As I reported yesterday, Randall at RetroRoleplaying found a number of "lost" D&D articles, written by Gary Gygax and Len Lakofka, which appeared in Lakofka's Diplomacy fanzine, Liaisons Dangereuses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I printed off many of the articles he found and have been reading them with great interest. Of particular note, to me anyway, were issues 74 and 76 (September 14, 1976 and December 14, 1976, respectively), each of which included D&D classes I'd never seen before.
Issue 74 describes the Pyrologist or "Fire User," a magic-user sub-class specializing in, as you'd expect, fire magic. There are many interesting things about this class, which, in some ways, resembles the more well-known Illusionist. Firstly, pyrologists seem to have strong clerical connections, as it's noted that they "may also progress as clerics," although the text adds the cryptic qualification "but they must do so in separate campaigns," whatever that means. Though both good and evil pyrologists are possible, evil pyrologists can advance higher as clerics (8th level as opposed to 6th). Speaking of alignment, there's a note that fire users "are always highly Lawful" and, from the text, it's made clear that this applies to both good and evil members of the class. Elves may become pyrologists, but, if they choose to do so, they "may not later choose to be an Illusionist, Alchemist or normal Magic User though Fighter and Thief are still available" as options.
Like illusionists, pyrologists have their own spell list, including a large number of new spells, many of which I've never seen before. Some re-appear in other contexts under different names, so Gygax mustn't have forgotten about the class, even if he never updated to AD&D. I'm not sure I'd use the class as written in my own campaign, but it's intriguing nonetheless. For one thing, it's a potent reminder of the days before D&D had been rationalized, when neither its designers nor players balked at special cases and one-off rules. I'm actually a big fan of pre-2e "specialist magic-users" and deeply regret that we never got to see Gary's proposed savant class for this reason. I feel strongly that 2e's approach to the concept was deeply wrong-headed and it's a pity subsequent designs have followed its lead rather than that of classes like the illusionist and pyrologist.
Issue 76 is, in many ways, even more interesting, since it tackles "dwarves & hobbits & magic." The article provides rules for hobbit druids (who "may advance separately as a Druid and a Thief"). Interestingly, such multi-class druid/thieves "fights as a Thief but has saving throws as a Cleric," which is highly suggestive about the mechanics surrounding multi-class characters in the old days. Both hobbits and dwarves may also be clerics or cleric/fighters. Both races are limited to 7th level and many of their spells, including healing, cures, and raise dead, are either less effective or ineffective against races other than their own. This puts comments about dwarf clerics who "can cure and resurrect their own" in Greyhawk in a new light.
Issue 76 also gives us the dwarf craftsman class, which gains "abilities" as it advances through levels. Abilities have levels, like spells, and a craftsman character must choose which ability he wishes to learn from a list. Unlike spells, many abilities can be used more often than once per day, although some are similarly limited. Abilities range from low-level ones like "Wedge Door" and "Dig Trench" -- both obviously useful in dungeoneering -- to high-level ones like "Summon Earth Elemental" and "Make Mithril Coat." It's an interesting concept for a class and one I'd actually be keen to see someone use in a game. If nothing else, the craftsman provides a good model for creating other "semi-magical" classes or indeed even classes distinguished by specific "abilities." Heck, part of me ponders and alternate thief class based on the craftsman.
Two final comments: First, throughout both articles, the term "character" is never used; the word "figure" is used instead. Second, I am amazed that, in a fanzine devoted to Diplomacy, there was so much D&D-related content. Taken together, these two things reveal the extent to which D&D took the wargaming community by storm in the mid-70s.