The Ruffian

A rowdy brawler class for B/X and OSE.

Feature image by Manuel Cabral y Aguado Bejarano, from: Wikimedia Commons. (Public domain in the USA.)

A ruffian is an unusual kind of adventurer, good enough to turn on their own in a fight, but choosing to scare away any potential opponents by boasting on their own abilities, which can sometimes makes them be hoisted by their own petard, much to their chagrin. Ruffians can be found with ease in towns and cities, brawling away at the streets, drinking away at the taverns, and sleeping away in the gutters. Ruffians are quick to turn to a life of dungeon crawling, usually for the promised gold, but just as often to prove their worth and to shut the mouths of those who dared them into it.

Requirements: DEX 9, CHA 9
Prime requisite: STR
Hit Dice: 1d8
Maximum level: 14
Armour: Leather, no shields
Weapons: Any
Languages: Alignment, Common


Although they often fight unarmed or choose to pick blunt weapons, ruffians can use any weapon. Ruffians eschew armor heavier (and clunkier) than leather to keep up their movements free during a brawl.


When in melee during combats, a ruffian may use a boastful move and try to scare their opponent away. The player must declare it before doing the attack roll; if it’s a hit, the player may choose to trade the damage roll for a morale check for the opponent. If the morale check is a success, aside from keeping up the fight, the opponent is also unimpressed by the ruffian’s bravado and can’t be intimidated by them again.

Image from: O Auto da Compadecida (A Dog’s Will), TV serial and movie produced by Rede Globo, based on the play of the same name by Ariano Suassuna. All rights by Rede Globo and Suassuna; usage here constitutes fair use.

Dirty Fighting

When attacking an unaware opponent from behind, a ruffian receives a +4 bonus to hit and doubles any damage dealt. (This is the same as the thief’s Back-stab.)

When fighting unarmed or using improvised weapons (such as a chair), a ruffian deals normal damage (1d6), or 1d4 damage if the optional rule of variable weapon damage is being used.

When trying to subdue an intelligent opponent, a ruffian’s player makes their damage rolls twice, picking up whatever of both results they want.

Pick Pockets

A ruffian can pick pockets as well as a thief of the same level. (For more details, see Thief Skills.)

After Reaching 9th Level

The ruffian becomes head of their own gang, establishing a front (such as a seedy tavern in a city’s poorer neighbourhoods) and attracting 1d6 first level ruffians that are loyal to the character as long as they remain undefeated in street brawls.

Ruffian Level Progression

101d819 [0]121314151620
21.7502d819 [0]121314151625
33.5003d819 [0]121314151630
47.0004d817 [+2]101112131435
514.0005d817 [+2]101112131440
628.0006d817 [+2]101112131445
756.0007d814 [+5]8910101255
8105.0008d814 [+5]8910101265
9225.0009d814 [+5]8910101275
10345.0009d8+2*12 [+7]67881085
11465.0009d8+4*12 [+7]67881095
12585.0009d8+6*12 [+7]678810105
13705.0009d8+8*10 [+9]45658115
14825.0009d8+10*10 [+9]45658125
* Modifiers from CON no longer apply.

By ashzealot

Tabletop roleplaying games are my main blogging interest... for now! Primarily posting in English, but will sometimes do it in Portuguese. I'm also: Brazilian (and I voted for Haddad), very leftist, white cishet (but count me in as a bipoc/lgbtqa+/queer ally). Pronouns: he/him (ele/dele).

2 replies on “The Ruffian”

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