|Very often the explanation for someone's presence on the frontier has to do with his job; perhaps just as often, the vocation of a character creates problems for the referee. Here are some solutions and ideas.|
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This material covers information on how to integrate characters of different races and classes from the various worlds of 1st Ed. AD&D, expanded to include a few notes from second edition materials which are easily integrated with these. Over the course of several pages, it will consider how the setting can be designed so that each milieu is adequately represented, how the races and classes from each milieu will initially view those from other settings unknown to them, and how to handle the specific problems of classes and races which require special game mechanics or are treated in a customary manner in their own world (whether respected, hated, or understood) which would not be presumed by those unfamiliar with those customs. This page discusses character backgrounds based on class, to more easily integrate those classes on the frontier. Other pages are linked from the bottom of this one.
| The classes in each milieu are listed here for convenience; not all of them present special problems.
|All Cavaliers (including sub-classes) are vassals so tightly tied to a liege of some sort that it is virtually unthinkable for any to appear alone in a new world. However, the Frontier is a vast place, there are many missions at hand, and much which might require a low-level cavalier to be on his own. Perhaps his liege has heard something about the place to be explored, and dispatched a young knight to investigate--is it the legendary evil place, the lost treasure mines? does it need the force of a knight's armies to gloriously crush monsters, or is it just a minor problem blown out of proportion by the rumors? Alternatively, perhaps the liege went to investigate something and failed to return; the vassal would quite reasonably follow, in search of what evil befell his lord. Perhaps the liege is dead, killed in a battle while his vassal was on an errand; perhaps the vassal was severely injured in this battle, but recovered (and wishes to avenge the death of his liege).|
|Most Clerics have an intrinsic motivation to perform missionary work--to do good (or evil) deeds in the advancement of their faith. They seek new fields in which to advance. This is especially true of Sohei--the mission of a Sohei is usually assigned to him by his order (much as a Cavalier), and will usually be either to locate a good place for construction of a new temple and find ways to finance it, or to serve as protector for someone on a similar or other holy mission, such as especially a Shukenja. It is less true of Shukenja, who are motivated by the good works themselves; yet these are always seeking ways to help others. Druids and Holy Orders of the Stars may be expanding the influence of their churches and their gods as easily as other Clerics.|
|Fighters are fighters wherever they are. Battle is their bread and butter--any adventure which holds the prospect of profit with a reasonable likelihood of survival is a motivating factor. Back in the old world, there was too much peace, not enough action, no real call for a warrior to hone his skills or even to prove himself. You could apply to be a palace guard, but the list of applicants was so long that you'd be old before they considered you, and then you'd have the opportunity to be the new kid among a batch of codgers who flirted with your grandmother. No, the fight is here--there are monsters on the frontier, opportunities for a soldier to ply his trade, whether Ranger, Bushi, Kensai, or Berserker. Of course, for the Kensai there will have to be orders established in the area, as much to afford him an opportunity to study as to provide challengers for his mandatory duels as he advances, but these are certain to follow the Oriental culture as it moves to the frontier.|
|Even those Magic-users and Illusionists who are not Wu Jen tend to be withdrawn and reclusive. They don't like uneducated morons asking a lot of questions about how things work which are difficult to explain and beyond the abilities of the fools anyway, so they lock themselves in rooms, usually in more isolated places, and eventually hire servants to deal with people. The opportunity to move into the wilderness away from the cities has an intrinsic appeal. The Alchemist has an added motivation: his craft requires rare and expensive ingredients which he can obtain either by spending lots of treasure (which he can collect on adventures) or by gathering them himself. Such gathering may merely mean going into dangerous places where the rare ingredients (plants, minerals) may be found, or it may require killing the creature whose body contains the rare ingredient. Note that because of the pervasive attitudes of the Wizards of High Sorcery, all Krynn characters will regard magic-using classes who are not members of the robed orders as dangerous and uncontrolled, and will approach them with caution. Similarly, most Oriental characters will transfer their nervousness about Wu Jen to any magic user from any milieu. Vikings, of course, are a bit nervous of all magic, and Barbarians and Oriental Barbarians have their own specific attitudes in this area.|
|Because the power levels involve the four phases of the moons, it is best if each of the cycles is divisible by four. The original cycles were 4x2, 4x7, and 4x9. If the calendar cannot provide a pseudo-rational explanation for cycles with a factor of four, it is necessary that a factor of two be maintained, and that care be taken in the application. The characters remain reasonably balanced as long as waxing time equals waning time and the high sanction and low sanction periods are the same. Should this be disturbed, the character will be either significantly stronger or significantly weaker for it. It should also be noted that the three cycles have no other factor in common. This prevents any two robes from falling into synch in such a way that they will tend to align more frequently in one part of the cycle, to their benefit or detriment. This balance between the robes can be maintained by allowing a factor common to all three cycles. For example, cycles of 12 (2x2x3), 18 (2x3x3), and 30 (2x3x5) days fit all these requirements (assuming a that the waxing/waning periods of the longer two cycles are each a day shorter than the high/low sanction phases). However, in this case the pattern of the relationships