..just came to think about is what are the origins of role playing game characters.

I mean, come on... everyone loves a good old role playing game - even though they might seem repetitive and boring after a while (for some people).
And, of course every single one of us who played a game of this kind generally knows what they are getting into (the three basics - melee, wizard, healer -, and everything else that was added to the games shortly after, be them something totally original -ex. rogue, which might be considered the fourth basic, actually- or something that's just a combination of already existing classes - ex. paladin). If not, here's a damned long guide to what you should expect...
Oh, and before someone butts in, I want to specify that this will be related to fantasy classes, not shooters or sci-fi or anything like that (those are based on fantasy classes anyway).

All right, let's start with the melee classes. There are tons of fighter classes (also called warriors), each of them with different things to focus on. Your fighter basically being the "tank" of your group - which means that they will be the ones who will outright attack the enemy and generally control and distract it from the real damage dealer's (generally wizards - DD) work. Of course,  because they will suffer most of the blows, they are the characters who will also have huge repair bills when it comes to their equipment, and they will depend largely on the healers to keep them alive.

But of course, there are different varieties of fighters, and as I said they do different things.

1. Barbarian or berserker

Yes, they are based on Conan the Barbarian - they were only introduced to games in 1985, so they are relatively new. They are not as tactical as other fighter classes, but they can be really useful once it's time for some serious damage. Their main thing is that they can tap into their rage, which will give them huge bonuses to their strength, constitution (basically how much health they have), and their resistance to magic. 

2. The knight

Again, these are obvious - the class comes from the middle ages. They are experienced fighters, who wear pretty damn good armor, and thus they are considered to be more defensive than offensive. 

3. The swashbuckler

This class doesn't really have anything to do with pirates, actually. They were named in the 16th century first, and they were just noisy, boastful swordsmen, who got their names because of the swishing sound their sword made, and the "buckler", which was a little shield strapped to their hands. Of course, borrowing from history, in role playing games this class is generally the one who resembles a rogue more closely than anything. They are fighters who wear light or no armor, who are very agile and prefer skill and not strength when it comes to fighting. 

4. The paladin or holy warrior

The first mention of them was in the 16th century, and they were generally talked about in terms of very chivalrous heroes (think the Knights of the Round Table), or as the leaders of armies that supported Frederick V in the Thirty Years War. As a character class paladins are literally the knights in shining armor - they only function when they can do something "good". They have white magic powers, and they have a healer side to them (they are devoted to their gods, who give them these powers). Thus, whenever there are evil supernatural characters around, it is best to bring a paladin along - they will smite the shit out of demons. 

5. Death Knight, blackguard, antipaladin or the dark knight. 

This one doesn't really have a real life counterpoint, unless we take into account that they are like the evil version of a paladin (thus antipaladin). Instead of focusing on white and benevolent magic, they generally have dark and necromantic skills. 

6. The dragon knight, or dragoon 

Originally dragoons were a type of mounted infantry. The only dragon they had to deal with was their firearm (which WAS called a dragon, because it was decorated with a dragon's head). Funnily enough back in the 17th century, when the guy who "invented"' these dragoons learned his profession in Hungary, and the Netherlands, and created an "armee volante", which means "flying army". They were kind of like a cheap and weak version of cavalry. Now, in games a dragoon is generally just a fighter who is specialized to hunt, kill or own a dragon (or who is powered by a dragon). They have abilities or equipment that mimic a dragon - high jump, fly, fire breathing etc. Don't you love it when reality meats fantasy? 

7. Weapon master, kensai, or samurai. 

Believe it or not, samurais ARE used in fantasy games. I guess I don't really have to talk about what a samurai is - everyone knows it (but just in case, they were a military nobility of medieval Japan...) In games these weapon masters are the people who barely wear any armor, which gives them high speed and mobility. They often also specialize on exotic weapons like the kama, or khopesh or kukri, etc. They are also the class who are looked upon as mercenaries. 

