better (for me) basic class titles

So, in old-school D&D – prior to AD&D Second Edition – every class had a different title at each level until “name level,” which was always 9th level. Some of these made more sense than others. If the priesthood controls your access to your priestly powers, maybe there really are well-known titles for different ranks. Others are sillier: when a thief reaches 7th level, he’s still just “pilfering?”

There are two kinds of things that bug me about these class titles. First, some of them are too specific. Why is my 3rd level fighter, who uses a club, a “swordmaster?” Why is my straight-arrow 8th level magic-user a “necromancer?”

Second, the non-human class titles stink. They’re just the human ones recycled, which is a much sadder thing than level caps.

I think level titles are fun. I especially like that they give everyone a ready-made epithet, and that by replacing the stock epithet with a cooler one, you can reward a character. Even at level one, Mero the Halfling clearly earned “Mero the Deadly,” which will remain cooler at every level than whatever the stock epithet might be. If I didn’t want to futz with having these tables, I would still like giving everyone an epithet and cranking up its awesomeness as they level up.

I also think I will want to tweak level titles for each campaign I run, and probably have several progressions within that. Like, clerics of the Army of Saints will end up with different titles than clerics of Thrul Victorious. I’m just going to have a first go at better titles for my Beyond the Temple of the Abyss campaign.

The Basic D&D Titles

These are the stock titles from Cook’s blue book:

Level Cleric Fighter Magic-User Thief
1 Acolyte Veteran Medium Apprentice
2 Adept Warrior Seer Footpad
3 Priest Swordmaster Conjuror Robber
4 Vicar Hero Magician Burglar
5 Curate Swashbuckler Enchanter Cutpurse
6 Elder Myrmidon Warlock Sharper
7 Bishop Champion Sorceror Pilferer
8 Lama Superhero Necromancer Thief
9 Patriarch Lord Wizard Master Thief


Lv. Elf Dwarf Halfling
1 Medium/Veteran Dwarven Veteran Halfling Veteran
2 Seer/Warrior Dwarven Warrior Halfling Warrior
3 Conjuror/Swordmaster Dwarven Swordmaster Halfling Swordmaster
4 Magician/Hero Dwarven Hero Halfling Hero
5 Enchanter/Swashbuckler Dwarven Swashbuckler Halfling Swashbuckler
6 Warlock/Myrmidon Dwarven Myrmidon Halfling Myrmidon
7 Sorceror/Champion Dwarven Champion Halfling Champion
8 Necromancer/Super-Hero Dwarven Superhero Sheriff
9 Wizard/Lord Dwarven Lord -

The Beyond Titles

These are the titles as I plan to use them:

Level Cleric (Ibrim) Cleric (Thrull) Fighter Magic-User Thief
1 Acolyte Aspirant Soldier Medium Apprentice
2 Adept Wayfarer Man-at-Arms Neophyte Specialist
3 Knight Evangelist Veteran Magician Footpad
4 Templar Herald Warrior Arcanist Burglar
5 Crusader Uprooter Weaponmaster Enchanter Outlaw
6 Apostle Iconoclast Hero Conduit Cutthroat
7 Presbyter Scourge Champion Sorcerer Scoundrel
8 Scion Chiliast Commander Magus Charlatan
9 Paladin Harbinger Warlord Wizard Rogue


Lv. Elf Dwarf Hobbit (Halfling)
1 Elf Dwarf Hobbit
2 Adventurer Delver Wanderer
3 Pathfinder Delver Drifter
4 Guardian Journeyman Seeker
5 Warden Engineer Quester
6 Pledge Artificer Ranger
7 Pactsworn Master Homefellow
8 Hexblade Elder Sheriff
9 Swordmage Lord -

Table Support!

I added MultiMarkdown support to Rubric just for this post. Isn’t that exciting?

Written on February 24, 2012
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