Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J for Jongleur

[Note: Any non-gamers tuning in to this series of posts are invited to consult my New Reader Introduction for some RPG-specific definitions and a general introduction to the Lands of Ara blog.]

When the current Arandish Campaign started in early 2010, one of the participants came to me during the character generation phase and asked if he could play a juggler in the game. Being the sort of DM who likes to let players run with their ideas -- my games have always benefited greatly from the creative contributions of the players -- I of course said "yes."

This player, who is a juggler in real life, showed me some ideas he'd found in the AD&D 2e Complete Bard's Handbook and explained how the abilities and skills therein jibed with his concept for the class. Based upon these discussions, he and I constructed a juggler class based upon the Delving Deeper Bard, with a couple skills borrowed from The Complete Bard's Handbook "Jongleur" and "Blade" classes. Uncle Junkal the Rodian Jongleur was born.

Note, however, that the 2d6 Jongleur presented below (and available as downloadable pdf here) does not exactly replicate how we have been running Uncle Junkal in our own campaign play. The Jongleur Bard variant I'm making available herein has been somewhat standardized, that is, power-balanced with the Arandish Bard (downloadable as pdf here). Being a prototype, Uncle Junkal is unique, a special case, a slight deviation from the typical Arandish Jongleur.

In time, once he finishes his PhD dissertation in a couple of months, I will persuade Uncle Junkal's player to write a guest post about how he came up with the juggler-as-PC concept. For now, you'll have to make do with my take on the Arandish 2d6 Jongleur for Labyrinth Lord.

The 2d6 Jongleur
for use with 2d6 Bardery by Carter Soles and Spawn of Endra
Jongleur for Labyrinth Lord concept by "Uncle Junkal"

Jongleurs are a non-magical Bard variant that specialize in juggling, sleight of hand, and other forms of small object manipulation. Jongleurs are loosely based upon the French entertainers of the same name. They are masters at manipulating small items with their hands. They can catch and juggle almost anything. They are experts at throwing small items (like knives) with great accuracy.

Requirements: CHA 15, DEX 14, STR 9, INT 12
Prime Requisite: CHA
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: None

Jongleurs may wear leather and studded leather armor only, and may not use shields. Jongleurs can use all hurled weapons, i.e., any weapon that can be thrown (daggers, hand axes, spears), but not including bows, blowguns, or other missile weapons that are fired or shot. Otherwise, Jongleurs are restricted to the following weapons: polearm, quarterstaff, and sling. All of the weapons usable by Jongleurs can be used in their performances. For example, they can juggle daggers, pole vault with polearms, and balance with spears or quarterstaffs.

Jongleurs begin play with the standard 3d8x10 gold pieces (gp). They use the Cleric Attack Table (LL p. 60) and the Thief Saving Throw table (LL p. 55).

Jongleur Skills: In Ara, Jongleurs use the 2d6 Bardery skill system based upon Dyson Logos' 2d6 Thievery mechanic. In addition to the three standard Bard skills -- Charm Person / Monster, Legend Lore, and Read Languages / Arcane Scrolls -- Jongleurs get one additional skill, Weapons Display, plus a special ability (no skill roll required) called Multiple Object Throwing. Like standard Bards, Jongleurs only get ONE "Favored Skill" -- all other skills roll on the "Other Skills" column on the Table below.

Weapons Display
By whirling a melee or hurled weapon about his body, a Jongleur can affect the morale and courage of others. Such a display of skill, precision, and deadly grace lowers opponents' morale by 2 (but it does not require an immediate morale check) and inspires allies, giving a +1 bonus to allies' attack rolls. The display must occur for a full round without interruption. During this time, any successful attack upon the Jongleur, or failed saving throw by the Jongleur, disrupts the display.

The Weapons Display ability requires a lot of room; it cannot be done in a narrow corridor. The observer must be close enough to the Jongleur to see the display (e.g., a darkness spell negates the effect). The display has no effect upon those already engaged in close combat, as they are too busy to pay attention to the show. Also, Weapons Display works only on those who can either use weapons or have seen them used. Weapons Display may be used only once per encounter.

Multiple Object Throwing
The experienced Jongleur may throw multiple objects (including thrown weapons) per round. This ability improves with level advancement:
Level 4: throw twice per round
Level 8: throw three times per round
Level 12: throw four times per round
Level 16: throw five times per round


2d6 Jongleur Skill Chart - Roll 2d6:
Jongleur Level
Favored Skill
Other Skills
1
10+
11+
2
10+
10+
3
9+
10+
4
9+
9+
5
9+
9+
6
8+
9+
7
8+
8+
8
7+
8+
9
6+
7+
10
5+
6+
11
4+
5+
12
4+
4+
13
3+
4+
14+
3+
3+

Note that a roll of "2" always fails.

Optionally, you may grant a Jongleur his or her CHA modifier (i.e., the absolute value of the Reaction Adjustment modifier, +1 for CHA 13-17, +2 for CHA 18) to all Jongleur skill checks, including Weapons Display, Legend Lore, and Read Languages and Arcane Scrolls skill rolls.

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