Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Precision Swiss Dungeoneering

Image by Joshua Sherurcij
I honestly don’t know. I go on a walk. A funny idea pops into my head, which I quickly dismiss. Then a couple more thoughts pop in to flesh out the original idea, and the next thing you know I’m writing up a Blood & Treasure class called the Switzer. On the other hand, one of the founders of the hobby was of Swiss origin, so maybe this class is way overdue!

The Switzer

Switzers are folks from mountainous regions who live up to several flimsy stereotypes (and outright fabrications!) and delve in dungeons. Hey, the inspiration behind this idea is pretty sparse, just do me a favor and roll with it.

Switzers advance in level as rangers.

A life in the mountains has given the 1st level Switzer (regular) a knack at noting unusual stonework and slopes as a dwarf (or count these abilities as skills if the Switzer is a dwarf). Switzers also have an innate money sense. They can calculate a number of coins and the value of gemstones with 80% accuracy. When buying goods, they can make an Intelligence check to either find a bargain (10% discount) or to find superior merchandise (pay a 50% premium, gain a +1 bonus to checks or attacks when using the item).

Switzers must remain true neutral for their entire careers, but they have mercenary hearts and can commit Lawful, Chaotic, Good or Evil acts at the cost of 10 gp per Switzer level. A Switzer who strays from neutrality becomes a normal fighter with the fighting ability of a cleric until he or she receives an atonement spell.

The mountain homes of Switzers are lousy with mad wizards and scientists, so 3rd level Switzers (mountaineer) thus gain particular skill at combating one of their most common and hideous creations, the flesh golem. Against a flesh golem, a Switzer gains a +1 bonus to hit and scores double damage on a successful hit. At 7th level (hellebardier), the Switzer's innate familiarity with clockworks gives him a similar advantage against iron golems, antikytheres, automatons (i.e. mechanical men) and other clockwork creatures.

A 4th level Switzer (gardist) becomes a master of the pole arm and pike, gaining a +1 bonus to hit and damage with them. When fighting in formation, the Switzer also gains a +1 bonus per 5 fellow warriors (similarly armed) in the formation to Armor Class, up to a +4 bonus.

A 5th level Switzer (Alpinist) can undertake a quest, guided by a divine vision, to find and gain the service of an unusually intelligent, strong, and loyal St. Bernard to serve him. If the Switzer’s dog dies, he must wait until gaining another level of Switzer to undertake the quest again.

The St. Bernard has the following stats:

St. Bernard, Medium Magical Beast: HD 2+2; AC 16; ATK 1 bite (1d6); MV 40; F12 R12 W16; AL N (LN); XP 200; Special—Resistance to cold, cask of wine (produces enough restorative brandy to restore a total of 2 hp per Switzer level per day), low intelligence.

A 6th level Switzer (yodeler) can cast a small collection of spells by yodeling. The spells are drawn from the following list. The Switzer can cast as many spells as the paladin (see B&T Player’s Guide).

Level One: Cause fear, charm person, daze, hideous laughter, message, open/close, sleep

Level Two: Animal trance, daze monster, enthrall, hold person, rage, shatter, sound burst

Level Three: Charm monster, confusion, crushing despair, good hope, speak with animals

Level Four: Dominate person, hold monster, repel vermin, shout

An 8th level Switzer (Reisläufer) gains the ability to manufacture magical cheeses. The cheeses must be created from the milk of a magical beast (one with the proper equipment, of course), and can be infused with a spell effect that duplicates one of the monster’s special abilities or one spell up to 4th level that the monster can cast. Making the cheese takes as long as brewing an equivalent potion, and requires a proper kitchen.

A 10th level Switzer (Burgrave) can choose to establish a stronghold in the wilderness and gain followers (see High Level Play below). The lands controlled by the burgrave are called a canton. A Switzer who commands a canton attracts 1d6 men-at-arms per level, 1d6 first level Switzers who wish to train under them and one 3rd level Switzer to serve as a leutnant. These Switzers should be generated as characters under control of the player.

Edited 9/19 - Made a correction in the text and added an ability


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. "...magical cheeses."


    You, sir, are a man of your word. A whole new level of goofy, indeed.

    That opens a whole new section than SHOULD've been in the DMG from the beginning...magical foods. With Alice in Wonderland being an obvious influence, makes you wonder how the category hasn't gotten more press.

    Mushrooms of Growth. Potions of Diminution. Cheese of Charm Person...

    I can picture a party getting perturbed because the Switzer in the party keeps trying to milk every creature they meet before he lets the rest of party kill it.
    "A Displacer Beast?? Waitwaitwait....where's my bucket???"


    1. It's that negotiation with the gynosphinx that will go down in legend, regardless of how it turns out ...

      You should search around for the Gourmand class I did, as it also involves food and magic. I also did something around the same time period that involved random gourmet foods that I think had some magical applications.

  3. How about a version of the "Hedgehog" from Chainmail?

    "Hedgehog: Only Swiss and Londsknechte pikemen can form a hedgehog. If
    ten or more of these troops are in a square-type formation, pikes or pole arms
    facing ouiwords in all four directions, a "hedgehog" has been constituted. A
    hedgehog can be moved at one-half speed. It may never charge. A Hedgehog
    will never be drawn into neighboring melees. It may be attacked only by troops
    armed with like weapons (pikes or pole weapons)." (pg 17)

    1. I like it. The tough part would be fitting it into the average dungeon setting.


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