Friday, September 30, 2022

Mad Mashup: Barbarians

I'll be honest, I have no idea what the idea is behind WotC-era barbarians.  Some sort of mystic nature warrior who isn't the ranger mystic-nature-warrior?  

My idea for a barbarian is based on Howard's Conan: physically and mentally tough, able to endure what would break a softer, more civilized man.  So here's my concept of the barbarian for my TSR-era, mostly B/X mashup:


The Barbarian hails from a distant and uncivilized land.  They are ignorant of the ways of magic and the manners of the glittering courts of civilized nations.  However, their rough and rude upbringing grants them exceptional hardiness and endurance.  


  • Barbarians roll d8 for their hit points.  However, they start at 1st level with 16 hit points.

  • They may use any armor, shields, and weapons.

  • Barbarians save as Dwarves.

  • A Barbarian must have a STR of at least 9 and a CON of at least 13.  If a Barbarian has at least 15 in both, they enjoy a 5% bonus to all earned EXP.  If they also have a DEX of at least 13, that bonus goes up to 10%.


  • A group that includes at least one Barbarian is surprised only on a roll of 1 on a 1d8.  

  • Barbarians enjoy Advantage on saving throws against illusions and only suffer a -1 when attacking foes who are invisible or otherwise can’t be seen.

  • When resting, a Barbarian adds half their level to the hit points they regain (minimum of 1).

  • When a Barbarian deals a foe a killing blow, they may immediately make another attack on a target that is within 5’.

  • When a Barbarian’s melee attack roll totals 20 or more, they may perform a Feat of Arms.  This can be things like moving an enemy 5’, disarming their foe, hurling their target into another foe, etc.  Be creative!

  • Barbarians are expert climbers and hunters.  For every 4 hours they spend foraging or hunting, they produce 1d4 rations.  Environment can heavily influence this, however.

Brian’s Notes

Conan was my model here.  You’re hard to take down, so if you want to be a living brick wall, this is the class for you.  You probably won’t be performing Feats of Arms quite as often as a Fighter, but you’ll still enjoy this class more if you enjoy coming up with cool things on the spur of the moment.

Illustration made with Stable Diffusion and GIMP.

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Mad Mashup: Rangers

Here's the Ranger class I'm using for my B/X-with-other-stuff-tossed in campaign. The idea here was something more Aragorn and Robin Hood than whatever the heck the WotC-era rangers are supposed to be. Right now I'm using the same advancement chart as Fighters, but that's because I've changed the Fighter as well. Good synergies with what I've done to Elves here.

Rangers do their work in the wild places of the world.  This often leads to them being outnumbered and needing to punch above their weight class.  They most often spend their time being stealthy, keeping an eye on monster populations and hunting down threats to crops and livestock.  


  • Rangers roll their hit points with a d8.

  • They may use any weapons and shields, and wear any armour except plate.

  • They use the Fighter’s saving throws.

  • A Ranger must have a DEX of at least 13 and a WIS of at least 9.  If either of those is 15+, the Ranger enjoys a 5% bonus to earned EXP.  If both are 15+, the bonus is 10%.


  • Any attack roll made by a Ranger that totals 18+ allows the Ranger to perform a Feat of Arms.  This includes ranged weapon attacks!

  • A Ranger may fight with a melee weapon in each hand.

    • At 1st level, this allows the Ranger to roll a second attack which does 1d4 damage, or add +1 to their AC.

    • At 5th level, this allows the ranger to roll a second attack that does 1d6 on a successful roll, or double their DEX bonus on their AC.

  • Rangers are experts at surviving in the wilderness.  In addition to being expert survivalists and trackers:

    • A Ranger can gather 1d4 + the Ranger’s level in rations for every 8 hours spent foraging or hunting.

    • Any character convalescing under a Ranger’s care adds 1d2 additional hit points to their natural healing.

  • If a group with a Ranger rolls a Friendly reaction with a monster of bestial intelligence whose Hit Dice are equal to or less than the Ranger’s level, the Ranger may befriend the creature and add it to the Ranger’s retainers.  This takes up a retainer slot as normal.  If the animal dies in the Ranger’s service, the Ranger permanently loses that retainer slot.  

Art made with Stable Diffusion.

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Memories of B/Xia

Noisms has waxed nostalgic for an interdimensional realm he calls TSRan.  I had little exposure to that wider world; by the time 2e launched, I was deeply into my own worldbuilding, and while my worlds shared much in common with TSRan, when I wax nostalgic, my heart goes to a tiny corner of that realm known as B/Xia (pronounced “bee-EKS-ia” of course). 


My memories of it will vary from yours, of course, but the realm I remember was best illustrated by Bill Willingham, Jeff Dee, Trampier, LaForce, Roslof, and, in its more bizarre locations, Erol Otus.  It also was a world of great danger, where travel through the mountains risked being spotted by a soaring dragon and every forest hid tribes of orcs on the move.  Magic-wielding elves feuded with magic-resistant dwarves.  The borders of halfling communities were patrolled by sheriffs who used stealth and ambush as their chief means of discouraging those wandering tribes of orcs from lingering close to their bucolic homes. 

It was a world where the corpses of thieves could be found in every dungeon (and the occasional doorstep).  It was a world that was wild, where pockets of civilization, the bastions of Law, were surrounded by vast, trackless wilds teaming with the scions of Chaos.  Colorful bands of mercenaries, human and humanoid, tramped the dusty roads, never too far from their next job.  Knights in gleaming armour fought alongside elven archers and goblin wolf-riders.  Sprawling castles and cramped towers dotted the grey zone where Chaos and Law interlaced and clashed.  Every patch of dirt hid millenniums of history teaming with strange magics, enchanted treasures, and bizarre monsters long lost to the light of the sun.  The seas were dangerous, full of monsters, but most were relatively shallow, excellent for traversing in triremes and similar galleys. 


I’ll admit, this is more based on the rules of the game than the art.  While the art inspires, it’s the wonderfully simple world full of interesting details that always brings me back to B/Xia.