Friday, 5 December 2014

The Alice Character Class for 5e D&D or Dude, Where's My Turtle?

Zak S's A Red and Pleasant Land, published by the always innovative Lamentations of the Flame Princess, is flying off the shelves. In less than two days, as I start to write this post, there are 625 hard copies ordered. Since we all have the PDF we might as well get started on the time-honoured tradition of ripping it up and changing things.

Earlier this morning on G+, A. Miles Davis made a request for a 5e D&D version of the Alice Class. Zak offered an "invisible intangible imaginary turtle" to the first person to come up with a 5e class, so the race is on! If I make it, I have every intention of painting my turtle's shell with intangible, imaginary glitter to solve the whole problem of finding it.

[The Alice from A Red and Pleasant Land by Zak S.]

The Alice

The Alice class is based on the archetypical "fool" commonly found in stories of all kinds.  That character that seems to wander through a story through luck, cunning and stubbornness. The chosen of the gods, fate, or worse that trouble just seems to find. The one that seems to see things more clearly than the other characters and sometimes penetrates the fourth wall. 

[excerpt from A Red and Pleasant Land, page 30]

The class as it is written in the book is full of randomness and possibility. No two Alices would be alike. While this random advancement works well with the flavour of the class and the LotFP system that the book was published to be most compatible with, I'm going to embrace the structures that exist in 5e and go with a more structured class that splits after 3rd level into two separate Narratives

Class Features:

Hit Points are pretty much the same as the Alice as written: hit points as magic user or in this case the Wizard class.

Hit Points: 1d6 per Alice level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + constitution modifier per Alice level after 1st

The Alice class is supposed to fight as a Thief/Rogue/Specialist so most of the proficiency choices can be taken from the equivalent to those. Alice's tend to be taken from a life of leisure and the tool proficiencies reflect that.

Proficiencies:
Armour: Light Armour
Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, shortswords, rapiers and pistols (if firearms are available in your campaign)
Tools: Choose one Gaming Set or Musical Instrument

The Alice Saving throws are based on their force of personality and luck.

Saving Throws: Charisma, Dexterity

A classic education and the decadence of the Alice's early life, full of drawing room intrigue and listening at keyholes, also influences their skill choices.

Skills: Choose three from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, Deception, History, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand and Stealth

The Alice is woefully unprepared for adventure at 1st level, usually falling into it and inexplicably finding a handful of useful items at the beginning of their first adventure.

Equipment:
The Alice starts with the following equipment in addition to the equipment provided by the character's background.
  • (a) a rapier or (b) a hand crossbow and 20 bolts or (c) a pistol and bandolier with 24 pre-measured shots (if available in your campaign)
  • (a) 2 daggers or (b) 6 darts
  • (a) a Diplomat's Pack or (b) an Entertainer's Pack
Instead of the wild and fun random table for advancement the 5e Alice progresses with more structure.

Exasperation:
Beginning at first level all Alices can become Exasperated in times of great stress. By thinking or uttering a statement of exasperation such as, "Oh I can't conceive how I ever fell into this deplorable circumstance," or "We are indeed doomed and now birds will gnaw our eyes," the Alice calls the attention of the powers that put them on the road to adventure in the first place. Times of great stress are of more interest to the gods, fates or dark powers so that is the time when this ability will work. 

The Alice may express Exasperation once per hour of real playing time. When the Alice uses the Exasperation ability the DM rolls on the Exasperation Table:

[Exasperation Table from A Red and Pleasant Land]

Alice liked pies, although sometimes people did not want her to have them:
Starting at 1st level the character adds her/his proficiency bonus to find foodstuffs of any kind. This bonus stacks with any others if the character is already using a skill such as Investigation or Perception to find the foodstuffs.

It was very shiny and stuck out like a soup spoon:
As early as 2nd level the Alice can begin to take advantage of her/his unpredictable nature. On a successful melee attack the Alice can make a Sleight of Hand roll to grab an item other than the opponent's weapon from him or her. This will only work once per combat and combatant on any opponents with greater than zombie intelligence.

