Sunday, May 31, 2015

Expanding the Fighting Man again - more options for your Old-School Edition Fighter.

Waaaaay back in 2009 I posted the original five Fighting Man subclasses. Here are three more options for your players to take their vanilla 1E, B/X, or OD&D fighters in a more focused direction.

The Merchant

Merchants are a lynch pin of an active, thriving world, moving goods from place to place at a time when many folks lived all their lives without ever seeing what lay beyond the milestone at the edge of their villages. Merchants are experts of negotiation, collectors of maps and lore, and always have an eye out for the next big opportunity. They also tend to be jacks-of-all-trades, picking up many skills and languages along the way.
Prerequisite Ability: Cha 13+
Languages: Merchants begin play with one bonus language and add another at each odd-numbered level thereafter (3rd, 5th, etc).
Uncanny Trader: Merchants have a knack for getting the most out of a deal. They know how to get more coin when selling, and spend less coin when buying. This bonus is equal to 5% of the price (for sale or purchase) per level of the Merchant. For example, the 4th level Merchant makes 20% more when selling goods, and spends 20% less when buying them.
Traveler's Lore: Merchants have a 20%, plus 5% chance per level, to read languages, decode cyphers, and interpret obscure maps.
Magic Dabbler: A 5th level merchant can use magic as a 1st level Magic User, and gains a spellbook accordingly. 9th level Merchants cast spells as 2nd level Magic Users, and 13th level Merchant Princes cast as 3rd level Magic Users.
Shun Armor: Putting in long hours on horseback or at sea, Merchants do not often favor the use of heavy armor unless absolutely necessary, and customers tend to balk at the sight of it. Merchants cannot use their Uncanny Trader or Magic Dabbler abilities when clad in anything heavier than leather armor.

The Eldritch Knight

Eldritch Knights are warriors who employ the arcane arts to enhance their fighting abilities. Legends claim elves were the first to do so, but today warriors of all races may practice the art, provided they have mental mettle as well as physical.
Prerequisite Ability: Int 13+
Spellcasting: Eldritch Knights begin to add spells to their arsenal at 1st level, and progress every 2 levels after. So, a 3rd level Eldritch Knight casts at 2rd level, 5th at 3rd, 7th as 4th, 9th as 5th, 11th as 6th, and so on. They gain a spellbook as a Magic User does, and must use components as they do.
Limited Arms: Learning to cast while armored takes years of training and focus. 1st level Eldritch Knights can cast in Leather, 5th level in Chain or lighter, and not until 9th level and higher can they finally cast in plate mail. Also, one of the Eldritch Knight's hands must be free to cast spells, so shields and 2-handed weapons seldom see use by them.
Lightning Reactions: Once per day, an Eldritch Knight may use his weapon and a spell in the same round. This ability increases to twice a day at 5th level, and three times a day at 9th level.
Touch of Steel: Eldritch Knights can deliver spells that normally require a touch (such as shocking grasp) with their weapons, in addition to normal damage.

The Dervish

Dervishes are skilled warriors, usually from exotic places, who focus on speed and agility to enhance their fighting skills, rather than brute strength and steel armor. Dervishes are highly sought after as bodyguards and prize fighters. Their distinctive fighting style of whirling and leaping allows them to engage in combat unarmored, and strike multiple times with their flashing blades.
Prerequisite Ability: Dex 13+
Unarmored Defense: Dervishes can never wear armor (though they may use shields), instead, they wear loose-fitting, flowing clothes made of linen and cotton that confuse an enemies blade as they twirl and leap. Armored dervishes lose all their special abilities. At 1st level, an unencumbered, unarmored Dervish has an Armor Class equivalent to leather armor. At 5th, she has an armor class equivalent to chain mail, and at 9th, an armor class equivalent to plate mail.
Whirling Blades: A dervish armed with a light weapon, such as a scimitar, hand axe, or spear, can make more attacks than their slower counterparts. A 1st level a Dervish attacks thrice every two rounds, twice a round at 5th level, and thrice per round at 9th level.
Unwavering Focus: A Dervish reduced to 0 or fewer hit points during combat will go into a sort of trance state, allowing her to continue fighting for 1d3 rounds after.


  1. I like the balance of power in the Eldritch Knight's solutions to armor increasing over levels and needing one hand free to cast spells.

    Don't recall how AD&D handled multiple attacks per alternate rounds. How does the Dervish getting 3 attacks every 2 rounds work? Is it one attack the first round and two the second?

    For a system like this, it would involve some kind of tracking method. Do you employ Time sheets with the rounds marked out and then figure out extra attacks, or bleeding out over rounds down to negative 10 HP (etc) and death, etc? Not sure how to handle this with a minimum of hassle and book keeping.

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