Showing posts with label class. Show all posts
Showing posts with label class. Show all posts

Thursday, June 22, 2017

This Old Dragon: Issue #119

While today's choice is sort of a cheat, it is a very timely one.  I grabbed it because it features one of my favorite covers of all Dragons.  The recent Doctor Who episode "The Eaters of Light" featured a story about the fate of the Ninth Legion of the Imperial Roman army in Scotland.  My first thought was "well, we know it was Kostchtchie!" from Daniel Horne's fantastic cover.

But once I grabbed it I also noticed how it was a really nice companion to my own Green Witch that was published yesterday.  So nice in fact I put the magazine down until today!  I didn't want anything in it unduly influencing me.  Though in re-re-reading it now I can see there were some things there in 1987 that did stick with me over the years, including some more Doctor Who references.
So set your TARDIS back to March 1987, put on U2's With Or Without You, and get ready for This Old Dragon Issue #119.

Letters cover a guy just discovering the Chainmail rules. Interesting to read, to be honest. We forget that in this day and age nearly every shred of information is literally at our fingertips.  I just got another copy of Chainmail for my birthday from my old Jr. High DM.  It is different than the one I had by a couple of pages. I am going to need to investigate that.



The big feature of this issue is the section on Druids.  I can't help but see the "Spinal Tap" Stonehenge every time I see the standing stones and lintel that works as the header for these articles.

That aside this was one of my favorite series. I had by this time already written my first copy of the witch class. It was though lacking in some historical oomph. This series gave me a lot of inspiration on what can be done with the class AND what not to do.  Not in terms of things being bad in these articles (far from it) but in terms of making my witches different from the druids.  In fact I put these articles as "Must Reads" for anyone wanting to play a druid.

Carl Sargent is up first with Underestimating Druids (is a bad practice). It's a look into the strengths of the class and giving them their due. Several tips and bits of advice are given for using the Druid in and out of the dungeon setting, but most telling (and also the most interesting to me) was a break-down of the XP per level and the amount of spell-power all the AD&D1 spell-casting classes had.  The Druid comes out looking the best. Plus let's be honest, Flame Strike is a MUCH cooler spell than Fireball.

Up next is an article covering the Druid in his role as a healer. We are warned that  John Warren's "Is There a Doctor In the Forest?" is unofficial material.  It is also closer to what we think we know about druids in real life; that they were the healers of their society. There is a ton of great ideas here for herbal and natural healing in AD&D. Unofficial or not there is a lot great rules here.  The crunch is the same level as AD&D, so more than I want for an OSR or even a 5e game, but worth looking into the next time I play AD&D1 proper.

On cue another ad for the Time-Life Enchanted World books!

Next up is an article I had re-read a lot back in the Summer of 1987. From by William Volkart and Robin Jenkins we get On Becoming The Great Druid.  It dealt with that little remembered now artifact of the Druid class that at higher levels you needed to defeat the druid whose level you wanted to take.   I have to admit that at the time I was not fond of the idea, though now I see as a great plot and role-playing device.  I was trying to come up with a way to add this all to my then current game.  I never really did to be honest since I figured I needed to come up with my world-wide Druid religion.  Of course, nothing in the history of the Druids supports the idea that would or even could do this (I was also reading some Margaret Murry, so I am excusing myself) but I got fixated on the idea I needed to figure out their complete religious structure first.  I made some head-way and a lot of that was actually added to my Witch class with the "Court of Witches".  I just replaced Great Druid with Witch Queen.  The Grand Coven of the Earth Mother in The Green Witch also comes from those notes way back then.

Rick Reid is up and has Cantrips for Druids - Naturally. Makes me REALLY glad I kept this to the side while working on the Green Witch and that I didn't put cantrips in that book. They will appear in the "The White Witch" later this summer.

Ah. Now here is an old friend. Ed Greenwood (who's early Dragon writing I am really enjoying again) has the Beastmaster NPC class.  It is such an overkill class.  Hell, I would not be surprised to discover that Drizzt didn't start out as a beastmaster. Though to be 100% fair it is described as an NPC only class...yup. Just like the witch was. ;)
I talked about a lot of Beastmaster classes in an early version of Class Struggles. At that time I had forgotten all about this one though in re-reading it now I see that my DM's homebrew Beastmaster was based on this one.

While not a part of the official Druid feature, Calle Lindstrand has the write up for The Uldra a new character race.  The article is the type of "anything worth doing is worth doing to excess" type that I really love. We get a new race, a monster entry, and some gods. The Uldra themselves seem to be a cross between a gnome and a dwarf.  I really hope that wherever Calle Lindstrand is that Uldras as written here are still part of their game. There is too much, well, love here to ignore.  Uldras would later go on to be upgraded to a full offical D&D race.

It is also one of the reasons while I like to include a new race in a book overtly about a class. The Green Witch, for example, has another take on Gnomes for Swords & Wizardry.

