View Full Version : Old School 2e AD&D as a Points-Based Class System

Mark Hall
2019-07-18, 04:30 PM
So, I have played around with the idea of using the Spells and Magic priest system to create classes for quite a while.... seriously, I was using it to construct my own 3rd edition before Wizards announced that they were doing their own. Recently, I got a bug up my butt about trying it again, and I would like some people to stress-test it for me... make cool, interesting, or just plain broken characters, so I can see where the stupid is.

The system I am tentatively using is here (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BJOYlk7muLvDsabcTlnP3SCqBt3pEETzPd0ccSOlndM/edit?usp=sharing).

So, looking at the work done below, I think a good default is 200 points with which to build a character. It's going to see fighter-types and thief-types picking up a lot of things they might not otherwise, but it looks like it will make REASONABLE clerics and wizards.

If we want to integrate this into the DMG system, to make your own classes, let's say 200 points equals a *10 multiplier, which means each +1 to the multiplier equals 20 points... or each point is a .05 multiplier.

For ease of use, here is table 21 from the 2e DMG

Level/Base Experience
10+/30,000 per additional level

I can think of two things this system does not account for:
HP per level after level 9
Different Saving Throw Tables

What else am I missing from the standpoint of creating a class?

Access to Schools (85): Allows them to learn and cast all spells, with greater access

Armored Caster (15): Can cast in any armor.

Followers (15): Not quite the usual for clerics.

Improved Combat (5): Priest ThAC0

Magic Item Use (5): Priest Magic Items.

Maximum Spell Level (70): Can cast up to 7th level spells

Proficiency Group Crossover (5): General and Priest

Spell Point Pool (40): Full spellcaster level spell points

Turn Undead (15): Can't command them, but can turn them.

Alignment Restriction (10): Must be within 1 step of their deity's alignment.

Barred School (15): Animal, Plant, Elemental; cannot cast spells or use items from the Priest spheres of Animal, Plant, or Elemental

Cannot Retain Wealth (5): Must tithe 10%.

Ceremony/Observance (5): Daily prayers that must be observed or they can't regain spells.

Limited Weapon Selection (5): Only Bludgeoning

Slower Casting Time (5): Casts spells slower; a bit harsher than a regular priest, but, well, they can cast magic missile and shield now, too.

Total is 210 points.

Additional Attacks (30)
Followers (15)
Improved Combat (10)
Improved Hit Die (10)
Leadership (10)
Magic item use (5): Warrior item use.
Proficiency Group Crossover (5): General and Warrior
Warrior Ability Bonuses (20)
Weapon Specialization (25)

Total is 130

Access to Schools (85)
Magic Item Use (5) Wizard Items
Maximum Spell Level (90)
Proficiency Group Crossover (5): Wizard
Spell Point Pool (40)


Limited Armor (18): No armor
Limited Weapon Selection (10): Five weapons, no more than 1d6 damage
Lower to hit bonus (10): Wizard ThAC0
Reduced HP (15) d4 HD

Total is 172

Now a thief:

Backstab (10)
Climb Walls (5)
Detection (5)
Followers (10)
Magic Item Use (7); Rogue immediately, Wizard and cleric, both delayed to 4th level (to let them use scrolls)
Mechanical (10)
Proficiency Group Crossover (5): Rogue
Read Languages (1): Delayed to 4th level
Secret Language (5): Thief's Cant
Sleight of Hand (10)
Stealth (5)

Alignment Restriction (5): Cannot be Lawful (a bit more strict than the standard Cannot be Lawful Good, which the RAW does not account for)

Limited Armor (13): Studded Leather or lighter, no shields

Limited weapon selection (5): The thief list isn't hugely restrictive, but it does take some of the nicer options off the table.

Reduced Hit Points (5): d6 HD

Total is 45.

2019-07-20, 12:02 AM
Interesting idea. I take it you used the old Skills and Powers supplement as a base? Not sure my 2nd edition is up to par enough to be of too much help initially, it has been a very long time since I did anything with 2e. At first glance, its pretty unwieldy to use that document, may I suggest at least a table grouping the name of the character features by type and adding Alphabetical(A, B, C,...) links to the outline for rapid document navigation. It would make moving through that document so much easier, and the easier it is to use the more interest you're likely to garner.

I find the project fascinating since I've been working on writing a system from the ground up that is entirely a point buy character system. At its core its a d20 system, but I've tried to redesign almost everything from the ground up to make a cleaner more streamlined and balanced game that does a better job maintaining verisimilitude. Everything from a Character's Race, their Background, Abilities, Feats, Skills, Health, Powers, etc is purchased with their Character Points. And the only thing that is tied to level is the amount of Character Points a character has.

If you're interested, I wouldn't mind a back and forth of ideas. I'll dig into yours if you'll return the favor?

Mark Hall
2019-07-23, 05:24 PM
Now, the Bard!

(Why am I doing this? Partially, I want to see how it all shakes out. I'm also considering how this will work when paired with a system... should 200 points be an ideal to shoot for? Should it be lower, and force some generalists to make choices? Also, it is helping me find abilities I did not include, like the Bard's Countersong.)

