Sunday, August 2, 2020


Once more, I'm thinking of revising how I want classes to work in Treasures, Serpents, and Ruins (my house rules version of Classic D&D, maybe yet another fantasy heartbreaker released to the public some day).

Right now, I've got separate race and class, with races that mimic 5E (since the West Marches game started as 5E) and classes that sorta emulate the 5E classes, but are really closer to 1E.

For TSR-East, I've got human PCs only as standard, with a selection of demi-human/yokai races as an option. So far, everyone who's tried a TSR-East class in West Marches has used a yokai race...but it's actually only a sample size of two, so that's not telling. In general, humans are preferred. I give them "advantage" on hit dice when they level up, along with access to every class and no level limit. That seems to do the trick.

But there's a part of me that wants to go back to race-as-class. And part of me that wants to get rid of the 5E races, or swap them out for something more ME. (I've already made "tieflings" into Changelings, which is more fairy tale/folklore than goth whatever). And I've got two ideas for maybe how to do it.

Back in 2017, I made a half-hearted attempt to create a TSR-Basic game, that only had the classic four character classes, and no multiclassing. Race was still separate from class, though. The thing is, each class had three or four options or class paths, sort of like 2E with kits, or 5E with their archetypes. So you could play a Fighter, but you could choose to be more of a barbarian, or a bit of a ranger, or just a great all-around warrior. I stopped working on that after a year or so of tinkering because I just wasn't needing it. My regular homebrew modifications were good (enough).

More recently, in line with my idea to go back to Race-as-Class, I was thinking of the Elf class. It's a Fighter/Magic-User hybrid. And one of the things I did as I was developing my additional classes for TSR was to think of each additional class as a hybrid of two classes (Bard is Cleric/Thief, Druid is Cleric/Magic-User, Ranger is Fighter/Thief, etc.) This was a process that happened over many years, and as the years went on, each new class became more of its own thing and less of a hybrid, because there were elements of 1E, 3E, or 5E that I wanted to incorporate, or else just my own ideas (my Bard is now really different from any other Bard class I've ever seen, and my players aren't too fond of it).

So here's my thinking.

Idea 1: revamp the classes along my old Basic idea. Four classes only, but with specializations available to get closer to other classes (Cleric can stay standard, or go more nature boy Druid, or more martial Paladin). Demi-humans will be race-as-class for better compatibility with old school modules and stuff. But I plan to give them some specialization paths as well, if I go this way.

Also, it would allow for better integration between TSR-West and TSR-East, since things like Samurai or Wushi (Wu Jen) could just be new specializations for the original four classes.

Idea 2: revamp the classes so there are 4 basic classes, and each multiclass option is listed as a combined class like the Elf. Demi-humans will be limited to two basic classes plus the multiclass class.

This will look like this: Cleric. Fighter. Magic-User. Thief. Cleric/Fighter (Paladin/Dwarf Knight). Cleric/Magic-User (Druid). Cleric/Thief (Bard). Fighter/Magic-User (???/Elf). Fighter/Thief (Ranger/Halfling). Magic-User/Thief (Illusionist).

Tentatively, anyway!

Oh, and in TSR-East I have Yakuza and Ninja using x on d6 or x on d10 for special abilities (Thief skills), but if I go with Idea 1, I'll probably switch back to % skills. Just up the chances all around.


  1. Why do you want to change the classes in Treasures, Serpents and Ruins? Do you think it will make the gameplay/roleplay better? I am curious to learn more about the thoughts behind this article.

  2. I don't think it will affect in-game play much, but either suggestion here would probably speed up character creation by simplifying things a bit more. Role play wouldn't really be affected either way, I would assume.

    It's mostly just my desire to tinker and see what works best.