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D&D General Class shtick


Steeliest of the dragons
Just putting this in general because, why not?

What is your "defining" shtick, feature (or features), of each class in your D&D (or fantasy RPG of choice)?

We're not going to change what is coming out in a month. Debating what was in 5e or any other edition isn't going to change any of it, so if there was something you liked about some other B/X-OD&D thru 5e - or any other 3rd party system, for that matter- have at it!

It's what you like about a class. How you like to see them portrayed and/or how you enjoy the game playing them -or not playing them, just enjoy seeing them in the game with you, maybe.

Barbarian: A warrior with a "Rage" mechanic. Secondary "survival-y" skills make sense too.
For my tastes, they are from a "wild" people, probably tribal society. Not "civilized/city-dwellers" but likely with societal norms and ideals around "strength," physical (if not mental, also) toughness, and "honorable death in battle."

Bard: Music-made magic and ally support ('"buffs," be they "inspiration dice" or some any other roll bonus mechanic). Chronicler/Lorist. A diversity of minor magics, interactive and non-combat skills.

Cleric: Channel Divinity. If a cleric doesn't have a "religious/deity" flavor built in to justify it's Turning Undead and Divine magic stuff, then it just makes no sense.

Druid: Nature magic. NOT, to my mind, 'Divine" magic. But primordial, natural-world, elemental forces of Nature - capital "N." It can be flavored as "channeling" to keep it connected with the Cleric. It could just be "magic/spell use." Shapeshifting is something I expect from the mythology/lore behind the class and its traditional powerset from 1e onwards...but I don't necessarily think of shapeshifting as the druid's "signature mechanic."

Fighter: I feel like the Fighter's bread and butter is "attacks." Getting to attack more than once a round has been a thing for many many editions now. So, I think I have to say "Extra Attacks" are the fighter's "core/signature" thing. A case could be made, in the pre-feats world, that "Weapon Specialization" might also be class defining for fighters. But nowadays (the past few iterations) I think that's kinda fallen by the wayside.

Mage (a.k.a. "Wizard"): Spell use/progession. That's kinda it. Knowing about history and stuff? They used to have more about making magic items. Or, I guess, getting powerful and turning evil so they create crazy monster-filled constructions as their homes/strongholds. But, basically, a mage that doesn't cast spells, isn't a mage.

Monk: "Ki/chi" is clearly the signature thing for the "shaolin-styled martial artist class." I, personally, think it makes more sense for the Monk's actual "Way/Path/however it is described" subclass...their Martial Arts and how they go about using them in combat - and outside of it... to be what defines them.

Paladin: Smiting...and, I suppose, their other "Divine powers"... without, necessarily, spells. Laying on hands. Anti-Evil auras. Magicky special mount. ...but, really, I think Paladins are just about the smiting.

Ranger: Multi-layered "Expertise" is the Ranger thing. They aren't just one thing, but it might be nice to design a ranger around a specific mechanic that offers them bonuses to all of the areas they generally get/need bonuses for. You need the terrain and survivalist skills expertise. You need the tracking expertise. You need some movement expertise (whether this is actual increased movement or resisting difficult terrains or however it is fluffed). You need the monster lore/favored "prey/quarry/enemy" expertise... And all of those are before you even get to any weapon specialities or (optional, minor, subclass only) magic-use. The "non-magic" warrior-rogue...or rogue-warrior...is the ranger...and they need bonuses on most of their rolls for most of the stuff they do.

Sorcerer: ummmm..."Innate/Inborn magic" and "spells known vs. prepared" was supposed to be their "thing." But I think more hay could have been made by having Metamagic be the defining feature. Neither is ideal. Neither is particularly "singular" or flavorful enough to warrant a class of their own, in my opinion. But that seems to be the case. "Innate magic augmented through metamagics" seems to be as "defining" as can be mustered for something called a "sorcerer."

Thief ("Rogue"): Thievery skills and Stealth expertise. "Sneak attack" is nice n' all. But it's basically there to give them some kind of attempt at balance matchy "increased damage as they level up so they can keep up with fighters and spellcasters." Skill roll bonuses for their grab-bag of useful adventuring skills is what a thief is for.

Warlock: A meaningful Pact mechanic that actually COSTS the character something...and that cost increases with levels/power increases. I signed a contract for magical power with a dodgey non-divine entity ...and the bill will come due! They don't have it in 5e. But it's what, I think, should define the class - Impressive magical power at an ongoing, in-play, in-character cost.

