Friday, October 19, 2012
OK, I've found some time to blog today, the eve of my birthday! Seems appropriate that I should have this little bit of luxury today, eh? Anyway, some thoughts occurred to me last night and I wanted to put this out there for the gaming blogosphere think tank, to get some comments back (I hope). I'm looking for people more steeped in D&D's creation lore than I am.
So, it seems the common wisdom regarding the Classic/Basic D&D classes is that there was no attempt to give them balance. Is this something that was confirmed by Gygax/Arneson? This whole thing seems counter-intuitive to me. It appears that, when looking at the classes, a party should really have a mix of classes, including the demi-humans. I mean, sure, you have the human classes that all serve distinct purposes. But I have to think that the demi-humans were in there for a reason other than to give people more fantasical character choices.
The inclusion of demi-humans, to me, takes away from the argument that Gygax wanted a human-centric game. I'm not as familiar with all the ins-and-outs of the demi-human classes, but I think they generally have better saves (especially the halfling), right? And the elves are the ur-version of the fighter-magic user combination in the D&D system, correct? Sort of the first occurance of dual-classing in the game, right? And sure there's the ability to see in the dark, being better at finding hidden doors, etc.
I guess what I'm saying is that I think the game's creators wanted players to see ALL the Basic classes as viable options, and therefore all the classes can play integral roles in a party. Some blog posts I've read over the last couple of years seem to poo-poo the demi-human classes as being bastardized versions of the human classes (with the exception of the cleric, which doesn't have a demi-human counterpart) that were shoehorned in so that the game would have more "fantasy" to it. I find it hard to believe that Gygax/Arneson would put the demi-human options into the game if they weren't intended to be of equal value during play. I think seeing the non-human classes as being second fiddle to the human classes is wrong-headed.
Now, I could be totally wrong. Maybe there's a Gygax interview out there where he explicitly states that the demi-humans were sort of bolted onto the game at first (in OD&D/the LBBs?) and then became solidified as the system was edited/revised.
So, there's my bit of rambling for the day. Sometimes I shock myself with how little I know about D&D lore. Any insight is appreciated. If there's a good blog post that someone's already written about this, please let me know. Don't want you all to have to reinvent the wheel to answer my questions.