Believe me, I know that skill-based systems are gamea non grata in oldschool D&D circles. And I know that one of the main reasons so many oldschoolers love to hate thief is because it’s a skill-based character class. And that many like to ask if their character just falls off a horse because he doesn’t have the Horsemanship non-weapon proficiency.
We all get it. So can we get over it, now? Please? (And I won’t even mention the Ranger’s tracking ability that looks suspiciously like a skill and yet never left anyone asking “why can’t my magic-user try to follow these tracks?“)
So, in that vein, I’ve decided to avoid working on Forbidden Jungle some more by trying out an idea that has been buzzing in the back of my mind for, oh, close to 30 years. It’s not an original idea, by any means, and I even think that someone put something together not too long ago along these lines. I’ve not looked at it yet, in part because I want to pursue my own take for the time being.
So, without getting into details or admitting how woefully incomplete the system is, take a look at these characters that I rolled up tonight.
BRUTAR — Red Warrior — Lvl 2 — Age 17
STR 10, WIS 5, DEX 6, CON 11, CHA 4 — 29 Hit Points
Armor-3, Sword-2, Shield-1, Brawling-1
60 Gold Pieces
VERGALYN — White Warrior — Lvl 4 — Age 24
STR 10, WIS 8, DEX 7, CON 10, CHA 10 — 33 Hit Points
Mace-3, Hated Foe (Zombies)-2, Armor-1, Shield-1, Toughness-1, Bow-1, Leader-1
70 Gold Pieces
+1 Save vs Disease
DENTRAMANTIUS — Blue Wizard — Lv 2 — Age 18
STR 5, WIS 10, DEX 9, CON 3, CHA 5 — 14 Hit Points
Magic Blast-1, Read/Write Magic-1, Detect Magic-1, Light-1, Message-1, Mirror Image-1, Shocking Grasp-1
+1 Save vs Blue Magic
20 Gold Pieces
NAZRAT — Green Warrior — Lv 3 — Age 19
STR 7, WIS 4, DEX 8, CON 11, CHA 11 — 29 Hit Points
Bow-2, Short Sword-2, Armor-2, Shield-1
50 Gold Pieces
AGGER ‘The Dagger’ — Black Warrior — Lv 5 — Age 23
STR 5, WIS 2, DEX 12, CON 9, CHA 8 — 31 Hit Points
Dagger-2, Open Locks-2, Climb-2, Armor-2, Short Sword-1, Surprise-1, Pick Pockets-1, Sling-1, Appraisal-1, Hide-1, Disguise-1
40 Gold Pieces
DRALAVIN — Black Wizard — Lv 8 — Age 36
STR 1, WIS 8, DEX 11, CON 8, CHA 6 — 27 Hit Points
Surprise-3, Sneak-1, Pick Locks-1
Blindness-2, Scare-2, Speak with Dead-2, Ventriloquism-2, Detect Magic-1, Read/Write Magic-1, Light-1, Darkness-1, Shadow Cloak-1, Deafness-1, Amnesia-1, Suggestion-1, Wall of Shadow-1, Unseen Servant-1
40 Gold Pieces
The ability scores are on a scale slightly lower than the D&D-standard 3d6. The italicized items are magical spells or powers.
All of the powers, spells, and special abilities a character has are stated as [ability]-[rating]. Higher ratings are better. There are only a few skills that an unskilled character may not attempt.
If you’re wondering just exactly what the skill/power ratings mean and exactly how they improve the chances of success, or exactly how those spell-looking powers are going to work…I don’t quite know yet. That’s still being worked out.
Part of me wonders if this is similar to the WoTC versions of D&D. I’ve seen the massive stat blocks for everything, but I haven’t really done more than look through the 3e books a few times in passing and barel more than that for 4e.
You’ll note that none of them are first level. And also that, despite an apparent previous career, none of them can apparently ride a horse. (Well, there is no horsemanship skill…)