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From the original game

    1st Through 3rd Edition Classes 

Assassin

Barbarians

Bard

Cleric / Priest

  • Game-Breaker: So much so in 3.5 that CoDZilla (a portmanteau of "cleric or druid" and "Godzilla") used to be a subtrope page.

Druid

  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: If a Druid doesn't take Natural Spell at 6th level, it's probably been banned.
  • Game-Breaker: Considered an even worse one that the cleric. Not only do they have access to similar spell progression, but they gain Wild Shape, which is more powerful than the entire Fighter class! In fact, in a setting where spellcasting was removed, Druids still remained mid to high tier due to this ability alone.
    • As one forum poster summarized it: A brown bear in 3e deals on average about the same damage per round as an 8th-level Fighter. An 8th level Druid is at a minimum two brown bears (one from Wild Shape, one as a pet). Add in spells (which a Druid can cast while still being a bear, due to the aforementioned Natural Spell feat), and the bears can fly, have skin made of stone, throw lightning bolts, and summon even more bears. Thus "one guy gets a sword and armor, and [the other] is an aggressively hegemonizing ursine swarm".
  • True Neutral: Prior to 3rd Edition, all druids had to be this alignment. Third edition required Druids to have at least one neutral aspect (Lawful Neutral, Neutral Good, Chaotic Neutral, or Neutral Evil.) Alignment as a class requirement was dropped from 4th edition onwards.

Fighter

  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Various Alternate Class Features both improved the fighter's overall power and gave it actual, unique skills. The two most beloved are the Dungeoncrasher and the Zhentarim Soldier — particularly since they can be used in tandem. Before those came along, a character with more than four levels in fighter was considered a Scrub; now, ninth-level fighters aren't uncommon.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: In 3.5, primarily. The preponderance of Empty Levels, generic fluff, lack of real features, and general incapability outside of combat give the Fighter something of a poor reputation among casual players and optimizers alike. One fan called it "a class two levels long for thugs."

Monk

  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Monks need high scores in just about every ability to be effective. They need to stand still to use many of their class abilities with full effectiveness, but get lots of movement powers that emphasize mobility. And most of their powers are weaker than stuff that other people can easily pick up with cheap magic items or low-level spells anyway.

Paladin

  • Flanderization: Paladins are often believed to strictly adhere to order and goodness so much that they're essentially naive, goodie-two-shoes killjoys akin to a modern day evangelical. The truth is that a paladin can be a stoic jerk to everyone around them or be the life of the party while still adhering to the tenants of order and good.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Paladins fight to uphold the concepts of honor, order, loyalty, and kindness, but that doesn't mean they're naive pushovers, and anyone that crosses a paladin can quickly find out how intense their divine wrath can be.
  • Lawful Good: Paladins serve the gods of good, and must maintain this alignment. Between Unearthed Arcana and Dragon Magazine however, variants do exist for alternate alignments.
  • Lawful Stupid: Unfortunately, there are players who play this alignment when playing a paladin. And if they aren't, well, there's a chance a KillerDM or a Chaotic Stupid party member will make it their goal to force the paladin into a case of Stupidity Is the Only Option to get them to fall. Not helping was that, back in 1st and 2nd edition, it was actually possible for paladins to fall just by being in the same party as a Chaotic PC.

Ranger

Wizard / Magic-User / Mage

  • Creator's Pet: While Wizards are a well-loved class straight from the very first iteration of D&D, they're turned into this whenever Monte Cook's around.
  • Game-Breaker: At high-level power play, a straight wizard played by a sufficiently Crazy-Prepared player is considered to be the most powerful class in the game. While they're more fragile than clerics and druids and can't tank, the arcane-exclusive spells (like Teleport) make up for it.
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    Other 3rd Edition Classes 

Archivist

  • Game-Breaker: Its spell mechanics are similar to a Wizard (a Game-Breaker in its own right), and it has access to every divine spell (Clerics and Druids manage to be incredibly powerful with more limited spell lists). And the class has some useful abilities on the side. Every bit as potent as its fellow full casters. Not to mention, you can take Mystic Theurge (advances casting in two spellcasting classes) with both class's spellcasting tied to Intelligence, the most useful mental ability score.

Ardent

  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Because of how well-balanced and unique it was, the Ardent was one of the few fondly-remembered things about Complete Psionic.

Binder

  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Fandom find the other 2 classes in ToM to be awful, if not impossible to use. The Binder however is considered to hit the "Powerful enough to be fun to play, but weak enough to not be a Game-Breaker", and easily one of the most supported non-core classes by homebrew (possibly the most outside of Tome of Battle).

Divine Mind

Erudite

  • Game-Breaker: It's one of the Big 6, and stands as one of two members of the Big 6 that can use both Arcane and Psionic abilities (the other being the Psionic-variant Artificer). The Erudite is nearly unmatched in flexibility, as you are able to spontaneously manifest any power you know (though there is a debate on how this is supposed to work due to poor wording).

Healer

  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Giving them access to Sanctified Spells from the Book of Exalted Deeds gives them a fair amount of additional options in combat other than healing (which is perfectly legal by the rules of Sanctified Spells, as Healers are all good-aligned spellcasters who prepare their spells).
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Due to its limited ability to do anything but heal, Healers tend to get a poor reputation.

