Posted on May 11, 2019
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.
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.
Strength 9 or higher.
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.
Centaurs are powerful creatures and advance more slowly than other character classes.
|Level||XP||Hit Dice||Hoof Damage||Natural AC|
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.
Note your saving throws on your character sheet as per your character level:
|Save||Level 1-2||Level 3-5|
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.
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.
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.
Centaurs can speak to horses, donkeys, and similar equine animals.
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 1000||180|