Sunday, April 5, 2015

how they hunger

Most D&Dish barbarians don't do it for me. Insane, screaming rage shouldn't really be a question of resource management. So here's an mystic order of heathens going into ecstatic rampages instead.

Beast Knight
a class for old school rpgs
by Tiptoe distributed under Creative Commons
(also maenads, berserkers, werewolves, bassarids)

HP: as dwarf
Saving throws: as dwarf
Experience: as elf
Attack bonus: as thief

Once every few centuries, the sleeping nature gods of Albion awaken and convene a Wild Hunt, running down all they come across. Those they overtake have a choice: join the Hunt and be consigned to an eternity of slumber and slaughter with Albion's elder deities, or perish. The Beast Knights are an order of warriors founded by a Britonnic hero who escaped the Hunt after joining--a feat performed neither before nor since, not by angels or demons or the greatest of fairies.

The Beast Knights venerate wild animals: the grace of predators, the desperation of prey, nature red in tooth and claw etc etc. They'll talk about it at great lengths if you let them. In any case, Beast Knights, upon initiation, take a spirit of the deepest forest into their minds and bodies. Its supernatural strength, rather than strict training, allows them to fight as effectively as any warrior. Beast Knights traditionally wear hoods or masks depicting the face of an animal, such as a wolf, bear, hart, or crow. Some believe these become a part of the knight's body when they fight.
by Lulsa Uribe distributed under Creative Commons
Beast Knights improve their skills as half as fast as a specialist/thief. In LotFP, they start with 2 skill points and gain 1 more every level.

When a beast knight spends a Turn calling up their spirit, they enter a frenzy. Knights in this state:
  • attack as a fighter. If fighters are entitled to special maneuvers, beast knights cannot use them.
  • must run on all fours, and their speed becomes 1.5 times that of a human
  • deal d8 with unarmed attacks (bite and claw)
  • must make a melee attack every round. If there are no enemies left, they move onto allies or bystanders, though they can still choose who to attack.
  • cannot use any skill or perform any task that requires anything more than base animal cunning
To come to their senses, a beast knight must roll equal to or under 1+half level on a d6. This takes a full Turn, and if they take damage during that time, they automatically fail. Every time a non-frenzied beast knight takes damage when their current HP is 50% or less than maximum, they must make an identical check to stop themselves from going into a frenzy.

The wild spirits that possess Beast Knights hate all the works of mankind; if a knight dons metal armor, their spirit will not allow them to frenzy until the next full moon.

Knights can use their Languages skill to determine if they can speak animal languages (Serpent; Bird; Swine; Mew, the language of cats; etc).


  1. This is a really cool idea, that artwork is awesome. We play a lot of old (basic) D&D at our home games, and this would be a great option for a few of the PCs or even an NPC. It would definitely make for an interesting role playing experience.

  2. Except for the increased movement and a little bit of skills, isn't this just a worse fighter? No armour, no ranged, no magic wrappings, and the frenzy rules seems like serious drawbacks.

    Maybe an attack bonus in frenzy mode (they can't wear armour, so it could probably be substantial), damage counts as magic as of a certain level?