Monday, August 22, 2011

The Red Headed Step-Children of AD&D - Unearthed Arcana - Races

When I was a teenager, I thought the Unearthed Arcana was the best thing ever for AD&D. New classes, new spells, new races - new everything. Even better, everything now went up to "Eleven" (Alert! Spinal Tap reference).

It takes a little aging to realize the mistakes of my youth.

Lets look at the Drow. Innate spell ability? Check. Penalties in sunlight? Check. 90% of all adventures were underground at the time? Check!

Wild Elves always made me think of slightly taller dwarves without beards and with long hair.

Svirfnenlin - I still have no idea how to pronounce it. More innate spell abilities.

Duergar - evil dwarves that aren't so dwarfish.

Hmm, all these races are antisocial, xenophobic types. Perfect for the average party of AD&D adventurers.


  1. The one thing those UA races lacked was a "Getting riddled with arrows at the town gate rule".

    i.e.- drow and etc as presented in UA are much more playable if NPC's in the campaign react to the oddball characters as if they were typical members of their otherwise monsterish race, which would be to riddle them with arrows and call out the heavy guns, their human and traditional Demi-human allies would find themselves labelled as renegades and outlawed.

  2. well, one could try to do a reverse dungeon campaign and try to fight for the other side.
    Actually, has anyone ever played Duergar or Svirfneblin? I can understand the Drow, even before Drizzt there was a little bit of glamour around them. But Duergar?

  3. Man, I hated drwo and wild elves BITD -- drow for the same reason all right-minded grognards do, and wild elves because it made no sense to me that ANY kind of elf would be inherently stronger than humans, dwarves, and half-orcs. +2 to strength? Are you kidding me?!?

    But I did kind of like the new weapons, demihuman level limits, and pole arm article at the end!

    Never rolled a character that qualified for barbarian or cavalier, but thought cavaliers with their stat improvements were BS too.


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