Monday, August 23, 2010

Character Classes & An Apology

I reached the point this month where overindulging in my CRPG addiction would be career suicide. Please bear with me, and I'll do my best to continue with Rings of Zilfin as soon as I can.

So we don't utterly waste the week, let me toss out a question about character classes. In a single-character game, what is your default character class, and in a multi-character game, which of the classes in your party do you most identify with? And why?

I tend to default to a paladin, which mystifies me a bit because in real life, I am anything but pious or lawful. Perhaps I just find them easier to role play. For instance, I can integrate the the six-party maximum in most games by pretending that my paladin is sworn to travel with no more than five companions (any more than that, and he's leading an army).

In contrast, I hardly ever go with a spellcaster as my primary class. I think this is because there comes a time in every game in which you reach a boring stretch and you just want to pound your way through it with brute force. You can almost never do this with spellcasters; you have to plan each encounter.

59 comments:

  1. I tend to choose Wizardly types, although in D&D games I often choose Clerics (despite my atheism!).

    I've always been a thinker, I prefer words rather than weapons, magic to might and books before battle.

    Besides that, my brother always played the Fighter or Rogue in games anyway so I wanted to be different.

    He also tended to play evil characters, whilst my natural instincts lead me towards neutrality (and occasional good). I can never play wilfully destructive characters without significant motivation. Being paid money isn't enough to blow up a town, but if the inhabitants are rude and untrustworthy... then perhaps I would (and take the money too).

    As for your point about a boring stretch, magic is what gets me through such points. Mainly because magic can grant you the ability to kill large amounts of enemies quickly in many games.

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  2. I play them all, but gravitate more towards spellcasters. If I could get away with it, I'd be chaotic neutral, but whenever has a game given you the ability to play THAT way?

    The most connected I think I've ever felt with a character was playing a monk in the first Neverwinter Nights. Despite it becoming ridiculously easy later on, I really did enjoy standing in the middle of a brawl, idle, but still not taking any damage. It got so that I could just ignore combat until it became unrealistic to do so.

    Anyhow I agree with the post above - in most cases I like the tactical/thoughtful aspects of spellcasters more than the brute force of fighters. Rogues can be fun but I find that rarely do the games give these classes the same depth of play/experience that the others are afforded.

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  3. Ranger, always a ranger if I can, if not, plain fighter.

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  4. As a crpg newbie, I used to gravitate towards mages. Then I played Baldur's Gate. You don't want to be a poorly-stated 4HP mage wandering the wilderness at the start of that game. Not when your player has no RPG-survival skills, anyway. Gibberlings ate my poor mage alive.

    Now I play with whatever class seems more likely to be a better introduction to the game system. Usually that's a fighter. Sometimes not, though.

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  5. Cleric class. I never really get into Paladin style characters. (In CRPG games this is). I give up on usual spell caster classes as they are too squishy. Always been a bug-bear of mine. Whenever there is a cutscene or similar you always find your main character at the front of the party and all the fighters quietly hiding behind you (eg. Neverwinter Nights 1/2).

    Pain in the behind. Cleric satisfy my spellcasting needs yet wear enough metal to stay alive when I get thrust to the fore.

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  6. When I was younger I liked elven mages, but as I got older I like dwarven warriors more. I've been willing to do odd things, like run a party of 4 paladins through Might and Magic 6. My favorite class race combinations came from Wizardry 7; Felpur Samurai, Mook Alchemist, or Farie Ninja anyone?

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  7. I always have a human fighter named Daire Corbett. In one PC games, this is usually the first character I roll. There is a long story behind this, but I won't go into it here.

    Like CRPGaddict, I prefer having the option of quickly brute-forcing through an encounter if I need to. The the only two CRPGs I can think of where a PC fighter cannot take an NPC mage in a straight fight are Balders Gate II and Neverwinter Nights II.

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  8. As I am a rickety, elderly, male wizard in real life I tend to play a strong female fighter which I named Anne Armageddon.
    Wasting a dozen enemies with magic is way too easy in my book - the physical aspect has to be considered, too, and being sexy while excerting extreme violence is something a mage simply can't accomplish.
    And no, in real life I'm not a cross-dresser! ;-)

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  9. I prefer Ranger-style classes. A little bit of fighting, a little bit of magic, not too good at either but a combination of both.

