Following up on my previous post about a new skill path for DCC thieves, I give you the DCC thief-acrobat. Of course, absolutely none of this has been play tested.
In my previous Advanced Dungeon Crawl Classics (ADCC) post, I looked at a simple method for adding warrior subclasses to the rules. This led to some discussion on G+ of doing the same for the other classes. There’s some obvious room with the demihumans to do so, though it should probably be limited so humans remain unique in their variety. Personally, I feel that wizards are already strongly distinguished by patrons (and potentially the Arcane Affinity spell). Clerics are obviously distinguished by alignment (which I previously expanded upon), but I can imagine a scenario where clerics could be further distinguished by deity or type of service.
Thieves are also distinguished by alignment in the rules as written, though I believe it makes more sense to allow a thief to simply choose a path at 1st level. This effectively creates three thief subclasses in the rules and also provides a straightforward manner for adding more — new paths. Along those lines, I present a first crack at a new thief skill set, the Path of the Bard.
Originally posted by Brianna Heine on the other (now defunct) version of this site.
So the theme of my last post was “What was Howard’s intention with the characters in his Conan Stories?” Since Howard predates RPGs (and was an influence on them) the only conclusion one can draw is that Howard didn’t have RPG statistics in mind. In storytelling the hero is always strong enough to succeed. She always has the right skill, or a bit of luck, to survive the villainous plot. In other words it doesn’t matter what skills Conan knew because the story was tailored so he always won. My intention with this post was originally to discuss just the Barbarian class to see it is appropriate for the Hyborian Age. Upon reflection that is a bit too specific, so let’s get through as many classes as we can.
That’s Advanced Dungeon Crawl Classics (ADCC) – credit for the acronym goes to Ryan Colby.
A while back I posted my take on the Ranger for DCC, inspired by Crawl! Fanzine #6, which also featured DCC versions of the paladin, bard, and gnome. I’ve actually had someone just start playing a ranger in my game, and I’m already seeing some problems. I’m not sure that the problems are with my own design (though they could be). The thing is, the ranger as a separate class is really dependent on the style of play to have value at the table. If there’s lots of dungeon crawling going on and the monsters don’t fit the favored enemy, then the class seems like it kind of sucks compared to the others.
More than that, though, DCC has really brought me around to seeing the simple elegance of the four basic classes for humans (it’s also really brought me around on race as class, as I’ve mentioned before). And it occurred to me last Friday morning, as I was pouring my coffee and about to leave for work, that there’s a simpler way to add rangers, paladins, barbarians and the like to DCC with more mechanics than just role-playing but less than a separate class. And that way is through my most favorite of DCC rules, the Mighty Deed of Arms.
Originally posted by Brianna Heine on the other (now defunct) version of this site.
Today I’d like to discuss the classes that should be available to player characters. So how do we begin? Well let’s start with my “keep it simple” concept.
The simplest way to do that is to just allow all the classes available to a d20 Pathfinder campaign. “All the classes?” I hear you ask. “Even the Gunslinger?!” you quickly follow. Well… No. We can’t allow all the classes. Some just flat-out don’t work. Not if we’re trying to create the atmosphere presented in REH’s stories.
I first looked at the Hyborian Age d20 Campaign Site for inspiration. It seems like they’re using standard 3E D&D (not Pathfinder) as a base. Apparently they chose the “Everyone gets to play whatever they want” method. Thankfully they left out the Paladin (because in absolutely no possible way does that belong in the Hyborian Age) as an option but they did add a few other classes to the mix.
I would say that Turn Unholy poses the biggest problem for me in regards to Chaos clerics. Last time I mentioned the anti-cleric, who completely lacked any version of Turn Undead. Considering what the power represents in the fiction, it makes sense that it would be exclusive to Lawful clerics. It’s Peter Cushing rebuking Christopher Lee with a cross; it’s a holy man passing unharmed through the valley of the shadow of death. When I first started playing D&D, the fictional truth behind Turn Undead instantly made sense to me, even if the rules for doing it didn’t. But where does the Chaos cleric fit in that fiction?
As I noted in Part 1, I am writing with two particular assumptions in mind: One, that alignment represents allegiance, and two, that the majority of “nature gods” are Neutral. Also, this topic will now be split across three posts instead of just two, as I previously expected.
In little brown book OD&D, all clerics are Lawful in alignment, and the priests of Chaos are “anti-clerics.” This distinct class lacks any power over undead, not even AD&D’s command variation for evil priests. Also, the anti-cleric spell list lacks any healing spells. Now, DCC comes together from an amalgamation of ideas across all editions of D&D, along with a lot of excellent original material. But I think there’s still a lot of value in looking back at the anti-cleric when considering Chaotic clerics and how they are distinct from Lawful and Neutral clerics, both fictionally and mechanically.
There are currently two cleric characters in my DCC game. One is a 1st-level Lawful cleric of St. Trebor of the Gavel, whose holy words are “Judge others as ye too shall be judged.” The other (and original) cleric of the group is the Chaotic former gong-farmer Sherman Funk, filth-priest of Nimulrun the Unclean. With both ends of the spectrum at the table, it’s gotten me thinking about how the rules and the fiction jive up for clerics (especially on that chaotic end).
The DCC cleric is obviously rooted in the tradition of the D&D cleric, which is itself arguably an amalgam of implied psuedo-Christianity and Hammer horror films. From this we get a DCC cleric with Lay on Hands, Turn Unholy, and deity disapproval that resets every day in a manner similar to Vancian-casting clerics praying for spells in the morning. Before I get into some thoughts on each of these class abilities, know that I am making two assumptions about the fictional setting: One, that alignment represents allegiance and therefore the overwhelming majority of non-spellcasting humans are Neutral; two, that the majority of “nature gods” are Neutral, with only gods of icky things and brutal savagery falling into the Chaos camp.
I’m still slacking on getting myself set up to take decent pictures of my minis. My Bones rewards are scheduled to arrive Tuesday, so I really need to get on that. The Bones minis are, after all, a big part of my excuse to paint minis and call it blogging.
Speaking of which, the Bones Kickstarter pulled my friend Bry back into the world of gaming, and since she’s been posting notes on Facebook about prep for the game, I asked her if she’d like to become a contributor to this blog. So now I’ve tweaked the posts to show the author profile at the end of each post to make it much clearer who wrote it. She’s going to be running 3.5 with a healthy amount of houseruling, so those posts should be covering a slightly different space than I’ve touched on with my DCC and Savage Worlds content.
Over at the esteemed Dyson’s Dodecahedron blog, Dyson Logos has been posting d12 tables for generating quick sub-classes for old school games. The first one to really catch my eye from the DCC perspective was the dwarf list, though Dyson fairly points out that if you are using these for any class, you should use them for every class. In all fairness, the dwarf is on a pretty similar power level to the other classes (not that balance is a major concern), and some variety in dwarves can already be attained by using Jeffrey Tadlock’s dwarf cleric class or some variant thereof. As far as elves, I honestly can say that I really like that all elf PCs in DCC are the same class and prefer the variety I introduced in this post.
Then there are halflings. I also like that halflings are all one class, but it seems to be the consensus that the class is a little bit weaker than the others. So I’m thinking that I may introduce the halfling subclasses into my game first and then consider the others as play unfolds.
Of course, that’s just my game. All of these subclasses make for simple and fun additions to old school games, and you should check out the full series for yourself.