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    Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeon's Masters Guide
    • maybe? The game is designed under the pretty hard assumption that no matter what, you can only ever take 1 bonus action per turn, so I expect there are some bonus actions that you aren't meant to be able to use twice in a turn, or alternatively, in combination with other bonus actions.
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    • It's conceivable that there is a case where two particular bonus actions *just happen* not to have strictly-better action alternatives and so interact in a way that a combination of an action and bonus action wouldn't, leading to a break... but a single case like that wouldn't justify the general rule. In reality almost every bonus action is strictly worse than some action, and any "combo" of two bonus actions could be made strictly more powerful as a combo of an action and bonus action (which, of course, there would be no rule against).

      [[Even in all the cases I mentioned, I'm asking for a weaker option than what is possible. For example, Misty Step into Magic Stone in order to attack the next turn is strictly worse EV than Misty Step into produce flame, produce flame on the next turn or Misty Step into frostbite, frostbite on the next turn assuming a weapon-wielding enemy.

      I didn't *know* produce flame or frostbite though because it's silly to double up on ranged attacking cantrips and the small EV I'd gain by having frostbite in this situation specifically is less than the overall advantage granted by having stone instead (and this is contextual: I had 20 wisdom from level one and in the setting we weren't fighting weapon-wielders very often). For the most part I didn't want to attack at all after a turn one misty - I wanted to minor illusion - but it was annoying to have literally zero options if illusion had no utility simply because of the weird action rules.]]

      Almost all the major rule changes in 5e dealt with *general* breaks in previous editions. Concentration as a mechanic makes sense because stacking buffs pre-combat was a problem for 3.x *in general*. A single reaction each turn makes sense because breaking the action economy was a problem for 4 *in general*. There was no general problem associated with trading down actions in previous editions, at least not one popular enough that I heard about it (and I had at least a decent finger on the pulse of DnD for the lifetime of both).
      ~~~
      Although postsocratics like St. Augustine and Judith Butler explored a diverse set of ethical and metaphysical ideas, their unifying feature as a movement was a principled refusal to speculate upon which of the four elements the world was made out of.
      ~~~


      boxes is the best human and I am going to get her a kitten or 2 kittens

      The post was edited 3 times, last by Foo ().

    • so after about 3.5 years of playing dnd (hi tfa i lub u) im actually gonna run my own campaign! im setting it up on roll20 and ive been working with my pcs on their backgrounds and chars and stuff like that. its been p crazy and super-fun. but i am also legit nervous haha

      wah!

      prob gonna have session 0 in about 2ish weeks or so. hopefully. im prob gonna be running around screaming like aahhhhhh the entire time.

      eeeeeeeeeeee
    • HEY WHO HERE LIKES ROLEPLAYING? JUST JOKING I KNOW IT'S ALL OF YOU! Anyway, this may not be DnD, but it involves bribery, so you know if you like writing and writing with a friend, come and sign-up at the The Role Play Creative Corner Tournament

      But you don't have a character profile here on ZU you say. That's not a problem! It's not needed to participate. Just your willingness to participate in a desperate attempt to get more activity for this section.

      :heart: Rinn “Arwyn” Nailo drawn by Liah :heart:
      Rakshael: if I know one thing about Ruki, it's that she'll prove you wrong just for the sake of saying she did it
      Characters | The Time Lost | The Rumors We Believe | Ruki's Reviews
    • Hey guys, sign ups for the The Role Play Creative Corner Tournament end next week! We have three fantastic teams, but just in case you forgot - or are new here - winners can get a Steam game of their choice under $20. If you wanna know how, just click this link, get a partner and sign up!

      :heart: Rinn “Arwyn” Nailo drawn by Liah :heart:
      Rakshael: if I know one thing about Ruki, it's that she'll prove you wrong just for the sake of saying she did it
      Characters | The Time Lost | The Rumors We Believe | Ruki's Reviews
    • So, back in September - after boxes and I got back to Canada - I started teaching at a new school and fairly soon found myself sponsoring a table-top gaming club. Part and parcel, I've been DMing for two groups of students (12-15 year olds) for about two months now. Some stuff what seems worth talking about:

      *Episodic DnD is really fun, and seems like a great way to avoid burnout. I get to play with each group for about 80 minutes a week, which is generally enough time for a bit of free-form roleplay and task doing and then one combat encounter or skill challenge. For me as a DM this is super easy to plan and let's me provide a well-tailored experience without feeling like I'm dying under the workload. The players always leave the table revved up and wanting more. Less time is wasted getting started because everyone feels the pressure of the clock and wants to get going. I honestly think I might be done, as a player and a DM, with sessions that run well over 2.5 hours. I could pull that shit off in my early 20s but now I'm old and it just seems silly ;)

      *Kids cheat. Holy cow do kids cheat. The younger cohort, especially, have a habit of making "marginal" improvements to their character sheets week over week until all their ability scores are in the 17-18 range. They do it *knowing* I've always caught them and will certainly catch them again. I'm doing my best to understand the psychology here, because it's hard to shake the feeling that I'm seeing the early shoots of blooming seeds of really toxic, entitled attitudes towards gaming (and life in general).

