Continuing on with our D&D 30 day challenge, today I will attempt to figure out which of all the playable classes that have existed in this game is my favorite. And believe me, there are a LOT of classes to choose from. Beyond the old standards of Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Rogue, there’s the odd classes ranging from the ones from TSR’s Unearthed Arcana like the Thief Acrobat and the Cavalier, to the plethora of classes released for 3rd edition, including the Psionicist, the Warlock and the Favored Soul, never mind the mind-mindbogglingly large array of prestige classes, to the ever growing list of classes in 4th edition that include the new takes on old classes like the Shaman and the Artificer to its more original classes like the Warlord. It’s kind of hard to narrow it down to just one.
So, I've decided to talk about my favorite class from each edition. Bear with me, there are far fewer of those than overall classes.
A quick note here to state that I am playing the D&D Next Playtest, but I won’t talk about character classes for that one because A) they’re not complete and B) for now, they’re the old stand by classes of Fighter, Cleric, Rogue and Wizard (and a few others).
1st edition: I was going to say Bard, due to the fact that it wasn't a base class like these young whippersnappers have today, but a class you had to work hard to get into, and even then it wasn't a guarantee. In 1st edition, when someone said they were a Bard, he was a bad-ass, and you knew it. However, as cool as that was, the truth of the matter is, my favorite class to play back in the day was the Thief. I never went in for the thief sub-classes like assassin or thief-acrobat, just a straight up thief. My favorite character from when I played back then was a half-elf thief. I decided that if I were going to play a half-breed with a class called thief, I was going to play it up. So he was the bastard son of a whore and some random elf dude, who grew up poor learning to thieve on the streets. I had no idea at the time just how cliche that really was, but he was a total blast to play.
2nd edition: I never really played 2nd edition much. I was so used to 1st ed, I had a hard time adjusting to it all being streamlined like it was. Still, a friend ran a 2nd edition game once, and I had a good time in it. But, given that there really wasn't a huge difference between 1st and 2nd edition, I would still say thief. Being able to unlock the cage you’re trapped in by using straw from the floor rocks.
3rd edition: This one gets a little tricky. As I noted above, there are a whole bunch of “core” classes for this edition, not only released by Wizards, but also by third party publishers. In addition, there are all the prestige classes, to make things more interesting. That said, I think I’m going to have to go with the sorcerer. This is mostly for flavor, I love the idea of a spell caster who gets his ability from having dragon blood in his family history. My favorite all time character was a half-orc sorcerer, who took a prestige lass that bound a demon to him as his skin. Creepy as hell, and he made the rest of the party nervous, but he was a complete blast to play!
4th edition: Here’s where we enter the territory of the most bitter battles of the Edition Wars. I know that there are a LOT of people out there that just HATE 4th edition with the passion of a 1000 burning suns. I, however, am a part of the even larger group of people that happened to enjoy 4th edition. I played as a PC in a few games and ran a campaign for over a year before it finally broke up due to a lot of changes happening in my life at the time. And one of the reasons I love this edition is because of the introduction of class “roles.” You could now make a party that did not NEED to include specific classes to survive. You just needed to included one of each of the four roles, and you were good. And my favorite class from this edition? Warlord, hands down. I love the idea of a fighter that’s also a leader and a healer. His healing powers are a little wonky from a flavor standpoint, but it worked out great mechanically, and he was one of the most unique and fun classes to play. And combine a Warlord with a Rogue on the battle field, and watch out! The enemy doesn't stand a chance.
And so, there you have it. My favorite classes from each edition of D&D.
So, until next time, when I discuss my favorite Game World, keep on remembering the future!