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 AD&D Orcs as Player Characters
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3593 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2018 :  04:46:31  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Dragon Magazine #141 has so many awesome things; but I thought I would share a little bit of it concerning Orcs (which is what I'm working on right now).

Orcs as Player Characters followed these rules in AD&D (forgive my inability to do formatting well here on Candlekeep):

quote:

Table 1
Orc Attributes
Attribute Min. Max. Dice Mod.
Strength 8 18/00 3d6 + 1
Intelligence 2 16 2d8 -
Wisdom 2 16 2d8 -
Dexterity 2 17 3d6 - 1
Constitution 10 19 3d6 + 1
Charisma* 2 16 2d8 -
Comeliness* 2 12 2d6 -
* Add + 2 to the given charisma when dealing with orcs from the PC's own tribe.



quote:
Table 4
Class Level Limitations (Orc)
Ability Shaman Fighter Magicuser Thief Assassin
score
15..........5 ..........2 ..........4 ..........7 ..........12
16..........6 ..........3 ..........4 ..........8 ..........12
17..........7 ..........3 ..........4 ..........9 ..........12
18..........8 ..........4 ..........4 ..........9 ..........12
18/99......- ..........5 ..........- ..........- ..........-
18/00......- ..........5 ..........- ..........- ..........-
19..........10 .........6 ..........5 .........10 .........13
20..........11 .........8 ..........6 .........10 .........14
21..........11 ........12 .........6 .........10 .........14



quote:

Character race descriptions

Orcs

Exceptional orcs may be fighters, shamans, magic-users, thieves, or assassins. Orcs may be multiclassed as witch doctors, fighter/assassins, or shaman/thieves. Orcs have a natural armor class of 10, modified by dexterity and armor. In addition to their own language, orcs speak Goblin, Hobgoblin, Ogrish, and a crude form of Common. They also speak their alignment language but can learn no additional languages. Orcs pick up most obscene and slang words and phrases if exposed to a given language for more than
one week#146;s time.

Orcs have infravision to a 6#148; range; in bright light, they take a penalty of - 1 on #147;to hit#148; rolls and saving throws. Orcs have a base movement rate of 12#148;) an average weight of 170 +2d12 lbs., and an average height of 66 +4d4#148; (about 6#146;). All orcs have excellent mining skills, and exceptional orcs have a 35% chance to detect grade, slope, new construction, sliding walls, traps, and depth underground. Many orcs have the ability to construct large engines of destruction, such as catapults, battering rams, etc.; some orcs have extra proficiency in the use of one specific siege-engine type, receiving a + 1 bonus on #147;to hit#148; rolls. A few know how to train elephantine creatures as war mounts.

Orcs can handle any hand-held weapons that humans can handle. Orcs hate elves and their ilk, and will generally attack them before attacking any other creature. Exceptional orcs will tolerate elves as long as there is no impertinence. This balanced tolerance rarely prevents an orc from using harmless but vulgar puns which the orc regards as high sarcasm. All orcs are rude, crude, and have bad manners, especially when fighting and eating. Attempts at teaching an orc complex tasks sometimes result in vaguely acceptable behavior, although this is usually perverted into unintentional parodies of the desired goal.



The REALLY interesting thing to me about this whole bit is that Orcs could be Magic-Users!

Not very high level; but that they can be Magic-Users gives us the possibility of them being able to use some pretty stout magic items.

Their Fighter Class ability is interesting in that it is pretty weak for them...and likely why their race never came to dominate.

AD&D for me!

Edited by - Dalor Darden on 31 Jan 2018 05:10:05

Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3593 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2018 :  01:09:15  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Orc Shamans of Gruumsh in AD&D could reach 7th level (11th level if their stats went up high enough)...and fought like Fighters of an EQUAL level to their Shaman level. They could also establish a stronghold at high enough level and attract a full band of orcs.

So essentially, the greatest Orc leaders were Shamans of Gruumsh.

AD&D for me!
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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1621 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2018 :  02:07:58  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Weren't they in Complete Book of Humanoids? And Player's Options? And possibly Al-Qadim (not sure)?

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch

Edited by - TBeholder on 01 Feb 2018 02:22:27
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3593 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2018 :  06:19:20  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

Weren't they in Complete Book of Humanoids? And Player's Options? And possibly Al-Qadim (not sure)?



This particular information is 1e AD&D...in the Complete Book of Humanoids they were also detailed yes; but for 2e AD&D.

AD&D for me!
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5102 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2018 :  07:00:02  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I always loved the humanoid shamans/witch doctors of 1E. I thought that they were a great differentiator and posed more of a challenge to lower level parties. Always meant to do something for humanoids in the Realms ... hmm, will have to think a bit more about that.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
15675 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2018 :  08:51:10  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, I played around with that myself awhile back.

I was using inspiration from the old Chivalry & Sorcery rules, to create something like a 'Primitive Talent' (what those rules called it). Basically, my idea was something built along the line of a Shi-ar, where they send a familiar to 'fetch' spells for them. Now, the flavor for all the different types of casters - Shaman, witchdoctors, 'medicine men', Obeah-woman ('wise woman'), hedgemage, Witches & warlocks (which 3e did something weird with and 4e ran with it), etc, etc.... would come from the types of familiars, and their inherent powers. For example, a witchdoctor might have a malicious little imp. A medicine man (or medium) might have a 'spirit guide' which could be the ghost of a dead person, or something else. A shaman might have something similar, but his/her 'Spirit guide' would have a beast form (so you couldn't talk to it, it would be more like empathy). A witch would have a cat... or a goat... or just about any normal looking animal, really.

