And yet, somehow, by compiling all that material under one cover, it became more than the sum of its parts. I knew lots of gamers, myself included, who'd allowed this class or that spell from Gygax's columns into their AD&D campaigns without so much as a second thought. In aggregate, though, they all took on a different character. Things that never bothered me before suddenly did, when placed side by side with other options I hadn't allowed (or didn't like). The result was that Unearthed Arcana was the book that "broke" AD&D for me. It was a bridge too far and it contributed to my growing disillusionment with the game in the mid-80s.
One of the last of Gygax's columns previewing material that would eventually appear in UA was "Demi-Humans Get a Lift," which appeared in issue #95 (March 1985). In his characteristic way, he explains the purpose of his article thusly:
After long contemplation of the plight of dead-ended demi-human characters, and considerable badgering from players with same, it seemed a good plan to work up some new maximum levels for those demihumans with super-normal statistics -- and in a couple of cases just reward those with high stats across the board. Demi-humans were limited in the first place (in the original rules) because I conceived of a basically human-dominated world. Considering their other abilities, if most demi-humans were put on a par with humans in terms of levels they could attain, then there isn't much question who would be saying "Sir!" to whom. With that in mind, let's move along to the matter at hand.Once again, Gary makes it clear that, in his mind, demi-humans were always supposed to play second fiddle to humans, which is why he included level limits. One may argue that such limits do a poor job of discouraging the play of demi-humans, but there can be no question that that was the intention behind it.
Despite that, Gygax decides here to give in to "considerable badgering" from players of demi-human PCs and provide the means for demi-humans to reach higher levels of experience. He does this in two ways. First, he allows single-classed demi-humans to exceed the standard level cap by two. Multiclassed demi-humans must abide by the usual limits. Second, he allows demi-humans with exceptional ability scores, whether single or multiclassed, to achieve even higher levels. While I think the first change is reasonable, if unnecessary, the second more or less ensured that every demi-human PC from then on would have absurdly high ability scores. In my opinion, AD&D already had a problem with ability score inflation; these changes only further encouraged such bad behavior. The article also opened up for play several new demi-human races, such as deep gnomes and drow, both of which, in my opinion, are too powerful for use in an "ordinary" campaign.
Throughout the article, Gary makes a couple of asides that suggests that he himself doesn't much care for these rules changes but is allowing them because "the gamers have spoken." It's very odd and makes one wonder why, if he really was so opposed to these changes, he nevertheless went ahead and presented in them. The tone throughout is strange and he ends the piece by not only saying that these are the final, ultimate, never-to-be-changed-again, for-real-this-time alterations to demi-human level limits but also by suggesting demands for further power escalation are inevitable:
To put a cap on things, let us get something straight. Any statistics beyond those shown, for levels and ability scores alike, are virtually impossible. Spells and magic, even artifacts and relics, will not increase statistics beyond what is shown, and no further word is necessary. If some deity likes a character so much as to grant a higher statistic, then that deity should also like the character sufficiently to carry him or her off to another plane. (Rules for quasideities will, I suppose, now be in demand . . . sigh!)Even more than a quarter-century later, I find Gary's tone odd.