Mechanically Unusual Class

A character class that plays completely different from any other classes in the game. Either it revolves around a specific gimmick no other classes has access to, or it has a strange power set that makes it fit nowhere precisely in the Fighter, Mage, Thief spectrum. This class is often (though not always) named after some sort of entertainment profession, most often Bard, but Dancer, Mime, Minstrel, Painter and such are also possibilities.

What makes the class unique however is the gimmick. Because this class is so centered on their gimmick, and said gimmick tends to put them outside the usual roles, the usefulness of this class can vary wildly, from The Load to Game-Breaker or even Lethal Joke Character. Difficult, but Awesome and Magikarp Power aren't unusual. Subtrope of Competitive Balance. Compare and contrast Quirky Bard, where the character class in question is just not enough to support itself.

Also compare Mechanically Unusual Fighter, the Fighting Game brother.

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    Action RPGs 
  • The main offensive node for Rogue class ships in Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages is the Gemini Array. Unlike other ship classes, which are armed with the more straightforward weaponry, the Gemini Array depends on placing targeting beacons on enemies and then spending the beacons to create effects such as firing salvos of homing rockets or shutting down the target's weapons. Rogues are expected to use their Cloak and Subterfuge Systems to give themselves the time needed to set the beacons up.
  • The Lancer class of ship in Distant Star: Revenant Fleet is entirely unarmed (ie, can literally mount no other equipment at all), but mounts a manually targeted Wave Motion Gun; intended to be used as a sniper. Therefore, it requires immense micromanagement to get it into position so it can pick off a Dreadnought or traitorous space station, and escape intact while its laser recharges.

    Eastern RPGs 
  • The Schemestress class from Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. Instead of dealing damage, healing, or casting buffs and debuffs, the Schemestress has abilities unique to her like dealing Percent Damage Attack, disabling the enemy from counterattacking, or switching the front and back row of the enemy squad. To a lesser extent, she is also the only class whose melee attack is based on INT rather than ATK. Unfortunately, these abilities fall into Useless Useful Spell category most of the time.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The Bard, Dancer, Songstress and all their variants in the series. Bards and Songstresses are usually debuffers, but the effects are often random. Dancers can do a variety of powerful effects, but they are also random.
    • The Mimes, present in various games, whose specialty is the "mimic" abilities where they copy the attacks used by others. In addition being able to copy massively powerful spells and abilities for free, mimes in 5 and 6 can use almost any ability possessed by any other class naturally, allowing for Game Breaking combinations.
    • Blue mages, like the mimes, learn their spells by copying them from monsters, although as starting classes do pay MP or charge for them. Traditionally, there are also spells that can only be copied from certain bosses or monsters that will go extinct.
    • The Lady Luck class in Final Fantasy X-2. Among her abilities are skills which effects are determined by playing a slots minigame in the middle of battle.
    • Calculators/Arithmetician from Final Fantasy Tactics are very slow and weak, but their ability lets them cast spells from other casting classes for free, with no charge time, under certain (numerical, hence the name) parameters. After purchasing all of these, as well as all of the usable spells, they are very good characters, but this is very time consuming.
    • The Moogle Animist from Tactics Advance uses skills that involve summoning diverse animals and causing both damage and status effects in oddly shaped areas of effect.
    • The Nu Mou Morph, also from Tactics Advance, mimics the abilities of monsters you captured previously.
    • The Moogle Tinker from Final Fantasy Tactics A2, regarded as the worst class by most players due to its sheer unreliability. Tinker abilities can cast buffs, debuffs or ailments on either every enemy or every ally. So yes, if you're unlucky you can end up casting Haste on every enemy or inflicting Doom on all allies.
    • Chocobo Knight, also, from Final Fantasy Tactics A2. Unlike the other classes which learn skills from equipments, the Chocobo Knight's skills depend on what Chocobo he is riding. He can't use any skills when unmounted.
    • Gambler types from various Final Fantasy games often count. Setzer from Final Fantasy VI is the clearest example: he attacks with cards, dice, darts, slots, and GOLD PIECES.
    • Relm from the same game would count, using paintbrushes as weapons and painting magical duplicates of monsters to use their own attacks against them or straight-up mind-controlling them... if not for the fact that her high Magic stat has most players ignoring those abilities and developing her as a straight mage instead.
      • All player characters in Final Fantasy VI have a unique ability, but Edgar, Sabin, Gau, and Cyan fit this trope well for having what are essentially magic attacks (of varying degrees of effectiveness) for zero MP cost.
    • The Memorist class from Final Fantasy Dimensions. The stats for this class are a flat 10 in every category no matter what level the character is, but by returning to places where cutscenes occured the player can get items that allow them to increase the stats by a few points according to their liking allowing for an immense amount of customization. As well rather than learning and equipping abilities like the other classes the Memorist instead draws on a randomly selected assortment of abilities the character has already learned.
  • Pokémon:
    • In competitive play, Pokémon that focus on the move Baton Pass have a tendency to be this, often using Substitute for endurance purposes and then racking up status buffs in hopes of lasting long enough to pass them on to the next Pokémon. Pokemon given these movesets are often passed up outside competitive play, as it's faster and easier to just mow through the in-game opponents with high-leveled Pokémon.
    • Ditto (which cannot do anything other than transform into the opponent, copying their moves) and Smeargle (which can permanently learn any move in the game by copying it, but has horrendous stats) are rarely used for similar reasons. Ditto at least is very useful for breeding however, while Smeargle is very useful because it can learn the only perfectly-accurate Sleep move in the game (Spore), set up buffs while the opponent sleeps, then Baton Pass. Smeargle is also used in some rather convoluted breeding chains; when breeding Pokemon, the offspring's species will be the unevolved form of the mother, with the moveset of the father. However, many Pokemon are a One-Gender Race, requiring "creative" workarounds.
