Thoughts on the Visceral

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Designing the Visceral

The Visceral was the last of the “Cerebral-only” classes. It is based on the Body Aspect of the Triad; a Champion Class and the hardest of all my Hero classes to create. The Cerebrals were always going to be part of the Triad, a philosophy of the Body, Mind, and Soul; three Aspects that are all part of one being. By this time I had explored the Oracle for the Mind, the Umbral for the Soul, but did not have a name for the Visceral. I can’t remember the full details about how the word Visceral was attached to the Body Cerebral, but it did not take long and it wasn’t a very hard choice. The word Visceral relates to the body and crude emotions; it struck a tone of primal and instinctual aspects of a person. The Visceral class, as the manifestation of the Body Aspect of the Triad, was a good fit.

I didn’t have a lot of ideas for the Visceral class outside of the need to make them exceptionally strong and be able to manipulate their cellular structure. My initial feelings were all over the board, so much so, that I considered just scrapping them because they had no good place in the game, but I wanted them as a third Champion. It wasn’t like I didn’t have material to use, I just didn’t like the road that all the material was taking me down. It was looking a lot like they were going to be a monk and I didn’t want a monk class. Monks in RPGs never appealed to me and if they don’t appeal to me in any way, then I can’t come up with good ideas for their abilities.

So I was stuck, and since the Visceral was the second from the last Hero Class in the book, I just neglected them. I threw together a few abilities like: Armor Form, Cellular Manipulation, and Pulverize–all inspired by Colossus from the Marvel Universe. These gave me a way to make them wear armor and have a high level of protection, without making them wear full-plate and a shield. They also had a method for healing and an incredibly powerful attack. I began forming a vague idea that where the other Champions would deal with Damage Prevention, the Visceral would deal with Damage Restoration. It wouldn’t be the final position that the Visceral would take, but it was a start.

It took quite a bit of time and much discussion over the course of the last four years, but the Visceral class is now where I want them. The Visceral now rests as a shapeshifting, body altering, cell manipulating, juggernaut that heals their allies, guards their friends, and has some serious offensive power behind their actions. They have many of the tools that the other Champions possess, while at the same time adding a unique twist to their protective actions. They are like the ferocious mother bear that guards her cubs; you steer clear of her unless you are looking to get hurt. They also bring offensive powers based on the strengths of great predators like a dragon.

Reactions to the Visceral

The Visceral has been slow on the uptake among the Development testers. There are certain styles of play that they have and certain classes that appeal to their style, the fact that the Viscerals looked and felt very monkish for many of the initial iterations probably added to the lack of play. It required a lot of techniques to make them usable as anything other than a punching and kicking monster. With the new rules that should change. They have a lot of potential as a face kicker as well as a axe-wielding berserker and the supplemental content that I have planned should keep that feel into the future without taking away my options for other classes that we may come up with.

There have been two cases where the Visceral Class have been played as a serious character. Both cases were played as fist smashing juggernauts. One was a male and the other a female. In one instance our female character, Mairsil, jumped from the street up to the second floor of a building and through the window to crush the life out of an Abyssal Cleric slinging spells at them. The other character Calum was a true blue Champion that protected his allies from harm in the streets of Dragonreach and ripped apart the dangerous sharks surrounding their Ship.

I feel that while they have not been popular yet in testing, they have been an excellent addition, and will definitely see more play time within our group as the years go on.

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