Friday, October 30, 2009

Available Classes in my Arandish Campaign – Update!

Like many old-school gamers, I like to pick and choose what I borrow from various sources, inevitably hybridizing and combining various rules conventions, spells, and creatures to end up with a distinct and unique set of campaign house rules.  Given the time period during which I entered the RPG’ing hobby it should come as no surprise that my “comfort zone” for preferred rules sets are the Holmes / Cook / Moldvay boxed sets as well as first edition AD&D.  Thus, as I have been adapting the various unique races and classes that should exist on Ara into D&D terms, I find I cobble together stuff from Labyrinth Lord (the Moldvay/Cook retro-clone rules system I have happily committed to for this campaign) the original AD&D manuals (thanks to Carl for extended-loaning me the Player’s Handbook!) as well as various inspirations and tidbits from the old-school blogging community (thanks especially to Grognardia, Ancient Vaults and Eldritch Secrets, and Beyond the Black Gate) and Brave Halfling Games.  I am excited by much of the new stuff I’ve found (I love those Brave Halfling rangers, for example) yet I can see that am quickly drifting away from any fidelity to a single set of rules or rules publications—why did I ever think it would be otherwise?  On the plus-side, this is just further evidence of how well all the pre-2nd Edition D&D publications fit together—I am able to poach a few classes and spells from AD&D, graft them onto my Labyrinth Lord rules, and it all works out and feels right to me (I never played 2e and cannot comment on its compatibility with 1st edition).  But all this "borrowing," customization, and hybridization means I will need to keep a number of different books and online resources on hand when I play!

Which leads to my recent revelation: that I am immensely looking forward to Goblinoid Games’ Advanced Edition Companion, due out later this year.  I have a feeling that if that supplement lives up to my expectations, it may well solve my organizational problem by giving me many of the additional character class options and expanded spell lists I need to translate Ara into LL terms, all under one cover!  We will see; but be forewarned, then, that as usual, any of the information I am about to give you is subject to change, pending the arrival of that publication and/or any other rules discoveries or innovations I might make or create in the next couple of months. 

That said, it is time to issue a somewhat definitive statement about the extant character classes in Ara.  Some of these, like all the rodian classes, I have previously discussed; where I have made changes, the information in this post supersedes all previous posts about available PC classes.  Furthermore, as you will see, I am for the first time herein revealing the divine magic practitioner classes that exist on Ara; I do not yet have full class descriptions for many of these (e.g., Elementalists) and, as I said, a few of these may shift yet again once I get my greedy hands on that Advanced Edition Companion, but this will at least give you a broad overview of what I am planning.

So here, for now, are the extant classes in my Arandish campaign, listed by race:


Fighter, Cleric, Magic-User (as per Labyrinth Lord)

Noffellian Sword-Cleric (a special type of undead-fighting Noffellian cleric to be described in a forthcoming post)

Fire Elementalist, Earth Elementalist, Wind Elementalist, Water Elementalist, Cold Elementalist (five cleric sub-classes, all to be described in forthcoming posts)

Druid (as per Player’s Handbook): a rare PC type in Ara, since Druids are nature-lovers and tend to live reclusively in the wilds, eschewing civilization and human company.

Assassin (as per Player’s Handbook): another rare, but permitted, PC type in Ara.

Thief: I am officially switching from the Grognardia version (thereby superseding class information given on this post and an NPC on this one) to the Beyond the Black Gate version.

The Arandish Ranger comes in two variants, both found in Brave Halfling’s Delving Deeper: Ranger: (1) the giant-fighter (With Damage Bonus), presumed to be a northerner or from the eastern mountains, and (2) the scout (With Additional Skills) from anywhere in Ara but especially prevalent in the wilderness areas of Achelon and the Western Lands, and around the Great Western Swamp.  

I may in the future use the Grognardia version of the ranger for Telengardian Roughriders and/or Achelonian monster-hunters, if I develop those types as PC classes.


Duellist, Rogue [Beyond the Black Gate Thief], Illusionist (as per PH)


Dwarf (as per Labyrinth Lord)


I’m just so taken with James M’s use of Goblins as PCs that I am tempted to allow it in Ara.  But not just anywhere; probably only in the northeastern mountains, in campaigns centering on (or at least originating in) Telengard or possibly Delzar.  Well, okay, I suppose that if Goblins exist as PCs in Ara at all, then a few must live in the Free City of Kaladar and at least one must be a member of Hokka’s crew.

What does this list exclude from AD&D?
NO Paladin, Bard, Monk, or Halfling – these do not exist in Ara
NO Elf  -- though elves exist as an NPC race in the Lands of Ara.

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