Magic-Users in my House Ruled OD&D Campaign – Part 1

94C2CE13-89DE-491F-BCC5-76466C251D8F

By Yanavaseya 

Greetings, in my previous post I discussed Warrior-Magi. This will be part one of a multi-post series, since Magic-Users in the campaign setting are not just arcane casters, but can also be divine casters aligned to either Law or Chaos.

That said your bog standard Magic-User in OD&D are generic arcane spell casters aka Wizards. And in general they are so in my setting but they only represent common Magi.

In this post I will focus on the Magi and in my next post I will discuss Priests the spell casting Adventuring Priest. In the third post in the series I will discuss a variant Magi – the Elementalist.

That will be followed by a post for the Infernalist and a special post on my version of the Druid. Like in the various OD&D supplements I wanted there to be some variation to the standard OD&D Magic-User.

My setting the variant Magic-Users are more specialized and thus have certain abilities and restricted spells. But the common Magi has more spells and lack the special abilities than their specialized kin.

Magi start their careers as apprentices to an established Magi or as part of Order of Magi. They are not the library haunting academics that populate their places of initial learning.

They are adventuring Magi – they are of sterner stuff than their academic kin. They train at arms and study skills need to travel the wilderness.

Though not as effective in combat as their Warrior-Magi counterparts they do hold skill in darts, daggers, spear and staff initially.

They cannot use armor and shields but can learn one additional weapon every four levels with proper training. Like my friend at the Black Dragon Games blog (link here) my Magi are also Sages with a major and minor area of expertise. I am still trying to figure out how this works. I may just adopt the rules from 1e AD&D. Not sure.

Magi can be of any Alignment, though if Lawful and they use Chaotic Spells they have a chance of becoming tainted by chaos and losing access to Lawful Spells.

Chaos Magic is infernal in origin and its use taints a Magi or Infernal Priest. Use it to much not only do you open yourself to greater and greater influence from infernal beings but the magic corrupts not only your soul but body.

By restrictive use of Chaos Magic and balanced use of Lawful Magic and a Magi stay neutral in Alignment.

Magi who stray towards Chaos often are hunted by Witch Hunters and Warrior-Priests.

C8C116D2-1090-4BF9-9DDB-9F5F8EF74A74

By Gabriel Moreno

They become Infernalists and lose access to Law Magic and develop a almost addiction to Chaos Magic, having to make Saves vs. Poison when they next level. If the save fails they can only pick a Chaos Spell and they have to take a Save vs. Polymorph or roll on a mutation table.

FF653B05-BBD9-4294-9D92-01A1C3CD5673

By NEXON/davCAT

 A quick note about magic in my setting:

ALL spells are tied to Law/Order, Nature/Neutrality or Chaos/the Infernal.

Most Lawful Magic-Users become Adventuring Priests, while Chaos Aligned Magic-Users become either Chaos Cultists or Infernalists.

Magic-Users are fairly diverse in my setting – Be they Adventuring Priests, Druids, Shamans, Warrior-Priests, Warrior-Magi or your bog standard Magi. Each has a defined role in the campaign and as the campaign develops I will likely add more to my house ruled system.

So here ends my introductory post concerning Magic-Users in my OD&D campaign (at least tied to this setting). Please take care and I will post again soon, fin.

The Warrior-Magi Class for my OD&D Campaigns

D7DF2058-9C61-44CE-86C5-61360FEC180F

By Victoria Sakolova

Greetings, in this post I will be describing the Warrior-Magi. I have always loved the idea of the Warrior-Mage and let’s face it a lot of D&D/Fantasy RPG fans do too.

I decided to basically reskin the Cleric as the foundation for my Warrior-Magi class. It was basically what a Cleric was except with holy magic.

Whereas Clerics get Turn Undead, have limited spells (including no spells at 1st Level) I decided to restructure their spell per levels. Also unlike a Cleric a Warrior-Magus cannot wear heavy armor, but they can use bladed weapons.

That said they are limited in the types of weapons that they can use. If they use a shield they cannot cast spells.

Another difference between Clerics and Warrior-Magi is that Warrior-Magi are trained in martial arts – both unarmed and armed combat.

They are not the equivalent to Monks though they can do damage unarmed and on a natural 12 on a 2d6 or 20 on a d20 attack roll they do 2d6 damage to unarmored opponents.

E984B957-2D16-4D5E-BB44-16660CEEAE61

By Lindsey Burcar

HD d6  Alignment Any

Restrictions:

• Can only wear Leather Armor

• If using a Shield they cannot cast spells

Weapons Available:

Daggers

I Darts

Bows (not including Crossbows)

Swords

Spears

Staves

Hand Axes

Attribute Requirements:

Str, Con, Dex & Int of 10 as a minimum.

