+Johua De Santo's New Class Options the other day and wanted to spend some time with it.
I love new classes, I love trying them out, taking them apart and seeing what makes them tick. I also like thinking of potential characters to use with the new classes. So grabbing this product was a no brainer for me. Plus, I will admit I am a fan of Kaitlynn Pealer's art, so that attracted my attention right away.
The book is overtly for Swords & Wizardry Core rules, but it can be adapted to any old-school game. The book is 24 pages, 3 are cover, table of contents and the OGL. So 21 pages of solid content.
There are nine classes and one "Advanced Class Option". There is no unifying theme to the classes, save for maybe a rough fae or celt theme.
First up is the Blood Witch which is a reprint/revision/update of a class the author did for Dungeon Crawl #3. The class is an alternate take on the magic user. This one, naturally, uses blood to power her magic. A very classic archetype. Equally naturally this one uses Constitution as the primary stat.
The blood witch has higher hit die (d6) and needs more experience than the stock magic-user.
The casting of spells required the expenditure of blood (again naturally) in the form of HP. Good thing she has a higher HD. One of the problems I see with this class is that the blood witch needs to roll higher than her Con + Spell level. So a Blood witch with the minimum Constitution (13) needs a roll of 20 (on a d20 presumably) to cast a 7th level spell. So her most powerful spells have only a 5% chance of working. In any case the blood is spent. So does have access to potentially every spell in the book, but this limiting factor seems to be too much really.
I am going to go into the Blood Witch in more detail tomorrow.
The Chesh are next. These are a race of cat-girl-like fae creatures. They have a some interesting abilities and would work very well in a game that has other faerie races in it or one if you want to get younger kids to play. They have some magical abilities based on music, though most of the abilities are support in nature.
The Forrester is akin to a archer-like ranger. Not as powerful as say the stock Ranger of AD&D but within the limits of S&W.
The Highlander is a somewhat romanticized version of a celtic themed barbarian. The barbarian rage ability is replaced by a fury ability which is like a super cleave. You can attack another victim if you kill the first. Though this one can be up to 12 feet away.
The Mermaid of the In-Land Sea is interesting. It's a mermaid, which is neat choice, but there was nothing here about how long she can live away from water. Maybe to keep the rough theme here they could be renamed to "Merrows".
The Mythwood Elf is actually very interesting. These are elves that look forever young and can summon up various elemental spirits. There is a list of the domains (Earth, Water, Air...) and what they can summon and do.
The Pixie. Pretty much what it says on the tin! Play a pixie. Actually a lot going on for this little thing.
The Prodigal is sorta like a traveling jack of trades. They pick up companions, spells, knowledge and some thieving skills. Actually a very, very workable class.
The Ruca is a dog-like humanoid character. Again a workable character and certainly more of a role-playing challenge than a game rules one.
The last class is for "Advanced" games, ie games where class and race are seperate.
The Draken-Knight and their companion the Drake are dragon riding, or drake riding, knights.
The class has some odd experience point requirements. In fact it acts more like a "Prestige Class" for AD&D 1st ed than anything else, much like the Thief-Acrobat. The idea is you start out as a fighter till 5th level then you can switch over to Draken Knight. Not a bad plan really. Also reminds me of the old Knights in the Dragonlance books.
All in all this is a good book. Each class had something that felt a little off to me, but the proof is not in the reading, but in the playing. It passes my basic test when reading classes; would I play a character of that class? The answer was typically yes.