Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Least Used Classes & Races

Erik Tenkar brought this idea up:

What is the most underused A(D&D) class?

Good question. In his experience, it was clerics.

But in mine, we had a lot of clerics. My cousin used to run Cleric after Cleric after Cleric. So much so that "plate armored front line cleric with mace" was kind of a thing in our games. He ran a lot of Thieves, too. We had Fighters, druids (the Dru the Druid XIV jokes I make aren't jokes), Magic-users, Illusionists (mostly of the gnome Illusionist/Thief type, but I remember a single classed human Illusionist, too), Rangers. I don't remember any Paladins back in the Players Handbook days, probably because elementary school kids don't like the idea of magic item restrictions.

Once Unearthed Arcana came out, we added Cavaliers, Cavalier-based Paladins, Barbarians, and more.

We used the Monks from Best of Dragon Vol. 3, too, and they were a lot of fun (even ask El Murik's player, he ran one.) We didn't use the ones from the PHB, because it was hard to roll one up and they sucked so badly at level 1 that no one wanted to be one. I've heard tell they don't suck, but AC 10, d4 HP, and no special powers for a combatant would mean instant death in my ruthless everything-is-a-fight AD&D gaming days. At least the newer monks could mix it up from level 1.

So underused? Assassins. I can't remember any assassins. We didn't play evil groups, and assassins aren't that good unless you're evil (and even then, if you use the PHB rules about poison, your best weapon is dangerous to you, too). Assassins were NPCs.

How about race, eh?

Back in my D&D days, we had a lot of elves, half-elves, dwarves, and the occasional gnome. Almost no halflings - maybe even no halflings - I can't remember any offhand. More than humans in most cases. We didn't play that long, so the front-loaded power boost of being a non-human multi-classed character was too much to pass up. We didn't get any half-orcs, though. So, no halflings, no half-orcs, and a lot of elves.

Tomorrow I'll post on the same subject, except for GURPS - so hold those GURPS DF template comments for a day. :)


  1. Remember Garion Pendragon the Paladin? Man, I chose awful names. I think his original name was Darkwind. Then there was Greylock Ravenblack and Szandor Wraithkin (aka Sanitary Napkin... we were teenagers)
    Rob played a Halfling thief, I thought? Pretty sure he died early and he rerolled a human. They were definitely the least common.

    1. He did, but that was in GURPS. Darren ****luck, the halfling, who was eaten by the Cheshire Cat.

      I'm glad you finally remembered your paladin's name.

  2. In my AD&D days I think I played a bit of everything… except the Bard. It was all the horrors of the Character With Two Classes rules, squared. I don't think anybody I knew ever took one.

    Yes, kids, back in the day you had to become an Xth-level fighter and then a Yth-level thief before you could even start training as a bard...

    1. I didn't count the bard, because we had one guy get to one (I don't even remember how, but I remember him having a doss lute and using it, so clearly he got to bard) and one guy getting all the way through one class and into the next on his way to be a bard before we stopped playing for some unrelated reason.

  3. Druid was least used in mine. Bard a close second, if memory serves. We only used the PHB classes, however.

    Races, I'm going to assume Drow, but I don't remember if they were PHB or not at the time (3.5); it's been way more years since I stopped running the game than I ran it.

  4. I trend so hard to certain roles (fighter, ranger, paladin, thief-as-archer) that it's hard for me to respond to this one.

  5. Old school blue book, 3d6 inorder:
    Elf by far. It was hard to role high enough stats.
    Hobbits (later Halflings) and Dwarfs weren't much easier, but seemed to occur more often.
    The most common was the Cleric, cause all you needed was a Wisdom above 10 or something. (my first character was a borderline hopeless Cleric)

    When we moved to AD&D, pre-Unearthed Arcana:
    Paladins were the rarest class.
    Assassin, Druid, and Monk tied for second rarest.
    Rarest race was probably Gnome and Half-Orcs.

    AD&D, post-Unearthed Arcana:
    Monks were rarest class.
    Race, probably Valley Elf.
    We had Drow before Driz-what-his-name from RAS.

    Only played in one 3.5 game, so no real trends to report.

    No input for 2nd,3rd, and 4th Edition.

    Plan to try a Mountain Dwarf Barbarian in 5th some time soon.

  6. We banned druids and sorcerers when we played 3rd edition for religious aesthetic reasons. We never had anyone pick basic fighter over barbarian because of the 1d12 hit die. We had one thief per campaign and never more. The rest was usually a mix of rangers, paladins, clerics, bards, and an occasional wizard. I saw a monk once and he dominated (we were one of those groups that got ambushed or imprisoned by Plot a lot, so the guy whose unarmed damage does the same dice as a real weapon was outstanding).

    As for races, we usually allowed players to define their own races (aforementioned monk was a Mewtwo, we had lots of cat-guys and a few wolf-guys, a pixie here or there) but aside from one halfling thief/cleric, elf, half-elf, and human were the only popular choices from the standard bag. We were pre-teens who thought bears were lame, so no dwarves; we felt that orcs existed to be killed, so no half-orcs because that'd just be awkward.


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