Thursday, October 31, 2019

Mighty Man (Class: Specialist)

    Knowledge of the digging of ditches, the hewing of forests, the laying of stones in roads and the building of structures was one of the first gifts given to man by the g_ds. Timotheos, dark-haired third brother, taught these skills to his chosen peoples to protect them from the dangerous world he had created.

    All civilized people have a basic understanding of these skills. Some specialize, and a culture will have a preferred building style, but anyone can dig a hole or chop a small tree. A small team, especially one led by a competent builder, can dig and hew and mold the earth into a camp in a few hours. Many hands makes for exponentially lighter labor.

    Some people don't need a team at all.

Barbarians in the frozen south, civilized men in the temperate north.
    You are a member of a chalcolithic pagan tribe called the "Builders". You were brought to the civilized world (the world of crop rotation, dressed stone and iron) to perform hard manual labor. It's possible you were a slave or a prisoner of war, but most likely you were lured by the promise of riches — your tribe has a legendary weakness for precious metal and stones.

    At home your people worshiped an ancient being you called the "Old Man in the Ice". The Old Man dictates that his worshipers be scarified with knives and burning mistletoe, and makes bizarre demands in the darkness of their minds. The lands of the Builders are littered with impressive but abandoned structures and riddled with half-collapsed mines.

    The civilized folk thought this to be the limit of your magic and your use; but a few decades ago, with the redevelopment of furnace technology, ironmongery became widespread and a boss thought to place an iron tool into a Builder's hands. It was then that they discovered either a holy secret of Timotheos, or else a strange oversight in your design. . .

Class: Builder

    You are a Builder; a barbarian valued as manual labor. Your people are a common sight around major engineering projects or in large cities. Your abilities are far above those of normal humanity, and are further increased with weird and mystical effects when wielding iron tools.

    For every template you have of this class you gain +1 Stealth. If you have at least one template of Builder you cannot fumble with weapons you are holding in two hands. You cannot wear medium or heavy armor unless a template from another class allows you.

    If you die, you do not rise from the dead unless at the pleasure of the Old Man.

Skills: 1. Fishing, 2. Knapping, 3. Psychotropic Brewing

Starting Equipment: Workman's clothes, a felling axe (medium weapon), your choice of trenching shovel, mattock or sledge (see below for equipment list), an iron collar identifying you as a foreigner, a low voice in your head which whispers to you constantly, and one other piece of gear of your choice.

  • A Steel-Driven, Foreigner, +1 HP
  • B Ploughman's Lunch, +1 To-Hit
  • C Old Man's Eye, +1 HP
  • D Strength of Many, +1 To-Hit
    You naturally excel at all forms of construction, landscaping and earthmoving.  For example:
  • A human can fell a tree very fast with a good axe. A Builder can chop a tree down in one minute per foot of diameter
  • A human can dig a full-sized grave in perhaps eight hours; a Builder can dig that in four.
  • When erecting a structure, each Builder counts as two human workers. This is a general rule which should be applied to any engineering project.
    There is, in addition, a fell passion that sometimes grips members of your pagan rite. While holding an iron tool in your hands you can choose to enter a wild frenzy. Roll 2d6. If you roll a pair of 2's, 3's or 4's you suffer an Accident, and if you roll snake-eyes you suffer a Catastrophe.
Those in the grip of the frenzy move at double speed for the duration and finish their tasks in half the time. Frenzied characters make an extra attack in combat, but gain a slot of exhaustion every time they do so. The frenzy ends after one hour or immediately upon becoming encumbered. It has a 2-in-6 chance of ending immediately after taking damage from any source.
    You can enter the frenzy as many times per day as you have Builder templates.

    Noble and academic types, who don't work with their hands, find you amusing. Farmers and gravediggers find you jaw-dropping, and extended projects may draw crowds of cheering onlookers or local strongmen to challenge you.

    Your accent, your rations and your stride indicate that you hail from the half-savage frozen wastelands of the south. Some non-player characters will be offended by or afraid of you, while others may be eager to hear your stories and then hire you to build a dam. Concealing your identity by wearing a huge black cloak and refusing to speak will actually make people more suspicious, but you can still try it.

    Obviously this is only true in the civilized world. If adventuring in the half-savage frozen wastelands of the south, assume that you have a 4-in-6 chance of being recognized as an enemy in any town or camp. Barbarians kill people wearing huge black cloaks on sight.