      *You can't assume basic gaming know-how, even for 15 year old ostensible "gamers". Stuff like melee/range specialization, party balance, ability evaluation, and risk/reward calculation has to be taught, or the wizard will spend all his first level spell slots standing still and casting mage armor on himself before running into melee and flailing around with a dagger, cantrips forgotten.

      (And then come to the next succession with his strength score mysteriously inflated)

      *You can assume that 12 year olds will be amazing character actors, and play up the physical drama to ridiculous levels ^^

      *Everyone hates their first 5e build. This one I'd somewhat suspected after my own early experiences with the system, but it really shines through when you're trying to manage a dozen first-timers at once. A dozen first-timers who are not at all afraid of airing their feelings. I don't think this is strictly a bad thing - 5e is a deep system with a lot to discover; the negative feeling that you made poor decisions in the past is just an aspect of the overall positive feeling of growth -but I'm really thinking hard about the way experienced DMs should talk to new players about their first character. I want to try coaching character building with an "ability score first" approach. So the first mechanical decision a player makes, in conjunction with choice of race, is which ability score they want to focus on and then all future decisions (from class and subclass to skill proficiencies to equipment and beyond) are made back in reference to that choice of ability. I think that mindset would result in a lot more first character successes.

      *DnD is a more authentic educational experience then most curricular classes. By the end of my career, I most definitely want to be teaching role playing games as a for-credit jr high school option. WotC sponsorship now pls.
      ~~~
      Although postsocratics like St. Augustine and Judith Butler explored a diverse set of ethical and metaphysical ideas, their unifying feature as a movement was a principled refusal to speculate upon which of the four elements the world was made out of.
      ~~~


      boxes is the best human and I am going to get her a kitten or 2 kittens
    • So! I managed to convince my family to do a Dungeons and Dragons 5e one-shot with pre-generated characters on my short trip down home for the holidays, and it's ended up being a pretty fun setup and I like talking about it. So, the setup/story description:

      Far in the North, in the frozen wastes, lie gateways into a portion of the Feywild under the command of the Feylord Santa Claus, a powerful figure devoted to spreading cheer through his empowered warlocks, who around the time of the solstice dress in his image and use their powers to deliver toys to local children.

      But now, a cult of Geryon has infiltrated the Workshop, threatening to use their master's dark powers to drag the entirety of the Wild North into the frozen hell of Stygia, allowing the deposed archdevil to overthrow his rival Levistus and reclaim his lands...and ensuring Christmas never comes again.



      Now, a band of adventurers, drawn together by fate and the mysterious sound of bells, has arrived in the North, with one mission present in their minds: they must make their way to the Feylord's workshop, and save Christmas.
    • *Everyone hates their first 5e build. This one I'd somewhat suspected after my own early experiences with the system, but it really shines through when you're trying to manage a dozen first-timers at once. A dozen first-timers who are not at all afraid of airing their feelings. I don't think this is strictly a bad thing - 5e is a deep system with a lot to discover; the negative feeling that you made poor decisions in the past is just an aspect of the overall positive feeling of growth - but I'm really thinking hard about the way experienced DMs should talk to new players about their first character. I want to try coaching character building with an "ability score first" approach. So the first mechanical decision a player makes, in conjunction with choice of race, is which ability score they want to focus on and then all future decisions (from class and subclass to skill proficiencies to equipment and beyond) are made back in reference to that choice of ability. I think that mindset would result in a lot more first character successes.


      Work in progress, targeting new players. Feedback welcome and much appreciated! Sections 3 and 4 are largely filler, more concerned about 2. What have I missed? Is my tone inconsistent anywhere in a jarring way?

      Display Spoiler

      Not Hating Your First Character
      A Guide


      I've been playing the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons for nearly four years at this point and in that time I've discovered an abiding universal truth: most players hate their first character. Maybe not narratively, but mechanically. After working with new players in many different contexts over the past few years I *hope* I've identified a series of steps you - as a new player - can take to avoid hating your first character. This is a very different approach then what is listed in the player's handbook as it makes things like race and class secondary to other choices like ability score distribution and role.

      Good luck!

      1. Choose your primary ability score

      In a party of adventurers, each member plays a different role. In combat some characters focus on offence, others on defense; some characters weaken and confuse their enemies while others heal and support their friends. Out of combat some characters solve problems by being strong and athletic, others choose to talk their way out of sticky situations; some are quick and stealthy, others get by with knowledge and wit.

