Rainbow Fantasy I – The Butterfly

There are so many kinds of fantasy to choose from. Old D&D was a mish-mash of everything from King Arthur to Hammer films to Elric (which is why I love it), Warhammer does dark and gothic, there are the oiled up barbarians from 80’s movies, fairy and folk tales, weird fantasy and horror … and also what I would have called in my youth “girly fantasy”.

OK – don’t get up in arms over the nickname, but when I was growing up this was the stuff more girls liked than guys. I think most folks know what I’m talking about – rainbows, unicorns, pegasi, fairies, etc. Let’s call it “Rainbow Fantasy”.

While Rainbow Fantasy may have ended up in 80’s TV cartoons and on junior high school folders, it started long before that. Old fairy tales made some use of it, Baum’s OZ, where people cannot die is within this category, and the “hippies” during the psychedelic 60’s who were besotted with flowers and nature and pleasure in all its forms certainly used it. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is like a hex crawl through this sort of fantasy.

Where Rainbow Fantasy has gotten short shrift, I think, is fantasy role playing games. I remember when a few guys in the neighborhood and me starting playing some D&D back in the 80’s. We invited a neighborhood girl (a close friend of mine, practically a sister) to play. She created a Rainbow Fantasy-style elf character, and we all looked at her like she was insane. He had a cutesy name. D&D just wasn’t for cutesy names.

Well, of course D&D is for cutesy names or whatever else you want to cram into it. It’s a system, not a genre. Jeff Rients said it best when he said, “You play Conan, I play Gandalf. We team up to fight Dracula.” As an adult, I’ve learned to appreciate all sorts of things I didn’t as a kid, especially something as strange and creative as Rainbow Fantasy.

With that in mind, I’m going to write a few articles to bring a little rainbow into the deep, dark dungeon. Up first is a character class called the Butterfly, inspired by an old piece of fantasy art from a magazine that had very little to do with fantasy. I’ll then discuss the ways we can treat alignment and quests in this sort of fantasy to make it work, and I’ll follow up with a discussion of how existing classes and races might work in a rainbow fantasy campaign as well as introduce one more class.

You play She-Ra, I’ll play the Last Unicorn. Dracula will never know what hit him.

The Butterfly Class

Butterflies are a mystic calling of some people. Those with a lust for wandering in wide meadows of cool grass and chatting with hummingbirds, those who wish to escape the bonds of the earth and the boundaries of the mind. They can see the beauty of life and nature despite the ugliness and sorrow, and seek to spread that beauty far and wide. The butterfly is like a light in the darkness.

|Requirements & Restrictions|

Ability Scores: Dex 11, Cha 13

Alignment: Non-chaotic

Armor Permitted: None

Weapons Permitted: Club, dagger, sling, staff

|Butterfly Skills|

Butterflies add their level to the following task checks:

Communication: Butterflies can communicate with creatures that speak languages they do not understand. Much of this is through empathy and hand gestures (but not THAT hand gesture – it’s just so crude).

Fly: Butterflies can perform all manner of aerobatic stunts while flying with their natural wings or while mounted on flying mounts.

Handle Animals: Butterflies can calm frightened and hostile animals, and tame wild animals. They can teach tame animals simple tricks.

Move Silently: Butterflies can walk slowly and lightly without making a sound.

|Butterfly Abilities|

Butterflies can see auras. This includes magic auras generated by spells, magic items and the like, and alignments (Law, Chaos and Neutrality).

A butterfly can speak with all animals and is always considered a friend by non-predatory beasts. These animals will help a butterfly whenever she requests it, as long as it does not put them in direct danger and as long as she treats them with respect and kindness. A butterfly gets a +2 bonus to reaction checks with predators, and might be able to convince them to help her given the right inducements.

A 2nd level butterfly can shrink to tiny size, about 6 inches tall, and grow butterfly wings. She can do this once per day per two levels. At this size, the butterfly can fly at a speed of 60 feet per round. In this form, she can weave magic (see below). The butterfly can remain at this size for as long as she likes, and can return to normal at will.

