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    Default Re: Origin & Evolution of Player Classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    (1E/2E don't really have a skill system).
    That is incorrect.

    The system used for many years was: you roll a d20 and if you score your attribute or less, you succeed. (DM tells you add or subtract "x" if the situation warrants it). I can go back to the late 70's and recall using that, but I do not know where the DM got it from. Might have been in a Dragon article, might have been something that he had learned at a Con. Not sure.

    The beauty of that approach was that it could be applied to nearly anything; you didn't need a table to administer it.

    2e took that practice, which a lot of table had been using for years, and formalized that into the non weapons proficiency system.

    2e's more narrowly codifying it was, IMO, a step back rather than a step forward, but I do admit that it fell into the old "We Have A Table For Everything!" approach that EGG had established in the AD&D 1e DMG.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-10-26 at 03:29 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
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    Default Re: Origin & Evolution of Player Classes

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    I can go back to the late 70's and recall using that, but I do not know where the DM got it from. Might have been in a Dragon article, might have been something that he had learned at a Con. Not sure.
    So this "skill system" is not in the main rulebooks, and is essentially "roll something the DM made up". That's precisely what I mean by that 1E doesn't really have a skill system
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    Default Re: Origin & Evolution of Player Classes

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    That is incorrect.

    The system used for many years was: you roll a d20 and if you score your attribute or less, you succeed. (DM tells you add or subtract "x" if the situation warrants it). I can go back to the late 70's and recall using that, but I do not know where the DM got it from. Might have been in a Dragon article, might have been something that he had learned at a Con. Not sure.

    The beauty of that approach was that it could be applied to nearly anything; you didn't need a table to administer it.

    2e took that practice, which a lot of table had been using for years, and formalized that into the non weapons proficiency system.

    2e's more narrowly codifying it was, IMO, a step back rather than a step forward, but I do admit that it fell into the old "We Have A Table For Everything!" approach that EGG had established in the AD&D 1e DMG.
    Meh...even within 2e things weren't really stable.
    And pre2e I never knew of any formal rules for non-thief skills. Sure Roll-below-relevant-attribute made some sense and was almost certainly a common reaction but I know I never found a FORMAL one.

    and in 2e things basically started that way too. But both secondary skills and proficiency were optional rules found in later splat books (which IIRC were not supposed to be used together) and I think later runs of the core book. But I remember the excitement my group had with I think some of the blue splats that had it for what to us was the first time. But within only a couple of years and the rise of the kit system the skill system seem to become normalized and is the basis of even the modern version.
    The dropped system was much more the if it matches your list in a general way (sailor, tailor, candlestick maker, etc) the DM would let you pull off basically anything in the logical realm but there were not many dice rolls involved.

    EDIT: So I'd say 2e ended with a skill system but I wouldn't say it started with one. (also spelling)
    Last edited by sktarq; 2021-10-26 at 04:30 PM.

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    Default Re: Origin & Evolution of Player Classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    Bard was a spinoff of Rogue.
    No; the first Bard class appeared in The Strategic Review (precursor to The Dragon), which stated, "A Bard is a jack-of-all-trades in Dungeons and Dragons, he is both an amateur thief and magic user as well as a good fighter."

    Quote Originally Posted by HouseRules View Post
    Edit:
    Original: Dwarf, Elf, Hobbit, Human; Cleric, Fighter, Wizard
    Supplement I Greyhawk: Half Elf; Paladin, Ranger, Thief
    Supplement II Blackmoor: Assassin, Monk
    Supplement III Eldritch Wizardry: Druid, Psionicist
    A couple of slight corrections:
    Ranger was introduced in an article in The Strategic Review, but was not included in any original D&D book.
    Psionics were introduced in Eldritch Wizardry, but not the separate class Psionicist. Fighting Men, Magic Users, Clerics, Paladins, Thieves, and Assassins could use psionics (with the right rolls), but monks and druids could not.

    Quote Originally Posted by dafrca View Post
    Wasn't Rogue just the renaming of Thief then later Thief added back as a subclass of Rogue?

    The way my brain works I am unsure I am remembering things right. LOL

    Basically, tes, but you're turning things around. In AD&D 2e, Rogue included both Thief and Bard. Rogue became the cleaned-up name for Thief in 3e.

