This post is as much for my future players as for myself.
So, I’ve always been dissatisfied with the “barbarian” as presented. It’s mostly a Viking Berzerker class, which is all well and good for a Dark Ages game. But I’m running a Colonial-era game, where there’s plenty of place for other sorts of “barbarians” – hell, it’s a central trope even in the modern era. And berzerkers really don’t fit the literature.
What I’m gunning for here is a sort of Le Pacte des Loupes-meets-Lost World vibe, probably somewhere in the 17th or 18th centuries. This necessitates Natives. And surely not everyone’s going to be a 0-level Warrior.. plus, what happens when someone joins the party? We’ve got countless literary examples to draw on, and I think this does the job..
Anyway, anyone offended can go boil their head, but comments are always welcome.
(Note that Occultism is a new skill, which
I’ll detail shortly. is detailed here)
was torn between this and Tribal. Finally said fuck it.)
This class replaces the Dwarf.
Within the cities and the farms, Men have domesticated themselves, but a Tribal knows what it is to truly be free. He roams as part of the wilderness, instead of smashing through it; not seeking dominion, he becomes its master.
Every member of the tribe must endure dangerous rites of passage that weed out the weak and the foolish. They gain +1 to both Wis and Con, and must have a CON of at least 8. Adherence to strange rituals and an often frightful appearances reduce their effective Charisma by 2, and even the most positive interactions with most civilized NPCs will carry a burden of fear or condescension. A well-dressed Tribal in the realms of high society is at best a circus freak; in his own garb, he is a beast
Their honor is strong, yet strange to the city-man. Savages do not hunt for sport, do not kill for the joy of killing, yet are chillingly efficient at it. They kill with any weapon that will do the job, even poisons, and yet often value courage above all.
Savages gravitate naturally to the life of an Adventurer. Its unique combination of exploration and violence thrill their hearts, and only among the other rude rejects of Civilization can they find the few among the multitudes who might see in them a companion, rather than a curiosity.
Tribals come from a rough-and-tumble life. They know the limits – and the boundaries – of their bodies better than most. They are, however, a superstitious lot; fearful of magics and beholden to mysterious taboos (and every mage knows that belief is half of magic). Nor have they wallowed in the wretched, pestilent filth of the cages “civilized” Men call cities. While they add their CON bonus to all saving throws made to resist poisons or other body-altering effects, it is subtracted from their saving throws against diseases and magic.
Rules in simple terms:
D10 HP, +3 HP per level after 9 (con modifiers apply)
+1 Con and Wis, -2 Cha.
Subtracts Con bonus from saves vs. Disease and Spells or other magic
Adds Con bonus to saves against Poison and other body-altering effects
A Tribal operating on his own will usually be treated with contempt at best by “civilized” people, and in any social situation most people will default to addressing his companions as his keeper/master.
Tribals start with 3d in Bushcraft and Stealth, advancing as a Dwarf’s Architecture skill. At the DM’s option, they may replace this with Physic and Occultism to represent a witch-doctor. Island and coastal natives may also substitute Seamanship for Bushcraft.
They can automatically Track if these rules are in play.
Tribals are generally not literate in Common, but start play able to speak at least 2 languages: at the option of the player, they may speak a pidgin Common. Some particularly devious individuals speak in pidgin to conceal their true intelligence – for purposes nefarious and otherwise.
The player of a Tribal should pick a few very notable characteristics – Odd customs, body modifications, &c – to reinforce the alienation of their character. You can roll on the following chart, pick items from it, or use it for inspiration. None of these choices have any in-game effect attached, although the GM is free to punish those who violate taboos..
Witch-doctors will be punished more severely, generally speaking.
Facial or full-body tattooing
Filed teeth, removed teeth
Shaved head/Unique hairstyle
Ritual Cannibalism (eats the dead to keep their spirits in the family, consumes representative parts of particularly memorable kills, &c.)
Prays for forgiveness over those he kills
Mayhem (saving trophies, maiming the dead to keep their spirits from hunting you, etc)
Considers one or more animals sacred or unclean, refuses to touch them (Albinos, cows, pigs)
Irrational fear of a normal animal
Carries a token or fetich. (Refuses to discuss it, speaks to, makes offerings to)
Vision Questing, ritual drug use
Always performs a common action in a ritual way (one foot first in the door, makes a certain sequence of motions as he wakes or goes to sleep..)
Part of a rigid caste system – while the Adventurer is outside their home society (and may even have fled it to get away from the system), they can still feel uncomfortable around certain social groups, or may be totally unfamiliar with some type of common work.
City/”civilized” clothing causes the character severe discomfort, or prevents them from performing certain actions.
Cannot use edged weapons/shed blood in combat
Must always strike to kill once battle is joined
Expert in the manufacture of primitive weapons, but refuses to use metal
Owes a life-debt or other debt of honor to a party member
Counts coup (performing non-damaging strikes in combat as a combined insult and demonstration of superior skill)
Uses only one weapon for Man-slaying. Beasts are often another matter.
Must always carry a weapon
Cannibal (for non-ritual reasons)
Dietary restrictions (pick a few common foods as taboo)
Must perform some ritual or food is “unclean” and cannot be eaten. Could involve slaughter, some aspect of care or raising, baking, etc.
A strange or distressing pet
For example, a Thuggee cultist would have the following taboos:
Strict vegetarian, uses one type of weapon for man-slaying (Garrote), cannot shed blood in combat. Engages in ritual human sacrifice (strangling to unconsciousness, burial alive).