Thursday, March 12, 2009

My 5 Favorite DnD Classes

Well, here's my attempt at starting a meme. We've done Favorite Monsters, now let's give Favorite Classes for Dungeons & Dragons (your edition of choice) a try. If you'd like, you can name the edition it came from, and what drew you to that class or made it one of your favorites. I'll go ahead and count down my top 5 (all circa 3e/3.5):

5) Fighter: Yep, I know many consider the Fighter one of the underpowered classes in 3.5, especially at higher levels, but since many of our games were 7th-8th level and below, the Fighter tended to be a really good choice for those who hadn't played the game before (along with #3 on this list). And I love those fighter feats.

4) Scout: The Scout is a bit of an odd duck--a little rogue, a little ranger--but watching as one of them led a party completely around an enemy army, causing confusion, sowing chaos, and avoiding capure, all while expertly navigating the surrounding wilderness--well, I'm a believer. This is a class that isn't going to win any awards for combat power, but its definitely my favorite class out of the Complete Adventurer and that line of supplements.

3) Sorcerer: I continually go back and forth on Vancian magic, but even though he was usually a bit behind in 3.5 vs. the Wizard when it came to spell selection, I really enjoyed the sorcerer's flexibility and spontaneity in casting. I didn't enjoy the d4 Hit Die, but I think the other real reason I enjoyed this class is that I used it as a base for a Wild Mage.

2) Cleric: Clerics can be powerful characters, but the real reason I enjoy clerics is getting to roleplay different religous beliefs and whatnot. Its a blast to have this character who should be living by a certain code or set of strictures, only to have his beliefs challenged over the course of adventuring career. And with as many deities as there are out there for D&D, its also easy to choose an obscure or amusing sect, or create your own.

1) Bard: Here's where I come out as an unabashed lover of the Bard, one of the classes I see trashed the most at ENWorld and various other message boards. And there are a couple folks in my gaming circle who are going to hate the fact I even have this class on my list. But I like skill monkeys, I like being able to have a high Bluff and Diplomacy set of skills, and I like the spontaneous magic aspect of his arcane casting. And although you won't see many of my bards on the front lines strumming a lute while everyone else fights, you will see many as an orator, inspiring their comrades and blasting defiance towards the enemy.

I'd love to see everyone else's choices, whatever edition or editions it may be, either here or on your own site!


GeekBob said...

All Hail the Bard!

Let's see, as my favorite five, from best to least

1. Bard - My induction into the Realms helped secure this class as my #1
2. Fighter - There's just something fun in playing a Gleaming God of Tankage. That and my very first character ever was a fighter.
3 - 5. These spots are open for debate. I've been a GM for about 98% of my gaming career. So I don't often get to play most other classes to be able to say how I'd rank them.

Zachary The First said...

@GeekBob: My first character was a fighter as well!

Ron Perkins said...

I'm gonna have to think on this one. I played Rogues more than anything, but I was always drawn to the (3.5e) druid. It seemed like every campaign I tried to play one in nosedived. Maybe someday... said...

I played a polearm scout in the last 3.5 campaign I was in. He was a lot of fun.

szilard said...

Arbitrarily limited to D&D 3.5, my top five classes, in no particular order:

Beguiler: More skills than anyone else in the game. Great list of spells that lacks direct-damage, forcing creativity. Makes a better Jack-of-all-trades than a Bard.

Druid: I like the archetype. I like shapechanging. The druid gets good skills, and is mainly self-contained. A well-rounded class that can go in multiple directions.

Warblade: The Book of Nine Swords subsystem took a bit to grow on me, but it did. The warblade is the most straightforward class in there. To me, it is everything that the fighter should have been, but wasn't... quite.

Scout: Skills! Yay. The scout presents itself as a nature-based class, but you don't need to play it that way. It is more versatile than that. My last character was almost going to be a scout who was a city-based courier/messenger type.

Duskblade: I love me a good fighter-mage.

Dave The Game said...

Psionicists, Bards, Wild Mages are the top 3 for sure. Looking back, I've had a penchant for playing Fighters and Paladins too, so they would round out my top 5.

Zachary The First said...

@szilard: No need to limit it to any edition, if you don't want! Good list, though! I never played a Beguiler, but always wanted to. Seemed like a good fit for the characters I like.

@dave: Psionicists! I wasn't sure if anyone would mention them or not. My most recent groups have not enjoyed psionics. :(

Gleichman said...

I'll have to do a shout out for Paladin, especially given all the fuss I just had over them on my blog.

I don't think they've ever been done right in D&D although they were done best in 1st edition. But love the concept.