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    Default Re: Origin & Evolution of Player Classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    So this "skill system" is not in the main rulebooks, and is essentially "roll something the DM made up". That's precisely what I mean by that 1E doesn't really have a skill system
    It's there, you just have to dig for it a bit. In 2e AD&D it was under the heading of nonweapon proficiencies. It was an "optional rule"... in much the same way that feats and multiclassing today are "optional rules", in that I've never heard tell of a serious group running without them.
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    Default Re: Origin & Evolution of Player Classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    Basically, tes, but you're turning things around. In AD&D 2e, Rogue included both Thief and Bard. Rogue became the cleaned-up name for Thief in 3e.
    Hum, I would swear I played a thief in the old White Box games and later they became a rogue but maybe not. After a while they all start to blend together in my mind.
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude... seeming to be true within the context of the game world.

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    Default Re: Origin & Evolution of Player Classes

    Note: My background was red box/blue box for a short while and then straight into the first issuance of the AD&D books. That certainly influences answers below.

    In Red/blue box land the classes were Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, Thief, Dwarf, Elf, Halfling. As discussed, the first four were meant to emulate their progenitors on the miniature battlefield and the final three brought the elements of fantasy to the forefront...and gave us the first multi-class options (dang elves!).

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    Paladin, Ranger and Barbarian started life as sub-classes of fighter. I believe first published in Dragon, then in source books. It was only after the playing public fully accepted them that they became their own distinct classes.

    iirc the Barbarian class was only fully developed after “Conan the Barbarian” was released, and the class took on many of the tropes associated with that movie. The writing of Howard obviously contributed a lot, but the movie adaption was the bigger influence. Also mixed in were various historical types, with the Viking Raiders generally and the Bezerker in particular being the most prominent. The “history” was more soft history based on popular perceptions, not hard history based on known facts and sources. Think more Kirk Douglas’ “The Vikings” than any academic treatise.
    Frankly I think the Viking was the more impactful of the systemic influences, while Conan was much of the optics. The defining characteristic was definitely the Rage.

    The Cavalier was the answer to "I want to play a knight but don't want all that holy stuff". Both came out in Unearthed Arcana...and both were considered OP before people used OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    Edit to add.
    D&D was never my main thing so I may not have this 100% right, but I blieve the last true new class added to D&D was the Rogue. As discussed above Dragon would publish optional character templates, which if they got traction got into a sourcebook and if they took off then became a new character class.
    Druid was a spinoff of Cleric
    Sorcerer and Warlock were spinoffs of Wizard
    Bard was a spinoff of Rogue.
    As has already been mentioned, bards were more than a jumped-up thief...the path to bardhood was a long and tortuous road. The first effectively 3-class character.

    Illusionists were the first Magic-User subclass...likely created to give someone the ability to play the gnome.

    We mustn't forget the Monk class from AD&D either, before it became a 3e joke. Obviously a mishmash of eastern and western monk ideals...looking mostly like Friar Tuck, fighting mostly like Kwai Chang Kane (yes, irony intended).

    I do recall a stream of classes or class mods from Dragon, but I really only got on board with the magazine around issue 45 or so. Still, I worked towards backissues and the Best Ofs, so we got Illusionists, Rangers (reprinted from SR), Anti-Paladins, Samurai, Healers, Ninja (of course!) and the barbarian pregenitor Berserkers...all meant to fill a niche someone identified from stories, movies or myths and legends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dafrca View Post
    Hum, I would swear I played a thief in the old White Box games and later they became a rogue but maybe not. After a while they all start to blend together in my mind.
    I am not from that generation but it goes like that AFAIK

    OD&D, AD&D 1e: Thief is one of the classes
    AD&D 2e: Groups are a concept which are more general than classes, you can compare it with 4e power sources, but with the focus on the resulting role instead of the origin. One of the four fundamental groups is called Rogue and includes Thief who is very similar to previous Thief. Also in that group are Bards and Assassins, Dark Sun Traders etc.
    D&D 3e: The class which is closest to the previous Thief is called Rogue. The concept of groups is abolished.
    Last edited by Saint-Just; 2021-10-26 at 06:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dafrca View Post
    Hum, I would swear I played a thief in the old White Box games and later they became a rogue but maybe not. After a while they all start to blend together in my mind.
    That's correct. The Thief class was introduced in the first supplement, Greyhawk. In AD&D 2e, Rogues included Thieves and Bards. Thief turned into Rogue in 3e.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    So this "skill system" is not in the main rulebooks, and is essentially "roll something the DM made up". That's precisely what I mean by that 1E doesn't really have a skill system
    Quote Originally Posted by Catullus64 View Post
    It's there, you just have to dig for it a bit. In 2e AD&D it was under the heading of nonweapon proficiencies. It was an "optional rule"... in much the same way that feats and multiclassing today are "optional rules", in that I've never heard tell of a serious group running without them.
    IIRc D&D's original skill system was introduced in 1e's Wilderness Survival Guide and Dungeoneers Survival Guide (whichever game first in 1986) in the form of non-weapon proficiencies and BECMI's The Grand Duchy of Karameikos Gazetteer in the form of General Skills (1987). Both used the d20 roll under attribute + additional skill levels.