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  10. My favorite class is the Cleric/Priest. I enjoy playing a support role. If it's a solo game, then I like playing healers still because it's a challenge and you have to take your time and plan fights out and win in an indirect way (outlast the enemies rather than kill them quickly).

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  11. I usually end up as a cleric.

    In Baldur's Gate, I tried starting as a mage, but it was more difficult than I wanted to deal with.

    Clerics play as slightly weaker melee characters, so they aren't relying on their limited number of spells or MP to do all of the damage.

    The best part is that clerics are incredibly sustainable. What they lose in brawn, they gain in their ability to heal themselves and keep moving foreward (without using up valuable health potions).

    Clerics can also get some nice defensive spells. In Elder Scrolls: Arena, the shield spell can nagate the first thousand or so HP worth of damage to hit the character. The shield-spell-equivilent in the recent Dragon Quest IX is really the only thing keeping my cleric alive right now.

    And in party-based games, it's nice to feel useful.

    In games that only offer warrier/rogue/mage, I'm usually the mage (if not, I'm the rogue). I remember that the first time I played Morrowind, I started as a fighter. The first town I visited, I was immediately drawn to the Mages' Guild, and I knew that I was always meant to wield magic.

    Mages are weak, but there's nothing better than mastering the most mysterious forces of the universe.

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  13. Recently discovered your blog--terrific stuff! The writing, as others have said, is truly a cut above the standard (a fact that has led to better-than-usual comments as well). I await your next post with enthusiasm, but also wanted to remind you not to feel too much pressure regarding posting often: your audience consists of RPG fans, after all, for whom patience is a cardinal virtue! :-)

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  14. It was fun reading all your responses to this question. I was thinking recently of Baldur's Gate II and the strongholds that various character classes could achieve. Each one had different quests associated with it, and it seemed to me that some (bard, fighter, paladin) were quite interesting and involved, while others (cleric, druid) were abbreviated and comparatively lame. I wondered if the attention given to the stronghold quests mirrored the creators' expectations of the character classes most likely chosen by the players. It made sense to me, because after all, who chooses a cleric or druid as the main character?

    Well, several of you, it turns out. So I'm going to follow your lead and mix it up a bit, going against my usual modus operandi when it comes to choosing classes. (It'll be a while before I get to games where this matters, though.)

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  15. My favorite class has changed over the years- I used to love playing powerful wizards, but have become more interested in warriors. I think it as to do with my changing roles in life- as a student, it was fun to take the role of one who gained power through knowledge. Now as a provider for my family, the archetype of the warrior who protects his allies with his own strength appeals more.

    I love trying them all, though.

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  16. I'm a little late to this, but better late than never.

    I always like playing an archer (a ranger, often enough, if that choice is available). I love ranged combat in games. And in some early games, before there were many sound effects, I loved the twang of the bowstring when I took a shot.

    I like playing a paladin, too, especially in a party-based game - partly because it seems to give me more options, partly because "my" character is always the leader, and partly because I always play good characters, anyway. (Maybe I get my evilness in real life, because I like to play the hero in games.)

    If it's a "real-time" game, though, I generally play whatever is easiest. I'm horribly inept at "real-time" combat, so I need all the help I can get.

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  17. I confess to a weakness for ranged combat, too, even though I think in some games it kind of breaks the game. Might & Magic VI/VII and Baldur's Gate II come to mind. You can essentially avoid ever engaging in melee combat on some screens, especially in BGII when you start finding exploding arrows, paralyzing bolts, and other magic missiles. The last time I played BGII, I decided to adopt a rule of no missile weapons (I pretended it was some oath my paladin had sworn), and it was a much more challenging game, forcing me to make better use of special melee attacks and magic.

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  18. For fantasy RPGs, I admit to a weakness for dwarven clerics - strong enough to fight, smart enough to often not have to, and durable enough to usually survive long enough to get away if I get in over my head.

    For postapocalypse and sci-fi, I prefer a sniper type. Stealthy and skilled at minimizing my opponents' time to fight (thus maximizing my chance to survive).

