I’ve played my fair share of Dungeons and Dragons, and I know from experience that it can be intimidating trying to pick your first class if you are new to D&D or just tabletop gaming in general. Trust me when I say that if this sort of gaming is unfamiliar to you, you probably don’t want your first class to be a wizard.
There are a lot of rules, and a skilled DM can help you wade through them when you’re just starting out, but even they can’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the classes and abilities. It falls to you as a player to make the best use of the tools you are given.
More and more people are discovering tabletop rpgs, and now that you can play them completely online, it’s a fun way to hang out with friends as we all wait for this pandemic to come to an end. So I figured I’d share some of the classes I think are the best fits for new Dungeons and Dragons players!
When coming up with this list I wanted to keep some things in mind.
- Combat is not everything. While players need to learn the ins and outs of combat, there are other aspects to Dungeons and dragons – stealth, role play, bartering, etc. I wanted to choose classes that would not just be easy to learn in a combat-sense, but more fun for a variety of situations.
- A newer player is less likely to remember (and use) their class abilities, so the number of abilities was less important than their ease of use.
I tried to choose a variety of classes for different players of varying skill levels and play styles. That being said, let nothing stop you from trying out a class if it really interests you. If you want to try a Wizard or Sorcerer as your first class, go for it, but be aware that some of them have a steeper learning curve than others. And while some classes might not be as flashy, they can still be a lot of fun! Don’t rule them out just because they seem too straightforward or simplistic.
1. Fighter (Champion Archetype)
Many people choose fighters as their first class because it isn’t a difficult class to learn. I would argue that is true for only some of the archetypes though, as some involve things like maneuvers, mounts, and spell-casting which might be a bit challenging for newer players unfamiliar with combat.
If you want to play the fighter class, I would strongly recommend beginning with the Champion Archetype, as they have reliable damage and a smaller catalogue of abilities to keep things manageable. Unfortunately, hitting things is basically all they do, so a player looking for some variety might find a basic fighter to be boring after a while.
As far as spell-casting classes go, the warlock is definitely one of the easiest to learn. Their spell-casting is easy to understand and limited in number, so newer players won’t get so overwhelmed. The pacts offer a bit of versatility, but your role is the equivalent of a magical fighter. You are a spell-slinging damage dealer and a reliable one with eldritch blasts. Though, like the fighter, you might get bored with a class that seems so one-note.
The cleric is the classic support class, welcome in any adventuring party, and with a clear role – keep your allies alive. There is a bit of a challenge in knowing when and where to dispense bigger healing spells, and gold might become a burden when you need components for restoration spells and the like, but a cleric is an invaluable member of the party. Their spell-casting is one of the easier ones to understand, and the cleric has the highest number of class archetypes (in the form of domains) to add some interesting twists to the classic healing role.
The ranger is unique in that they are a jack-of-all-trades. They can scout, deal damage, hide, cast spells and heal allies. A newer player might get overwhelmed by the potential options, but for someone who has no idea what class they would enjoy most, a ranger might be a good place to start, both to try out each of these mechanics as well as learning how they work.
If you have a party interested in roleplay, exploration and other things that aren’t specifically combat, you might find the ranger’s versatility to be invaluable and more importantly, a lot of fun. It’s one of the more challenging of the beginner classes I have listed here, but not without its perks.
The Paladin has some things in common with the Ranger class, as they are both spell-casting weapon users, but with a bit more of a defined role in that they are tanky and melee-focused. There is some versatility with spell-casting and some support abilities so it’s not as straightforward as the fighter class. A paladin is a good class for someone interested in playing something akin to a fighter but with a few more tools at their disposal to keep combat (and roleplay) a little more interesting.
Let Me Know What You Think!
Have you played Dungeons and Dragons before? What was the first class you played? Would you have chosen another class? What classes do you think are best for new players? Let me know in the comments!