Dungeons & Dragons Skills: How to Find the Ultimate DnD Class for You

14 minutes read

The lesson is in session and today, we’re talking about classes in Dungeons & Dragons (DND). Only by understanding DND classes can you get the most from your medieval fantasy adventures. So, with this in mind, check out our guide to DND classes.

RPGs, such as Dungeons & Dragons, are built on engaging and complex characters. Indeed, you can’t have living, breathing, and evolving worlds unless you’ve got two-dimensional characters with unique personalities and skills.

That’s why classes are a cornerstone of Dungeons & Dragons, as well as other popular RPGs.

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This guide will take a look at DND classes and, as well as outline the main ones, we’ll explain what they are and why they’re important.

By the time you’ve reached the end of this quest, you should be able to choose the perfect class and get the most from your medieval gaming experience.

What Are DND Classes?

RPG classes define characters based on their skills, abilities, personality, and nature. There are classes in all types of RPG. From medieval games to shooting games. Each class aligns with the overarching theme of a game and, in turn, the storyline.

It’s these categories that make RPGs complex and engaging. Why? Because the mix of abilities ensures that no two sessions are the same. In other words, contrasting classes mean that each encounter has the potential to be different.

So that’s the theoretical reason for RPG classes, but how does all of this manifest in reality? Moreover, what do classes do in DND?

Dungeons & Dragons classes are categories that define the traits a character defaults to in common situations. More specifically, DND classes refer to a character’s special skills, vocation, tactics, and temperament.

These characteristics come into play when you’re fighting monsters, interacting with other characters, and exploring dungeons. In essence, the class determines how your character will act in different scenarios.

Now, it’s important to note that DND classes don’t have to define how you react. For example, you may have chosen a class of character that’s strong. Therefore, their default move into confrontations is to fight i.e. because they’re strong.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to fight. Instead, you could try to negotiate. Even if this isn’t a particular skill a class is known for, that doesn’t mean you can’t try it.

In essence, you’re in control. You should use the main skills of a DND class to guide your decisions but don’t see them as the only route to success.

Why Do DND Classes Matter?

DND classes matter because you need to build a character in Dungeons & Dragons. The main areas you need to focus on when building a character are:

  • Race: This is the ethnic background of your character. Common races in Dungeons & Dragons are the dwarfs, the elves, the humanoids, and the halflings.
  • Class: Your character will come from a class that has certain special skills and traits.
  • Ability Scores: Once you’ve chosen a race and class, it’s time to set the ability scores. The common way of doing this is by rolling four six-sided dice. The attributes you’re determining a value for are: Strength (Str), Dexterity (Dex), Constitution (Con), Intelligence (Int), Wisdom (Wis), and Charisma (Cha).
  • Naming: You need to give your character a name and backstory before bringing it to life.
  • Equipment: The final step in building a character is equipment. The weapons and armor available are determined by your character’s race and class.

As you can see, DND classes are just one component of a larger puzzle. However, along with race, the class of your character is the most important decision you make because it determines the parameters of your abilities and equipment.

Therefore, you need to ensure that you choose the appropriate DND class for your playing style and overall goals.

The Main D&D Classes

There are 12 main D&D classes as more have emerged as the series has evolved, but all sub-classes ultimately stem from the basic class. So, what are the basic D&D classes?

  • Barbarian
  • Bard
  • Cleric
  • Druid
  • Fighter
  • Monk
  • Paladin
  • Ranger
  • Rogue
  • Sorcerer
  • Warlock
  • Wizard

Choosing a DND class is the first step in your journey, but it’s by no means the final move you’ll make. The aim is to use your character to explore new dungeons, take down dragons, and build networks. As such, you can progress within your class.

That means you can unlock and/or improve class skills. For example, if wisdom is a particular skill within a class, you can improve your wisdom score as you progress in a game.

Again, this demonstrates the need to choose an appropriate class before you start. There’s no point in choosing a DND class that’s known for its wisdom if you’re someone that values strength. The only caveat here is that most editions of Dungeons & Dragons allow for multiclassing.

This means you can either play and advance in two classes simultaneously or you can branch out at a set point and change classes. This isn’t always possible or easy. However, it’s something to consider if you’re a serious player.

How to Find Your DND Class

You now know what DND classes are available, but what class is best in D&D? The answer is that there isn’t a “best” class, only the one that suits you. Yes, certain classes excel in different areas. But it all comes down to the way you like to play.

For example, if you enjoy fighting, the best class for you is Fighter (more about the Fighter below).