Incarnate

  • Chaotic Neutral: One of the four possible choices for an Incarnate character, and the weakest of the four (ranged-focus, but the developers kinda screwed up here).
  • Lawful Neutral: One of the four possible choices for an Incarnate character, and the one closest to being a frontliner.
  • Neutral Good: One of the four possible choices for an Incarnate character, can be played as a tank or as a pseudocaster via Use Magic Device. Has the best defenses this side of a Full Caster.
  • Neutral Evil

Lurk

  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: While it is a Rogue with psychic powers, the Psychic Rogue is considered better due to not having their sneak attack rely on psionic focus. This class is still pretty good, but most people will point you towards the Psychic Rogue.

Psion / Psionicist

  • Game-Breaker: Sits up very high, almost one of the Big 6, but not quite. On the other hand it wins the award for being the most accessible class for committing human rights violations.

Samurai

  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • The Samurai is like the Fighter, but with less options.
    • The Lawful over Good trait was another ''popular'' class feature.
    • A TWFing Ranger outclasses a Complete Warrior Samurai. At least the Oriental Adventures one was decent! When a class is designed around one of the weakest combat mechanics...

Shadowcaster

  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: The early levels are murder on a Shadowcaster. They aren't too powerful late-game either, but they are still capable of contributing to the party.

Soulborn

  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: It ends up being the worst of the three Meldshapers. It's even weaker than a Core Paladin!

Soulknife

  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • Because you can't enchant a Mind Blade like you can a physical weapon, a Soulknife tends to do less damage than a fighter of equal level.
    • Also, see Samurai, "less options". Having the Whirlwind Attack feat without the ridiculous prerequisites is neat, though.

Truenamer

  • Game-Breaker: This was the intention according to the Game-Breaker page definition and it can at level 20, but instead it breaks the game by being poorly designed. This would be considered a Tier-Induced Scrappy except it literally is the only class not to be rated on the tier system for 3.X due to the simple fact that its completely incompatible with the rest of D&D. For starters, as it gains levels, it becomes much harder to use its core mechanics. Only by min-maxing to the extreme can it be viable, and the turnaround point is level 20, at which point it can contribute to combat.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The Law of Resistance, which makes it harder to use the same utterance in a day, and the Law of Sequence, which makes it impossible to use an utterance again while an earlier casting of it is still active. If you've jacked up Truespeak enough to not worry about the inherent Game-Breaking Bug, one or both of these is going to be a serious problem in your near future.

Warblade

  • Replacement Scrappy: The warblade does everything the core fighter does better, and plenty of other things besides. This led some to complain that there was no reason to play a fighter anymore, outside of niche builds.

Warlock

  • Author's Saving Throw: Some believe the Hellfire Warlock prestige class was one of these; nearly all warlocks can qualify by its level, and the hellfire bonus puts to bed the most common criticism of a warlock — 9d6 damage at 20th level is piddley, but 15d6 in exchange for a tiny bit of Con damage can still pack a wallop.

    4th Edition Classes 

Battlemind

  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: The way Blurred Step and Mind Spike originally worked didn't make the battlemind a very good defender. This has been mostly relieved with the July 2010 errata.

Warlord

    5th Edition Classes 

Barbarian

  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: The Totem Warrior, and specifically the Bear Totem, is unquestionably the most popular barbarian primal path, and for one reason: resistance versus all damage except psychic. In other words, if no enemy on the field possesses an attack with a fairly uncommon damage type, that Bear Totem barbarian enjoys effectively doubled HP when they Rage, rather than only versus weapon attacks. Also, as barbarians have advantage on Dexterity saving throws against nasty damage spells like the dreaded fireball, they can quite easily get a cumulative chance to halve received damage again. It's commonly thought that the mass infusion of monsters and spells that deal psychic damage in Mordekainen's Tome of Foes is an attempt to "stealth nerf" it.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: And, at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, no one plays the other primal path from the Player's Handbook, the Berserker. This is also because of a poorly-designed first power, namely, Frenzy, which offers an additional attack per round as a bonus action... at the cost of one level of Exhaustion once the Rage ends. And Exhaustion is hard and slow to remove, stacks rapidly to impose awful and overlapping penalties, and means that using the Path's power is almost never worth it. The rest of the Primal Path is much better, but such a bad starting power, combined with the lack of *other* starting powers, has led many to complain it obviously pre-dates the existing Exhaustion rules and was never updated when they were changed.
    • The battlerager from the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide is also fairly weak, but it at least offers an extra attack per round without any real cost, even if its damage dice are low. Unfortunately, it forces the player to wear a single type of armor for most of their class benefits, and not a terribly powerful kind at that.

Fighter

  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: While the class as a whole is quite versatile, the Fighting Styles it offers are not. Expect most Fighters to use either Dueling, Defense, or Two-Weapon Fighting if they are a melee-focused Fighter due to the fact that the three provide simple bonuses that are very useful throughout the player's lifespan. Archery only works well if the player decides to focus on being a ranged-attack Fighter, though it is probably the most powerful fighting style in the game if one does, while Great Weapon Fighting and Protection are seen as very weak and gimmicky and overspecialized choices, respectively, which are not useful long term for most characters (there are some exceptions). Furthermore, simply because none of the other Fighting Styles really complement one another, everyone who gets a second Style almost invariably picks Defense.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Battle Master was notably seen as the worst of the three starting Martial Archetypes for Fighters. The reason being that their abilities were Awesome, but Impractical; Battle Master focused on using maneuvers through Superiority Dice to allow the Fighter to use their turn to do various effects that can help shift the flow of combat, ranging from allowing another ally to attack in your place, to pushing an enemy back, all of which can be useful on paper. However, Fighters only are allowed a small amount of Superiority Dice, at max level a Battle Master would get six dice in total, limiting their useful as they still have to roll or have the enemy beat a saving throw, which makes them unreliable in combat, alongside offering nothing to help raise the base abilities of the Fighter in anyway. By contrast, Champion makes it easier to land a critical, add their proficiency bonus to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution checks for skills they lack, alongside being harder to kill, while the Eldritch Knight provides spells, the ability to cast a Cantrip and do a bonus action attack, and create a bonded weapon to avoid being disarmed. Basically, Battle Masters have an interesting role, but their too limited and are too gimmicky to really be viable.

