Saturday, October 7, 2017

New Class: the Traveling Man

Not to overload things here with new classes, but I've written several for my game, and I wanted to sort of "get them out in full view," a couple now, a couple later. The Man-Ape was actually the most recently written (and my favorite issue, I won't lie ... the Free Goblin and the Hardy Yeoman, to be posted later, vie for second place); while the Traveling Man (or Traveling Woman, as you will), was the first, conceived a couple months heretofore.

It was a slower day at work, when I had the leisure not to rush about trying to do everything at once, and I was wondering how one might work up classes with prime requisites of Constitution or Charisma (rather than merely Strength for fighting-men, Intelligence for magic-users, Wisdom for clerics, and dexterity for thieves). After all, the original game had only fighting-men and magic-users--clerics and thieves were added in later. So why not tack on other classes after that? (but classes unrelated to the later iterations of ranger, bard, or sorcerer--I wanted to be original-ish)

Considering Charisma, I thought for a while of trying to come up with an Odysseus-type who could talk his way out of troubles; or a Siren class who could charm enemies. I considered coming up with new abilities, with new tables and trees and rolls to make under certain circumstances ... and then suddenly got sick of it all--after all, when fighting-men level up, they only get an additional hit die and (occasionally) a better "to hit" roll.

Hence, for the Traveling Man I tried to work only within the rule systems already presented in Basic. Certainly they have more fiddly particulars than a fighting-man, but I tried not to tack on any new rule system to their class (like a bard song ability, or whatever weird thing I could come up with that seemed Charisma-like).

Did I mention Odysseus? Ultimately, I did hope to create a class who might somewhat emulate his feats, cheating a Cyclops in part by claiming his name to be "Nobody," so that when the Cyclops calls to his brothers, "Nobody has blinded me!" the other Cyclopes only laugh and ignore him (and out of hubris, Odysseus reveals his name, and is thereafter damned to wander many years before returning home, bedding various siren-type sorceresses and telling tall tales about his own journeys and exploits).

But also, through the mediation of the 2000 film O' Brother, Where Art Thou and the lead character Ulysses (i.e. Odysseus), I also began to think of the Traveling Man as the Rambling Gambler of Americana and Celtic folk. So.


Level 1 -- Tramp -- 1d6 Hit Dice -- 0 XP -- +1 bonus language
Level 2 -- Trotter -- 2d6 HD -- 1500 XP
Level 3 -- Hitchhiker -- 3d6 HD -- 3000 XP -- +2 bonus languages
Level 4 -- Hobo -- 4d6 HD -- 6000 XP
Level 5 -- Rover -- 5d6 HD -- 12000 XP -- +3 bonus languages
Level 6 -- Rambler -- 6d6 HD -- 24000 XP
Level 7 -- Gambler -- 7d6 HD -- 50000 XP -- +4 bonus languages
Level 8 -- Supertramp -- 8d6 HD -- 100000 XP
Level 9 -- Wanderer -- 9d6 HD -- 200000 XP -- +5 bonus languages
Level 10 -- Wanderer 10th level -- +1 hp -- 300000 XP
Level 11 -- Wanderer 11th level -- +2 hp -- 400000 XP -- *languages
etc, every 100,000 XP earns 1 additional level and +1 additional hp

Traveling Men/Women (i.e. Travelers) fight as clerics and save as fighting-men; they may use any weapons or armor. Charisma is their prime requisite, and a Charisma of 13+ will net 5% extra xps at the end of the adventure, or Charisma 16+ will net 10% extra xps (not cumulatively).

Travelers, being garrulous individuals who make their way through the world with words, develop an ability to talk to just about anybody or anything. They receive +1 to any reaction roll involving speech or negotiations.

Moreover, as their rambling lives require Travelers to maintain their cool in various stressful situations (like trying to talk their way out of gambling debts or crossbow-weddings), Travelers are also able to impart some of their cool to others, granting followers and retainers +1 to morale scores.

Further, given their experience with various valuables--in pawn shops, card halls, bazaars, and yard sales--Travelers may appraise items with a general accuracy. Because of the generalized nature of this skill, particulars or odd historical details might be missed, but usually a Traveler can tell if any old gem or piece of jewelry is worth approximately 10 gp or 1500 gp. Further, this ability extends to familiarity with legends/aspects of magic items, resulting in a cumulative 5% chance per level (90% maximum) of correctly identifying any magic item that a Traveler handles (only one roll per item per level allowed).

Lastly, being gambling types (e.g. Simon and Garfunkel singing Roving Gambler and Rose of Aberdeen, or the traditional Rambling Gambler sung by the Irish Rovers) Travelers learn the games of chance of many cultures, cards especially. Once per week, a Traveler may set up a game with his own cash, up to 100 gp/level, and then wins -10% to +40% for himself; but he must also make a save against poison (at -1/100 gp) or binge, spending an additional 100 gp/level on further gambling.

I have further rules for Traveling Men and Women who reach Name Level (9th for this class)--they may elect either to settle down and build a permanent INN (whether they remain there, or leave a trusted second in charge is up to the individual and their own wanderlust ...), or gather a semi-permanent CARAVAN about themselves, a sort of traveling community that moves from place to place, buying and trading goods, gambling here and there, working odd jobs, and maybe being a little bit gypsy to boot.

But all of that is for Name Level Travelers. Right now, all that exists of this class is a single Traveling Man, played by one of my brothers-in-law, a first level Traveler seeking the halfling land of Hopshire to save the halflings there from Giants and "evil men". He is a newcomer to a larger party, a hanger-on amongst the fellows of Baldo the Halfling, the would-be hero of Hopshire. And alas, this traveling is set in a kind of limbo as we play first play through a certain other quest--though, of course, traveling forever is that at which a Traveling Man excels ...

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