Tuesday, January 1, 2013

In My Day ... The Curmudgeon Class

Not every adventuring warrior is a young pup, fresh out of learning the ropes as a caravan guard. A few of those men-at-arms stay on the job until they become sergeants-at-arms and then stay on a bit longer until, old and grey, they finally decide to go out with a bang. Thus, we have the curmudgeon.

Curmudgeons are a bit different than most starting PC’s. For one thing, they begin the game mired in old age, and suffering whatever penalties you decide to a lot to the elderly in your game. For another, while they’re not any more experienced as adventurers than the young folks, they are a bit more experienced than the young ones in other ways.



A curmudgeon must be old (and suffer all penalties that go with being old), and must have a Strength score of 9 or higher and a Wisdom score of 13 or higher. It also helps if they’re grumpy.


Any armor, all shields.


Any weapon.


Bend bars, break down doors, find secret doors, riding, trickery.


Curmudgeons are men and women who have done years and years of service as men-at-arms, sergeants-at-arms, caravan guards, town guards, etc. In essence, they’ve been NPC’s all their life, and only when their hair turned silver did they finally decide to become adventurers. As such, they aren’t as green as the average 1st level character, and therefore begin the game with 2 Hit Dice.

Curmudgeons tend to be a bit on the grumpy side, and thus suffer a -1 penalty on reaction checks. They don’t scare easily, and enjoy a +1 bonus on saves vs. fear, but they also suffer a -1 penalty on saves vs. fatigue.

Curmudgeons have been around the block a few times, and have probably forgotten more stories and legends than they remember. As such, they can use the legend lore ability of a bard of equal level.

Curmudgeons are famous for their stubbornness and their so-called “old man strength”. Curmudgeons can continue fighting until they have reached -5 hit points, provided they have something worth fighting for. Once per day, they can boost their strength score by 1d6 points for 1 round per level (max. 6 rounds).

Curmudgeons have long experience in mentoring young whippersnappers. When adventuring with characters of 1st to 3rd level, they can, once per day, lend them a bonus equal to the curmudgeon’s own Wisdom bonus on a single attack roll or saving throw.

At 9th level, a curmudgeon can retire to a favorite tavern, attracting a retinue of 1d4 men-at-arms per level as flunkies and admirers. The curmudgeon gets free room and board at the tavern, and also receives 1d3 free rumors each month concerning possible adventures or opportunities.


  1. In my day we didn't have specialized custom classes to represent our cantankerous wisdom-with-age. We just had to settle for one of the standard classes and roleplay it that way. AND WE LIKED IT THAT WAY!

  2. This is great. Grizzled, grumpy addle-brained old farts with no time for the newfandangled whippersnappers and other such younguns. I'm picturing a cross between Grandpa Simpson with his (wrinkled jibberish) Flying Hellfish tattoo and the Old Home Guard from Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

  3. Liking the Falstaffian elements at Level 9 :)

    1. One of things I'm finding most enjoyable with these classes is coming up with the "end game" option at 9th or later level.

  4. I'm trying hard not to start multi-classing this. I fear I'm slipping into it though.

    1. Me too.

      Not my character...I mean *I'M* starting to slip into it.


    2. Yep. The older I get the harder, it is not to.

  5. Should work like the old Thief-Acrobat in Unearthed Arcana, where any Fighter, Ranger, Barbarian, Cavalier, or Paladin can shift into Curmudgeon (or Grognard) which gives abilities like Advise Youth, War Stories, Grump, and Stubborn at the expense of better attacks and save chances gained at higher Warrior levels.

    Or if you're a young punk who plays one-a-them newfangled editions that came out this millennium, call it a prestige class with a required age category prerequisite.

    1. Gee, thanks for telling me how my idea should work.

    2. Didn't mean to be rude (sorry if I offended) - I was playing along with the whole Curmudgeon thing.

      Although it does make sense that a PC would shift into being a Curmudgeon instead of starting out as one, is all I'm sayin'. I guess what I mean is "here's how I was thinking of it after I got done reading what you wrote". Not that I don't like what you wrote. Just giving an alternate idea.

  6. I like your idea here. I have tinkered with how to do age in many game systems, and I'm often wearied by the idea that everybody sensibly makes 16-24 age characters, because they're just starting out.

    Here's what I made for Fictive Hack, thanks for the nudge. =)


    1. I like the "Friends and Family" talent--it's very apropos to the template.


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