What class is this character?

B/X Blackrazor, and probably some other blogs I can’t recall, have had posts about statting up literary characters.  While I don’t think it’s all that important for a game to be able to ‘simulate’ a literary character, and pretty much never think that way when I’m reading a book, I do find it very interesting to think about how D&D and its offshoots might be able do it when their classes turn out to be something other than what you’d expect. 

So I really enjoyed seeing the arguments that Aragorn (who was obviously the inspiration for the AD&D ranger class, at least in 1e) would actually be a Cleric in B/X D&D (turns the undead, heals, fights well … only the weapons restrictions don’t match); that Gandalf would be a 2e bard (uses a sword a lot, casts relatively few spells, inspires others a lot), and that Conan is a high level thief  (uses any weapon, rarely dons armor, great at sneaking around). 

It’s nice that some literary characters very obviously fit D&D classes. The Grey Mouser is very clearly the inspiration for the AD&D thief.  It’s odd that his buddy Fafhrd does not really seem to match anything in OD&D that well. I guess he could be a fighter but he is most like the bard in Castles & Crusades (excellent fighter, wears little armor, some thief skills, lore skills), and certainly not like the bard in AD&D (no spells).  Maybe an AD&D barbarian would work, since he is superstitious and often called a “barbarian” in the stories. 

Severan in the Shadow of the executioner would appear to be an AD&D assassin (pretty good at killing people, and disguising himself, but not a great thief or fighter, and no magic) … I have not read any further into that series, but as the story progresses I understand he gets more mythic.


Published in: on October 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm  Comments (5)  
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  1. Interesting topic Mike. I know I have heard you bring this up off and on during our warm ups before the gaming sessions begin but I have never really put much thought into it.

    I certainly agree with the Aragorn and the AD&D 1e Ranger comparison. I definitely agree with the Gandalf comparison. The Conan one caught me off guard. I guess I just always looked at him like a big sword wielding barbarian. I’ll have to look closer the next time I watch the films and look for the thief characteristics.

    I don’t have any knowledge of the others to even have an opinion.

    • Chad — the Conan movies don’t have all that much to do with Howard’s conan, apart from the name. Conan in the stories is certainly tough and strong but not a hulk like Schwartzenegger, nor an oaf. (Actually I’d say he was a fighter, and his DM wasn’t a dick who insisted who can’t move silently or climb walls unless you’re a thief. But according to what I’ve read somewhere, maybe Dragon magazine, Gary Gygax actually modelled the AD&D barbarain after Conan to some extent too….after statting him up earlier in as dual-classed fighter thief with a ton of “special abilities”. But I don’t think D&D is very good for modelling a solo hero like Conan. His companions are mostyl there in the stories to die horribly or give him something to avenge…he didn’t need any help. And a D&D party really ought to need each other. But maybe that’s another post.)
      If you have spare time for reading I will loan you the Fahrd & Grey Mouser books. They are a hoot.

      • I would definitely be interested in borrowing some reading material.

        I have also never read any of the Conan stories so perhaps I should give that a look one of these days as well.

        • Sure thing! I’ll hook you up.

  2. Aragorns healing was by a root, it was more of a neutralize poison he would be a ranger in C&C. Str, Wis, Chr primes. Perhaps a ranger/knight

    Faufard is a tough call since he was theif, a barbarian, and preist. He was definatly in a low magic world (no divine magic).

    Conan would be a barbarian in C&C, all physical primes but with a high wisdom and charisma

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