Update of the cleric’s and paladin’s overviews+BG-Campaign

Like the title says, I updated the cleric’s and paladin’s overviews. I replaced the Death Spoiler with the actual Death Domain in the DMG, which got some features changed (like no more ignoring necrotic immunity) and I added the Oathbreaker.

Seriously, the only reason I could understand why those weren’t included in the PHB would be, that they weren’t ready that time.

 

When writing the wizard’s overview, I will include the Artificer Arcane Tradition, of course. This turned out to be great, since I’m in love with resource management and this Arcane Tradition makes a lot of use of it.

 

btw, we had our first Baldur’s Gate Self-Made Campaign game session yesterday and it was great. Even though I realized, that you have to change some mechanism and events from the game (since you shouldn’t expect PCs running into someone’s else houses and asking them directly, if there is something wrong), I realized by playing it, that there are a lot of mechanism in 5e, which should be included, like cartography (and proficiency with its tools) or out of combat features, which can bypass some encounters entirely.

We got to level 3 and are currently in Beregost, even though it’s much more fast paced than the game in terms of level, it does feel right in terms of power so far. Next they want to hunt the gnolls at High Hedge, before going to Nashkel to investigate the iron shortage.

Lacking Capstones

Today I talk about our capstones. A capstone is a feature you gain when you reached the level cap, in D&D more specific the level cap in one class (means 20th level for now). The only D&D edition which made great capstones were 4e, Pathfinder got it right and made at least decent, but often not too great, capstones. In 5e, most are lacking.

Here I categorized them to usefulness:

Great and useful anytime

  • Barbarian’s Primal Champion (+4 STR and CON and the cap get increased to 24 for these two abilities)
  • Paladin’s [Ancient] Elder Champion (regain 10 hit points per turn, 1 action casts can be reduced to bonus action, enemies within 10ft have disadvantage to saving throws vs. your paladin spells and Channel Divinity).
  • Rouge’s Stroke of Luck (turn a miss into a hit or make a failure in a ability check to a natural 20 once per short rest)
  • Wizard’s Signature Spells (have two 3rd level always prepared and cast them once per short rest for free at 3rd spell level)

Useful in most cases

  • Cleric’s Improved Divine Intervention (100% chance that your god will help you once a week)
  • Fighter’s 4th attack (great at combat, otherwise useless)
  • Paladin’s [Devotion] Holy Nimbus (10 radiant damage per round for enemies within 30ft, advantage on saving throws vs. undead and fiend spells)
  • Paladin’s [Vengeance] Avenging Angel (Fly speed 60ft and 30ft fear aura).
  • Warlock’s Eldritch Master (regain once per day after 1min all expended Pact Magic spell slots)

Rather lacking, even though useful sometimes (like builds and cases)

  • Druid’s Archdruid (unlimited Wildshape for moon druids and spellcasting with your mind alone unless the material components cost gold)
  • Ranger’s Foe Slayer (once per turn WIS-mod. to attack or damage vs. favored enemy after seeing the roll but before knowing the result)

Useful when running into a lot of encounters

  • Bard’s Superior Inspiration (get one inspiration back when having none when rolling initiative)
  • Monk’s Perfect Self (get 4 ki points back when having none when rolling initiative)
  • Sorcerer’s Sorcerous Restoration (regain 4 expended sorcery points after a short rest)

Some of them would definitely rank higher, if there were only one to two changed details. Like the warlock’s Eldritch Master, if it’d only cost an action. Pact Magic slots are regained after an hour rest, too, after all, even though a minute is much better in that regard, I wasn’t that whelmed.

So why aim for the capstones after all, if most of them are underwhelming? Maybe high level campaigns in planning have a lot of encounters one after another, so regaining resources with initiative roll will have that much impact. Maybe the 21th+ levels will bring some juicy bonuses when you stay in your class and the ‘not-capstones-anymores’ are just a milestone to real power.

I personally think after gaining so much levels in one class, you can simply go all the way. Why would a character even bother at that point to pursue another path?

Overview Paladin

Now we passed the midpoint and got to the paladin. To be honest, I love the archetypical paladin, since 3.0e. Kicking evil butts, saving the day with a heart that’s true, it’s like playing a superhero with armor instead of tights. I was totally with tenets and such and sadly said: I’ve seen too many paladin players, which didn’t even care what it means to be a paladin.