A 3rd level butterfly can grow butterfly wings while at full size and use them to fly at a speed of 40 feet per round. She can do this once per day per three levels.

At 4th level, a butterfly can take the form of a cloud of butterflies. She can do this once per day per four levels. Treat this as the same as a magic-user taking gaseous form.

Whenever a butterfly is flying, she leaves behind a trail of glitterdust (per the spell) which falls on any creature beneath her flight path.

Butterfly Spell List

1st level – Audible glamer, calm emotions, charm person, color spray, dancing lights, detect secret doors, faerie fire, goodberry, hypnotism, light, reduce person, sleep

2nd level – Continual light, cure light wounds, darkvision, glitterdust, hold animal, invisibility, pyrotechnics, reduce animal, summon swarm (insects only), web

3rd level – Blink, cure moderate wounds, daylight, hold person, invisibility sphere, shrink item, sleep II, speak with plants

4th level – Charm monster, cure serious wounds, false forest, giant vermin, invisibility II, rainbow pattern

Butterfly Class Table

LVL XP HD ATK SV 1 2 3 4
1 0 1d4 +0 15 1
2 1,500 2d4 +0 14 2
3 3,000 3d4 +1 14 3 1
4 6,000 4d4 +1 13 3 2
5 12,000 5d4 +1 13 3 3 1
6 24,000 6d4 +2 12 3 3 2
7 48,000 7d4 +2 12 3 3 3 1
8 100,000 8d4 +3 12 4 3 3 2
9 200,000 9d4 +3 11 4 3 3 3
10 300,000 10d4 +3 11 4 4 3 3
11 400,000 +1 hp +4 10 4 4 3 3
12 500,000 +1 hp +4 10 4 4 4 3
13+ +100,000 +1 hp 5 4 4 3

 

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The Antiquarian – Thumbnail Class Sketch

When I forget my phone at home, I usually spend lunch writing in a little notebook rather than reading. Today I had a few ideas for a class, which I present before in “thumbnail sketch” format, rather than fully realized.

This fellow will probably find his way into Esoterica Exhumed in a more fleshed-out form.

The Antiquarian …

– Rolls d4 for hit points

– Fights and saves like a magic-user

– Can read obscure languages

– Collects dusty tomes, books, scrolls – carries them on his back, so he’s hunched over – provides protection from back stabs

– Can call up the ghosts of the past to help him (knowledge, fighting, etc. – “Julius Caesar, I choose you”) – I figure this will work a little like an illusionist’s shadow conjuration spells

– Legend lore, as a bard (or more so)

– Use magic scrolls to cast spells; can always identify potions and scrolls

– Can recall ways to fight monsters (“Egad, I nearly forgot that ogres are allergic to dust mites”) – while fighting a monster, but only if the group doesn’t have what they need – they can use the method in future fights, though, and get a +1 to hit the monster

– Has bad eyesight from all the reading – easier to surprise

– Resistance to magic – 3% per level to divination, enchantment and illusion; 1% per level to necromancy, transmutation, etc.

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Spider Mage

I’ve been needing to get back into the nitty gritty of daily blog updates for a while – it’s just hard with all the writing and layout and editing and such that I’ve involved myself in. So, here’s another shot at it, based on tiny inspiration and a bit of “hmm – I guess nobody has done that before”.

The Spider Mage

Not every apprentice magic-user has it in them to be great wizard (see the Laser Mage, for example). This drives some into weird cults, such as that of the Arachno, the Spider God. Whispered about by the apprentices in the corners at wizard gatherings, Arachno is a secretive god who grants great powers upon those mages willing to enter his service. His living idols are said to lurk under most great cities, in some otherwise abandoned cellar or sewer tunnel or whatnot.

