Part of the goal of the Weird West setting is to introduce and encourage the use of different magic systems and mechanics, including incarnum, shadow magic, binding, artifice, alchemy, and psionics. While there aren’t any true restrictions on base classes, the setting suggests a tendancy away from wizards and other prepared casters in favour of spontaneous arcane spellcasters, such as sorcerers, beguilers, and warmages. Other than this suggestion, all standard D&D 3.5 classes are available, provided they don’t have requirements that can not be met under the setting rules.

In addition, Pathfinder classes are also available, including the new base classes of Alchemist, Cavalier, Gunslinger, Inquisitor, Magus, Oracle, Summoner, and Witch. A more restricted list may be decided on later.

Class description also changes to match the setting. For example, monks lose all reference to being mystical or oriental – they are simply skilled unarmed combatants.


The Weird West will be using E6 rules. The E6 ruleset is based on the idea that level 6 is about the sweet spot for balance, and the level at which characters become truly heroic, but still not superhuman. The full description of E6 can be found here.

To summarise E6,

  • Character levels only progress to 6 (including level adjustment).
  • After level 6, you gain one bonus feat per 5000 experience points, to a maximum of 20 bonus feats. Each 5 bonus feats effectively raises your level by 1, meaning you can take on more difficult challenges. Your maximum CR, therefore, is 10.
  • Monsters in E6 rarely have challenge ratings above 10, but can go as high as 12 or more in extreme circumstances. Such monsters are creatures of legend, and not expected to be taken in a head-on fight – in fact, some of them may be more plot points than encounters. ANY monsters in this setting are considered a very real threat and treated as such by the population. The same standard goes for the difficulty of traps and other challenges.
  • Magic item creation is restricted by the E6 rules. Since no spellcasters progress beyond level 6, any item that requires a caster level higher than that or spells unavailable to spellcasters of that level are rare, and considered special artifacts. These higher-level magic items can be created by artificers or casters using special tricks to increase their caster level.

The Weird West is designed to run from gritty, low-level fantasy to moderately heroic fantasy. Many challenges that are scary at level 1 can still be a challenge at level 6. Level 6 characters can take on more powerful monsters, but can still be vulnerable to an angry mob. You’re powerful, but not godlike.

Prestige Classes

Because characters only progress to level 6, many prestige classes are unavailable. However, any prestige class for which you can meet the requirements by level 5 are fair game, keeping in mind you may only be able to take the first level or two of such prestige classes.

Class Adjustments

No more rolling for hit points, the hit points you gain at each level is now the average of the HP for that class, rounded down – Barbarians get 6; Fighters and Paladins get 5; Clerics, Druids, Monks, and Rangers get 4; Bards and Rogues get 3; Wizards and Sorcerers get 2. Non-core classes adjust to match. At first level you get double this amount, and you still add your constitution bonus at each level.

Other Notes
I’m currently working on a rebalancing of classes for D&D, such that all classes are recalibrated to tier 3. For those unfamiliar with the tier list:

  • Tier 1: Capable of doing everything, even better than classes that focus on that thing; can solve encounters in a single action; world-changing powers, capable of breaking a campaign in many different ways – Cleric, Druid, Wizard, etc.
  • Tier 2: As much raw power as tier 1, but less options – Sorcerer, Favored Soul, Psion, etc.
  • Tier 3: Do one thing very well, while still being relevant when that thing is not required OR can do everything but not as good as classes that specialize in that thing – Beguiler, Bard, Factotum, Warblade, etc.
  • Tier 4: Do one thing very well, but often useless when that one thing is not required – Rogue, Barbarian, Ranger, Marshal, Hexblade, etc.
  • Tier 5: Capable of doing one thing, but not as good as other classes that focus on that thing OR so unfocused they have trouble doing anything particularly well – Fighter, Monk, Healer, Knight, etc.

My goal with this rebalancing is for all available classes to fall into tier 3 (or at worst, high tier 4 to low tier 2). This could mean powering up tier 4, 5, and 6 classes, depowering tier 1 and 2 classes, or replacing or eliminating classes entirely. Each class should be able to shine without stepping on the toes of everyone else. All classes should be relevant in more than one situation, but not good at everything. Once this rebalancing is done I may incorporate it into the Weird West, but this could be a ways off yet.

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