D&D 5E Review Part 5: Character Classes (Part2)

Category: Cussin' In Tongues
Created on Friday, 18 May 2018 Written by Steve

Ok, we’re jumping right into this one. There are a lot of classes left and we don’t have time for niceties. 


  • This edition is considerably more specific about what the hell is meant by “preserving the balance.” It’s an improvement for the game, but it ruins my Thanos joke. 
  • Every time they refer to “the Old Faith,” I picture Nicol Williamson.
  • I still don’t get the “druids don’t use metal” thing. It’s not like metal is some unnatural synthetic material from outer space. “Druids don’t use alloyed metals” might make sense, like some kind of Leviticus polyester thing, but it seems like regular old metal that you dig up from the earth would be perfectly Druid-friendly. 
  • Other than spellcasting, the attribute bonuses every class gets, and slow aging after 18th level, the druid’s only special ability is shapeshifting. The other traditional druid powers that are still around are mostly in the “Circle of the Land” subclass thing (the other, “Circle of the Moon” is just super-shapeshifting). 
  • “These druids [Circle of the Land] meet within sacred circles of trees or standing stones to whisper primal secrets in Druidic.” This seems like a weird hobby. “Any plans tonight, JIm?” “Oh, you know, I’ll probably just go down to the grove and whisper primal secrets in Druidic...” 
  • “Their order [Circle of the Moon] gathers under the full moon to share news and trade warnings.” This seems much more productive than standing around whispering in a secret language. 


Fighters. The class you play when you don’t want to deal with high-falutin’ character concepts or tricky special ability rules. Just a guy with a sword who wants to kill some stuff. Good ol’ Stabby McPunchyblade. What could go wrong? 

  • In a break from tradition, every Fighter has to choose a preferred fighting style: Archery (ranged weapons), Defense (AC Bonus), Dueling (single weapon, no shield), Great Weapon Fighting (2-handed weapons), Protection (Meat Shield), and Two-Weapon Fighting (Drizzt).  
  • Most of the Fighter’s class abilities are basically cheat codes for various standard (mostly combat-related) rules: healing surge, extra actions, and saving throw re-rolls. 
  • Fighters get three Martial Archetypes (subclasses) instead of the standard two: Champion (Bruiser), Battle Master (Tactician), and Eldritch Knight (Battle Mage)
  • High level Eldritch Knights can teleport short distances, so we can finally make Jason and Michael Myers as D&D characters. 


This version of D&D just accepts that monks are ninjas and Kung Fu masters. It makes everything less awkward. 

  • D&D finally gets a spell point system, but it’s for Kung Fu powers. 
  • The Kung Fu-centric Monastic Tradition (subclass), “Way of the Open Hand”  is the only one that still gets Quivering Palm.  Quivering Palm will still fuck you up. 
  • The ninja subclass, “Way of the Shadow,” might just be my favorite D&D ninja class yet. They have actual magic powers instead of just really good Thief skills.  
  • The final subclass, “Way of the Four Elements,” basically has elemental super-powers, often in the form of standard spells. 


  • They don’t have to be Lawful Good. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen any alignment restrictions so far. 
  • The Paladin subclasses are based on the character’s Sacred Oath: Oath of Devotion (traditional vanilla paladin), Oath of the Ancients (kind of a Druid Paladin), and Oath of Vengeance (Batman). 


  • “Humanoids” as a group no longer count as a favored enemy. You can either choose one of the standard groups (dragons, elementals, undead, etc.) or choose 2 specific races of humanoids. In previous editions it was kind of dumb to choose anything but humanoids, given that they make up a huge percentage of D&D encounters. Making those other enemies more viable is a good idea, since some of the weirder ones (like oozes or constructs) could lead to some very interesting rangers. 
  • At 10th Level, Rangers gain the ability to Dutch.  
  • Ranger subclasses are just called “Ranger Archetypes,” which is kind of boring. The options are Hunter (Combat Monster) and Beast Master (Marc Singer). 
  • One of the Hunter’s special abilities is “You’re totally like Crow from Hawk the Slayer, dude!” 

Next Week: Rogues and Spellcasters, then we’re out of the stat block section of the book. Hopefully it’ll go faster from there on out.

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