Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Playing with Charisma

I mentioned in the comments on my post about the rogue class for my hack of Moldvay/Cook/LL that I was considering the gnome for a class with Charisma as a primary attribute. Here are the details for that:

Since Charisma is the prime requisite, gnomes get a bonus to earned XP with a Charisma score of 13 or more.

RESTRICTIONS: Gnomes use six-sided dice (d6) to determine their hit points. Gnomes can use any type of weapon or armour that has been cut down to their size. Thus, they cannot use two-handed swords, polearms, longbows, or pretty much any other weapon which bigger folk require two hands to wield. They may, however, use short bows and swords. Because of their tiny size, equipment that has been tailored to them costs 75% of the normal price. They must have a score of at least 9 in Dexterity and Charisma, and my not have a score higher than 15 in Strength. They may not advance past the 9th level of experience.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Gnomes share the dwarves’ excellent savings throws. Because of their small size, their foes who are larger than man-sized suffer a -2 to hit them. Outdoors, gnomes are difficult to spot. If a gnome is hiding, searchers have only a 10% chance of detecting the gnome. If the gnome is not in a forest, but in some sort of cover, even if it’s only shadows, and is remaining absolutely quiet and still, searchers only spot the gnome on a roll of 1 or 2 on a d6.

Gnomes also have a powerful rapport with animals. When a gnome meets an animal who is healthy and normal, double the gnome’s normal Charisma-based bonuses when rolling the reaction adjustment. If the final roll plus adjusted Charisma bonus is 12 or more, the gnome has the option of adopting the animal as an animal companion. Animal companions should be treated just like henchmen in regards to the tasks they are willing to perform and their moral, and no gnome may have more henchmen and animal companions combined then their Charisma score allows for henchmen. The gnome is unable to speak with the animal, but they do share a rapport which allows the gnome to express basic desires to the animal, and vice-versa. For example, an animal companion might be able to express fear, or hunger, or affection for its gnome friend, but won’t be able to communicate that seven orcs were spotted down by the river.

This bond exists between gnomes and all normal animals, reptiles, and birds, including giant versions of normal animals. However, it does not extend to supernatural creatures, even those which are amalgamations of normal animals. Thus a gnome gets the reaction bonus when dealing with crocodiles, giant rats, horses, and sparrows, but not with basilisks, griffons, or pegasi.

Starting at 4th level, gnomes acquire spells from the magic-user/elf list as follows:

Spells

Level

1

2

3

4

1

*

*

5

2

*

*

6

2

1

*

7

2

2

*

8

2

2

1

9

2

2

2

Gnomes to-hit numbers mirror those of fighters.

Here’s the final experience chart:

Spells

Level

XP

Hit Dice

1

2

3

1

0

1d6

*

*

*

2

2,060

2d6

*

*

*

3

4,120

3d6

*

*

*

4

8,242

4d6

1

*

*

5

16,482

5d6

2

*

*

6

32,962

6d6

2

1

*

7

65,922

7d6

2

2

*

8

128,752

8d6

2

2

1

9

262,502

9d6

2

2

2

With rogues, I wanted them to start casting spells at 1st level so there were no questions of why they could suddenly start casting spells after the game started. I’m not worried about that with gnomes because gnomes are fey creatures; the ability to master magic is inherent in them, though like their cousins the elves they also need to use spellbooks and prep spells in advance. (I’m tempted to change that, but not so much that I’ve done anything about it at this stage.)

The other thing I like about this class is how it brings the henchman mechanic front-and-center. It’s an invitation to use those rules, even if you’ve ignored them in the past. On the other hand, it also doesn’t require you to use them for anyone else other than the gnome, and the gnome can quite happily fill out the henchman slots with just mounts and other animal friends who can take advantage of higher moral and a greater rapport with the gnome.

However, there’s a lot of overlap with the halfling. In spite of some really appealing Jeff Dee halfling art, halflings may end up a casualty of my hacking and wind up on the cutting-room floor.

7 comments:

Sham aka Dave said...

There's a lot I like about this idea. I like the CHA prime req, I like the animal companions as henchmen method. I also like the way you've home brewed the Gnome race in your own vision. I'd play one of these blokes rather than a Halfling, truth be told. I like the Hobbit/Halfling archetype, but with a well thought out Gnome race such as this, I'm not sure I'd want to play a Hobbit. Great job!

~Sham

Trampled Dwarf said...

Very nice, I may steal these for my next B/X game (whenever that may be). Very good use of CHA for the animal companions too. In fact, I should just cut & paste into a word document now. :)


--Mike D.

trollsmyth said...

I'd play one of these blokes rather than a Halfling, truth be told.

In fact, I should just cut & paste into a word document now.


Thanks, guys. I don't think there is higher praise than those two compliments. :)

- Brian

James Maliszewski said...

Very keen.

Robert Fisher said...

Nice!

And I love that Jeff Dee halfling picture too. It has been my favorite halfling picture since I bought my Expert rulebook.

trollsmyth said...

Just had a scary thought:

Does the gnomish rapport with animals extend to dinosaurs?

I don't play with them much, but yikes!

"Mr. T-Rex doesn't like it when people make fun of my height." ;D

- Brian

Flashlight Vagina said...

I completely agree with everything you have printed here.