Improve Your D&D Role Play (Acting your Class)
Updated: Oct 16, 2018
So you want to roleplay your character better in D&D, right? And if you are like me, then you yearn for that full immersive experience which can only come from nailing your character's in-game performance!
So how do you make your character believable at the table?
Ultimately, you should play the character how you want to play it, use your imagination and your style to make the character your own. Don't let anyone tell you how you must do something in Dungeons & Dragons.
But maybe you want to use some clues from existing stories. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it isn't as easy as it may appear to act your character believably at first glance, which is why I did a ton of research on character classes in order to find the best nuggets for you to use in your sessions. Still, this opinion is all just an interpretation of class information and stereotypes. But if you are still curious to dive deep into character classes, and how you can extract a character personality from them, then let's explore!
Together, we are going to improve the believability of your character's role-play by examining each class.
Below we will go over some statistics about which character classes are chosen over others, give a brief overview of each character class and archetype, and then discuss and recap using what we found out about the class to shape how best to play it during a real Dungeons & Dragons game!
A Breakdown of Character Class from Most to Least Chosen
If you want to improve how your character is played, it definitely helps to see what characters are available to choose from and rank them based on their popularity.
Why a popularity contest?
Because popularity suggests how well others know the character type, thus how many references there may be to the class. The most popular classes will likely be easier to role-play believably than the more obscure classes.
Some StatisticsFiveThirtyEight conducted a study with the help of D&D Beyond to see just how common some of the classes are when combined with races. They compiled their data consisting of averages for every 100,000 characters created. The results are not surprising.
Let’s face it, fantasy culture has programmed us to know and choose characters we see all the time, and D&D is no different.
But you want to stand out and express something different than the mainstream, right?
Right! So with that in mind, let's delve into WHY the results appear as they do and what you can do to make your character easier to play.
The information below aims to reveal how much effort you may need to invest before you have mastered your character's class type.
Of the 100,000 sample, just over 25% of all race choices were human. You might think this is a bit unoriginal for a fantasy game, but D&D rewards human players with an extra ability point stat, which makes it a pretty balanced race for all classes.
Certainly, other races give bonuses to specific ability scores, and this may make sense for choosing a particular race and class, but I think it is safe to start with the human race so that this post isn't a book in itself.
We will start with the most chosen class first, according to the study: The Fighter
This class is a staple for new players because it has very few abilities that are pretty straightforward. There's not much to remember for the fighter class, so you can focus on how cool your physical attacks are instead of shuffling through pages to determine casting costs, cool-down times (concentration), etc.
Chosen 19.4% of the time, there is so much information available about what it means to be a fighter, that I am sure your imagination is firing off tons of reference points from all kinds of books, movies, and games.
Masters of weaponry and armor, this class focuses on physical attack and defense. While the general thought might be that fighters only rely on brute strength, the truth is, depending on how you allocate ability points, the fighter can be an incredible archer (dexterity based), melee fighter (strength), or a tank for defense.
Dexterity-based fighters utilize ranged weapons, finesse weapons, and light armors
Strength-based fighters specialize in heavy weapons and armors
At level 3, the fighter class forks to 11 archetypes:
Arcane Archer: gains proficiency in either Arcana or the Nature skills, and magic arrows
Battle Master: grants two-handed wielding, added proficiency in damage output and melee range.
Brute: increased attack features and critical attack bonuses
Cavalier: gains proficiency in one of the following: Animal Handling, History, Insight, Performance, or Persuasion. Alternatively, you learn one language of your choice. Likes to ride mounts, and can ward enemies.
Champion: simplest and most beginner friendly, an amazing attack/defense machine.
Eldritch Knight: can cast a few spells and eventually becomes a roving magic tank when defense attributes are maximized.
Monster Hunter: gain proficiency in two of the following skills of your choice: Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Nature, or Perception. You can gain proficiency with a tool of your choice in place of one skill choice. Adds superiority dice for combat bonuses.
Purple Dragon Knight: Restricted to the order of Cormyrean knighthood, basically takes on the role of a royal guardian.
Samurai: gain proficiency in one of the following: History, Insight, Performance, or Persuasion. Alternatively, you learn one language of your choice. Allows for wisdom bonus to charisma checks, and an extra turn before death in later levels.
