Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grognard's Grimoire: Alien Savage

Unlike yesterday's Stranger, which is a lot more usable in a variety of settings, today's Alien Savage racial class -- originally called "Green Savage" -- is a bit more specific to planetary romance/sword-and-planet settings. I still tried to make the class as broad an archetype as I could. Nevertheless, the Alien Savage is probably a bit more of a Tars Tarkas class than the Stranger was a John Carter class, so I'd appreciate any recommendations to make it more generic in future iterations.

The entirety of this class is hereby designated as Open Game Content via the Open Game License.

Alien Savage

Requirements: STR 9, CON 9
Prime Requisite: STR and CON
Hit Dice: 1d8+1
Maximum Level: 12

The Alien Savage is a barbaric native of another world/time/dimension. Hailing from harsh and unforgiving environments Alien Savages are tough, even brutish, often with little regard for the social niceties "civilized" beings deem important. Consequently, they value strength, personal honor, and, above all, loyalty. Their friendship, once gained, is unswerving, granting them a +1 bonus to attack and damage when defending those who have earned it.

Alien Savages eschew most armor, considering anything more protective than leather (and possibly a shield) an insult to their fighting prowess. They may use any weapon, but rarely employ ranged weapons other than throwing axes, javelins, or nets. Large and hulking, Alien Savages require only one hand to wield even two-handed weapons. Whether due to natural advantages or their martial culture, they may also attack with two weapons at once, although the second weapon incurs a -3 penalty to hit. This penalty decreases to -2 at 4th level, -1 at 8th level, and disappears entirely at 12th level. Alien Savages are also skilled night fighters, being able to see 60' in the dark without difficulty. They speak their own language and may learn to speak others, albeit haltingly, if they possess sufficient INT to do so.

Alien Savages save and fight as Fighters of equal level. They must have at least 13 in one or the other prime requisite in order to get the +5% bonus to experience. They must also have a STR and CON of 13 to get the +10% bonus.


Alien Savage Level Progression

Experience

Level

Hit Dice (1d8+1)

0

1

1+1

2,235

2

2+2

4,765

3

3+3

10,025

4

4+4

20,251

5

5+5

42,501

6

6+6

90,001

7

7+7

170,001

8

8+8

340,001

9

9+9

560,001

10

+3 hp only*

780,001

11

+6 hp only*

1,000,001

12

+9 hp only*

*Hit point modifiers from Constitution are ignored.

17 comments:

  1. Hmmm.

    This isn't really a suggestion to make it more generic, but if he's ignoring all armor but leather, I'd give him a bigger HD.

    Maybe even a d12?

    Or perhaps a second HD at level 1.

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  2. I'm reluctant to go above D8 for Hit Dice for a number of reasons, but a second HD at level 1 might work.

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  3. It's been so long since I played Basic D&D (which is what it seems like these classes are based on- S&W maybe?) that I'm not sure if that's kosher anyway.

    I have really been sucked right back into OSRIC of late though.

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  4. As to the "less AC so more HD" thought, I don't know that you'd need to go that route because in many Planetary Romance books ervyone is running around without armor. Instead, feel free to start the Alien Savage out at higher level if needed...

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  5. In a game where HP are randomly rolled starting the Alien Savage at maximum HP might be a solution to the low AC problem (if that is even seen as a problem).

    Two other possible solutions:

    Double the CON modifier for HP at 1st level, or;

    You could add the CON bonus the Alien Savage receives to their DEX bonus when adjusting AC.

    Personally I like this solution as it seems to be keeping the original source for this class in mind; sword-and-planet aliens/savages often seemed harder to damage (a higher AC) but could still be brought down as easy as a man when hit (equivalent HP).

    Of course, I don't know if the lower AC problem for this class is actually a problem. I like it though, a lot.

    Thanks for posting these.

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  6. These classes are nicely flavoured but seem overpowered compared to the LL base classes, at least for the XP requirements. You could use the Elf XP table without underpowering them, I'd say. At any rate I'd think around 3,000 XP as the 'base' (1st-2nd, later advancement pro rata) would be more appropriate.

