Category Archives: Races

Wererats for Swords & Wizardry and 5E

Well, I’m still prepping to run The Blight and we were having a little table talk before the Labyrinth Lord game started last week. One player mentioned that he does miss 5E abit. So next time, we’ll have to nail things down. I’m expecting to start this after the holidays so with the speed I write stuff, Ill need the time. Another was excited that the setting isn’t so normal and asked if he could play something weird. So I asked, “Like what?” He replied, “I don’t maybe like some sort of were creature.” Hey, wererats are pretty key to the setting so I thought, “Why the hell not?” So here you go.

Swords & Wizardry Version
See in the Dark
+1 Save Vs Disease
Half damage from non-magical or non-silvered weapons. But double damage from silver weapons.
Bite (1d3) (Save Vs Disease to avoid Lycanthropy)
Cast Animal Summoning I (Rats only) Once per day
+1 Stealth (That’s with YARC Skill System).
Shapechange (Human/humanoid rat)
Suggested Classes: Fighter, Thief, or Fighter/Thief

Fifth Edition Version
Ability Score Increases: +2 DEX, +1 CON
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 Feet
Darkvision: 60 Ft
Damage Resistance: Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing From Nonmagical Attacks Not Made With Silvered Weapons.
Vulnerabilities: Damage from Silver Weapons
Shapechanger. The wererat can use its action to polymorph into a rat-humanoid hybrid or into a giant rat, or back into its true form, which is humanoid. Its statistics, other than its size, are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies. Bite in Rat or Hybrid form does 1d4 damage. (f the target is a humanoid, it must succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with wererat lycanthropy)
Keen Smell. The wererat has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

I based these, of course, on the monster stat blocks with some tweaking to make them a little more balanced. Of course, I may change this up later on, but this if the first version of this idea. And I’ll keep you all update on what the players decided. Swords & Wizardry or 5E. We shall see.

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YARC: Races Part1

Real life got everything bogged down last week. So let’s get back on the horse and talk more about races in YARC. Like I mentioned when I posted about Clerics, races too should be tied to the setting. There’s no reason that the demi-humans should all be the same no matter what world they are on. And the same goes for humans. Speaking of humans. They’ve always been kind of boring. In old editions, they just didn’t have a level cap and they had some special classes they could take. Later on. Everybody could be any class. There weren’t any level caps and the human got extra “stuff”. Based on my own experiences, level caps just never quite worked. Either the campaign would end before it really became an issue. Or if it went on long enough. The extra survivability at lower levels doesn’t that much help at really high levels when those characters were behind the power curve.
So what’s my philosophy for YARC? Two things. First, options and aptitudes. Humans get more options. Demihumans have natural aptitudes in certain areas. Level caps are out. What race can be what class is decision that’s best made based on the setting rather than any core rule. Also, looking at the Swords & Wizardry Complete rules, IMHO, some the races Saving Throw bonuses are just too high. And with that. Let’s get to the crunchy bits. And for this to make sense, you may have to refer back to the YARC: Skills post.

Humans
+1 to any three skills of choice
+1 to Armor Class, Saving Throws, Damage, To-Hit, or Hit Points/level.

Dwarves
+1 Stonecraft (bonus to any skill related to stonework)
+2 Save Vs Poison
See in the dark: 60 Feet*

Elves
+2 to Instinct
Cannot be paralyzed by ghouls
See in the dark: 60 Feet*

Halflings
+1 to Stealth
+2 Save Vs Magic
+1 To-Hit with ranged attacks

Half-Elf
+1 to Instinct
+1 to Appeal, Banter, or Stealth
See in the dark: 60 Feet*

*I don’t care what you call it but our house rules were always, “OK, you can see in the dark.”

So that’s the basic races. Next there’s more to come.

