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Frankenstein, pg 7

This version of the Mad Scientist class from Ghastly Affair has been reworked for use with the classic “B/X” rules, and OSR retro-clones that emulate them (such as Necrotic Gnome’s “Old School Essentials”).

MAD SCIENTIST

Those who lack vision say you are insane, but one day they too will recognize your genius! The ignorant fools of the world may say that your creations are “unnatural”, and that your pets are “abominations”. They claim that your momentous discoveries are the ranting of a deranged mind, and that the creatures you have created and trained are menaces. But you know that your work is more important than their little brains can comprehend. Muahaha!

As a Mad Scientist you start the game with either a 1st Level Mad Invention, or a 1 HD Monstrous Servant (but not both). Each Level thereafter you can either create one or more new Mad Inventions, or else gain (or advance) your Monstrous Servant(s).

Use the Mad Scientist Class to create characters inspired by such fictional characters as Victor Frankenstein (from “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”) and Doctor Moreau (from “The Island of Doctor Moreau”), or even historical figures such as Franz Mesmer and Ada Lovelace.

ABILITY REQUIREMENTS: Intelligence of at least 12.
PRIME REQUISITE(S): Intelligence
HIT DICE: d4 + Constitution Bonus, up to 9th Level.
+1 Hit Point per Level after 9th, and Constitution Bonus no longer applies.
USEABLE WEAPONS: Dagger, Staff, Club, or Crossbow. (+ Pistol and Whip, if available.)
USEABLE ARMOR: None. No shields.
ATTACKS: As Magic user
SAVING THROWS: As Magic user
ALIGNMENT: Any. Mad Scientist tend towards extreme expressions of their Alignment – rigidly Lawful, coldly Neutral, or capriciously Chaotic.
LANGUAGES: Common and Alignment. Mad Scientist often learn extinct languages.

SPECIAL ABILITIES:

Academic Credentials: You have contacts in Universities and other academic institutions, and will be allowed to see books and objects others cannot access. Of course, the traditionalists dislike you and your theories, but even they must grudgingly accept your academic achievements.

Mad Inventions: You can create Mad Inventions, which produce effects similar to the spells of Magic Users and Clerics. These Mad Inventions are rated in Levels just like ordinary spells. The total Levels of your existing Mad Inventions can never exceed your own character Level. Only you (and the people you designate) can understand how to use your Mad Inventions. They can take any appropriate physical form you like.

If you do not gain or advance a Monstrous Servant when you gain a Level, you can make a new Mad Invention instead. You can destroy an old Mad Invention if you want, so you can create a new one of a higher Level. You can never have more than one Mad Invention that creates the same effect, however.

Once created, a Mad Invention can be used a number of times equal to your Level before it breaks, is used up, or needs to be recharged. Mad Inventions are created or recharged in the downtime between adventures, and cannot be recharged while an adventure in in progress.

Mad Inventions are revealed by Detect Magic, and are affected by Dispel Magic just as if they were spells.

Monstrous Servants: You can attract, create, or train creatures to serve as guardians and helpers. The Hit Dice of Monstrous Servants you control can never exceed your own, none can have a higher Intelligence than you, and they cannot be inherently magical or planer in nature. Some ways by which a Monstrous Servant might be controlled include strange drugs, hypnotism, a brain implant, sonic waves emitted from a hand-held device, or even just the force of the Mad Scientist’s personality. If the Monstrous Servant is basically unintelligent, you have nonetheless developed special means of communicating with it and influencing its behavior. The total Hit Dice of all Monstrous Servants you command can never exceed your own character Level. If one or more asterisks are appended to a monster’s listed HD, its effective HD is raised by the number of asterisks for purposes of being a Monstrous Servant.

If you command your Monstrous Servant to do something obviously suicidal, or completely against its nature, you must make a regular 2d6 Reaction Roll. The result of the roll determines if it (or they) rebels and decides to attack you, refuses that particular command, or acquiesces.

If you do not create a new Mad Invention when you gain a Level, you can instead gain new Monstrous Servants (up to your limit), or increase the Level of an existing servant that has a character Class. You can also dismiss Monstrous Servants you no longer want, to gain more desirable ones. Monstrous Servants are generally assumed to be attracted, created, or trained in the downtime between adventures. If your GM allows it, it may be able to convert an encountered Monster of the appropriate Level into a Monstrous Servant, provided it otherwise qualifies for such status, and you can achieve a result of 12 or more on your Reaction Roll.

Laboratory: You have access to a fully-supplied Laboratory – perhaps in the University you attend, in the attic of the house you rent, in a hidden part of your family castle, or even secretly built in the city sewers. Here you make and repair your Mad Inventions, experiment with the creation of new life forms, and train your Monstrous Servants. If your Laboratory is destroyed (by an Angry Mob, for instance), to cost to replace it will be 1,000 times your own Level in gold pieces.

