Is character class an in-world concept in your campaigns?

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Well, let's look at those examples. Bards have no lore ties to any sort of faith, so, the lack of things like holy symbols and well, faith, would differentiate bards from clerics pretty hard.

Celestial Pact Warlock is pretty close to a cleric, true, although, again, most clerics aren't sprouting wings. I'd say that a CPW is pretty strongly tied to its own lore.

Wildfire druid and druids in general should be strongly tied to their own setting lore as well. These are servants, generally, of very specific gods.

And an artificer kinda lacks all the religious trappings just like a bard.

So, no, I don't think a couple of shared spells is enough to make clerics indistinguishable from these examples.
Nothing prevents a bard from using a holy symbol or having faith either...
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
Well, let's look at those examples. Bards have no lore ties to any sort of faith, so, the lack of things like holy symbols and well, faith, would differentiate bards from clerics pretty hard.

Celestial Pact Warlock is pretty close to a cleric, true, although, again, most clerics aren't sprouting wings. I'd say that a CPW is pretty strongly tied to its own lore.

Wildfire druid and druids in general should be strongly tied to their own setting lore as well. These are servants, generally, of very specific gods.

And an artificer kinda lacks all the religious trappings just like a bard.

So, no, I don't think a couple of shared spells is enough to make clerics indistinguishable from these examples.
Depends on the type of setting. Bards were a type of Druid.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Well, let's look at those examples. Bards have no lore ties to any sort of faith, so, the lack of things like holy symbols and well, faith, would differentiate bards from clerics pretty hard.

Celestial Pact Warlock is pretty close to a cleric, true, although, again, most clerics aren't sprouting wings. I'd say that a CPW is pretty strongly tied to its own lore.

Wildfire druid and druids in general should be strongly tied to their own setting lore as well. These are servants, generally, of very specific gods.

And an artificer kinda lacks all the religious trappings just like a bard.

So, no, I don't think a couple of shared spells is enough to make clerics indistinguishable from these examples.
To initiates of those faiths maybe, but to a common lay person I could easily see the possible confusion.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Yes and... One famous Bard, Sir Rob Bertplant, was touted for using his voice as an instrument and sprinkling Middle Earth references throughout his tales.

e.g Ah-ah, ah! Ah-ah, ah!
I have heard of Sir Rob Bertplant.

Indeed it is said he comes from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow. Also that he was quite the mariner and explorer of new lands. And perhaps he even wielded the hammer of the gods.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
At some point during our last game session, I turned to our warlock and said "I expected you to help us with that, sorcerer", and his answer was "I'm not a sorcerer, I'm a warlock". My reply was "warlock, sorcerer, wizard, conjurer, or mage, I don't care, it's all the same", to which he answered, "it's the same for you, who have no understanding of arcane matters".

So, is character class an in-world concept in your campaigns? Could the mightiest sorcerer in your world be in fact a 20th-level wizard? If my oath of vengeance paladin was trained as part of a monastic order, would other people disagree if he referred to himself and other members of his order as warrior monks and tell him that monks are supposed to fight unarmored?

To answer my own question, except for some very specific situations, like druids in AD&D 2e, I never treated character class as an in-world concept. In my own games, a light-armored fighter with a criminal background does not see himself as fundamentally different from someone with levels in the rogue class.

What about your own campaigns?
How I play it is that it's both. Paladins and rangers are very specific classes in D&D, but that doesn't mean that the average person will be able to tell the difference. Nor does it mean that your paladin cannot be a member of an order of warrior monks and refer to himself as one.
 

pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

For me, it depends on the campaign world and the version of D&D.

B/X, BECMI, Dark Dungeons, Labyrinth Lord, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, etc: Yes. Classes are "categories that encompass certain expectations, training and knowledge".

1e, 2e: Depends on Campaign Setting. (see below)

5e: Yes. Because there are simply too many "class specific give-away's" that the world as a whole would classify people with certain skills/abilities/powers...and those are the Classes. A person pulls out a sword and start swinging during a goblin attack on the town. The person points and starts directing people tactically...Battlemaster. The person screams a war-cry and leaps into the midst, froth and rage spewing from his mouth with every swing as his body takes on the power of a bear...Totem Warrior Barbarian. The person whistles loudly and a puma leaps down from the trees...Beastmaster Ranger. The same goes for EVERY 5e class. They simply have too many "whiz-bang abilities" that, well, make it pretty obvious. Thus, people would naturally classify them in some way; "Classes".

Campaign Setting: For FR, yeah, Classes are a thing people know about. For Greyhawk, maybe, maybe not...if I'm running 1e...No. If I'm running 5e...Yes. If I'm running Hackmaster 4th...Yes (but that's a HM thing more than an 'AD&D' thing).

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Hussar

Legend
Nothing prevents a bard from using a holy symbol or having faith either...
So, sure, a bard could look like a cleric, sans the heavy armor of course, and different weapons, and the singing bits, and the fact that while he has a holy symbol, he never actually uses it, but, sure, a bard could look like a cleric. Doesn't have to though. Nothing in the bard description ties a bard to any faith at all.

Put it another way, a cleric without any holy symbols, and never once references his or her faith would be something of an outlier. Most clerics are going to be pretty recognizable. That there might be a chance that some other class, for whatever reason, wants to look like a cleric doesn't really change that.
 