Ranger

  • Author's Saving Throw: The ranger was generally seen as the weakest class in the game upon initial release, particularly its Beast Master sub-class. Two years later, the developers released a full rework of the class that was much better-received. Subverted when the developers publicly stated that they would never officially replace the original ranger with its reworked version. That said, the new subclasses in recent sourcebooks have been a lot stronger than the core version.
  • Broken Base: The 5e development team released a special Unearthed Arcana revolving entirely around five levels of a completely-rebuilt ranger class. Opinions are divided between those who like the change, those who dislike it, but feel it's a good sign that the developers are listening to their feedback, and those who feel it is firm evidence that the game designers are just clueless when it comes to the ranger, fixated on mending things that aren't broken while ignoring the class's core problems.
  • Internet Backdraft: After two years of the Unearthed Arcana form of the Ranger offering a patchwork solution to the class's myriad problems, Jeremy Crawford bluntly admitting the team had no plans to make the revised ranger official and that if you had a problem with the class, simply play something else, made Ranger fans furious.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: As mentioned under Author's Saving Throw, Unearthed Arcana turned the Ranger into a Lightning Bruiser, as well as fixing the Beastmaster's animal companion.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Generally seen as the weakest 5th edition class. There are very few things a ranger can do out of combat that other classes can't do, and probably do better. In combat, they rely heavily on a very limited selection of spells, and stack up unfavorably against both fighters and paladins. Out of combat, many of the class's core features are only useful against specific prey or on specific terrain. Beastmasters have it particularly bad, as the mechanics behind their animal companions suck.

Sorcerer

  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Sorcerers are notorious for just how badly 5e treated them in execution. The 5e sorcerer still pays lip-service to its 3e niche of being able to cast more spells per day at the cost of versatility — it has one of the smallest list of potential spells known in the game, and definitely the smallest of the dedicated caster classes, being equaled (or, if the subclass offers some free spells, surpassed) by "half-caster" classes like the ranger and paladin. The problem is that not only do all spellcasters in 5e now use something approximating the sorcerer's formerly exclusive "spontaneous casting" style, making versatility more useful than ever before, but the sorcerer actually fails to live up to its design platform; their unique mana system doesn't give them enough points to play around with and it only replenishes on a long rest, so they can't actually use many more spells per day. Compounding the problem, not only does the sorcerer's primary unique class ability, Metamagic, compete with extra spell slots for valuable sorcery points, but wizards have a feature that lets them freely restore some spell slots every short rest (sorcerers equally-notoriously gain no class-granted benefits from a short rest until level 20), so wizards outdo sorcerers in both versatility and in spells per day! Also, they're the only full caster in the game without access to ritual casting, further damaging their utility, and, unlike most non-wizard/non-cleric spellcasters, have almost no unique spells of their own, instead making do with a gimped version of the wizard's spell list. And as if all this wasn't bad enough, the Wizard getting an Unearthed Arcana subclass called the Lore Wizard which effectively could do Metamagic better than the Sorcerer.

Warlock

  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Before the release of the Hexblade, the Pact of the Tome was far-and-away the best pact option in the game. The Pact of the Blade was seen as gimmicky and limited in usefulness, requiring the use of many Invocations just to bring it up to par with the class's signature eldritch blast cantrip, while the Pact of the Chain quickly fell off in usefulness as the player progressed in level, since its unique familiar never improves or gains hitpoints as monsters grow more powerful, and the Magic Resistance most of the choices for it grant requires it to be in the area of effect for spells that will kill it through raw damage even if it makes its saving throws. Conversely, the Pact of the Tome offers enormous upgrades to the class's versatility, via not only several free cantrips (which, among other things, means that the Tome pact can poach the druid class's unique shillelagh cantrip and out-melee the blade pact), but has an invocation that lets a warlock learn every ritual spell they can find, hugely expanding the class's out-of-combat utility.
    • The class is extremely customizable thanks to having two effective subclasses and the versatile and useful abilities offered by Invocations... but every warlock grabs the class's signature eldritch blast cantrip and the Agonizing Blast invocation that upgrades it to add the character's Charisma modifier to damage rolls. Indeed, the class is arguably designed around the assumption that most players will select both, and within their first few levels.
  • Minmaxer's Delight: As a front-loaded class, warlocks have access to many of these.
    • Hexblades are an extremely powerful one-or-two-level dip due to their 1st level ability of substituting Charisma for Strength or Dexterity for the attack of any one weapon.
    • The class's signature eldritch blast cantrip is a popular poach for other classes, since, unlike other cantrips, it offers additional attacks instead of additional damage dice, and the warlock has a number of potent and useful Invocations to upgrade it further.
    • Paladins and sorcerers often dip a level or two into warlock to gain access to the class's regenerating "pact spell slots," since having a supply of spells that regenerates on a short rest fixes many of their design issues.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: The Hexblade Patron is basically the way to play a Bladelock, and trying with any other patron will see you outclassed in basically every way. They get medium armor, a single-target hex buff, and Charisma to attacks and damage - fixing their issue of being a MAD class. And since they get this at first level it also makes them a popular 1 level dip for other Charisma gishes like the Bard or Paladin. Many would have preferred their abilities to be merged with the preexisting Pact of the Blade instead, and that's those who don't think they're just flat out overpowered.
    • While Pact of the Blade is no longer here (because of said arguably-overpowered Hexblade), the Pact of the Chain's benefit, as explained above, is very weak and fragile, never improves or scales up, and making use of their best ability means making sure it's right inside the range of any Area of Effect spells an enemy wants to throw.

