Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Re-design of my core classes & Katushiro Castle!

I have been hard at work trying to complete my Ruins & Ronin supplement for Swords & Wizardry, however I have taken a slight step backwards as I was not happy with the current character classes as I have them. So, in light of that I have been re-tooling my classes to make them more “different” than the core classes in S&W, I want these classes to be available alongside those of the core rules and not to be simple Japanese-like clones of them. To reach this goal, the first thing I did was scrap both the Bushi and Samurai class and then lump them together to make the new Samurai class. While it is very similar to the Fighting-man, it’s main special ability is different now:

Deadly Strike: A Samurai gains a +1 to damage dealt at 2nd level,
and every three levels after that (5th, 8th,etc.)

The Samurai still retains the Stronghold ability, but the hit die is limited to 1d6+1 and his Prime Attribute is now Dexterity instead of Strength.

Next on the chopping block was the Yamabushi, while before he was just a renamed Cleric, now he is more of his own class. He does not gain spell casting abilities until 3rd level, and he losses the ability to turn the undead. His special ability (in addition to spell casting) is now:

Purifying Ritual: A Yamabushi can perform a purification ritual, once per day he can attempt to remove a curse by rolling his level or less on a d20.

Up next was the Shugenja, he is no longer the vanilla Magic-User of my setting, now he is more of a hybrid between the Cleric & Magic-User. He is the master of the occult, and is able to cast both divine and arcane spells (chosen from his own spell lists). Also, he prepares spells as a magic-user (for both spell types). He is able to turn the undead. He pays for these special abilities by having a large increase in x.p. needed to advance in level.

I have created a Yakuza class for use too, it is based on the Thief class (submitted by “Skathros” on the S&W forums) and has retained the Bushi ability of “scrounging” that I initially used. His thieving abilities are all resolved with a d20 roll.

The only class not to be re-worked since my last attempt was the Monk. While I am not a big fan of the monk, I will still include this class for those that wish to use it.

I am very excited to announce that Pete Mullen has done some rudimentary work on my cover art, and I can’t wait to see the finished product. So the book will look good at the very least.

I have also started work on my Ruins & Ronin megadungeon, which will be called Katsushiro Castle. This megadungeon lies below the ruins of the Mad Shugenja Katsushiro’s castle, the map above is the first in what I hope to be regular installments here using the 1 page dungeon template (made by Chgowiz – and used with great effect by Sham for his Dismal Depths megadungeon). Once I have some time I will complete the template and put it here for download.


  1. Those sound like some interesting adjustments. I am always in two minds as to the creation of class variants, because the basic two, three, or four classes (depending on your point of view) cover such general ground already.

    My impulse with class propositions like the samurai, yamabushi, shugenja, and yakuza is to make them narrower variants on the basic classes (or sub classes, if you will).

    So, I think you are doing the right thing with regard to the yamabushi and shugenja, but would probably drop the yakuza in favour of a thief or narrower thief variant. The samurai I am in two minds about. In all probability, I would treat him like an OD&D paladin, which is to say a fighting-man with some extra abilities and a higher experience progression.

    Just some thoughts!

  2. I look forward to these additions to S&W and hope to see them soon!!

  3. I love to see what people do with character classes. I'm really interested to see what you come up with.