"It really was curious," she thought- "How many times could this kind of thing happen?"
At 3rd level the Alice gains the ability to cheat death or escape some other calamity a total of one time. The Alice must play dead for one round to build the suspense before jumping up fully ready and unscathed.

She was not such a mouse as she used to be:
At 4th level and then again at 8th, 10th, 12th, 16th and 19th level the Alice gains an ability score improvement. In each instance the character can improve one ability score by 2 points or two scores by one point each. No ability can be improved above 20.

They began to throw stones, and Alice began to avoid them:
At 5th level the Alice's script immunity improves and s/he gains an Unarmoured Defence ability. The character adds both Dexterity and Charisma bonuses to Armour Class when not wearing armour.

The blue one certainly did make Alice taller, of that Alice was certain:
As of 6th level, the Alice adds proficiency bonus on all rolls to identify drugs and plants with drug-like properties.

They kept talking as Alice was a rhododendron in a pot:
At 7th level the Alice gains advantage on all Stealth rolls.

She really could be very charming when she needed to be:
At 9th level the Alice gains advantage to Deception checks.

She knew from school what the word meant, but did not know if it was rude or not:
At 11th level the Alice learns to speak, read and write a new language of the player's choice.

It was so lovely, and - according to the book- it was right there:
Gained at 13th level, this one can be taken directly from the table. The only exception is if the Alice can't get it by the fourth session s/he can choose to continue or give up and replace this ability with another use of "It really was curious," she thought- "How many times could this kind of thing happen?"


Expertise:
Alice is always learning. By the time s/he hits 14th level she's become an expert in one of her proficiencies and applies double the normal proficiency bonus to all rolls with that skill.

She began to feel somewhat neglected:
By 15th level the Alice is becoming quite unpredictable. If the Alice is attacked in a round where s/he only dodges and the attacker misses, the attacker will fumble and miss its next turn. If the attacker has multiple attacks it loses a number of attacks equal to the Alice's proficiency bonus. This only works once on any creature who has seen it and has intelligence greater than that of a zombie.

Alice had seen so many unusual things lately, it had become usual:
At 17th level the Alice becomes unshakable. S/he is immune to insanity or confusion in any form. Even sudden appearance of an inscrutable elder god from beyond the cosmos is not particularly noteworthy. The Alice can still fear. Fear is likely part of how s/he managed to get to 17th level in the first place.

She had not known her mother's cousin very well, but decided it was a bad thing that she had died:
Sometime early in the Alice's 18th level s/he is willed a parcel of land with a house, manor or small castle on it. The location, current state of the property and how the occupants regard the Alice showing up with a deed is up to the DM.

"It really was curious," she thought- "How many times could this kind of thing happen?"
At 20th level the Alice has pleased whatever forces placed the character on the path to adventure and once again s/he gains the ability to cheat death or escape some other calamity a total of one time. The Alice must play dead for one round to build the suspense before jumping up fully ready and unscathed.

Narrative Paths

At third level the Alice embraces a particular Narrative on the character's path to greater adventure. These three Narratives are the Plucky, Clever and From Good Stock Alices.

Plucky:

The Plucky Alice has embraced the rough and tumble nature of her/his existence and become adept a fisticuffs and other shenanigans. At 3rd level the Plucky Alice gains proficiency in Medium Armour and Longsword. 

Oh I do so apologize:
Beginning at 3rd level, the Alice can take advantage of distraction and trip any person or creature that is otherwise engaged with a successful Dexterity Check. It only works once per combat unless the opponents are mindless creatures like zombies or can't see the trick the first time. At 5th level the trip does 1d4 damage. This damage increases by a die type to 1d6 at 8th level, 1d8 at 10th level, 1d10 at 12th level, 1d12 at 16th level, and 1d20 at 19th level.

It seemed nearly everything was dangerous if handled improperly:
By 5th level the Alice has become skilled with improvised weapons. All weapons do one die type better than normal (eg 1d4 becomes 1d6). Improvised effects automatically succeed, such as a bag of marbles automatically tripping or caltrops automatically damaging medium humanoids with no save.

She noticed the Red Knight always feinted to his left - she was a very perceptive girl:
At 9th level the Alice can spend time observing a combatant to gain a +1d4 to hit and/or +1d4 on an ability check to trip or grapple for each round of observation when s/he finally does attack. This ability can only be used once per combat.

