My short list:
Warlock (3.5) for crunch. A caster with nothing but at-will spells and a scaling attack that you can apply all sorts of modifiers to is hella fun to play.
Warlock (4th) for fluff. I love the ability to make different pacts, each with its own flavor and mechanical benefits.
Bard (3.5) because Inspire Courage and its ilk are so much fun.
Fighter (4th/Essentials) because you actually get abilities that make you sticky in combat, along with a plethora of fun and mechanically distinct combat styles. I prefer the Essentials-style progression, but would prefer it to be coupled with more freedom to choose different powers (instead of just Power Strike x/encounter). I really like the idea of having a number of at-will stances combined with a variety of encounter powers.
Swordmage (4th) because it's a gish class from level 1 that's actually really good, unlike some previous attempts at same (coughhexbladeandduskbladecough).
Hunter Ranger (Essentials) because it is, AFAIK, the only martial controller-type concept that's ever been published in an official D&D product. It might come up short mechanically, but it's actually very well-done flavor-wise.
I agree on the Warlocks in both editions, good flavor and fun to play around with.
Fighter, Barbarian, and Swordmage from 4th were excellent. Fun to play and provided me with melee classes I actually wanted to play.
My favorite classes were the Martial Adepts in Tome of Battle though. I never really fiddled with the Crusader, but the Warblade and Swordmage were the most fun classes I ever played.
Elf – Bow, Long Sword, Finding doors, and some magic. Not bad.
Cavalier – Introduced in Dragon and made official in Unearthed Arcana
Just a lot of fun to be immune to fear, have great armor, and have superior skill at lance/bow (elvish)
Paladin – Same as Cavalier
Sorcerer - No need to memorize spells giving great flexibility
Cleric – I have not played very much, but I always seem to play the cleric on the board game and in the one adventure. Very approachable, and can really help out the party.
Thanks for reading
AD&D: Gnome Thief/Illusionist. I like sneakmages.
AD&D 2e: T/M. More sneakmages!
My reason for sneakmages in earlier editions was simply because it was one of the only ways to customize your character. Fighters all got the same abilities down the line and specialization made for very, very little varience. That leaves a spellcaster, but I really dislike standard D&D caster tropes, so I perfered to make more trickster style characters.
3e: Tome of Battle classes, Factotum. The first for making martial classes fun, the later for, well, sneakmage reasons.
4e: Auuuuugh so many. I suppose if I really had to choose I'd go with bard, but it's a hard choice to make. Most of the non-e-classes are a blast to make and play.
i only know 4e but i do enjoy the fighters. they are tough, deal out good damage, and the powers are pretty exciting.
i love a good 2[W] solid hit with power strike.
Ranger (3.x & 4E) - I don't really remember what it was that first drew me to rangers, but when my friends and I picked up 3E, the ranger caught my eye and I invested in a woodland warrior, deadly with a bow and right nasty when left to his own devices (not that our DM was ever that kind). My fondness continued on in 4E, where rangers became even more vicious with bow or blade. I actually started our 4E games with a rogue, but one of my friends picked a ranger, and I remember paying close attention to her turns, as I was still very curious as to how my beloved ranger had fared the transition. Suffice it to say, I was not at all disappointed.
Warlord (4E) - One of my favorite features introduced in 4E (yeah, I know the Marshal or whatever it was called existed before, but it couldn't hold a candle to this one). I loved the emphasis on military tactics and adaptable strategy, and I was quite fond of being able to keep the party on their feet and fighting the good fight without magic or prayers, but through inspiration and discipline. The more I saw of the warlord, the more I came to love it; easily my favorite 4E class.
Swordmage (4E) - Again, this one was great fun from the get-go. I remember when the FRPG came out, I was eager to see what this guy had to offer, and sure enough, it reeled me in. Spells + swordplay = success. It was a simple concept, but they made it work above and beyond expectations. I imagine this one will be rolled into a theme in 5E (I read in a transcript the idea that the avenger could be reformed as a paladin theme, so I expect the swordmage is going to go the same way, but we'll see).
