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Fantasy Character Classes

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All the five main roles... and the bard.

Ryuji: Hey, wait! This place is treatin' us like a party of RPG heroes, right? How 'bout we decide each other's job classes? Y'know, like Warrior and Priest and stuff!
Futaba: Well, Joker's definitely the Hero. Queen's the Martial Artist. I guess Mona would be the Mage.
Ryuji: What about me?
Futaba: You're the Jester, Skull. Done deal.
Ryuji: The Jest- Wait, why!?
Haru: Does that mean my job would be the Company Manager?
Ann: ...I don't think that's what they're talking about.

In RPGs a Character Class is a designation that determines a player's abilities and fighting style (and depending on the game possibly even their origin, education, and home area) often in the form of a job or archetype. A character class is defined by the abilities that it lends to a character as such, two different characters with the same class are theoretically interchangeable, in that they have the same "power set" and can play the same role in gameplay because of their similar abilities. However, character class systems can come with varying levels of customization ranging from characters of a given class being literally identical to having so much variety that character class is no longer even a good indicator of that character's abilities. While most common in fantasy Role-Playing Games, they have recently began to appear in other genres, such as trading card games and MOBAs.

Some game systems allow players to dual-class in some way, or may have a more flexible class system. Sometimes, a player will be able to start as a more general class ("My character is a mage.") and specialize into a more specific class ("My character is a fire mage."). Many of these may be Prestige Classes. The opposite may also happen if a character is multiclass.

The Fighter, Mage, Thief trio covers the three most basic character class archetypes which serve as categories that most other classes are based on. This page aims to list some of the more common character combat classes in games - both electronic and pen and paper.

See also Common Character Classes, An Adventurer Is You, Job System, Square Race, Round Class, and Modern Day/Sci-Fi RPG Class Equivalents. When the character classes reflect specific social categories within the game world (say, the fire mages, weather mages, and mind mages each study at different colleges and wear distinctive costumes, but also function as character classes for game purposes), the trope overlaps with Grouped for Your Convenience.

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The Fighter Classes: Other Names: Warrior, Knight, Soldier. One of the most basic classes, the Fighter puts emphasis on strength and physical combat. Wielding melee weapons, they typically lack range, or have only limited ranged attack options, but they excel at fighting enemies in close range combat, often having high HP, defense, and attack capabilities to aid in this. In a team or party based game they put themselves at risk at the front of the group and take the brunt of the damage meant for their less sturdy comrades. A Fighter's strength is boosted by the wide variety of equipment they can use and they are usually able to equip the widest variety of weaponry and armor, including stuff too heavy for other classes. Most of the time the Fighter is considered the default "hero" class and as such they are often considered good for beginners. Some variations on the Fighter class include:
  • The Knight: Other Names: Cavalier (when the Cavalier isn't its own separate class), Guardian, Sentinel, Champion. The Knight is considered an upgrade to the basic Fighter. It may be able to wear bigger, heavier armor (including shields) and weaponry, possibly sacrificing speed in favor of more power and defense. The Knight may also gain supportive abilities that help to keep their allies safe, relating to bravery and chivalry. For example; the ability to shield the group from enemy attacks, or otherwise take hits meant for their friends, a "taunt" command that forces foes to direct attacks towards them and away from allies, or the ability to make powerful Counter Attacks against enemies who ignore them. Knights may be able to employ Mounted Combat, if there is no dedicated Cavalier class.
  • The Warrior: Other Names: Brute, Titan, Vanguard, Landsknecht. A more offensively-oriented general upgrade to the basic Fighter, the Warrior trades the Knight's emphasis on defense and support for brute offensive power, favoring large, two-handed weapons that can smash straight through entire swathes of enemies and heavy armor that offsets their lack of a shield, as well as the immense strength required to use both. Warriors range from Unskilled, but Strong brutes to Strong and Skilled veterans, with the latter in particular emphasizing the class's slow, methodical, but devastatingly powerful attacks.
  • The Swashbuckler: Other Names: Fencer, Duelist. A Fighter who tends toward light or no armor and prefers agility, cunning, daring and technical skill to sheer force. Tends to be rogue-like in their trappings (though usually more flamboyant than subtle) and is often used to evoke the Rogue archetype in games where skills and stealth play a small or no role. A likely default class for The Hero, especially in JRPGs and adventure novels after Alexandre Dumas.