After that, it's Wizard- but only after house ruling away pre-memorized spells...

Thasmodious said...

1. Fighter (in all editions except 3rd; where I wept a lot for what happened to this stalwart mainstay)

2. Wizard - wizards and fighters were about all I ever played back in the day, just as often fighter/wizard

3. Fighter/wizard (again, not in 3e) a favorite past choice and one that 4e does well again. And from 1st level.

4. Specialist Priest (of 2e, in FR games) - I really liked making clerics very different according to their gods. Working on my homebrew during this era, I enjoyed fleshing out the worlds religions using this model as well.

5. Warlocks (3rd and 4th, obviously) - a class that should have been with us much longer. The warlock just oozes flavor and I enjoy playing them and even more DMing for them and making that dark pact really mean something. :)

Frostbeard said...

I loved the Dark Sun setting (was I the only one?) back in the days of 2e. Elemental Clerics, Defilers, Preservers, Templars and Psionicists.

Mark Gedak said...

1. Bard - Halfling Bard that plays the cymbals to be precise.
2. Psion - psychometabolic, dwarf
3. Binder/Sorcerer - Raquelle from my West to the Empire game, also the host to a psionic entity, absolutely crazy and erratic.
4. Cleric - human, pain/suffering
5. Totemist - duskling

I never play: fighters, paladins, monks.

HinterWelt said...

Thief and Paladin...Bard and Monk...meh...Ranger? Yeah, I will go with those 5...

Scott said...

Tough choice, here, but I went ahead and picked one from each edition I've played since I started. In no particular order:

1. Dwarf (BECMI/Cyclopedia D&D). Like the fighter, including eventual access to the fighter combat options that were later introduced. But cooler.

2. Monk (1e). Started my long-running habit of blending wuxia elements into my fantasy, and I liked it better than the BECMI Mystic.

3. Specialty Priest (2e). For the first time, a cleric was more than the vanilla healer/support character. Some of the kits really broadened the range of what the cleric might do. They didn't fully achieve that until 3e, but the 2e class gets the nod because it was first, and it got me to replace all generic clerics in my game world with priests.

4. Beguiler (3.5e). More roguish than the rogue, more fun with spontaneous casting than the sorcerer, a better knavish jack-of-all-trades than the bard. The clever, silver-tongued con-artist is one of my favorite archetypes, and this class suits it perfectly.

5. Warlord (4e). The warlock was up there for its flavor, but I just love what warlords do. A combat runs completely differently with one around, because they change the face of the battle in so many little ways. And they fulfill the leader functions while feeling entirely different than a cleric. I love these guys.

Tom said...

The Bard is an enigma to me, I can't understand why everyone loves this class. Of all the deadly and magical characters, why would so many choose a dork with a guitar?!

Is it due to old schoolers who grew up playing "The Bard's Tale"? Or maybe they remember the character from "The Hobbit" who's name was Bard(wasn't actually a bard at all)? I guess it's one of lifes mysteries. ;)

Anonymous said...

#1 WIZARD Fun from first lvl to arch mage. Mages rule the multiverse and do it with style.
#2 FIGHTER What is best in life? to see your enemies driven before you,to here the laminations of there women.
#3 THEIF Who doesnt love a sneaky little bastard.
#4 SORCERER The more unbalanced the better.
#5 Eric Grimstead undefinable as a class, race, or alignment. What does Eric do? He kicks ASS thats all he do!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

1 Wizard Unlimeted power
2 Sorcerer no books needed
3 Rogue self reliant
4 Scout rogue of the forest
5 Fighter no two are ever alike

Takaiteishu said...

I feel a great need to list my two favorite classes (really the only two I play with any frequency)

First up is sorcerer, I have some fond memories of my first sorcerer (being a noob at the time I chose half-orc for race, the irony being that he ascended to godhood)

And then my all time favorite class can be accurately described with two words said whenever combat starts: "I rage." The barbarian, entering combat greatax swinging and soaking up more damage than a sponge dropped into the ocean. There is something about beating anything that moves senseless that appeals to me that can only be matched by the love of making something go boom (taken care of by the sorcerer).

The only thing better than either a barbarian or a sorcerer is a multiclass barbarian/sorcerer with a few levels in the spellsword prestige class.

Michael said...

I have to say..

1: Bard, I love the bard in 3.5, always have, always will. Though my group usually let me get away with using my voice as a speaker instead of a singer when performing. I tended to play my bard as a lower noble instead of the classical bard. Worked great!

2: Cleric, one of my all time favorite characters was a cleric wearing spiked mail dual weilding warhammers.