    Creatures 
  • Adaptation Displacement: Compare how many series' portray Bahamut and Tiamat as dragons. Now look up their origins.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Meepo the Kobold in 3rd Edition. This little lizard-dude, originally just a kill-it-for-stuff encounter in the adventure The Sunless Citadel, was so popular that he made an appearance as an NPC in at least one other adventure, featured in a web-exclusive article in which he became a half-dragon were-velociraptor, and got whisked away to another dimension in which he obtained a magical pump-action shotgun. Truly, Meepo is the pinnacle of koboldian awesomesauce. He even makes a cameo in d20 modern.
    • As far as races go, the Warforged from Eberron were very well received. The Shifters were also well-liked, but not as much as the Warforged.

      These two races (and Changelings) were put in as monsters in the first 4E Monster Manual, and Shifters were introduced as a playable race in the second 4e Player's Handbook. Warforged were made playable in any setting thanks to a free(!) Dragon article on Wizards' official site.
    • The Flumphs. Originally unpopular, being seen as flatulent jellyfish that aren't powerful enough to make a good fight, or evil for the characters to want to fight, they've since become a popular representative for some of 1st edition's more whimsical and charming elements. Many gamers were happy when they brought them back in 5th edition, and given a write-up to make them fun adventuring props.
  • Fridge Horror: The reproduction problems of faced by Lamias, Sphinxes, certain Templates, and quite a few other Half-Human Hybrid Mix-and-Match Critters. Averted in the case of Driders who are created sterile.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The complaints about 4th Edition playing like a video game certainly won't get any better when the corebooks have a playable race called the Dragonborn.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • The Demon Lord Graz'zt is theorized to be an archdevil who carved out his own territory in the abyss and decided to reside there, and it is easy to see why. Graz'zt is stunningly intelligent for a demon, plotting and scheming against his fellow demon lords while seeking to take the title of Prince from Demogorgon, and is known for making deals with mortals, as well as being disturbingly charismatic to those he encounters. In one instance, Graz'zt even captured the goddess Waukeen and held her hostage in his nation of Zelatar, even using this to pervert part of her clergy to his own worship later. When he was summoned and imprisoned by the witch Iggwilv, Graz'zt seduced her, with the two having an intense love-hate relationship ever since.
    • The Witch Queen Iggwilv once manipulated a group of adventurers, seducing her magical master with them, to bind a demon, steal all its forbidden knowledge and then abscond with magical items. Becoming a powerful witch and authority on demons, Iggwilv enslaved a powerful sorcerer to enhance her strength and even bound the aforementioned Graz'zt to her, resulting in a stormy love-hate relationship between the two. Even after being defeated, Iggwilv comes to prominence in Savage Tides when she helps the heroes defeat the Savage Tide and even the monstrous Prince of Demons Demogorgon... only to steal Demogorgon's own essence and use it to revive a kingdom for herself, becoming a new power to be reckoned with.
  • Memetic Badass: The Tarrasque, which has become a byword for a nigh-unstoppable monster.
  • The Scrappy: Kender. No race in the entire Dungeons and Dragons franchise has inspired such sheer loathing among the playerbase as these stand-ins for halflings from the Dragonlance setting, mainly because the way that they are written encourages Chaotic Stupid behavior of the absolute worst sort. Many DMs take a dim view of anyone wanting to play a kender, and many players wish that they would just go away.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Kobolds tend to get this, since the lore tends to emphasize their absolute submission to any orders given by a dragon, or in some cases even a dragonborn, raising some questions as to just how responsible for their own actions kobolds really are. While other mook races, such as goblins, do exist, they tend to be perfectly capable of plotting evil on their own in the absence of a more powerful being giving them orders. Rarely, if ever, will kobolds do anything worse than place booby-traps at the entrance to their homes without direct order to do so.
  • Values Dissonance: The whole notion of Always Chaotic Evil has fallen out of favor in the decades since the game was started. For that reason, newer settings like Iron Kingdoms and Eberron are more likely to make the differences between races more cultural than biological, while older settings maintain more of the original flavor.. The presence of Drizzt has retroactively shifted Forgotten Realms in the cultural direction.

