- Dwarves require a constitution score of 9 or higher.
- Elves require an intelligence score of 9 or higher.
- Halflings require a constitution score and a dexterity score of 9 or higher.
What's the effect of this? Well, if we roll up a million characters using 3d6 in order, we find that about 74% of those could be dwarves or elves and about 55% could be halflings. Let's not worry too much about the details here, what's important is that without futher consideration, a player is least likely to roll up a halfling.
If we go a little further and for each of our one million characters pick an actual class uniformly at random (out of all the classes a character qualifies for), we find (approximately) the following:
- 17% Clerics
- 17% Fighters
- 17% Magic-Users
- 17% Thieves
- 12% Dwarves
- 12% Elves
- 8% Halflings
I don't know about you, but this doesn't sit right with me when it comes to the demographics implied by B/X. I always thought that elves should be rarer than dwarves which in turn should be rarer than halflings. The only thing that does work out as expected is that humans are the most populous: we get about 68% humans and 32% demi-humans.
Curious side note: Before I ever ran these simulations, I came up with a house rule to randomly determine race. I did this because I got tired of parties that were mostly demi-human. (I am with Gary that demi-humans should be exotic, not commonplace.) The rule I "guesstimated" was this:
In other words, 70% humans and 30% demi-humans seemed mostly reasonable to me. Now I'd be hard-pressed to say why exactly. I seem to recall fiddling with the d20 numbers for a while and this seemed to be the simplest way to make sure that elves are rarest, followed by dwarves, followed by halflings. So it may just have been an accident. (End of curious side note.)
If we wanted to tweak the resulting population by only modifying the required minimums, where should we start? If we added strength as a minimum to dwarves and elves all we'd achieve would be that each of those populations will be about the same as the halflings. Here's the (approximate) breakdown:
- 18% Clerics
- 18% Fighters
- 18% Magic-Users
- 18% Thieves
- 9% Dwarves
- 9% Elves
- 9% Halflings
Not really what we'd want. But how about now tweaking the actual numbers? Let's leave halflings at strength and dexterity 9+ but move dwarves to strength 9+ and constitution 12+ and elves to strength 9+ and intelligence 14+. What do we get (approximately)?
- 21% Clerics
- 21% Fighters
- 21% Magic-Users
- 21% Thieves
- 10% Halflings
- 5% Dwarves
- 2% Elves
That's more like it, at least it's closer to what I would expect. So if you feel like I do about what the population mix should be like, I'd suggest going to these stricter requirements for dwarves and elves. (Or you could do intelligence 13+ for elves, then you'd get slightly more of them, roughly 3%, but still not too many.)
Keep in mind that we've dealt only with minimum requirements here. It turns out that B/X has many more mechanics (prime requisite adjustment, XP adjustment, etc.) that impact the actual demographics implied by the rules. But that's for another post...