The Original Classes
Barbarian: Although England is exceptionally civilized, barbarians do still exist in the British Isles. They are most often found fighting trolls or giants in the Scottish highlands or contending with bog dwellers and sea creatures in western Ireland. Some, however, have made their way to London, either to avoid famine or to seek out willing adventurers.
Although human barbarians have become rarer over the last several hundred years, they remain common in the remoter corners of the world. Dwarven barbarians are extremely common, but gnomes, halflings, and to a lesser extent elves all have barbarians outside their cities.
It the DM wants to emphasize the Victorian flavor of the setting, the barbarian class will likely prove difficult to blend into a London campaign. However, if a player can convince the DM that such a character will contribute to the feel of the genre, the barbarian class is available unchanged from the standard rulebook.
Bard: The arts blossom anywhere that people congregate, which means bards have endless opportunities in London. Many bards begin their careers by taking to the stage, where they learn skills that can be surprisingly relevant to adventuring. Stage combat is popular, and a good bard is expected to be able to wield a weapon well enough to look good. Victorians love spectacle when being entertained. This preference also accounts for the elaborate and unwieldy costumes that train bards to become comfortable in light or medium armor.
Not all bards pursue a career on the stage. Many upper- and middle-class women are trained in music, and some discover that they have the gift. Of course, such a lady would never sink so far as to become an adventuress, as she would lose all her social standing, and be considered little better than a common prostitute. Well, at least she would never consider such a move until her financial circumstances took a turn for the worse. Or perhaps if her husband became drunk and violent one time too often.
One new type of bard on the scene has become all too common among the criminal classes. They practice an art called pattering, and are generally referred to as patterers in order to avoid sullying the noble title of bard by bestowing it upon such unworthies. More details about patterers are given in the New Variations section.
The bard class is available with the following changes:
- Bards receive 6 + Int bonus for skills, as in edition 3.5, rather than 4 + Int as in edition 3.0.
- Bards can choose between medium armor proficiency or the feat Skill Focus (Perform).
- Bardic magic is subtler than other magics. It is almost impossible to know with certainty when a bard is casting, rather than simply performing. Only a bard of the same level or higher can be sure when a spell is included in a performance. Of course, when someone suddenly whips out a lute in the middle of a battle and extraplanar creatures start popping out the sound hole, one can make a logical deduction, but an enthrall spell during a street performance is far less obvious.
Cleric: The glory days of mace-wielding clerics in full armor charging forth to slay evil infidels are past. The only such clerics alive today hail from remote savage tribes who worship gods who prefer such weapons as stick-with-nail-in. The devout adventurers of the Victorian age prefer a subtler approach to doing God’s will. They rely on their deity to protect them rather than their armorer. The votary class in the New Variations section replaces the cleric as a PC class.
Druid: Much of England is still relatively rural. Country dwellers are still drawn to the druid path, especially now that druidic persecution is on the wane. Admitting to the practice of druidism may be social, career, or political suicide, but it is not longer literal suicide. Thus, it is more common among the working classes who have less to lose by being discovered, but lords and ladies of country manors sometimes feel the call as well.
Two new styles of druidism have arisen in parallel to the traditional path. While old-school druids almost universally develop their powers in the country, the new paths have been developed by city dwellers. The first is the urban druid, described in the book Steam and Sorcery on page 31. The second is the Druid of the Golden Dawn, described in the New Variations section. All three of these paths are available to PCs, though the latter two will likely be most appropriate for an urban campaign.
Fighter: Alas for the peaceful utopian idealists, fighters will never go out of style. In fact, many fighters have changed surprisingly little with the times. They have, however, learned a few new tricks. The updated fighter class is described in the New Variations section.
Monk: Monks are almost unheard of in Europe. Virtually all monks come from elven or occasionally gnomish lands. The pugilist class in the New Variations section replaces the monk class for PCs.
Paladin: Like clerics, paladins have changed with the times. It is no longer fashionable to ride forth into battle in the name of God. It is, however, the height of fashion to ride forth into battle in the name of queen and country. The nationalist class in the New Variations section replaces the paladin class.
Ranger: Some people will always be drawn to the wild corners of the earth. Those wild corners are getting farther and farther away from home, but that doesn’t stop those with an adventurous spirit and the means to catch a boat. Rangers have a slightly different attitude toward nature than in times past. The explorer class in the New Variations section is the updated version of the ranger.
Rogue: Victorian London is a paradise for rogues. The streets are crowded, the police are outclassed, and the laws are, well, certainly less draconic than in the past. London rogues have learned a few new secrets, as described in the New Variations section.
Sorcerer: The ability to cast sorcerous spells is unrelated to training, genetics, birthplace, or any other factor that scholars have been able to discern. Thus, sorcerers are found in all parts of the world, including London, where they have formed their own enclave. More information on London sorcerers is given in the New Variations section.
Wizard: Few can afford entrance to England’s prestigious wizardry schools; therefore, wizardry is the most respectable avocation in Britain. Wizardry training is less restricted in certain other cultures, so not all wizards hail from the nobility, but most wizards in London are found among the upper class. The wizard class is available unchanged from the standard rulebook.