Before I begin….
Some terms for folks that are unfamiliar with OSR:
OSR – Old School Renaissance. Home brewed and independently published games compatible with the classic Dungeons & Dragons, known as D&D.
Hit Dice – A number of dice rolled in D&D and OSR games to determine the number of hit points of a character. Roll 5 dice for a 5HD character.
On with the show…
One thing I like about BOP is how you create your own character class by describing what the character is good at. The only real mechanical distinction is between those who can use sorcery and those who cannot. Those who don’t cast spells use their Might to boost dice rolls for any physical activity.
I’m going to try to replicate the original 3 classes of D&D with BOP’s rules, tweaking only what I have to to get there. I’m not doing the thief as I see thieves as merely lightly armored Fighters with a bolted on rule set for sneaking, climbing and lock picking. If you want a thief, travel light.
Narrative: This character has exceptional training in the use of all kinds of arms and armor.
Mechanics: When attacking, for each point greater than the target number, the Fighter does an additional point of damage.
(Wow, that was easy)
Narrative: The cleric uses the favor of his deity to repel undead monsters and to work miracles such as healing, defense, or giving aid to a friend.
Mechanics: The cleric is a special sorcerer that can attempt to repel or destroy undead creatures with the roll of the dice, and may spend Might to boost that roll. The cleric may heal wounds at 1 might per point healed. If the cleric’s behavior is inconsistent with the philosophy of his deity, he may be punished by that deity.
Narrative: A sorcerer.
Mechanics: Per the standard Blood of Pangea sorcery rules. Damaging spells may be cast at a cost of 1 Might per point of damage inflicted.
The magic user was the easiest of them all. The cleric was the toughest. It is difficult to define the limits of a cleric’s magic. It tends to be defensive or utility in nature, but higher level spells, such as “Holy Word” from “Dark Dungeons” (an OSR clone) will kill anyone up to 5HD, stun anyone up to 12HD, and deafen anyone 13HD or higher. If he worships a war god, then surely he can strike his foes down with the power of his god? Clerics can be fun for role playing in OSR games but I think they’re mechanically silly with their blunt weapons, as though nobody bleeds from taking an iron ball to the skull.
If I were to play with the BOP rules in an OSR setting, then I’d keep the Fighter and the Magic User and ditch the cleric. The Magic User has damage dealing spells so could, in theory, blast undead creatures if he chose to do so. And the healing spell makes mechanical sense to me. It is analogous to “Poor Baby” from Tunnels & Trolls.
I like the two character classes: Adventurer and Sorcerer. The Jock and the Nerd. Ken St Andre seemed to like it too when he created Tunnels & Trolls: There’s the warrior, the wizard, and then a hybrid known as a rogue which can do a little of both.
While we’re making characters, let’s make a Tunnels and Trolls Rogue for BOP.
Narrative: The rogue has some skill at arms and magic, but is not very good at either.
Mechanics: The rogue can boost all physical activities with Might, and may cast spells, but at twice the Might cost as the Adventurer or the Sorcerer. Spend 2 to get +1. Spend 2 to get one basic spell effect.
In T&T, the warrior has the benefit of additional armor protection. We could replicate that here, if wanted to: The warrior’s armor or shield can take an additional hit before needing repair.
And lastly when it comes to OSR spell effects, embellish the spells. Do you fire a bolt of magic light at your enemy, like a classic magic missile? Or does the target spontaneously break out in bursting pustules, like some curse of disease? Either way the effect is 1 point of damage per point spent. Either the light or the pustules might be more impressive, depending on the situation. When you magically open a lock, does it just click? Does an ethereal key appear that you stick in the lock? Does a tiny fairy crawl inside and mess with the tumblers?