Last time I looked at Prestige Classes, that is to say, classes you can’t take at level one. These five classes are considered Base classes, in that it is possible to start in them. As those that read my last blog know, or that generally know what the Open Gaming License entailed, the era of the OGL was hilarious. Absolutely any way shape and form of life was documented for DnD. Grand adventures into hellish post-apocalyptic mines, Adventures to Constantinople, the ability to make a Kraken save versus death after one attack. As you saw this carried on to the characters careers, in a world where absolutely anything could happen it was perfectly rational that they could do pretty much anything they wanted such as heft harpoons or be fused into a giant mecha as its eternal pilot.
These five classes however represent the new guys. All of these classes are eligible for new players to start a game with. As with the Prestige classes before them, my choices are the ones that your old buddies would never bust out, or your snotty DM would never let you finish your pitch. Leave your logic at the door.
5. Two Fister (Pg 27-28 of Broncosaurus Rex)
In general, some of the classes in Broncosaurus rex are really not that good. The Two Fister however feels like the result of an argument in post production. “What do you mean our classes are not that special?!” “Well... they lack a lot of special rules and the numbers are not..” “Fine! You want special rules and high ass numbers?! I’ll make ya a class alright!” Enter the Two Fister.
As you may guess from the title of the class, the Two Fister does one thing extremely well. He punches people, and is very good at punching people. So good in fact he gets the Improved Unarmed Strike feat for free and by the end of his career does a whopping 1D20 damage per attack, has a BAB of +15/+10/+5, and an Unarmed Attack Bonus of +15/+12/+9/+6/+3 as well as a +30 to Gather Information checks in friendly lands.
And that’s it. Those are the only three interesting aspects of this class, the super high attack bonuses, super high damage output, and amazing skill bonus to one of the more useful skills. The worst part is at the end of the day a traditional Monk of the same level is infinitely better then a two-fister could ever be.
4. Steamborg (Pg 22-26 of Dragonmech Core)
When you have access to mechanized walker technology several things may happen. You might build a gigantic city walker. Or build your dog power-armor. Or as the consequence of getting extremely bored, embed a fist sized steam engine into your stomach and link it to your biological systems. Having chosen the latter you are now a Steamborg! As one, you can do all of the cool cybernetic things such as lopping your arms off in favor of mechanized chainsaw arms or replacing your legs with tank treads.
With this comes a few notable penalties. For one, you are drinking water for two now, you require three times the amount of water a person normally would require. Failure to drink enough causes your engine to futz up, which later in your career will cause various parts you stapled into yourself to stop working. Protip: Don’t replace your heart.
For two, you now have an exhaust pipe spewing waste attached to your body, and that pipe is exit-only. If for whatever reason you were to ignore my advice and submerge yourself in water or any other liquid/debris and got stuff in your engine you gotta unclog it. Anybody that has attended auto shop class or lives in the southern united states knows exactly why getting grit in your engine is a bad thing. But with the bad comes the oh so very good. As you systematically replace parts of weak flesh with perfect mechanized parts your AC and statistics will rise depending on what parts you snip off and replace. These parts also may have special steam powers or chainsaw bits attached to them. Why build a hot rod when you can BE the hot rod?
3. Mute (Pg 80-81 of Deadlands: Lost Colony)
Not all D20 supplements are based in fantasy realms. Deadlands is a far out Horror Wild West setting, and Lost Colony takes the setting to the next logical place. Space. As a Wild West Space person, you clearly need Wild West Spacey powers. So why don’t you sign on this dotted line and sell your sou- I mean... services to Hellstromme Industries.
The Hellstromme Industries Transmutationist, or simply put “Mute”, is the receptacle of millions of small nano-devices that can at will construct objects according to plans that the mute possesses and may create his own schematics by destroying similar objects and analyzing them. Most of these men and women were put into the program by the companies they work for, some were test subjects, and even less still were in the state of mind to do it willingly. These techno-wizards of the far out west are basically the only repairmen around so far out into space with no supplies to be found.
