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What D&D Class Should I Play?


Quick Summaries About The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Character Classes (for DnD Beginners)

What Dnd class should I play

So you are giving Dungeons & Dragons a try? Good for you! You have magic, mayhem, and miscellaneous jokes ahead of you.


But before you start adventuring across the Forgotten Realms with a lovable/murderous band of misfit characters... you need to select a class to play! And for a new player, that simple decision can be overwhelming. Especially when so many of the guides online are written by lifelong- D&D hobbyists, detailing the eons of lore and minuscule advantage of every mechanic.


This answers the basic question every beginner has: "What D&D class should I play?"


Each section gets around 150 words explaining:

  • A brief summary of the class (the themes they deal with)

  • The basic mechanics (the unique stuff they do)

  • The types of people that like to play it (if your personality matches).

The classes are organized from the easiest for new players to the hardest. More detailed summaries of the class (1000 words), which includes info from ONE DND and Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, are found in the links at the bottom of the summaries.


When you find a class you like, give the link a click to learn more!


The Fighter: The Perfect Class for New D&D 5e Players

dnd 5e fighter

Are you new to DnD? Like, the beginner of beginners? Never even opened a player's handbook?


If so, have no fear… the fighter class is here!


No confusing spells, abilities, or mechanics... just FIGHTING. They get EVERY simple, ranged, martial weapon (yes, even GUNS) And EVERY type of armor. They get to choose multiple "Fighting Styles" (ex: bonuses for archery AND sword/shied fighting). And their "Second Wind" ability that allows them to regain a little bit of health if they take any damage.

But what sets the Fighter apart, both as a strong class and as an easy one to play, is their ATTACKS.

  • Two attacks by level 5

  • Three by level 11

  • And four by level 20

  • But the crown jewel is their "Action Surge" ability, which lets them take an addition ACTION for that round (lvl 20 = 8 attacks!!!)

The downside? The fighter is a martial warrior through and through; it doesn't have exploration or role playing abilities.



Barbarians = Traditional, Naked, Gut-Filled RAGE!!!!!!

dnd 5e barbarian

Some D&D players don't want to be a noble knight... they would rather be a naked, muscle-bound, unstoppable force of nature that runs into a swarm of foes with an enormous "F-YOU" great axe.



I think not!


Barbarians treat grievous blows like flesh wounds. Their "Unarmored Defense" (AC = Dex and Con modifiers), lots of hit points (1d12 hit die for health), and resistance while raging means they can soak up damage like a sponge and keep on hacking. And that is what the barbarian is all about: the rage ability. It allows a barbarian character to gain extra melee attacks, withstand damage, and succeed in just about any contest involving strength.


Thematically, barbarians are all about tradition: walking the "paths" (subclasses) laid by their ancestors. And like the ancient ones, they are more in-tune with their bestial nature, having instincts like "Danger Sense", "Fast Movement", and "Feral Instinct".


Does "What D&D class should I play?" = "Barbarian"...?


Gettin' Weird and Wacky With "The Warlock"

dnd 5e warlock

Oh the warlock... so simple... so cool... so utterly sacrilegious.

Warlocks get their spells not from study or prayer, but by making a pact with a powerful, other-worldly being. In exchange for their precious 10/10 cantrip ("Eldritch Blast") the player character must fulfill any stipulations handed to them from the patron. If they are an angel or fey... might be a good idea. But if they. area great old one or devil? Yeah... you'll be doing evil stuff.


The Warlock is a Charisma based class, so you'll be doing a lot of Persuasion and Deception checks. That, combined with the patron, and infinite combinations of "Warlock Invocations" and "Pact Boons" (not to mention feats!) makes for one of the most fun role playing classes in the game. Yes, you get fewer spells lots, but all your spells are super-charged and you regain all your slots with a short rest.



Rogue Class: The Sneaky, Deceptive, Thief in the Dark

dnd 5e rogue

This is the class of every character in the Assassin Creed Video games or like Vax in Critical Role. Often the brooding “edge-lord” of the party, rogues can range from a ruthless assassin, to a stealth-focused thief, to a smuggler with a heart of gold. And with "Expertise" they can choose a skill or two and basically never fail a roll.


They are knives in the dark, not swords on the battlefield. Their primary mechanic, "Sneak Attack" allows them to do tons of damage when they flank or surprise an enemy. And the optional "Steady Aim" rule they can do this with ranged weapons.


