Tuesday, March 25, 2014

B/X Not Really A Character Class: The Baseline Adventurer

In my previous post of the Innocent Abroad Character Class, I think I was trying to do a few too many things at once. I'd like to break the idea down a little further:
  1. What does the baseline human adventurer look like?
  2. What would a playable untrained adventurer class look like?
  3. What would a playable all-purpose adventurer look like?
I think I'll ramble on the first point, tonight.

The Baseline Human Adventurer, stripped of any class benefits, looks like this:

Requirements: None
Hit Die: 1d4
Save as Thief

Weapons: any type
Armor: Any armor, any shield
Would probably level at around 800 XP, like what I had for the Innocents.

Pretty simple. If well-equipped, a little better in a fight than a spell-depleted MU or a Thief caught out in the open, and much better than a Normal Human. Not very useful to play, but good for evaluating other classes.

The point of interest for me is the 1d4 hit die. I tend to think of 1d6 as the default hit dice, because Clerics, Elves, and Halflings have them. But if you look at Normal Humans, Thieves, and Magic Users, it's clear that 1d4 is supposed to represent a human who hasn't undergone any professional-soldier-grade toughing up.

It bugs me that Halflings have 1d6 Hit Dice. I assume it is supposed to model luck or agility, but there are better ways to model that, and the 1d6 Halflings must surely be the seminal culprit for Hit Dice inflation.

I like the idea of cleaving a little more closely to the 1d4 Human for characters. It makes Clerics look tougher, like the soldiers of gods they are supposed to be, and Fighters look like tanks. And it would surely encourage more varied play, what with death being a single blow away.

Looking back on the Harpy class, I'd wondered  if their 1d4 Hit Die was too low. I'd even written up a tougher version of the class. But, looking at this baseline human, I feel renewed resolve to keep the light-boned Harpies at 1d4.

Another point:
I wish that "Any armor" didn't seem to be B/X's default position. Plate Mail strikes me as very specialized equipment that requires training to use effectively. I'd like to limit Plate Mail to Fighters. Maybe Dwarves and Elves get it, too. Maaaaaaaybe.