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Old 09-15-2018, 06:57 PM
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Has this been done? Modern version of AD&D characters

It occurs to me that you could map the classic quartet of Warrior, Mage, Thief and Cleric to a modern/ real-life setting pretty well:

Warrior: SOCOM operative, weapons and demolitions expert, hand to hand fighting master. Knowledge of sabotage and assassination.

Mage: Multiple PhD's in physics, chemistry and engineering. MacGyver-esque ability to improvise with available tools and materials.

Thief: Hacker, cracker, cat burglar, master of disguise, escape artist, slight of hand/ stage magician, contortionist, confidence man.

Cleric: Doctor/medic, biologist, language expert, sociologist, psychologist.
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Old 09-15-2018, 07:06 PM
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You probably could map the different members of an ODA to each role.

And in that vein, apologies if it's been posted before: Game of Thrones Characters, and their MOS and bio if they were in the US Army. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...2384089&type=3
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Old 09-15-2018, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
Mage: Multiple PhD's in physics, chemistry and engineering. MacGyver-esque ability to improvise with available tools and materials.
I think the pop-culture go-to for mage isn’t so much all the other stuff, but just the Computer Stuff: a high-IQ character who can find the info, or hack into a system that controls various electronic devices, or otherwise just get the job done by using some remotely-operated tech. Doesn’t do physics or chemistry; just keyboarding.
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Old 09-15-2018, 07:45 PM
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Well there's the Impossible Mission Force. From wiki, editing in bold:

Rollin Hand (Martin Landau), a performer billed as "The Man Of A Million Faces," a brilliant infiltrator and a master of disguise. In the world of confidence-game terminology, he was considered a "roper." Thief

Cinnamon Carter (Barbara Bain), a high-class infiltrator and con artist with the looks of a fashion model—hence a consummate manipulator of foreign dictators, corrupt governments, their henchmen, and the like. Like Hand, she was considered a "roper." Thief

Barnard 'Barney' Collier (Greg Morris), an engineering genius who owned his own electronics company—one that obviously had lucrative government contracts, as it often worked with the State and Defense Departments. In the world of confidence-game terminology, he was considered a "'big-store' builder." Mage

William “Willy” Armitage (Peter Lupus), a champion weightlifter called "The World's Strongest Man" and also a highly-intelligent technician in his own right, who often worked with Collier. Like Collier, he was considered a "'big-store' builder." Warrior/Muscle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impossible_Missions_Force

So we're missing a physician/cleric.
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Old 09-15-2018, 08:09 PM
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The IMF later had Sam Elliott join up as Doug Robert, the doctor who patched up his teammates in between pumping the bad guys full of high-powered drugs.
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Old 09-15-2018, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
I think the pop-culture go-to for mage isn’t so much all the other stuff, but just the Computer Stuff: a high-IQ character who can find the info, or hack into a system that controls various electronic devices, or otherwise just get the job done by using some remotely-operated tech. Doesn’t do physics or chemistry; just keyboarding.
Pretty much. There's a real-world job that involves manipulating complex patterns of energy through the use of mysterious symbolic constructs that are not understood by laymen. It's called "programming".

Most multiplayer games that use modern-world settings map at least three of the classic fantasy RPG classes. The "Holy Trinity" [Warning: It's a trope!] is the tank, dps (damage per second), and healer combo. That could be a fighter, mage, and priest, but it could also be a literal tank, a gunner, and a mechanic. The "thief" role tends to get mapped onto one or all of the others, as it involves a lot of utility skills.

That last bit is where the mappings break down in the real world; people are not that easily pigeonholed. Limitations imposed for game balance don't apply. If someone has the drive, you may find a "mage" (a software engineer, scientist, or scholar, say) who's also good at martial arts and picking locks. Or a big, strong wrestler who can math the hell out of you. Or a doctor who's an expert marksman.
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Old 09-16-2018, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
It occurs to me that you could map the classic quartet of Warrior, Mage, Thief and Cleric to a modern/ real-life setting pretty well:
There's an old two part adventure in White Dwarf magazine where the first part starts in sword & sorcery land and the second part time-travels them to the 1920s.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:04 AM
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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
I think the pop-culture go-to for mage isn’t so much all the other stuff, but just the Computer Stuff: a high-IQ character who can find the info, or hack into a system that controls various electronic devices, or otherwise just get the job done by using some remotely-operated tech. Doesn’t do physics or chemistry; just keyboarding.
Except that the mage's main job in an adventuring party is to cast Fireballs and Lightning Bolts. Hardly comparable to a hacker; if anything, he's the guy with the bazooka.