In 4e it became less restrictive, in 5e we’re back to tenets and I’m all for it. Now we’re going to get an overview of this class, even though I was about to make an in-depth at this point, but this have to wait for now. First overview, in-depths some time later.

This is an overview, so I’ll just categorize each class in certain categories to see how it cuts and give a personal grading. The end-grading won’t count the multiclass-strength in (for obvious reasons) and is more like an overall impression than a mathematical derivation.

Any feature in italic is from a subclass and a abbreviation will say which one (in the paladin’s case DV for Devotion, AC for Ancient, VG for Vengeance and OB from the DMG’s Oathbreaker). And red features means there is a flaw or a minus in said category.

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Multiclass-Strength:

  • If you’re a caster, a paladin will provide half its level to your spell-slots per day
  • Taking the 1st level brings about nothing what a typical multiclasser is looking for. 2nd level is the least you should take, there you get the first features which makes it worth, 3rd and 4th level are great choices, too.
  • 5th level gives Extra Attack, 6th a great buff to saves for you and even your allies, while 7th is especially valuable for AC-paladins and then you can get 8th level, too.
  • Up to 12th level, the only especially interesting feature (since grabbing any Ability Score Improvement is good, but not especially interesting) is the Improved Divine Smite at 11th, which will increase your damage
  • 14th brings Cleansing Touch, which is a strong feature, but not a must
  • the capstone is determined by your subclass, so far they’re good (DV), great (VG) and unholy shit of an angel! (AC)

Offensive:

  • Weapon Proficiency: Always have the better tools due martial weapons.
  • Fighting Style (Dueling, Great Weapon Fighting): More damage is more damage after all.
  • Spellcasting: You got a lot of damage enhancing spells in that list, even though it lacks in the direct damage department.
  • Divine Smite: And we’ve more damage again! And you can use any spell-slots, the ‘paladin spell-slots’ there is a typo (since you don’t have different spell-slots just because you have different classes).
  • Extra Attack: More attacks, more hits and more damage!
  • Improved Divine Smite: The fighter gets another attack, your damage increases per attack instead. Less effective, but more damage nonetheless.
  • Channel Divinity (Sacred Weapon; DV): Accuracy bonus (these are rare), weapon becomes magical, no concentration and it makes light so you can see the foe in darkness!
  • Holy Nimbus (DV): A surefire way to damage every enemy without radiant immunity near you.
  • Channel Divinity (Nature’s Wrath; AC): If it lasts, that makes an easy target!
  • Channel Divinity (Abjure Enemy; VG): An one-time advantage!
  • Channel Divinity (Vow of Enmity; VG): You know, having advantage all the time sounds better.
  • Soul of Vengeance (VG): Attack with your reaction when the target of your Vow of Enmity makes an attack… not too complicated, just means: Attack, attack, wait, attack!
  • Avenging Angel (VG): Advantage to the ones who fails the save for one time and wings with improved speed which will bring some more lines of attack.
  • Channel Divinity: Control Undead (OB): Turning enemy undead into allies is a way to increase your party’s damage.
  • Aura of Hate (OB): Only for you, undead and fiends, but there are commanded undead, there are fiend familiars and it’s still a nice self-buff.
  • Aura of Dread (OB): Quite some damage potential here.
  • Aura of Dread (OB): As long as you have darkvision, since you’re not immune to the dim-light effect.

Resource-Management:

  • Divine Sense: Uses an own ‘uses per day’.
  • Lay on Hands: Healing without spell.
  • Spellcasting: Buffs make it easier to end battles and lessens the burden of other resources.
  • Divine Smite: You can trigger it on a hit and since it’s extra damage… consider to trigger it, after rolling a critical hit to double the damage for that instant!
  • Channel Divinity (general): Regain it after a short rest.
  • Aura features: Auras cost nothing and gives some nice benefits for you and the allies around you.
  • Cleansing Touch: Uses its own per-day-pool.
  • Channel Divinity (Nature’s Wrath; AC): When using against a weak and clumsy foe, it’ll keep it quite a while busy.
  • Elder Champion (AC): Lessens the amount of time needed to use a spell and disadvantage makes each spell work more reliable.
  • Channel Divinity (Abjure Enemy; VG): Effect on succeeding save and if the enemy fails, you can effectively ignore it for a while, so you won’t waste any resources there.
  • Relentless Avenger (VG): Keep close right away instead of spending movement next turn.
  • Avenging Angel (VG): A once a day resource, which lasts an hour!
  • Spellcasting: There are some concentrating spells here, as someone who wants to take the front, it’s risky. And if you aren’t hitting with these smite-spells, they might get lost.
  • Divine Smite: Uses up spell-slots and the damage caps at 4th level spell-slots.
  • Channel Divinity (general): One pool for different uses.

