Category Archives: Touch of Class

Class Ideas 1e (Art Sketch Version)

Class Ideas 1e (Art Sketch Version)

With the talented artist MARCINs, I’ve made an art sketch version of my Class Ideas for AD&D 1e:

Download:
image_preview The full document (PWYW .pdf) with new concept art can be downloaded from here.

Screen clip of pages 2 and 3

Class Ideas 1e screen clip.png

Concept sketches by MARCINs


Details
This document offers 8 new classes written for AD&D (each now with a concept sketch), and below is a summary of each:

Augur – beardless dwarves with an innate sense for metal detection. To use their abilities, they must be free of metal items.

Catabolyist – a non-Vancian magic-user who can use their body like an alchemical battery. They can gamble life-force for additional magic. But it’s a dangerous gamble that could irrevocably damage their health.

Gambler – open to the daring-do classes, fighters and thieves. Luck (or at least the belief in Luck) affects everything about them. Highly superstitious, these superstitions only proliferate as they progress.

Infiltrator – specializes in getting into secure locations without being noticed, and in obtaining sensitive information. They have a connection with an insidious and ruthless organization.

Shire Runner – a halfling woodsman, with two possible paths. One path is ranger-facing the other is druid-facing.

Shaman – a fighting wild-man/woman with woods magic. This class may absorb a race/species specific ability from a defeated foe. The Shaman can follow four possible paths, each with different spells.

Urchin – is a street kid that has learnt to survive. In reality, this is a proto-class before the PC dual classes to their ultimate adventuring profession. The Urchin is blessed with intuition, insight and pluck.

Wereman – when lycanthropes turn good. A person cured of lycanthropy can sometimes harbor the menace within them, albeit in a semi-benign form. This class is often destined to hunt for the lycanthrope that infected them (and their descendants and corrupt cousins), trying to rid the world of this terrible curse!

I’m sure the willing mind can concert these over to other fantasy based RPGs.

Link to download.

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

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

The above classes were originally published on G+.

Tuesday Toot!! | Class Ideas

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

Update: Art Sketch version is now here (link below update too).

Background: The classes in the were first published on G+ (when that existed). This document brings these class ideas together in a convenient downloadable .pdf:

Class Ideas - Cover.png

One paragraph summary of the classes

Standalone classes:

Augur – beardless dwarves with an innate sense for metal detection. To use their abilities, they must be free of metal items.

Catabolyist – a non-Vancian magic-user who can use their body like an alchemical battery. They can gamble life-force for additional magic. But it’s a dangerous gamble that could irrevocably damage their health.

Shire Runner – a halfling woodsman, with two possible paths. One path is ranger-facing the other is druid-facing.

Shaman – a fighting wild-man/woman with woods magic. This class may absorb a race/species specific ability from a defeated foe. The Shaman can follow four possible paths, each with different spells.

Bolt-on classes:

Gambler – open to the daring-do classes, fighters and thieves. Luck (or at least the belief in Luck) affects everything about them. Highly superstitious, these superstitions only proliferate as they progress.

Infiltrator – specializes in getting into secure locations without being noticed, and in obtaining sensitive information. They have a connection with an insidious and ruthless organization.

Urchin – is a street kid that has learnt to survive. In reality, this is a proto-class before the PC dual classes to their ultimate adventuring profession. The Urchin is blessed with intuition, insight and pluck.

Wereman – when lycanthropes turn good. A person cured of lycanthropy can sometimes harbor the menace within them, albeit in a semi-benign form. This class is often destined to hunt for the lycanthrope that infected them (and their descendants and corrupt cousins), trying to rid the world of this terrible curse!

– –

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

The Gambler | a ‘bolt on’ class for the daring-do classes; a class heavily influenced by Luck & Superstitions

Edit: A .pdf version can be found here: Link
and a template Hex Flower Engine can be found here: Template

 

Lucky 1.pngThe Gambler 
The Gambler is a person ruled by fates, omens and fortunes. They perceive everything through the lens of luck and chance. For a Gambler, everything happens for a reason. For a Gambler Luck: is as real as a baked potato; is cat-fickle and has a mood; is flattered by rituals and appeased by signs; is consistently unpredictable; is offended and implacable; is passionately for or against you; is never fair; is dangerous to define; is like your best friend’s lover.

 

Class restrictions
This bolt-on class is open to persons of physical dare-do, i.e. fighters or thieves.

Current Luck State
Every session roll 2D6 using the navigation Hex (see below) to determine the Gambler’s current Luck State (LS). The new LS Hex is determined by moving from the current LS Hex to the new LS Hex in the 2D6 navigation direction. LS is also determined if the player rolls a ‘crit’ or ‘fumble’; there’s a gamble, or if anything unusual/significant happens in the game (i.e. there is a shift in the fates).

