Scofflaw Class


Heyo! It's amazing - I've been bouncing around this forum for a while and only just now realized I never registered. Heh. Well, I've been around for a while. I, being a rules tinkerer, love tooling around with systems. When I first got the LWMPG, I at first thought it was horrible, but then as I started tooling around I realized there was stuff I can work with. While I realize some of my "little changes" probably add more to the game than most people want (expanded rules for Weapons, allowing for damage multiples and certain special effects, rules for "belt space", etc.), there are a few things to share here.

Personally, I have always enjoyed a good rogue, by which I mean somebody who is independant and maybe on the edge of the law in a setting where most PCs aren't. There have been a few example of "rogue" type characters already - on this forum you have the Adventuress, but there's also a couple worthies from the D20 rules (Shadkine Sorcerer, Wytch Child). But what about a good old fashioned criminal-type?

When I ran D20 Lone Wolf, I wouldn't allow such a type. I mean, you've got Knights, Kai Lords, Brothers of the Crystal Star, Vakeros Warrior-Mages, etc., what the heck is a cutpurse or burglar going to do except get arrested by his fellow adventurers? But I thought about it, and I see two major opportunities for good "edge-of-the-law" characters.

One is the classical redemption story. Somebody grew up with little opportunity to get by within the law and became a criminal, but when given their first real opportunity to be heroic they did the right thing and became a (mildly un-heroic) hero. The other idea I had, though, and perhaps the more interesting one, stems from the fact that there are a lot of laws in Magnamund that deserve to be broken. You could always have Shadkine resistance fighters, "conductors" on an "underground railroad" ferrying slaves from the Helotries, Drakkar traitors, etc. These are people who are most assuredly criminal, and yet in many cases you can't help but call them heroic (cunning and devilish, for sure).

With that in mind, I finally broke down and started working on a "thief" type character class. I didn't want it to be the tried-and-true AD&D thief, simply because many of their abilities just don't seem to fit (how many burglars do you think are really at the level of polyglot to read any language?). Feel free to throw comments, suggestions, or Lightning Hands as you will. I haven't added much flavortext - I might do that later.


Combat Skill and Endurance

To find out what your Scofflaw's Combat Skill is, generate a random number. Add 8 to this number and the result will be your character's Combat Skill.

For Endurance, do exactly the same thing, except that you add 15 to the number you select.

If using optional rules that allow all classes to have Willpower, do the same thing as above to generate your Willpower score except that you add 5 to the number you select.

Scofflaw Disciplines

Scofflaws don't get job titles. While the wanted posters around where they operate might give titles with varying degrees of disgust and animosity, these won't often be the name you go by when you're not on the job. You are not presently a master criminal, but you are not without your skills. You begin at Rank 5, with five Disciplines under your belt. Pick your Disciplines from the following list.


Banditry lends itself well to wolfpack tactics, and a Scofflaw with this Discipline is truly a wolf. When the Scofflaw joins with allies to gang up on a foe, he grants a +1 bonus to their Combat Skill in addition to the normal bonuses for ganging up. This bonus applies even when the normal bonus, for whatever reason, does not occur.

If you choose this skill, write "Accessory: Additional +1 Combat Skill for engaged allies" on your Action Chart.


Scofflaws with this Discipline are very rarely unarmed. They are skilled at working out how best to use improvised weapons, and can almost always find some bit of detritus or scenery that is heavy, jagged, or otherwise dangerous enough to use as a weapon. In addition, Scofflaws with this Discipline only suffer a -1 penalty to your Combat Skill for using an improvised weapon.

If you choose this skill, write "Battery: Only -1 penalty to Combat Skill for improvised weapons" on your Action Chart.


Breaking and entering has long been a specialty of many a rogue. This skill allows the Scofflaw silent movement, hiding in shadows, and a basic knowledge of mechanics enough to use subtle tricks to open locks (such as sliding objects through slits to open latches, etc.). Scofflaws with this skill will generally be taking pains to operate locks and mechanical devices as quietly as possible.

If you choose this skill, write "Burglary" on your Action Chart.


Scofflaws with this Discipline have prolific knowledge of the criminal life and the criminal world. They have the knowledge to know what parts of town are safest for criminals, how to find safe refuges from the law, and where to turn to for criminal services and supplies. If there are jobs of a low-end variety, Scofflaws with this Discipline can generally be counted on to find them.

If you choose this skill, write "Conspiracy" on your Action Chart.


Many Scofflaws are skilled at inducing panic. Intimidation and interrogation are specialties of many a criminal. This skill extends to any attempt to use fear, disturbance, or threats to get what you want out of somebody. Scofflaws with this Discipline are also very well aware of the effects of fear and panic, and are also disciplined against the effects of fear, panic, threats, and the like. This does not assist against psychic attacks, unfortunately.