Support:

  • Lay on Hands: Heal your buddies from damage, disease and poison.
  • Fighting Style (Protect): Protect those, who doesn’t want to stay away from action. Like they should, probably.
  • Spellcasting: Buffs, heal and protection spells. Even some debuffs for your enemy.
  • Aura features: Keep your friends close and all Auras will affect them, too.
  • Cleansing Touch: Spells can take out your companions for a while. And you can take out these spells, as long they’re not instantaneous.
  • Channel Divinity (Turn the Unholy [DV], Turn the Faithless [AC]): Creates a space around the paladin where the enemies of specific types who failed the save won’t enter anymore.
  • Channel Divinity (Nature’s Wrath; AC): Restrain an enemy and it make it so much harder for it to hurt someone.
  • Elder Champion (AC): Makes your debuffs more reliable! And that saves your allies and yourself!
  • Channel Divinity (Abjure Enemy; VG): An enemy fewer can make a lot of difference.
  • Avenging Angel (VG): Fear me and let my friends hit you better, while you’ll suck at hitting yourself!

Survivability:

  • Hit points: A d10 is above the average d8.
  • Armor Proficiency: Take all the armor and shields you want
  • Lay on Hands: You carry your own healing power here.
  • Fighting Style (Defense): One of the few valuable ways to enhance your AC most of the time.
  • Spellcasting: More healing on the way and spells, which makes your enemies weaker.
  • Divine Health: First you could heal it with Lay on Hands, now you don’t even need to bother.
  • Aura of Protection: Since failing saving throws can bitterly make you suffer, it’s better to increase your chances in succeeding them.
  • Aura of Courage: This one always remind me of this OotS-Strip.
  • Cleansing Touch: As long as the spell lets you act and is not instantaneous, you can get rid of it.
  • Channel Divinity (Turn the Unholy [DV], Turn the Faithless [AC]): Keep those fiends and undead/fey away!
  • Aura of Devotion (DV): Nobody can seduce the paladin by unnatural means!
  • Purity of Spirits (DV): Imagine a demon lord, who came from the inner abyss only to destroy the world and all what he gets is a paladin, against he has permanently disadvantage on attack rolls, while the paladin gets advantage on sving throws vs. specific conditions, even though he’d be immune to most at this point. And the worst: It’s the effect of the spell, not a spell itself, so no anti-magic here.
  • Holy Nimbus (DV): Advantage on saving throws against anything a fiend, fey or undead will hurl at you. Nice.
  • Channel Divinity (Nature’s Wrath; AC): Restrained enemies have a harder time hurting you.
  • Aura of Warding (AC): Resistance to spell damage? This is sick and wrong on a character, who also got good AC and saves!
  • Undying Sentinel (AC): Keep standing once a day and be protected from (magical) aging, even though it doesn’t extend your lifespan.
  • Elder Champion (AC): For a minute you get a kind of regeneration. And since many smite-spells have save-dependent debuffs included, you can make the enemy work harder to even hit you.
  • Channel Divinity (Abjure Enemy; VG): Less damage incoming from foes, which are frightened and stopped moving!
  • Relentless Avenger (VG): No attacks of opportunity here!
  • Avenging Angel (VG): Make them all frightened of you and if that doesn’t help, you can fly away!
  • Channel Divinity: Control Undead (OB): An controlled enemy is an enemy less and a situational meat/bone/ghost-shield.
  • Channel Divinity: Dreadful Aspect (OB): If they’re afraid of you, they won’t attack you that easily.
  • Supernatural Resistance (OB): Since there are even a lot of nonmagical attacks in the high level tiers, this will be a life-saver… for yourself.
  • Aura of Hate (OB): Nothing there says ‘friendly’ undead and fiends.
  • Aura of Dread (OB): Dim light and the shadows makes it harder to hit you and the ones, who fight by your side.

