I recently picked up work on a campaign project I originally started over 15 years ago with the ever-changing working title of “Rust and Ruins” of “Rust and Runes”. I decided I want to be a bit more "magical" than just grubby reality even if iI wanted to be a tad less wahoo than some otherwise excellent games out there so (for now) it's "Rust and Runes". It’s a post-apocalyptic OSR/D&D compatible concept that I have been batting about for some time now, I put off doing much with it for a host of career and gaming reasons. Play-testing and later campaign play with Mutant Future threw me off much development on this project for a bit (over a decade). I’ve been posting snippets now and again on the blog and I’ll be using it as a model campaign for many ideas I’ll be developing and sharing here. It’ll be compatible with Mutant Future and other post-apocalyptic games in the OSR family out there. The following are some introductory class development notes and if anyone has any opinions I’d be happy to see them.
Rust and Runes Charter Class Concepts (in no particular order)
Technophage- Tinkers, rummages and would possibly would be cyborgs. These are the gadgeteers of the setting a combination Techno-Mage and Fixit pro. The name implies a more intimate connection to technology than other classes in the campaign.
Scrivener- The power of Runes and symbols writ large is this classes specialty. They are a combination runesmith, warder, and scribe that’s etches runes on devices and wards places against intrusion and harm well serving as archivists due to their never ending quest for written and symbolic lore.
Sarker- Mystic Warriors/Huntsman that derive their potency and powers form the skins of the mutant beasts they slay, the fetishes they craft with their bones, from the blood which they drink or paint themselves with. These characters will function as wild warrior-mages would in more traditional fantasy setting. I have an early version of this class I developed for more traditional campaigns i posted here years ago.
Whisper- necromancer-mediums. In a post apocalyptic setting one thing there is no shortage of is the dead and that is where these ghost-talker or corpse-whisperers come in. They will serve a role not unlike clerics in a more traditional campaign but far more concerned about dealign with wayward souls of the dead than the souls of the living. In a world with billions of the dead there is much to haunt the world of mortals that they may involve themselves with.
Cantor- Bardic healers that serve as support for scavengers and society at large.
Slinger- Fighters that focus on ranged weapons and mobility. They would like the “Gun Slingers” in another place and time but in the savage wastelands of a Rust and Runes campaign guns are not the only ranged weapon.
Brute- Fighter who like to get in close and melee with their opponents. Formidable warriors when decked in armor and waving a fearsome blade but also capable of devastating untrained foes with their bare hands (or paws).
Shrike- Psychic warriors that combine training and talent in arms with the powers of the mind. They can project kinetic force beyond their touch or even crush an opponent deep within their own mind. Another Figher/Mage option with a more direct “magical” path that doesn’t involve fiddling with mutant body parts.
Trickster- Scoundrels, harlequins, con-men that deploy deception of all kind.
Shroud- Shadow walking assassins or curious inquisitors that can mask their presence or reach into the minds of others.
Changeling (or Shifter)- Shape changing mutants able to reform their bodies in part or in total to meet the challenges on hand.
Dowser- Seers that use their telepathic powers to divine the location of water, metal, and a host of curiosities.
Verdant - Herbalist and Eco-mages able to reshape what remains of the natural world around them.
Hawker- Traveling traders and couriers bring news and wares throughout the wasteland. A socially capable class geared towards profit.
Ruster- Robot Hunters that can manipulate and reach out to the Rust with their inner knowledge. These are hackers and robot fighters a sort of technological paladin fighting against technology gone mad.
Drover- Beast-masters who develop their animal empathy to a remarkable degree to pacify and support the wild world.
Voyager- They are all about the voyage as wanders of the wind, highway heroes, stunt riders, and daring corsairs.
Lifter- Pilfering thieves, smugglers, and all-around scavengers. If it not nailed down they may just walk of with it, and if it is nailed down behind a three levels of security they can round of the means to deal with that as well.
Illuminator- manipulators of energy able to throw flames or power ancient devices, and even bend and direct Blight.
Urchin- lowest of the low, wandering scrounges that have a knack for uncanny survival. This class is meant for players that want to get in on the game but perhaps aren't eager to do much more than explore and survive in the post apocalyptic wastes.
So there we are, 20 character class concepts to fit in a fantastical post-apocalyptic setting to take the place of barbarian swordsmen and uncanny cyber wizards or possibly be joined by them. The Rust and Rune classes touch on the roles of more traditional old-school campaigns without completely replacing any one key concept. The Lifter certainly crosses into the territory of thieves but they aren’t meant to be daring rakes stabbing unwitting foes in the back but more-so robbers that loot and scoot.
I went atmospheric with the names and tried to avoid some more typical roles or offer a distinct spin so a GM can decide how they want Shaman, Engineers, Psychics, and the like to be dealt with.More detailed write ups of these classes are to come. I also like the idea that Wizard of the Skytower can be any one of a number of characters. Classes are not necessarily the entire profession; there can be un-clased NPCS, Illuminators, and Technophages all serving as priests of The Undying Flame in such a setup.
Rust, Haunting, and Blight will be forms of contamination and manipulatable forces that I’ll post more on here.