Sunday, January 02, 2011

Paladins of Wessex

So I mentioned in yesterday's post that we've got a Paladin in my current Holmes D&D-based campaign. Here are the current rules for them:

class requirement: Fighter
alignment requirement: Lawful (Good or Evil)
ability score requirement: Cha 17+
basic advantages: lay on hands 2hp/level/per day, cure disease 1/week per five levels, immune to disease, +2 saving throws
advanced advantages (level 8+): dispel evil at will, detect evil 6” range
expulsion: any Chaotic act

The above rules are basically swiped wholesale from the first paragraph of the Paladin description in Supplement I: Greyhawk for OD&D.  You might remember the magic horsey and item/loot/associates restrictions from AD&D.  Greyhawk has those too but I accidentally omitted them from my summary because I was in a big hurry when I got this ready for Dane's use on Wednesday night.  I kinda like the slimmed down results of my screw-up.

One of the things that intrigues me about the Greyhawk paladin is that it's basically the first published Prestige Class, a quarter century before that term came into use.  As worded in the text you become a Pally after rolling up a fighter with a 17+ Charisma and deciding to be Lawful.  You can do so right out of the gate or at any later time.  Your basic class abilities don't change or go away and you continue to use the same hit dice, XP chart, etc.  The other two things I really dig about this class: 1) how hard it is to get into the class.  In the world of 3d6 in order not that many PCs have a 17 in friggin' anything.  2) how easy it is to get out!  After all a lot of freakin' chaos goes down in the life of the average hard luck adventurer.  It might be best for players who sign up for this class to think of it as a temporary gig.

My little summary above would probably make a pretty good template for fleshing out the other sub-classes Dr. Holmes mentions but doesn't detail: Ranger, Illusionist, Witch, Monk, Druid and Assassin.  Each subclass has a class/stat/alignment requirement to get in, three or four starting benefits (some of which scale to level) and a couple of awesome powers at high level.  Throw in a taboo that takes away the powers and Bob's your uncle.

Note I don't think the Blue Book specifies that the Monk is meant to be a Chop Socky Shaolin, so I could do that class up as a Christian ascetic.  Like the Paladin above, that would be for me a much more interesting way to bring miracles into the game instead of the default cleric.  And the spellcasting subclasses might be doable without adding a bunch of new spell lists to the game.  The trick, I think, would be to differentiate the Witch and Druid.  With one class or the other on the table I would approach it as the subclass of the pre-Christian remnant on the island.  If the Druid fits that role, is the Witch reduced to the cackling baddies of fairy tales?  Who is going to sign up to play warty-nosed old biddies?  Maybe that's why the Witch never ended up in the Players Handbook.