Scout: gain proficiency in three of the following skills of your choice: Acrobatics, Athletics, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Stealth, or Survival. You can choose to gain proficiency with thieves' tools in place of one skill choice. Adds superiority dice for combat.
Sharpshooter: grants increased accuracy and attack bonus on ranged attacks
After more levels, the fighter can improve physical traits or increase the number of physical attacks and actions per turn.
Class Recap (The Fighter)
With all that said, when we take a broad look at the Fighter class, it is easy to make assumptions about how they should act. Due to their high armor class, fighters are typically expected to take the front lines in battle, and make for great party leaders, but aren’t naturally charismatic, so leave the diplomacy and negotiations to other classes.
Because their focus is on physical traits, fighters may be less interested in small talk or time-wasting social interactions. How might this change how you play your character?
This could mean that your character is a bit more arrogant when talking about battle, or maybe more confident during battle, and therefore more willing to always take risks outside of battle.
How would you behave if you are more likely to critically hit your enemy with a sweeping physical attack? With such a large health pool bonus of 7 per level (as opposed to 5 for most other classes), would you consider taking charge of the team in battle or standing back?
Does this change how you view your “physically weaker” party members?
Once you define your fighter based on all of this information, perhaps now you can visualize how best to portray it at your D&D table each week.
Spells take time to comprehend, and to the wizard, their power is no laughing matter. This spell-casting class believes that magic comes from books and those who study and work hard to comprehend magical tomes will be granted the ability to use them.
Chosen 10.2% of the time, these tried and true scholars gain their prowess through experimentation and study.
Masters of magic and knowledge, they are inseparable from their spell-books, which hold years, even centuries of information.
In D&D, there are 15 magic focuses including 9 schools of spells:
Artificer: Create magic items, weapons, armors, and potions.
Bladesinging: Restricted to Elves and Half-elves from the Forgotten Realms arc. Grants additional attack and defense features.
Lore Mastery: Modify spell damage type effects
School of Abjuration: Protective Spells
School of Conjuration: Transporting objects and creatures from one place to another
School of Divination: To locate objects and tell the future
School of Enchantment: To affect the minds of others
School of Evocation: To produce bursts of energy
School of Illusion: To deceive the senses and minds of others
School of Invention: Gain proficiency in 2 tools of your choice, a special armor set, and the ability to possibly cast spells you are not prepared to cast.
School of Necromancy: Manipulate life and death
School of Transmutation: Transform an object or creature’s properties
Technomancy: Meant for cyberpunk or futuristic campaigns, enables hacking and computer wizardry.
Theurgy: Become a wizard who serves a deity, with access to domain spells
War Magic: Grants higher concentration, ability to deflect and absorb damage.
Wizards have what is called “Arcane Tradition” in that each wizard specializes in a specific school of spells while also granting specific enhancements to match the particular school of magic. This does not prevent wizards from learning spells from other schools, it just makes spells within their specialization less costly.
WOW THAT’s A LOT!
I know… but once you wrap your head around the spell book mechanic, you can decide what kind of wizard you want to be, which will affect how you want to portray your wizard while playing. There are 3 basic focuses might help to summarize wizards:
The Supporter is someone who buffs other players or debuffs enemies. The Utilitarian puts more attention on affecting the gameplay outside of battle. The Striker is someone focused on tons of magic-driven damage in battle.
While it is encouraged to be a supporter or utilitarian wizard, it is expected that a wizard equips at least some sort of attacking magic to help in battle, especially if you have a cleric or rogue in your party.
Every wizard should have at least one super powerful area of attack (AOE) spell in their list, as they really come through in a pinch when most other martial classes can only hit one enemy at a time. Despite having super powerful magic, they are extremely weak to physical damage.
Honestly, there is no perfect way to play a wizard and to new players, this can be a very complicated class to master, so even though it is often chosen, I am going to rank this class as very difficult to learn (game mechanics wise), but very easy to role-play.
Class Recap (The Wizard)
This class can be confusing with all that spell casting, but this also means in order to play effectively, you will want to communicate with your party and ask tons of questions to your DM while you play. This fits the personality of a wizard’s inquisitive nature.
