Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Death to Racial Classes! - Alternative Character Creation for Lamentations & B/X

          B/X and Lamentations are renowned for how quickly character creation goes; there are very few actual decisions to make beyond your class and shockingly to those who haven't played it before, races are simply classes. Not to re-invent the wheel, or to trod too heavily on ground which would eventually become AD&D, but some of my players have begun to complain that everyone turns out fairly samey. While my knee-jerk reaction was to tell them that is likely a failure of role playing, I began to toy with additional aspects to both character creation and progression to add to my growing number of house rules. This first article will focus on my work with character creation. Most notably i'm throwing the racial classes in the trash. I don't like their implementation and I don't enjoy the problematic aspects which can come along with using them. Instead I have split rolling up a character into two aspects, Ancestry and Background. I made both into rollable tables because i'm obsessed, and everything should be random.

          Ancestries are simply where your character comes from genetically, they don't necessarily have to be purely an Elf or an Orc, but it's what they most resemble. The Elf Ancestry could suggest merely having Elven blood, or perhaps coming from a predominantly Elven cultural background. I normally try to be as setting neutral as possible and present at leas some alternatives to standard fantasy settings, but I chose not to make ancestries for human only settings for obvious reasons.

Orc: +1 to Strength.
Smallfolk: +1 to Dexterity.
Dwarf: +1 to Constitution
Elf: +1 to Intelligence.
Beastfolk: +1 Wisdom.
Human: +1 to Charisma.

          Backgrounds are what your character did before embarking upon the life of an adventurer, whether that be recently, or years ago, their former lives give them a small bonus and familiarity with the ins and outs of their profession (or lack thereof.) The Backgrounds were made for use with Lamentations (my favored OSR system) but they're ported over to others easily enough. As always, these assume an early modern period at the latest for setting.

Carpenter: +1 to Architecture, you know how to accurately identify different types of timber, as well as the quality of items crafted of wood.
Hunter: +1 to Bushcraft, you are undoubtedly quite familiar with the local flora and fauna, as well as with how to butcher and dress an animal.
Miner: +1 to Climb, you know how to identify different types of valuable ore or gems, as well as tell when tunnels could be dangerous.
Burglar: +1 to Open Doors, you are skilled at picking out places and people who likely are possessed of a great deal of wealth.
Beggar: +1 to Search, you are relentless in your attempts to find food and shelter, and when in a settled area you can always find meals for free - though the quality may leave something to be desired.
Pickpocket: +1 to Sleight of Hand, you know the faces and personalities of local law enforcement officials, though you're likely not on positive terms.
Bandit: +1 to Stealth, you are familiar with several local hiding places such as caves, copses or isolated cabins.
Sage: +1 Language, you are familiar with the culture and history of the society from which your extra language is derived.
Apprentice: +1 to Tinker, whether or not your former master regards you kindly, you were nominally a member of a guild and can expect succor from them.
Soldier: +2 to starting HP, given your former association with the military you have knowledge of common tactics, ranks and proper etiquette. Fellow veterans may treat you better.
Servant: +1 to Initiative, you are not only quick on your feet, you are skilled at navigating courtly or other hoity-toity events.
Chosen One: +1 to a Save of your choice, the people of your home town (or neighborhood) see you as a hero, and will treat you accordingly if you live up to their ideals.

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