Category Archives: Classes

Variable Thief Skills for your Basic Games

I constantly play around with rules and since I just rambled on about Thieves’ Guilds on the good old pod cast. I guessed I should do a little rant on skills.
The thing is that in the early editions all thieves has pretty same chance to do their trademark skills. No real specialization other than creating more specialized classes. Later editions and other games (like Dungeon Crawl Classics) came up with various ways of changing this up a bit. So I sat and thought for a minutes on a quick and easy method that just feels right with those earlier days. So here you go.
The player can choose to modify their some (or none) of the character’s skills at first level. Skills may be either raise or lowered once. You can’t do both to the same skill. Raised skills: roll 1d10 and add the percentage, Lowering skills: Roll 1d10 and lower that percentage (except Climb Walls and reduce that by 2d10 since it’s much higher). Since Hear Noise is on x in d6. That should be tougher. So to raise it by one, double reductions to another skill.
Any way just a thought for a little tweak. In case a player wants to play a pick pocket or burglar or trap specialist or whatever you want to call it.
Have fun, folks! And of course the usual disclaimer, some body may have already done this better than me.

Bard and Barbarian for my Labyrinth Lord Game

Here’s the first draft of my own take on Bards and Barbarians for my upcoming Labyrinth Lord game. I wanted to put my own spin on these. Heck, there’s a lot of other very fine versions out there. They just didn’t quite do it for me. Yeah. I’m weird. I like bards as jack of all trades and barbarians without armor and that’s the way I roll. I want to keep them simple but still give them their own feel. Or course, these are beta versions so there might be a change or two before the dice hit the table. Hell, there’s probably a typo in there too.
barbarian and bard

Episode 31: Race As Class

Another day and another episode. Yes, I recorded this yesterday morning and wasn’t quite awake yet. Which makes it a little entertaining in train wreck sort of way.
I go into another of those OSR debates and stand foolishly in the middle. Race as Class is OK but also shouldn’t be the only option and should be cool. Plus I go into a short little ramble on Zoong and maybe an odd idea to mess around with clerics (again). Any here you. Listen. Subscribe. Roll Dice….
Episode 31: Race as Class

White Box House Rules Version 1

Yes, I’m still working/prepping for a White Box (Swords & Wizardry/Fantastic Medieval Adventures) campaign. But if you’ve been around this blog more than one then you know that I just love house rules. So I put together my Version 1 of them. Because I know I’m going to change up some the stuff in there before I start. Ideas will come up and some feedback (Hopefully) will happen. So this is very much a living document.
I’m also hacking the basic classes and putting together my own versions of the “Advanced” classes plus some others that I just think are cool. And since I’m messing with classes I’ll probably do some other races too. And do some versions of the classic spells that are from Supplement 1: Greyhawk. Chances are that will end up as a cheap PDF on RPGNow. It’s been way too long since I’ve published anything but then I’ve said that before. Sigh.
White Box House Rules Ver 1
Like I said. Changes will happen to it. And remember folks. Roll Dice. Have Fun. That’s always a house rule.

Cleric’s With Spell Books?

I did that post last week about stuff I was going to mess around with in White Box (Swords & Wizardry/Fantastic Medieval Adventures type) and an astute reader in Tenkar’s Tavern pointed out something pretty interesting. Something that had totally passed me by. In original White Box D&D, clerics used spell books.
That’s right. It’s right there on page 34 of Volume 1: Men & Magic. “Characters who employ spells are assumed to acquire books containing the spells they can use, one book for each spell level. If a duplicate set of such books is desired the cost will be the same as the initial investment for research…Loss of these books will require replacement at the above expense.”
So note. It doesn’t say Magic-Users. It’s characters who employ spells. There’s only two classes that do that. Magic-Users and Clerics. In the paragraph just above the one I quoted, it talks specifically about Clerics and Magic-Users researching spells to expand their spell list. Additionally, there’s nothing about clerics praying for spells or magic-users memorizing their spells. It does say this, ” The number in each column opposite each applicable character indicates the number of spells of each level that can be used (remembered during any single adventure) by that character…A spell once used may not be reused the same day.” That’s a bit poorly worded but then a lot of stuff in LBB is. There’s another interesting bit. That’s the first sentence in the description of the Clerics. “Clerics gain some of the advantages from of the two other classes (Fighting-Men and Magic-Users)..”
Plus there’s the bit about spell research for clerics with same costs as magic-users. Now I dug out my Holmes and Metzger books. And cleric spells work they way we’ve become accustomed. Hmm. This is all pretty interesting and some good food for thought.