Abilities:

• Saves as Cleric

• Attacks as Cleric against non-Humanoid opponents.

• Unarmed combat (described above)

• Spells are a mix of what was Cleric & Magic-User Spell lists with modifications.

• Like with all Magic-Users using Chaotic spells frequently can lead to corruption and mutations developing.

—————————————————————

Though powerful at higher levels Warrior-Magi are still prone to death. Outside magical protection they are still glass cannons. Plus they need to stay out of melee combat and be protected while casting spells.

They are not front line fighters by any means, they are just more sturdy and versatile in combat that Magic-Users.

Because of their powerful abilities especially at higher levels even with the listed restrictions they will be rare.

I hope that you find this class of interest and I plan to post soon my version of a Druid and cover Magic-Users and their specialized variants soon. Till then take care, fin.

The Smarag – The replacement of Halflings & Dwarfs PCs in my OD&D Campaign

image

Smarag by Ezra Caleb West 5/6/2020

Greetings, in this post I will be discussing a race for my OD&D/Chainmail rooted system and setting. I have already covered Orcs and Elves, I wanted to replace Halflings and Dwarfs in some fashion as a player character race.

Whereas Elves are magically transformed humans with some Fey magical properties the Smarag are a distinct race. There are many stories concerning their origins that even the Smarag do not know which is true.

Some believe that they are the product of magical bioengineering by a mad sorcerer or they Fey. Some claim that they are a fusion of Dwarfs and Goblins.

Others believe they are the remnants of the proto-Goblin race before the Goblins gave into the infernal influence of Underworld powers.

Whatever their origins they are a race of underground dwelling nocturnal artisans with close relations with humans and Dwarfs often acting as intermediaries between the races.

The Smarag stand between 3’ and 4’ in height and have a athletic build even into advanced age. Their skin spans from brown to olive in coloration, while their hair is straight and black.

The Smarag take pride in their craftsmanship and physical fitness. Laziness is a cultural taboo amongst the Smarag. Whether working stone, wood or gems they dedicate much of their time mastering their craft. They also spend time playing sport, learning dance and hunting.

Though not a warrior culture like Dwarfs and Orcs, Smarag are gifted guerrilla fighters like Elves. As such like Elves they are skilled in silent movement and ambush.

Like Goblins they are sensitive to bright light and sunlight and take negatives in such instances. They also are prolific breeders and there are at least two females born to every male Smarag.

Polygamy is common in their culture and the Smarag who live within human cities interracial relationships between Smarag women and human men is common.

Prostitution is common amongst the very poor in those urban communities. Those women who engage in such activities are often disowned by their families.

The Smarag are generally a socially conservative peoples and such debasement of the self is seen as a stain upon the honor of the family and clan.

The Smarag are a generally Lawful race and try to promote order via their actions. Prostitution is seen as a manifestation of Chaos and will taint the community.

Small urban communities of Smarag outcasts have begun growing up in Human cities, often in the poorer districts. They are largely Neutral in alignment but occasionally one or more will turn to Chaos.

—————————————————————

Smarag

HD d6  Alignment Lawful or Neutral

Class Restrictions:

Fighting-Men 8th Level*

Warrior-Priest N/A

Magic-Users Unlimited

Druid Unlimited

Warrior-Magus 8th Level*

Abilities:

Hear Noise 1-2 on a d6

Detect Secret Passages 1-3 on a d6

Hide in Shadows 1-3 on a d6

Move Silently 1-3 on a d6

Ambush/Backstab x2 1-4 Levels, x3 5-8 Levels and x4 9-12+ Levels if applicable.

Can see in moonlight, dim or ambient light if as day.

+1 to all missile attacks

Penalties:

-1 to Morale and all rolls in bright light.

Notes:

*= Smarag cannot rise above 8th Level as Humans won’t allow them into nobility.

—————————————————————-

Smarag are a race that I have been developing over the years though under different names and different types of culture. I am finally happy with how they turned out in this incarnation.

I will be creating another race or ancestry to take the forth slot in the classic four core races in OD&D. I will post about them asap once I have developed them to my satisfaction. Take care, fin.&

Ezra’s Orcs for my new setting

Greetings, after a few days of Twitter drama surrounding Orcs (and other Humanoids) I figured that I should cover Orcs.

In this blog post I will not discuss the online drama as frankly it is not the purpose of this blog. Instead I will cover how Orcs are portrayed in my new setting that I am developing along side my House Ruled OD&D system.

