Saturday, 28 January 2012

AD&D 2e kits as character inspiration

Just reading Daddy Rolled a 1's post about AD&D 2nd edition, where he mentions how one thing he really liked about that edition was the "kits". I played a lot of AD&D 2e, but never used kits at all. But it got me thinking about them again, and I looked a few up.

My feeling about them now is that while mechanically I don't like them (they depend on the proficiencies system, and seem to add a lot of complicated abilities and mechanical bonuses to things, which I find too fiddly), I do like the flavour of them. I've often thought it'd be nice to give players a list of inspirational ideas for character concepts per class, especially in an old-school game where there are only a very limited number of classes, with no "options" at all.

So here are the kits for fighters, thieves, clerics and magic-users (the latter two aren't particularly imaginative to be honest). There's actually a complete list of them all in wikipedia, for further reference!

Fighters:
Amazon
Barbarian
Beat-rider
Berserker
Cavalier
Gladiator
Myrmidon
Noble Warrior
Peasant Hero
Pirate / Outlaw
Samurai
Savage
Swashbuckler
Wilderness Warrior

Thieves:
Acrobat
Adventurer
Assassin
Bandit
Beggar
Bounty Hunter
Buccaneer
Burglar
Cutpurse
Fence
Investigator
Scout
Smuggler
Spy
Swashbuckler
Swindler
Thug
Troubleshooter

Magic-Users:
Academician
Amazon Sorceress
Anagakok
Militant Wizard
Mystic
Patrician
Peasant Wizard
Savage Wizard
Witch
Wu Jen

Clerics:
Amazon Priestess
Barbarian/Berserker Priest
Fighting-Monk
Nobleman Priest
Outlaw Priest
Pacifist Priest
Peasant Priest
Prophet Priest
Savage Priest
Scholar Priest

6 comments:

  1. The kits were a better idea in theory than in practice; Pathfinder uses the same concept for its alternate class features but the ruleset is more consistent -- for better or worse; that's an argument for another day -- so swapping abilities in and out works better than it did under AD&D2.

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  2. Yeah pathfinders use of the "Kit" work way better.

    ERIC!

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  3. 4E also uses kits, calling them Character Themes.

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  4. As a DM I don't see much use for the kits, but I think it helps out players find an identity for their characters.

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  5. @Kelvin, Eric & Hamel: Interesting to hear that the idea has lived on beyond AD&D 2e! I never knew that.

    @Pierce: Yeah me too. I only find them interesting as a resource for players to use for inspiration as to why their fighter is different to the other 3 fighters in the party. In an old-school way, I would / sometimes do let PCs do different things depending on their background (tracking is one example), without having any system of skills or proficiencies. That's as far as I like to go into skill systems :)

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  6. I never used kits backinnaday--and in fact never even knew about them--but in recent years I have discovered 'em and I gotta tellya, I kinda like 'em.

    For one thing, they serve as a reminder that AD&D 2nd Ed. characters (or those of any edition) can be anything you want 'em to be, and that you can even have a little mechanical backup to support the concept. That's nice. I like that.

    For another, I dig how they're kinda like ready-made goody-packs for said concepts, so that you don't leave anything out. Kinda suck if you'd forgotten to give your swashbuckler some Acrobatics ability, eh?

    Might not be the bestest idea on the shelf, but in the end, it's not the worst.

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