The quintessential "modern" (high-level) mage, I think, is Tony Stark. The most versatile of the Avengers, with the broadest range of powers, and packing the biggest punch, but also kind of squishy if you get past his defenses.
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Old 09-16-2018, 05:42 AM
MichaelEmouse MichaelEmouse is online now
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In video games, especially futuristic or science-fiction ones, it's rather common for non-fantasy versions of D&D classes to be represented. I don't think I've ever seen a science-fiction equivalent of The Lord of the Rings, though.

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 09-16-2018 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 09-16-2018, 05:55 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Except that the mage's main job in an adventuring party is to cast Fireballs and Lightning Bolts. Hardly comparable to a hacker; if anything, he's the guy with the bazooka.
Drone strike?
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Old 09-16-2018, 06:00 AM
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Old 09-16-2018, 06:43 AM
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Seems to me that's essentially what A-Team was. One ranger, one barbarian, one rogue and one bard.
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Old 09-16-2018, 07:30 AM
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Neither the real world nor gaming fit in CS. Moving to the Game Room.

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It seems to me that you usually only get three of the four. As Balance points out, when you transition to other games, you usually lose the Thief role, as either being irrelevant, or mapped onto the others. I think this is because challenges largely have to be specifically designed for a thief or lack thereof, so if you don't know what the players are going to choose, you can't assume.

On the other hand, when mapping to the real world, you can find thieves aplenty, but the cleric usually disappears. Clerics have two roles in D&D: Healing, and dealing with supernatural stuff like undead. The real world has healers, of course, but they're not on the literal front line like they are in games, fixing up the other heroes in real time as they're taking damage. And Turn Undead doesn't do anything without undead to turn.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:45 AM
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The TV show Leverage comes about as close to this as anything I've seen. The characters are, in the opening credits, explicitly referred to by their "classes": Grifter, Hacker, Hitter, Thief, and Mastermind. IMHO, it's the best screen adaptation of a typical RPG adventuring party ever. (I've heard the show's creator actually statted out the characters as RPG characters while creating and planning the show).

They don't quite map onto the AD&D Big Four, but they come close. The Hitter is the Warrior. The Thief is the Thief. The Grifter, Hacker, and Mastermind all get bits of the Cleric and the Wizard. The show isn't violent enough to need a physical healer, but the Grifter does a lot of psychological healing (Cleric). The Mastermind provides a lot of "buffs" to the other characters through planning and advice (Abjuration, Transmutation). The Grifter and Mastermind both do a lot of social manipulation (Enchantment/Charm), and some information gathering (Divination). The Hacker does most of the information gathering and provides communication (Divination), creates all sorts of gadgets to overcome obstacles (Conjuration, Invocation/Evocation, Transmutation), and create props and manipulates digital records and even physical recordings (Illusion, Transmutation).

Last edited by gdave; 09-16-2018 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 09-16-2018, 01:09 PM
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The Buck Rogers TSR game was basically D&D ported to Sci fi. My memory of the classes was there was a hand weapons type fighter, a range weapons type fighter, a Pilot, Tinkerers (engineers). And maybe a hacker class?
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Old 09-16-2018, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Balance View Post
Most multiplayer games that use modern-world settings map at least three of the classic fantasy RPG classes. The "Holy Trinity" [Warning: It's a trope!] is the tank, dps (damage per second), and healer combo.
Those aren't classic fantasy RPG classes - the "Holy Trinity" is an invention of MMOs that spilled into CPRPGs and only a bit into pen and paper RPGs. It wasn't a part of original AD&D or D&D, it was invented two or three decades after RPGs were well-established as a type of game. The first MMOs didn't have it, for example Ultima online was generally about single individuals exploring the world. The MMOs that did use aggro mechanics did it in a more complicated way; for example Everquest had tank, off tank, puller, crowd control, melee damage, ranged damage as major roles. It's really World of Warcraft that did the tank/healer/dps thing in a form where it could be called a trinity.

AD&D didn't have any aggro mechanics at all, it grew out of tactical wargames and the only blocking of opponents was by tactical positioning and use of terrain. There was no 'taunt' ability or way to force an opponent to pay attention to use by hitting them. Effective hit points and damage were not scaled like in Holy Trinity games, there wasn't one class with dozens of times the effective health of other party members and most characters could take a few hits. Healing wasn't designed to be continuous the way it is in Holy Trinity games, it was something done sporadically. The classes didn't fit the holy trinity either - ordinary fighters were both tanks and damage dealers without any deep specialization to one or the others, clerics were nearly as resilient as fighters without using spells, and could be damage dealers, tanks, or healers depending on spell choice, mages could be called damage dealers but at low levels were more of an occasional source of high damage than a constant DPS. The thief didn't fit any of tank/dps/healer because they dealt and soaked less damage than fighters (aside from a possible first-round sneak attack), and their main contribution to a party was the ability to scout ahead and deal with traps, locks, and other dungeon obstacles.
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Old 09-16-2018, 03:12 PM
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The Buck Rogers TSR game was basically D&D ported to Sci fi. My memory of the classes was there was a hand weapons type fighter, a range weapons type fighter, a Pilot, Tinkerers (engineers). And maybe a hacker class?
For what it’s worth, this brings to mind the SPYCRAFT rpg: a Soldier who focuses on vehicular stuff and a Wheelman who focuses on combat stuff reach largely the same place (and it’s a Fighter-y, or Ranger-y, place); and the Fixer was a modern version of the AD&D Thief, a skilled cat burglar with sneak attacks — with another class getting roguish stuff with bluffing and disguises; and the Snoop was the brainy computer guy, filling the Wizard role to the extent that a cinematic hacker does.

