Shire Runner | a Halfing woodsman

SR mini
The Shire Runner is kind of Halfling woodsman designed for AD&D, being closest to the Ranger class in nature, with some early low level spell casting abilities.

Magic is something that most Halflings are not comfortable with, so invariably Shire Runners tend to live on the margins/outskirts of Halfling society. Shire runners are often self-appointing boarder watchmen/guardians. They generally track and keep undesirables out of the places where Halflings dwell

This class is open to Halflings only. These Halflings are thought to have strong vein brownie/pixie blood in them, thought to give rise to their magical potency. Shire runners are nearly exclusively from the Tall Fellow sub-race, and unusually for Halflings, prefer to live above ground. They often have red hair. Halfling race abilities/restriction/modifiers apply (e.g. see Players Handbook (PHB), page 17), except as highlighter further below.

Class abilities
By default, everything applying to the Ranger class (see PHB, pages 24 to 25) applies to this class (e.g. qualifying statistics, attacks, saving throws, weapon selection, XP for level progression), except:

  • They have a D6 hit dice (optionally, the DM might permit two HD at first level, i.e. like the Ranger class)
  • Level Limit is 7th level (8th level if charisma is 15 or above)
  • Armour restrictions like the Druid class (i.e. leather armor and wooden shields, see PHB, page 21), that is, if they wish to cast any spells
  • Druid-like leveling abilities, i.e. at 3rd and 7th level (see page 21 of the PHB, to see in full); and not the Ranger leveling abilities (i.e. as listed as 1 to 7 on page 24 of PHB), e.g.:

3rd level – identify woodland plants; identify woodland animals; identify clean water; move without trace in the woodland areas

7th level – immune to charm spells cast by woodland creatures; and change form three times a day to a woodland or domestic mammal (e.g. vole, cat, otter, wolf, or horse)

  • They are also exceptionally good outdoor trackers.

This class has some spell casting abilities. At 1st level they can cast a single 1st level Druid spell. Upon attaining 2nd level, the Shire Runner has two progression paths open to them. Either to become a ‘Woodsman‘ or ‘Rambler‘ (see below). The path once chosen cannot be changed.

Woodsmanfor those that love the wilds and woods – use the paladin spell table on page 24 of the PHB, but where these spells equate to Druidic spells (i.e. not clerical spells), and where spells are gained starting at 1st (and not 9th) level (see below):

Number of Druidic spells per spell level

Druidic spell level
Character Level 1 2 3 4
1 1
2 2
3 2 1
4 2 2
5 2 2 1
6 3 2 1
7 3 2 1 1
8 3 3 1 1

So at 7th level the character has 7 druidic spells.

Rambler is for those that like to venture beyond the wilds – use the Ranger spell table on page 25 of the PHB, but where spells (Druid and then magic-user) are gained starting at 1st (and not 8th) level (see below):

Number of Druidic and Magic-User spells per spell level

Druidic spell level   Magic-user spell level*
Character Level 1 2   1 2
1 1
2 1 1
3 2 1
4 2 2
5 2 1 2
6 2 1 2 1
7 2 2 2 1
8 2 2 2 2

*  = For magic-user spells, the character must check as to which spells they can learn, just as if they were a magic-user.

So at 7th level the character has 4 druidic spells and 3 magic-user spells.

When it comes to spell casting, it can be seen that the Rambler is more of a generalist compared to the Woodsman, so the Rambler get more variety of spells, but these are less powerful.

The Woodsman (path) must be LN, tN or CN alignment. The Rambler (path) may be any alignment except tN. It is very rare for them to be evil, though a bit more common in those that choose a life of ‘adventure’.

Level titles

Level Level Title XPs
1 Scrumper 0 – 2,250
2 Hedgeman 2,251 – 4,500
3 Boarderman 4,501 – 10,000
4 Fell Watchman 10,001 – 20,000
5 Leaf Master 20,001 – 40,0000
6 Sheriff 40,001 – 90,000
7 Glade Runner 90,001 – 150,000
8 Shireman 150,001+

Weapon – Bow Staff
Shire Runners are specialist with the staff and get double attacks with staff (or spear) when faced with more than one foe. Usually, they notch their staffs at each end, and can string the staff to form a bow (performing like a composite short bow).

Thanks to Marcin S for use of the art. 

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.

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