The Big Question: D&D Classes

The Big Question: D&D Classes

For the first time, after waiting what quite literally felt like ages, I’m going to have my first experience of Dungeons & Dragons. Not the kind that’s wedged into an RPG on the computer, but real-life, rolling dice, roleplaying.

Thing is, I have no bloody idea what class I want to play.

A friend in the office has put together a D&D 5th Edition group, and it’s grown pretty large. People are staking out their claim on what classes to play, and so far it’s looking like Barbarians and Bards are the most popular.

But that’s OK, because those two classes don’t interest me. I’m more interested in the prospect of a character that can be a little impish, something with more of a chaotic bent. I think that probably rules Paladins and Druids out, although I don’t know if I want to go full Rogue about it.

What’s on the table seems to be Warlock, Cleric, Fighter, Monk, Rogue, Sorcerer and Wizard. My gut says to lean away from the magic users and go towards something that would be a bit more useful in an urban setting, but I’m not entirely sure. I’ve never played D&D, after all.

What do you think? And what D&D classes do you like to play?


  • Fighter-Rogue. I like Cleric but not exactly “little impish, something with more of a chaotic bent.”

    Halfling Fighter Rogue, duel wield back stab with a HUGE pickpocket throw. Pickpocket own party for lols

  • Anything, really. Every class is useful, and if you’re DM is good, they can tailor the entire campaign to the party composition. Some of the most fun I’ve had was in a party consisting of 3 Barbarians and one Fighter, killing our way through everything and even destroying magical items we could have used if we all weren’t so stupid and dumb. (Our characters, not us.)

    In 5E, Even having identical PC classes turns out different depending on the specialisation. (Monk tradition of “Way of the Shadow” turns you into a stealthy Ninja, while “Way of the 4 Elements” turns you into an airbender / firebender / everythingbender)

    First time playing, I’d say go for something you think is cool. Rogue or Ranger.

  • Can’t help with 5th Ed. but I’m currently playing with a Kensai (Magus) in Pathfinder and she is a beast. Rocking the old scimitar and Arcane Mark combo with a Shocking Grasp for when she really needs to pump damage.

    EDIT: I’d go for a swashbuckling-type fighter who’s big on combat manoeuvres like trip, bullrush, disarm or maybe a combat rogue who can do some feinting in combat and still be a skill-monkey. YMMV as I’m not sure what 5th Ed. options are available to achieve these archetypes.

  • I started playing 3.5 almost 2 years ago and my first and main character was a hispanic Rogue by the name of Javier.
    Soooo much fun to play.
    I guess the best part about playing Rogues (asside from sneak attack) is the skills.
    Having a bunch of class skills and more than enough points to buff them up opens up so many interesting roleplaying opportunities and options.
    That’s my 2 cents 😉

  • I haven’t played D&D for a really, really long time. While I think the whole point of tabletop RPGs is escapist/power fantasy, I usually tried to play characters that were a bit oddball and outside my comfort zone to make the roleplaying aspect more engaging.

    In games like Star Wars I would endeavour to play a protocol droid instead of a bounty hunter or smuggler or jedi. In Vampire: the Masquerade I’d roll up a thin-blooded Caitiff or a Malkavian (though admittedly Malks are objectively the best anyway). In D&D I never felt like anything was a right fit for me. I feel like every class is so deliberately “unique” or specialised that it’s almost against the cliché to play something simple like a fighter rather than a minmaxed ranger, paladin, barbarian or monk.

    In my very first D&D game I played a Cleric. And of course of course he was a drunkard. Because I was 15 and casually imbibing alcohol seemed like something cool people do, and the fact I was playing D&D with my friends at school wasn’t going to stop me trying to be cool.

    So I dunno man. Play a fighter.

  • Monks are pretty cool in 5E, they removed alignment restrictions so that you can be whatever you want. They have a lot of combat options and are generally proficient with the physical skills, as well as a bevy of useful passives.
    Fighters are also pretty versatile in 5E, they can gain proficiency in multiple fighting styles (dueling, sword and board, 2 handing, bows, etc.) and also really focus on a particular type you fancy.
    Clerics can also make pretty good off-fighters with the added benefit of healing, spells and channeling divinity powers.