will repeat more frequently, since the other factor will create a shorter phase variation. This in turn may increase the power of Wizards as compared with other magic-using classes. To create perfectly balanced Wizards which fit the logic of your scenario, it is best to begin with a factor of four, and then scour your calendar and campaign world for numbers which have significance--days in a week, days in a month, days in a year, cycle of the moon, cycle of the seasons, cycle of holidays. Reduce these to prime factors (e.g., a 32-day month is 2x2x2x2x2; a 6-day week is 2x3; a 360-day year is 2x2x2x3x3x5), and look for those which have uncommon factors. In the example, a cycle of 8 days (4x2) repeats logically 4 times a month; a second of 12 (4x3) days repeats every two weeks, and a third of 20 days (4x5) repeats 18 times per year. For convenience, there is a Wizard Cycle BASIC program in M. J. Young's Dungeons &Dragons Materials, BASIC Programs for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Games, which calculates cycles and ties them to given calendar information so that it's easier to spot alignments and sanctions, rather than having to track them constantly on a chart.|
|Most Thief classes need very little encouragement to move on in the world. They've become too well known where they are, they need fresh fields with people who won't put their hand on their wallet every time their eyes fall upon the character. The Thief-Acrobat and the Assassin have very similar motivations. However, the Oriental thief variants are very different from this--what they make up for in potency they lack in independence. The Yakuza is here on a mission, and the Ninja also, much as the Samurai, to investigate the situation and help establish the clan in this new location. His assignment might be to discover as much as he can about the area and file regular reports concerning opportunities to control and profit in the region. He might instead be appointed to keep an eye on the activities of another character, especially if there's a Samurai who has been sent to the area--after all, we might very well wish to know why the Samurai has been sent, what his daimyo seeks, and whether he found it; the information could be very valuable, especially if we know it before the daimyo does. Ninja--or Yakuza--can also be sent to watch others of their kind, either members of a rival clan whose activities are to be monitored, or members of the same clan who are to be watched for their loyalty. Many other missions are possible for Ninja--"infiltrate the trusted companions of a powerful lord so as to establish yourself in a useful position" is a good standard mission which allows player characters to become part of groups with others on the argument that "these people are going to be important and powerful, or at least will introduce me to important powerful people at some point". It is recommended that the DM avoid an assignment of assassination, especially of party members, partly because of the tensions this creates between players, but also because such an assignment is impractical--either the character accomplishes it in a few weeks and leaves to receive his next assignment, or he fails to achieve the objective within a reasonable time, such that someone else is sent to do his job and he is disgraced.|
|The Bard poses few problems. After all, beginning as a Fighter (or Half-Elf Fighter/Thief or Fighter/Thief-Acrobat) he has the motivations of learning and honing his skills in battle. Additionally, the minstrel side of him requires that he wander--the songs he sings are the tales of events throughout the world. He must learn some of these from other minstrels and Bards, and he must write those for the events which he observes. Being in the midst of the events gives him the material he will need for those stories--and being able to include his own name in the legendary events is a plus.|
|The Psionicist is easily integrated into any milieu as it is, but appears to be intended for use in the Occidental realms; as such, it will be unfamiliar to those in other realms. Even within the Occident, there will be a tendency for those who are not magic-using classes to understand this character as "another kind of magic-user". Occidental Magic-users and Illusionists will understand that this is not so, that the character is something very different from them, but even Wu Jen along with other Orientals will think of it as a strange wizardry; Krynn characters will go so far as to perceive them as "rogue mages" outside the control of the towers and the robes, to be watched cautiously. The integration of first and second edition psionics is treated separately.|
The Frontier: M. J. Young suggests how to explain the presence of characters from multiple AD&D settings in one place, and provide support structures for them, based on the concept of the New World.
Now You Look Human: Some demi-human races will be perceived as human under certain circumstances; which ones, when, and by whom are all important questions, addressed here.
When Worlds Collide: Each of the standard settings in AD&D contains cultural nuances which result in attitudes and perspectives which will come into play as the player characters interact with each other and those around them.
You Don't Look Elvish: How races are perceived by those in other milieus is discussed in some detail.
A Nice Kid Like You: Some races pose particular problems related to explaining their presence in a new land. Those problems are addressed.
A Class Act: Problems and motivations of particular classes are discussed and resolved.
All In the Mind: Second Edition Psionics may be integrated into a First Edition campaign if desired, bringing the Psionicist class and the Wild Talent into play alongside Natural Psionics.
Character Creation for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition:
Called a life saver by more than one DM, the materials M. J. Young has developed to enable players to create characters have been posted and expanded for others. When a game is beginning or a player is joining, this site is the place to start.
Martial Arts Rules for Role Playing Games:
For Oriental characters, this site explains and expands the 1st Ed. AD&D martial arts materials, including a large and varied selection of compatible styles, and also presenting similar materials for the Multiverser game.
Multiverser Information Center:
The role playing game which truly integrates all milieus, all worlds, and all other role playing games is presented and described here. It's worth a look.