    • Shedinja is a One-Hit-Point Wonder, the only one in the games. If it takes damage, it faints immediately. But its unique Ability, Wonder Guard, makes it completely immune to any attack that isn't super effective, meaning that if the opponent lacks any Dark, Fire, Flying, Ghost, or Rock moves, Shedinja is effectively invincible. However, Shedinja is not immune to Standard Status Effects and other forms of indirect damage, so opponents may be able to take it down without attacking.
    • Wishiwashi blends evolution and Ability-based forms, thanks to its unique Ability Schooling. If Wishiwashi is low-level, it will be stuck in its weak Solo form, featuring the lowest base stat total of any Pokémon. However, once it hits level 20, Schooling transforms it into the mighty School form as long as its health stays above 25%, giving it a base stat total rivaling some legendaries.
  • Golden Sun:
    • The vast majority of classes depend on what Djinn are attached to the character (giving a Mars Djinni to a Venus character makes him go from Squire to Brute, for example). Most non-standard classes require all but two Djinni to be of the same element, but some like the Ninja, Samurai and Dark Mage require three of each. This tends to verge into Awesome, but Impractical territory, as Djinn can be summoned in battle as spells, which lowers stats and completely changes available spells.
    • In The Lost Age, there are items that can be equipped to change the character's class. These tend to be drastically different from the base classes made through djinn.
    • Dark Dawn has an inversion: Sveta's base class has some useful abilities, but what you really want is her Beastform ability, which allows her to attack every single enemy at once every turn (no one else can do this).
  • Mercedes in Odin Sphere is the most drastically different of the five characters. While other characters use melee attacks to varying degrees, Mercedes wields a crossbow and is purely a ranged character. Being a fairy allows her to fly around indefinitely, and instead of a POW meter that acts as the character's stamina, depleting as you attack, but recharging if you idle long enough, she instead has an Ammo meter that can't be recharged until it's completely empty, and requires the player to manually reload (though absorbing Phozons still recharges it like they do for the POW meter.)

    Western RPG 
  • The Abomination and Flagellant in ''Darkest Dungeon. The Abomination is unique because he has a Stance System: all characters have seven moves, but he has all seven unlocked to begin with, instead of the usual four, with different sets available depending on whether he's turned into his werewolf-like beast mode or is in his human form. While he's in beast mode, he gains stress quickly. The Flagellant, meanwhile, interacts with the stress and health systems in weird ways: he can never develop a Virtue when his resolve is tested, the only Affliction he can get is Rapturous (which leads to him flailing at friend and foe alike), he is completely unable to use any form of stress relief other than (guess what) flagellation, and he gets bigger buffs as his health goes down, particularly when Rapturous.

    First-Person Shooters 
  • All the classes are like this in Team Fortress 2 (new weapon loadouts have only accentuated it for most), a few stand out. Here they are in order of uniqueness from most to least:
    • The Engineer is mechanically (har har) interesting, as while he can deal a bit of damage, his primary purpose is to build gadgets which can teleport teammates across the map and replenish their ammo (as well as heal and deal damage). Other classes fight in a more direct manner. Also, the majority of the damage he deals doesn't even come from him, it comes from his Sentry Gun, which aims and fires automatically. Pretty much the only reason the Engineer even has a Shotgun and a Pistol is so he isn't completely dependent upon it.
    • Then there's the Spy, who focuses on mind games; he can turn himself invisible, and can disguise himself as the enemy, and is one of the only classes to focus on facing and is the only class in a normal game who does most of his best damage at melee range.
    • The Medic is focused almost purely on healing and turning himself and one teammate either invulnerable, nearly invulnerable, or a source of Critical Hits. Also, the Medigun, once it latches onto a teammate, doesn't actually need to be aimed; the healing beam will follow the "patient" around until he dies, the Medic dies, gets too far away, or the Medic shuts off the Medigun.
    • The Pyro, while usually played as a straightforward class, has found himself a unique niche when his flamethrower weapon gained the ability to blast compressed air to deflect projectiles, push away enemies and put out teammates on fire. That and "spy-check": Your teammates are Friendly Fireproof. A spy pretending to be a teammate is not.
    • Later updates have added new loadout options for many classes that certainly qualify, at least compared to their original playstyle:
      • The "Demoknight", a Demoman ditching his trademark sticky grenade launcher for a shield that allows him to charge at enemies and fight them in melee.
      • Snipers with the Huntsman Bow instead of their usual sniper rifle are far more limited in range but can be very competent in close to medium ranges, especially when they know the bow well enough to compensate for the arc. Also, since the bow has no scope and a much faster charge time, this allows Snipers to keep their peripheral vision and be more towards the frontlines of battle.
      • Soldiers (and to an extent Demomen) can focus their loadout on their Rocket Jump abilities, even going for a Goomba Stomp tactic.
  • Borderlands 2's DLC classes were deliberately designed this way (compared to the original 4 classes, all of which focused on shooting with an "action skill" to augment it);
    • Gaige The Mecromancer was designed as a "Beginner Mode" character (the first skill tree focuses on making things easier, with skills that still do damage to enemies if the player misses or increase their ability to survive) with the option of playing her as Difficult, but Awesome instead for better results (the last skill tree has skills that deliberately make the player go against what they would normally do in an FPS, such as sacrificing accuracy for higher damage thus forcing them to get up close and discouraging them to avoid manually reloading).
    • Krieg the Psycho uses a lot of Desperation Attack based skills and generally involves taking damage to deal it (one skill tree consists mainly of skills that only work when he's on fire). In addition, he's also the only class which has a melee build as one of the default options (other classes can have them, but they need some optimization). The developers noted that it was because of this reason that he was saved as DLC since his skill-set would likely turn players off compared to the easier to play ones. One of his talents even makes him vulnerable to friendly fire.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! features Claptrap the Fragtrap, who boasts a few notable differences from his Vault-hunting contemporaries. First, as a robot, he has no need to breath, so his Oz kit's oxygen reserves don't automatically drain over time in a vacuum. Second, as a robot, his metal chassis renders him resistant to Incendiary damage but vulnerable to Corrosive, as opposed to the other way around for his (mostly) human teammates. Finally, his Action Skill, VaultHunter.EXE, functions very differently from any of the other Action Skills in the series, loading up one of several Action Packages based on the current situation. Several of these Action Packages can apply their effects to everyone on Claptrap's team, and even more can be unlocked by investing in the right skills in his skill trees.
