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Ruins of Ebidoria character classes (1)

June 15, 2012

I’m working intermittently on the booklets for my “Robin of Deadwood”-style hexcrawl campaign, Ruins of Ebidoria. As I mentioned a month ago, the basic framework is Swords & Wizardry: WhiteBox, on which I’m hanging my favourite bits of B/X D&D, LotFP, and house rules from hither and yon. Here’s a peek at what I’m doing with character classes. There are seven of them (if it was good enough for Tom Moldvay it’s good enough for me) and four are described below. The advancement tables are mostly finished but I’ve left them out for now. I’m hoping that the class descriptions convey some of the flavour of the campaign world. Comments and questions are welcome.

Cleric

Clerics are priests who serve a stern, paternalistic, Lawful deity called Mōd (pronounced “Mode”). This deity rarely if ever manifests in physical form. The faithful believe that Mōd is omnipresent, omniscient, and immortal. Clerics are dismissive of the Elder Gods, referring to them as the “little gods” or the “dying gods”. Behind the condescension there is a grain of truth.

Clerics must be Lawful. They are forbidden to use runes.

Clerics can cast a number of spells per day, as shown on table X. Each day, the cleric prays for his or her spells, which are chosen by the player from the Cleric Spells list on page XX.

[I will be breaking the habit of a lifetime and giving clerics a spell at 1st level. Turn Undead is, however, a 1st-level spell as per LotFP.]

Druid

Druids are sage-priests of the Elder Gods. In the glad morning of the world these carefree gods trod the greensward, hunted and feasted in the forest, and revelled upon starlit mountain peaks. Now the days of the world have declined and the power of the Elder Gods has waned, but there are people who revere them still.

Druids may be of any alignment, but most are Neutral. As a consequence of the Elder Gods’ diminished influence, druids can advance no farther than 10th level.

Druids can cast a number of spells per day, as shown on table Y. They select their daily spells from the Druid Spells list on page YY.

[Druids are not nature worshippers. Their spell list is only subtly different from that of clerics. They do not get Turn Undead.]

Legendry: A druid character begins play with 3 pips [i.e., 3 in 6] in this adventuring ability, and gains one more pip at level 3, and one more at level 7.

Dwarf

Dwarfs are a race of small, clever folk, perhaps related to elves. (In fact they are also known as “dark elves”, while some people use the impolite term “goblins”.) Most dwarfs are shy and secretive and live in caves, but some gregarious individuals are encountered in human settlements. In general, humans are distrustful of dwarfs, considering them all sneaks and thieves. Dwarfs who spend much time among the “big folk” quickly get used to being treated as second-class citizens. They may hire only other dwarfs as retainers.

Dwarfs are different from humans. Dwarf player characters gain a bonus of +1 to their Intelligence and Dexterity scores (maximum 18) and suffer a penalty of -1 to Strength and Charisma (minimum 3). They can progress as far as 12th level.

Due to their diminutive stature, dwarfs cannot wield large, two-handed weapons.

A dwarf is a small target. Creatures larger than human-sized suffer a penalty of -2 on rolls “to hit” when attacking dwarfs.

Legendry and Stealth: A dwarf begins play with 2 pips [i.e., 2 in 6] in each of these abilities, and gains one more pip in each at levels 3, 7, and 11.

Some dwarfs are rune-wise. Roll against the character’s “chance to learn rune” [based on Wisdom]. If the roll is successful, the character knows one rune, determined randomly.

[Runes are a form of “old magic” that any character (except clerics) can use. I’m adapting the mechanics from the AD&D 2e Vikings sourcebook.]

Though small and often scrawny, dwarfs are surprisingly tough and resilient. They have the best saving throws of any class.

Fighter

A fighter is any character trained in physical attack and defence: bodyguard, man-at-arms, archer, fencer, bare-knuckle boxer. Fighters can dish out and absorb more damage than any other character class.

They are potential killing machines. Whenever a fighter downs an opponent [reduces its hit points to 0 or below] in melee combat, he or she gets a free attack at any other opponent within range. If that opponent is downed, the fighter gets another free attack, and so on until he or she fails to down a foe or there are no more opponents in range.

Fighters receive a bonus of +1 on saving throws vs. poison and sudden death.

Next time: the scout, the thief, and the wizard. Meanwhile, here’s a picture by the incomparable Mick McMahon of a certain fighter and his dwarf retainer/spokesman.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 18, 2012 6:29 pm

    I love this take on dwarves. I’m leaning towards a dwarves and anti-dwarves (kobolds) dichotomy which is sort of similar in concept.

    I find building cleave into the fighter is becoming more and more popular. My current house rules give cleave to everyone for free, but I find that fighter-types get the most use out of it.

    I’m interested in hearing more about the Deadwood side of this setting. What is the boom town resource? Loot from a dungeon, or is there something else too?

    • June 19, 2012 11:20 am

      I use the cleave rule for fighters and dwarves in our current game – my reasoning being that B/X dwarves are essentially fighters because they have a d8 for a hit die. Obviously the dwarf class in Ruins of Ebidoria is anything but a fighter, so no cleaving for them. I’ll also be allowing unrestricted access to armour and weapons for all classes (and using class-based damage), so I like the idea of keeping something back for fighters exclusively.

      As for the Deadwood element, it’s mainly a “vibe” thing. In Stonehell on the Borderlands, the party’s “base town” is the Keep, a secure bastion of Law. Which is great, but I want Ruins of Ebidoria to feel different so the most likely base town is Dyce, a tough and lawless place beyond the frontier, surrounded by a ruin-filled wilderness. And yes, loot (from many dungeons) is the resource that draws folk there. Oh, and there’s a dwarf ghetto that may or may not resemble the Chinese quarter in Deadwood.

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