On Classic D&D

Posted: 2023-10-19
Word Count: 728
Tags: i-have-opinions osr rpg

In the “Basic D&D” a.k.a. “Classic D&D” rules I prefer, players choose from only seven classes: Fighter (or Warrior), Magic-User (or Wizard), Priest (or Cleric), Rogue (or Thief), Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling. (Yes, the latter three are races (or properly species) but also classes.)

DCC, Into the Unknown, Labyrinth Lord, Old School Essentials, etc. all have just four human classes plus Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling. (Third parties have written additional classes for all these games.1) Obviously D&D 5e has many more classes, and separaces species from class.

I, however, prefer the simpler rules with “race-classes” for the following reasons:

Here endeth the rant.

  1. Some of the DCC ones expand the repetoire of standard non-humans: Dwarf Priests (F/C), Elven Rogues (MU/T), Halfling Champions (F/T). ↩︎

  2. When AD&D separated race from class they also added level caps on all the non-human species to maintain human superiority. I never liked this heavy-handed move; why would an Elf who could live for thousands of years advance only to 9th level as a Magic User (or whatever it was) while humans could climb to 12th, 20th, or 36th, depending on version? Better to give non-humans their own advancement track. ↩︎

  3. Elves and Dwarves have “Infravision” in DCC, but unless I find similar restrictions in the DCC text I’m going to houserule Infravision so that it still needs some light in order to work, and under those conditions it’s equivalent to dim light, as in 5e. That’s just how eyes work. I can see Elves seeing under starlight and Dwarves making do with a few candles, but I can’t see them “evolving” to see with no light sources. (Alternatively, “Infravision” implies infra-red, which means they can spot heat sources but not cold traps, chilly undead, or sharp detail.) ↩︎