But how will they survive a fight without armor? By ducking, diving and dodging! "Uncanny Dodge" reduces damage, "Evasion" removes damage, and "Cunning Action" means they never get hit at all!


Blasting Their A$$ Off With the Flexible Sorcerer Class

dnd 5e sorcerer

Do you find the Wizard's book keeping tedious or the Cleric's piety off-putting? Well, why not just have your spell caster inherit all their magical abilities from magic monster grandparents! Or get caught in an elemental storm shortly after birth?


The result of this arcane origin is a magic user known as a "blaster": lots of Evocation magic that does lots of damage! On top of that is the Sorcerer's trademark ability ("Meta magic") which allows them to bend and break the normal rules of spell-casting to their advantage. It comes at a cost though: they know very few spells, have fewer spell slots, and they only regain spells on a long rest.


Officially Sorcerers are a Charisma based class (though they SHOULD be the only CON caster), which means RAW they can do all the socializing for the party! Powerful in battle and good at role playing? Heck yeah!


Is"Sorcerer" the answer to "What D&D class should I play?"


The Artsy, Fartsy, Super- Silly Bard Class

dnd 5e bard

With so many party members casting reality-bending spells and wielding mighty weapons, you might be wondering: "Where is the cheerleader encouraging everyone to do their best?" Well my friend, that would be none other than the Bard!


With "Bardic Inspiration" you can add extra dice to all your friend's rolls, often becoming the difference between glorious success and lethal failure! And while not having very many damage dealing spells they have a number that can paralyze, enchant, and distract opponents so their allies can get a clear shot.


Originally a "joke class" in earlier editions, the Bard is a Charisma based class built for players eager for role playing (which is BIG in fifth edition) all the persuading, performing and intimidating. The other thing Bard's bring are Skills and Expertise. Bard's have proficiency in more skills than any other class (you are super-duper, annoyingly competent at a lot of things).


Is"Bard" the answer to "What D&D class should I play?" Find out HERE!


Magical, Wild Huntsman: the 5e Ranger Class

dnd 5e ranger

Wanna explore the wilds and planar portals? Hunt wild beasts and fearsome monsters with a long bow? Have an animal companion and cast spells? The Ranger class does all the above!


Like the fantasy-greats Aragon, Jon Snow, and Geralt of Rivia, 5e Rangers are "Natural Explorer"s. They are able to easily survive, explore, and quickly move through their favored terrain. Plus, with a fighting style, extra attack, medium armor, and a 1d10 hit dice, rangers still clearly martial warriors.


But the Ranger is also a “⅓” caster, which means they can do a little spell casting too. They have very few spell slots, but they can heal, control terrain, summon, and track enemies. It's just enough magical abilities to get by when a well placed arrow can't get the job done.


On the fence if you want to play a Ranger? Read more now!


The Cleric: The Blessed, BEST Class in the Game

dnd 5e paladin

That's right... this is the BEST class (imo) in the game and Youtuber Zee Bashew explains why: in early editions it was the neglected "healer", so ever since they keep adding awesome stuff to get people to play it. Now, it is kiiiinda overpowered: a full caster with diverse spells and subclasses that provide heavy armor and marital weapons!


They know EVERY spell on their cleric spell list (just have to choose which ones each day), which includes not damage, buff (support), and ever-important identifying magic. And that's all on top of their wide range of healing spells, some of which like Haling Word, Revivify, and Remove Curse are essential.


And since there are so many diverse deities your cleric can serve, you aren't boxed in as the "goodie two-shoes " for role playing. You can be a trickster, anarchist, and even evil priest! Regardless, they can "Channel Divinity" and turn away/OBLITERATE undead!


Is "Cleric" the answer to "What D&D class should I play?"... find out here!


The Monk Class: Dodge, Meditate, and PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH!

dnd 5e monk

This famously Monks are a blend of ninja-assassin and meditative masters, channeling the spiritual energy of KI to perform all their magical and superhuman abilities. Using Ki, your monk can be a peaceful wise man that heals or a street acrobat that steals and escapes from the rooftops. Outside of combat you can resist fear and charms ("Stillness of Mind"), poison and disease ("Purity of Body"), and time itself ("Timeless Body")!