  • Hexen has three player classes: mage, cleric and fighter. Both mage and cleric relies on their good magical ranged weaponry. And here comes this guy. All fighter's weapons are melee-themed. In fact, first two levels he has to go with melee weapons only, while other classes will have ranged weapons early in first level. And even for his two distant weapons it is preferable to fight close and personal.
  • In both PlanetSide games, the MAX Powered Armor functions completely differently from the standard armors or classes, exchanging the ability to ride in normal vehicles, heal themselves, and agility for massive firepower and durability. In the first game, each empire has 3 MAX suits with an empire specific ability (anchored mode and berserk, an overshield shield, and a Jump Jet Pack) each with a unique weapon geared for either anti-air, anti-infantry, or anti-vehicle. For mobility, they could route weapon power to Sprint Mode to keep up with the slower vehicles. In the sequel, they use customizable Guns Akimbo and function fairly similarly, minus the Sprint Mode.
  • Of all people, Samus in Metroid Prime: Hunters gets this to an extent; having homing missiles instead of a secondary affinity weapon. Weavel is another example, since his Alt mode turns his lower half into a stationary turret instead of simply transforming him into a single entity.

    Four X 
  • Sword of the Stars: While all the races have their own unique ways of moving about the strategic map, the Loa have the greatest difference from the rest. They don't build spacecraft normally, instead assembling them from "cubes" at the start of each tactical encounter, and their population growth is based on an interplay of solar activity and tax rate that other races don't have to bother with.
  • The Civilization V expansion Brave New World introduces Venice as a playable civ. Unlike other civs, Venice cannot train or capture settlers; instead, it gets the Merchant of Venice, a replacement for the Great Merchant who can purchase and puppetize city-states, as well as being able to maintain twice the number of trade routes as a civilization at the same tech level. Venice is a civ built around the one-city challenge, and is essentially a city-state on steroids.
  • The Endless series:
    • The Harmony in Endless Space's Disharmony Expansion Pack do not utilize Dust, the game's currency, which prevents them from rushing ship production, hiring Heroes, and upgrading ships; in fact, their production is harmed by the presence of Dust. On the other hand, they don't pay upkeep on planets or ships, allowing them to have stupid huge fleets. They do not have empire approval/disapproval, and instead of a dust tax rate they have a "Mind over Matter" rate which allows them to shift food production to science or vice versa. Ship production stops population growth as well. The Broken Lords of Endless Legend are an inversion of the Harmony; being a race of Animated Armor, they do not utilize food and do not have natural population growth, requiring citizens to be built and units healed by expending Dust.
    • Both Endless Space and Endless Legend have races that cannot utilize diplomacy and are instead locked into a state of either cold war or war; the Cravers and Necrophages, respectively. The Cravers, being a Horde of Alien Locusts, must continuously expand or consume their own civilization; their production on a planet is boosted by 25% for 40 turns, normal production after 40, and decreasing production starting at turn 60 (going up to -25%) as they depleted the planet's resources, which cannot be restored. Inverted with the Roving Traders in Endless Legend, which cannot declare war, and rely on diplomacy and their control over markets to get their way.
  • In Galactic Civilizations, with the individual tech trees in "Twilight of the Arnor", all of the races gained some unique talents, but the most distinctive is probably the Arceans. They have no engine techs at all; instead, they rely on buildings on their planets that boost the speeds of all ships built on that planet. On the one hand, this allows them to cram even more weapons onto their ships than other races, because they're not taking up space with engines, but on the other hand it tends to make them slower and means they can't build ships as quickly since they need to dedicate planet space to ship speed buildings.

  • Ragnarok Online has a few:
    • The Taekwon Kid has a mechanic where the majority of his special attacks are only usable at random, when a prompt comes up in battle while he is attacking. This gives the class a very frenetic feel compared to the typical classes, and allow them to dish out some large amounts of damage.
    • Super novices have the HP, MP and equipment of a novice, but have access to all the skills of the core first-rank classes. Generally regarded as a weak 'gimmick' class, but has some unique abilities such as being able to achieve an instantaneous spell cast time if you care to tweak them.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has, arguably, the Zombie Master class. At the very least it fits the letter of the trope; while technically classified as a Muscle class, in practice the majority of its skillset revolves around its unique gimmick: rather than an MP bar, skill costs are deducted from your horde of disposable zombie minions, and many of your skills without costs still revolve around either this gimmick or one of the other restrictions that come with the class (primarily, the fact that you can't eat any food other than brains). However, it's downplayed by the fact that it's only available on a special challenge path, and you're barred from much of the actual multiplayer content until you change back to a regular class.
  • Final Fantasy XIV
    • The Arcanist class is unique, at release, in its ability to equip two different job souls and thus specialize in two drastically different roles; the Summoner Job Soul focuses on damage, while the Scholar Job Soul focuses on healing and support. Other classes only have one job soul available. The Summoner is the only damager role job that can resurrect during battle, while the Scholar can more easily apply damage mid-fight than White Mages and do so longer without endangering mana reserves. Being tied to the same class also means that Scholar and Summoner are the only jobs that can be leveled entirely by playing a completely different job, though they still have their own separate job questlines.
    • The Bard is an odd combination of damage and support skills, including the only Job skill that can recover ally mana or energy resources, while not having the same damage capabilities as Monks, Dragoons, or Black Mages. They're different enough from other DPS roles that developers have discussed creating a new, hybrid role for them. With Stormblood, the dev team seems to have decided that ranged physical DPS (i.e. Bard and Machinist) are the "support DPS" role, as they share several role actions of this type.
    • Unlike other Jobs, Ninjas are unable to access most of their abilities at will. Instead, they must perform Mudras in a specific order, then use the Ninjutsu skill to activate the effect. Botching a mudra sequence will instead have a rabbit appear on your head for all to see and laugh at you.
