Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Wiki

In addition to unlimited class choice, humans can attain any level in any class. Once again, this is a human special ability, something no other race has. In the AD&D game, humans are more motivated by ambition and the desire for power than the demihuman races are. Thus, humans advance further and more quickly.

Demihumans can attain significant levels in certain classes, but they do not have the same unlimited access. Some players may argue that the greater age of various non-humans automatically means they will attain greater levels. That can present problems.

Demihuman characters are limited in how high a level they can achieve both to preserve internal consistency (humans are more flexible than non-humans) and to enforce game balance. A DM, however, can change or eliminate these limits as he sees fit. As with class restrictions, the consequences must be examined in detail.

Given their extremely long lifespans, demihumans without limitations would quickly reach levels of power far beyond anything attainable by humans. The world would be dominated by these extremely powerful beings, to the exclusion of humans. Human heroes would be feeble compared to the heroes of elves and dwarves.

Given their numerous advantages, demihumans would be the most attractive races—no one would play a human. Again, this isn't necessarily bad, but it's very different. The resulting game will be completely unlike the standard sword-and-sorcery milieu. You might need to set the campaign in an ancient age, before the ascendance of men (though given the situation, it's unlikely that men would ever become dominant).

Slow Advancement (Optional Rule)

If you decide to allow demihumans unlimited advancement, consider this option: To counteract the demihumans' long life, slow down their advancement. Require demihumans to earn two, three, or even four times as many experience points as a human to advance a level.

This allows the short-lived humans to advance more quickly than their long-lived comrades, who will eventually catch up after the humans' demise. If this solution, though logical, is unacceptable to your players, a compromise may be called for.

The best compromise is to allow demihumans normal (or double-cost) advancement to their "maximum" levels. Then require them to earn triple or quadruple experience points to advance beyond that point. They will advance very slowly, but the players will still have a goal and the sense of accomplishment that comes with rising a level.

Standard Class and Level Limits

Before removing or modifying level limits, familiarize yourself with the game and the balances that currently exist. Only after you are experienced and comfortable with these should you begin alteration of the non-human level limits. The standard level limits for all races and classes are given in Table 7.

Table 7: Racial Class and Level Limits

Table 7: Racial Class and Level Limits*
Human Dwarf Elf Gnome Half-elf Halfling
Bard U X X X U X
Cleric U 10 12 9 14 8
Druid U X X X 9 X
Fighter U 15 12 11 14 9
Illus. U X X 15 X X
Mage U X 15 X 12 X
Paladin U X X X X X
Ranger U X 15 X 16 X
Thief U 12 12 13 12 15
X - A player character cannot belong to the listed class.
* - Player characters with less than exceptional prime requisites cannot advance beyond the listed level.
U - A player character can advance to the maximum possible level in a given class. The Player's Handbook gives rules for advancing the player characters to 20th level.

Exceeding Level Limits (Optional Rule)

Demihuman characters with extremely high ability scores in their prime requisites can exceed the racial maximum levels. In cases where multiple prime requisites exist, the lowest prime requisite is used to calculate any additional levels.

The bonus levels available to characters with high prime requisite scores are summarized on Table 8. The additional levels listed in Table 8 are added to the normal maximum allowed, regardless of what class or race is involved.

For example, a half-elf is limited to 12th level as a thief. A half-elf thief with a Dexterity score of 17, however, is allowed two bonus levels, so he could advance to 14th level.

Table 8: Prime Requisite Bonuses

Table 8: Prime Requisite Bonuses
Ability Score Additional Levels
14, 15 +1
16, 17 +2
18 +3
19 +4