    For cyberpunk, my typical character is a common street ganger or mercenary, sort of jack of all trades. But I always have to try a decker/hacker/netrunner to see if that portion of the game is done well.

    Similarly, in almost all games, I have to try a very charismatic/diplomatic character at least once to see what pathways that opens up. And I like to play offbeat character types that sound particularly unusual for an RPG, like farmers or merchants. In NetHack, I had the most fun with a tourist.

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  19. Like you, my preferred character class, the leader, the one I identify as "ME" (he often has an altered version of my name, and I give him a shaved head whenever possible) is the Paladin!

    I don't consider myself pious or overly lawfull either, but I have always been a sucker for "The Knight in Shining Armor" what else but a Paladin!

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  20. I'm late here now, but couldn't resist.

    My all time favorite class is the bard, although normally play thieves as an approximation when no bards are available.

    Always called Joseph O'Connelly, of course, a memory of my 1st bard in AD&D2nd (he went all the ladder up to 17th level!!!... mainly sneaking and fleeing, but hey I WAS ONLY A BARD!)

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  21. I have been going back through all your old posts because I cant figure out how to subscribe to all comments on all posts by email so I am doing it individually. Now that I am here I figure I should post on this one.

    I like to play a thief character in paper RPG where you can actually do things like case a job, come up with clever dialog to get into or out of a situation, or just plain lie, bluff and intimidate. I that no CRPG has captured this well though and thief's tend to be useless classes in the games.

    In CRPG I tend to like the chaos classes that can have random things happen to you like mutations or a gift/penalty from your god. If those are not available I tend to like the class with the most options, typically not a fighter where you just bash your way through things.

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  22. I think by "Baldur's Gate," the thief has come into his own. Maybe not so much in the dialog, but between sneaking and traps, the thief is a viable main character. It gets even better in NWN, which does have bluff and intimidate skills, along with trap-setting.

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  23. I guess a select dialog just doesn't do it for me as I would much rather use my own words and flow from there. This is where paper RPG shines and will continue to do so until we get some nice Turing test passing AI in CRPG.

    I guess I will have to get those to run in wine and see if the thief is represented better for myself, but I don't have the same memory of it being done well as you do.

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  24. I'm not saying you're wrong--obviously, you can say ANYTHING in a paper CRPG. But when I play games that offer dialog options, I do a (probably lame) thing where I listen to or read the NPCs dialog, think what I would REALLY say in the circumstance, and then see which dialog option closely matches what I came up with.

    In many of the Bioware games, one of the selections is shockingly close to what I would have said anyway. I wonder if they develop these by having test subjects give real reactions to the dialog, and then just writing those down.

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  25. Usually a fighter. I just like bashing things. So much fun was had in Arcanum as a mentally stunted half orc fighter who pretty much just bashed his way through half the game.

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  26. Yes, I often go that route, too. It feels a bit lazy, though.

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  27. |{P}|sez:
    I play a barbarian or a fighter, but I'm working on becoming a thief. I really consider these type of things a chosen profession, I'm not sure why they are called "class".

    The "race" part of RPGs confuses me as well. I consider most of that just a way of describing your character (like how they look), though, from what I'm reading, race and class play a LOT in various aspects of RPG games.

    That would make a good book, "Racism and Classism in Role-Playing Games". I'd snuggle up by the fireplace and read that with my latte.

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  28. Now that's a little more coherent, |{P}|! I'm not sure what's so confusing about race, though: dwarves, elves, and such are actual races, not just shorthands for appearances. In this era, most games just include them for legacy reasons (transferring options from pen-and-paper games to the computer), but in later games, they actually make a big difference in terms of role-playing.

    There are a lot of racial allegories in CRPGs, though sometimes a bit unsubtle. Witness miscegenation themes in games that feature half-orcs, or the "dark elves" of D&D. In Dragon Age, a game I'm playing on my Xbox at the moment, elves are treated as second-class citizens and forced to live in ghettos. You were being sarcastic, but I think it actually could make a good book. I'll probably do a posting on it when we get into more modern games.