Alice then did something quite astonishing...
The Alice is unpredictable. As of 13th level s/he adds her/his Charisma bonus to hit and damage to the first attack in a combat with an improvised weapon against any intelligent opponent ("who knew Alice could do that with a gingerbread man?"). This trick only works once per combat and only once on any particular opponent.

She did seem to offend people (and animals) wherever she went:
Expereicne with terrible people (and creatures) has made the Alice adept at duelling. At 17th level the Alice can stack the character's Charisma bonus with her/his Dexterity bonus when attacking with a finesse or duelling weapon such as a foil, rapier or pistol.


Clever:

The Clever Alice get's through adventures by knowing secrets and applying knowledge to her situation. 

She closed her eyes and said the words just as she'd been taught:
At third level s/he learns to cast Wizard Spells the same as an Arcane Trickster Rogue from page 98 of the 5e PHB.

Alice quite liked drawing and had an impressive box of crayons at home:
At 5th level the Alice gains proficiency with the Forgery Kit and can add the character's proficiency bonus to forgeries.

All that hiding in the dumbwaiter finally paid off:
The Alice knows secrets. As of 9th level, once per session the Alice can recall or pull a piece of paper with important and relevant lore on it out of a pocket. It can be one of two types of secret. Either a piece of useful information about a legendary treasure or magic item or and embarrassing fact about a notable NPC.

She thought it might be a saltcellar, or at least that seemed like a good word:
At 13th level: "The Alice can appraise treasure to a non-trivial degree: the value of non-magical things can be estimated flawlessly and if a piece of treasure is not what it seems on any level the Alice will get an inkling. As in, if the Alice goes "Is this not what it seems?" and the Referee will go "Yeah, you've seen a lot of jade urns in your day and this is not what it seems somehow- you're not sure how." If a treasure has some unusual of hidden feature of a mechanical or physical nature, the Alice will sense that it is there on a successful intelligence roll. The Alice won't know it is, but the Alice'll sense that it is there." 

Investigation or Perception proficiency will apply to the Intelligence roll at the DM's discretion.


From Good Stock

The Alices From Good Stock rely on good breeding (or the appearance thereof) to bully their way through their adventures. At 3rd level this Alice chooses two proficiencies from Animal Handling, Deception, History, Insight, Intimidation, Performance and Persuasion.

Her sister had mentioned they were dreadful people:
Beginning at 3rd level the Alice stacks Charisma and Intelligence bonuses to History checks to recognize the faction and function of of any aristocrat in any land.

She knew to curtsey in situations like this, and so she did:
Despite travelling with common company, by the time s/he reaches third level, the Alice's polished manners always show. Members of the upper classes instinctively recognize the Alice as one of their own (even if she isn't). The Alice gains advantage to all Charisma-based rolls when dealing with such people.

She tried to remember what she knew about stoats:
Beginning at 5th level animals like the Alice. The character has advantage on all Charisma-based rolls when interacting with normal animals and speaking-but-otherwise-normal animals.

Expertise:
By 9th level the Alice From Good Stock has gained expertise in another one of her/his proficiencies and can roll double the proficiency bonus.

She thought it might be a saltcellar, or at least that seemed like a good word:
At 13th level: "The Alice can appraise treasure to a non-trivial degree: the value of non-magical things can be estimated flawlessly and if a piece of treasure is not what it seems on any level the Alice will get an inkling. As in, if the Alice goes "Is this not what it seems?" and the Referee will go "Yeah, you've seen a lot of jade urns in your day and this is not what it seems somehow- you're not sure how." If a treasure has some unusual of hidden feature of a mechanical or physical nature, the Alice will sense that it is there on a successful intelligence roll. The Alice won't know it is, but the Alice'll sense that it is there." 

Investigation or Perception proficiency will apply to the Intelligence roll at the DM's discretion.

They all listened attentively as Alice told her tale:
At 17th level the Alice receives a +2 bonus to her/his Charisma score. This bonus cannot bring the score above 20. Any excess can be applied to Intelligence or Wisdom.