List of alternative Dungeons & Dragons classes

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This is a list of alternative base character classes to the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. As base classes rather than prestige classes, they can be taken by newly created characters without need for any prerequisites.

Many of these classes have been repeatedly added after the core rules books were released, including the shaman, artificer, and runecaster or runepriest.

1st edition[edit]

OD&D[edit]

Two new classes were introduced during the history of OD&D: Thieves in Supplement I - Greyhawk and Bards in The Strategic Review. New subclasses were introduced in Supplement I - Greyhawk, Supplement II - Blackmoor, Supplement III - Eldritch Wizardry and the Strategic Review.

Sourcebook New classes and subclasses
Supplement I - Greyhawk Thief, Paladin (Fighting Man)
Supplement II - Blackmoor Assassin (Thief), Monk (Cleric)
Supplement III - Eldritch Wizardry Druid (Cleric)
The Strategic Review - Volume 1, Number 2 Ranger (Fighting Man)
The Strategic Review - Volume 1, Number 4 Illusionist (Magic-user)
The Strategic Review - Volume 2, Number 1 Bard

AD&D[edit]

Five standard base classes and five subclasses were offered in the Player's Handbook, with an optional 6th base class, the Bard, presented in an appendix. Additionally, various alternative base classes, subclasses and rule changes were offered in the magazine Dragon and elsewhere, such as the Mystic and the Witch. Eventually, some of these alternative rules came to be compiled in 1985 in the volume Unearthed Arcana. Among other changes, it included the thief-acrobat, a Thief subclass, and the barbarian, a Fighter subclass which had abilities such as summoning a horde of fellow barbarians to any location. Unearthed Arcana also included the cavalier class as "alignment champions" and reworked Paladins to be a subclass of Cavalier. The thief-acrobat, barbarian, and cavalier had previously appeared in Dragon magazine. Many existing classes were also drastically reworked and given different abilities. The Barbarian and Cavalier both had revised treatment in Dragon Magazine #148.[1] The other major book that offered new base classes was the 1985 version of Oriental Adventures; it included the Bushi, Kensai, Ninja, Samurai, Shukenja, Sohei, Wu Jen, and Yakuza. Dragonlance Adventures presented alternative classes for Knights of Solamnia (Knight of the Crown, Knight of the Sword and Knight of the Rose) and Wizards of High Sorcery, as well as the Tinker class, which is exclusive to Gnomes.

BD&D[edit]

"Basic" Dungeons & Dragons introduced two alternative classes: the Druid and the Mystic (counterpart to AD&D's Monk, in the Rules Cyclopedia).

NPCs[edit]

Most NPCs did not technically have a class in 1st and 2nd edition; they were, instead, "0th level characters" or "hirelings." Most classes gained the ability to attract and recruit hirelings at 9th level and later; others could be hired for a fee. Their abilities were not normally laid out very specifically, leaving more to the Dungeon Master's improvisation. First Edition did have a few "quasi-classes" which acted in a similar fashion. For example, humanoids could become shamans and witch doctors, which were functionally equivalent to clerics and cleric/magic-users except highly limited in terms of maximum level advancement.

2nd edition[edit]

2nd edition introduced a large number of alternative classes in various supplemental handbooks, which also introduced a variety of "kits" to customize each base class. These kits would grant certain new special abilities at the cost of various restrictions. On occasion the concept of class vs. kit seemed to blur, for example, the Sha'ir of Al-Qadim was introduced as a wizard kit, but it had very different abilities from other wizards, and an alternative system of spellcasting, which warranted it being a class, and not a mere kit. Possibly for these reasons, it was treated as a class in the release of The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook[original research?]. As can be seen on the lists below, 2nd Edition had far more alternative classes than 1st Edition, and provided significant flexibility with dozens of kits.

The most common type of variant class was the specialty priest, which applied to almost all settings. Rules for specialty priests were in the 2nd edition Player's Handbook, with the druid offered as an example, and many campaign settings offered detailed abilities and domains for specialty priests of their deities.

2nd edition alternative classes[edit]

