D&D 4E Classes in Middle Earth
Some of the classes in 4E fit the flavor of Middle Earth wonderfully, while some require restrictions and tweaks. Then there are some that should be allowed only if a player can make a terrific case for it.
Perfect Classes in Middle Earth
- Fighter - Perfect for soldiers of men and other well equipped masters of war. Famous examples: Gimli
- Ranger - Perfect for elves, dunedain, and men who patrol the wilds. Famous examples: Faromir, Legolas
- Rogue - Perfect for burglars and other sneaky sorts. Famous examples: Bilbo
- Warlord - Perfect for warrior leaders. Famous examples: Aragorn
- Wizard - Some of the most famous wizards in all of fiction come from Middle Earth. Famous examples: Gandalf, Saruman (Note: Wizard works great for Maiar (Deva) characters, but some DMs may require a strong back story to support any other race choosing this class.)
- Druid - Perfect for Beornings and their ilk.
- Shaman - Perfect for those schooled in the elven ways of communing with the natural spirits. Famous examples: Tom Bombadil, Treebeard
- Warden - Perfect for warriors who fight with the aid of elven spirituality. Famous examples: Elladan and Elrohir
- Seeker - Perfect for those schooled in using both spirits and ranged attacks. Famous examples: Arwen
Classes that Can Work Well Sometimes
WIth careful flavor adjustments, these classes can be used in a Middle Earth campaign without introducing magical elements that do not match well with Tolkien's world.
- Warlock - The darker tone of this class's power source does not match any sort of protagonist that appears in any of Tolkien's works, but might fit for a character like Grima Wormtongue or the Witch King. A PC with such a character would likely need to be reformed or be part of a more sinister fellowship than the Fellowship of the Ring.
- Barbarian - The savage and brutal tone of this class is again not seen in any protagonist from the books, but fits wonderfully for wild men or orcs. As with the Warlock, reformed characters or darker heroes are both possibilities.
- Bard - To keep the bard more in line with Middle Earth, the arcane nature of the bard's powers should be downplayed, with the source of the power being the bard's own martial prowess and skill with music.
- Artificer - Both dwarves and elves are known as skilled craftsmen of magical items, so the class's flavor is not a terrible match for Middle Earth. There isn't any precedent for anyone who isn't a Maiar using magic as quickly and ably as the Artificer class allows.
- Assassin - The sinister magic wielded by the Nazgul is of a similar flavor to the dark power of the Assassin class. As with the Warlock and Barbarian, protagonists are not shown using powers of this nature in Tolkien's works.
- Swordmage - This class could be used for wizards who also engage in melee combat, as Gandalf did with his sword Glamdring. (Note: Like the Wizard, this class works for Maiar (Deva) characters, but some DMs may require a strong back story to support any other race choosing this class.)
Classes to Be Used with Caution
- Divine Classes - There are basically no deities interacting directly or receiving prayers in any of Tolkien's works. It's possible that a divine class's flavor could be heavily changed to allow it to work with the setting.
- Psionic Classes - The psychic flavor of the psionic classes does not fit in with the magic of Middle Earth. Some of the powers' effect might work for characters such as Galadriel, if the flavor is changed to be more mystical.