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YARC: Classes and Races

Now that I’ve gotten a few bits done, it’s time to talk about races and classes because with old school games you can’t talk about one without talking about the other. Since the first go around for YARC is going to be The Blight. characters may seem a bit under powered compared to your standard character. The Blight is grim and gritty so that’s why I’m going in that direction. And this is the point where inspirations from other editions and variants of Swords & Wizardry kick in.
I did an episode last year on Playing It Wrong about job versus class. To put it simply, just because it’s a character’s job that doesn’t mean that it’s their class. The big one is usually the assassin. I supposed technically any class can be an assassin but it takes somebody special to be an Assassin. The whole idea is if it’s a class is just a fighter who can track. Well, that’s not a Ranger. So the classes need have some distinct abilities that make them special.
Here’s the tentative list of classes:
Fighter: The most standard and yet IMHO boring class.
Cleric: Yes there will specialty priests.
Thief: Cat burglar or smiling con artist. I suppose later editions got it a little better by calling them Rogues.
Magic-User: Magic is supposed to be mysterious and interesting. Once IHMO even the original edition make them sort of video gamey. Cast the spell and boom. But things still need to be simple at the game table.
Assassin: Good at killing a single target. But still different than a Fighter or Rogue.
Druid: Hmmm. I don’t have any inspiration yet to tweak them.
Paladin: This isn’t you daddy’s prince charming noble knight. These guys are religious zealots hunting down the unclean and heretical.
Sorcerer/Warlock: Oh just check out Dice Roll Zine No. 2. That’s my primary inspiration.
I know. I always do a Bard and Barbarian. I think most of those class abilities can be easily wrapped into other classes. What about Monks? Once again I just don’t think they fit this setting. And lastly because I know someone out there is thinking it, what about Race as Class. I would say that I like both. It all depends on the campaign. If I’m emphasizing old-school play then I’ll do race as class. If there are only a few races then sure. But in this case there’s lots of possibilities for The Blight. So no race as class but races will be limited on their choices. I haven’t even gotten close finalizing that list but it will include the usual suspects as well as a few familiar faces plus a take on the one’s presented in the Swords & Wizardry version and just maybe a race or two that just captures my imagination. But more on that later when I get to races.

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Vampires & Werewolves. Oh My!

If you’ve been following along I’m converting/resurrecting the old New Bay City campaign for Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. The first time I ran this setting it was with World of Darkness then I ran with the Dresden Files RPG. Each time I’ve made some tweaks to the universe based on the game mechanics. This time it ain’t any different.
Vampires and Werewolves are pretty much stock creatures and sometimes even player characters. One of the things that they usually have in common is that they were once regular mortal humans and then something happened. Some fight against their respective supernatural natures and others may relish or even be consumed by it. Plus each of these types has a buckets of folklore attached to them. So how I am going to throw this into Dark Streets & Darker Secrets? Corruption.
OK, I already did a rant on expanding the Gifted Class and in a way this is an expansion on that. Lets’ take a very common example and run with it. Vampires and sunlight. In most games/factions, young vampires poof if they even smell sunlight and older/ancient vampires can tolerate it. In this iteration of New Bay City, the opposite is true. That young (low level/HD) vampire has some of the strengths but those weaknesses are the result of Corruption. A Vampire has lots of hang ups that probably means that they are a bad ass and be thankful for those weaknesses. However, that extra that plays into why there is so much different lore out there. Each is sort of unique in their set of disadvantages.
This is only something that would apply to the “Blooded” types as I rambled about in The Gifted Expanded post not anything that’s purely supernatural. I may do some specific charts but I also grabbing something that seems most appropriate to the specific situation when things go horribly wrong. So here’s the lists of that I’ll be using for inspiration by type. And is no way complete and other changes/tweaks will be based on specific characters.
Vampires: Animal Antipathy, Aversion Holy, Addicted Blood, Allergic Sunlight, Allergic Garlic, Need to be Invited, Aversion Mirrors, Smell of the Grave/Cadverous.
Werewolf/Lycanthrope: Animal Antipathy, Allergic Silver, Addiction Raw Meat, Full Moon/The Beast Within, Feral Appearance
Changeling: Allergic Cold Iron, Need to Tell the Truth, Aversion Holy, “Alien” Appearance.
Cambion: Animal Antipathy, Aversion Holy, Addicted to Sin, Smell of Brimstone, Demonic Features.
Nephilim: Overzealous Virtue, Aversion Unholy, Angelic Features.
And that’s this week’s rant on New Bay City. Enjoy! Oh and here’s my scribbled map of New Bay City.

