Sunday, November 18, 2012

ReReading the AD&D 1e Player's Handbook - Exceptional Strength and Con

After last night's game session, we started tossing thoughts and ideas back and forth about the new AD&D 1e campaign I'll be running. Somehow, Rangers became part of the conversation, and I mentioned that potentially, they could have 24 Hit Points at 1st level - (2) 8 sided hit dice and +4 per hit die if they had an 18 Constitution.

It was pointed out to me that Constitution bonuses above +2 are reserved for Fighters only. I never had played it as such, as we had always assumed it included the Fighter Subclasses, but I could see how the interpretation could go either way. Everyone insisted that Fighters and the Fighter Subclasses were eligible for Exceptional Strength for score of 18- "Note that only fighters are permitted to roll on the exceptional strength section of STRENGTH TABLE II: ABILITY ADJUSTMENTS."

Interestingly enough, it pretty much reads the same as Constitution. It mentions Fighters, but not the sub classes.

(edit: Con Bonus is for Fighters and Fighter Subclasses p12 - 

Hit Point Adjustment indicates the subtraction from or addition to each hit die for a character (Hit dice are explained fully under the appropriate heading.) Note that subtraction can never reduce any hit die below 1, i.e. if a die is rolled and a 1 comes up, or if a 2 is rolled and the penalty due to constitution is -2, the die is read as 1 (hit point) regardless of subtractions.

Note also that the only class of characters which is entitled to bonuses
above +2 per hit die is fighters (including the fighter sub-classes paladins
and rangers ). Thus, even though o cleric, magic-user, or thief has a
constitution of 17 or 18, the additional hit points for each hit die due to
superior constitution is +2.)

Unearthed Arcana infers that Rangers at the very least get exceptional strength, as it's part of the Racial Limits Chart for Rangers (Elven Rangers with exceptional strength - 18/76+ - can reach as far as 10th level).

Barbarians are inferred to get a Con Bonus up to 18 and beyond - "barbarians gain + 2 hit points per point of constitution over 14, as opposed to the normal constitution bonus for other classes."

Moving on to G1, we have a 9th level Ranger with a Con of 18 and 10 HD - 93 HP out of a Max 100 if he were capped at +2 for Con - more likely he was getting plus 4 for Con, giving a max of 120 possible, which seems believable.

I'm fairly confident that Exceptional Strength and Constitution apply to Fighters and their sub-classes in AD&D 1e, but how do you / did you play it?


  1. The 1E Players handbook outright says it is for fighters (including the fighter subclasses paladins and rangers) p.12

  2. @Erik - noted under Notes Regarding Constitution Table