Thursday, October 20, 2011

Atomic City: The Animated Series - Gangbusters!

As our heroes await the results of various agencies and their attempts to track down the stolen SPARTAN suit, a call comes over the police band: "We have a bank robbery in progress and the robbers have superpowers. We have officers down and hostages inside the bank. ACPD requests any supers in the area please assist!." The three new heroes Wheels, Mento, and Soldier-X all arrive on the scene and are briefed on the situation, including the two officers who are trapped under their car near the entrance. The criminals are blasting anyone who comes near with flame, electrical, and ice blasts, stopping any rescue attempts.

Throwing caution to the wind, Mento decides he is tough enough to take the assailants on head-on, and Wheels agrees to back him up as does Soldier-X. They charge the main entrance to the bank and are met with the expected trio of energy blasts. Mento and Wheels shrug it off, but X is temporarily frozen by the ice blast, slowing him down. The Mighty Mental Hero tears through the three criminal defenders and the Handicapped Hero finishes them off as they tear off into the central lobby, followed shortly by X. They note in passing that all three of the perpetrators are members of the sluggers gang but instead of their characteristic baseball bats they are using large metal gauntlets that are the source of the various blasts - this old-school gang has suddenly gone hi-tech!

Roughly a dozen more gangers wait inside the bank, guarding hostages and piling up sacks of money, and roughly half of them have the new "power gauntlets". The team swings into action as the criminals open fire and bodies go flying everywhere - Soldier X uses his TK ability to throw opponents around, Wheels unloads with electrical blasts of his own, and Mento punches and kicks his way through the room. The gangers do manage to overload some of Wheels' systems with their electrical blasts, but he stays in the fight. Despite the Sluggers amped-up powers, the fight is one-sided and over in minutes.

As they assist with the cleanup, the police lieutenant on site tells the heroes that an undercover operation is underway across town and may reveal the source of the technology used in today's incident. He asks them to assist in case more powered types show up during that meet. They agree and are soon waiting near a police command post outside of a warehouse in another part of town.   

Listening in to a wireless mic worn by the undercover cop, they soon learn that the Scaglietti crime family, specifically Joe Scaglietti, is trying to broker a peaceful settlement and alliance between the Sluggers and the Hellions and offering the power gauntlets as the incentive. As the discussion unfolds there is a crashing sound and the new hero "Atomic Roach" orders everyone to drop their weapons and surrender. The sound of gunfire, bats, and energy blasts is heard as is the officer's request for intervention.

Once again our heroes make a frontal assault, charging the nearest warehouse door and smashing aside the thugs who guard it, regardless of their blasts. Bursting in, they see the Atomic Roach blasted into a storage rack that then collapses on top of him, burying the unfortunate hero.  Wheels blasts one group of Sluggers while Soldier-X begins force-tossing them into each other. Mento spots a man in a nice suit giving orders and wearing gauntlets and heads straight for him, only to discover the expensive suit is covering an armored exoskeleton, and that Joe Scaglietti can hit back! Mento duels with the mob scion while X and Wheels take down the other gangers. For a brief moment X manages to mind control Joe, causing him to blast one of his own minions, but Joe shakes it off and goes back to trading punches with Mento. Eventually the other gangers are down and Joe is backing towards an exit when Wheels hits him with an electric blast that staggers him back, leaving him open to a super-punch from Mento that takes him down for the count. As the police and SWAT team members take control of the building, the heroes attempt to find out the true source of the new weapons...

DM Notes: Our ICONS experience was stunted a bit by the holes in the Skeletron Key adventure I used as a starting point. Recently Adamant Entertainment released a new adventure, "Gangbusters", which looked a lot more like something we would like. I bought it, downloaded it from RPGNow, and ran it. It is a much better adventure, mechanically, and it also fits better with my players' experience as fighting various superpowered gangs is a common early mission type in City of Heroes, which colors some of their super-expectations. I like that it opens with stopping a crime in progress then throws some plot into the mix. These first two chapters went very well and I am quite happy with things so far.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Greyhawk 4E - Running a Campaign

Once you have settled on your character guidelines (discussed here) then you need to think about adventures. For myself, one of the big attractions of running a Greyhawk campaign in 4E would be to run a new generation of players through some of the classic early adventures. GH does have a lot of background and history so there's no reason you couldn't just create your own, but you probably don't need a ton of help with that.