    NWPs weren't called Skills, but that's what they were. And given the late date, it's entirely possible they'd been in a strategic review / dragon magazine long before that.

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    Default Re: Origin & Evolution of Player Classes

    Another fun bit of evolution. In 1E/2E, cleric spells only go up to level 7, although a later book introduced "quest spells" which were basically one-off spells of a higher power. In 3E, cleric spells go up to level 9, and several of those quest spells return as 8th- or 9th-level spells.

    In 1E, wizards don't have a lot of spells per day. In 2E (and probably in some 1E dragon article or whatnot) you can become a specialist wizard which has an extra spell of each level. In 3E, you get more spells based on your intelligence (in 2E, clerics got extra spells for wisdom, but wizards did not). In 4E/5E/PF, you get certain spells at will. So the wizard evolves from saving his spells for the right moment, to someone who always casts a spell every round.
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    Default Re: Origin & Evolution of Player Classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    So this "skill system" is not in the main rulebooks, and is essentially "roll something the DM made up". That's precisely what I mean by that 1E doesn't really have a skill system
    *Face palm* (Thank you @Tanarii for the follow up). The play's the thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    I know I never found a FORMAL one.
    You don't need a formal one to play the game and have a great deal of fun. RAW-limited-handicaps get special parking places at the 7-11, I guess.
    So I'd say 2e ended with a skill system but I wouldn't say it started with one. (also spelling)
    NWP were in the PHB that I have. Not sure where our disconnect is. Are you hung up on the word "optional" in that chapter? vHuman is "optional" but (a) commonly used and (b) a standard if one plays AL games, in the current edition.
    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    OD&D, AD&D 1e: Thief is one of the classes
    AD&D 2e: Groups are a concept which are more general than classes, you can compare it with 4e power sources, but with the focus on the resulting role instead of the origin. One of the four fundamental groups is called Rogue and includes Thief who is very similar to previous Thief. Also in that group are Bards and Assassins, Dark Sun Traders etc.
    D&D 3e: The class which is closest to the previous Thief is called Rogue. The concept of groups is abolished.
    The group/class/sub class structure began with Ranger (Strategic Review) as sub class of Fighting Man; Illusionist (Strategic Review) as sub class of Magic User and Paladin (Greyhawk) as sub class of fighter, then Monk (Blackmoor) and Druid (Eldritch Wizardry) as sub classes of Cleric, and Assassin (Blackmoor)as sub class of thief.
    (AD&D 1e formalized that).
    Bard was its own proposed class from Strategic Review that got weirdly mashed up in PHB for AD&D 1e. Fighter/Thief/Bard.
    What AD&D 2e did was take the above class/subclass and repackage them slightly: and they rolled in a lot of stuff that had been kicking around in supplements and the deluge of stuff in Dragon Magazine for about a decade.

    I think it was also informed by seeing some of the things other games were doing and deciding "Hey, that's not a bad idea, let's do something like that!".

    This made Thief and Bard a subclass of something, so they called it Rogue. That was related to two two things: get rid of the Assassin except as an NPC (the whole of 2e was filled bowdlerization of the game in response to social pressure and a desire not to have bad press) - Assassin didn't come back until later in the edition as a kit) and it returned the Bard to being a class (SR was the origin) rather than a bizarre Prestige Class prequel thing in the 1e PHB.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Another fun bit of evolution. In 1E/2E, cleric spells only go up to level 7, although a later book introduced "quest spells" which were basically one-off spells of a higher power.
    Yeah, which includes druid spells since druids are a sub class of cleric (or priest in 2e). FWIW, there was no spell higher than 6th level in the original game (Three Books before Greyhawk).
    In 1E, wizards don't have a lot of spells per day. In 2E (and probably in some 1E dragon article or whatnot) you can become a specialist wizard which has an extra spell of each level.
    In 1E, this had already started with the "bonus spells based on higher wisdom scores" for clerics, which I think was done to induce more people to play clerics. (This from memory, but it may have been mentioned in an article in Dragon; it's been a long time).
    In 3E, you get more spells based on your intelligence (in 2E, clerics got extra spells for wisdom, but wizards did not). In 4E/5E/PF, you get certain spells at will. So the wizard evolves from saving his spells for the right moment, to someone who always casts a spell every round.
    Yeah, Wizards got a power boost in 3.x.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-10-27 at 08:19 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!

