A character's class is similar to a profession or career. Multiclassed characters are available to non-humans only, although humans can choose to become dual-class later in the game.
The bard is a rogue, but he is different from the thief. His strength is his pleasant and charming personality. A bard is a talented musician and a walking storehouse of gossip, tall tales, and lore. He learns a little bit about everything that crosses his path; he is a jack-of-all-trades, but master of none. While many bards are scoundrels, their stories and songs are welcome almost everywhere.
Special Abilities: Pick Pockets, Bard Songs, Spell Casting, High Lore ability.
Restrictions: Human and Half-Elf only; must be of partially Neutral alignment; cannot use a shield or armor heavier than chainmail.
The cleric is a generic priest (of any mythos) who tends to the spiritual needs of a community. He is both protector and healer. He is not purely defensive, however. When evil threatens, the cleric is well suited to seek it out on its own ground and destroy it.
Special Abilities: Turn Undead, Spell Casting.
Restrictions: Cannot use bladed or piercing weapons.
The druid serves the cause of nature and neutrality; the wilderness is his community. He uses his special powers to protect it and to preserve balance in the world.
Special Abilities: Shape Change, Spell Casting.
Restrictions: Human or Half-Elf only; leather armor and bucklers only; can only wield clubs, darts, spears, daggers, slings, and staves.
The fighter is a champion, swordsman, and soldier. He lives or dies by his knowledge of weapons and tactics. Fighters can be found at the front of any battle, contesting toe-to-toe with monsters and villains. A good fighter needs to be strong and healthy if he hopes to survive.
Special Abilities: Advanced Weapon Specialization.
The wizard is a master of shaping magical energies and casting them as spells. To do so, he studies strange tongues and obscure facts and devotes much of his time to magical research. A wizard must rely on knowledge and wit to survive. Wizards are rarely seen adventuring without a retinue of fighters and men-at-arms. Because there are different types (or schools) of magic, there are different types of wizards. The generalist mage studies all types of magic and learns a wide variety of spells. His broad range makes him well suited to the demands of adventuring.
Special Abilities: Spell Casting.
Restrictions: Mages cannot wear armor, and they can only wield daggers, staves, darts, and slings.
A paladin is a warrior bold and pure, a paragon of virtue. Like the fighter, the paladin is a man of combat. However, the paladin lives for the ideals of righteousness, justice, honesty, piety, and chivalry. He strives to be a living example of these virtues so that others might learn from him as well as gain by his actions.
Special Abilities: Weapon Specialization, Lay Hands, Turn Undead, +2 all Saving Throws, Protection from Evil, and Detect Evil. At 9th level, paladins gain the ability to cast priest spells.
Restrictions: Only humans can be paladins, and they must be of Lawful Good alignment.
The ranger is a hunter and a woodsman, skilled with weapons and knowledgeable in tracking and woodcraft. The ranger often protects and guides lost travelers and honest peasant-folk. An above average strength and wisdom are needed to be a ranger.
Special Abilities: Weapon Specialization, Dual Weapon Usage, Racial Enemy, Stealth, and Charm Person/Mammal. At 8th level, rangers gain the ability to cast priest spells.
Restrictions: Only humans or half-elves can be rangers, and they must be of Good alignment.
To accomplish his goals, for good or ill, the thief is a skilled pilferer. Cunning, nimbleness, and stealth are his hallmarks. Whether he turns his talent against innocent passers-by and wealthy merchants or oppressors and monsters is a choice for the thief to make. There are four thief abilities in Icewind Dale. At first level a thief character will receive 30 points to allocate among his abilities. Every level thereafter he will gain an extra 20 points.
Special Abilities: Stealth (and Backstab), Pick Pockets, Pick Locks, Find/Remove Traps.
Restrictions: Thieves cannot be of Lawful Good alignment; they cannot wear any armor other than leather or studded leather; they cannot use any shield except for bucklers and can only wield clubs, daggers, darts, crossbows, short bows, slings, long swords, short swords, and quarterstaves.