Still Playing Around With White Box

Despite all the stuff that’s distracting me. I’m still planning on a White Box game that will be heavily hacked. So let me do this little rant about the basic (or core) four classes along with some random thoughts on each.
Cleric: What’s really bugged me the most about cleric’s is their spell casting. It never made sense to me that they would pray for the spells they need later on. I’ve always imaged them as praying as they need them. I’m playing with the idea of the spontaneous prayer for spells. It just take one round/spell level. Which limits their abilities during combat but smart use just prior to encounter can save the party’s bacon. Also, there’s something we did way back when. The DM at the time let cleric’s do “God Calls” basically ask for divine intervention at a cost. I’m still brainstorming exactly how I want to do this. I’m bouncing around some ideas using a pair of d20’s and if they match good things happen. But that’s still in buried in the depths of my brain category.
Fighter: Hey, the most common class. And also the pretty much the most boring in the old games. So first, I admit that I never liked the additional attacks based against opponents with less than one HD. Meh. I’m leaning towards the “chop when you drop” sort of thing. Drop an opponent get another attack. I’ve heard rumors on the Internet that it was Dave Arneson’s house rule but that’s just an Internet rumor. I’m also thinking of adding a very simple “fighting style” type thing. Either ranged or melee and giving a +1 to-hit and damage. Not much but enough to keep the plain old fighter the best at fighting.
Magic-User: This is probably, the one that I’m going to mess with the most. First, I’m thinking about using and x in d6 mechanic based on INT for chance to learn spells. Also, to use it for spell research and may be more. Also, magic is just too safe and predictable. I don’t want something as gonzo as DCC but I do want some risk. So every time a magic-user casts a spell there’s a spell-level in d20 chance that something could go horribly wrong. I’m thinking of reducing the chance by use of special spell components or even specific types of magic items. Hey, a wizard’s staff that helps with spell casting.
Thief: So I’ll be using the Thief from White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game from Seattle Hill Games. However, I think I’ll opt for two Thief Skills. The first Thievery for locks, traps, stealth and climbing. The second Skullduggery; for picking pockets, disguise, and general streetwise. So basically, Thievery is mechanical devices and the environment while Skullduggery is the social side of the underworld.
I’ll probably mess around with some additional classes too. I know I’ve talked about keeping to the basic four. But if they actually do get changed up enough, then they are worth the add. I’m also having a running internal debate on nonhuman races. I’ll probably go all crazy Cantina Scene to give the players some extra options but haven’t decided if I should run with Racial Classes or a limited selection of classes and multiclassing. I still have plenty of time to ponder and play around with that. Heck, if all this stuff turns out pretty decent I may throw it up on RPGNow as a cheap little PDF. We shall see.
Plus I need to clean up my House Rules document and redo and clean up the world stuff. So stay tuned for those posts.

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells Character Sheet V3

Since it was requested Here’s the Version 3 of the character sheet. A few things have been rearranged and I’ve added Sanity.
My Character Sheet V3
And as a bonus here’s some ideas on house rules.
Initiative: I really like the idea of using Hit Dice to determine initiative. I was playing around with a similar idea before I’d even heard of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells so why not take that old idea and apply it in a new way. Now, I’ve played games with static initiative and while it was easy, generally everybody went in the same order every round and it got kind of boring and predictable. So what to do?
Roll your Hit Die and go in order from highest to lowest roll.
The more combat oriented characters have a better chance of going first but not always.

Blood/Hit Points: I like both so why not use both. Well sort of basically. The minimum uninjured HP that a character has is equal to their Physique. When the character gains a level and they could potentially roll (with all their Hit Dice) more than their Physique then roll the dice. If the total is less then nothing changes. If the total is more then that’s the characters new total HP and when the character gains their next level just roll an additional Hit Die as normal.

There’s more ideas bouncing around my head but that’s for later when they start making sense to me.