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Alternative to Thief in Moldvay/Cook/Labyrinth Lord

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Author Topic: Alternative to Thief in Moldvay/Cook/Labyrinth Lord  (Read 1793 times)
brianm
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« on: May 15, 2008, 06:22:07 pm »

Iím working on a hack of Moldvay/Cook/Labyrinth Lord, and while I probably wonít make my players roll in order (yeah, Iím a wuss that way) Iíd still like at least one class that draws an XP bonus from each stat.  The thief, of course, is already there for dexterity, but for various reasons that have been tossed around the Ďnet for a while now, Iím not crazy about the thief.

So hereís my attempt to create a dexterity-centered class Iím calling, for lack of a better option, the rogue:

Obviously, the prime requisite is Dexterity, and a Dexterity score of 13 or greater will earn the rogue a bonus on earned experience points.

RESTRICTIONS: Rogues use six-sided dice (d6) to determine their hit points.  They may not wear any armour or use shields.  They may use any one-handed weapon, spears, and staves.  They may also fight with a weapon in each hand. 

[ In my hack, single-handed weapons do 1d6 damage, two-handed weapons do 2d4 damage, and fighting with a weapon in each hand lets you pick the best of single roll of 2d6.  Generally, the longer weapon goes first, while those fighting with a weapon in each hand go last.]

SPECIAL ABILITIES: When striking unnoticed from behind, the rogue gets a +4 to hit and inflicts twice the normal damage. 

Rogues roll on their own to-hit table.  Hereís a sample from levels 1 through 4, since the whole thing wonít fit here easily:

AC   To Hit
9   10
8   11
7   12
6   13
5   13
4   13
3   13
2   13
1   18
0   19
-1   20
-2   20
-3   20




The rogue also acquires magic-user/elf spells according to the following table:

   Spells
Level   1   2
1   1   *
2   2   *
3   2   1
4   2   2
5   3   2
6   3   3
7   4   3

And hereís the XP chart:

                       Spells   
Level   XP   Hit Dice   1   2
1   0         1d6     1     *
2   1,802       2d6           2   *
3   3,602       3d6           2   1
4   7,202       4d6           2   2
5   14,402      5d6          3       2
6   28,802      6d6          3       3
7   57,602       7d6          4       3
8   112,500      8d6         4         3
9   230,000      9d6         4         3
10   337,500     9d6+1       4       3
11   450,000     9d6+2       4       3
12   562,500     9d6+3       4       3

Gah!  The table looks horrible.  Angry  I'm not sure how to use the table tools here, so I'll leave it to you to decipher what's going on here, sorry about that. 

Obviously, the model for this class is the Gray Mouser.  But it also works for rangers, bards, wizard-school dropouts, charlatan magicians, and the like. 

The attack matrix is predicated on the rogue fighting like a swashbuckler.  More than simply trying to be faster, they use the cumbersome armour of their foes against them.  Thus, the plateau of to-hit numbers between ACs 5 (chain mail) to 2 (plate + shield).  Below 2, youíre getting into the realm of high Dexterity bonuses and magic, which counters the rogueís speed and agility.  Fighters, however, maintain their status as the best in combat through better hit dice as well as greater options in armour and weapons.

Obviously, the smart rogue is going to use magic to make up for a lack of armour.  Shield, invisibility, and mirror image will, Iím sure, be very popular choices. 

Feedback would be appreciated, especially if anyone sees any ugly problems I'm overlooking.

- Brian
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randalls
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2008, 08:24:49 pm »

Feedback would be appreciated, especially if anyone sees any ugly problems I'm overlooking.

By first observation is that I think the class gets its spells too quickly given the better hit dice, armor, and attacks it has over the MU.  I would probably at least consider no spells at first level (if you are using something like my "Minor Magic", that could still be available at first level), the first first level spell at second level, and the first second level spell at about 5th level.

My second observation is that the class would probably work okay even as you have written it, but as written, I suspect it would be very popular with players.
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brianm
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2008, 10:11:19 pm »

Maybe.  Keep in mind that this is the same rules set that has the elf class that's a combo of fight and magic-user.  The elf rises in level a lot more slowly than this rogue, but the elf still has the same hit dice and the use of any weapon or armour.  I'm afraid I'm not all that concerned about overshadowing the low-level magic-user since pretty much everyone and their house cat does that.

I'm actually more worried about the high-level game (levels 10+) when a fighter without any bonuses needs only a 12 or higher to hit AC 0.  Does a rogue still have a place in a high-level party, or does the jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none theme doom the class to extra baggage?

- Brian
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randalls
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2008, 07:22:38 am »

Maybe.  Keep in mind that this is the same rules set that has the elf class that's a combo of fight and magic-user.  The elf rises in level a lot more slowly than this rogue, but the elf still has the same hit dice and the use of any weapon or armour.

The Elf also maxes out level-wise at a relatively low level compared to humans. The rogue doesn't max out and has the extra benefit of the same roll to hit AC 6 to AC 2. (A 1st level rogue hits AC 2 as easily as a 6th level fighter!) This nice advantage will become a huge advantage when combined with their +4 to hit/twice normal damage when attacking from behind.

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I'm actually more worried about the high-level game (levels 10+) when a fighter without any bonuses needs only a 12 or higher to hit AC 0.  Does a rogue still have a place in a high-level party, or does the jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none theme doom the class to extra baggage?

I suspect a rogue will be useful at high levels, especially with a magic weapon. After all Halflings and Dwarves at still useful even once they max out. What will a rogue's hit rolls for AC 6 to AC 2 be at those levels? Also, a rogue looks like he would be able to read MU scrolls giving the party an extra high level spell in well-planned out situations.
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