As far as creating your own 4E adventures with a Greyahwk flavor, I would say the two main elements to keep in mind are organizations and monsters. There are a lot of organizd groups in Greyhawk from orders of knighthood to political groups to religious groups. The Big Three of Evil in a classic campaign are Iuz, the Great Kingdom, and the Scarlet Broherhood. Other factions and areas of interest include the Horned Society, the Bandit Kingdoms, the Drow, temples to Nerull, Ralishaz, Incabulos, Hextor, and the rest of the major evil gods. Much of the opposition in Greyhawk centers around humanoid races like orcs and hobgoblins and norkers (don't forget the norkers!) but the religious and political conflicts alo mean that other human factions make good opponents as well whether it's Nyrond vs. Aerdy, Keoland and Veluna against the Baklunish coming in from the west, or more localized unpleasantness around the Theocracy of the Pale and its neighbors. The mysteries of Blackmoor and the Land of Black Ice have possibilities (especially for Paragon and Epic levels) as does the far south with Hepmonaland and the Amedio Jungle. Maybe the depths of the Nyr Dyv hold secrets yet unlocked. Vecna and Kas might also serve as high level threats, and there is always the legacy of Acererak.

When it comes to published adventures we are buried under choices. Let's talk about some of them:

Heroic Tier: Well the Temple of Elemental Evil is the obvious choice and it's enough to run your players through the entire range of 1-10. At least I think it is, and I'm testing that theory right now in one of my campaigns. 

If you don't want to commit to that there is also the Saltmarsh series, specifically set in a coastal region of Greyhawk. They are a pretty nice mix of exploration, problem solving, and combat, though much of the fighting is towards the end which might not make some players happy. I'm pretty sure there's enough there to work PC's up to level 2 if you use some skill challenges during the haunted house part of the adventure and even in town for the more social players in the group. From there you have the followup Danger at Dunwater which also has a nice mix of combat and roleplay and could use some skill challenges as well. It also has some underwater action which can make it feel truly exotic, especially at a low level. The final part of the trilogy is The Final Enemy which is almost totally underwater and is mostly combat as the PC's invade a sahaugin lair. I can see some level issues here but they should be manageable. I'm thinking this series could be arranged to where the party is level 5 or 6 by the time they finish it up.

Another personal favorite is Against the Cult of the Reptile God which was a really good little adventure until the end where an NPC was needed to weaken the final bad guy so that a party of low level characters could take it on. With the more mechanically controlled levels in 4E I think it would be pretty easy to find a mid to high heroic solo creature and not need the NPC assist. If nothing else, it's a good way to work in a young dragon to an early adventure.

There are always the B series adventures too - B1 is OK and has a few memorable rooms but really only exists to give some structure (and a map) to do whatever you want to do. B2 is the old classic so many of us started out with and is not difficult to adapt to 4E's encounter system. Treat each lair as a 5 encounter mini-adventure, rework the ogre and the minotaur as solos with a level adjustment, and you should have a nice little starting area. B3 was never my favorite but the frozen palace could certainly be worked up as a 4E site. B4 could be used as the start of a whole lot of desert adventure by placing the Pharoah series nearby. The Sea of Dust seems like the most likely place for this kind of thing and you would need to come up with a rationale as to why a low level party is  running around an area like that but it does have potential.

For the middle levels the Slavers series could be a core to build around. The first one is a tricky thing to convert as it's a very linear tournament adventure with some unique and way overpowered opponents. A2 is pretty straightforward as is A3 and then A4 could get a little weird again as it assumes the PC's are captured, which they ALWAYS hate. I might have to look these over again and I would carefully consider how you want things to end up with the Slavers and let that guide your planning.

Other good mid level adventures include White Plume Mountain, Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, Ghost Tower of Inverness, Tamoachan, and maybe even some of the X modules like Isle of Dread. They tend to involve exotic locations, some interesting opponents and traps, and best of all they tend to be short enough that your players won't get tired of them before they finish, unlike some super-modules.

For Paragon the obvious choice is to go Against the Giants, then into the Depths of the Earth and against the Kuo-Toa and the Drow. That's really enough to keep a group busy for 10 levels I would think. If this is your plan for Paragon then I would make sure my group got to do some traveling during Heroic so that they get to see some of the Flanaess besides it's basement. Other Paragon choices include the Tomb of Horrors and the Barrier Peaks, both of which could probably be worked in during the other ongoing missions against the giants and the rest. I considered at one point taking Dwellers of the Forbidden City and making it into a Paragon adventure - I think it has a ton of potential for that. It makes for a nice campaign shift too if you play through heroic in a civilized area - the party makes a name for itself and then gets asked to help or lead an expedition down to the ruined city in the jungle - sounds good to me!

