[House Rules]Monster Templates-OSR Style

One of the things I loved about later editions of the game is the ideas of templates.  It allowed you to come up with all sorts of strange and interesting ways to alter a monster without needing to create something from whole cloth.  I’ve mulled the idea over and come up with a quick way to modify existing monsters to make them a bit more special and potentially dangerous without having to create new ones each time.

Continue reading

[House Rules]New Spells

I wrote these spells and the accompanying spells and items as a extrapolation from Ogre’s Strength.  Their effects, if built into other spells via the spell builder would cost the same as ‘The Strength of an Ogre’ as their base.

Continue reading

[House Rules]Divine Elves Part 5: Elven Enchanter

A recent thread on RPG.Net had an awesome premise.  What if you removed Clerics from OD&D and gave their magic to elves?

I thought the idea had merit.  The more I rolled it around in my head, the more I liked it.  Even if you left Clerics in, the spell creation and class creation rules in ACKS gave a perfect opportunity to build a ‘better elf’… or at least a different one.

So I did…see the previous post about the race build.  See the previous altered Spellblade Class.  And here is the post about Nightblades. And another about Courtiers.

In this post I’m going to rebuild the Elven Enchanter class as a divine caster.  Their spell list focuses on illusion, enchantment, and transformative magic.

Continue reading

[House Rules]Divine Elves Part 4: Elven Courtier

A recent thread on RPG.Net had an awesome premise.  What if you removed Clerics from OD&D and gave their magic to elves?

I thought the idea had merit.  The more I rolled it around in my head, the more I liked it.  Even if you left Clerics in, the spell creation and class creation rules in ACKS gave a perfect opportunity to build a ‘better elf’… or at least a different one.

So I did…see the previous post about the race build.  See the previous altered Spellblade Class.  And here is the post about Nightblades.

In this post I’m going to rebuild the Elven Courtier class as a divine noble.  Their spell list focuses on control and spells that would help political types.

Elven Courtier

Divine by birth, noble by upbringing.

Divine by birth, noble by upbringing.

Prime Requisite:          WIS and CHA

Requirements:             WIS 9

Hit Dice:                     1d6

Maximum Level:         13

Among the elves of Northern Argollë, there yet remain some noble families that can trace their lineage to the Imperial era. These highborn elves spend their days at the courts of Aodhan, engaging in intricate duels of etiquette, swordplay and magic against rival families. Few care to look beyond their borders, likening man’s dominance over the Ammas Aurë region to the darkening sunset at the end of a glorious day.

From time to time, one of these elven courtiers is possessed with more than the usual allocation of ambition and vigor, and sets out from sylvan Aodhan to seek glory and gold in the world of men. Few return to their woodland demesne, yet enough succeed to fill the history books with new annals of elven glory. The elven courtier class represents one of these bold scions.

Though not specialized in fighting, elven courtiers are comfortable with weapons. At first level, elven courtiers hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 10+. Elven courtiers thereafter advance in attack throws and saving throws by two points every four levels of experience (i.e. as thieves). Elven courtiers are trained to fight with swords, shortswords, daggers, composite bows, spears, and lances, and to wear chain mail or lighter armor. They may wield a weapon and shield or a weapon in each hand, but may not wield a weapon two-handed. All courtiers receive classical weapons training giving them a bonus of +1 to attack throws with their choice of melee or missile attacks. The courtier must choose which type of attack will receive the bonus at 1st level, and may not change the choice as he advances.

As patricians of their race, elven courtiers are of course taught the dive arts, but it is not their focus. Elven courtiers cast divine spells as cleris of one-half their level, use the same rules for learning and casting spells. They can use any magical items available to clerics. In addition, they can turn undead as a cleric of half their level.

