As many of you may know, I am a huge fan of tabletop roleplaying games! As a person who loves to write stories and be apart of stories that has a true feeling of control, these games are right up my alley. As a player, I love interacting with a world, playing in it, and molding it through my actions. Unlike video games, there is no preset path that you need to remain on and the levels of imagination in the game are only limited to the Dungeon Master’s imagination. When it comes to being a DM, I love creating entire worlds, settings, and characters for my friends to talk to and influence. I create a grand story as I guide these players through this world that I have built for them and see how they react to new and complex challenges.
For those of you who have been following me since the VERY beginning, I wrote an article on general advice for DMs to follow way back in 2013. Boy does that feel long ago since I am fastly approaching my third year running this site. But, in either case, I have not done much with RPGs since that time, so I think it is high time we revisit this.
Over the years of playing and DMing games, I have noticed a set of patterns emerge between my friends and associates who play RPGs with me. Certain people tend to be drawn more to certain classes when they are presented to them and it tends to be that you can match a person’s personality to the corresponding class. Now granted, many people play many different things. I myself always love bringing variety when I come to a game and different parts of my personality come out in different versions of characters. But there always seems to be one that just screams ‘YOU’! So today I decided to have a little fun and put aside the movies and video games for a day and psychoanalyze all of you who take part in these games.
For the sake of time, I have decided to focus only on Dungeons and Dragons classes. Even though World of Darkness is my personal favorite and there is a whole slew of articles I can write on that, I will keep with the traditional game that got the cogs turning in this wonderful past time.
Strangely enough, those who choose the barbarian class tend to be almost paradoxical. There could be a substantive psychological study on people who choose the barbarian class in D&D, because from my experience those who choose the class tend to be those who are highly intelligent and would not think of harming a fly in there normal everyday lives. It may be an outlet for them to be a person that is outside their personal comfort zone or release some pent-up frustrations, but man o man the people who play the barbarian are not those you would expect to play class.
Barbarians also have a true since of freedom and liberation from the norms of society. No need for structure, language, or anything like that. You do what you want and when you want to do it and who on that earth is going to tell you otherwise?
Ah! The class that I personally associate with the most. In my experience, people who play bards tend to be the people who do not want to take the game too seriously and want to find a way to have some cheeky ‘hey it is only a game’ kind of fun without being terribly troll-like about their attitude. People who play bards tend to be a light-hearted and fun-loving sort of people. They are the people who use comedy as a means of handling difficult situations in real life.
Just as the class suggests, bards tend to be the ‘jack of all trades’ sort of people. They tend to be good at a variety of things, but do not want to focus all of their attention onto one particular path which is true in-game and in life. They draw in people who are witty, creative, and people who do not know when to take a situation seriously.
So you know how, thanks to MMOs, people are obsessed with having tanks and healers and DPS… Well if this is your obsession than you will absolutely need a cleric in your party to be the healer. Those people who like playing the ‘healer’ almost always choose the cleric. Sure you can be the healer as a druid or sorcerer, but those people who choose them do not typically have the concept of the healer in mind. People who tend to enjoy helping their team and play support will often choose the cleric.
This should go without saying but clerics also tend to draw in those who have strong religious beliefs that are apart of their day-to-day life. Anytime I have played with people who do have a strong religious belief, they have almost always chosen the cleric. Maybe it is the strong religious structure that draws them or a stray from the norms of their own religious beliefs that they can play with without any repercussions to their sense of self, who knows? But, from my experience, if a person playing is a devout christian, muslim, and so forth they enjoy the cleric.
Clerics also have a vast array of choice and as such they tend to draw in people who like the concept of choosing and being a ‘special snowflake’. You can be a cleric of the goddess of death or the god of light or even the god of nature. You can take your pick and mold the character to what you need it to be… But I can guarantee no matter what you choose you will end up with at least one healing spell that you will spam ad nauseam.
Not surprising, druids tend to lure those who feel a strong connection to nature. It isn’t that far of a stretch to say that someone who believes in environmentalism to find a safe and loving home in the druid. They are essentially environmentalists with super powers. Druids to a lesser extent draw in people who have a ‘nurturing’ sense to them. While not as prevalent as the cleric when it comes to the ‘healer’ archtype, those who do not necessarily want to be tied to organized religion, even in the context of D&D, will seek out a druid.
Anyone who has played a druid in my game as their primary either has or loves animals, nature, and has a carrying personality to them that gives a nurturer aura about them.
Out of all of the classes, it has been a running pattern that the person who chooses the fighter is the one who is most ‘in love’ with the Lord of the Rings grand adventure-esque mythos. Fighter is the class that recruits the person who wants to be the white knight and rescue their lover from horrible distress. These are the players who like to swing their sword, drink in a tavern, and just all around have a high good time in this medieval like setting.
