+Gavin Norman of the excellent City of Iron blog and Necrotic Gnome Productions came out with a new B/X class, well I had to get it.
Gavin has already given us some great classes in his Theorems & Thaumaturgy and The Complete Vivimancer. Now he takes on the thief archetype in The B/X Rogue.
I say archetype because what this book tries (and succeeds, but more on that in a bit) to do is create a Rogue class that encompasses all of the various "sub-classes" we have seen on the thief over the years. How he does it is both very elegant and very, very basic, if not Basic.
Like the thief the rogue has a number of talents at his/her disposal. Instead of a percentile (or d20) roll the rogue is assumed to be fully proficient in their talent. The differences lie in the choice of talents and some of the talents themselves. The example given is the iconic Remove Traps. If a rogue has this at 1st level then they can remove or disable a trap 100% of the time. However the types of traps are now changed. The rogue can only disable small mechanical traps. Not huge pits in the floor.
The rogue class begins with 4 talents. This increases by 1 per level. Some talents have prerequisites and can only be taken at 5th level (Expert Talents, love the split of Basic and Expert Talents here). Outside of that the class it remarkably like the B/X thief.
The bulk of the book describe the 36 talents a rogue might take. This allows for near infinite (or close enough for the amount of character sheets I'll print out) rogue types. There are even magical talents for the Bards and Arcane Tricksters out there. Of course I immediately went to the magic section and quickly figured out an Occult Scholar, a rogue that raids tombs and libraries for bits of arcane knowledge and some spells to help them out. Won't help you when you need an orc killed, unless he has a scroll for it.
There is also a very useful table to help you with your archetypes. Want an assassin? Great, take back-stab, hide, garotte, move quietly at 1st level. There are 10 of these, so a d10 will also get you up and going fast. Don't want a magic-one? Easy. Roll a d8 instead.
The PDF itself is 26 pages; a front cover, a back cover and two page OGL, all for a $1.50. Not a bad deal at all really, especially when consider how flexible this class is now.
If you are a fan of the theif class, B/X or Gavin's other classes then this is a must buy.
Plays Well With Others
With the options of adding magic to the Rogue to come up with other classes (Bards, Dabbler's and Arcane Tricksters) you can add other powers to make even more classes.
Grab +Richard LeBlanc's Basic Psionics Handbook and use some of the wild talents for rogue talents to create a Psychic Dabbler or a Charlantan with some actual clairvoyance.
Take the Arcanve Dabbler and replace the magic-user spell at 1st level with a witch spell and then a minor or least occult power at 5th level and now you have a Hedge Witch.
I could go on and on, but for cheaper than a 20 oz Mt. Dew at the gas station you can have this book and make up your own!
I can see this replacing the theif in my B/X games easily.