Scientific Knowledge: You have a base 60% chance to recall useful useful scientific knowledge applicable to your current situation, identify materials, or solve complex mathematical problems. This chance increases by 3% per Level, to a maximum of 99% at 14th Level.

WEAKNESSES:

Attracts Angry Mobs: Every month spent actively working in the same location incurs a 1 in 20 chance of an attack on your Laboratory by an Angry Mob of 2d20 ordinary humans, led by an enraged Cleric of your own Level.

Incurable Madness: You will always suffer from an incurable mental derangement or compulsion of some kind. For example, you could be subject to fits of morbid melancholy (like the fictional Victor Frankenstein), be a compulsive gambler (like the historical Ada Lovelace), or harbor strange delusions about being hundreds of years old (like the historical Count Saint Germaine). If put into a situation that might trigger your particular Madness, you must make a Save versus Spells to overcome it. If the reality of your delusions is directly challenged, you must make likewise Save versus Spells or fly into a berserk rage for 1d4 Rounds.

FOLLOWERS AT 9th LEVEL:
At 9th Level you can build a new Laboratory and attract 1d6 1st Level Students, all of them as insane – excuse me , I mean to say dedicated – as yourself. Each of them will have their own particular derangement – I’m sorry, I mean evidence of genius. Unlike those shortsighted fools at the University, your new students will be eager for instruction in your groundbreaking theories, and assist in your vital research. Your new laboratory can be elaborate as you can afford, and located in any suitably (melo)dramatic location – such as a dark castle atop a bare mountaintop, a small jungle island, or even a sprawling subterranean complex.

Experience Points

Level

Title

Hit Points

Scientific Knowledge

Maximum Mad Invention Level

0

1

Student

1d4

60%

1

3,000

2

Experimenter

2d4

63%

1

6,000

3

Intern

3d4

66%

2

12,000

4

Natural Philosopher

4d4

69%

2

24,000

5

Anatomist

5d4

72%

3

48,000

6

Chemist

6d4

75%

3

96,000

7

Physician

7d4

78%

4

192,000

8

Professor

8d4

81%

4

384,000

9

Doctor

9d4

84%

5

559,000

10

Doctor

(10th Level)

9d4 + 1

87%

5

734,000

11

Doctor

(11th Level)

9d4 +2

90%

6

909,000

12

Doctor

(12th Level)

9d4 + 3

93%

6

1,084,000

13

Doctor

(13th Level)

9d4 + 4

96%

6

1,259,000

14

Legendary Doctor

9d4 + 5

99%

6


MAD INVENTIONS BY LEVEL

For compatibility with existing “Old-School” games, the following lists utilize the Cleric and Magic User spells from “Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Cleric and Magic-User Spells”. Except where otherwise noted , adjudicate the effects of Mad Invention just like their namesake spells.

1st Level Mad Inventions
Floating Disc
Light
Darkness
Purify Food and Water
Cause Light Wounds (Mad Invention must physically touch victim.)
Shield
Ventriloquism

2nd Level Mad Inventions
Cause Fear
Charm Person
Cure Light Wounds
Magic Missile (The Mad Invention can only fire 1 missile at a time.)
Read Languages
Remove Fear
Resist Cold
Resist Fire
Sleep (Victims always receive a Saving Throw.)

3rd Level Mad Inventions
Detect Invisible
ESP (6 Turns duration)
Hold Person
Invisibility
Knock
Levitate
Locate Object
Mirror Image
Phantasmal Force
Silence 15’ Radius (Emitted by Mad Invention, and moves with it.)
Snake Charm
Speak with Animals
Web
Locate Object

4th Level Mad Inventions
Animate Dead
Cause Serious Wounds (Mad Invention must physically touch victim.)
Cure Serious Wounds
Continual Darkness
Continual Light
Cure Disease
Fire Ball (3d6 damage)
Fly
Growth of Animal
Haste
Hold Person
Infravision
Invisibility 10’ Radius
Lightning Bolt (3d6 damage)
Protection from Normal Missiles
Striking

5th Level Mad Inventions
Charm Monster
Confusion
Create Water
Dimension Door
Growth of Plants
Hallucinatory Terrain
Neutralize Poison
Polymorph Others (Only one shape per Mad Invention. 1 in 20 chance per use of a backfire, affecting the Mad Scientist instead of the target!)
Polymorph Self (Only one shape per Mad Invention.)
Speak with Plants
Wall of Fire
Wall of Ice

6th Level Mad Inventions
Cloudkill
Control Weather
Create Food
Feeblemind
Finger of Death (1 in 20 chance per use of a backfire, affecting the Mad Scientist instead of the target!)
Flesh to Stone (1 in 20 chance per use of a backfire, affecting the Mad Scientist instead of the target!)
Lower Water
Move Earth
Pass-Wall
Raise Dead (1 in 20 chance that the subject is raised as a Vampire.)
Stone to Flesh
Telekinesis
Teleport
Transmute Rock and Mud
Wall of Stone