      To begin to build your character, select one of the five ability scores below. Choose the score that makes the most sense for the character you want to build and the way you want to play the game. Try to choose a score that is different from the choices of your fellow party members

      Strength
      Strong characters excel in melee combat and athletic feats. They wield swords and axes to great effect. They run, jump, swim, and climb. They can overpower single foes and wrestle them to the ground, or stand strong while surrounded on all sides by a goblin horde. Strong characters are usually not strictly offensive or defensive - they're most often consistent, doing steady damage every turn and shrugging off the blows they receive all the while.

      Dexterity
      Dexterous characters have sharp eyes, fast hands, and quick feat. They often wield bows or smaller blades like rapiers and daggers. They sneak around enemies, carefully disarm traps, and move acrobatically through dangerous areas. Characters with a lot of dexterity do a great deal of damage with their weapons but often can't handle the heat of battle for too long. They don't like fighting against large groups, preferring to go up against single foes or else keep their distance.

      Intelligence
      Intelligent characters have studied to master all sorts of skills. They have invaluable knowledge on topics like history, religion, the natural world and - of course! - magic. Almost all characters who make intelligence their primary ability are wizards; masters of magic who prefer to stay out of physical combat and strike at enemies from a safe distance. The magic of these wizards isn't as flashy or as destructive as the magic of sorcerers or warlocks but it can be used to solve many, many more practical problems.

      Wisdom
      Wise characters may not have the book smarts of wizards, but they have an unsurpassed understanding of the world around them. Wise characters are hard to sneak up on, hard to fool, and often have practical knowledge about things like medicine and animal care. Wise characters cast spells to heal and support their friends; they may not always "get the glory" in battle, but the are absolutely critical parts of their teams.

      Charisma
      Charismatic characters have big personalities. They're good at getting other people to do what they want, either through true leadership or lies and deceit. They cast spells, but not by using knowledge. Their magic is based on the strength of their own will, their emotions, or their absolute commitment to a cause. This can be the most damaging and destructive magic available, but it can also burn out very quickly!

      ***

      That's only five ability scores. What about constitution?

      Characters with great constitution can stand up to anything. An enemy's blade, a cloud of poisonous gas, or a long cold winter: these characters shrug it all off. High constitution PCs want to be in the middle of the action, facing down hordes of enemies at once, keeping the "heat" off of their allies. They often cast spells that require intense concentration, knowing that no enemy attack can distract them.

      Constitution is clearly important... but it is the least common primary ability used for attacks and abilities and it's very difficult to make a character that focuses on constitution above all else. For your first character, you should focus on one of the other five abilities.

      2. Choose Your Role

      Your character's role in combat depends on the ability you've chosen, but for each ability there are a number of different paths to take. Choose the role that makes the most sense for the character you want to build and the way you want to play the game. Once again, try to choose a role that is different from the choices of your fellow party members.

      Strength-based characters
      • Damage-Over-Time
        A character who deals a consistent amount of damage every turn while remaining alive on the front line of combat.

        These characters begin as fighters, rangers, or paladins who take the two-weapon fighting, duelist, or great weapon fighting style OR as barbarians who choose to wear armor. Besides strength they value constitution and occasionally a third ability which supports their spell casting. They are very common and most parties contain at least one. Some things to keep in mind while building a frontliner:

        1) You need to know what your character is doing with their hands. Are they wielding a two handed weapon? A sword and a shield? A light weapon in both hands? Or a versatile weapon with one hand occasionally free to cast spells? Once you pick one of these options it will effect many of the other choices you make and you are largely stuck with your first choice. Your character will suffer if they try to do anything else.

        2) High HP and high defenses are important, but they're not the most important thing. Don't make an impenetrable defense your goal. If you become too difficult to damage enemies will just begin to go around you, and you won't be able to punish them for doing so. Try not to think of yourself as a "tank" in the MMORPG sense.

        3) You serve your party best by being *consistent*. Look for abilities which increase your attack modifiers, grant extra attacks, provide attack and damage dice re-rolls, give permanent flat damage bonuses, or ensure strong melee defenses. Stay away from abilities that only recharge on long rests. You want to be the one who can keep going strong even after everyone else has burned out.
      • Melee Control
        A character who interferes with nearby enemy actions and imposes debuffs and status conditions.

        This variation on the standard strength-based front liner gives up consistency for a wider range of tactical options. They may disarm enemies, knock them prone, grapple them, blind them, silence them, or impose disadvantage to their attacks. Often a melee spell-caster or "gish", intelligence, wisdom, and charisma are all candidate secondary ability scores for these builds. Melee control characters are good choices in small parties and for creative players. Some things to keep in mind while building melee control:

        1) Like any other frontliner, you need to decide up front what you'll be doing with your hands. Like any other frontliner, you'll need to balance offensive and defensive concerns. Melee control characters begin their lives as damage-over-time characters and points (1) and (2) for the damage-over-time build apply.

        2) A control build can give up high-damage swords for pole-arm weapons that extend their reach. They can use whips, or hammers, or forego melee weapons entirely and grapple. Each approach requires a careful selection of feats and class abilities and building a truly unique and powerful control build demands a lot of research.

        3) The most important element in making a control build work - melee or otherwise - is setting a difficult DC for your enemies to overcome. Maxing out the ability that sets your DC should be a high priority for your builds. Pushing that ability past 20, if possible, should be your dream.
      • Nova/Striker
        A character who deals large amount of damage at somewhat irregular intervals and who moves into and out of melee combat as the situation requires.

        These characters have a damage dealing gimmick - the barbarian's rage, the paladin's smite, the ranger's mark, the fighter's superiority dice - and they focus on getting the most out of that gimmick. These characters are less common than damage dealers who use dexterity or charisma. Some things to keep in mind when building your striker:

        1) Know your party! Can you rely on support classes for effects like bless, bardic inspiration dice, or free advantage? Are you being healed in-combat? The more you can rely on your allies to ensure that you're hitting with your attacks the more you can focus purely on increasing the amount of damage you do with a landed hit. The more you can rely on your allies to keep you alive the less you have to worry about mobility.

        2) Know your DM! Does God prefer that you face a series of small encounters as you move through a dungeon or are you more likely to see only one big encounter each day? Many of the most powerful striker abilities reset on a long rest, but those abilities lose their luster if you're facing six encounters between each break. How does you DM handle flanking, concealment, and hide checks? Answers to these questions can greatly effect how you evaluate certain striker abilities.

        3) It's all about the damage dice. The more dice you can find to add to your damage the better. Dice are better than flat damage bonuses because dice are doubled with critical hits. Don't be afraid to multiclass in search of new damage modifiers or discuss items with your DM. A flame-tongue sword is only a rare item and an amazing pickup for many strength-based strikers.
      • True Tank
        A hard-to-kill character who draws enemy fire away from allies and shrugs off the resulting damage.

        There are three components to a tank - a tank needs to pull enemies to themselves, needs to stick them there, and needs to have a good reason to be taking hits in place of their allies. Each of these components can be difficult to come by on their own in fifth edition and combining them is a true challenge. When a tank comes together, though, they can be an amazing boon to their party. Some things to keep in mind when building your tank:

        1) Unlike many other tactical games - including past editions of Dungeons and Dragons - 5e does not have an aggro mechanic for tanks to "pull" on. Instead, you need to comb through class abilities looking for individual options that direct enemies to you. These can be abilities that force mobs to move in a certain way or punish mobs for attacking anyone except you.

        2) In order to "stick" enemies to them, tanks generally rely on opportunity attacks. Look for mechanics that give you extra opportunity attacks or add extra effects or damage to your opportunity attacks. Effects which outright stop movement or set enemies speeds to 0 are very important.

        3) At the end of the day, the Tank needs to answer a critical question: why is it better overall that enemies attack me? A high armor class is part of the answer, but it can't be the whole story. A tank must have some ability which makes their taking damage less bad overall than an ally taking damage, given that you both heal in the same way. Temporary hit points, damage resistances, and improved healing of some kind. More than anything, a tank should have something to protect. Tanks work very well in parties with concentration-based spell casters who do not want to take damage in any circumstance.
      Dexterity-based characters
      • Glass Canon
        A character with a consistently high damage output but little ability to survive on the front line. They often fight from range, but they may move into and out of melee combat as the situation requires.

        These characters have access to an "always on" damage boost - generally a rogue's sneak attack, but a hunter's mark or high critical hit rate from a fighter with many attacks will substitute in a pinch - and spend their turns ensuring the conditions are met so that damage boost can be applied. Glass canon battle strategy is a tad one dimensional, but it's a classic approach for highly skilled characters that bring a lot of out-of-combat utility. Some things to keep in mind when building your glass canon:

        1) You offer your party consistency: nearly as much consistency as strength-based frontliner. The only reason you should ever stop "doing your thing" is that you fall to zero hit points. While it is possible to take on a small handful of abilities that recharge on a long rest that's really not what your build's about. Focus on unlimited and short-rest reset abilities.

        2) You will generally use the same mechanics to protect yourself as you do to set up your offensive advantages. Stealth checks to hide, movement that doesn't provoke opportunity attacks, disengage actions in combat, abilities which disable enemies, knock them prone, or otherwise hold them in place and - the big one - invisibility. Make sure you understand how these abilities work, hiding especially, and make sure that you understand how to utilize both bonus and movement actions to get you where you need to be.

        3) Make sure your party understands your requirements, especially when it comes to movement. Where do they need to stand for you to be at their most effective? What sort of buffs are required for you to be at your best? If no one in the party has played a rogue before they probably have no idea how your abilities work, but you need their cooperation. So talk with them!
      • Melee Control
        A character who interferes with nearby enemy actions and imposes debuffs and status conditions.

