The first four games are hybrid Adventure/Role playing video games, while the fifth game switched to the genre of Action/RPG.
The gameplay standards established in earlier Sierra adventure games were enhanced by the player's ability to choose his character's career path from among the three traditional role-playing game backgrounds: fighter, magic-user/wizard and thief. Further variation was added by the ability to customize the Hero's abilities, including the option of selecting skills normally reserved for another character class, leading to unique combinations often referred to as "hybrid characters". During the second or third games, a character could be initiated as a Paladin by performing honorable actions, changing his class and abilities and receiving a unique sword. This would apply when the character is exported into later games. Any character that finished any game in the series (except Dragon Fire, the last in the series) could be exported to a more recent game (Shadows of Darkness has a glitch which allows one to import characters from the same game), keeping the stats and parts of the inventory. If the character received the paladin sword, he would keep the magic sword (Soulforge or Piotyr's sword) and special paladin magic abilities. A character imported into a later game in the series from any other game could be assigned any character class, including Paladin.
Each career path had its own strengths and weaknesses, scenarios unique to those that possess the skills associated with it. Each class also had its own distinct way to solve various in-game puzzles, which encouraged replay: some puzzles had up to four different solutions. For instance, if a door is closed, instead of lockpicking or casting an open spell, the fighter can simply knock down the door. The magic user and the thief are both non-confrontational characters, as they lack the close range ability of the fighter, but are better able to attack from a distance, using daggers or spells. An example of these separate paths can be seen early in the first game. A gold ring belonging to the healer rests in a nest on top of a tree; fighters might make it fall by hurling rocks, thieves may want to climb the tree, while a magic user can simply cast the fetch spell to retrieve the nest, and then, while the fighter and magic user return the ring for a reward, the thief can choose between returning or selling the same ring in the thieves' guild (which is not available for those not possessing the "thieving" skills). It is also possible to build (over the course of several games) a character that has points in every skill in the game and can therefore perform nearly every task.
Each character class featured special abilities unique to that class, as well as a shared set of attributes which could be developed by performing tasks and completing quests. In general, for a particular game the maximum value which can be reached for an ability is 100*[the number of that game]. Quest for Glory V allows stat bonuses which can push an attribute over the maximum and lets certain classes raise certain attributes beyond the normal limits. Quest for Glory V also features special kinds of equipment which lower some stats while raising others. At the beginning of each game, the player may assign points to certain attributes, and certain classes only have specific attributes enabled, although skills can be added for an extra cost.
General attributes influence all characters classes and how they interact with objects and other people in the game; high values in strength allows to move heavier objects and communication helps with bargaining goods with sellers. These attributes are changed by performing actions related to the skill; climbing a tree eventually increases the skill value in climb, running increases vitality, and so on. There are also complementing skills which are only of associated with some classes; parry (the ability to block a blow with the sword), for instance, is mainly used by fighters and paladins, lock picking and sneaking thief's hobby, and the ability to cast magic spells is usually associated with magic user.
Vital statistics are depleted by performing some actions. Health (determined by strength and vitality) determines the hit points of the character, which decreases when the player is attacked or harms himself. Stamina (based on agility and vitality) limits the number of actions (exercise, fighting, running, etc.) the character is able to perform before needing rest or risking injury. Mana is only required by characters with skill in magic, and is calculated according to the character's intelligence and magic attributes.
Puzzle and Experience points only show the development of the player and his progress in the game, though in the first game also affected the kind of random encounters a player faces, as some monsters only appear after a certain level of experience is reached.By: binford6001