Fighters do tend to be the ‘spice of life’ class. There are different types of people with different personalities, but what always brings them together is the love of the D&D like setting.
Monks are a funny little thing. I do not know too many people to choose the monk unless they are either new to the game or do not feel strong affiliation towards other character classes. All things considered, beyond one or two occasions where players decided they needed a heavy hitter like the monk, monks are reserved for new players to get acclimated to the D&D game.
On the end of being a ‘new player’ class they are actually quite good. They are heavy hitters, thus the only thing that is expected of you is to run forward and punch something, they do not require a multitude of weapons, there are no spells to keep track of, and your character tends to be a blank slate for you to build character upon as time progresses.
I am not saying that all new players should play monks or that seasoned players should not play monks. All I am saying is that monks tend to be the class that draws in the new player crowd more than any of the others.
If your favorite class is the paladin then I feel safe in saying that you are a person who loves the traditional hero. The ides of a protagonist are out the window, you want the 100% all good, fighting for truth and justice type of character. People who play paladins tend to be an idealistic lot as the class would suggest. They have a strong moral compass, they enjoy classic heroes with minimal dark characteristics like the traditional Superman, and they are the people who often want to be the center of attention.
Anytime you have a paladin in a game, they tend to draw the limelight whether on purpose or by presence. Their personality tends to draw in two types of people. Those who value leadership qualities and the ideas of the ‘Alpha Wolf’ and others who want to be the center of attention at whatever the cost.
I have jokingly begin referring to the ranger class as the ‘Han Solo’ class. The ranger class tends to be the class that recruits those who like the ‘loose cannon’ character who doesn’t play by the rules as well as allow you to use all of the ranged weapons to back up your play.
Rangers also share a lot in common with the fighter in that they pull in a similar crowd of people, that group of people being the people who love the D&D like setting. It just depends on if you are the up close and personal stabby type or the loose cannon shoot in the arrows and fight from the trees type.
Oh isn’t this one fun? You always have one in the party and they are always used to steal, deceive, and scheme. Rogues are a fun little class and the recruit a certain group of people. I have typically found that rogues are the types of people who go against the status quo to some extent. This is the class reserved for those who love to fight the system in some way and are never satisfied unless there is some sort of progression to the future. Weird and existential, I know, but there is just something about playing a character who steals from an established order that appeals to that group of people.
Rogues, like bards, tend to recruit a quick-witted lot. But while bards direct it to jokes and light heartedness, the people who like to play rogues tend to be the ones who can cut the most toughened skin with their tongues. The gift of gab can be a powerful one indeed. Rogues can also be counted as the ‘anti-paladin’ type of people. These are the people who will generally either want to fight for the common good or be coerced into it… But they are going to do it their way and not be the traditional ‘goody two shoes’.
Sorcerers are a funny thing… Because wizards exist and because wizards exist, people get their Gandalf fantasies out of the way. Thus making sorcerer kind of the red-headed step child to wizards… Except in instances when you really have a desire to be evil to some extent.
People who play the sorcerer tend to be the people who like to be the bad guy or at least a not nice guy. This class has more people who find themselves in the Lawful Evil category. People who choose the sorcerer class tend to have the micromanaging of the people who like the wizard as well as a compulsive need to play the puppet master in the game.
This one is tough… The Warlock is the new class made by D&D and it is… Well difficult to pin point people who like to play warlocks because I have so little experience with them. I have only seen a few short-lived games in which a warlock has appeared. But from the moments that I have seen, I would say that Warlocks tend to be people who enjoy the personality traits of a bard, the discipline of a wizard/sorcerer, and the religious affiliation of a cleric. It seems to be a home where certain people who didn’t fit 100% into those molds found a new home in a warlock. But other than that… Eh I can’t offer much more insight onto those who love warlocks.
These are people who want to be Gandalf… I can write this in any other type of poetic verses I can muster, but at the end of the day if you want to be Gandalf, you play the wizard. Wizards are for the people who love get WAY into these games and love to micromanage their character. People who choose the wizards tend to be masochists that believe that after bashing your head against a wall, eventually you will break through to the promised land of fuck you and your sword, here is a ball of fire on the heat level of the sun.
It has gotten better over the years for wizards, but it used to be that wizards were VERY weak at low levels, but grew in strength over the campaign. Today, this still is somewhat the case. For those who survive the wizard weeding out process, they tend to bring the most pain over anyone else in the party and those who play this character reflect this sense of hard work = accomplishment.
People who play wizards are also often the ‘rules lawyers’. Those who tend to cling on to each of the rules and become irritated when the rules are changed or modified in a game to suit the DM.
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