Friday, April 16, 2010

The Compleat [sic] Adventurer

In celebration of Tax Day, finally being finished (yes, it only took me till the 15th to finish the damn thing...long story that I won't go into)...I took a stroll through Lake City and specifically American Eagle games by way of treating myself.

Lake City, for those who don't know, is yet another North Seattle neighborhood, like Ballard or Fremont or Greenwood (where I reside)...but it's a bit farther north and...well...a bit shabbier.

"Shabby" really is the best word I can think of to describe the area. For whatever reason, it just depresses me a little bit. Oh, there's nice new store fronts on occasion, but there sure seems to be a lot of "used" places...used car dealerships, used game shops, pawn shops, a couple thrift shops as well as a huge Goodwill. One just gets the feeling that the neighborhood has either a) seen better days, of b) has passed its prime, but so have the residents and they simply don't care. Whatever...I just get weird vibes there, and don't get down there that often.

When I DO, I always try to stop into American Eagle, a huge hobby shop, mainly catering to models and military wargames (as in TRUE "grognard" stuff). They also have a rather large selection of RPG products, almost all of which are for out-of-print games...there's a large selection of old Marvel Superhero modules, for instance, or adventures for the original Twilight 2000, as well as the Buck Rogers RPG and quite a bit of 2nd edition AD&D. All in mint condition...simply inventory that they've had on hand for a looooong time. As with the rest of Lake City, it just feels like a store that's been "left behind" least back to 1988 or so.

[today I noticed the fliers calling for Civil War re-enactors. In Seattle! Wow...]

But even being familiar with the Lake City vibe and the crazy RPG inventory, I was totally taken aback when I saw a copy of Stephan Michael Sechi's The Compleat Adventurer.

Excuse me, not one copy but THREE. All first run prints, shrink-wrapped and in mint condition.

The last time I saw this book was well over 20 years ago. This was one my buddy, Matt, had. In fact, I believe his D&D character Bryant (the last major introduction to my AD&D Campaign of Old) was a hunter of the scout sub-class. Yes, I remember this book well.

Damn. It's so old it doesn't even have a copyright date.

I, of course, purchased a copy (for $5 and change!). Asking the proprietor if this was being printed again as I hadn't seen a copy since I was 13, I was told, "no it's probably that old, we just had some extra stuff we pulled out of the basement recently." Wow. I wonder what else is still down there.

For those unfamiliar with the book, Sechi (author of Bard Games' Talislanta) has put together a 41 page book supplement intended to expand the range of character options for "your favorite fantasy role-playing game system." It does this by providing 13 new character classes (each with half to full page illustrations), loosely adaptable to D&D (specifically AD&D or OD&D + Supplements) or even more loosely adapted to other OLD Old School RPGs that use similar structure but % based systems.

Wow. What a find.

This is actually the third book in a three part series published by Sechi and Bard Games, the first two being The Compleat Alchemist and The Compleat Spell Caster. The character classes presented here are of the non-magical variety for the most part, but they are the kind of thing any enterprising young game-tinker would want to throw in his or her D&D campaign. They are:

- Buccaneer
- Gladiator
- Harlequin
- Knight
- Martial Artist
- Rogue (Ha! No...this is a REAL "rogue!")
- Scout
- Spy
- Swordsman
- Warrior

In fact, it would appear that these classes are intended to supplant the traditional D&D classes(!), something I infer from the inclusion of the warrior, the knight, the rogue, the martial artist, and the spy, all of which would seem to replace basic adventuring classes found in D&D. However, I'd need The Compleat Spell Caster to really verify this.

What a great bunch of inspirational material! For my taste, it's a little too clunky to use "as is," but I believe it would provide very nice, simple, and useable options for folks willing to take a little time to polish it up. Really.

I got an email from Norm the other day asking if I had any sort of compilation of variant classes for B/X D& which I replied that I really hadn't worked too much on variant classes at all! HOWEVER, I wouldn't be against doing up some B/X sketches of the classes in this book...simply as an exercise you understand (B/X is perfect as written, of least up till level 14).
; )

If I do this, though, I will not be including ALL the classes...the warrior or knight, for example, are little more than fighters with some optional add-ons. However, the following classes would be excellent additions to any B/X game: the Beastmaster, the Scout/Bounty Hunter (I'd probably combine these as a single "hunter" class), the Spy, the Swordsman, and the Witch-Hunter...heck, even the Rogue. I dislike having a Buccaneer class as there is already a buccaneer monster and the harlequin, challenges. But maybe this can be a possible side project.

Yeah, when I have nothing else to do. Sheesh!
: )


  1. Awesome.
    I loved the "Compleat" series of books. Not that they were great mind you, but they had such a cool air about them. Of course I had the Compleat Spellcaster given my fondness for witches and was pretty neat.

    They were all later combined into one book called The Arcanum, which I also have.

    I am happy for your find!

  2. Wow - that sounds really cool. :)

  3. Maybe Norm got you mixed up with Pat of Ode to Black Dougal. He did all those S&S B/X class variant a few months ago.

  4. Hmmmn... I just saw an old copy of this exact supplement recently in my (sorta) neck of the woods. I didn't know it was so universally adaptable. I'll have to give it another look. Pretty sure it wasn't $5 though. Nice!

    Same thing with a copy of Chivalry & Sorcery (the '77 edition). I've pulled that one off the shelf quite a few times, and ended up putting it back. Been trying to limit my (over-)spending on too many RPG products. I don't have time enough to play my fave system. What do I think I'm gonna do with all these others? LOL

  5. @ Stu #2: That's what I was thinking, too. Pat has done a ton of cool B/X class write-ups. We'll see if mine can be as cool.

    @ Yoyo: I hear ya' man.
    : )

  6. Secchi's The Compleat Spell Caster was the first non-TSR thing I ever bought. It was awesome. For me, it was the best of the three: flavourful classes without lots of mechanical complexity (basically, new spell lists to give theme), better (that is, more interesting) demons to summon than in the MM, and lots of nifty little things you could use if you wanted, like magical runes, symbols of power, and so on.

    The Adventurer was good, but I never found it quite as interesting.

    And Tim is mostly right--when Secchi put together the Arcanum, it was a natrual progression from the Compleat books he'd done, but I wouldn't say that it's a compilation of them. The Arcanum has a lot more classes than the Compleat books and gives it's own system (which is a very stripped-down AD&D, which he then stripped down ever further for Talislanta).

    Um...fanboy gushing over now.

  7. Dude, I'd gear up and assault that basement like a dungeon to find out what else was in there...

  8. > I wouldn't be against doing up some B/X sketches of the classes in this book

    Do it, I dare ya! :)