    Most of the time I like to have what a character is, then build a class around it. I’ve had a rabid wild-gnome (barbarian), a fussy pencil pusher cleric that worships a goddess of money, a chemist (fighter with proficiency in throwing weapons and alchemy) and lots of other things.

  • For me it usually comes down to what you want to specialise in, and a lot of times that seems to come down to martial power, magical power, or skills.

    Martial power = Fighter classes, and tends to be best in the early game. By late game they’re overtaken by magical classes and can become little more than damage sponges unless your GM is careful.

    Magical power = Wizardy classes. Weak in early game, and very prone to dying (like @tech_knight getting 1 hit killed (it’s ok, he survived) in our very first fight) but power ramps up as the game continues. GM has to work to limit that power in a way a lot of the time.

    Skill monkeys = Bard / Rogue, etc. Jack of all trades, master of none. Best out of combat, but even then the GM has to work to make them inclusive. I’m currently playing an archer-Bard who at Level 9 is just hitting his sweet spot. Can really be min-maxed to within an inch of their lives.

    That said, you’re leaning away from magic users, what about a Monk? I’ve never personally played on but in the right hands I’m told they can be quite fun. … Edit: Maybe not for a first time player though, as their limitations can be quite limiting. Never mind, see below.

    • The difficulty curve for monk in 5E has smoothed out significantly compared to 3.5E. You get a bunch of abilities and bonuses much earlier and you have a bit more flexibility with the use of Ki almost right out of the gate.

      • Good to know! Last time I played D&D was 4th so I’m not exactly up to scratch on the intricacies of 5E. 🙂

    • Twice… remember it happened twice, and my elven powerhouse still lives!

      I’ve started making decisions in terms of limiting my Arcanist’s powers in certain ways, or self-mechanics to make my powers not entirely stable (Given his backstory) which helps balance it out somewhat so that our GM doesn’t have to intervene as much as he would expect. For example with one of my latest spells, Dragon’s Breath, I’m going to be very strict on what dragon scales I have on hand to make it so that if I want to use such a powerful spell, I need to make it count. If I didn’t, Dragon’s breath would be pretty broken, because you have up to 6 different ways you can use that spell, each having different elements and AoE types (30-ft cones, 60-ft cones and lines like lightning bolt). With Dragon’s breath alone, without such restrictions would make many obstacles a minor nuisance. A door/wall blocking the way, okay I’ll acid breath it down. A large water channel blocking the way, okay I’ll freeze it with frost breath, an army coming at us in a narrow corridor, okay I’ll bathe them all in flames with fire breath. At least with fireball I have to be very careful how I use it due to the size of the AoE.

  • Depending on the setting, I’d probably recommend a warlock. They have a lot of flexibility and can be blaster casters all the way around to shadow warlocks or some other form of utility. They can also be very, very chaotic depending on what warlock pact you choose.

  • Barbarians are my favourite because you can focus less on extra mechanics and more on on character interaction; that and strength based classes are never “bad”.

    If you want to try something interesting and you are confident in your ability to orate then I would suggest bard. In my current 5th ed campaign my level five bard/fighter/sorcerer is pretty much the saviour and bane of our party all at the same time. I would suggest going anything other than ranger as they tend to be the least interesting (but that is personal opinion).

  • If you’re not familiar with 5th edition classes, and only know the classes from previous editions, then Things Are Different. The most interesting thing (to me anyway) is that very early in a class’ levelling, you get to pick some sort of specialisation.

    I can think of a few examples of this that have a more chaotic bent. A monk can choose the way of the shadow to become a stealthy ninja, teleporting between shadows. A rogue can choose the Arcane Trickster specialisation to gain spells, a specialisation that makes them good at assassination, or a specialisation that makes them better at being a burglar. I particularly like Arcane Trickster because you get a Mage Hand spell you can pickpocket and distract with. (Distract the opponent with the Mage Hand, then Sneak Attack!) A cleric can choose the Trickery Domain, to become a cleric of a trickster god of your choice, and you gain various Trickery skills as well as spells.