Utility:

  • Divine Sense: Whenever you’re suspecting someone, this will be a great way to see if there is more to this.
  • Spellcasting: A handful spells which will be useful at some point.
  • Oath Spells: There are some wonderful non-paladin ones in there, which add up beautifully to your own spell-list.
  • Channel Divinity (Sacred Weapon; DV): Erm… light?
  • Holy Nimbus (DV): You’re shining!!! … great, right?
  • Avenging Angel (VG): Fly speed.
  • Channel Divinity: Control Undead (OB): You realize, that you have control for 24 hours, right? Might be very situational, but when it comes handy (like in a Vampire’s Castle), it will be very handy.
  • Channel Divinity: Dreadful Aspect (OB): A good DM will allow to use this condition to make intimidation even more intimidating.
  • Tenets: These will give you some restrictions in terms of options, even if you can lay them out widely most of the time.

Grading:

Multiclass: Great
Offense: Great (DV, AC) to Fantastic (VG, OB)
Resource Management: Good
Support: Great
Survivability: Great (DV, VG, OB) to Fantastic (AC)
Utility: Decent

Overall: Great

Or more of a great-plus. While the utility was saved by the spellcasting, the paladin can do about everything, even if he doesn’t put his focus there. Devotion is kinda lacking in general terms, but when facing undead and fiends regularly (which isn’t that uncommon in D&D campaigns) and counting in the rare and hellish strong accuracy buff there, you realize, that the class lacks nothing else but greater utility. And in everything else it can theoretically either keep up with most classes to a certain point.

The really dangerous point is the resource management. Since the paladin have a lot of different pools to use his features from, he can mitigate it to a certain point, but when he’s not careful, he will lose a lot of his punch. Especially after spending all spell-slots.

But this survivability is sick, spells to heal himself, lay on hands, immunity to a lot of effects, improved saving throws, possibly resistance to spell damage, after a few levels a paladin is someone who might survive about everything at his level-range, if he wouldn’t want to take the front row and use this multilayer defense to protect the allies. Good that he needs melee weapons for the best offense uses, this will force him one way or another to draw focus on him.

Even multiclassing to into and out of the paladin brings some of these powerful features right to your character.

What can I say? Great class overall.

Why DMG? WHY?!!

I postpone the overview of the cleric another day, I’ll start today, but since it has too many domains to cover, I simply can’t do it in one day. Work, sleep and such. But to fill the day, I picked up a small issue I have. And that have to do with the DMG.

For those who didn’t knew, the official release pushed back to 9th December, which doesn’t bother me too much. Inconvenient, yes. But I’d rather have a overworked product. That so many optional rules are there, which could easily be introduced in the PHB? We got a bit closer. Here is a list, which got around some forums, no one knows how accurate it is. I marked those red which were in the playtest, orange for systems which reminds me of specific aspects of the playtest and green which have my personal interest:

highlights:

  • costs to construct building
  • costs for hirelings
  • downtime activites (most of which have a 20% chance of going to jail for 5d6 days)
  • domains (kingdom builder rules)
  • using miniatures!!!
  • travel hazards
  • diseases
  • poisons
  • madness
  • traps
  • puzzles
  • modifying races
  • creating new races
  • monsters as characters
  • modifying classes

optional rules:

  • training to level up
  • trading in magic items
  • flanking
  • attacking cover
  • morale
  • action points
  • called shots
  • alternate skill systems (13th age backgrounds are an option)
  • vitality
  • spell points
  • skill points
  • single strike (1 attack roll, cumulative damage)
  • second wind
  • rest variants
  • proficiency dice
  • massive damage
  • marking
  • facing
  • cleaving through the horde
  • automatic success
  • chases
  • cantrip slots
  • action points (again?)
  • group initiative
  • weapon speed
  • passive initiative
  • gestalt characters

There are some things which should interest me, but somehow don’t. Most likely since I’ll await something vague for these topics like the stuff they wrote about it in 3e and 4e. But even though I’m positive that I’ll never use some of these things (without knowing more than the name), I’m not displeased by it. But a little tiny fact is annoying me:

That at least 2 subclasses were transferred in the DMG!

On the cleric side the Death Domain and the paladin lost the Oathbreaker. Maybe even more. And the question remains: Why?

