Sunday, March 8, 2015

Super Simple Separation of Race and Class in OD&D

I think my favorite rules are OD&D and/or its clones. If you go with just the 3 LBBs or clones thereof, you essentially have race as class for demi-humans. I can take or leave race as class, but I know some people are not big fans of it. When I next run something with just the three core classes of Fighter, Cleric, Magic-User, I might use something simple like this to avoid race as class for players who don't particularly like it: 

Dwarf Class Options:
  • Single-Class Fighter (max level 6)
  • Single-Class Cleric (max level 6)
  • Dual-Classed Fighter/Cleric (max level 5/5)
  • Upon reaching level 5 in a single class, switching to dual-classed is prohibited

Elf Class Options: 
  • Single-Class Fighter (max. level 7)
  • Single-Class Magic-User (max. level 9)
  • Dual-Class Fighter/Magic-User (max. level 4/8)
  • Upon reaching level 5 (fighter) or level 9 (magic-user) switching to dual-classed is prohibited

Halfling Class Options: 
  • Single-Class Fighter (max. level 4)
  • Dual-Class Fighter/Magic-User (max. level 3/2)
  • Dual-Class Fighter/Cleric (max. level 3/3)
  • Upon reaching level 4 (fighter) switching to dual-classed is prohibited.

Dual-Classing: Once a character becomes dual-classed, he is limited to the armor of the more restrictive class at all times. However, apart from the armor restriction, the character may use the better weapons and statistics of the two classes in all other cases. The player need not "declare" which type of character he is adventuring as in a given session. The XP earned are divided between the two classes as the player sees fit.

This way, every race has three class options of some sort. Basically, the new level limits come from the XP required to reach the existing level limits in the rules as written, just redistributed. The one exception is for the elven single-class magic-user, where the XP of a fourth-level fighter added to that of an eighth-level magic-user still only leaves the magic-user at eighth level. So that one I'd bump up to level 9 to justify single-classing.


  1. I actually like race as class, although I have never used it used in its narrowest form. My first D&D experiences with Holmes kind of shaped my tastes.

    1. I cut my teeth on B/X so, gamewise, race as class seems totally "natural" and "normal" to me. But I see certain contexts where, narratively, it works quite well (e.g. demi-humans as fading, almost extinct races, that just don't have the "critical mass" of population necessary to have the variety of classes humans have) and others where it might not work so much (e.g. a fantasy world with many vibrant demi-human races).

    2. I prefer some limitations to class/race choices but it is not a deal breaker for me.