    • The three new jobs in the Heavensward expansion are all mechanically unusual in that they do not follow the Class/Job paradigm that all other jobs in the game follow, as well as automatically starting at level 30 when you begin the job. The two jobs added in Stormblood also follow this pattern (though starting at 50 instead of 30). Yoshi-P has stated that the original Class/Job system is The Artifact and he doesn't like it anymore, but removing it entirely would require rewriting quite a lot of low-level quests.
  • Star Trek Online: Starships of Tiers 6 and 5-Upgraded have "starship mastery", which allows your captain to improve their stats by gaining experience flying them. Additionally reaching the fourth mastery level with a T6 unlocks a starship trait you can use while flying other ships.
  • Dungeon Fighter Online introduced the "Creator" class. While everyone else in the game controls in classic Beat 'em Up fashion using the keyboard or gamepad the Creator casts magical abilities with the mouse.
  • The Fallen and Redeemed from Nexus Clash are turncoats who switched sides between good and evil halfway through the game's class progression and play differently from everyone else. Fallen are infiltrators who must pretend to still be angels long enough for a convenient Back Stab, while Redeemed ignore the Mana Meter that everyone else relies on for powers and have to spend points from their Karma Meter instead.

  • League of Legends hosts a small percentage of champions that don't use Mana and use either a different resource or none at all, with varying impact on the character as a whole.
    • Garen, Katarina, and Riven are manaless champions without any secondary resources. This functions similar to having infinite Mana, but cooldown times are crucial to them in exchange.
    • Aatrox, Dr. Mundo, Mordekaiser, Vladimir, and Zac simply Cast from Hit Points.
    • All the Ninja champions (Shen, Akali, Kennen, Zed) plus Lee Sin use Energy, which fills fast but depletes just as fast and can't be increased. These champions have skills that can recharge their Energy meter besides waiting as well.
    • Tryndamere, Renekton, Shyvana, and Rek'Sai use Fury, but Fury behaves completely differently for each character, with the only similar theme being it can charge from dealing damage. Fury on Tryndamere gives him extra Critical Strike chance and can be consumed to heal him, Renekton's can use an enhanced skill with enough Fury, and Shyvana's Fury is a glorified cooldown meter for her Super Mode. Rek'Sai has a damaging skill that scales with Fury or she can use it to heal herself while burrowed.
    • Rumble, Rengar, Gnar, and Yasuo don't rely on a secondary resource overall, but they have something that ties with their skills:
      • Rumble's skills generate Heat. At above 50%, Rumble's skills deal extra damage, but when the Heat gauge reaches 100%, it disables his skills until all the Heat dissipates but gives his attacks extra damage during the process.
      • Rengar gains Ferocity every time he uses a skill. When it's at 5 stacks, he can cast an enhanced version of his skill with no cooldown.
      • Gnar gains Rage over time or when he deals or takes damage. When he reaches maximum Rage, he can transform into Mega Gnar, a hulking, close-range champion with a new set of skills.
      • Yasuo gains Flow whenever me moves across the battlefield. When his Flow is full, he gains a shield the next time he takes damage.
    • There are a few champions that lack a "true" Ultimate ability: Elise and Nidalee have a mode-switch, going from Ranged to Melee. Karma's "Ultimate" gives a boost to one of her other abilities.
      • Udyr is special in that he has 4 (relatively) equal 'Stances' that he uses to cycle between four forms. This makes him the only champion who truly doesn't have an Ultimate ability. Also, in normal games, he is the only champion who cannot max out all his skills.note 
    • Xayah and Rakan aren't that special individually, but they're unique when put together. Both heroes are meant to be paired together, and gain enhanced versions of their skills in combination with the other, as well as a second passive that allows them both to return to base off the same Recall.
  • Heroes of the Storm features the "specialist" class, an entire fourth category of this trope. Each one is essentially built around a particular gimmick, which, while very hard for your average beginner to use effectively, can be deadly in the right hands.
    • Much like in his home universe, Abathur doesn't get involved in the combat directly, instead acting through his teammates via a small zerg organism. He can also place toxic nest mines around the map (globally with the proper talent) to defend objectives. Basically, Abathur is Mission Control.
    • Playing as The Lost Vikings gives you three heroes to play at a time. Naturally, you're gonna need all three of 'em.
    • Murky is built around the Zerg Rush (despite not being from the Starcraft universe). He starts with a health pool of a minion, and deals very little damage, but respawns almost immediately from an egg that can be planted anywhere on the map.
    • Medivh is another Non-Action Guy, although not the same degree as Abathur. Instead of mounting, he becomes an unkillable raven that can pass over terrain and scout the enemies. His only damaging ability is a simple skillshot. His other abilities shield an ally from all damage briefly and create portals that allies can travel between. Both of his Heroics disable the enemy team. Essentially, he's a hyper-reactive support, and by far the most Difficult, but Awesome hero in the game.
    • There's a handful of Heroes who don't use mana as their resource.
      • Sonya uses Fury, which is generated when she deals or takes damage.
      • Chen uses Brew, which functions like Energy in that it has a static amount of points, but doesn't regenerate naturally. Instead, he needs to stand still and channel his trait in order to recover his Brew.
      • Auriel uses Energy, but it functions very differently. It's gained whenever she or a selected ally deal damage, and it's spent all at once to power up her healing.
      • Valeera and Lt. Morales use traditional Energy as it's seen in World of Warcraft and League of Legends.
      • Zarya uses a third type of Energy that is gained whenever her shields absorb damage. It boosts all of her damage but slowly drains.
      • Gul'dan and Probius use mana In-Name-Only. They both have a small pool and can't regenerate it naturally. Instead, they regain it using their traits. Gul'dan has to Life Tap, while Probius summons Pylons that regenerate his mana while he stays near them.
      • Many heroes don't use any resource at all, either due to gameplay complications (characters like The Lost Vikings or Abathur) or just as part of their innate skillsets (characters like Illidan and D.Va).