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    Default Re: Origin & Evolution of Player Classes

    One of the class-history narratives I find most interesting is the history of making multiple attacks.

    AD&D: Multiple attacks belong to the Warrior-group as a function of their level (Fighters, Rangers, Paladins, etc.) Because of how AD&D initiative works, attacks might be staggered across a round. You would also spend a pretty sizable band of levels making 3/2 Attacks per round, which never failed to feel strange to me. I think there might have been extra attacks from the extreme end of Weapon Specialization (Fighters only), but Weapon Specialization is confusing always gets me going on a rant, so I won't look too closely into it. But the upshot was (as I understand; my experience is limited) that while high-level casters were crazy powerful and good for solving big problems, a Fighter was still your best bet to kill something big and nasty very quickly.

    3rd Edition: Multiple attacks for all classes are folded into one mechanic, the Base Attack Bonus; when it gets high enough, you get additional attacks at a substantially lower bonus (meaning that when you get them, they practically always miss, hooray). Also you can't do anything else on the turn on which you intend to actually make these multiple attacks, because now there's such a thing as a Full Round Action (as always, there were feats to get around this, somewhat). Sufficeth to say this was probably the most user-unfriendly era for extra attacks. Incidentally, this was probably also the nadir of caster-martial imbalance.

    4th Edtion: My experience is limited here, but I'm pretty sure there's no baseline mechanic for making extra attacks, but most melee classes had numerous powers that essentially added up to some kind of multiattack routine.

    5th Edition: Extra Attack is a specific feature of certain levels in a class, carefully worded so as not to stack from multiclassing. In a clean break from 3.5, you can attack, move, have a chat, wipe your nose, maybe take a Bonus Action, and then make your other attack; profound quality-of-life improvement over 3rd editon. Outside of situational additional attacks from feats and subclasses, only the Fighter really gets a scaling version of it.

    My knowledge doesn't really stretch back into the antediluvian days of Chainmail and BECMI and the like. Scholars of the period, feel free to fill in.
    Last edited by Catullus64; 2021-10-27 at 09:52 AM.
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    Default Re: Origin & Evolution of Player Classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Catullus64 View Post
    One of the class-history narratives I find most interesting is the history of making multiple attacks.
    Don't get me started on that ... the lack of verisimilitude for a 1 minute round coming across as 1 attack used to drive a lot of Fighing Man/Ranger/Paladin players crazy in those days .

    5th Edition: Extra Attack is a specific feature of certain levels in a class, carefully worded so as not to stack from multiclassing. In a clean break from 3.5, you can attack, move, have a chat, wipe your nose, maybe take a Bonus Action, and then make your other attack; profound quality-of-life improvement over 3rd editon. Outside of situational additional attacks from feats and subclasses, only the Fighter really gets a scaling version of it.
    And the round is scaled down to a shorter time period
    My knowledge doesn't really stretch back into the antediluvian days of Chainmail and BECMI and the like. Scholars of the period, feel free to fill in.
    Against 1 HD or less monsters, a Fighting man got one attack per level. Example was given in Strategic Review #2. Above that it didn't apply.
    In Chainmail, a Hero figure against a regular man figure rolled more dice than the other one did.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chainmail 3d edition page 30
    HEROES (and Anti-heroes): Included in this class are certain well-known knights, leaders of army contingents, and similar men. They have the fighting ability of four figures, the class being dependent on the arms and equipment of the Hero types themselves, who can range from Light Foot to Heavy Horse. Heroes (and Anti-heroes) need never check morale, and they add 1 to the die or dice of their unit (or whatever unit they are with).
    One hit kills in the Chainmail system.
    Notes
    Quote Originally Posted by Chainmail, 3d 3dition, page 30
    A Hero-type, armed with a bow, shoots a dragon passing within range overhead out of the air and kills it on a two dice roll of 10 or better, with 2 plus 1 on the dice firing an enchanted arrow. Rangers are Hero-types with a +1 on attack dice.
    The rolls used are 2d6.
    A Ranger fighting anti-hero rolls 2d6+1, anti-hero rolls 2d6. Score to hit is on a table, but for hero versus hero the Target Number is 7.

