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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What is the Most Underused (A)D&D Class?

There always seems to be a class that a certain group avoids playing.

In my High School and College years, no on EVER wanted to play a cleric. If there was a cleric in the party, it was an NPC or a henchman.

I have no idea why clerics were so despised in my old gaming groups?

Have there been any verbotten classes in your groups?

31 comments:

  1. Clerics.

    Clerics were pretty much medics/trauma specialists who also worshipped a deity. No one ever wanted to play one.

    I've played two Druid PCs but in all my years, and editions, I have never played a cleric.

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  2. In my college games (Ad&d 1 and mostly 2), clerics were always multi-classed with fighter, and sometimes wizard or rogue. I suppose we didn't like the idea of being just support.
    I can only remember a couple of druids either.

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  3. In my college games (Ad&d 1 and mostly 2), clerics were always multi-classed with fighter, and sometimes wizard or rogue. I suppose we didn't like the idea of being just support.
    I can only remember a couple of druids either.

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  4. I don't think I ever played in a group that had an assassin. I always played dwarf clerics :-)

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  5. Monks, I suspect. But then they we we rolled abilities made them difficult (depending on the game the best option was best 3 or 4d6 in strict order; usually it was just 3d6 in strict order), so it was often quite difficult to qualify. [I can't actually remember a player monk in any of the old campaigns.]

    We had players that quite liked the fringe classes such as druids and paladins (and would play them if they could), but it was generally determined by what you rolled. I ended up playing clerics a lot as a result, since I invariably rolled well for wisdom.

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  6. Druids. Limited armor & weapons and spells of limited utility in a dungeon crawl.
    Personally, I've played a lot of clerics as they have rich role playing opportunities within the party. Paladin getting uppity? Just say "Remember your last confession about your feelings for the medusa?"

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  7. I think we used them all, and clerics were pretty popular with specific players. We had a lot of clerics, druids, thieves. Very few straight-up single-class fighters, though.

    I think the only one we never had was an Assassin.

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  8. I've rarely seen single-class MU's or illusionists.

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  9. Thieves weren't usually too popular, if I recall correctly. I think that's probably because we treated them as expendable trap-bait, though.

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    1. Also, we were young, so it was common for thieves to steal from party members, which was always annoying.

      ("But I'm just roleplaying my character!")

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  10. I never saw a Monk in play back in the hey-day of AD&D, only a couple of Assassins over the years, and I have only known a couple of people that were ever willing to play Clerics. Multi-Classed characters were never all that popular either, despite the overwhelming popularity of Dwarves.

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    1. Oh, and I forgot to mention, Magic-Users were none too popular in my neck of the woods back in the day either. No one really considered the end game, and the d4 hit die, combined with only one spell (that may or may not be useful) at first level was kind of the kiss of death. People loved Fighters & Thieves, or Rangers and Paladins when they could get them.

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  11. Clerics were pretty common in my games way back when, and since I've started playing classic D&D again. Decent HP, armour, magic, etc. We always saw them as a Fighter-plus class - I suppose we played them as Paladins/Templars (in Menzter D&D, which doesn't get such a concept until the Companion Set) rather than Friar Tuck or something. Perhaps surprisingly, in our groups it I think that it was Magic Users never really got played that much (we had Elves, of course, another Fighter-plus class).

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  12. I don't remember an illusionist. Bards in AD&D were so hard, as it required levels in two classes to qualify. A 1st level Bard is possible to be equivalent to a 10th level character. Too much of a kluge. I set out with a goal to become a Bard once, but only played that character in a couple of adventures.

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  13. I don't recall more than one or two Illusionists in over 35 years. Monks and paladins were almost as rare. bards fairly rare but they turn up often enough but one player was forbidden to play a bard again by popular vote of all the other players in one group. Clerics were not always popular but there was often one or more in large parties. I used to play magicuser/clerics fairly often for a while back in the day.

    Over the decades the three most popular classes of people i have dm'd for have been Fighter, Thieves, and MagicUsers. But there have almost alwaays been clerics too.

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  14. I don't recall more than one or two Illusionists in over 35 years. Monks and paladins were almost as rare. bards fairly rare but they turn up often enough but one player was forbidden to play a bard again by popular vote of all the other players in one group. Clerics were not always popular but there was often one or more in large parties. I used to play magicuser/clerics fairly often for a while back in the day.

    Over the decades the three most popular classes of people i have dm'd for have been Fighter, Thieves, and MagicUsers. But there have almost alwaays been clerics too.

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  15. Personally, I have never, ever, ever played a Monk. They just never seem to fit the setting, IMHO.

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  16. My table shuns the cleric. Always an NPC. Since I referee, I play the cleric. It's given me a deep respect for what they can do, and why they can do it.

    The best clerics are OD&D and 3e. Two very different classes, but with the same fluff. It's instructive.

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  17. Fantastic discussion. Surprising how the comments above reflect similar traits in the 1980's D&D landscape I played/DM'd within.