Ed is back with Ecology of the Korred.  Given that it follows right behind the article on the Uldra I often conflated the two into one race. Not really fair to either to be honest.  My then DM really enjoyed this article and it was the inspiration to the only "Dance off in D&D" I have ever done.  I later stole his idea and had another Dance Off in Ghosts of Albion: Blight. Only this time it was against the Sidhe.  This article also gives us a new god.

Dragon's Bestiary features some sylvan monsters for your game. Again, not exactly part of the Druid feature, but close enough that it fits really well.

We get some fairly interesting creatures too. The Wild Halflings are great and I think I detect a bit of what would later develop in Dark Sun.  The Luposphinx is a winged wolf/lion hybrid that doesn't seem out of place at all. The Leshy is based on some older fairy tales. There is another take on the Wendigo (none have every truly been "right" as far as I am concerned). The Wood Giant, which has since been promoted to the ranks of "official D&D monster". There is a Wood Golem here too. A bit about that. This wood golem never really stuck a cord with me. It was neat and all, but wood? Through flaming oil at it.  It was not till I read the Doctor Who story Lungbarrow and their "Drudges" that gave me the idea for something new.  I remember reading a story about an old witch that used to always say "If I'd had my druthers, I have my wooden druthers too."  The Wooden Druther became my new Wood Golem.  Wood Golems have also been promoted, but they will always take a back seat to my Druthers.

Not bad. Half the magazine and all of it quality or really, really fun materials.

In fact, if I had stopped here, 50 some odd pages in (minus ads) I would have considered it money well spent.  I suppose it is also no surprise then that I like to include a lot of these same things in my own books; a class, races, alternate classes, monsters, and spells.  1987 was a turning point year for me really.

Charles Olsen is back with an article about NPCs; Henchmen and Hirelings. Five pages of material that looks liek it should work with any version of the game.

Jeff Grub has Dinner With Elminster.  The article is a bit silly to be honest but I tend to forget that 1987 was the year of the Forgotten Realms. While everyone else was falling in love with that my years-long game was about to hit its final Act.   How long does it take to roleplay a massive war? Two years, give or take.

Let's see what's left here... Some fiction...

Some Sage Advice...

The Gamma World article has some cryptic alliances in Politics Amid the Rubble. Just another reminder to me that I REALLY need to a Gamma World game going again some day.

The Marvel-Phile (actually in this issue!) has Psylocke in her pink outfit.  Just as an FYI Oliva Munn, the future movie Psylocke is only 6-years old at the publication of this issue.

TSR Previews covers the new and hot items of April and May 1987.  Make sure you get your copy of the Lazer TagTM rules. I did!


In May we get the first of GAZ series for Mystara and the Known World, GAZ1 The Grand Duchy of Karameikos.

Lots of Cons advertised and some small ads. Finally, we get Snarf Quest and Wormy.
Little did I know that Trampier and I would be heading to the same town to live more or less around the same time.

Really a great issue.

I see the seeds of ideas here that later germinated in games I played then and later in college and now in the stuff, I put up here.

What are your memories of this issue?

Want to know what I was saying about White Dwarf magazine during the same month? Check out my White Dwarf Wednesday for issue #87.

--
The Green Witch is now out!



Pick up a copy today for Swords & Wizardry.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Witch: Hedgewitch for the Hero's Journey RPG in PRINT

I am pleased to announce that The Witch: Hedgewitch for the Hero's Journey RPG is now being offered in softcover.


The book is 68 pages, so it is a small book, but it goes great with your copy of +James Spahn's The Hero's Journey RPG. (Print copies are at Lulu in full color or B&W pages.)


Or even my other Witch books.



Each book offers a different set of witch "Traditions" so you can buy them all and combine them.

Get your copy today!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Future of the Swords & Wizardry Witch

Yesterday saw the release of the Witch class for Swords & Wizardry Light.  +Erik Tenkar put together a nice set of rules and I had to do something to support it.
So far I am pretty pleased with the sales.  The natural question now is "What's next?"

Well, I have some plans!

Swords & Wizardry is not a game I embraced at first.  Sure it is fun, but I didn't see why people kept calling it an OD&D clone.  It has some design elements similar to OD&D but it is still pretty far removed from my memories of actually playing OD&D.   In truth, Spellcraft & Swordplay is much, much closer to OD&D than Swords & Wizardry is.

That all being said I stopped worrying about what Swords & Wizardry wasn't and focused on what it is.  What it is is a surprisingly fun, easy and fast game that still feels like D&D.   You can thank White Star for that really.

What does this mean for you and my work?

There will be witch books for Swords & Wizardry.

The first is for Swords & Wizardry Whitebox.  I am going to focus on rebuilding the witch class from the ground up to fit S&W.  There will be plenty of new material; I want this to be worth my time in doing it and your money in buying it. I also want it to be compatible with my Basic Witch class, so that they can be used together.

