Dungeons & Dragons’ three main combat classes can be easy to confuse for new players. Here’s what makes each one of them unique.
By John Hitchcock
Published 5 hours ago
One of the best parts of?Dungeons and Dragons?is building?a unique character, but to a new player, character creation can be daunting. It is not as simple as choosing?a race, sex, and weapons. There are twelve main classes to choose from, some of which have their own subclasses. Choosing the right class is an important part of character creation, as?players need to find the one that best suits the character they want to make. Not only are there a lot of?options, but some are easy to confuse.
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Different players will have different preferences for what they like to do in-game. Some will be interested in magic, others might be more interested in exploring the world. Meanwhile, others may be looking for combat. For players looking for action, there are three main classes to pick from: the barbarian, fighter, and monk. These three can be easy to confuse, as they do have overlapping skills. However, they also come with major differences,?which?players will want to consider before deciding.
Barbarians tend to know only one way to solve a problem: brute force.?While other fighting classes may try to be more strategic, a barbarian’s main interest is maximizing their damage output. Heavy weapons like battle-axes, hammers, and clubs are commonly associated with the barbarian class for this reason, though it is not a requirement. This is not to say that barbarians cannot be smart or strategic, just that?they are driven by primal instinct. They are easily angered, and their rage tends to cause violence. Many barbarians tend to live outside of “civilized” environments, which has led to a common view of them being “primitive.”
In actuality, they can be varied in terms of weapon choices and methods.?A barbarian could be a caveman armed with a stone club, or a Viking berserker with two big axes or something else altogether. Orcs are commonly associated with the barbarian class, but they can be any race.
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Eivor?- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla- Shown to be ruthless and easily provoked into a rage when it comes to defeating her enemies.Takkar?- Far Cry Primal- Being a caveman, his fighting style is mostly based on bludgeoning his enemies to death, he can even get an upgraded club late in the game to do more damage.Bruce Banner/The Hulk?- Marvel Cinematic Universe: Although perhaps a bit more extreme than some examples, Bruce’s main power is being able to go into rage mode as the hulk, which specializes in smashing things and doing immediate damage.
Barbarians usually act as tanks for the party. They can charge into combat and easily deal massive blows against their enemies while resisting any damage inflicted on them. When playing as a barbarian, force is more important than strategy or precision, making them a great class for players more interested in combat. An?action called “reckless attack” grants the barbarian extra damage against an enemy (albeit at the cost of the same enemy having an advantage on their next turn).
A barbarian’s most valuable ability is their Rage. When activated, the barbarian immediately gains an advantage against their enemies. They can smash anyone and anything unfortunate enough to cross their path even more effectively. This particular ability makes barbarians great?for thinning out groups of enemies and leaving them more vulnerable to the rest of the party.
While barbarians rely purely on strength, fighters are dedicated and versatile warriors skilled in using different weapons and fighting styles. They are experts when it comes to finding the right armor or the right weapon to face a challenge.?A fighter may prefer a sword, ax, mace, or flail. They may wear chainmail or plate armor, or something else entirely.?A player could choose to pick a smaller weapon with as shield or wield a two-handed weapon like a greatsword or large ax, or even try dual-wielding. Whatever their preferred weapon and fighting style, fighters are adaptable and ready to take on whatever challenges come their way.
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Kassandra?- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: Kassandra is an expert at handling a variety of weapons. Her combat style is entirely customizable. She also adds her own touch by incorporating the broken spear of Leonidas into her combat.Wonder Woman: Diana was trained from a young age to be the best fighter on Themyscura.?On an island populated by Amazonian warriors,?this meant having to excel at different fighting techniques, even if she tries to only use them as a last resort.Gimli?-?The Lord of the Rings: Gimli specializes in using the ax, a weapon he is able to use to great effect when battling Sauron’s armies.
Fighters are one of the most versatile classes in?Dungeons and Dragons and are commonly recommended for beginners. They have a considerable amount of flexibility, with the player getting more options for starting gear compared to other classes. As a fighter, players?have room to play with different weapon combinations and skills, based on?their preferred gameplay style. Fighters can also adapt to suit different combat functions. A?heavily armored knight with a greatsword could make a powerful tank, while a fighter in chainmail using lighter weapons would be more agile and good for precise strikes.
This versatility does mean that fighters require more tactical thinking than barbarians. While a barbarian can smash indiscriminately and expect to do damage, fighters need to think critically about their weapon choices. They need to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the best ways to use those strengths.
Unlike Barbarians, who rely on brute force, monks favor agility in combat. They are expert martial artists who train in using their own bodies as their greatest weapon, whether it is for delivering a precise strike, dodging incoming attacks, or taking enemies by surprise. In addition to basic martial arts, monks also rely on mystical energy known as “ki”. This energy flows through their bodies, and monks can harness its power to produce even greater effects.
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Any film character played by Bruce LeeKazama Kyru?- Yakuza Series:?Kiryu has to face more than a few opponents using his martial arts skills, even when the odds are stacked against him.
Monks are the class for players who are more interested in Bruce Lee-style martial arts than traditional swordplay or smashing. This does come with the slight disadvantage that monks have no armor, but what they lack in protection they make up for in agility. Their ability to move quickly is great for both dodging incoming attacks and delivering extremely precise strikes against their enemies.
Their internal energy, known as Ki, is also valuable for enhancing the impact of their attacks. This is done through “Ki Points” which can be spent to produce specific effects. As the player levels up, their ki points increase, allowing more powerful attacks. At higher levels, monks can also specialize in particular styles of martial arts. These include becoming a ninja, being able to master nature?Avatar-style, and being able to sprint quickly across the battlefield.
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