New Classes and Concepts for Old-School Essentials

I've been talking about this for years, but have finally taken the plunge and put up a pre-launch Kickstarter page for my Old School Essentials supplement, Alchemy, Explosions, and Inventions

The idea began over four years ago, on April 4th of 2020, when I posted 12 "subclasses" (as I called them at the time) for Old School Essentials, focusing on expert and specialist roles. The idea came from seeing the work by Dyson Logos for "D12 Subclasses" and bloomed from there. In practice, the subclasses are much more akin to the old 2nd Edition Advanced D&D "Kits" - a background/role, a small mechanical bonus, and balanced by a small mechanical hindrance. 

Even before that, I had begun work way back in 2004 on a 3.5 Supplement for Mongoose Publishing to be called the Quintessential Expert, a follow-up to my Quintessential Aristocrat book. That book and its mechanics were eventually scrapped but I'd always wanted to do something with the research I'd spent time doing, and digging out my old notes was the catalyst for me to create three new classes for Old School Essentials: the Alchemist, Demolitionist, and Inventor. It was at this point, I thought of putting it all together in a small supplement to offer for sale. 

The idea continued to grow and became Alchemy, Explosions, and Inventions: A Complete Handbook to Expert Characters in Old School Fantasy Roleplaying Games, a 40-page book with ideas for both players and referees. 

Inside you'll find 15 class concepts such as Relic Hunters, Dwarf Miners, Sappers, Halfling Animal Trainers, Arcane Investigators, and Saboteurs, as well as three new 14-level classes for Alchemists, Demolitionists, and Inventors. There are pages of new equipment including alchemical items, explosives, and inventions, and details on including patrons and guilds for players to join. 

For referees, there is a fully detailed three-story guild hall, with maps and NPCs designed to introduce intrigue and mystery in the game. There are also random tables of secrets and rumors with a mechanic for the referee to determine which rumors are true or false, adding to re-playability. 

I am a big fan of tables, so I included a lot in the book including different types of Craft, Trade, Entertainer, and Professional Experts, as well as optional "Failure Effects" tables for alchemy, explosives, and inventions that go wrong. For true old-school flavor, I added tables for the Level Titles for all three new classes, and wrap-up with information on how to run expert-themed campaigns of different genres (guild rivalries, intrigue, low magic, and more). 

Throughout the book, I include "Designer Notes" for a peak behind the curtain to explain my design choices. 

The book includes brand new art from old school fan-favorite artist Denis McCarthy, and the layout and cover are by my friend Bill Green (with whom I game). It will be available as both a PDF and a print-on-demand book with your choice of two backgrounds: parchment or plain white. I'm also in discussions with Bill about the possibility of a limited availability hard-cover option with a brand new cover. 

If you've followed the blog for a while, you know how long I've been working on this, and I'm really excited to finally announce that it's ready to be released! The Kickstarter will kick-off on Monday, June 3rd, but you can visit the pre-launch page now to be notified when it goes live! 

Thanks for your support and encouragement, everyone. I really appreciate it, and I hope you enjoy the book. This is just the first thing to come. I'm already working on a second book that will collect most of my other "D12 Class Concepts" such as Wilderness, City, Naval, Horror, Sword & Planet, and more, into a large book that will also include information for running sessions or campaigns within each of those genres, and also how to combine them into one large on-going campaign! 

Please post your thoughts, comments, and questions below. 

Hanging: Home office (laptop)

Listening: "Eternity" by Alice Coltrane (1976; re-mastered stereo VMP edition on orange-in-pink vinyl)

Drinking: Laphroaig 10 Year Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky 


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad that your interest is still there since it's taken so long for me to push myself to publish this finally!


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