First Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons™ Character Creation

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2:  Choose a Character Class

  Choose a character class.  All classes and class combinations recognized by first edition Players Handbook™, Oriental Adventures™, Unearthed Arcana™, Dragonlance Adventures™, and second edition Viking Campaign Sourcebook™ and Psionics Handbook™ are covered in this material.  They are listed and summarized below, along with some added classes which may be available at the referee's discretion.  The links carry the reader toIf there's a problem, please let me know through this mailto form. more detailed information on each class.

Within the game, there are main classes and sub-classes within them.  The sub-class contains elements similar to the main class, but with significant variations between them.  The classes and sub-class are organized here for comparison:
ATTORNEY, a class which deals with law and relationships within society, strong on research.
BARD, a Druid-like class which requires training in fighting and thieving skills first.
CAVALIER, Knight of Solamnia, Paladin, Samurai, warriors trained to superb mounted combat.
CLERIC, Druid, Holy Order of the Stars, Runecaster, Shukenja, Sohei, dedicated to support magic in direct connection to the gods, with some combat abilities.
FIGHTER, Barbarian, Berserker, Bushi, Kensai, Oriental Barbarian, Ranger, standard infantry fighters.
MAGIC-USER, Alchemist, Illusionist, Wizard of High Sorcery, Wu Jen, the magicians of the world.
MONK, combining some thief skills with the disciplines of martial combat.
PSIONICIST, using mental powers instead of magic.
THIEF, Assassin, Ninja, Thief-Acrobat, Yakuza, learning the basic skills of stealth.
TINKER, an anomaly, a class which desires to explore technology.

  There are also many combinations of classes available within the game.  Some classes are intrinsically limited in the highest level which may be attained, but in addition to this, there are racial advancement limits on many classes--that is, characters of a particular race may be limited in how far they may advance.  These limits are frequently tied to ability scores, and are catalogued for reference.

  The character classes are described briefly, with links to more detailed descriptions.  Players may benefit from the character class assistance page.

  Some of the listed classes give experience point requirements for apprenticeships.  Most of these were added for the MyWorld campaign for purposes of characters who desire to change classes; those which are a necessary part of the character creation are indicated in the description.  If the DM is interested in such apprenticeship rules for his table, they are available at the M. J. Young Dungeons & Dragons Materials web site.

  An ALCHEMIST is a practitioner of magic by chemistry, a compiler of potions and poultices.  There are examples of these in every mythology.  Although traditionally occidental alchemists were seeking to transmute lead to gold and oriental alchemists were trying to concoct the elixir of life, all alchemists in this version are attempting to achieve only the former.  The career of the alchemist has a ceiling based on random rolls in the attempt to achieve this.

  An ASSASSIN earns his living by killing others.  He is the ultimate spy, but must be evil in alignment regardless of his motivations for selecting his jobs.  Assassins cooperate in guilds, but do not take kindly to other assassins working on their turf.  Assassins are limited in their progression, and must defeat previous leaders to reach the highest levels.

  An ATTORNEY is an experimental class for a town or city environment.  These characters are related to sages, being especially adept at research along with the manipulation of law and government.

  The BARBARIAN is modeled on the design of Conan.  They are powerful brutish fighters from primitive areas who fear and disdain magic and civilization, but will band together for a good brawl.  Many barbarian abilities are connected to the land or kind of land in which their tribe lives.

  A BARD is a minstrel/thespian pushed up a notch.  These characters learn the arts of combat and stealth before pursuing a pseudo-religious career as musical magicians.  The bard has a maximum level, but it is very remote.

  The BERSERKER is drawn from Viking lore.  These undisciplined fighters work themselves into a fierce frenzy before battle, and are able at times to change to wolves and bears.

  The BUSHI is the standard peasant fighter of the orient.  Poor and hard working, they have special skills which make them welcome in any non-hostile community and reduce their expenses.

  The CAVALIER is the true mounted knight, typified by the legends of Camelot and the reality of late middle ages combat.  They are bound by chivalry, and must be insanely courageous at all times.  The are drawn from the upper classes of society.

  The CLERIC, although in many ways the clergyman of the party, is actually a knight of holy orders, dedicated to his god and his faith more than to fighting.  He combines magic of a sort with strong but somewhat limited combat skills.

  The DRUID is modeled after the legends of the Celtic past, with modifications.  These clerics have weaker defenses and stronger attacks than other clerics, with magic slightly more offensive and less curative.  They are able at higher levels to change to various animals.  Druids are limited in number in the higher levels, and it is not uncommon for a druid to have to defeat another in battle to reach these levels.  There is a maximum level of advancement, but it is an extremely powerful character at that point.

  A FIGHTER is the standard infantry soldier, able to use any armor, weapons, and tactics, but usually more comfortable fighting with feet on the ground.

  The HOLY ORDER OF THE STARS is a class of clerics connected to the gods of Krynn, the world of the Dragonlance series.  They receive additional spells related to those gods, but may also have responsibilities in the cause of the god they serve.  These clerics have limits on their levels and a leadership structure limiting progress to those who assume authority positions in their faith.

  The ILLUSIONIST is a magical specialist, relying primarily on making reality seem different.  The spell selection is more limited than that of the magic user, but in some ways more powerful, and advancement is relatively more rapid.

