Originally in the 80s I allowed half elves to multiclass as fighter/thieves and then change to Bard any time they met the prerequisites even though this was not RAW. In the 2000s when I picked up 1e again I let any multiclass become a Bard. This was mostly because I wanted a halfling Bard in my game based on Olive Ruskettle from the Azure Bonds novels.So another thread has gone by wherein we all marveled at the clarity and interoperability of the 1e Gygaxian Ruleset, each of us remarking, "Those rules are as clear as an unmuddied stream; verily, the rules are as easy to apply as soft butter on a hot griddle!"
Unfortunately, we did manage to find one rule that didn't quite click. So I did a quick canvas of this site (some of the history) and some other hidden places where grognards congregate before spawning* to see how other people dealt with the rule in question, so that I could present this as a poll.
*Grognards spawn by telling young'uns about the good ol' days until the grognards die off and the young'uns realize that they are the ones kvetching about how people just aren't doing it right anymore. Such is the virtuous cycle of getting people off my lawn.
Let me present the various rules from 1e... this is the BARD EDITION:
1. A bard must be human or half-elven. ...Bards begin play as fighters, and they must remain exclusively fighters until they have achieved at least the 5th level of experience. Anytime thereafter, and in any event prior to attaining the 8th level, they must change their class to that of thieves. Again, sometime between 5th and 9th level of ability, bards must leave off thieving and begin clerical studies as druids; but at this time they are actually bards and under druidical tutelage. Bards must fulfill the requirements in all the above classes before progressing to Bards Table 1.
2. 6-sided Dice for Accumulated Hit Points shows an asterisk after the initial "0" to indicate that the bard has as many hit dice as he or she has previously earned as a fighter (plus the possible addition of those earned as a thief if that class level exceeds the class level of fighter).
3. The game assumes that only non- or semi-human characters can be multi-classed, and only certain class combinations are possible, depending on the race of the character. ...Fighter/thief: By combining these two classes- the armor, weapons, and combat capabilities of the fighter with the stealth and other abilities of the thief - a very effective character is created, even though thieving functions restrict the character to leather armor and no shield. Hit points are good. Dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, halflings, and half-orcs may be fighter/thieves.
4. Unlike multi-classed characters who are of non- or semi-human race, the character with two classes must be human. To attain the second class, the character must switch his or her profession at some point. Thereafter no progression in the original class is possible.
In order to switch from one class to another, the character must have an ability score of 15 or more in the principal attribute(s) ability of the original class and a 17 or 18 in the principal attribute(s) of the class changed to. Note that nearly any combination of classes is thus possible, i.e. cleric 8 fighter, cleric & paladin, cleric & ranger, etc. Alignment will preclude some combinations.
When the character opts to cease his or her old profession and become a new class, the character retains the number of hit dice (and the commensurate hit points) due to a character of the level of his or her class. However, all other functions of the character are at 1st level of experience, for that is his or her ability in the newly espoused class. Furthermore, if, during the of any adventure, the character resorts to the use of any of the cap s of functions of his or her former class, the character gains no experience for the adventure. Having switched classes, the character must perform strictly within the parameters of his or her new profession. Reversion to the former class negates all experience potential for the new class with respect to the course of recent activities, i.e. the adventure during which original profession functions were resorted to.
At such time as the character has attained a level of experience in his or her new class which exceeds the character's former class level, the following benefits are gained:
1. A hit die appropriate to the new class is gained for each increase in level of experience, up to the maximum normal for the class in question (and thereafter hit points are likewise gained), and
2. The character may mix functions freely and still gain experience, although restrictions regarding armor, shield, and/or weapon apply with regard to operations particular to one or both classes.
4. Half-elves can be druids, but cannot multi-class with druid. Half-elves are the only race other than humans that can be druids.
(PHB 14, 17).
So here's the basic problem if you haven't seen it already- the rules for the weird 1e bard class seem to exactly track the rules for human dual-classing, which is not available for half-elves. The rules even include the hit die rule (you don't get more hit points as a thief until you exceed your level as fighter) and the strange notion of abandoning one class to start another.
On the other hand, it says that half-elves can be bards.
So here's the question, and the poll question today:
How would you rule on this issue? How does a half-elf become a bard? I've located these possible rulings-
1. Ban bards. This is my solution. This is ALWAYS my solution. Give that (1) I came up with it, and (2) it involves getting rid of bards (a/k/a the mosquito of the D&D classes), this is the ideal answer.
2. Bards are neither multi-class nor dual class, but "pre-bard" when they are a fighter or a thief.
3. Allow humans to dual class (and change their minds) into bard, and half-elves to dual class (but not change their mind) into bard.
4. Rule that half-elves "multiclass" into Bard as Fighter/Thieves.
5. Run a custom bard class in 1e that doesn't have these insane requirements.
6. Other- explain in the comments.
One other inconsistency you missed by the way - Bards require a 15 dexterity, but dual classing from fighter to thief (as needed before becoming a Bard) requires a 17 dexterity. This begs another question - can the human Fighter with a 15 or 16 dexterity waive this 17 dex requirement and dual class to thief as a "pre bard".