Wednesday, September 4, 2013


F Schoonover ... Nothing to do with the post, just awesome
Those who have delved into the OBBs will recall that the early game had not only clerics, but also anti-clerics. The anti-clerics were, of course, just chaotic clerics who cast the reverse of some of the traditional cleric spells.

Today I started wondering … what about other anti-classes. The cleric's opposite is based on an opposing alignment. The anti-classes buzzing around in my head, though, are focused on opposing the overall class functions of the other classes to act as an in-game counter to the PC's.

Anti-Fighters (Harrier): A fighter fights, so an anti-fighter … doesn’t fight? Not much room for a class there. One possibility would be a character that calms tensions and ends fights, but that has more of a magical feel to it, and, frankly, removing combat from the game doesn't improve the game experience.  To keep our anti-fighter non-magical and to make it fun and interesting, we could instead make the anti-fighter a specialist at countering the tactics and abilities of traditional fighters. When they engage a fighter in combat they slowly improve against that fighter in particular, increasing their AC against them and perhaps forcing the fighter to pass some sort of test or saving through to disengage with them without suffering a free back attack, as many rules allow against combatants that turn and run from a fight. The point of the anti-fighter is to tie up fighters and keep them from doing damage, making them especially potent when accompanied by a large body of 0-level or 1 HD monsters.

Anti-Magic-User (Witch Hunter): This one seems simple. Anti-magic-users cancel out the magical abilities of magic-users. I’m thinking you would use something like the turn undead chart for counter-spelling. In fact, maybe you could extend the concept. Where a cleric destroys or takes control of lesser undead, the anti-magic-user could turn the spell back on the spell caster or block the spell caster from preparing/memorizing the same spell again for a number of days equal to the anti-magic-user's level. The anti-magic-user should probably have improved saves vs. magic and maybe be able to sniff magic out. Another cool ability would be the ability to drain scrolls, perhaps using that energy to heighten their own magical defenses. Since these dudes wouldn’t have much in the way of fun, active (rather than re-active) abilities, we could ramp up their combat abilities a bit, allowing them to attack as thieves and use the same armor and weapons as thieves.

Anti-Thief (Thief-Taker): The first thing that springs to mind is the classic thief-taker. Where the thing has a set of skills that makes them good at stealing, the anti-thief would have a different set of skills meant to counter them – hide/set traps (find/remove traps), penetrate shadows (hide in shadows), hear footfalls (move silently), silent signals (hear noises), note pilfering (pick pockets) and, well, I can’t think of anything to counter climb walls (nor do I think I need to). I suppose they would also be able to save vs. backstabs, or perhaps their heightened ability to hear the thief creeping up behind them would render back-stabs unlikely. Since their abilities are also focused on defense, one might heighten their combat abilities, perhaps allowing them to attack as a fighter rather than thief, though restricting them to the same equipment as thieves.

So, what do you think? Probably not great as player characters, but they could be interesting as NPCs designed to frustrate the players and force them to switch up their tactics.

I'm picturing a scene where a party busts into an ogre mage's throne room and finds the ogre mage accompanied by a smattering of goblins (let me at 'em, thinks the party fighters) and four human beings, an anti-cleric, harrier, witch hunter and thief-taker. The party thief attempts to slink into the shadows, but the thief-taker's eyes follow him unerringly, shouting out his position for the benefit of his comrades in the room. One of the party fighters engages the gibbering goblins, but the other finds himself countered by the harrier, who matches him stroke for stroke. The party magic-user raises his hands to cast magic missile, but finds the spell not only fizzle, but the very knowledge that such a spell exists stricken from his mind! The anti-cleric does his best to match the cleric spell for spell as well.

Kinda like this, only more D&D ... image found HERE


  1. I like your ideas for Witch Hunter and Thief-Taker. They look like they'd be good setups for some kind of crime-fighting or counter-espionage campaign.

  2. Presumably an anti-barbarian would be an officious bureaucrat who would issue citations to any barbarians who were obviously derivative of Conan.

