Friday, April 26, 2013
OSR Prestige Classes
And why bloody not? I'm probably not alone. Somewhere out there are tiny handfuls of old school gamers who think prestige classes for original D&D, AD&D, and their associated retro-clones is a good idea.
Yes, 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons gave us much to think about... and to steal! Another jewel to be robbed by the purple shadow haze of nightfall. (Sorry, I've been reading Robert E. Howard's Conan stories again.) Deviation from standard classifications is what we want, isn't it? Non-standardization is, after all, the essence of old school gaming!
How is this going to work? Who has already tried this? Is there a blog or PDF or setting book? If the subject hasn't fully been explored, then how about a OSR community project? Should these be open to a particular race/class at 7th level - 5th or 9th instead? How many is too many? Should these class deviations be created by the DM, the players under DM supervision, or both? Is it simpler or more complex than creating a Fighter/Cleric or Elf Wizard/Thief? What are the restrictions? What are the benefits? Are there any drawbacks? How does one translate feats into pre-third edition D&D?
Of course, the most important question of all might be: is this something the players want? If it is, then prestige classes should be considered. They can be excused, explained, or hand waved any which way the DM likes. Fun is the best reason for doing anything in a roleplaying game.
Anyway, here are a few suggestions of my own; classes that either exist in some version of D&D already, I thought up, or found after a brief search in cyberland. Nothing concrete, only ideas... I thought it was important to sow the seeds of imagination before anything else. In fact, I would rather have a short paragraph describing each career path than a list of numbers, bonuses, modifiers, and rules. Although, I'm sure a balance can be struck between game and narrative.
Wizard, Elf, or Drow
Aquamancer, Pyromancer, Ice Mage, Celestial Invoker, Widowmaker, Arachnomancer, etc.
Thief, Halfling, or Half-Orc
Bard, Acrobat, Assassin, Bounty Hunter, Barbarian, Pirate, Shadow Striker, etc.
Death Priest, Templar, Herald of the Old Gods, Hierophant, etc.
Warrior (Fighter or Fighting-Man) or Dwarf or Half-Orc
Reaver, Slayer, Ranger, Knight of the Crimson Wyrm, Paladin, etc.
I want to know what you guys think? Is this something you might use in your current campaign? If you already are, then please furnish us with details! And feel free to comment below with your own suggestions.