  • The Paladin: Other Names: Holy Knight, Crusader, Templarnote , Inquisitor, Guardian (In some games), Royal Guard. The Paladin is a Fighter with the power of Light and healing magic, as well as defensive buffs for their allies. Most paladins got their powers from their devotion to gods but paladins do not nesessary follow or worship deities to gain power. Some paladins got their powers throught sacred oaths and virtues. Their dedication to their faith gives them various prayers, healing abilities and holy-based spells to protect themselves and others. Naturally, they are a type of Magic Knight. They are also quite good at laying the smite down on undead, demons and other traditionally evil supernatural creatures. However, they may have behavioral limits: some rulesets impose varying penalties on taking actions that stray too far from Lawful Good, which can lead to weakening of abilities, loss of abilities or sometimes even being kicked out of the "Paladin" class entirely. If the setting doesn't have behavioral limitations they may have lower stamina or speed to balance out their magic.
  • The Dark Knight: Other Names: Blackguard, Hexblade, Antipaladin, Death Knight. The Dark Knight class is the opposite number of the Paladin, possessing the power of Darkness and often necromantic or dark-magic oriented abilities that deal large amounts of damage to enemies, although often at the cost of their own HP. They may have abilities that lower their target's stats or inflict status effects also. As the opposite of the Paladin, they may do more damage to light based enemies such as angels, fairies or other traditionally good/holy creatures even if Light Is Not Good or find such foes to be their biggest weakness. They generally do not suffer the behavioral limitations of Paladins, except possibly when they are the literal counterpart of Paladins and need to behave accordingly.
  • The Dragon Knight: Other Names: Dragoon note . A Fighter who is either descended from, in the employ of, powered by, owns, or specializes in hunting, dragons. A Dragon Knight usually has a variety of abilities that mimic or relate to dragons in some way — Flight or high jumping ability, breathing fire or imbuing it into their attacks, and dealing extra damage to dragons are all common. Some are able to tame or train dragons (typically either big ones large enough to ride on, or smaller species/hatchlings) or even transform into a dragon themselves. They seem to be associated with spears for some reason.
  • The Barbarian: Other Names: Berserker, Savage, Viking. The Barbarian is a breed of Fighter focused more on damage than defense. Note that in systems where Barbarians have normal or greater than normal physical defense compared to other warriors, such as D&D, they will usually have no defense whatsoever against magic. Often characterized by wearing less armor, being less civilized, and being able to fly into a berserker rage that increases damage output or allow them to do more damage based on how hurt they are.
  • The Monster Knight: Related to Dragon Knight and Barbarian above as well as the Beast below, Monster Knight combines the augmented power of a monster/beast and the training and weaponry of a knight. They may also be able to tap on their basic monster instincts to gain more power and ferocity, often at a cost (either endangering you or your allies). Dragon Knight that can turn (whether fully or in part) into dragons overlap with this. In games with multiple playable races, if a Monstrous Humanoid race exists as one of the choices, them taking the Knight class make them this.
  • The Samurai: Generally restricted to Asian settings, but can appear outside them under more generic names like The Swordmaster. Other Names: Yojimbo, Kenseinote , Ronin (In some occasion), Weapon Master, Myrmidon. Samurai wear less armor than regular Fighters, which leads them to have less defensive abilities. In general, they commonly have access to Ki Manipulation, higher damage, and higher speed and mobility, along with abilities related to Counter Attacks, sensing hidden enemies, or acting before their opponents can act. Some Samurai can wield both swords and longbows (and occasionally spears), but the majority focus on the sword to the exclusion of all other weapons. After the Hero, Samurai are the class most likely to have unique weapons which other classes cannot use. Because Yojimbo are mercenaries, they may be literally able to spend money to deal more damage.
  • The Warlord: Other Names: General, Tactician, Marshal, Commander, Templar. The Warlord is a tactical master. They can hold their own in frontline combat as well as giving out buffs to their underlings and allies, usually by commanding them to superior positions than the ones they would have thought of on their own, and they may have protective auras made of their own charisma to increase a team's effectiveness in battle. Sometimes may be able to summon their own troops, overlapping with Pet Master below.
  • The Cavalier: Other Names: Knightnote , Lancer. The Cavalier fights from the back of a mount, whether a normal horse or something more exotic. Cavaliers have higher movement speed than other Fighters and may be able to charge through groups of enemies or perform Hit-and-Run Tactics. However, they also have more weaknesses: their large size can make them easier to hit or prevent them from travelling through certain terrain, and they may be vulnerable to specialised Anti-Cavalry weapons or attacks which frighten/control animals. Cavaliers with flying mounts also tend to be Fragile Speedsters, presumably because heavy armor would hinder their ability to fly. Sometimes a cavalier's mount can be separately targeted and killed, which either kills the cavalier or turns them into an infantry unit with poorer stats. In games where a lot of fighting takes place indoors, the Cavalier is usually folded into another Fighter class such as Knight or Dragon Knight, and they may be able to switch between infantry and cavalry modes. Mounted archers are comparatively rare, and tend to be closer to Rangers than Fighters.