If you choose this skill, write "Extortion" on your Action Chart.

False Pretenses

Scofflaws skilled in this Discipline are extraordinary tricksters. They can conceal their movements, mannerisms, and accent to appear to be a native to whatever region they are in (or to appear to be a foreigner from a specific locale). If the Scofflaw has the appropriate props, he may also appear to be of a different social class, or even appear to be the opposite sex.

If you choose this skill, write "False Pretenses" on your Action Chart.


Scofflaws have long practiced the process of hiding their intent, and can keep their criminal intentions so well secret that sometimes even they forget that they are criminals. Scofflaws with this Discipline are skilled at concealing their motives and intent. They also add the bonus they would normally get to Tests using this Discipline to the Difficulty of any Test for Sixth Sense or similar Disciplines to detect any mallicious intent on the part of the Scofflaw with this Discipline.

If you choose this skill, write "Larceny" on your Action Chart.


Militias love to gang up on lone rogues, and sometimes a Scofflaw needs to make them think twice. When engaged with multiple foes, Scofflaws with this Discipline may spend 2 Endurance Points to use this ability. They will be able to attack every engaged foe that attacks them, threatening each of them with damage. This will not offset the Combat Skill bonuses they receive, but it will make foes think twice.

If you choose this skill, write "Manslaughter" on your Action Chart.

* If using optional rules that allow all characters to have Willpower, this Discipline costs 2 Willpower rather than 2 Endurance.


Assassination is part and parcel with many a freedom fighter. It's also part and parcel with many an organized crime syndicate. When Scofflaws with this Discipline attack somebody with a ranged or thrown weapon, or if they are engaged with only one enemy, the Scofflaw gains a +2 bonus to his Combat Skill. The Scofflaw does not lose this bonus if allies are also engaged with the enemy, but he does lose this bonus if more than one enemy is involved in the scuffle.

If you chose this skill, write "Mayhem: +2 Combat Skill against a single foe" on your Action Chart.


Cutpurses and duelists alike want to take things off of their foes. Sometimes, the quickest way to end a fight is to take away the fighter's tools, and sometimes you just really want to have a go at somebody else's Belt Pouch. This skill grants a bonus to any roll to try to snatch a loose object or cut a Belt Pouch from off of somebody. In addition, in combat the Scofflaw may choose to attack but not inflict damage on a foe. If they would have inflicted more points of damage on them than their opponent would have inflicted, their opponent is disarmed of their Weapon, and must evade the Scofflaw to retrieve it. The Scofflaw will still suffer damage normally that round, even if this maneuver is successful.

If you choose this skill, write "Robbery" on your Action Chart.
Nice ideas, just some comments:

1) The name: it is terrible. Really. It sounds like some disease a scurvied pirate would get after drinking too much salt water. I'd suggest a thesaurus and some paging to come up with something more palatable.

2) Some of the abilities sound more like modern criminal charges you are likely to hear in a NY court - or TV series - than abilities one would expect to find in a medieval fantasy world. These are terms you would not have found in common use 600 years ago, I suspect.

Otherwise, good job. Look forward to seeing more!
Actually, of all the Disciplines the newest crime (in terms of when it became a crime) is False Pretenses, which was enacted by Parliament in 1757. Several of the crimes listed here no longer exist (Mayhem, in particular). So you're right - some of them didn't exist 600 years ago. One of them is 250 years old.
Those ability names just sound... 'unnatural', if I may use the word in a fantasy setting. It does not sound like something you would expect to hear in Magnamund.

Then again, that is only my opinion. Have any other classes available?
One thing to keep in mind is that I am in law school, and if I run a game it will likely be for lawyers and law students, so "unnatural" to us and "unnatural" to you are two wholly different animals. :D I plan to augment this with an actual gear selection, but that's the part I'm a little chincy with, especially since I handle gear, weapons, etc., a little differently from most. I try to keep to the "rules light" flavor, but by the same token I try to put a difference between a dagger and a longsword.

As for other classes, I have a version of the Wytch of Shadaki, but I'm not sure that I like it. I'm having difficulty making it work right. I'm not sure if it balances properly, and I'm not sure that it feels appropriate to the concept.
Would be interested to see the Wytch. I began work on a Shadakine Mystress a few weeks back, as the Tier 1 prelude to the Shadakine Wytch (which I saw as more of a Tier 2 class). Did not get far though, had only the four Grey Star novels to work on... and got caught up in other work, to be honest.

