Tag Archives: YARC

Magical Research

Things are moving fast and I’m putting together even more house rules for Swords & Wizardry. Now, these have been in my notes for quite a while but I just haven’t posted them here. So here it it.
First, this uses the previously posted Skill rules. But for a recap and just use this here’s the low down. Bonus: Average of Int and Wis Modifiers (Wits Skill) +2 (for being a Magic-User doing magic stuff). Skill check number is based on the character’s level. Just check out Attack Save Cheat Sheet.
So what to roll, how long does it take and how much is it going to cost?
Scribe spell from spell book or scroll: 1 Day/Spell Level; -1/Spell Level; 10 GP/Spell Level
Scribe spell scroll of a known spell: 1 Day/Spell Level; -2/Spell Level; 50 GP/Spell Level
Research new existing (already in the rule book) spell: 1 Week/Spell Level; -2/Spell Level; 500 GP/Spell Level
Research a brand new (not in the rule book with GM approval) spell: 1 Month/Spell Level; -3/spell Level; 1,000 GP/Spell Level.
Of course, other modifiers may come into play. Found an ancient book of arcane knowledge? Summon a demon to give you a hand? It’s old-school so this part is very much based on what the player’s have done, found or previously researched.
Fail the roll? Then you just lost time and a whole lot of money. I may do some lab accident type random table but that’s for another post.

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More Races for YARC

Another iteration of races for YARC. Like the Races Part I this relies heavily on the house brewed Skill Rules. It’s just my take on Races that they shouldn’t have lots of moving parts but they should have some natural aptitudes. This keeps things very simple and doesn’t create too strong incentive to match certain races with certain classes to get an even more powerful character. It’s the same reason I’m overly fond of racial stat bonuses.
Any distinction between your standard human and the other races should come from role playing and any specifics from the world. Not the game rules.

Half Orc
Darkvision
+1 Damage with melee attacks
+1 Athletics or Survival

Gnome
+1 Tinker or Banter
+1 Save Vs Illusions

Kenku
+1 Appeal, Skullduggery, and Stealth

Tabaxi
Claws: 1d4 Damage
+1 Athletics and Stealth

So what’s happening next? Well, I plan on a few more races that aren’t quite “standard” and a couple more classes. I just might do the Bard and Barbarian (or at least my take on them). And maybe more.

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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: Druids

Finally getting around to Druids. To be honest, it’s taken me a while to come up with something interesting for Druids. In very old D&D, there were monsters then they became Neutral Clerics. In 3rd Edition, they were massively overly powered. (A T Rex is my animal companion. No really saw that.) Now I did do an old post on Druids and all that still stands. Basically, they should be more than just tree huggers. Now, what to actually do with Druid in YARC. Well, not much really other than a few minor tweaks here and there. So let’s get down to the crunchy bits.
Hit Dice, Saves, and Attack & Spell Progression: Unchanged.
Class Abilities:
Shape Change: A Druid may transform into a normal mundane animal. The first time per day that a Druid does; it costs the casting a 1st Level Spell. The second time, a 2nd Level spell. The third time, a 3rd Level spell. And so on.
In Tune With Nature: Add WIS Bonus to any skill check involving nature.
Saving Throw Bonus: +2 vs elemental energy type attacks.
Druids and Metal Armor: They just can’t cast spells. Tough luck.
Druidic Language: That all depends on your campaign world. In mine, there isn’t one.

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YARC: Bards What’s in a name?

I know originally I said that I wasn’t going to do Bards but I just couldn’t resist. Why? Mainly because I like the class despite its varied history. And yes I know in official Swords & Wizardry there isn’t a Bard class.
Let’s talk first about the history and how I see the class. It was originally really hard to become a Bard. You were Fighter then a Thief then Druid (and thus becoming a Bard). It used the old dual classing rules that really were a pain in the butt. The Bard became a jack-of-all-trades in Second Edition. That was my favorite iteration of the Bard. 3.x gave us the support Bard. They really weren’t that good at anything else and had a tendency to die. And then finally in 5E, there’s sort of balance between the jack-of-all-trades and the support Bard.

For YARC, I’m running the jack-of-all-trades Bard. Because, well, that’s my personal favorite. The Bard still has that support role of being second best or better than nothing in a particular and still having sort of niche of the face of the party. I look at Bards as the dabblers in all manner of things from spells to fighting. They live by their wits and their luck. I’ve never really enjoyed the musical bard. I view it as the difference between a random priest who isn’t a cleric and minstrel who isn’t necessarily a bard. Sure they can entertain just like the priest can perform religious ceremonies. But like Clerics, the Bards should be adventurers.

Attack Progression: As Theif
Base Saving Throw Progression: As Fighter
Hit Die: D4
Class Abilities:
Power of the Written Word: Bards may use any spell scroll.
Lucky Stiff: If a Bard’s CHA is 13 or more then the character gains an additional HP/Level.
Spells: Bards may cast a limited number of Magic-Users spells each day. They may cast up to their level or the total of CHA and INT Modifiers whichever is less. Bards cannot research spells but they may attempt to transcribe spells from spell books or scrolls. This is the only way Bards may learn new spells. They face the restriction of casting in armor as a Magic-User.
World Traveler: Bards begin play with an additional language.
Skills: +2 in Appeal and Banter, and +1 to any other three skills of choice.

