Tuesday, January 19, 2021

An Alternate Basic Dwarf

I've been playing Deep Rock Galactic lately and it has me thinking, predictably, about dwarves.  One complaint I have heard about dwarves in Basic is that they're basically just Fighters but strictly better.  They get darkvision and better saves and the extra XP to level is not that big.  I have a proposal for if I were to roll my own Basic.

Dwarves are good fighters but they don't generally do it full-time like human fighters do; they just fight in defense of the vault, or in reclamation efforts of fallen fortresses.  They have a civilian job, or at least training in it.  We could restrict their weapon selection to something like picks, axes, hammers, maces, daggers, and crossbows.  This is more meaningful than it might initially appear; at low levels it means that they can't use spears from the back row, and at high levels it means their to-hit and damage are likely to be slightly worse than a human fighter's, since there are many fewer misc magic weapons than magic swords.  They lose out on intelligent weapon special powers too (but it's sort of weird for a suspicious, cantankerous dwarf to trust the sorcery of intelligent weapons, so I'm OK with this).

(I certainly have never played a dwarf fighter with an evil sentient sword who got into a tremendous amount of trouble.  No sir.)

If playing with ACKS' fighter damage bonus, one could also remove ranged damage bonus.  Between limited ranged weapon selection, loss of ranged damage bonus, and lack of access to lances, dwarves may be strong in the dungeon (which makes sense) but will suffer in the wilderness levels.

But I'm not out to just take things away from the dwarf; I would also like to make it dwarfier.  In exchange for these losses in fighting, we might consider giving the dwarf the ability to open locks and remove traps as a thief of their level.  They have the mechanical aptitude, and they have all the avarice of thieves.  If elf is our fighter/MU class, maybe dwarf should be our fighter/thief class.  It might also be fine to just give them a flat ability that doesn't improve with level, like their Hear Noises bonus.

A fun final touch might be to give dwarves a bonus to forcing stuck doors, breaking locked chests open, and other "smashing inanimate objects" activities.  They have the weapons for it, the mining background, and the knowledge of how things are constructed and hence of their weak points.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to give them one new physiological difference, for example, tasting terrible to monsters. Maybe they have metallic toxins or really spicy beard oil; any such feature that forces a save to chomp 'em.