A rather arbitrary concept that originally came into heavy use with Gary Gygax's Dungeons and Dragons. The idea is that every character has a specific job, such as rogue, fighter, mage, or cleric and ne'er the twain shall meet. (Or whatever the plural for four is.) This has been carried over in most modern RPGs and roguelike games.

Context: regular expressions, regexp, regex

In regular expressions (or regexp, or regex)pattern matching syntax, a character class is a series of characters enclosed by brackets, such as [A-Ca-c]. A character class matches any of the characters within that class. Thus the above example would match any of: A, B, C, a, b, c.

To specify a character class, simply enclose the characters you want to match in brackets. Denote ranges of characters (such as A-C above) with a hyphen. If you want to match a hyphen, place it as the first character of the class. If you want to match a right bracket, specify it as \].

You can negate a character class by placing a caret (^) character as the first character of the class. Thus [^A-Ca-c] would match all characters but A, B, C, a, b, c.

All other special characters within the regexp syntax lose their special meaning in a character class.

There are a great many different types of character classes throughout all the RPGs in the world, however below is a list of the most common classes I have come across and a brief description of their respective jobs.

The Standard Classes:


More or less, all classes can be further categorized into one or two (perhaps even three) of the standard classes. In some RPGs only the standard classes exist.

Mage - A spellcaster, versed in one way or another in magic (good or evil). Mages are traditionally the weakest and most intelligent of the party. Mages, for the most part, cannot use heavy armor as it restricts movement and impedes Magical ability. Quite often the strongest in terms of power.
Rogue - A rouge is not neccessarily a thief, but simply someone extremely dextrous (hence quick and usually small). They are masters of concealment, disguise and trickery, therefore quite often are a good hybrid-class of Mage-Rouge. For the most part, Rouges choose not to wear heavy armor as it restricts movement and impedes Dexterity. More often than not, the rouge character is a thief.
Warrior - A warrior is the brute strength of the party. Well trained in the arts of war and a master of one or more weapons, the warrior takes the brunt of the attack and defends the Mages and Rouges. For the most part, Warriors use the heaviest armor possible to best protect them from attack.

The Sub-Classes:


All of the sub-classes are extensions or variations of the standard classes. Sometimes they are hybrid marriages of the two, combining the best of both worlds. These sub-classes are more commonly found in more in depth RPGs.

Mage sub-classes:


Sorceror/Sorcoress - More or less the pure mage. They concentrate primarily on intelligence and magical power. They can commonly store a huge amount of spells in their mind without the use of a book and can cast an unlimited amount of spells in a day, however must prepare before casting a spell. The Sorceror's main enemy is the Warrior, and such they require protection from other Warriors on their party.
Warlock/Witch: - Like a sorceror, however often physically stronger and better versed with combat. They are not neccesarily evil. Warlocks commonly do not memorize their spells, rather carry around a book with which they recite their incantations. This means they do not have to prepare before casting a spell, but commonly can only cast a limited number of spells a day. As Warlocks focus on physical strength more than Sorcerors, they are not as powerful in their spells, and they quite often are versed in more combat related spells than any other. Hence, Warlocks have been dubbed "combat mages". The Warlock's main enemy is the Sorceror.
Necromancer - Necromancers, despite common misconception, are not completely evil. They must have some evil incantation, however the chaotic neutral alignment is often an acceptable alignment for a Necromancer in RPGs. Necromancers are Mages, however they do not study regular spells. Rather they concentrate on spells such as Ressurection, Curse and Death. Necromancers are master of Undead and can quite easily raise them, however they are quite physically weak and require protection from their undead minions and other people in the party. Necromancer's main enemy is Warriors.
Illusionists - Mages who concentrate primarily on illusions and pyrotechnics. They can distract enemies with their illusions and harm them with their pyrotechnics. While they have strong illusions, their pyrotechnics are quite often used as those illusions so are not as powerful as a sorceror's or warlock's pyrotechnics. Illusionists are quite weak and find themselves prey to all classes.
Clerics - Clerics use the power of their Deity or Deities to cast spells. They must pray to their Deity in order to obtain a spell, so they must prepare like the Sorceror. Clerics are not unlike Sorcerors, however they can wear armor as they do not use hand motions to cast spells. They are weakest against warriors.