For Epic it might be time to take down a big nasty dragon that's been interfering with their travels and the nation, say the Yeomanry or Keoland. An old Suel Arch-Lich might be waking up out in the Sea of Dust and need a lesson in good behavior. The Circle of Eight might need some help recovering an artifact, leading into the Isle of the Ape.It could be time to take down the Scarlet Brotherhood once and for all and then perhaps it's time to take the fight to Iuz himself. Spending the first half of Epic tier fighting a war against Iuz and his demonic minions would be a pretty satisfying experience I think. Eventually it could come down to a direct confrontation and a chance to custom build a say, level 28 solo. Then of course Lolth is still waiting in the Demonweb Pits and sooner or later it's time to finish the job they started back at 11th level and stop the Drow demon-goddess for good.

As far as ridiculously high level characters running around Greyhawk, well, look at some of the original player characters and their unique abilities - clearly EGG was pretty flexible in those early games and looking at the 1E Rogues' Gallery and some of the characters written up in Dragon and the EX adventures you get quasi-deities and hero-deities like Murlynd (who uses dual six-shooters) and Kelanin not to mention that ascension to demigodhood is expressly spelled out in the Deities and Demigods book! So don't be afraid to have a few level 25's taking a hand in things in the form of your party. Deities come and go, nations rise and fall, and races ascend in power then get banished to the underworld - go ahead and let your players make a difference! It makes the campaign that much more memorable and gives the next Greyhawk campaign a fresh starting point.

Some ideas on conversion, based on doing a few:

Reference the actual original modules, not your memories of them. Things get fuzzy over time. If you're going for the original experience, stick with the module. If you're going for what you remember, then go with that - it might be more fun! But at least take a look at what was actualy in there.

Don't get caught up in the levels or hit dice - mechanics change. Flavor is more important than numbers - it is Against the Giants, not Against the Ogres. Descriptive text is edition-neutral! Illustrations are edition-neutral! Even maps are edition-neutral, though you may want to put a little more detail into some of them rather than sticking with so many bare stone rooms.

Don't worry about the original treasure - use the 4E treasure system. Descriptions of art objects, jewelry and gems are still valid even if the value changes. Try to find similar magic items to the originals, but stay flexible. Lose the cursed stuff unless it makes for a particularly interestng encounter and even then use them sparingly.

Keep the traps. That's part of the old school flavor and there are lots of example conversions in the DMG 1 & 2. Plus 4E characters are pretty tough and they aren't going to be killed by a 10' deep pit at 1st level.

Encourage thinking and be specific in play - don't fall prey to "I search the room...22 Perception. What do I find?" Most old modules have things in specific locations like under a loose stone in the floor, behind the bed, in a locked drawer in the desk. Ask each player what part of or thing in the room they are searching - this makes it a little more interesting and ensures that the character with the highest perception doesn't automatically find everything. Limit it to one thing or area per round of searching so everyone gets a fair shot.

Look for places to add in some skill challenges - they break up the combats that comprise most of these early adventures and give different characters chances to shine. Deciphering inscriptions, opening a special secret door, climbing across a dnagerous area (like the disks over the boiling mud in S2), answering a Sphinx's riddle or other challenge, or talking one's way past the otherwise neutral guards all make good skill challenges and can be surprisingly fun.

Anyway that's my outline and guideline for running classic Greyhawk in 4E. The mechanical changes do have an impact, but the world is the same. If you're uncovering agents of the Scarlet Brotherhood in Keoland, negotiating with the Elves of Celene and Highfolk to help drive the hill giants back into the Yatils, Fighting Yuan-Ti in the Forbidden City, ambushing one of Iuz's patrols in the Shield Lands, or taking over the throne of one of the Bandit Kingdoms, then it's still Greyhawk, and it's still a blast.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Greyhawk 4E - Classes and Races

I still think that the best way to add some Greyhawk into a 4E game is to run the generic 4E universe as Legendary Ancient Greyhawk and just add in some flavoring to the DM's taste. Where you set the Nentir Vale on the traditional Flanaess map and how familiar your players are with Greyahwk's history and geography will determine how much they get out of this, but I've found that if the DM is happy with it, even if the players don't get much of it, well, it's often still quite satisfying.