  • The Skirmisher: Other Names: Rebel, Soldier, Fallen Knight, Outlaw, Brigand. A cross between a Knight and Ranger due to a mix of martial capability and survival instincts. Usually differentiated from other fighters as being against the law or higher authority, particularly in counterpart to the Knight who upholds/represents the law/higher authority. Sometimes appear under-equipped and/or using improvised or stolen equipment. They usually have an expert sense of guerilla warfare and survival tactics at their disposal compared to better equipped foes to balance the odds, comparable to that of a Warlord, but is not necessarily a leader.
  • The Soldier: Other Names: Arbalest, Grenadier, Musketeer, Crossbowman. The other variation on the Fighter-Ranger combination, the Soldier is a Fighter that defines himself by fighting primarily with a ranged weapon, typically a crossbow or primitive rifle, although variations with hefty longbows or throwing weapons are also not unheard of. Excluding their choice of weapon, a Soldier is a pure Fighter with little to no Ranger-like elements, tending to be affiliated more with civilization, dress in heavy armor or uniform, and fight directly, occasionally mixing in grenades or teamwork-oriented abilities.
  • The Hero: Other Names: Lord, Swordsman, Protagonist. This is the class generally used exclusively used by RPG protagonists, the protagonist of the game will be the only character able to become this class (usually) and may become it as a plot point. Although they are definitely a type of physical class, and sometimes referred to by one of the names of the classes above, they aren't a Mighty Glacier or Stone Wall; but much closer to being the Jack of All Stats. They may gain some magic, and will almost certainly have unique skills. Almost always uses a sword, and possibly a shield. Sometimes they will have exclusive access to powerful items like the Infinity +1 Sword.

The Magician Classes: Other Names: Mage, Wizard, Sorcerer, Witch, Warlock, Magi, Magus, Sage. By whatever name you know this class by, you know this class: they primarily use magic powers. In any game with classes, there will always be one that maps to the Magician. These have the widest variety of any set of role-playing classes simply because there are so many varieties of Functional Magic. In a Fantasy Kitchen Sink setting, there can potentially be an infinite number of magic users, so long as there is justification for considering them each their own type. A Magician is usually a Glass Cannon, blasting away at long range, but easily taken down at close range. Variations include:
  • The Blaster: Other names: Nuker, Black Mage. A Magician that specializes on offensive spells, differentiating themself from the more support-oriented magic users. May have a few buffing abilities at their disposal, but those are often dedicated to strengthening their own spells. Probably the biggest source of Elemental Powers within a party, with Fire, Ice, Lightning magic at the most basic.
  • The Inherent Gift Magician: Other Names: Sorcerer. This magic-user was born with abilities they don't need to study, and can use more readily than other Magicians. This is sometimes explained as being descended from a magical creature, other times as being part of Mage Species. They are often much less versatile than other magic-users, being limited to a smaller or much more tightly-themed pool of spells. Commonly, their powers manifest at adolescence.
  • The Theurgist: Other Names: Warlock. The Magician makes a pact with a higher spirit (although not usually a god since those tend to be distinct in fantasy settings), who supplies him with magical powers. This is usually flavored with a Deal with the Devil. While healing class pacts are seen as good, a Magician that makes a pact with an entity that gives them the power to harm or destroy is usually flavored in a darker light and it may turn out to be with demons or Eldritch Abominations. Thus, this type of magic is usually offensive (in the tactical sense) and nasty and deals heavy area damage and/or multitude of status ailments.
    • The Summoner: Other Names: Conjurer. A higher level in which the caster summons the entity to them to do its bidding. Usually even more dangerous than regular Theurgists. Usually supplemented with some magic of another type. If the summoned entity sticks around for a while to assist the summoner, then they may learn magic that allows them to support it. If the summoned entity simply uses a single powerful attack or ability before vanishing, then the summoner is likely to have weaker abilities of roughly the same type, with the summons themselves serving as a form of Limit Break. When Summoners can have pacts with multiple entities at once, they will often be able to go on sidequests to unlock more summons.
  • The Vancian Magician: Other Names: Wizard, among many others. These casters rely on Rule Magic and study to learn and wield magic, usually taking years, leaving their bodies squishy and out of shape... most of the time. Dusty tomes and candlelit towers are what you should associate with these guys. If there's a distinction between this and the Inherent Gift Magician, it will be that these ones have some kind of limitation — like needing to prepare which spells they'll use ahead of time — in exchange for more versatility if prepared.
