Monday, September 19, 2011

Building Old School classes for fun and (no) profit…

This is the result of my leisure hours and an unfulfilled desire of running OD&D. I don’t know if these classes are balanced or if they’re a result of “mental copy and paste” as I have read a lot of OSR blogs lately.

I remember only that the Yogi’s name was stolen from the excellent blog The Nine and Thirty Kingdoms and the idea of the class came after reading Telecanter’s great compilation of house rules, where he briefly commented about wanting a psionic class that didn’t use a “magic points” system.

The mastermind was originally for Pathfinder, but it became so much easier (and fun) to create a savant-like character (and potential mountebank) for OD&D that I gave up on the original idea and made the class below.

Here it goes…
(All references are to the Little Brown Books)

The Yogi

Use the HD, combat matrix, saving throws and XP table of the Cleric.

Psionic System: Your powers are called Disciplines. You must roll 1-4 on a 1d6 to activate a Discipline. Your chances diminish by 1 after each power successfully activated. If you meditate for 1 hour, uninterruptedly, increase your chances back by 1 (maximum 1-4). If you roll a 6 you can't use that particular Discipline again for 1 day or until you rest and meditate for 8 hours. Two concomitant "6" block all your Disciplines for the next 24 hours. Unless otherwise noted a successful activation means that a particular power works for 1 turn (or 1 day for powers like “ignore hunger”; as always, this is adjudicated by the Referee).

Disciplines: Pick 3 different Disciplines at level 1. At every odd level, pick a new Discipline or improve your Rank by 1 on a Discipline you already possess.

1st rank: Pacify an animal or know its intents.
2nd rank: Control one animal whose HD is equal or lower to half your level.
3rd rank: Control a number of animals whose total HD are equal or lower than your level.

1st rank: As the spell, range 30 ft.
2nd rank: Sense all living things, range 30ft.
3rd rank: Range goes to 300 ft.

1st rank: Move things (maximum 50 pounds/level).
2nd rank: Telekinetic Punch for 1d6 (no save) or break things (use your Intelligence score instead of Strength)
3rd rank: Increase to 100 pounds/level. Telekinetic Punch delivers 2d6 of damage.

1st rank:  Verbal telepathy within line of sight.
2nd rank: Telepathy range is now limited by acquaintance (the Referee can require a check or saving throw for difficult targets or decree that the power doesn’t work because of a barrier (like stone, lead, underground etc).
3rd rank:  You can now send sounds, images, tastes and impressions.

1st rank: As body equilibrium.
2nd rank: As the spell levitation.
3nd rank: As the spell fly.
4th rank: Levitate one target.

Sannyasa (Somatic Disciplines)
1st rank: Feign death, hold your breath, or ignore hunger and thirst.
2nd rank: Ignore sleep, don't breath.
3rd rank: Ignore poison, disease, heal 1d6 hit points.

Master Disciplines

Astral Projection (require Telepathy Rank 3 and Sannyasa Rank 2)
As the spell astral projection.

Mind Shield (require Telepathy Rank 1 and ESP Rank 1)
After failing a saving throw against a mind-effect (Referee’s decision) can try to activate this power.

Mind Blast (requires Telepathy Rank 1 and ESP Rank 1)
Follow the table below:

Intelligence   Saving Throw at Range    Effect of
of Opponent       1-2"  3-4"  5-6"      Mind Blast

    3-4            19    19    17       Death
    5-7            17    16    15       Coma, 3 days
    8-10           15    14    13       Sleep, 1 hour
    11-12          13    12    11       Stun, 3 turns
    13-14          11    10     9       Confuse, 5 turns
    15-16           9     8     7       Enrage, 7 turns
    17              7     6     5       Feeblemind
    18              5     4     3       Insanity, permanent

Magic users add +1 to their saving throws, and clerics add +2. A Helm of Telepathy adds a +4 to saving throws, and when such saves are made the attacking Mind Flayer is stunned for 3 turns.

The Mastermind

Use the HD and combat matrix of Magic-user, but saving throws and XP table of the Cleric.

Masterminds are surprised only surprised with a 1 on 6.

Masterminds detect secret doors like an elf and stone traps and pits like a dwarf.

Masterminds can use scrolls, wands/staves, rings and misc. magic items.

Planning Ahead: All PCs and NPCs that go after a Mastermind must declare their intentions to him. Some Referee use variant initiative systems that aren’t compatible with this ability. In this case, just ignore it.

Propitious Advice: A Mastermind can give his action to a close ally as long as the target follows his commands.

Reaction Rolls for hiring attempts and Loyalty checks are always upgraded by one step when made by a Mastermind.

Scrawny Sage: If the Mastermind doesn’t carry a visible weapon or act in a threatening way, he shouldn’t be the target of any monster on the first round of combat (unless there a lot of creatures facing the party, as usual the Referee should adjudicate this).

Mountebank: The first time the Mastermind meets an intelligent creature he can try to quickly trick or lie to him (the Referee can establish that the target can make a saving throw).

The Right Tool for The Job: if he has enough gold with him, a Mastermind can (once per game session) declare that he spent that money to buy an item usable for the situation at hand. The Referee can require that the Mastermind had visited a shop/town recently where the item could have been bought; the Mastermind must explain how the item is with him if he was searched before by enemies.

At 9th level a Mastermind gets a spy network and any Reaction Roll that comes with a natural “12” means that the lesser NPC/monster meet actually works for him!


  1. Well, ok, but... it lacks the generic description of these two classe :/ What are the Yogi and the Mastermind?!?

  2. Ops... I'm sorry. I supposed the concepts were well known from game and correlate fiction. The Yogi is, basically, the name of an Indian/Hinduist ascetic tradition famous in game literature for their weird mind powers ( It’s my take on a psionic class.

    “Mastermind” is a common name for characters (usually a villains) famous for using their great intelligence, contacts and convoluted schemes to win conflicts. As a class, it’s basically a new take on the “mountebank” concept (another character famous for using his intelligence, like Cudgel from Vance’s Dying Earth). The classic mountbank class usually has access to magic and thief skills, and I wanted to try something different.