How do you give level titles to an Elf? OD&D doesn't even address this. The authors of Basic simply smashed Fighter and Magic-User titles together and ended up with this:
- Hero Magician
- Swashbuckler Sorceror
- Superhero Necromancer
- Lord Wizard
- Lord Wizard 8th
These titles sound epic and compelling in a generic fantasy sense, who doesn't want to play a Superhero Necromancer! However, these titles don't really fit an Elf and are a bit strange. What can be done about that? Besides the obvious problem of race-as-class, which is only murkily suggested in OD&D and codified in Basic, level titles are always a bit awkward. And yet they unquestionably add flavor to vanilla fantasy. I don't have an answer yet, I'm still mulling it over. So for now Level Title is: Elf.
With all this in mind I present the 1974 OD&D Elf Class:
Elves are at once Fighting-Men and Magic-Users and thus they gain the benefits of both classes and may use both weaponry and spells. They may use magic armor and weapons usable by either Fighters or Magic-Users. They select spells from the Magic-User list.
Elves with a Dexterity of 14 or more reduce enemies' attack rolls by 1 per point of Dexterity over 14.
Elves are able to locate secret passages and hidden doors on a roll of 1-4. They sense any secret door they pass, a 1 or a 2 indicating that they become aware that something is there. Elves have the ability of moving silently and are nearly invisible in their gray-green cloaks, reduce in half any chance anyone has of detecting the elf. Elves armed with magical weapons will add +1 to dice rolled to determine damage, i.e. when a hit is scored the possible number of damage points will be 2-7 per die.
Elves on foot may split-move and fire: move half their normal movement, fire an arrow, then move the balance of their normal movement. Mounted Elves may not split-move and fire, for they are not naturally adapted to horseback. Finally, Elves are able to speak the languages of Orcs, Hobgoblins, and Gnolls in addition to their own Elvish and the other usual tongues.
Alternate Combat System:
As for the Level Titles what can be done? I dunno. Adolescent, adult, village elder? Forest Warden. Nature protector? Orc slayer? Low elf, mid elf, high elf? There probably is a good approach. If I hear of one, I'll update this post.