  • The Generalist: Other names: Red Mage. A Magician who does not specialize in one school or tradition and studies the magic of various types. They tend to be rare, and depending on which limitations they have, may be very powerful thanks to their versatility or very weak thanks to their lack of focus. In any case, they usually aren't able to use the more complex spells their specialized brethren use, or at least not nearly as often. Of all the kinds of Magician, they tend to be the most open minded and least prone to think there are Unequal Rites.
  • The Magic Knight: Other Names: Spellblade, Hexblade, Eldritch Knight, Rune Knight. The Magic Knight is a hybrid Fighter/Magician. The key distinction between different versions of this class is how the Fighter and Mage parts are combined: there is a difference between using a sword and magic, and using magic to improve your sword/fighting abilities. Sometimes split into multiple classes based on different kinds of magic or fighting styles - e.g. the same game might have both "Spelldancers" who are highly trained Vancian-Swashbucklers, and "Elemental Blades" who are Elementalist-Knights born into their powers. Usually, they tend to be worse at fighting than Fighters or magic than Mages, but that's the price of versatility.
  • The Battle Mage: Other Names: Warmage, Runesmith. An offensively-focused spellcaster who lacks some of the weaknesses of their setting's normal Squishy Wizards - they're tougher and can cast their spells faster or more reliably, in exchange for their arsenal being weaker or limited entirely to offense. Explanations for this can vary from special training, to special equipment, to their magic being somehow "artificial". Usually has at least a mild military theme, being either a soldier (possibly a Super Soldier) or someone who Had to Be Sharp. Tends to use spells with shorter ranges than other spellcasters, or to simply cast their spells at close range more often. Can sometimes equip better weapons or armor than other mages, in which case they're distinguished from the Magic Knight through poor physical stats or lack of advanced combat skills. Common in Action Games, less so elsewhere.
  • The Blue Mage: Other Names: Mime, Mimic. A Magician who does not usually rely on standard spells, but instead learns various spells and special abilities from monsters encountered in travel. Often they will need to see the spell or special ability in action, or cast their own unique spell to 'absorb' the ability. Traditionally will develop to be as diverse as the Red Mage, except with unique monster-like abilities to supplement them.
  • The Necromancer: A magic-user who wields power over the dead, blood, and "death energy". They're usually antagonists, but if Dark Is Not Evil, may be a playable class. Often they employ a Zerg Rush - creating hordes of weak undead and sending them after a problem till it dies. Any other abilities will likely be curses that weaken or sap away strength. Very often also a form of Black Mage, especially if an alternative more versatile battle mage is not available. May or may not overlap with the Theurgist class above.
  • The Illusionist: Other Names: Mesmer. A magic-user who casts illusions. Their primary role are to cause distraction and misdirection to enemies. They can also cast the clones of themselves and trick and misdirect the enemies to attack the clones instead. Their abilities are generally given to characters with Psychic powers.
  • The Wild Mage: Other Names: Wilder, Chaos Mage. A gimmicky high-risk, high-reward class that trades more traditional spell options for raw power, gaining the ability to create random effects and hopefully react to them faster than the enemy can.
  • The Nature Magician: Wields power over the natural world, often including elements, animals, and plants.
    • The Elementalist: A specialized Magician who can only use Elemental Powers in some way. They may be able to use all the elements, or may specialize in one or two. Often, they are the key to winning Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors in their setting. May sometimes come with a pact with - and optionally summon - Elemental Embodiment.
    • The Druid: A jack of all trades nature Magician. They often have a mix of elemental offense, healing, and the ability to morph into animals or elemental spirits to become melee fighters. To further the overlap with the Cleric classes, is often a "worshiper" of nature.
    • The Shaman: A nature Magician with a Summoner twist. This class generally revolves around bargaining with spirits and building a Place of Power for yourself. (Although since a story about someone who stays in the same place is likely to get boring, this place may become more or less mobile in practice.)

The Rogue Classes: Other Names: Thief, Assassin, Ninja. Rogues are a diverse class that contains everything from dexterous thieves, to treasure-hunters, to assassins. Masters of stealth and infiltration, Rogues prefer to attack when their opponent is least aware. They are quick but fragile, unable to take heavy damage, and instead rely on their speed to dodge attacks and slip in and out of the shadows to catch their opponent off guard; setting traps and inflicting status effects on foes to give them the edge. Outside of battle Rogues usually have a wide range of helpful utility abilities such as lockpicking to allow them to open locked doors and treasure chests without needing to find/buy keys or the ability to detect and disarm traps. Some can even steal items directly from enemies allowing the player to obtain items that otherwise might be unobtainable. Sometimes Rogues are lumped in with the Ranger class, but more commonly they are differentiated by specializing in melee - particularly with light blades and daggers or ranged attacks using throwing weapons such as knives and shuriken. Variations include:
  • The Thief: The Thief, when it is a separate class, is a version of the Rogue with lower damage, but the ability to steal items from enemies. Sometimes, this can extend even to intangible items, such as experience points, but more commonly includes rare items that cannot be obtained in any other way.