    Gaming 
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Numerous in all editions, although 3rd edition is particularly famous for this, due to the sheer volume of various mechanical goodies, provided by its supplements, as well as the generally high power level of the characters. Notable in 4th edition for having at least two discovered before the game was released. Errata has fixed most of 4e's breaking stuff, but not all. Some examples:
    • Clerics, Druids, and prestige classes related to either had the best of being both linear warriors AND quadratic wizards … and aside from a decidedly lower-tier class selection, they were the only healers you could pick. If the Druid or Cleric stuck to healing, it didn't affect party balance. It was when the power gamer got his or her hands on them that it became a problem…
      • If they stick to healing, it breaks the game in the opposite direction. Attack and Damage scale up far faster the Armor Class and Hit Points in D&D. Playing a Cleric that is The Load isn't much better than playing one that that is the Game-Breaker.
    • Certain builds were able to incur trillions of damage in one attack, at range. One low-level spell with a specific combination of metamagic feats would raze anything and everything in a 10-mile radius to the ground. And then there's Pun-Pun, a level one kobold with inifinite stats who can reach infinitely far, including across the planes, and can cast any and every spell an infinite number of times per day. This kobold is more of a god (infinite divine ranks) than the actual gods.
    • Essentials. Not in-and-of themselves, mind you, and not so much if you're in an all-Essentials group, but consider the following. Prior to the release of Essentials, basic attacks were just that, basic. They were usually the weakest hitting things for damage dealers, and didn't have all the cool effects other powers did. Thus, classes such as Bards, Warlords and the like which gave out basic attacks like candy would only marginally influence the tide of battle. Now enter the Essentials, which are based around improving or replacing basic attacks: Slayers that wield 2-handed weapons that deal as much as 4 weapon damage on a single basic attack; Scouts that get granted one melee attack and are suddenly making 3 or more of them; latter additions give us Vampires that effectively become unkillable as long as they keep hitting, and the Bladesinger that adds a burst of various magical damage each time he hits. Yikes.
    • Erudites with the "Convert Spell to Power" alternate class feature. Regular Erudites can learn every psionic power there is and use them spontaneously for as long as their Mana Meters hold out. Spell-to-Power Erudites can do that, too … plus they can also learn every arcane spell in the game and convert them to psionic powers, which means they can "cast" them using the same mana meter system and ignore both arcane spell failure and expensive material components. A Spell-to-Power Erudite who can learn 9th Level spells is basically a demigod.
    • The Illithid Savant prestige class (although, honestly, if your DM lets you play as a mind flayer and also lets you take a prestige class clearly designed for NPC use, he deserves what he gets). Basically, the Illithid Savant is like Sylar, gaining the powers, special abilities, and even spellcasting of those whose brains he eats. (For extra cheese, eat the brain of a Sorcerer or Wizard who can cast Gate. Now if you want a particular ability, just summon up the creature who has it virtually at will.)
    • Verging on a Boring, but Practical version of Game-Breaker and dependant on what kind of DM is running the game, diplomacy skills and tactics, while not flashy, are some of the easiest ways to deal with many problems involving NPCs and hostile characters. There exists many, many stories on the net of players managing to successfully derail entire campaigns simply by having their characters talk the Big Bad out of going through with their plot.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Bards in 3e were designed to be the Jack of All Trades, but ended up being an infamous case of Master of None. 3.5 pulled them out of this, building them into Difficult, but Awesome support casters and silver-tongued charmers. They took another level in badass when 5e came out, where they enjoy an unparalleled versatility and are widely considered one of the best classes in the game.
    • Monks also got this treatment. In 3.5, they were the weakest of the melee classes. Later editions turned them into deadly Fragile Speedsters that could do as much damage unarmed as most other melee classes could with weapons.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: 3.5 Monks are noted for getting many abilities that are either done better with spells or gotten much quicker by other classes (over 20 levels they get the ability to reduce fall damage, that's a first level spell for a caster or 2000 gold for everyone else) and they don't synergize at all (Monks have one ability that makes them move fast, and another that requires them to stand still). It's to the point that when asked to optimize a Monk, most suggestions are to play another class. Truenamers also get a lot of flack for getting weaker as they level up as they need to meet an (already hard check) with a requirement that goes up by 2 each level, but you only get + 1 to make the check a level (Soulknife and CW Samurai also fall into this for similar reasons, but Monk gets the worst because it is "core" and part of the base game and truenamer is just that … egregious).
    • Complete Warrior Samurai deserves special mention in that is the absolute lowest Tier. In original outline of the various Tiers, CW Samurai is so low that it is actually ranked lower than Expert, an NPC-only class with versatile skill selection and no class features. There is literally nothing that a Samurai can do that a Fighter (already considered one of the lowest tiered classes) cannot do better while simultaneously doing many other things better than the Samurai. Its primary abilities, is receiving the Improved and Greater Two-weapon fighting feats for free five levels after someone building their character around such a style could, being M.A.D. and having a weak crowd control ability via Area of Effect Intimidate skill check. The best suggestion for playing a CW Samurai given by many is to get enough levels so that you can trade 10 levels in and become a Ex-Samurai 1/Ronin 10. Or better yet, don't play a Samurai at all.
    • Most of the Far-East themed classes from the Complete series were this way. Shugenja had incredibly limited spell selection to the point that the player chose very little of his character's core abilities. The fact that they were Divine casters (and thus able to cast in armor) was negated by their lack of armor proficiency and by having the worst Base Attack Bonus in the game (for comparison, most Divine casters get the medium Base Attack and medium or heavy armor proficiency). Wu Jen had weaker casting than wizards, and their "Spell Secret" class feature left them Blessed with Suck as it gave them free metamagic feats at the cost of crippling RP restrictions (each one came with a "taboo" that shut off the character's spell casting for the day if violated. And the metamagic feats weren't even the good ones!), meaning it holds the dubious honor of being the only class where Prestiging out is the only way to avoid crippling drawbacks.
      • To further explanation a bit how these classes ended up so sub-par (beyond Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards for the Samurai anyways): Early in 3.0's life time, the 3.0 version of Oriental Adventures was published, which was basically a combination of information for a standard Asian themed campaign setting, as well as some stuff from Legend of the Five Rings/Rokugan setting. As such, due to societal standards in such lands, some classes would not exist/banned outright from the setting, while others (such as fighters, barbarians, wizards, and sorcerers) often face various social stigmas for not being of the Noble caste classes (i.e. the Samurai or Shugenja class). This means that a class like Shugenja, is meant to fill in for the role both the cleric, and Wizard class in such settings, while a Samurai, is able to deal with other nobles more easily than a fighter. Unfortunately, when the Complete series came along, it just directly ported most of the OA magic user classes in a standard medieval Europe setting, without any of the roleplay protections afforded to them, meaning the only reason to play them in such settings is either a self-imposed challenge or to roleplay as a "visitor from Far-Eastern lands". The spell casting classes pretty much received no changes to the design. In the Samurai's case, the Complete Warrior version took away most of the things that made OA Samurai a decent or good choice, such as better skill selection, higher social standing, and replacing Iaijutsu Focus skill instead as a combination Quick Draw and Improved Initiative ability that only works with certain weapons, or even the thematic roleplay of empowering their ancestral starting masterwork weapons (which could be done so by reducing the gold cost for enchanting, in exchange for time cost via meditation and prayers), or even the theme of different fighting schools based upon the various kingdoms. Instead, getting the above listed issue.
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    Items 
  • Good Bad Bugs: Most rules exploits have been hilariously exploited with purpose built characters. These range from the "unintended but not game altering" to the countless much worse ones. Some examples:
    • Because alcohol is a poison in the game's terms, an ability with the effect of "save against poison for bonuses" gets activated by booze.
    • Until 3rd Edition, the description for the Cube of Frost Resistance said that inside the 10-foot cube it creates, "The temperature is always 65 degrees Fahrenheit," and that the cube only degrades if exposed to damaging cold. So, you could use it to walk through an unlimited amount of molten lava unharmed.