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  29. |{P}|sez:
    Naw dude. I really would read that book. "Sitting next to the fireplace with a latte" is just my way of "selling" the idea, how it should be written. I'm studying to be an lit agent and all. :(

    This blog has inspired me to take a look at the D&D Basic Set from 1983 for my research. From the Basic Set it appears that that version of D&D features something called "Prime Requisites" for each CLASS (where the race is a class).

    Anyway, it seems that if your class/race's "Prime Requisite" is not high enough, you have experience points (XP Points) deducted.

    So, for instance, if you played a dwarf and you decided you wanted to be a "swimmer's build" dwarf and not focus on developing your strength, you would have XP points deducted.

    In addition, you have to have Constitution "score" of 8 or better or you cannot be a dwarf.

    Pretty interesting. In MY RPG/CRPG, I'd say that being a dwarf is just a description of what you look like. And being a fighter is just your occupation. Everything else is rolled for and you develop whatever you want.

    That's the way I'd do it, braugh...

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  30. During playing one of my first CRPGs ever (Baldurs Gate), I started as a ranger, but after finding out how mages work I started the game new with a female chaotic good mage called Myria and soon started burning everything with fireballs. I call this the "magic artillery" tactic.

    In games which let you create only one character at the beginning (like, well Baldurs Gate, Dungeon Siege II, Morrowind, and so on) I would since then always take as default the "female mage, killing everything with FIRE" archetype. If that is not possible, I revert to alternating between male/female sword swinging maniacs. The only exception from this iron rule of mine was, I think, Diablo II: Here it was "Sorceress, killing everything with ICE".

    In games which let you control entire groups, I often go batshit insane in trying to cram as much diversity as I can into them, then subtract al classes/races I can´t stand. (For example, for some reason I really hated the Mooks from Wizardry 8.) Sometimes it got to silly extremes -in Might & Magic II I had literally half a dozen groups of people I routinely rotated through my "main group" simply to test all possible combinations of classes and races.

    Of course, in games like MM2 or Wizardry 8 with your own little army of adventurers I never really identified with just one of them: For me, it was more fun to invent little life stories for everyone and pretending that I, as the gamer, was some sort of interdimensional power using them all as my pawns.

    And maybe because of the influence of the german pen and paper RPG The Dark Eye I see classes and races often only as a tool to create some kind of archetype I like. (Funny enough, I never played "Das Schwarze Auge" and have only rudimentary knowledge about it. Reading the novels was sometimes fun, though.)

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    1. It is a thing of beauty for you to have coined the term "magic artillery" to describe a Dungeons & Dragons mage's fireball, as that is literally the origin of the fireball--Gary Gygax, in making his system for fantasy miniatures, took the stats of a catapult's splash damage, changing "catapult" to "wizard" and "hurled stone" to "fireball," and left it otherwise identical. So, the fireball is precisely envisioned as magic artillery.

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  31. To make my inane ramblings about archetypes a bit more clear, here a few examples taken from my CRPG-Sessions:

    In the Icewind Dale series I ended up essentially always with the same combinations of class/race, only with different names/gender/stories behind them. Literally all my groups consisted of six deranged do-gooders out of the same archetypes over and over again(some of which, like the artillery mage, or the sword swinging maniac, have spilled over to my CRPGs with only a single created character):


    The Stereotypical Dwarf: Always Fighter or Cleric/Priest, if fighter must slaughter things with an axe. If Alignment possible, chaotic good or chaotic neutral. As dumb and grumpy (low charisma) as possible. Always male. Always!!

    The Holy Heroic Man/Woman. Essentially just a paladin. There is always a 50/50 chance of he/she being a machiavellian mastermind of goodness or lawful stupid. Paladins can be of every possible race and prefer fighting with SWORDS. (By the way, I really hate it if a CRPG excludes entire races/species from being a paladin.)

    The Supporting Cleric: If there is already a non-spellcasting dwarf in a party, or if there aren´t any dwarfs in a CRPG, enter the SC: A being that is irrevocably chained to another spellcaster of the pary. The Cleric will be the opposite gender to the other spellcaster and both will be mentioned in the others elaborate backstory. (In Icewind Dale II, this role would always be taken by a female elven priest of Oghma, the god of knowledge and she would be married or in a relationship to the other spellcaster of the party. And yes, it often takes me hours during character creation for writing the backstory for them alone. Why do you ask?)

