Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Original Backstabber

When I talk about fixing the B/X D&D Thief class for Doomslakers B/X I'm not really talking about changing it too much. At least that's not what I want to do. This is why I don't embrace any of the more radical changes such as gutting the entire percentile system out of it.

No, what I want is to use the original class pretty much as-is, but layer on some additional perks and options that make the class more appealing and fun to play. I know a lot of people will argue that it's fun to play the original Thief without any house rules, and that's fine if it's your jam. Personally I just don't want to play a fantasy character who has a 10% chance to do the one thing they are "good" at doing. And I am really not sure why the original designers went with such a dreadful way of thinking. Maybe they assumed very low level play would be only a tiny portion and most people would play at over 10th level? I dunno. In my experience most people play between 1 and 9.

Anyway... I've mentioned a shitload of Thief house rules, because it's fairly easy to house rule this game into the stone age. But for Doomslakers I really want to keep that class unchanged as much as possible.

So my current thinking is that the setting itself will provide the layers of perks and house rules. It is a setting book, after all, not a generic manual. So when you roll up a Doomslakers Thief you'll choose a Guild and there are only a small number of Guilds in the world. Each has its own secrets. So the Guild you pick will modify your base skill ratings and grant you certain additional perks. THIS SHIT IS FUN.

Why do I want to avoid changing the original classes? Particularly the class tables...

Because Doomslakers B/X is a love letter, if I'm being completely saccharine. It is meant to be a 64 page saddle stitched book you can use in direct conjunction with the original game books (or OSE, Lab Lord, etc... you know the drill). It is a resource for that game not an altogether new game. It stems from the B/X 64 Challenge from the G+ days where I suggested that people should try to create a B/X supplement in 64 pages within 6 months (or something like that).


  1. Drool!🤩 Looking forward to this!
    Sounds like a solid choice on the thief!

  2. Yeah we basically ended up doing an attribute check for thief skills. Ditching the %. We called it a 'rogue', roll v. appropriate attribute to do roguey things. The character only lasted 1 session, and was basically a knife thrower more than anything. So who knows if that house rule actually worked.

    My point is, this is a thing that gets house ruled like crazy.

    1. That's a good fix. I'm not at all opposed to such ideas, just not for this project.

      Gavin Norman (Old School Essentials) had a B/X Rogue class on DTRPG that was awesome. One of the best I've seen. Basically it was a hyper skill class where the player got to choose from a large selection of cool skills.

  3. So, for skills checks, if you are in the appropriate guild you get advantage to certain rolls? That way you keep the old tables?

    Something like:
    -Fingers Guild: Adv to lockpick and disarm trap, and pickpocket.
    -Shadow Guild: Adv to stealth and such.


    1. The original skills percentiles are kept. Then your Guild grants bonuses to certain skills. So one Guild might give you +50 to Move Silently while another gives you +20. Each Guild has one skill at +50 and a bunch at +20 or +30. Plus each Guild has secrets, such as the ability to disappear in plain sight or special magic tokens granted by the Guild to skilled Thieves. One Guild trains its Thieves to cast spells, etc.

      The world of Yria has five cities and each has a Guild. So there are five Guilds in the world. Player rolls or picks their Guild when making a PC Thief.

      PC Thieves of Yria are more akin to assassins or ninjas or spies in secret orders than they are to street criminals.

  4. Wow! Ok that sounds very cool indeed!