My favorites by role are as follows:
2e: Defender: Paladin because I liked the fluff, and ,y first RPG concept was the White Knight in shinning armor, I know it's lame now but when I was 11 it was really cool. Striker/Controller: Wizard because it had the coolest features(magic). Always liked the idea of the Fighter, but the class simply didn't deliver on the promises, IMHO. As a kid a was very goodie two shoes, so all those sneaky roguey stuff was big no-no for me.
3.X: Defender: Paladin, way cooler than before, and CHA was actually a key score instead of a nonsensical requirement. Striker: Monk, love the fluff of the Kung Fu Master, also a tie with the Psychic Warrior, but I am partial to psionics in general. Controller: Psion, love the psionic power source, and didn't much care for vancian magic, so the Psion was a shoe in for me. Fighter was better, but still it was like it was for grunts, you could always play the same concept better as a Psychic Warrior, Paladin, Ranger or Barbarian, among others. Some feat trees where worth it, but require extensive and careful planning from score requirements to feat taxes. I like the Rogue better this time, and had some fun with scoundrel types, but my style is more 'armored knight' than 'sneaky scoundrel'.
4th: Leader: Warlord, by a landslide. I also like the Ardent a lot, I dare say I would love it just as much as the Warlord had it been introduced at the same time. Defender: Figther, finally I can play my Master of Armed Combat described in the entry of the class, yes please. Paladin is very cool this time around as well, and also like the Battlemind very much. Striker: Monk, Avenger and Rogue. Yes, I like the Rogue better now because it's not just a skill monkey, he's a skill monkey that can kill you before you see it coming. Controller: Psion, Invoker and Druid(Protector) introduced in Heroes of the Feywild is exactly what I wanted out of the class.
I liked a lot more classes from 3.X and 4th, but those above are the ones that strike my fancy the best, I guess. Overall I like to be the frontliner in Heavy Armor, sometimes shield bearing sometimes two handing. I also very much enjoyed the Cavalier from the Essentials line, as well as the Illusionist Mage.
Also, I know the psionic power source existed before 3.X but I didn't knew it until the Psionic Handbook of 3e.
Scout - move-n-shoot Skirmish was fun.
Archivist - first, it was a divine wizard. second, it was based on knowledge. third, it was awesome
Dragon Shaman - don't remember much about the class, but the theme is awesome
Fighter - by late game, we had enough books that it felt like a template where "anything could happen"
Sorcerer - being able to pick a type, and have powers of that type get an extra "oomph" is awesome.
Seeker - basically a "magic bow man". You get archery, and abilities a ranger just can't have. That's good enough for me all by itself.
Fighter - just liked that they showed how "anything could happen" without it being a Feat Foundation class
Binder: Awesome flavour and interesting mechanics.
Shadowcaster: Awesome flavour, mechanics were okay, I liked them more than other 'pure' casters at the very least.
I love pretty much everything pre-essentials, but here are the highlights.
Invoker: Fluff, some of the mechanics are pretty nice too.
Warlord: Oddly never played one for more than a session, but always loved seeing one in play.
Fighter: I'm still making different and capable builds for this class.
Original Assassin: I loved the concept, just wish the mechanics had delivered.
1e/2e fighter/M-U/thief and cleric/Assassin
although levels were limited you could do anything. Reaching the requred levels for bard was impossible the way the experience rules were.
Multiclassing in 3e was just stupid. The best alternative was the bard. or bard with a level or three of rogue.
Oe - Cleric
Why? Because my first DM/GM let me play, as the rules clearly allowed, a young dragon. As a cleric. A chaotic good cleric, though I seem to remember this was before "good, evil, and neutral" were added to the alignments.
Y'see, it was that ability to be anything and try to do anything (whether or not the character was successful) which made it that much fun. And I got to make up my own diety and everything. (George, patron god of reptiles.)
