I spent a lot of time this morning trying to come up with how I wanted to handle assassins in my B/X Companion. Not as a character class, nor as a monster (a la the headsman of BECMI). No, but as a specialist hireling. I have some ideas (kind of a combination between AD&D and BECMI actually), but I’m just trying to figure out the minutia.
Of course, then I thought up this little number.
I don’t intend to add any new character classes to my B/X Companion (so no, don’t expect to see the paladin, druid, or monk). Part of this has to do with space considerations (the book is already filling up quick); part of it has to do with personal insecurities (who am I to suggest a new class when I’m simply trying to fill-in a companion supplement to an already excellent game system?).
Mainly, though, it is a conceit of principle on my part: most every character archetype of B/X play can already be created with the classes available. Let others house rule new character classes (monks, half-ogres, etc.) that will better fit into their game world concept. I just want to add some supplemental rules (levels to 36, monsters, treasures, spells, mass combat and dominion rules, etc.). Yes, I’ve got plenty of ideas that I COULD throw in, but a 64 page Companion is my aim. Maybe someday I’ll throw out MY own character guide.
However, I HAVE been reading a lot of Howard recently, and while I’m positive the character can be effectively modeled using the B/X Thief class, I figured I’d throw out a little something-something for those who cannot stand the idea (there IS a barbarian “fighter variation” over at Pandius Vault, but I don’t think it accurately models the classic pulp barbarians of Fafhrd and Conan).
There is no intention for this class to be included in the B/X Companion.
All barbarians are human but they are of a hardier stock than normal men, growing up in the savage wilderness, outside of civilization. Born warriors, they do not have the same martial training as true fighting men; however they have other skills that compensate for this.
To be a barbarian, a character must have a minimum Constitution of 9. The barbarian has two prime requisites: strength and dexterity. Barbarians with both a strength and dexterity of 13+ gain a +5% on earned experience; barbarians with a dexterity of 16+ in addition to a strength of 13+ gain a +10% on earned experience.
Barbarians may use any weapon and may wear either leather or chain mail armor; they may not wear plate mail. A barbarian can use a shield. They may use any magic item not restricted to another class. Because barbarians are new to society, 1st level characters only receive half the gold of a normal starting character (divide gold rolled by two).
Barbarians have a maximum level of 36. They roll 1D6 hit points per level up to level 9 (Name level). Barbarians receive +3 hit points per level after 9th level. They use the same attack and saving throw matrixes as Thieves (however, see special abilities below).
Barbarians require 130,000 XP for every level after 9th (Name level).
Barbarians have several additional abilities learned from their upbringing in the wilderness. As a thief of the same level, barbarians can climb sheer surfaces, move silently, hide in shadows, and hear noise. Wearing chain mail does not affect the use of these skills. Barbarians also have the same percentage change to track and find tracks that a thief of same level has to “find traps.” If a barbarian wishes to hide his or her own tracks from an adversary, he can do so with a successful “move silently” roll, though the barbarian cannot do this when moving faster than normal (i.e. when running). Literate barbarians (Intelligence 9+) also gain the thief ability to read languages due to their long wanderings, but the ability isn’t gained until 5th level. Barbarians never learn to read magic.
Barbarians are ferocious hand-to-hand combatants, gaining a bonus of +1 on their melee attack rolls. Missile attacks and damage rolls are unaffected by a barbarian's berserk frenzy.
A barbarian traveling on-foot, either alone or with other barbarians, moves faster through the wilderness than other characters. The barbarian treats woods and hills as clear terrain, and jungles and mountains as woods and hills, respectively. A barbarian travels no faster than any other character through desert or broken terrain.
Barbarians never build strongholds, though they may live in a castle or palace if they can take one by force. At Name (9th level), barbarians have the ability to call together a barbarian horde made up of many tribal clans banded together. It takes 1D8 weeks to gather the horde, and the total number of warriors gathered will be 10-100 per level of experience (though the DM may limit the number available). Use the berserker statistics in the Basic rules for individual horde members. This horde can be used to attack or defend a territory, but will only stay together a maximum of 1D4 months unless regularly plied with loot and treasure (2 gps per horde member per month; greater rewards may improve morale of the horde).