Which NEW class from a Dragon Magazine did you play or allow ?


During the AD&D era New classes introduced in the Dragon Magazine were NPC classes. They were not meant to be used by players but sometimes a DM would allow it.

I remember playing the Jester Class, «A comical, clever, charismatic new NPC» according to the article in Dragon Magazine #60 (April 1982. pages 45-49). Fun to play in town. Didn't last long once we descended in the dungeon. If no one understand you, you can't really taunt them. :D


There were a few. The ones I remember:

Elven Cavalier

I know Merchant, Scribe, Sentinel, and Huntsman showed up as NPCs, but I don't remember anyone ever playing one.


Mod Squad
Staff member
In our games back in teh day we had...
A duelist
A bounty Hunter
A variant monk.

There were probably a couple of others.


I am convinced the term "NPC class" was a way to disclaim responsibility if such a class wrecked your game. It decreased pressure on DM's to allow players to use them compared to what would have happened if they had been introduced as new PC classes. After all, there's not much point giving XP progressions for classes reserved for NPC's.

I've run games with the old D&D single class bard variant, the archer, the duellist, the brigand, and I'd probably consider most of the other ones with slight modification.
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the Jester

I remember playing or dming the variant monk and bard from Best of Dragon Vol... 2? Maybe 3? I also saw pc death masters, bandits, archers, and jocks. Oh, and ninjae. Probably a couple of others, too- as well as some of the UA classes that appeared in Dragon before being put into the book.

EDIT: Oh, I forgot! And the hopeless character! Yes, we actually had one of those for a session or two.


40th lv DM
80s-early 90s: Beserkers, Sages, Witches, Anti-Paladins, Jesters, Ninja, Samurai, some sort of Monk, . That's the ones I remember without digging out various issues. But I'm sure there were more.
Somewhere about 93/94 I stopped picking up Dragon, so nothing from those years +.


I ran a Swords & Wizardry campaign not too long ago where I allowed the original alchemist, berserker, illusionist and healer from early Strategic Review/Dragon. The berserker was fun (although it really complicated things in S&W). Healer was actually pretty powerful


I liked the concept of Jester (stealth + arcane), battle dancer (capoeira martial-artist, now it would be a monk subclass) and the urban druid (perfect if your monster ally is a construct).

Mark Hope

We had a samurai and an anti-paladin in our 1e games. We're using the variant monk in our 2e game now. I seem to recall using one of the bard variants too.


Let's see. Just from Dragon (ignoring some excellent 3PP, such as the Compleat Books ....) -

Death Master
The Better Bard
Anti-Paladin (OF COURSE!)
...and maybe Bandit? Or was it Bounty Hunter? Eh, don't remember on that one.

Of those, the most memorable were the Death Master and the Incantrix.


One of my players used the Fiend Slayer prestige class from Dragon #287. I believe it was written by Monte Cook. I ran that campaign at an after school club and it lasted all four years of high school. That character was a Ranger/Rogue/Fiend Slayer, and made it all the way to level 20, one of only 3 characters that made it. This was the early 00's, when Legolas from the LotR films was the peak of hotness, and this character was basically a grimdark version of him. Good times!
I had a player try out the Jester class. It was fun enough - the taunting ability was a good one when paired with a high, er, low AC.

Not an NPC class, but I wish I had known about the Bard alternate version back in the day. Would've used that in a heartbeat. Would've saved me the long ordeal my one character had to go through to become a bard.


The EN World kitten
After all, there's not much point giving XP progressions for classes reserved for NPC's.
I need to brush up on my AD&D 1E/2E-isms, but wasn't that a thing for NPCs though? I seem to recall that, when they participated in battle alongside PCs, they were supposed to receive a cut of the XP also, gaining levels periodically, etc. It wasn't something the DM was just supposed to hand-wave, once they were part of the party, at least according to the rulebooks, and that's why those NPC classes had their own XP tables.