  • The Assassin: A more offensive Rogue, who sacrifices technical expertise for better stealth and killing abilities. Often have a variety of weakening and poisoning abilities and are able to cripple a foe to leave him open for allies or to let him die from Damage Over Time.
  • The Gambler: The Gambler is a fairly rare variation more often seen in video games than in pen and paper settings. The Gambler is a Rogue who has a set of magical powers that rely more on chance than usual. They may have to draw a card, spin a roulette, roll magical dice, or activate a magical slot machine to get a desired effect which may be positive or negative depending on their luck. Very likely to attack with playing cards in lieu of throwing knives.
  • The Detective: The Detective is an oft-overlooked variant of roguey types. They excel at rooting out hidden secrets and unraveling mysteries. They rely on a sharp eye for detail, but also on a finely honed ability to read the words and deeds of other creatures to determine their true intent. They excel at defeating creatures that hide among and prey upon ordinary folk, and their mastery of lore and sharp eye make them well-equipped to expose and end hidden evils. Undercover cops, private investigators, and spies tend to fall into this category. They're a lot less likely to be criminals, and some magic-using examples may cross over with the Blue-Collar Warlock.
  • The Ninja: Generally, the highest tier of Rogue-type classes. The Ninja is a Rogue who may have a long list of useful skills. Stealth and backstabbing are universal, but beyond that, it gets hazy. Invisibility, smoke techniques that increases evasion, long-range elemental powers, and sometimes special bonuses to combat like dual-wielding. They also tend to excel at throwing items like shurikens, daggers, and kunai. Often a Game-Breaker. May be combined with the Assassin or distinct.
  • The Shadow: Other Names: Nightblade. Occasionally, Rogue-types will specialize in magic or powers that augment their stealth, and when they do, those powers generally feature darkness, shadows or the occult as themes. May be distinct or combined with the Ninja or Assassin.
  • The Bandit: Other Names: Burglar, Thug, Brigand. Close to the Thief, a Bandit is a Rogue whose stealth skills are either downplayed or non-existent. While they have all the standard Rogue abilities, they tend to use them in less subtle ways - instead of unlocking a door they'll kick it down, and instead of stealthily pickpocketing their enemies they'll simply walk up and grab things from them. Sometimes they also can intimidate their enemies or are good at destroying structures, as well as whole slew of other "gang" related abilities. Bandits are generally the Mighty Glacier of Rogue classes, having stats more similar to a Fighter (though they may still be a Fragile Speedster compared to non-Rogues). While they display slightly more variation in weapons than standard Rogues, most Bandits still cannot equip heavy armor and are thus not as tough as Fighters.
  • The Pirate: Other Names: Corsair, Privateer, Swashbuckler. A variation of the Rogue. The archetype for a pirate isn't set that hard in stone, but in general, a Pirate will use a combination of weaponry instead of specializing - usually being able to switch freely between pistols and swords. They may also receive bonuses for fighting in water terrain or on ships or be the best class at swimming. May have some aspects of the Bandit, or the Bandit class may be folded into Pirate entirely. When this class specifically represents a pirate captain it sometimes overlaps with Warlord.
  • The Scout: Other Names: Spy, Acrobat, Operative. Another variation on the Rogue, the Scout combines high movement rate with superior sensory and information-gathering skills, and often emphasizes stealth as well. Not guaranteed to be as good at combat as other Rogues; may overlap with the Ranger archetype if they are. May also favour ranged weapons more than other Rogues. Sometimes combined with the Thief and/or Assassin to give them more things to do.

The Cleric Classes: Other Names: Priest, Acolyte. A Cleric is usually The Medic — some variation on dedicated healers. Unlike Magician-classes, the Clerics usually draw their powers from either Faith, a god, or some variation of the two. Their magic generally requires them to stick to a certain doctrine to access it, but usually comes with less of a price or chance of backfiring like some Magician classes might experience. Clerics often focus on healing and party buffs, but sometimes they are offensively useful against "unholy" enemies such as demons and undead. Often draw their powers from Crystal Dragon Jesus and may be suspiciously Catholic for a fantasy setting. Cleric-type classes generally have the least amount of variation, simply because healing is so vital and important that distracting a healer generally isn't seen as a good idea. Variations include:
  • The Healer: Other Names: White Mage. A squishy dedicated healer with little abilities at offense, though their magic may be able to harm specific types of enemies, most commonly demonic entities and the undead.
