Friday, March 13, 2009

Top Five D&D Classes of the Moment

Never one to pass up a decent meme, I've compiled a list of my own top five D&D classes. I'm pulling from 3.5 (and related third party supplements) because that's the edition I've got the most experience with, as a player and a DM. These are more or less in low-to-high order, though the specifics would likely shift if I did this again in a couple days.

5. Cleric For nostalgia's sake, more than anything else. I've played a lot of clerics; it was kind of my spot in the first group, and I still tend to pick them, just out of habit. I tend to play them slightly loopy -- my crowning achievement being the Unitarian Universalist cleric (dedicated to a cause, of course) who had a nervous terror of pitchforks and torches.

4. Oathsworn And now, we get into the territory of "things I've never played, but would like to some day." I don't play much. But if I did, Oathsworn (from Arcana Evolved) would be close to the top of my list. I dig the whole oath/loyalty thing, and while that's not enough to hang a character on (as I learned in a short-lived Risus campaign) combined with some actually functional unarmed combat mechanics, you've got yourself a fun time.

3. Shadowcaster I'm mostly just all over the flavor on this one. Dark, shadowy, and creepy, without descending into the angst-fest that is the Warlock. These guys chose their powers. Add in all the extra goodness in the shadow magic section of the Tome of Magic, and you've got a class that I'd seriously consider using on the other side of the screen, as a villain or unreliable ally.

2. Psychic Warrior I dearly love the 3.5 psionics system, so much so that I'd consider running a campaign with it as the major power source, little or no magic. And I particularly dig the psychic feat trees -- they open up a whole bunch of fighter-type powers, but with a supernatural flair.

1. Champion I like Arcana Evolved. A lot. Champions, in particular, always struck me as an interesting and playable twist on the paladin -- a class I dearly love, but that has caused me more headaches than anything else. Champions are not one class, but several, each devoted to a different cause. ("Freedom," "Life," "Justice," "Death" and so on.) Lots of room for new material, and lots of room to tweak a concept that's not quite working, since switching causes is fairly easy, up to a point. (Like if you're running a Champion of Justice, and the rest of the group decides they want to be pirates . . .) Add in a lot of really interesting different powers for each cause, and no requirements for your companions behavior besides "help me fight these people who don't like my cause," and you've got a class that's great in theory and in execution.


  1. I think the Oathsworn and Champions are pretty neat as well. They've got a dramatic oomph to them lacking in many classes.

  2. I'm currently playing a Psion/Fighter in a 3.x game. I dig those psionic feat trees too -- Up the Walls!

    I prefer the flavor of the 3.0 implementation of the powers, which attached each psionic discipline to one of the six ability scores.

  3. Oathsworn was my favorite thing in AU for sure. Very cool concept.

    I have a large fondness for Psychic Warrior as well. Maybe it's the pseudo-Jedi stuff, maybe it's because I kind of want a Paladin but prefer Psionics.

  4. Jeff Rients: Oh, yeah. Boy did we get a lot of drama out of the Champion (of Justice, then Loyalty -- custom made sub-class) in my AE game.

    A lot of the AE classes are like that, to one degree or another, and that's one of the things I like about it. Even the ones that don't have quite as strong adventuring hooks to them have a lot of attitude, and a very particular way of going about things that's easy to bring to the table.

    Max: I like the 3.0 version too, at least for flavor. But though I never saw it run at the table, I suspect the 3.5 implementation is a lot cleaner, and interfaces better with the rest of the system. Particularly, I suspect the 3.0 version does funky things to multi-class combos. But I've never tested that theory.

    Dave The Game: Y'know, I'd never made the Jedi connection, but now that you mention it, it seems obvious. Certainly gets the wheels turning . . .

  5. Drama with the Champion? Never...