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Friday, November 20, 2015

White Box Thoughts - How to do Subclasses Without Doing Subclasses - Kinda Sorta...

Today kicks off a week of vacation (well, after waking at noon yesterday I was kinda on vacation, but I had "uncle duty" so not sure it counts ;) and my mind has already turned heavily in the direction of all things gaming.

I laid in bed last night thinking of Swords & Wizardry White Box and how easy it is to house rule. That simplicity is also a trap, as you can house rule things to be way more complicated than White Box needs.

I want barbarians, paladins, rangers and "expert treasure finders" in my campaign (and maybe various types of clerics and magic-users) but I don't want the class bloat. So, this is what I'm toying with.

- Let's take Fighters. At 2nd level, a fighter has to make a choice. They choose a path for lack of a better phrase:

  • Most fighters in the campaign (at least NPCs) would choose the Path of the Warrior. Warriors would receive + 1 and + 1 damage with a single chosen weapon type - ex. long sword, short sword, battle axe, long bow, etc)
  • Some fighters would choose the Path of the Barbarian. Barbarians would get to enrage once per day for 5 rounds and receive + 2 hit and + 2 damage with any hand held or thrown weapons when enraged.
  • Others may choose the Path of the Ranger. They would get + 1 to hit against ogres, orcs, goblins and kobolds (certain campaigns may add or subtract to this list.) They would also track outdoors on a 4 in 6 chance and indoors on a 2 in 6 chance (dwarven rangers would reverse those numbers.)
  • The Path of the Paladin requires a "just cause" to follow. Laying of Hands would heal for up to 2 HP per level per day, distributed as the Paladin wishes. He could heal 2 wounded companions for 1 HP each after a battle or 1 companion for 2 points. Or heal 1 companion for 1 HP and save the other point for later in the day.
  • The Path of the Expert Treasure Hunter requires a choice of specialization of sorts. Lock Expert or Trap Expert. Expertise gives a 4 in 6 chance of success with normal locks and traps. The non-chosen specialization would have a 2 in 6 chance. Most locks and traps would be of normal difficulty, but some may be simple or more difficult and as such would adjust the chance of success up or down by 1 in 6)
I'm happy to take feedback, criticisms and such. I believe the above is broadly balanced but what the heck do I know?




9 comments:

  1. With White Box I prefer these things to develop through play rather than be options a player chooses. If you want to be a particular sort of fangly fighter than you need to achieve this through the game by hunting orcs or taking part in the sheriff's archery contest or carrying out a quest for a God or whatever. These are your rewards if you like. Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against more detailed classes but to me this runs counter to the White Box philosophy and you may as well play S&W Complete.

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    Replies
    1. There are a number of well done third party class options for S&W White Box, so not everyone plays White Box the same way.

      Which is kinda the point.

      i do like the idea of rewarding the specialties through game actions...

      Delete
  2. All good except for barbarian I think which is more a cultural class than one you choose after your career starts. Change the name to berserker and I think it fits better. Expand ETH choices to hide in shadows, move silently, climb walls, etc maybe. Also, why not choose the path at 1st level?

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    Replies
    1. Name change does make more sense.

      The rest of the thief skill list really isnt need? Want to hide in shadows? tell me what you are doing. Climb walls? Get a grappling hook and a rope. Etc.

      I figured actions at first level might lead to informed choices at 2nd level. Not that players tend to make informed choices ;)

      Delete
    2. You could start them at 0-level and then choose Path at 1st level...

      Delete
  3. There's a really cool idea on the Basic Fantasy forums about just going with the main 3 classes (fighter, cleric and magic-user) and have everything else be backgrounds:

    http://www.basicfantasy.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1865

    ReplyDelete
  4. How about mixing the paths with the dynamic growth:

    Once every two levels if a player rolls a natural 20 (or equivalent awesome roll) give them the option to earn a related side progression path.

    You just rolled a 20 and shot the Orc outrider off of his war pig? How would you like a Ranger path?

    You just killed two Troglodytes in two rounds with tour bare hands? How about a Berserker path?

    The good thing here is that the paths don't necessarily need to tie into one class, so you could have a Mage Treasure Hunter. A Cleric Berserker sounds like fun too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. How about mixing the paths with the dynamic growth:

    Once every two levels if a player rolls a natural 20 (or equivalent awesome roll) give them the option to earn a related side progression path.

    You just rolled a 20 and shot the Orc outrider off of his war pig? How would you like a Ranger path?

    You just killed two Troglodytes in two rounds with tour bare hands? How about a Berserker path?

    The good thing here is that the paths don't necessarily need to tie into one class, so you could have a Mage Treasure Hunter. A Cleric Berserker sounds like fun too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The backgrounds thing for Basic Fantasy is nice, but like Marc I like this differenciation to grow from the adventures. If think the uniqueness of your PC should derive from the encounters with more powerful characters and/or exposure to magic. Low level adventures should provide opportunities to learn from masters ; magic-users should acquire new spells in-game, from ancient scrolls or by stealing someone's spellbook, not between sessions. As for Brian's method, I've used that in a session of Roll For Shoes (google it). It was fun, but I don't see it working in the long term.

    ReplyDelete