- – Robbie. His money, his game. Kill Jestah.
Jesters are an ancient form of comedy-centric artists, usually found in royal courts or under the direct patronage of a nobleman to provide entertainment to their lord and any guests he may have. Whilst the basic concept of the jester is universal, as every culture has had some equivalent to it (seriously, people like to laugh, it's no mystery), the visual everybody tends to have when the word "jester" is brought up is of the Medieval entertainer; a guy in a brightly colored, often amusingly mispatterned costume, wearing a funny hat that looks kind of like a crown and adorned with little jingly bells.
Whilst usually thought of as a kind of ancient clown or even a Medieval stand-up comedian - and, to be fair, jokes, riddles, and slapstick buffoonery did tend to be their bread and butter - jesters were often surprisingly multi-talented. A good jester's arsenal of abilities could include acrobatics, juggling, music, poetry, firebreathing, puppetry or more.
Whilst often accepted as one of the foundations of the Bard class, the jester has appeared as an individual thing in Dungeons & Dragons via Dragon Magazine. It first appeared in issue #60 as a full class for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, then made two appearances for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition; as a 10-level Prestige Class in issue #330, and as a full alternative class based on its issue #60 appearance in the 3e Dragon Compendium splatbook.
Ironically, all of the versions of the jester have spellcasting abilities.
Dragon #60 Jester
The AD&D jester was intended to be an NPC class, and was open to any race in the 1st edition Player's Handbook. Only humans, half-elves and gnomes could reach maximum level in it, however; halflings could reach 12th level, elves 10th level, dwarves 6th level and half-orcs 4th level, due to their differing levels of "humorousness".
The AD&D jester required a Non-Lawful, Non-Evil alignment, and if their alignment was changed to either Lawful or Evil, they became a Rogue with only the Climbing and Pickpocketing skills until they changed their alignment back. They needed a minimum of Intelligence 12, Wisdom 12, Charisma 13 and Dexterity 9 to qualify for the class.
Dragon #330 Jester
To qualify for the Jester prestige class, you need a total of 26 ranks in Perform (13 in Perform (Comedy), and 13 in any other Perform sub-skill), and also 6 ranks in Bluff.
Dragon Compendium Jester
This iteration of the Jestery mandates a Chaotic alignment.