D&D 5E First impressions last

I know this is a 5e thread, but a question about "why play a cleric" led me to think back to my first experience of D&D (Mentzer red box), and think about how my attitudes to classes have been influenced from that first exposure, and specifically the visual cues the rules gave my 10 year old brain.

I like clerics. I'm fond of fighters. I'm not a fan of wizards (magic-users), and prefer humans (my gnomophilia started with AD&D).

I wondered why. And then I re-read the red box, and it became obvious.

The Cleric
Dynamic, kinda hot, ready for battle, action-packed pose. Still my favourite class.
image.jpg

The Fighter
A little staid, but says "grizzled vet". My first ever PC was a fighter.
image.jpg

The Thief
Looks like a rapist, quite frankly. Never appealed. Still doesn't, even with Sneak Attack.
image.jpg

The Dwarf
"You lookin' at me, Jimmy?" - my second favourite 'class' (though now I don't tend to combine dwarf+cleric, strangely enough).
image.jpg

The Elf and the Halfling
Subtext: not important enough to warrant their own solo pics. Halfling: too much time spent eating pies; Elf: too much time spent getting ready in the bathroom. Never been fussed about either race.
image.jpg

The Magic-User
Didn't even get a pic, bar one tiny roundel showing an old geezer and the back of a cowl casting Phantasmal Force. Never played a wizard to this day.
image.jpg

These archetype images say quite a lot - to me, the most dynamic image was (and is) the cleric: everyone else seems strangely static and flat.

Anyone else find their favourite classes/races are still tied to their first visual interactions?

And if so, which do you think are the most evocative class images from the 5e PHB? For me, I'd say the Fighter and Paladin.
 

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S'mon

Legend
Mentzer Basic also has the protagonist Fighter & Aleena. It's definitely a very Cleric-friendly presentation, and they're a good class despite not getting AD&D's bunch of clws at 1st level. My Labyrinth Lord PC is a female human Cleric of the Holy Fire, & I also played one in Pathfinder Beginner Box.
 


greyauthor

Explorer
Oh, answering your question. I think 5E has a great gnome and I'll bet everyone wants to play a Tiefling (sadly I haven't). As for classes, I love the druid art and the monk just is awesome.
 


Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
If the OP's situation were universally true, then none of my friends would have ever played an elf, because they had silly beards.

:)

Now I feel old lol. In all seriousness, the OP does have a point. Most of us are still impacted by nostalgia and first impressions. For example, one of my favorite artists is Bill Willingham, because his work in B/X was some of the first "real" art I was exposed to in D&D, and firmly set in my young mind at the time, "women fighters are BAD ASS".
 

sunrisekid

Explorer
Great post, OP, I loved those books and feel nostaligic about those images. Aleena was my first comicbook crush. And you make a good point about the dynamism of the artwork, I hadn't thought of that. That said, I love the halfling look and to this day dictates what they look like in my game (old fashioned hobbit-like).

Anyone else find their favourite classes/races are still tied to their first visual interactions?

And if so, which do you think are the most evocative class images from the 5e PHB? For me, I'd say the Fighter and Paladin.

Basic D&D was my first visual encounter with the game but my favourite classes have changed over the years, but I can't think of any artwork that captures them well. My favourite classes are the Ranger and the Warlock (the Lovecraftian version).

In 5E, some of my favourite art that captures/evokes the essence of a character are:

P13, the dwarf
P44, the elf and human in front
P94, the Rogue

Lots of the art is quite good, but, for me, doesn't always capture what I'm imagining for the class.
 

The pictures never really did it for me, in terms of class/race preference. For me, it was the crunch that influenced my first impressions. Seeing how the different racial and class components could come together is what leads to my opinions.

As for the 5e pictures, the only one that I have an opinion on is the Dragonborn Sorcerer. So many people at my tables wanted to play one that I have now refused to help bring any more into existence. I can't ban them because I run AL games, but I certainly don't have to help make them.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Yep. To this day, I like halflings when most everyone else seems to not like them, and I'll be damned about the crappy halfling art in the modern books, halflings in my world look like this

jeff-dee-halfling.jpg
 

Yeah, that Halfling is hench.

Elf: Look at the size of your sword. Compensating, much?
He-Halfling: Come at me, bro. Amma mess you up.
She-Halfling: Leave it, Dilbo, he's not worth it.
 



JeffB

Legend
View attachment 74783

I loved all the images in the OSR boxes and the 1e books. But when you asked the question, this is what immediately came to mind. Why? Because it was the most influential to me.

The 1e illusionsist was not a good class. And this ... well, this wasn't the best illustration. But I still remembered leafing through the Rogue's Gallery back then (yes, I was leafing through a book that consisted of tables of numbers) and seeing this picture, and it caused me to play illusionists off and on for several years after that.

Jeff Dee makes everything look cool.
 


ccs

41st lv DM
As for the 5e pictures, the only one that I have an opinion on is the Dragonborn Sorcerer. So many people at my tables wanted to play one that I have now refused to help bring any more into existence. I can't ban them because I run AL games, but I certainly don't have to help make them.

You can kill them though!
And enjoy doing it.
 

Lanliss

Explorer
5E is my first interaction with D&D, so I can't speak toward nostalgia much. As far as pictures, I do like the monk picture, though I don't know if it made me like monk, or I like it because I like monk. I also like the gnome picture, which may have something to do with them being my favorite race.
 

I know this is a 5e thread, but a question about "why play a cleric" led me to think back to my first experience of D&D (Mentzer red box), and think about how my attitudes to classes have been influenced from that first exposure, and specifically the visual cues the rules gave my 10 year old brain.

I like clerics. I'm fond of fighters. I'm not a fan of wizards (magic-users), and prefer humans (my gnomophilia started with AD&D).

I wondered why. And then I re-read the red box, and it became obvious.

The Cleric
Dynamic, kinda hot, ready for battle, action-packed pose. Still my favourite class.

I remember that cleric! Didn't make the same impression on me as on you, apparently, but being reminded of her definitely does make clerics cooler in my eyes.

The Elf and the Halfling
Subtext: not important enough to warrant their own solo pics. Halfling: too much time spent eating pies; Elf: too much time spent getting ready in the bathroom. Never been fussed about either race.


I laughed so hard at this commentary.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
My 1st class was a fighter named Andal. My last few in 5E have been.

Light Cleric
Valor Bard
Way of the Fists Monk
Diviner Wizard

Basically stuff the others are not interested in playing.

Love the Elmore art. Bought as $10 megadungoen a few days ago for 5E and it has Elmore art in it.
 
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Lanliss

Explorer
My 1st class was a fighter named Andal. My last few in 45E have been.

Light Cleric
Valor Bard
Way of the Fists Monk
Diviner Wizard

Basically stuff the others are not interested in playing.

Love the Elmore art. Bought as $10 megadungoen a few days ago for 5E and it has Elmore art in it.

Even though I enjoy monk, my first character was a gnome druid, who grappled with goblins constantly. My DM for the beginning of Lost Mines was very unhappy that I was constantly pinning and throwing goblins around.
 


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