Reading OD&D from cover to cover: Changing classes

Before we continue our discussion of elves we look a bit ahead in the rules in order to see what other surprises and detail rules await us. Some might shed new light on certain of the more complex issues we have found with the race descriptions. So next up are the rules for changing classes.

The rules actually are pretty short and again I have to marvel at the straight elegance of OD&D:
  • First of all the rules don't recommend to change classes for player types other than elves. But they don't forbid it either. So the referee can decide for his campaign, nice.
  • Only men may change classes.
  • A prime requisite (not yet explained but you probably know what it is; otherwise wait for one of the next posts) of 16 or better is required in the class your character wants to change to.
  • The attribute score must be unmodified, an interesting twist further limiting the proliferation of dual classed character types.
  • Magic-users cannot become clerics and vice versa.
That's it. To remove some of the rather unclear pieces I would add the following details (derived from previous material):
  • Character types can change their class but once. The reasoning for this limitation is that the rules (read literally) state that elves can switch freely but don't mention that for men. So its seems logical that changing but once was intended.
  • Character types can only use their class specific abilities if they abide by the restrictions of the class. Again this can be derived from the elven type for which the description states that elves can combine the benefits for both classes.
While it might be a bit stretching to state that men therefor have to be more limited I find it highly appropriate as this nicely balances the unlimited advancement of men.

Finally I will clarify the following points:
  • The new class starts at level 1 (as for elves, nothing new here).
  • The best bonusses for both classes are used (there is no specific ruling but this seems logical - I don't see any logic in characters forgetting skills from adventure to adventure).
And all this explained in but six lines of text in the original rules. Amazing. I love OD&D.

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