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Because these paths are so evil-natured that only NPCs should have access to it? Double Bullshit! First, if that’d be the case, why even develop those classes and taking the Necromancer into the PHB, which Animate Dead Feature is clearly suggesting the most evil thing about necromancy: The ability to create undead! And second, they already wrote that it might be possible to play a cleric with the Death Domain if your DM allows it. Generally most subclasses should stand over the alignment chart, even though some are more into specific alignments… OK, take paladins out of this, since the oath’s tenets are more or less binding you to a limited numbers of possible alignments (hard to play an evil character under the oath of devotion).

So either both subclasses weren’t finished yet (another reason to push back the release date maybe) or they were not as logical about it, as I would prefer. I know, that sometimes it’s just better to keep to a logic, which doesn’t make too much sense, since other things (like feeling, setting, etc.) are more important. But we’re talking about Player Class’ options. So I just hope that the priority if these subclasses weren’t high enough to be developed as fast as the others or to push back the release date of the PHB. Because if this weren’t the case, I’d get really angry about it!

Some other player’s are sharing my displeasure, but while it’s more of a logical question in my case and my aversion of (letting my players) cramming more rulebooks than needed, other have other issues, like the fascination of playing an evil character. Since evil is cool… I suppose. At least a lot of people like villains more than heroes, but playing an evil character would be pretty boring for me after a while… Unless the campaign is cleverly written, but even then I’d have more fun playing a good campaign than being an evil character…

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Let’s Rock with Roles!

Finally I got this written, now see, what I was writing about the last few days: Roles!!!

In D&D 4e a lot of players were repulsed by the introduction of the class-roles, even though the books said, that they existed long ago and the classes were more built around those roles. Personally, I didn’t care about it, it just made party building that much easier. But since being classified as a role makes it much harder to actually visualize a different build, I thought: Let’s group any class into a group!

Here I will make a difference between combat-roles and outside-combat-roles, since every character should be able to participate in battle, while Social Interaction is often made by a single character. And I’ll dip into the archetypes a bit, without in-depth explanation, there are some builds out there, which makes it much clearer, if you prepare for a specific campaign.

Here the combat-roles:

Defenders are the typical front-liners, which can take punishment, are able to hold a line, protecting the backrow, and of course brings some punishment to the foes. In 4e he’s a very tactical role, in most previous editions, he is just swinging a weapon around hoping that his damage and presence is enough to fulfill that role.

Strikers are able to bring a humongeous amount of damage fast to the enemies. His main-role is to defeat the biggest threats as fast as possible or kill those off, which got some amount of damage from the Controller to lessen the numbers of enemies.

Leaders brings buffs for the party, leading how the battle will go on. AC-buffs for grindy battles, damage buffs for fast ones, the right buff at the same time is one of the most powerful thing. And of course he’s healing the party, ensuring their lifes while deciding effectively, who can participate how long in the thicks.

Controllers got are effects and strong debuffs. They often have damiging powers, which are able to get a lot of enemies in one sweep, they can change the battlefield to the party’s liking and make powerful foes to helpless ones (like stunning the same opponent consequently for 5 rounds).

No class is a pure build on these 4 basic roles and I chose the 4e terms, since Pen and Papers aren’t MMORPGs and therefore these roles have different ways and things to offer, than the correspondentive MMO-Role (Tank, Damage Per Second [DPS], Healer, Crowd Control)

Outside of Combat, these roles are more defining (not counting all possible, but those who I personally think are important):

Knowledge is power, and the Bookworm have all kind of knowledge skills paired with above average Intelligence (this is why they’re most often wizards), if the party needs more explanation, z

With a Brawn, you don’t have to worry about any physical challenge: Climbing a mountain path? No problem. Carrying the petrified Rogue out of the dungeon, while a cockatrice is at your heels? Piece of cake! Breaking a door? D’oh, rolled a 1!

Everyone who is a main-magic user is able to fulfill the Caster-role, when mundane tools ad tactics won’t work, just use a spell! There is treasure at the bottom of the lake and monsters which guard it? Water Breathing! We have to storm a fortress, overtaking the walls, fighting the guards and traps and get weakened to the final fight? Divination to find the treasure room, Dimension Door to shortcut! Some problems aren’t even remotely as easy to solve without a caster, like traveling to the City of Brass in the fire plane. To look for a portal which travels to it, getting to said portal while fighting off anything which is in the way or might think, that it’d be unwise to open a gate to the elemental fire? Annoying!