    The Artillery Mage: A spellcaster whose fate will be to live as a living artillery cannon, raining fire and death on enemies and protecting the own party against enemy spellcasters. Is often married to the Supporting Cleric in a CRPG with created parties. Can have every conceivable backstory possible, even in games without large, self-created parties. Case in point: My murderous, small and unhealthy thin female drow mage in Neverwinter Nights 2 with alway chaotic evil alignment -played like a slightly chaotic good character, to role play her slow corruption to the "good side".

    The Lone Ranger: 75% Chance of being female and human, fights with swords and long-range weaponry, if possible. Never uses shields, even in CRPGs that allow that possibility: Shields are for wusses.

    The Swordswinging Maniac: The non-dwarf version of the insane dwarven fighter. There is a 50% change that I will create a female maniac just for the heck of it. The alignment and made-up backstory will always depict the character as insane as possible, with maybe a few heartwarming moments (in the backstory, not the alignment).

    The Manipulating Bastard/Bard: Always a bard or something similar, always the leader and for some reason I only ever created female bards. (Maybe because I am male and can´t sing -therefore, I can´t easily conceptualize a male bard.) Will never show up as my character in a game without the option of creating an entire group.

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  32. The Engineer and The Asshole: Both archetypes only exist thanks to my love for Wizardry 8. The Engineer will always be of the smallest or cutest race possible combined with the most technological/mechanical class possible. (Examples: Female fairy gadgeteers blasting stuff with their self-built rifles in Wizardry 8, and as I can see now in hindsight, in more traditional fantasy CRPGs the same role is fullfiled by my thieves.) The Asshole is a character in my parties ment to be some kind of elaborate inside joke only for me: In Wizardry 8 it was the elven psionic with the most arrogant voice possible, played as some kind of evil Mr. Spock -in my Icewind Dale games it was often the archetype of "clearly evil thief in a group of heroic heroes of goodness".

    The Placeholder (tm): Whenever I get bored with my usual choices, I try something new, like a fighter/mage combination specialised in protective magic, thief/fighters down on their luck, or more then one specialise spellcaster in one group. (To give an example: In Baldurs Gate II I would always use characters I could build into powerful mages like my main character -one as walking artillery, one as walking well of protective spells one as a master of duelling against enemy mages and so on...)

    And that´s it. I´m finished.

    (Wow, that was a bit much.)

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  33. And of course, I accidentally delete half of my second post. Well, now the order is a bit messed up, but there is no helping it now, this was to supposed to come between my first and second "comment":

    To make my inane ramblings about archetypes a bit more clear, here a few examples taken from my CRPG-Sessions:

    In the Icewind Dale series I ended up essentially always with the same combinations of class/race, only with different names/gender/stories behind them. Literally all my groups consisted of six deranged do-gooders out of the same archetypes over and over again(some of which, like the artillery mage, or the sword swinging maniac, have spilled over to my CRPGs with only a single created character):


    The Stereotypical Dwarf: Always Fighter or Cleric/Priest, if fighter must slaughter things with an axe. If Alignment possible, chaotic good or chaotic neutral. As dumb and grumpy (low charisma) as possible. Always male. Always!!

    The Holy Heroic Man/Woman. Essentially just a paladin. There is always a 50/50 chance of he/she being a machiavellian mastermind of goodness or lawful stupid. Paladins can be of every possible race and prefer fighting with SWORDS. (By the way, I really hate it if a CRPG excludes entire races/species from being a paladin.)

    The Supporting Cleric: If there is already a non-spellcasting dwarf in a party, or if there aren´t any dwarfs in a CRPG, enter the SC: A being that is irrevocably chained to another spellcaster of the pary. The Cleric will be the opposite gender to the other spellcaster and both will be mentioned in the others elaborate backstory. (In Icewind Dale II, this role would always be taken by a female elven priest of Oghma, the god of knowledge and she would be married or in a relationship to the other spellcaster of the party. And yes, it often takes me hours during character creation for writing the backstory for them alone. Why do you ask?)

