Category Archives: Classes

White Box Wednesday: Clerics and Their Spells

This post is finally going up and the OGL drama is still going on. But let’s talk about those clerics and their spells this week.

I know this image isn’t from White Box but it is an iconic cleric image. And I also know that I’m going to rehash some stuff in this post. So clerics. Nope not healbots. That is the biggest shock for anyone new to older games. But let’s stick the White Box version. No spells until 2nd Level. That’s right. And one of my favorite options, make Turn Undead a first level spell. This option is good if you want a really gritty game. Otherwise let them turn those Undead all day.

Like Magic-Users, Clerics have a very limited spell list. Another case of less is more. They already have decent armor and weapons, they don’t need any flash bang spells. It’s just my opinion but the original Cleric is a bizzaro combination of a Knight Templar, Van Helsing, and a Saint performing miracles. Their spells cover the basic things that they need to that is divine or supernatural. Everything else relies on their grit, determination and skill. Think about it. At best, a high level cleric will only get 4 1st level spells per day. That’s it.

And with that, I’m probably going to give White Box Wednesday’s a rest. Why? I want this OGL drama to get resolved and have a solid path forward. But that also basically (IMHO) a whole new version of many of these games and possibly more games on the horizon. Even maybe something from your truly. So keep with the other posts. Keep up with the blog. And have some fun gaming. We all need that now.

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White Box Wednesday: Magic User Spells

I wasn’t sure if I was going to do this post with all that’s going one but then I figured what the hell. Let’s keep this going. This week let’s talk about Magic User Spells. Mainly, First Level.

I might touch on higher level spells later on but I think the first level spells are key to whole feel of White Box Magic-Users. There’s only 8 spells. That’s it. Charm Person, Detect Magic, Hold Portal. Light, Protection from Evil/Chaos, Read Languages, Read Magic, and Sleep. That’s all. No Magic Missile. None of the others that have become classics. I admit that I do use the others in my campaigns. But this simple little list emphasizes that the first level character is really an apprentice. It also emphasizes that your answer isn’t on your character sheet vibe. There’s usual no spell for every situation. You have to come up with some out of the box thinking.

But then those few spells are more powerful than later versions. The key spells (IMHO) are Charm Person and Sleep. Why? Charm Person lasts “until dispelled”. No time limit. No extra saves. The target is charmed. And then there’s Sleep. Every grognard out there knows that this is “attack” spell of the low level Magic User. The Magic-User can put to sleep that mob of goblins. No Save. Yeah.

I know this post is a little ramble. It’ s not my best but as of this writing the whole OGL 1.1 drama is still unfolding so I have no idea how I’m going to move ahead this and a few projects. Maybe things will start to clear up soon.

White Box Wednesday: Multi-Classing

I think this is the best way to finish up my series on classes by being a just a whee bit heretical. There really weren’t any multi-classing rules and, well, the races (especially the Elf) were the replacement.

This isn’t about that age old debate of race vs class. Do it how you want. I got no problems with that. Heck, I’ve done it both ways in various campaigns. But I do tend to lean a bit more towards the multi-classing option. Here’s my thoughts. You can use the four basic classes and then combine them to make most of the other classes that go beyond the basic four. Want to be paladin? Ok that’d be a Fighter-Cleric. Assassin or Ranger; Fighter-Thief. Bard; Thief-Magic User. Yes, i know those aren’t exact correlations. And you’d need to do a little more tweaking for Ranger. But you get the idea. Go right ahead and flex those creative muscles and work things out. Bend those rules.

Here’s the crunchy bits on how I handle. First, the decision to multi-class is made at 1st level and what classes the character has. The character has all the the abilities and weaknesses of all their classes, So the Fighter-Magic User can’t cast spells in armor. You could house rule that magic armor is OK. That’s up to you. For the attack bonus, use the better. Average their Hit Points. For the Saving Throw, use the worst one but use all of the bonuses. How many XP to level up? Just add them together. That way the character levels up in all of their classes at the same time.

This little technique may sound harsh but it keeps things simple especially with combining the XP into one lump sum. The character progresses slower but all the leveling happens at the same time. Just the price to pay for having all those abilities. What about racial level limits? Well. use them if you want to. I’ve rarely had it be an issue but it can happen in a long campaign or one with lower death rate.

Thanks for stopping by. Next week, I might spells or monsters. Just wait and see.

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White Box Wednesday: Clerics

Time to wrap this year’s installments of White Box Wednesday. Don’t worry more will be coming next year. So to wrap things up, let’s talk about Clerics.

There’s an old post that I did about Clerics and like any adult a few of my views have changed over the years but I want to go over a few of the highlights here. In modern games, the Cleric is basically the heal-bot. I blame video games. But in those old-school games that was just a fringe benefit. The Cleric’s main job was to turn those level draining undead. That’s right. You shoved the Cleric out front and hoped for the best.

The Cleric is a pretty good class. Good armor, OK weapons and the second only the Fighter when it comes to Hit Points and Attack Bonus. But their magic has always kind of bugged me. I always just envisioned it differently. I always thought of some faith healer screaming at the top of his lungs, “Be healed!” A Cleric would pray for their spells as they needed them.

Sure that sounds cool and I tried it. It slowed down the game so much that it wasn’t worth it. Heck, even changing them up every day would slow things down. So what did I finally do?

Clerics could only change their spells when they leveled up. The progression chart in the book shows how many spells of which level that they had access to. No more praying for two Cure Wounds spells. So how many spells does a Cleric get to cast each day? This is fun part. They don’t know. At any time, the fickle gods can say, “Nope, that’s all for you for today.”

So how do I do this? Pretty simple. The Spell’s Level is the chance on a d6 that the gods say, “Nope”. So First Level; 1 in 6. Second; 2 in 6. And so on. And remember, I’m talking about White Box core on this one and Cleric spells top out at 5th Level.

And there you go another hack on the good old cleric. Thanks for stopping by.

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White Box Wednesday: Magic-Users

This week I’m going to delve into Magic-Users and do a little bit of house ruling. To be honest, I never liked the Vancian magic. I understand the resource management, game balance, and origin of it. But I just don’t like. It doesn’t blend that well with so much fantasy sagas.

So there’s two systems that I’ve used in my games and they do have some similarities and that’s where I’ll start. Magic-Users start with their INT MOD+1 spells. They only learn new spells by acquiring ancient tomes, spell books, scroll; or they can learn them through research. (I generally use the spell research rules from Lamentations of the Flame Princess.) The highest level spell that a Magic-User can cast is equal to half their level rounded up which is basically the way it works in the book.

Method A: The Magic-User may cast their INT Mod+Level spells per day. Spell level doesn’t matter. That’s how many spells they can cast. It’s a quick and simple system. I’ll admit I was inspired by the Far Away Land OSR Edtion for this method.

Method B: Roll To Cast. That’s roll them dice to cast the spell. Most White Box skill systems that I’ve talked about use the good old X in d6 system. But I don’t think it’ works in this case. I think the spell is basically the Magic-User attacking reality. So it’s time to break out a d20 and use the good old Saves as Skills idea. So make a Saving Throw. No modifiers at all. Make the Save and cast the spell. Fail then the character loses the spell for the day. Fumble then very bad things happen. The DM needs to snag up one of the many Spell Fumble/Mishap Charts online or just write on up. The thing is the chart isn’t fair. Magic is powerful but it’s also dangerous. If you haven’t had a TPK due to friendly fire then you haven’t played enough old school games.

And there you go. A couple of little rules tweaks the Magic-Users in your White Box game.

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