Without a Face, a person looks funny, a party looks poor. This is the guy who takes all the Charisma-based skills, to be able to smoothtalk, bluff or even force himself and his party members out of the most dangerous situation. A silvery tongue to a slippery guy. Or girl.

The Sneak(y Guy) is someone, is able to sneak ahead of the party for scouting, preparing ambushes or finding a way into a building (like climbing up the walls of a castle, take out the guard post and drop a rope for the rest). Sneaks and Spotters are natural enemies, even though a lot of Rangers fulfill both spots so well, that he should be his own archenemy.

Spotters are the ones who pumped everything in their Perception scores to be able to spot and search for everything. No enemy unseen, no treasure unfound, no DM slightly to really annoyed. There are reasons, why there is so many stealth options around.

Trappers are most often the Sneaky Guys as well and are responsible for traps and often locks as well. Since the Rogue (and later some rougish base classes) in 3e was the only one, who could find and disable magical traps, he was normally the trapper, in 4e and 5e everyone with an ability score to find traps (WIS or in 5e WIS or INT) and the right skill training/proficiencies can be a trapper now. Or leave the finding to the Spotter, even though it wouldn’t hurt to have him concentrate more on enemies.

Now that we know our roles, let’s see how our classes in 5e are to be categorized.

Barbarian

Combat-Role: The classic Barbarian is a more offensive, less defensive version of a Fighter and is therefore a Striker. Right? Actually, I think he shifted to be a Defender with a Striker secondary role. While Raging he can take a humongous deal of punishment to weapons, due his resistance to slashing, bludgeoning and piercing damage, as a Totem Warrior with the Totem Spirit of the Bear it extend to all damage except psychic and Danger Senses protects him even further. His Reckless Attack makes him a better target, provoking enemies to attack him rather his allies, Feral Instincts let him get a higher initiative, so he can better choose where to build up the front line. Most of his features makes him harder to kill or influence, better at being where he needs to be to protect others or helping out his allies or hindering his enemies, in both paths. On the Striker side he only get 2-3 attacks, a single reliable attack with advantage, a smallish bonus damage for Rages and a stronger Critical Hit, which only have a higher chance when using Reckless Attack. Enough Damage to be a threat to enemies, not enough to be an actual Striker, comparing with other classes.

Outside-Combat-Role: When there are no heads to smash, a Barbarian makes a wonderful Brawn, using his Rage feature to get Advantage on Strength rolls himself for a turn and much later Indomitable Might to always get high rolls. There is no special synergy with other roles, even though it’s common to let the strong guy make the intimidation with his muscle and charismatic Barbarians are always kinda neat and works well with the Berserker’s Intimidating Presence.

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Bard

Combat-Role: As a class with good support, Bard’s were always the Leaders, even so their healing abilities came first at 3e pretty weak, in 4e stable and in 5e they’ve become main-casters with any vital healing and revive spell in their spell-list. The Bard’s features allows him to support his party in many ways, buffing them, removing mind-affecting affects and some other stuff. Due his Bard College and Magical Secret’s feature, he can easily fill some parts in other roles.

Outside-Combat-Role: Of course the Bard is your archetypical face, but he can get into other skill-depending roles due his skill-monkey features, so if you’re asking yourself, which ability to boost second after Charisma, you should consider which role outside of combat is still unfilled. Bard’s in the past were known for their aptitude in being the Bookworm, now there are less features for it, but the spell-list do have the vital divination spells. And as a main-caster he can fulfill the Caster role pretty well, having many diverse spells even outside combat and using spells from other classes as well.

So the Bard could fulfill any role quite easily.

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Cleric

Combat-Role: If the Cleric wouldn’t be a Leader, no one would. He have the most healing and removing condition spells and a bunch of buffs. Depending on domain he could take any secondary role, even though it’s easiest to him to become a secondary Controller.

