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D&D General The Degenerates. The Bad Trope Characters of each class.


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Many of the things mentioned, by various people, don't come across to me as bad trope characters so much as tropey chars that may or may not work well. I'm going for very specifically bad trope characters, ones that are particularly liable to cause Problems for the group. So, as an example, I'd argue the "anti-magic barbarian" trope is salvageable, but the "rage and attack whenever the player gets bored" trope is not salvageable. Underlined is stuff I've kept from your examples.
  • Artificer: Explosive/splash-weapon fanatic "experimenting" on allies
  • Barbarian: "Randomly" raging and attacking enemies or even allies (read: "when the player gets bored")
  • Bard: Just Horny and Promiscuous
  • Cavalier: Mount-obsessed, refuses to enter dungeons without mount
  • Cleric: Fake pacifist, only heals in-combat but will smite evil when angered
  • Druid: TN slothful backstabber druid of "Balance"
  • Fighter: Dark brooding "loner" avoiding IC conversations (except to be dark and brooding)
  • Monk: Ice Cream Koan-sprouting faux-mystic kungfu dude
  • Paladin: Lawful Stupid Moral Policeman that does more evil than good
  • Psion: Mind-reader seventeen steps ahead of everyone else
  • Ranger: In denial about actually having friends and liking visits to cities
  • Rogue: Greedy Loner with a "dark past"
  • Thief-Acobat: Never seen one, no idea. Maybe "Circus clown permanently stuck in pratfall mode"?
  • Sorcerer: Cackling maniac throwing around random spells for no reason
  • Shaman: New Age Philosophy-spouting faux-mystic cauldron-stirring dude
  • Warlock: Insane Evil Doomsday Cultist in love with Patron
  • Warlord: Insufferable busybodies who see themselves as "in charge" and "calling the shots."
  • Wizard: Haughty ivory-tower academic who always knows the correct way to do everything
You may note that almost all of these involve either refusing to engage with the other players, engaging with them in coercive or abusive ways, or being condescending and dismissive to the other players. That's sort of the core trifecta of Bad D&D Character Tropes: disengaged, demanding, or dismissive. If the player themself is being any of those three things, the character is basically automatically bad. In rare cases, it's possible to pull off the character being like this if the player makes clear their intent, but that's a difficult undertaking--usually the best way to pull it off is to make the above be a front, something to keep others at arms' length because of anxiety or self-doubt or genuinely believing that people shouldn't associate with them.

The only partial exceptions are the Bard, Monk, and Shaman. Monk and Shaman are both at risk of falling into racist stereotypes, and the whole "mystic wisdom" angle is often dismissive in its own right. The promiscuous Bard is basically dragging everyone else along for their sex fantasy, which fits fairly well into the "demanding" part just in an unusual way.

Are Paladin and Cavalier both lawful stupid zealots or only one of them?
I'll be honest, I don't entirely grok Cavalier as its own class idea. If it's religious, it's hard for me to see any daylight between it and Paladin: holy warriors that have a special steed and fight in the name of an oath or commitment. 4e recognized this by making Cavalier a Paladin subclass. If it's nonreligious, it frankly sounds like (as 5e did it) a Fighter subclass, a warrior specializing in mounted combat without the aid of magic or anything supernatural.

But the "bad trope" Cavalier is really simple: player is so enamored with their mount that they'll refuse to play if they aren't allowed to bring it everywhere, and will prioritize that mount over all other considerations, no matter how ridiculous that might end up being. (E.g., refusing to help prevent the end of the world because it means leaving Mr. Ed back in town while you delve into a dungeon.)
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
You may note that almost all of these involve either refusing to engage with the other players, engaging with them in coercive or abusive ways, or being condescending and dismissive to the other players. That's sort of the core trifecta of Bad D&D Character Tropes: disengaged, demanding, or dismissive. If the player themself is being any of those three things, the character is basically automatically bad. In rare cases, it's possible to pull off the character being like this if the player makes clear their intent, but that's a difficult undertaking--usually the best way to pull it off is to make the above be a front, something to keep others at arms' length because of anxiety or self-doubt or genuinely believing that people shouldn't associate with them.

The only partial exceptions are the Bard, Monk, and Shaman. Monk and Shaman are both at risk of falling into racist stereotypes, and the whole "mystic wisdom" angle is often dismissive in its own right. The promiscuous Bard is basically dragging everyone else along for their sex fantasy, which fits fairly well into the "demanding" part just in an unusual way.

I agree but some of those examples aren't causing problems forthe players, the NPC party, the NPC questgivers, or the world as a whole.

Dark and brooding fighters, rogues, warlocks, and rangers are tropey and annoying but not disruptive. They become disruptive when they refuse to act and choose to sit around to brood for one reason or another.