The ability to provide a service to your fellow man is more than a good enough reason to sign up with Hellstromme. Wait, when did you grow claws? What do you mean the class says nothing about it? Eh, it’s probably nothing. Besides, if you just inject some Tannis rock it goes right away see? No no sir, there are no hamster people around.
Deadlands is infamous as a setting for wrapping players in a very interesting but often confusing metaplot to the extent of giving a lot of major NPC’s plot armor in the hopes that GM’s will not try to have their own adventures but play a specific railed campaign in Deadlands. I dislike this practice because Players rarely figure out every single secret in the settings, and there are a LOT of secrets around. Lost Colony is no different. If you didn’t guess it already, being a mute IS too good to be true. I won’t spoil it for you, but there is a cost that you may not be prepared to pay. Please, keep drinking your kool-aid.
2. Velociraptor Warrior (Pg 20-21 of Complete Guide to Velociraptors)
Sometimes being a traditional race is for cowards. Why be a soft squishy hyoo-mon when you can be a mutha-truckin dinosaur? At first glance the class looks rather weak, only giving the raptor access to several free feats. That’s until you actually see the feats made for raptors. Then there is the fact that in order to be a proud Velociraptor warrior you must obviously be born of the Velociraptor persuasion which gives you a slew of stat bonuses and extra movement. The rules also treat you as a large creature (Which I call bullshit on) and gives up 4-40 extra HP for being a raptor. (Which I also call BS on)
This book is not Goodman games best work, but the camp value of playing a dinosaur is just too great. I am just sad that the Complete Guide to T-Rexes failed to provide T-Rex race and classes. There needs to be more books that let you play a huge creature that is absolutely broken. Though being a velociraptor is already pretty close second.
If you like being absolutely broken and chewing off the faces of every enemy the group encounters then being a dinosaur may be the right choice for you. If the Warrior does not appeal to you, there is also a Tactician(Stealth) and Shaman(Wooga-Booga) class available to you as a velociraptor, if you get tired of ripping the faces off of people. If you get bored of the raptor classes then your stats are jacked up so high because of your race that you could do basically anything else you wanted that does not include having thumbs. If you thought a raptor warrior was scary, wait until it starts blasting you with necromantic spells. In general Jurassic park would of been much more awesome if the raptors knew sorcery.
“Alright, what class are you picking?” “Velociraptor Shaman” “.....*glare*”
1. Athlete (Pg 135-138 of Xcrawl)
All of these classes do a good job explaining how batshit-insane the world of adventuring really is, with all of its nanobots, steam engines, and wooga booga. But what if the world was more or less exactly as it should be with a few... *ahem* Liberties taken with history. Xcrawl documents a Live TV Show of the same name loved by all of the country (or else) and a driving force behind the country's culture and identity. The Country? America of course! But not as it is now. You see, in Xcrawls story George Washington decided to turn the country into a roman empire-esque dictatorship. As a result we conquered Canada and Mexico in seconds and became the Great North American Empire.
Now we have the world of today with its roman architecture and steep mandates. Xcrawl is a popular dungeon-crawling sport born by the invention of Larping and made headlines when the Larpers accidentally were ambushed by ghouls and slayed them for real. The resulting press declared them heroes and a new death-sport was invented.
The Athlete is essentially a class designed to play sports. The class also specifically states you can choose *any* sport including Xcrawl itself. This means you could actually transplant the Athlete class into any modern game, as sports your character chooses and likes are much easier to play. Also, this represents the only class I have seen that starts with a proficiency in “Sports Weapons”. As in all Athletes are proficient in throwing baseballs, hitting people with aluminum bats, and wielding the mighty.... hockey stick. This is not only mentioned but these are actually all stated a few pages after the class. Underneath those lays the stats for Chainsaws in DnD (Exotic Melee, 3d8 Slashing Damage, x3 crit, weight 15. You’re welcome).
The class itself is actually not that bad, the Athlete gets plenty of bonus feats as well as those aforementioned bonus to all rolls pertaining to sports they play. They also may train a minimum of three hours a day for over six weeks to get a temporary +2 to a physical statistic of their choice as long as they keep their regimen up, which is actually a decent bonus. In a more roleplay heavy Modern game the Athlete could make a great addition to the party.