An apprentice willing to enter Arachno’s service must first find one of his living idols (a giant spider) and then parlay with it, offering gifts and oaths and the like. If the giant spider finds the apprentice acceptable, he sheds a spiky hair, which the little magi must use to tattoo Arachno’s symbol onto his forearm. This allows the apprentice to enter the spider mage class. Most spider mages will go on to make their tattoo really boss, and they will add others to their body as they advance.

Requirements and Restrictions

As the normal magic-user class

Spider Mage Skills

Climb Walls—As the thief skill of the same name.

Lore—As the magic-user skill of the same name.

Poison Use—As the assassin skill of the same name.

Spider Mage Abilities

Spider mages cast magic-user spells using the same rules as magic-users. To learn advanced spells, spider mages have a percentage chance equal to their intelligence score minus the spell level.

Spider mages enjoy a +2 reaction bonus with spiders and spider-like creatures, and a +2 bonus to save vs. their poison.

Starting at 2nd level, and at every even level thereafter, a spider mage grows an additional arm. This arm is a normal human arm in every respect, and it bears the same tattoo on its forearm that the spider mage gave himself when he became a spider mage.

For every two additional arms a spider mage grows, he can cast one additional spell per round.

Spider mages learn how to prepare their spells with modifications. Attack spells come in the form of touches, rays, lines (like lightning bolt), cones and blasts (like fireball). Spider mages can prepare an attack spell of one type as an attack spell of another. This sometimes changes the level of the spell.

Lines and rays retain their same range. Cones have a length equal to half the length of a ray or line version of the spell; likewise, ray or line versions of a cone spell have a range equal to twice the length of the cone. Blast spells have a range as line and ray spells equal to their blast radius, and a length as cone spells equal to half this.

Turning lines into cones and vice versa does not change a spell’s level. Turning a cone or line into a ray lowers the spell level by one. Turning anything into a blast increases the spell level by 1. Turning a blast into a line, ray or cone lowers the spell level by 1, and into a ray by 2.

At every even level, a spider mage must bring a sacrifice with levels or hid dice equal to the level he wishes to attain to feed his spider patron. This gruesome feast increases the giant spider’s hit dice by +2 and gives it magic use . This magic use starts at first level magic-user spells, and advances by one spell level with each subsequent feast.

Spider Cult
To advance to 12th level, a spider mage must kill his spider patron and bathe in its ichor. When he does this, he starts a spider cult to Arachno, gaining 3d6 adherents (normal humans), 2d6 guardsmen (men-at-arms), 1d6 acolytes (1st level anti-clerics) and a consort (male or female) who is a 3rd level spider mage, as well as a giant spider (large size, 4 HD) to serve as his mount and as the cult’s living idol.

Spider Mage Advancement

 

The Animorph, an Animal for All Seasons

How the time does fly, and the world robbed of my nonsense for a couple weeks while I prepared nonsense of another sort.

Here’s a quick rundown – finished editing the B&T Monster book – yay! – so I should get it up for sale soon. Just need to work in the changes, fix some images, etc. This could be a rough week for my mom, so I have no idea how much RPG work I can get done, but the last weekend was productive, so we’ll see. I’m also about half-way there on NOD 30. I’ve been so into writing rulebooks the last few months I’m really missing writing the fun stuff.

In the meantime, here’s a little half-baked idea for gaming fun …

The Animorph

The animorph can change into an animal.

Skills
Animorphs are skilled at handling animals and riding (which they can do with no riding equipment at no penalty).

Abilities
An animorph can shift shape once per day per level (and shifting shape means from one form to another, but not back – that counts as a different shift), can only take the form of natural animals, and cannot take an animal form with more Hit Dice than they have levels. While in animal form they retain their own mentality (though not the ability to speak) and current hit points, but make attacks as though they were that animal (i.e. as a monster, with no bonuses for Strength or Dexterity, multiple attacks if the animal has them, special abilities if the animal has them, etc.) rather than as a character.

