On blogs like this one and internet comment sections everywhere, people discuss the “proper” form of D&D or other myriad games and pursuits. I’m always fascinated by the subcultures that pop up within a hobby based on editions, versions, eras, designers, etc. Some people think D&D stopped being “true” D&D when Gygax was no longer involved for example. Some people think Spiderman changed once Stan Lee no longer wrote the majority of the stories and dialog. The list is endless. In this train of thought, I recently ran across a series of questions to help gauge what kind of D&D gamer you are, where you fall on a series of esoteric issues that have become dividing lines within the hobbies subcultures and subgenres. The questions were collected and organized by Random Wizard, a blog I find myself reading every few months, usually linked from one of my more frequent internet watering holes. Here is the list of questions, in bold, followed by the correct answers.
(1). Race (Elf, Dwarf, Halfling) as a class? Yes or no?
Could go either way, but I’ll fall in the middle. Races do not have to be classes, but only certain races can qualify for certain classes. For example, any race can be a fighter (though some will be more effective than others) but Dwarves for example can not be Magic Users.
(2). Do demi-humans have souls?
(3). Ascending or descending armor class?
Descending is best, but ascending is acceptable as long as it’s fully compatible with descending, e.g. Swords & Wizardry.
(4). Demi-human level limits?
Of course. How else do you balance them properly? They have way more abilities than humans.
(5). Should thief be a class?
Absolutely. What is a “Rogue” anyway? Certainly not a class I would play.
(6). Do characters get non-weapon skills?
Yes, but they don’t get to spend points in them. What is this? Diablo?
(7). Are magic-users more powerful than fighters (and, if yes, what level do they take the lead)?
No they are not, since they would never survive past 1st level without a good fighter protecting their squishy behinds. One can’t exist properly without the other. They are yin and yang. Magic users can use spells. Fighters can use almost any magic weapons and armor. Both classes become less effective if those tools are taken away.
(8). Do you use alignment languages?
How else are you supposed to carry on a private conversation in the midst of potential enemies?
(9). XP for gold, or XP for objectives (thieves disarming traps, etc…)?
XP for everything! But mostly for gold.
(10). Which is the best edition; ODD, Holmes, Moldvay, Mentzer, Rules Cyclopedia, 1E ADD, 2E ADD, 3E DD, 4E DD, Next ?
They’re all wonderful but if I had to have one and only one, it would obviously be Mentzer basic. (It has 36 levels, duh)
Bonus Question: Unified XP level tables or individual XP level tables for each class?
Individual XP tables. Unifying XP tables was one of the things that removed class balance from 3.0.
So, did you get them all correct? If not, just study these and memorize the answers so if anyone asks you, you won’t feel embarrassed by saying something silly like “Racial level limits are stupid”. :)