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Barbarian: mega-damage dealer and the ability to take same. Don't ask them to do anything else, though.
Bard: Support who makes everyone else better and "knows things"
Cleric: Anti-undead and party healer/support. Decent offensive options as well
Druid: Multi-role shapeshifter with a bevy of utility spells for the wilderness. Mostly useless in civilized areas or dungeons when not shapeshifted
Fighter: Combat tactician and front-line fighter. Everybody's favorite meat shield
Monk: The martial one whose allowed to use supernatural abilities
Paladin: Heavily armored spike damage dealer that must be dealt with and cannot be ignored
Ranger: Doesn't know what it wants to be after its identity was taken away in 2E. Currently, a poor fighter with useless skills and a constantly dying companion
Rogue: Glass cannon with a limited utility belt. Generally a one-trick pony
Sorcerer: A mix of self-aggrandizing utility functions and magic blaster
Warlock: A magic blaster with some utility functions
Wizard: Got a problem? Let me fix it.


Barbarians: Heavy weapons light armor rage warrior.

Bard: Support, Jack of all trades, face.

Cleric: Magic for healing, buffing, and divining, some funky powers.

Druid: Nature magic and shapeshifting.

Fighter: Tank warrior.

Monk: Unarmed mobile wuxia combatant.

Paladin: Holy warrior, tank with powers (auras, smite, healing work).

Ranger: Hunter skilled warrior. Nature powers optional.

Rogue: Skilled mobile sneaky combatant with light weapons.

Sorcerer: Inborn magic of a few powerful tricks.

Warlock: Pacting for blasting and magical gifts.

Wizard: Spells.
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Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
Artificer: steampunk version of wizard
Barbarian: volatile, unpredictable version of warrior
Bard: musical version of wizard
Cleric: default divine spellcaster, the "white mage," the default healer.
Druid: nature-loving version of cleric
Fighter: the default warrior, the "weapons guy," the New Player option
Monk: the anime version of warrior
Paladin: the knight in shining armor
Ranger: the nature-loving version of warrior
Rogue: the reason we can't have nice things
Sorcerer: lazy version of wizard
Warlock: emo version of wizard
Wizard: the default arcane spellcaster, for better or worse.

I think sorcerer would be better if they split "naturally good with magic" from "innate magic". A lot of people say they want the latter, but as soon as anyone does anything that logically fits that paradigm, all they get is complaining about how they don't want their sorcerer to have scales or get to fly when they cast a spell (seriously, look at any of the storm sorcerer playtest threads).

At this point, invocations make the warlock a better for "innate magic" (and your fiend/fey/Cthulhu patron is turning you into something else so, hated and feared, you will eventually turn evil or insane [sometime after the campaign is over] no matter how "good" you think you are).


A suffusion of yellow
Barbarian: Tank - give big hits and resist big hits
Bard: Inspirer - big talker
Cleric: Healer/Undead bane
Druid: Shapeshifter, back-up support
Fighter: Fighter - needs more manuveres and bigger hits
Monk: shoehorned because kung fu was cool
Paladin: Smites are awesome
Ranger: may as well replace it with the Scout (Rogue)
Rogue: Expert that needs a better skill system in this combat focussed game
Sorcerer: Bigger blaster
Warlock: Cooler blaster
Wizard: The Utility belt that makes skills redundant


Barbarian: big shtick
Bard: talking shtick (or shtick in the mud, depending on if you ask a bard or anyone else)
Cleric: healing shtick
Druid: when is a shtick a snake?
Fighter: shticks around
Monk: tae-kwon-shtick
Paladin: shtick up their rear
Ranger: rub two shticks together
Rogue: shticky fingers
Sorcerer: i can shtick all day long
Warlock: whose shtick is it anyway?
Wizard: magic shtick


Barbarian: Hitting hard, getting angry, getting hit, getting angry.
Bard: Knowledge, Music (Voice/Instrument), Spells, Rogue-ish.
Cleric: Healing.
Druid: Animals, Nature, Animal Forms.
Fighter: Weapons Mastery, 'Tank', Armor.
Monk: Martial Arts, Mystical. Its a throw back to a different era really...
Paladin: Holy Crusader.
Ranger: Archer, Pet Class.
Rogue: Thief, Stabby.
Sorcerer: Innate Spells, limited known, but can manipulate.
Warlock: Pacts, Patrons, its not their power.
Wizard: Learned Spells, unlimited known.

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