Whilst preparing for my sandbox/hexcrawl campaign the Undying Lands I decided to use the race as class option, I’m going with Whitebox: FMAG as the rules system but I’ve always been a big fan of having demi-humans and the like be classes in OSR style games. I’m not entirely sure why but it seems to reinforce the strangeness of non-humans for me and also gives people a reason to play humans, rather than the slightly limp ‘humans are very versatile’ rationale or free feats that some games try to use to tempt people into playing humans.
I purchased some Labyrinth Lord class books by the awesome James Spahn who is responsible for White Star, Heroes Journey and more OSR stuff than you can shake a +1 stick of awesome at, these were great but seemed to focus a lot on giving the various classes spell-like abilities. I’m not sure whether this is how LL does things because I’ve not played it, but it wasn’t the approach that I was going for. So I decided to roll up my sleeves and have a go and adapting some of the concepts to work with my own ideas.
Please note: These adapted classes are entirely non-profit, no challenge is intended to any copyrights James may hold, in-fact I urge you to go out now and check out his excellent OSR stuff and then come back here, I’ll wait 🙂
My first attempt wasn’t actually a race but was the barbarian class, my wife is a mad fan of this class but I’ve always found it a bit of a pain in the arse, especially in D&D as you get to higher levels and the list of rage-fuelled abilities start to grow. In this version of the class, Barbarians receive a bonus to initiative, to hit and damage as they level up, gaining the ability to gather their own horde when they reach level 9, I also included a Wilderness Survival ability allowing them to forage and hunt since it seemed appropriate.
The next class I worked on was a staple of D&D style games, the Half-Elf. Given that the Elves pretty much have the whole combi-warrior/mage sewn up I didn’t want to go down that route so I went for giving them a lesser version of the ability to spot secret doors and also giving them some thievery abilities.
Another race that has become commonplace in D&D games, the strong and often brutish Half-Orc. In this version of the class they have a Savage Strike ability similar to the Barbarian, but they have none of the Barbarian’s other abilitys, they can wear all armour (unlike Barbarians), have Darkvision and also level up a little quicker.
So those are the three classes that I created for my game, it’s my first go at adapting/creating stuff for Whitebox and OSR games so I’m not expecting them to be perfect (in-fact I’m pretty sure they won’t be), but I’d love to hear what people make of my first attempts.
The classes featured in this article were adapted from James Spahn’s excellent Labyrinth Lord classes, whilst the icons used were from http://game-icons.net/ and were used under creative commons license.