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D&D General Rulings, not Rules: How Will You Solve the Bard / Half Elf Dilemma?

How would you rule on the AD&D (1e) Bard / Half-Elf Conundrum

  • 1. Ban bards. With extreme prejudice.

    Votes: 8 11.1%
  • 2. Characters are not multiclass nor dual class, but "pre-bard" until they become a bard.

    Votes: 13 18.1%
  • 3. Both humans and half-elves follow the rules for dual-classing until they become bards.

    Votes: 12 16.7%
  • 4. Half-elves may multiclass (Fighter/Thief) into bard.

    Votes: 21 29.2%
  • 5. Use a custom/Dragon/3PP Bard class that doesn't have the fighter/thief prerequisite.

    Votes: 11 15.3%
  • 6. Other- I will explain my own awesome ruling in the comments. JUST WAIT FOR IT!

    Votes: 7 9.7%

  • Total voters
    72
  • Poll closed .
No rules. He's a Fighter. Just like any other Fighter. Well, from a "mechanical" perspective (see below).
I agree with this post and this conclusion. A Bard is just a normal Fighter until he chooses to switch to Thief, at which point we check to make sure he fulfills the Bard prerequisites. There is no such thing as a "pre-Bard". This is supported by the Dragon 56 Sage Advice column which confirms that while still a Fighter they have no weapons or armor restrictions, "because they're not bards yet."
 

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Voadam

Legend
I agree with this post and this conclusion. A Bard is just a normal Fighter until he chooses to switch to Thief, at which point we check to make sure he fulfills the Bard prerequisites. There is no such thing as a "pre-Bard". This is supported by the Dragon 56 Sage Advice column which confirms that while still a Fighter they have no weapons or armor restrictions, "because they're not bards yet."
Can a half elf switch to thief? Does he need to have the bard prerequisites to do so even though he is not a bard yet? Does he need to meet the dual class prerequisites to do so? Once he has switched to thief must he switch to druid/bard or can he just keep going as a thief?
 

Can a half elf switch to thief? Does he need to have the bard prerequisites to do so even though he is not a bard yet? Does he need to meet the dual class prerequisites to do so? Once he has switched to thief must he switch to druid/bard or can he just keep going as a thief?
1) I would interpret the Bard entry as implicitly granting permission to do so.
2) I would say any would-be Bard employing the Bard rules to switch from Fighter to Thief must meet the Bard prerequisites.
3) I would say not, as the dual class rules are separate from and conflict with the Bard rules.
4) Excellent question. If I were ruling to remain as consistent as possible with the Bard rules, I would probably say that they have to either switch or stop advancing once they've hit the max Thief level allowed by the Bard rules.
 

1) I would interpret the Bard entry as implicitly granting permission to do so.
2) I would say any would-be Bard employing the Bard rules to switch from Fighter to Thief must meet the Bard prerequisites.
I think this is what people really MEAN by the term 'pre-bard', a character which is operating under the rules provided by the Bard class, not the other more general rules of the PHB, etc.
3) I would say not, as the dual class rules are separate from and conflict with the Bard rules.
This one is highly problematic as there are MANY rules under Dual Class which are needed in order to actually function as a character with 2 classes. In fact the Bard rules imply that at least SOME of these ARE in effect. PHB P118, notes to Bard Table 1:
"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
)."

The highlighted part is an explicit reference to the Dual Class rules. I mean, we can suppose that the Bard rules are a set of exceptions TO THE DUAL CLASS RULES, but they cannot be seen to replace them.
4) Excellent question. If I were ruling to remain as consistent as possible with the Bard rules, I would probably say that they have to either switch or stop advancing once they've hit the max Thief level allowed by the Bard rules.
It makes sense, and it isn't any less clear really than any other situations where characters fall out of compliance with various restrictions (IE lose a point of STR, you may now exceed the level limit for an elf fighter, what do you do?).
 

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