3: Sorcerer, the variety in this class and the general uniqueness of it made it fun for me, though I have to admit that it's closely tied with #4.

4: The fighter, I've played alot of fighters and I usually end up as the muscle in the group. Best weapons, a halberd and a spiked chain!

Ben said...

Swashbuckler (Complete Warrior) is the best class ever. d10, max base attack bonus, good saves and the coolest abilities ever. I love starting as a human- at level three, you can get monkey grip, then for the rest of the game you dual wield falchions.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Monkey Grip doesn't let you wield a two-handed weapon in one hand. All it does is allow you to wield a large one-handed weapon in one hand; so you could wield a large longsword with your main hand (oh, by way, Monkey Grip is only usable for the main hand).

My favorites were always:

1. Fighter: versatile and a whole bunch of options.
2. The Rogue: like the fighter, but focused on skills. The greatest thing about both classes is the high level of customization.
3. The Beguiler: way to cool to forget it. Rogue with illusion and enchantments? Just to suitable in almost every campaign setting.
4. The Sorcerer: simple and plain blast. Elegantly destructive.
5. The Bard: fun with the tipical archetype or curious with other backgrounds.

Anonymous said...

I've played D&D for over a decade now and I've played many characters and at this point I don't limit myself to straight builds. I'm a multiclasser all the way. But if I have to choose classes for what they are worth, I'll give my 2 cents:

5. Cleric; people underestimate the power of this bad boy every time. You can do SO much with a cleric that it baffles me to see people bash them. I've had a cleric in my party that worshipped Kord and wielded 4 greatswords via monkey grip and a cleric transmutation spell that makes you more like a gollarion. You can tank, you can heal, you can buff, you can make armies of summoned creatures or undead minions, or you can be on the front lines with some of the nastiest touch attacks in the game. I've even seen a light armored, scythe wielding monster that decapitated foes after casting darkness on them, and ebon eyes on himself. Clerics should never be underestimated especially in the minds of creative players.

4. Fighter; HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I read fighters being underpowered and I had to laugh for a second. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? Fighters are some of the most devastating front line combatants in the game. Why you ask? Because of feats. They gain so many feats that it's unreal. Yes, they have a gap after level 4, but you should never EVER think that leaves them short. Wizards of the coast did that very much on purpose because they are that strong. They get feats around 17th level that make it so they can attack twice on a standard attack, gain an extra attack with a favored weapon, attack normally when grappled with a favored weapon, auto confirm critical hits, and make cu da gras as a free action. On top of which, a fighter is an item whore. They are only good with items, but what luck! The whole point of the game is to get gear and gold to get better anyways. Having a +5 vorpal weapon, rings of deflection and armor, armor of major fortification, boots of speed, and cape of resistance and you are so ready to throw down on any beast in your path. Did I forget to mention that fighters are capable of using scrolls? Oh yeah, fighters can use scrolls, and wands, and staves, and any magic item in the game if you build them right. Screw being a wizard. Be a fighter. More life, more damage, more attacks, more armor, more murder, and magic to boot as long as you have the cash to do it.

Anonymous said...

3. Bard; I love bards. I've loved them ever since I got my hands on one thinking I was going to be a skill monkey. What I found out is that they are EXTREMELY powerful early game and with the right build, never let up. They have some of my favorite casting in the game and they are free to cast in light armor with no spell penalties. Medium mithral armor anybody? Sleep is very over looked in games and people forget that if you get your enemies to sleep, they are done. That's free instant kills (Cu da gras) for your party. Not to mention they get a bit of everything. They are a support class, so they can buff your party, or debuff your foes, they can support heal, buff, or put status effects all over the place for some serious crowd control and they can do this WITHOUT specializing. Also, bards can totally be on the front lines. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. You just have to be ballzy enough to know you are not the biggest threat and there lies the enemys' fault. Grab a long spear using bard one day and let loose your songs of discord and your whirling spear that hums to your murderous tune. Also, bards are one of the most fun classes to play because they offer so much in the roleplaying aspect. Seeing how it's a roleplaying game, I see no reason to continue.

Anonymous said...

