Pardon the dust!
This page includes some jargon that hasn't been added to the site's glossary yet. I'll be around to fix this later, but sorry for the inconvenience in the meantime.

Glossary Entry: Character Class

Quick Definition

A character class is a sort of template that explains a character's role in a game. If two characters are assigned the same class, they will have the same abilities, advantages, and disadvantages.

Broken down to the extreme basics, there are usually four primary classes:

More Details

The concept of character classes is heavily tied to RPGs, especially tabletop RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons. Unsurprisingly then, most fantasy games derive their classes from D&D or similar works.

Here's a quick overview of some of the common character classes and what makes them unique:

Fighter, Soldier, Warrior, Barbarian
All of these are variants of the same general idea: someone who specializes in melee combat and general warfare. Characters in these classes often become tanks, allowing the rest of the party to keep some room from the front line. As a side note, the D&D style Barbarian is noteworthy for being penalized for using magical items; a trait that might be carried over into the class in other games.
Paladin, Templar
A little weaker than the Fighter/Soldier/Warrior set, this class traded its focus on pure muscle for devotion to a higher power. In return, they have a number of holy magics that can heal the injured, provide buffs* for their party, or debuffs* to evil monsters. In some cases, performing actions that anger their patron deity can cause them to revert to being a generic Fighter/Warrior, losing their status and special abilities.
Wizard, Mage, Warlock
Three common types of offensive magic users. Mages are often associated with fire based magic, though this is not universal, while Warlocks are almost always working with evil spirits of some sort. Wizards tend to be less specific, and possibly less capable as a result.
Psion, Illusionist
Similar to the Wizard/Mage/Warlock group, these spellcasters use their magic offensively. The twist is that they use mental energy or illusionary "phantom" weapons to attack, which makes them a lot more dangerous: this sort of attack usually ignores any armor or protective buffs*, and thus does a lot of damage!
Thief, Rogue
Fast and swift, these characters have two major roles in the party. Their ability to locate and dismantle traps is vital for allowing the rest of the group safe passage, but their main abilities lie in stealing loot* and valuable treasures. In many cases, this ability manifests as a flat buff* to the party's ability to gather treasure from a battle.
Healer, Priest, Cleric
In a fantasy setting, these are your typical support characters. Skilled with various ways to heal the sick, wounded, or even raise the dead, they rarely do any of the fighting themselves. Generally speaking, none of them are really capable in a combat role, though they may have abilities to drive away evil and the undead*. Interestingly, Clerics in D&D are usually quite effective in combat, which makes the original the deviation from norm!
I've separated this one out because there are actually two different ways for this class to go. The direction it takes depends on whether the game gets its influence from Christian monasteries or not. You see, in games, most Monks are based on martial artists. These are the people who live in solitude, practicing their art until their very will becomes a tangible weapon. This is a sharp contrast to Christian monks, who are typically religious scholars and avoid combat.

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