SOME POSSIBLE FORMS FOR MAD INVENTIONS

• a white powder.
• a small clockwork.
• a luminous disk.
• a vial of perfume.
• a metal rod with a projecting wire.
• an ointment.
• an earpiece with a hanging wire.
• a rod tipped with a ball of metal mesh.
• a mask with colored lenses over the eyes.
• a helmet with strange projecting wires.
• a set of lenses set into a complex mechanism.
• a pill.
• a set of wings that unfurl from a backpack.
• a flask of liquid.
• a crystal.
• a lantern with changeable lenses, and a strange mechanism.
• a specially coated metal cone.
• an opalescent pendant.
• a bizarre gun.
• a circlet set with a crystal.
• a set of needles that connect to a chemical battery.
• a set of metal shoes and leg braces.
• a hose connected to a pack worn on the back.
• a chemical-filled contraption that straps to the arm.
• a wind-up mechanism inside a metal box.
• a set of bandages woven with metal wires, and saturated with a strange substance.

SUGGESTED MONSTROUS SERVANTS

The following lists of possible Monstrous Servants are based upon the monsters found in the “Old School Essentials Classic Fantasy Rules”. Obviously, not all Monstrous Servants can be taken onto the streets of a typical town – at least not without somehow disguising them as something normal!

NPCs who serve as Monstrous Servants are usually dimwitted Fighters or amoral Thieves. Sometimes, a twisted Dwarf, outcast Gnome, or rogue Halfling will become a Monstrous Servant. Elves, Magic users, and Clerics never submit to becoming Monstrous Servants.

1 HD Monstrous Servants
Beetle, Fire
Berserker
Ferret, Giant
Goblin
Hobgoblin
Killer Bee
Kobold
Normal Human
NPC, 1st Level
Orc
Pterasaur, Pteradactyl
Rat, Giant
Rats, Pack of Normal
Shrew, Giant
Skeleton
Stirge
Water Termite, Swamp

2 HD Monstrous Servants
Bat, Giant
Bat, Giant Vampire
Gnoll
Golem, Wood
Insect Swarm, 2 HD
Lizard Man
Neanderthal
NPC, 2nd Level
Rock Baboon (can be taught to wield regular weapons)
Shark, Bull
Snake, Spitting Cobra
Toad, Giant
Troglodyte
Water Termite, Freshwater
Wolf, Normal
Zombie

3 HD Monstrous Servants
Beetle, Oil
Beetle, Tiger
Bugbear
Crab, Giant
Fish, Giant Piranha
Hawk, Giant
Hippogriff
Insect Swarm, 3 HD
Living Stature, Crystal
NPC, 3rd Level
Robber Fly
Snake, Pit Viper
Spider, Giant Crab

4 HD Monstrous Servants
Ape, White
Bear, Black
Carcass Crawler
Giant Lizard, Draco
Giant Weasel
Insect Swarm, 4 HD
Living Stature, Iron
NPC, 4th Level
Ogre
Panther
Rhagodessa
Shark, Mako
Snake, Sea Snake
Spider, Giant Black Widow
Water Termite, Saltwater
Wold, Dire

5 HD Monstrous Servants
Bear, Grizzly
Driver Ant
Hydra, 5 Heads
Lion
NPC, 5th Level
Owl Bear
Pterasaur, Pteranodan
Scorpion, Giant
Snake, Giant Rattler

6 HD Monstrous Servants
Crocodile, Large
Fish, Giant Rockfish
Giant Lizard, Horned Cameleon
Giant Lizard, Tuatara
Hydra, 6 Heads
Leech, Giant
Living Stature, Rock
Manticore
Minotaur
NPC, 6th Level
Ochre Jelly
Rhinoceros
Sea Serpent, Lesser
Snake, Rock Python
Squid, Giant
Tiger

7 HD Monstrous Servants
Bear, Cave
Caecilia
Griffin
Hydra, 7 Heads
NPC, 7th Level
Troll
Warp Beast

8 HD Monstrous Servants
Fish, Giant Catfish
Giant, Hill
Golem, Bone
Hydra, 8 Heads
NPC, 8th Level
Octopus, Giant
Rhinoceros. Woolly
Saber-toothed Tiger
Shark, Great White
Wyvern

9 HD Monstrous Servants
Elephant
Giant, Stone
Hydra, 9 Heads

10 HD Monstrous Servants
Giant, Frost
Hydra, 10 Heads

11 HD Monstrous Servants
Black Pudding
Fish, Giant Sturgeon
Giant, Fire
Hydra, 11 Heads
Stegosaurus
Triceratops

12 HD Monstrous Servants
Golem, Amber
Hydra, 12 Heads
Titanothere

14 HD Monstrous Servants
Cyclops

Note: NPCs who function as Monstrous Servants will always be below 9th Level.

Special Note

I like to take this opportunity to give thanks to all the real-life scientists and medical professionals working to alleviate the current pandemic. All hope for the future rests with you. I salute you!