Welcome back to another exciting installment of PrinceofNothingReviews, where your Prince will valiantly delve into the crevasses of RPG-land in search of trinkets and fair maidens to impale above his fireplace at the risk of grave and well-deserved mental and indeed physical harm to his person.
Let’s delve in. The second part of RaPL describes a new character class, the Alice (or Allistair if you are a dude). Strongly based off of Alice in Wonderland (bet you hadn’t figured that one out), the Alice is the archtypical fool, a sort of lower-hit-dice thief class derivative with shittier starting saves and a level progression that is almost entirely random. And this: “Alices are always humans or halflings (though some say they are a race unto themselves). In systems which treat race as class, you could say the Aliceness of an Alice supercedes its Halflingness.”
Her only fixed class ability is to Express Exasperation 1/real game hour, itself a random ability that can cause all sorts of mischief and random effects to escape from perilous situations in all sorts of whimsical ways (talking objects, sudden secret doors, the appearance of a helpful Npc or small animal etc.) that grows more potent as she levels up.
Almost everything else, with the exception of hit dice and attack bonus (as specialists in Loftp don’t advance in AB so that is all cool) is random. Every time the Alice levels up, she may roll d100; You get about 20% chance to improve all your saves by 1, 50% chance to get 2 skill points and the rest (30%) is unique and random special abilities. Every special ability is derived from a sentence from Alice in Wonderland, which is a nice stylistic touch if you are into that sort of thing.
These abilities can vary from getting a bonus to identify plants or talk to animals to inheriting 5000 gp worth of mundane items (you have 10 secs to decide), getting a bonus with improvised weapons or getting a single one-use spell-like ability (lvl 1-8) CL 15th. There are way more(like 20) but this is a pretty good sample.
Its very oldschool (or new oldschool) in the sense that it discourages character optimization shenanigans and embraces randomness above and beyond earlier examples (Empire of the Petal Throne and its retroclone Arrows of Indra for example) but the meta-gaming reality-bending powers of the Alice along with its randomized progression and often whimsical abilities might not be to everyone’s liking. A very strange class indeed, and somewhat distinctive from its well-worn adventuring peers. As an extremely weird rogue, I can see it work. Maybe. But if you are going to run RaPl you might as well take an Alice and get on with it.
I should point out that although the book does take pains to add notes to enable conversion to newer systems, the Alice class is almost certainly not compatible with 3e Dnd or its derivation/usurper king(Pathfinder) without serious modding, as the random progession is likely to ensure the Alice is probably very underpowered at higher levels, even with seriously good rolls [This is a gut-feeling, I have not done the math, but I could create 20th level 3.5e wizards from memory alone when I was into it so I consider myself reasonably well versed in 3e]. I unfortunately have not read 5th edition so I am not aware how well it converts to that, I will gladly assume that the author meant 5th edition with newer systems in which case it might very well be feasible to play a 5e Alice. As for compatibility with 4e hah hah haaaaw [drinks heavily]!.
Monster Section in Part 3. Spoilers: Its very good.