There’s been some neat discussion around and about over new character classes for various versions of D&D. In spite of my numerous additions to the field (My LL game currently includes six new classes: rogues, gnomes, pixies, nixies, half-ogres, and witches) I remain rather loyal to the notion that what most folks want to play can be a variation on the primary themes of the original character classes. So while I enjoy adding classes, and it is pretty easy, I try not to go crazy about it. And while I admit there’s a heavy dose of Rientsian “if it’s fun, wallow in it” in my choices, I do try to make certain that my classes fit at least one, if not both of the following criteria.
If I’m going to create a new class, it has to fit my campaign setting. Sure, one of the joys of LL is how generic it is within the realms of fantasy, but I’m not making these for addition to the LL core book. These are for my game primarily, and I share them with you because I think they’re cool and some of you might get something good out of them. But my witch class, for instance, is built around concepts that are pretty specific to my campaign. Most folks don’t want to touch gender with a 10’ pole, and I can certainly understand that. It’s one of my favorite themes to play with, and so I have the witch class.
Mostly, however, I’m trying to do things that the basic classes don’t touch. My gnomes exist to highlight the hireling rules. Witches bring in the 1e druid spells. Rogues let me do funky things with the to-hit tables and offer a magic-dabbler class. Half-ogres offer a powerful bruiser to the players and let me play with my weapon damage rules.
The odd ducks in the list are the pixie and nixie classes. The pixie was a request from a new player (who hasn’t been able to start yet, though the character is done, I think) while the need for a nixie class grew out of a transformation that happened in the game. Because both classes have interesting powers and challenges, I couldn’t simply use elves and say that was close enough, but the elf class was the model for both of them. That said, both fit my fluff and crunch criteria, the pixie being a tiny flier and the nixie having a handful of Aquaman’s abilities.
However, I don’t have a courtier class, or a raconteur calls because I don’t want the dice to do those sorts of things. That sort of thing is for playing out. Just like I don’t want any “social combat” rules, I really don’t want any classes predicated on that sort of thing, either.
Art by Howard Pyle.