D&D 5E 5E Core Classes - According to Enworld


90%+: Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, Rogue
50%+: Ranger, Paladin, Druid, Bard
24%+: Barbarian, Monk, Sorcerer, Warlord, Warlock
9%+: Assassin, Shaman, Swordmage
0%+: Ardent, Artificer, Battlemind, Invoker, Psion, Runepriest, Seeker, Vampire, Warden

Put the first group in the Starter Box. Put the first, second and third groups in the Players' Handbook and make it 500 pages like Pathfinder (but also make a Dungeon Master's Guide).

log in or register to remove this ad


The old-school bard is a perfect example of why you need to have more classes. Having to pick up a host of classes and feats to get to the basic idea of what you want to do is terrible.

Say you want to play a character that shapeshifts into monstrous forms (demons, dragons, elementals, etc) and then wades into combat with the appropriate abilities (claws, acid breath, fireballs), you can either take a shapeshifter class at level 1, or you can spend half your character's career as something completely unrelated trying to get Polymorph or a high-end Wild Shape.

I agree with you, but I will also point out that this is the main weakness of this antique Class-based system which we all love. It is also its strength, because I am not very keen on seeing a low level polymorphic shapeshifter with all the monsters' abilities.


Presumably a shapeshifting class would have specific abilities and not rely on an actual monster stat block. :p

The class system isn't going anywhere, so there's no real value in discussing it in regards to 5E, whether or not that's a good thing.


First Post
But why can't all those "special abilities" be made into feats/talents/whatever? Then a character could be customized to a much greater degree than with buying into an entire "package"/class. A religious fighter could have a smite ability coupled with some bardic enthralling abilities.. the possibilities are endless.
It would be easier on the player or DM to have 'paladin' in one spot
than to refer to the fighter rules,the cleric rules and then the paladin?feat tree?pretige? etc.


The original bard started as a fighter, moved into rogue and then into druid. This is convoluted, but its an example of how good multiclassing can essentially create a new class.

The original bard appeared in The Strategic Review, where he simply was a Bard. It was in AD&D that he had that convoluted method of leveling up in Fighter, then Thief, then finally Bard.

A Bard is a jack-of-all-trades in Dungeons and Dragons, he is both an
amateur thief and magic user as well as a good fighter. He is supposedly able to
extract himself from delicate situations through the use of diplomacy, but since
this does not always work he is given the innate ability to charm creatures. A Bard
has the thieving abilities of a thief one half his level rounded off to the lower level,
thus a Bard 11th level would have the abilities of a 5th level thief. Elves, Dwarves,
and Hobbits may be Bards but cannot progress beyond the 8th level (Minstrel).
Elves receive an extra 5% on their charm and lore scores and receive all the extra
benefits of an elven thief. Dwarves and Hobbits reveive only their additional
thieving benefits. A Bard may use any weapon and for purposes of hit probability
he advances in steps based on four levels like clerics. For purposes of saving
throws they are treated like clerics as well.

I think if you look at the early days of D&D, people came up with new classes because they really couldn't fit the Fighter-MU-Cleric-Thief mold all that well.


Knight of Solamnia
This Poll asked what classes should be core in 5E. The results fall into interesting categories

90%+: Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, Rogue
50%+: Ranger, Paladin, Druid, Bard
24%+: Barbarian, Monk, Sorcerer, Warlord, Warlock
9%+: Assassin, Shaman, Swordmage
0%+: Ardent, Artificer, Battlemind, Invoker, Psion, Runepriest, Seeker, Vampire, Warden

My vote was based on what I thought should be core, not on what I liked. There's a difference.

For example, I'm a huge fan of the psion/psionicist from various editions. However, psionics seems like a natural candidate for being a "module" to add onto the core game. Not everyone likes psionics, so it should be wholly optional. That being said, I hope they do put out a 5e Psionics Handbook.


First Post
When it comes right down to it you don't really need anything else besides those four basic classes (cleric, fighter, mage, rogue). I suppose you might need a psionic class given its long tradition as an optional playstyle, but it would naturally come later in supplements, rather than part of core.

As others have said, most other classes in any edition are just a reflavoring or variant of the classic four and in fact, except for rogues, they basically amount to 4e's three basic power sources: arcane (mages), divine (clerics), and martial (fighters). Using a sub-class / archetype system there's no reason you couldn't replicate most of the other classes and for those you couldn't, there's always the potential of hybrid classes (paladins could be cleric/fighter hybrids, for example).