    The Artillery Mage: A spellcaster whose fate will be to live as a living artillery cannon, raining fire and death on enemies and protecting the own party against enemy spellcasters. Is often married to the Supporting Cleric in a CRPG with created parties. Can have every conceivable backstory possible, even in games without large, self-created parties. Case in point: My murderous, small and unhealthy thin female drow mage in Neverwinter Nights 2 with alway chaotic evil alignment -played like a slightly chaotic good character, to role play her slow corruption to the "good side".

    The Lone Ranger: 75% Chance of being female and human, fights with swords and long-range weaponry, if possible. Never uses shields, even in CRPGs that allow that possibility: Shields are for wusses.

    The Swordswinging Maniac: The non-dwarf version of the insane dwarven fighter. There is a 50% change that I will create a female maniac just for the heck of it. The alignment and made-up backstory will always depict the character as insane as possible, with maybe a few heartwarming moments (in the backstory, not the alignment).

    The Manipulating Bastard/Bard: Always a bard or something similar, always the leader and for some reason I only ever created female bards. (Maybe because I am male and can´t sing -therefore, I can´t easily conceptualize a male bard.) Will never show up as my character in a game without the option of creating an entire group.

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  34. I always rant about Fallout. Why would this be any different?
    I dare any one to play fallout 1 or 2 with a very low intelligence (basic fighter). You can't really talk to any NPC:s, only grunt and people will mock and/or attack you. But you can finish the game. Chosen One smash!
    Playing with high intelligence and science skill you get all the background info and quest.
    Role playing!

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  35. Typically I like to go for monk if possible or rogue in games, but definitely monks, I love them to death in the games that allow me to play ones, even though I am more of a true neutral rogue/bard in real life ;)

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  36. I'm with UbAh. I usually choose a thief in RPGs. Other favorite classes are monks, rangers, mages. In CRPGs, since I play consoles mainly, I don't get much choice.

    My last two characters in Oblivion have been a sneaky archer (ended up seeking out chameleon equipment, got past 100%, and got bored), and one who only used healing and defense magic and his fists (no armor either).

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  37. I remember starting off as a Paladin in Baldur's Gate II, and having a lot of fun with it. My character ended up giving up godhood in ToB to stay with Aerie, so when I started NWN I decided to make my character a homage to Aerie. Female Elven Multiclass Cleric/Wizard, strictly alternating between the two when levelling.

    I think I was past the halfway point in the game when I realised to my horror I'd blocked off getting the really good spells for either class. It was pretty depressing.

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    1. Just wait till you are playing tabletop D&D, and discover one of the people playing with you is a fighter/cleric/wizard, to be 'flexible'. So....all the downsides of each, none of the upsides.

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    2. I've never played that combination, but why does that happen? Certain spells are restricted to "pure" versions?

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    3. Every level you play as a secondary class takes away from the main classes' level cap, and vice versa. 20th level wizard, or 10/10 wizard/cleric. With D&D rules, you'd never get to cast 4th level spells in either class. Jack of both trades, master of neither.

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    4. So for example, the character I was talking about was 6th level: 2 Fighter/2 Cleric/2 Wizard. A 6th level fighter should have 2 attacks a round, at +6 and +1 (No counting strength or special abilities.) It would instead have 1 at +4. A 6th level wizard would have 3rd level spells; This character had 1st. A 6th level cleric would have 3rd level spells, again, only 1st level spells.

      It is possible to do a multiclass character well; Fighter/Barbarians can go together *very* well for example. This...wasn't one of those times.

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    5. This was one of the big problems with 3e & 3.5 D&D by the way. Multiclassing was horrible. 4e fixed a lot of it, but removed a lot of the versatility as well. I've not looked at multiclassing in Pathfinder.

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    6. That all makes sense. I think I played a paladin/thief (I know, doesn't make sense) during my only full play-through of NWN. I didn't notice that my character was handicapped for this, but of course it's much more noticeable with spellcasters.

      I've never played a game with 4e rules. If I recall correctly, there was hardly a disadvantage to multi-classing in 2e. Because of the way experience worked, you'd end up only 1 or 2 levels below "pure" classes at any given time.