Like a regular familiar, the caster might get special benefits from the type of familiar, or the familiar itself might be able to perform specialized tasks (for instance, a spirit might be able to possess someone for a short time, which could be useful, and an animal spirit would be able to possess and animal, probably of a similar type). The Witch would be a 'special', but I suppose all of them might be able to do it - she can take a familiar by using a feat (in 3e - I am not familiar enough with 5e to know how to do the same thing mechanically), and she can take as many as she has feats to use. Thus, you can find an old woman who has two cats, a goat, a rabbit, a chicken, etc...

The familiar levels along with the Magic user, so starting at the level gained, the new familiar would be level one, and then gain a level every time their master does. Thus, a very old witch can have a bunch of powerful familiars. The witch can choose which set of abilities (from the different creatures she has) to have functioning at any time, and she also gains the ability to shape-shift twice per day (this should actually be level-dependent), taking any of the animal forms she has a familiar for.

The familiar is NOT a natural creature - it is just taking the shape of one (in the case of animals - the spirit ones would be a different story... maybe). When the ritual is performed to summon the familiar, you are actual summoning an outsider - fiend, celestial, whatever is appropriate for you alignment - and binding it into a pet. the Fiend literally 'eats' the lifeforce of the creature, and becomes the creature (so that banishing magic will no longer work on it - its considered a 'native outsider' after that). It can, however, take its actual shape (for fiends, use the old 'type' system, or you could use the creature lev. and compare it to similar CR's in 3e), but it cannot revert back to its animal until under after the next midnight, and while in its outsider form, it will be consider a normal outsider for all rules governing them (if it does, it goes back to its home plane, it can be banished, etc.) Witch's familiars are loathe to do this because it makes them very vulnerable (despite being more powerful in their true form), and if they are killed or banished they can't return to the prime for 5 years per their level (or whatever the regular ruling is on that).

Familiars tend to follow their master's instructions. A familiar can 'fetch' a number of spells equal to what the master can cast, but the spell level cannot exceed the caster level of the familiar itself (even if the familiar can't use magic, treat its familiar level as the same level caster). So a 3rd level Black Cat won't be able to fetch a 5th level spell. This means a witch is more likely to protect her highest level familiars first. No matter how many familiars a witch can send out for spells, she may never exceed her normal number of spells (although I am now thinking that her 'normal number of spells' might be more flavorful if tide to the number of familiars she has under her control).

All primitive casters can 'see' through the eyes of their familiars. They can also hear through their ears, but not both at the same time (they can do it, but they would have to take another feat for that, to use two familiar abilities simultaneously... you can see how witch can become quite powerful if they live long enough). All spells available in the core rulebooks are allowed - arcane or divine. 'Specials' (from other sources) can also be found, but that is up to a DM's discretion, and always requires a percentage dice roll (assume a 10% per spell level of failure. A witch isn't just going to walk away with one of Elminster's private spells that easily, you know.

I was going to have like a booklet (or like a section in a splat) for all of this, and include other powers Primitive mages get from their familiars, like free divination magics, etc (the familiars can go and find the information for them - Hell has extensive libraries). The idea was to give all the flavor for each different type to the familiars, so that you could create new types easily just by coming up with new types of familiars (for example, some weird type of hedge wizard that has a familiar from the Far Realms). A shaman might have something like a crow, but if you wanted it to be a special Shaman, you might also give a wolf, or spirit-guide (or both). You can mix & match, and have the all be completely different (which is how it should be with those tribal types). You walk up on a primitive talent and see that it has a half dozen creatures around it or more, you had better be VERY careful - the caster's power increases exponentially. The down side of all this is that the Master still suffers all the effects of losing familiars, so the risk also increases (only in pure desperation would a magic user use its familiar for physical combat).

I was also thinking of linking this with Paladin's Mounts and Ranger/Druid 'companions', and lump it all under a set of 'special creatures' rules for summoned things (spirits would have a separate section - ancestral, beast totem, elemental - things that would incorporeal in its normal form). However, most of those should also have some sort of physical manifestation. As for the companions and paladin's mount, they would be able to level and have the same rules apply as for the familiars, but without the spell-fetching and divination thing. I always wanted one unified set of rules for permanent summoned creatures.

Ummm... what were we talking about again...

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 01 Feb 2018 09:09:16
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3593 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2018 :  16:34:46  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I always loved the humanoid shamans/witch doctors of 1E. I thought that they were a great differentiator and posed more of a challenge to lower level parties. Always meant to do something for humanoids in the Realms ... hmm, will have to think a bit more about that.

-- George Krashos



I'm working on an Orc World right now. Using the OGL/DMs Guild I'm creating the world the Gray Orcs came from.

I'm 32k words in and about half-way there...I think.

I would LOVE to see someone with some say-so do something related to the Humanoids of the Realms though Krash...

AD&D for me!
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6600 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2018 :  17:28:26  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Alas, no Complete Book of Orcs. And Orcs didn't get much love in PHBR10: Complete Book of Humanoids.

I think you've basically gotta step back and build up from the basics, 1E sources (PHB, MM1, DMG) are your "references", Dungeon/Dragon magazines or 2E sources are your "guidelines" or "inspirations". And you've gotta decide whether you'll rigidly adhere to Classical Gygaxian mechanism or you'll accept Unorthodox post-Gygaxian holism, if you understand what I'm saying. Old School AD&D purism has drawbacks and merits, while New School D&D inevitably proceeds to 3E and 4E and 5E and beyond, lol.

[/Ayrik]
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