        This variation on the standard front liner gives up consistency for a wider range of tactical options. It's the natural role of the Monk, but is certainly a possibility for rogues and rangers as well. These characters may disarm enemies, knock them prone, grapple them, blind them, silence them, or impose disadvantage to their attacks. Wisdom and intelligence are key secondary abilities, depending on the build. Melee control characters are good choices in small parties and for creative players. Some things to keep in mind while building melee control:

        1) Like any other frontliner, you need to decide up front what you'll be doing with your hands. Like any other frontliner, you'll need to balance offensive and defensive concerns. Monks have many early abilities to help you strike the balance, including their unarmored defense, and fewer decisions to make overall. Fighters and rangers trying for this style need to be more careful. Melee control characters from these classes begin their lives as damage-over-time characters and points (1) and (2) for the damage-over-time archetype for the strength section above apply.

        2) A control build can give up high-damage swords for pole-arm weapons that extend their reach. They can use whips, or hammers, or forego melee weapons entirely and grapple. If you're a monk, of course, you have martial arts options. Each approach requires a careful selection of feats and class abilities and building a truly unique and powerful control build demands a lot of research.

        3) The most important element in making a control build work - melee or otherwise - is setting a difficult DC for your enemies to overcome. Maxing out the ability that sets your DC should be a high priority for your builds. Pushing it past 20, if possible, should be your dream.
      • Nova/Striker
        A character who deals large amount of damage at somewhat irregular intervals and who moves into and out of melee combat as the situation requires.

        These characters have a damage dealing gimmick - the assassin's assassinate, the paladin's smite, the scout's sudden strike or, most likely, a combination of these. They take the already-impressive damage output of the glass canon and, given the chance to set up, double it at minimum. Some things to keep in mind when building your striker:

        1) Know your party! Can you rely on support classes for effects like bless, bardic inspiration dice, or free advantage? Are you being healed in-combat? The more you can rely on your allies to ensure that you're hitting with your attacks the more you can focus purely on increasing the amount of damage you do with a landed hit. The more you can rely on your allies to keep you alive the less you have to worry about mobility.

        2) Know your DM! Does God prefer that you face a series of small encounters as you move through a dungeon or are you more likely to see only one big encounter each day? Many of the most powerful striker abilities reset on a long rest, but those abilities lose their luster if you're facing six encounters between each break. How does you DM handle flanking, concealment, and hide checks? Answers to these questions can greatly effect how you evaluate certain striker abilities.

        3) It's all about the damage dice. The more dice you can find to add to your damage the better. Dice are better than flat damage bonuses because dice are doubled with critical hits. Don't be afraid to multiclass in search of new damage modifiers or discuss items with your DM.
      Intelligence-based characters
      • Blaster
        A character looking to cast spells without the "concentration" tag. Fireballs and lightning bolts. Powerful commands and rays of concentrated plague. Spooky, spooooky skeletons.

        In practice, the blaster wizard plays a lot like the glass canon: they provide a consistent output of damage and other encounter-winning effects. The principle difference is that blasters must rely on limited spell slots and so they trade the long-term reliability of a dexterity-based build for crowd control and the ability to effect many enemies at once.

        Because they need to save so many spells for combat they lose out on out-of-combat utility when compared to both other sorts of casters and skills monkeys. This has given blaster wizards a poor reputation among some groups traditionally. If you just want to blow stuff up, though, who am I to tell you no? Some things to keep in mind when building your blaster:

        1) Ritual casting is absolutely critical for your character to be well-rounded. A blaster wizard that doesn't make regular use of ritual spells would be better off just being a sorcerer. Identify the things that your party isn't able to do well otherwise - from keeping watch to finding and dealing with traps to carrying large loads to communicating at distance - and get the appropriate ritual into your spell book.

        2) The blaster's combat goal is to have an appropriate offensive spell for every situation. This begins at first level, where you can pick up cantrips to target three different defenses (generally AC, con saves, and reflex saves) and a first level spell to get around defenses entirely (magic missile). By the time you're selecting second and third level spells you're also factoring in the spell's area of effect and your ability to hit as many foes - and as few allies - as possible with each casting. Preparing and casting your spells appropriately to target specific weaknesses in your foes is the fun of playing a blaster.

        3) Don't make defense a priority. As a blaster you can be the squishiest character in the party and get away with it no sweat. You'll never be on the front line and your spells don't suffer when you take hits. Better than HP and AC are defenses like teleports and invisibility which add to your out-of-combat utility.
      • Concentration/Utility
        A character looking to cast and maintain spells with the "concentration" tag. Summoned elementals, debilitating enchantments, illusions and area effects that reshape the battlefield. Dealing with a tough situation adventurer? Have you considered... turning your friend into a T-Rex?