Elven Courtier Level Progression

Eleven Courtier Spell Progression



Experience Title Level Hit Dice   1 2 3 4 5
0 Attendant 1 1d6
1600 Courtier 2 2d6
3200 Aristocrat 3 3d6 1
6400 Noble 4 4d6 1
12800 Exemplar 5 5d6 2
25600 Patrician 6 6d6 2
50000 Dignitary 7 7d6 2 1
100000 Consul 8 8d6 2 1
240000 Lord 9 9d6 2 2
380000 Lord, 10th level 10 9d6+1* 2 2
520000 Lord, 11th level 11 9d6+2* 2 2 1 1
660000 Lord, 12th level 12 9d6+3* 2 2 1 1
800000 Lord, 13th level 13 9d6+4* 2 2 2 1 1
*Hit point modifiers from constitution are ignored

As befits their noble upbringing, elven courtiers are well-schooled in diplomacy and protocol. They receive a +2 bonus on all reaction rolls when they attempt to parley with intelligent creatures (as per the Diplomacy proficiency). This same upbringing gives them the leadership skills and self-confidence to inspire courage in their allies, in the same manner as bards. Inspiring courage requires  a few moments of oration before a battle (one round), and grants the courtier’s allies within a 50′ radius a +1 bonus to attack throws, damage rolls, morale rolls (for monsters or NPCs allied with the caster), and saving throws against magical fear. The bonus lasts for 10 minutes (1 turn). A courtier can inspire courage in any given character once per day per class level.  (Even the most inspiring epic gets old if you hear it twice in the same day.) A courtier cannot inspire courage on characters who are already engaged in combat.

From childhood, courtiers are taught to either sing, recite poetry, or play a group of instruments in a skilled manner. The courtier chooses the type of performance that his character knows. He may take the Perform proficiency to learn other types of performances.

Such training lays the ground work for courtiers to work magic with their song and poetry. At will, the character can conduct a performance that can serenade creatures with a potential prurient interest (as a charm person spell) or quiet savage beasts (as a sleep spell, but it only functions on ordinary and giant animals of 4 HD or less). These abilities require one minute (6 rounds) of performance and may not be used if combat has already begun.

Like other elves, courtiers gain a +1 bonus to surprise rolls when in the wilderness due to their attunement to nature. Elves have keen eyes that allow them to detect hidden and secret doors with a proficiency throw of 8+ on 1d20 when actively searching, or 14+ on casual inspection. Because of their connection to nature, elves are completely unaffected by the paralysis ghouls can inflict, and the target values for all their saving throws versus Petrification/Paralysis and Spells are reduced by 1. Elves can speak the Common, Elven, Gnoll, Hobgoblin, and Orc languages.

When an elven courtier reaches 9th level (Lord), he is expected to establish a fastness in a natural setting, such as a forest or glen, to further his family’s lineage. A total of 3d6x10 1st level elven NPCs will move in to help with it and defend the fastness at no cost to the character. A courtier’s elven fastness follows all the rules for elven fastnesses detailed in the Elven Fastnesses section of Chapter 7 of ACKS.

When an elven courtier reaches 10th level, he may begin to research spells, scribe magical scrolls, and brew potions.

Elven Courtier Proficiency List: Apostasy, Beast Friendship, Combat Trickery (Disarm, Sunder), Command, Divine Blessing, Divine Health, Eavesdropping, Fighting Style, Healing, Laying on Hands, Leadership, Loremastery, Magical Engineering, Military Strategy, Mystic Aura, Naturalism, Passing Without Trace, Performance, Precise Shooting, Prestidigitation, Quiet Magic, Riding, Righteous Turning, Sensing Power, Skirmishing, Swashbuckling, Unflappable Casting, Wakefulness, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus


