Friday, January 14, 2022

In Which I Ramble About D&D Characters

You may not have picked up on this, but I really like D&D. And my favorite part is arguably creating and developing D&D characters . . . as evidenced by the fact that I have more D&D characters than I'll ever actually play, even when you don't count NPCs with character sheets. It's a nice outlet for the ideas that probably won't fit into any of the stories I have planned (of which there are many). At this point, I have characters built in each of the D&D classes except one . . . but there are definitely some classes and subclasses that I like more than others. So, in honor of the fact that I might get to actually play a new character soon, I thought I'd take today's Friday 5s to highlight some of my favorite D&D subclasses.

In Which I Ramble About D&D Characters

  1. Fighter: Eldritch Knight. The Fighter class in general is usually not my go-to, but the Eldritch Knight, a warrior-magic user hybrid, is the exception — it's the only subclass I have two distinct created character concepts for. I think it offers some nice hooks for character development (notably, how and why did this character pick up the ability to do magic?), but it doesn't tie you as much to a particular character type in the way that many other martial-caster hybrids do. I haven't actually gotten to play an Eldritch Knight yet, but one of the players in my campaign does, and I look forward to the day I get to as well.
  2. Warlock: Celestial Pact. On the flip side from the Fighter, I find several of the Warlock subclasses interesting — I'd probably play all but two of them, given the chance. It's hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to choose, I'd go with the Pact of the Celestial. It's so contrary to the typical associations of the Warlock class, plus it gives a very nice character hook in the form of "If this character is pledged to a celestial, near-deity being, why is this character a Warlock instead of a completely different class?"
  3. Monk: Way of the Cobalt Soul. I know it's not an official, published D&D subclass (though it's a Matt Mercer original, and it's on D&D Beyond, so it's practically official), but I just really like the vibes of the Cobalt Soul Monk. Like, the Monk class in general is fun (it would be my first choice if I wanted to play a martial-only character), but this particular subclass is probably my favorite — it's the perfect balance between the academic, nerdish type of awesome and the more, ah, battle-ready type of awesome. (Is my love of this class influenced by my love of stories like The Invisible Library? Absolutely. Is that a problem? Absolutely not.)
  4. Rogue: Arcane Trickster. Fun fact: my first character was almost an Arcane Trickster Rogue (read: Rogue with magic). I decided not to because I wasn't confident enough to pull off the character concept I'd come up with . . . but it would've been fun. As you've probably picked up on by now, I really enjoy half-caster classes (they do a little of everything!), and the Arcane Trickster gives you some nice character hooks without doing too much to suggest a particular backstory or character type. (That said, I do eventually want to dust off that first character idea and play her someday. We'll see if and when it actually happens.)
  5. Paladin: Oath of Devotion. I'll admit, this is makes my list for personal reasons than stylistic ones — my first D&D character (who I'm still playing!) is an Oath of Devotion paladin. But I do love the class concept all the same. It's the archetypal holy warrior, the knight who stands in the way of darkness with a sword and shield of light (figuratively, not literally) and defends all that is good, who puts their life on the line for friend or stranger or, in some cases, even an enemy. And even if I don't always play my paladin that way (she asked for none of this, y'all), it's very much an archetype I love.

So, yeah. I would like to say that I'm off to make yet another D&D character, but I'm probably actually going to go try to finish Bastian Dennel, PI #3, which is an objectively more productive use of my time. But in the meantime, do you play D&D? What are your favorite character classes or subclasses, either that you've played or that you really want to play? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

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