There will be overlap between this new book, the Witch and Eldritch Witchery.  The new book will feature a new Witch Tradition, appropriately called "The White Witch Tradition" and have new spells and magic items.  I have not decided whether or not this book should include monsters.

Next will be another book for +James Spahn's  The Hero's Journey Fantasy Roleplaying Game.  This book will be very, very similar to the Whitebox witch. I won't lie, this book will be about 90% the same as the White Box Witch.  It will have its own Tradition as well, the "Hedge Witch".

Finally, I'll pull everything together from everything I have ever written and put that into a "Complete Witch" for Swords & Wizardry Complete.  This will contain all the spells, magic items, powers and Traditions of all my books.  In particular, I want this to be used with the +Stacy Dellorfano led 3rd printing of S&W Complete.  Plus using my witch in +Elizabeth Chaipraditkul's S&W

My plan is to bundle these together so that anyone that really, really wants all these books can get them at a reasonable price.   I also want to make it so that if you choose to buy only one book you have a set of complete rules and something unique the other books do not have.

I have other projects that NEED to be finished first, though, so don't expect these books in the next few weeks or even months.

I am very conscious of the fact that this feels like I am "going back to the same well" too many times.  But this is something I need to write, for me. If you enjoy it too, then fantastic. I would love it if you enjoyed it too.

So let me know what you think below.
Is there something you want to see in these books?
Is there something you DON'T want to see in these books?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Leprechauns: The PWYW Experiment Continues

Something I put together for St. Pat's day, but didn't get through the approval process in time.
Two options for adding Leprechauns to your games.



First up is a race as a class option for "Basic Era" games.
Leprechauns for Basic Era Games

While I working on that one +James Spahn released his very fun Hero's Journey, so I felt a Leprechaun race option might be fun for that.
Leprechauns for Hero's Journey

The PDFs cover the same essential materials, so having one will give 80% of what the other has.
Both are Pay What You Want.

If you have some spare change and what to try a new class/race might I suggest this.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Class Struggles: Class Compendium Books

RPGNow has a big sale going on on various d20 books.


I am not done with the class analysis I wanted to do today so I thought maybe I would highlight some of the books with new classes for your OSR games.  Some of these I have reviewed in the past.  I am sure there must be others, but these are the ones I am most familiar with.  Not all these books are on sale.

A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore
One of the first, this is the book that launched BRW games and Adventures Dark & Deep. Part of +Joseph Bloch's "What If" experiment of a hypothetical Gary helmed 2nd Edition.  I recently went back and reread some of the articles from Gary about the 2nd Ed. game of AD&D that never was.  Interestingly he made comments about a 3rd and 4th edition game too!  This book covers the Bard, Jester, Mystic, Savant, and Mountebank classes.  The mystic was the first class I looked at for the Class Struggles series.

The Complete B/X Adventurer
This is the second book of the B/X Companion series by +Jonathan Becker.  Where Adventures Dark & Deep gave us a hypothetical AD&D 2nd Ed, Becker gives us a Companion set that never was.    This book gives us some extra rules but the main feature are the classes.  The classes are Acrobat, Archer, Barbarian, Bard, Beastmaster, Bounty Hunter, Centaur, Duelist, Gnome, Mountebank, Mystic, Ogre-Kin, Scout, Summoner, Tattoo Mage, Witch, and Witch Hunter. 17 new classes.  New classes in B/X and BECMI related games are a bit more varied since races are also classes.  But there are a lot of great classes here.

Basic Arcana
+Tom Doolan published his first work, Basic Arcana all the way back in 2013!  This is also a "Basic Era" product.  It starts with some "Class Variants"; Dwarf Priest, Dwarf Scout, Elf Sorcerer, and Elf Warrior. For humans we have the Martialist (like a monk) and the Barbarian. All of this and some extra rules on combat and a page of spells.

Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts
A favorite of mine, this book introduces a baker's dozen of new magic using classes and their spells. +Dyson Logos gives us the:  Cleric, Wizard, Elven Swordmage, Elven Warder, Enchanter, Fleshcrafter, Healer, Inquisitor, Merchant Prince, Necromancer, Pact-Bound, Theurge, and the Unseen.

ACKS Player's Companion
ACKS is still one of the slickest look games around.  +Alexander Macris gives us 19 new character classes, including the Anti-paladin, Barbarian, Dwarven Delver, Dwarven Fury, Dwarven Machinist, Elven Courtier, Elven Enchanter, Elven Ranger, Gnomish Trickster, Mystic, Nobiran Wonderworker, Paladin, Priestess, Shaman, Thrassian Gladiator, Venturer, Warlock, Witch, and Zaharan Ruinguard.  So a good collection really. That takes up about 44 pages of the book's 160.  New classes have new spells as well. Best of all is a character class creation guide. It look like a similar idea that appeared in Dragon years ago.  Basically it reduces any class to a set of points and you point buy a new class just like you would in say GURPS or Unisystem.  Maybe one day I'll check out a bunch of classes using this.