    Meta 
  • Adaptation Displacement: In Japan, if you mention D&D, most people will probably sooner think of the Capcom Beat Em Ups mentioned below than the original tabletop game or Record of Lodoss War.
  • Broken Base: Just watch any discussion between fans of Xth edition and fans of X+1th edition (or, sometimes, Xth and X.5th).
    • Monte Cook, one of the designers for 3E and 5E. While he helped save D&D from death with 3E, there are some who loathe him for refusing to admit he ever made mistakes, and even more hated him after his signature Creator's Pet, Wizards, were overpowered once more in the 5e playtest.
    • The edition war between 3rd and 4th editions. While there were some changeover gripes between 2nd and 3rd, this edition war has reached Internet Backdraft levels, possibly simply due to the availability of the Internet and the increased popularity of the system. Also the setting issue, where assorted players have flame wars over pointless gripes such as whether Eberron's dungeon punk setting is bad or not.
    • After WOTC released a new set of core books called "Essentials", there is a heavy flame war between people who like "pre-E" D&D and those who like "post-E". The former group tends to call this new set "4.5", the latter gets positively enraged at seeing this number.
    • With a new edition announced, you can bet your sweet bippy the edition wars would begin anew..Fans of 3E rejoiced over 5E, while fans of 4E cried "Ruined!" at the return of Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards. Interestingly, fans of 2E and before often seem to be supportive of 5E, praising its simplified mechanics and focus on rulings over rules.
    • The 3rd vs. 4th split also goes along with the rise of Pathfinder, which is a further refinement of the 3.5 ruleset and outsold the Dungeons and Dragons brand until 5E was released.
    • There's a substantial and long-running fan divide between rolling dice for stats on character creation note  or using the point buy system (every stat at 8, players get 27 points to freely distribute). Advocates of point buy argue their method offers players with a preset character concept in mind a chance to play what they want without forcing them into a mould decided by luck, and is also more balanced as players won't get exceptional rolls and dominate the party and players won't get bad rolls and fall by the wayside. Fans of rolling cite the "ritual" aspect of making a character, that point buy lends itself to a degree of Munchkinism and players creating "builds" rather than fleshed-out characters, and that rolling offers an element of improv to creating a character concept.
    • Controversy arose with the leak, and latter confirmation, of Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica as the first official non-Forgotten Realms setting source-book for Fifth Edition. Some dislike the fact that Wizards chose to go with a setting from Magic: The Gathering rather than one of the classic settings such as Planescape, Dark Sun or Spelljammer, or even created a brand new one. To further complicate matters the book was revealed alongside a smaller 20$ PDF-only book focused on Eberron, which was released with the admission that the material contained within was unable to be used in Adventure League and that it was still being developed. Combining that with reused art assets from previous editions caused many to feel like Wizards didn't respect their old settings and were forcing the players to pay for playtesting. Other players were happy to see a new setting, believing Ravnica would make for an interesting and unique experience, and that receiving a small Eberron source-book, especially with the promise that the full version would finally contain the finished Artificer, was a good deal. Notably, despite the broken base from the Dungeons & Dragons community, the reaction from the Magic: The Gathering community was far less contentious, with many happy to see the fan-favorite setting getting a dedicated RPG book.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Some fans of weapon-using classes (I.E. Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Barbarian, Paladin and Monk) don't get along with some fans of magic-using classes (I.E. Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric, Bard, Druid and Warlock). Mike Mearls and Monte Cook encourage this, with Mearls taking the side of the Martial classes and Cook taking the side of the Caster classes. Unfortunately, since Cook had a bit of an Auteur License compared to Mearls, this usually leads to Cook making any and all casters into Game Breaking Creator's Pets. Fortunately for Martial fans (and fans of balance in general), Cook left the 5E design team, but not before they could fully remove his trademark of overpowered Wizards, which is still carried into the Unearthed Arcanas granting them even more broken subclass options.
    • Among Caster classes, there is a slight rivalry between which is the best: Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard. Those who enjoy the sorcerer like the idea of the power from within as well as the ability to mold spells and special abilities on the fly, but this group is minimal among 5th Edition players due to how much of a Tier-Induced Scrappy the Sorcerers became. Warlock fans stand by the concept that no one can accomplish grand things alone as well as the simplicity of the magic system compared to other classes. They're also not terrible at picking up a sword and fighting. Wizard fans enjoy the classic flavor and the concept of gaining power through hard work. Also, the fact that they can be seen as a Game-Breaker in some circles certainly helps their reputation.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Every edition has inspired Fanon Discontinuity. There is still a very vocal 2nd Edition fanbase that despises the changes wrought in the transition to 3rd, and not a few 1st Edition holdouts who consider 2nd to be a bastardization, and a handful of hardcore grognards who think 1st Edition should never have supplanted "classic" D&D (called it 0E [Zero-E]). The 4th edition gets it the most, and most fans couldn't stand the new alignment system. Players naturally gravitate towards the things that make them more comfortable. Of course, it's not like the books stop working when a new edition comes out, and any really cemented group is going to have lots of house rules anyway, so it's natural that players will remain players, even when they stop buying the new material.
  • Informed Wrongness: The creation of undead is regularly noted as evil, but it never really detailed what is wrong with creating a non-sentient being through the direction of energy — it just states that anything using negative energy is automatically evil. It gets even worse when golems (which require the enslaving of a sapient being) never have their creation demonized.
    • It may have something to do with the perceived violation of a person's remains, or setting-depending, all undead are explicitly malevolent creatures that will seek out and kill any living thing they find if the appropriate binding magics are not regularly applied.
  • Internet Backdraft: Just try to say anything against or in favor of 4th Edition on a D&D forum, only do so if you have a death wish. Starting an argument against or for a particular setting is also ill-advised.
    • Before the internet even became widespread, "Do female dwarves have beards?" and "Should players be allowed to play evil characters" were Magazine Letter Column Backdrafts.
    • The preview for season 8 rules for 5th Edition's Adventure League have received a lot of hate. Gold rewards were slowed down and added only by leveling, XP was removed and replaced by leveling based on hours played, and treasure was no longer loot, but rather "unlocked" for purchase with slowly earned Treasure Points. People are both confused, and wondering what the point of adventuring is if you receive no reward for doing anything past than filling space for X number of hours.
  • Paranoia Fuel: So wait, most (if not all) of the stars are Eldritch Abominations that want to eat us? And some of them can create avatars of their powers called Star Spawn?
  • Screwed by the Network: Hoo boy. Between 2e AD&D and 4e, there are too many incidents of the game being screwed over by Lorraine Williams and its other publishers to fit here. A somewhat-comprehensive list appears on the trope page.
  • Spiritual Licensee: Krull was allegedly going to be an official D&D movie, but lost the license partway through development. Gary Gygax denied this, however.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: It has happened for every edition change. Some might argue that 4E most of all, but veteran D&D players would point out that it only seems that way due to the much wider availability of the Internet. Interesting to note is that this is now happening WITHIN 4th Edition itself. Wizards has started to release errata/updates every few months, usually to stop overpowered exploits (although sometimes for other purposes too). Naturally, people have either declared it to be the best thing since sliced bread, or threatened to stop playing D&D. And with a new edition in the works, expect to see this yet again!
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: 4th edition is very much geared towards heroic fantasy with the default assumption that the character is a badass, to the extent that it is mechanically difficult to create a character who is actually bad in an ability (as against 'average'). Likewise you can't really model an entirely green character who has picked up a sword for the first time as even a level 1 character can call upon fairly formidable powers — at least, not without reading the "Unearthed Arcanas" that provide optional rules for "level 0 characters" and grittier play styles in Dragon.