    Roll TWO dice: (that means 2d6 in our current parlance).

    Quote Originally Posted by Chainmail, 3d edition, p. 44
    Score UNDER total shown above means NO EFFECT
    Score EQUAL to total means defender must FALL BACK 1 MOVE
    Score OVER the total shown above indicates that the DEFENDER IS KILLED
    As you can see, this system left Dave Arneson in his early Blackmoor days with a staggeringly high body count and players being not so sure about how fun that was. They had to come up with a different combat system for what eventually became D&D.

    Back to the Original Topic:

    The Original Ranger was a Hero +1 in Chainmail.
    (Chainmail, 3d edition, page 30)
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-10-27 at 11:27 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!

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    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    Against 1 HD or less monsters, a Fighting man got one attack per level. Example was given in Strategic Review #2. Above that it didn't apply.
    https://songoftheblade.wordpress.com...evel-monsters/ discusses it. I find it interesting that in transition between OD&D and AD&D attacks stopped working against 1hd-exactly-monsters (so.. orcs).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    https://songoftheblade.wordpress.com...evel-monsters/ discusses it. I find it interesting that in transition between OD&D and AD&D attacks stopped working against 1hd-exactly-monsters (so.. orcs).
    Yeah, I don't know why they did that, might have been a DM vs Player thing among the DMs at TSR. I remember my third level fighter tearing through goblins though ... but hobgoblins (1+1 IIRC) were a whole different story!
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-10-27 at 11:29 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!

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    Default Re: Origin & Evolution of Player Classes

    Along the same lines as the multiple attacks history, here's a brief chronicle of Sneak Attack.

    AD&D: No feature called Sneak Attack, but rather the Thief's ability to Backstab, dealing double (and eventually triple, and quadruple) damage with an attack and gaining a THAC0 bonus to it when attacking from behind (that latter one being crucial for a class with a pretty mediocre THAC0 progression.) Double damage to a single attack with no other modifiers may seem pretty mediocre as a class's sole combat feature, but it's actually rather scary when you consider the fairly low HP of most AD&D monsters. The feature's wording says the creature needs to be unaware of the Thief, and also specifies that the creature must be humanoid in its general construction, and the thief needs to be able to reach its back.

    3rd Edition: Now actually called Sneak Attack, it's a scaling bonus of d6s that you deal as extra damage to a creature any time it is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC, which covers a pretty wide range of circumstances; in 3rd edition you were "flat-footed" in combat until you took your first turn, and didn't get your Dex bonus to AC, so a Rogue who wins initiative over an enemy can get their Sneak Attack. It also applies when flanking. But this is 3rd Edition, so of course there has to be a severely limiting handicap, which is that Sneak Attack is ineligible to target a vast number of creature types who "lack discernible anatomy." I have no idea why plants are said to lack anatomy. It was an immense pain in the neck. For 5e players, you'll note that Sneak Attack lacked its once-per-turn restriction, and Rogues (like everyone else, see above) could get multiple attacks, so often a Rogue build was focused on getting in as many (otherwise weak) attacks as possible to trigger Sneak Attack damage.

    4th Edition: Sneak Attack is still a scaling damage bonus, albeit slower than its 3e progression. Now it's tied to something called Combat Advantage, a bonus-to-hit that you get from a wide variety of conditions, including flanking. Like 5e after it, 4th Edition sensibly decides to scrap the limitations on creature types that you can Sneak Attack, to the general rejoicing of Rogues everywhere.

    5th Edition: We return to 3.5 dice progression (+1d6 per two Rogue levels). Unlike in 3.5, Rogues have no innate multiattack, and the bonus is explicitly gated to be only once per turn, so Rogues have solid, but never crazy damage output. But Sneak Attack is now at its most convenient to use, being tied only to advantage or having an ally adjacent to the enemy, and still has no creature type restrictions. I have to say that as a main Rogue player, life has never been this good for Sneak Attacking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catullus64 View Post
    Along the same lines as the multiple attacks history, here's a brief chronicle of Sneak Attack.
    Good point.

    It strikes me that sneak attack in AD&D sounds scary but really isn't. Rogues don't qualify for "exceptional strength", can't take weapon specialization, and have fairly limited proficiency. So a rogue might deal 1d6+1 damage on a regular attack, and 2d6+2 or even 3d6+3 on a sneak attack... and that's just fairly lacklustre when a fighter does 1d10+6 on a regular hit and gets more attacks.