Theorems & Thaumaturgy
This is part a class book and of course all the new spells.  It's not part of the sale, but +Gavin Norman offers it as Pay What You Want, so make this worth his while.  The new Classes are the Elementalist, Necromancer and Vivimancer. The Vivimancer later gets his own book, but these are three very solid class choices.

Class Compendium
+James Spahn has been delivering solid classes since the dawn of his Barrel Rider Games.  This is a collection, edit of some of his best selling and favorite classes. The first 166 or pages are dedicated to a Basic Era/Labyrinth Lord compatible class.   Well this book is huge and we are given 52 classes, divided by category.
Arcane Allies: Alienist, Familiar, Thopian Gnome, Wild Wizard
Doughty Dwarves: Raging Slayer, Rune-Smith, Warchanter
Enchanting Elves: Dark Elf, Greensinger, Half-Elf, Sylvan Elf
Heroic Halflings: Burglar, Feast Master, Huckster, Lucky Fool, Tavern Singer
Holy Rollers: Angel, Friar, Inquisitor, Undead Slayer
In Shining Armor: Commander, Dragon Slayer, Knight
Martial Masters: Barbarian, Berserker, Gladiator, Samurai, Sword Master
Monstrous Marauders: Dragon, Goblin,  Half-Ogre, Half-Orc, Treant
Second Star to the Right: Fairy, Lost Boy, Pirate
Traveling Trouble-Makers: Acrobat, Explorer, Fortune Teller, Wanderer
Unhallowed Heroes: Cultist, Damphir, Death Knight. Eidolon
Urban Adventurers: Bandit, Bard, Bounty Hunter, Watchman
Virtuous Victorians: Automation, Investigator, Metaphysician, Shootist

New Class Options
One of the most recent one this comes from Genus Loci Games and +Johua De Santo.  The classes included here are the: Blood Witch, Chesh, Forrester, Highlander, Mermaid of the In-Land Sea, Mythwood Elf, Pixie, Prodigal, Ruca and the Draken-Knight.  I covered the Blood Witch in some detail a while back.

So. Over 120 (give or take) new classes.  Not to bad really.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Class Struggles: The Beastmaster

Class Struggles: The Beastmaster

Rewind to 33 years ago today, the latest movie in the early 80s flirtation with Swords & Sorcery hits the late summer movie theatres.  Everyone was going to see the dearing-do of Marc Singer as Dar "The Beastmaster"!
ok. Not everyone really. The movie didn't do that hot.  Plus, lets be honest here just as many of my friends went to see it for Tanya Roberts as much as the sword & sorcery content. But The Beastmaster left a solid dent in the game playing of many of my peers for years.  I remember seeing tons of "Beastmaster" classes.  I even helped make one of my own.

The idea is a compelling one really.  A barbarian (of sorts) but has the magical ability to communicate with all animals. Maybe even he (it's almost always a he, but I have a few great exceptions to that rule) has the abilities to fight like an animal.  Fiction is replete with such characters. The aforementioned Marc Singer role, Tarzan, Sheena Queen of the Jungle, Vixen from DC Comics, Mowgli, even various "wolf boys" or "wild childs" that appeared in true and fictionalized accounts of children left in wilderness.

+Jonathan Becker must have had these in mind when he created his Beastmaster class for his The Complete B/X Adventurer.

The Beastmaster of this book is an interesting class.  It is actually closer to a monster in terms of play. For example it uses a 1d8 for hit points (like fighters and monsters) and it uses the monster attack matrix using it's level as HD.  This makes it a very good fighter.  It's saving throws are from the cleric list (good choice) so it will feel different than playing a fighter.
The beastmaster's prime ability is Strength.  This makes it slightly different than say your typical barbarian and their reliance on Constitution.  The reason given is that nature respects strength. This is true, but I think nature respects survival more than anything.  So Constitution would have been a good choice too in my mind.   The beastmaster also needs a better than average Charisma.

Becker's beastmasters have a number of abilities that set them apart. First is their ability to learn the languages of animals.  This is quite a nice skill because it is a gateway to other abilities the beastmaster has such as Calling, Befriending and Mastering.   These are really the key elements of any beastmaster archetype.  Think of Tarzan and his trademarked call. Ok, think of the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan.

In many ways the closest AD&D class to the beastmaster is the Ranger and not the Druid.  In fact I would have upped the XP per level for the beastmaster a bit and given him some Ranger like abilities including a starting animal companion (though you can get one with Mastering) and maybe some beast-like fighting styles.  But I see why that was not done here since it would make the beastmaster more like a reskinned ranger than something unique.

The beastmaster is hardly ever surprised, can't wear man made armor and has a limited number of weapons to choose from.  All of this works with the character concept really.