As I began thinking of the topic I was unsure how I wanted to portray my Orcs. As a fan of Elder Scrolls Skyrim and how ES portrays Orcs as a feral subrace of Elves… I was hesitant to just copy and paste ES Orcs into my setting yet again.

I felt that would be lazy and just not fun for me as a creative or DM/Referee nor would it be fun for my players.

So I went to two D&D sources: OD&D and Basic/Expert D&D.

The core foundation for my Orcs are the 3LBBs and how they are described including the fact that they can be Neutral or Chaos aligned.

In B/X D&D Orcs are described as bestial  – as a fusion of human & animal. Now how would I make this work?

In 1e AD&D Gary describes them as porcine in nature… or the art implies it.

F6F67650-984B-44E9-9C22-2FD3721120B0

My desire was to make Orcs consistent with how I view the world. So I started to examine various animals and which would best fit my Neutral and best fit my Chaotic Orcs.

For my initial campaign region I picked animals that seemed to fit the regions climate.

Neutral Orcs:

Bat-Men Orcs – These Orcs are a fusion of human and Bat, sharing characteristics of both. Bat-Men Orcs are the smallest of Orcs about the size of a Goblin and have a set of wings.

They feed on Giant Insects and fruit. They are fond of fruit based liquors and preserves.

Boar-Men Orcs – These Orcs are a fusion of humans and Boars, sharing characteristics of both. Boar-Men Orcs are prone to violence when their communities are threatened. They are the larger of the Beast-Men Orcs of Neutrality.

Goat-Men Orcs – These Orcs are a fusion of Goats and humans, sharing characteristics of both. Goat-Men Orcs are the medium sized Orcs of Neutrality, they are leaner in build than Boar-Men Orcs but taller than Bat-Men Orcs. L

Chaos Orcs:

Wolf-Men Orcs – These Orcs are a fusion of Wolves and humans, sharing characteristics of both. They are highly predatory in nature and will raid other Orc and human communities for resources, food and slaves.

Lion-Men Orcs – These Orcs are a fusion of Humans and Lions, sharing characteristics of both. They are predatory in nature.

Female Lion-Men Orcs are the primary hunters and are mated to a strong Clan chief. Male Lion-Men Orcs once out of adolescence strike off to claim and form their own Pride/Clan.

Gnolls – Gnolls in my world are Orcs but have embraced the darkest aspects of Chaos. They are a fusion of Hyenas and Humans, sharing characteristics of both.

So here is a basic rundown of Orcs in my setting going forward. I will flesh them out and give them proper write-ups and names. I just wanted to give readers a bit of insight on how Orcs will manifest in my future campaigns.

Take care and I will post again soon, fin.

Elves, Fey & Low Elves in my House Ruled OD&D Campaign

Greetings, in this post I will be discussing my version of “Elves” that will populate my setting that I am developing as I am developing my House Ruled OD&D system.

Before I describe the Player Character Elfin “Race” I will take time to discuss the Fey and how PC “Elves” tie into the Fey.

In my setting Fey & True Elves are not Law aligned but Neutral and Chaos aligned. Your typical house spirit is neutral, whereas True Elves are Chaos aligned.

True Elves kidnap human babies and replace the stolen child with a human formed changeling. The human child is taken into the Fey Lands, which is a pocket region of the Underworld.

True Elves and other Chaos aligned Fey are beings of Chaos like Goblins and the Undead. They are fond of causing simple mischief to murder depending upon their nature or whim.

Now PC “Elves” are not True Elves but Humans raised in the Fey Lands and who have had their bodies sculpted through Fey Magic to take a more pleasing form to their Elfin masters.

These Fey Touched Humans are tainted by Chaos and can only be Neutral or Chaos aligned.

They also are often mistakenly called Elves by their fellow humans because of their alien Fey forms and magical abilities.

74DF99CA-7C9E-4B87-9A0B-CD08A1448F47

Art by DeerLordHunter

———————————————————-

Low ElvesFey Touched Humans 

HD: d6     Alignment: Neutral or Chaos

Class Restrictions:

Fighting-Man 8th Level*

Warrior-Priest N/A**

Magic-User Unlimited***

Warrior-Magus 8th Level*

Abilities:

Hear Noise: 1-2 on a d6

Passing by a Secret Door: 1-2 on a d6

Searching for secret passages: 1-4 on a d6

Hide in Shadows: 1-3 on a d6

Move Silently: 1-3 on a d6

Ambush/Backstab: x2 1-4th Level, x3 4-8th Level & x4 9-12th+ Level if applicable.

With magical Sword or Bow:

+3 vs. Goblins, +2 vs. Orcs

Split-move/Fire Bow

See in moonlight or with ambient light as in daylight.