2. Rangers; I swear to Kord, if I ever have to hear someone say, "Rangers are just archers right?" I will bitch slap them through the internet. Yes rangers can use range... but that is not why they are called rangers. Rangers traverse the lands. They are the definition of explorers and can lead the party to any destination with their tracking and unreal survival skills. Also, Rangers ARE the best dual wielders in the game without question. No fighters are not. Yes fighters can have all the feats they want but that will never make them better. What people forget is that taking feats requires ability score prerequisites and the fighter... unless your dm is dumb and decides a 100 point distribution for your scores is reasonable... will fall short in one category or another. the chances of one character having 21 dexterity for the dual wielding feats, and high strength for damage is very very unlikely. If he somehow manages this, he will fall short in health, and speech skills, and his will save (which is game over for most scenarios), and did I mention the fighter has crappy skill point count? Oh I didn't? Well it doesn't matter because with a low intelligence, you might as well have no skill points. Rangers on the other hand, get ALL the dual wielding feats without worrying about the prerequisites. You may now pump strength and constitution and you are ready to slaughter foes by the dozens. I laugh at those poor fighters that get whirlwind. I just use a full attack with hasted weapons and become a blur of steel and blood. (for those of you who don't know, you can get 9 attacks with a hasted ranger that duals.) They also get camouflage and hide in plain sight for extra flavor. Rangers are also very very capable of using a bow even when they use dual w because they have a fighter bab. You can be the master of hidden combat that leaves no trace except the destroyed enemies that crumble in your path. They also get a companion for flavor that most people think can hold its own, but that's not really feasible because they are 4 levels under you at all times. They can however help you roleplay, fit roles in your group you might be lacking, or my personal favoriite... a personal flanker. That's right people, you just became your own best friend, and the rogues favorite companion to adventure with. Send your little wolf to bite the ankles of your rogue's target and it will be nothing but sneak attacks all day. Ask for you, you get a +2 to your attack. Haha fighter, I didn't have to specialize in anything to get my bonuses. :p Oh I did leave something out. Favored bonuses... ah yes, favored bonuses. WTF Wizards!? I love and hate you for this. This is with out a doubt one of the most busted melee abilities in the game. Lets say I take dragon and my bonuses are +10 to hit and to damage. Did I mention I attack 9 times with a full attack on my dual wielding ranger? I believe so, and there is one very very dead dragon. minimum 90 damage, not including strength bonuses, not including minimum weapon damage. I've gotten 200 damage in one round against a favored enemy and he collapsed like a lump of boiled broccoli. True story. They also get spells, and with the addition of spell compendium, they are ferocious little bastards. They even get a spell that allows them to make a ranged attack against every target within range, should ammunition allow it, or they can make a full round attack against every target within melee range... did I say 9 attacks... how about 36?

Anonymous said...

1. Paladin: If you nubs don't understand just how busted a paladin is, then I'm sorry for your foolishness. They have the MOST health in the game, end story. They can fight armies, end game, solo and his party members can be free to drink their coffee and joke as he does so. They have a fighter's bab, a fighter's health, spells, AMAZING saves that trample the monks, and are divine casters so they can wear armor for days. With divine grace at second level, they add their charisma to ALL saves. Seeing how you can stack a cloak of res on this, you pretty much can survive anything end game. You want to watch a full plated man dodge through a wave of fireballs and lighting bolts? You ever wanted to laugh as you could care about any poison what so ever... not to mention disease? (Pallys are immune.) Have you ever wanted to pick your nose to an instant death spell? If your answers to all the questions were yes, then be a paladin. They don't give two shits about anything except their god and upholding the faith. "But what about weapons? They can still hurt him!" PWAHAHAHAHAHA... pfffft the paladin does care about your weak +5 weapon. Unless you can kill him in a single attack, you are out of luck my friend. A Pally can use lay on hands back to back to back to back to back to back to back. Whats even better is he can use it EVERY round as a swift action on himself and take another full round attack on you. Should you be lucky to critical, he can just use a swift action lay on hands, followed by a standard action lay on hands on himself. You just lost your lead. You will die, one on one with a paladin. You can't win unless you have a HUGE stroke of luck, and in which case the Paladin will merely laugh and say, "If my god wills it..." You even lose in killing him. With feats however, you can make it so a pally heals DOUBLE the amount with his lay on hands. That's twice as bad for you my evil doing friends, so beware. They can see all evil alignments which is amazingly cool from a roleplaying aspect. They have a code of conduct which will give you great hooks in adventures. They have fantastic roleplaying ability with countless perspectives that can warp the direction of your play style all from selecting a deity. By the way... speaking of which. A Paladin must be lawful good... but yet he can worship any god he wants... like an evil god. In his eyes, is murdering whom his god, Nerull, justifies as an act that must be done NOT lawful nor good? A clever player can argue you this till the ends of time. The possibilities on this class is limited by your imagination. If you or a friend has made a paladin that wasn't very good, or just generally annoying, then you just are doing it wrong.