  • Artificer
    • Mad Scientist who only uses infusing on themself or an ally inefficiently.
  • Barbarian:
    • Rage Machine who attacks enemies, allies, neutrals, and objects alike
  • Bard:
    • Just Horny and Promiscuous
  • Cavalier
    • Upholder of social class norms and obsessed with mounts and collecting mounts.
  • Cleric
    • Fake pacifist, only heals in-combat but will smite evil when encountering heretics, apostates, and religious enemies (real or fake)
  • Druid:
    • TN slothful backstabber druid of "Balance"
  • Fighter
    • Dark and Blooding warrior who refuses to help questgivers unless it involves their personal story
  • Monk
    • Ice Cream Koan-sprouting faux-mystic kungfu dude who doesn't communicate clearly.
  • Paladin
    • Lawful Stupid Moral Policeman that does more evil than good
    • BONUS: Dark Oathbraker who is just leveling up to become a villain later
  • Psion
    • Mind-reader seventeen steps ahead of everyone else who uses mind control often
  • Ranger
    • Blatant racist who only fights favored enemies or in favored terrains
  • Rogue:
    • Greedy Loner with a "dark past"
  • Thief-Acobat
    • A literal clown
  • Sorcerer:
    • My Little Arsonist who causes collateral damage and throws around random spells for no reason
  • Shaman
    • New Age Philosophy-spouting faux-mystic cauldron-stirring dude
    • BONUS: Creep who lugs around spirits of dead family members, friends, and/or allies
  • Warlock:
    • Insane Evil Doomsday Cultist in love with Patron
  • Warlord
    • Insufferable busybodies who see themselves as "in charge" and "calling the shots."
    • BONUS: Follower collector who "suicides" his men
  • Wizard:
    • Haughty knowitall
    • BONUS: Mr. Attack spells are for Idiots


Question:

Which class is the one with the trope of being obsessed with collecting magic items? 50% of my D&D life has a "Magic Item! GIMME NOW!" PC but they range from fighters, wizards, and artificers. Christmas Tree Fighters or Wizards with 3d6 magic staffs/wands.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Question:

Which class is the one with the trope of being obsessed with collecting magic items? 50% of my D&D life has a "Magic Item! GIMME NOW!" PC but they range from fighters, wizards, and artificers. Christmas Tree Fighters or Wizards with 3d6 magic staffs/wands.
Answer: all of them. This isn't limited to just one class, or even just one group of classes. :)
 


Which class is the one with the trope of being obsessed with collecting magic items? 50% of my D&D life has a "Magic Item! GIMME NOW!" PC but they range from fighters, wizards, and artificers. Christmas Tree Fighters or Wizards with 3d6 magic staffs/wands.
While I agree with the suggestion that it's all of them, the Rogue is arguably the one most associated with it, because one of the bad Rogue stereotypes is "steals everything that isn't nailed down, and many things that are," not because they have any utility, but just to have them.
 


Bolares

Hero
The paladin I dislike the most is the paladin that tries to make the whole party act in accord to his beliefs/alignment/oath. A character class shouldn't be a moral restriction to the whole table.
 

Question:

Which class is the one with the trope of being obsessed with collecting magic items? 50% of my D&D life has a "Magic Item! GIMME NOW!" PC but they range from fighters, wizards, and artificers. Christmas Tree Fighters or Wizards with 3d6 magic staffs/wands.
All of them, because for a not-insignificant number of players finding magic items is the most fun part of dnd. And it is a fun part, at least (which is why I don't get no-magic-item games).

I'd say wizards are the most magic-item dependent in actual practice, at least for 5e: if you don't find scrolls or spellbooks, you can't do the core wizard fantasy of learning new spells from research. Any weapon user also wants a cool weapon (at least), so they'll complain until they get one because the character may feel incomplete until they do.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Paladins:
Lawful Stoopid ,
Worries about the right rituals to tie shoes or don armor
Doesn't know the local laws but enforces them anyway ... sorta.
Tries to enforce his homeland's laws while traveling abroad.
Insists on breaking group-Stealth to issue an honorable challenge to combat.
Wants to fight every sentinel and guard rather than sneak past / around them.

Stoopid Good
Spends all his own GP donating to widows and orphans, then asks the PCs to chip in to buy the next upgrade for his equipment.
Hands cash to alcoholics, and generally enables Sloth in the guise of supporting Charity.
May unknowingly draw BBEG's spies in for some free coin, which means BBEG knows all about Paladin and the party.
 

Cavalier - Rides an oversized mount (possibly a dire wolf) . Insists on bringing it inside dungeons that are much too small, where it barely fits and greatly hinders the party's movement.

Monk - Built around being unkillable, but has no offensive skills at all. Constantly brags about taking no damage in combat, makes fun of the tank for getting hurt, and laughs when party members die. Never actually contributes to combat.

Shaman - Wears a headress. Sleeps in a teepee. Brings out a tobacco pipe every night and insists anyone who doesn't partake with them is disrespecting their heritage.
 

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