A lost version of the AD&D classes and races?

JEB

Legend
Been looking through the rules of older editions, for reasons, and stumbled across this interesting section in the 1977 Holmes Basic Set:

ADDITIONAL CHARACTER CLASSES
There are a number of other character types which are detailed in ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. There are sub-classes of the four basic classes. They are: paladins and rangers (fighting men), illusionists and witches (magic-users), monks and druids (clerics), and assassins (thieves). There are half elves. Special characteristics for dwarven, elven, and halfling thieves are given.
1) There was originally going to be a witch class in AD&D? Wonder what that would have been like, especially in 1978? I imagine rather different than the warlock we know today...
2) The monk was originally going to be a variant cleric. (IIRC they did try to revive the monk in 2E as a cleric subtype.)
3) Half-elves are mentioned, but not half-orcs or gnomes (gnomes are listed later on, but only as a monster).
4) The only AD&D class option mentioned for dwarves, elves, and halflings is thief. However, maybe they figured dwarves' access to the fighter ("fighting man") class, elves' access to fighter and magic-user, and halflings' access to fighter in AD&D was already implied by them sharing the progression of those classes?

Thought this was also interesting:
At the Dungeon Master's discretion a character can be anything his or her player wants him to be. Characters must always start out inexperienced and relatively weak and build on their experience. Thus, an expedition might include, in addition to the four basic classes and races (human, elven, dwarven, halfling-ish), a centaur, a lawful werebear, and a Japanese Samurai fighting man.
Now, they don't tell you how to do this. But imagine if they had, and that sort of customization had been strongly supported from the game's early days?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Davies

Legend
Like as not, the official witch would have been as similar to the witch class that appeared in The Dragon #5 as the official ranger was to the ranger class in The Strategic Review #2. And that is not a good thing.
 

see

Pedantic Grognard
2) As of Supplement II: Blackmoor (1975), the monk was presented as a sub-class of cleric, so this was the logical presumption for where it would be classed in AD&D. Gygax apparently decided to make it a de facto subclass of thief when doing the PHB (thief for saves and attack matrix), then partly walked that back in the 1e DMG (moved to cleric for attack matrix).

As for the "also interesting" thing, let me quote the original three booklets, Men & Magic, p.8 at you:
Other Character Types: There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to play as virtually anything, provided they begin relatively weak and work up to the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begin as let us say, a "young" one and progress upwards in the usual manner, steps being predetermined by the campaign referee.
Obviously, Gygax changed his mind on this (the 1e DMG, p.21, says effectively the opposite), but for "supported from the game's early days", well, it's hard to beat that.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
2) As of Supplement II: Blackmoor (1975), the monk was presented as a sub-class of cleric, so this was the logical presumption for where it would be classed in AD&D. Gygax apparently decided to make it a de facto subclass of thief when doing the PHB (thief for saves and attack matrix), then partly walked that back in the 1e DMG (moved to cleric for attack matrix).

As for the "also interesting" thing, let me quote the original three booklets, Men & Magic, p.8 at you:

Obviously, Gygax changed his mind on this (the 1e DMG, p.21, says effectively the opposite), but for "supported from the game's early days", well, it's hard to beat that.
I imagine he let someone play a monster one time and regretted it.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I think in the 1E DMG bits being kind of ranty against monsters-as-PCs he was also reacting against wildness like The Arduin Grimoire.

In 1979 TSR was seriously fighting with competitors and imitators and Gary got really defensive about it.

Note that although the 1981 and 1983 versions didn't talk so openly about monster PCs as the 1974 or 1977 sets, the D&D game continued to be a bit more open to nonhuman (and non-Demihuman) PCs than AD&D, with (for example) Paul Crabaugh's create your own class article in Dragon 109 including Orc and Fairy as examples, and issue 118 having a Neanderthal class. Plus the various nonhuman options which followed in D&D Gazetteers.
 
Last edited:

JEB

Legend
Like as not, the official witch would have been as similar to the witch class that appeared in The Dragon #5 as the official ranger was to the ranger class in The Strategic Review #2. And that is not a good thing.
Hmm, thanks for the lead. (Looks like the article, which is somewhat infamous, was also reprinted in Best of the Dragon Vol. 1.) There was apparently another 0E-compatible witch published in Dragon #20, wonder if that would have been closer to an intended AD&D version.

Found some historical summaries of early D&D witches, for anyone else interested:
 

JEB

Legend
Other Character Types: There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to play as virtually anything, provided they begin relatively weak and work up to the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begin as let us say, a "young" one and progress upwards in the usual manner, steps being predetermined by the campaign referee.
Heh, funny, that's basically how I tackled dragon PCs in 5E.

Obviously, Gygax changed his mind on this (the 1e DMG, p.21, says effectively the opposite), but for "supported from the game's early days", well, it's hard to beat that.
Well, I meant "supported", not "suggested and then left entirely to the DM to make up"... I don't know that any formal attempt at build-your-own-race was made again until 3.0's Savage Species (and only Tasha's Custom Lineage has come close since).
 


GuyBoy

Hero
Like as not, the official witch would have been as similar to the witch class that appeared in The Dragon #5 as the official ranger was to the ranger class in The Strategic Review #2. And that is not a good thing.
I remember that witch class well; it was terrifyingly overpowered. I was playing a pretty tough fighter in the old JG City State of the World Emperor and we attacked the caves of the Witches of Marmon, who appeared in the wilderness guide. Our DM used the class from the Dragon (3 of them; Shakespeare runs deep....) and we got our butts kicked. Not quite a TPK but close to.
 


Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top