Class Options for a 5th Edition Greyhawk Game

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A few days ago I posted human cultural groups and demihuman subraces for use in a 5th edition Greyhawk game.  With player character races covered, it’s time to move on to character classes.

5th edition offers 12 classes (barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, warlock, and wizard) for players to choose from.  All are easy to use in a Greyhawk campaign because most existed in AD&D (especially after the unbalanced mess that was Unearthed Arcana was released).

Barbarians are found throughout the Thilronian peninsula, in the lands of the Frost, Snow, and Ice barbarians, as well as in northern reaches of Ratik, and throughout The Hold of Stonefist.  Warriors among the hillmen of the Abbor-Alz, the Suel and Olman tribesmen of the Amedio Jungle and Hepmonaland, and the nomadic tribes of the Plains of Paynim, Rovers of the Barren, and both Wolf and Tiger Nomads also are typically  barbarians.  Half-orc barbarians can originate from Iuz, the Pomarj, Bone March, The Horned Society, the Vast Swamp, and any number of wilderlands that are home to orc tribes.

Bards are commonly found throughout the Flanaess, particularly in urban centers such as The Free City of Greyhawk.  Many worship Olidammara, with others revering the quasi-deity Heward, Rudd (the goddess of chance), Fharlanghn (god of the road), Lydia (music and daylight), and even the Old Faith.   Bards are also found among barbaric tribes , who revere bards as preservers of tribal lore and customs, and sources of inspiration in battle.

Clerics, of course, are found throughout the lands of the Flanaess and serve the many gods of Oerth (a quick conversion of those gods is coming soon).  As noted in the Player’s Handbook, not all priests have the gifts granted to them by the gods.  In fact, most priests lack spells and other divinely-given abilities.

Druids, like clerics, are found wherever the tribes of men, demihumans, and humanoids have settled throughout Oerik.  While many serve as druids of The Old Faith, others worship nature gods such as Beory and Obad-Hai (who are strongly associated with The Old Faith), as well as Altroa, Ehlonna, Phyton, Tlazoteotl, Vinar “The Green Man”, Rillifane Rallathil (wood elves), Sheela Peryroyl (halflings), Luthic (orcs), Baervan Wildwanderer (gnomes), and Merikka (farming communities).

Fighters serve as bodyguards, soldiers, enforcers, knights, militiamen, marines, game wardens, reeves, mercenaries, guards, privateers, pirates, and all other manner of men who make their living through martial prowess.  Orders of knights include the:

  • Knights of the Hart, who have chapters in Furyondy, Veluna, and Highfolk
  • Knights of the Watch, who are based in Gran March and charged with the protection of Keoland, Bissel, Gran March, and Bissel

Monks are relatively rare in Greyhawk but are found among the Suel and Bakluni people.  Xan Yae and Zuoken are Baklunish gods typically worshiped by monks from the lands of Ket, Ekbir, Zeif, Ull, and Tusmit.  I can see these monks as whirling dervishes, attacking with spinning kicks along with spears, sickles, or hand axes.  Suel monks would most likely be servants of The Scarlet Brotherhood.  The Hopping Prophet, Wastri, is served by human monks dwelling in his fastness within The Vast Swamp.

Paladins with the Oath of Devotion are typically found in the service of religious orders dedicated to Heironeous, St. Cuthbert, Pelor, and Rao.  Paladins are often found among the Knights of the Hart and Knights of the Watch, with those taking the Oath of the Ancients commonly serving among The Rangers of the Gnarley forest or similar orders.  Those with the Oath of Vengeance are usually lone vigilantes, knight errants, or worshipers of stern gods, such as St. Cuthbert, Allitur and WeeJas, who seek to impose order by punishing wrong-doers.  The church of Pholtus in The Theocracy of the Pale is served by human paladins bent on the destruction of heretics and pagans.

Rangers are found throughout the forests, jungles, and untamed reaches of the Flanaess.  They are often found as protectors of druidic orders and sacred sites, and among the ranks of elven troops.  The Rangers of the Gnarley Forest are a knightly order, comprised mostly of humans and half-elves, charged with the defense of the forest, its inhabitants, and druids of The Old Faith.

Rogues are found throughout the cities and towns of Oerik, making their living as cutpurses, assassins, brigands, adventurers, treasure-hunters, and burglars.  While primarily encountered in urban areas, rogues can also be found as military scouts, spies, and mercenaries throughout the lands of the Flanaess.

Sorcerers, as noted in the PHB, are rare.  Those with innate arcane power come from all walks of life, and among all of the races of Greyhawk.  Gnomish, elven, and half-elven sorcerers tend to exhibit a talent for wild magic, while those from coastal lands tend to be Stormborn.

Warlocks in thrall to fiendish patrons are most commonly found in Bone March, The Horned Society, the Hold of Stonefist, the lands of Iuz, the southern jungles of Oerik, and in the debauched lands of The Great Kingdom.  Those who make pacts with the archfey are typically found near the wild haunts of the central Flanaess, particularly in the Sheldomar Valley, Celene, and in proximity to the Vesve, Celadon, and Gnarley Forests.  While The Old Ones do not feature in Greyhawk, Tharizdun and The Elder Elemental Eye (who may be one and the same) are suitable patrons for players who wish to choose this pact.

Wizards exist as scholarly students of the arcane arts, as rune-carving shamans in tribal lands, as self-taught hedge wizards, and as devotees of gods such as Boccob, Wee Jas, and the mad archmage Zagyg.

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One thought on “Class Options for a 5th Edition Greyhawk Game

  1. That sounds very similar to what I’ve done. Major differences would be that I state that High Elves and Grey Elves tend to be wizards while Wood Elves tend to be sorcerers. Also, although not standard for Greyhawk, since 5e allows it barring DM use of rule 0, the few dwarvan mages tend to be wizards as well.

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