Sunday, December 22, 2013

A New Class for My OD&D Game

I owe special thanks to James Mishler, for the “Vancian Adventurer” he described at his blog, Adventures in Gaming v2.

Since I mentioned his article to my players, I’ve been asked several times when it would be available to them… and I told them it would be ready for our 22 Dec 13 game.  I’ve taken the Vancian Adventurer he created, and modified it to fit better with OD&D and my own house rules.  This is really just a first draft, and will likely be changed as I see how it works out during our games.

Here it is!

The Adventurer

The adventurer class is an alternative to the standard classes, and allows a player to run a character best described as a “jack of all trades, master of none.”  The adventurer will not be the best at fighting, nor at spellcasting, nor at thievery, but he will have abilities in all these areas!

Prime Requisite: None.

Minimum Ability Scores: None.

Racial Level Limits: Human Unlimited.

Hit Dice: Adventurers gain one hit die per level up to and including 9th level. Two hit points are gained per level after 9th, with Constitution modifiers no longer applicable

Armor: Any, however, armor use can cause issues when using magic spells or thieving abilities.

Fight As: Thief

Adventuring Abilities: An adventurer begins play at 1st level with the following abilities:

  • All standard thief skills, but each is 5 points lower than the thief
  • The ability to cast spells, along with a first level spell book containing four spells, and a Casting Rank of 1.

Saving Throws: An adventurer begins at 1st level with a base saving throw of 16 in all five categories. At 1st level he divides 8 points among the five to lower the scores; he may spend no more than 4 points on any one saving throw in this fashion. Every level thereafter the adventurer lowers two saving throw scores by 1 point each. Once a saving throw reaches 7, it can only be improved 1 point by applying both points for that level to that saving throw. No saving throw may be improved to better than 3.

Spell Casting: An adventurer can cast spells. Spells are cast at a level equal to the adventurer’s level.

If an adventurer has a low Intelligence score, he has a base chance of spell failure with each spell as follows:
  • Int 3 = 10% chance of spell failure
  • Int 4-6 = 5% chance of spell failure

If the adventurer casts a spell while wearing armor, there is a chance of spell failure. The chance is equal to any base spell failure chance plus 10% per point of defense the armor provides (not including magical bonuses) plus 5% per level of the spell, less 5% per adventurer level, less 5% per point of Intelligence bonus.
The adventurer begins play at 1st level with a spell book, containing Read Magic and three randomly chosen spells.  To determine the spells known, roll a d10 and consult the1st level spell table. If you re-roll a spell it means you were stiffed by your master and were taught one less spell.

The adventurer can only learn spells that are of a spell level equal to half his level rounded up. An adventurer must have a minimum Intelligence of 18 to learn 9th level spells, a minimum Intelligence of 17 to learn 8th level spells, and a minimum Intelligence of 16 to learn 7th level spells.

While Read Magic is not needed to determine an unknown spell contained within a spell book, its use is required in order to read and attempt to learn the new spell.  The adventurer must spend the usual time and gold to learn the spell, roll a Learn Spell check based on his Intelligence score, and if he learns it, he can thereafter memorize it. He can only learn spells by acquiring other spell books or by researching and recreating a spell (i.e., the bonus spell gained by choice at each level).

If an adventurer fails to learn a spell, he may attempt to learn that spell from another spell book after he has gained a level. Note that the Intelligence-based minimum and maximum spells known is not applicable to adventurers.

The adventurer does not need to memorize spells in order to cast them, but he must spend 5 minutes per spell level per spell studying his entire spell book each day in order to cast any spells that day.  This study enables the adventurer to cast any spell he knows as needed.  The adventurer can cast a total number of spell levels per day equal to his level plus his Intelligence bonus plus his Wisdom bonus plus his Casting Rank

An adventurer can attempt to cast a spell from a spell book.  If it is not the adventurer’s spell book, a Read Magic is required.  This requires one full round per level of the spell. The chance to successfully cast the spell is equal to the adventurer’s chance to learn a spell, plus 5% per level, minus 5% per spell level.  Casting a spell this way does not count against the adventurer’s daily total, but does erase the spell from the book as though it were a scroll.

Thieves Abilities: Adventurers possess all the basic thieving abilities at 1st level (but at 5 points lower each), and may advance in them as they gain levels.  The Adventurer does not gain the backstab ability.  An adventurer may wear armor while attempting thieving abilities, but suffers the usual penalties for doing so.

Advancement:   An adventurer chooses which of his abilities to improve upon as he gains experience.  Upon reaching a new level, the gained the adventurer may choose one of the following:
  • Advance thief skills by 35 points total (for example, add 5 points to each of the seven thief skills); or
  • Advance thief skills by 18 points total and learn one new spell of his choice of any level he can cast (provided he can find and hire a teacher); or
  • Advance thief skills by 18 points total and increase his Cast Rank by 1; or
  • Increase Cast Rank by 1 and gain one new spell of his choice of any level he can cast (provided he can find and hire a teacher); or
  • Automatically learn two new spells of his choice of any level he can cast (provided he can find and hire a teacher); or
  • Provided he can find a cleric to train him (usually requiring training, tithes, and certain spell casting knowledge, if not also adherence to dogma), he can gain the cleric’s turn and/or control undead ability as if he were a first level cleric; or
  • Advance his clerical turn or control ability one rank and learn one new spell of his choice of any level he can cast (from among those taught by his temple)

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