Monks fight with martial arts, hitting stuff like... a lot. They get two attacks (level 5) and with Ki can gain two MORE attacks as a bonus action. Different monk subclasses let your punches also stun, enflame, or if you're really upset... send an enemy into the astral plane. But monks are 100% a dexterity player character, so its like Ip man: lighting fast fist attacks, agile movement "Unarmored Movement", and the ability to catch arrows with "Deflect Missiles" will keep you alive!


Is"Monk" the answer to "What D&D class should I play?"


5e Paladin Class: Powerful Punches and Performances

dnd 5e paladin

Lots of D&D classes can swing a sword, but only a Paladin can SMITE!!! A smite is when a Paladin, fueled with righteous fervor, channels divine energy into an attack. You can choose to do this AFTER you know you hit… and even if you score a critical hit (roll a 20).


Smite's are one reason Paladin's considered “the best” in 5e... the other is that they have an answer for everything in combat. Lots of evil guys? Use two attacks. Need someone to distract the monster? You have heavy armor and a shield (high Armor Class). Someone down and needs healing? Use Lay on Hands.


But this power comes with a cost: role playing guidance/restrictions. Every Paladin takes an Oath with tenets that dictate how your character will react to different situations. And if you DO NOT follow the tenets, then your DM has every right to take away all your special Paladin abilities and powers!


"What D&D class should I play?" = "Paladin"??? Find out HERE!


The Druid Class: Turn into Animals and Turn Trees into Weapons

dnd 5e druid

Right off the bat: druids are the class that let you turn into animals. Whether you want to explore as a mouse, slaughter as a T-Rex, or just be a good cuddly boi as a puppy, the Druid can do it. And this already makes them one of the most versatile classes in the game: in a moment they can become a creature that can fight, sneak, fly, and swim.


But that's not all... they are also full spell casters! They know their entire nature-based spell list, wielding a great combination of damage, healing, and support spells. Like the Paladin, the Druid is one of the most self-sufficient classes in the game.


On that point, you cannot be a druid unless you want your character to be immersed in nature. Thankfully, the Druid subclasses ("Circles") offer many "nature options": apart from ecosystems you can focus on the starry skies, summoning herd and pack animals, and even poisonous fungus!



Tinkering and Crafting With the Brainy Artificer

dnd 5e artificer

This is the newest class Wizards of the Coast has introduced to D&D 5e, and joins the wizard as the only other Intelligence-based class. It is sorta a magic-scientist, who creates magic items instead of casting spells.

On the one hand, that just sounds like casting with extra steps... but NO! Artificers are able to use way more magic items than anyone else, and can store spells in items, allowing them to cast more spells when the going gets tough.


While Artificer's are smart, their intelligence does not manifest in skills. Instead, they peer into the future Sherlock Holmes style ("Flash of Genius") to add their Int modifier to their saving throws and ability checks. Furthermore, they have "The Right Tool for the Job" which essentially makes them proficient in EVERY TOOL IN THE GAME. Very "handy" indeed (lol).


Is"Artificer" the answer to "What D&D class should I play?" Find out HERE!


Wizard Class

dnd 5e wizard

Here we are... the final class... and most difficult one for new players. And it is difficult for one simple reason: Wizards are the master spell casters, and each spell is like a zillion new rules for players to learn. They also die very easily at low levels, and a lot of new players aren't even sure if they want to commit to a long campaign.


Now that I have done everything to convince you not to play this class, why should you?


Cuz spell casting is FREAKING RAD.


And that is ALL wizards do. All the other spell casters do SOMETHING else... but not the wizard! With their spell book they know WAY more spells than anyone else, know more DIVERSE spells, and with "Arcane Recovery" they regain their spell slots with both short and long rests.

Not sure if you can handle the wizard? Read more HERE!


Conclusion: "What D&D Class Should I Play?"

At the end of the day, you should play the D&D class what EXCITES your heart and IGNITES your imagination. Our guides will help, but if you need more inspiration there are countless youtube videos, podcasts, blogs, and actual plays to turn to.


Don't be afraid to ask your Dungeon Master for help. And if you feel like you can't choose, you can always multiclass!



Try Our Fantasy Scented Candles


 

Riley Rath

Based out of Spokane, Riley is a freelance copywriter and content writer based out of Spokane WA. He is thankful to have the opportunity to combine his passion for imaginative role-playing to help FLGS, tabletop, board game, and D&D related businesses communicate their distinct value to players everywhere. When not playing or writing about board games or DnD, he is busy hiking around his home of Spokane WA, cooking, and gardening.

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