Regarding law school: yeah, try to stay away from jargon and 'Technicalese' when designing something meant to be enjoyed by everyone. I could throw insane statistical and actuarial jargon into my classes - but then they will suck (to be blunt).
As a note, the d20 Magic of Magnamund book has a Wytch class that people could use as a stepping stone. I look forward to seeing what you all come up with!

*nods* That was actually my baseline, although I tried to keep it "witchy" and also in keeping with the ability of Tanith and Mother Magri. I'm even working on a power to summon small animals and have them do "little favors" for you (with "sit still until I can wring your neck" being among the list of available favors... ahhh, Tanith, I was so turned on by you when I was a little kid).
What is the rule going to be for classes upgrading to Tier II though? This is something I always try to keep in mind when designing Tier I classes: if the Tier I class is a Death Knight, how do you 'improve' that in Tier II? A Deather Knight? A Death Paladin?

Hence my using of the following for the Shadakine Wytch concept:
- T1: Shadakine Mystress (Tanith)
- T2: Shadakine Wytch (Mother Magri)
- T3: Shadakine Oracle
Well, in general the upgrade to heroic/legendary Ranks can involve better versions of what they have. For instance, if a Wytch at starting Rank has a Discipline that allows them to summon small woodland animals and to aver attacks from natural wild animals, the heroic Rank version might allow them to summon larger creatures (creatures that might, for instance, be able to fight effectively at the side of the character) and to aver attacks from even trained animals. That's the way it worked for Lone Wolf and Gray Star.

Personally, I'm curious as to how the Brother of the Crystal Star will upgrade. Several of those Disciplines don't "upgrade" easily. I mean, you can do it, but it's a bit more of a stretch in the progression. I'm curious to see how it plays out.

I'm holding off on presenting Ranks 11+ on the Scofflaw or even considering them for the Wytch (aside from being mindful of what kind of things they would move towards), simply because I'd like to see how the rules for such play out.
I assume they'll upgrade the same as the d20 versions, where you get the essential words that makes them more flexible. Sense Evil -> Awareness, . Levitation -> Motion, Net -> Entrapment, Lightning Hand -> Energy, etc. It all worked out narratively well if I recall correctly.
Pneumonica said:
One thing to keep in mind is that I am in law school, and if I run a game it will likely be for lawyers and law students, so "unnatural" to us and "unnatural" to you are two wholly different animals.

... And one thing to keep in mind is that you're posting this on a forum so by sharing it it isn't just *for you* anymore! If you're writing up a character class for any game, to do it with any real success, you need to keep with the flavour of that game. I don't think these discipline names do keep with the LW flavour as they sound too dry and too much like legal-speak. I'd pay attention to the advice that Zager Krahl offers on building classes as he's produced some excellent evil ones, full of flavour and originality whilst also hewng close to the subject matter. In addition to the discipline names sounding somewhat lacklustre I also think the class name could be better. There are plenty of other names out there for a thief style class that could be used to better affect.

If I were you I'd also put together a list of ranking names/titles. You may feel you've put it to rest by stating "Scofflaws don't get job titles", but again the ranking system is synonymous with LW classes and also I think they would be used by the criminal fraternity and organisations - I could so easily see someone recommending a criminal based on his level of ability (ie, rank). For example, "Go get ahold of ol'Ped. He's a proper Footpad of that there's no doubt. He'll see you alright!"

The actual skill uses are pretty good though and I like the general idea behind the class.
Certainly an interesting theory. It seems this work isn't what's wanted, which is fair enough. Just sharing work that I've done for anybody who wishes to use it, a list of people that seems to include me. :roll:
Pneumonica said:
Certainly an interesting theory.

What is?

Pneumonica said:
It seems this work isn't what's wanted,

Who has said that?

Pneumonica said:
Just sharing work that I've done for anybody who wishes to use it, a list of people that seems to include me. :roll:

What's with the :roll:? Seriously, people have given contstructive feedback and reasons behind any kind of critique.
I'm neither angry nor hurt. I'm just saying that my work and the audience on this forum don't seem to comport. That isn't a value statement on you, me, or anyone. The only feedback I've gotten on this is the rotten taste it leaves in people's mouths, with a cursory note of "try harder, it may be salvaged". It strikes me that what I and the people I game with online and F2F find to be flavor and fun is obviously different from the crowd here. Nothing wrong or bad about that, and certainly nothing that will cause me to stop doing.
That's the spirit! Just keep working at it. My first class, in hind-sight, was terrible (for those that remember the first incarnation of the Hammerlandese Rekenarim). But with experience, my classes got better.

Also, keep in mind one golden rule when contributing content for LW: you are writing for Magnamund. Whatever it is, whatever you want to add, it absolutely HAS to fit in with Magnamund.

Otherwise, it's not really LW, is it?