5/17/14

W&W House rules: A Question of Class

Art by Larry Elmore
My home gaming group is a intimate group with me and three people I've known for at least 17 years. We are happy with the small size, but not really happy with how most D&D/OSR adventure modules are built with the assumption that the group will have access to two kinds of magic, at least one thief and then X amount of fighting abilities. The fact that we are using Lamentations of the Flame Princess helps a bit since there aren't any limits to what weapons the classes can use and when you include flintlock weapons even the Magic-User have a chance to hit a heavily armored opponent for some decent damage once every fight without spending a much needed spell slot on a magic missile. But it's not enough, especially if I want the players to have some choices to what they want to play.

My so far untested solution to this is to reduce the amount of available classes. I currently run a campaign set in 17th century England and will most likely move on to another setting where there are no playable elves, halflings or dwarves. So the demi-human classes are gone. I don't want a class to be a skill monkey and I much rather give everyone access to some skill points. Specialist is gone. Magic is magic, no matter the source. Add Clerical spells to the Magic-Users list and we have a Fighter and Magician left. Perfect.

Too make each character a bit unique I decided to add the option to specialize, or randomize, character progression with the ideas presented in Green Devil Face #5:

All characters start with the following stats:
  • 1d6 HP 
  • +1 Attack Bonus
  • 15 in all Saves 
  • 2 skill points.
  • They also have access to the combat options Parry (+2 Armor Class), Press Attack (+1 Attack Bonus, -4 Armor Class) and Defensive Attack (-4 Attack Bonus, +1 Armor Class).
  • They also get 1 point in the skills Architecture, Bushcraft, Climbing, Languages, Open Doors, Search, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Tinkering and the new skill First Aid (stolen from this post by James Young over at Ten foot Polemic).
At first level and every level thereafter the player either roll a d10 twice and modify one of the dice with +1 and the other dice with -1 (or use the rolls as is) or roll a d10 and use the roll and freely pick one result. Either way the same result cannot be used twice the same level.

Fighter
  1. +3 HP
  2. +d8 Hit Points
  3. +2 One Saving Throw Category 
  4. +2 Parry AC bonus
  5. +1 Attack Bonus
  6. +1 Skill Point
  7. +2 Defensive Attack AC bonus
  8. +1 Attack Bonus
  9. +d8 Hit Points
  10. +2 Press Attack Bonus
Mike Mignola

Magician
  1. +1 Attack Bonus
  2. +1 Skill Point
  3. +1 Spell Slot
  4. +d6 Hit Points
  5. +1 Spell Slot
  6. +1 Skill Point 
  7. +1 All Saving Throws
  8. +1 Spell Slot
  9. +3 One Saving Throw Category 
  10. +1 Parry AC Bonus
This way the players will not be forced into picking a certain class because "we really need someone that can pick a lock" and also some freedom on how their character turns out. Two fighters will not look the same and one magician may be more than half decent with that sword she's carrying. 

I have also removed the concept of spell levels and added a chance for loss of limbs instead of death. But more on that later.