Monsters with classes

Hi @all,
any advice of how to add a class to a monster. Say that I want to create a 2nd level bugbear thief or a 4th level bugbear thief.
Would this be right?
Bugbear’s HD: 3+1 (3d8+1)
Level 2 Bugbear Thief: 3+1 HD (?) with 2d6 (thief) + 1d8+1 (bugbear’s) (?)
Level 4 Bugbear Thief: 4+1 HD (?) with 4d6 (thief) +1 (bugbear-bonus)(?)
Attack throws: higher score of bugbear and thief (?)
Are there any rules for ACKS or BECMI (I think there were some for BECMI but i can’t remember where…)

Hi Beastman!
Do you want to add a class to a monster for purposes of creating a more interesting opponent, or are you seeking to create a monstrous PC for a player?
If you want to add a class to a monster NPC:

  1. The easiest thing is simply to give it whatever powers you’d like it to have. For instance, you’d simply assign the 3d8+1 HD bugbear the powers of a 2nd level thief, or 4th level thief, or whatever you’d like. If you want it to be tougher, just give it extra d8s of HD. It would fight and save as a monster of its HD.
  2. If you want a more complex approach, you can check out the rules on Reincarnation (in the Spells Chapter) and Transformation (in the Additional Rules section of the Secrets Chapter).
    If you want to let someone play a monstrous PC:
  3. Use the rules for Reincarnation and Transformation, as above. These rules would let you start with a 3HD bugbear with the powers of a 3rd level thief, and then, e.g., level him up to a 6HD bugbear with the powers of a 6th level thief.
  4. Wait for the Player’s Companion, which will have rules for building monstrous characters.
    As a question of game theory, ACKS does not assume that race and class are distinct, nor does it assume that all classes are created equal. A powerful monster effectively IS a class with a level equal to its HD and a very slow XP curve. Adding more powers is thus just created a new “monstrous class”. The approach is probably closest to that in the BECMI Gazetteer Orcs of Thar and/or 3.5’s Savage Species, and is very different to that found in AD&D, AD&D 2nd Edition, or Core 3.5.

Thanks for replying.
I don’t want players to play montrous PCs! Never was a friend of drow-PCs, orc-PCs or wahtever…
I just wanted to add a class to an existing monster. So in your answer you say that the easiest thing is to give a monster whatever powers I like. I can do this for sure. But how would this affect the number of XP the PCs earn? Say, for example, that I assign the bugbear the powers of a 4th level thief. How many XP is this bugbear worth?
Is the bugbear treated as a 4HD creature or is he still a 3+1 HD but with asterisks (i.e. the special powers of his thief class; and if so, how many asterisks does he get?

In general, giving a monster the powers of an assassin, fighter, explorer, cleric, or thief would be worth one asterisk. Giving it the powers of a mage is worth two asterisks.
So a large, nasty 4HD orc with the spellcasting powers of a 4th level mage would be 4**.

Is the plan still to include rules for building monstrous characters in the Players Companion? I don’t see them in the latest draft; am I just not looking in the right place?

Staples - the Thrassians show how you do it. Just assign the necessary traits to the Racial Value, and have the Racial Value increase Fighting Value by 1 at Race 2 and by 2 at Race 4. Set it up such that HD 2, Fighting 2, Race 2 for a race with no particular special abilities costs 3000xp.

Thanks! I’m about to be off-grid for a few days, but when I get back would it be OK if I tried this out with a monster and you told me if I’d done it correctly?


Sorry to necro, but it seemed to fit. A goblin village likely has a shaman, who has 1+1 HD, but on average the abilities of a level 5 cleric. They’d then count as 1+1*, correct?

There are a few threads floating around here where alex gives advice on how to treat orcs, goblins, and a few other monsters as “classes”, and in them he includes a methodology for adding those spellcasting levels.

If it were me and the levels of casting were very different from the actual HD, I would contemplate splitting the difference. It seems rather rough for a party to only get ~35XP from something capable of casting ~3rd level cleric spells.

Try this thread: