Classes dnd 5e

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There are 12 classes in the Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition (D&D 5E)  Player’s Handbook; from robed spellcasters, to great axe-wielding warriors, to enigmatic druids, fantasy fans are spoiled for choice. However, at first glance, the options may appear overwhelming when trying to build a character for your next bold adventure.

Each of the classes has unique mechanics and exciting roleplaying possibilities which will govern how you progress in your campaign, making them a key component in your D&D experience. Every choice comes with its own archetypes, playstyles, advantages and disadvantages, and, considering how much time you will be investing in your character, it’s vital to consider all options before you make a firm decision.

This guide covers all the D&D 5E Player’s Handbook classes, examining their basic stats, playstyles, and offering a few helpful tips. If you are a new player, or just fancy a quick refresher before deciding what class is best suited to you, this guide will help you choose before setting out on your next campaign.

Before we begin, let’s review the 12 classes on offer in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons.

D&D 5E class guide party vs dragon

What’s in a name, you ask? Well, quite a lot, actually – remember, this class is going to be your character’s fundamental defining category. People who don’t know your character’s name may well address you by your class, all campaign long – so make sure to pick one you like.

These are the 12 current D&D 5E classes:

Think about your enemies:

Think about your enemies:

Different enemies in D&D 5E are weak against certain classes - for example, Clerics are unstoppable forces against undead. Ask your DM about this - and check the Monster Manual for more info!

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A big question to ask yourself when looking at classes is what kind of role you want to take in the adventuring party. Do you want to be the armoured support, like a Cleric? Or maybe the flashy damage-dealer as a Sorcerer? To help guide your choice, there are six primary abilities in D&D: 

  • Strength 
  • Constitution 
  • Wisdom 
  • Charisma 
  • Intelligence 
  • Dexterity

Each class will specialise in a primary ability that governs character building and roleplaying options. For example, a Fighter will focus on strength, maybe tending to run into battle impulsively and solve their problems with combat, while a Bard will focus on charisma and charm their way out of sticky situations. When picking a class, look at their primary abilities and consider what sort of character you would want to roleplay.

You might already have a class in mind – but a good adventurer knows their allies’ skills and characteristics as well as their own, so make sure you check out all the classes before before venturing forth!

Read our full Barbarian guide

Barbarian 5E

Party Role  Damage dealer, Tank
Primary AbilityStrength
Saving ThrowsStrength, Constitution
Hit Dice1d12 per Level 
HP at 1st Level  12 + Constitution modifier

Yep, that’s right, he’s the one on the left with the horned helmet.

The embodiment of anger management issues, Barbarians are the classic muscle-bound, hot-headed warriors we all know and love. Based on figures like Conan or Boudica, they are heavy hitters who excel in battle. With their rage ability and higher-level subclass features, they have the potential to deal devastating damage in combat and are near-impossible to take down because, of all the classes, they have the highest hit dice (which determine your health).

DM’s Guide: How to run the D&D 5E starter adventure

As this is a simple class that usually focuses on using brawn instead of brains, players will want to prioritise raising their strength, constitution and dexterity scores for an effective battle-ready Barbarian build.

Ready to start building your own skull-crushing, body-building badass? Read our full-on D&D Barbarian 5E class guide for all the best races, subclasses, and builds.

Read our full Bard guide

Bard 5E

Party Role  Utility, Support, Control
Primary AbilityCharisma 
Saving ThrowsCharisma, Dexterity
Hit Dice1d8 per Level 
HP at 1st Level  8+ Constitution modifier 

If you want to hone in on your roleplaying skills, the confident and charming Bard is a great choice. Often referred to as the ‘jack of all trades’ of the adventuring party, the Bardis a versatile class that can be a huge benefit to teammates, both in battle and social interactions.

Cast list: The D&D spells you shouldn’t leave camp without

A relatively tricky class to optimise, choosing the Bard’s spells requires strategic thinking and foresight. As they are primary spellcasters who truly shine in social situations, focus on raising their charisma score as you progress. 

Thinking of taking up your lute / violin / bagpipes and setting out on a musical tour of the Forgotten Realms? Play out your options with our in-depth Bard 5E class guide.

Read our full Cleric guide

Cleric 5E

Party Role  Support, Healer, Damage dealer
Primary AbilityWisdom 
Saving ThrowsWisdom, Charisma 
Hit Dice1d8 per Level 
HP at 1st Level  8 + Constitution modifier

Clerics are the divine agents of gods, and act as your tanky healer, smiting evil while keeping their party alive. However, Clerics can follow vastly different archetypes and playstyles based on which god and divine domain they choose.

The player’s handbook details seven divine domains that will dictate your party role; for example, if you are focused on healing, Life domain is a great choice, whereas combat-orientated Clerics will benefit from the War domain.

Takes all kinds: Our guide to all the D&D races

Since Clerics are primary spellcasters with a wisdom focus, and the party’s healer too, invest in their wisdom and constitution scores as you level up. With their simple spellcasting mechanic and baked-in roleplaying options, they are a great pick for first-time players.

Fancy yourself a devoted warrior of faith? Choose your pious path with our complete, in-depth Cleric 5E class guide. 

Read our full Druid guide

Druid 5E

Party Role  Utility, Support, Healer, Control
Primary AbilityWisdom 
Saving ThrowsIntelligence, Wisdom 
Hit Dice1d8 per Level 
HP at 1st Level  8 + Constitution modifier 

Ever wanted to be one with nature or transform into any creature? If the answer is yes, then the Druid class is for you. Druids are incredibly versatile, able to polymorph into beasts, heal the party and control the elements to turn a battle in your favour. 

Go your own way: Check out our Pathfinder classes guide

With quirky spells and an aversion to metal, roleplaying as an eccentric Druid can be fun for players who love mysticism and folklore. Another primary spellcaster, you should focus on raising your Druid’s wisdom score first and foremost. 

If you’re set on becoming one with nature, plant yourself in the most fertile soil possible, with our comprehensive D&D Druid 5E class guide. 

Read our full Fighter guide

Fighter 5E

Party Role  Tank, Damage dealer
Primary AbilityStrength or Dexterity
Saving ThrowsStrength, Constitution 
Hit Dice1d10 per Level 
HP at 1st Level  10 + Constitution modifier

The classic action hero archetype, the Fighter is a specialised battle machine, and an excellent pick for players who love to deal damage in combat. Great for new players and an ideal base class to experiment with multiclassing, the Fighter offers a range of roleplaying possibilities.

Like the Barbarian, focus on strength/dexterity and constitution to make your Fighter a devastating force in combat.

Would you take the Fighter’s path? Begin your training with our complete D&D Fighter 5E class guide, including Fighting Styles, subclasses, races, builds, and more. 

Read our full Monk guide

Monk 5E

Party Role  Damage dealer, Control
Primary AbilityWisdom & Dexterity 
Saving ThrowsDexterity, Strength (gain all saving throws at level 14) 
Hit Dice1d8 per Level
HP at 1st Level  8 + Constitution modifier 

Monks are the martial arts experts of the D&D world. Driven by discipline and the mystical force Ki, they destroy their enemies quickly and effectively. With their speed, Monks make excellent strikers in combat, able to break through enemy lines and target spellcasters. Their abilities make them great damage-dealers, but they can be challenging to play, due to their low hit dice and lack of armour proficiency.

Worlds within worlds: How to play D&D’s starter set

The Monk class offers unique character options with tons of pop culture references for roleplaying, from ninjas to air/water/earth/fire-benders. Focus on raising your dexterity, wisdom and constitution scores as you progress.

Will you master the power of the Ki with your next D&D character? Our fully loaded D&D Monk 5E guide uncovers this class’s secret ways. 

Read our full Paladin guide

 Paladin 5E

Party Role  Tank, Damage dealer, Support, Healer
Primary AbilityStrength & Charisma 
Saving ThrowsWisdom, Charisma 
Hit Dice1d10 per Level 
HP at 1st Level  10 + Constitution modifier

Often taking the leadership role and becoming the face of the party, Paladins are a charismatic hybrid class, dealing in both spellcasting and melee combat. Unlike previous editions of the game, there are no alignment or religious restrictions for your Paladin in 5E, making them personality-driven and only bound to their chosen Oath. These Oaths will define your character’s play style, so pick carefully.

For a well-rounded Paladin that can support your party and act as the negotiator/diplomat in social situations, focus on raising your charisma and strength scores.

Are you truly set upon taking your Oath and joining the noble champions of the righteous? Dive into our comprehensive Paladin 5E guide for more.

Read our full Ranger guide

Ranger 5E

Party Role  Damage dealer, Utility, Support 
Primary AbilityDexterity &  Wisdom 
Saving ThrowsDexterity, Strength 
Hit Dice1d10 per Level 
HP at 1st Level  10 + Constitution modifier

A hybrid class perfect for any players that love exploration, Rangers are part-martial warrior, part-spellcaster and can be invaluable party members. A popular choice, Rangers are the masters of nature and can take on multiple party roles. They can be both melee and ranged damage-dealers, cast control spells, and provide heaps of utility for a campaign with their tracking abilities.

You can do it: Our guide to the very best D&D Feats

Rangers get a ton of choices as they level up. They can select things like favoured terrain and enemies, so it is always a good idea to consult with your DM when character building. Focus on raising your dexterity score for damage and wisdom or constitution for spells and skills.

Have you already donned your forest-green armour and nocked an arrow in preparation for the Ranger’s life? Best check out our comprehensive D&D Ranger 5E guide for all the key subclasses, races, builds, and more.

Read our full Rogue guide

Rogue 5E

Party Role  Damage dealer, Utility
Primary AbilityDexterity
Saving ThrowsDexterity, Intelligence 
Hit Dice1d8 per Level 
HP at 1st Level  8+ Constitution modifier

Rogues are an elusive class who pride themselves on their ability to pick your pockets while stabbing you in the back. Awarded the most skills out of all classes, a Rogue  can build themselves into an irreplaceable ‘multi-tool’ teammate, picking locks, gathering information and deceiving their way out of disputes.

With abilities like sneak attack, they can obliterate single targets, making them satisfying to play for damage-dealing. Focus on raising your Rogue’s dexterity score, and strategically pick your level-up options to support the playstyle you want.

Ready to hit the backstreets and make a name for yourself? Check out our comprehensive Rogue 5E D&D class guide to dive deeper into the shadows.

Read our full Sorcerer guide

Sorcerer 5E

Party Role  Damage dealers, Control
Primary AbilityCharisma
Saving ThrowsConstitution, Charisma 
Hit Dice1d6 per Level 
HP at 1st Level  6 + Constitution modifier 

Unlike other spellcasters, Sorcerers have their magic granted through natural means; their powers come from raw ability. Quite a complex class but offering versatile spells make Sorcerers well-equipped for most dungeon crawling and social interactions.

Write ’em up: Our guide to the best D&D character sheets

With their proficiency in constitution saving throws and ability to use sorcery points to make more spell slots, they are an enticing spellcaster class for any player. Focus on raising your charisma score for spellcasting and remember that fire spells in D&D 5E are always a powerful choice.

Think you can feel the arcane blood coursing through your veins? Read our exhaustive Sorcerer 5E class guide to channel your powers. 

Read our full Warlock guide

Warlock 5E

Party Role  Utility, Damage dealers, Control 
Primary AbilityCharisma 
Saving ThrowsWisdom, Charisma 
Hit Dice1d8 per Level
HP at 1st Level  8 + Constitution modifier 

Spellcasters who form a pact with an otherworldly patron, Warlocks are granted incredible powers, making them uniquely strong damage dealers and unlike any other spellcaster in 5E. Despite their deceptively easy spellcasting, Warlocks are a mechanically complex class. Each level-up choice is meaningful and requires strategic thinking.

Their obligation to and relationship with their patron make them a story-building goldmine. You can be a cultist working for the fiends of hell, or an agent of the fey – the possibilities are endless. Great for damage-dealers to multiclass into, too. Focus on your charisma score for spellcasting.

Ready to make your pact with forces unknown? Dive in deep with our Warlock 5E guide, complete with all the Warlock races, subclasses, and builds you’ll need to get started. 

Read our full Wizard guide

Wizard 5E

Party Role  Utility, Damage dealers, Control
Primary AbilityIntelligence 
Saving ThrowsIntelligence, Wisdom 
Hit Dice1d6 per Level 
HP at 1st Level  6 + Constitution modifier

Wizards and fantasy go hand in hand, and many players will no doubt gravitate towards this class. With eight schools of magic to choose from and a unique spellbook mechanic, Wizards immerse players completely into the ‘studious magical genius’ role, making roleplaying a breeze. They are a versatile class and can obliterate multiple enemies at once, but are quite vulnerable due to their low hit dice.

Power of creation: The best online D&D character creators

Although tricky at first, once you understand the spellbook mechanic and how to utilise abilities like mage armour, a Wizard can be one of the party’s most effective damage-dealers. Focus on your intelligence score for spellcasting – and remember to keep your spellbook safe!


You have been accepted to Wargamer’s School of Wizardry and, er, Wizardry! Report to your first… ahem… class in our D&D Wizard 5E guide, explaining the key Schools of Magic, best Wizard spells, and more.


10 best Dungeons & Dragons 5E subclasses you should play in your next campaign

One of the most interesting parts of everybody’s favourite tabletop RPG, Dungeons & Dragons, is the opportunity to customise your character to the nth degree.

Deciding how to pick your character class in Dungeons & Dragons 5E, which determines the broad strokes of how your character interacts with the world and operates in combat, is the first step and will largely determine your experience of the roleplaying game. Working out how to choose your Dungeons & Dragons 5E race is more of a question of flavour, though does provide different bonuses and abilities depending on what you go for.

Beyond that, though, there are subclasses to choose between - variations of each class that further refine your character’s abilities. Want to play a Dungeons & Dragons 5E wizard who wears armour and favours a sword? A D&D 5E rogue who specialises in duelling? A druid who obsessively cultivates mushrooms? All are possible!

Best Dungeons & Dragons 5E subclasses

So whatever you want your character to be and however you play Dungeons & Dragons, there should be a perfect character subclass for you. Read on for a runthrough of the best Dungeons & Dragon 5E subclasses available to players that we think are interesting - you might just find something to include in your next campaign.

1. Arcane Trickster (Rogue)

Rogues are usually masters of sneaking and stabbing - not always in that order - and the Arcane Trickster subclass augments these shady abilities with spellcasting.

At third level, Arcane Tricksters pick up Mage Hand and two further wizard cantrips. Your Mage Hand can be made invisible, rifle through people’s pockets and pick locks at range, and at higher levels can be used to distract opponents mid-combat. You also pick up three first-level wizard spells - so long as they are in the enchantment or illusion schools - and more as your progress.

At ninth level and above, creatures who cannot see you gain disadvantage on saving throws against your spells, while at 17th you can literally steal spells cast on you by other creatures for up to eight hours.

The Dungeons & Dragons 5E rogue class is usually the party member most proficient in enchantment and illusion, so the Arcane Trickster specialisation usually lends itself best to pickpockets, thieves or even street performers. One of the best uses we’ve ever heard of was a thuggish half-orc rogue whose “spells” were, in fact, him shouting particularly loudly or throwing gloves filled with sand to act as a crude Mage Hands.

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2. Path of the Totem Warrior (Barbarian)

It may seem like your party’s angry, loincloth-wearing axe-fan is a little one-note, but barbarian subclasses can send the class in interesting ways. The Path of the Totem Warrior sees them accepting a spirit animal as a guide, taking their strength to magically power their rages through a physical totem object that incorporates the fur, teeth or bones of the chosen animal.

At third level, you can pick one spirit animal of bear, eagle, elk, tiger or wolf (each is swappable for a creature more suited to your homeland, so your dreams of a huge, hairy spider-person are still achievable) and gain immediate benefits related to them. For example, tiger totems can jump higher and further while raging. You can pick further benefits at sixth and 14th levels.

From 10th level, you can also cast Commune with Nature as a ritual spell, summoning one of your animal guides to give you advice about the surrounding natural area. Though it might be tempting to ask your spiritual bear-parent for the best spot to pick a prickly pear, it can be used to determine the location of monsters, nearby towns or even the influence of other planes of existence.

3. College of Lore (Bard)

The College of Lore is one of two options open to bards of third level in the Player’s Handbook. Where the College of Valor focuses on hand-to-hand combat skills, the College of Lore sends your character further down the ‘jack of all trades’ path and reflects many of the most popular interpretations of the bard class in 5E, whether flamboyant performers, wizened storytellers or complete chancers.

The subclass is also powerful in Dungeons & Dragons 5E: not only can you add three more skill proficiencies onto your character sheet at third level, but you can upgrade your bardic inspiration dice to be used actively thanks to Cutting Words, which lets you subtract the number rolled from enemies’ attack rolls, ability checks or damage rolls, thanks to the distracting nature of your insults. It’s also a fun opportunity to roleplay some trash-talking and vent any DM frustrations you may have.

But the most useful boon from the College is Additional Magical Secrets: at sixth level, you can learn two spells of your choice from any class (in addition to those all bards can pilfer at 10th level). These include powerful class-restricted options like Fireball, Tenser’s Floating Disk, Teleport or - from 18th level - Wish.

Dungeons & Dragons 5E Roleplaying Game Artwork

4. School of Divination (Wizard)

While many players swear by the Bladesinger or War Magic specialisations to turn your robed spellcaster into a frontline fighter, the School of Divination gives Dungeons & Dragons 5E wizard players some unique tools that also allow for some fun roleplaying opportunities thanks to their clairvoyant powers. You also get the usual benefits to your divination spells, such as quicker spellbook copying times and regaining lower-level spell slots after casting from sixth level.

Starting at second level, divination wizards can peer into the future every time they finish a long rest, rolling two d20s (up to three at 14th level) and taking note of the numbers rolled. You can later use these rolls to replace any attack roll, saving throw or ability check made by you or a creature you can see once, until you take another long rest.

So, if you roll a 2 and a 3, you can force an attacking enemy to flub their weapon swing; if you roll a 19 and a 20, you can make your fighter score a couple of crucial critical hits in the same fight.

It’s a unique ability that can turn the tide of an encounter for better or for worse - and asks deeper questions about the nature of free will in a turn-based tabletop RPG.

5. Eldritch Knight (Fighter)

Much like the Arcane Trickster option for rogues, the Eldritch Knight boosts a purely martial class with some spellcasting abilities from the evocation and abjuration schools of magic. Starting at third level, they gain two cantrips and two first-level spell slots, plus a choice of many nasty surprises from the wizard spell list.

What makes this Dungeons & Dragons 5E subclass particularly strong, however, is the augmenting of your considerable battle prowess with said spells. For example Shield, which gives you +5 to AC for a round of combat as a bonus action, can make you nearly impossible to hit at low levels, while spells like Shadow Blade or buffs like Haste at higher levels make your multiple attacks even more nasty. This is helped by the War Magic feature, gained at seventh level, which allows you to make a weapon attack as a bonus action after casting a cantrip.

Arguably the coolest feature, though, is Weapon Bond; at third level, you can create a magical link between you and your favourite sharp or blunt implement, meaning you can magically summon it as a bonus action and have it appear in your hand from anywhere in the same plane of existence. Thor, eat your heart out.

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6. Circle of the Moon (Druid)

I know we promised a mushroom-tending druid - and Circle of Spores is very cool, if a little underpowered - but the most powerful option for your favourite tree-hugger is the Circle of the Moon, thanks to its focus on your Wild Shape ability.

While retaining your potent spellcasting abilities, going down the lunar path at second level means you can transform into more dangerous animals, up to a challenge rating of 1. This includes direwolves, giant toads and - if you’re feeling in a tentacle-ish mood - giant octopuses. This ability gets exponentially better starting from sixth level - by eighth you’ll be able to animorph into flying dinosaurs or giant snakes.

Other bonuses include being able to use Wild Shape as a bonus action (rather than an action), using further bonus actions to regain 1d8 hit points in return for a spell slot and, from 10th level, transforming into powerful elemental forms.

7. The Fiend (Warlock)

Poor warlocks: universally considered the weakest of Dungeons & Dragons 5E’s character classes, but armed with some of the coolest roleplaying tools, the demon-followers do not see a lot of play. But choosing to make a pact with the Fiend when you create a D&D 5E warlock allows the class’s slightly janky spellcasting to become a lot more versatile.

First of all, an expanded spell list gives Fiend warlocks powerful spells like Burning Hands, Scorching Ray and Fireball. You can also sap temporary hit points from hostile creatures you bring down equal to your charisma modifier plus your warlock level, and from 10th level gain resistance to a chosen damage type, changeable once you rest.

From sixth level, call upon your devilish patron to alter fate in your favour - to the tune of a d10 that can be added to ability checks or saving throws once per short rest. At 14th, however, you get your most fiendish ability: once per long rest, you can instantly transport a creature you hit with an attack into the lower reaches of Hell for a turn, taking 10d10 psychic damage on their return.

Dungeons & Dragons warlock.

8. Divine Soul (Sorcerer)

Dungeons & Dragon 5E sourcebook Xanathar’s Guide to Everything has a number of radically altered subclasses, of which the sorcerer's Divine Soul path is one of the most overpowered.

Put simply, sorcerers of this ilk are powered by an innate connection to a god; in practice this means that whenever these sorcerers are allowed to pick a new spell, they can choose from the cleric spell list as well as the sorcerer list, and gain an additional spell depending on whether they and their divine link have an affinity for good, evil, law, chaos or neutrality.

There are other bonuses, too. Favoured by the Gods allows you to add 2d4 to a failed saving throw or attack roll, Empowered Healing at sixth level lets you use your sorcery points to reroll low dice rolls when restoring bonuses, and Unearthly Recovery means you can instantly heal half your HP from 18th level. Among the most coveted is Angelic Form: starting at 14th, your sorcerer can summon spectral (but functional) wings as a bonus action.

9. Oathbreaker (Paladin)

Speaking of radically altered classes, the Oathbreaker option in the Dungeons & Dragons 5E Dungeon Master’s Guide transforms paladins from those dedicated to a particular cause to those that have broken their sacred vows to pursue a dark intent or serve an evil power. Edgy, sure, but it also allows you to play a broken, world-weary holy warrior rather than a goody-two-shoes.

They are also pretty handy as damage dealers. Starting at third level, Oathbreakers gain access to some darker spells - including Inflict Wounds, Animate Dead and Contagion - and can use their Channel Divinity to control undead creatures or frighten nearby creatures. At seventh, they and any fiends or undead nearby can add their Charisma modifier to damage rolls, and at 15th they gain resistance to damage from non-magical weapons.

At 20th level things get real: Oathbreakers can use their action to become a Dread Lord, dimming nearby lights, causing heavy damage to any frightened creatures and summoning the shadows themselves to attack nearby targets. Spooky and effective.

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10. Forge Domain (Cleric)

While many players and party members expect clerics to be healing sycophants, there are lots of Dungeons & Dragons 5E subclass options that can turn them into absolute monsters of damage dealers - Storm Domain, we’re looking at you. Clerics dedicated to the gods of the forge domain favour heavy armour, fancy weapons and potent magic items alongside their divine powers, and have several unique factors that make them a boon to any party of adventurers.

Functionally, this gives you access to a range of fire and weapon-based spells in addition to the usual cleric options. From first level, Forge Clerics can also imbue magic into weapons or armour, improving their stats until they finish a long rest, while from second they can use their Channel Divinity to create items out of thin air, including martial weapons, suits of armor, ten pieces of ammunition or any “metal object”, which can include copies of keys you have.

Further down the line, Forge Clerics’ devotion to shirtless blacksmithing makes them even more hardy in combat, thanks to Soul of the Forge’s defensive bonuses and Divine Strike at sixth level, which lets you add fire damage to your weapon attacks once per turn. By 17th level, thanks to the Saint of Forge and Fire perk, you can even become immune to fire damage and resistant to non-magical weapons.

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A Guide to DnD 5e Classes

Quick Look at DnD Classes

The following classes are available to play in DnD 5e:

ClassTypeShort DescriptionClass GuideSpells
ArtificerRanged Damage, Utility, Support CasterA tinkering support caster that can craft items for your party.Artificer 5e GuideArtificer Spells
BarbarianTank, Melee DamageA primal warrior that relies on their rage to fuel their combat prowess.Barbarian 5e GuideN/A
BardSupport Caster, UtilityA silver-tongued minstrel that taps in the magic of music to cast spells.Bard 5e GuideBard Spells
ClericHealer, Support CasterA devoted follower of a deity that harnesses the power of their faith for magic.Cleric 5e GuideCleric Spells
DruidTank, Support Caster, Healer, UtilityA nature-based magic user that can shapeshift into animal forms.Druid 5e GuideDruid Spells
FighterTank, Melee Damage, Ranged DamageBorn and bred in battle, the Fighter is a master of combat.Fighter 5e GuideN/A
MonkEvasive, Melee DamageA skilled martial artist, the Monk can manipulate their Ki to perform extraordinary feats.Monk 5e GuideN/A
PaladinTank, Healer, Support Caster, Melee DamageA warrior whose devotion to their Oath provides magical powers.Paladin 5e GuidePaladin Spells
RangerRanged Damage, SurvivalA master of survival who uses knowledge of the outdoors to track foes and provide advantages in combat.Ranger 5e GuideRanger Spells
RogueStealth, Evasive, Ranged Damage, Melee DamageA stealthy lurker of the shadows, specializing in backstabbing and trickery.Rogue 5e GuideN/A
SorcererSpell Damage, Battlefield ControlA magic-user that can use their meta magic abilities to shape spells in unique ways.Sorcerer 5e GuideSorcerer Spells
WarlockSpell Damage, Battlefield ControlA wielder of Eldritch powers that focuses on mental manipulation and blasts of arcane power.Warlock 5e GuideWarlock Spells
WizardSpell Damage, Utility, Support CasterWizards take a scholarly approach to magic and are able to play with the fabric of reality.Wizard 5e GuideWizard Spells

Choosing the right class for yourself AND your character will dictate the effectiveness of your character’s career. Making sure you choose right the first time is imperative, as once you start playing a character, it’s quite a pain to go back and re-roll a new one. Not only will the time you invested into creating your first character be wasted, but your campaign will have to accommodate the new character. This creates work for your DM and interrupts the story as your new character is introduced.

This article goes into depth on each DnD 5e class and will give you the proper tools to make the right decision for your character.

What is a Class in DnD 5e?

Fun Fact: Dungeons & Dragons was the first formalized game to use the character class mechanic.

This article provides a general overview of the 5e character classes. A character’s class is the most important thing to consider when creating a character in D&D 5e. Your character’s class determines their skills and abilities, ultimately dictating how they are played. Skills are determined by particular Class Features, while abilities are measured by Ability Scores. While not quite as pivotal, your character’s background, race,spells, and feats (if available) will also define the way the character is played.

If you are looking to take a deep dive into a particular class build, check out our Class Guides which are linked in the table above as well as in the class descriptions below.

How Ability Scores Shape Your Character

There are six Ability Scores used in DnD 5e:

  • Strength (STR)
  • Constitution (CON)
  • Dexterity (DEX)
  • Intelligence (INT)
  • Wisdom (WIS)
  • Charisma (CHA)

Classes like Barbarians and Fighters are Strength and Constitution focused, meaning that they specialize in hitting things and getting hit by things.

On the other hand, Wizards, Artificers, and Druids are magic users that cast spells with Intelligence and Wisdom. This means they will be very resourceful when stuck in a tricky situation, but won’t be as useful if caught in a tavern brawl.

Dexterity-based characters like Rogues and Rangers are effective at sneaking and doing ranged damage. These characters like to use bows or other dexterity-based weapons to seek advantages and catch their enemies by surprise.

Finally, Charisma-based characters are Bards, Warlocks, and Sorcerers. These classes cast spells with their Charisma and are usually the ones in your party to talk their way out of (or into) situations.

Each Class comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, your super strong Barbarian may be great at cracking skulls but isn’t going to be the one to win over a diplomat in a civil discussion. Before choosing your character’s class, you want to make sure you consider all of your options and the strengths, weaknesses, and playstyles that come along with each of the classes.

Your Options



The Artificer is the first full-fledged class to be added to D&D 5e outside of the Player’s Handbook. Artificers were first introduced in the sourcebook Eberron: Rising from the Last War and were reprinted in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. The Artificer is an extremely unique class because it is the only class to have a large focus on items.

The Artificer’s class features revolve around Magical Tinkering and Infuse Items, both of which are able to give mundane items extra abilities or effects. Even their subclasses are primarily focused on items, whether it is crafting potions, animating a suit of armor to fight for you, turning your wand into a firearm, or crafting yourself a friend to defend you in combat.


The Artificer is a support/utility class through and through. Being able to craft items and have a wide variety of utility spells allows Artificers to have a way to gain a leg up in combat and adventuring situations. The biggest advantage they can offer their party is through the Artificer Infusions. These Infusions can create powerful magical items that, in a system like 5e, provide a huge advantage to your party by boosting their power beyond their current level.


The Artificer’s uniqueness tends to get in the way of its actual effectiveness. One of the main issues with the Artificer is how few spell slots they are given. For a class that has INT as its primary stat, they don’t get a whole lot of use out of it until 7th level when they get Flash of Genius.

Some Artificer builds can end up being underwhelming in combat. For the subclasses that are primarily spellcasting, they have very few actual damage, buff, or control spells due to the fact that their spells are mainly meant for utility. For the subclasses that will be wading into combat, they will quickly find their d8 hit dice can let them down. The Artificer’s main strength comes outside of combat, where they are able to tinker with items and provide lasting buffs to their party members.

Check out our Artificer Guide



If you take a look at the Barbarian’s class features, it’s pretty obvious how they are meant to be played. Due to the Barbarian’s propensity for combat, you are usually going to put all of your Ability points into STR and CON, while dumping the other stats. This will give you the fantasy equivalent of the Hulk (complete with the uncontrollable rage!), which may leave you with a bit of a meathead but at least it will be your meathead.


Barbarians are the kings and queens of melee damage in DnD 5e. They have the ability to go into a Rage to get a bonus to any check made using STR and a nice boost to damage. Barbarians also gain the ability to attack recklessly, which makes it easier to hit opponents, with the caveat that they get to hit you more easily.

Barbarians have the unique ability to absorb tons of damage. They have the highest hit dice in the game and when combined with a maxed out CON skill, will give them a ridiculous amount of hit points. As a bonus, when they Rage Barbarians take half damage on all physical attacks. Talk about tanky.


The Barbarian’s weaknesses are what you might expect from the beefiest character class in 5e. Barbarians aren’t going to offer a whole lot in the way of utility, they’re more of a “go here and hit that” type of character.

In a situation in which they can’t punch, kick or bite their way out, Barbarians won’t be a lot of help to the party.

Check out our Barbarian Guide



Most people who have seen a Bard played correctly will agree that Bards are one of the most powerful 5e classes, but they are also one of the most difficult to play. The Bard’s spell list demands that you think outside the box, and their high CHA modifier pushes you to interact with people constantly. The Bard class wants you to be gregarious, and it was designed this way on purpose. If you want to be silly, clever, and powerful, the Bard might be the class for you.


The 5e Bard is a bit of a jack of all trades. Depending on how you want to play your Bard, you can flaunt the combat prowess of a Fighter, the dexterous skill set of a Rogue, or the magical power of a Wizard. 

Bards also get a feature called Bardic Inspiration which allows them to give any party member an extra die to roll on an attack or skill check. This ability by itself is amazing on its own, but when accompanied by the Bards’ powerful spellcasting, comfortably provides them the title of the best support class in 5e.


This is an interesting discussion as it is quite a common opinion that Bard’s are a very powerful 5e class. A weakness for Bards, that would be a strength for some people, is the amount of roleplaying that is necessary for the character.

When DMs are asked about players that don’t like to roleplay or take the lead in NPC conversations, most will reply with, “that’s okay, no one needs to play an extroverted character”. While this is true for most classes, a Bard’s strengths are really only maximized when that player is interacting with other party members and NPCs.

If you do not feel comfortable being the face of your party, choosing a Bard may be a tough go.

Check out our Bard Guide



When most people think about the Cleric class, they think of the quiet party member who heals those in need and throws some ranged spells around when no one’s hurt. While 5e’s Cleric can be like that, they can also be heavy armor wearing, mace wielding, summoning-lighting-bolts-with-one-hand-while-mass-party-healing-with-the-other…ers. Like Druids and Bards, Clerics are spellcasters that have a ton of versatility and a long list of roles they can fill.


The Cleric’s spell list has a definitive focus on healing and buffing your party members. Keeping everyone in the fight by healing or making them harder to kill is extremely valuable to any party.

After spellcasting, Domains are the Cleric’s biggest class feature. A Cleric’s Domain is a defining aspect of your character as they represent what your Cleric worships. Each Domain gives you bonus Domain Spells, unique abilities, and a bonus to damage with either spells or weapons.


Having a solid healer/buffer in your party is indispensable, although some might call it the “boring” job. While 5e Cleric builds can be varied and don’t have to necessarily focus on healing, your party may rely on you for support when situations get rough. Announcing you are playing a Cleric is kind of like announcing you will be the designated driver, your friends are likely to get themselves into a bit more trouble knowing they have someone to bail them out.

Apart from that, the biggest issue Clerics are likely to run into is that their spell list contains a lot of concentration spells. Concentration forces spellcasters to remain focused on a spell for the duration of its effect and will cause them to drop the spell if they take enough damage or cast another spell that requires concentration. If you’re not careful, you can end up wasting a spell slot or dropping a spell at an inopportune moment because of poor concentration management.

Check out our Cleric Guide



What do you get when you cross a Cleric with a hippie?

Druids are a really cool support class with tons of versatility. Want to sneak like a Rogue? Turn into a Giant Spider. Want to tank and deal damage like a Barbarian? Turn into a Brown Bear. Want to heal and buff the party? You’ve got spells for that.

Druids can wear many hats in an adventuring party but have limited resources to do them all. Ensuring you’re keeping an eye on your spell slots and Wild Shapes will be key to playing a successful Druid.


A Druid’s main class feature is shapeshifting (called “Wild Shape”) into beasts that they have seen before. This ability gives the Druid a ton of utility, both in and out of combat, as they are able to transform into an animal like a bear for tanking damage or a spider for climbing to hard-to-reach places.

Beyond their Wild Shape feature, Druids are a great spellcasting class as they have access to spells all the way up to 9th level. This, combined with their Wild Shape abilities, allows them to be versatile with healing, tanking in combat, and utility outside of combat.


To help balance the pure awesomeness that is Wild Shape, most of the beasts you can transform into have a low Armor Class, meaning they are easy to hit and kill in combat.

Their spell list is also a bit weaker than Sorcerers/Wizards as they don’t have access to the big damage spells like Fireball. This lack of damage spells extends to their cantrips, so early levels can feel like a bit of a slog if you find yourself running out of Wild Shapes.

Check out our Druid Guide



Fighters are meant to be among the best damage dealers and soakers in DnD. This means that you will be at your most useful whenever Initiative gets rolled. Outside of combat, Fighters can definitely still be effective additions to the party but they will feel out of their element in tricky situations where punching isn’t going to help.


Funnily enough, Fighters are good at fighting. They get access to all weapons and armor, and by 2nd-level they are given skills to heal themselves. These class features plus their extra attacks at the 5th, 11th, and 20th-level ensure that the Fighter class is the epitome of a melee damage dealer.

Some people may be put off by this and say that they don’t want to play a character that is a one-dimensional “hack and slasher”, but that’s not that the case with Fighters. Because of the Fighter’s varied subclasses, you can definitely go for the straight-up damage-dealing Champion, but you could also play as an Eldritch Knight who uses magic to supplement his melee capabilities or a Battle Master that allows you to influence the battlefield in a strategic manner. No matter what type of Fighter you build, you can be sure that they can put down more pain than just about any class in a combat situation.


While Fighters are amazing at combat, some complain that they lack versatility outside of combat. Because of their need to output and soak damage in combat, they usually have to put all of their eggs into the STR/DEX and CON basket. This means having low CHA for social interactions and low WIS/INT for problem solving and spellcasting.

Check out our Fighter Guide



Monks are a very unique and fun class to play. Some say they are underpowered, but it’s hard to deny that playing a ninja is awesome.

Monks are great support characters as they have the ability to move through combat with relative ease, going where the fighting is thickest or getting out of difficult situations. They also have some really cool out-of-combat features that make them great candidates to be the stealthy infiltrator of the party.

Overall, a Monk isn’t going to be the class you choose if you are planning on being the strongest character in the party. They do, however, offer a very unique playstyle and can be an indispensable asset to the party if played correctly.


Monks are a DEX-based class, which makes it easy to ensure your Monk is good at what they are supposed to be good at. By focusing primarily on DEX, you can ensure your character:

  1. Is hard to hit
  2. Does a fair amount of damage
  3. Can sneak around like a ninja

Despite being a martial class, they also tend to have fun, varied gameplay because of their Ki features. One Ki feature, Stunning Strike, is particularly potent as it allows you to apply the Stunned condition to opponents, making Monk’s one of the more dangerous classes in one-on-one combat.


Monks are a marital class that doesn’t have a lot of hit points or a particularly high AC. This makes them susceptible to getting knocked out when in close quarters combat (which is where they will likely be). They also deal an underwhelming amount of damage compared to other melee characters like Fighters, Barbarians, and Paladins.

Monks have class features that really come in handy at a distance as it allows them to catch projectiles and avoid anything requiring a DEX save quite easily. But in order to be effective in combat, most Monks need to get up close.

There are Monk archetypes that allow the class to become more deadly at range, but they still won’t be as effective as a Ranger or Rogue with projectiles.

Check out our Monk Guide



The Paladin is a class known for its heavy armor, damage output, and roleplaying demands.

Righteous warriors on the path of the Paladin must dedicate themselves completely to an Oath devoted to certain ideals. Some examples are:

  • The Oath of Devotion is for the classic Paladin feel. They are typically lawful and the follower of some deity.
  • The Oath of the Ancients is cool if you want to ease up on the lawful good roleplaying. Protectors of sacred groves as well as innocents, Paladins of the Oath of the Ancients devote themselves to protecting the Light from the darkness of the world, which is a pretty vague mission and gives some room for flexibility.
  • The Oath of Vengeance is for people who want to go for a more Marvel’s Punisher vibe. This Oath is dedicated to the single-minded pursuit of the guilty at the cost of all else. Extremely mobile and terrifyingly efficient, Paladins of this Oath will never stop pursuing their prey.


Paladins are another great option for a tanky damage dealer. They are a semi-spellcaster, meaning they only learn up to 5th level spells and have a limited pool of spell slots to draw from.

Paladins are proficient in all weapons and armor, so they have their pick of the litter when it comes to how they want to outfit themselves for combat. This, on top of their extra damage from Divine Smites, makes them one of the highest damage dealers available.

Paladins have a unique ability to be a sort of battlefield medic. They can be in the thick of the fray without getting killed and have a pool of healing to draw from thanks to their Lay on Hands class feature. The Paladin’s spells also have a focus on healing and. When combined with their ability to buff party members through their Aura of Protection, allows for some powerful party support.


Paladins are known as one of the stronger DnD classes due to their damage output and versatility. Similar to Bards, Paladins are at their best when you are able to take advantage of what roleplaying and CHA can do for you. A Paladin’s Oath is what gives the class their holy butt-kicking powers and sticking to this oath is important to maintaining these powers.

The largest gaps in the Paladin’s arsenal are attacking at a distance and dealing area of effect damage. Their spells and class features mainly focus on dealing single target, melee damage. While they are great at what they do, Paladins can feel a bit out of their depth when having to deal with a ranged or highly mobile enemy.

Check out our Paladin Guide



The common motif around the Ranger in DnD 5e is that of a skilled hunter, tracker, and woodsman, most at home on the fringes of civilization and the first line of defense against threats in the wilds.

Most Rangers are played as loners in social settings and will be more than happy to scout out ahead for the party. While their semi-caster status gives them some versatility, their class features get nerfed quite hard when traveling in environments that are not preferred or fighting enemies that are not their favored type.


Rangers are the best of the martial classes against multiple enemies and hordes. Many of the Ranger’s combat abilities are designed for attacking multiple foes in a turn. To bolster that role, Rangers also have area of effect spells that can damage multiple foes.

Rangers have two other very unique abilities granted at 1st Level: Preferred Terrain and Favored Enemy. The Favored Enemy ability grants the Ranger advantages on attacking and tracking their favored enemy. Preferred Terrain helps the Ranger and their party survive, travel, and navigate certain environments.


Many of the Ranger’s abilities, including the Favored Enemies and Favored Terrains class features, are highly situational and don’t always mesh well with the campaign’s setting, especially if you are traversing an environment where opportunities to scout are at a minimum.

When Rangers are not in their Favored Terrains or dealing with their Favored Enemies, their combat effectiveness and exploration abilities are heavily nerfed, so those abilities are situational at best.

Check out our Ranger Guide



Rogues are definitely for the players that like to lie, cheat, steal, and backstab their way to victory. Because of the way their class features are activated, Rogues need to constantly be thinking about how to get an advantage over their enemies. The tendency of Rogues to be the scout of the party, combined with the unique nature of their combat abilities, means that Rogues are certainly among the more technical melee classes to play.


Rogues are the stealthy thieves and assassins of the DnD world. Commonly referred to as “skill monkeys”, they are proficient in more skills than any other class except for Bards, which allows them to take the lead on a lot situations your party will run across. Things like scouting ahead, picking locks, and silently taking out enemy patrols are common tasks on a Rogue’s laundry list.

Rogues in 5e get an ability called Sneak Attack which allows them to get extra damage on unaware or flanked enemies. This ability goes hand in hand with the Rogue’s tendency to be the party’s scout and also dictates their more “hit and run” style in combat. This ability provides an insane amount of single target damage and is the Rogue’s main way to keep up with the damage output of the other melee classes.

Rogues also get plenty of extra action economy from their Cunning Action class feature which allows them to disengage, dash, or hide as a bonus action.


Rogues are not front-line warriors; they have neither the hit points nor the AC for prolonged exchanges. If your party gets caught out in the open and without the element of surprise Rogues can go down pretty easily.

Due to their high number of proficient skills, Rogues are usually scouting out ahead for dangerous situations. One bad roll could mean your Rogue gets discovered by a group of baddies or fails to notice a trap that drops you into a spike pit.

Check out our Rogue Guide



Sorcerers are different from Wizards in that their magic comes from innate magical talent passed down through their bloodline rather than studying the arcane arts.

Sorcerers have a relatively short spell list, fewer spells they can learn when leveling up, and fewer spell slots when compared to Wizards. This is made up for by their versatility in spellcasting using the Metamagic ability. This ability allows Sorcerers to do things like duplicate spells, weave spells around friendlies, or recover used spell slots.

If you can look at the Sorcerer spell list, find ten spells that you are happy casting all day, every day, and aren’t going to constantly regret not having a dozen other spells available, then the Sorcerer will be a great choice.


Sorcerers are full casters and are constantly compared to Wizards because both classes are entirely focused on spellcasting. The way they differ from the Wizard is a somewhat restricted spell list, the Fonts of Magic/Metamagic class features, and differently formulated subclasses.

The Sorcerer’s main class feature revolves around unique resources called Sorcery Points. Sorcery Points allow them to manipulate their spellcasting in unique ways, making their already practical spellcasting even more effective.

Much like Wizards, Sorcerers have access to all of the best damage dealing spells. This, combined with the Sorcerer’s Metamagic, allows them to go “nova” and deal out massive amounts of damage in a single burst. 


As mentioned above, Sorcerers have a restricted spell list compared to Wizards. Much like Druids, they learn spells as they level up and cannot learn any more until the next level up. This means that Sorcerers won’t have the utility that some other casters do, but the decrease in variety is certainly made up for in the buff to sheer damage and utility Sorcerer Points can provide.

As with other full casters, Sorcerers are susceptible to melee damage as they have low AC and hit points. They also have to manage their resources more effectively than melee classes. If your party is having a particularly bad day with no time for a Long Rest, Sorcerers can run out of spell slots and Sorcery Points quite easily, meaning they will have to rely on weaker, non-limited spells called cantrips.

Check out our Sorcerer Guide



Warlocks get their powers by dedicating themselves to an Eldritch Being. These Beings tend to be on the dark side, so your character might have a tough time getting along with a party’s lawful good Paladin or religious Cleric. This devotion to an Eldritch Being comes with a fair share of issues, so you may find yourself in tough situations where your party is wanting to do one thing but your Eldritch Patron wants another.

Warlocks are not area of effect blasters like the evoker Wizard or a Sorcerer. Instead, they have a few major defining aspects – Eldritch Blasts, Curses, and Mind Control.


The Warlock is another full caster class but, like Sorcerers, they have a few quirks that make them vastly different from the original full caster, Wizards.

First of all, Warlocks are CHA-based casters. Secondly, they have a very reduced number of spell slots and can only ever cast spells at their highest level. This means that all of your spells are going to pack one hell of a punch with the caveat that you will run out of spells slots quite easily.

One good thing to note about this is that Warlocks regain all of their spells slots with a short rest, so with as little as one hour of downtime Warlocks can be back at full offensive strength.

Warlocks also have a number of passive abilities called Invocations. A staple Invocation called Agonizing Blast allows Warlocks to add the CHA modifier to their best damage Cantrip, Eldritch Blast. This allows Warlocks to always put out a fair amount of damage, even if they run out of their meager spell slots.


A Warlock’s spell slots are its biggest weakness. Up until 10th-level they only have two spell slots per short rest, and only ever get up to four spell slots at the 20th-level. This means that Warlocks can wind up without any spells very quickly if your party runs into trouble.

This, combined with the fact that Warlocks don’t get a ton of other combat-focused abilities (outside of the Hexblade subclass), means that a Warlock’s resources can get used up pretty quick and they become very reliant on cantrips.

Check out our Warlock Guide



Wizards are spellcasters that have studied the fundamental forces of magic itself in order to weave it to their will.

Wizards are a class that relies on their INT to cast spells, outsmart opponents, and get themselves out of tricky situations. This reliance on INT will likely become apparent to players as they realize that they have to use their brain to manage a massive spell list and be the party member everyone relies on to always have a plan (thank Gandalf for setting that unrealistic expectation).


The Wizard class is the epitome of a full caster. They have an unparalleled spell list that they can prepare spells from every day to ensure they are always ready for whatever situations may arise.

The Wizard’s strengths really lie in their versatility. Falling from a building? Got a spell for that. Need to kill a clumped together group of bad guys? Got a spell for that. Need to infiltrate a tightly patrolled encampment? Got a spell for that.


A Wizard’s weaknesses are about what you would expect. They have very low AC and hit points and are pretty useless when it comes to a fistfight.

Check out our Wizard Guide

FAQs About 5e Classes

Q: Which Classes Can You Play in D&D 5e?

A: The following classes are available for play in D&D 5e: Artificer, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard. The new Eberron: Rising from the Last War setting is the first sourcebook to introduce a new class, the Artificer, which was later reprinted in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

Q: What is the best class in D&D 5e?

A: The great thing about D&D 5e is that all classes are viable and you can play whatever class you think will be the most fun. Some hard and fast rules would be: Bards are the best supportive spellcaster, Paladins are the best against a single enemy, and Wizards are the strongest at higher levels.

Q: Which D&D 5e Sourcebook has classes?

A: The Player’s Handbook (PHB) contains all playable classes except the Artificer. It provides the class features and some subclass options for those classes. Different sourcebooks such as Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide contain different subclass options if you would like to expand what’s available to you.

Closing Remarks

Wizards of the Coast has done an amazing job of making every 5e class unique and viable. While some characters are objectively stronger than others, this is a roleplaying game. Choosing the class that most reflects the character you want to play is more important than squeezing every last bit of damage out of a build. You will find that knowing your character’s abilities, paying attention to the DM, and being creative can make any class the strongest character in the party.

Hope you liked the article! If you have any questions or feel we’ve missed anything go ahead and post a comment below. If you like our content subscribe to Arcane Eye!

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.

The Best Classes for New Players in Dungeons \u0026 Dragons 5e

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Dnd 5e classes

Character class (Dungeons & Dragons)

A character class is a fundamental part of the identity and nature of characters in the Dungeons & Dragonsrole-playing game. A character's capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses are largely defined by their class; choosing a class is one of the first steps a player takes to create a Dungeons & Dragonsplayer character.[1] A character's class affects a character's available skills and abilities. A well-rounded party of characters requires a variety of abilities offered by the classes found within the game.

Dungeons & Dragons was the first game to introduce the usage of character classes to role-playing.[1] Many other traditional role-playing games and massively multiplayer online role-playing games have since adopted the concept as well. Dungeons & Dragons classes have generally been defined in the Player's Handbook, one of the three core rulebooks; a variety of alternate classes have also been defined in supplemental sourcebooks.

Classes by type[edit]

Principal base classes[edit]

These classes have appeared as character classes in the core books of multiple published editions:

Alternative base classes[edit]

While the main character classes available have remained fairly consistent since the 1st edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, a variety of alternate base classes have been offered in supplemental books. The release of Unearthed Arcana in 1985, for instance, introduced the base class of Barbarian and reworked Paladins to be a type of the new base class "Cavalier".[2]Oriental Adventures also introduced a number of alternate classes more appropriate for an Eastern setting.[3] The 2nd edition added several completely new base classes (e.g. Runecaster and Shaman);[4][5] in addition, supplemental handbooks offered a variety of "kits" to customize each base class,[6][7] and the Dungeon Master's Guide offered rules for creating new character classes.[8] The 3rd edition introduced five classes for use in creating non-player characters in its Dungeon Master's Guide.[9]

Non-core base classes are considered optional and do not always exist in all settings.[3][10] For example, the Samurai class introduced in the Oriental Adventures book may not make sense in a game set in a standard European-style realm. Similarly, classes associated with psionics such as the Psychic Warrior don't apply to worlds without psionics.


Most editions of Dungeons & Dragons have allowed for the possibility to either advance in more than one class simultaneously, alternately taking levels in more than one class, or branching out in a second (or more) class at a specific point defined by the first class, a concept generally called multiclassing.[11]: 82–84 

In the 1st and 2nd editions, changing a character's class is difficult. Only those playing as humans can, and it requires extremely high stats to do so. This is called "dual-classing". Non-humans, on the other hand, can "multiclass" where they effectively learn two (or rarely even three) classes at the same time at the cost of a slower character level progression.[11]: 82–84 

3rd edition allows players to mix and match levels from any number of classes, though certain combinations are more effective than others. In addition, Prestige classes add more options for multiclassing.[11]: 82–84  This edition offers the most freedom regarding multiclassing. There are, however, penalties to the rate of experience point gained if classes are added haphazardly. The 3rd edition version of Unearthed Arcana includes rules for gestalt characters which combine the advantages of two classes.

The 4th edition allows characters to take a feat that grants access to specific facets of another class. The class-specific multiclass feats are also prerequisites for the power-swap feats, each of which allows the character to swap out a daily, encounter, or utility power from their first class for one from their second class. Also, at level 11, a character with a multiclass feat and all of the power-swap feats is eligible for paragon multiclassing, which allows them to gain additional powers from their second class in lieu of taking a Paragon Path. Some classes are only available through multiclassing; the first such class was Spellscarred, introduced in the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide.[12] In the 4th edition, each character can only multiclass into a single class, unless otherwise stated by their primary class (such as the Bard). The Player's Handbook III introduced "hybrid" classes, a deeper form of multiclassing in which elements of two classes are combined each level.

In the 5th edition, multiclassing requires minimum ability scores before it can be chosen; however, the requirements are not as steep as in previous editions. The core classes only require an ability score of 13 or greater in the specific requisite score, except for the Monk, Paladin and Ranger (who need 13s in two stats).[13]

Classes by editions[edit]

Main article: Editions of Dungeons & Dragons

Original Dungeons & Dragons[edit]

In the original Dungeons & Dragons boxed set, there were only three main classes: the Cleric, the Fighting man, and the Magic-User. The first supplement, Greyhawk, added the Thief as a fourth main class, as well as the Paladin as a Fighting Man subclass. These four fantasy gaming archetypes represent four major tactical roles in play: the Fighter offers direct combat strength and durability; the Thief offers cunning and stealth; the Cleric provides support in both combat and magic; and the Magic-User has a variety of magical powers. In many ways, other classes are thought of as alternatives that refine or combine these functions. Dwarves and Halflings were restricted to the Fighting Man class, and Elves were restricted to the Fighting Man and Magic-User classes; all three non-human races had limited level advancement.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition[edit]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons loosened the restrictions on race and class combinations, although non-human races often had restricted choices among classes and maximum levels they could reach in a class. Additional classes that had first appeared in supplements and articles in The Strategic Review magazine were included as base classes. The Player's Handbook also introduced the Bard as a sixth base class; however, its usage in 1st edition was more akin to what would be called a prestige class in later editions, as it was not a legal choice for a starting character. Instead, a character had to start as a Fighter, change classes to a Thief, and finally switch classes once more to become a Bard.

A character's ability scores directly tied into what class choices were legal for them. For instance, a character wishing to be a Fighter required at least 9 Strength; the more discriminating Monk required 15 Strength, 15 Wisdom, 15 Dexterity, and 11 Constitution.[15] Unusually high or low ability scores could proscribe class choice further; "too high" an Intelligence could prohibit being a Fighter, while a Charisma of 5 or less would require the character to become an Assassin. High ability scores in statistics considered pertinent to the class would grant an experience bonus.

The Player's Handbook brought about other changes in the game and its character classes.[16] Fighters, clerics, and thieves have improved hit dice over the previous edition. The effects of a character's strength score on hit probability, damage, weight allowed, and open doors rolls were changed. High intelligence conferred an increased chance for both spell knowledge and ability to learn languages. A high wisdom score now gave clerics a spell bonus, while low wisdom gave a chance of spell failure. New charts delineated the effects of constitution, dexterity and charisma. Each of the five main character classes and five sub-classes had its own experience table; for most classes it was now harder to gain promotion above third or fourth levels. multiclassed characters were also introduced.[16]

Unearthed Arcana added the Cavalier, Barbarian, and Thief-Acrobat classes.

Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set[edit]

The second version of the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set combined the idea of race and class; non-human races did not have classes. Hence, a character might be a (human) Cleric or else simply an "Elf" or "Dwarf". The Basic Set presented four human classes: Cleric, Fighter, Magic User and Thief, and three demi-human classes: Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling. The Companion Set introduced four optional classes for high-level characters: the Avenger, Paladin, and Knight for Fighters, and the Druid for Clerics. The Master Set introduced one additional class: the Mystic. The Gazetteer series included many optional classes for humans and non-humans, including the shaman (GAZ12) and shamani (GAZ14). Additional human and race classes were also presented in other supplements.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition[edit]

The 2nd edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons attempted to streamline what had become a hodgepodge of rules that only applied in specific cases in 1st edition. As such, it sought to simplify the rules and straighten out contradictions. Character classes were divided into four groups or "metaclasses": Warrior, Wizard, Priest, and Rogue. Each of these groups had a "base" class which only required at least a 9 in the "prime requisite" statistic in Fighter, Mage, Cleric, and Thief; these were intended to be playable in any setting. The Player's Handbook went on to say that "all of the other classes are optional."[17] Each group of classes had the same hit dice (determining hit point growth), THAC0 progression, and saving throw table.[17] 2nd edition maintained minimums in certain statistics to qualify for some classes, but removed many of the other restrictions such as one extremely low statistic forcing a character into a specific class.


Magic-using classes were altered in the 2nd edition. The 2nd edition had two unified spell groups, one for wizard spells and another for priest spells. These lists were then further subdivided by school of magic and sphere of influence, respectively. Different classes had access to different schools or spheres, allowing for each class to have distinct spell lists.

The illusionist class from 1st edition, for example, became a type of specialist wizard; specialists gained the ability to cast extra spells of their chosen school of magic in exchange for the inability to cast spells of "opposed" schools; an illusionist would gain extra spells per day in the school of illusion, but would be denied access to the schools of abjuration, necromancy, and evocation.

