Into the Odd: On classless classes

I’ve been thinking a lot about Into the Odd lately. I’m really tempted to switch our OD&D campaign to ItO, namely because it’s even more barebone, but still complex enough to provide satisfying play. Most of my players don’t care about rules systems, so making the transition wouldn’t be a problem.

One thing I’ve come to enjoy, really, is the classless approach of ItO. Your character is not a certain class by definition, but his gear defines what he can do. This is a radical deviation from old school thinking, but one I like a lot. Runehammer Games’ Index Card RPG works along the same lines.

The advantage is pretty obvious to me: You allow the players to combine “classes”, or rather, class abilities/powers in a way that was not intended in the original game. Multiclassing on steroids, so to speak.

Let’s say I grant weak starting characters 2 rolls to determine Arcana/Oddities, and I include the beautiful “loot tables” from Index Card RPG. My first roll on the “Basic Loot Table” is a 64, and it says: “Translocate: INT Spell, Swap places with an ally you can see”

My second roll is on the “Warp Shell Loot Table” (Warp Shell is a FANTASTIC setting, by the way). A 45: “Drain: INT SPELL, Drain MAGICAL EFFORT from a target, and convert into HP”

“Magical Effort” is an Index Card RPG’s mechanic that I’m translating like so: “Drain: INT SPELL, Drain MAGICAL EFFORT d4/d6/d8/d12/d20 (Novice/Pro/Expert/Vet/Master) from a target, and convert into HP.”

Bingo. So now I have a character who can magically swap places with allies, and who can drain life energy from opponents. What is that? An energy vampire? A Darkness Mage? A Necromantic Doom Prophet?

The point is, it doesn’t matter.

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