Earlier this year, I posted a few homebrew classes/stocks for Torchbearer on the (now defunct) Burning Wheel Forums. These stocks were the Gerudo, Gorons, Rito, Sheikah, and (Sea) Zora all featured in the Legend of Zelda series, the most recent entry, Breath of the Wild, in particular. You can find the originals posts (levels 1 to 5) here.
While I personally find the idea of a Zelda hack for Torchbearer cool (or else I wouldn’t have put forth the effort to make one), I feel obligated to point out that the player characters of a Torchbearer game are, just by the nature of the game, not quite on the same heroic level as Link tends to be in the Zelda games. I’m not looking at changing the core game loop, so going into the dungeon will still be a harrowing experience that slowly grinds the PCs down. This is still a game for old school style adventures, set in Hyrule because the group thinks it makes a cool setting. It’s not really for telling a climatic good vs evil style epic in the style of the video games themselves. Such a story might emerge organically from the exploits of PCs who are both very lucky and very skilled, but if that is your primary goal for a game set in Hyrule, I advise you to look elsewhere.
That all said, I want to revisit those classes I made earlier and expand them to level 10. I will be cleaning up the first 5 levels as well, but you should still consider these classes an open playtest. If you ever take any of these for a spin, I’d love feedback about what worked and what didn’t.
This post will briefly cover Hylians, and then post the Gerudo Spellblade.
Hylians and Foreigners
Hyrule is predominately populated by humans. The three most notable groups being the ethnic Hylians, the Gerudo and the Sheikah. Gerudo and Sheikah are both represented by their own stock and class, and will be described later. Ethnic Hylians are notable for their pointed ears, supposedly so they can better hear the gods. They, along with round eared foreign humans (or of foreign decent), follow the standard rules for the Human stock in Torchbearer.
If you wish for the Human nature questions to more accurately reflect the setting replace ‘Elves and Dwarves’ in question 2 with ‘Spirits and Fairies’ and ‘Goblins’ in question 3 with ‘Bokoblins’.
The all-female tribe of the Gerudo Desert, the Gerudo are known for their tanned skin, fiery red hair, and their martial and magical prowess. It is said that in ancient times the Gerudo were once in conflict with the Hylians, to the point where some claimed that the Calamity Ganon itself was Gerudo in origin. While nowadays Gerudo exist mostly peacefully with the other races, the Gerudo Spellblades carry on their mighty legacy, with a mix of martial skills and spellcasting ability.
This class most strongly draws on Ganondorf (various games) and Urbosa (BotW) as its main source of inspiration, as both were mighty warriors with strong magic. Mechanically, it serves much the same role in a party as an elf. This class was referred to as the Gerudo Shaman in the original forum post.
|Gerudo Spellblade Class Overview||Gerudo Spellblade Starting Options|
|Born of the Sun and Sands||Gerudo are a product of the harsh climate in which they make their home, tough and strong, they tend to rush at challenges head on. This can not only get them into trouble, but also makes them a little intimidating to outsiders.|
|Raw Abilities||Will 4, Health 4||Wises||Choice one of Desert-wise or Hylain Voe-Wise, take a second wise of your choice.|
|Skills||Fighter 3, Arcanist 3, Survivalist 3, Lore Master 2, Pathfinder 2, Scholar 2||Starting Weapon||Dagger|
|Starting Trait||Born of the Sun and Sands||Starting Spells||One random magician/elf spell|
The Image of the Desert Goddess
Whether by some divine act or quirk of biology, Gerudo mothers almost always give birth to daughters with strong Gerudo traits despite what should be generations of dilution of the bloodline. Males are extremely rare, with tales saying that a male child will be born to a Gerudo only once a century. In ancient times, such a male child would be destined to become their king, but in almost any era he would very likely be valued too highly to have to turn to a life of Adventuring, and is also likely to be a reincarnation of Ganon. As a result Gerudo PCs are all female.
Write Nature: Gerudo on your character sheet. Your descriptors are Boasting, Demanding and Enduring. Gerudo characters have a base Nature of 3. Answer the following questions to determine your final starting Nature score, and possibly some traits.
Gerudo Nature Questions:
Questions 1 & 2 are the same as the Hylian Nature questions 1 and 2 as described above.
3) Do you thrive in the blistering winds of the Gerudo Desert, or do you seek out the cool breeze of other lands?
- If you thrive in the heat, increase your nature by 1.
- If you seek out other lands, you may replace or increase your home trait with Adventurous or Lost.
Gerudo Spellblade Level Benefits
Spellblade: You start with a first circle magician spell, chosen at random. You can wield a dagger, bow, polearm or sword (but not two handed swords) and wear leather armor. You cannot use a shield (except as described below) or a helmet. Each level, choose a level benefit or a new spell (following the same spell progression as an elf ranger).
Wilder: as the level 2 Ranger ability
Desert Flower Duelist: A pair of swords (one in each hand) can be used like a shield. Must be armed like a regular shield in a conflict. Further, you may cast spells with a sword in each hand, but still need one hand free to cast if you are holding anything but two swords.
Bravado: The boldness, tenacity, and size of Gerudo fighters can be awe-inspiring, or, failing that, more terrifying than the enemy. As long as you do not have the Afraid condition, your allies may help you regardless of if they are Afraid.
Gerudo Master: Double the benefits of using a polearm, sword, or shield in a fight: choose polearm, sword, or shield. A sword grants +2D per action; a polearm grands +2d to feint and +2d to defend; a shield grands +4d to defend. Note that picking shield does not grant you the ability to use a shield if you cannot already do so, but if you pick shield Gerudo Master does apply when using two swords as a shield with Desert Flower Duelist.
Desert Guide: You never need to test or suffer an additional factor due to hot or dry weather. You may provide this benefit to any of your companions at the cost of one draught of water per test avoided or factor removed.
Gerudo Steed: You receive a black Gerudo Mare with a fiery mane. As the level 7 Ranger Elven Steed benefit.
Gifted: Increase your rank cap for your Fighter or Arcanist skill from 6 to 7, choose which when you take this ability. You may advance the chosen skill to rank 7 as per the standard advancement rules with seven successful and six failed tests.
Gerudo Champion: Use Level instead of Will or Health as base disposition for Kill, Capture, and Battle conflicts.
Heroic Ability: Choose Pathfinder, Health or Survivalist. The chosen ability becomes “heroic.” When rolling this skill/ability, 3-6 indicates a success (rather than the standard 4-6).
Daughter of Din: Increase Might by 1 (from 3 to 4), further, when you are alone or the highest (or tied for highest) might in a group, you may kill creatures with might equal to yours +2, and do battle against creatures with might equal to yours +4.
Image from Wikimedia commons: link
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