Category Archives: Classes

The Many Faces of The Bard

Bards suck! Uh. Maybe. The Bard is one of those classes that has changed the most through the editions. And has always been one of my favorites. There’s been a running joke in our Pathfinder games. What classes am I playing? Yeah, I do a lot of multiclass characters. I like to call them Swiss Army Knife characters. They may not be right for the job but in a pinch they got a shot at just about anything. And maybe that’s why I like the Bard so much.
Way back in the ADD days, the bard was a bad ass. He started off as Fighter then became a Thief and then Druid/Bard. It wasn’t an easy journey but once you got there, you were a force to be reckoned with.
Second Edition was the Bard’s heyday. That is when they really just kicked ass. Bards had some Thief skills but better armor and weapons and they had access to the entire Wizard’s spell list. Added bonus they had lower XP progression than a Wizard. Bards were bad asses back then.
Then came 3.X. Bards sucked. Pathfinder helped a little but they still just seemed lame. Not as cool the Second Editions version. I have no idea what happened in 4E.
As far as DNDNext goes. Damn I haven’t even downloaded that last couple play test packets. So I have no clue there. But dang it I want a kick ass Bard back like in Second Edition.
That’s it for today’s rant.

Much Like A Zombies, Fighters Need Brains Too.

OK, here’s the deal. You have two fighters of equal skill (level) and roughly equal abilities. So what sets them apart? In later editions, there’s a long list of Feats but with older Editions there isn’t really anything. So I decided to go with their brains. Here’s a little idea to give OSR Fighters just a little bit more individuality in the easiest possible manner.
A Dangerous Mind: In order to survive and excel at combat they understand that it takes more than just strong muscles and quick reflexes to win a fight. A character trained as a Fighter gains the following benefits:
Fighters learn how to size up their opponents and taunt them. A Fighter with a Charisma score greater than 13 gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls.
Fighters learn to trust their instincts to avoid getting hit. A Fighter with a Wisdom score greater than 13 gains a +1 bonus if any to his AC.
Fighters know how and where to hit their opponents for the most damage. A Fighter with an Intelligence score greater than 13 gains a +1 bonus to his damage rolls.
And there you have it. Quick and simple.

Druids: No Hippies Here

So I’ve twisted other classes and races and decided that Druids really need to be put through the grinder.
Now, I’m not going to go back to historical origins of the Druid and I’m especially not going with the tree hugging hippies either. I wanted something a little different. So I thought about magic and flipped through the pages of Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Crypts & Things then a little light bulb went off. Magic Users reach beyond reality and harness the power of Things Man Was Not Meant To Know. Clerics channel the gifts of the divine. So where would that leave Druids? Harnessing the power of Nature.
Let’s just make that a little more interesting. Not hug the tree (because in D&D a tree can come to life and kick your ass). Druids harness the power of Nature’s wrath. We’re talking hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, plague and so on. They strike down their foes with the power of the elements; Air, Earth, Fire and Water. They don’t live along side of nature, they try to master it. But I wanted some source or personification of that power. So I though creature most represents the power and fury of the elements that isn’t an elemental. Then it hit me. Dragons. They have elemental breath weapons. They are tough monsters with incredible magical power. Perfect. Druids are now Dragon cultists.
As far as crunch goes, here’s my ideas so far. No more Druid “secret language”. Druids speak Draconic. Druids don’t change into animals any more but high level Druids could change into a dragon. Most importantly, totally gut the spell list. Drop all the Cleric type spells. Let the clerics cast them. Add any elemental type spells. Fireball, lightning bolts and so on. Yes, I know that usually that’s the purview of Magic-Users but with this rework I think it applies. Druids don’t have animal companions or can summon furry woodland creatures. But they can summon elementals and this case I wouldn’t let Magic Users be able to do this.
Yeah, I know this isn’t quite a fully fleshed out idea. But hell, go play with and roll some dice.

