Friday, July 31, 2009

Old School Skills in Action The Rogue

The primary reason I created a skills system is for itself. The myriad discussions about thieves among the Old School community caused me to think about the role of that class.

There are adventuring activities other than fighting and casting spell that people want characters to be good at. Whatever I came up with that the need it has to fulfill. For example trade, or being a courtier. Things that allow players to make character that are better at "something else" other than dungeon crawls.

It not a criticism of dungeon crawls. But a recognition that this is not the 1970's and we realize now all things we can do with the funny dice. Just as importantly there are people who want to this with D&D, not GURPS, Basic Roleplaying, or a myriad other systems that out there.

So what I came up are the Rogue Classes.
Note these are designed to work with Swords & Wizardry but should be easily adaptable to the system of choice.

The Rogues are those who choose to sacrifice fighting or magic aptitude in favor of special abilities or excelling at certain Tasks.

So far I have Burglar, Thug, Mountebank, The Claws of Kali (assassin), and Merchant Adventurer.

Merchant Adventurer
Rogues may choose to start as Merchant Adventurers. Merchant Adventurers deal with illegal or dangerous trade. They are somewhat adept at fighting and know several skills useful to commerce. Merchant Adventurers are found as smugglers, black marketers, caravan masters, pirate lords, treasure hunters and ship captains. They often organize expeditions into unknown lands. Merchant Adventurers can be of any alignment, and must possess a Charisma of 10+.

• Prime Attribute: Charisma 13+, +15% experience.
• Gains 1d6-1 HP/level
• Fights using the Cleric combat table.
• Can use leather armor and shield
• Can use the following weapons: hand axe, club, dagger, light mace, staff, short sword, light crossbow, dart, sling, and short bow.
• At first level a Merchant Adventurer gains the following skills at skill level 1: Accounting, Geography (2 regions), (Law or History), Locution, Professional (one type), and Survival(one region).
• At first level a Merchant Adventurer may distribute a total of ten levels to the above skills. Nor more than five levels may be placed on a single skill. The remaining levels need to be split between different skills.
• For every 4 levels the Merchant gains 1 skill level in all his skills. In addition he gains 2 additional levels that he may add to one or two skills.
• Instead of adding a skill level to an existing skill, a Merchant Adventurer may choose to add a new sub skill from the following list: Geography(region), History(region), Professional(type), or Survival (region).
• At 9th level a Merchant Adventurer may opt to form his own Company and attract investors and loyal followers.
Note that in the trade system I am working on Accounting modified rolls dealing with bulks goods and Locution deals with one on one small volume trading. The difference is because in large trade knowledge of rules and procedures outweigh your personal charisma and vice versa for small trades.

The Burglar is the traditional thief using my skill system.
The Thug operates using feats of strength and personal charisma. High level Thugs are leaders of large gangs.
The Mountebank is a hybrid magic-skill class. They specialize in deception, and anti-divination magic to support the work of Thugs and Burglars.
Of course Merchant Adventurer have the skills to deal with smuggling although they can be considered the most legitimate of the four Rogue classes.

Again the idea is not to make D&D into another game but rather give the GM and player an option to specialize at something other than fighting, casting, or praying.

One thing that I did tho is make sure that all the Rogue classes were adventuring classes. Thanks to an idea by Jeff Rients I developed a nifty way of handling the rest of the in-game world.


Timeshadows said...

It looks neat. We'll see the rest, I trust?

Nathan Irving said...

I'm working on something (maybe) similar. I'm planning on adding "aspects" to S&W, aspects being specifications of a class, ie assassin, merchant-adventurer, illusionist, scout, etc. Every character would get one at first level, and add others at later levels. (Other aspects might be more like noble orders or prestige classes)

Pulp Herb said...

It seems we have similar ideas about the thief/rouge. I argued for a similar character class a while back in The Missing Archetype. I tried in my now on hiatus "City States of the Apocalypse" LL game to do something similar with a version of the T&T save roll system and talents from 7th edition.

It didn't work out quite as I wanted but I may give your ideas a spin.