    • Rexxar was the game's first ranged warrior hero. He fights alongside his bear companion Misha, who he will use to attack enemies and soak damage while Rexxar attacks from afar. What makes that especially interesting is that the player has no direct control over Misha. Instead, Rexxar needs to give Misha various built-in commands to control her. Notably, most of Rexxar's abilities are based on Misha, so if she dies Rexxar is pretty useless.
    • Cho'gall is the first MOBA hero controlled by two players, with each player controlling one of the heads. Cho is a Warrior and controls movement, Gall is a Ranged Assassin and does most of the damage. This of course means that you get an absolute powerhouse on the team, but it also means that the team only has four bodies total.
    • Tracer's ability set is taken directly from Overwatch (which isn't even part of the same genre), complete with an ammo mechanic for her basic attacks and a Heroic ability charged by dealing damage rather than a cooldown. Additionally, her sole Heroic is unlocked right from level 1, unlike others who have to choose between two Heroic abilities at level 10, with her level 10 talents instead augmenting it in some way. Finally, Tracer was also the first hero in the game who can attack while moving.
    • Ragnaros can become an allied or destroyed fort using his trait, gaining a huge amount of health and powerful abilities, but rooting him in place. Essentially, he becomes a Raid boss.
  • DOTA 2 has a few heroes who are not standard in the terms of 4 abilities / passives.
    • Invoker has Quas, Wex and Exort, which simply generate orbs that float around his head, giving him different stat bonuses. By using his ultimate, Invoke, which is automatically learned at level 1 without using a skill point, he gains and can store up to two abilities out of ten, determined by his current combination of orbs.
    • Meepo has an ultimate which creates multiple copies of himself, and can be unlocked at level 3, unlike almost all other ultimates in the game, which are unlocked at level 6 (with the one exception being Invoke).
    • The Techies plays like a trap setter instead of the usual brawling heroes, possessing a skillset dedicated entirely to trap-setting (except for a long-range mobility attack that brings them halfway to death) with very limited capabilities in direct combat. As such, playing as Techies encourage you not to stay in lane very long, but wander in jungle, placing mines in strategic places and hope some poor schmuck stepped on them while trying to reach for other objectives.
    • Rubick is a Master of None whose spells are less effective compared to other heroes', and the way his ultimate works means most of the time, he doesn't have an ultimate. But decreased effectiveness comes with incredible versatility, and his ultimate is Spell Steal, allowing him to combo those spells with his own, and even turning the enemy's own ultimates back at them. Much of Rubick's playstyle is about choosing which enemy spell that can be comboed with his own spell to devastating effects.
  • Heroes of Newerth has Nitro, the only hero to not have a regular autoattack. Instead, one of their skill, Ballistic, serves as a replacement instead, giving them a long-range shot that scales with damage and attack speed like a regular attack, but requires aiming. They still have access to a regular autoattack when split up (via Mauser, a melee pet), but the main cannon can only attack via Ballistic.
    • Adrenaline is the closest thing to an "Energy"-based hero in the game. All his skills cost a percentage of his max mana to activate and his passive skill regenerates a relatively huge percent of mana. He still uses mana for everything else such as items, however.

  • The Dragon class of Rogue Legacy is unique in many ways: first, it cannot jump, but can fly infinitely (other characters must use a rune slot to be able to fly, and only for a limited time). Second, it cannot use its sword, and pressing the button instead uses the character's spell, which is the third point: unlike other characters, who start off with a random spell, this class always starts with a unique spell, which is a projectile attack. Characters of this class also regenerate MP rapidly, unlike most other classes for whom MP is a limited and valuable resource.

  • Sword of the Stars: The Pit: The Lich. In exchange for immunity to poison, disease and hunger and a variety of unique abilities including Animate Dead, he needs to keep track of his psionic reserves because running out will kill him as surely as actually running out of HP.
  • Enter the Gungeon: The Bullet. Its starting weapon, Blasphemy, is the only purely melee weapon in the entire game, although it can fire Sword Beams if it has full health.
  • Several The Binding of Isaac characters operate on different rules than the rest.
    • :???/Blue Baby cannot gain any permanent Heart Containers, only being able to use the "shielding" soul hearts. This leads to a few items working very differently for him (for example, Whore of Babylon, which normally activates at half of a red heart of HP, is always active for him because the game treats him as having zero red hearts).
    • Azazel's tears are replaced with a Brimstone laser, which is usually not overridden by other tear effects. While the laser is powerful, it has an absurdly low range even with range upgrades (the normal Brimstone item gives infinite range), meaning he mostly works as a melee class.
    • Eden is the "randomizer" character, starting with different items each run. Because of the potential to exploit this via resetting, playing as Eden requires a special currency that is only gotten by beating a late-game boss.
    • The Lost takes ???'s restriction even further: no hearts. One damaging hit, and you're dead, no questions asked. Compensating for this is an innate ability to fly and shoot wall-piercing tears, being able to freely Deal with the Devil, and (in the Afterbirth expansion) the Holy Mantle as an unlockable starting item, which takes a single hit per room.
    • Lilith wears a blindfold, a special item that prevents her from shooting tears at all. She instead has to rely on familiars, which she has a starting set to take advantage of: an Incubus that follows her around and shoots bullets that copy her tear properties, a usable item that clones her familiars for a single room, and a item that can grant her a permanent new familiar when she takes damage.
    • The Keeper swaps out the standard heart system for two "coin" hearts, which replenish themselves when he picks up money. However, he cannot gain more than his starting two (though he can lose those two in devil deals). He also starts with a triple shot that spreads out wider than the multishot granted by items like The Inner Eye and Mutant Spider.