    Also worth noting that Pathfinder fixes 3E's issue that too many creatures are immune to sneak attack.

    So overall, sneak attack evolves from something that you rarely use (in early editions) to something you basically do every round (in later editions); kind of like wizard spells.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    It strikes me that sneak attack in AD&D sounds scary but really isn't. Rogues don't qualify for "exceptional strength", can't take weapon specialization, and have fairly limited proficiency. So a rogue might deal 1d6+1 damage on a regular attack, and 2d6+2 or even 3d6+3 on a sneak attack... and that's just fairly lacklustre when a fighter does 1d10+6 on a regular hit and gets more attacks.
    That is true for the pure thief but dual classing/multiclassing meant you could combine it with all the fighter goodies and also the powerful weapons.

    But in early addition it was never meant as a combat feature. It was an ambush/surprise attack feature. It was never intended as something that lifted the thief to the combat potential of the fighter. Only 3E started to have all classes being combattants foremost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    That is true for the pure thief but dual classing/multiclassing meant you could combine it with all the fighter goodies and also the powerful weapons.

    But in early addition it was never meant as a combat feature. It was an ambush/surprise attack feature. It was never intended as something that lifted the thief to the combat potential of the fighter. Only 3E started to have all classes being combattants foremost.
    Yes. And I'll mention that how surprise was handled in the original and AD&D game (usually by a die roll) figured into when to use sneak attack.

    Aside: in 5e surprise isn't mechanically triggered, which makes for a bit of clunkiness in the Rogue/Assassin features that rely on surprise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Also worth noting that Pathfinder fixes 3E's issue that too many creatures are immune to sneak attack.

    So overall, sneak attack evolves from something that you rarely use (in early editions) to something you basically do every round (in later editions); kind of like wizard spells.
    Then, as noted, 5e abolished sneak attack immunity entirely And made it easier to use at range than at any time in the game's history imo.
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    There's some nice videos on the youtube channel DM It All on the origin of the monk and the rogue. They get into some of the history of those two classes... even if it's under the premise of calling them the 'worst' classes.
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    People always talk about the early fighters and early magic users. In fact so much that many believe that the thief was the third class introduced.

    What is with the early clerics ? Were they that bad or uninspirig ?
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2021-11-14 at 02:20 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    People always talk about the early fighters and early magic users. In fact so much that many believe that the thief was the third class introduced.

    What is with the early clerics ? Were they that bad or uninspirig ?
    Interesting question.

    My gut reaction is: Clerics haven't changed as much as the other classes since those days. Sure, the spell list evolved, but AD&D Cleric and 3.5e Cleric felt pretty similar tome...at least in comparison to Fighter, MU/Wizard or Thief/Rogue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    What is with the early clerics ? Were they that bad or uninspirig ?
    A big difference is that in 2E, every divine spell belongs to a domain. The generic cleric from the PHB gets all of them (well, except for certain druid-specific domains), but the idea is that if you worship a particular deity, then he grants a specific set of domains. And anything from other domains, you just can't cast.

    Whereas in 3E, most divine spells aren't in a domain. Every cleric gets the whole cleric list, and in addition you get two domains which grant specific bonus spells (some of which aren't on the cleric list).

    Note that wizards face a similar restriction. The default for 3E and later is that you can pretty much learn whatever spell you want; whereas the default for 1E/2E is that you can learn only the spells you happen to find on your adventure, and you have to make a roll to succesfully learn them. So putting a spell combo together is much less likely.

    In addition, the idea that clerics can out-fight a fighter is mostly from 3E, not 2E. This is in part because of divine metamagic, and in part because some of the self-buffs in 3E are just better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    People always talk about the early fighters and early magic users. In fact so much that many believe that the thief was the third class introduced.

    What is with the early clerics ? Were they that bad or uninspirig ?
    2nd ed phb basically had 2 clerics. The generic cleric and the specialty/mythos priest. generic cleric is as mentioned: access to most spheres and can turn undead, can use all armour and shields but are restricted to blunt/bludgeoning weapons. Note that generic and specialty priests in 2e share the same ThAC0 and Save progression, as well as Prof/NWProf charts.

