Mar 16, 2011

Bene Gesserit Class for Swords and Wizardry

Last year I wrote up the Bene Gesserit class compatible with the Weird West rules I had written, which were in turn based on Swords and Wizardry (which is roughly Original Dungeons & Dragons). Since then I've changed my philosophy on game design a bit. Simpler is better. With that in mind I went back to S&W and decided to create a more streamlined version of the class.

The usual approach for a "new" class would be to write it up in full. Add more rules, contradict existing rules, and add to the overall bulk of the game. I want to avoid that so I'm going to try to work with what's there and add, remove, or change things only when necessary.

Let's start with the base class. I think the Bene Gesserit is closest to the Cleric so we'll start there. This means we've already covered all the XP, Hit Points, Saving throw and so on, and don't need to restate any of that.

Now there are some differences from a Cleric and we'll do that by changing the spell list a bit.
  • Replace 'Light' with 'Charm Person', duration: concentration -- This is 'The Voice'
  • Cure Light Wounds (et al), this are all personal only -- This is 'Prana-Bindu training' and 'Internal organic-chemical control'
  • Detect Evil, with the 1 hour duration replaced with 6 x 1 turn durations per "casting" per day. -- This is the 'Truthsayer' ability
  • Purify Food and Drink, instead of working for 12 people it's personal but with 12 uses per "casting" per day. -- More 'Internal organic-chemical control'
We need to add two 'new' elements to complete the class:
  • Unarmed attacks do d6 damage -- This is 'Prana-bindu training and the weirding way'
Basically the cleric gets to make their mace attack without needing to have a mace - but they lose their shield in doing so. ;-)

We want to encourage them to disdain armor so we'll also include:
  • Unarmored AC Adjustment: +3 -- More Prana-bindu and weirding way
Which gives a character with an AC Adjustment from high dexterity the same AC as wearing chainmail without a shield.

We restrict the class to Women, and everything else we can use "as is". Even turning the undead - we can say they're using 'The Voice' against the undead.

Comparing this to our previous version of the Bene Gesserit the new philosophy gives us something much more streamlined, and usable:

Bene Gesserit Sisterhood
Cleric Sub-Class

Unarmed Attacks: d6 damage
Unarmored AC Adjustment: +3 [-3]

Changes to Cleric Spell List
Replace 'Light' with 'Charm Person' with duration: concentration
Cure Light Wounds (et al) only affect the caster
Detect Evil 1 turn duration but can be used 6 times
Purify Food and Drink only affects the caster but can be used 12 times

Special Weapon
Gom Jabbar - No Damage, Save vs Poison

Edit: Forgot to add in the detail about Charm Person's duration!