Outside-Combat-Role: Clerics are obviously Casters, even though they’re lacking the flexibility of a Wizard, they have other great spells, which makes a combination with a Wizard that much powerful. Since 5e doesn’t require the Cleric to have a high Charisma score, his Face value dropped as well, even though they’re still good as Bookworms, if INT wasn’t dumped. Since WIS is their main ability, clerics makes good Spotters, even though they can’t get proficiency with Perception on their own, so you have to get it otherwise. For most other roles they’re mediocre or just bad, depending on their armor.

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Druid

Combat-Role: In one way or another the Druid was always stuck between being a Leader or a Controller, even though I’d put him in as a Controller, since his healing was lacking compared to a Cleric and his spells to control the battlefield and deal with multiple enemies are so great.

Outside-Combat-Role: Wild Shape makes the Druid the perfect Spotter and even as a Sneak, he can use this feature. No guard post will take any notice of a squirrel in a tree, as long they don’t have reasons to fear a Druid and even then it might be a ‘friend’ of said person and killing it would only summon the Druid’s wrath, right?

Druid’s get enough knowledge skills to stand in as a Bookworm and outside in nature he’s most likely the best Caster in the game. And Wild Shape can make him a decent Brawn at some point, in Circle of the Moon even a great one (a Rhinoceros certainly helps you with breaking doors).

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Fighter

Combat-Role: As the archetypical Defender, the Fighter is supposed to have all the stuff you want a Defender to have. In pre-3e being at the front and hitting stuff was enough, in 3e he got Bonus Feats which could grant him special attacks without risk (like Disarming, Trip, etc. But hey, most spent them in Two-Weapon Fighting and ways to increase the damage) in 4e he got straight up powers to do his job. In 5e he get… the option to be a Defender. Unlike the Barbarian, who is a Defender at default, the Fighter do have the basics to be a Defender, but can easily be a Striker as well. For Defender take the Protection Fighting Style and the Battle Master archetype, for Striker the Champion archetype and any other Fighting Style (even though Defense won’t make you a better Striker). And the Eldritch Knight is a Striker with the ability to become a tertiary Controller. Pretty much Striker focused…

Outside-Combat-Role: Since old times a Fighter was always a Brawn, even though DEX-Fighters became popular in 3e and 5e makes it easier for them to survive without down-classing STR-Fighters too much. But after that, the Fighter do not have any special aptitude of being anything useful outside of combat, which means you have to choose your ability scores and background wisely, to be not a burden, when violence won’t help.

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Monk

Combat-Role: Some might ask themselves, why Monks are in the first PHB, when this is so western heavy fantasy, but this goes some way back and the class is popular. I think because they’re deadly Strikers, which can deal a lot of attacks per turn, allowing them to hit the enemy almost every turn and when hitting is no concern, dealing a massive damage over time. Their features allows them to shake of effects which would hinder them, avoid damage if needed and to actually outrun foes, when they’re low on hit points. Since there is so much protection, he could stand in as a Defender as well, the Way of the Open Hand supports this, while Way of the Shadow makes him a more sneaky version of the Striker and Way of the Elements could bring him into either Defender or apprentice Controller direction.

Outside-Combat-Role: Monks are normally good Sneaks and Spotters, since their DEX and WIS is generally high and they have both proficiencies available. The Way of the Shadow brings a lot of Sneak options, which is great. In previous editions, they could be Brawns, too, but that will be now more the exception than the rule, since STR isn’t as necessary as before. The other roles don’t lie on the way of being a Monk.

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Paladin

Combat-Role: Since old times, Paladins were the defenders of good, justice and the weak, so you should suggest, that they’re Defenders as a combat-role. Actually they’re more of Leaders, if we just take the Paladin’s features into account, Lay on Hands, a lot of supportive auras, etc. The real defending comes from the spells, especially those with Smite in their names, which can inflict several conditions depending on spell, which hinders the opponents to act as they want. And there is a lot of Striker potential, seeing how many ways the Paladin has to increase his damage, he’s able to real burn out a lot of resources to deal a humongous amount of damage, if he rolls critical, he could one-hit even a deadly foe. So it depends how you play if the Paladin will be more of a Striker, Leader or Defender. So I guess there will be a lot of Striker Paladins out there…

Outside-Combat-Role: If the Paladin is not a Face, nobody should. He use Charisma for his Paladin features, so it’d be higher than average, he got useful skills and from a role-play point of view, everybody with a pure heart should be friendly to a real Paladin. Most Rogues and other less morally inclined characters might have some problems here and there. As a secondary role, being a Brawn fits the classic Paladin, who wields a sword or a hammer as the main weapon, while wearing a shield.