Animorphs gain an additional +1 bonus to save vs. polymorph and other transformations. They are immune to lycanthropy.

3rd level animorphs can speak to animals (non-magically). 6th level animorphs can also take the shape of giant insects, provided they do not normally have greater than animal intelligence.

Animorphs can deal damage to monsters only hit by silver or magic weapons if they have more levels than the monster has Hit Dice.

At 9th level, animorphs begin attracting animal friends. At each level from 9th to 12th level, an animorph attracts a number of HD of animals equal to their level (thus 9 HD of animals at 9th level, another 10 HD of animals at 10th level, etc.) These animals serve faithfully, but if killed are not replaced. The animorph can add these animals all at once, or over time, and they can only add animals native to the environment in which they currently reside.
Animorphs are wanderers – they cannot construct a stronghold of their own, though they can reside for up to a month at the stronghold of an ally, or in a village (but never a town or city).

Other Info:

RQ Wisdom 13+, Cha 11+
HD d6 (+2 hp per level after 10th)
W/A Can use light weapons, can wear up to leather armor (but must remove it to take animal shape)
ATK As druid
SV As druid
XP As fighter

Edit: Added a bit about hit points and such – nothing major

Random Berserking

 

Going berserk in combat is such a chaotic thing (small “c” chaotic, of course) that it seems like a perfect place to stick in a random table.

I thought about making a random berserking table for the barbarians in Blood & Treasure Second Edition, but space constraints and a desire to avoid excess dice rolling (I know, for some there cannot be enough) I didn’t. Still, I wrote it, so I might as well get it out there!


Berserkergang

Roll 1d10 and add your barbarian level (or half your fighter level, if your GM swings that way). You may roll once for the combat, or roll each round, with the effect lasting for that round and then ending.
d10
Effect
1-6
+1 to attack, +2 to damage; +1d6 damage vs. non-humanoids
5-11
+1 to AC, +2 to all saving throws
12-15
Two attacks each round
16-18
+2 to attack, +4 to damage; +2d6 damage vs. non-humanoids
19-20
Immune to fear and spells of 2nd level or lower; +1d6 damage to spell casters
21
Opponents must save or be frightened
22
Continue fighting after reaching 0 hit points; save vs. death at end of combat or die
23
Immune to spells of 5th level or lower; +2d6 damage to spell casters
24
Three attacks each round
25
Roll twice, combine results
While berserk, you cannot cast spells, make ranged attacks (other than throwing things), retreat from combat, make or follow complex plans, stop attacking a foe until you or it are dead, and when you kill one foe you must move on to the next closest foe.

The Guardian – Over-Powered or Not?

A few magazine reviews ago, I came across Lewis Pulsipher’s description of an over-powered character class. It goes thusly:

“A party of ninth and tenth level magic-users, clerics, and fighters hunts for a lich. Among them is an eighth level ‘Guardian’ character, a class devised by the DM and used by the players. They come to a door. The guardian listens – he hears something. Then he looks through the door with his X-ray vision. Telling the others it’s too dangerous for them in there, he turns ethereal and walks through the door. Five minutes later, he opens it. ‘It’s OK now. It was just 10 mind flayers, and when they attacked me psionically my mental boomerang defence scrambled their brains.’ The party shake their heads and look for spoils.” – Lewis Pulsipher, White Dwarf 25

Overpowered?

Maybe not.

First, the guardian in the example is 8th level. He’s a bit behind the others in level (as would be a paladin), but not dramatically so. The 9th or 10th level magic-users he’s adventuring with can do some pretty spectacular stuff with their spells, and the magic items the other characters have could well duplicate many of the guardian’s abilities.

Second, there seems to be an unwritten assumption that the things this “guardian” does are the tip of the iceberg. Maybe they are. But if they aren’t – if that’s it – then maybe he’s not so powerful.

“Ah,” you say, “but he took out a whole room of mind flayers!”