Crypts & Things Magicians: Twisted & Tweaked

I said I’m mess around with Magicians for Crypts & Things and here it is kids. Yeah, I fully admit that this one full of my own biases. First, I’ve got a soft spot for spontaneous casters from later editions. Go ahead and call me a Sorcerer fanboy. Second, I’m continuing on with the specializations because like I said before why should the fighter have all the fun. The Magician remains basically the same as HD, Saves and so forth. And as I have said before there’s nothing that says you can’t tweak this to what you are using for your own home game.

Spell Casting: Magicians do not have to memorize multiple castings of the same spell per day. They may memorize the number of spells indicated by the spells per day chart. He may cast a number of spells of the appropriate level per day as indicated on the same chart. (You just have to actually read the book to see the chart). The number of spells memorized and castable per day is the same number. For example, if a Magician can memorized two first level spells. He can memorized Magic Missile and Detect Magic. During the day, he may cast whichever he happens to need. Magic Missile twice or Detect Magic twice or each spell once.

Sense Magic: With an modified Saving Throw a Magician can sense the presence of magical energy. He knows nothing other than fact that there is magic afoot. NOTE: This works best if you alter the Detect Magic spell to”Analyze Magic” and the spell become whatever type of magic that is being analyzed (White, Gray or Black).

The Magician gains specializations at 4th, 8th and 12th.
Alchemist: The magician gains a recipe book for potions containing two first level recipes and one second level. These recipes should be similar to the spells available. Check with your GM for costs and brewing times.
Extra Knowledge: The Magician gains an additional spell in his spell book. He must be high enough level to able to cast the spell. He may take this Specialization more than once.
Extra Magic: The Magician may cast an additional spell per day. When selecting this specialization, he must select a spell level that he is capable of casting. He cannot change this once it is selected but he may select this specialization more than once.
Necromancer: If the Magician does not already have Animate Dead in his spell book, he gains that spell. He also gains the Charm Undead spell (which is identical to Charm Monster but only works on Undead). Unfortunately, his connection to the Undead is so strong that if attempts to cast White Magic, it effects him as if he cast Gray Magic.
Powerful Magic: The Magician’s spells are extremely powerful. Targets take a -1 penalty to Saving Throws. This Specialization may be taken more than once.
Summoner: The Magician gains a +1 bonus on summoning and controlling extraplanar creatures. A magician may take this Specialization more than once. NOTE: This Specialization is intended to be used with the Summon spell from Lamentations of the Flame Princess and not the normal Summon Monster spells. Don’t worry. kids. I’ll be posting a tweaked version of Summon later this week.

Those Tricky Thieves

Since Fighters and Barbarians are having fun with specializations, why not the Thieves too. So here you go kids!
Theives gain one specialization at 4th, 8th and 12th levels.
Weapon Master: As the Fighter but a Thief may only take this once and only for a light weapon.
Rapier Wit: The Thief has learned to distract his opponents with witty banter and distractions. The Thief’s AC is improved by 1 each time he takes this specialization. Note: This ability generally does not affect unthinking targets or animals.
Pickpocket: The Thief gains a +1 bonus to Legerdemain checks. He may take this specialization more than once.
Burglar: The Thief gains a +1 bonus to Locking Picking or Finding & Disabling Traps. He may take this specialization more than once.
Acrobat: The Thief gains a +1 bonus to perform acrobatic maneuvers. He may take this specialization more than once.
Poisoner: The Thief gains a +3 bonus to identify and brew poisons. Also he may poison his weapons without fear of poisoning himself.
Assassin: The Thief inflicts +1 to damage.
Death Attack: If the Thief has both the Poisoner and the Assassin specializations, he may take the Death Attack. The Thief must observe his target for at least three rounds and then strike from surprise. If the Thief succeeds on a Saving Throw and his attack roll then he is struck with the Death Attack. The target must succeed on a Saving Throw or die. The target still takes damage normally from the attack.
Next it’s all magic!