If there is a sorcerer in your party, your wizard might feel a bit of jealousy or scoff at them, because sorcerers are born with talents that wizards don’t get.
Wizards might also have a standoffish personality and mock childish behavior, or prefer to study versus attend the bard’s performances.
There are many examples of wizards in the mainstream consciousness you can pull from should you wish to improve your wizardly persona. Fortunately, most of the examples show a wide range of behaviors, making wizards really easy classes to adapt to over time.
Thieves, scoundrels, assassins and swashbucklers, the rogue class epitomizes cunning, skill and finesse and typically attracts a very specific type of player.. ahem.. You know who you are.
Chosen 10% of the time, this archetype sneaks around, deceives, and uses their mouth to get both into and out of trouble.
Since they are not opposed to breaking and entering, this class makes for some really fun role play when not in battle. But not all rogues have to be thieves. Rogues can set and disarm traps, gather important information from the shadows, or even start a rumor mill. Some of these require a very active imagination and a sense of humor to boot.
While they are typically melee-focused, rogues have a low armor class (proficient in light armors), which makes them more vulnerable on the front lines. Consider the rogue’s movement as an important feature for this class since the “Cunning Action” ability grants a bonus action on each turn at level 2.
To make up for a low defense, rogues acquire 4 skills to start with (opposed to 2), and saving throws in dexterity and intelligence, which means they are really good at avoiding physical damage and some magic attacks.
At level 3, the rogue class forks to 7 archetypes:
Arcane Trickster: are rogues that can cast spells.. what could go wrong?
Assassin: allows for more proficiencies in ranged and melee attacks, but generally better used in longer campaigns where intricate plans can be crafted.
Inquisitive: masters insight with an eye for detail
Mastermind: gains proficiencies with the disguise kit, the forgery kit, and one gaming set of your choice. Can misdirect, and manipulate others with ease.
Scout: granted proficiencies in nature and survival, increased speed, bonus action attack
Swashbuckler: Use Charisma to gain advantage, increased acrobatics
Thief: grants more object interaction in battle during bonus actions.
After more levels, the rogue gains extra evasiveness and luck-driven abilities that can be very annoying to DMs, so have fun with it.
Overall, the rogue has to rely on their skills and evasiveness to survive, which makes them very interesting and highly sought-after party members within D&D roleplay.
Class Recap (The Rogue)
Rogues typically take on the role of an antihero. You want to root for them, but some of their actions are a bit questionable. To truly harness the rogue’s specialty, consider sneak-attacks and evasive maneuvers in battle, versus all-out brute force, even if their attacks are still pretty strong.
Players who are expert rogues try to avoid battle where possible, instead choosing to weasel out of the situation without ever drawing blood. Oh, and what’s that? The Rogue also swiped the dungeon key? Clever, clever. A skillful player might make all sorts of references and leave clues through random actions, only to eventually tie up loose ends. This can add a tremendously entertaining plot driver to your D&D game over many sessions.
To play this class successfully, pay more attention to how your rogue participates out of battle, in between encounters, and think of interesting ways to bamboozle your enemies or maybe even the DM. ; )
Imagine characters from your favorite stories and games. Can you think of any characters that match this style? Consider embodying some of those traits for your rogue.
Warning: It is really easy for a rogue to get carried away. use some care when plotting against your fellow party members. Be a trickster, but be a lovable trickster. STOP STEALING MY STUFF!
Clerics are spellcasters that focus the power from their chosen deity to perform miraculous spells without the need for a spellbook, instead relying on faith that their deity will grant them divine strength just because he or she is so deeply devoted to them.
Chosen 9.3% of the time, surprisingly, clerics are one of the most versatile classes in Dungeons & Dragons. They have a high armor class for defense and are proficient in light armors, medium armors, and shields. But if your cleric chooses the “Domain of Life” (expanded upon below), it can also use heavy armors. Their weapon proficiencies also vary based on Domain choice.
Those familiar with RPG video games might think that clerics are the dedicated healing class, but a cleric does not have to be typecast as a healer, even if they do have a wide variety of support spells. They have a full range of spells and can even cast them at level 1.