Notes:

*= Low Elves cannot rise above 8th Level as either a Fighting-Man or Warrior-Magus, as Humans will not accept them as part of the Nobility.

**= Low Elves cannot be Warrior-Priests as they do not desire to serve War Deities.

***= Low Elves can be any kind of Magic-User though they rarely become Priests, though they can become Druids, Sorcerers/Witches and Elementalists.

Fey Characteristics: Low Elves were magically sculpted by True Elves and thus have a number of physical mutations.

These mutations run from Unearthly Beauty, Androgyny, Fangs, Tails, long pointed ears, alien skin color, long tongue, horns, slow aging and fifty years longer life and true Hermaphroditism.

————————————————————

Low Elves in my setting take the place of OD&D Elves and 3.5-5e D&D Tieflings. Instead of having two hidentical races with different Chaotic Ancestry I fused both.

Since I decided to toss the Thief Class, I  have given Low Elves certain Thief abilities.

I felt it fit their Fey nature to have those abilities instead of the Invisibility ability granted in Chainmail.

By in large my Low Elves are Elves as described in both the 3LBBs and Chainmail but with a few thematic tweaks to fit my setting.

I will compose two other core races that will be populate my setting (at least the core region). I hope that you find my take on Elves of interest.

Take care for now, fin.

House Ruled Classes – Of Clerics & Paladins

BAC9FC1E-68F2-49B6-BD7E-8949580A2269

By Pascal Quidault

Greetings, today I will discuss my take on two interrelated spiritual classes – the Cleric & Paladin. The reader will note that there are two classes missing from the list above – the Druid & Monk. This is because I am still thinking about how best to deal with them.

I have always a love-hate relationship with both the Cleric & Paladin Classes. They seemed to fill the same niche, in fact the Paladin made the Cleric fairly redundant and pushed the Cleric into the much maligned role of “Heal-bot”.

Gone was the fiery Warrior-Priest and stalwart defender of civilization from the vile scourge of Chaos.

This transformation was further acerbated by 2e AD&D’s making them wandering priests with various specialties.

Complete Heresy in my book.

That said, I still had issues with Clerics. First they were in 3LBB OD&D spell book studying religious Warrior-Mages with a religious focus.

Though appealing to me in a way but I was more interested in the Warrior-Priest aspect. I always felt that the Paladin fit the role better but was too Templar Knight like.

I always thought that if you fused the classes that the result would fit what I feel represent the Warrior-Priest concept that I prefer.

It was years later when I turned 18yo that I was introduced to a game & setting that would eventually give me an example of the Warrior-Priest I desired – the Warrior-Priest of Sigmar.

Now Even though I love the setting, art and of Warhammer Fantasy I prefer D&D – especially OD&D.

Howar can I take the inspiration of the Warrior-Priest of Sigmar and create a house ruled Cleric?

First of get rid of the lame name “Cleric” and replace it with the Warrior-Priest. Now being rooted in OD&D there is the Alignment issue and the issue of spells.

I never cared for the fact that Clerics didn’t choose an alignment until 7th level and had a ill defined binary choice.

The Cleric could be of any of the alignments but only the Cleric of Law was truly defined. Sure the Anti-Cleric was given a few minor details but it always felt tacked on as an afterthought.

Neutral Clerics got the shaft at 7th level and it wasn’t until a later supplement that they got a default alternative to replace them – the Druid.

Well what am I doing to change the class to fit my concept outside a name change & rant? Read below.

792BB773-68ED-48EB-90E6-C464182E2334

By Frank Frazetta

Warrior-Priest

The Warrior-Priest is a member of a militant order. They are either sent on holy quests by their order & attached Temple; or they are wanderingg Priests/Priestesses of a War Deity – one aligned with either Law or Chaos.

Warrior-Priests of a Lawful War Deity would be stalwart defender of civilization and hunter of undead, demons, evil Magi and perverse cults of Chaos.

While Chaotic Warrior-Priests would be heralds of war in its most destructive manifestations. They would preach their deity’s gospel of war, plunder and destruction. Their creed would be – Might Makes Right!

6 HD  Alignments – Law or Chaos only.

Weapons: Bludgeoning weapons.

Armor: All

Primary’s Attribute: Wisdom

Secondary Attribute: Charisma

Races: Human or Half-Blood of Lawful Alignment, Human or Humanoid of Chaotic Alignment.

Abilities:

  • Bless/Curse once a day. This increases by one at levels 3, 6, 9 & 12
  • Lay Hands once a day. This increases by one at levels 4, 8 & 12.
  • Wrath of God once a day at Level 6 & a second time at Level 12.
  • Immune to Disease.
  • Heal/Cause Disease once a day at level 4, 8 & 12. F
  • Purify/Taint water or food once a day at level 3, 6, 9 & 12.
  • Turn Undead/Demon or command Undead/Demon.