8. Warlord, general, tactician or marshal

This one is the last melee class guys, so bare with me. Warlords in real life are people who have both military and civil control over an area. They were generally associated with mercenary companies - in fact, they were the leaders of them, with armies of people loyally serving only these warlords. And yes, they are probably still around to these days. Now, when it comes to role playing warlords are also leaders, with amazing tactics. They are generally used as damage dealers, but they also buffing and healing capabilities to enhance the abilities of those with whom he is in a group with. 

And now... now we step a little further into the realm of magic! 

Now, magicians are really fucking amazing when it comes to dealing damage, and they are really, really different. Also, if you would ever like to try playing a magician (mage, wizard, sorcerer, witch, warlock, magi, magus, sage), you will have to know that they also really, really suck when it comes to direct combat. They can be killed in no time. 

Obviously magicians are not something that you would come across in real life - at least not like this. Right? Well, let's see :D 

1. Sorcerer 

Imagine Harry Potter kind of magicians here. Sorcerers are the magicians who are born with the ability to do magic (but unlike Harry Potter, they don't need to study it). Think innate talent, like some people born with the ability to do and understand great art. This might sound amazing  - and it IS amazing when it comes to the spells they know (they can use those spells a lot better than any other magician class) -, but there is a downside too. Since they can not learn any new spells, they are generally stuck with what they have. 

2. Warlock or theurgist 

Warlocks are generally nasty. Think along the lines of people who will give up everything just for a single purpose. Like... signing a pact with the devil. Warlocks are pretty damn strong, and most of their magic comes from a higher spirit. Of course, there are pacts that will supply some with healing abilities, but those are rare. Most warlocks have spells that harm or destroy. 

3. Summoner, shaman or conjurer 

I generally love summoner classes, probably because I kind of like the thought of having my personal bodyguard... A conjurer could still be considered a warlock on some degree, if they get their abilities from a high spirit. As their name says, their main abilities are the summoning of different creatures who will then basically do whatever the conjurer wants them to do. In games these creatures are generally simple animals, like wolves or big spiders, but as the conjurer learns to control his own abilities, he will be able to summon more vicious animals to his side. 

4. Wizard 

Right. These can have a whole bunch of different names, so don't worry about it and simply say wizard- everyone will understand that. Wizards are kind of like the anti-sorcerers. So to say. Instead of them being born with magic, wizards will have to stick around dusty old libraries to study them for years on end. If I would have to imagine a wizard type person in real life, I would think along the lines of scriptorium monks. 

5. Red mage

When thinking about wizards you are probably imagining an old fart in your mind with a huge staff and a long beard. Right? Right. Well, red mages aren't too different from wizards - they also have to learn their magic. Since they are very open minded and versatile they will try to learn whatever they find interesting. This, of course can have a positive or a negative outcome. If they manage to stick to the magic that's actually useful, they will be pretty damn strong - they will be able to survive in many different situations. If they however lose track, they will become weak due to the lack of focus. After all, there is little more dangerous than half-learned theories. 

6. The blue mage 

Also known under the name of a mime or a mimic, these magicians don't sit around in a dusty tower all day long to stare at books. Instead they use their innate ability to learn in action - they will basically get a big variety of spells from all kinds of encounters with other magical creatures. Now, this can happen in two different way. Either they have a single "learning" spell which basically absorbs the one they want to know, either they will just have to see a spell performed in front of them to learn it. 

7. Necromancer 

Remember water bending? Think along those lines. Also, try to imagine crossing a water bender with a summoner... NOW we're getting there. 

The necromantic magicians are probably the darkest wizard out there. They are generally obsessed with death and blood, although many times when it comes to actually playing a necromancer you will find that the story line will be turned into "not evil, just dark". Their best move is usually to summon or create undead armies - who are generally distinctly weak one by one, but when they attack in great numbers, can be a big problem. They are also generally the ones who have pretty good abilities over others - like weakening them, draining their strength or just generally cursing them. 

8. Elemental 

These are nature wizards, who generally only focus on one, maybe two different elements in the never-ending  elemental rock-paper-scissors game. I'm pretty sure that they came into existence as a response to alchemy (and people's obsession in the old times with fire/water/air/earth). They are pretty simple and straightforward, and I'm guessing there's probably nothing new that they could give after so many "kids who have different elemental abilities working together to save the world" movies and cartoons. Of course these kind of wizards generally have the ability to not only control the nature, but also somehow the enemy (for example freezing them so they can't attack, or using brambles to cage them in so they can't attack back, etc.) 