  • The Battle Priest: Other Names: Crusader, Chaplain. A badass, tough warrior, carrying blessed weapons. This version of the Cleric can dish out melee damage and heal. They tend to be closer to Clerics than Paladins, who tend to be closer to Fighters; although occassionally this is a literal overlap a.k.a hybrid of Fighter and Cleric class.
  • The Witch Doctor: A version of the Cleric flavored for a more shamanic, nature-worshiping culture as opposed to the generally Monotheistic religion most Cleric-using settings use. May be slightly more magically offensive and overlap with the Shaman (see above in Magicians).
  • The Cultist: The Evil Counterpart of the Cleric, the Cultist worships the local God of Evil or Eldritch Abomination, rather than Crystal Dragon Jesus. As a result, the powers they gain from their faiths are typically of the shadowy variety, more given to offense, both in terms of offensive buffs and debilitating curses, and outright offensive attacks, although they usually has some healing in their kit, if less than is usually granted to the priest of a more "wholesome" God.
  • The Templar: Other Names: Inquisitor, Zealot. Named after The Knights Templar, the Templar is more of an assassin mixed with a Cleric. The chief role in the story is generally to do the church's dirty work, ferreting out heretics and covering up the great conspiracy. In battle, they may be anything, but tend to be a jack of all trades, weaker than a Paladin, Cleric, or Rogue in their specialties, but able to handle all of their roles to one extent or another. They can also be defined as Mage Killer / The Witch Hunter, especially in settings where the Church is very much at odds with some, if not all, mages. If the Cleric class normally comes with innate restrictions or drawbacks (e.g. must always tell the truth, cannot wear metal armor, must avoid contact with The Dark Side) then a Templar can usually ignore at least some of them.

The Ranger Classes: Other Names: Hunter, Archer. Rangers are woodsmen skilled at surviving in the wild. They may be lumped in with Fighters or Rogues (above) but more often than not are a separate tree of classes all their own. Archery is generally their favored skill, although melee combat also has a focus either primarily (In which case they will probably also have a lot of ranged abilities) or as a backup for when enemies get close. Rangers may also be skilled in some form of wilderness or nature magic, and sometimes capable of utilizing their terrain or surroundings to their advantage. They may be very good at fighting a specific type of enemy, and often take on the role of a Hunter of Monsters against such foes. In a setting that allows guns, they will usually appear in the hands of the Ranger.
  • The Sniper Ranger: This version is totally reliant on archery, but usually does higher damage because of it. May have a variety of status-inflicting arrows to slow or otherwise annoy enemies. Keeps to the back of a battle, as they're weak in terms of close combat.
  • The Bow and Blade Ranger: A version of the Ranger that can handle bladed weapons as well, allowing them to defend themselves against approaching enemies or close in for the kill. The most likely Ranger to overlap with the Fighter archetype, usually the Swashbuckler, or alternatively the Rogue.
  • The Melee Ranger: Other Names: Headhunter, Predator, Savage. The Ranger that fights from melee range. Makes sense - the word 'Ranger' refers to someone who watches over territory, like a modern day Park Ranger, not from using ranged weapons. Will often be much more heavily associated with hunting and other animalistic thematics, with the association stemming between them and predatory creatures. Often uses a Blade on a Stick, Blade Below the Shoulder, or an axe. Despite primarily being a melee character, will typically still possess a lot of ranged utility, either with a sidearm ranged weapon, or more commonly, by throwing their melee weapon, or by having a dedicated throwing weapon like a bola or chakram.
  • The Beast Master Ranger: Living out in the wilderness is just easier with a loyal dog at your side and a hawk on your arm. This variant employs a number of beasts, and can be as simple as a Houndmaster using two or three dogs, to something more fantastic like a snake charmer or dinosaur rider. Different from the Druid because the Beast Master Ranger is still a martial class who fights alongside his beasts, and either doesn't use magic or only uses minor magic to compliment his weapon(s), and may be limited in the kind of beasts they can use compared to, say, pure Beastmasters (see below).
    • Summoner Ranger: A variant of the Beast Master Ranger that can summon beasts to their side, either with magic, as a familiar, or their connection to nature. Overlaps with the Druid such that they are often the primary guardians of the forest and nature against the encroaching modern civilizations.
  • The Trapper Ranger: Other Names: Sapper. The Trapper is a character who can lay down various traps in an area that the enemy can walk into, making them vulnerable to ambushes or follow-up attacks. Often combined with the Sniper or Beast Master above.