    Simulation Games 
  • X-Universe series:
    • While most ships are built around combat with guns, whether energy or kinetic, the M8 bombers and M7M missile frigates introduced in X3: Terran Conflict are purpose-built for Macross Missile Massacre. Where other ships have a several gun slots and a single ventrally mounted missile tube, these carry two and eight tubes respectively that can fire simultaneously in huge barrages, and at most two rear-facing guns. Though fielding them requires construction of a supply train to produce and distribute ordnance, in player hands they're absolute Game Breakers since NPC ships rarely have any missile defense worth mentioning until X3: Albion Prelude added the Mosquito Missile Defense system.
    • Military Transport freighters introduced in X3: Terran Conflict are moderately fast, well shielded freighters with mediocre-at-best weaponry. However, they make up for their mundane stats by swapping out the standard freight modules for fighter docking clamps, allowing them to carry their own escort internally. A Magnetar TM kitted out with four Eclipse M3+ heavy fighters is a force to be reckoned with.
    • The M7DC Drone Frigate ship class introduced in the Xtended Terran Conflict Game Mod. Terrible weaponry barely more powerful than a corvette and with poor shielding, they rely on their ability to produce their own advanced fighter drones on the fly. The drones are launched en masse (up to 24 at a time) and have stats similar to a M4-class interceptor. The ships make excellent patrol vessels due to their speed and force projection ability much like a real carrier, at the fraction of the price of a standard M1-class carrier with significantly easier logistics. The ships later appeared in X3: Albion Prelude, though they function more like miniature carriers rather than a unique ship class.
    • The expansion Albion Prelude added a few M2+ superdestroyers that typically include a gimmick in addition to being even bigger, tougher, and slower than normal destroyers. The ATF Valhalla and Terran Kyoto are Battlestars that can dock ships of up to corvette size, for instance (carriers can only dock up to heavy fighters, and destroyers can't dock anything), while the Xenon I has a pair of missile turrets that can use missile frigate ammunition. In their original incarnation in the Xtended Terran Conflict Game Mod, they also were the only (non-Kha'ak) ships capable of using the Point-To-Point jumpdrive to jump anywhere in a sector rather than being forced to rely on jump gates.
    • In the original Xtended Game Mod for X3: Reunion, each major race had a M8 class Support Frigate, each with its own gimmick. The OTAS Custodian could regenerate shields and their Heavy Capture Frigate was the only ship capable of launching Boarding Party operations, the Teladi Tern could lay mines, the Argon Griffon could manufacture Attack Drones and the Split Panther could produce fighters, the Boron Swordfish could sap shields, the Paranid Agamemnon could fire shield-penetrating missiles, and the Terran Ollerus could manufacture new Jump Gates. A number of these ships appeared in X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude, with the Panther appearing as a pocket carrier in TC, the Griffon as a M7C carrier-frigate in AP, while the functionality of the Heavy Capture Frigate and Agamemnon became a new game mechanics and the foundation for a whole new class, respectively.
  • While all chassis types in MechWarrior Living Legends have vastly different handling from each other (stompy robots, tanks, hovercraft, planes, etc), the Long Tom Artillery Tank is by far the most unusual. Whereas most tanks are designed to get right in people's faces and start ripping and tearing or providing Anti-Air and Anti-Infantry support, the Long Tom carries nothing but a single massive BFG that fires 200kg high-explosive shells over a kilometer away capable of One-Hit Kill direct hits against light targets. The gun is so powerful that the tank must be anchored down before firing. The weapon's range is so great that it extends beyond the vehicle's radar range, requiring a Target Spotter and some mental arithmetic to judge the weapons's travel time and arc.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Warframe: towards the beginning, all the 'frames followed a basic pattern. Four abilities, with the first one being a quick-and-dirty tool for damage, two more utility-focused powers, and an "ultimate" power for either damaging and stunning crowds or a more powerful version of the first power. After about twenty 'frames, though, things started to get stranger:
    • Vauban the engineer was the first step towards unorthodoxy. While other Warframes cast their powers more like spells, Vauban throws grenades with special effects.
    • Zephyr is wind-themed Warframe, constructed using ridiculously rare lighter-than-air alloy Oxium. As the result, she has lower gravity rating (she falls much slower to the ground, allowing her to jump much, much further), and to top that, has flight thrust powers. She can cover entire maps without touching the ground.
    • Chroma, being based off the chromatic dragons from Dungeons & Dragons, can utilize different elements depending on his energy color. Reds, oranges, and yellows give him Heat damage, blues and purples give him Electric damage, greens give him Toxin damage, and grayscale tones give him Cold damage. This also alters the secondary effects of his Elemental Ward power, making him almost like four Warframes in one.
    • Equinox is a big walking yin-yang in human form. By using Metamorphosis, she can switch between the offense-oriented day form — who can debilitate enemies, buff the damage of allies, and spread a damaging aura to stun/shred everything — and the defense-oriented night form — who can immobilize enemies, debuff the damage of enemies, and spread a Life Drain aura to heal teammates. Her energy color affects which form she'll default to at the start of missions.
    • Inaros has no shields whatsoever, but in addition to two Life Drain powers to make up for it he doesn't die in the traditional way, utilizing a sarcophagus to drain health from nearby enemies. Drain enough, and he can revive himself. He also starts out with more health than any other Warframe can reach without mods, making him truly stand out from the crowd.
    • Nidus, like Inaros, has absolutely no shields, but he offsets this by being the only Warframe with innate Regenerating Health, averting the game's standard Regenerating Shield, Static Health. Furthermore, his powers involve juggling a secondary, unique resource, and building up enough can let him ignore lethal damage, regaining 50% health and becoming invincible for a few seconds instead.
    • Limbo's entire gimmick is that he can access an intermediate plane of existence between normal space and the void, an ability called "rift-walking". Limbo can enter and exit this plane at will and while inside it he is intangible, though still visible, to everyone in normal space and regenerates energy while inside the rift. The downside is that he cannot affect objects in normal space in return, having to go back "into phase" in order to attack enemies, hack terminals, open containers, or collect item drops. His first and fourth abilities allow him to "banish" enemies (or even an overwhelmed ally) into the rift, temporarily taking them out of the fight and allowing him to divide and conquer large groups of enemies or single out particularly troublesome foes.