        In past editions of Dungeons and Dragons, especially in the early 2000s, layering together a collection of long-duration spells was the singular best strategy. One that let wizards (alongside wisdom-based druids and clerics) dominate the other classes in terms of overall usefulness from the mid-levels on. In fifth edition the concentration mechanic limits the power of enchanters, conjurers, transmuters and illusionists and makes them more challenging to play. If you build a non-blaster wizard wrong you're going to have a bad time. Done right, though, these characters are incredibly versatile and a lot of fun. Some things to keep in mind when building for concentration:

        1) Wizards are not naturally proficient in concentration and - at least in the beginning - rely entirely on their constitution score for their save. This makes CON more than a secondary ability: it's just as important as intelligence. You'll pick up other effects to help you make you as you go - proficiency or even advantage on con saves, shield spells, damage reducing wards - but in the beginning a good con is absolutely paramount.

        2) You can get away with knowing only a small handful of combat-related spells. A lore master can get by with just a single damage-dealing cantrip and a single damge-dealing spell, like flaming sphere, which can be tailored to work in almost every combat situation. The majority of your spell book should be devoted to protecting yourself and getting utility. Spells which provide *both* protection and utility - like misty step and levitate - are your bread and butter.

        3) Although utility wizards ultimately have a similar impact on the party dynamic no matter what school they chooses, the "feel" of these characters can vary dramatically. Playing an illusionist requires creativity, problem solving skills, and a good relationship with a design-minded DM. Playing a Diviner requires meticulous planning of your spell slots and the ability to react and make changes to a grand plan on the fly. The most "optimal" choice for a spell may not be the choice that fits you as a player best; play to your own strengths!
      Wisdom-based characters
      • Sponge
        A front line character that mitigates a large amount of damage dealt by the enemy side while outputting reasonable damage.

        The default build for many clerics and druids, the sponge is closely related to the strength-based frontliner but has a lower average damage output over time and is slightly less consistent. On the other side of the trade-off, the sponge helps to keep the party alive through a combination of healing spells and great personal vitality. A priestly sponge is one of the oldest roles in DnD, and it's changed little in 40 years. Some things to keep in mind when building your sponge:

        1) Cleric and druid sponges function similarly in combat, but have very different ability score profiles. Cleric sponges prioritize strength (or, in rare occasions, dexterity) and constitution as highly as wisdom and are statted in a way that makes a fighter multiclass an appealing option. Druid sponges spend much of their time in combat in a wildshape and so can entirely forego strength and dexterity to focus on charisma or intelligence as a secondary stat. (If you want to neglect strength and dex as a cleric, the nature domain is a way to make your melee attacks key off of wisdom).

        2) Being on the front line means taking a lot of hits, which largely rules out concentration spells for you. This in turn means you're devoting many of your daily spells to combat and so the majority of your out-of-combat utility will come from rituals and class abilities. To be relevant in non-combat, a good set of rituals isn't *quite* as important for a sponge as it is for a blaster wizard - wildshape has a ton of utility all on its own, after all - but it's still a major concern.

        3) Multiclassing for clerics, even just 3 levels, can lend you a much needed damage-output boost without fundamentally interfering with your ability to keep your friends on their feet. Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, and Warlock combos are all fairly straightforward with domains like war, tempest, death, and knowledge respectively. Druids, on the other hand, might find a barbarian or monk multiclass more interesting as the combat abilities of these classes are often usable in wildshape.
      • Concentration/Utility
        A character looking to cast and maintain spells with the "concentration" tag. Summoned allies, debilitating enchantments, weather effects that reshape the battlefield, and powerful auras.

        In past editions of Dungeons and Dragons, especially in the early 2000s, layering together a collection of long-duration spells was the singular best strategy. One that let druids, and clerics (alongside intelligence-based wizards) dominate the other classes in terms of overall usefulness from the mid-levels on. In fifth edition the concentration mechanic limits the power of "CoDzilla" characters and makes them more challenging to play. Done right, though, these characters are incredibly versatile and a lot of fun. Some things to keep in mind when building for concentration:

        1) Neither druids nor clerics are not naturally proficient in concentration and - at least in the beginning - rely entirely on their constitution score for their save. This makes CON more than a secondary ability: it's just as important as wisdom. Eventually you'll find other ways to protect yourself from damage but in the beginning a good con is paramount.

        2) You can get away with knowing only a small handful of combat-related spells. A druid that's going to cast their con spell and then enter wild shape may not even need a damage-dealing cantrip, depending on DM style. The majority of your prepared spells will be devoted to protecting yourself and getting utility. Spells which provide *both* protection and utility - like misty step and death ward - are your bread and butter.

        3) In combat situations, the effect of a concentration caster is often a "slow build". It may not really get going until the fourth or fifth turn of the engagement. The whole point of casting concentration spells, after all, is to get a complete minute's use from them. If you're playing in a party with, say, an assassin type that frontloads it's effects in combat you may feel the difference in a frustrating way. There's no real way around this, and you should keep it in mind when building your party.
      • Full Support
        A character who provides buffs and healing for allies rather than engaging in combat directly. A heal-bot.