Warlord (4e, obviously). Awesomeness with awesome frosting, awesome sprinkles and awesome filling.
2nd : Wild Mage, chaos incarnate
bard, just like htem
artificer, (from the players option series)
3.x : sorcerer, love spellcasters and if your group was not playing seriously enough to need to spell selection it was a great spell battery.
4E : warlock, battlemind, assassin, bard, warlord.
3.0/3.5 : Wizard. I felt guilty a lot back in the day
4E: Wizard. It's what a Wizard should be: able to hold off entire encounters alone, if need be, but needs backup from his fellow party memebers or he will eventually die. Also, Rituals.
3.0/3.5 The cleric made you a very popular person and had a very decent chance at holding the line when it all hit the fan.
4.0 The warlord I never played one myself but I always knew some crazy sliding and basic attack goodness was on it's way whenever I saw one.
The Slayer was a simple as sin. But sometimes it was fun to play a smash and bash and repeat fighter. Especially if a warlord was around.
The Berserker was gloriously flexible as a tank or a striker.
3.5 - Definitely the Beguiler (PHBII); Spell list to die for, armored caster, high skill points, great flavor, the only thing missing is teleportation...
I also like the Dread Necromancer (Heroes of Horror), and the Scout (Complete Adventurer).
4.0 - Haven't made a character as a player yet (I am the DM for our 4E session,) but I have a feeling I would really like the rogue. All those movement powers and sneak attacks are my kind of thing.
1e - Ranger, pretty handily. Wasn't as of yet shackled to dual-wielding for melee, did all the badass Ranger things you'd expect from that class, was very sturdy from Lv. 1.
I also liked 1e's Bard, except for the triple-classing requirements to enter that class. Which, unfortunately, was a pretty big part of the class.
2e - Justifier (Ranger kit), hands down. The ultimate commando in that game as far as martial-type characters went. Had the Fighter's Weapon Specialization, stealthed better than the standard Ranger, could fight decently unarmed, deal a crapload of damage when attacking alongside an animal companion, created surprise rounds for the party with minimum fuss.
3.5 - I liked all three ToB classes, but the Warblade was my favorite out of those. Best maneuver recovery mechanic of the ToB classes, had the full BAB, and you could make him anything from the prototypical 4e Taclord (White Raven school) to a one-man wrecking crew with the likes of Iron Heart, Tiger Claw and Diamond Mind schools.
4e - Bard. First time since 1e I approved of the flavor, and the only time I ever approved 100% of its execution. Love having a movement-focused Leader class who can also enable some attacks, with a healthy dose of battlefield control and build versatility (from unlimited multiclassing) on the side. I love Paladin, Warlord and Ranger about as much, though.
1e: Ranger, I really like classes that have diverse abilities.
2e: Ranger & Bard: Same as above.
3e: Bard, Hexblade, Warlock & Psychic warrior: I started likeing the dark anti-hero themed classes in the warlock & hexblade. Of course, hybrid spellcaster classes where still great, but I lost a little interest in the ranger (just didn't like either 3e or 3.5e version).
4e: Warlock & swordmage: although I didn’t play 4e a lot those two classes stood out, I really missed the hexblade (favoite class of all time) and hated the new ranger.
BECMI/Rules Cyclopedia, and similar: Fighter - especially when the weapon mastery system is being used as it scaled your attack bonuses and damage dice. Really let me feel like I could take a two-handed sword to a dragon and (so long as I had some protection from the breath weapon) kick the bugger's teeth in.
1st & 2nd Edition: Mage - especially specialist wizards in 2e and a wizard customized with the Player's Option books so that he had access to healing spells.
3.x Edition: Wizard - specifically a specialist that gave up enchantment & necromancy and specialized in either evocation or transmutation.
4th Edition Slayer - it showed up at a perfect moment when I was worn out on the AEDU style classes and reminded me a lot of the BECMI fighter I used to play.
