What on @#&! (replace with appropriate game world) am I going to do with half-orcs now? Fret not. I do have a few ideas to set them apart from your basic fighter AND make them feel a tad beastly!
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D&D BECMI only offers gnomes as monsters (for example, as listed in the Rules Cyclopedia, page 180). I’m sure plenty of other DMs have created their own versions inspired from AD&D or present-day D&D 5e. Not one to follow anyone else’s footsteps, I decided to start from scratch. This article connects with several earlier ones revising the original character classes and addressing the issue of their spell progressions.
Previous “experimental” articles recently addressed a desire to boost low level characters used in the D&D BECMI game. So far, the spell progression tables for magic-users and clerics have been addressed, I’ve given the elf class my take on related issues, as well as the classic thief’s skill progression table. I haven’t addressed the classic fighter and dwarf classes since I didn’t think they needed anything extra. One more topic remains therefore: halflings, the grandest of little heroes.
Following the previous article and logical questions from readers, here’s my attempt at tinkering with elves. The original goal was to make a few more spells available to low level characters. This was easy enough with magic-users and clerics. Elves (as described in the D&D BECMI rules) are decidedly more problematic. In the standard game, elves are “kinda/sorta” limited to 10th level. This never made sense to me, and it looks pretty awkward. In the optional rules introduced in the RC, page 266, level limitations are done away with, and elves are enabled to acquire spells at the same rate as human magic-users. I didn’t like this either, given that BECMI elves are basically a hybrid fighter class. Should they obtain as many spells as specialized magic-users? Maybe not. That’s a lot of variables. Let’s first have a look at how elves compare with the magic-user and fighter classes.
Out of curiosity, I generated alternate spell progression tables for D&D BECMI magic-users and clerics. There were two reasons for looking into this. The first is that 1st level characters start with only one spell (or none at all in the case of the cleric), which a lot of players stumble upon. The other reason is that by-the-book first level parties are incredibly weak, and especially in the case of the magic-user, they don’t contribute all that much to a game session, other than role-playing or pitching ideas. It’s all rather limiting. Spellcasters should be in the business of casting spells.