Ploughman's Lunch
    Your natural stamina lets you recover quickly. When you take a Lunch, you also lose two slots of exhaustion. If you consume a ration immediately before entering your frenzy you reduce your chances of suffering an Accident by 1. A quart of small beer or a half-cup of hard liquor counts as a ration for you.

Old Man's Eye
    Your success has drawn the attention of the Old Man, who claimed your soul as an infant with a series of rituals, culminating in the tattooing of one of his eyes upon your chest. He has watched you through that eye for your entire life, first idly, but now with interest. You are ready to help him achieve his goals.

     Agents of the Old Man are given strange tasks which they must fulfill or suffer two consequences; first, you lose the good grace of your g_d and will rise from the dead like everyone else, and second, every time you enter your frenzy you have a 2-in-6 chance of losing your mind for 1d6 rounds and making wild attacks against random targets. The Old Man isn't cursing you, he is simply withdrawing his stabilizing presence from a body not adapted to Chaos. Fulfilling his requests earns eldritch favor, which takes many forms.

    The Old Man typically gives out his quests on the new moon, though of course he has no obligation to you whatsoever and can give them out whenever he feels like. A few examples:

Unpleasant Tasks:

  1. Go to a certain valley, a few days travel from where you received this task, and dig a deep well. It must be at least one-hundred feet deep by the next new moon. It doesn't need to be lined with stone, but it does need to be at least five feet across and at most twenty (a flooded quarry is not a well).
  2. Make a burnt offering to the Old Man and host a wild celebration. You will need at least twenty human party guests (Unburied don't count, but Cobolds might). You will also need to keep a fire burning all night and sacrifice either five horses, ten cows, twenty-five sheep or fifty birds. This must be completed by the next new moon
  3. You must build a bridge over the next river you come to at the point where you reach it. It must be able to hold at least your weight, and if it collapses or is left uncompleted before the next new moon then you have failed.
  4. Find and kill an exceptionally dangerous Cobold in an abandoned mine, about five days travel from where you received this task. She is guarded by 2d4 of her fellows and knows a single random cleric spell which she casts with one die. This must be completed by the next new moon.
  5. Fulfill the next request made of you by a non-player character. You can negotiate for pay, but you must complete it according to their specifications. Smart Builders make a habit of cutting off the fingers of those who ask them for free labor, to keep people from thinking they might get lucky.
  6. Find seven metal spoons and swallow them one after the other. Pass a constitution save or take a point of damage next time you, you know...

Strange Rewards:

  1. Until the next new moon, you are invisible when you close your eyes and stay perfectly still. You may need to make a constitution check to maintain stillness for more than a minute or so.
  2. Until the next new moon, your face is different. Someone who has only seen you, or only spoken to you briefly, will be unable to recognize you. At the next new moon, save or the change is permanent.
  3. You gain +1 HP. Each time you roll this result, another tattoo appears on your skin. After three increases you must wear heavy clothing to conceal the eye, and after six they cover your face.
  4. Your teeth grow 1d4 centimeters. At five centimeters extra they limit your ability to speak. These can be filed down to normal(ish), or to sharp points which horrify non-player characters.
  5. Your body feels strangely unsteady, as if you are newly made. Old scars fade and heal. Until the next new moon your chance of rolling an Accident is reduced by 1.
  6. You are filled with an unspeakable and horrible hunger to be drunk. Until the next new moon you heal 1 HP when you drink at least a quart of small beer or a half-cup of liquor.

Strength of Many
    At will, roll 2d6 and add that number to any strength related roll of a twenty-sided die. The higher number is inflicted to you as damage. You experience a rush of energy and an awful pain in your chest when you use this feature; people nearby notice rising temperatures and the smell of burning hair.


  1. Shooting pain. Take 1 point of damage and drop what you are holding.
  2. Too much grip; you shatter the handle of your tool as your tendons spasm. You can craft a suitable handle in an hour if you have the lumber, or replace it in five minutes if you have a spare.
  3. Strange energies; the edge of the tool dulls as the iron evaporates. You can file down or sharpen it in half an hour's work with a whetstone. Hammers are unaffected.
  4. Too little grip. Everyone within 15 feet makes a wisdom save to duck; worst result takes 1 point of damage. If no one is within 15 feet, the tool flies off and it takes you ten minutes to find it.
  5. Mind the backswing! The tool twists in your hands like a snake. You take 1d6 damage, or apply it to someone within 5 feet of you.
  6. Six-second blackout. Your tool is ruined beyond repair; the splintered stump of handle has teeth marks on it. If someone is nearby they didn't see anything either and you can't make them admit otherwise.