In all editions mentioned above, the other class (Wizard if I said Fighter, Fighter if I said Wizard) was a close 2nd favorite at worst, and occassionally the more favored... they have pretty well solidified now that I haven't played any of those games in some time... but so far with Pathfinder, which I have been playing a while now, it seems that Magus (a base class that provides a certain sort of fighter/wizard play) is my favorite.
4th edition: Hexblade - never have I felt such a good combination of flavor and fluff.
4th edition: Mage - same as above and so damn effective, too. The specialization on a magic field was wonderfully backed up and supported by rules.
4th edition: Fighter (Weaponmaster - from the PHB) - So effective especially for a base class that was there from the beginning. IMO it stayed relevant over the whole edition.
3.5: Assassin - cool ideas, but honestly, for quite some parts a bad execution.
But what would interest me also is: Which races from which edition did you like best? Maybe that's worth a topic by itself, too?
My wife has stated that, within D&D's worlds, her favorite character (and thus class & species) was:
Fighter (especially big dumb fighter)
Half-orc (especially one who thinks she's pretty and makes hats out of flowers)
The above was from 1e AD&D, though she says she doesn't care about the rules, since - as a player - she feels her character doesn't even know there's a rulebook.
Which reminds me -- Since 1977, I've been hollaring that what we have in RPGs are different species, not races. But does anyone listen to an old grumpy man?
For Pathfinder: I like the Magus and Alchemist classes a lot.
For 4E: I like the Swordmage, Avenger, and Artificer classes a lot.
Sorcerer - Because more spells per day seemed to fit my playstyle better. I also liked being able to put some points into social skills. Spontaneously being able to cast epic spells was pretty nice. The flavor of the (later added) bloodlines was pretty cool too.
Bard - I like to be creative when playing a character. Being able to add insult to injury -quite literally- was fun.
Warlord - I can do pretty much everything a Cleric can do and still get into the thick of battle and kick some arse? Yes please! The image of a charismatic leader wading into battle is pretty cool. Again, as with 3.5's sorcerer, I found the set up of the Warlord to be a great match for my playstyle. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; I'll lose a little bit of healing compared to the cleric in exchange for killing the enemy fast enough to not need it. As someone who loves to multiclass, it was also nice having a class which uses STR and CHA; that gave me a lot of options for how to define my vision of the character.
Bard - Similar reasons to 3.5. Also, easy multiclassing.
Considering Tolkein's (speculated?) origin(s) of orcs, this all might be feasable.
However, I'm guessing that all these species were referred to as races in the original manuscripts that became D&D, because Tolkein's world had each of the humanoid species as actually human - merely of different types at different levels. (Gandalf being not a mortal human, but an angel.) Hobbits, for instance, were to represent the average Brit, who just wanted to be left alone to live his life in peace. Oh, that there were more correspondences and conversations recorded between the good professor and his collegues!
Have we taken this thread off-topic enough to anger anyone yet?
I've only played 4th: Warlord, Rogue, Bard, Wizard, Warlock are my favorites. I haven't actually played a Bard yet, but they are just simply cool.
The four basic classes are the best in all editions. Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Thief (Rogue). I always loved archers, and the Elf Fighter with the Elf Archer Kit from 2nd edition is the best!!
2e: Bard. Could do a bit of everything and be awesome at the same time. And Gnome Illusionist/Thieves - the only time Gnomes have been acceptable.
3e: Druids. Okay, they were a bit CoDzilla but the premise was great - a wild force of nature that will cursh you with spells and shapeshifting.
4e: Warlords. Best thing introduced into D&D. EVAH! Warlords rock the house with their sheer awesome awesomeness. I'm also partial to Wardens and Battleminds.
From Classic: Fighter. Simple and endearing.
Bard - levels in theif, fighter and druid? Some would say the first prestige class
Ranger - an extra Hit Die at first level? Cool.