    - Bards & Monks were too fancy

    - Cusers were frail and it seemed like the rest of the party were simply tasked with keeping the sniveling worm alive. We started-starting cusers at L2 with maybe 500xp just to activate them as greater party components.

    - Paladins were too fancy, also, but for some reason we got over it with Druids & Ills because they were regular party members (I should say we generally played mixed overland/underland adventures where pagan-power had its place) and the roleplay possibilities of "around the campfire" were quite rewarding with those pc classes.

    Question: do the modern games have much around-the-fire interplay, swapping stories and Polish Goblin jokes and all that?

    - Our one ranger got assassinated. Go figger.

    - Nope, never played a cleric. As above, they just weren't a driving force in our games. Seems like we may have had one worshiping the God of the Salted Fish Omelet during the SinSalt and Dunwater adventures, but I have no specific recollection. At that same time it was the rage to carry a whip (Indiana Jones influence) and endless arguments about damage caused by a flaming whip . . . young men and their foolish ideas.

    Summary: Clerics were the forgotten class of our games.

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  18. In my current Pathfinder we have a player who likes being a cleric, so the trend from the 80s has finally broke for one of my current game groups, but until a few years ago, it was hard getting someone to fill that role. This is somewhat amusing, since one of the guys in the group loved being a healer in WoW, but not at the table... I was completely enamoured with Asian-themed fantasy, so it was common for me to want to play a monk, and then later when it came out, the Ninja.

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  19. Thief-Acrobat

    In my group, several of us had a penchant for playing odd classes. I had a few bards, one friend liked playing druids, another played monks, and another played quite a few assassins. I can remember only one illusionist but I don't think that ANYBODY ever ran a thief-acrobat.

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  20. In B/X we only had 4 to choose from, so I'm not sure you could say any of them were underused. Maybe cleric were marginally less popular at the lower levels, but once we got the knack of surviving the walk to the caves and actually levelling up, they became more common. Personally I played thieves almost exclusively in spite of the lousy hit dice.

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  21. In the AD&D days we avoided monks. They never really seemed to fit right in our Pseudo-Europe version of Mystara and Greyhawk (though there were established monks in both worlds).

    I ALWAYS played the cleric. That is till I finished my first draft of the witch class.

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  22. Druids and illusionists.

    In the first 15 years of my gaming I saw one illusionist at the table and no druids. And serious, the illusionist was only created because Alter Reality is so much more powerful than Wish because you can inspect your final creation before making it real. :)

    But we never actually got to that level of play.

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  23. Assassin...nobody I played with then who wanted to play an assassin was a "team player" and merely wanting to play one was just about enough grounds to remove them from the group.

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  24. I agree with the assessment of the Assassin class as a corruptive team player. I tried, once, badly, to coordinate a contract-hit-type adventure in a moderate city for two separate (curiously competing: playing at different times) Assassins with an informers and nefarious npc/character circle, but it had limited success. It seems like a decent idea if you have two or more disparate players who want to game but can't work the mechanics of playing as a team (scheduling) but shit, I was 14 years old and just couldn't manage it all properly. Assassins seem oddly romantic on the surface but the application was tough to pull off.

    -Rick

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  25. Nobody played an assassin. I played probably the only monk, and loved it. Twin nunchaku and javelins all the way.

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  26. I don't really remember what everyone played in my 2e days, but I recall being the only person who actually liked playing clerics. In 3e, anyone who wanted to hit things played either a barbarian or a ranger, so in my experience the most underused class was the fighter. Wizards were also underused in my group: new players who wanted to use magic gravitated toward the sorcerer rather than the wizard because they didn't get the whole Vancian magic thing.

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  27. BITD with AD&D, no-one played monks or illusionists, and druids were very rare. Everything else showed up pretty frequently, tohugh we have more multiclassed demihumans than humans.
    Didn't play enough of the later editions to spot trends, except that rangers and rogues were extremely common, indeed by the time we tried 4e, almost everyone was some sort of one or the other.

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  28. We forbade druids and sorcerers, but allowed wizards and clerics. It was one of those arbitrary religiously hung up on the terminology things. So we saw exactly zero druids and sorcerers.

    Nobody ever played fighters. Barbarians had a 1d12 hit die so they were favored; we wound up making a sort of a gestalt class with 1d12 HP per level, all armor proficiency, and so on; we called it "Barbarian" a lot more than "Fighter" or "Warrior".

    Saw one monk, a couple wizards, several bards, and paladin/cleric/ranger were super-prevalent (we often did multiple PCs per player and one of mine would always be a paladin, ranger, or cleric and the other was usually picked from the other two). We usually had one thief per campaign, but never more.

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  29. The druid. .. I cannot remember any druid at our table.
    The cleric was fine almost as good as a fighter with a bit of restrictions and boosting spells.
    Nice to have and almost always in the group.

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