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  38. Paladins...

    Sorry for not posting earlier and more constantly as a repyl, but I am sure I will catch up one day.

    The picture of the enlightened Paladin in the Ultima IV manual got me ever since back then in '85 [?] and didn't leave. Plus, they can fight and can do some magical / woundrous things!.

    McTrinsic

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  39. My background is in console RPGs, but I did play ADOM obsessively and almost always as a mindcrafter. Much later, I was introduced to D&D 4E. My most enduring character was a small, feisty female human psion, with a slew of Telekinetic powers so I could throw people with my mind. My next character was a rockstar gnomish bard who talked his way out of trouble far faster than he fought. Guess I'm attracted to the 'pintsized mental powerhouse' archetype.

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  40. Continuing my retrospective troll through the old posts and commeting...

    I always try and mix up my main character, but now I think about it, I nearly always seem to pick a ranged warrior type with high charisma / speech (which i think gets me the most out of the game - stops me missing quests etc). Must try and be more flexible and dynamic.

    I think depending on the game I also try to pick a class that will "give me the most" out of the game. So in the Gothics I always play mages, as they seem to have better quests.

    Jus

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  41. In the Elder Scrolls games, I always chose to be a bowman, my thief skills were always maxed out early (except pickpocket!). I like to be a sniper, so to say. Still, in general I prefer casters because I like to think of myself as more intelligent than strong, and intellect and wisdom is usually connected with magic.

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  42. In single-character setups, I prefer versatility. A jack of all trades (but master of none.) In 2nd edition AD&D this usually meant multi-class elf fighter/mage/thief. In Dungeon Hack, half-elf fighter/mage/cleric.

    I prefer to have a lot options to choose from, finding and making use of the most suitable approach for the situation. It also offers the most in sense of character development (new spells, new abilities), rather than playing the pure tank who maybe gets faster attack speed and deals slightly more damage more accurately as you advance in levels, while being hard to kill.

    Then again, when you have a lot of options to choose from, but only a limited amount of choices you can make (D&D 3E, 3.5, Pathfinder, Multi-User Dungeons), I tend to fiddle around quite a bit trying different kinds of builds.

    When it comes to having multiple characters, I naturally try to divide all the roles available (def, off, blaster, healer, crafter, PR-guy) among the characters, while trying to adhere to how the game is meant to be played. In 8-man party, this means having equal amount of melee-capable people as there are slots in the front row (usually 4), possibly with different focuses among them (we get 2 defs: 1 maxing out physical defence to buy time for the rest of the party when things look bad, the other one doing the same vs magical attacks. 2 offs: the hard-hitting two-handed weapon person, then the mobile flanker guy etc) Not all of them use ranged weapons well, but they have spare weapons when the situation calls for them (special weapons vs the undead/incorporeal foes/demons etc). The rest of the party then divide the magical roles, having 2 blasters and 2 healers - depending on the number of choices available in that one game.

    I could replace the other healer with a healing-capable character that gets something else a pure healer does not, like the shaman class in Helherron, or the witch in Pathfinder Roleplaying game.

    TL;DR: Versatility

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  43. Alignment I tend to be neutral/chaotic good. As for class, I go with whatever I figure I can break the most easily. In DnD-inspired games this tends to be either a cleric or a wizard. In most other ones it tends to be stealth-based characters. Most game designers take some assumptions about how you're going to play which lead to interesting results if you violate them. For example, taking a healer and maxing out his attack abilities at the expense of everything else often yields a glass cannon who can kill anything with one shot, at which point the challenge of the game becomes arranging it so that you get to move first.

    Oh, and never underestimate that "luck" stat. I've played several games where putting all your starting stat points into that yielded characters with nearly god-like abilities.

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  44. Just started reading your blog a few days ago, and I must admit that I find it very interesting. I decided to chime in since peoples' reasoning for their favourite class is always interesting.
    I've always been partial to the thief/rogue. Sometimes (and if the system allows it) I'll add in a bit of magic and/or fightery. On the other hand, I've only once played a priest/cleric/holy man in all my years of CRPGs and tabletop gaming.
    The reason why I started playing a thief was simply that his level requirements in AD&D 2nd ed. was by far the lowest. When I was 7-8 years old and just starting out playing tabletop games, I only knew that I wanted to get to the highest level possible before dying, and so my choice was usually the thief.
    I'll admit that I also find the thief easier to roleplay, as I prefer my heroes to be of the slightly darker variety, which results in me usually RPing my main chars as rogues with a heart of gold, who doesn't frown on making a bit of cash while saving the world.