Hex Flower Engine:

Gambler HFGambler HF Key

Luck Points
When the Gambler levels up, they: gain ‘Luck Points’ (LPs) equivalent to the PC’s level (so 5 LPs a gained upon attaining 5th level); any previously hoarded LPs are lost; and they may exchange their current LS Hex for Hex 10.

LPs are used to help change the outcome of the 2D6 navigation roll, hence the current Luck State. That is, after the 2D6 navigation roll is made, the player must decide if they are going to spend any LPs, to lock in the current Luck State. Spending LPs moves the 2D6 navigation direction by 1 face per LP spent. So, spending 3 LPs would in effect reverse the navigation direction. Halflings get +1 LP per level, but must take on an extra superstition at first level.

Superstitions
Each level the Gambler acquires a new superstition, e.g. three at 3rd level. Preferably, the superstition should be based on an event that happened during the levelling up period. Each superstition should be significant and indexed to character level, and hence should be more onerous than the last. DM input may be required here.
Breaking a superstition – all LPs are lost. If LPs are already at zero, then move to Hex 1.

Background
If you’ve got no idea what this post is about, the below links give some context:

InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

Infiltrator | … basically a spy ‘bolt-on’ class

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

Background: This class was written in response to +Ivan Sorensen “A Touch of Class” write a class competition with a ‘Infiltrator’ as the theme. Four people submitted something (.pdf here). Mine’s below:

InfiltratorAD&D ‘bolt-on’ class (other D&D flavours might work)
InfiltInfiltrators specialise in getting into secure locations without being noticed, and in obtaining sensitive information. An Infiltrator is not a standalone class, but is a specialisation open to the base classes, a bolt-on if you will. The specialism comes with some abilities, but at a cost to the base class.

Race
Only humans and half-humans can be Infiltrators.

Alignment
Any lawful alignment

Base class
Infiltrators can be any base class (i.e. no sub-classes like ranger, paladin, assassin or druid etc., or any dual or multi-classing) i.e. open to fighter, thief, cleric or magic user, which is permitted by their race/alignment. All limitations of the base class apply.

Ability score requirements
In addition to the minimum ability score needed by the base class, they must have a charisma score (CHR) of 14+. However, this high charisma is downplayed and concealed by the Infiltrator until/when it is needed.

Hit points
The hit dice of the character are generally downgraded by one die size for each of the base classes, i.e. fighters use a D8, clerics, thieves use D6 and magic users use a D4+1. Magic users are more hardy that normal, due to rigorous screening process of the Order (see Backstory below)

Spells
Spell casting is diminished. The spell caster gets the spell set one level below their actual level (but not lower than level 1). So a 5th level cleric gets spells normally obtainable by a 4th level cleric. This is because time is needed to hone their other skills.

Special Skills
Non-thief Infiltrators gain the following thief skills:

:- open locks
:- move silently
:- hide in shadows
:- hear noises

and all at a level matching the level of their base class. Thieves also have the above skills, but the remaining skills (i.e. ‘pick pockets’, ‘find and remove traps’, ‘climb walls’ and ‘read languages’) are at half the normal value.

In addition, all Infiltrators get the following abilities:

:- Shadow (equivalent score to the ‘pick pockets’ score of a thief of the same level) – ability to follow a target person without attracting attention or suspicion

:- Pass checkpoint (equivalent score to the ‘find and remove traps’ score) – ability to pass routine security-type checks, by bluff, intimidation, flattery, distraction, or other means

:- Fit in (equivalent score to the ‘climb walls’ score) – ability to naturally ‘fit in’ to their surroundings, be it a social function, strutting through the city barrack or just quietly sitting by the docks fishing. That is, they can adopt mannerisms that make them appear to naturally belong in that location/environment

:- Disguise (equivalent score to read languages score) – with adequate preparation, have the ability to prepare a convincing disguise. The disguise can fool anyone taking only a cursory inspection of the character. For example, a bowing chamber maid could mistake the character for the Lord of the keep, even at close range. However, a disguise would not fool the Lord’s daughter wishing to speak with her father

Swapping genders lowers the ability score by half. For each inch in height the character wishes to appear above (or below) their normal height, a -5% modifier applies.

Backstory
Infiltrators belong to a shady organisation of Information Merchants call The Order.

The Order is an organisation that has Chapters in most capital cities. Run by grey men who accept gold for information and secrets. Kings, merchants, and even jealous wives call in at their opulent halls. The Order’s clients are a closely guarded secret. Apart from that, little is known about the Order.

The Order find, save or even abduct stray youths. Youths that will not be missed by anyone.

Most of these youths fail a rigorous screening process, and find themselves working their lives away in various projects, usually rural farms, owned by the Order.

However, a small percentage of those youths are diamonds in the rough. They are selected, polished and honed into the principle organs of the Order. That is, those that pass the stringent vetting process become the Order’s ‘Infiltrators’. The Order prefer the term ‘Investment’.