Bard - theif skills, wizard spells and access to some pretty nice kits? Love it.
Figher - weapon specialization, awesome kits, weapon mastery etc...
Mage/Specialist Mage: Love all the alternate speciality mages - wild mages, arcainists, etc...
Barbarian - more in line with how I see a barbarian being. I never really liked the idea of barbarians being raging brutes by default, butter to take the Ravager kit if you want that. The 2e barbarian (as shown in the barbarian handbook, not the fighter kit) had interesting ways to defend against back attack, had climbing skills and jumping skills that most other classes couldn't hack.
Speciality Priests: Loved having priests that got different bonus/penalties based on their gods.
Theif - loved to allocate my % points, and specialize in this edition vs. first.
Warlock. Interesting mechanics for what it could do.
Prestige Classes - I do kinda like the idea of prestige classes, although the idea more then implementation.
Illusion Wizard from Arcane Power. Always had fun moving around bad guys and other controller effects with this guy specifically.
Dark Pact Warlock. Don't remember too much when I played one, only that I had a good time.
Clearly elves are just humans that spent so many generations in the feywilde that the magical nature of the realm altered them via magically exposed evolution, while orcs were human that evolved down a different branch, allowing humans to mate with both, but with both being too far separated from each other to mate themselves.
Oh, Eladrin? Elves that never left the feywilde and continued down their branch to become exclusive and remove enough relation to human.
2e- Blade Dancer
Can you detect a theme here? I fell in love with the warrior-sage archetype when I first saw Alec ****ss in Star Wars. Another theme is that only the elf was in the core rule books. WotC how can you leave such a basic archetype out of the core rulebooks?
Since the OP mentioned them- both the Hexblade and the Dusk blade missed the mark (for me). the hexblade becaause of its fluff and the Duskblade because of it's heavy armor.
Note: I have never played 1e or 3.0.
2nd: Specialist Wizard
3.5: Specialist Wizard
I like to play the fantastic in a FPRG.
OD&D: fighting man. I went through so many of these... until a run of good luck, high hp, and finding a magic sword +2 (big deal back then) lead him to one great victory after another. My fighter living meant the other party members lived as well, so the whole group (with the exception of a few thieves) had long careers.
AD&D: Elf multiclass (you had level limits but you could really shine),
Dual class human Fighter/Thief. You couldn't see in the dark which stunk, but the extra hp made you a great goto guy in the dungeon. Became a spy for the kingdom.
Half-orc fighter/assassin I didn't expect to live but I did. Developed a network of connections to guilds and became something of a underworld kingpin.
2E: Didn't play much 2e but did have some success as a Druid
3e: First time I could play really weird stuff so I took advantage of that. Played Bugbears and Acolytes of the skin and other unique combos, My strange characters didn't see me shine though, and the RP seemed to take a back seat. Wizards turning into hydras and pyrohydras stole the show.
4E: Warlord: great fun if you are the only one, not as fun if everyone wants to be one. Randomly add quotes from war movies for easy laughs: " I've seen it happen, Ia Drang in '66, They cut us to ******* pieces!"
I've *always* loved paladins from any edition. I take it all the way back to the AD&D Rogues Gallery. There's a picture of a paladin slaying a black dragon, and that sort of "holy fighter" aspect just called to me. I've always been a fan of the Lawful Good variety, but I've also had a lot of fun letting go of that 'sacred cow' and playing my unaligned paladin of the Raven Queen in 4E.
Though not particularly popular I guess, I am a HUGE fan of the 4E Runepriest! I *love* the complexity of the runestances, and I wish this character came out earlier in the 4E lifecycle so I could enjoy playing him longer! Lately I've really been leaning to the healing roles, and you can see that in my choices.
I've also been fond of AD&D druids, illusionists, and wizards of all editions (who DOESN'T want to shoot fireballs!) I've also had a great deal of fun playing a Bard, and he was 2nd edition (AD&D bards were too stupidly hard to make).
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