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    1. I wish more games allowed you to really role-play your character that way. I suppose this is one of the reasons I like The Elder Scrolls series. If you ignore the "official" quest log, you can make up all kinds of characterizations, quirks, and side-missions for your characters.

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    2. Not sure why I can't create a 'new' post on these older entries, only reply to existing posts...also appears my posts must be approved before they show up, whereas at first they would post immediately. Anywho, I generally prefer Ranger/Tracker/Stealth Fighter type builds as well as Bards for my 'main' character, though I think I have played every archetype at one time or another. I grew up going out to the Country in Southeastern Ohio as a kid and my parents and grandparents would essentially send all of us kids out to the woods to play. We got lost so many times I couldn't count them, but eventually found our way back in time for dinner so I think that's where I get my connection to playing the rugged woodsman. :)

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    3. Tap the Add Post button at the bottom of the screen to add a new post.

      The comments are not appearing right away due to huge amounts of spam forcing Chet to turn on moderation.

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  45. I also prefer paladin like characters.
    When I was younger I was more into mages because I thought magic was cool. Well I learned in RPG's that they are not particularly easy to play as. Fallout is somewhat of an exception though there aren't really any "mages" but intelligence is really helpful.
    Later I became a thief because I liked the feeling of hoarding items. In every elder scrolls series I have emptied almost every house. The only exceptions are really only the first two where stealing is harder and everything is randomly generated. Though I found being a thief in Arena made the game easier. I just stayed in someone elses house and basically killed whoever(or whatever) came inside that disrupted my sleep. So I kinda became a murderer instead of a thief.
    I later grew tired of both and eventually I played Final Fantasy 4 where the main character goes from dark knight to paladin. I thought that was cool so I replayed my games accordingly. I start somewhat evil and something happens that makes me a good character who promotes peace.
    On the side I usually like to create a warrior female and a berserk man of complete destruction.

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  46. After years and years of playing fantasy tabletop and computer RPGs, I find myself gravitating to any game that does *not* involve swords, wizards, and orcs :) I'm loving the Worlds of Ultima games (one's a prehistoric jungle, one's a late 1800s vision of Mars) or Shadowrun, etc., just so I can get a taste of something different. But when it comes to fantasy CRPGs, it really depends on how intimidated I am by the complexity of the game; if I'm stressed about it, I'll often play as a simple Fighter the first time around and then do more complex options once I get the hang of things.

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  47. I'd almost always go for a Ranger type, or whatever the equivalent Fighter/Arcane Magic hybrid type is.

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  48. One of the first CRPGs I ever played was Morrowind and I chose a Bosmer fighter (my brother's character was a Bosmer as well), but as I played, I found myself stealing a lot. So, that is when I discovered that I am a dirty thief. To this day, I cannot help but take everything in sight in CRPGS, looting every crate that doesn't belong to me.

    So I tend to play roguish characters with a focus on lock picking (or whatever), charisma and ranged weapons. This way I can more easily explore (be it dialogue trees or locked rooms) and avoid dying. That said, I am partial to Bards in D&D games and don't mind relegating lock picking to another party member (I.e. Imoen). I also enjoy melee characters in certain games because I love the raw feel of it, like in Skyrim or Fallout 4.

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  49. I too play a Paladin often, even if my real life "alignment" is more Chaotic Neutral than anything, and to top it off, I don't believe in anything supernatural.

    However, unlike you, it doesn't mystify me at all.

    Being a religious zealot dispensing justice from a higher power with absolute certainty that *I* am the one who's unquestionably right is so, so tempting that I'm not shocked when people actually do it in real life - we all know people like that, I'm sure.

    One of the biggest reasons I play games is to indulge in such debauchery - I'm only human, after all (unfortunately) - where it cannot harm anyone.

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