    There are probably other class specialisations that can suit a chaotic-ish character, these are just the ones that come to mind.

    • I went with the Trickery Domain on my Cleric with my deity being Loki. I am so glad they added this system. Clerics use to be the most boring rigid class to play in the lower levels.
      The early trickery spells, particularly disguise self give you some great options for the non-combat parts of the game.

  • I’ll echo the advice I give to all my new players:

    “Play a character, not a class.”

    A class should be a mechanical tool for your character, not the basis for it.

  • I’d say go look into Fighter and then the Battle Master archetype. The mechanics can be played out like a Swashbuckler/Zoro/Pirate kinda character.

  • If you’re allowed to dip into Forgotten Realms sourcebooks, the Sword Coast Adventures book has a Rogue archetype, the Swashbuckler, which might appeal. Basically turns you into Wesley from the Princess Bride. You get to, among other things, add your charisma to your initiative, and apply sneak attack bonuses to any enemy your allies *aren’t* attacking. Later on you gain the ability to charm NPCs and provoke your foes as well.

  • Personally, the most fun I ever had playing DnD 5ed was with a Tiefling Assassin Rogue. It was a whole bunch of fun both mechanically and lore-wise!

  • Tailor your class to your character rather than the other way round. Making really stupid/risky decisions because that what your character would do if probably my favorite part of DnD.

    One of the great things about 5th ed is they have taken away a lot of the restriction that were in previous version so your free to do anything really.

    Be sure to make sure your characters flaw is reasonable and will have a impact for example my current character has a gambling problem and it has lead to some ridiculous situations.

  • more familiar with pre-4th ed stuff, but I always liked mages built slightly askew – had fun with an old wizard who somehow started with more HP than our fighters, and used spells outside of their standard combat setting to be more effective that usual in the early levels – even better getting to elemental spell tiers since I’d dual-tech my lightning with the cleric’s water summoning :3

    for something impish I’d say look into the magically inclined rogues based on what others here were saying about the 5ed specialisations

  • I’m not familiar enough with 5th edition to advise on characters. Perhaps tell the DM what you want your character to do than let them help you fit that to a class.

    The only thing I can say is if you’re playing a campaign, check with the DM before you specialise in a non common weapon. There will almost always be magic long swords, very few campaigns will have a wide variety of magic flails (I played a Fighter who specialised in disarming his foes rather than straight fighting, was actually a lot of fun but it kind of broke the campaign we where playing as few enemies where prepared to face a guy who kept knocking their weapon out of their hands.).

  • I loved rogue in 3.5e. I’ve been playing a paladin in 5e though and it has been pretty sweet.

    If you want to not worry about missing the enemy, go with ranger. At level 3 or so they get this ridiculous feat that allows them to get +5 to hit. In addition to your no doubt high dex and proficiencies, you have to roll REALLY low to actually miss. It’s grotesque.

  • Speaking from considerable experience, your group will always need a wizard. If nobody else is playing one, you should.

  • If you’re looking for Impish and a little bit tricky and chaotic, a wild magic sorcerer could be what you’re looking for. I’m playing a dragon heritage sorcerer and she’s amazing.

    • Oh yeah, the Wild Magic sorcerer! I’d forgotten about them! From a pure mechanics perspective, kind of annoying because you get a random effect when you cast a spell, some good, some bad. From an RP perspective, absolutely amazing.

      “Fireball! And blue hair! Please with the blue hair!”

      (Roll roll) “The fireball hits. Also, you and your party teleport to the blue hair dimension.”

      “Well, at least this is better than the time we all turned into snakes.”

  • Depends on the D&D edition. BECMI I suggest elf. It provides you with a character who can cast spells, use a sword, wear leather and a bandolier of throwing daggers. See secret doors better than anyone, see in the dark, immune to ghoul paralysis.
    Anything new: urban? First off you dont know what can happen in ‘urban adventures’ you could be crawling through sewers fighting rats the size of wolves. You might need to be a high charisma negotiator. a thief with high intelligence for more skills.

    Lets say halfling thief with high charisma and intelligence.

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