Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tinkering with Classes

The other day, Jeff Rients made a post about this old Dragon magazine article that allows you to build custom classes based on the component pieces.

I have been reading that article and goofing around with the basic principles since I read it. I've done some slight reworking of it to fit my game better, probably taking away more than adding, and I think it has just what I need to break out race and class as two separate things for my B/X-ish Outland game.

I took the 400 base XP and split it among the four things everyone must pick - hit dice, fighting capability, weapon damage, and saving throws. For everything else, I just performed the math on the values so that all you have to do is pick what you want and add all the numbers up.

Here is a draft of my version, which includes a very drafty version of some alternatives to the cleric's turn undead. These alternatives (Channel Energy and Cure) are stolen from 3E and DCC, respectively.

Here are some rough samples I created using these as well.

Once I'm comfortable with the basics, it should be easy to add new things that players come up with.

The best part, is this will allow me to split out race and class. Then I can have races with very simple bonuses, and if there's a race with something a little bit too special, we can just tack an XP value onto it. I like that the Labyrinth Lord AEC attempted to do this, but I think their approach is overly complex. Here is just a snippet from that version:

Dwarves receive the following saving throw bonuses:
• +2 save versus breath attacks
• +4 save versus poison
• +4 save versus petrify or paralyze
• +3 save versus wands
• +4 save versus spells or spell-like devices

I just don't like that.

I'd do something more like this:
Humans - +1 to any ability score.
Dwarves - Infravision, +2 to saves against magic (no more special dwarf saving throw table, they just use the class one), and they know stuff about stone.
Elves - Immune to ghoul paralysis. Sometimes when they pass a secret door, it becomes limned in a weird green light. No one knows why.
Hobbits - +1 to all saves. 1 bonus luck point. Can throw or fire a stone as far as a short bow.
Tieflings - Darkness or Cause Light Wounds 1/day.
Orcs - Intimidate: make a medium strength check (2 of 3 d20s equal to or under STR score). Success causes the enemy to make an immediate morale check at -1. Usable 2/day.
Goblins - Infravision. Pick pockets.

Something like that. Then level limits could be removed as well. Just thinking out loud. Anyways, if you see any holes in my basic approach here, please let me know.

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