Druids. Illusionists. Bards.
The last time a player ran an illusionist in one of my campaigns, I was (maybe) 14 years old. Maybe. I can't even recall any gnome multi-class types. Just a single illusionist...a pre-gen created specifically to try running D1: Descent into the Depths of the Earth.
I have never had a player character druid in any campaign I've run. Ever.
I have an (adult) friend, who really wants to join my game, and wants to play a druid. Unfortunately, he resides on Camano Island and isn't exactly mobile, which means the only way we'd be able to play is via the Zoom or something...which I am loathe to do for a number of reasons. Still, there remains the possibility that I'll see a 1st level druid in my campaign at some point in the near future.
But I have had time to think about it, and my gut reaction is to simply leave druids exactly as written in the PHB. Yes, they must memorize (or "pray for") spells at the beginning of the day, unlike my clerics; however, this "memorization" represents the druid preparing their mistletoe and whatnot (via shamanic/ritual magic) in anticipation of the coming day's events.
Besides which: I've never seen a druid in my game (didn't I just say that?). So why should I go about "fixing" something that may work perfectly fine?
Illusionists are a...slightly...different matter. I've written extensively about my love for the illusionist class as both a concept AND as originally imagined/designed for the OD&D game by Peter Aronson. As reworked by Gygax for the AD&D system, the spell list for the class is...poor (see prior blog posts here and here, and specific discussions on color spray and phantasmal force). The class, unfortunately, needs a lot of "clean-up."
But how can I say that, when I haven't actually seen a player run and develop an illusionist character over a long-term campaign? How do I know that the class...as printed in the PHB...wasn't reworked specifically due to extensive play-testing and is, in fact, the perfect representation of the class?
I would love to play an illusionist character...if I were playing in the campaign of a DM that I respect and trust. Say, someone like me. I have played illusionists before...on two occasions with different DMs. Both times they were using the Advanced Labyrinth Lord rules (which just means B/X with some AD&D adaptations). Neither game lasted more than a single session, and the character had little opportunity to "stretch its legs." But, then, neither of those games was what I'd call "open worlds;" just dungeons that we were stuck in. You know...typical Basic level play.
[I'm so tired of basic play]
SO...illusionists. Don't really know HOW I'd run them now, because no one wants to play them in my campaign. I do have extensive spell list revisions stored somewhere on my laptop...I'd be tempted to break those out. But probably, I'd just start with the standard rules (if someone wanted to play an illusionist). Probably tack on the same house rules I use for magic-users. Probably. There's a part of me that likes the idea of an illusionist creating more than one phantasmal image in a day...so long as it's not the same image.
The testing is all in the playing.
And as for bards: welp, since I started my new campaign I haven't seen any of those yet, either...although Diego keeps saying he'd like to play one; he just keeps missing on the ability scores needed.
Oh, right, forgot to mention: I scrapped the whole single-class bard idea, I posted a while back. The fact is, I've played and run MANY 1st edition bards over the years (eight that I can think of off the top of my head, and not counting pre-gens like Olaf Peacock in Dwellers of the Forbidden City) and, in my experience, the class works fine as written. Would I prefer their magic is a little more "bardic" in nature, rather than druidic? Sure. And perhaps I'll do something about that one day. Like, the next time a PC actually acquires a 1st level bard in my campaign (after first progressing through fighter and thief classes). Until then, I'm not terribly worried about it.
Which, by the by, is also my attitude towards high level rangers and paladins (both of whom receive some spell-casting ability). I've seen a lot of high level fighters over the years; I can't recall ever seeing a ranger over 7th level or a paladin over 3rd. SO...unless and until I do, I'll just run these characters By The Book.
That's all folks.