Monday, September 3, 2012

Review - Blood & Treasure - Part the First: I Got Race (and Niche Protection)

There is something to be said at starting at the beginning, and that's just what I'm going to do with this part of the review of Blood & Treasure - Races and Classes (or at least, touch on classes), as they work hand in hand.

First things first - it's the usual 6 stats, and bonuses and penalties run the usual stretch - -3 at 3 and +3 at 18. It was nice to see which saving throws a high Dex gives a bonus to, as I usually just winged that part based on common sense. It should also be noted that stats give bonuses to task rolls (think skill rolls). So Dex may help you open a lock but Wis will help you listen to that locked door.

Races: The same ones from the AD&D 1e Player's Handbook. Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Gnoes, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs and Halflings. If you wanted to run a game emulating the OD&D Boxed set, you would omit the races designated with a [A] for "Advanced". Things are designated thus throughout the rules, so you can set a virtual switch of what stays in your game or not. The other designation is [E] for "Expanded".

Now, as far as I can tell, any race can be any class, which obviously is the first thing you'd house rule if you were going to emulate an earlier edition of the game. That being said, John built in some niche protection for the races. Humans get a 10% bonus to expo, which is huge. They also get a free feat (if used) or +1 to all saves if feats aren't part of your game (they are not really 3e feats either, but that's a whole 'nother post).

The demi-humans get their niche protection in their multi-classing, which is determined by race. For example:

Dwarves can multi-class as cleric/fighters, magic-user/fighters or fighter/thieves.

Half-Orcs can multi-class as assassin/clerics, assassin/fighters and assassin/magic-users (or if they single class, they can dual class later like a human.

See a trend? Every demi-human race has a set of 3 multi-class combinations, and each combination has a preferred class. Nice way to take care of niche protection. Before you ask, halflings have thief as the preferred class.

Classes share one of three experience point advancement tables. Multi-classed characters all share one table, no matter the class combination. It certainly simplifies things. I like it. I like it a lot.

Alright, more on classes tomorrow - I've rambled enough for tonight ;)


  1. Is 10% experience really a HUGE advantage? Unless it is taking more than 10 adventures to earn enough experience to advance a level, a character with the bonus will be a level ahead only every so often (10% of the time?).

  2. depends:

    if you compare humans advancing in a single class they will have probably also have +5 or +10% for high stat.

    Demi-human multi-class would need a bonus in 2 stats to get the +5 or +10%, and only the lower one AND have a harder expo table to progress in.

    So yeah, that could be noticeable. The main advantage of demi-humans would be the multi-classing IMHO

  3. Thanks for the info, I'm getting quite interested in this!

  4. In my experience using 2E D&D's race handbooks, where some very powerful races have an XP penalty of -20% or so, it doesn't actually make a difference. The problem is XP requirements double every level until 10th or so, which means a PC with a 20% XP variance is behind or ahead no more than one level at a time and even then for only a fraction of that level. To make a difference you'd have to double Human XP gain which would put Humans a solid one level ahead until 10th.

    The problem then is that after name level, XP requirement per level is fixed. This means the 20% starts to matter, as every 5 levels gained by one, the other would have gained 6. But if you use Double XP for Humans, they get 10 levels to the demihumans' 5, which is crazy.

    So to make it work you'd have to either switch up the XP charts so you either always have a fixed XP needed, or always increasing, and match these with a small bonus or a large one respectively, or else use a large bonus at low level and a small one at high level.

    I haven't seen the B&T XP charts, but if the chart at any point has exponential XP requirements like 1E/2E level 1-10, then 20% is a drop in the bucket.

    Seems like the main disadvantage is the slower XP chart itself.

    Am I just totally off-base with this? Does B&T have a different style of XP chart?


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