If you prefer casting spells, but you want the easiest DND class for beginners, Warlocks are perfect. The point here is that there are different DND classes for different needs.

Choosing the correct class could be crucial for your success in DnD

Therefore, you need to base your decisions on your natural playing preferences and, moreover, the strategies you want to employ.

For example, you may naturally be drawn to the Fighter because you like confrontations. However, you might notice that other players in the game are also gravitating towards this class.

Therefore, in the interests of being different and, potentially, gaining an advantage, you choose to be a Druid.

This is where experience and DND tactics come into play. Every move you make in a game will be influenced by the class you choose. That means you have to select the class you feel comfortable playing with, as well as one that can help you find an edge.

Once you’ve mastered this, you should be well on your way to finding the perfect DND class.

DND Classes Explained

Knowing that choosing the right DND class is a matter of personal preference and tactics, the only way to make the right decision is to understand your options.

Here are the 12 DND classes and what their particular traits are:

Barbarian

The Barbarian was, initially, a sub-class of the Fighter. However, it evolved into a standalone class known for excelling in combat through a combination of fury and force.

The Barbarian is often less skilled than a fighter, but powerful enough to make up the deficit with overall strength and aggression.

Proficiencies

  • Armor: Light and medium armor + shields.
  • Possible Equipment: A great axe, any martial melee weapon, two-handed axes, any simple weapon, or an explorer’s pack with four javelins.
  • Tools: None.
  • Saves: Strength and constitution.
  • Possible Skills: Intimidation, survival, animal handling, perception, athletics, and nature.

Bard

Bards are versatile characters that are capable of fighting and using their minds. The main characteristic of a bard is that they have a way with words, such that they can turn them into magic spells.

Proficiencies

  • Armor: Light armor.
  • Possible Equipment: A rapier, a longsword, any simple weapon, a diplomat’s pack, an entertainer’s pack, a lute, other musical instruments, dagger, and leather armor.
  • Tools: Three musical instruments.
  • Saves: Dexterity and charisma.
  • Skills: Any three major skills.

Cleric

Combining strength and divine magic, Clerics are masters of healing. Characters in this DND class can control the undead and have powers over life and death, which makes them extremely useful in a number of situations.

Proficiencies

  • Armor: Light and medium armor + shields.
  • Possible Equipment: Scale mail, leather armor, chainmail, a mace, a war hammer, a light crossbow and 20 bolts, any simple weapon, an explorer’s pack, a priest’s pack, a shield, and a holy symbol.
  • Tools: None.
  • Saves: Charisma and wisdom.
  • Skills: Religion, insight, history, medicine, and persuasion (choose two).

Druid

Druids are masters of nature. Like Clerics, they have a way with magic, but their powers don’t work against the undead. However, their spells are effective against nature to the extent that Druids can actually change into various types of animals.

Proficiencies

  • Armor: Light and medium armor + shields (armor and shields can’t be made of metal).
  • Possible Equipment: Leather armor, a druidic focus, an explorer’s pack, any simple melee weapon, a scimitar, wooden shield, any simple weapon.
  • Tools: Herbalism toolkit.
  • Saves: Intelligence and wisdom.
  • Skills: Animal handling, arcana, medicine, insight, religion, nature, survival, and perception (choose two).

Fighter

Fighters can come from a variety of backgrounds, including former soldiers, adventurers, bodyguards, and bandit kings. However, the one thing that links them all is the ability to fight. These characters are hardy, strong, tactical, and skilled with weapons.

Proficiencies

  • Armor: All armor and shields
  • Possible Equipment: Chainmail, leather armor, longbow and 20 arrows, a light crossbow and 20 bolts, two-handed axes, a martial weapon and a shield, two martial weapons, a dungeoneer’s pack, and an explorer’s pack.
  • Tools: None.
  • Saves: Constitution and strength.
  • Skills: Acrobatics, athletics, history, animal handling, perception, insight, intimidation, and survival (choose two).

Monk

Monks are skilled fighters with a mystical edge. You should see these characters as masters of discipline. Introverted and not necessarily physically imposing. However, they can be deadly thanks to their apparent connection to another realm.

Proficiencies

  • Armor: None
  • Possible Equipment: Darts, an explorer’s pack, a dungeoneer’s pack, any simple weapon, a short sword.
  • Tools: Any artisan’s tools or musical instrument.
  • Saves: Dexterity and strength.
  • Skills: Athletics, insight, religion, acrobatics, history, and stealth.

