In Strange Roads, players will take on the roles of drifters who wander America’s backroads and dark alleys in search of adventure and opportunity. These drifters aren’t ordinary folks; they’re troublemakers and vagabonds, misfits more content to gamble away their lives in search of fortune and power than to settle down and work a safe but soulless job. And, mortal though they may be, these player characters aren’t everyday people. They’re gifted, whether it be with divine might, control over dark forces, or even just the power to murder the fuck out of a motherfucker.
Character classes in Strange Roads represent different adventuring archetypes in a more modern context. Just like their counterparts in your favorite old-school games, these classes exist to define a character’s powers and abilities, as well as establish in the most basic terms how and where they fit into the world. Classes don’t just articulate strengths and limits, but also provide players an opportunity to step into the game’s twisted and weird-ified America and experience it not as an outsider, but as someone whose very existence has been shaped by their experiences there.
Each class in the game takes inspiration from a classic role-playing game class, with tweaks to make each fit into Strange Roads‘s setting. Over the coming days, I’ll be going into more detail about each specific class and the gameplay mechanics unique to it, but for now I’ll just give you a basic overview of what kind of folks you can expect to play—and get horrifically killed—when you gather around the table for a game of Strange Roads.
First and foremost, the Brute is a survivalist. Whether it was on the mean streets of the big city or in some small town in the Old Country, the Brute has learned to survive by punching, stabbing, crushing, shooting, and killing whoever the hell got in their way. It hasn’t been easy living like this, but the Brute knows no other way. By some stroke of dark luck, the Brute was born to be a killer.
The Brute is one of the few classes whose Attack Bonus increases through the course of the game. Additionally, the Brute can roll damage rolls with advantage for whatever weapons they’re specialized in.
The source of the Witch’s mysterious power is unclear, even to themself. They are reviled by those who fear their strange magics, driven out and forced to dwell on the edges of society. In some parts of the Old Country, they are even burned. The Witch can’t even take comfort in isolation, as, often, they too fear their own incomprehensible powers.
The Witch is naturally gifted with supernatural power and can cast hexes, a potent type of magic available only to Witches. And, while most of the other classes can painstakingly learn to use ritual sorceries, the Witch can learn and cast these spells with ease.
Whether motivated by ambition or simply boredom, the Grifter drifts between different paths, picking up a little bit of this skill and that as they scam their way through life. Generalists though they may be, they’re exceptional in their own right, as learning skills comes more naturally to them than to any other class.
Whereas most classes gain one skill point per two levels, the Grifter starts with four skill points to freely distribute at level 1 and gains an additional two skill points per level after that. They also receive a multiplication bonus for damage rolls for sneak attacks that increases throughout the game.
Where the Witch’s strange powers are feared and reviled, the Preacher’s are celebrated. Filled with the power of the Holy Ghost, the Preacher pursues a divine calling to enforce the will of God, healing the sick and cleansing the land of all that which they deem unholy.
Unlike other classes, the Preacher is unable to cast ritual sorceries. However, the Preacher makes up for this by performing miracles, a form of spellcasting all but unique to the Preacher. Miracles allow the Preacher to heal the injured, sanctify the unholy, and turn the undead.
The Lawman isn’t just any ordinary sheriff or cop. They’re a righteous gunslinger who travels from town to town in their muscle car, empowered by the law to uphold order. Jurisdictions in Strange Roads are hazy, and laws aren’t always consistent from county to county, so it’s up to the traveling Lawman to determine what’s just and what’s just plain wrong. After all, the law isn’t always right; but it is always armed. And, as an old saying goes, Good, bad—I’m the guy with the gun.
The honorable Lawman is the only class in the game aside from the Brute whose Attack Bonus increases throughout the game. While the Lawman’s Attack Bonus doesn’t reach the heights of the Brute’s, they enjoy advantages of their own, including a unique vehicle and the acquisition of powers that affect enemy morale and make the Lawman immune to fear. At higher levels, they even learn some miracles.