Today, let’s talk about the Yogi as character class. Because, you know, I practice yoga, and I love the OSR. I’m using bullete’s version for this experiment.
First, a write-up of the yogi’s abilities that I find interesting in close to reality:
- ahimsa (nonviolence) practice is key
- focus on own willpower rather than on supernatural beings
- must be lawful
- may never possess more than what they can carry on their person
- avoid contact with precious metals or jewelry
- no use of magic items
- no use of weapons
- no armor
- yogi spells are called “siddhis” (“powers”). Choose only nonviolent spells: The following siddhis may be chosen: All cleric spells except spells against Law and the following: Hold Person, Sticks to Snakes, Insect Plague, Quest, and Raise Dead. Magic user spells: Read Languages, Detect Invisibility, Knock, ESP, Levitate, Darkvision, Fly, Protection from Normal Missiles, Water Breathing, Wizard Eye, Contact Other Plane, Passwall, Telekinesis, Teleport, and Anti-Magic Shell.
- 3rd level: Simulate Death, lowering his heart beat and body temperature, and appearing not to breathe. This state can be maintained for d6 turns per level, once per day.
- Saving Throw: Yogis receive a +3 bonus on saving throws vs. poison and paralysis.
- Obtain devotees: At ninth level, the Yogi will attract a large number of loyal followers who will swear fealty to the character and wish to do good deeds in his or her name.
Let’s play with Whitehack first:
Is the yogi deft, strong or wise?
I’d argue a yogi is, first and foremost, a Wise Yogi. This also gives him the ability to “use siddhis” (cast spells). So, a Wise Yogi it is.
On level 1, Wise characters have: 1d6+1 HD, Attack Value (roll on or under) 10, Saving Throw 6, 2 Slots (special abilities, one active, the other one inactive), and belong to two Groups.
Let’s do this:
Mahadev, level 1 Wise Yogi
Str 7 (Truly Lawful), Dex 10, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12 (Yogi), Cha 7; Saving Throw 6 (9 vs. poison/paralysis), HP 6, AC 0, Attack Value 10, Siddhis: “Eternal Peace” (active)/”Joyous Freedom” (inactive); Common tongue; loincloth, skull cup, small bag of bhang
If you’re wondering what the remarks behind Strength and Wisdom (in parantheses) mean: Those are the yogi’s “groups” (affiliation and vocation). Whenever a Str or Wis save is in order and the group is appropriate for the task, the save is rolled with advantage.
Supernatural powers in WH are freeform and powered by hit points; each time one is used, the player specifies how exactly he wants to interpret it at this moment. Then, DM and player negotiate the price in hp.
If the WH yogi had to defend himself physically, he would try to roll on or under his Attack Value, but over the opponent’s Armor Class. Successful roll means: inflict unarmed damage (1 point). If the opponent attacked him, the DM would try to roll the d20 on or under the opponent’s Attack Value (HD+10)
Now, The Black Hack (1e):
A long time ago, I converted the Yogi class to TBH:
Starting HP: d4 + 4
HP Per Level/Resting: 1d4
Weapons & Armor: no weapons and shields at all, yogis practice ahimsa (non-violence) Attack Damage: 1d4 / 1 point Unarmed or Improvising
Ahimsa Die: Levels 1-2: 1d4; levels 3-8: 1d6; levels 9-10: 1d8The Ahimsa Die is a Usage Die that tracks the non-violent behavior of the Yogi. Patience is a virtue, but it‘s also hard work. When the Yogi runs out of patience, he loses his special powers for that day. More on that in the following paragraph.Siddhi Points: Level+2; cast spells of any level. Casting a successful spell requires a WIS check as per TBH rules. Spells don’t work automatically, you have to pass the check. On a failed roll, it costs Siddhi Points to cast the spell (cost = spell level). On a successful roll, you cast the spell for free.
Non-violence: (ahimsa): Yogis must begin as lawful in alignment and remain so or else lose the special powers given to them. Also, if they use violence „in word, thought or action“, they roll their Ahimsa Die. If the die comes up a 1 or 2, reduce it by one step, as usual. If the Ahimsa Die is a d4 and is reduced further, the Yogi loses all their siddhis (spells) for that day. After sunrise and a meditation that lasts (Exyperience Level) hours, the Ahimsa Die is „re-charged“ again. Yes, that‘s right, the higher up you get in Yoga, the longer it takes to recover from lapses.
Possessions: Yogis are severely limited in the amount of possessions they may have – they may never possess more than what they can carry on their person, they avoid contact with gold or jewelry, and may not carry more than the equivalent of 1 coin worth of other types of treasure. They may not use magic items.