Only the most loyal and dedicated youths are trained as ‘Infiltrators’. Once their core training is done, they are released into the outside world. Some are simply given a sword a shield and a purse of gold. Others find themselves with a letter of introduction to a mages’ towers, or to a temple of a lawful Deity.

From that point on, the fledgling Infiltrators strive to achieve power and mastery in their adopted field. Fighters often find themselves in the city guard, or in positions of power in armies. Clerics, the healers to the royal court. Many simply become free-booters, honing their skills through adventure. These adventures being able to move freely in the world without question. These drifters are amongst the most useful ‘Investments’ that the Order can call on.

No matter their chosen field of pursuit (i.e. their base class), the Infiltrator always awaits the call of the Order, should they be needed (some never are). The Infiltrator will see no conflict in acting for the Order, even to the detriment of their chosen profession. Where possible, the Order try to avoid outright personal conflicts. That said, the Order accepts no betrayal, and has a team of ‘Sleepers’ used to ‘extinguish’ Infiltrators gone ”wild”.

– – –

InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

Shaman | fighting wild-men with woods magic

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

1 to 4Background:
This class stems from a fleeting idea that I put up on G+; the idea of a shaman class that could take on characteristics/abilities from defeated foes. I had some good feedback, some based on ‘feats’. I can see how feats could work well with this idea, but feat-based systems are not really my thing, so I’ve made this. I wonder if I’ve strayed too far from the core idea, but in any event, this where the idea has led me.

General
This is a class designed for (1e) AD&D, being a fighting wild-men/women with woods magic. They are not so much in harmony with nature as attuned to it. They are effectively a martial subclass of druid, or possibly a barbarian-druid.

Abilities/restrictions
This class follows the druid path/restriction in the first edition PHB in all ways except:

  • The class is also open to half-humans (i.e. in addition to humans)
  • For those that believe in Demi-human level caps (like me) – Half humans are level capped at a level equal to their CHA score.
  • Instead of 15+ CHA they need 15 +CON to qualify (i.e. in addition to 12 Wisdom)
  • The druidic special abilities at 3rd and 7th level do not apply
  • There is no hierarchical level limit, and so no need to defeat a shaman of higher level to progress.
  • 12 HD (i.e. not 8HD)

Spells
They gain spells at the same rate as a druid, but they get a much smaller subset of the druidical spells to choose from (see tables below) :

There are four principle shamanic paths, each with an associated alignment restriction; these are:

  • Light & Leaf – Plant & Weather magics; alignment NG
  • Mud & Paw – Animal & Earth magics; alignment CN
  • Wet & Ash – Fire & Water magics; alignment NE
  • Blood & Mind – Life & Perception magic; alignment LN

Once the path is picked, it is set.

Shamanistic ability
At each level this class may absorb a race/species specific ability from a defeated foe.

Examples of the abilities that may be taken up by a shaman include: night/dark vision, acute sense of smell, water breathing, a venomous bite, a bear’s powerful hug, a rust monster’s corroding touch, a velociraptor’s talons etc.

Mechanic: The player must declare this ability acquisition shortly after the creature is defeated. Once the ability is taken up by the shaman it can’t be changed. If no ability is taken prior to formal levelling up, that ability slot is lost.

Clearly, there is a chance for some serious game breaking here, by overpowering the PC. Therefore, the gained ability should be approved/agreed by the DM, and ideally be level/challenge appropriate. Essentially, it should be a fair reward, without breaking the game,

As a suggested guideline, the shaman can absorb an ability from any defeated creature which has a HD up to their current shamanistic level +3. So, a 2nd level shaman can absorb an ability from creatures up to 5HD, and a 6th level shaman can absorb an ability from creatures up to 9HD, etc. Also, the ‘defeated’ creature cannot be a trivial creature like a goldfish or slug.

For example, a first level shaman does not have the shamanistic strength to adsorb a fire breathing property from an ancient red dragon, or at least at its full potency. Or, if the defeated creature is trivial, then there is insufficient property to be adsorb by the shaman. For example, killing a gecko would not give the shaman a climb wall ability. But a giant gecko is a different matter. Similarly, killing a stirge might give the ability to deploy a bloodsucking proboscis for a round or two, but not the ability to fly.

Clearly this is not a class to give to a ‘power gamer’.

Using the shamanistic ability:
Each acquired shamanistic ability is like a Vancian spell, so each acquired ability is regenerated at the same time the Shaman regains their spells, i.e. after 8 hrs rest.  So, a third level shaman might have three shamanistic abilities, e.g. climb like an ape, punch like an ogre and blink like a blink dog once per day. However, each time they use an ability, this is at the cost of one of their spell slots. So, if the Shaman has cast all of their spells that day, they cannot use any of the shamanistic abilities until they rest.