And the last core class — and the best ‘medic’, near as I could tell — was the one who could hand out bonuses to allies: a team player in the field, and the best at calling in favors if the team needed government intervention, and the one who got a capstone class ability that could do ‘narrative control’ stuff and ‘lucky break’ stuff.

Which is, if you squint just right, an okay impression of the Cleric.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:04 PM
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Those aren't classic fantasy RPG classes - the "Holy Trinity" is an invention of MMOs that spilled into CPRPGs and only a bit into pen and paper RPGs. It wasn't a part of original AD&D or D&D, it was invented two or three decades after RPGs were well-established as a type of game.
The classic classes I was referring to were the fighter (a tough, heavily armored frontliner), a cleric (healer and buffer), and magic-user (ranged and area damage, crowd control). These, or variations on each, were the core of most adventuring parties, with additional classes providing backup or utility. It's easy to see how this could be distilled into the MMO trinity in the face of AI-driven entities.
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Old 09-16-2018, 05:39 PM
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The classic classes I was referring to were the fighter (a tough, heavily armored frontliner), a cleric (healer and buffer), and magic-user (ranged and area damage, crowd control). These, or variations on each, were the core of most adventuring parties, with additional classes providing backup or utility. It's easy to see how this could be distilled into the MMO trinity in the face of AI-driven entities.
The fact that you have to leave off thief, the classic class that was the only one with the abilities to deal with common dungeon obstacles, and ignore major characteristics of the other two, like the fact that the cleric was also a heavily armored frontliner and crowd controller (turn undead was a specific class feature!), the mage was also a powerful buffer, and both had extensive non-combat spells, highlights how much 'the Holy Trinity' just isn't a core part of RPGs. The idea that the core of most adventuring parties didn't include the one class who could pick locks, find and remove traps, and scout ahead is grossly at odds with my experience.

The tank-healer-dps trinity just isn't a core part of old RPGs.
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Old 09-16-2018, 05:58 PM
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Quoth The Other Waldo Pepper:

And the last core class — and the best ‘medic’, near as I could tell — was the one who could hand out bonuses to allies: a team player in the field, and the best at calling in favors if the team needed government intervention, and the one who got a capstone class ability that could do ‘narrative control’ stuff and ‘lucky break’ stuff.

Which is, if you squint just right, an okay impression of the Cleric.
Maybe you can squint that into cleric, but it's a lot closer to bard.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:08 PM
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The tank-healer-dps trinity just isn't a core part of old RPGs.
If you'll go back and reread my posts, you'll see that I didn't say it was. I said that the trinity grew out of and maps "at least three" of the classic fantasy RPG classes. I even said in my first post in this thread that modern games tend to map thief functions onto other classes.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:35 AM
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Now that you say it, the Buck Rogers game also had a Medic class I believe.
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Old 09-17-2018, 11:22 AM
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Seems to me that's essentially what A-Team was. One ranger, one barbarian, one rogue and one bard.
I think that the D&D characters were based on cultural archetypes to begin with, drawn from Tolkien, who probably drew them from historical and literary sources, so it's not at all surprising that the same archetypes would be translated to other things.

I mean, having the standard "warrior/fighter/leader", "magic user/scholar/wise man", "thief/streetwise person/stealthy guy" and "bard/confidence man/trickster/smooth talker" is pretty much an ancient trope. Little John, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet and Robin Hood more or less fill those same roles, to use an example.

I think the problem with seeing them as character classes is that you tend to get wound up in the rules- part of the reason they made the character classes so distinct is so that everyone had to play differently- you can't play a cleric like a warrior, or a thief, and vice-versa. But the archetypes can have more overlap- you could easily have a gun-toting preacher for example. Or a warrior-scholar (really common in the real world) too.
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:04 PM
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Well, not just from Tolkien. The D&D Thief owes something to Bilbo Baggins, for instance, but it owes more to the Grey Mouser and to Cugel the Clever.
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:29 PM
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Well, not just from Tolkien. The D&D Thief owes something to Bilbo Baggins, for instance, but it owes more to the Grey Mouser and to Cugel the Clever.
Sure, I just meant that D&D draws very heavily from Tolkien, and the races and character classes are drawn in large part straight out of the books. Of course there are other influences- Leiber, Howard, Moorcock, etc... all come to mind.

