Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Spell Stealer. New variant class for OSR and AD&D games.

The Spell Stealers were originally an order of warriors specializing in the destruction of evil and dangerous magic users. Over time however, the order fragmented as some felt all magic users were suspect while others stayed more pure to the original ideals.

As more and more spell stealers gained the ability to imitate the sorceries of their enemies, the order eventually fragmented from in-fighting and was destroyed. Their secrets have lived on however, and occasionally, a solitary wandering spell stealer will teach their tricks to a promising young warrior.

The Spell Stealer is a warrior class and is treated as a Fighter in your game of choice for most purposes including:

Attack rolls
Ability score bonuses (such as exceptional strength)
Number of attacks per round
Saving throws
Non combat skills or proficiencies
Experience and levels.

They do not receive any benefits of weapon specialization or special Fighter combat abilities however.

They are treated as Clerics for hit points (although they do count as Fighters for the purpose of Constitution bonuses such as AD&D).
They may use all melee weapons. The only ranged weapon permitted is a throwing knife or dagger. In games using weapon proficiencies, Spell Stealers may not begin the game knowing this skill but may acquire it later in the campaign.
They may wear any type of armour and may use any magic items permitted to Fighters.

Their alignment must be Neutral as concerns good or evil, but may be lawful, neutral or chaotic neutral.

Spell Stealers receive a few advantages:

Arcane Reflexes:
When subjected to an attack from a magical device or trap, the Spell Stealer receives a +1 bonus to any relevant saving throw.

Enduring Will:
A Spell Stealer subjected to a magical or magic-like effect that overrides their will and control, such as fear, charm, hypnosis and hold effects, the effect is delayed by one combat round. The Spell Stealer is always permitted one action after the effect resolves or the saving throw is failed.

During this action, the Spell Stealer is aware of their impending fate and may take any actions desired before succumbing to the spell effect as normal.

Spell Stealing:
When delivering a melee killing blow to a magic using opponent (whether through spells or spell like effects) the Spell Stealer has a percentage chance equal to the defeated opponents level/hit dice of stealing a random ability from among those possessed.

To count as a killing blow, the Spell Stealer must have delivered one of the last 2 blows that killed the creature and the blow must have been delivered in melee combat.

For example, defeating a level 8 magic user would give an 8% chance.
The GM should make a list of magical abilities the enemy possessed by reviewing spells memorized and spell-like abilities and select one at random.
Only magical abilities can be stolen, not physical abilities. For example, a Spell Stealer cannot steal the ability to fly from a winged monster.
If in doubt, the GM will decide.

The Spell Stealer must rest and practice for a week before the ability is usable, and may then use it once per day, taking an action to do so.

Only one ability can be stolen per level of experience and the Spell Stealer has no choice in which enemies to roll for. If an enemy with magic-like abilities was slain in melee, the test must be taken.

Spell Stealers do not generally hire servants. At level 5, a single first level henchman may be obtained and may level up normally.This henchman must belong to a non-magic using character class.

Thoughts? Concerns? Wicked awesome or way too prone to abuse? This one takes an alert GM but could become a really unique class to play.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and if you really liked the post, please consider tipping me through paypal.

If you feel that the chance of spell stealing is too low, you can consider some alternatives:

One is to let the player select, once per level, when he'll use the power.
If you still want a random chance, maybe use something like 30% plus twice targets level.
Additionally, once per level, let the player discard an existing power so it can be replaced.