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

GuyBoy

Hero
That first version of the witch was meant to be overpowered. If you read the article, the author meant for it to be used as an NPC only, and meant for them to be able to single-handedly take on entire parties. Which, keep in mind, this was the edition where the party might include 8 PCs and 14 hirelings...
“Single-handedly take out a party”; there were three of them!
No wonder they smashed us. Poor Calanthia.
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RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
“Single-handedly take out a party”; there were three of them!
Well, then you were three times as screwed! The first Dragon magazine witch class was submitted, and the submission paperwork lost. I don't know that it was ever determined who wrote it. I go into a bit of detail about it in my blog post(s) on the witch class in D&D.

EDIT: Please be aware, I use affiliate links in my blog.
 


Greg K

Hero
Wasn't there an issue of Dragon in which Holmes described what his version of a witch class would be like? No actual class write-up, but what his general take of such a class would involve.
 

Davies

Legend
Wasn't there an issue of Dragon in which Holmes described what his version of a witch class would be like? No actual class write-up, but what his general take of such a class would involve.
Dr. Holmes published three articles in Dragon, but the only one that might be what you're describing -- the "author's notes" on his edition of BD&D, in #52 -- doesn't have anything like that. I think you might be thinking of Tom Moldvay's witch class in #43, maybe.
 

Greg K

Hero
Dr. Holmes published three articles in Dragon, but the only one that might be what you're describing -- the "author's notes" on his edition of BD&D, in #52 -- doesn't have anything like that. I think you might be thinking of Tom Moldvay's witch class in #43, maybe.
Thanks. I probably was.
 



haakon1

Adventurer
In 3/3.5e, I believe in DMG section on NPC classes like Warrior and Expert, it mentions you could create a Witch class and gives some ideas. I used a Witch NPC (enemy in a large group, including a wizard) from that concept once, and I don’t think the players noticed it wasn’t a sorcerer.
 

GreyLord

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


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:

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?

Witch was another term for Wizard in that clause.

I have an older set than many, and in the Holmes Set I had, the elf was to choose each time whether to adventure as a Fighter OR a Magic-User. This was apparantly changed on release or something to that matter.

The clause that one could be whatever they wanted, but had to start inexperienced and then advance was in the game since the original LBB were released. I'd have to go back and check, but that paragraph sounds almost exactly what the LBBs also state.

There was no defined way to do this, because it was expected that once a DM was experienced enough, they could do it themselves. You could literally play anything you wanted originally, if your DM was willing to work it out with you.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
In 3/3.5e, I believe in DMG section on NPC classes like Warrior and Expert, it mentions you could create a Witch class and gives some ideas. I used a Witch NPC (enemy in a large group, including a wizard) from that concept once, and I don’t think the players noticed it wasn’t a sorcerer.
"Witch" was the example given in both the 3.0 and 3.5 DMG for making your own class by changing an existing one. The example witch used the sorcerer as a basis. It used Charisma as the spellcasting stat,, didn't have any special powers, and its spell list drew from the cleric, druid, and wizard lists.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I have an older set than many, and in the Holmes Set I had, the elf was to choose each time whether to adventure as a Fighter OR a Magic-User. This was apparantly changed on release or something to that matter.
Yes, this is how elves are said to work in the original 1974 set. Greyhawk switched it up and innovated the way multiclassing was to work for the rest of AD&D (split xp evenly between all your classes, right from the beginning), but Dr. Holmes wrote the 1977 set as an intro and clarification to the original rules (plus invented an initiative system, and they included some monsters from Greyhawk and such), with minimal inclusions from the supplements.

I've played in couple of OD&D campaigns during the pandemic, and had a couple of elf characters (as well as a regular Fighting Man), and each DM has run it a little differently.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Interestingly, this is sort of how the Phase Elf works in Carcass Crawler #2 for Old School Essentials. You have a fighter and a magic-user level, one for each "phase" and each day decide which phase you're in.
 


RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Nice. Sounds like an homage to the original idea.
It does. I wasn't familiar with the Holmes elf, and as soon as it was explained upthread I knew that's what Gavin was going for.

I love the 9th level Phase Elf class feature: "A phase elf may bring an extra-dimensional space into being, accessible via magical doorway in a location of the character’s choosing. The extra-dimensional space contains a 10 mile diameter area, consisting of (possibly otherworldly) terrain and wildlife agreed with the referee. No buildings or sentient creatures are present, but the phase elf may construct a stronghold inside their extra-dimensional domain."
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
It does. I wasn't familiar with the Holmes elf, and as soon as it was explained upthread I knew that's what Gavin was going for.
I still think of it as the 1974 Elf, as I never played Holmes. :)

I remember James Maliszewski doing this with the elf in his original Dwimmermount campaign reports years ago too. I really enjoyed his reports of how the player portrayed it.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
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?

I can tell you that the GLOG is strongly oriented towards such flexibility and creativity. I"ve played a game where we were professional treasure seekers. I played an antling petty swordsman, and other players were had a gun-priest, a rigatoni cowboy (with 1 hp), a monkey dad and one I can't recall. Sent through a magical door - a portal that would appear near treasure, we investigated a farm, then found the manor of the local lord, having an important party. We crashed the party, the monkey dad stole jewelry from the upper floors while my antling raided the kitchen for valuable spices and the other PCs just made a giant ruckus, like starting a food fight etc etc.


:)
 

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