        Because many of the best support spells in fifth edition are concentration based, including the phenomenal first-level Bless, you are a variation on the concentration/utility build described above. You have the same sorts of strengths and weaknesses, and the same concerns regarding your build. The only difference is that you're choosing spells which best synergize with the abilities and strategies of your allies rather than target the weaknesses of your foes.

        Your spells aren't flashy and need to be evaluated on a mathematical basis. If you can't convince yourself on an emotional level that Bless is among the most powerful first level spells - if you want something flashier, or something that's going to get you more credit - then this is not the role for you.
      Charisma-based Characters

      Charisma is, far and away, the ability the supports the widest range of roles. From the Bard's ability to learn any spell to the increasingly weird sorcerer and warlock subclasses being released every year it is conceivable that your charisma character can play any role that doesn't strictly demand d10 or d12 hit dice. Listed below are two roles that are mostly unique to charisma. For other options, try any of the roles described above. There's probably a way to fit your bard or warlock to it.
      • Cantripper
        A spell casting character that relies heavily on their cantrips, which they modify and enhance with their class abilities.

        This is one of the easiest roles for a sorcerer or warlock to fall into. The sorcerer gets the widest variety of cantrips of any caster while the warlock gets the singular most powerful cantrip and a wide variety of back-up options. Both classes have access to a wide variety of class abilities to beef up their cantrips (and other spells). Combine this baseline with extra spell slots through sorcery points (sorcerer), or spell slots which reset with short rests (warlock) and charisma based ranged damage dealers can comfortably do more and more consistent damage than blaster wizards. Their play style is ultimately comparable to dexterity-based glass canons. Some things to keep in mind when building your blaster:

        1) Cantrips scale with character level. Cantrips scale with character level. Cantrips scale with character level.
        A sorcerer 4/warlock 4/paladin 9 casts their sorcerer and warlock cantrips maxxed out with their 17th level effects. The cantripper is a natural multiclasser for this reason, and your build may include levels from multiple caster classes and paladin by the time you're done.

        2) On the sorcerer side your only out-of-combat utility comes in the form of you charisma-dependent skills. This isn't a problem - every party needs a "face" - but it is something to keep in mind. Trying to be useful in any other way out of combat really isn't worth it. Warlocks have a few more options - they include facing but also using invocations to pick up ritual casting, mobility skills, or enhanced senses. Wanting to fill a utility niche can be the best reason to pick warlock over sorcerer.

        3) Almost all cantrippers rely on a small synergies and combos that play out over and over and over again through a combat. A sorcerer picks their spells not just for their written effects, but the cheesy interactions they have with both sorcerous origins and metamagic. Ensuring that you've planned these combos out well in advance helps keep your build in step with (or even ahead of) other PCs
      • No-Concentration Control/Support
        A character which buffs and heals allies and debuffs enemies without over-relying on concentration.

        A role that bards and some warlocks find themselves falling into quite easily, the charisma-based version of the support class relies far less on concentration when compared to the wisdom-based version. Yes the occasional Dominate Person is appropriate (I mean... if you're into that kind of thing) but this role looks for abilities like bardic inspiration which don't need to be thought about after they're cast.

        With Pact of the Celestial now available, both bards and warlocks are completely functional as backline healers. With clerics and healing druids being among the least popular classes in the edition you really do your party a solid by playing this role and saving everyone a boatload of money on healing potions. It's fun, and they'll owe you

        Some things to keep in mind when building your support character:

        1) The most important element in making a control build work is setting a difficult DC for your enemies to overcome. Maxing out the ability that sets your DC should be a high priority for your builds. Pushing it past 20, if possible, should be your dream.

        2) Your spells aren't flashy and need to be evaluated on a mathematical basis. If you can't convince yourself on both a logical and emotional level that Command is among the most powerful second level spells - if you want something flashier, or something that's going to get you more credit - then this is not the role for you.

        3) Vicious mockery: the most cast debuff in all of 5e. It's a mighty fine cantrip, but it requires a non-zero amount of creative and committed role-playing to not be a cringy disaster with every casting. Are you up for this? I mean really, are you up for this? Be honest with yourself because multiple players kill off their first bards simply because they don't have any fun with this ability. Chain warlocks using familiars provide a roughly equivalent bonus and require much less difficult RP.
      3. Race, subrace, class, subclass, background, armor weight, hands

      Once your role has been identified, you have seven critical choices to make. These can be made in essentially any order, although generally you'll need to know what class you're taking before you decide on your armor weight.

      Your Race and Subrace (for example dwarf/hill dwarf or elf/high elf) are chosen either to fit your character concept or, if you don't have a strong concept, to fit the primary ability you chose and the secondary ability mandated by your role.

