The Party in Dragon Quest III is the set of 0-3 characters which accompany the hero on his/her quest to defeat Baramos and later, Zoma. Unlike many games in the main series, the party in Dragon Quest III is customizable by the player. The unique party system along with the class change system are 2 of the major reasons why Dragon Quest III was a major success as they both add a large amount of replay value to the game.
Ruida's Tavern is a location in the starting town of Aliahan where the hero can recruit party members. When the game starts, 3 characters are pre-registered: a Warrior, A Cleric, and a Wizard. Other characters can also be recruited depending on the player's preferences.
Hero (勇者, Yuusha): The Hero class is the most well-balanced of the character classes and is restricted to the main character. He or she can be equipped with either heavy or light armor, and can use a variety of weapons. The Hero also is given a variety of both offensive and defensive spells. Some of the most powerful healing, defensive, and offensive spells in the game are exclusive to the Hero class, including Ironize, which makes the party completely invulnerable for a short time, HealUsAll, which completely restores the group's HP, and the lightning spells Zap and Lightning. In the remakes, the Hero gains a variety of unique outside abilities as well, such as Recall (which allows the player to record conversations).
Wizard (魔法使い, Mahoutsukai): (Mage in the Game Boy Color version) Wizards specialize in destructive magical spells such as Blaze and Boom. Wizards also have the abilities to use spells in the outside world. Such spells as Outside and X-Ray will help the player advance in caves and while adventuring. The Wizard is given powerful magical abilities when leveled fully, including BeDragon and Explodet. The Wizard also has the Chance spell introduced in Dragon Quest II, which has a large menu of possible random effects: some very good, some very bad. Though Wizards have high Intelligence, they are physically frail and cannot equip heavy weapons such as swords, axes, spears, or heavy armor.
Pilgrim (僧侶, Souryo): (Cleric in the Game Boy Color version) Pilgrims are on the other side of the magical spectrum from Wizards, as they specialize in healing and fortifying spells rather than attack magic. Introductory spells such as Heal and SpeedUp are useful in the early stages of the game, but as the player advances, the spells become more versatile. Like Wizards, Pilgrims cannot equip heavy armor, but they can use weapons much like a Hero or a Soldier can. Pilgrims do have initially more strength and vitality than Wizards.
Thief (盗賊, Touzoku): The Thief was a new class added to the remake versions. Thieves have high speed and agility but average attack power and defense power. They have the ability to steal items at the end of a fight. In addition, they are decent combatants that can use whips and chains to attack multiple enemies at once. In the outside world abilities such as Eagle Eye allow the player to locate villages and nearby towns.
Goof-off (遊び人, Asobinin): (Jester in the Game Boy Color version) Goof-offs, although pretty much useless on the battle field, have a great amount of luck. This allows them to deal critical amounts of damage more often than other characters. The trade-off for this is the fact that Goof-offs have minds of their own, and the player cannot always control their actions. Goof-offs are the wild cards of the game, as they sometimes do damage to themselves instead of attacking enemy characters or goof-off (hence the name). Goof-off is the only class that can turn into a Sage at Dharma Temple without a Book of Satori.
Fighter (武闘家, Butouka): Fighters have a great amount of speed, agility, and strength. They can deal devastating amounts of damage from a single strike, and can be equipped with a variety of weapons. However, if equipped with a sword or other bladed weapon, a Fighter's abilities will actually decrease, as his or her attack power will lower considerably. This is because Fighters prefer to attack with their bare hands, and so only claw type weapons will make their attack power rise. In the remakes, a fighter is only able to equip claw weapons, thus removing the possibility of their attack reducing due to equipment. The amount of claw weapons in the game is increased as a result of this change.
Soldier (戦士, Senshi): (Warrior in the Game Boy Color version) This class, which focuses on strength and defense, allows you to recruit basically another hero, but without the inherited magical abilities. Their physical abilities are higher than other classes, but they suffer from relatively low agility.
Merchant (商人, Shounin): (Dealer in the Game Boy Color version) Merchants have the ability to pick up additional gold after a battle. The amount of gold is dependent on the type of monsters which were defeated. Merchants can also appraise items free of charge. In battle, merchants are only average in attack and defense, slightly better than a Pilgrim. In the remakes, merchants have two unique outside abilities: Excavate (which allows the player to dig underfoot for treasure) and YellHelp, which summons a shopkeeper in the field.
Sage (賢者, Kenja): The magical abilities of a Sage are comprised of the skills belonging to both Pilgrims and Wizards. This class is not initially available, but a player can transform a leveled up Goof-off into one at the Dharma Temple. If the player has a rare item called the Book of Satori (or the Zen Book in the remakes), any character holding it can also become a Sage.
After defeating Zoma, the hero becomes an ordinary party member. This means they he/she can be dropped off at Ruida's Tavern while another party member takes his/her place. This is especially significant in the remakes of Dragon Quest III as there are bonus dungeons available after the main game is over.