Thursday, November 27, 2014

Product Spotlight: Old School Monster Classes

As of November 26th, I put the finishing touches on my latest book and uploaded it to the online stores.  Right now you can get it immediately on Drive-Thru RPG and RPGNow, and hopefully Paizo and D20 Pathfinder SRD in the near future.  Old School Monster Classes is a Labyrinth Lord-compatible supplement containing 14 new classes, all of them based off of existing iconic and mythological monsters such as the gnoll and the harpy.

I had the idea for quite a while, since last year in fact, but I never began the project proper until I was in the middle of designing my Playable Monsters supplement for Pathfinder Role-Playing Game.  There are many problems with monster PCs in a lot of D&D games: for one, lots of folk play them as-is with abilities intact, even if said abilities would be disruptive to the core of the game; who needs to adventure when the genie can conjure precious metals at will?  Another is due to the game's roots where monsters were primarily adversaries lurking at the edges of civilization, guarding treasure to be claimed and laying siege to villages.  It's no surprise that most monstrous beings are attacked on sight in most campaigns, and don't really have a lot of cultural detail in comparison to dwarves, elves, and halflings beyond the whims of individual homebrewers.

My two primary objectives for designing this book were to make the iconic traits of these 14 monsters in line with existing spells and class features at reasonable levels, and to give them interesting societies as fodder for role-play material and reasons for why they wouldn't be villified by the entire world.  Playing as a monster might be fun and nifty, but if their society is one-dimensional and uninteresting and one-dimensional it does not become a very attractive option.  Look at my previous post on my blog about gnolls: there's still room for the raider archetype, but I expanded their role beyond that one facet.  

Although this book might not be for everyone, the idea of playing as monsters for a change is a very popular idea in D&D which is sadly under-used in sourcebooks these days.  If you're an avid fan of B/X D&D and its retroclones, consider checking out my work and seeing if it's a good match for you and your gaming group.