Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Brineman: A Class for King of Kings

 Time for the last of the three nonhuman classes that I will be starting off with in King of Kings!

In ancient days, after the victory of land-based truth and law over oceanic chaos, there were some of the sea tyrants who betrayed their brethren and joined Keyumars and other heroes in the Promethean age. The renegade fish princes married men and women and sired children, and over the many thousands of years since that era these children have melded into the human population, yet still stand out for their fish-like features and mysterious auras. These are the brinemen, who at first glance may appear to be human but upon closer inspection have a greenish tint, small tentacular growths in place of facial hair, eyes that are just too wide, teeth that are just too long. While brinemen share a common connection to the antediluvian tyrannical age, no two look quite alike, for their ancient ancestries grant them unique appearances.

Brinemen are in a bit of a strange position in the society of the Enlightened Empire, at times ostracized, at times prominent in local leadership. They are almost never just another part of the scenery, impossible to miss for their slimy skin and gaping mouths. They always seem to know each other, and teach other the secrets that were passed down to them by their mothers and their mothers' mothers. While the brinemen are integrated into Shahistani society, they form their own distinct social units, teaching each other their magical secrets. They speak the vibrational language of aquatic creatures, and oftentimes find themselves as pearl divers and sturgeon keepers for these reasons (though many brinemen who enter into such professions are feared by all fish who know their name). 

The Brineman
A class for use with Old School Essentials (or any similar ruleset)

Requirements: Minimum WIS 9
Prime Requisite: INT and WIS
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 10
Armor: Any
Weapons: Any
Languages: Shahistani, the vibrational language of aquatic things, one additional language

A brineman with at least 13 in one prime requisite gains a +5% bonus to experience. If both INT and WIS are 16 or higher, the brineman gets a +10% bonus.

Ancestral Stock
While millennia separate the brinemen from their oceanic ancestors, elements of that ancestry still shine through. A brineman character rolls on the table below to determine which aspect of their nonhuman ancestry shines through in their being.
(Roll 1d12)
1. Angler: Bioluminescent lure (does not counteract infravision)
2. Barreleye: Unable to be blinded
3. Clam: Able to close entire body into shell, take half damage but unable to move
4. Crab: Claw attack (1d6 damage), +1 to Armor Class
5. Cuttlefish: Able to change skin color at will, +1 to saves v. spells
6. Eel: Long neck, bite attack (1d6 damage)
7. Hagfish: Can produce large quantities of thick viscous slime
8. Leviathan: Very large (-2 to-hit small creatures), +2 melee damage
9. Lobster: Unaffected by aging magic, +1 to Armor Class
10. Remora: Able to stick to any creature larger than itself
11. Shark: Bite attack (1d6 damage), 2-in-6 chance to smell something
12.Squid: Can release a cloud of ink once per day
Brinemen can breathe in water as well as in air.
Arcane Magic
Just going to summarize this, since it is well explained in the OSE books and B/X type stuff anyway. Brinemen can cast spells like magic-users, they can do magical research too but are only able to make magic items at level 9. Pretty much it on this front.
Chaotic Ancestry
No matter their actual alignment, brinemen always detect as being aligned with chaos. Any magical items, spells, or powers which affect chaotic creatures will affect brinemen accordingly.
Brinemen can use all types of weapon and armor, as well as shields.
Speak with Aquatic Creatures
Brinemen innately know the secret language of fish, crabs, and other aquatic creatures.
Unnaturally Wide Eyes
Brinemen have large staring eyes which give them uncanny sight compared to humans. They have a 2-in-6 chance of detecting secret doors when actively searching, and have infravision to 60'.
After Reaching 9th Level
A brineman can establish a hold anywhere there is easy access to water. This can be on a coastal cove or even in a city with a sewer, so long as there is reliable access to water. 1d6 apprentices, an even mix of level one magic-users and brinemen, will flock to the brineman's hold. Because of brinemen's connection with aquatic animals, all such creatures within 5 miles of the hold become friends with the brineman, their apprentices, and their hirelings. They may warn of intruders, carry messages and news, etc. In exchange for this friendship, the brineman must protect the animals from harm.

Brineman Character Progression
Condensing down this section since I don't necessarily think having exact advancement tables in these posts is the most important thing.
XP to Level 2: 3,500
Fighting Advancement: As Fighter/Elf/Dwarf/Halfling
Saving Throws at Level 1:
    Death/Poison: 12
    Wands: 13
    Paralysis/Petrify: 15
    Breath Attacks: 16
    Spells/Rods/Staves: 12
Spell Advancement: as Magic-User/Elf



This one is, if it isn't obvious, more or less a "replacement" for the elf class that is more suitable to the sword and sorcery vibe of King of Kings. Like deep one hybrids but nice and good (well, if a player wants to play one that way hehe). I sometimes joke that I always have to have a requisite innsmouth reference in the games I run and I guess the brineman functions as the requisite innsmouth reference.

I used random features here again, last time they were used was on the amazon, but these are definitely more positive bonuses than the amazon's genetic mutations that tended toward rather negative traits. On this I was actually inspired by something I wrote up a long time ago, when I was younger and enamored with LotFP. I wrote a simple race-class for an "Aquatic" race that was basically just a fighter with the ability to breathe underwater and swim really well, but had two random features from a d10 table of waterborne critters. This is both a simplification of that and expansion of that (the other one featured a mix of freshwater and saltwater animals, and as mentioned had only 10 options while this table has 12). Classes that have major features behind random tables aren't exactly normal for B/X as written, but I don't think its really that hard to wrap one's head around. Plus, who doesn't like rolling to see what kind of weird salty sea beast you are!

As stated on the other two, this hasn't been playtested yet, so fair warning I guess. But with this one, the class list to begin with for King of Kings is now complete! Clerics, fighters, magic-users, thieves, amazons, brinemen, and dwarfs oh my! Hope you're having a lovely day, and hope you liked my slimy little wizard fish!

1 comment:

  1. I feel like this class gets a lot of stuff compared to the Amazon and Dwarf - the beneficial mutation, water breathing, talking to fish, darkvision, and spellcasting all at level 1 is pretty dense.

    I might put Speak with Aquatic Creatures at level 4, like the Dwarf's Speak with Apes and Monkeys. (And personally I'd just cut darkvision, but I understand why you need that for this to be an Elf replacement).