Well, actually, the room of mind flayers took out the room of mind flayers – the guardian just had the ability to turn mental attacks back on the attacker.

With that in mind, I have decided to rehabilitate the mythical guardian class, and give it a proper write-up to see just how over powered it really would be. So, with no further ado …

THE GUARDIAN

Image from HERE – just because I like it

Day in and day out, brave men and women descend into the depths of the earth in search of treasure. Along the way, they hunt down and destroy all manner of terrible evils, and for that, the world must be grateful. It so happened that one day, many years ago, a band of Lawful monasteries decided they must do more than they had done to encourage this behavior. The masters of the monasteries developed a new, powerful training regimen, and recruited from among their ranks their most promising students. They put these students through this regimen, and found the vast majority of them not up to the challenge. Those few who did succeed became known as guardians.

Guardians are always on the lookout for danger, and have potent abilities to survive it and even turn attacks back on attackers. They are mediocre warriors, it is true, but are proficient with armor and thus difficult to injure. A guardian may not turn the tide of battle by her presence, but she can serve as the impenetrable rock on which the tide of battle breaks.

Requirements and Restrictions: Guardians must have a minimum scores of 9 in Strength, 11 in Constitution and 13 in Wisdom. They must also be Lawful in alignment. They may wear any armor and use shields, and can fight with any weapon.

Guardian Skills

Find Secret Doors—Guardians have a 2 in 6 chance to note the presence of secret or concealed doors.

Find Traps—Guardians can attempt a task check to discover traps in a room or on an object. Alas, they have no special skill at removing traps once found.

Listen at Door—Guardians can attempt a task check to hear faint noises through doors or in other circumstances.

Guardian Abilities

Guardians are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d6. They can extend this protection to up to one comrade per three levels. Thus, if all in a party of adventurers except the 4th level guardian are surprised on a roll of “2”, the guardian can allow one additional comrade to avoid that surprise.

2nd level guardians learn the secret of phasing through matter (but not energy). A guardian can walk through up to 2 inches of matter per level per day. Thus, a 6th level guardian could walk through up to 12 inches of matter, total, during the course of a single day. This could amount to walking through a single 1-ft thick wall, or four 3-inch thick doors.

A 4th level guardian gains the ability to peer through matter, as though wearing a ring of x-ray vision. She can do this once per day per four levels (i.e. 1/day from 1st to 4th level, 2/day from 5th to 8th level, etc.)

A 6th level guardian can attune themselves to one form of energy (acid, cold, fire, electricity or sonic) per day, gaining the ability to ignore hit point damage from that energy. The guardian can ignore 1 point of damage from that energy per level over the course of the day. Thus, a 9th level guardian who attuned herself to fire could ignore up to 9 points of fire damage during the course of the day.

Guardians maintain a shield around their minds. At 1st level, this blocks all spells and abilities that read or detect their minds. They can also choose to block out telepathic communication. By 3rd level, this protection extends to a +4 bonus to saving throws against illusions and mental attacks, such as confusion, fear, feeblemind, ego whip, id insinuation, phantasmal killer and the mind blast of the pernicious thelids. When a guardian of 6th level or higher passes a saving throw against a mental attack, she reflects that attack back on the attacker, who must pass their own saving throw to avoid the attack.

Stronghold

A 9th level guardian can establish a stronghold in the wilderness. The stronghold must be placed in such a place to resist attacks from the wilderness, for example between mountains inhabited by ogres and giants and a human or demi-human settlement. Once constructed, the guardian attracts …

Courtly Love for Paladins

Here’s another notion I came up with for Blood & Treasure Second Edition that I decided not to use in the rules, as it seemed to be just one more thing to stack on top of paladins. Although the ability is designed for paladins, it could be extended to any Lawful Good character if a referee wished. It is probably most useful in a chivalric campaign.

The ability is, of course, inspired by Lancelot and Guinevere.