A similar distinction was made for priests. 2nd edition introduced priests of a specific mythology who would gain their own specific abilities, restrictions, and sphere of influence selection. The druid was provided as an example; the specification of other specialty priests was left to dungeon masters and setting books. As an example, a specialty priest of Tempus, the god of war in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, can incite a berserker rage in allies and lacks the "only blunt weapons" restriction of normal clerics. The selection of spheres of influence worked similarly to the allowed and forbidden schools of magic.

The bard class was changed to be a normal class that could be chosen at character creation. The assassin and monk classes were removed from the 2nd edition Player's Handbook.[11]: 84  The Dungeon Master's Guide clarified the rationale behind the decision in a section on creating new character classes:

What is a Viking but a fighter with a certain outlook on life and warfare? A witch is really nothing but a female wizard. A vampire hunter is only a title assumed by a character of any class who is dedicated to the destruction and elimination of those loathsome creatures. The same is true of assassins. Killing for profit requires no special powers, only a specific reprehensible outlook. Choosing the title does not imply any special powers or abilities. The character just uses his current skills to fulfill a specific, personal set of goals.

— Dungeon Master's Guide, 2nd edition

Class-specific supplements for 2nd edition introduced a number of additional class modifications called kits, which allowed players to create characters with particular themes without having to introduce additional classes. The assassin, barbarian, and monk were re-implemented in such fashion.

Supplemental books introduced new classes. The barbarian returned as a class in the Complete Barbarian's Handbook which also introduced the shaman. The berserker and the runecaster classes appeared in the Viking's Campaign Sourcebook, and the manteis in the Celts Campaign Sourcebook. The psionicist class was introduced in the Complete Psionics Handbook. Campaign settings also introduced new classes, such as the magician and guilder from Birthright, the gladiator and trader from Dark Sun, and the anchorite and arcanist from Ravenloft.

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition[edit]

The 3rd edition abolished the practice of grouping classes directly, allowing hit dice, attack bonus, and saving throws to vary for each particular class again. 3rd edition also saw the return of the Monk as a base class, the creation of the new Sorcerer class, and the inclusion of Barbarian as a base Player's Handbook class, previously described in 1st edition's Unearthed Arcana rules and as an optional kit in 2nd edition. Statistical requirements on classes and experience bonuses were abolished, though a low score in an important statistic to a class would still adversely affect a character in it.

3rd edition allows for a much more fluid idea of multiclassing than earlier editions, as one unified experience-points-per-level table was made. Rather than earlier editions' rules on splitting experience, characters can simply choose which class they wish to take a new level in and add the appropriate bonus from the class.

Prestige classes were also introduced in the 3rd edition's Dungeon Master's Guide, with new classes only available at higher level and after meeting several prerequisites.

In addition to the eleven classes presented in the PHB, various alternate base classes were presented in supplements, and the Dungeon Master's Guide presented five weaker classes designed for NPCs (the adept, aristocrat, commoner, expert, and warrior).

Core character class[edit]

The eleven base classes presented in the 3rd edition Player's Handbook are:

Alternative classes[edit]

In addition to class variants for the eleven core classes, many of the supplemental books introduce new base classes which can be taken from first level or multiclassed into. Some of these books also present prestige classes which have entry requirements only accessible by taking levels in the base classes described in those books (e.g. the Soulcaster prestige class requires the soulmelding class ability, only offered by the three classes in Magic of Incarnum).

Prestige classes[edit]

Prestige classes were introduced in third edition as a further means of individualizing a character.[11]: 64  They expand upon the form of multiclassing and are inaccessible at 1st level, specifically meant to be multiclassed into from the base classes. To attain a specific prestige class, a character must first meet a number of prerequisites, such as certain feats or membership in a specific organization. Prestige classes offer a focus on different abilities that may be difficult to attain otherwise; for example, the 3rd edition version of the Assassin prestige class grants minor magical powers, more sneak attack damage, and better usage of poison.

The third edition Dungeon Master's Guide included prestige classes such as the Arcane archer, Blackguard, Mystic theurge, and Shadowdancer, while the 3.5 revision included classes such as the Arcane trickster, Archmage, Dragon disciple, and Duelist. Many other sourcebooks introduced additional prestige classes, such as the Bladesinger in Tome and Blood; Blighter, Geomancer, Shifter, Verdant lord in Masters of the Wild; Divine champion in Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting; Cerebremancer and Elocater in Expanded Psionics Handbook; Fochlucan lyrist in Complete Adventurer; and Chameleon in Races of Destiny. Some of these classes were readjusted for balance in the 3.5 revision of the game.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition[edit]

Core character classes[edit]

The 4th edition heavily retooled the class system in favor of a more unified set of mechanics for characters, which was in part intended to reduce some of the perceived imbalance between spellcasters and non-spellcasters in the 3rd edition. Classes can be defined as the combination of a character role with a power source and are differentiated by what active-use class features and powers they give, all of which follow the same pattern of at-will, once per encounter, once daily and utility powers.

The 4th edition Player's Handbook does not include some classes from 3rd edition, such as the Barbarian, Bard, Druid, Monk, and Sorcerer (though these classes returned in the second and third volumes of the Player's Handbook) but does include the Warlock (originally introduced the v3.5 sourcebook Complete Arcane) and Warlord (originally introduced as the Marshal in the 3rd edition Miniatures Handbook) which had not appeared in the Player's Handbook in previous editions. Twenty-six classes were released in total.

Power sources[edit]

Different classes draw on different power sources for their abilities.[18] The power sources used by the Player's Handbook classes are arcane, divine, and martial. Arcane classes gain magical energy from the cosmos, divine classes receive their power from the gods, and martial classes draw power from training and willpower.[19] The Player's Handbook 2 introduces the primal power source, which draws power from the spirits of the natural world and features transformation as a theme. Dragon No. 379 included the Assassin class, introducing the shadow power source. The Player's Handbook 3 introduced the psionic power source, which draws power from the mind. Player's Option: Heroes of the Elemental Chaos introduced builds which use the elemental power source.[20]

Character roles[edit]

Characters of a given class are said to fill a particular role in the party, especially in combat. Leaders are focused on buffing and healing allies. Controllers focus on affecting multiple targets at once, either damaging or debuffing them, or altering the battlefield's terrain. Defenders focus on blocking attacking enemies or drawing their attacks to themselves and are typically focused on melee combat. Strikers are focused on mobility, dealing heavy damage to single targets and avoiding attacks. While some Leader and Striker classes and builds are focused towards either melee or ranged combat, the roles as a whole are not.

Paragon paths and epic destinies[edit]

The optional prestige classes from earlier editions have instead been replaced by paragon paths and epic destinies as methods of character customization. Each character may choose a paragon path upon reaching the paragon tier at level 11 and an epic destiny upon reaching the epic tier at level 21.

Paragon paths are often (though not always) class-specific, and some have additional prerequisites. Other paragon paths are restricted to members of a certain race or are associated with a nation or faction in a campaign setting. Paragon paths generally expand on a character's existing abilities. For example, fighter paragon paths improve a characters toughness, resilience, or damage with melee weapons.

Epic destinies generally have looser prerequisites than paragon paths; many are available to multiple classes, and some, such as Demigod and Eternal Seeker, have 21st level as their only prerequisite. Each epic destiny includes at least one way in which a character can establish a legacy and at least one way in which a character can retire. Most epic destinies provide fewer benefits than paragon paths, but the benefits that they provide are far more powerful. A common feature of an epic destiny is to allow characters to (usually once per day) return to life or otherwise continue to function after dying.

Unlike prestige classes, a character may only take a single paragon path and a single epic destiny, and path and destiny advancement is in addition to class advancement rather than being in lieu of it.[21][22]

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition[edit]

Classes in the 5th edition are mechanically and thematically similar to the versions in the 3rd edition. Classes gain new abilities as they reach each level, allowing them to combat stronger monsters and more difficult perilous situations, but unlike 4th edition, lower-level opponents remain threatening as power levels do not scale in tandem.[23]


There are 12 classes included in the 5th edition Player's Handbook (2014).[24][25] The first new character class, the Artificer, for the 5th edition was released in Eberron: Rising from the Last War (2019)[26] and in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything (2020). [27]


Each class in the Player's Handbook (2014) has multiple subclasses, which allow players to choose an archetype of their class they want to follow (e.g. the Berserker Barbarian, the Evoker Wizard, the Wild Magic Sorcerer, the Beastmaster Ranger, etc.),[24][28] chosen at 3rd level or earlier.[29] This archetype defines many of the abilities that the class receives.[24] The Dungeon Master's Guide (2014) includes two nonstandard subclass options for evil characters that are only allowed in the game by permission of the Dungeon Master: the Death Cleric and the Oathbreaker Paladin.[30]

Additional subclasses have been added to the game with the publication of various sourcebooks and campaign guidebooks, for example, in supplements such as the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (2015), Xanathar's Guide to Everything (2017) and Tasha's Cauldron of Everything (2020).[31][32][33]


In an article comparing the 1978 Player's Handbook and the 2014 Player's Handbook, James Floyd Kelly, for GeekDad, highlighted that the earlier edition had inconsistencies in leveling across the different character classes. Floyd Kelly wrote: "For all of the classes, the XP chart for leveling varied. Paladins required 350,000XP after level 11, while Fighters only required 250,000XP after the same level. Poor Magic-Users, though… after level 18 each additional level came at a price of 375,000XP while the Illusionist could rock after level 12 with a requirement of only 220,000XP per additional level. Oh, and the Monk had to stop at level 17. No further advancement".[29]

