One of the most important aspects of a D&D character is their class. Rather than simply denoting a profession, a character’s class outlines their abilities as well as position, outlook, and influences in life.
In a standard D&D game, there are twelve different classes to choose from and they all come with their own sets of abilities, outlooks, and connections. While in previous editions classes could be separated into “spellcaster” and “non-spellcaster”, 5th Edition blurred those lines and nearly all classes now have the a path available that allows some spell casting.
So for 5th Edition D&D, the best way to separate classes out is to look at whether they are a mental (intelligence, wisdom, charisma) or physical (strength, dexterity, constitution) based class.
These classes focus primarily on physical prowess of some sort be it strength, hand-eye coordination, or simply overall hardiness. While this doesn’t mean that they aren’t also intelligent, wise, or charismatic, most of their abilities are geared towards the physical realm.
- Barbarian – Prone to bloodlust and rage, these fierce warriors survive the harsh wilds through their fighting prowess and iron constitution.
- Fighter – Whether they fight for a paycheck or for a lord, these soldiers are trained in all manner of weapons and combat.
- Monk – Specializing in hand-to-hand combat, a monk strives for perfection of the mind and body which often gives them unique special abilities.
- Paladin – Sworn to an oath of duty, service, or vengeance, paladins are often holy warriors dedicated to a cause or ideal.
- Ranger – Wandering the wilds at the edges of civilization, rangers use weapons and nature magic to survive in the harshest of terrains.
- Rogue – Cunning and resourceful, rogues are masters of manipulation, stealth, and trickery which they use to benefit themselves or others.
These classes tend to focus more on cerebral development and many are more proficient in casting spells than any of the physical classes are. This isn’t to say that these classes cannot be extremely dexterous or strong, but more that their abilities are geared more towards problem-solving, charisma, and intellect.
- Bard – Specializing in storytelling and music, these charismatic spellcasters are often as handy with words as they are with weapons.
- Cleric – Serving a deity or higher being, clerics devote themselves to upholding the tenets of their faith an often pit themselves against evildoers or the undead.
- Druid – A servant of nature, druids work to protect the natural order of things and have gain strange abilities such as shifting into various animal shapes.
- Sorcerer – Magic flows in the blood or vows of this spellcaster, whose magic is neither learned nor studied.
- Warlock – Rather than studying, this spellcaster entered into a pact with a greater being in order to gain their magical abilities.
- Wizard – This spellcaster gains magical power through intense study, constantly pursuing both knowledge and power.
Playing to strengths and weaknesses
So, what if you wanted to take a mental class and make it more physically strong? What if you wanted to have a really intellectual or smooth-talking physical class? While to a degree, playing to a class’ natural strengths is a must for a functional character, mixing things up a bit can create for a more unusual and dynamic character.
Still can’t decide what class you want to play? Click here to answer a few simple questions to figure it out!