Mage-Rogue Hybrids:


Animal Masters - Animal Masters are not common classes, however they are probably the most common Mage-Rogue Hybrids I have seen. They are not unlike rangers, however they use magic incantations more than animal affinity, and master magical beasts (such as Nightmares and Unicorns), rather than regular animals. They commonly are useful with daggers, scimitars and bows, and have the dextrous traits of Rogues. Their main enemies are both Warriors and Mages, and must rely on tamed creatures for protection.
Tricksters/Pranksters: Another uncommon class, tricksters are commonly theives who sacrifice some of their thieving/rogue abilities for magical ones. It allows them to create minor illusions and distract potential marks, as well as protect themselves with some minor pyrotechnics should they be caught. The trickster's main enemy is Warriors who can outmatch them in strength, and Rouges who cam outmatch their stumped rogue attributes.

Rogue sub-classes:


Thief - The thief is the most common rogue class. They are usually small, extremely quick and mindblowingly dextrous. They are not commonly altogether smart, however are usually smarter than Warrior classes. Quite obviously, thieves steal, pick locks and get up to other mischief (such as poisoning). They are masters of small weapons, such as daggers and scimitars. They fall prey to all classes, except other thieves.
Archer - Archers are Rogues rather than Warriors as they are fast and dextrous and not versed in hand-to-hand combat. Archers stand from afar and lob arrows from a bow or crossbow, and quite often they use poisoned arrows to enhance their attack. Archers main enemy is mages.
Ranger - Rangers, like Archers, primarily use bows however they do not focus all their energy into that one skill. They are also masters of animal taming, animal affinity and animal tracking. This means that Rangers can utilize animals in the wild to the advantage of the party. For example, they could talk to an owl and get it to survey what is up ahead for them, or get a wolf to hunt for food. As such, a Ranger can also pacify wild beasts and divert a confrontation, or tame them and get them to attack an enemy. Rangers find themselves prey to all classes.

Rogue-Warrior Hybrids:


Assassin - Assassins are not a common class, however are the most common Rogue-Warrior Hybrids. The combination of weapon mastery brought from the warrior class, with high dexterity and mastery of disguise and concealment brought from the rogue class, the assassin is a deadly character. Assassins often master only one class of weapon (most commonly swords or bows) and quite often use poisoning techniques. They then lurk in the shadows and attack with the intent of decapacitating the target in one blow. Assassins are not good party characters unless the party is travelling through enclosed areas, such as woods. Assassins are superior against all classes, assuming they do not get into vicious hand-to-hand combat with a warrior (though they can hold their own in hand-to-hand for a time), and will find their main enemies Warriors and Mages, should their initial attack fail to kill them.

Warrior sub-classes:


Axe Warrior - Master of Axes, these warriors are an anti-Mage class. They hit strong and hard, however are often much slower in their attacks than other warrior classes. Their main enemies are faster warrior classes.
Mace Warrior - Master of Maces, these warriors are all rounders, hitting with a reasonably strong attack and with reasonable speed. They are equally strong against all other warriors, and find their main enemies Mages, although they are not extremely weak against them.
Sword Warrior - Master of Swords, these warriors have fast attacks and often carry shields, however are not as strong as other warrior classes. They are quite easily the most dextrous, and can be called fencers if they wear light armor to increase dexterity. They find themselves weak against Mace Warriors.
Spear Warrior - Master of Spears, these warriors have moderate speed attacks, and moderate strength. They have great advantages in being able to carry out hand-to-hand combat at a range. They are most vulnerable to Archers.
Paladins - Commonly Sword Warriors with an intense Holy belief. They are strong against Undead creatures as they can summon Holy strength against the Unholy minions. They find themselves weakest against Macers and Mage.
Weapon Masters - Masters of all Weapons, they balance their mastery over all hand weapons rather than one, making them deadly against Rogues and Mages, however they find themselves rather inadequate against specialized Warriors.

Others:


As I mentioned earlier, there are many more classes, such as blacksmiths, fletchers, healers etc. Alot of this are fairly rare in conventional RPGs.

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