Friday, May 07, 2010

so, hey. 3.5.

Dane, one of the awesome players in my Wednesday night game has threatened to run some Dungeon Crawl Classis-fueld D&D 3.5 this summer.  I got rid of pretty much all my WotC-type D&D stuff awhile back, keeping only Rappan Athuk and anything with the words "Judges" and "Guild" on the cover.  So I told Dane that any character I made would be based entirely on the Hypertext SRD.  Nowadays when I flip through that website I ask myself why I've never seen an old school SRD.  Being able to download a free PDF copy of Swords & Wizardry or Labyrinth Lord is rock solid awesome, but at some point mimicking a prior media form is counterproductive.  Like how you gain nothing by limiting a TV or movie production by limiting the action to what will fit on a theatre stage.

Anyway, I got to daydreaming about what kind of character I'd like to play in Dane's hypothetical game.  Most of my first ideas were stuff that could be played in any edition ("Hey, fighters are awesome.  Also: wizards.") or fairly obvious stretches ("Half-elf paladin whose fairy blood and mission from God pull him in different directions").  But I've got two ideas that I wouldn't normally think to try under a TSR edition.

1. A halfling sorcerer who works through pipe-based effects.  Fear my smoke rings, mofos!
2. A commoner.

I'd really like to try the second option just to see how far I'd get while totally sucking, but I'd probably feel guilty about not pulling my weight.  Anyone out there try playing a commoner in a party of mechanically competent characters?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. A friend of mine ran a commoner in our 3.0 Campaign years ago it was a blast, the other players couldn't ever figure out what "class" he was, and he never told them.

  3. Woops! Let me try that again! There is a S&W HTML page:

    Rappan Athuk! Ah, Good times!

  4. I've played all of the 3rd NPC classes at one time or another.

    I can not recomend playing a Commoner. It's really a painfull experience. I managed a 18 Dex and I was still dragging behind. There just isn't anything going on for the class. I made it two sessions. My DM used to threaten us with levels of Commoner as a punishment after that game.

    If you want to use a similar background I'd suggest taking Expert. It isn't as impotent as commoner and and can be quite a bit of fun when you start to think of what skills your character might have an why.

    The Aristocrat class is worth a look as well. Not only does it come with some great RP opportunities, but it stands up against the core classes pretty well. To tell the truth it's one of my favorite 3.X class.

  5. Go for be a commoner. Then play your hedge wizard or one of my non-adventurer classes.

  6. Go for the Fighter rather than the Commoner. Your party members will appreciate it.

  7. Don't do it, man!

  8. Coolest commoner Ive ever heard of was an epic game that had a paragon commoner - think Clark Kent discovering his powers...

  9. I seem to remember you musing about a website where you could check boxes next to the alternate rules you wanted in your D&D and it would produce a PDF for you ... an old school hypertext SRD-like site could be the next best thing.

    And if you play a commoner, play him like Gilligan ...

  10. Does he get to run around, at double speed, trying to avoid the head-hunters?

  11. I have to second what Bluskreem advises. Because, lets face it, a common housecat can kill a lvl 1 commoner a majority of the time. That is, unless you're trying to sabotage the game, and even then chances are a commoner won't live long enough to do so. Now, the halfling sorcerer that expresses his spells through smoke rings, that's pretty cool.

  12. Had a campaign once where everyone had a level of NPC Class (Rolled Randomly) and one of 'regular' PC class.

    Opened with the party surrounded by the ever popular torch-bearing mob and covered in blood, with no recolection of what had happened to them for the past year.

    It was fun. Played it to completion, with the Players finally finding out what the heck was going on with them.

  13. (0e,4e)D&Dfan4:51 AM

    Just play a fighter - housecats won't instagib you, and you'll still get the mechanically ineffective experience after level 3-5. They're pretty awesome in any edition but 3e, sadly.

  14. Recent Facebook status update from a 3E player friend who shall remain anonymous:

    "[name] really enjoyed gaming tonight, even if it was only charecter gen."

  15. I get like this, come up with different characters that nobody seems to play.

    Bets of luck


  16. cayvie10:13 AM

    really can't recommend commoner.

    expert can be good times. especially if you're some sort of magic item merchant with a bunch of spellcraft and use magic device (you get to choose your own class skills!).


  17. Anonymous11:24 AM

    I think the halfling sounds very cool. I might steal that idea if you do not mind.


  19. One of the greatest characters I ever played was a commoner. Back when I was in school we played a whole lot of Das Schwarze Auge, THE standard german RPG back in the day.

    The character was a farmer, fed up with his wife, who grabbed his farming utensils and went adventuring, met a party of heroes and got stuck with them.

    Because I had to spend my points somehow I put them in stuff I'd never usually boost so much. As a result, the farmer was a very able cook, and really talented in mending and repairing stuff.

    It was great to see the humble farmer eventually grow into an adept fighter.

  20. Ubiquitous7:01 PM

    A halfling sorcerer who works through pipe-based effects. Fear my smoke rings, mofos!

    That rings a bell for some reason... wasn't there a VERY old (maybe one of the first "Best of"'s) that featured such a thing?

  21. There's a magical pipe and pipeweed in Best of Dragon vol 1.

  22. I played an expert for a while, and had a blast. He wasn't the most combat effective, but with the massive amounts of skill point, he ended up becoming the party face when in town. He was the party's manager, public relations guy, and accountant/investor.

    I got 9 skill points/level that I routinely put into my 10 class skills:
    Appraise, Bluff, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Forgery, Gather Info, Perform (storytelling), Sense Motive, Search, and Use Magic Device for the win!!

  23. Gray_haired_gamer3:46 AM

    Just stumbled across this post and had to chime in. Our group has used both Commoner and Expert as starting points for everyone. (The commoner one was called, appropriately, "The Commoner Campaign". With everyone starting off equal it worked pretty well.

    The DM ran it where we worked up to 3rd or 4th level and then had to choose a regular PC class, so everyone did kind of steer their stats to what they eventually wanted. But it was ALOT of fun, trying to guess who was going be what. Some didn't decide until the last minute.

    With the right DM, I'd love to try it again. I got to whack an attacking Kobold with a torch. Great times.