    • Octavia is the most unusual yet, a music themed frame who has powers such as a rolling disco ball that entrances enemies and a device that deals certain types of damage on certain notes of the songs that players program into it.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Psy-Ops in XCOM 2 are quite different from your other classes, in that they do not gain experience while on a mission. Instead they get new abilities by being trained in the Psy-Lab. The abilities available to them come in semi-random packs of 3 to choose one from and are not bound to the actual rank of the soldier.
  • Atlas Reactor has a number of characters with very different or unusual skills for their character type and end up playing differently or picking up hybrid roles as a result:
    • Juno is a firepower without a dash move, but instead has a personal shield that soaks damage. Her ultimate ability costs 50 energy to activate instead of 100 and can be kept on during subsequent rounds for a cost of 20 energy.
    • Rask's ultimate ability cannot be manually activated by the player and fires off automatically at any round in which Rask starts with full energy, resetting all of Rask's cooldowns in the process. Rask also gains energy by being attacked instead of just by attacking like all other freelancers.
    • Quark is a support who has no cooldown skills and whose healing skills can't target themselves. Instead of using powerful single-target heals or attacks with cooldown, Quark uses their primary moves to 'bond' to friendly or hostile characters and deal/heal small amounts of damage over time. Quark also gains small amounts of health from a third move that boosts these bonds for a single round.
  • The Dancer class in Fire Emblem. Dancing allows another character to make a second action that turn. In Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, herons have a similar role.
    • Merlinus' Transporter class from The Blazing Blade is one of the biggest examples of this in the series. After recruiting him, you have the option to deploy Merlinus in any chapter. He's an immobile tent who can't fight, but as long as he's on the map any items obtained by a character with a full inventory can be sent directly to storage (they'd have to drop something otherwise), and any character adjacent to his tent can access the storage. Unlike all other characters, Merlinus is not gone for good if he's defeated in battle, he'll return no worse for wear in the next chapter. Because he can't fight he follows unconventional leveling mechanics: Merlinus automatically levels up every time he survives a chapter, and once he reaches Lv 20 he upgrades to a horse cart and finally gains the ability to move. And while his combat stats are useless, he eventually gains large amounts of Speed and Luck, making him a very effective evasion-tank. He retains his cart in The Binding Blade, but now takes up a deployment slot and can only gain levels from dodging enemies.
    • Xane's Chameleon/Freelancer class from Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Mystery of the Emblem. He is a Ditto Fighter who can shapeshift into any other ally (except Manaketes) for five turns, with all of the abilities thereof.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The bard in several editions focuses on his "bard songs", songs that can be used to buff and debuff enemies. Also a bit of a Jack-of-All-Stats, Master of None, the bard tends to combine combat, magic and thievery and tends to be pretty terrible at all three unless he decides to specialize in one of those aspects.
    • The psion, in any edition, is basically a wizard but with the gimmick of a Mana Meter instead of Vancian Magic. Prior to 3.5 Edition, psionics also had substantially different rules regarding how the powers worked, to the point that they weren't considered magic (and therefore could function in places where magic couldn't) and had different affects based on whether the target was psionic or not.
    • The sorcerer, in third edition, casts spells from level-restricted slots like a wizard but doesn't need to decide what spell a slot will be used for ahead of time. In exchange he has a limited number of spells known, compared to the wizard who can learn new spells through study, or the cleric who knows all cleric spells automatically. The favored soul is an equivalent class for cleric spells. The warmage, healer and dread necromancer combine the sorcerer's spontaneous casting mechanic with knowing every spell on their list like a cleric does... but that list is much smaller and more narrowly focused than those of other spellcasters.
    • The warlock in the 3.5 edition addon Complete Arcane has a sharply limited selection of available spells and are locked out of the metamagic system, but can cast them unlimited times per day. The late-edition supplement Dragon Magic did another class using the same spellcasting system, though (the Dragonfire Adept).
    • In Fourth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, where most of the earlier classes represent a particular fantasy archetype, most of the later classes mainly exist because of a certain mechanical gimmick, and share archetypes with an earlier class. For instance, the avenger (gimmick: roll twice for each attack, same archetype as paladin), psion (as above), runepriest (gimmick: switch between offensive and defensive mode at will, same archetype as cleric), and the fact that there are two different classes named 'assassin' both with a different gimmick.
    • In some early editions, the thief class itself as the only one with explicit (percentile-based) skills would fit the bill.
    • And then there are 3.5 edition binders, who are not only quite dissimilar to the other classes, but can very easily end up quite dissimilar to themselves yesterday. Essentially, a binder gains powers by forming a pact with mysterious entities from outside reality; they can change pacts every day or so, and this brings with it a shift in special powers and bonus feats. The same book binders were from had two other new magic systems, but shadowcasters were comparatively standard (their primary mechanical gimmick was their spells becoming gradually easier to use, not just stronger and usable more often, as they levelled up) and truenamers were fundamentally unworkable because their skill check-based magic system went up in difficulty considerably faster than the player's skill could without a magic item granting a huge bonus to the Truename skill.
    • The 3.5 splat Magic of Incarnum adds an "essentia" mechanic, which revolves around Diverting Power between the user's abilities from round to round, as well as a whole new magic category called meldshaping, which allows the user to enchant themselves with spectral equipment called soulmelds. Soulmelds can optionally be filled with essentia to increase their strength, or equipped in the user's magic item slots to unlock new abilities.
    • Also from 3.5, The Tome of Battle was infamous for its mechanical and tonal shift, being more Wuxia-influenced than other D&D splatbooks had been up to that point. The class put both implicitly and overtly supernatural and magical abilities into the hands of melee combatants, breaking a divide that was somewhat baked into the system by that point. The difference in both mechanics and theme lead to its Fan Nickname: "The Tome of Weeaboo Fightan Magic". The biggest divide in the fandom was yet to come, however, as the Tome of Battle represented the paradigm going forward into 4th Edition.