Coroc

Explorer
At some point during our last game session, I turned to our warlock and said "I expected you to help us with that, sorcerer", and his answer was "I'm not a sorcerer, I'm a warlock". My reply was "warlock, sorcerer, wizard, conjurer, or mage, I don't care, it's all the same", to which he answered, "it's the same for you, who have no understanding of arcane matters".

So, is character class an in-world concept in your campaigns? Could the mightiest sorcerer in your world be in fact a 20th-level wizard? If my oath of vengeance paladin was trained as part of a monastic order, would other people disagree if he referred to himself and other members of his order as warrior monks and tell him that monks are supposed to fight unarmored?

To answer my own question, except for some very specific situations, like druids in AD&D 2e, I never treated character class as an in-world concept. In my own games, a light-armored fighter with a criminal background does not see himself as fundamentally different from someone with levels in the rogue class.

What about your own campaigns?
A druid, a bard mostly a paladin mostly would be described by their class name.
A cleric also, although he might be having some religious title rather.

What also is a clue for you on as what your character is seen by other people in the game world is your background. But first comes your current profession if you got one, logic dictates that. Everybody will refer to charname the city guard, no one will talk about charname the fighter/paladin etc.

Same for monastic orders military or.other occupations which give you some title.

Nobility of course is the first attribute so it is king Karl not Karl the fighter.

A wizard warlock or sorcerer would be the same to common folk al would call them faster or wizard or whatever despite their actual class is warlock.
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
I miss earlier rules on holy symbols where just presenting a holy symbol would hold an undead at bay. They really have nerfed the effects of things like holy symbols and garlic. And holy water just has not kept up with the hit point bloat over the editions to be as effective.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
So, sure, a bard could look like a cleric, sans the heavy armor of course
Not all Clerics get Heavy Armor.

and different weapons
Marginally different depending Bard and cleric subclass in play.

and the singing bits
No Bardic ability or spell requires the Bard to sing. Any that has an options to sing also has an option for reciting verse, which could easily be scripture.

Likewise no cleric ability forbids a Cleric from singing. i'm sure many like to get their hymn on.

and the fact that while he has a holy symbol, he never actually uses it
What does using the Holy symbol look like? How is is it so distinct from holding it?

but, sure, a bard could look like a cleric. Doesn't have to though. Nothing in the bard description ties a bard to any faith at all.
Yes absolutely correct. But no one in the game world can read that description.

This is why an Acolyte Background Valor Bard and an Entertainer Background Arcana Cleric could nigh indistinguishable to most people in the game world in much the same way that a Greatsword wielding, Half-Plate wearing Noble Background Champion Fighter would be nigh on indistinguishable a Greatsword wielding, Half-Plate weaing, Noble Background Berserker Barbarian.

Put it another way, a cleric without any holy symbols, and never once references his or her faith would be something of an outlier. Most clerics are going to be pretty recognizable. That there might be a chance that some other class, for whatever reason, wants to look like a cleric doesn't really change that.
Most Clerics are going to be recognizable as representatives of a deity and possible a church or religious order with magic power unless the the person doing the recognizing know's the nuances of magic power sources.
 

Sepulchrave II

Adventurer
Sometimes.

You can choose to “embed” certain game mechanics in the setting and afford them a kind of independent existence in your sub-reality; which – it any – mechanics you choose to embed is a largely aesthetic consideration, but one which then has logical consequences in the game world.

This can be useful, as it helps restrict and focus a palette of ideas which is otherwise too broad and diverse; it can act as a springboard for creativity.

It can also lead to artificiality and weirdness, if you’re not smart about it.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Not all Clerics get Heavy Armor.

Marginally different depending Bard and cleric subclass in play.
It really doesn't matter, though. The instant the bard uses bard specific abilities, including singing to cast spells, the jig is up. The same when the cleric presents the holy symbol and prays for his spells.

No Bardic ability or spell requires the Bard to sing. Any that has an options to sing also has an option for reciting verse, which could easily be scripture.
From the 5e bard spellcasting mechanic...

"You have learned to untangle and reshape the fabric of reality in harmony with your wishes and music."

Music is required for the bard to cast his spells unless the DM allows otherwise. Would I make that allowance? Sure. But I'm not going to pretend it's part of the class.

Likewise no cleric ability forbids a Cleric from singing. i'm sure many like to get their hymn on.
Yep. You can sing a prayer, which will be easily recognized as a prayer.

What does using the Holy symbol look like? How is is it so distinct from holding it?
That would depend on the god. Each god has a distinctive holy symbol. It's not like a cleric can pick up a rock and use it as the holy symbol of Mystra.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
That would depend on the god. Each god has a distinctive holy symbol. It's not like a cleric can pick up a rock and use it as the holy symbol of Mystra.
I did not ask what he holy symbol looked liked I asked what using one looked like. How does that look distinctively different than say holding one out and gesturing for effect, perhaps while praying. Is that something that varies from deity to deity?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I did not ask what he holy symbol looked liked I asked what using one looked like. How does that look distinctively different than say holding one out and gesturing for effect, perhaps while praying. Is that something that varies from deity to deity?
It probably varies from god to god and from cleric to cleric.
 

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