Sourcebook Classes
Birthright campaign setting Magician (primary box set), Guilder (Havens of the Great Bay expansion)
Celts Campaign Sourcebook Manteis
Chronomancer Chronomancer, Temporal Champion, Temporal Raider
Cult of the Dragon Incantatrix
Dark Sun Campaign Setting Defiler, Elemental Cleric, Gladiator, Para-elemental Cleric, Templar, Trader
Domains of Dread Anchorite, Arcanist, Avenger, Gypsy
Faith and Avatars Crusader, Monk, Mystic, Shaman
Legends and Lore Ascetic, Pious Knight
Shaman Solitary Shaman, Spiritualist, Tribal Shaman
Skills & Powers Alchemist, Geometer, Shadow Mage, Song Wizard
Spells & Magic Artificer, Crusader, Dimensionalist, Force Mage, Mentalist, Monk, Shaman
The Complete Barbarian’s Handbook Barbarian Fighter, Shaman
The Complete Druid’s Handbook Arctic Druid, Desert Druid, Gray Druid, Jungle Druid, Mountain Druid, Plains Druid, Swamp Druid
The Complete Ninja’s Handbook Ninja (Spy/Killer)
The Complete Psionicist’s Handbook Psionicist
Tome of Magic Elementalist, Wild Mage
Vikings Campaign Sourcebook Berserker, Runecaster
Giantcraft Runecaster
Masque of the Red Death Sourcebook Adept, Soldier, Mystic, Tradesman
The Scarlet Brotherhood Assassin, Monk

2nd edition kits[edit]

Character kits were conceived as a way for players to customize a class. Like any kit, a character kit is a collection of things, in this case, minor modifications to the standard rules (generally involving bonus languages, changes to forbidden/permissible weapons, bonus non-weapon proficiencies, et cetera). They tended to reflect culture, race, social class, or vocation.

Kit repetition was also not unheard of. Some kit names were used multiple times, occasionally with different descriptions, such as the diplomat. Kits and classes also sometimes duplicated themselves. For example, the shaman appeared in at least six products.