First Level Divine Spells

1 Command Word enc
2 Cure Light Wounds
3 Detect Magic
4 Fellowship enc
5 Sanctuary


Second Level Divine Spells

1 Augury
2 Bless
3 Delay Poison
4 Hold Person enc
5 Shimmer


Third Level Divine Spells

1 Cure Disease
2 Prayer
3 Protection from Nor.  Missiles
4 Remove Curse*
5 Striking


Fourth Level Divine Spells

1 Cure Serious Wounds
2 Dispel Magic
3 Hold Monster
4 Neutralize Poison
5 Tongues

Fifth Level Divine Spells

1 Commune
2 Quest* enc
3 Restore Life and Limb
4 Strength of Mind*
5 True Seeing

Continue reading

[House Rules-Classes]Adventurer

In my ever present drive to Kill the Thief class, I was looking at Spears of the Dawn.  In that take on B/X, they got rid of the thief class entirely and folded it into the fighter.  So you basically have spell caster classes, and the bad ass.  So, with that in mind, I present the following.  This class is ‘not balanced’ with the existing classes, and takes several liberties with the design system, but instead tries to make the ‘fighter’ more comparable to the mage.  It was also an attempt to harken back to OD&D when there were only three classes and ‘fighting men’ covered all the concepts that weren’t magic users.

This class also (unintentionally) gets rid of a lot of need for subclasses.  Obviously, they can still exist (big benefit being cheaper xp progression).

Continue reading

[House Rules-Classes]Soul Knight (Redux)

After some consideration, I’ve decided to modify my Soul Knight Class.  Rather than manifest a (very) damaging spell, I think I’d rather take a page from later editions and let them create a weapon that steadily get’s stronger as they level up.  I don’t think it will break anything (not when compared to multiple attacks from Claws and Bite), so I’m ok with it.

Continue reading

[House Rules-Classes]Black Mage

The following is a class built around…well, I’m sure you can figure that out.  Arguably, this class is unnecessary and the normal mage can fill the role, but I was flush with my earlier success so decided to play with something that had things like Elementalism and spell-like abilities ‘baked-in’.

Continue reading

[House Rules]House Rules 4-Alignment

Alignment has always been a bit of prickly thorn in the side of D&D since it’s initial inclusion.  Gygax went for a more Moorcockian ‘Law vs Chaos’ model over the more traditional ‘Good vs Evil’, and nothing but debates and arguments have come from it since.  The Nine Point Alignment system was probably an attempt at a more nuanced system, where someone might believe in order, but be a tyrant (Lawful Evil), which was difficult with the three-fold model.  However, this has led to an even greater degree of conflict.  I don’t know if it was the intent, but the alignment model probably brought more philosophical discussion and debate to D&D than anything else.  Games might grind to a halt as players and DM’s wrestled with the questions that philosophers through the ages have been unable to answer: what is good?  What is evil?  Does the end justify the means?

To further complicate things, while it was implicit in the mechanics of the game that alignment exists as a ‘tangible force’ in the universe (I.e. there is such a thing as an objective good and objective evil that could be manipulated through various magics), very little was done to spell out what the cosmological rules were.  In a pantheistic universe,  there are a number of different ideological beliefs about what is ‘proper’ and ‘right’ yet there is only one Good and Evil.  In a modern world where moral relativism is a far more prevalent philosophical view, it’s often hard to conceive of a universe in which things are objectively black and white.  Such an idea is often viewed as ‘quaint’ or at the very least out of touch.

To avoid this kettle of fish entirely, I always stuck with Moorcock’s Eternal Struggle (as Elric was one of my earliest and largest creative influences).  Good and evil, such as they were, existed in the daily struggle of mortals more as a relative notion.  One nation’s good was another’s evil (much as in reality).  Meanwhile, the gods and their servants, fought the eternal battle between the philosophies of Law and Chaos.  This gave me the best of both worlds…people could have their shades of grey while still have a concrete system that can be effected (or at least detected and warded against) by magic.

But something was always missing.  Namely, there was little connection between the divine forces and those that follow them. I needed an actual mechanic.  I also needed something for those who didn’t follow any of the three factions.  So, this is what I’ve come up with…

Continue reading

[House Rules-Classes]White Mage

The following is a class built around…well, I’m sure you can figure that out.  It is another for the world where gods are dead and people need to rely on other powers to help them through the dark times.  However, it would fit really in any setting as a alternate ‘Healer’ class.

Continue reading