But don't just take my word on this.  Jonathan did a series of posts himself on his beastmaster.  Our opinions differ a bit; but only as creator vs user.
It is an interesting read combined with the final Beastmaster in the book.

Other Beastmasters of Note
The big one is the beastmaster of the Compleat Adventurer book from Bard Games written by Stephan Sechi.  As Becker claims this is the obvious inspiration for his beastmaster class. This class also adds animal Turning to their skills.  Not like undead turning, but the opposite of friendship.

If you want an idea of what this beastmaster was like, +Richard LeBlanc put one together about a year ago and it captures a lot of the same notes.
http://savevsdragon.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-beastmaster-and-thoughts-on-it-as.html

The next one is the Beastmaster kit for the Ranger for 2n Ed AD&D found in the Complete Ranger Handbook.  As with many of the kits this one was fairly over powered in my mind, giving the beastmaster telepathic communication with their animals at a low level.  Though the same feel is here, all three could exist in a room together without breaking the laws of the universe.

Finally, though by no means the only, there is the beastmaster archetype from the new 5th Edition of D&D.  It is in many ways a spiritual successor to the Bard Games beastmaster and if you are looking for cross system compatibility it makes for a good translation of Becker's beastmaster. This one is more animal companion focused. But in truth you can easily take one of these beastmasters and use them to emulate the others with good roleplaying.

The final question always is "would I play this class?" Well. yes. In fact like I mentioned above we had done our own beastmaster back in the day and I played the hell out of that class.

From 1986 or so.

Absom Sark
Level 7, Beastmaster ("Wild Guardian"), Male
Neutral

Strength: 18
Dexterity: 17
Constitution: 14
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 18
Charisma: 16

Hit Points:  46
AC: 6 (Cave Bear pelt armor)

Languages: Canine, Ursine, Feline, Mustelid, Saurian.

Absom Sark was the child of a prince and his wealthy wife until their caravan was attacked on route to a diplomatic mission.  Everyone was killed in the ensuing battle save for little Absom, who was only a baby.  Wolves came to feast on the remains and found the crying baby. A large she-wolf fostered the child, recognizing a kindred spirit in him.
Absom grew into the protector of the wild and he vowed that no one would use his wild to murder others.

--
Our beastmaster had a limited selection of various druid spells. I don't think it added much to the class to be honest, but maybe even a more restricted list focusing on animals might be nice.  Summon Animal I, II, and III would be good.  Limit the beastmaster to 3rd level spells or something.

The class is really fine as is. I just have a thing for spell-casting classes.

How effective is this class?  Well in the dungeon it might end up like a fighter. But in the wild they shine.

Here is video documentation of one beastmaster (though she might have some levels in bard) attacking two treants.  She speaks avian, mustelid, rodent, and ungulate.


Easily a class I would play.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Review: New Class Options

Picked up +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.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Prestige Class: Daughter of Baba Yaga

There is an ancient tradition among witches to seek out the Great Crone Baba Yaga to learn arcane secrets known to no one else.  The vast majority of witches never find her mysterious hut. Those that do are often killed and eaten for their impropriety and presumption.  But a few, a very few, find the ancient hag and she sees something of worth or value in the witch.  These witches go on become quite powerful in their own right.  They are known as the Daughters of Baba Yaga.

Section 15: Daughter of Baba Yaga, Copyright 2015, Timothy. S. Brannan.
OGC Declaration: The following content is considered Open Content for term of the OGL.

Daughter of Baba Yaga

The Daughters of Baba Yaga (DoBY) are a varied lot but all share a desire to learn more arcane secrets and in particular secrets of witchcraft.  Witches are the most common of her daughters, but sometimes an occasional wizard or sorcerer will also seek her out.

Hit Dice: d4

Requirements 
 To qualify as a Daughter of Baba Yaga, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Knowledge (History): 9 Ranks
Knowledge (Arcana): 7 Ranks
Feats: Iron Will
Spell casting: Ability to cast arcane spells
Special:  Female only; Oath of Fosterage*

The Oath of Fosterage must be taken when Baba Yaga first considers to take on the potential daughter.  Baba Yaga will often demand some sort task or quest from the witch.  The task will be one that is difficult and require cleverness to complete.  For example asking her to fetch water from a well but only give her a sieve to collect the water.
Once the Oath is made the Daughter cannot attack or harm in any way any other Daughter or Baba Yaga despite their alignment.  All Daughters, despite when they were fostered will know each other on sight.

Alignment: Any (usually any non-evil)

Class Skills
(2 + Int modifier per level): Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Craft (any), Knowledge (arcana),  Knowledge (history), Knowledge (nature), Profession (any), Spellcraft, Survival, and Swim.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the Daughter of Baba Yaga prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Daughter of Baba Yaga gains no additional weapon or armor proficiencies

Spells per Day: The character’s caster level increases when a Daughter of Baba Yaga level is gained if she had also gained a level in a previous class that allows them to qualify for this class.