  The KENSAI is traditionally the oriental sword saint expanded to cover all oriental weapons, martial arts styles, and attack methods.  This is the individual who steps into the street and impresses his opponent with a brilliant display of weapon maneuvering before joining combat.  Kensai often have to face other kensai in duels to prove their courage, honor, and skill, and advancement often requires that such a duel be fought and won, but duels need not be fatal.

  A KNIGHT OF SOLAMNIA is a cavalier in the Krynn world of the Dragonlance books connected to a religious order.  They gain special abilities according to the level of the order they attain.  These cavaliers have a maximum level of advancement, and an authority structure requiring certain duties of their more powerful members; however, members of the orders may receive valuable and powerful and possibly magical equipment from the order for use in the right causes.

  The MAGIC-USER is fairly typified by most wizards in most fantasies, from Merlin to Mandrake.  There is a greater variety of magics available to the straight magic user than to any other class.

  The MONK is modeled after Kwai Chang Kain of Kung Fu fame, a strong martial artist and skilled in certain stealth techniques in common with the thief classes.  He may begin and equip either from the oriental monastery, or from the mission in the occident.  Monks are limited in advancement, and often must defeat higher level monks in combat in order to progress to the highest levels.

  The NINJA is well known from martial arts movies.  His identity is always secret-in fact, he must also be an alchemist, bushi, sohei, wu jen, or yakuza to cover his profession, and must be aware that any samurai will consider it his sworn duty to execute anyone proved to be a ninja.  However, they have thief, acrobat, and assassin skills of significant usefulness.  Ninja must obey their family leaders.

  The ORIENTAL BARBARIAN is best typified by Ghengis Khan and the Mongol hordes.  These have much in common with the barbarian, but are more narrowly defined.

  The PALADIN is usually represented by Lancelot du Lac.  This class combines the cavalry prowess and bravery of the cavalier with a limited form of the devotion and spiritual power of the cleric.

  The PSIONICIST is a unique class, using highly developed mental powers as if they were magic.  Although it is remotely possible for any character in the game to have such mental powers, only the psionicist can freely choose which powers to develop and can gain added powers as he gains experience.

  The RANGER is clearly modeled on Strider/Aragorn and the Rangers of Tolkein's Lord of the Rings, although certain aspects are distinct.  These fighters have skills in tracking and other outdoor lore, and gain a little magic at upper levels.

  The RUNECASTER springs from Viking mythology.  The Vikings believed strongly in runes, magical letter/symbols which if made correctly would release great power.  The runecaster, like other clerics, fights reasonably well, but also learns to carve these runes.  Rune magic is much slower than other types of magic, not usually useful in the heat of battle, but can perform some remarkable and useful things, especially when prepared in advance of the use situation.

  The SAMURAI is the absolutely dedicated upper class soldier of the orient, true to his lord and the code of bushido.  Trained to fight from horseback or on the ground, they are especially skilled in the katana, a very potent oriental sword, and usually in the daikyu, the equivalent of a long bow with a design to facilitate firing from horseback.  The samurai will die at his own hand if so ordered by his daimyo.

  The SHUKENJA is a wandering holy man of the orient, dedicated to helping others.  Although trained to defend himself at need, it is a great dishonor to him to be forced to kill even an enemy.  His spells are very similar to those of the clerics of the occident.

  The SOHEI is a trained temple guard, combining certain aspects of the cleric with some related to the fighter.  Magic and combat skills are both limited somewhat, but the character combines them effectively.  Sohei generally are assigned to specific tasks by their superiors.

 A THIEF (call him an expert treasure finder if you prefer) is ultimately trained in arts of stealth.  Bilbo Baggins of Tolkein's The Hobbit is a fair example, but there are many others.  Moving stealthily, pilfering objects, and surprising opponents are all basic to the thief package.

 The THIEF-ACROBAT is at lowest levels indistinguishable from the thief.  In middle levels, this character begins to specialize in cat-burglar skills, such as tightrope walking, jumping between rooftops, tumbling out of danger, and falling unharmed.  Although the player has the option to roll dice for either the thief or the thief-acrobat class, the decision to "go acrobat" is technically not made until level six, at which time the character must qualify for this class if he wishes to choose it, but may in any event continue as a thief instead.

  The TINKER is a strange Krynn class open only to the Tinker Gnomes of the Dragonlance books.  These creatures have a weird interest in technology, and design and build ghastly oversized overdesigned machines for even the simplest tasks.  They are more a piece of comic relief than a serious adventuring class.

  A WIZARD OF HIGH SORCERY is the standard magic user of the Krynn world found in the Dragonlance books.  These characters are more dedicated to the pursuit of magic than to any other thing, even gods and alignments.  Because of this, first level characters in these classes need not choose either a deity or an alignment.  When the character chooses his alignment, he is put through a complicated initiation ritual (it can be fatal), and becomes connected to a particular robe.  These characters gain or lose spell power with the phases of the moon.  There is a maximum level for the leader of each order, and in order to achieve the highest levels, a character must become the leader of the order by the means appropriate to the alignment of each robe.

  The WU JEN is the magic user of the oriental world.  They are never lawful, and have the reputation of being rather crazy, partly due to their hermit-like separation from society, and partly due to the taboos they acquire which require them to do odd things or to avoid ordinary ones.  Their magic is closest in variety and power to that of magic users, and they gain additional power by mastering "elements", learning all of the spells connected to one of the oriental alchemic elements.

  The YAKUZA is the member of the tong, the oriental street thug, the Chinese version of the Mafia.  These characters have some thief skills, and skills related to the control of an area, usually within a city.

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