But what if you don't find this approach satisfactory?" What if you say "durn it 'Steel I'm a Greyhawk DM and I don't want to have to change that just because the rules got all changed up this last time". Well, there is another way, but it means that "Greyhawk" has to be separated somewhat from the mechanics and that's hard for a lot of people. If GH for you means Fighters run around with d10's for hit points (or d8's if you're older-school) and Clerics use maces 90% of the time then I don't know that you need to worry about this. However, if you can separate the mechanics from the setting then we may be in business here. That said, GH's real-world evolution was shaped by the mechanics of OD&D and AD&D, so we're not going to ignore those things. In fact they're going to drive a lot of our decisions as we work through this.

First, are you converting an ongoing campaign or are you revisiting one that's been dormant for a while? Trying to convert an active campaign is tricky because characters work somewhat differently. Going from session 499 of your 1E campaign (look! we're almost 10th level!) to session 1 of your 4E campaign is going to be a jarring experience. Find a good stopping point for your current campaign and don't even call it an ending - call it "on hold". I recommend a timeline jump of 10-20 years. Present it as The Next Generation of your campaign and see if anyone wants to play the children of their current characters in the new run. For a dormant campaign I recommend the same approach - a new edition is a good reason to fire up an old campaign and take a fresh look at it. Throw in a timeline jump, get the old team back together and get moving again! Some player-side stuff first:

Greyhawk had a specific set of races associated with it and it's a good idea to stick to that to keep the classic feel. Unearthed Arcana added a bunch of oddball races to the world but I want to address it separately so I'm ignoring it for now - this is just classic Greyhawk.

Elves - GH had High Elves, Wood Elves, and Wild Elves. I would probably recommend the 4E "Elf" for all 3 of them and chalk the rest up to cultural differences that can be picked up with a Background we will work out later. Stat choices can play a role here as well, so use the Essentials version of the race. Technically, the old High Elves would be Eladrin so that works, but natually teleporting elves seem a little out of place.

Dwarves - GH had Hill Dwarves and Mountain Dwarves. For 4E we're sticking with "Dwarf" and letitng the stat choice from the Essentials version of the race cover the physical differences, and a Background can handle the rest.

Gnomes - these are a fairly common race in GH and the 4E versions work just fine to represent them

Half Elves - Use the Essentials version, no changes

Half Orcs - Again, the Essentials version works just fine. These were fairly popular in GH and the 4E mechancis drive them to be a very similar character type

Halflings - GH had Stouts, Tallfellows, and Hairfeet. Use the Essentials Halfling stat choices for the physical stuff and we will add a Background for the rest

Humans - this is the easy one

For things like height and weight and age categories I would just use the original 1E material or whatever edition you were using prior to 4E. Why change it? Some other options to consider:

Tieflings - so they're marked by a heritage of half-human / half-infernal? Sounds like some GH types I remember, from Iuz to alu-demons. I would definitely consider them rare types of creatures without cities or nations of their own, but they are not completely outside the body of Greyhawk lore.

Goliaths - they make a good substitute for half-ogres, and who doesn't like half-ogres? If you allowed them before (Dragon #73...sigh) then why not allow them now?

Greyhawk was prety much the definitive 1E world by the time of the 1983 boxed set so that's our guideline for classes.

Cleric - Use the Essentials War Priest for the basic Cleric. The PHB1 Battle Cleric works here too, the Essentials one is just a little more themed. If someone wants to run a Cloistered Cleric type (from the old Dragon article) then the Devoted Cleric option from Divine Power could be used for that.

Druid - Now 1E Druids didn't have animal companions but they did have Wild Shape so the PHB2 Druid is probably truer to the original treatment. They were not terribly effective in hand to hand and were better off relying on their spells as much as they could, cursed by poor AC and limited weapon choices - again, the PHB2 Druid is remarkably similar. Consider allowing the Essentials Druid a place in your game as it is a much stronger option mechancialy and thematically fits with the older material pretty well, being tied to the seasons and all.

Fighter - The Essentials Knight covers the sword-and-board fighter while the Essentials Slayer covers the big-weapon fighters. Thematically a Slayer could start out as a screaming barbarian type but mechancially he can wear heavy armor right from the start if he wants too. The standard PHB1 Fighter is fine too but you have to deal with 1) the concept of daily powers for a guy who swings a sword and 2) marking. If those two things bug you then just stick with the Essentials Fighter options - they work quite well.

