance of the restricted access to magic. But having a single stronger Talent is not upsetting the balance of the game, especially when there are lucky players who rolled TAROs for their rogues and who thus may have a single Talent in the 30+ area.
      More generally, because of TAROs, I find it difficult to assess what does and what does not upset the game balance in T&T chargen.

  2. I read something in an OD&D board yesterday about the famous Hobbit thief archetype. It was argued that Hobbits are interesting in that game because they get good SR, and thus make for interesting thieves even if they are not very good fighters.

    Then someone pointed out that in the source material, Bilbo Baggins was not a very good fighter indeed, but not a very good thief as well! So maybe Bilbo was just a regular hobbit... Citizen, if talented in a few areas (bargaining, solve riddles, discretion).