Choosing Your Class: A Quick Guide to the Hardest Decision You’ll Make in Dungeons & Dragons

Hello again! It’s OG Nate, here to help with one of the hardest things to do in Dungeons and Dragons… choosing a class! Looking into this can be an extremely daunting task, but hopefully, this guide will help you narrow your options between the thirteen classes and more than forty subclass options. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Who Do You Want to Play?

First things first, what are you expecting out of your character? Any time I make a new character, I use a piece of my personality and amplify it to one hundred. This means that almost all of my characters will have charisma as a primary stat, and then I go from there. Our games are really centered around the roleplay aspect, so this works great. However, it may be different based on your own group composition, so just take that into account.

I really want you to think about who you want to be; are you shy and timid in real life, so you want your character to be the opposite? Maybe a blowhard, overly confident brute? Characters give us the opportunity to become what we want to be in-game without the repercussions of the real world weighing us down. With this in mind, let’s break down the classes to the standard way they play that works well with both fighting and roleplaying.

Artificer

The craftsman, this is for you players that want intelligence as a main stat. You’re better than those stuck up wizards that keep their faces glued to a book, and actually make this world with our damn hands.

An example I love to use is Egon from ghostbusters. Yeah, he may look like a nerd, but guess who built all this equipment and isn’t afraid to use it?!

Barbarian

The angry guy, this is for the player that wants a strength-based character that gets right up front of the action, always in battle, and always in roleplay. You are mad about something (doesn’t matter what) and everyone is going to pay for it.

My absolute favorite idea for this character would be if you wanted to be the worst barb possible. No strength, no charisma, no con, no int. You’d basically be Mr. Furious from the movie Mystery Men. Actually don’t use that, I’m going to use it in the next game I play.

Bard

My absolute favorite class to play. If you’re looking for a charisma based class that’s a great utility player and can roleplay out of almost every fight this is it. Heck, if you want to start every fight with your silver tongue and slick moves, then stop reading right now and roll up a bard. Don’t worry if in real life you’re not quick-witted or a smooth talker; with a good DM just explain what you want to do, roll the dice and watch the magic unfold.

My favorite example would have to be Starlord from Guardians of the galaxy. That dance battle at the end is exactly what we’re looking for.

Cleric

Wisdom based, but really there’s a cleric for every occasion. You can have a whole party of nothing but clerics and do extremely well. All you need is a deep belief in whichever god you choose to follow and go from there.

My favorite idea I would like to pull from for the cleric would be Nicholas Wolfwood, from the anime Trigun. Yeah, he’s a preacher that assassinates people but he used that money to build an orphanage, so is he that bad?

Druid

Wisdom again, but with some serious hippie vibes. Love nature? Love animals? Just wanna become a fuzzy little woodland creature and live out some furry adventures? Then the druid is the class for you. You can choose again based on subclass if you want to be a back player throwing spells or an upfront fighter with the highest hit point pool ever.

This is a hard one to pick out from popular entertainment for the full feel of the druid, but I guess if you combine Beast Boy from teen titans and mix that with the character of Bear Grylls, I’d say that’s a pretty solid druid.

Fighter

The fighter is your base to choose from if you don’t really want to go full bore into any of the other classes. Main stat being either strength or dexterity, you can really shape a fighter to be whatever you want. I’d suggest this if you’re just starting out and want to do a variety of things until you choose a subclass.

I like to play straight dex fighters, my favorite being a take on Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride. You killed my father, prepare to die.

Monk

Wanna punch something? Wanna punch it again? Then pick a monk. The closest thing you’ll get to a typical anime character, monks will get no love from me. They’re just not my playstyle. That being said, who says it’s not yours? Dexterity-based characters are nimble, fast and deadly. You can run a mile ahead of the party, punch someone, and run back before anyone noticed you were gone.

If you really want to become a Saitama one punch man character, then start here at monk.

Paladin

The holy knight, for the player that wants to crush their opponents into the ground without mercy and sleep with a peace of mind at night that they had it coming. This one is a little harder, you’ll need a good mix of strength and charisma to really make the paladin shine. The only problem with a paladin is finding the right niche to play without pissing off the party or trying to become a one man show.

I love this class for someone who wants that melee character that doubles down on charisma. Any Jedi from Star Wars will fit the bill for paladin; have a strong moral code but also the potential to slay every youngling they can find if that’s what’s needed from them.

Ranger

Stop right here, you don’t want to be a ranger, nobody wants to be a ranger. You’re thinking “I want to be Legolas,” but it never works out that way. Instead, you become his cousin Use-o-las. To be a ranger is to be a lone wolf, brooding about how a monster killed your family and now you seek revenge. Ugh, just stop now. A lone wolf character isn’t fun for anyone unless they learn to adapt to the party. The class needs a solid dex or strength score combined with a decent wisdom.

If you can find a fun way to play a ranger that’s fun and useful in battle, message me, I’d love to be proven wrong about this class.

Rogue

Oh sneaky, sneaky rogue, where to begin? You will need high dex and based on the subclass you’re going for either intelligence or charisma after that. They can have one of the highest damage outputs of all the classes if played well and with a DM that doesn’t try and hold you back too much. Don’t be afraid to try different things with a rogue, they don’t always have to be the guy who steals everything from the party all the time, although sometimes that can be hard to avoid because they’re so good at it. With the bonuses they gain, it’s easy for a rogue to become the face of the party.

Look for inspiration with a character like Robert Downey’s performance as Sherlock Holmes.

Sorcerer/ Warlock

I lumped these together because they both have charisma as a main stat. So spell casters that have the potential for roleplay gold. It’s up to you on what flavor character you’re going for and they play completely different, do you want to be born with magical powers that are hard to control at first? Sorcerer would be the pick, think Liz Sherman from Hellboy.

Now if you sold yourself to a higher power for a piece of the action, go warlock. I like to picture Rasputin from the animated Anastasia. Whichever you decide, both are solid choices for the combat/roleplay combo we’re looking for.

Wizard

We’ve come full circle and we are back to the intelligence class. Want to be smart, but like book smart? Yeah I forgot how to tie my shoes but check out this fireball I can conjure. With bones made of glass, the wizard should stay back in all the beginning encounters, unless you enjoy death. You’ve studied way too hard and too long just to drop as soon as a goblin decides to get uppity, so jump in a bush and sling spells at your leisure. One of the easier classes to roleplay, you have a lot to draw from for inspiration, anything from Harry Potter, to Gandalf, to even the Great Wise Wizard in your highness if you want to be a creep.

To wrap this up, this is just a small portion of the thought process that goes into making a character. The great thing about DnD is that you don’t have to follow any guidelines to roleplay your class. It’s up to you how you want them to interact with the world. Just have fun with it, and that’s the best possible outcome. So stop reading and go roll up a new character.

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