|When 1st Edition AD&D originally came out, it was set in an imaginary medieval fantasy realm very like something from a Grimm fairy tale, or the works of J. R. R. Tolkein--the imagined history of Europe. But after a few years, two other settings were released--Krynn and Oriental--each with its own races and classes, and nuances of rules.|
keeps this site and its author alive.
|I wasn't there at the beginning; I was playing board games, card games, and even simulation games. I didn't discover RPG's until 1980. But once I started my game, I began building a world in which adventures could occur, and also backwriting story to try to make it all make sense. Who were these people, my player characters, and how was it that they didn't know anything about this part of the world? What existed where, and why was it there, and how did it get there? And then, just as everything was beginning to fit together, I had to readjust it all for the changes brought by the Arcana volume, with its new classes and the introduction of the Underdark races as player characters; and then, in case that was too easy, I had to work in the Oriental material--after all, I had a world well under construction, a character party busily exploring it, and no reason to scrap it all and begin something new. So there was only one logical thing to do: bring the new Oriental characters into the existing world.|
|The way this was accomplished sprang from the concept of the frontier. MyWorld was a world in which peoples from other lands were converging to seek their fortunes and their futures. Of course, they weren't all adventurers. Some were entrepreneurs, some employees and agents of others, some sent on missions, some the children of any of these, now grown and separated from the ideas and ideals of their parents. People had begun arriving at the frontier a couple hundred years before, and had established a few towns and fortresses, built some roads, cleared some farmland--but there was still much undiscovered and unexplored. For various reasons, this new world was never claimed as colonial property of any of the old world nations or peoples, so it became a homogenous mix of new settlements and cities filled with an even more homogenous mix of races and classes. Integration of the milieus became the norm in the new world.|
|But there was a solution to this as well. After all, one of the key features of the new world was that it was a new continent of unknown proportions which had been populated by all of the monsters which inhabit our nightmares, now being driven back by the growing forces of invading settlers. But what if this had all happened before, centuries before? What if colonists had come to the new world from the old once before, but national interests and squabbling weakened them and left them easy prey for a strike from the more intelligent of the monsters. Unprepared strongholds were overwhelmed, weakened castles were leveled, towns, villages, even cities overrun. In MyWorld, three cities survived along the coast--one a vast walled haven of thieves and assassins who had struck a deal with the creatures, one a smaller walled city ruled by a valiant prince and defended by knights of great prowess, and one a small village protected by some mysterious magic understood by few if any of the residents (and offering an adventure motive for a character party). For centuries, they had eked out a living by one means or another; the walled cities had actually reclaimed land around them for vital farm support, and the monsters had been driven back.|
|Our player characters are part of this new influx of peoples. They generally begin in one of the three coastal town areas--each has a port associated with it, and the two larger cities are near enough the edge of the civilized realm that Underdark characters wandering up through lost tunnels can easily be backgrounded with the notion that they've found their ways through the wilderness to the first signs of civilization, a walled city. None of them know anything of this part of the world; all have just arrived, immigrants right off the boat (usually literally) seeking to gain familiarity with their new homes and find adventure within a short distance of safety.|
|Thus we have created a setting in which player characters from the original (Occidental) milieu are found in abundance, but are living alongside those from Oriental, Krynn, and Viking settings in close enough proximity that player characters have access to their own culture to some degree while having the opportunity to interact with those drawn from the other realms. At the same time, player characters have little knowledge of these other realms, their customs and rules. And the locals tend to live with those who are alike, often in separate villages, and at least no closer than isolated neighborhoods in the cities--thus keeping the flow of information between cultures minimal, and reducing the tendency of such communities to become "melting pots" in which cultural distinctions are expected to blend. Assume that the trade language of the Orient is the common tongue of the rest of the world, and the language barriers are eliminated as well, so our adventurers are ready to begin together.|
The Frontier: M. J. Young suggests how to explain the presence of characters from multiple AD&D settings in one place, and provide support structures for them, based on the concept of the New World.
Now You Look Human: Some demi-human races will be perceived as human under certain circumstances; which ones, when, and by whom are all important questions, addressed here.
When Worlds Collide: Each of the standard settings in AD&D contains cultural nuances which result in attitudes and perspectives which will come into play as the player characters interact with each other and those around them.
You Don't Look Elvish: How races are perceived by those in other milieus is discussed in some detail.
A Nice Kid Like You: Some races pose particular problems related to explaining their presence in a new land. Those problems are addressed.
A Class Act: Problems and motivations of particular classes are discussed and resolved.
All In the Mind: Second Edition Psionics may be integrated into a First Edition campaign if desired, bringing the Psionicist class and the Wild Talent into play alongside Natural Psionics.
Character Creation for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition:
Called a life saver by more than one DM, the materials M. J. Young has developed to enable players to create characters have been posted and expanded for others. When a game is beginning or a player is joining, this site is the place to start.
Martial Arts Rules for Role Playing Games:
For Oriental characters, this site explains and expands the 1st Ed. AD&D martial arts materials, including a large and varied selection of compatible styles, and also presenting similar materials for the Multiverser game.
Multiverser Information Center:
The role playing game which truly integrates all milieus, all worlds, and all other role playing games is presented and described here. It's worth a look.