Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Of Racial Classes and Mundane Spells

Class as Race

Class + Race

Racial Classes

The first two are what we see most often in the OSR. "Class as Race" is the OD&D through BECMI method, where if you were anything but human, your class was decided by your race.

"Class + Race" is the AD&D method. Different races have access to different classes or even different class combinations (mulitclassing).

Racial classes are something I've rarely seen. Adventurer Conqueror King System uses the method for it's non-human races. Class options for non-humans are limited to racially specific classes. These classes often have aspect of one or more "human" or normal classes, but they are unique to each race.

I'm working on a project dealing with"racial classes". We'll see how well I can nail it (or not). A side result of this has been the more mundane spells that I've been coming up with. They certainly aren't specifically pegged to one race or another, but they are useful in helping flavor some of the classes.

I suspect there will be many more mundane spells making their way to the blog (and probably more Racial Classes too).


  1. Since the first one is about done you can let the cat out of the bag. :D

  2. I am generally in favor of Race + Class for generic games. I tend to see racial classes as working in more specific campaign settings. So, for example, in AD&D the Paladin is human-only (and thus a racial class). But I could easily imagine a scenario where a dwarf could be a Paladin (to pick a rather compatible race) without any difficulty.

    The decision not to allow it is to generate flavor.

  3. I blogged about races and classes (inspired by your original posts on the ACKS game) way back in February. http://daddyrolleda1.blogspot.com/2012/02/of-races-and-classes.html

    I really like the idea of having racial classes that are specific to each race, but I think what tends to happen is that they actually end up limiting how each race is defined - if you have a Dwarven Miner class, for example, that can be taken by any dwarf from anywhere in the world, then you're basically saying "all dwarves are the same."

    It's essentially the same thing, at least to me, as having a "Samurai" class that any human could take as a class, no matter what culture/background he came from.

  4. Here's my take on it:

    Racial classes should be available as a flavor option - they may fit in some campaigns and not others.

    If there are four racial classes per race, the GM may use none, all, some in his campaign.

    I also feel they should be unique, but the flavor should me somewhat maleable - ACKS has some racial classes that are strongly tied to the default setting that isn't available - not cool

  5. Joseph wrote:

    But I could easily imagine a scenario where a dwarf could be a Paladin (to pick a rather compatible race) without any difficulty.

    The original paladin in the Greyhawk supplement, which was then a prestige class for fighters, did not mention that it was limited to humans, so some interpreted it as being open to any lawful fighting man including those of non-human races. Roger E. Moore mentioned that some of these dwarven paladins were still running around (having been grandfathered into AD&D) in Dragon magazine back in the '80s.


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