The Specialized Barbarian

Those of us who pre-ordered Crypts & Things are getting our hard copies and it’s available for public consumption over at Lulu and Drivethrurpg. And like I said before I gots some ideas for some tweaks and the first thing I’m going to hit are classes. The fighter specializations originally from Akratic Wizardry‘s Sword & Sorcery rules are pretty neat but why should fighters have all the fun. As my first shot, here’s the Barbarian:
Barbarians gain one specialization at 1st, 4th, 8th and 12th levels. Some specializations may be taken more than once and is noted in that specialization.
Weapon Master: As the Fighter specialization but Barbarians may take this only once.
Berserker: As the Fighter specialization.
New Specializations
“Barbarian” Armor: Be it a loin cloth and bracers or a chain mail bikini, somehow the Barbarian avoids damage. When wearing no or the equivalent of leather armor, the Barbarian gains gains a bonus to his AC based on the sum of his CHA and WIS scores:
Less than 20: No adjustment
21 to 27: AC improves by 1
28 to 35: AC improves by 2
36: AC improves by 3
The Barbarian may take this specialization multiple times. After the first time, his AC is improved by 1 when wearing “Barbarian Armor”.
Beastmaster: The Barbarian can communicate with normal animals. Instead of normal henchmen, the Barbarian attracts a number of animal companions.
Die Hard: The Barbarian gains +1 bonus to his Saving Throw to stay conscious when he starts taking Constitution damage in combat. The Barbarian may take this specialization more than once.
Horse Lord: The Barbarian was born in the saddle. He gains +3 bonus to riding rolls. Additionally, he starts the game with a quality mount (Maximum HP and unusually intelligent).
Tough: The Barbarian gains 3 HP. This specialization may be taken more than once.
And there you go. The Barbarian. Don’t worry, I got plans for the Thief and the Magician too.

Sexy Alien Elves

I’ve grown weary of the standardized Tolkien style elves so I decided to do a little tweaking for own little home brew. I know that racial classes are a bit contentious. For my own purposes, they are an option for demi-human characters. And, of course, as with any home brew type thingie. Your mileage may vary. And, yes, I do have a soft spot for spontaneous casters from later editions.

Elves are the newest race to the world. Centuries ago, they appeared from nowhere. Scholars are unsure if they are refugees, exiles, colonists or the prelude to an invasion from another world. The elves either aren’t talking or don’t know the truth themselves. Despite their alien beauty, their relations with the other races is dubious at best.
Wood elves are generally not well regarded by elvish society. They are deviants who have gone native. They neither confirm nor deny the existence of any so called Dark Elves.

Classes: Fighting-man, Magic-user, Thief, Elf Racial Class

Racial Abilities:
Darkvision: Elves can see in the dark up to 60 feet.

Arcane Channeling: Elves may channel part of their arcane essence into their spells and attacks. When an elf attempts this he takes 1d4 damage. If the elf channels through a weapon, that weapon is considered magical and does additional damage equal to the damage he took. If the elf uses to empower a spell against a creature with Magical Resistance then the creature’s Magic Resistance is reduced by the amount of damage taken by the elf X 5%.

Arcane Resistance: Elves are beings of magic. Elves gain a +2 to save against Magic-User (arcane) spells.

Not Of This World: The elves have no connect to the gods of this world. As such they cannot become clerics. Additionally, they have a -2 penalty to save against clerical (divine) magic.

Alien Physiology: Because of their alien nature, elves have lessened resistance to worldly poisons and disease (-2 to Saving Throws).

Magical Affinity: On a successful Saving Throw, elves may detect magic as the spell.

Elf Racial Class:

Hit Die: d6/level
Saving Throw: As Magic-User
Attack Progression: As Thief
Spell Casting: Elves do not use spell books like a Magic-User. Their magic is an inherent ability so they do not to prepare spells nor can they research new spells. Elves may cast spells in leather or magical armor.
Spells/Day: As a Magic-User of ½ the elf’s level (always rounded down).
Spells Known: An elf knows a number of spells equal to the Spells/Day for the appropriate level. These spells are determined randomly from the Magic-User Spell list.
For Example: A 6th level elf would know two 1st level spells and one 2nd level spell. He can cast two 1st level spells and one 2nd level spell per day.