I figured with yesterday's posting about Basic D&D this would a good one to do.
Barrel Rider keeps coming out with all sorts of classes. The idea is simple really, fill in the niches that the four core human classes (and three demi human ones) don't quite fill. I think now all BRG needs is a class compendium of all the classes in one edited book.
But until then you can pick up a class for a buck. All these classes are compatible with Labyrinth Lord or other "basic" old school game. The Mercenary is actually for Starships & Spacemen, but it is still compatible.
The thing I think I like the most that each release is a bit better than the last. Well that and also I can get a class for a buck. Good for me since my youngest never wants to play a standard class.
Six pages, 1 for the cover and 2 for OGL. This is more ore less an update of the Theif Acrobat class found in the Unearthed Arcana for 1st ed. This is a full class, not one that starts at 6th level. It is also redesigned with the LL/Basic rules in mind. The results are good. It feels different enough from the Thief (and Buglar and Bandit) to justify being it's own thing.
This is an older class compared with some of the others here. Five pages, 1 for cover, 2 for the OGL. The archer is exactly what is says. It is a bow and arrow focused fighter. This one doesn't have the utility for me as the other BRG classes, but my youngest son loved it. Still I think something like an extra attack per round before level 15 would have been nice.
This class is something of a cross between a fighter and a thief. Think along the lines of Robin Hood or a Highwayman. He has some thief skills, but some new ones like ambush and disguise. Honestly it would make a good compliment to the thief.
Another fairly self-obvious class. Your typical barbarian features are here; survival, calling a hoard, and savage strikes. No beserker like abilities though. I would have liked to seen more details on the Wilderness Survival skill. Does failure mean they don't find food for example. This is one of the earliest classes from BRG so I am sure an update would clear these up. Five pages, 1 for cover and 2 for the OGL.
This might one of the signature classes of BRG. The Burglar brings one of the most iconic figures of fantasy to Labyrinth Lord; the Halfling Burglar. Simply put the Burglar is a thief option for a halfling. Since Labyrinth Lord is Race-as-a-class then this is required. Otherwise this is a really fun class if you enjoy playing a halfling.
Another older one. The Dark Elf is exactly that, the Chaotic, underground dwelling, cousin of the the Light Elves. They have some innate thief like abilities and some magic. On paper they most resemble a thief/magic-user multi-classed character. All-in-all a pretty satisfying class.
This one I have avoided reviewing since I have my own Dragon Slayer. Well technically "mine" was written by my oldest son. The Dragon Slayer has a lot of nice features which actually make the class more useful than some "Single Purpose" classes. In fact it could be re-tweaked and be any sort of monster hunting class.
The Gladiator is a professional show fighter. There are a lot neat tricks for this kind of fighter say over the regular fighter. You could of course do some of this with clever role-playing. Though the rules here are pretty nice and well thought out.
The Original Basic rules and the games they have inspired have missed one important race; the Half-elf. This race-as-a-class gives you a 15-level class that is a combination of fighter and thief. The class to me seems to be missing something, but I am not quite sure what. Thinking back to the Half-elves I have read in tales, this class would work fine.
Another one of the missing races from the "Basic" versions of the books. The Half-orc is a fighter with some nice abilities to cause extra damage and fear in others. Compared the classic Dwarf and Halfling classes this one works quite well.
Halflings: Tales from the Fireside
This one is a bit different. First it is longer than all the other books at 23 pages. This is guide on playing halflings and what you can do with them. It is actually a rather fun book. It even has an evil counterpart in a monster section.
This one is really neat. It's a Starships & Spacemen class for starters. And it works great for that. In truth it is three classes that you can use how you need. This takes S&S from something that mostly "Star Trek" and makes it more Traveller. What I think is most interesting here is the market this opens up for BRG. Suddenly LL classes could now be converted to S&S classes with this template in mind.
I noticed the S&S compatibility license but not the OGL. Might need to add that.
The Minotaur seems to be one of those classes/races that people either love or hate. Myself I am not a fan. BUT that doesn't mean that this is not a good class. It is one of BRG newer classes, so it is well thought out and written. Plus it is a good class. I mean there is nothing about it that says it is unplayable to me and I am sure that the people out there that love Minotaurs will be very happy with this. For me, I might "skin" it and make a Half-Ogre class.
Plague & Shadow Wererats
All about Were-rats. Again this is not a class book, more of an indepth monster guide. There is history, new creatures and magic items. Not at all what I expected and I mean that in the most positive way. It was much more than I expected.
I am not a fan of pirates. I know people love them, I never quite got it myself. For me it is always "ninjas" that get the vote. The Swashbuckler class allows you to channel your inner pirate. Like all the BRG class the book is not long (5 pages with 1 for cover and 2 for the OGL) but it gets right to the point and delivers a solid class. If you like Swashbucklers (and this one is more Erol Flynn and less Captain Jack Sparrow) then this is a good buy.
Sylvan Elf (with Spell list)
This is one of the newer classes. Five pages, 1 for cover and 2 for the OGL, this is for wood or Sylvan elves. Like the normal elf, this one is part fighter and part spellcaster. But in this case the spell caster is Druid. To support this the package includes a 13 page document of spells. Actually it is really nice. To date this is one of my favorite of the BRG classes. It takes a very simple idea and gives you a simple (as in elegant) solution.
The King Betrayed
This one was another surprise. It is an adventure for characters 3rd to 5th level. The art in this is greatly improved and the adventure itself looks like it is a lot of fun. Complete old-school feel. At 15 pages it is just about perfect for an afternoon.
This seven page document details the Wanderer class. It's like a non-magical (and less combative) Ranger. It has some nice skills and powers and would work well in any game. What struck me is how quickly I was thinking of NPCs to fill this class and sending him in with my current Old School game. Lots and lots of potential with this one. Also unlike the other classes with have some archetypes I can relate to earlier editions, this one seems fairly unique to me.
This is a great deal. 16 of BRG products. For 10 bucks you get Halflings: Tales from the Fireside, Archer, Half-elf, Swashbuckler, Half-orc, Dark Elf, Bandit, Bounty Hunter, Undead Slayer, Barbarian, Assassin, Dragon, Smith and Scholar, King Betrayed, Wanderer and the new (and not available separately) Combat Styles. Not a bad deal at all.
So if you have a couple of bucks and like classes then you can do worse than Barrel Rider Games.