Either way, the point I was trying to make is that D&D character classes are kind of like... formalized and structured archetypes for playing, and the archetypes themselves already exist in literature, film and television, so the OP's question is kind of moot.
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:51 PM
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Sure, I just meant that D&D draws very heavily from Tolkien, and the races and character classes are drawn in large part straight out of the books. Of course there are other influences- Leiber, Howard, Moorcock, etc... all come to mind.
In his writings, Gygax himself downplayed how much influence Tolkien had (though I suspect that part of that may have been the result of legal settlements that led to "hobbits" being renamed as "halflings" in the game).

I'd agree that the core races, at least, had clear Tolkien influences. The classes, less so, other than ranger (pretty clearly a nod to Aragorn) and, to an extent, thief (as Chronos has noted). Magic-users in the original D&D owe much more to Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories, paladins are pretty clearly inspired by Poul Anderson's "Three Hearts and Three Lions," and if clerics had any particularly strong inspiration in fantasy fiction, it probably wasn't from Tolkien.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 09-17-2018 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:18 AM
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I was thinking back and back in the 80s TSR actually had a Modern setting version of D&D. They would sometimes mention it in Dragon Magazine. It was basically James Bond type adventures. I think it was called Top Secret.
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:34 AM
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I was thinking back and back in the 80s TSR actually had a Modern setting version of D&D. They would sometimes mention it in Dragon Magazine. It was basically James Bond type adventures. I think it was called Top Secret.
Top Secret was not a modern setting version of D&D. It was a completely different game system.

However, in the 2000s, Wizards of the Coast did publish D20 Modern, which was a modern setting version of D&D 3rd Edition. However, instead of using D&D-like classes, it used classes based on the six Ability Scores. The "core" classes were the Strong Hero (Strength), Fast Hero (Dexterity), Tough Hero (Constitution), Smart Hero (Intelligence), Dedicated Hero (Wisdom), and Charismatic Hero (Charisma).
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:39 AM
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In his writings, Gygax himself downplayed how much influence Tolkien had (though I suspect that part of that may have been the result of legal settlements that led to "hobbits" being renamed as "halflings" in the game).
In the OD&D "White Box", "halflings" were "hobbits." The wight monster entry explicitly referenced Tolkien's barrow wights, and the wraith entry explicitly referenced Tolkien's ring wraiths. As you state, though, other fantasy authors clearly had at least as much influence.

D&D's magic system was explicitly based on the depiction of magic in Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" stories. The thief class was largely based on Fritz Leiber's Gray Mouser character. Trolls and giants were clearly based on their depictions in the "Compleat Enchanter" series of stories. And so on.
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:47 AM
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paladins are pretty clearly inspired by Poul Anderson's "Three Hearts and Three Lions,"
I'd have guessed Sir Galahad was the ur-Paladin, and that's probably where all of them got the idea.

My guess is that the cleric as healer and lesser fighter springs from medieval monks as healers and the examples of Odo of Bayeux swinging a mace, so as not to spill blood, and Friar Tuck using a quarterstaff. Combine that with some religious-based powers such as turning the undead, and that's pretty much it.

Either way, the character classes didn't spring up from Gygax's mind unbidden- they were a way to codify and standardize the archetypes made from Tolkien, Vance, Leiber and the other fantasy authors of the time.

In other words, the idea of the "warrior", "cleric/healer", "thief", etc... weren't conceived of because of the game's character classes, but rather the character classes modeled existing archetypes.
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:15 PM
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Three Heart and Three Lions is also where D&D's version of a Troll comes from.
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Old 09-18-2018, 04:20 PM
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TV Tropes has the Five Man Band trope which kind of fits.
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Old 09-18-2018, 04:22 PM
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As I understand it, the proximate inspiration for the cleric was actually Van Helsing.

Everyone always says that the ranger was based on Aragorn, but despite the fact that he's called a "ranger", the class is a pretty poor fit. If anything, he makes more sense as a paladin. But there's no shortage of other characters who do fit the ranger class: Robin Hood, Natty Bumpo, etc.

And while Vance was the origin of the "memorize a spell, cast it once, and forget it" system, it's not all that close a match to the D&D wizard, in that, except for a very small number of super-wizards (who were nigh-omnipotent and unbothered by such petty concerns as spell memorization), they were mostly much less powerful.
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