Clerics have 7 areas of focus called their “Divine Domain” which dictates how they play and may point to a specific deity. Your character does not have to wait to choose this feature, as it is granted at level 1.
Domain of Arcana: Enhanced magic attack and healing properties.
Domain of Ambition: Improved evasion and warding.
Domain of City: The ultimate mayor, or at least improved travel and know-how within urban environments.
Domain of Death: A reaper of death and decay.
Domain of Forge: Gains proficiency in heavy armors, and smithing / crafting features
Domain of Grave: Can detect undead and curse enemies
Domain of Knowledge: Boosts to Knowledge, mind reading, and granted proficiencies through Divinity
Domain of Life: Healing spells and general party support with bonuses to turning undead
Domain of Light: Gains fire-typed spells not normally granted. This is a great option for players who want to attack and heal effectively
Domain of Nature: Grants resistances to environmental hazards presented to themselves or the party, adds features to exploration, and allows communicating with plants and animals
Domain of Order: Can command creatures to follow your will instead of their own
Domain of Protection: Become a healing tank.
Domain of Solidarity: Specializes in boosting party attacks and healing.
Domain of Strength: Gain additional proficiency in strength for combat and saving throws.
Domain of Tempest: Bestows martial weapon and heavy armor proficiencies, as well as other spells not normally granted. This is a very balanced cleric domain.
Domain of Trickery: Involves illusions, deceptions, and stealth boosting, but only for other party members
Domain of War: Are almost on-par with fighters when it comes to melee combat, but can also heal and support the party in other ways
Domain of Zeal: Gain proficiencies in martial attacks and heavy armors, with additional attack options for bonus actions.
Due to the cleric's healing capabilities, they are often relied on as a source for damage recovery, but this resource is limited and can only be used so many times before a short or long rest. Therefore, the cleric must choose sparingly and wisely when casting a healing spell.
Class Recap (The Cleric)
Clerics are agents of Divine will, but that doesn’t mean your interpretation of that means you must actively profess worship to a make-believe deity in order to accomplish that. This class is almost entirely designed for customization, and offers so much room for interpretation for how to behave, simply following ideals attributed to your cleric’s Divine Domain can offer a myriad of potential play styles.
And remember, this is just a game. If you are uncomfortable playing the role of a devoted servant, then don’t put any real focus on the religious aspects of it, instead create your own meaning as to what a cleric is that works for you and the party.
This is one class where there are infinite ways to nail the role. Take into account other characteristics of your character, like their race or alignment to further shape your role-play because this class has no real bounds.
Paladins are oath keepers, serving a higher purpose. In previous editions, Paladins were restricted to lawful good alignments or a strict alignment that matches the deity they worship. However, since 5e, the paladin class has had a revival!
Chosen 9.2% of the time, the paladin is generally thought of as an unwavering warrior for good, whose values can sometimes cause contention in a party. However, paladins make mistakes too and sometimes act in ways not in accordance with their oath. This makes them seek absolution from other paladins of a similar order or clerics of the same deity, or conduct a fast or act of self-denial.
They have proficiencies in all armor types and shields and can handle martial and simple weapons with ease. They start off with one of the highest hit dice (1d10 per level), and are strong in strength and charisma.
Their “Divine Sense” allows them to detect celestial, fiend, or undead, or any object that has been consecrated or desecrated within a 60-foot radius.
Paladins are game changers in that they can use their “Smites” to deal damage quickly and turn the tide of battle from the beginning, and can also take on healing spells, supporting and social interaction roles to help their party.
At level 3, the paladins choose their Sacred Oath:
Oath of the Ancients: Lead by example and protect the world from despair
Oath of Conquest: Destroy all hope, show no mercy
Oath of the Crown: Choose to be responsible for upholding the law no matter the circumstances.
Oath of Devotion: Don't lie, cheat, fear, or leave others in need. Be fair and honorable because it is your duty.
Oath of Redemption: A tranquil warrior who uses diplomacy and word arts over sword arts.
Oath of Vengeance: Fight the greater evil, destroy the wicked no matter what it takes.