From the animated series

  • Angst? What Angst?: Averted in most of the Michael Reaves-written episodes, most notably "The Dragon's Graveyard".
  • Animation Age Ghetto: The writers were obviously pushing the envelope as far as they could, but Executive Meddling still shows.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Uni: either you like her because she's cute or hate her due to her annoying voice.
  • Epileptic Trees: So many theories behind the reason why the series was canceled … possibly because the actual reason (ratings were dropping and the show was quite expensive) is disappointingly ordinary.
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  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: That you should give into peer pressure because the group knows best.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: A surprising number of fans have a rather drastic view of Kosar for standing between Diana and her "true love," Eric. That almost no evidence exists to support this ship does not deter them. And it's even more stupid when you see that even when Kosar and Diana liked each other … they didn't stay together.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: This series is obscenely popular in Brazil. TV Globo aired reruns on their Monday-to-Friday morning block even 25 to 30 years after its debut.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The impressions some fundamentalist Christians tend to have of D&D and what Hank's voice actor went on to do a few years down the road.
    • Also the fact that Sheila's voice actress had had a role on Adventures in Odyssey, which in one episode actually said it was OK to steal and destroy someone else's D&D gear since D&D was immoral.
    • The evil mastermind that is behind everything is a god known as The Nameless One.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Eric is pretty much always portrayed as the stupid character, and he tends to have mishaps that serve as comic relief. As a result, it seems the audience isn't meant to take his comments seriously. Yet he usually has a good point, e.g. when he's complaining about how it makes no sense for the Dungeon Master to be speaking in useless riddles like that.
  • Woolseyism: When Bobby questions the Know Tree, the Brazilian dub replaces a reference to an American sporting event with a reference to a comparable Brazilian event. (In both cases it goes on to say the correct answer, preceded by "However, if you mean <competition name> in your world...")
    US original:
    Bobby: OK, who won the '81 World Series?
    Know Tree: Simple, the Grey Wood Elves.
    Brazilian dub:
    Bobby: All right, who won the '84 Golden Cup?
    Know Tree: Easy, the Grey Forest Elves.

