Vladar's Blog

Rake class improved

One of the two optional classes from the Dawn of the Emperors1 boxed set for the Mystara setting is the Rake, "the non-thief thief", the flavor of which is described as follows:

The people of the Pearl Islands admire the trickery, agility, and cleverness of the thief. But they don't like stealing — it offends their philosophy of personal growth and individual excellence. So in the Pearl Islands there developed a class of thieves, called rakes, who don't steal. They have thief-like abilities — except that they have no Pick Pockets or Backstabbing skills. Across the centuries, the idea of the rake has spread across the Empire, so you can find rakes in any part of the Empire (and, with DM permission, outside the Empire).

While the idea of an "honest" variant of thief might indeed interest some players, I'm sure none of them will sacrifice part of the class skills in exchange for flavor only. The question is, what to replace the missing perks with but not alter the overall concept of the class?

Well, since rakes strive for individual excellence, instead of backstabbing their enemies, they could fight them openly instead. Now, if we want to keep the limitations of the thief class (d4 hit dice, no shield, leather armor, and one-handed melee weapons only) the rake will be an objectively weak melee opponent, but nothing we can't fix. Since no shields are allowed, let's occupy that hand with a second weapon and alleviate the usual off-hand attack penalty of -4 to hit!

Now, with better melee damage compensating for the lost backstabbing, what could be done about the weak armor class and low hit dice? How about enhancing the armor class in melee by doubling the Dexterity modifier to it? Even the most dexterous rakes with +3 Dex. mod. won't be able to get their AC lower than 1 without magical augments, and will still have a mere AC 4 against missiles, so not that overpowered, but will make their chances of surviving melee better still.

For the added features, let's make their second Primary ability Strength since rakes now will be more melee-focused. It will also be an additional requirement for the Experience Bonus.


📝 NOTE: This character class is designed to be used with BECMI/Rules Cyclopedia2 or its free clone Dark Dungeons3, but could be quite easily ported to any other edition of your choice.

Class Ability Requirements:

Can Be Enhanced Can Be Sacrificed Min. Required Experience Bonus
Strength Intelligence Strength 9 Str 13+ or Dex 13+ = +5%
Dexterity Wisdom Dexterity 9 Str 13+ and Dex 13+ = +10%

Equipment Restrictions: As a Thief.

Experience Progression: As a Thief.

Hit Points: As a Thief.

Attack Rolls: As a Thief.

Saving Throws: As a Thief.

General Skills: As a Thief.

Weapon Mastery: As a Thief.

Thief Abilities: As a Thief, except rakes do not have Pick Pockets and Backstabbing.

Two-Weapon Fighting: Rakes do not suffer the usual penalty for two-weapon fighting.

Armour Class: When fighting melee opponents, rakes double their Dexterity modifier to AC.


The first character of the improved Rake class — Akoni, is a youngster from Pearl Islands who left her home to see the world that lies beyond. An agile and courageous girl, she is prone to impulsive decisions and often lacks wisdom.

Discuss this post on Reddit

  1. https://www.dmsguild.com/product/16995/Dawn-of-the-Emperors-Thyatis-and-Alphatia-Basic?affiliate_id=850783

  2. https://www.dmsguild.com/product/17171/DD-Rules-Cyclopedia-Basic?affiliate_id=850783

  3. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/177410/dark-dungeons?affiliate_id=850783

#art #class #dnd #mystara #osr #ttrpg