9. Druids 

Again, one of my preferred classes when I have to choose. Druids are kind of like wizards, focused on nature magic. They often have a few elemental offense spells, a little ability to heal, and the best of all, the ability to morph into different animals or elemental spirits. When they DO morph, they also gain different skills, thus being able to participate even in melee fights to some degree. 

So, these are pretty much it. With the wizards that is. (How long is this post?????) 

Now we move over to the rogues! 

Rogues are generally the people with whom you probably don't want to mess in real life. thieves, assassins, gamblers, they are. And thus they are incredibly fun to play. 

Rogues are also pretty varied when it comes to what you want them to do. They can be masters of stealth, lockpicking, setting up and disarming traps, and sneak attacks. They are also kind of bad when it comes to face-to-face fight, since they generally don't wear armor, but they can deal a huge amount of damage while they are sneaking up behind you. 

1. The thief 

Well duh, thieves were formed in the light of actual thieves. They are not very active when it comes to battle (they have low damage and even lower defense), but they are the masters when it comes to pick-pocketing. Of course, when it comes to fantasy games, this ability doesn't only mean stealing money and equipment. They can also steal experience. Yeah, they are that good. And thus, thieves are generally pretty damn wealthy. 

2. Assassin 

These are the more dangerous rogues. They don't give a fuck about stealing your stuff, they will just materialize out of nowhere and stab you until you are passed on. No more. Ceased to be. Expired and gone to meet your maker. Stiff. Bereft of life, resting in peace. Pushing the daisies. (should I go on?) And if they don't manage to cut your arteries with the first blow, they will definitely kill you anyway, because they are also masters at poisoning. 

3. The ninja

These are kind of similar to assassins. They are masters at stealth and backstabbing, they can even become invisible to increase evasion. And, to top it all off, they are also very good with throwing weapons like daggers and shurikens -so, yeah, they are not only deadly in close range, but also from far away. Generally speaking this class is the one that almost always ends up spoiling the game because in the end he will end up winning everything. 

4. The Shadow

Not THAT useful when not combined with other classes - the shadow's main capability is to blend in and evade. Tho, when really well focused on the evading skills, I've seen shadows actually winning games alone by just walking in the shadows, stealing the loot and never even engaging in any battle, because they went unnoticed. 

5. Scout 

What could you possibly use a master of disguise and blending in for in a battle, eh? Well, since rogues are generally very good at gathering information (they are always the ones who will detect traps), combined with the fact that they can be pretty damned stealthy, it is generally a good strategy to send the scout in front of the team to get good info on the enemy. They are not too good when it comes to fighting (they are most of the time using bows and arrows), but they are really damn helpful if you are in a group. 

And that would be all about the rogues. 

What's next? 


The healers (and we will still not be done with classes!). Now, these dear people are generally of about four or five types. What's common on them is that they are always there to heal you, possibly resuscitate you, and also help you out with different blessings. Because yes, healers are almost always dependent on their gods and their faith - just like with the paladin, this is where they get their power from. They don't have a huge variety of spells, mostly because distracting a healer while he is doing his job is fatal. Yeah, like in real life. 

1. The priest, cleric, healer or white mage

Priests and clerics were once upon a time in our history looked upon as real healers. Of course, having their religion declare that a priest can never get blood on their hands made our medieval society turn towards barbers of all things. Thus, priests remain the sole healers of the "soul". In games priests are really damn squishy. About as easily killed as a wizard - they don't have armor, and have very little offensive abilities. They are only good for healing, and possibly when it comes to demons and the undead - even then, they generally "kill" them by using healing powers or blessings. 

2. The battle priest

Imagine red cross nurses running around in a war, healing people, and occasionally handing out cans of whoop-ass to the enemy. Battle priests are badass. They are tough warriors - like, really experienced when it comes to healing people on the battlefield, and they will always carry some good blessed weapons. Although they might resemble a paladin in some ways, they are more focused on the healing and less on the fighting - but still, they will be able to survive a lot more than a simple priest. 