Courtly Love

Before reaching 5th level, a paladin may select a charming man or woman as their object of courtly love. The chosen must have a Charisma score of 13 or higher, and must be a member of the aristocracy, nobility or royalty. They may be married, and must not be Chaotic. The paladin holds them up as an ideal and does heroic deeds in their name and for their favor. The paladin may not deny them requests, so long as they do not violate his alignment and code of conduct, though in disobeying the object of courtly love becomes displeased, and the paladin suffers a -1 penalty to attack and to all saving throws until they are again pleased. The paladin remains true to their courtly love forever – they may not “break up” with them without losing their paladin status.

When the paladin performs a heroic deed for their courtly love, there is a chance in 20 equal to the paladin’s level that their love is pleased and grants them a token (a scarf, a pin, a lock of hair, etc.) While in possession of this love token, the paladin may invoke the the following effects three times: Add his love’s Charisma bonus to an attack roll, a damage roll or a saving throw.

When so pleased by their paladin, there is a percentage chance equal to the paladin’s Charisma score that the courtly love is overcome by emotion and attempts to seduce the paladin into a true romance. The paladin may not give in to this temptation without breaking his code and losing his paladin status. That being said, to refuse makes the courtly love displeased (see above). A Lawful love will not press the matter, but may suffer as per a geas if their love is not returned. A Neutral love will press the matter, forcing the paladin to pass a saving throw to resist the temptation. The TK may add the paladin’s Wisdom bonus to the saving throw, but must subtract his love’s Charisma bonus from the roll as well.

Uh oh – he better not try to turn undead any time soon …

Don’t Lose Your Barbaric Edge

This is a half-formed notion that came to me last night while working on Blood & Treasure Second Edition. It’s not in that book, but I thought somebody might find it useful.

The idea of a “barbaric edge” comes from good old Robert E. Howard, who posited the notion that barbarians were in many ways superior to members of civilization, whether they be decadent nobles or downtrodden peasants. Barbarians in Howard’s fiction are usually a cut above non-barbarians.

The Edge

In games, the barbaric edge allows you to treat one of the following ability scores – Strength, Dexterity, Constitution or Wisdom – as though it were an 18. Each morning, a person with the barbaric edge can decide which ability they will treat this way. Ability damage affects the temporary score, and the real score if the damage persists and the barbarian chooses to boost a different ability score from the one that was damaged.

Note that druids who boost Wisdom do gain extra spells for high Wisdom, but clerics do not unless they worship something wild and primordial. One might permit it for a cleric of Thor, for example, but not a cleric of Minerva.

Example: Crom the Barbarian (pictured above) wakes up one morning and stretches his iron sinews. He normally has a strength score of 13 (a +1 bonus). Today, he’ll increase his bonus (but not his actual strength score) to +2. Tomorrow he might be feeling especially cat-like, and improve his +0 dexterity modifier to +1.

Gaining the Edge

How does one obtain a barbaric edge? By living rough in the wilderness and eschewing the soft pleasures of civilization. This means that the barbaric edge is open to any class, provided they do the following:

1) Always sleep outside in the wilderness; in a pinch, sleeping in an alley or field will do. This means no beds, no pillows – no more than an animal pelt to protect you from the elements.

2) Low retention of wealth; you can keep 10% of your found treasure to spend on equipment and gear (maybe more if you use a system that requires paying for training to level up), giving the rest away. Treasure is there to be won, not enjoyed – think of it as catch-and-release. Treasure not kept must either be discarded as though it were trash, given to others (who may not spend it on you) with a hearty sniff of contempt, or spent in a tavern on booze and sex (i.e. drinks on the house, and you must drink until you collapse or get in a rip-roaring fight).

3) No fancy clothes or armor; you retain the barbarian edge by wearing no more than leather armor or maybe a chainmail shirt if they are used in the campaign. You cannot wear silks and satin – really just a loincloth and sandals or fur boots will do when you’re not fighting.

