In this series of design blogs I’m going to go through each of the 36 classes in the table top roleplaying game Shadow of Mogg, of which I designed, to explain some of the creative decisions involved.
In this blog we’re taking a look at the Intensive Care Nurse.
The Intensive Care Nurse began simply as ‘The Nurse’. In the original design of Shadow of Mogg the game was far more of a old school DnD tunnel crawl through the London Underground. The Nurse was the ‘Cleric’ class able to provide healing and so forth to the party. The design of the game changed dramatically from those roots but the class remained
The class was briefly called the Pediatric nurse, simply as the concept was pretty bleak, however I ended up feeling an Intensive Care Nurse was more appropriate following the press they got during the Covid pandemic and in part due to my own experiences working for an intensive care charity where I found how little awareness and support there is for intensive care medical professionals in general. Not that them appearing my weird elf game will do much to change that but hey ho. The Teacher class also ended up exploring the design space of a class that works with children.
The Intensive Care Nurse is one of the more powerful classes in the game, another nod to the fact that we would be lost without such key workers and yet we don’t pay them or treat them nearly well enough. Also simply because having someone who knows medicine in a survival situation is pretty useful compared to someone with no life skills like a landlord.
The classes special allows meds to heal party members to full if they are within the party. Normally meds heal a stat by one per use. Hence the Intensive Care Nurse is appripriately good at administering medicine and boosts the entire groups ability to survive.
Due to the group focus of Shadow of Mogg many class abilities are written in such a way that the class simply being in the party gives the entire party access to an improved way of interacting with the games mechanics.
The Intensive Care Nurse can also use Meds to resuscitate a dead character who has died within 1 ‘Bong’ which is 1 hour, normally in Shadow of Mogg if a character is unfortunate enough to die they remain dead. There’s no magical healing potions in this game that let a character spring up from near death like a daisy, but there is the magical power of INTENSIVE CARE.
The reason I made death in particular highly fatal was because I want this game to have pretty hard consequences and I wanted players to always be wary of pushing themselves too far with bid rolls. If a character could just be revived with a Med it would remove some of the impact and tension of that, especially as the Party can in theory if they play smart hoard a lot of meds.
The Intensive Care Nurse further brings many useful skills to the table. Skills in Shadow of Mogg are purposefully left up to The Speaker and the Party to adjudicate however the broader the skill the wider application it has. Hence why ‘First Aid’ can be used to aid in numerous group tasks from bandaging up the wounded during a fight, to spotting if an opposing party has any symptoms of disease upon them. Technically speaking the skill can’t be used to directly heal characters, you need meds for that, but it can be used within the narrative group resolution to support the party at whatever they are doing.
‘Bedside Manner’ is also a fairly generic ‘Bants’ based skill that allows the Intensive Care Nurse to contribute towards social scenes. The ‘Syringe’ skill is a lot more specific, but allows the Syringe to be utilised as an impromptu weapon during 'Rucks'(fights) within the game. The ‘first aid’ skill is probably better utilised for using the Syringe in the proper way it’s meant to be.
The ‘night shift’ skill makes the Nurse particularly good at keeping watch at night during the ‘Stay Alert’ phase of the game, giving additional skill die to contribute to that roll and making sure the party don't get snuck up on. Combined with the tin of coffee they get the Nurse looking over the Party as they sleep can help a lot in the danger zones of the tunnels
The Intensive Care Nurse has a fair assortment of Stuff as well all of which can contribute to various group roles. You’d be surprised how useful a pencil and paper can be in a pinch within the post-brexit apocalypse, and you know how it is when you need a plaster and you can't find one and you get blood all over your nans rug.
The class also bring A LOT of party resources to the table including 3 lots of Meds, 5 is typically the maximum of any one resource a party can carry so 3 is a lot. This is in addition to Scran and Molly. Nearly all classes bring Scran to the table so that the group doesn't starve Molly pretty much means any form of ‘drug’ so I imagine this as some form of Morphine or equivalent the Nurse has pilfered and can help manage party anxiety.
The art emphasises the emptiness of the Intensive Care Nurse as they stare into the ragged, stained and empty bed whilst the broken life support machine stays ever silent as the dead. The blue mask is a real one I glued onto the page and the ‘Quality Certificate’ is one I found in those box of masks. AUTHENCITY is my middle name. I believe the coffee stains are from when I spilt tea on it by accident and thought it looked good and fit with the overworked nurse chugging endless coffee to get through their shift.
The first line of flavour text hints towards a period of mass death on the surface, this was written a while back before the pandemic and started to become a reality as I worked on the final version of the game which was a bizarre situation to be in. Much of the games 'lore' is pieced together from the characters and the events rather than strictly stated, it instead emerges in patchwork much like the characters own understanding of the world within the game and our own understanding of reality in a post-truth world. Yes I am very clever. Does your game even have THEMES?
The second line references the discourse over medical professionals being hailed as ‘heroes’ during the pandemic in particular and how such characterisation effectively sets them up as a sacrifice within the media without having to actually improve their working and living conditions by actually paying them more.
The classes character question is the reverse of the PandyPonty FireFighter's asking who they failed to save that another party member knows rather than who they did save to form some tense group bonds within the party. This also ties in with the bleak survival themes within the game and hints that by the time the game is over the Intensive Care Nurse will have failed to save other lives because who but god can stem such woeful tides of death?
The Intensive Care Nurse is a member of the party that you should all feel relieved if a player manages to roll as they contribute huge amounts to the party. What did you think of the class? Also please raise nurses pay.
In our next blog we'll be taking a look at the Mogg Rustler.