Class Recap (The Paladin)
As you can surmise, paladins are total perfectionists, but that doesn’t mean they have to be aligned lawful good. Your paladin could become an oath-breaker or treacherous, and go against all they once stood for as well.
Now you are not restricted to a specific alignment, and you don’t have to serve a deity. To be a paladin, simply make an oath that you will never break from, even something as simple as obtaining fame so long as this oath matches your paladin’s archetype.
Just make sure you discuss with your DM just how far you can go before you lose your paladin status if you wish to maintain your oath.
Fantasy adventures are littered with the unwavering oath-keeper, but they can be a bit tricky to play convincingly since oath-restriction, perfection, and boundaries are their modus operandi. They are considered straight shooters, by the books, their way or the highway types. Choose this class with caution.
Monks are martial arts masters with incredible speed and power. They live a life of discipline and can perform near-magical feats from pure determination and skill.
Chosen 7.7% of the time, monks are killers in combat, with tons of options for attacking, blocking, agility, etc. They do not have a lot of hit dice nor is their armor class high, so relying on that agility or perhaps ranged weapons is recommended if against a super strong foe. Monks who want to take risks can boost their defenses with limited Ki points.
Monks have proficiencies in simple weapons and shortswords, strength and dexterity saving throws, and their primary abilities focus on dexterity and wisdom. Acrobatics and Athletics skills make for a wildly cinematic combat specialist.
At level 3, the monk class splits into 8 monastic traditions:
Way of the Drunken Master: Becomes a brewer and drinks alcohol to become the ultimate disengaged fighter
Way of the Four Elements: Gains mastery over elemental spells, a true avatar
Way of the Kensei: Gain proficiency in 2 weapons, melee or ranged for boosted damage and effects with those weapons
Way of the Long Death: Able to leech life from enemies, frighten enemies, and recover HP
Way of the Open Hand: Boosts unarmed strikes significantly
Way of Shadow: Becomes a stealthy illusionist ninja
Way of the Sun Soul: Adds a new attack option with radiant and magic damage
Way of Tranquility: Become a proficient healer and debut champion
Class Recap (The Monk)
With all the class archetypes to choose from, monks can have a range of personalities for acting, but the stereotypes associated with each archetype almost speak for themselves.
To play this character best, it is recommended to think of some clever imagery to explain how your monk is taking action and moving. With so much agility, the most interesting story content can come from simple movements.
There are plenty of movies which focus on martial arts monks fighters you could emulate. Maybe don’t pretend to move your mouth as if speaking another language. That might be going too far, grasshoppa.
Rangers are iconic for being proficient in ranged weapons but can be molded into defenders or competent melee warriors a well. They are natural explorers, part warrior and part spell caster with very effective supporting attributes.
Chosen 6.8% of the time, rangers are in the martial combat specialists capable of inflicting a significant amount of physical damage, but also have a number of supporting spells too. This class has the “Favored Enemy” feature granted at level 1, which allows the ranger to choose a single creature type or 2 humanoid races to always have advantage over to track during survival checks or intelligence checks to recall information about them. The Hunter’s Mark is both utilitarian for skill challenges and helpful during battle encounters.
Rangers are proficient in light armors, medium armors, and shields, carrying simple and martial weapons, with the added bonus of longbow’s range and accuracy. Their 3 initial skills primarily focus on exploration, and they severely lack social skills.
What they may lack for in chit-chat, they more than make up for with the “Natural Explorer” proficiency bonus, which enables doubled intelligence or wisdom checks in a specific terrain type. What’s more, while traveling long distances more than an hour, the party cannot become lost or slowed by difficult terrain, they move stealthily while alone, and can easily find food when foraging.
As you can see, Rangers are SUPER HELPFUL with their scouting abilities!
At level 3, the ranger class forks to 6 archetypes:
Beast Master: Focused on utility with a supporting role in combat. It also features a beast companion for all sorts of tasks and support.
Gloom Stalker: Learn additional spells which give you a dark specialty, dark vision, stealth, and strike fear into your enemies.
Horizon Walker: Gain the abilities of those who can walk in between real and spectral dimensions, with higher evasiveness.
Hunter: Purely combat focused, granting additional offensive and defensive features as they level up.