Paladin - Here we're going to stick with the PHB1 Paladin supplemented by Divine Power. Plate, shield, sword, a bunch of divinely powered abilities, lay on still looks a lot like the PHB 1 Paladin. We will limit the alignment to Lawful Good because that's the way it works in Greyhawk, and we can worry about the equipment and association restrictions within the campaign. It should also be Human only if we're going strictly old-school and I don't think that's a bad restriction.

Ranger - This one is a little different now, as 1E rangers did not have animal companions, were not two-weapon fighters, nor were they bow specialists by rule. They got tracking skill (easily handled in 4E), a damage bonus against certain enemies (hmmm), and had weaker hit points per level than a regular fighter (that's certainly true in 4E!). The Essentials Rangers are probably fine here but even the PHB1 and Martial Power 1 & 2 Ranger options all fit pretty much. Rangers got spells at mid to higher levels in 1E so daily powers and such are not a stretch for them. You might consider limiting the option only to one of the dual-purpose types but my 1E Ranger mostly ran around in plate mail and used a two-handed sword so I think the pure melee rangers have a place here too. This is probably one of the most wide-open classes for choice in the campaign. They do need to be limited to a good aligment though as that's the way the 'Hawk works.

Magic-User - The 1E M-U is a generalist and so the PHB1 + Arcane Power Wizard works just fine.If you want a more 2E feel for your spellslinger then the Essentials Mage is a better option. Either one works just fine and still feels a lot like the clasic old-school Magic - User.

Illusionist - The Essentials Mage is probably the best way to bring in an illusionist type character too.

Thief - The Essentials Thief is a re-creation of the 1E Thief, right down to the backstab ability.It's the obvious choice.

Assassin - this one gets really tricky.There is a 4E Assassin class and it's pretty nasty but it uses the "Shadow" power source and includes some mystical elements which may not sit well with traditionalists. Instead, I think the PHB1/Martial Power Rogue fits better here. I think a fully decked-out Daggermaster Rogue spinning twin daggers for 1d4+2d8+X damage per hit looks a lot more like a classic assassin (and hits a lot like one too) and doesn;t rely on shadow stuff for power. Now the shadow assassin does have a lot of options for poison use which was one of the signature things about 1E assassins but I think it's to the point that it overshadows their other abilities. If you want a guy who sneaks through the back alleys and then sticks a knife into his target, I think a Rogue is a better choice for Greyhawk. Also, they must choose an evil alignment. Sorry, but old school GH views killing other sentient beings for money as evil. It's an important flavor choice, as important as Paladins being lawful good and just as limiting in its own way.

Monk - They never have been all that good, not in 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd edition, but they are a part of Greyhawk lore. I'd stil lconsider dropping the mentirely but if you do want to include them then the PHB3 Monk  (Psionic Melee Striker) is thematically the same and far more effective then any of the old school versions were. They were also a human-only class, with a lawful-only alignment restriction.

Special: Bards - In 1E Bards were a kind of hybrid/multiclass/paragon path type of character. Finding that unsatisfying there were several regular class Bard options worked up in the pages of Dragon and by 2E this was the standard approach. Based on that I think the standard PHB2 Bard is a perfectly acceptable option for a Classic Greyhawk campaign under 4E, though I would favor the melee-centric bard over the ranged bard for pure flavor reasons. I wouldn't restrict that option, I'd just encourage it as more old-school.

Even More Special: Psionics - This was a sort of template in 1E, overlaid any other character class and race. There was a roughly 5% chance that any character might be psionic and if they were they got to roll on some random tables to see what kinds of super powers they got in addition to their normal class abilities. It was an entirely separate sub-system that was not particularly level-dependent unlike everything else in the game. Despite this quirkiness it was pretty popular in some circles and I don't feel that it can be ignored when discussing an old-school Greyhawk campaign. So, much as the original was an optional system found in an Appendix at the back of the PHB I would consider opening up all four Psionic classes from the PHB3 as optional classes. I know, it's a little weird, but if you were comfortable having it in your 1E game, what's wrong with allowing it in a 4E game that's actually built to handle it?

So, following these options we would have:

Controllers: Wizard/Mage, Druid

Defender: Fighter-Knight, Paladin

Leader: Cleric, Bard, possibly EssentialsDruid

Striker: Ranger, Fighter-Slayer, Thief, Assasin/Rogue, Monk

...and then possibly one more class of each type from the Psionics group. I think that's a pretty good set of choices and maintains the flavor of the original pretty well. Options to consider:

Warlord - it's a martial leader type class, mainly melee-based. He's not as good at healing as a Cleric, but having a guy who looks like a fighter in the party who can heal soomebody by shouting "rub some dirt on it" in the middle of a fight seems like a good fit to me. I'd allow them. Think of them as taking the role of a multi-classed or dual classed Fighter/Cleric in the old days.

