About the Classes
Here are some notes on the three
categories of character classes-humans, demihumans, and special-before you progress on to the actual class descriptions.
In the D&DŽ game, humans are the most prolific race. They are also
the race with the greatest potential. While demihuman character classes can only attain moderate experience levels (8th, 10th,
or 12th level, depending on the class/ race), each of the four basic human character classes can attain 36th experience level.
In many D&D game campaigns, human civilization is similar to the
civilizations of Western
Europe in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance period. In such campaigns, you can expect to see most humans
living in kingdoms ruled by a king and queen and organized in feudal fiefdoms, with a rising middle class of traders and craftsmen
in the cities.
However, your Dungeon Master may decide not to follow that standard;
he may prefer for his human civilizations to resemble ancient Egypt, feudal
Japan, conquistador-era Mexico,
a culture from a specific fantasy novel, or something created from his own imagination. Be sure to ask your Dungeon Master
about the nature of human cultures in his world; the more you know ahead of time, the better you can fit your character into
the existing setting.
Demihuman characters are more limited than human characters. They can't
rise to very high levels of experience (dwarves are limited to 12th level, elves to 10th, halflings to 8th). Elves
cannot learn very powerful magic; they can only learn up to 5th level spells, while humans can learn up to 9th level spells.
The demihuman race of dwarves, elves, and Halflings, have a different way of life than humans. They usually live longer, have
a stricter way of life, and find security in large family groups called Clans. A Clan may include several hundred demihumans.
The head of the Clan is always the oldest member, male or female, as levels assuming that member is fit to rule.
Day-to-day tasks are usually done by those best suited to do them. Unlike
many human communities, few demihumans are lazy; everyone has a job, with Clan duties and responsibilities and "goofing off" is nearly unthinkable. The DM may choose to develop many other aspects of demihuman family
life (such as marriage customs, industry, clan-to-clan relations, and so forth) as needed.
Demihuman Relations: Elves and dwarves don't
usually like each other. This dislike usually surfaces as verbal battles, rather than physical.
Both get along fairly well with halflings.
The DM will decide why elves and dwarves don't get along in his own campaign. In the D&D game’s Known World
setting, it's because they are so physically and emotionally different (elves are tall. and willowy, dwarves short and stocky;
elves love freedom and the outdoors, dwarves love organization and caverns, etc.), and because the two races had many clashes
in the past for which they've never forgiven one another. But the reason can be different in your own campaign; a DM can decide,
for instance, that in his own world the elves and dwarves are the best of friends!
All demihuman races trade and interact with humans; though men can be
dangerous, many are also trustworthy and have good points.
Special Abilities and Maneuvers: All demihuman
races receive special abilities, which make them much more effective than humans in certain situations. The special abilities
of each race are detailed in the description of each character class.
There are two other human character classes, the druid and the mystic, which are described separately from the cleric,
fighter, magic-user, and thief. We present them separately because the DM may not wish to include them in his campaign.
The druid is a little complicated, because druid characters start play
as clerics and then change their character classes to become druids.
The mystic, a monastic specialist in unarmed combat, is not appropriate
for all campaigns.
Some of their special abilities mimic those of other human classes, but many are unique to this class, including their
increasingly powerful unarmed combat tactics.