If "Half-Elf", why not "Half-Magic-User"?

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LimeOdyssey
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If "Half-Elf", why not "Half-Magic-User"?

Post by LimeOdyssey » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:38 pm

This may well sound like I've gone nuts but please hear me out. Then say I'm nuts. :)

In Classic, Elf is a character class. And a monster. Hence, a Half-Elf is a hybrid of an Elf (class) and a (presumably) Fighter. We normally skip right over this to making it genetic, but Classic isn't really genetic at all. Nothing in the rules reflects genetics and in some cases seems to go far out of its way not to!

So in reality is a Half-Elf a cross between a human and an elf, or is it in fact an example of a multi-class / dual class / etc.?

If it is the latter, what happens when a Magic-User marries and reproduces with a Fighter? Or a Cleric? Are their children one or the other or a blend of both?

Also if monster E let's call it an Elf, is also a playable class, is the correct way to "make new classes" nothing more than looking up hit dice and making them all Fighters unless they cast magic? In which case they're umpteenth level Clerics or Magic-Users?

It eliminates the -4000 XP at level 1 type stuff, so say a monster casts magic and 10 hit dice, it's a Magic-User level 10, or a Fighter / Magic-User level 10 / 10.

All my gaming life I've been strongly on the T&T / RuneQuest side of this fence - race + class = character or race + skills = character and so on. Rethinking it now I am writing stuff for Dark Dungeons I've rethought it especially to try and get some sort of genuine old school flavor into it. The 74-79 period provided a staggering amount of variation and I don't necessarily think Tyranny of Strong Regulation always took the right approach to some of these things.

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Re: If "Half-Elf", why not "Half-Magic-User"?

Post by Havard » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:20 pm

Hmmm...not really sure what you are trying to do with this? :)

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Re: If "Half-Elf", why not "Half-Magic-User"?

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:16 pm

A classic D&D elf is itself a hybrid of a fighter and magic-user. As for half-elves, they don't exist. The offspring of an elf and a human can be an elf or one of human classes: fighter, magic-user, cleric, or thief. If they belong to a human character class, they're human, although they might look superficially elven in appearance.

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Re: If "Half-Elf", why not "Half-Magic-User"?

Post by LimeOdyssey » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:19 am

Saying Half-Elves don't exist carries no more weight to me than having a Gygax claim to have come up with the "first" of anything. :)

Havard- I am puzzling out a fresh alternative here, seeing how it would have been if the Arneson / west coast tradition had prevailed, where inherited abilities and so on were all "classed out" rather than the race / class dichotomy prevailing. It grew out of an examination of the Dragon Masters material, where all the different dragons and fighting men have been "bred" to their final form, from other monster types effectively. In other words breeding a MU with a F gives Fs, MUs, and possibly "Elf" ie FMU; breeding FMU and F gives Fs, FMUs (Elves)... and... MU? Half-Elves?

It's a conceit but not an entirely idle one. :)

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Re: If "Half-Elf", why not "Half-Magic-User"?

Post by Havard » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:53 am

If the goal is to make new classes, I recommend using the documents found at Building the Perfect Class. :)

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Re: If "Half-Elf", why not "Half-Magic-User"?

Post by LimeOdyssey » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:10 pm

Havard wrote:If the goal is to make new classes, I recommend using the documents found at Building the Perfect Class. :)

-Havard

I've read it many times, and indeed a long time ago wrote a very similar document. I used to absolutely follow such formulations and thought they were brilliant. Same with spell creation rules that follow a very similar system.

However, I now categorically reject it and the philosophy behind it.

The game as presented is, before the expanded approach, quite traditionalist and human oriented. I am choosing to stick with that. Kirk is the central protagonist, Spock is the offsider. Similarly, Human Fighters are the de facto standard, humanoid animals or anything else whacky have to be rare in a "standard" type game. For me that means their level progression should be somewhere between quite difficult and theoretically possible but super unlikely. Making the expanded classes harder to progress in etc. reflects the in-game reason that they aren't common, don't fit in as well with the default game setting and confirms their outsider status. Even if they were campaign standard and humans were rare, it wouldn't really matter because if the weird class / race was default then no one would be advancing dramatically more quickly. Special Theory of Experience Relativity. :)


In the perfect class approach, he acknowledges a couple of anomalies, then ignores or "corrects" them. That's actually a logical problem for him. Magic-Users are a central figure, is what the xp charts tell me, and there is no justification for adjusting that. Likewise picking out the components of the classes removes the single most important component of the weirder ones like Mystic and Druid. Roleplaying. They're classes for people who want to roleplay. If that means they advance slower or something, so be it.

A different approach to classes and one that is more roleplaying based is in the Hollow World set, where cultural bias prevents different groups from using other items from higher tech levels etc. Adding that single feature to the standard classes actually diversifies characters dramatically with NO extra classes. However, for Dark Dungeons I am mixing it in with new classes and in the case of Amazon, Humanoid Animal etc. letting them be "overpowered" or "underpowered". In practice, I've never found such additional classes to imbalance play because not many people ever play them in the first place.

The one I added as an option, Wood Wizard, as a tribute to Mr. Gaylord, begins at Level 5 for Magic-Users. It adds animal companions to a Magic-User and puts them into more of a Druidical behaviour and mindset.

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Re: If "Half-Elf", why not "Half-Magic-User"?

Post by combatmedicreturns » Sun May 13, 2018 4:44 am

Or maybe some M-Us are in fact half-elves?
A man has a child with an elfmaid and their baby is born with magical talent?
The combination of elf spirit and man-soul gives the half-breed potentially greater magical might than his mother's folk can master, but it's not easy to learn to control such wild magic. He forgoes the practice of arms and focuses on learning his spellcraft.


No mechanical changes need for this option.

Just note that the PC/NPC's elfin looks and consider choosing Elvish as an extra language, if his INT allows for that.

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