Episode 31: Race As Class

Another day and another episode. Yes, I recorded this yesterday morning and wasn’t quite awake yet. Which makes it a little entertaining in train wreck sort of way.
I go into another of those OSR debates and stand foolishly in the middle. Race as Class is OK but also shouldn’t be the only option and should be cool. Plus I go into a short little ramble on Zoong and maybe an odd idea to mess around with clerics (again). Any here you. Listen. Subscribe. Roll Dice….
Episode 31: Race as Class

Skarynth For Sharps Swords & Sinister Spells Part 2: Races

It’s been a while since I did an update and the play test goes on. I’ve got my scribbled notes on the print outs and things keep changing. And that’s why I haven’t put too many crunchy bits in these posts. But this post I want to talk to talk about races. This isn’t to be confused with cultures that I posted about last time.
By races, I mean in the traditional fantasy RPG sense. But since this more Sword & Sorcery, I didn’t go with any of the standard one(elf, dwarf, or halfling). These races are specific to the world but as always, the GM can do what they want. Another different twist that I took, was that all of the “non-human” races were one human. Some turn of events changed them forever.
Another thing I wanted to do is keep them in line with the philosophy of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells. So it will be up to the game master to decided if they want to do the races as a Vocation or an Archetype or even use the multi-Archetype rules from the Addendum (which one of the play testers is having a blast with).
So onto the Races:
Beast Kin: In ancient times, a primitive tribe dare defy the will of the gods. The gods cursed the tribe to be half-man and half-beast. Beast Kin have a feral beast-like appearance. Some many even have feline, canine, ursine, or simian features. They are still defiant and strong-willed mixed with the cunning natural instincts and senses.
Lemurians: There is a legend that an alien eldritch race were stranded on the world. This race interbreed with a local tribe and gave rise to the Lemurians. The chaos and corruption of magic flows through their blood. They can attempt to manipulate and bend to their will magic that is cast against them. They can easily sense the presence of magic and can occasionally see through illusions or invisibility. Lemurians are humanoids with oddly colored skin, hair, and/or eyes. They often have other worldly features. Most have two to four tentacles. (Yep. Tentacles.)
Tuatarans: When mankind still lived in caves and barely understood fire, the Serpent Folk ruled the world. The Serpent Folk used the primitive humans as slaves and their Lizard Man army to enforce their rule. Then a plague struck the Serpentine Empire. It killed many of the Serpent Folk and worse yet it drove the disciplined Lizard Man legions into primitive savages hell-bent on destruction. In a desperate attempt to save their empire, Serpent Folk sorcerers performed vile arcane experiments on humans in order to create a better and plague resistant army. Unfortunately, it made things worse. While the resulting hybrids were resistant to disease, they also had independent spirit of the humans. Tuatrans have human features (and usually dark or black hair) with reptilian skin and eyes. A few even have forked tongues and/or tails. Tuatrans heal quickly and are resistant to poison and disease. As a side effect of their arcane origin, many can consume the life force of the dying to heal themselves.
So there you go. An overview of the nonhuman races. Next up will be a little rant about some new Archetypes. Man. I so want to call them classes. And like I said, everything is still in play test to the actual crunchy bits are in still in flux and changing every couple of weeks.

White Box House Rules Version 1

Yes, I’m still working/prepping for a White Box (Swords & Wizardry/Fantastic Medieval Adventures) campaign. But if you’ve been around this blog more than one then you know that I just love house rules. So I put together my Version 1 of them. Because I know I’m going to change up some the stuff in there before I start. Ideas will come up and some feedback (Hopefully) will happen. So this is very much a living document.
I’m also hacking the basic classes and putting together my own versions of the “Advanced” classes plus some others that I just think are cool. And since I’m messing with classes I’ll probably do some other races too. And do some versions of the classic spells that are from Supplement 1: Greyhawk. Chances are that will end up as a cheap PDF on RPGNow. It’s been way too long since I’ve published anything but then I’ve said that before. Sigh.
White Box House Rules Ver 1
Like I said. Changes will happen to it. And remember folks. Roll Dice. Have Fun. That’s always a house rule.