This affects her spells per day and spells known, as if they had gained a level, but she does not gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If a character had more than one qualifying class before becoming a Daughter of Baba Yaga, she must decide to which class she adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day and caster level.

Daughters continue to use whatever Arcane spell lists they used before becoming a Daughter of Baba Yaga.  Daughters also continue to use what ever spell casting ability she had been using before becoming a Daughter.

Poison Resistance (Su): Daughters are exposed to a number of noxious potions, poultices and herbals and even poisons.  This exposure builds up over time till the witch gains a +5 to any posin based saving throws.

Arcane Diversity (Sp): Starting at 2nd level, the Daughter of Baba Yaga can learn any 1st level Arcane spell that is not on her typical list.  So if she begins as a witch she can choose a 1st level spell from the Wizard/Sorcerer, Bard or Magus lists. At 4th level she can choose a 2nd level spell and so on.  The spell will use same spell casting ability she uses for all her spells.

Hex (Sp): The Daughter may choose a Hex from the Witches list of hexes.  If she previously met the requirements for higher level hexes she may choose from those lists as well.

Kitchen Witchery (Sp): The Daughter may substitute any spell of 1st to 3rd level with an Alchemical Extract of the same level.  The Daughter may replace 1 spell of every level, 1st to 3rd, in this manner.  The Daughter though is not an alchemist by training so once a spell is replaced in this way the choice is permanent.
At 9th level the Daughter can choose Alchemical Extracts of 4th to 6th level. She may replace one spell each of levels 4th to 6th.

Table Daughter of Baba Yaga Progression

Class Level Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Oath, Poison Resistance +1 level of existing class
2nd +1 +3 +3 +1 Arcane Diversity, 1st level +1 level of existing class
3rd +2 +3 +3 +1 Hex +1 level of existing class
4th +2 +4 +4 +2 Arcane Diversity, 2nd level +1 level of existing class
5th +3 +4 +4 +2 Kitchen Witchery, 1 +1 level of existing class
6th +3 +5 +5 +3 Arcane Diversity, 3rd level +1 level of existing class
7th +4 +5 +5 +3 Hex +1 level of existing class
8th +4 +6 +6 +3 Arcane Diversity, 4th level +1 level of existing class
9th +5 +6 +6 +4 Kitchen Witchery, 2 +1 level of existing class
10th +5 +7 +7 +4 Arcane Diversity, 5th level +1 level of existing class



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A to Z of Vampires: Moroi

The Moroi (male) and the Moroaica (female) are "living" vampires from the legends of Rumania.  Living, because despite some overt vampire like traits they are living, breathing people and can be harmed or even killed like everyone else.

Legends abound on the how a Moroi is born and what makes them different from a Dhampir.   With a Dhampir the mother must be human and the father a vampire.  For the Moroi both parents are living.  According to some accounts a Moroi is created when a baby is born with a caul or a vestigial tail.  In other legends a Moroi is the result of an incestous relationship.   Of course a Moroi can also be the product of two Moroi.

On their death Moroi will become a vampire, a Strigoi.  This is actually pretty close to the separation between the Living and Dead vampires in the Hollows Series by Kim Harrison and even the Vampire Academy books by Richelle Mead.

In the Pathfinder RPG, the Moroi are a type of Dhampir race.  That race has a lot going on, I tend to like something a little simpler.

Moroi by Diana Martinez
Moroi Race
The Moroi are a race with the blood of ancient vampires in their veins.  Some speculate that the Moroi came first and vampires followed after their deaths.  Still others claim that the vampires were always first and they perverted the Moroi to their current state.
Once the Moroi had a great empire with the undead Strigoi at the top of their ranks and thousands of human slaves.  This empire has long been overthrown and destroyed but Moroi remain.  Many of the living Moroi know of this history and act as if they still were the royalty they once were.

Physical Description:  Pale, tall and thin, Moroi look like humans carved from marble or ivory.  Their features are sharp but fine.  Thier limbs and fingers are long and look delicate, but are deft and fast.  They are all physically attractive, cultured and refined despite what their true upbringing might have been.  Despite their loss of power and position Moroi families are still quite wealthy.
Males tend to be 5'11" to 6'9" though only weighing 110lbs to 160lbs.  Females are 5'7" to 6'2" weighing 100lbs to 140lbs.  So quite thin indeed.
Skin tones are universally pale. Hair color tends to be black for both males and females.  Some Moroi families have been known to have an occasional red head or platinum blonde.  These births are a great omen.  Eye color also tends to be pale though some are born with black irises and others red.

Moroi reach maturity at 16 years of age and live approximately 120 years.  Most are able to pass as human or sometimes half-elf.

Moroi are cross-fertile with humans and half-elves with Moroi traits being dominant over 3 generations.  Moroi however find such matings beneath their status and they generally prefer their own kind.  Intermarriage of cousins in Moroi society is common and acceptable.