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Ranger

Combat-Role: Rangers were like highly specialized strikers in pre4e, since the Favored Enemy feature granted extra damage from the get-go, while in 4e they were definitely Strikers. Normally a Ranger was more like a warrior-type skill-monkey, a bit squishier than their Paladin and Fighter comrades, so they often stacked to ranged combat, which is a Striker part. And even in 5e, most combat-oriented features are more Striker focused, like a Striker oriented Fighting Style of choice, Foe Slayer or the subclasses, especially the hunter. The spells are some self-support to be more strikerly, a lot of utility and some group support. It’d be safe to say, that the Ranger is a Striker.

Outside-Combat-Role: The Ranger truly shines outside of combat as the most likely best single-classed Sneak, using three features which strengthens stealth (being stealthy while traveling at normal pace in your favored terrain, being able to get a +10 when lying in ambush and being able to hide as a bonus action), combining Ranger and Rogue might be a powerful option. Even as a Spotter he get some features, like Primeval Awareness and Feral Senses and as a Beat Master, he can have a great Spotter as a companion, so he don’t need to do it by his own. And he open up the tracking department, which isn’t an as important role, since most adventure’s will get you were you want, but open up new options. As a Bookworm, he’s more of a specialist for his Favored Enemies, using that feature to get advantage to the rolls.

Finally, since his spell-list is much about utility, he is a decent Caster in the wilds.

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Rogue

Combat-Role: Striker. Sneak Attack, a lot of features to get out of trouble while providing no special support to other, no questions.

Outside-Combat-Role: Like Bards, Rogues have a lot of skill support, so he could be any role, except the Caster. If we pick the Roles he fulfills with the least effort, it’d be Trapper and Sneak, getting the first at the start and some supporting features like the Cunning action or the Thief subclass, even though an Arcane Trickster is even more potent, using magic to support this build while being able to even cast the Mage Hand spell stealthily.

Sorcerer

Combat-Role: This is a tricky one, in 3e the Sorcerer could be a real mean Controller, while the Striker role is also possible in 3e and the main focus in 4e. In 5e I’d stick to the Striker with the option to widens the area of effect to multiple enemies, taking care of some of the Controller’s tasks. Mainly because of the options of Metamagic, Twin Spells is a real mean thing, making it possible to leash at two opponents with strong spells, but the features also enhances his damage capabilities with some self-buff methods.

Outside-Combat-Role: Having a high Charisma score and at least some viable skill proficiencies, a Sorcerer is making a good Face, especially with some spells like Friends, Enchant Person and Disguise Self. His lack of spell-variety is making it hard to see him as a great Caster, especially since his spell-list is less about out of combat utility. The other roles aren’t fitting without some work.

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Warlock

Combat-Role: The Warlock is trapped between being a Striker and Controller, because he can up his damage a bit by taking the Agonizing Blast Invocation and other Eldritch Blast enhancers, but most of his effects are more about debuffs and some battlefield control. So I’d personally see him as a mainly single-target Controller with Striker tendencies, since he has a lot of features, which are more Striker-like.

Outside-Combat-Role: The warlock can be a powerful Caster, using Rituals as main-focus and Invocations for some real utility outside combat and resetting spell slots due Pact Magic. Most of the Warlock’s features, Invocations and falls into the Caster department. After that, Face for high Charisma.

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Wizard

Combat-Role: As you thought, having access to 7 subclasses and the broadest spell-list, the Wizard is pretty good at shifting his focus to be what the player want, but in the end, his spell-list is clearly that of a Controller, while having access to all kind of damaging spells, which enriches the Striker aspect. But that’d mean to leave out some of the best tactical advantages, a party can get at any time. And most Arcane Traditions are more about being a Controller.

Outside-Combat-Role: As an INT-based class, the Wizard is the archetypical Bookworm, who also can use his magic, to be even more knowledgeable. And nobody can be a better Caster than a Wizard, even though he lacks some stuff, the Cleric and Druid can do, but the Wizard has magical answers to almost every problem.

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(OK, nowadays 1d6… they got too healthy!)

After reading this, you’ll see that most classes are what they’re promising, while some have potential or even main-builds which might be surprising. But