Friday, March 12, 2021

13 Coolest Dungeons and Dragons Subclasses

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition
brought subclasses to the already intricate Dungeons and Dragons system, allowing an entire party to be one class but with vastly different characters. Some are basic archetypes but some make for bonkers characters that bring incredible opportunities to the table. 

I won't go into specific stats for the subclasses, but a basic overview on what makes them shine. 

13: Trickery Domain (PHB)

Forget the idea of the cleric being the cute missionary white mage, how about a cleric devoted to Loki who prefers to mess with the opponents during the battle? Yeah, he'll heal, but he might not be gentle. Made famous lately by Baldur's Gate 3's character Shadowheart, the Trickery domain cleric creates a healer that can't be touched, making them perfect for your side and a nightmare to deal with as an opponent. 

12: Chronurgy Magic (Wildmount)

Thank you Matt Mercer for making a time bending wizard class. Now you can mess with opponents by bending time itself around them for fun effects. While time travel is a nightmare for dungeon masters, a little bit of stat adjusting and messing around with who has advantage and disadvantage can quickly turn the tide of any battle. Imagine turning that scary OP monster on the battlefield into its awkward teenage version. 

Yeah, you know you're intrigued. 

11: Way of the Four Elements (PHB)

You're the Avatar. 

That's it. 

You do martial arts, you control the elements, you literally become the Avatar. 

And it's in the Player's Handbook. 

10: Rune Knight (Tasha's)

For anyone who's into the latest Viking craze, you can tap into the Norse power of giants through runes. A bit like the Eldrich Knight, this fighter variant allows you to empower yourself with magic, in case your fighter needs an extra leg up in battle. Turn yourself into Thor and trash through the enemy forces like they were long grass and you had a lawnmowing business. 

9: Oath of Vengeance (PHB)

Remember when paladins weren't cool? Back in 3rd Edition, they all had to be good and half their special abilities focused on their horses that you couldn't practically take into a dungeon. Now we have stuff like the Oath of Vengeance paladin, AKA Batman, to make paladins worth playing. These guys focus entirely on taking down the biggest baddest monsters that have wronged the world in some way. Make them as dark and gritty as you want, just remember that nothing quenches vengeance than tasty vengeance. It's the quenchiest! 

8: Circle of the Shepard (Xanathar's)

Ultimate collector, Circle of the Shepard druids collect friends that help them in battle, summoning them when they are most needed. Handy for any party that needs an army in a pinch, or for any player who likes to have animals at their beck-and-call, this subclass is great for evening out the playing field in your favor. 

7: Wild Magic (PHB)

One thing I've personally hated about Dungeons and Dragons magic is just how clean it is. You learn a spell and then you cast the spell. Done. Boring. What if you had so much magic though that when you cast a spell something random could happen, like you could turn into a houseplant or become a giant? Wild Magic sorcerers add the chaotic randomness to Dungeons and Dragons magic, making it a far more interesting system than the standard spell-slingers. Play this if for nothing else than to see what you roll on the Wild Magic table and see what wackiness you can unleash in an otherwise dull evening. 

6: Swarmkeeper (Tasha's)

Having a wolf or bear for an animal companion is pretty cool. Having a swarm of bees though.. That's just metal. This ranger variant lets you control a swarm of small animals that manifest when you cast spells and attack. Now, the words "swarm" and "animals" actually have some wiggle-room in the game system, so you can easily have a swarm of cats or a swarm of velociraptors (Think of the paleontological raptors not the awesomeness from Jurassic Park) as your little buddies. 

Imagine it: A swarm of cats. 

5: Grave Domain (Xanathar's)

The anti-necromancer, Grave Domain clerics seek to put the dead to rest, and the living who won't keep the dead resting resting themselves. They're basically running a mobile spa for people who like to make zombies. I know, making zombies is cool, but it's also cool to be the guy who takes down the guys raising all the zombies. 

Just sayin'. 

4: Pact of the Genie (Tasha's)

Warlocks have some of the best roleplay opportunities in the system right now, and every variant comes with its own opportunities for fun. Pact of the Genie means that you've made a deal with a genie for some of their powers, including giving you a lamp or a bottle to live in between battles. Literally phenomenal cosmic power and an itty bitty living space in one class. Worth the bargain. 

3: Circle of Spores (Tasha's)

Any The Last of Us fans out there? Here's the class for you. You get to control plant spores and raise the dead as mushroom zombies. Druids don't often get the chance to be creepy or play with monsters, but here they get to make their own monsters and control them, making them hard to distinguish from the villains. A fun way to play the druid if you don't necessarily want to be the tree hugger. 

2: Alchemist (Tasha's)

I could probably do an entire post on the artificer class, but as far as subclasses go this is one that needs to be noticed. All your spells manifest as different potions, some made on the spot and others carefully brewed to perfection. Being the creeper collecting exotic fluids from a dead monster (or other players) can make the world feel more complete as you try to science out how monsters do what they do. 

Bonus points if you play this class while wearing a plague doctor mask. 

Either in the game or IRL. 

1: Pact of the Great Old One (PHB)

I went full fanboy when I read this subclass because it directly said that the pact can be made with Cthulhu. Not some off-brand elder thing made up just for Dungeons and Dragons, not some hint at the Great Old Ones without naming them, Cthulhu himself. You straight up become a mad cultist bent on spreading madness throughout the world with your warlock spells. Lovecraft fans have waited too long for a class like this to be standard, and now all our Christmases have come at once. 

Our Christmases full of madness and cosmic horror. 


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