      • Within the Tome of Battle itself, the Crusader uses a completely unique mechanic to determine its abilities from round-to-round: they shuffle and draw cards, rather than anything die-based or otherwise self determined.
  • Exalted:
    • Alchemicals are a mechanically unusual splat which have the unique ability to trade out their Charms during downtime, while Lunars are the only ones with a shapeshifting system. Sidereals may also qualify, given that their gimmick is founded on having an incredibly weird interpretation of their skills - their Medicine tree is used to kill undead, while Archery has a Charm that allows them to shoot health at someone, and their best persistent Dodge enhancer is in Performance.
    • The previews for third edition indicate that the Infernals are going to have their own unusualness in the form of the Shintai system, which has gone from One-Winged Angel Charms to a point buy system with effects based on the Charms you buy, and the new Exigents are going to be unusual because they will be focused on designing your own powers rather than starting with ones that already exist.
    • The fighting-game-inspired Burn Legend shard has the Ryuujin (Terrestrial-equivalent), Okami (Lunar-equivalent) and Tennin (Sidereal-equivalent) as the most unusual options, with most of the rest having a relatively straightforward moveset with maybe some discounts or unusual side effects. Earth, Air, Fire and Water Ryuujin have two levels of technique, and need to invest in the lower levels to unlock the higher: Earth has Metal, Air has Lightning, Fire has Shadow, and Water has Ice (Wood Ryuujin can take the base techniques of any other kind, but not the higher-level ones). The Okami have different moves depending on whether they're in their human or beast form, although since you buy them from the same point pool and beast moves are more powerful, generally they just go werewolf in the first round and stay that way unless there's a really good reason not to. Tennin are the only ones with a three-tier system that matters in play: you need to use tier one moves to be able to use tier two in the next round, and tier two moves unlock a tier three (their moves get more dice in their pools to compensate for the loss of flexibility).
  • The Ghost faction from Smash Up. For most other factions (and most card games), it is favourable to have more cards on hand. The Ghost faction requires the player to have as few cards on hand in order to be at their most effective, and even have cards that force discarding from hand. However, their cards are very powerful when used right, including playing from the discard pile, a Mind Control action, and an action that makes a minion an Intangible Man.
  • 13th Age has the Occultist from "13 True Ways". Unlike most other classes, which do things in their turn, the Occultist mostly gathers Focus in its own turn, then expends that Focus to power a move in someone else's turn depending on the circumstances of the battle and the actions their allies are taking. They do get a Focus-expending attack that allows them to discharge it at the start of their turn if they haven't had a power triggered, then charge it up again with their standard action.
    • From the same book comes the Chaos Mage, which knows all of their spells by default (and casts them at the highest possible level they can), but has very limited control over what spell they're going to cast. They can also inflict bizarre and uncontrollable effects on the battlefield, like a living Rod of Wonder.
    • The Monk is unusual, because they like the tabletop version of a fighting game character. They have three levels of attack (Jab, Punch, and Kick), and fight by chaining together combos of martial arts level abilities. The Drunken Monk variant is even more unusual, because (like the chaos mage) they have almost no control over what kind of move they're going to do next!
    • Really, this applies to almost every 13th Age class to some degree; from the Barbarian's mechanic of rolling 2d20s (and critting if they both hit and exceed 11), to the Necromancer's ability of becoming more powerful if they spend a full round monologuing... It's a weird game.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • More than a few archetypes are designed to be one of these:
      • Crystal Beasts are placed in your Spell/Trap Zone as Continuous Spells when they're destroyed. Their support grants various effects based on the number of Crystal Beasts you have either on the field or treated as spell cards.
      • Dark World monsters are designed around being discarded by an effect, and Fabled monsters are designed around being discard for any reason. Their support cards generally focus on helping them discard.
      • Elemental Hero Neos and the Neo-Spacian monsters, as well as Gladiator Beasts, are capable of being summoned by Contact Fusion; despite being Fusion monsters, they don't use fusion spells, and aren't treated as being Fusion Summoned.
      • Exodia the Forbidden One is an Instant-Win Condition that triggers the instant you have all five pieces in your hand, without you actually having to play anything. This is the only way you can win the game before either player has a chance to play any cards.
      • Fire Kings either destroy (not discard) other cards in your hand or destroy themselves, or have effects that trigger when they're destroyed. Their support cards focus on destroying them.
      • Infernity monsters, like the Ghost faction in Smash Up, require the player to empty their hand to use their effects.
      • Most Infernoids can't be summoned without banishing other Infernoids from your Hand or Graveyard.
      • Lightsworn monsters and their support send cards from your deck directly to the Graveyard. This is a boon to many archetypes or decks that require certain cards be in the graveyard.
      • PSYFrame monsters are designed to synchro summon during your opponent's turn instead of your own, using their field spell.
    • Gemini monsters are Effect Monsters, but have an effect that causes them to be treated as Normal Monsters while on the field or in the Graveyard. They can be Normal Summoned a second time, while already on the field, to give them their Effect Monster effects; if their effect is negated while they're treated as a Normal Monster, this also causes them to be treated as an Effect Monster, but doesn't give them their Effect Monster effects.
    • Pendulum monsters as a whole usually go to the Extra Deck instead of the Graveyard when they leave the field, and a great deal of their support revolves around destroying them. They can also be played as a "Pendulum Scale", which is treated as a type of Continuous Spell instead of a monster.
  • Each warcaster and warlock in Warmachine is different but a few stick out.
    • Epic Butcher's Focus points are determined by a die roll. With destroying models being the only way to guarantee it. He is also completly berserk attacking everything, friend or foe, in range when he makes an attack.
    • Karchev is a warcaster whose crippled body has been encased within a warjack. Giving him the abilities and attributes of both,
    • Sturm and Drang are a lab built creature whose two sides are constantly fighting for dominance. With different spells and abilities depending on which side is in control.
    • The Grymkin's Defiers function like warlocks, but do not have Feats like regular warlocks and warcaster. Instead having "Arcana", abilities which are triggered by events and conditions in game.

Alternative Title(s): Gimmick Class