Evil characters?

Angelo has been sick, and has been spending a lot of time going through the rules for me. He’s found a lot of stuff. Angelo, I’m sorry you’re not feeling well, and I hope you get better… eventually.

Angelo found two things I want to talk about:

  1. I say that it’s possible to play Good or Evil Clerics or Paladins, but the mechanic by which the actions of Good characters is constrained, namely Holy Orders, are fundamentally all for good-guy characters. Are there any bad Holy Orders?
  2. Playing a character-who-wields-two-weapons is pretty hard in this game; there are significant penalties to it, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to blunt those penalties, apart from taking a proficiency in two-weapon fighting, and that doesn’t do a huge amount of good. Is that what I want?

The simple and easy way to address this would be to come up with some bad Holy Orders, and to say that two-weapon fighting is indeed hard (there’s not much in the way of rules for it in B/X or Labyrinth Lord). However, I’d like to float another approach.

I’ve always seen this ruleset as modular. I’m creating a core set of rules. It’s going to be online, and the version without art will be free. Then I’m going to expand on that with products that are sold to benefit the Food Bank. I want there to be expansions because that’s an easy set of products I can sell – although I’m not 100% sure that I ever want rules to be sold, but that’s a future consideration.

The point is: it would be easy to generate an expansion that’s essentially a Book of Vile Darkness: how to play evil characters. Provide character options for evils, including new evil subclasses and Holy Orders, new evil spells, evil magic items, new poisons, etc. All that is future work, but I could set the groundwork for it today.

If I did this, I would take the following steps:

  1. Say that evil clerics and paladins are a future possibility, but in these rules, only options for good clerics and paladins are provided.
  2. Under Thief, remove the Assassin subclass. That would be issued in the Evil supplement.
  3. Instead of Assassin, go with Swashbuckler. This is a Thief subclass that still uses light armor but gets significantly better at two weapons as long as they are both Light.

Does that sound like a reasonable approach?

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