Shaman spells paths:
Below are the spells allowable under the four shaman paths:

Path of Light & Leaf – Plant & Weather magics; alignment NG

Path of Mud & Paw – Animal & Earth magics; alignment CN

Path of Wet & Ash – Fire & Water magics; alignment NE

Path of Blood & Mind – Life & Perception magic; alignment LN

 

Class Balance
Hopefully this class is appealing without being super appealing (as this implies it is overpowered). Ideally, apart from raw novelty, hopefully this class is no more appealing than any other class in the PHB.

The druidic powers are nerfed somewhat by lack of spell choice, but is buffed again a bit by a customizable ‘shamanistic’ monster property per level. The paths with the more aggressive spells, (or most clerical-like spells), have the fewest spell options. The most aggressive spell path also gives an evil alignment, which is not always appealing. The class  benefits from a high base HD (i.e. D12), but has the less-that-great weapon/armour choices of a druid, and fights as a druid. Therefore, it can soak up damage, but is not as good as a fighter at dealing damage out.

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

Tuesday Toot!! | Wereman – Lycanthrope Hunter

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

Background: This class was written in response to +Ivan Sorensen “Write a Class Competition” with a ‘Werewolf Hunter’ as the theme. About 4 or 5 people submitted something. It’s more of a bolt-on class than a stand alone class. I beleive a .pdf came out, but is perhaps trapped on a Google Drive somewhere!?

:: Wereman – Lycanthrope Hunter

Backstory
WeremanAbout one in a hundred people cured of lycanthropy still harbour the menace within them, albeit in a semi-benign form.

Such individuals often become lycanthrope hunters due to the innate abilities they harbour as a result of their cured lycanthropy.

These rare individuals are known as ‘Weremen’ (irrespective of their gender). Weremen are driven to eradicate lycanthropy in all its forms. In particular, they seek the kind of lycanthrope that originally infected them.

Class
Weremen are often on the move, because they fear that if they stay in one place they could be mistaken for true lycanthropes. Weremen, thus often resort to adventure to earn a living (if they were not already so prior to the infection). Such adventures maybe any character class, although usually fighters or clerics.

Alignment
Weremen are invariably chaotic good, but other non-evil alignments are possible.

Special Abilities

:: Weremen are immune to the same strain of lycanthropy they were cured of, and have a 75% chance to resist other forms of lycanthropy.

:: Like true lycanthropes, they can shape change into their animal form. This can be done at will once a day, but only during daylight hours. They will have the same HPs as they had before the change, but otherwise they have the same abilities as their animal form (see Monster Manual pages 63-64), with the exception of alignment, immunity to non-magic weapons, and being able to speak the lycanthrope languages.

:: As an unfortunate remnant of their past lycanthropy, during a full eclipse, the Wereman losses control of the beast within and they revert back to their bestial form for 24 hrs. Wereman, for obvious reasons, are very superstitious about celestial events, comets and even country folk sayings about the weather.

:: Wereman have the ability to sense Lycanthropes with 100 ft (even in their unchanged form). For example, the scars from their original infection may begin to itch then burn. However, the lycanthrope will also sense him/her in return. If the lycanthrope has never met a Wereman before, they will invariably think he/she is another lycanthrope, and may approach the Wereman out of curiosity. This is the best chance for the Wereman to identify or even slay the beast.

:: Wereman have an affliction that causes precious metals that they touch with bare skin to debase. Platinum is turned to gold, gold to silver and silver to lead. The change can be slow, but visible to the naked eye. However, silver to lead happens particularly fast. Copper, iron, steel etc are unaffected. Weremen, therefore, invariably were gloves and avoid touching coins with their barehands. Silver weapons are treated especially carefully. They prefer payment in copper, gems or in kind.

:: Belladonna is a powerful intoxicant causing a Wereman to become highly stimulated. Consuming belladonna gives a Wereman +1 hit and +2 on damage for one hour.

On the downside, belladonna is highly addictive to a Wereman. If used twice (or more) in one month it causes incessant craving for more. The craving lasts 7 days from the last use. In the 7 day craving window the use of belladonna gives no bonus and resets the 7 day craving window. Worse, if the craving is not fed each day in the 7 day craving window, there is a – 1 to hit due to withdrawal.

The only way to break the belladonna craving is to go 7 days without it. To do this the Wereman must make a wisdom save each day, else they have near irresistible urge to find and consume belladonna.

:: Domestic animals are uneasy around Weremen. Dogs and cats can be unusually aggressive although rarely attack. Horses, unless drunk, typically need at least a week to accept a Wereman as a rider.

– – –

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

Shire Runner | a Halfing woodsman

SR mini
General
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

Race
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.

Magic
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.

Alignment
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).

Art
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‘.