Monster Slayer: Abilities to counter magic users, and focus on the demise of specific monsters.
Primeval Guardian: Take on the visage of a guardian with increased physical and combat properties.
Your ranger needs to be well-crafted from the beginning to be as useful as possible during a campaign. It is important to communicate with the DM as much as possible when creating a character in this class so that you can determine the most advantageous features and options to choose, otherwise you might not have as much fun as you could have.
Class Recap (The Ranger)
Rangers make excellent loners. Keeping their distance physically should be a consideration, especially for scouting. Since they lack social prowess, your ranger might keep boundaries around them, even from other party members and certainly during social gatherings.
This really is a mysterious class, lending itself well to a deeply rich backstory tied to nature and exploration. Perhaps exiled from their homeland, your character could be slow to trust others and keep even the most important information to themselves.
The Favored Enemy feature reveals possible backstory opportunities to expand on with your DM. There isn’t a lot of acting necessary, so this class could be perfect for those who are new or are beginners, and potentially having an animal companion could add another layer of enjoyment too.
When you think of this class, what sorts of famous characters come to mind? If you can envision your character actions in a given situation properly with these class attributes, then you are bound to play this class well.
Warlocks are spellcasters first and foremost, but due to their setup, they can also make for excellent melee combatants. Unlike other spellcasting classes, warlocks gain their magical abilities from pacts they make with a patron, an exchange of power for servitude or “A deal with the devil,” to put it colloquially.
Chosen 6.8% of the time, the warlock is one of the most unique magic classes in D&D because unlike Clerics and Paladins, their connection to their patron is not of devotion or oath, but an obligation. Unlike Wizards, they do not gain power from studying, are magically strong, yet they are also able to hold their own in physical combat.
They have proficiencies in light armors and simple weapons, and their saving throws are wisdom and charisma-based, and they are great at socializing, schmoozing, or deceiving.
Their patrons give them access to certain spells and class features.
At level 1, the warlocks choose their patrons:
The Archfey: gains extra spells, can charm and frighten enemies while making an escape.
The Celestial: grants extra spells + cantrips, can heal and added death resilience.
The Fiend: grants extra spells, can hurl enemies into a lower plane.
The Ghost in the Machine: Meant for futuristic campaigns. grants extra spells and the ability to leave viruses and grants personal encryption
The Great Old One: gain more spells, and the ability to communicate telepathically or control enemies, can modify resistances after a long rest.
The Hexblade: gains extra spells, grants added proficiencies to medium armors, shields, and martial weapons, can curse enemies to gain advantage over them.
The Raven Queen: gains extra spells, get a spectral raven you can meld with or use as a creature companion
The Seeker: grants extra spells, can shift to the astral plane to cast spells on self and short rest at higher levels
The Undying: Gains extra spells and a cantrip, can self-heal every turn, boosts to resistances, other weird and unnatural abilities like not ever having to eat.
Class Recap (The Warlock)
If you want to know one of the easiest classes to play, it is definitely the warlock. The schtick is to essentially play as someone subservient to a patron or deity. Other than that, personality traits derive from alignment, race, and the chosen patron’s archetype above. If you are interested in the warlock class, please check out one of the links above to the dnd wiki, otherwise, just note that this will be a very versatile class that won’t take much convincing to act out.
Think about how your chosen archetype might shape aspects of your personality. Use this knowledge to craft storyline for your character, which should make it easier to step into their shoes, if they like wearing them.
Bards are natural performers who use magic in the form of their performance arts. Their bardic inspiration is great for adding advantage to any player character’s dice roll, and is only matched by the DM’s inspiration points.
Chosen 5.8% of the time, bards can become a jack of all trades to make up for a party’s weaknesses. They can also inspire other party members to perform better with their “Bardic Inspiration.”
Bards have proficiencies in light armor, simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, short-swords, and three musical instruments. Bards are the only class with access to ALL skills, with 3 initial skills to choose from. Their primary abilities center around charisma while using dexterity and charisma for saving throws.
At level 3, the bard class chooses from one of the 6 bard colleges:
College of Glamour: grants a wondrous appearance, can inspire and wonder an audience with your beauty or appear majestic for a short time.
