For years, I’ve been thinking about making a modified chess game using iconic D&D classes and races. Now, with Torchbearer and Swords and Strongholds, there’s no time like the present. (This has not been play tested. Just something I’ve come up with.)
The game functions normally, but the pieces change. Instead of four identical mice pawns, you have individual pieces based off of Torchbearer classes/stocks, each with their own abilities and disadvantages (based off of the class/stock’s starting Trait) that change the way the game is played. As there are more than four options, each player chooses four pieces to use. He may pick any combination of pieces, but cannot choose more than one of each piece. (For pieces, players could use traditional D&D minis.) Listed here are the original classes in the core Torchbearer rule book plus a few other iconic archtypes. Each new piece has an Ability that modifies the game rules and a Disadvantage that balances out the ability.
Adventurer: Dwarf Adventurers are Born of Earth and Stone. They are extremely skilled stonemasons and build near invulnerable underground strongholds, but these strongholds are secretive and difficult to find.
Ability: An Adventurer that is placed in a Stronghold position does not push away other pieces. Any piece already adjacent to a dwarven stronghold cannot be eliminated by being pushed into that stronghold. (However, pieces can be eliminated by pushing them into the stronghold from one square away as normal.)
Disadvantage: The Adventurer’s ability works for both friendly and enemy pieces.
Barbarian: Human Barbarians have the Leopard Look and are often feared by their companions as much as their foes.
Ability: If a Barbarian is captured by your opponent’s Sword card, you discard a card in response. If that card is a Sword card, you capture your opponent’s piece.
Disadvantage: If the card you discard is a Diplomacy or a Stronghold card, the Barbarian piece changes places with any other piece still in play of your opponent’s choice and that piece is captured instead.
Bard: Half-elf Bards are Liminal, existing in a limbo between the worlds of Elf and Man, making them ideal negotiators yet unwelcome in both cultures.
Ability: Anytime you play a Diplomacy card on a Bard, instead of the normal effects, you can offer that both you and your opponent each return one captured piece to the board.
Disadvantage: Your opponent can refuse this offer. If he does so, you gain no benefit from the Diplomacy card.
Burglar: Halfling Burglars have Hidden Depths and are often underestimated by their opponents. However, that underestimated is based in reality.
Ability: After you move a Burglar one square, before you play a card, you may discard one card from your hand and draw another from your draw pile.
Disadvantage: If you choose to use the Burglar’s ability, you must play the card you take from the draw pile.
Cleric: Human Clerics are Touched by the Gods with the ability to bless their companions. However, they must pray to replenish this ability.
Ability: When you have an active Cleric on the board, you may discard any three cards to rescue a captured piece. It need not be one of each.
Disadvantage: When using this ability, you do not replenish your hand afterward. You instead draw one card at the beginning of each hand until you have a full allotment of three cards.
Druid: Human Druids are Dreamwalkers with the ability to enter the dreams of others. While useful, this ability is hard on the Druid’s spirit.
Ability: After you move the Druid, instead of playing a card, you can trade hands with your opponent.
Disadvantage: You cannot use the Diplomacy card in conjunction with the Druid.
Magician: Human Magicians have Wizard’s Sight which gives them the ability to see things that others can’t. But such visions often torment the minds of the viewer.
Ability: After you move a Magician one square, before you play a card, you may discard any number of cards from your hand and look at an equal number of random cards from your opponent’s hand.
Disadvantage: When using this ability, you do not replenish your had afterward. You instead draw one card at the beginning of each hand until you have a full allotment of three cards.
Paladin: Human Paladins are Feared in Hell and that fear affects the most noble of opponents. But sometimes this causes a sense of self-righteousness that irritates his companions.
Ability: Anytime you play a Sword card on a Paladin, you may push the target one extra square in the same direction. (The Paladin does move an extra square. Just the target.)
Disadvantage: When a Paladin moves an allied piece in any way, your opponent chooses what direction that piece is moved.
Ranger: Elf Rangers see themselves as the First Born of all peoples. Hundreds of years to practice make them as dangerous with the bow as they are with the sword and can eliminate enemies from a distance. But elves are a haughty and prejudice people.
Ability: When a Sword card is played on an Ranger, it may be moved two squares in a straight line instead of one up and one over.
Disadvantage: If Rangers are among your captured pieces, they must be rescued before other pieces.
Thief: Human Thieves have a Devil May Care attitude and are rarely without a trick up their sleeves. However, they are impulsive and often act without thought.
Ability: You may choose not to move the Thief piece before playing a card. If you do so, take a card at random from your opponent’s hand and play that card.
Disadvantage: You can only play the card you steal from your opponent. If you cannot, discard it and your turn is over.
Warrior: Human Warriors have the Heart of Battle and feel more at home in the battlefield than they do anywhere else. They would sooner die than retreat.
Ability: A Warrior cannot be captured by being pushed into his ally’s stronghold.
Disadvantage: You must play two Stronghold cards to place a Warrior piece into a stronghold position.