3. The witch doctor 

See how many different cultures are represented in fantasy? Witch doctors are kind of like real life shamans - they worship all kinds of different gods, mostly inspired by nature, and thus they have more offensive natural spells than other priests. 

4. The templar

Based on the Knights Templar, this particular class is like a mix between an assassin and a healer. They are the dirty little people who do the bidding of the church, mainly go around killing heretics and covering up conspiracies. They are weaker in battle than a Paladin, not as good a healer as a priest and not as stealthy as a rogue, but they have all kinds of skill that can get them out (or in) of trouble. 

And now... now come the rangers (and only one more category left after that!). 

Rangers can usually come under the name of hunter too. They generally live in forests, and are very capable of surviving in the wild. I suspect you automatically imagined Legolas and other LOTR fighting elves, with bows and arrows - and you are not wrong in this. Rangers are good archers, but most of them can fight also with swords. 

1. Sniper 

Of course, this being good old fashioned fantasy we couldn't really have people running around with guns, could we? Thus, snipers have to stick to their archery skills. Which makes them pretty damned efficient when it comes to high range fighting. And since they are damned good at it, they also developed special arrows that can slow or poison enemies. 

2. Bow and blade 

As I said before, most rangers can handle melee fights too - after all, what good does it do to not be able to attack back when someone is cutting you? These rangers are also pretty close to fighters, letting loose one or two arrow shots while the enemy approaches and then quickly switching to the good old-fashioned fistfight. Wars are not always won with ranged weapons... 

3. Beastmaster 

Since these classes generally live in woody, wild areas, you didn't think that they would live wild beasts alone, did you? Just like when it comes to general hunters, beastmasters can tame their own animals, and thus control them. These animals can attack the enemy and engage them in a melee fight, while they can heal the animals. Kind of like having a personal tank. And while the pet rushes forward, they can also stick to the background and attack with bows and arrows. 

4. Trapper 

If you have a rogue that can find traps, there must be a class that actually places them. Well, in come the trappers - after all, it's part of the hunting package. Trappers are not very good in fights, but they can stealthily arrange that the enemy is defeated anyway. Yes, by planing ambushes and placing all kinds of different traps. They are generally not that good of a class when you are playing a fast-paced action-heavy game (it generally takes time to place the traps, and it's not as efficient as just blasting the enemy with a few arrows), but on paper they are pretty useful. 

5. Magical ranger

The last ranger class is a mix between the sniper and the elemental wizard. They are generally focused on enchanting their bows with elemental magic that slow, disable, freeze or burn the enemy, and they are also very adapt at using trick arrows (ex- "net arrows" that stop enemies from moving). 

Rare classes are our last category. Now, these are pretty well know also, but they are rarely ever used because they can be pretty useless in some situations. 

For example, there is a class called Magic Knight - which has many variations, like plainly using magic just to enhance his weapons, or being able to use magic directly on the enemy, or even using the magic to improve their own skills. 

Then, there is the bard. These are the retarded jesters of the fantasy world that almost no one ever plays. Why? Because their only skill is to sing some songs that raise your morale and possibly help you strengthen your abilities. Of course, them being all charisma and no discernible other talent, they are pretty good when it comes to talking to people. Yeah. They can talk to people. Wow. Of course some dude good with singing is not enough. Fantasy worlds also tend to have a rare variation of the bard - the dancer. They generally do the same things as the bard, only instead of singing they dance. 

All right, another class that could be mentioned is the monk. Monks are not the ones you are used to - meaning the bald guys groping little boys in an abandoned church. They are somewhere between a fighter and a rogue, who generally fight with their bare hands. 

The alchemists are another class that can be pretty useful at times. They generally combine different materials to create potions and bombs to use in battle - and they are also pretty good at throwing things. 

And the last class that's worth mentioning is the psychic or mentalist, whatever you prefer. This class attacks the enemy's mind directly, using telepathy and other neat tricks. 

So what do you think? Any of these classes fit you well?