Standard Racial Traits (3rd Era Games)

Ability Score Racial Traits: Moroi are quick, graceful and always charming, but somehow appear to be thin and underfed. They gain +2 Charisma, +2 Dexterity, and –2 Constitution.
Size: Moroi are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Type: Moroi are humanoids with the Moroi subtype.
Base Speed: Moroi have a base speed of 30 feet.
Languages: Moroi begin play speaking Common and Moroi. Moroi is an ancient language understood by all vampires.  They may learn other languages based on their Intelligence and Linguistics skill
Senses: Moroi have Darkvison to 60'
Undead Resistance: Moroi gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against disease and mind-affecting effects.  This resistance also works against the Moroi in terms of magical healing.  Any spell or spell like affect that heals will take a penalty of -1 hp.  Ex. If a Cure Light Wounds spell would normally heal 3hp of damage, it would only heal 2hp on a Moroi.  This includes the Laying on Hands ability and potions.  It is possible for a result of 0hp to occur.

Favored Classes: The Moroi favors classes that allow it to use their innate magical abilities such as  Bard, Sorcerer and Warlock.  Moroi Sorcerers are typically of an Undead or Vampire bloodine. Moroi Warlocks typically are Death Pact warlocks.

Alignment: Morio tend towards Chaos and Evil as a race, but individuals can be of any alignment. Lawful Good Moroi, while not unheard of, are rare.

Basic and Advanced Era Games
Moroi have a minimum Charisma score of 14 and a minimum Dexterity of 12.  Their maximum Constitution is 16.

A moroi character of can opt to be a fighter (maximum of 9th level), a thief, an assassin (maximum of 10th level) or a witch (maximum 13th level). An moroi character can also be multi-classed, i.e. a fighter/witch, a fighter/thief, a witch/thief, or a fighter/witch/thief.  Thief can be substituted for assassin where appropriate.

Moroi characters have a 90% resistance to sleep and charm spells (if these spells are cost upon them a percentile dice roll of 91% or better is required to allow the magic any chance of having an effect, and even then the saving throw against spells is allowed versus the charm spell).

Moroi have the ability to see into the infra-red spectrum, so they are able to see up to 60' in darkness, noting varying degrees of heat radiation.

As has been shown previously, moroi characters add a bonus of +1 to their initial dexterity score. Likewise, as moroi are not as sturdy as humans, they deduct 1 from their initial constitution score.

Moroi as a Class (Basic Era)
Moroi generally follow the example of the Elf class. instead of magic-user spells the moroi use witch spells.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Leprechauns for Basic Era Games

Happy St. Patrick's day!

Here is something I have been working on for a little bit.  I think it would work well in the right game.

Leprechauns for Basic era FRPGs

Leprechaun adventurers in Neverwinter Nights
Leprechauns are small humanoids that live in the same general areas as do elves. While elves prefer the open spaces, Leprechauns live underground in elaborate burrows and low. They share many similarities with halflings and gnomes but are actually more closely related to pixies, faeries and distantly elves.

The typical Leprechaun stands 3' to 3½ ' tall, and weighs about 45-50 lbs; About the same size as a Halfling. Their skin color ranges from tan to a pale, if pinkish hue, their hair is typically any shade or red though some are darker, and their eyes can be any shade of green. Leprechaun males typically have longer beards the same color as their hair. Leprechauns generally wear natural fibers with quite a bit of green in them, though they decorate their clothes with intricate stitching or fine jewelry. Leprechauns reach adulthood at about age 40, and they live about 400 years, though some can live almost to 600 years.

A Leprechaun character must have a score of 9 or higher in both Charisma and Dexterity. Leprechauns are similar to Elves in terms of play, they can act as fighters (though not as good as true fighters or Dwarves) and can cast spells as do Magic-Users, though they are limited to the Enchantment school.

Leprechauns are inherently magical, many excel in areas of enchantment and other magic, and most all Leprechauns know at least a little magic. Adventuring Leprechauns can cast wizard spells as indicated below.

Leprechauns tend to be Neutral in alignment, but quite a few are Lawful.  Chaotic leprechauns are known as Fear Deargs.  These leprechauns are of sour temper and typically wear red.

Prime Requisite: A Leprechaun has two Prime Requisites: Wisdom and Dexterity. If either of these Ability scores is 13 or greater the character gains a 5% bonus to Experience Points earned every adventure. If both are 13 or greater, the XP bonus if 10%.

Weapons and Armor: Leprechauns may use any weapon, but it needs to "sized" to fit them. Typically any weapon sized for a Halfling character. Leprechauns may not use "two-handed" handed weapons such as two-handed swords, long bows, battle axes, and other larger weapons.

Leprechauns may wear any type of armor, but most prefer "natural" armor such as leather or hide.
Leprechauns may use any magic item that is useable by Magic-Users and any magic weapon.

