Hello and salutations again! It is time for another collab article with my wonderful friend DM Jake (check out his D&D blog right here). This week we want to discuss our favourite classes in D&D, mainly referring to 5th edition. My pool of played classes is quite shallow so I will be considering classes that I would love to play one day in a game.
So in no particular order:
I love reading about the Pantheon of Gods in the world of D&D, or even better when DMs homebrew their own pantheon. A magic based on the connection with a diety is so intriguing because it also gives the character a sense of direction and a reason to continue on their journey. One thing I found very surprising in my very first look-through the cleric class was the amount of options you have – You don’t have to be a pure healer. There are very good options to have a more melee fighter cleric without having to fear being too squishy. One of the classic tactics for groups is to always protect the healer character because they have low HP and weak defenses. Not clerics. With a profiency in chain mail and a shield, and even heavy armour if you take the War Domain, clerics are able to withstand more rounds in combat than say your typical magic user. Unless you have made a grave mistake or run into some really rotten luck, you can count on a cleric to survive another round, long enough to send that Healing Word and give you that Cure Wounds you need before you fall, or even use Raise Dead on that one goblin you “accidentally” killed before you could get the information your group needs.
Not only can they heal you too! Clerics also get really awesome support and attack spells thanks to their godly bonds. One of my personal favourite spells is Guiding Bolt, a first level attack spell that gives 4d6 radiant damage AND the next attack roll against the target has advantage. Not only does this deal a massive amount of damage (especially in the beginning stages of the game) but you get to give that extra boost to either you own attack roll or your comrade’s attack roll. Now I know that there are some really amazing spells in the higher levels, and I am so excited to try them out with my own Halfling Cleric when we get there!
Now talk about a BEAST of a class. When originally looking up potential classes I wanted to try out for a game, monk was so low on my list. So low that it wasn’t even in contention with anything else. I thought for sure I wanted to be a Ranger, or a Rogue, or a Sorcerer, because who wouldn’t want a be Legolas, or a stealthy thief, or have the ability to conjure whatever you wanted thanks to some draconian lineage in your blood? My journey to become a monk was a very unexpected one. The moment I read the abilities and features of the Monk, I was immediately sold by the Way of the Four Elements. Truthfully, my Half-Elven Monk was going to become a Water/Air Bender. It was decided from level 1! The only thing I didn’t like about the class was how I was only able to pick one or two other elemental attacks! Then again, I would be totally broken if I wasn’t limited…
I absolutely like the ki point feature of Monks and the different abilities you can use your points on. It gives the player a chance to add a lot of flavour to attacks. I love spending the ki point to use Deflect Missile, catching the arrow in midair and spinning it around to throw it back as a monk weapon. One of my players in my campaign is a monk and I love decribing the repercussions of his ki moves. Now if I were to play a monk again, I would definitely try out the Way of the Shadows path and perhaps go down the route of the stealthy ninja way.
Now the class I have never tried before and DYING to try is the Bard class. My favouritism may be slightly influenced by everybody’s favourite Gnome Bard on Critical Role, Scanlan Shorthalt… But even objectively I think Bard is a really great class! I feel like it has gotten a bit of a bad wrap for being a weak support character that just strums the lute while all the “real fighters” hack and slash their way to victory. On the contrary, bards might be the most diverse and malleable class there is out of all of them. When beginning a Bard build, you can gain proficiency in ANY three skills you wish. You can literally create your very own character from scratch with the possibility of being anything. With the Jack of All Trades feature, you get to add at least half your proficiency bonus to ALL of your skill checks. That is huge! That could be the difference of having a negative modifier and a positive one. It gives the bard class a very nice balance to show that not only can they pick up any instrument and figure out a way to play their favourite song, but they can pick up any item and find a way to use it for their advantage.
If you follow the College of Lore route (which I think hugely overshadows the College of Valor), you get an arsenal of great feature from Cutting Words (use an Inspiration Dice to decrease an attack roll made against you or an ally) to Additional Magical Secrets (learn two spells of your choice from ANY class). Again, this just showcases the customizable depth bards can have.
Bards are also known as the talkers of the group. With a high Charisma score, bards can talk themselves out of almost every situation. This could be where part of their negative reputation as useful characters comes from. All they are good for is for the social interaction, but you know what? Social interactions are some of the most interesting and fun interactions you could have in a D&D game. They can create some of the most memorable moments in a campaign. I find combat as fun as the next D&D player, but there is a certain kind of novelty that comes from non-combat encounters. It helps to create a more diverse game, straying from a one note tone.
One thing I have learned from talking to other D&D players, watching other players’ games, and even from the direct source material, the D&D Player’s Handbook, is that bards are much more than just the fellow with the flute. They have the power to be purely for social interactions with a high persuasion and deception, or they can be skillful acrobats with high Athletics and Acrobatics, or you can go the direct powerhouse spell caster route and load your spell list with the most powerful spells from not only the bard list, but from any spell caster list! If there is a character you want to create from scratch, with total customizable skills, try out a bard.
I would love to hear what your guys’ favourite classes are and why you love playing them! Leave a comment down below. And don’t forget to check out Jake’s article about his Top Favourite Classes as well! He has some really great insight as a veteran D&D player and I’m sure you will love to hear his opinions too. Give me a view and even better, a comment! I know he’ll appreciate it, and I’d appreciate it as well.