4) A lack of trust for civilization and civilized people. A barbarian can adventure with civilized men and women, but they must be kept at an emotional distance, and the barbarian must sneer at and criticize their soft living and decadent morality. This is primarily done through role playing.

5) A barbarian’s food must come from his own hunting, gathering or fishing rather than from “iron rations” and magic. If this means going hungry, so be it. The barbarian may indulge in a tavern after an adventure, but only once and only in terms of a tavern crawl as in (2) above.

Losing the Edge

Breaking any of these rules means the barbaric edge is lost. No ability boosts. It can only be regained by living by the above rules for a full month of game time (or perhaps for two or three game sessions if that’s easier to calculate). Only after that time spent living wild does the barbarian shake off the excesses of civilization and regain his barbaric edge.

Don’t trust them Conan, they use rugs!

 

Lucky Bastards [New Class]

There are two ways to survive as an adventurer – you can be good, or you can be lucky. The lucky bastard uses the latter approach. For him, the luck comes naturally – he’s always had it, and hope he always will.

Requirements & Restrictions
There are no ability score or alignment requirements for lucky bastards.

They are capable of wearing up to leather armor, but cannot use shields. They are limited to simple weapons like daggers, staves, spears and darts.

Special Abilities
Lucky bastards can find secret doors as an elf. Elven lucky bastards increase their chances to do this by 1 in 6.

Whenever an event in a game must target a random adventurer, a random determination of the lucky bastard is re-rolled. If the second roll targets the lucky bastard, then he is the target of the event.

Illustration by William Heath Robinson

Each game session, a lucky bastard starts with a luck score of 4. He can increase this by +1 if he holds a lucky rabbit’s foot*, by +1 if he holds a lucky horseshoe*, and by +2 if he happens upon a loose copper piece (only one) in a dungeon and repeats the magic phrase “Find a copper, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck”.

The luck score can be used for two things. First, it can be used as a bonus to any sort of d20 roll. Second, it can be used to negate damage. To negate damage, the lucky bastard must roll below his luck score on 1d6. If successful, hit point damage sustained from one attack form is negated. Whenever a lucky bastard uses his luck score (whether successfully or not), it is reduced by 1.

A 3rd level lucky bastard can, once per game, share his luck with another creature within 30’ of him. This means he lends his luck score to another creature for one round. When the luck score is shared and used, it is reduced by 2 points, rather than just 1 point.

A lucky bastard can re-roll one failed d20 roll per game session for every four levels he has attained (thus once at 4th level, twice at 8th level, thrice at 12th level, etc.).

A 6th level lucky bastard can steal an opponent’s luck once per day. When an opponent rolls a d20, the lucky bastard can, once he knows the result of the roll, take it for his own. The opponent must re-roll, and the lucky bastard must use his opponent’s first roll as his next d20 roll.

Lady Luck has smiled on the lucky bastard … but for how long. Every session a lucky bastard is played carries with it a cumulative 1% chance that Lady Luck turns her back on him. If this happens, the lucky bastard loses all special abilities for that session and the cumulative 1% chance resets itself for the next session.

A 9th level lucky bastard can build and operate a tavern/inn in a settlement, attracting 1d6 servers (one is an ex-thief, level 1d4), a bartender (ex-fighter, level 1d4), a groom and 1d10 regular customers (roll their identities as though they were henchmen). The tavern will, of course, be very successful. For every regular customer the lucky bastard has, he earns 1 gp per month. The tavern earns an additional 1d10 gp per month beyond the regulars. The lucky bastard can call on one favor per month from his regular customers, including using them as henchmen on his continuing adventures. If a regular customer is killed on an adventure, he is not replaced, and the lucky bastard must pay a 100 gp fee and lose all favors for 1d6 months.

* A rabbit’s foot and horseshoe are made lucky when they are blessed by a cleric (Lawful, if you use three alignments, Chaotic Good if you use nine) of at least 6th level.

