Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Old School Essentials Genre Books Preview – Part 3

          I hope you have enjoyed the 1st two parts of my preview for the new Old School Essentials Genre Books. So far we have been introduced to the Paladin class, and some new spells for both the Druid and Illusionist. As we have seen in the first set of articles, each of the expanded material is founded in D&D tradition, but has been balanced for the B/X and OSE systems. A lot of other systems have upgrades to turn a B/X game into an AD&D game, but fewer have the ability to add the AD&D content in a B/X format. The Old School Essentials: Advanced Fantasy Genre Rules material will be great for adding new options to your game, without power creep.

Such a great cover

          Today we are going to discuss a request for a Race as Class, the Half-Orc. The Half-Orc is an interesting combination of Fighter and Thief, with a few extras thrown into the mix. Starting at the top the Half-Orc has no requirements, so it is always on the table if you want to play one. They have Prime Requisites of DEX and STR, which makes it tougher to get and experience bonus, but it does allow you to subtract 2 and add 1 into two very good stats. They get 1d6 Hit Points, the halfway point between Fighters and Thieves. They also can wear armor up to chainmail with shield, and has no restrictions on weaponry. This has the makings of a decent warrior that can easily back up the Fighters on the front lines. 

Check out these stats

         The abilities really shine for this class and they synch up in a great combination. The Half-Orc gets four of the thieves’ special abilities, Back-Stab, Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, and Pick Pockets. The cherry on the sundae is the fact that they have Infravision. Having the ability to sneak around in the dark, and be able to see without a light source is amazing. With their armor, hit points, and weapon selection, I can see them sneaking ahead of the party and beginning many combats by issuing a Back-Stab to an opponent. They have a relatively low threshold to level up, while higher that a Thief, still less than a Fighter. 
          For all of the bonuses, they do have a few drawbacks. The first is spelled out in that they have a harder time attracting retainers, and thus might be solo operators unless you can find more Half-Orcs. The next is that their Thac0’s while in keeping with many classes, still cannot get past 17(+2). They level quite quickly, but they only have eight levels to gain. If the campaign goes on long enough and you survive retirement might be early. This fits with their fiction, in that their lives are often shorter that humans, so they live fast.

I can see these Half-Orcs as Bounty Hunters.

         I must admit, this might be my favorite of the new Race as Class character that is being released. I think this is balanced and it feels right for the OSE world. If you are a backer, and have not added this book to your BackerKit, you should before the kit closes. If you missed out on the Kickstarter, you will have the option to pre-order this and all the books from the Kickstarter right HERE
         What do you think of the new Race as Class? Are you excited to see more from the two expansion books? Make sure to comment below on things you would like to see, follow the blog for the next two parts, and share with other interested parties. Did you miss Part 1 or Part 2?
          If you are looking for the creators of this great product please check out their website.

EDIT: This article proved to be very popular. I went ahead and created a Facebook group for the blog, if you are interested the link is here


  1. Hmmmm, backstab seems like a bit much to me.... But overall I really love what Gavin is doing and look forward to seeing the full extent of it!

  2. I think the 600 extra XP is a good counter balance.

  3. Well, I don't really see XP as an offset for martial prowess, but maybe that's just me. I can see having the Cleric/Thief's Thac0 rolls (never below 17 up to 8th level) as something of a balancing factor. Thinking more about it, I wonder why Gavin included picking pockets as part of the character's skill set? It's not something I really associate with a Half-Orc.... It's an interesting character though.

  4. I think that it is that they are outlaws and brigands historically. The level cap is also a balancing factor, they cannot go above 8th, which limits all their skills.