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My B/X (LotFP) scout draft

March 9, 2012

A couple of days ago Brendan of Untimately posted his draft of a B/X scout, a neat reskinning of the halfling class to make a wilderness warrior akin to the AD&D ranger (but without magic). Take a look.

I’ve recently been thinking along similar lines, because in addition to running Stonehell on the Borderlands and working on D100 Jorune, I have another project on the go: Ruins of Ebidoria. Since Stonehell is a megadungeon, I want the next campaign we play to be more outdoorsy for a change, so “Ruins” will be a wilderness hexcrawl studded with one-page dungeons. Like Brendan, I’m planning on removing most of the demi-human classes. I’d also been thinking that a Ray Mears wilderness survival type of character would be appropriate, hence I’d been drafting my own scout class. It’s similar in many ways to Brendan’s (unsurprisingly, because they’re both based on the halfling) but with a few notable divergences.

I’m still thrashing out the system/house rules for the “Ruins” campaign, bolting together bits of B/X, Labyrinth Lord (and the Advanced Edition Companion), and Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing. Importantly, I’m using the LotFP specialist as a template for new classes, including the scout, and a modified version of that game’s adventuring skill set.

Everything here is still under consideration. [Stuff in square brackets especially.] As ever, comments are welcome.

SCOUTS

Scouts are outdoorsmen (and women) trained in bushcraft and the lore of the wilderness. Typical occupations for scouts include hunter, trapper, poacher, gamekeeper, guide, explorer, saboteur and spy. [The prime requisites for a scout are Strength and Dexterity. A scout character whose Strength or Dexterity score is 13 or greater receives a 5% bonus to earned experience. Scouts whose Strength and Dexterity scores are 13 or greater receive a bonus of 10%.]

RESTRICTIONS

Scouts advance in experience levels using the LotFP specialist table (1,500 xp for 2nd level, 3,000 for 3rd, etc.) and use six-sided dice to determine their hit points. [They never build strongholds and may advance no higher than 8th level.]

They may use any type of weapon and armour, although some of their special abilities are effective only when wearing nothing more cumbersome than leather armour (see below).

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Scouts are experts at hunting and surviving in the wild. At 1st level, a scout has 3 pips (i.e., 1-3 on 1d6) in Bushcraft and 3 pips in Stealth, and both skills improve by 1 pip at level 3 (1-4 on 1d6) and then again at level 7 (1-5 on 1d6). (This is a variation on the simple 3/7/11 progression derived from thieving abilities that I mentioned in my last post.) Note that Stealth is not effective when wearing metal armour.

Scouts gain a bonus of +1 to hit when using missile weapons.

Scouts use the LotFP specialist table for saving throws. Resourceful, self-reliant, and as tough as old boots, they gain a bonus of +2 to all saving throws.

NOTES

When running B/X, I take its level limits at face value. No character anywhere in the world is above 14th level. Only gods get higher than that.

I am considering following Jim Raggi’s lead and making the fighter the only class whose attack rolls improve at higher levels. If I eventually decide against that (or if my players rebel), then the scout will have the same chance “to hit” as clerics and thieves.

I’m going to give class-based damage a whirl. So the scout will do the same damage as clerics and thieves (default 1d6).

Should Strength and Dexterity remain the prime requisites? Bushcraft (which is about brains rather than brawn) is in many ways more central to the class than fighting ability. Why not Int and Dex? Or even Wis and Con? Of course LotFP does away with prime requisites altogether. Hmm…

The 8th-level cap was an idea Brendan mentioned in a comment on his post, and I like it and its rationale (no strongholds, no settling down, therefore no “name level”) but haven’t made a firm decision. If I drop it, I’ll probably knock a pip off Bushcraft and Stealth, making them 2 in 6 to start with, so they reach their maximum rating (5 in 6) at 11th level rather than 7th.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2012 4:42 pm

    Nice work; I will be curious to hear how class-based damage works out for you. In general, this scout feel more rooted in LotFP than B/X to me (especially based on the heavy use of d6 specialist skills). Perhaps it makes sense to do away with prime requisites because of that, though this might impact the other classes as well.

    • March 10, 2012 8:33 pm

      Cheers for the feedback. I think you’re totally right. I also think there’s not much about “my” scout (apart from the missile “to hit” bonus) that says fighter/warrior. He really is a specialist.

      I’m leaning towards grouping classes by hit dice for attacks as well as damage. So fighters (HD d8) get the best “to hit” chances, followed by clerics and scouts (HD d6), and lastly magic-users (HD d4). If so I might bump thieves up to a d6 per level and slow their advancement a bit. At the moment I’m juggling lots of different ideas and seeing where they fall. I suspect in the end what I have will be neither B/X nor LotFP but a bastard hybrid of my own spawning. Too early to tell if that’s a good or bad thing!

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