D&D 5th: PHB Previews: Classes in 5th Edition

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Today’s article focuses on the classes that will be in the PHB when it is released on the 19th August. We have known for some time what the actual classes will be but the article that has gone up on the D&D Website gives us some more details on each of the classes, and what we can expect from some of the character options.

The information presented here is taken from that article.

So for you’re reading pleasure I have decided to post the info here and let you know what I think about each of them.

As far as i am aware there will other things that you will need to choose, so not all the options are laid out here, these exerts are more of an overview of what choice you will get, and I am sure there will be plenty of supplement books on their way to us over the next 6 months to a year that will allow us to have even more choice!

First up we have the Barbarian.

Barbarian: A barbarian picks a primal path that reflects the nature of the character’s rage. The two options in the Player’s Handbook are the Path of the Berserker and the Path of the Totem Warrior. The berserker fights with an implacable fury, while the totem warrior channels the magic of beasts to augment his or her rage.

So the first choice we have here is the primal path your Barbarian will need to pick. The text says there will be two in the PHB, and they look like they have two different play styles. The Berserker looks like its the frothy killing machine we have always loved, and the totem warrior looks like it might have a little bit of cross over with the druid, no doubt calling on some of the older 3.5 material where the Barbarian could grow claws etc..

Next we have the Bard.

Bard: Each bard is inspired by a college—a loose affiliation of like-minded bards who share lore, stories, and performances. The Player’s Handbook presents the College of Lore, which focuses on knowledge and performance, and the College of Valor, which focuses on inspiring bravery on the battlefield.

Again we have the name of two of the options one looks like it will be focusing on the old Bardic Knowledge class skill from 3.5 and the other looks like it will be more like the “buffy ” bard from 4th edition.

The Bard has always been a support character, a mix between a rouge a wizard and a cleric, A Jack of All Trades, and Master of None as it where.

I am really hoping that they have fixed this in this edition of D&D making it a class in its own right, worth playing, and not that you are not able to make something better making from multiclassing, as it was in 3.5.

Cleric: Cleric domains reflect the nature of the gods and shape the magic a character wields. The domains in the Player’s Handbook are Knowledge, Life, Light, Nature, Tempest, Trickery, and War.

So not much about the cleric but I would assume that that’s because its one of the classes explained in the Basic Rules. I will review this class in more detail in an article soon!

Druid: A druid joins a circle—one of a number of loose alliances of like-minded druids who share similar outlooks on nature, balance, and the way of druidic magic. The Circle of the Land allows a druid to select a type of terrain from which he or she draws magic. The Circle of the Moon augments a druid’s ability to transform into various beasts.

So from this description of the druid it looks like I may have been incorrect with my summation of the bard. Perhaps the class choices are not so much, giving you a class ability, but enhancing or making you a specialist in as mentioned here under the Circle of the Moon Alliance.

Fighter: All fighters select a martial archetype that reflects a specific approach to combat. The Champion is a mighty warrior who scores deadly critical hits in combat. The Battle Master is a flexible, cunning tactician. The Eldritch Knight masters magic that allows him or her to protect allies and devastate foes.

This is also one of the classes mentioned in more detail in the Basic rules PDF, so ill give a full review of what we know of the fighter soon as well!

Monk: A monk commits to a monastic tradition, defined by a specific form of martial arts that helps channel and shape the use of ki energy. The Way of the Open Hand augments a monk’s unarmed strikes and allows mastery of the deadly quivering palm technique. The Way of Shadow turns a monk into a stealthy warrior who manipulates darkness to confuse and confound enemies. The Way of the Four Elements allows a monk to channel ki into spells and blasts of elemental energy.

It makes me happy that the Monk is back as a standard class. It’s my favourite “support” class in the game. Looks like the Way of Shadows turns him in to a ninja, while the way of the four elements makes him more like Monkey 🙂 Lets hope they have fixed the horrid mistake they made with the Monk in 4th edition, and that they have reincarnated him as the 3.5 version of this awesome class.

