Wyrd Street Tease: Burning Grin, the Scoundrel

As summer marches on and progress continues on completing the game, we come to our penultimate deep-dive on one of Wyrd Street’s Iconic Characters.

A title banner for Wyrd Street, an upcoming tabletop RPG by Tyler F.M. Edwards.Known informally in my own mind as “Lakota Batman,” the Plainsfolk orphan Burning Grin has endured a hard life. Following the murder of his parents, he grew up on the streets of Morhold, enduring trials that forged him into a true survivor.

Now that he’s an adult, he has come to find a home for himself in the city that once took everything from him. The people of Wyrd Street have welcomed him as one of their own; he has found a friend in the blacksmith and fellow Plainsfolk Sings to Iron, and a lover in the Tiahnese renegade Bing Li.

The fires of mythical beasts still run hot in the veins of the Plainsfolk, and Burning Grin earns his name from the subtle flames that flicker across his teeth. To his friends, that smile holds warmth and fellowship. For those who would exploit the innocent, that blazing grin is a source of terror, and sometimes the last thing they see.

As I have said before elsewhere, all of Wyrd Street’s classes started as “discount” versions of traditional fantasy classes, and they’re named accordingly. Quack instead of Alchemist, Street Preacher instead of Priest. But here’s a fun fact: I gave very serious thought to keeping the rogue-equivalent as just “Rogue,” and to be honest I’m still not sure that isn’t the way I should have gone. When you think about it, rogue is the one traditional fantasy archetype that can be translated to Wyrd Street’s setting with no changes and not feel out of place.

Thus, it is perhaps not surprising that Scoundrels are pretty much what you’d expect from the archetype. They’re good at sneaking, stabbing, and getting into places where they’re not supposed to be.

That’s not to say they’re entirely vanilla. As I said in my deep-dive on the focus mechanic, Scoundrels have a unique relationship with focus, with rapid regeneration but a low cap, encouraging them to use their most powerful abilities early and often.

Unlike rogues in many other games, Scoundrels are not limited to being purely glass cannons. They can certainly go that route, but they can also be built as capable tanks.

Lacking a high health pool or access to strong armour, Scoundrels instead rely on active abilities to avoid or mitigate damage. By choosing Polearm Expert and Riposte at level one, a Scoundrel can get an early start on surviving enemies, with both abilities allowing the Scoundrel to reduce the damage of incoming attacks. Their mitigation only grows with time, and by late game, they can withstand a truly incredible amount of punishment.

If you want do want to instead go the glass cannon route, Scoundrels excel at “death by a thousand cuts” assaults. This is exemplified by their level one ability Flurry, which allows them to make three Strikes with their weapon as a single action.

And of course, you don’t have to go all the way to one extreme or the other. You can choose a mix of offensive and defensive abilities to create a Scoundrel who is both deadly and resilient.

One other unique feature of Scoundrels makes them stand out. They are the only class with a single choice of ability at level ten. My first ability concept was both so perfect for their flavour and so powerful I knew nothing could ever compete with it.

Relentless Frenzy puts the Scoundrel under the effects of a virtually permanent version of the Frenzy Boon, granting them an extra action or response every round.

Quicker than thought, bold as flame, the Scoundrel is the ideal class for Burning Grin.

Wyrd Street is scheduled to release later this year.

Wyrd Street Tease: Bing Li, the Heretic

As we continue toward Wyrd Street’s launch later this year, it’s time to take a look at another of the game’s Iconic Characters. This time, we call upon the dark power of Bing Li, the Heretic.

A title banner for Wyrd Street, an upcoming tabletop RPG by Tyler F.M. Edwards.Bing Li was an outcast in her homeland of Tiahn. In a nation where no disobedience is allowed, she questioned the imperialistic expansion of the Divine Legion. In a land that venerates the light of the Celestial Powers, she was drawn to the darkness.

When the law caught up with her, she fled Tiahn, and after many hard struggles, she found a home of sorts in Wyrd Street, in the city of Morhold. She became a student of the Bala mystic Ten Obsidian Vulture, and found a life partner in the Plainsfolk Scoundrel Burning Grin.

Even in egalitarian Morhold, those who wield the dark powers Li has mastered are viewed with suspicion, but those who know her know that she is a loyal friend and a tireless crusader against injustice. A Heretic she may be, but that doesn’t mean she can’t also be a hero.

The Fortune Teller was my first attempt at a “dark” magic class for Wyrd Street, but it ended up leaning more into chance manipulation and didn’t entirely fulfill the niche of dark caster. Hence, the Heretic became the game’s true master of the dark arts, inspired by the resurrection cults I’d already written into the lore.

While the flavour of Heretic is all blood magic and necromancy, mechanically they actually play a bit closer to a bard, or a “skill monkey” rogue build. Of all Wyrd Street’s classes, they have the most emphasis on utility and non-combat skills.

As outcasts spent hiding their true nature, Heretics have a natural talent for stealth and infiltration. Rather than relying on skill checks only for such things, they have a variety of magical abilities to let them navigate society and slip through the shadows. Charm of the Lock can be used to open locked doors without a skill check, while abilities like Read the Body and Steer the Heart let them master social encounters by subtly tapping into the biology of people around them.

But just because they’re masters of non-combat skills doesn’t mean Heretics can’t hold their own in a fight. With the power to both generate focus at the cost of health and regain health by defeating enemies, they have some of the best longevity of any class, and their blood magic provides access to a variety of crippling Afflictions.

Drawing from the dark powers of the resurrection cults, the Heretics can enhance the powers of their own bloodline, increasing their core attributes beyond what is possible for other classes, and even gaining a second racial ability.

Like any good necromancer, the Heretic can also call upon unliving minions to do their bidding. Their Blood Dolls are golems of dead flesh constructed to resemble living humans and thus go unnoticed in the busy city streets. Blood Dolls are individually weak, but Heretics can summon an increasingly large number of them as they level up, and if one is slain, it only costs a little focus and an action to replace it. Just as your foes think they’re getting the upper hand, your Blood Dolls will rise again.

Blood Dolls can also be upgraded by several higher level abilities. Plaguebringers buffs their attacks and turns the damage type to poison, while Shadow Puppet grants one of your Dolls a deadly ranged attack.

The emphasis on stealth applies to Blood Dolls as well. The Dress Up Dolls ability allows you to change the appearance of your Dolls, potentially letting them impersonate specific individuals.

Of course, if you’re not a fan of minions, it is still possible to eschew Blood Dolls and focus more strongly on your other abilities.

Finally, Heretics are a class that can benefit strongly from synergy with other party members. Their Exsanguinate ability deals increased damage based on the number of Bleeding stacks on the target, and while Heretics can apply Bleeding themselves, Exsanguinate becomes an even more powerful option if your party members can help you stack the Affliction. Meanwhile their max level ability Possession allows you to take control of a Stunned enemy… but Heretics themselves have no Stun abilities, so you’ll need to coordinate with your allies if you want to choose that ability.

An early sketch of Bing Li, Wyrd Street's Iconic Heretic.Bing Li will stop at nothing to protect the downtrodden from those who would oppress them, and with the terrifying powers of the Heretic at her disposal, the bullies and tyrants of the world have much to fear.