BEOWULF: Age of Heroes is designed primarily as a duet game, with one gamemaster and one player. Thus when it came time to design the classes, we quickly resolved that the idea of class roles was something that wouldn’t quite work. It was okay for a player to choose a focus for their Hero’s class, because Followers (non-player characters that accompany the character and are able to temporarily aid them) can help support the player in weak areas. But every character needed to have a certain measure of toughness and some ability at combat. We decided to create just a single class, the Hero class, and use 5e’s subclasses to allow a player to choose a focus for their Hero. We ended up with six different subclasses. Each based around an Ability score.
We want every kind of player to have options in BEOWULF. Some folks will be excited to hunt dangerous Monsters and try their Hero against them in direct physical confrontation. So some subclasses like the Bench-breaker and the Ox-spirited are all about direct confrontation and giving the Hero tools to dish out damage and take it in turn. However, in most BEOWULF adventures there is some secret weakness of the Monster that can be found to weaken them. Subclasses like the Riddle-reaver and the Council-caller can use their own wits or knowledge or confer with others in order to learn those secrets and surprise the Monster. Other heroes like the Honey-tongued can recruit many assistants to help with the fight, while those like the Swift-blessed avoid the Monster until the time to strike is right.
But the customisation options do not end there. As you fill in your class at first level, the Hero has many choices to make, from saving throws to skills to weapons and armour. As a foremost exemplar of those brave enough to face the Monsters of the world, you’re able to select from almost every option. Heroes also start with many more hit points (10 plus your Constitution score, not modifier) at first level. However, as you advance your standard d8 Hit Dice will help bring you in line so that the gamemaster can draw on traditional 5e resources for inspiration. But with a party of one, we just don’t want a TPK at those vulnerable lower levels. It’s just not any fun, especially when you’re the only player.
One of the last components for class advancement is Feats. We’ve provided an extensive and thematic list appropriate to the mythic setting — some of them provide options for your Hero that just didn’t fit into one of the subclasses to further tailor your character, others tie into our setting-specific alignment system and some of them allow a bit of ‘spooky action at a distance’ — your Hero is not a spellcaster, but can sometimes benefit from their faith and lore. But also, almost every Feat comes with an upgrade (+1) to one of your Hero’s ability scores. So you don’t miss out on getting numerical boosts for your character along with more options.
BEOWULF: Age of Heroes is coming soon to Kickstarter. You can check out the system by downloading our free preview, the Hermit’s Sanctuary at drivethrurpg.com
Find out more about BEOWULF: Age of Heroes here.