From the film

  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Snails may have been annoying, but his death was just brutal, and it sends the formerly-unshakable Ridley into a Heroic BSoD just shy of the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Profion is devoured by a dragon while gloating.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Tried with the film's Novelization, which changed several aspects for the better. Snails becomes here the Only Sane Man (the polar opposite of his role in the movie), the Dwarf's name is actually used, and the film's good deleted scenes are reinserted.
  • Awesome Music: The Main Suite, which provides both the opening AND the closing of the film, and a portion of the action music during Ridley's soirée through the "maze" in the Thieves' Guild. It is, sadly, the only really good music to come from the film.
  • Complete Monster: The wicked Damodar is first the right-hand-man of Profion, seeking to dominate all Izmir. Damodar kills those in his path to recover a map that leads to the staff of dragons, torturing the heroine Marina for its location as well. Seemingly slain, Damodar returns a century hence while killing more people to obtain the Dragon Orb to awaken the evil Faluzure, the Dragon God of Decay and Undeath. Killing and torturing even more people, Damodar requests the dragon burn all Izmir to massacre the people, all for petty revenge on their ancestors for his first and well-deserved end.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Jeremy Irons as Profion is the absolute best thing about the movie despite its flaws. He is insanely so hamtastic that you are left in stunned appreciation for how a good actor could go so deliciously over the top.
    • Damodar, who proved popular enough to appear in the sequel. Possibly because he kills Snails.
    • Xilus, leader of the Thieves' Guild, most likely because Richard O'Brien makes him just so entertaining to watch.
  • Ethnic Scrappy: Snails.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Damodar's blue lipstick, although it may have been due to a drug problem (the in-setting drug Sannish — think morphine if it came from dogs instead of poppies — dyes the users lips blue). Either way, you see it and think,"Ichiban Lipstick for Men!"
  • Fridge Logic: The Empress attacks with a flock of Golden Dragons, AKA Fire monsters. The Mages counterattack with … fireballs and Red Dragons!? So, you're attacking a creature immune to fire with fire!? WTF!?
  • Ham and Cheese: Jeremy Irons revels in Chewing the Scenery here. As such, some people who have seen the film consider him the only good part of it.
  • Narm: Ridley's Big "NO!" when Damodar kills Snails, complete with dropping to his knees and a Skyward Scream. The triumphant-sounding music playing during that scene doesn't make it any better, almost as if the movie was celebrating the death of Snails.
    • Every word out of Damodar's mouth.
    • That noise that the dwarf makes after his helmet is shot off. It's a high-pitched "Nyur! Nyur!" sort of sound. Some think it was a mating call.
    • Damodar mind-raping Marina with the mind worm... thing, coming out of his ears.
    • As The Nostalgia Critic puts it, "Profion" sounds like a a name for a heartburn medication.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Tom Baker and Richard O'Brien both steal the film in what little screentime they have.
  • Rooting for the Empire: The villains are way more entertaining than the heroes, and nothing speaks this trope more than having The Dragon kill The Scrappy. The Distressed Watcher compared that scene to as if Darth Maul had killed Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace.
  • Snark Bait: The plot of the movie and Jeremy Irons and The Dragon hamming it up in every scene they appear in guaranteed the movie would become this.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Much of the movie is hilarious in its cheesiness, hamminess and dated effects (and genuinely hilarious on rare occasions), unless you're a serious D&D fan, in which case it's like being eaten feet first by rats.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Snails getting brutally beaten to death by Damodar.note  Again, YMMV: Snail's agonized screams as Damodar practically tortures him to an inch of his life are way too real...
  • Tear Jerker: Whatever your opinion on Snails was, Ridley's anguished Big "NO!" at his death and subsequent Heroic BSoD at the Elf village was still sobering, especially when he reveals he blames himself for getting them involved, and when Marina tries to console him and ends up making him feel even worse.
    Marina: I'm sorry about Snails.
    Ridley: I'm sure you are.
    Marina: He died for a good cause.
    Ridley: A good cause? What cause is that? The Empress against Profion? Politics. I'm through with all that. I'm not going to die over some power struggle...between a couple of greedy Mages.
    Marina: No, you're wrong-
    Ridley: No, you're wrong! Mage! You never had to live on the other side. You know what? Snails was right. There is nothing we can do to change it...and if I had listened to him,he would still be alive.
    • Again at the end, when Ridley is giving last rites to his friend. He tries to brag about how he finally got the recognition he wanted...and nearly breaks down in tears.
    Ridley: Well, I'd...I'd better get going. Don't want to be late for my own knighting ceremony. 'Ridley the Savior', heheh...heh...heh...I'm gonna miss you, pal.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously:
  • Vindicated by History: Well...kind of. A growing trend among watchers is to take the movie as the visualization of a session of the tabletop game, the argument being that 'your standard D&D game contains tons of plot holes, cheesy acting and a tenuously-coherent story'. Once you imagine the movie taking place in the heads of a bunch of schoolkids playing D&D, the DM playing Profion and hamming it up and everyone just goofing around and having fun, it becomes easier to swallow.

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