  • The Magical Ranger: Other Names: Arcane Archer. A version of the Ranger who can use enchanted or Trick Arrows to take advantage of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, or slow down and disable enemies with "net arrows" or "freezing arrows" and the like. Also tend to be capable of (nature) magic.

    Rarer Class Archetypes 
  • Rarer Class Archetypes: The following character classes appear often but non consistently, depending on the type of world the author is attempting to create. In general, they are often seen as clashing with science fiction or with a European medieval setting in some way (but so do the Samurai and Ninja, above).
    • The Bard: Other Names: Minstrel, Maestro, Troubadour. The Bard is a class specializing in music. Perhaps understandably, they're butt of a lot of jokes in fantasy settings, however, depending on the game, they may be useful. Bardic songs are generally useful for buffing allies, weakening enemies, status effects, and occasionally damage (via Brown Note or Make Me Wanna Shout). Sometimes they act as the Jack of All Trades. Of all the classes, Bards are the most likely to be good at diplomacy with NPCs.
      • The Dancer: Other Names: Gypsy, Wanderer, Trouvere. A rare variation of the Bard, who tend to get the same jokes made, but for dancing instead of music. They tend to do the same things as Bards, too, so perhaps they deserve it. A variant is The Whirling Dervish, who looks to the casual observer like an ordinary dancer but is actually a spinning buzz-saw of slice-and-dice death; she'll give new meaning to Aram Khachaturian's Sabre Dance and have way too much fun doing it.
      • The Cantor: The Cantor sings not just songs but hymns, acting as a cross between the Bard and the Priest. Cantors generally have more focus on healing abilities than a standard Bard, but instead of having attacks which harm demonic creatures and The Undead, a Cantor make their allies better at fighting such creatures. Alternatively a Cantor may specialize in supporting other Cleric classes, such as restoring their Mana or increasing the potency of their healing spells. Can overlap with Dancer for characters who use religious dances, such as Miko.
      • The Jester: Other Names: Clown A more kooky, comedic take on the bard. The Jester will typically be either a straight-up Joke Character with Cool, but Inefficient abilities that basically only serve as a Self-Imposed Challenge to their player, or they're a Weak, but Skilled Gradual Grinder that combines a peerless ability to Draw Aggro with precise evasion and Status Effects to evolve into a Lethal Joke Character.
      • The Skald: A more "savage" version of the Bard, who charges into battle themselves so that they can write epic stories about how glorious it was afterwards. Tends to be less of a Jack of All Trades than a standard Bard in favor of combat abilities similar to the Barbarian. They might also have buffs which turn their allies into Glass Cannons, affect larger numbers of allies than a standard Bard, or allow allies to march or fight continuously without rest. Usually acts as a substitute for Bards in whatever culture Barbarians come from, but they can show up in just about any military setting as "morale officers" or similar.
    • The Monk: Other Names: Black Belt, Martial Artist, Pugilist, Fighternote , Mystic. The Monk is partway between the Fighter and the Rogue... kind of. They are usually bare-fisted warriors who either eschew weapons entirely or use only martial artsy weapons like nunchucks and staves. Tend to have higher magical stats than other warriors due to their refined bodies and souls, but not enough magic to make this very useful. They often have access to some sort of Ki Manipulations and build up attacks, and sometimes have resistance to magic or certain status effects. Self-sufficiency is what sets them apart from classes relying on fragile magics, higher powers or expensive items.
      • The Drunken Master: Other Names: Drunken Boxer. Practitioners of a stylised form of zui quan, Drunken Masters are Monk variants that specialize in feints and counterattacks, often having a literal alcohol consumption guage that can be depleted to perform feats. This reliance on intoxicants is a curse and a boon, as the drinks can incorporate Alchemist-style potion buffs, but they will run out sooner or later.
      • The Wrestler: Other Names: Tetori, Grappler. Another variant or specialization of the Monk, the Wrestler is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: an unarmed combatant that specializes in grabs, throws, and other extreme close-range fighting maneuvers. May trade the Monk's more overtly supernatural abilities for inhuman durability. Despite the straightforward presentation, the Wrestler class inevitably has a bunch of tricky grappling maneuvers that make it deceptively hard to use effectively.
      • The Beast: Other Names: Beastman, Wolfling, Shifter. The Beast is either a non-human creature, or can turn into one, and fights with their own body in place of weapons. As such, they are generally even less tied to equipment than Monks are. Beasts often lack versatility compared to other classes, but compensate with high stats, high movement speed, and/or terrain-based abilities (either gaining bonuses in certain terrains, moving through rough terrain without being slowed, or just being able to fly over obstacles entirely). Sometimes combined with the Barbarian, Nature Magician, Dragon Knight or Monster Knight; alternately they may possess similar wilderness skills to the Ranger. If a Beast has access to Prestige Classes, they will usually represent a physical metamorphosis or simply getting larger and stronger.
