Sunday, September 4, 2016

OSR Colonial and Pirate Classes with Setting Notes

Here's a few classes for a Colonial, Pirate, Napoleonic, or even a Renaissance setting.
The Cavalryman, Musketeer, Pirate, and Swashbuckler.
All are combat classes (hit/save as Fighter.)

Use with the setting rules and following classes from the Victorian setting:
Combat Classes
(Explorer) as Scout

Non-Combat Classes
(Con-Man) Scoundrel
(Crook) Burglar
(Detective) Investigator

Here is the post on Colonial era firearms and Armor.
Here is the post on basic firearms rules.

Trained cavalry troops or anyone who has skill at riding.
Hit Dice 1d8 per level up to ninth level.
Armor Permitted: Any
Weapons Permitted: Any but greatly prefer firearms and one-handed melee weapons.
Prime Attribute (5% xp bonus) Dex 13+

Horse Fighter
Cavalrymen are familiar with combat on horseback. They receive no penalty for attacks made on horseback and gain a +2 bonus to hit with melee weapons vs infantry troops.
(-2 to a non-cavalryman class rider's attack unless he makes a Ride check at -4 penalty.)

Reloading a flintlock weapon on horse moving faster than a walk normally requires a Dex check with a -4 penalty. Failure results in the powder and shot being spilled. The Cavalryman can do it with a straight Dex check.

At levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 the Cavalryman gains a cumulative +1 bonus to his riding checks (Dex) for basic riding maneuvers such as stay mounted while the horse is bucking or upset, calming and controlling the horse, guide it with his knees so the rider can shoot, etc. In addition, the Cavalryman can do the following:

On Horseback the Cavalryman gains a +1 to AC and can use his Dex bonus increase his mount's AC.

With a successful check, the Cavalryman can drop along the side of the horse for cover, gaining a +4 cover bonus to his AC. This is considered pretty dishonorable by quite a few.

With a successful check the Cavalryman can fall from a horse and take half damage (see Riding in Rules Clarifications: Miscellaneous.)

With a successful check the Cavalryman can coax the horse to leap obstacles and the Cavalryman can hang on while the animal is performing the maneuver.

Time in the saddle has toughened the Cavalryman.
+2 to Saving Throws vs disease and poison.

Musketeers are combatants who have a great affinity for firearms. They are marksmen and are trained to care for their weapons. Their knowledge of firearms often makes them the default Armorer caring for the crew's weaponry. Their bonuses to hit coupled with bonuses from aiming and point blank range make them deadly in a firefight.
Hit Die Type: 1d8 per level.
Armor Permitted: Any
Weapons Permitted: Any but greatly prefer firearms.
Prime Attribute (5% experience bonus): Dexterity 13+.

The Musketeer receives a +1 bonus to hit with any firearm. This stacks with aiming and point blank shooting.

Fast Draw
The Musketeer can draw, ready, and fire a firearm faster. They only recieve a -2 to their shooting attacks when drawing and shooting a firearm(s) in the same round instead of a -4 penalty.

Fast Reload
The Musketeer cuts their reload time down by one round. Thus a musket or pistol can be reloaded in one round instead of two.

Firearm Repair
Anyone can attempt to fix malfunctioning or broken firearms and cannon. The Musketeer is better at it due to his familiarity with the weapons. Normally this is an Int check, the Musketeer receives a cumulative +1 bonus to this check at the following levels:
12 limit: 3, 6, 9, and 12.
20 limit: 5, 10, 15, and 20
The repair time is left up to the DM based on how badly the weapon is damaged and available tools and materials to fix.

Pirates are the scourge of the seas, hunting down and stealing cargo from other ships. Most are not overly skilled at sailing but excel at combat on board ship. They can be a bloodthirsty and murderous lot but most stick to a code or article of behavior.
Hit Die Type: 1d8 per level.
Armor Permitted: Any, but Thief abilities can only be used in Leather or lighter.
Weapons Permitted: Any but prefer short one-handed weapons for ship combat.
Prime Attribute (5% experience bonus): Dexterity 13+.

Close Quarter Fighter
The cramped quarters below decks hinder a man's fighting abilities (-2 to attacks) unless he is experienced with such things. The Pirate recieves no penalty for fighting in cramped spaces including below deck, in tunnels, etc.

Pirates lead a rough life and harden to it quickly or die. They add a +2 to  saving throws against disease and poison.

Thief Abilities
Being a tricksy and dangerous lad the Pirate can Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, and Climb Walls as well as a Thief of an equal level.

He can also Backstab as a Thief with the usual bonuses and extra damage.

Hit Die Type: 1d8 per level.
Level and Attack as: Fighter
Save as: Fighter
Armor Permitted: Leather or lighter. Their abilities can only be used in Leather or lighter.
Weapons Permitted: Any but prefer one-handed melee. Their usually high Dexterity makes them capable two weapon fighters.
Prime Attribute (5% experience bonus): Dexterity 13+.

As a Thief of equal level. This can also be used as the chance for maneuvers such as swinging from chandeliers and other acrobatic derring-do.

Can use two melee weapons with no penalty to the primary hand and only a -2 to the off-hand. In addition the Swashbuckler can choose to not take the off-hand attack and defend witih he weapon, gaining him a +1 AC bonus that round as if he had a shield.

Light on the Feet
When wearing leather or lighter armors the Swashbuckler receives a +2 bonus to their AC.

Quick with a Blade
The Swashbuckler is a Dexterity based fighter. He may use his Dexterity bonus instead of his Strength bonus for melee attacks.

Colonial Horror Games
The Colonial period is  well suited to horror games. Sleepy Hollow, Pirates of the Caribbean, Brotherhood of the Wolf, etc are a few examples.

Here's a few classes and rules for this genre:
Folkloric and Infernal Magic
Ritual Magic Option (anyone can cast)
Fear and Madness
Victorian Weird and Horror Races
Vampire PC's  ala Dark Shadows


  1. I messed around with a pirates OSR game a couple of years ago. I Only gave up writing when I couldn't find a good set of naval combat rules.

    If you want to strip mine it for ideas, email me at

    1. Thanks, I will do that. Always curious about different sets. I've also collected from sources such as d20 and rolemaster.