    Here are 3 examples of specialty priests from my personal perpetually being worked on document
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    Boccob - TN
    Alignment - Any Neutral.
    Attributes - Int 14 or Wis 16
    Weapons allowed - dagger, flail, knife, mace, sling, staff, staff-sling
    Armor allowed - nonmetal
    Raiments - purple robes with gold trim
    Spheres - astral, charm, creation(min), divination, elemental all (min), guardian (min),summoning (min),
    Special Spells - disc of concordant opposition
    Special Powers -
    1) cast all divination spells as if two levels higher,
    7) commune
    10) able to use magical items normally usable only by wizards;
    Turn Undead - no

    Ehlonna - NG
    Alignment - any good
    Attributes - Wis 13 or Dex 13 or Cha13
    Weapons allowed - dagger, knife, longbow (and arrows), long sword, spear, staff, staff-sling, sling;
    Armor allowed - leather, padded leather, or elven chain
    Raiments - pale green robes
    Spheres - Animal, Charm, Combat(min), Creation(min), Elemental. (air, earth, water), Guardian(min),Healing, Necromantic(min), Plant, Protection(min), Sun,Weather
    Special Spells - stalk
    Special Powers -
    1) Tracking proficiency;
    5) move silently as ranger of same level;
    7) hide in woodland (as per hiding in shadows) as ranger of same level
    Turn Undead - turn at - 3 levels

    Erythnul - CE
    Alignment - CE, NE
    Attributes - Str 14 or Con 14
    Weapons allowed - any (mace 1st);
    Armor allowed - any
    Raiments - rust colored garments, blood-stained robes for ceremonies
    Spheres - Combat, Creation, Healing (rev), Necromantic (rev), Protection(min), Summoning, Sun(min)(rev),
    Special Spells - none
    Special Powers -
    4) fear (Wiz4);
    7) strength (increased by ld8 points as for a warrior) (Wiz2);
    9) once per day, the priest may enchant an edged weapon for 1 round/level to act as a sword of wounding
    Turn Undead -command at -4 levels

    So to break it down for the 2e uninitiated

    First: there are specific requirements of both alignment and stats, in addition to the 9 wis minimum needed to be a priest. Different gods demand different things from their clergy's finest beyond just a similar mindset to their own.

    Weapons and Armour proficiencies can vary quite a bit depending on the god and raiments are just an outline of priestly robes/garb and colours. Boccob's doesn't have much martial training while it's a core part of Erthynul's and Ehlonna's is largely practical for a hunter or forager-type.

    Spheres are where it gets interesting. Spheres are, as mentioned, your 2nd ed equivalent to Domains. Erythnul is a neat example case as his clergy has full access to Combat, full access to reversed Healing, minor access to Protection and minor access to reversed Sun. reversed means they can only use spells from that sphere that are flagged as reversible, and only able to use that form of the spell. minor access means they can only use spells from that sphere that are 3rd level or less.

    You'll also notice he doesn't have Boccob's divination, elemental all or guardian spheres. Those spells are off-limit to Erythnul's priests by any normal means. Ehlonna is one of the gods that lets priests grab full access to the Plant, Animal, Elemental (sans the elemental fire spells) & Weather spheres the generic cleric can't

    Finally, as a bit of trivia, priests only have 7 levels of spells, unlike the wizard's 9, in 2e.

    Boccob and Ehlonna's special spell are only available to their respective priests, duh.

    Special powers are either 1/day spell uses, or actual abilities/features. Erthynul's clergy gets access to a couple of wizard spells once per day, and in Strength's case they're even treated like a warrior instead of priest in regards to how their personal use of the spell affects them. boccob's clergy gets buffed divination & access to a wider array of magic items. Ehlonna grants proficiency but also some ranger-type abilities

    The ability to Turn/Command undead is also deity-particular and may be done at a level above or below your own cleric's. Erythnul clerics can really only start commanding undead at level 5 in this case.


    Personally I'm a fan of the mythos cleric, which is far more personalized and flavourful, basically a collection of different classes with a similar base chassis then the more generic clerics, but 9/22 pages of my doc are currently dedicated to what is basically just the cleric class.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oxybe View Post
    2nd ed phb basically had 2 clerics. The generic cleric and the specialty/mythos priest. generic cleric is as mentioned: access to most spheres and can turn undead, can use all armour and shields but are restricted to blunt/bludgeoning weapons. Note that generic and specialty priests in 2e share the same ThAC0 and Save progression, as well as Prof/NWProf charts.

