My present project is something I dub "class overlays." WBFMAG (what a torturous abbreviation) sticks to the four basic character classes. Since most of the people I know like a little more variety than that, I started working on little templates that keep the essentials of the class while giving it just a little bit of flavor.
So I start off with the Assassin. Hmm. -1 to Thievery, +4 Backstab, 3 damage dice. I write up a simple ability to brew poisons at 5th level, keeping it vague and very much up to the GM in the spirit that WB is written in. (The game very much trusts the GM to do their goddamn job.)
Alright, done. On to the Druid. Neutral alignment...changes to weapons and armor, turning ability is animals instead of undead, slight alterations to spell list... a little less of an overlay. Hmm.
And then I stopped. Not because I'd made the Druid too complicated, but because... boredom. Why bother rolling out the nth iterations of the same tired-ass roster of character classes? Someone, somewhere wrote up a Northern Godi and a Jester for Swords & Wizardry White Box. Why shouldn't I do the same and take a departure from the usual suspects?
-Keep 'em simple. A dash of flavor to the existing standard four classes, but still very much a member of that original class.
Something along these lines:
Practitioners of hedge magic, Witches are a subclass of Magic-User that consists mostly of women. Witchcraft tends to be more subtle than the fiery evocations of the standard Magic-User, and Witches also know their way around herbs and fantastical brews.
Weapon and Armor Restrictions: Witches can only use daggers in combat, and the only missile weapon they can use is oil. They are not allowed to wear any armor, nor use a shield.
Spellcasting: Witches generally function as standard Magic-Users, with a few modifications. They can learn and cast Cure Light Wounds (and its reverse) as though it were a 1st level Magic-User spell. When a Witch casts a charm or illusion spell, any target has a -1 penalty to their Saving Throw. In addition, calculate the duration of such spells as though the Witch were two experience levels higher. Witches cannot cast Fireball, Lightning Bolt, or other spells which cause direct damage.
Potions: Starting at 5th level, Witches can brew potions. The exact requirements, time and cost are left to the GM, but one recommendation is that they need a week's time, access to a cauldron, and rare ingredients that can cost between 500-1,000 gp. The GM is also free to impose a shelf life on the potency of the potions. The Witch may create any potion from the list in WBFMAG. If the GM wishes to limit this, perhaps the Witch gains a single recipe at 5th level, and learns an additional recipe with each experience level, or perhaps they must learn (or steal) the recipes from other Witches.
Now, I know that witches are hardly new to D&D and have had lots of incarnations, but this was just a starting point. I'd like to see some other fantasy, pulp, and even fairy tale archetypes get some love instead of ranger-paladin-monk-druid-bard-rinse-repeat.
I'm working on these in my drive right now, but I could well post them here as I get them done.