The ChaosGrenade

Quick & Dirty Tabletop Role-Playing

FABRICATED VENTURERS — a Classless Hack for Vieja Escuela

I have written a classless, patchwork/piecemeal character hack for Vieja Escuela. Taking advantage of the format of VE: Pamphlet Edition, it’s written as a modular variant to the Character Creation rules. Just swap out and use without changing the rest of the game! Or you can just print out, fold up, and tuck it in your original VE rulebook.

The Concept

Fabricated Venturers ditches classes. Everyone starts as a d6 hit die character, proficient in simple weapons and Leather armor. You then get to pick your choice of 4 Talents. No level restrictions — you want a Familiar 1st level? A fighter who can cast spells? A martial-artist parkour thief who knows the city? You have tinker-toys here!

Fabricated Venturers also applies a few tweaks — some talents have been adjusted, Attributes now range -3 to +3, and Races are now consolidated into Backgrounds. Fabricated Venturers are a bit sturdier than a normal VE campaign, but a little extra survivability in OSR never hurts!

Download Fabricated Venturers

Original VE Pamphlet Edition

Check out this alternate layout by Eneko Palencia!

In English

En Español

NEW! Further Fabrications

This new page contains some bonus ideas on incorporating:

  • Fantastic Talents
  • (Semi)Bad-Ass Progression
  • Magic Item Creation

Download Further Fabrications

Design Notes

Inspiration:
Knave, Untold Adventures, Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells

Why Hack VE?
Because it’s my favorite of the OSR/adjacent titles. Knave and SS&SS are right on its heels though; I just overall love VE’s core rules the most. It jives with muh brain meats!

I was originally envisioning this hack as dual-classed like Untold Adventures — casters and adventurers. But I have a lot of friends (and my spouse) who love hybrid characters, so I figured why not? Let’s just let the player build what they want to build.

Tweaks to the Core Rules:

  • Beefed up the Attribute table to handle -3 to +3 I just prefer the BECMI spread. Grew up with it, love it.

  • Races tied to Backgrounds
    Stole this from SS&SS — I prefer tying a fantasy race to a character’s Background descriptor than giving a full stat block.

  • Base MOV is 10 for everyone.
    Again, personal preference. 30′ has been my default.

  • Accurate Blow is now a critical on 18-20
    I’ll probably regret this but I felt it needed to be beefier to feel cool.

  • Read Magic now reads and casts scrolls at Level
    I liked how Tiny Dungeons 2e had Scroll Casters and Magic Casters, and that you’d have to take both to do both. I didn’t convey it in the pamphlet, but to me regardless of practice or origin, spells are an act of will — allowing yourself to be a conduit to outside forces. Casting a spell from a scroll is more formulaic, more cerebral. To be a “full” caster like in core, you’re blowing half your talents to get there.

  • Ambush now only grants +1d6 damage to Sneak Attacks.
    I felt Ambush in the core out shined Sneaky, and it kinda robbed Halflings who became thieves any extra coolness. So now Ambush is strictly a bonus to attacks while hidden or unnoticed.

  • Keen Sight is now Keen Senses; applies to both Hearing and Vision.
    Again, just a preference. It’s probably tied to my 3.X background to want to wrap in “spot, search and listen”.