*Access to Schools: (45) The bard can cast all spells, but they have only Lesser Access, since they're not good at it.
*Alter Moods (5)
*Climb Walls (5)
*Counter Effects (10)
*History (10)
*Inspire/Enrage Allies (5)
*Magic Item Use (5) Rogue magic items.
*Maximum Spell level (60)
*Proficiency group crossovers (15): Rogue, Wizard, and Warrior
*Read Languages (5)
*Sleight of Hand (10)
*Spell Point Pool (20)

*Alignment Restriction (10) Must be at least partially neutral
*Limited Armor (8): Chain mail or lighter, and no shields.
*Reduced HP (5): d6 HD

Total: 172

EXACTLY the same as a standard mage, which is AMAZING to me.

Mark Hall
2019-07-23, 05:25 PM
Super happy fun time: DRUID!

Access to Schools (85): A bit unusual; they have Universal, 7 of the 8 standard schools, plus Healing (as the cleric sphere). No Necromancy.
Armored Caster (10): Hide and heavier armors; up to 40#
Communication (4): Sylvan languages, delayed to 7th level (i.e. by 6 levels)
Elemental Resistance (10): +2 v. Fire and Electricity
Identify Plants and Animals (5)
Improved Combat (5)
Magic Item Use (5): Priest items
Maximum Spell Level (70)
Pass Without Trace (5)
Proficiency crossover (5): Priest group
Shapechange (15)
Special Resistance (4): +2 saves against charms, delayed to 7th level
Spell Point Pool (40)

Alignment Restriction (15): True Neutral
Ceremony/Observance (5): Common priest restriction
Limited Armor (10): We'll call that correct for non-metal armor
Limited Weapons (5): The druid list
Slower Casting Time (5): Common clerical restriction

Total: 223

2019-07-23, 05:57 PM
This is pretty intriguing - I'm reminded of some other attempts at something like this (more a class generator than a PC generator) from the OSR community, here (http://quibish.blogspot.com/2011/12/customized-classes-for-bx.html) (examples (http://quibish.blogspot.com/search/label/Customized%20Classes)) and here (http://9and30kingdoms.blogspot.com/2012/10/class-building.html).

Hopefully there's something to pillage from those, and I didn't just miss something.

Mark Hall
2019-07-30, 01:47 PM
The Paladin

*Access to Schools (12): Paladins have Lesser access to Combat, Divination, Healing, and Protection. Unlike a lot of the previous ones, they don't have really broad access... a narrow list, keeping cost down. Furthermore, they delay it by 8 levels, to level 9, giving them a steep discount.
*Additional Attacks (30)
*Armored Caster (15): Any spell, any armor.
*Detect Evil (10)
*Followers (15): They acquire a squire or a mount at level 5.
*Immunity to Natural Disease (15)
*Improved Combat (10)
*Improved Hit Die (10)
*Lay on Hands (10)
*Magic Item Use (10): Warrior and Paladin; since there are special effects to some magic items as a Paladin, they get those.
*Maximum Spell Level (32): Max level 4, against delayed to level 9.
*Proficiency Group Crossovers (10): Priest and Warrior
*Spell Point Pool (12): 20 point ability, delayed by 8 levels.
*Spell-like granted power: Cure Disease (14): This grants 1/ week use of the ability. It is delayed to 5th level.
*Spell-like granted power: Cure Disease (7): The one granted at 10th level
*Spell-like granted power: Cure Diease (2): The one granted at 15th level
*Turn Undead (13): Delayed 2 levels to level 3.
*Warrior Ability Bonuses (20)

Alignment Restriction (25): Must be lawful good, non-lawful and non-good actions carry penalties.
Can Never Retain Wealth (15): Not only must tithe 10% of their income, they cannot keep more than is necessary for maintenance.
Ceremony/Observance (5): Common for priestly characters.
Limited Magical Item Possession (10)
Slower Casting Time (5): Common for priest spells

Total of 172. This version does not have the Protective aura of a Paladin; I'm not quite sure how to set that up in the system that doesn't make it a "Well, duh" sort of ability.

Mark Hall
2019-07-30, 01:47 PM
Ok, now, Rangers, the last of the PH classes

*Access to Schools: (3) (Lesser to Animal and Plant; delayed to 8th))
*Additional Attacks (30)
*Armored Caster (5) Studded Leather or lighter
*Empathy with Animals (10)
*Followers (10)
*Improved Combat (10)
*Improved HD (10)
*Improved Proficiency (Track) (5)
*Magic Item Use (5): Warrior
*Maximum Spell Level (23; 3 level max, delayed to 8th)
*Proficiency Group Crossovers (10) Warrior, Priest
*Special Enemy (10)
*Spell Point Pool (13; minor, delayed to 8th)
*Style Specialist: Two Weapon (5)
*Warrior Ability Bonuses (20)

*Alignment Restriction (10) (Must be Good)
*Behavior/Taboo (2) (Cannot use many abilities in heavier than Studded Leather Armor)
*Can Never Retain Wealth (15) (Keep what they and their mount can carry)
*Ceremony/Observance (5) (Common on clerical spell casting)
*Slower Casting Time (5) (Common to Clerical Spell Casting)

Total: 132

Mark Hall
2019-07-30, 01:48 PM
So, what does this look like?

Within the constraints of the model, here's the costs of classes, by PH order

Fighter 130
Paladin 172
Ranger 132

Mage 172

Cleric 210
Druid 223

Thief 45
Bard 172