The coils of the World Serpent
All of the classes available fall into one of four categories: Warriors, Wizards, Priests and Rogues. Unlike the Controller, Leader, Striker and Defender of 4th edition, Classes within the group may have multiple different “Functions” within a party.
The Warrior group encompasses the character classes of heroes who make their way in the world primarily by skill at arms. Fighters, Paladins, Rangers, and Barbarians.
Warriors can gain proficiency in any weapon or armour, as standard, though certain class abilities may function better under lighter armour types. They have the largest Hit Dice types of all class groups, but suffer a limitation when it comes to Magic Items. There are far fewer “Warrior Specific” items than other classes.
The Fighter is an expert in weapons and tactics. Amongst the ‘famous’ Fighter types are Heracles, Perseus, Beowulf, Little John, and Sinbad. Historically, Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, Richard the Lionheart and Belisarius are all examples of the Fighter class.
The Paladin is a devout worshipper of a Deity, the symbol of their power. While all Religions can have Holy Warriors, Paladins also represent all that is Good and True, and thus a paladin has high ideals to maintain. Lanmcelot, Gawain, and Galahad of Camelot are examples of this type of character.
A Hunter and Woodsman who lives not only by the strength of his sword, but also his wits. Robin Hood, Orion, Jack the Giant Killer and the mythical huntress Diana are all good examples of Rangers. The abilities of a Ranger also make them excellent scouts and spies.
Considered backwards by some, a Barbarians brute strength is simultanrously their greatest asset, and biggest drawback. Restricted to more primitive armour and weapons than most Warriors, the Barbarian has in trade, more hit points and sheer power in His attacks.
Knight of Solamnia
Honour bound and steadfast, the Solamnic Knights are one of the premier chapters of warriors in the world. Less religious than Paladins, but more ordered than most Fighters, the Knights seek the protection of the weak and the betterment of all.
The Wizard group encompasses Arcane-based spellcasters, both generalists and those who specialise in a specific school or type of magic. Spending their lives in pursuit of arcane wisdom, they have little time for physical endeavours, and thus have low hit dice and limited selections of weapons and armour available.
Mage (Generalist Wizard)
Mages are the most versatile type of wizard, those who can eventually call upon any school of magic for a variety of effects without hindrance. Merlin of Camelot is a prime example of a Mage of legend.
Specialist Wizard (Various)
A wizard who concentrates their efforts towards a single school of magic have an advantage when it comes to how many spells per day they can cast… but suffer the inability to cast spells from at least three other schools, called the “opposing” schools of Magic. The Charaqcters class is usually referred to by the type of magic they specialise in: Illusionist, Invoker, Enchanter, and Diviner to name but four types. There are many specialist schools, including Abjuration, Artifice, Conjuration, Dimension, Divination, Elemental Air, Elemental Earth, Elemental Fire, Elemental Water, Enchantment/Charm, Force, Geometry, Illusion, Invocation/Evocation, Mentalism, Necromancy, Shadow, Song, Transmutation, and the most dangerous of all specialities: Wild Magic.
Wizard of the Robes (White Robes, Red Robes or Black Robes)
A Wizard of the Robes is a form of speciality Wizard who focuses on “Good”, “Neutral” or “Evil” magic. They are capable of casting a wide variety of magic, but again, are restricted from certain spells due to their chosen Colour.
The Priest group represent the devout believers and representatives of Deities in the game world. More than just a lay follower, they intercede and act on behalf of others, seeking to use his power and knowledge to advance the cause of his religion. Priests can all cast spells of a divine nature, though their Deity can choose NOT to grant the use of a spell to them, if they transgress against their dogma.
The most common type of priest, the Cleric is a devout and loyal worshipper of a specific Deity or Pantheon, and while not a match for Warriors, are able to handle themselves in a fight. They are limited in weapon selections, but more than make up for this shortcoming by having access to combat and healing magics.
A priest of nature itself, and guardian of the wilderness, a druid has to maintain an almost inhuman balance (and is thus limited to a neutral alignment) as nature is neither good nor evil, lawful nor chaotic. They gain abilities as they progress that make them capable of defending against creatures who would harm the natural order, as well as a good selection of nature-based Divine spells.
A more focussed follower of a specific Deity, less than 10% of a chuurch will class as Specialist Priests. These dedicated and loyal soldiers of their deity have special rules when it comes to armour, weapons, and even some special abilities granted to them by their gods. However, in exchange, their focus in ALL things is the spreading of the faith and the interests of the chuch. These are some VERY focussed individuals.
Rogues are people who feel that the world (and thus, everyone in it) somehow owes them a living. They get by day to day doing as little as possible for the maximum gain. Thieves and Bards are two of the classes which fall under this category.
The profession of the Thief is not an honourable one, and yet, conversely it is not entirely dishonourable either. Many famous folk heroes have been more than a little larcenous. Coyote, Robin Goodfellow, Reynard the Fox and Ali Baba to name but a few. Thieves have a wide variety of non magical skills designed to capitalise on the shadowy nature of these individuals.
The bard is an entertainer. A good bard should be glib of tongue, light of heart and when all else fails, fleet of foot. Based loosely upon celtic bards and norse skalds, examples of legendary Bards include Alan-A-Dale, Will Scarlet, even Homer himself. Bards have some of the fighting capability of Warriors, some of the Magic of Wizards and some of the skills of Rogues, making them a useful fit into a party in many roles.