Paladin: All paladins take an oath—a pledge to a code of conduct that guides their lives and shapes their abilities. The Oath of Devotion binds a paladin to the ideal of justice, virtue, and order. The Oath of the Ancients pledges a paladin to protect the natural world and preserve hope across the land. The Oath of Vengeance turns a paladin into a deadly avenger who seeks out and punishes wrongdoers.

Everyone’s favourite do-gooder the Paladin is next on our list of classes.  They have turned the paladins oath in to a specialisation, which I think is a brilliant thing to do, to many time I have played with a Paladin who doesn’t stick to their code (I’m not including you in this one Adam) or who will bitch and moan and bend the meaning of the code to get away with some nefarious action in the name of their god, or good or some other rubbish.

Lets hope they bring back the threat of loosing access to powers if the oath is not followed, as although you could impose penalties in 4th edition you couldn’t really take away their powers, as it effected the game balance to much.

Ranger: A ranger selects an archetype that reflects his or her ideals and relationship to nature. The Hunter stands guard in the wilderness, stopping threats before they can menace civilization. The Beast Master cultivates a powerful bond to creatures, fighting alongside them to bring down enemies.

The Ranger, what can I say about the ranger. Not too much really. As there really isn’t a lot of info here about the different specialisations. One looks like he will get a boost to the animal companion and the other looks like a classic Ranger.

Rogue: A rogue selects a roguish archetype that reflects his or her approach to crime and chicanery. The Thief is an evasive, sneaky trickster. The Assassin is a focused and quiet killer. The Arcane Trickster uses enchantment and illusion magic to enact his or her schemes.

Again the Rouge is a class featured in the Basic Rules PDF, but they have let us in on one of the archetypes that isn’t mentioned in the PDF, and happens to be one of my favourite prestige classes from 3.5, that’s right the Arcane Trickster.

I can’t wait to see what abilities they have carried over from that edition, and how they have changed it to fit in with the new rule set.

Sorcerer: A sorcerer’s magic arises from a sorcerous origin—the event, ancestry, or quirk of fate that gifted the character with power. The Draconic Bloodline reflects a sorcerer’s distant dragon ancestry, and grants powers that reflect a dragon’s nature. Wild Magic imbues a sorcerer with the energy of raw chaos, producing unpredictable results from his or her magic.

We have a preview of the Sorcerer pages on the way so I wont go in to too much detail over this but its nice to see that they have kept the draconic bloodline and that wild magic is making an appearance.

Warlock: A warlock’s patron shapes this class’s power. The Archfey grants beguiling magic useful for trickery and quick escapes. The Fiend imparts the power of destructive fire and diabolic resistance. The mysterious Great Old One grants telepathic abilities and chilling glimpses into the nature of the multiverse.

Well we covered the Warlock in some detail in this post. But its nice to know that there are some very different pacts for the warlock players out there to pick. I am sure I would choose the Fiend one; anything that has the line “imparts the power of destructive fire and diabolic resistance” just can not be ignored!

Wizard: A wizard selects an arcane tradition—the specific approach to the study of magic that shapes his or her outlook and talents. Though many traditions exist, the Player’s Handbook focuses on the established schools of D&D magic—Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy, and Transmutation.

Again a class that is detailed in the Basic PDF, so expect a more in depth review shortly, but I must say I am happy that they have gone back to the specialisations in a school of magic, which is made possible by going back to the spell lists rather than powers.

It was one of the things I felt was wrong with 4th edition, which I love by the way, but Wizards did get the bum end of the deal, they went from being so flexible people didn’t know what to do with them, to being quite restricted with only two spells in their spell book, and limited specialisation.

I know most people complain that wizards are overpowered, but I never subscribed to that train of thought, and I like what they have done with the magic mechanic, which we covered here, so I am really looking forward to seeing the new and improved wizard in action.

Well that’s it for the class rundown; let me know what you think, and what class your looking forward to seeing more about and playing in your games of 5th!

Andy @ DMB


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