  1. Minor heart attack. You drop what you are holding and can do nothing but clutch your chest and wince for 1d6 rounds. 
  2. Major heart attack. You are reduced to 0 health and black out. Your strength and constitution scores are both reduced by 2; you heal one point of stat loss with a night of rest or six with a Restoration spell.
  3. The Big One. Your heart ruins itself. This is lethal if you still need a heart.
You are immune to catastrophes if you don't have, or don't need, a heart. A casting of Greater Restoration reduces the severity by one.

And now, the Gear:

From Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly, "The Cheapest Magazine in the World"
  1. Felling Axe. Effective tool for cutting down men as well. Medium weapon.
  2. Trenching Shovel. Long blade-like head, for drainage ditches and such. Makes an excellent lever. Medium, but can't be used effectively in one hand.
  3. Mattock. A pickaxe with a spike on one side and a flat cutting or digging blade on the other. Essential tool of gravediggers. Medium, but can't be used effectively in one hand.
  4. Sledge. Tool of wreckers and rock-breakers. About three times too heavy to be a warhammer. Large weapon, but suffers a -2 to-hit and deals +2 damage.
  5. Tongs. Good for handling hot metal, poking at traps and holding steel spikes in place while someone else hits them with a sledge. Counts as a light weapon.
  6. Black Powder. Comes in horns or kegs, you have a horn of it. The keg is probably as dangerous as a Fireball. 1 or 10 slots.
  7. Crowbar. Good for prying, acts as a light weapon.
  8. Hammer, sheath of 10 iron nails. 1 slot each.
  9. A hand drill with a six-inch bit. Can make a hole in sedimentary rock in five minutes and igneous in half an hour. 1 slot.
  10. 40 feet of iron chain, 2 slots.
  11. 50 feet of rope, 1 slot.
  12. Brick hod. Holds 5 slots, must held in two hands. You could also use this as a scoop or to boost people up ledges.
  13. Throwing Sword, light weapon, throwable 20 feet. Returns to your hand if it doesn't hit anything; if you throw such that it collides with your enemy on the return trip, it hits them at the start of next round and you have advantage on the attack roll.
  14. Big smelly sack of ermine skins. Worth 5 gold per day's travel to the nearest port. 5 slots.
  15. Blacksign Toadstools, three doses. Roll 1d6 and that ability score is inverted (11 -> 9, 7 -> 13, 10 -> 10). Effects last until you get a night of sleep.
  16. Seagold gloves. Crafted from the flesh of a rare deep sea creature by a witch-woman of your homeland. Unarmed attacks deal full damage to the undead.
  17. Hair bleach, three doses. Also works on beards, fur and most woods. Very poisonous.
  18. Come-along stick. Solid iron ten-foot-pole. Heavy. 4 slots.
  19. Atlatl, as shortbow +1. Uses javelins instead of arrows (javelins are three to a slot). 1 slot.
  20. A weird or inexplicable curio. Roll 1d6:
    • 1. Human skull with three eye sockets.
    • 2. Bar of adamant. In theory, a priceless artifact. In practice, an indestructible paperweight. 1 slot.
    • 3. Skin of mares-blood liquor. Powerful emetic, unless you like mare's blood liquor. 1 slot.
    • 4. An arrow. The shaft, head, fletching are all gold. Worth 15 gold to a collector in good condition. If you fire it, it always deals full damage +2 but is reduced to 5 gold worth of scrap on a fumbled attack.
    • 5. Priest mask, yellow serpent — heresy! 
    • 6. Golden anklet-bells. Their cheery sound can be heard for miles by the undead, who hate it and will risk destruction to end their ringing.


  1. This is really good, and it's very impressive how you got to this from the initial concept. I like the stealth (naturally thought to be quiet and discrete, the hunters habits remain) but I think the name thief might mislead/disappoint readers. ("this isn't what I expected" instead of "wow, this is really neat!").

    The setting details involved in the class are also very intriguing.

  2. This is very cool and so much content holy hell!

  3. Having just read this, it is now my favorite class of your after the immortal Primate Father.