College of Lore: gain proficiency in 3 skills of your choice, can charm creatures, can learn unusual spells.
College of Satire: gain proficiency with thieves tools, sleight of hand and one additional skill of choice. Can make cause embarrassment to others, and added luck.
College of Swords: bonus proficiencies with medium armor and scimitar, and can choose a fighting style and extra attacks at higher levels.
College of Valor: gains proficiencies with medium armors, shields, and martial weapons, can gain extra attacks and can use weapon attacks as a bonus action when casting a bard spell (level 14)
College of Whispers: Can frighten, add psychic damage to attacks, and can take on an enemy’s shadow once defeated until long rest. Whisper a phrase to potentially charm a target.
Some bards take it upon themselves to jot down lots of notes during campaigns, so they may retell their story at a later time for a performance, or in the event a player is unable to make it to a session.
Class Recap (The Bard)
Bards are all about setting the mood in the party’s favor. If you love being the center of attention, enjoy retelling old stories, singing, telling jokes, or really any sort of performance at all, the bard may be the perfect choice for you.
They are designed for players with active imaginations who want to take risks with their acting, and who love to shape the story, but they also make for great friends outside of battle.
Barbarians are beasts in the battlefield, boasting heavy damage and resilience. Their Rage feature helps protect them from harm and gives them advantage when making strength checks, including athletics and strength saving throws.
Chosen 5.7% of the time, barbarians are proficient in all light and medium armors and a shield. Give them a Great-axe FTW! This class is designed to be your party’s guinea pig. with saving throws in strength and constitution, send them in front to clear the path or have them drink from that weird-looking puddle. They’ll be fine…
With a very high health pool, barbarians are expected to take the front lines and serve as meat shields for the party. They make for great action heroes where feats of strength are required to save the day
Because they don’t really have the best social skills, these rage-based bullies are best used for intimidation.
At level 3, the barbarian class forks to 6 Primal Paths:
Path of the Ancestral Guardian: Gain strength from ancestral warriors to gang up on enemies.
Path of the Battlerager: Can only be used by Dwarves and gains spiked armor.
Path of the Berserker: a damage-dealing fiend who frenzies first, and axes questions later.
Path of the Storm Herald: Create an aura around you that deals environmental damage based on which aura is chosen
Path of the Totem Warrior: Focuses on using their strength for versatility outside of battle, and to become an even better defender while in battle.
Path of the Zealot: Grants divine power to fight beyond normal capabilities, 0HP does not knock you unconscious (level 14)
After more levels, the barbarian can use their Rage feature more often, gain more attacks, and increase speed. Oh and just wait for level 9 when your berserker finally gets “brutal critical.” So much damage dealt is bound to get to their head.
Class Recap (The Barbarian)
Barbarians have a pretty standard stereotype of being brutes with a lack of social skills. This doesn’t mean your character has to be rude, but maybe he or she doesn’t read social cues as well as others might, leading to some humor-filled interactions.
They may be arrogant or over-confident about their abilities, may boast to strangers, and often use intimidation over diplomacy to get what they want. Their rivals might also be other martial-types like fighters, monks, and rogues, so consider adding in some tension between players who have those types of characters.
With all that said, I absolutely love this class! I’ll give you a few guesses as to why (hint 1d12 hit dice per level).
Think of some movies where this type of character might exist. What are some ways you can showcase some of their behavior without making the room uncomfortable?
KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON MIKE!
Sorcerers are born for magic and spell casting. While they don’t have access to as many spells as wizards do, they aren’t required to prepare spells before casting them.
Chosen 5.2% of the time, sorcerers have “Metamagic” which enables them to enhance the spells they know to increase the duration, the effect, or the number of targets the spell works on. Most of their spells are damage-dealing or debuffs.
Sorcerers have proficiencies in daggers, quarterstaffs, darts, slings, and light crossbows.
Their saving throws are based on constitution and charisma, while their primary abilities also focus on charisma.
At level 3, the sorcerer class chooses from one of the 10 archetypes:
Divine Soul: grants spells normally reserves for clerics and can manifest divine wings or other favors from your chosen deity.
