Monday, August 27, 2012

Classless Old School RPG

For all those who are not familliar with my Bandits & Basilisks rules. 

In my games, there are no such thing as character class. No fighters, thieves, wizards, clerics. Why?

Conan was a pirate, mercenary, thief, king. Kane was a warrior, pirate, sorcerer, "priest" of the Bloodstone, explorer. Fafhrd ang Gray Mouser were... yeah. They all were just adventurers. They were not limited to blunt weapons, no-armor or no-spells. They all can steal and backstab. So - fuck character classes!

Here are some basic ideas:

One HD per level. You start with 1 HD and gain one Hit Die per experience level. It's up to you what dice you should use. I prefer old, good d6. No need to use different dice.

Simple XP table. 2000 experience points is needed to advance to 2nd level. Double needed XP for each next level:

Untrained: -
Novice: 2000
Beginner: 4000
Advanced: 8000
Specialist: 16000
Expert: 32000
Master: 64000
Grand Master: 128000
Hero: 256000
Legend: 512000

Attack tables. I have my own attack table but you may use OD&D fighting men instead. My version is very similar.

Spell access. Every PC can gain access to magical spells but it may be expensive (see below). Maximum spell level is limited by character's experience level:

Untrained: -
Novice: -
Beginner: 1
Advanced: 2
Specialist: 3
Expert: 3
Master: 4
Grand Master: 4
Hero: 5
Legend: 6

Spell preparation. Access to the spells depends on the level of the character, but their number is not limited. However, the preparation of a spell is not simply memorizing it – it must be “made” in the form of a magic scroll, potion, powder or even a wand or enchanted item. Cost of the components and time needed to prepare a spell is shown in the table below. In case of particularly powerful and / or rare spells Referee may decide to impose additional requirements, such as a special place where the ritual must be celebrated, special equipment or very rare (and not necessarily expensive) components.

In the case of Mystic / Cleric / other character associated with a deity, the method of preparing / obtaining a spell should be changed. Enchantment of an object (scroll, powder etc.) would require adequate time for praying / meditation and a sacrifice for the deity (and it’s not about throwing some gold pieces to the temple treasury, but about a more or less bloody offering).
Arcane Lore check is not required (if you use the percentile skills in your game) if the spell is prepared in appropriate circumstances – a character has time to prepare himself and the place to create a “spell container”. He (or she) has access to necessary equipment and he / she is not doing it under pressure (such as stressful working conditions, limited time etc.).

Any questions? :D


  1. No questions, just a compliment really. I've stayed away from class based games for a while, for the reasons you mention above about some of fantasy literature's most famous characters. If I want to play someone who knows how to pick a lock, I don;t want that to mean they lose access to certain other fighting styles and equipment. Well done.