Character Class: Centaur

I want to add some creatures from Greek mythology to my Basic D&D game as playable classes to replace the Northern European mythology-based demihuman races of dwarf, elf, and halfling. There is a great BECMI supplement, PC1 Tall Tales of the Wee Folk, which is useful for this purpose, but I always found the system for “monsters as PCs” from this era to be a bit confusing. Effectively, I think there was a decision made that the monsters which appeared in the monster listings in the rulebooks were supposed to be the “Normal Man” equivalent for their monstrous races. Character levels would therefore follow the “Normal Man” level. To balance powerful monsters (e.g. a centaur) with other low level PCs, this system also added a “pre-Normal Man equivalent” level. This makes sense from a design consistency perspective, but I’m not sure it does much but add complexity in play – you start with negative experience points, have to get to 0 to become a “Normal Monster”, then you have to earn thousands more to get to level 1. It just seemed inelegant to me, so I redesigned some of these monsters as conventional character classes. Here is the first one of these: the Centaur.

Centaur

Centaurs have the upper body of a human and the lower body of a horse. They resemble a horse up to where the horse’s neck should be, at which point their human torso begins. They are formidable and wild warriors, found on the fringes of civilisation.

Prime Requisite

Strength

Requirements

Strength 9 or higher.

Restrictions

There are no restrictions on the weapons a centaur can use. A centaur can wear barding, and armour made for a creature of their size. A centaur does not gain any benefit from armour whose Armour Class is not better than their natural Armour Class of 7. A centaur can use any magic item which can be used by a fighter.

Advancement

Centaurs are powerful creatures and advance more slowly than other character classes.

LevelXPHit DiceHoof DamageNatural AC
102d81d28
240003d81d48
380004d81d67
4160005d81d67
5320006d81d67

Note that a “typical centaur” encountered as a monster is the equivalent of a level 3 centaur character – levels 1 and 2 represent young centaurs.

Saving Throws

Note your saving throws on your character sheet as per your character level:

SaveLevel 1-2Level 3-5
Death1210
Wands1311
Paralysis1412
Breath1513
Spells1614

Attack Table

Note what your character needs to roll on 1d20 to hit each Armour Class on your character sheet. This roll is modified by Strength for melee attacks and Dexterity for ranged attacks.

Lvl9876543210-1-2-3
19101112131415161718192020
2891011121314151617181920
378910111213141516171819
46789101112131415161718
5567891011121314151617

Special Abilities

Attacks

Each round, a centaur can make 2 hoof attacks and 1 attack with their weapon. They can make hoof attacks with their rear hooves against an enemy behind them, or with their front hooves against an enemy in front. If equipped with a lance, they can make a lance charge (as per the usual rules) which does double damage, but they cannot attack with their hooves on the same round as they make a lance charge.

Natural Armour

Centaurs have natural armour, which is reflected by the natural Armour Class shown in the advancement table. They can wear human armour made for the upper body and horse barding (or a special suit of armour combining both), but only benefit from the armour if its Armour Class exceeds the centaur’s natural Armour Class.

Horse Whispering

Centaurs can speak to horses, donkeys, and similar equine animals.

Languages

Centaurs can speak their alignment language, Centaur, the local human dialect, and Nymph.

Movement, Size, and Encumbrance

A centaur is a large creature, only slightly smaller than a horse and rider together. A centaur can move considerably faster than a human (assuming they have the space to move around, as they do above ground or in dungeons with high ceilings), and can carry more too.

Weight Carried (coins)Speed (feet/turn)
Up to 1000180
1001-2000150
2001-3000120
3001-400090
4001-600060
6001-750030
7501-800015
8001+0

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