Are there supplemental rules in AD&D 1e or 2e for playing a PC who's a NPC race -- say a kobold or a goblin? The PHB does not speak to this topic, unlike the 3.x SRD.

P.S. I know it's possible to do this by GM fiat, as I RPed with a GMPC goblin in my OD&D party; it's just that it's much easier to work with a GM when you have text you can point the GM at that says "this is allowed, and you do X, Y, and Z to get there." before the GM ever has to make a decision, instead of having to sit down and spend hours with the GM figuring out if it even should be allowed, never mind just how it'd work...

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    \$\begingroup\$ it's much easier to work with a GM when you have text you can point the GM at that says 'this is allowed, and you do X, Y, and Z to get there.": AD&D doesn't work this way. That final authority is with the DM always. Don't try to pull the "the game says I can" or try to RAW-lawyer at the DM in AD&D, it cuts across the game's design. There is actually text in the game—RAW—that says players are not allowed to do that! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 9 '14 at 19:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ So with that as context could you clarify what your problem is caused by? Are you looking for RAW to help you win an argument with your DM, or are you looking for tools to use to implement this cooperatively with your DM? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 9 '14 at 19:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie: that's interesting, because my current 2e DM is a RAW DM! The reasoning I have, though, is that with a 'this was written down by TSR to work this way' that I have in hand before I first ask the DM, I see it as making the entire discussion far easier for both me and the DM. \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Nov 9 '14 at 19:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cool. Could you explain your situation at bit more, then, in the question? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 9 '14 at 19:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie: done already! \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Nov 9 '14 at 19:10

For tools to implement non-standard PC races, you want the AD&D 2nd edition The Complete Book of Humanoids (1993). An excerpt of the back blurb:

This handbook describes in detail over 20 humanoid races that can be run as player characters — from mischievous pixies to stubborn minotaurs, from lizardlike saurial to the savage half-ogre — and many more in between.

Just beware that DMs have the final say. AD&D (whether 1e or 2e) was never balanced with the idea that players could do anything they wanted, so long as it was "rules as written." AD&D is a game that leaves balance in the DM's hands, to customise for their own home campaign's world and their players, so don't try to force any options into the game that your DM doesn't want to offer to the players. (A full-RAW game of AD&D is one that can actually suck pretty hard!)

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    \$\begingroup\$ The saurial sound like a fun one to try sometime! \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Nov 9 '14 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Shalvenay They have some canon history in the Forgotten Realms. See the Azure Bonds novel series and the history of the god Moander. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 9 '14 at 19:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just like to add that many "monsters" have severe maximum class level restrictions. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Nov 10 '14 at 2:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ruut Par for the course in AD&D. So do halflings. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 10 '14 at 3:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Shalvenay They are! That was the one other race that I can think of that could be a paladin. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Nov 10 '14 at 4:44

While Gygax spoke against this, he also allowed it in his own games and in fact, in 1e, there are some hidden guidelines to support it. Deities and Demigods gives us rules for calculating hit points for non-humans with levels, and the Dungeon Masters Guide notes for the reincarnation spell offers a little bit of advice. I don't know to what degree these notes survived into 2e.

Gygax's dislike of this as a "normal" option was that he saw it as characteristic of a style of play where bonuses were never balanced by logical and consistent penalties - the monster PC is expected to be all "up-side". The classic example being the drow: play one if you like, but be prepared to be hunted down and persecuted by every intelligent surface-dweller, and many underground ones too. If the DM is running their world fairly, non-evil drow have a short life expectancy. In fact, many DMs indulge such players to the point where it makes no sense to play anything else, at which point the entire humanocentic PoV of the campaign collapses.

He seems to have believed that players who persistently want to play a monster are simply incapable of seeing that the game is about progression and growth; playing a monster is really a sly way to get a load of up-front bonuses. My experience is that this is true, but I also agree with him that it can be fun occasionally and I have fond memories of my lizardman cleric, although he snuffed it at 3rd level.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "...I have fond memories of my lizardman cleric, although he snuffed it at 3rd level": Did the lizardman cleric die at level 3, or--and here's where I delete my answer and urge you to expand on this tale--did Gygax himself snuff your lizardman cleric at level 3? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Nov 9 '14 at 22:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ NO, it wasn't an EGG game, sadly. Just our home campaign. \$\endgroup\$ – Nagora Nov 9 '14 at 22:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ EGG's article about the half-ogre gives a good view of his opinion on the matter: thedelversdungeon.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=870 \$\endgroup\$ – LAK Apr 2 '15 at 19:39

In AD&D 1st Edition Gygax says, "Do what you want, but not in my campaigns"

The Dungeon Master's Guide (1978) for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons says in the section The Monster as a Player Character

[Y]ou as DM must decide in light of your aims and the style of your campaign [if monsters are allowed as PCs]. The considered opinion of this writer is that such characters are not beneficial to the game and should be excluded.... The truly experimental-type player might be allowed to play such a monster character for a time so as to satisfy curiosity.... The less intelligent players who demand to play monster characters regardless of obvious consequences will soon remove themselves from play in any event, for their own ineptness will serve to have players or monsters or traps finish them off.

So you [the DM] are virtually [i.e. other than this section that says, essentially, "Don't allow it"] on your own with regard to monsters as player characters. (21)

It was, obviously, a different time.


You could also look at the Council of Wyrms (1994 TSR, or 1999 reprint) if your players wanted to play dragon or half-dragon PCs!


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