The Saboteur – A New-Old Class

Circa 1984, I was in 6th grade and discovering role playing games – well, Dungeons & Dragons. I’d played a game with a friend who only knew the game based on watching his older brother play. He drew up a dungeon on graph paper, and during recess he ran me through it using a D6.

The next step was me getting Moldvay Basic from Toys ‘R’ Us, then Cook Expert, then into the AD&D line (dude – rangers are cool).

Now, I want to bring the younger readers back into these primitive times. Photocopiers existed, but they weren’t cheap. I convinced my mom to spend a decent chunk of change letting me check out copies of Dragon magazine from the library, take them to Kinkos, and copying articles at $.25 a page. Eventually she found it cheaper to get me a subscription for Christmas. Before I got to that lofty place, though, the way I copied stuff was with a typewriter. I remember borrowing module B1 – In Search of the Unknown – from a friend and typing it page by page – double column (which involved actually making a few spaces and then writing the line of text in the next column) and then tracing the pictures. Hey – it worked – got B1 for free (wish I still had that copy I typed).

Around that time, I decided to write my own game. To say it was heavily influenced by D&D rules would be an understatement, of course, but I was smart enough to know that if the game was to be original, I needed to spin things a bit. Thus, the thief became the saboteur. I don’t remember much about the old saboteur (again, wish I still had those typewritten pages somewhere), but today I got to thinking about that old game, and those old times, and figured I’d make a new saboteur class for Blood & Treasure.

THE SABOTEUR

Hit Dice: d6 per level, +2 hp per level after 10th
Attack: as thief
Save: as thief

Saboteurs must have a dexterity score of 9 or higher and an intelligence score of 12 or higher. They can wear up to leather armor and cannot use shields. Saboteurs can use daggers, flails, clubs, maces, morningstars, crossbows and firearms.

Special Abilities

Saboteurs are skilled at the following tasks: Climb walls, hide in shadows, move silently, open locks, remove traps, use and disable mechanical devices, use magic items (after 8th level) and operate siege engines. For many of these tasks, they require a set of sabotage tools.

Saboteurs are capable of concocting explosives. At 1st level, they can concoct black powder explosives that deal 1d6 points of damage per pound. They can attach fuses that take from 1 round to 1 minute to detonate. One pound of powder requires 1 day and 10 gp for the saboteur to create.

When a 3rd level saboteur strikes a foe that is wearing armor, he can forgo dealing damage and instead lower their effective Armor Class by 1 per 3 saboteur levels. The effective AC of the armor remains lowered after the combat until it is repaired by an armorer.

At 6th level, the saboteur can spend an extra day and an extra 25 gp (so 2 days, 35 gp) to make a more refined and powerful explosive that deals 1d10 points of damage per pound.

Saboteurs always deal double damage with their weapons and explosives against constructs and mechanical devices. This includes magical constructs. A 6th level saboteur can damage golems even without magic weapons, though he does not deal double damage against them. Moreover, when he successfully strikes a golem by rolling a natural ’20’, the golem loses its magic immunity for 1 round.

9th level saboteurs can damage magic items to the extent that they lose their powers for up to 1 day per the saboteur’s intelligence bonus (if she has an intelligence bonus). The saboteur must be able to handle the item, and must employ lodestones, lead wire and a silver hammer to temporarily cancel the magic item’s properties.

Saboteurs do not build strongholds, but they do gain followers. Starting at 7th level, a saboteur attracts one follower per level until they reach 11th level. Followers who die are not replaced. Roll these followers on the following chart:

1. 1d4 gnome tinkerers (0-level)
2. 1d3 rogues (0-level – see henchmen section to determine abilities)
3. 1d2 men-at-arms (leather armor, short sword, light crossbow)
4. Assassin (roll 1d2 for level)*
5. Thief (roll 1d3 for level)*
6. Saboteur apprentice (roll 1d4 for level)*

* Takes a 10% share of the saboteur’s experience points.