Friday, August 16, 2019

Gambler: A Class Review

One of the biggest problems of old school D&D is the thief.  Many people just don't like it on principle, or dislike the idea of thief skills. But my main objection to it is that it really sucks as a class. So I enjoy alternatives to the thief class (and have come up with three alternatives for my game, the tomb robber, the rogue, and the scout. The latter two have similar names to "official" classes in 2e and late 1e, but mine are different) and am always on the lookout for more.

The Gambler from Sharp Mountain Games is one of those alternatives. At least somewhat. It's a class meant for Labyrinth Lord and Basic Fantasy RPG, but it's easy enough to adapt.  Although gambling was important enough back in the day for the DMG to have a whole appendix devoted to it, it really never was covered much since, nor does it really make much of an appearance in the OSR.

And gamble the gambler does. It's main ability is gambling, which essentially is just a d100% skill, and if they succeed, they lose a certain amount of money. If they fail, they lose half the amount of money they would have won. What's interesting is that this money does count for XP.

Besides that, it gets a con/detect lies skill. Pretty much what it says. I'm not sure that's really something gamblers do. Bluff and detect bluffs. But lie?

The choice of thief skills is a bit puzzling. While picking pockets is perhaps out of character for a gambler, sleight of hand (essentially the same skill set) is incredibly important, being able to manipulate cards while dealing. However, this gambler does not have that skill. It does have move silently and hiding in shadows, things gamblers are not known for (gambolers, maybe)

They can remove, but not detect traps. The justification is that they know about rigged gambling devices. And while that makes sense, wouldn't detection also be included? Detecting rigged games seems more important than breaking them.

As thief alternatives go, the idea is great, but I think the opportunity was wasted and it's not truly a thief replacement. Out of the thief's essential functions, it can only remove traps. There's also a lot of interesting things that could have been added, like a luck mechanic or gambits he could do.

And while the PDF is only $1, it's pretty light in content. I am biased perhaps, but when I make a class that is short, I'll add extra stuff, like magic items, sample characters (beyond just stats)

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