Draconic Bloodline: Have dragon ancestry, elemental affinity to your draconic heritage, and dragon wings at higher levels.
Giant Soul: gain additional soul spell options that give feature benefits when you use them.
Phoenix Sorcery: gain fire-based abilities and features based on charisma modifier, and can even take on the visage of a flying phoenix at higher levels.
Pyromancer: manifest and control fire included resistances and bonuses to fire damage from casting and melee
Sea Sorcery: can breathe underwater, can curse creatures with cold or lightning damage, and can gain other types of resistances
Shadow Magic: can see in the dark, can summon a hound at level 6 or a shadowy form at later levels.
Stone Sorcery: gets bonus proficiencies to shields, simple and martial weapons. gain smite spells and defense increases to self and party
Storm Sorcery: can fully understand primordial language, control the wind, added resistance to lightning and thunder damage, and can control the weather at higher levels
Wild Magic: grants random magical effects when casting a spell level1 or higher, can gain advantage on rolls, and basically depends on the Wild Magic Surge Table for most “benefits”
Stereotypes tend to make this character manipulative, or nefarious in some way. They make great villains, but sorcerers don’t have to align themselves with evil intentions.
Class Recap (The Sorcerer)
Sorcerers are naturally gifted, which can make them wonder why it takes wizards so long to prepare spells and essentially puts them in their own little magic bubble.
Depending on what you choose, you can use elements from an archetype to help shape the narrative of your character’s actions.
Dragonborn make for great sorcerers due to their draconic bloodline, which can shape the character more than the class might. This is one class where background and origin story might point more to their chosen behaviors, which leaves playing this class open to individual interpretation.
Their source of magic comes from nature and the environment they are from.
Chosen 3.9% of the time, druids are a quirky class that manipulates natural energy to summon elementals or to transform into totem beasts. They do not like to wear anything with metal, and though it is not a requirement in 5e, there is a general expectation amongst seasoned players that druids will not wear metal armors. This may be because certain metals have harmful properties to natural and supernatural beings.
Most druid spells are utility or support based, but there are enough spells where the druid could take on a healing role, attacker, or supporter.
Their proficiencies are in light armors, medium armors, and shields(so long as they are not made of metal), clubs, daggers, darts, javelins, maces, quarterstaffs, scimitars, sickles, slings, and spears. Their skills and saving throws are intelligence and wisdom based, and their primary ability is wisdom based.
At level 2, the druid class chooses from one of the 6 Druid Circles:
Circle of Dreams: gains access to a healing pool and various dreaming-related spells which protect your party during rest periods or enhance their stealth and perception checks.
Circle of the Land: learn a bonus cantrip, can recover spell slots during short rest, and learn various circle spells connected to the land in which you became a druid.
Circle of the Moon: Can use Wild Shape to turn into a beast or elemental
Circle of the Shepherd: Can fully understand the Sylvan language, can speak to animals, and understand them fully. You can summon a spectral spirit totem (bear, hawk or unicorn).
Circle of Spores: learn chill touch cantrip and spore spells, can launch and manipulate spores or use Wild Shape to awaken spores and your fungal body (level 14)
Circle of Twilight: gains access to a pool of energy that increases attack damage, can speak with and cast spells related to the dead and eventually gains resistances to necrotic and radiant damage.
Class Recap (The Druid)
It may be more difficult for some players to effectively play this role when the druid transforms into a beast totem, but this also adds a lot of comedy to it. D&D is not supposed to be taken too seriously, but as far as believability, this class has the widest range of animal noises to master in order to absolutely nail it.
Druids are stereotypical hippies, but that doesn’t mean your druid has to be a tree hugger or partake in the consumption of a particular herb to play the part. Please do not sacrifice your personal hygiene for this role.
After reading the list above, you may notice a lot of interpretations. How you play your character believably centers around the traits you give it, and not solely upon the class it possesses.
In other words, there is no correct or incorrect way to play whatever character you create. The above should be used simply as a reference point and is solely an opinion. The exercise I used above shows you an overview of how character classes are used in the game, and that overview should give you enough clues as to what kind of person your character might be.
What is your favorite class to role-play in your D&D games? Leave a comment below with some ideas that may help others act out their character.