Classless Skills & Powers

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This is a classless character generation method for use with the AD&D Player's and DM's Option rules. It covers the Skills & Powers, Combat & Tactics, Spells & Magic, and High-Level Campaigns rulebooks. It is a supplement for, not a replacement of, those rules. Many details of individual skills, including descriptions and relevant tables, are not reproduced here.


This system was designed according to the following principles:

  1. Maximize compatibility with both Skills & Powers and the AD&D 2nd edition core rules.
  2. Promote in-game character growth.
  3. Maintain game balance, internal to this system and vs. AD&D 2nd edition core rules.
  4. Generate characters of the standard AD&D 2nd edition types with the system as well as custom ones.


This system is based on the following assumptions:

  1. Ability skill costs are proportional to both the ability's usefulness and how difficult it should be to learn.
  2. Classes as they exist in standard AD&D 2nd edition core rules are fairly well balanced with respect to each other.


This system was created to address the following shortcomings of the character creation system in Skills & Powers and the other Player's and DM's Option rules:

  1. Unequal point allocation across classes and races for skill customization.
  2. Rule incompatibility among the various Player's and DM's Option rulebooks.
  3. In-game skill advancement is very slow. Though many skills improve with level (like spells, THAC0, and thief skills), characters grow in other areas very slowly (1 NWP and 1 WP every 3 to 4 levels). First-level characters have 90% of the skills they are ever going to have.
  4. First-level characters have become too powerful. The conception of a first-level fighter used to be a 16-year-old novice right out of their first battle. It quickly grew to the point that a L1 warrior could have multiple weapon specializations and other powerful abilities.

General Approach

All skills formerly known as "class abilities", "race abilities," "nonweapon proficiencies" and "weapon proficiencies," which currently all operate under different rules, are all skills or abilities which a character would learn during their lives. This system makes the acquisition of those skills uniform.

All the race, class, and weapon/nonweapon proficiencies are combined into one set of skills organized into skill trees. Characters buy all these abilities out of their single pool of character points.

There are no longer character classes in this system. Players are free to define their characters as they wish, according to their desired skills and personality. Multi-classing and dual-classing rules are conveniently removed thereby. Levels are retained, but are more loosely tied to individual skills than in standard AD&D. Most kits are no longer necessary, as all their component parts can be purchased individually. There is room in this system for very specific kits - ones that are not just a different collection of standard abilities (like the swashbuckler), but instead include specific abilities with their own rules and drawbacks (like the Limbant ranger). Races exist as usual but are a little more flexible.

This system also attempts to reconcile the many and varied skills presented in the various Player’s Option and DM’s Option books. It tries to maintain a high level of compatibility with those books except where the approaches of those sourcebooks clearly differ.

Starting characters may find themselves a little weaker at first level using this scheme, but they will grow in skill at a much faster rate. As characters increase in level, they get more character points, which can be used to buy more abilities or to improve current ones.

If, as a character develops, they wish to spend more effort learning skills traditionally termed "nonweapon proficiencies" rather than ones traditionally termed "class abilities," or vice versa, that is a valid decision this system supports.

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