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YARC: Paladins

Ah. Paladins. The first time I played one, I quickly became a plain old human fighter. I deserved it. So no complaints there. But this class has me scratching my head. Originally, the Paladin was the paragon good, law, wholesomeness and all that. They were Lawful Good and had to have that high Charisma. Plus they that wonderful Detect Evil ability that could have been named Start an Argument at the Table. Of course, soon after the Anti-Paladin was published and everybody wanted to play that. Later Editions played around more with the Paladin and gave them a more loose moral standard and made them out to be divine warriors which is sort of what a cleric is, right? YMMV.
So where does that leave me with Paladins for my own little heartbreak. Well, Rangers are badasses. So are Paladins. While the Ranger is the general badass. The Paladin is the fanatical badass Witch Hunter, Undead Slayer, and Demon Hunter.
Attacks and Saves: Per Standard Swords & Wizardry rules.
Hit Die: D6 (Yes, I’m still reserving that D8 just for Fighters but see below)
Class Abilities:
Detect Unclean: With a successful Instinct check, the Paladin may detect the presence of an arcane caster, undead, or demon (or other planar and eldritch creatures) within 60 feet. It doesn’t single out an specific individual only that such a being is in the area.
Divine Favor: The Paladin may cast one First Level cleric/day. The character chooses the spell at First Level and may only change when they gain a level.
Smite: The Paladin has a pool of points to do extra damage to foes (2 HP/Level).
Zealotry: If a Paladin’s Charisma score is 13 or greater then they gain an additional HP/Level.
Skills: Paladins gain a +2 Bonus to skills pertaining to Demons and Undead.
I know this version of the Paladin takes away a lot of what has become their stock class abilities. Part of my thought on this is that I want the Paladin to be something other than a cleric who fights real well or the party’s morality compass. Though many times they need one.

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YARC: Clerics for The Blight

Agh.  The Cleric is a thorn in my side.  It’s not that it’s unbalanced or bad class. I just have some weird ideas when it comes to the class. There’s just a lot of little things that bug me.

Let’s start with a couple of the simple and basic things. I always thought the idea of “blunt” weapons that don’t draw blood was silly. Hey, I smashed your skull but didn’t “draw blood”.  Huh?  I understand that in the old game that Fighters needed something to make them special but this little rule bugged me and is already taken care with the little “everybody can use any weapon” rules. Another little thing that is later addition to they way clerics are viewed is making Turn Undead a 1st level spell.  I’m all for that.  I know that in the old days our clerics as healbots was a secondary thing.  The reason they were there was for the party to push them out front as soon as undead showed. Especially, those nasty level drainers.

There’s a couple more things that really bug me and this where things do all crazy in my head.  First, I was never that fond of cleric’s praying to their god for a list of the spells each day. Part of me wants them to almost like a Televangelist and just call down those powers as needed.  I thought about using that option for a while and well. Threw it aside.  Mainly, it’ll really slow down play while the cleric player flips through the rule book for just the right spell. With that being said, there should be an option for cleric’s to call down or switch a spell in an emergency but there has to be some risk and a cost. There’s another great option out there and that’s the Cultist class from Low Fantasy Gaming.  Instead of “spells”, the class gets the standard array of cleric powers as class abilities.

Those are the little things.  Here’s the big one.  Out of all the classes, the cleric is most tied to the campaign setting.  The cleric gets their power for their god and that god should be a part of the setting and despite different worlds and gods, the clerics were the same. The only effect the god was as a RP element. Later editions gave us Specialty Clerics and Domains.  Those took care of some of the blandness of clerics. But in essence they were still the same.  If you want to go all crazy, and maybe some one has but I suppose you could make a cleric class for each god.  But I think that’s a bit of overkill. Now I’ve thought of two ways to approach this.  One is the sort of “generic” cleric.  The cleric acts as a conduit of the power of the gods.  Need healing then cleric prays to the God of Healing. Need protection in battle then go to the God of War.  I like the idea but I feel it’s a good option depending on the setting.

Since I’m using Swords & Wizardry as my base there’s no specialty clerics so I’m going to go off on my own little tangent here sort of make them.  Basically, the cleric gets some extra ability or bonus based on their god.  However to qualify, the cleric will need a WIS of greater than 15.  Along with the other little changes at the beginning of this post, I think that’s about all I need to mess with on the cleric.  What’s makes them special is the gift that they get from their god.  So like I said earlier, I’m getting ready to run The Blight.  So, here’s my ideas for clerics for some of the Gods of The Blight.

Mother Grace: The Holy Mother, Mother of All, Goddess of Family, Order, and Tradition: Extra 1st Level Spell.

Brine: Ocean’s Anger, Fish-Brother, God of the Sea and Unsea: Can breathe under water for WIS Bonus Turns per day.

Father Canker: Brother Choke, The Silent Assassin, God of Poison, Silence and Smog:  Gain bonus to Save versus Poison equal to WIS Bonus.

Lord Shingles: The Shadow on the Rooftop, Sovereign of the Heights, God of Builders, Gables, Rooftops and the Sky: Add WIS Bonus to skill checks involving buildings or architecture.

Mithras: Lord Storm, The Battle, The Soldier God, Mithrae Invicto, God of War, Battles, and Soldiers: May use WIS Bonus in place of STR (Melee) or DEX (Ranged) bonuses on Attack Rolls.

Papyri: The Archivist, The Quiet One, The Lost Apprentice, The Thoughtful Silence, Goddess of the Written Word: Add WIS Bonus to Wits. Gain additional languages based on WIS Score.

Sister Shadows: The Unseen, Goddess of Alleys, Streets, Piers and Pathways: Add WIS Bonus to Stealth and to any skill checks involving navigating within a large city.

The Ash Queen: Queen of Whores, The Hunger, Goddess of Lust, Nature, and Witchcraft: Add WIS Bonus to Appeal and Survival skill checks.

I know these aren’t all the Gods of the Blight but it’s a start. And, of course, to make complete sense of this you’ll just have read your way through the Blight. And it’s still very much a work in progress.