      Your Class and Subclass (for example, wizard/enchanter or fighter/battle master) are chosen to fit your role. Some classes take their subclass immediately at level 1 (sorcerer, cleric), some wait until level 2 (wizard, druid), and some don't get there until level three (fighter rogue). Even if you're not *explicitly* choosing your subclass at first level, though, you should be 95%+ sure of the direction you're headed.

      Your background should be chosen to fit your character concept and to have minimal overlap with your party mates. New players have a tendency to leave their background until the end of character building, but this is not recommended. Your background often comes with strict skill proficiencies you'll want to take into account when making other decisions.

      Your hands can hold (a) a two-handed weapon, (b) a versatile weapon and a spell focus, (c) a one-handed weapon and a shield, or (d) two light weapons. Make a choice that fits your character concept and be aware that you'll be effectively locked into that choice for a long time.

      Your armor can be light, medium, or heavy assuming you have the relevant proficiencies. Make a choice that fits your role and character concept and note how your choice effects your skills and dexterity. Note that if you choose heavy armor you may not own a set at first level and will need to track one down. Talk to your DM about this. It may be a signifcant part of your early adventuring career.

      4. Complete your Character Sheet

      Determine 6 base ability scores according to the method indicated by your DM. Assign the 6 scores according to your character concept and role, apply your racial modifiers, and then write the final scores onto your character sheet. Calculate the modifiers for each ability (subtract 10, divide by 2, round down if you get a decimal).

      Look at your race and background to determine the weapons, armor, tools, skills, and languages you are proficient in. Don't include proficiencies from your class yet. Write them into your character sheet.

      Look at your class to identify other weapons, armor, tools, and saves you are proficient in. Finally, decide on the skills and languages you will be proficient in due to your class options. Do this in a conversation with the rest of your party so that you can be sure to cover many different skills and avoid overlap. Write them all into your character sheet.

      Look at your class to identify starting equipment options. Choose equipment according to your character concept, role, and the way you plan to use your hands.

      Look at your class to identify starting spell options. Choose spells according to your character concept and role.

      Look at your race to identify racial features outside of proficiencies, including your speed. Look at your class to identify your hit die, and level one class abilities. Write them all into your character sheet.

      At first level, your proficiency bonus is +2.
      At first level, your initiative is equal to your dexterity modifier.
      At first level, you have one hit die which depends on your class.
      At first level, your HP is equal to a maximum role of your hit die plus your constitution modifier.
      At first level, the armor you chose to wear determines your armor class. If you chose to carry a shield, add 2.

      For each save, take the ability modifier and add your proficiency (2) if you are proficient.
      For each skill, take the ability modifier and add your proficiency (2) if you are proficient.

      For each weapon you own determine your attack role. This is your proficiency (2) plus your strength modifier for melee and thrown weapons and your proficiency (2) plus your dexterity modifier for ranged and finesse weapons. Determine your damage. This is the weapons damage dice plus your strength modifiers (melee, thrown) or dexterity modifier (thrown, finesse). Note these, and other revelent facts about each weapon.

      For each spell you own determine the attack role OR save DC. This is your proficiency (2) plus you spell casting ability modifier OR 8, plus your proficiency (2) plus your spell casting ability modifier. Note these and other relevant facts about each spell.

      Note your character's appearance, alignment, traits, bonds, ideals, flaws, and physical characteristics according to your chosen race, chosen background, and character concept.
      ~~~
      Although postsocratics like St. Augustine and Judith Butler explored a diverse set of ethical and metaphysical ideas, their unifying feature as a movement was a principled refusal to speculate upon which of the four elements the world was made out of.
      ~~~


      boxes is the best human and I am going to get her a kitten or 2 kittens

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Foo ().

    • I'd probably edit the comment re multiclassing for druids to speak about monks rather than barbarians or at least to include them - wild shape gains all the benefit of monk features they pick up, so they can make unarmed strikes using the martial arts die using their beast stats as well as benefiting from unarmored defense. A three level dip into open hand monk would let them use the open hand features to trip or push opponents. The benefit here is the overlap between monk and druid of requiring good wis and wis governing DCs for monks as well as influencing unarmored defense.


      “Gandalf put his hand on Pippin's head. "There never was much hope," he answered. "Just a fool's hope, as I have been told.”
      ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

    • Cool, thanks guys!

      Made some changes to the druid write-up and some other small corrections. I realize that it's too long for comfortable reading but once the text is serviceable I can move the whole thing over to a wiki and that should help accessibility >>
      ~~~
      Although postsocratics like St. Augustine and Judith Butler explored a diverse set of ethical and metaphysical ideas, their unifying feature as a movement was a principled refusal to speculate upon which of the four elements the world was made out of.
      ~~~


      boxes is the best human and I am going to get her a kitten or 2 kittens