Saturday, September 30, 2017

Scouts for DCC RPG (a Thief variant)


I probably spend more time reading RPG books and customizing stuff than actually playing… it’s that much fun for me, I guess. What I like more is customizing standard classes, races and other character details for my table, usually based on their backgrounds and character concepts. For DCC RPG I’ve tinkered already with variant Dwarves, small but vicious dogs, a Sage class, a Warrior Princess variant class, my Berserker class from the last post, a small hack on the Alice/Fool class (from A Red and Pleasant Land), and a post about using your Bad Luck as a weapon.

The Scout

In my current DCC RPG table, one of the PCs that survived the Funnel was a Hunter. The character was almost a Ranger in concept, but both me and the player didn’t want the old two-weapons-D&D cliché. Actually, the player was satisfied in turning his 0-level Hunter in a normal Thief - the idea was to use the class’ Luck Dice to execute deadly ranged attacks (spending Luck on damage). But the player didn’t mind me tinkering with the traditional Thief’s skills, so I came up this Scout variant:
- the Scout attack as a Thief but uses the Warrior’s Crit progression.
- the Scout loses Backstab, Disguise Self, Forge Document, Hide in Shadows, Pick Pocket, Pick Lock, Read Languages and Cast Spell from Scroll.
- instead of Backstab, the Scout gains Ambush (same progression). Ambush works like Backstab, but it can only be used right before a combat encounter, while the Scout is sneaking upon his enemy. The Scout can suffer a -1 penalty to his Ambush check for each ally going with him; he also suffers a further penalty on his check based on the heaviest armor used by his allies (i.e. the highest armor check penalty in the party). If a Scout succeed at this Ambush check, he and every ally accompanying him gains the benefits of Backstab for their next attacks (i.e. bonus to attack roll and automatic crit).
- a Scout gains Hide in the Wilds (same progression as Hide in Shadows). Hide in the Wilds works as Hide in Shadow but only on natural terrains (forests, plains, caves etc.) and the Scout can try to hide allies using the modifiers from above (see Ambush). The Scout is a master of camouflage and can hide even in places most people would deem impossible (like on a plain). The idea here is that Scout’s skills are like Thief’s skills - you just don’t hide, but you hide perfectly in shadows, becoming almost invisible; you don’t climb a tree or mountain (anyone can do that), but sheer surfaces etc. Following that line, a Scout using Hide in the Wilds is like Aragorn’s hiding his party in the Lord of the Rings.
- a Scout gains Track (same progression as Find Trap). The DC for following an easy trail is 5 (anything on soft ground, life after a rain or snow). The basic DC is 10 for most tracks on normal terrains, like forest, plains, deserts mountains etc. If the scout is trying to find/follow tracks on hard terrains like deserts or streambeds (or when the followed party is trying to hide its tracks) the DC is 15. Really hard or almost impossible tracks (like trying to find tracks after a snow or heavy rain, or in bare rock) are DC 20. If the Scout beat the DC by 5 or more, the Judge is encouraged to provide additional details (Aragorn-style) like “it is a group of 6 orcs, bearing 2 prisoners and the orcs are bickering among themselves because they’re short on food”.
- a Scout gains Set trap (same progression as Disable Trap). Ok, here we are entering non-OSR mechanics, so please bear with me. The entire idea of the Set trap skill is that a Scout always checks and prepares any place where the party stays for longer than 1d4 hours (or where the party decides to set camp). As always, the Judge has the final word. If the prerequisites are met, during any combat in those places, a Scout can spend 1 Luck point to declare that he had set a trap just where an enemy or monster is. Let the Scout make a special attack roll using his Set trap skill bonus (this is a free action). If he hits, the target must succeed at a Refl save (DC equal to the Set trap result) or suffers 1d6 points of damage. The Scout can spend more Luck points before the target rolls his save (+1 Luck for a +1 to the trap’s DC or +2 Luck for +1d6 to the damage). Instead of dealing damage, the trap can have other effects (like entangling the target) - these special effects are adjudicated by the Judge and can increase the Luck cost.
- a Scout can use Sneak Silently to benefit his allies, like Ambush and Hide in the Wilds above.
- the Scout can use Climb sheer surfaces, Find trap and Disable trap like a Thief.

Finally, because the Scout only use some of the Thief’s skills, I recommend that every Scout (no matter his Alignment) follows the Path of the Boss bonus progression (i.e. the Lawful Thief progression).