By Roger E. Moore (foreword by Mike Mearls)
Back in the day, character classes like the jester were marked as NPC classes, but I don’t know anyone who obeyed that stricture. What was the fun of creating new classes but putting them out of a player’s reach?
With that out of the way, it’s easy for me to peg why the jester class has so much appeal to me. Anyone who has played in a long-term campaign with me knows that I love playing colorful characters. My serious characters are usually the result of playing in campaigns like Living Greyhawk (a goofy character might get a stranger’s character killed, so that’s bad form), trying something different, or fitting in with a group that wanted to strike a serious tone. All things being equal, though, I like playing oddballs.
Jesters are adventurous non-player characters with an overwhelming sense of the absurd. They roam from place to place, telling tales, pulling practical jokes, insulting the most fearsome of monsters and characters, and generally making nuisances of themselves. Because of their outlook on the world and their special powers, they may prove potentially useful (or annoying) to adventuring parties.
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Mike Mearls is the senior manager for the D&D research and design team. He has worked on the Ravenloft board game along with a number of supplements for the D&D RPG.