Monday, December 14, 2009

Musing on New Character Classes (and Encounter Critical)

I decided to incorporate the Houri, from White Dwarf #13, as a character class in my campaign. One of the motivations was in order to "Encounter Critical-ize" my game, with Houri being the Doxy equivalent.

Sitting down with my copy of Encounter Critical I checked through the classes: Warrior equals Fighting-Man; Psi Witch equals Mind Wizard; Pioneer equals ...?

Time to make a new class...the Explorer! A Planet Algol AD&D version of the Encounter Critical Pioneer.

Now I don't use the Ranger in my game (although the Cactoid R.C.C. is based on the Ranger), and I'd rather my Explorers not be tough-as-nails hardasses.

The Explorer's Prime Requisites are Intelligence & Wisdom, and they gain a 10% experience bonus if both are 16 or higher.

The Explorers has hit dice, attacks and saves of a Cleric of the same level (Explorers are good at not getting poisoned!). On Planet Algol any character class can use any weapon, however for a standard D&D game they can use any one-handed melee weapons and any ranged weapons. They are usually limited to leather and other armors that don't reduce their movement rate (including magic armor), although they will encumbering protective gear that is necessary for certain extremely hostile environments such as space suits, etc. They don't use shields.

The Explorer has the Explore, Provide and Tame abilities of the Encounter Critical Pioneer as well as a couple of skills (Consume Alien, Monster Friend, etc.). For skill calculations use Wisdom for Adaptation.

Although some skills & Pioneer abilities may seem goofy/over the top, I think a savvy DM can see serious gaming potential in these abilities! I could see the Tame ability also being used on sentient beings, as the explorer has the natural ability to get a "native" guide or sidekick!

Experience is as a cleric. They can learn languages faster than others and can learn a new language very level.

One thing I like about having an Explorer class is that it provides an archetypal role for Earth Man characters exploring an alien world. Another archetypal role is the scientist. Although the sage has knowledge abilities, he also has some sorcerous mojo going on, and his knowledge base is "Algol-ized" and specialized on fields of knowledge.

The Scientist class I'm working on is basically on the Scientist class from the X-Plorers RPG. Although some of it's abilities are somewhat vague, I'm a roll-with-the-simple-rules DM who can make it up on the fly. I'd like to make some allowances of sage-esque "fields of knowledge," and reverse the d20 DC checks for their abilities to Thief-style % checks, but it does pretty much out of the box. Hit dice, saves, attacks, and experience required as a thief. Weapons and armor as an Explorer. Intelligence is the prime requisite.

This Brings the List of Official Planet Algol Campaign Character Classes Up to 10 Classes:
Cactoid (race/class)
Fighting-Man (fighter)
Houri (race/class)
Mind Wizard
Sorcerer (magic-user)

Which is, disregarding Bards, the number of classes in the 1st edition AD&D Players Handbook, perfect!


  1. Explorer is a good call for earth-men.
    In Encounter Critical, Pioneers can be astronauts or sailors, and both have appeared on Algol.
    For scientists I think you could look to the Arduin Grimoire's Techno class as inspiration.
    I also think it would be cool if they were restricted from using any magic items ;)

  2. That sounds cool. I was considering doing something similar. I was going to call it the scout.
    I need to print our encounter critical and read it sometime.

  3. @ B.Portly: Earth Men was one of my motivations for having these two classes. The techno is cool, but that would be a separate Engineer or Technocrat class from the scientist. The no magic thing is entertaining, but any pulp scientist worth his salt is going to be elbow deep in any magic relics or phenomenons!

    @Aos: I find Encounter Critical endlessly inspiring, well worth the read.