Paladin

Paladins are a DND class bound by honor and morality. They are, in essence, knights of the realm who are skilled fighters and spellcasters. However, they must always keep on the right side of good and uphold justice at all times.

Proficiencies

  • Armor: All armor and shields.
  • Possible Equipment: Chainmail and a holy symbol, an explorer’s pack, a priest’s pack, two martial weapons, a martial weapon and a shield, any simple melee weapon, and five javelins.
  • Tools: None.
  • Saves: Wisdom and charisma.
  • Skills: Intimidation, athletics, medicine, insight, religion, and persuasion.

Ranger

Rangers are hunters and skilled with an axe. Their skills are honed through a life of cutting trees and working with wood, but they’re also useful in combat situations. Rangers are reclusive and not necessarily mystical, but they do have an affinity with nature.

Proficiencies

  • Armor: Light and medium armor + shields
  • Possible Equipment: A longbow and a quiver of 20 arrows, scale mail, leather armor, two short swords, two simple melee weapons, a dungeoneer’s pack, and an explorer’s pack.
  • Tools: None.
  • Saves: Strength and dexterity.
  • Skills: Stealth, Athletics, animal handling, investigation, insight, perception, nature, and survival.

Rogue

The Rogue was an official base class from the Player’s Handbook in early editions of Dungeons & Dragons. As you’d expect, the Rogue doesn’t play by the rules. They are stealthy and skilled.

Their main talents include finding and disarming traps, picking locks, and taking out unsuspecting opponents with sneak attacks.

Proficiencies

  • Armor: Light.
  • Possible Equipment: Leather armor, two daggers, thief’s tools, an explorer’s pack, burglar’s pack, a dungeoneer’s pack, short sword, a short bow and quiver of 20 arrows, and a rapier.
  • Tools: Thief’s toolkit.
  • Saves: Dexterity and intelligence.
  • Skills: Stealth, sleight of hand deception, performance, insight, acrobatics, persuasion, intimidation, investigation, perception, and athletics.

Sorcerer

The sorcerer may falter in a physical confrontation, but they’re masters of magic. Specifically, they’re masters of arcane magic and that makes them the most powerful characters in Dungeons & Dragons.

Proficiencies

  • Armor: None.
  • Possible Equipment: Two daggers, a light crossbow and 20 bolts, any simple weapon, a component pouch, an arcane focus, an explorer’s pack, and a dungeoneer’s pack.
  • Tools: None.
  • Saves: Charisma and constitution.
  • Skills: Arcana, intimidation, religious deception, insight, and persuasion.

Warlock

Warlocks were initially introduced as a non-core base class that practiced arcane magic. However, as Dungeons & Dragons evolved, they became the main class. Warlocks have magical powers endowed to them by supernatural beings such as demons.

The defining feature of a Warlock is that they can use their magic at will and without limit.

Proficiencies

  • Armor: Light armor.
  • Possible Equipment: A dungeoneer’s pack, a scholar’s pack, an arcane focus, a component pouch, any simple weapon, a light crossbow and 20 bolts, leather armor, and two daggers.
  • Tools: None.
  • Saves: Wisdom and charisma.
  • Skills: Arcana, history, deception, investigation, intimidation, religion, and nature.

Wizard

Wizards won’t be much use in a fight if weapons are the key to victory. However, if spells are required, there are few that can match this character class. Unlike other magic-based DND classes, Wizards cast their spells based on acquired knowledge.

In other words, they build up their repertoire of spells as the game evolves, which means they may start off as fairly weak but gain in strength.

Proficiencies

  • Armor: None.
  • Possible Equipment: A spellbook, an explorer’s pack, a scholar’s pack, an arcane focus, a component pouch, and a dagger.
  • Tools: None.
  • Saves: Wisdom and intelligence.
  • Skills: Arcana, medicine, religion history, insight, and investigation.

A Lesson on DND Classes

As you can see, there are DND classes aplenty and each one has its own particular set of skills. The reality is that you can have fun and enjoy Dungeons & Dragons with any class.

However, if you really want to get the most out of your sessions, it’s worth studying the traits and choosing those that pique your interest.

If you’re a fan of magic, consider the Warlocks, Wizards, and Sorcerers. If you have a penchant for physical combat, check out the Fighters, Monks, and Barbarians. The lesson here is Dungeons & Dragons is a fantastically complex game with multiple twists and turns.

Character classes contribute to these dynamics and that’s why you need to understand them before you embark on your first adventure.

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