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  7. I've got a question about John Carter. Was he the precursor to Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers? Are those two sort of rip off of the Princess Of Mars stuff? TSR had a relationship with Buck Rogers, and I used to watch the show with Gil Gerrard in the late 70s. At the moment I'm watching a mediocre made-in-Vancouver Flash Gordon TV show from 2007 on DVD. Is the original source for this stuff E.R.Burroughs?

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  8. @ brasspen

    I could see a John Carter influence on early Flash Gordon, since it was definitely more sword & planet than space opera, which I think is more what Buck Rodgers is about.

    "A Princess of Mars" came out in 1917, while Alex Raymond first drew Flash Gordon in 1934. Buck Rodgers came out in 1929, so I'd say Flash Gordon was as much a response to Buck Rodgers as he was to John Carter. Wikipedia claims Flash was created to compete with Buck, which I buy, knowing what I know about newspaper comic strips of the era.

    @James Maliszewski.

    These classes are extremely cool! I think I shall find some use for these as I get drawn further and further into Labyrinth Lord's orbit.

    Here's a thought. Riffing on Flash Gordon/Buck Rodgers. What would your thoughts be about a scientist type class, for those Hans Zarkov/Doctor Huer or Phor Tak/Ras Thavas types? Just use Magic User and re-style the paraphenalia?

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  9. the alien savage could apply to Tusken raiders, BUT if you want to be true to the ERB source material, then

    the green savages should be skilled with rifles that "are deadly in the extreme and at ranges which would be unthinkable on Earth."

    "The ideas of humor among the green men of Mars are widely at variance with our conception of incitements of merriment. The death agonies of a fellow being are, to these strange creatures, provocative of the wildest hilarity, while their chief form of commonest amusement is to inflict death on their prisoners of war in various ingenious and horrible ways."
    Princess of Mars , p.28 (Del Rey Edition)

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  10. James, this is very elegant. Character class description perfectly illustrates the difference between the OD&D and the subequent styles of play.

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  11. Excellent! Any modifiers for tusk bites? ;)

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  12. Nice, although as you note it's pretty much a Tars Tarkas class rather than a broadly applicable archetype, unlike Stranger. I remember having a lot of fun with the "Tough Native" template for WEG's Star Wars RPG, but sadly I don't think it'll translate well. If you did a more generic "tough native" sidekick (other than a "barbarian") I'd be inclined to call it Enkidu. Or maybe Queequeg.
    My own favorite borrowing from Barsoom is the Yellow Men (which I render Yelemen, as in "this is a Yelemeni shield"), but I think in LL terms they'd probably just approximate to fighting men.

    Can I put in a request for some NPC/monster templates? "Native princess," "vizier" and "air-machine mechanic" spring to mind.

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  13. These classes are great. I really ought to read the Barsoom series someday.

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  14. These classes are nicely flavoured but seem overpowered compared to the LL base classes, at least for the XP requirements. You could use the Elf XP table without underpowering them, I'd say. At any rate I'd think around 3,000 XP as the 'base' (1st-2nd, later advancement pro rata) would be more appropriate.

    Possibly. I'll have to test them out to be sure, but I admit to having a poor sense of how much XP ought to be required for most invented classes.

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  15. Character class description perfectly illustrates the difference between the OD&D and the subequent styles of play.

    Very much agreed. I'm a big fan of archetypes and I think class systems depend heavily on their being emphasized.

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  16. Can I put in a request for some NPC/monster templates? "Native princess," "vizier" and "air-machine mechanic" spring to mind.

    I do have a noble class in the works for those wanting to play Dejah Thoris. I've also got some monsters on the way.

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  17. "Possibly. I'll have to test them out to be sure, but I admit to having a poor sense of how much XP ought to be required for most invented classes."

    I've decided to use the Stranger class as-is in my about-to-start Wilderlands PBEM. It is less powerful than the Alien Savage (with his bonus hit points) and I'm balancing its greater power (compared to Fighter) by giving no starting gold/equipment. It should work well for a PBEM, but I don't think it is balanced against the regular Fighter (or Dwarf) for long-term tabletop play.

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