    • The Sage: Other Names: Druid, Bishop, Red Mage, Mystic Theuge. The Sage is a spellcaster that is capable of accessing spells that both Magicians and Clerics have. Naturally this level of versatility puts the Sage at risk of being an overpowered class. Some games rectify this by making the Sage a Prestige Class, making the leg up they have over other casters less of an issue. Other games put on limitations compared to dedicated magicians and clerics, such as weaker spellpower, less Mana and/or locking them out of some spells that dedicated casters have access to. The limitations do have the danger of going too far and making a Sage a Master of None, so to combat this issue some games make up for the limitations by giving them something unique to the Sage like exclusive spells or being more physically capable than other casters.
    • The Engineer: Other Names: Tinkerer, Artificer, Machinist, Gadgeteer, Alchemist note , Blacksmith, Mechanic. This is a character class that relies on technology, often of the Steampunk or Magitek variety, to achieve ranged controlling effects similar to a wizard. They most likely have guns and bombs as primary weapons, and employ stationary and/or mobile machines on the battlefield. May be seen as "too sci-fi".
    • The Alchemist: Other Names: Chemist, Brewer, Herbalist, Merchant, Biochemist, Geneticist, Apothecary. An Alchemist combines items, magic or otherwise, to create potions or bombs to use in battle, often mixing them together during battle. Oddly enough, of all of the classes, they're the ones most likely to be good at throwing things, partly because bombs aren't going to deliver themselves to the Alchemist's enemies. They often are also capable of making supportive items, Health Potion and food being most common.
    • The Gunslinger: Other Names: Sharpshooter. The Gunslinger is the wielder of firearms in a fantasy setting that has them, when guns aren't common enough to be in the hands of regular people (or, if they are in the hands of regular people, the gunslinger tends to use them with much greater effectiveness and panache). Usually functions as a ranged counterpart to the Samurai class, focusing entirely on their weapon of choice and being weak or useless at close range, but may also have some abilities from the Engineer and/or Alchemist (particularly if they build their own guns). Sometimes given a nerf or weakness in order to keep people playing the Ranger class (assuming it isn't merged with the Ranger class) - for instance guns might have lower damage or a slower rate of fire than bows, in exchange for longer range or the ability to pierce armor, or alternatively Gunslingers may lack versatility but have higher attack power or evasion compared to regular Rangers. Gunslinger and Ranger are the only classes likely to have Wild West motifs, though even then, they don't always have them.
    • The Psychic: Other Names: Psion, Mentalist, Esper, Psychokino, Psionicist. Psychics generally employ a combination of telepathy and psychokinesis to attack the opponent's mind directly, or to deal damage to his body. Distinctions between psychic powers and magic may be difficult to make. In addition, the list of Psychic Powers potentially available is often seen as too long and generalized. Was generally restricted to science fiction settings before the popularity of X-Men prompted its controversial inclusion in Dungeons & Dragons decades ago, and has appeared only sporadically in other fantasy settings since then.
    • The Beastmaster: Other Names: Pet Master, Puppet Master, Trainer, Puppeteer. Pet Masters specialize in controlling a powerful "pet" to fight by their side. The pet can be anything from a tamed animal to a summoned elemental to a constructed Golem, but usually it serves as a front-line melee combatant while the master hangs back to support it with healing, buffing and long-range attacks. In extreme cases the master does not take part in combat at all. If the pet is an animal then this class is often folded into Ranger or Nature Magician, and comes with the ability to control animals in general. If folded into Summoner then the character might have access to multiple pets, but only be able to use one at a time. Sometimes a Pet Master can ride their pet and function somewhat like a Cavalier, except that the pet does most of the fighting. An MMORPG Pet Master will always have some way of summoning their pet to their position.
    • The Scholar: Other Names: Sage, Librarian, Loremaster, Archivist, Veteran, Wizard. Scholars are a support class with encyclopedic knowledge which allows them to study enemies and figure out their weaknesses. This ranges from simply reading the enemies' stats to actually giving them weaknesses or stripping away their defences. Scholars also have a wide range of other skills, sometimes including unique elements or status conditions which no other class can access, but they're usually weak or impractical outside of narrow situations. Strongly associated with books (magical or otherwise), sometimes to the point of wielding them as weapons. Most Scholars are magic-users (often folded in with the Blue Mage, Bard, Sage, Alchemist or Inquisitor) but Genius Bruiser Fighters and Badass Bookworm Rogues are not unheard of.