Spell casting: A Yogi gains siddhis, or supernatural, mental powers which correspond to some cleric and magic user spells. In order to obtain these, the yogi must spend one hour in meditation per spell, per day.
In addition, at 3rd level the Yogi may Simulate Death, lowering his heart beat and body temperature, and appearing not to breathe. This state can be maintained for d6 minutes per level, once per day.
Saving Throw: Yogis receive a +3 bonus on saving throws vs. poison and paralysis.
Charisma Bonus: At 2nd level and every level thereafter, Yogis automatically add 1 point to their
charisma score, up to a maximum score of 20.
Obtain devotees: At ninth level, the Yogi will attract a large number of loyal followers who will swear fealty to the character and wish to do good deeds in his or her name.
The following siddhis may be chosen:
• All cleric spells except spells against Law and the following: Hold Person, Quest, and Raise Dead. • Magic user spells: Read Languages, Knock, Levitate, Darkvision, Telekinesis, Teleport
The TBH Yogi looks like this:
Mahadev, level 1 Yogi
Str 7, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 7; HP 10, damage: d4/1, Ahimsa Die: 1d4; Siddhi Points: 3, loincloth, skull cup, small bag of bhang
If the TBH yogi had to defend himself physically, he would try to roll on or under his Strength. Successful roll means: inflict unarmed damage (1 point). If the opponent attacked him, the player would try to make a STR save, or (house rule) the DM would try to roll on or over the yogi’s Str, or simply roll higher than the yogi.
Macchiato Monsters takes inspiration from The Black Hack and Whitehack, as the name implies.
- In MM, you first roll the stats: we have already done that.
- Then, you invent a Trait (origins, factions, occupations, race): Yogi. Whenever the trait is relevant, roll with advantage.
- Now, record your hit die; this always starts with a d6.
- Now, pick two: add a d6 to a low stat, write down another trait, add another hit die, martial training (step up your hit dice), specialist training (a daily special ability), or magic training (come up with two freeform spells, essentially like Whitehack) –
- First pick: specialist training (“Simulate Death”, as described in the ability list in the beginning of this blog post: The yogi is lowering his heart beat and body temperature, and appears not to breathe. This state can be maintained for d6 turns per level, once per day)
- Second pick: magic training – the siddhis are: “Eternal Peace” and “Joyous Freedom”
The MM Yogi looks like this:
Mahadev, level 1 Yogi
Trait: Yogi, Str 7, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 7; HP 6, no armor, no weapons, Siddhis: “Eternal Peace” and Joyous Freedom”, loincloth, skull cup, small bag of bhang
If the yogi had to defend himself physically, he would try to roll on or under his Str. Successful roll means: roll damage (2d4, take lower). If the yogi rolled higher, that would mean the opponent hit him.
Into the Odd
Into the Odd is the enfant terrible in the OSR scene. No because it’s not behaving well (author Chris McDowall is one of the nicest guys I know online), but because it’s breaking traditions deliberately. As a result, ItO is not only very slim, but it plays lightning fast.
So let’s try to fit the original class into ItO.
First of all, stats: only three of them: Str, Dex und Cha.
HP: 1d6, further damage is subtracted from Str; If Str=0 then dead
There are no classes in ItO, but at the moment, more and more people are creating them, anyway (even Chris himself)
Spells are either spell items or skills. For the yogi, it has to be skills.
So, the ItO Yogi:
Reach Eternal Peaceful Liberation by unmasking not-reality as illusion. Do this by practicing non-violent (ahimsa) and introspective methods. If you reach Level 5 without harming anyone on purpose, you reach Moksha (liberation) and can rest, finally.
Choose something that disturbs your peacefulness.
Cruelty against insects.
Cruelty against animals.
Cruelty against human beings.
Start with 1.
Take 1 when you:
- Move Immovable Objects: You can persuade small doors and walls to move.
- Create gems: You can create gemstones out of thin air.
- No pain: You feel no pain. Critical injuries don’t exist for you. You keep moving and standing till you die with Str 0.
- Come closer, Beloved One: You can move the sun closer to you or farther away from you.
The ItO Yogi looks like this:
Mahadev, level 1 Yogi
Yogi, Str 7, Dex 10, Cha 7; HP 6, no armor, no weapons, Siddhis: “Eternal Peace” and Joyous Freedom”, loincloth, skull cup, small bag of bhang
If the yogi had to defend himself physically, he would simply roll 1d4 for damage (no to-hit roll). The opponent would do the same.