Shannon Appelcline, author of Designers & Dragons, highlighted that while OD&D only had three character classes, "which made it easy to balance a party", "as character classes proliferated in later editions, it became less clear which classes could fill which roles".[34] The 4th Edition classes were designed for specific party roles and these "classes were unified in how they were defined and how they progressed. [...] The difference in the character classes now focused on what powers they had and what they could do".[34] Appelcline wrote that the addition of warlock and warlord to the 4th Edition base classes was "surprising" and "with so many new races and classes, it's not surprising that some classics got dropped. The [...] assassin, bard, and druid were all classics that were missing from the class list. This generated even more controversy, and the designers later said that they regretted not saying that the first Player's Handbook was just a starting place for D&D 4e".[34]

In the AV Club's review of the 5th Edition, Samantha Nelson wrote: "Just like in 4th Edition, there are several versions of each class, which provide a high level of diversity in the party. [...] But the different character classes play far more like 3.5 than 4th Edition. [...] Many of the classes have been radically improved. There isn’t a single leveling up where the only benefit is a few more hit points. Each new benchmark unlocks some new component of your class, rewarding your dedication to one path over the course of the game’s 20 levels".[28]

In SLUG Magazine's review of the 5th Edition Player's Handbook (2014), Henry Glasheen wrote: "I didn't feel like any race was unduly pidgeonholed into one class or another [...]. Classes are deeper now, with more meaningful customization options and a more modest progression. Multiclassing is still available, but it seems like the development team has found a way to balance the overpowered multiclassing opportunities of D&D 3.5 while avoiding the convoluted clusterfuck that was multiclassing in 4th Edition. In most cases, you’ll want to stick to your starting class, but there are some interesting multiclass builds that I certainly want to try out".[35]

Screen Rant rated the wizard class as the most powerful class and the ranger class as the least powerful of the base 12 character classes in the 5th edition.[36]

Gus Wezerek, for FiveThirtyEight, reported that of the 5th edition "class and race combinations per 100,000 characters that players created on D&D Beyond from" August 15 to September 15, 2017, fighters were the most created at 13,906 total followed by rogues (11,307) and wizards (9,855). Druids were the least created at 6,328 total. Wezerek wrote "when I started playing 'Dungeons & Dragons' five years ago, I never would have chosen the game’s most popular match: the human fighter. There are already enough human fighters in movies, TV and books — my first character was an albino dragonborn sorcerer. But these days I can get behind the combo’s simplicity".[37]

In popular culture[edit]


  • In the American science fiction horror television series Stranger Things, a Dungeons and Dragons game played by the main characters is one of the first scenes of the show and the game reappears throughout the show.[38] In 2019, Wizards of the Coast released a 5th Edition Stranger Things themed starter set that includes "five pre-generated characters, one each for the five members of the party as described in Stranger Things Season 2. Fans can step into the shoes of Mike's paladin, Will's cleric, Lucas' ranger, Dustin's bard, and Eleven's wizard".[39]


  1. ^ abFine, Gary Alan (2002). Shared Fantasy: Role Playing Games as Social Worlds. University of Chicago Press. pp. 16–18. ISBN .
  2. ^Appelcline, Shannon. "Unearthed Arcana (1e) | Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  3. ^ abAppelcline, Shannon. "Oriental Adventures (1e) | Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  4. ^Appelcline, Shannon. "HR1 Vikings Campaign Sourcebook (2e) | Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  5. ^Appelcline, Shannon. "Shaman (2e) | Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  6. ^Kulp, Kevin. "PHBR1 The Complete Fighter's Handbook (2e) | Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  7. ^"Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) Guides - Wayne's Books RPG Reference". Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  8. ^Appelcline, Shannon. "Dungeon Master Guide, Revised (2e) | Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  9. ^
  10. ^Appelcline, Shannon. "Player's Option - Skills & Power (2e) | Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  11. ^ abcdeTresca, Michael J. (2010), The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, McFarland, ISBN 
  12. ^Bart Carroll. "Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Article (July and Beyond)". Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  13. ^Mearls, Mike; Crawford, Jeremey (2014). Player's Handbook. Wizards of the Coast.
  14. ^Livingstone, Ian (1982). Dicing with Dragons. Routledge. p. 74. ISBN .
  15. ^"A Look Back at Player's Handbooks". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  16. ^ abTurnbull, Don (December 1979 – January 1979). "Open Box: Players Handbook". White Dwarf (review). Games Workshop (10): 17.
  17. ^ abCook, David (1995) [1989b]. Player's Handbook (Revised ed.). TSR. ISBN .
  18. ^McElroy, Griffin (July 9, 2014). "Here's how Dungeons & Dragons is changing for its new edition". Polygon. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  19. ^"4th Edition Excerpts: Powers". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  20. ^"Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Product (Heroes of the Elemental Chaos)". February 21, 2012. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  21. ^"4th Edition Excerpts: Paragon Paths". Archived from the original on May 18, 2008.
  22. ^"4th Edition Excerpts: Epic Destinies". Archived from the original on May 13, 2008.
  23. ^Ed Grabianowski. "Everything You Need to Know about the 5th Edition D&D Player's Handbook". Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  24. ^ abcBolding, Jonathan (July 30, 2014). "Here's the Classes and Specializations in the D&D Player's Handbook". The Escapist. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  25. ^D'Anastasio, Cecilia (November 18, 2019). "How To Choose Your D&D Character Class". Kotaku. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  26. ^Plante, Corey (November 19, 2019). "D&D: Eberron's Artificer class just became canon. Here's why that's huge". Inverse. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  27. ^Hall, Charlie (November 16, 2020). "Tasha's Cauldron makes D&D a better game, but whiffs on race changes". Polygon. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  28. ^ abNelson, Samantha (September 23, 2014). "The new Dungeons & Dragons is more streamlined but no less of a challenge". AV Club. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  29. ^ abFloyd Kelly, James (August 18, 2014). "A Tale of Two Handbooks - 1978 AD&D and 2014 D&D". GeekDad. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  30. ^Dungeon master's guide. Mearls, Mike,, Crawford, Jeremy,, Perkins, Christopher, 1968-, Wyatt, James, 1968-, Schwalb, Robert J.,, Thompson, Rodney (Fifth ed.). Renton, WA. 2014. pp. 96–97. ISBN . OCLC 884396716.CS1 maint: others (link)
  31. ^Tito, Greg (July 22, 2015). "Spice Up Your Story | Dungeons & Dragons". Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  32. ^Lucard, Alex (November 9, 2015). "Tabletop Review: Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (Dungeons & Dragons, Fifth Edition)". Diehard GameFAN. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  33. ^"Xanathar's Guide to Everything - Preview Updated". Tribality. October 16, 2017. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  34. ^ abcAppelcline, Shannon. "Player's Handbook (4e) | Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  35. ^Glasheen, Henry (February 12, 2015). "D&D Fifth Edition: Player's Handbook Review". SLUG Magazine. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  36. ^"Dungeons And Dragons: Ranking All Of The Base Classes, From Least To Most Powerful". ScreenRant. February 14, 2019. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  37. ^Wezerek, Gus (October 12, 2017). "Is Your D&D Character Rare?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  38. ^"Stranger Things Is a Nerdy Story That Is So Much More Than Its References". io9. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  39. ^Hall, Charlie (April 22, 2019). "Stranger Things D&D Starter Set is a surprisingly good introduction to the game". Polygon. Retrieved November 26, 2019.

External links[edit]

What class should you play in D\u0026D? - A Tutorial for all players

Core Classes

Class Description Hit Die Primary Ability
ArtificerA supreme inventor capable of unlocking magic in mundane objects. d8 Intelligence
BarbarianA fierce warrior of primitive background who can enter a battle rage d12 Strength
BardAn inspiring magician whose power echoes the music of creation d8 Charisma
ClericA priestly champion who wields divine magic in service of a higher power d8 Wisdom
DruidA priest of the Old Faith, wielding the powers of nature— moonlight and plant growth, fire and lightning—and adopting animal forms d8 Wisdom
FighterA master of martial combat, skilled with a variety of weapons and armor d10 Strength or Dexterity
MonkA master of martial arts, skilled with fighting hands and martial monk weapons d8 Dexterity & Wisdom
PaladinA holy warrior bound to a sacred oath d10 Strength & Charisma
Ranger (UA)A master of ranged combat, one with nature. d10 Dexterity & Wisdom
RogueA scoundrel who uses stealth and trickery to overcome obstacles and enemies d8 Dexterity
SorcererA spellcaster who draws on inherent magic from a gift or bloodline d6 Charisma
WarlockA wielder of magic that is derived from a bargain with an extraplanar entity d8 Charisma
WizardA scholarly magic-user capable of manipulating the structures of reality d6 Intelligence

Caster Categories

Full Casters

Earn First Spell Slots at 1st Level, and can eventually cast 9th Level Spells.

  • Bard
  • Cleric
  • Druid
  • Sorcerer
  • Wizard

Pact Casters

Full Casters, in the sense that they earn their First Spell Slots at Level 1, and can eventually cast 9th Level Spells. But, until they can cast a Level 6 spell, all their Spell Slots are of the same level. (At Levels 1-2, all spell slots are First Level. But, at Levels 9-20, all spell slots are Fifth Level)

Half Casters

Earn First Spell Slots at 2nd Level AND/OR they don't earn spell slots higher than Fifth Level

One Third Casters

Earn First Spell Slots at 3rd Level

  • Arcane Trickster (Rogue)
  • Eldritch Knight (Fighter)

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