Monday, June 16, 2014

What is the Justification for Rangers getting 2HD at 1st Level?

Rangers (and Monks) in AD&D 1e both get 2 Hit Dice at 1st level. If they have a Constitution bonus, they also get it twice at first level, giving Rangers a potential of 24 HPs to start out with (they get D8 for HD, not D10 like fighters and paladins.

I don't recall how it was for the ranger and monk in the OD&D supplements, but I've always wondered why these two classes started out with extra hit points at first level.

Was there ever a stated reason?


  1. Never saw a reason given. They are simply meant to be tough dudes. Its an incidence of a class being better at core functonality of another class (for a little while) as the hp benefit would allow a Ranger at 1st level to be a better fighter by durability.

  2. Because they are somebody idea of what the Dunedain of LOTR was supposed to be like in AD&D. See the original Strategic Review article. The LOTR connection was more blatant. And Gygax carried over much of the mechanics including the 2 HD while changing the tone to be more of a woodland warrior and friend of the Druid.

  3. I always assumed it was because Aragorn was like 90 years old so he was really tough.

    As for the monk, 2d4 compares favorably to 1d8 but not quite as good as 1d10... Just sort of a compromise I assume. No idea.

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  5. Justification? What heresy it that? ;)
    Just roll the dice! You get more dice to roll = more fun! :D

  6. The original Strategic Review article that introduced them didn't say. I think it was just someone making an uber-class. The original Ranger couldn't get a +% to earned experience, but instead earned 4 xp for every 3, so they got a +33% bonus to XP just for being rangers. And it gets worse from there. :)

  7. Always assumed the ranger got extra benefits for the same reason elves are so special: Lord of the Rings. No matter how much Gygax denied it was a huge influence, it's transparently obvious that it was.

  8. I for one was pleased when AD&D 2e "fixed" this anomaly and gave rangers the same HD as fighters and paladins. How's that for heresy? :)

    1. I concur with your heresy. But I think 2nd made a lot of good changes.

  9. Probably to make them different from other classes.

  10. 100% Aragorn. The author of the original class designed it to be his under class based on Aragorn, and thus it had to be better than any regular class. One of the guys on RPG net games with the old crew and recounts this whenever it's brought up.

  11. You might as well as why Druids get two spells at first level.

  12. Not sure if this came into the thought process, but IIRC, Gary used the HD system when grappling and overbearing, no? So perhaps it is because monks naturally are better at grappling, and rangers are really good at throwing off those hordes of overbearing orcs...


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