Bless/Curse as Spell.

Laying Hands heals 1d6 HPs.

Wrath of God: After invocation to one’s Deity a pillar of flame erupts in a 6 or 12’ radius centered on target of Warrior-Priest’s choosing causing either 6d6 or 12d6 HPs to targeted creature with NO save.

Purify/Taint food or water as spell.

Turn Undead/Demon as in book. Chaotic Warrior-Priest’s can instead Command an Undead/Demon of the equivalent power that his Lawful counterparts can turn or destroy.

Restrictions:

  • Must abide by the Alignment and code of conduct expected by deity. If Warrior-Monk violates this once they temporarily lose their abilities for a day and have a Dream in which their deity or it’s servant admonishes them to stay true to their God’s will. A second violation and they lose their abilities until they complete a vital quest for their deity. A third violation and they are permanently stripped of their abilities and cursed.
  • Must donate 10% of their treasure to their Temple & 5% to their Militant Order.
  • Any holy object of their deity discovered in a ruined temple or treasure hoard must be secured and given to their Home Temple. Doing so will earn the Warrior-Priest healing potions for the whole party, a cure disease or healing at the Temple once. Selling the item will automatically lead to the Warrior-Priest loses all abilities until not only they return the Holy Object for no reward but the completion of another quest.

I feel that this fits the needs of my idea of a Warrior-Priest AKA Cleric. Though the Warrior-Priest doesn’t get a list of Spells they do get spell-like abilities. They fit the concept that I envision for how Warrior-Priests should be.

I do not know if this house ruled “Cleric” would appeal to you or not but I wanted to share not only my thoughts on Clerics but an example of how I plan to use them in my future campaigns. Fin.

House ruled version of OD&D

BCEE01BC-7360-4866-9E91-800CF0AACC5A

It’s been quite awhile since I last posted here as my life hasn’t been less chaotic. But I wanted to post something here before my move at the end of the month.

I wanted to discuss some of the potential house rules that I will be using in my future campaigns.

Combat:

I will be using combat charts depending on opponent type: Humanoids (men, elves etc.) & monstrous creatures and animals.

They are based on Chainmail’s Individual Combat matrices: For humanoids and OD&D’s “Alternate Combat Rules matrices “: For monstrous creatures and animals.

Why the change?’

Simple, I prefer the Chainmail charts for humanoid (armored & unarmored) combat. Since most non-humanoid don’t use weapons & armor there is no need for using the individual combat matrices.

7084470C-CAAE-4047-9CA6-0521365E0C08

From Chainmail Printing 3 by Gary Gygax & Steve Perrin. *

I like the fusion of OD&D & Chainmail, it makes combat between humanoids more dynamic. Plus it adds multiple attacks against single opponents depending on weapon length and speed.

Some would claim that it is unnecessarily complex but it isn’t – roll 2d6 (2-12).

Longer weapons get first strike but strike less often than weapons 5 or 8 sizes smaller than them. Daggers strike twice against Battle Axes or strike thrice against Spears.

Not overly complex compared to the version in the Greyhawk Supplement I. Once you master it, it is easy & quick to use in game.

Add to the multiple attacks against individual opponents based on weapon size “Heroes” (4th level) can attack four 1 HD opponents per round; while “super-heroes” (8th level) can attack eight 1 HD opponents.

Archers can fire once a round with a short or long bow, once every two rounds with a light crossbow or once every three rounds with a heavy crossbow.

Archers can fire twice a round with a short or long bow IF the Archer doesn’t move and do melee in a round.

Thrown weapons are generally once a round but daggers, darts and similar small light weapons can thrown twice against opponents armed Battle Axes; while three times against opponents armed with spears.

Unlike in melee longer weapons don’t get first strike against thrown weapons. Thrown weapons cannot be used melee range (10’), nor can bows of any kind.

Each Player Character & Non Player Character gets to move, do a single missile attack (or multiple attacks if they do not move), spell casting (if they do not move) and melee (if they don’t cast spell or fire two arrows).

If you are attacked from the flank you are not protected by a shield on attack 2nd on first round.

If you are attacked from behind you exclude any shield protection, don’t get to strike back in 1st round and strikes 2nd in 2nd round.

If you attack an opponent from behind grants you a +1 to their attack.

This is all for now for this update. I will try to post more often once I finish my move. Fin.

* Note: IF I publish a version of my house ruled OD&D/Chainmail I will create my own charts.