    Or maybe suggest to their associates sensible methods to circumvent the defenses of player characters who are gaining an implausibly good AC from wearing dubiously functional armor. ("Aim just BELOW the tiny triangles of chain mail!")

  3. I've been experimenting with something along these lines for a while now, especially in modifying the core abilities of Thieves, Clerics and Magic-Users to give players (and some NPCs!) a bit more lattitude in how they handle their class-based abilities. I really like your Harrier idea, that would be a great way to ramp up what at first appears to be an otherwise "ho hum" encounter...until things get interesting. The Witch Hunter could really make for a Solomon Kane style mage-killer, without it being just another illiterate jock with a pointy stick beating up the spellcasters. Have you considered working up a magic-user type who specializes in magically eliminating fighter-types, a sort of mafia-style sorcerer-hitman charged with taking out the ones that can't be beat in a fair fight? These specialists would take on jobs that mundane assassins just couldn't manage, for whatever reasons, such a magical items, blessings/curses, innate abilities, whatever. Just a thought.

  4. An anti bard, who ruins every story by giving out spoilers? An anti druid, who burns down trees at any opportunity??
    Seriously tho do think this is a good idea ..

  5. An Anti-Bard! That would be a blast to play...kind of like a Vogon Poet perhaps? They could act as a critic of the local playwrights and take things to an extreme in ways that could be quite entertaining. Anti-Druids sound nasty...would they serve Progress, technocracy, or something other? Hmmm...very interesting...

  6. Replies
    1. Or a literary critic fond of extreme feminist or Marxist approach...

  7. That would work. Lot's of ways to take that one...

  8. Over-zealous Bouncer would make for an interesting class too. They demand "no blades, no bows, leave your weapons here" at the town gates with an added, Wyatt Earpesque threat of "seriously, no weapons in town". And they're immune to sneaky Gandalf types claiming their staff is just a walking stick. There would be a whole city of adventurers shuffling about with their hands in their pockets....and lots of limping old men because someone keeps taking their walking sticks ;) It would make life interesting because if players got into any tussles they would have to improvise weapons or just get all bare knuckle about it.

    And not to play on the bad/over-used Conan the Librarian joke, but would he double as an anti-bard and anti-barbarian? He wears a sensible sweater instead of/as a loincloth, spectacles instead of a helmet, and menacingly shushes anyone with an instrument or singing voice?

    I always love how your tongue in cheek posts put the fun in functional

  9. As suggested by the name, perhaps anti-fighters are guerilla types. Basically fighters but better at things like trap setting, fleeing, hiding, using animals or catspaws to wear down enemies and generally ruining heavily armored foes by denying stand up fights. So ranger type stuff minus the Aragon gloss.

  10. Your description of the Harrier reminds me of ye olde Monk class from Palladium. I remember it saying something about him being such a pacifist that he'd jump into the middle of battle screaming about talking things out.

    His big combat role was huge defensive bonuses. And I love the thought of bringing in AD&D classes into a B/X game to act as your Anti-Classes.

    The Anti-Fighter is the Monk.
    For the Anti-Cleric, we could re-skin the Anti-Cleric into the Witch (Sorry Tim)
    The Anti-Thief could be the Ranger. (Ranger sets traps, Thief tries to avoid)
    The Anti-Magic-User could be ???

    Dunno. Clerics, I suppose if we weren't already tainted with the idea of an Anti-Clerics. I always thought of Clerics to be Anti-Magic-Users and vice versa. Maybe Psionicists. Or Assassins, like from Diablo II; they're not just killers, but Magic-User killers, with some anti-magic goodness thrown in. That'd give the Assassin's Guild a whole new reason d'etre.

    Bards as Anti-Magic-Users? Because they're sham-magicians?

    Quality post. You can tell when it inspires that much thought...


    1. This has been a surprisingly popular post. You get a goofy idea and think nothing will come of it, but you never know. Just wait till you see my post tonight - takes goofy to a new level.


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