I think the most important classes in 5e need to do to contrast with 4e is be distinctive. And if you have four to six different classes that do a slightly different variation of the same thing, you kind of lose that distinctiveness, at which point you're almost better off with a point-buy system.

The only real exceptions I can see to this are druids, which have a lot of support at this point as an alternative power source and as of 4e act pretty differently from clerics. But with a little bit of work they could easily be brought back to their 2e nature as an alternative kind of cleric, so even they aren't too much of an exception.

EDIT: Bards are also kind of an exception, depending on how social/roleplay-heavy the adventure or campaign you're running is, since they're the only class that kind of specializes in non-combat skills and playstyles. However, I'm not sure how popular this playstyle is or if it couldn't just be rolled into one of the other classes somehow.
Last edited:


D&D's core four classes cannot cover nearly as much ground as I would expect a good fantasy game to cover. Fantasy is so much larger than your personal preferences and the traditions you're used to.


First Post
The original post, and the poll behind it, asked about classes for core. I am in the 90% of those answering the poll that believe core is Cleric, Fighter, Thief, and Wizard, and I truly believe this class set is a defining characteristic of "what is D&D." In an abstract sense, you can create many of the other classes from a combination of these core four. Of course, there is more to the other classes than a basic combination of the core four.

A Paladin is more than simply a Fighter/Cleric, but why shouldn't that difference be defined by one of the "modular" rules or even by campaign setting? The Paladin starts with many of the martial aspects of a Fighter and combines it with the aspects of the Cleric of a specific Deity. The added Paladin class features (or restrictions upon the features derived from the core classes) are granted/revoked by virtue of the new rules, the setting, or the restrictions imposed by a patron Deity.

The core rules could define the core four classes and multiclassing rules. Supplements could then use those rules as given and create new classes through additions/restrictions to the multiclass combination.


First Post
For all the old schoolers it would be neat to see the Dwarf and Elf paragon classes come back as core with an option to opt out of the paragon class for others of course.


The core four of classic D&D is fighter, rogue, cleric, wizard. But "core" is kind of a loaded term in D&D. Core means a number of things to different people. To some, core means things like "appears in the first PHB." Others "will be supported by WotC after initial publication." And some "must be allowed at all times or my DM is a jerk." The first one isn't a big deal. The second one is a huge deal. The third one is a huge deal in those (hopefully) minority games where people act like that and don't get instantly booted out the door for being absurd.


Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, and Rogue
These are the no brainer, must have classes. If you are doing DnD, these four have got to be in place.

The interesting thing is that most of the other classes can be covered by just these four archtypes. About the only ones that can't do this deal with Psionic Classes (as it's a completely different power source) and Vampire (which is a monster, not a class)

Paladin - Cleric / Fighter
Druid - Nature diety Cleric
Ranger - Fighter / Rogue with nature Role Playing elements
Bard - Rogue / Wizard with performances (Rock On)
Barbarian - Fighter with RP elements
Monk - Fighter / Rogue with RP elements
Assassin - Rogue with RP elements
Swordmage - Fighter / Wizard

Assassin was more then a rogue with rp elements in 4e, he was the premier class that used shadow powers.

Druid also used the primal power source, not divine in 4e. I like the primal power source and I expect 5e will have it too.

I'd like at least one class for every power source, and more for basic sources like divine and arcane.


First Post
I'm totally fine with the 'core' being kept very simple. Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, Cleric would be fine, for example.

From there I would like to see the other classes added as options.

But what I would really like to see is an option for flexible PC building where you don't have to define your charcter by class at all, you can just define him as your charater who does this this and this.

I think themes have shown that there can be elements added to a PC which widens the scope of 'I am a human fighter'.


Sorry, but I am a sucker for classes. The more the better.

I like classes being distinct from the start. I wouldn't want a player have to use all their choices to play a monk using options available to fighters for eg. If options are limited, then all monks turn out the same and probably suffer vs a fighter.

I just love classes, though I am all for Talent Trees. There is more than enough flavour for a Barbarian to have its own Talent Trees (not be one of a fighter's or ranger's). HOWEVER, I do believe such classes could share Talent Trees. I would rather the TT's be the core ideas for customising a very simply base for many classes.

Maybe it is just me, but races and classes are always the first thing I read in any new supplement/system.

Epic Threats

An Advertisement