Post by waysoftheearth on Aug 8, 2015 6:27:34 GMT -6
How often have we heard the anti-thief argument? That there are no proper thieves in fiction or folklore? Well here's an alternative sneaky player-type based on the very real Rat Catcher ...
Rats, mice, and other vermin were ubiquitous throughout medieval life, and an ever-present harbinger of pestilence, famine, disease, and epidemics. The Black Death was spread by rats and is estimated to have killed 30-60% of Europe's total population during 1346-53. Which puts the toll around 75-150 million dead; 200 years later, with all the world's technology, WWI would kill an estimated 17 million soldiers.
Keeping the rat population down was crucial work in preventing the spread of disease, and damage to food stocks. Thus, professional Rat-Catchers were always in demand and, despite their work being grim and dirty, they were actually rather respected. Folklore well remembers the Pied Piper of Hamlin, even now.
Posted this on the other forum but figured I'd put it here as well:
Not sure if I missed but it seems pretty important to define what creatures comprise "vermin". Maybe reprint the cleric turning table with at least examples of creatures at different HD that you consider vermin to use as a guide? Otherwise, maybe you can create a definition of vermin that can easily be referenced against different creatures to determine on the fly if they fall under that designation.
Post by waysoftheearth on Aug 8, 2015 18:25:04 GMT -6
Hey Todd, nice catch. I'd say that what's "vermin" is largely up to the referee but, FWIW, for my own game I'm thinking along the lines of mice/rats/bats, giant rats, giant beetles, giant bats, giant centipedes, giant lizards, wererats (and possibly all lycanthopes?), giant scorpions, giant spiders, giant weasels, green slimes and grey oozes, gelatinous cubes, ochre jelly, and yellow mold. So there is plenty for the pest exterminator to do at the normal and heroic scale.
The challenge for a class like the rat-catcher is to remain relevant at the superheroic tier. The DD monster list has giant beetles (7 HD), black puddings (10 HD), and giant snakes (7 HD) in this range but that's slim pickings for a whole class. I'm thinking of including Purple Worms as a superheroic "pest" for the RC to deal with too. M&T does, after all, say that PWs "lurk nearly everywhere just beneath the surface" which is at least vaguely reminiscent of vermin being "everywhere".
Cool. I like authors being explicit-- a list of creatures in this case-- if only just to see what the intent of the writer was. It goes without saying people I'll fiddle with things in their own games should they adopt it.
One other thing: is the never getting lost ability a bit too strong? Mapping being such an important part of the OD&D experience, I think I might word it a bit differently: maybe they never lose their sense of direction (ie. north, east, west, etc) or maybe how far they are the entrance instead?
I really like the concept of the class. Have you ever read the Warhammer Fantasy Role Play book (thinking one from the 90's)? It had all sorts of neat classes like this. I remember rat catcher, grave digger, all sorts of stuff. It was neat to read to get a feel for the different types of characters that could populate a settled area.
Each campaign should be a "variant", and there is no "official interpretation" from me or anyone else.
E.G. Gygax, Alarums and Excursions issue #2, July 1975