    Personally I'm a fan of the mythos cleric, which is far more personalized and flavourful, basically a collection of different classes with a similar base chassis then the more generic clerics, but 9/22 pages of my doc are currently dedicated to what is basically just the cleric class.
    It's amazing how D&D tends to first create ideas that are much better than what came before, and then discard them anyway. Mythos cleric is exactly how I perceive the ideal cleric to be, instead of the generalist who somehow can get a sun god to raise undead or cause fear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    It's amazing how D&D tends to first create ideas that are much better than what came before, and then discard them anyway. Mythos cleric is exactly how I perceive the ideal cleric to be, instead of the generalist who somehow can get a sun god to raise undead or cause fear.
    Note that those mythos priests were taken from various sources (official and not) and some even had things like specific NWP requirements (or gave potential access to NPW outside the priest ones) I cut out from my document for consistency's sake.

    Keeping in line with the Mythos priests, I do wish they had done more with the Specialist Mage as an Abjurer is basically an Illusionist with anything "Illusion" replaced with "Abjuration", and different banned schools and stat requirements. It's a bit of a letdown, all things considered.

    Honestly I wish they had done more with the Mage's training aspect, like focusing on where/how the Mage learnt their magic as the core focus of the class and then tacking on the Specialization as a feature, similar to the Mythos Priests.

    This is obviously where the later addition of Kits in 2e come into play to make things a bit more interesting, as an academically focused Mage should be quite different then one who was scouted by an army at a young age to be artillery/logistics/support, or one that was raised in a temple of a god that understands and encourages magecraft to some extent like Boccob or Wee-Jas: they're just as faithful as any priest, but they manifest their devotion in other ways. But they really should have been there to begin with, but lord knows how many more pages that would add.

    As another side note, I'm sure this take is relatively mild, but am I the only one who thinks any god that gives full access to the Combat spheres really should have specialized Paladin/Anti-Paladin equivalents as the more martial/militant arm of their clergy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by No brains View Post
    There's some nice videos on the youtube channel DM It All on the origin of the monk and the rogue. They get into some of the history of those two classes... even if it's under the premise of calling them the 'worst' classes.
    Ignorance is bliss, they say, so my guess is that this youtuber must be very happy. (But I'll say that Blackmoor monk was an odd duck; that was my experience anyway).
    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    People always talk about the early fighters and early magic users. In fact so much that many believe that the thief was the third class introduced.

    What is with the early clerics ? Were they that bad or uninspirig ?
    Early, as in the Original game, Clerics didn't get a spell until level 2 but they could turn undead. That was a big deal at low level when a wraith could drain a level from you or a ghoul could paralyze you. They were OK in combat in the original game, and had some niche spells that were quite helpful. They were the original way that a human player could have both heavy armor and spell casting (otherwise, only an elf could be a fighter and a magic user).

    Thief, not rogue, was published fourth (Paladin was a fighter sub class in that same book). The Thief was an adventurer who lived by his wits and skill. That was the basic theme, and it's been an interesting ride from edition to edition.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-11-16 at 10:39 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Speaking of evolution:
    • As you level up in 1E and 2E, all your saves gradually become something you'll almost always pass.
    • As you level up in 3E and PF, your "weak" save stays at more-or-less a 50% chance, and your "strong" save gradually becomes one you'll almost always pass (compared to level-appropiate enemies, and assuming standard wealth).
    • As you level up in 4E and 5E, your "strong" save stays at more-or-less a 50% chance, and your "weak" save gradually becomes one you'll almost always fail.

    I'm not saying any of these are better or worse, but the math has a very different aim.


    Aside from that,
    The skill system in 3E and PF is specialist. Characters are clearly good at skills they've trained in, and bad at skills they haven't. Trained characters can routinely perform tasks that ordinary characters struggle with. It is good to have a diverse party, since other PCs are trained in different things, and the country needs adventurers because they markedly possess skill levels that the average people don't.

    The skill system in 4E and 5E is generalist. Characters are more-or-less equally skilled at every skill, and the deciding factor is more the roll of the die than how much training the character had. On the one hand, everybody can contribute more-or-less equally to any skill-based situation. On the other hand, untrained characters frequently beat trained characters at opposed skills, and almost all checks can also be made by a group of commoners. I'm sure someone will now bring up an 20th-level rogue as the counterexample, but during most of your campaign the PCs won't be 20th-ish level rogues.

    (1E/2E don't really have a skill system).
    That hardly seems fair. 2e had "nonweapon proficiencies", which was absolutely a skill system.

    And it was a very interesting specialist skill system, that highly characters growing broader over piling more points into the same skills.

    Then the Skills and Powers line introduced the processor to 3e skills.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-11-16 at 01:04 PM.

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