Sorcerer - this is an arcane striker and is a strong representation of the 1E/2E invoker/blasting mage. I know technically they don't follow the 18 Int/Spellbook model of wizard but some of that is just flavoring and if someone wants to be a pure blasting mage this is a good way to go. Plus it still ends up as a guy in cloth running around with a rod or a dagger in their hand throwing spells.

Warlock - this is another arcane striker but is flavored around making pacts with other-worldly entities and powers from beyond. That's a common theme in much of the old-school material and they are again a guy in robes wielding a rod and throwing spells. I think they are another good fit for an old-school flavored game.

Barbarian - I know this was an Unearthed Arcana class but If you really want the wilderness-centric fighting man in from the start then he does fit. With a bunch of abilities focused around charging an enemy he will be at the front of any fight. There's more in 4E about being powered by animal sprits but that fits in fairly well with some of the Greyhawk lore about places where Barbarians would originate, whether it's the Frost/Ice/Snow barbarians or some of the more southerly options.

Wow that's a lot of Strikers, but those do seem to have the best fit. There are two others though...

Swordmage - One interpretation of an old-school Fighter/Magic-User, this one more focused on the "Fighter". It may be a little too teleporty for some but it should be considered. I would definitely make it Elf and Half-Elf (and Eladrin if you allow them)only though if you want to keep some strong flavor.

Bladesinger - The other interpretation of an old-school Ftr/M-U and one that to me feels more like they did back then - more blasting ability but more fragile in combat too.  Again I would limit it to Elves and Half-Elves for flavor purposes.

Multiclassing gets into an interesting area. In 4E multiclassing is a feat choice that gives you a particular ability from a class. Hybrid classes are more like the old school multiclassed characters and I would definitely allow that option in a Greyhawk campaign, but many find them unsatisfying in play. What if we look at the 1E multiclassing options and see if there's a better way:

Dwarves usually went with Fighter, Thief, and Cleric. Warlord makes a pretty good Fighter/Cleric substitute, and Fighter/Thief might make the most sense as some kind of Ranger though you're not easily going to get the lockpicking and trap handling abilities. For Cleric/Thief the Avenger (Divine Striker PHB2) is the most similar thematically though they don't have much healing and support ability. Dwarves should probably also be banned from any Arcane class.

Elves went  Fighter, Magic-User, and Thief. Bladesinger makes a reasonable M-U/Thief combo, with Swordmage there for Ftr/M-U. Fighter/Thief comes back around to Ranger again most likely.

Half-Elves were open to pretty much anything with the Cleric/Fighter/Magic-User and Fighter/Magic-User/Thief as unique options. For those I'm thinking you take one of the classes described above and then a multiclass feat for the third element. A Swordmage multiclassed to Rogue for Thievery skill or a Bladesinger multiclassed to Cleric for a Healing Word is a pretty faithful version of the original's capabilities.

Half Orcs were limited to Clerics, Fighters, and Assassins so they might consider the Avenger (Divine Striker, PHB2) for some of that combination.

Halflings were limited to Fighters or Thieves so besides those a Ranger option might be workable here too.

Gnomes subbed in Illusionist specifically besides Fighter and Thief and that's probably the hardest thing to combine into one class. There's just not a great class choice to cover Fighter/Illusionist. llusionist/Thief could be an illusion Mage with a multiclass feat for Thievery skill. For general wizardy type abilities then a Bladesinger wouldn't be bad either.

Working through this, one decision clearly has to be made: What kind of racial and class restrictions do you want to put in place in your game. In 1E only the Fighter and Thief classes were open to any race, and Psionics was an option too. Paladins, Rangers, Druids, and Monks were human-only. Multi-classing was nonhuman only. Dwarves, half-orcs, and halflings had no arcane abilities at all. Later 2E changed some of this and 3E changed most of it, so you have to decide where you want to draw your line, if any. We don't need them for mechanical balance any more, but the idea of a dwarf wizard in Greyhawk still bugs me a little bit and this is going to be a fuzzy area for a lot of long-term Greyhawk DM's.

Tomorrow: adventures and other campaign elements.