One thing that perplexes me about OSR blogs: why aren’t there more class ideas being explored? I grasp the simplicity of the OD&D class structure, and the archetypes of later editions, but it seems odd to me that few seem to have taken it upon themselves to design any new or unusual races and classes. Maybe I’m wrong, and the OSR blogosphere is rife with these sorts of inventions and I just haven’t ground through enough back posts to find them. Nevertheless, I thought I might start posting some of my newly invented classes so that people could take a look.
A while ago, when I first started checking out OD&D, I was in the midst of a furious outpouring of world creation; it seemed that every other day I was struck by a new idea for a planet or continent or historical event. Upon seeing the OD&D rules, I was suddenly seized with a new objective: design a world that works with OD&D’s three classes. This was pretty weird for me, being used to the plethora of options in d20. I might talk more about that setting in a while, but right now I want to point out that I was never really keen on the three racial classes in the original game. I’ve come to appreciate the racial classes since then, but at the time I was baffled as to why anyone would want such ‘unimaginative’ derivatives. So I set to reworking the Elf for my new setting, which was inspired largely by Northern European mythology. I created the Changeling (only a little ripped off from Eberron).
The Changeling progresses as the S&W Cleric in HP and saves, and uses the MU’s XP chart. It possesses the ability to alter its appearance at will to appear as any humanoid of roughly equivalent size. This change in appearance extends to clothing and any small objects on the Changeling’s person; upon being separated from the Changeling, the objects revert to their original appearance in 1d4 minutes. A Changeling can also change its skin tone to allow for greater stealth. A Changeling’s prime requisite is Charisma.
Changelings are forbidden to use weapons of iron or any kind of magical item. Carrying these objects forces the Changeling to make a saving throw; failing the save causes the Changeling an amount of damage equal to the bonus of the item (if the item is ordinary iron or has no bonus, this is 1 HP of damage). Using these items forces the Changeling to re-roll the save. Moreover, the Changeling is harmed by healing spells. Instead of using healing magic, the Changeling regenerates 1 HP per round. This ability is likely what gives rise to the story of Changelings abandoning their friends in the heat of battle. Damage caused by using magic items cannot be regenerated and must be healed at the normal rate.
Changelings possess the power to create powerful weapons out of ordinary wood. Any bladed weapon or bow can be produced in one day, arrows being created a dozen at a time. These weapons do 1d6 damage, and gain a bonus equal to 1/4th the Changeling’s total level (+1 at 4th Level, +2 at 8th, etc). These weapons only function for their maker.
At 9th Level, the Changeling’s mystic understanding progresses to the point where they can cause a small ‘twist’ in the fabric of reality. This is a small pocket realm within which the Changeling can control the appearance and conditions of the world. Thus, it can create a sunny field when all around it is winter. Nothing in this reality can cause direct harm, but phantoms may be engineered to speak and serve the Changeling’s whims. These phantoms may not leave the pocket dimension. From time to time, mortals and other creatures may stumble into the Changeling’s realm, whereupon they may be persuaded to stay and work the land or serve their new lord as part of a pact, or merely out of simple ignorance.
So. That was my original treatment. These creatures differ considerably from some other ‘changelings’ in mythology, but I like that. They are a little more complicated than I would like them to be, but whatever.