Special Abilities

A Leprechaun has a number combat advantages, due to it's size and familiarity with various terrain.

Combat: Leprechauns use a combination of melee weapons and magic in combat situations. All Leprechauns gain the following bonuses when in combat.

-2 bonus to Armor Class when attacked by creatures larger than man-size.
+ 1 bonus to initiative rolls.

Luck: The greatest power of a Leprechaun is it's "Luck".  Once per day the Leprechaun can effect one die roll with luck.  Giving it an automatic +1.  This feature must be used before the roll is made, but it can be used on any sort of roll.  As a leprechaun increases in levels he may use a spell slot to convert spell levels to luck.  So a 4th level spell can be converted to +4 on a roll.  The points have to be used at one time, no splitting them up among different rolls.

Superstitions:  This is considered to be the other side of their luck ability. In order to have good luck the leprechaun has to observe a number of superstitions.  While they might seem to be harmless or even non-sense the leprechaun must follow them or take steps to avoid them.  For example a leprechaun will typically carry a lucky charm, such as a four leaf clover or rabbit's foot, for every level they have gained.  If they do something that would normally cause bad luck (lighting three on a single flame, walking under a ladder, letting a black cat cross their path) they must use their luck item or do a small ritual to "break the curse". This could include putting a lucky copper piece in their shoe, kissing a "blarney" rock, whistling a song backwards, or any number of other small rituals. Failing to perform this ritual right away will result in the loss of one point of good luck.

Hiding: Leprechauns are difficult to spot. In their natural habitat, dense wooded areas, low hill lands and natural (not man-made) underground formations a Leprechaun can only be detected 25% of the time (GM rolls). In man-made dungeons this increases to 35%. The Leprechaun must remain still and not be carrying any type of light.

Leprechaun's Gold: There is a legend that leprechaun's guard a pot of gold. There is some truth to this.  If someone were to beat a leprechaun in some form of personal challenge (cards, drinking, or being found when they would rather stay hidden) the leprechaun is obliged to grant the winner a gold coin.  This coin will grant the winner a single +1 to any roll.  This luck comes from the leprechaun's own pool of luck for the day.

Languages: In addition to the common and alignment languages Leprechauns may also speak Leprechaun, elf, gnome and goblin.

Vision: A Leprechaun can see twice as well as a human in low-light conditions (starlight, moonlight, torchlight and a "light" spell, but not "Continual Light").

Spells: As mentioned, Leprechauns can use Magic-User spells like an elf.  They favor Enchantment and Charm spells.  Leprechauns cannot use necromancy.

Advancement
Leprechauns may advance only to 9th level "Tighearnán" (male) or "Tuilelaith" (female). This is balanced by the Leprechaun's magical ability and their ability to also fight better than a same level magic-user. At 9th level a Leprechaun may settle in area and attract other Leprechauns to form a clan, or gather their family together for a clan as it's Chieftain. In any case there will only be a small gathering of immediate family and some close relations.  Leprechauns are so spread out though they immediately assume any other leprechaun they meet must be a related and refer to each other as "cousins".

Leprechauns are known as "solitary faeries". This makes them great candidates for an adventuring race.  They will settle down in a area but there must not be any other faerie species in the area, especially pixies and other "trooping faeries".  Leprechauns and Pixies have an uneasy truce.



Leprechaun EXPERIENCE TABLE
LevelTitle
XP
Hit Die
1
2
3
4
5
1Nuacht
0
1d6
1
2Laoch/Laochra
3,000
2d6
2
3Gaiscíoch
6,000
3d6
2
1
4Curadh
12,000
4d6
2
2
5Marcach
25,000
5d6
2
2
1
6Máistir
50,000
6d6
3
2
2
7Oifigeach
110,000
7d6
3
2
2
1
8Mórghléas
220,000
8d6
3
3
2
2
9Tighearnán/Tuilelaith
400,000
9d6
3
3
2
2
1


Leprechaun SAVING THROWS
Level
1-3
4-6
7-9
Death Ray or Poison
12
10
8
Magic Wands
13
11
9
Paralysis or Turn to Stone
13
11
9
Dragon Breath
15
12
9
Rods, Staffs and Spells
15
12
9

Leprechauns use the same attack to hit rolls as do fighters, dwarves, elves and Halflings.


CHARACTER HIT ROLLS (on 1d20)
Level
Target's Armor Class
Leprechauns9876543210-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9
1-310111213141516171819202020202021222324
4-6891011121314151617181920202020202122
7-96789101112131415161718192020202020


Section 15 Copyright Notice

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document Copyright 2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Bruce R. Cordell, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game Copyright © 2006-2008. Chris Gonnerman.

Labyrinth LordTM. Copyright © 2007, Daniel Proctor. Author Daniel Proctor.

"Leprechauns for Basic era FRPGs" Copyright ©2015, Timothy S. Brannan
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