This is my gloss on the main classes. It is meant for a B/X or Labyrinth Lord type of game. Not all of these classes will probably make it into the player’s document. I don’t want the number of choices to be overwhelming. There will likely be no weapon or armor restrictions (with the exception of elves, who can’t use iron). I’m taking my cue here from LotFP. Still to do: thief and necromancer descriptions.
Clerics draw power from higher beings. Some clerics will attempt to subvert this power to their own ends, but wise clerics serve their patron well, for woe it is to attract the attention of an angry deity. Clerics are armored crusaders, most often itinerant demon slayers, and are particularly skilled at banishing arcane horrors such as undead. Not all clerics have the best interests of humanity in mind though. In far off places, there are clerics that serve semi-divine witch kings, or even darker things better left unmentioned.
Elves are descendents of beings from another realm that were trapped in this world ages ago. “Elf” is a human word; they know themselves as the lothirim, which means lost, forgotten, and forsaken. Once elves could speak all the languages of nature, but time, and separation from their homeland, have diminished them. They are now a pale reflection of their former glory. Elves still speak some words in the language of creation, and this is the source of their magic. They also fight fearsomely, though they can’t touch weapons (or anything else) made of iron.
Fighters, perhaps more than any other class, have many backgrounds. To name just a few: barbarian, knight, mercenary, weapon artist, and magician’s guardian. But all fighters share a reliance on their own military skill and training. They are the only class that gets significantly better at fighting with weapons. They are the only class that can do well what they do best (fight!) while in full armor. They are the best at making their hits count, and powerful magical weapons only attain their full potential when in the hands of a fighter.
Magic-users work their will on the world by manipulating dark, arcane forces. Of all the adventuring classes, magic-users are the most feared. Many people blame them (perhaps rightly) for these evil and parlous times. Magic-users come in two varieties, magicians and sorcerers. Magicians are students of the dark arcane arts. Sorcerers have magic inside, whether from demonic blood, changeling heritage, or some other wicked secret. Wise sorcerers seek ways to control their power. Otherwise, it ends up controlling them.
Monks are masters of self-discipline. Through long and arduous training in ancient martial and mental arts, they have developed their inherent physical and mental potential far beyond most humans. Their art allows them to evade attacks, strike with lethal force when unarmed, redirect the strength of their enemies, leap fantastically high, and fall with the grace of a cat. Monks are almost preternaturally quick, and their cultivated reflexes allow them to avoid many dangers that would fell other adventurers. A monks is usually the disciple of a master, though some teach themselves from archaic manuals that they have discovered or been bequeathed.