Rogues – A New Take (2 rogue types and the ability to work out spells for themselves)
House rules and rambling thoughts…that’s what you get when you’re laid up and have time on your hands.
I was thinking on the Wizards’ Guild and came up with lots of questions. Then I read the 7.5 rules again and then the Trollworld Chronology and found nearly all my questions answered. I still didn’t really see the ‘why’ of dexterity being such a big ask of wizards: I don’t see them making weird and wonderful patterns with their hands and 7.5 says that the manual part is mainly directing and speaks of mental agility…hmmm – that sounds like another attribute, not the sort that gives you combat adds or helps you shoot an arrow from a bow…leave that for another day.
Like I said, nearly all my Wizards’ Guild questions were answered and then I found that led me, naturally, on to rogues…
So, although over the years slightly different takes have arisen, the common wisdom is that rogues are rogue wizards and, from the Chronology, the really became differentiated from wizards after Khazan formed the Wizards’ Guild to put an end to the lawlessness of magic users – they got from training from the Guild which included ethics and the trained wizards soon were too hot to handle for the ones outside the fold of the Guild. Presumably all wizards could develop spells for themselves in theory and many did in practice but once so many started attending magic school. Spells got standardised and even the rogue wizards not attending mainly sought to reproduce what they saw others performing rather than inventing anew wheel.
So the rogues we see today get one first level spell. I have to assume they at least partially work it out for themselves. I tend to think that maybe they could work out how to do more than one spell and maybe they wouldn’t learn any. How about a L1 SR on LK at creation to work out a L1 spell, with L2, 3 , etc saving rolls bringing more level one spells? Failing L1 LK could mean no spells (see below). Could they ever again work out another spell? Why not? So perhaps they should be able to attempt to work out spells when they get to higher levels if they have the INT and the DEX required AND make the LK saving roll at that higher level? Would this then be unfair to wizards? Probably. So unless we want to give wizards that option (do we?), let’s shelve that and just let them try at L1. In theory if you had a very high LK (TAROs and kindred modifiers) and rolled happily (DAROs) your rogue might start with a whole bag of magics.
I think rogues could be micro-specialists too. They could focus on one of the magic schools, narrowing down the chances of working out a spell which would actually suit their purpose. Perhaps they would need an attribute to be at least so high for this – maybe WIZ 12 or more?
Then I thought about the roguery talent and the thief concept. It really seems to me that some go to the Wizards’ Guild schools and some get warrior training. Those who don’t (and aren’t citizens) are either rogue wizards, as discussed above, or the thief-type rogue who has to live on his or her wits, with no magic to fall back on and no warrior training for the inevitable combats. So now I have to types of rogue on my hands, the sub-wizard and the sub-warrior. It is this latter, I think, who deserves the roguery talent, although my feeling is that to be able to substitute it for two out of INT, LK, DEX and CHR saving rolls is enough of a bonus (and I don’t see why DEX should be excluded from rogues).
What about Guilds? A Rogues’ Guild makes sense from Khazan’s point of view because it would further reduce lawlessness. What might it do if its not a training institution? Actually, it could offer training – in rogue-type skills, justifying the special talent. Perhaps there are four schools there too – one honing the mind (INT), one the body (DEX), one a charm school (CHR) and the last? Getting out of scrapes by the nape of your neck (LK). They could regulate a market for spells too since the other Guild turn their nose up at rogues. But a Thieves’ Guild? I think it would have to be underground like an Assassins’ Guild. Off at a tangent, one of my more fanciful and contrived twists to a solo I wrote was a Dungeon Masters’ Guild – reading the Chronology and hearing how wizard-gods built dungeon homes and were then amused by (mainly) human delvers coming to grief in a treasure hunt, I rather think there would be one (you know, an annual knees up to commemorate the good old days of the Super-wizard Wars).