Sourcebook Kits
Age of Heroes Campaign Sourcebook Companion, Hero, Hoplite
Arabian Adventures Askar, Barber, Beggar-Thief, Cleric of the Faith Pragmatic, Cleric of the Faith Ethical, Cleric of the Faith Moral, Corsair, Desert Rider, Elemental Wizard, Faris, Hakima, Holy Slayer, Kahin, Mamluk, Matrud, Mercenary Barbarian, Merchant-Rogue, Mystic, Rawun, Sa’luk, Sorcecer, Sha'ir
Chronomancer Guide, Historian, Seer, Traveler
City of Gold Clown, Fetishist, Trader, Hunter, Azupozi Healer, Bent Priest, Pueblo Priest, Sunwatcher
Defilers and Preservers - The Wizard of Athas Advanced Being, Arena Wizard, Cerulean, Chasseur, Earth Defender, Exterminator, Free Wizard, Illusionist, Mercenary, Restorationist, Shadow Wizard, Tribal Wizard, Necromancer
Diablo II: The Awakening Amazon, Barbarian, Necromancer, Paladin, Sorcerer
Elves of Evermeet Elven Knight, High Mage, Skinwalker, Totem-sister, Unicorn Rider
Jakandor - Isle of Destiny Artificer, Finder, Galvanist, Porter, Render, Sandman, Shadow Mage, Warden, Dilettante, Bandit, Chirurgeon, Companion, Guildsman, Scribe, Cultist, Jurist, Pantheist, Philosopher, Thanhotepic, Guardian
Masque of the Red Death Cavalryman, Charlatan, Dandy, Detective, Explorer/Scout, Journalist, Labourer, Medium, Metaphysician, Parson, Physician, Qabalist, Sailor, Scholar, Shaman, Spiritualist
Player's Option: Skills & Powers Acrobat, Amazon, Animal Master, Assassin, Barbarian, Beggar, Cavalier, Diplomat, Explorer, Gladiator, Jester, Mariner, Merchant, Mystic, Noble, Outlaw, Peasant Hero, Pirate, Pugilist, Rider, Savage, Scholar, Scout, Sharpshooter, Soldier, Smugger, Spy, Swashbuckler, Thug, Weapon Master
The Complete Barbarian’s Handbook Brushrunner, Brute, Dreamwalker, Flamespeaker, Forest Lord, Islander, Medicine Man, Plainsrider, Ravager, Seer, Spiritist, Witchman, Wizard Slayer
The Complete Bard’s Handbook Blade, Charlatan, Gypsy-bard, Herald, Jester, Jongleur, Loremaster, Meistersinger, Riddlemaster, Skald, Thespian
The Complete Book of Dwarves Animal Master, Axe For Hire, Battlerager, Champion, Clansdwarf, Crafts Priest, Diplomat, Entertainer, Ghetto Fighter, Hearth Guard, Highborn, Locksmith, Outcast, Pariah, Patrician, Pest Controller, Rapid Response Rider, Ritual Priest, Sharpshooter, Temple Guard, Trader, Vermin Slayer, Vindicator, Wayfinder
The Complete Book of Elves Archer, Bladesinger, Collector, Elven Minstrel, Herbalist, Huntsman, Infiltrator, Spellfilcher, Undead Slayer, War Wizard, Wilderness Runner, Windrider
The Complete Book of Gnomes & Halflings Bandit, Bilker, Breachgnome, Buffoon, Burglar, Cartographer, Forestwalker, Goblinsticker, Healer, Homesteader, Imagemaker, Leaftender, Mercenary, Mouseburglar, Oracle, Rocktender, Sheriff, Smuggler, Squire, Stalker, The Archer, Trader, Traveler, Treetender, Tumbler, Tunnelrat, Urchin, Vanisher
The Complete Book of Humanoids Hedge wizard, Humanoid Bard, Humanoid Scholar, Mine Rowdy, Oracle, Outlaw Mage, Pit Fighter, Saurial Paladin, Scavenger, Sellsword, Shadow Shaman, Tramp, Tribal Defender, Tunnel Rat, Wandering Mystic, War Priest, Wilderness Protector, Witch Doctor
The Complete Book of Necromancers Archetypal Necromancer, Anatomist, Deathslayer, Philosopher, Undead Master
The Complete Druid's Handbook Adviser, Avenger, Beastfriend, Guardian, Hivemaster, Lost Druid, Natural Philosopher, Outlaw, Pacifist, Savage, Shapeshifter, Totemic Druid, Village Druid, Wanderer
The Complete Fighter's Handbook Amazon, Barbarian, Beast-Rider, Berserker, Cavalier, Gladiator, Myrmidon, Noble Warrior, Peasant Hero, Pirate/Outlaw, Samurai, Savage, Swashbuckler
The Complete Gladiator’s Handbook Arena Champion, Beast Trainer, Blind fighter, Convict, Gladiatorial Slave, Jazst, Montare, Professional Gladiator, Reaver
The Complete Ninja’s Handbook Consort, Eliminator, Intruder, Lone Wolf, Pathfinder, Punisher, Ravager, Shadow Warrior, Shinobi Bard, Shinobi Fighter, Shinobi Illusionist, Shinobi Mage, Shinobi Priest, Shinobi Ranger, Shinobi Thief, Spirit Warrior, Stealer-In
The Complete Paladin’s Handbook Chevalier, Divinate, Envoy, Equerry, Errant, Expatriate, Ghosthunter, Inquisitor, Medician, Militarist, Skyrider, Squire, Votary
The Complete Priest's Handbook Amazon Priestess, Barbarian/Berserker Priest, Fighting-Monk, Nobleman Priest, Outlaw Priest, Pacifist Priest, Peasant Priest, Prophet Priest, Savage Priest, Scholar Priest
The Complete Ranger’s Handbook Beastmaster, Explorer, Falconer, Feralan, Forest Runner, Giant Killer, Greenwood Ranger, Guardian, Justifier, Mountain Man, Pathfinder, Sea Ranger, Seeker, Shinobi Ranger, Stalker, Warden
The Complete Sha’ir’s Handbook Astrologer, Clockwork Mage, Digitalogist, Ghul Lord, Jackal, Mageweaver, Mystic of Nog, Spellslayer
The Complete Spacefarer’s Handbook Aperusa, Arcanist, Astrologer, Astronomer, Corsair, Courier, Crusader, Diplomat, Evangelist, Frontiersman, Geomancer, Harlequin, Impostor, Marine, Medicus, Merchant, Missionary, Privateer, Salvager, War Mage
The Complete Thief's Handbook Acrobat, Adventurer, Assassin, Bandit, Beggar, Bounty Hunter, Buccaneer, Burglar, Cutpurse, Fence, Investigator, Scout, Smuggler, Spy, Swashbuckler, Swindler, Thug, Troubleshooter
The Complete Wizard's Handbook Academician, Amazon Sorceress, Anagakok, Militant, Wizard, Mystic, Patrician, Peasant Wizard, Savage Wizard, Witch, Wu Jen
The Glory of Rome Campaign Sourcebook Charioteer, Charlatan-Thief, Christian Priest, Gladiator, Military Tribune, Mithraic Priest, Philosopher-Mage, Priest of the Mysteries, Priest of the State Religion, Roman Legionary, Roman Politician, Roman Witch, Street Fighter
The Planewalker's Handbook Planewalker Warrior, Planewalker Wizard, Planewalker Priest, Planewalker Rogue, Abyssal Warrior, Floating Sorcerer, Hinterland Bandit
The Will and the Way Auditor, Beastmaster, Mercenary Psionicist, Noble Psionicist, Psionicist, Sensei, Tribal Psionicist


3rd and 3.5 editions[edit]

Dungeon Master's Guide[edit]

In its Dungeon Master's Guide, 3rd edition introduced five NPC classes not intended for player use. These were the first official alternative base classes, and still the only ones detailed in the core 3 books. All five of these classes were retained in the 3.5 edition Dungeon Master's Guide.

Class Description Statistics
Adept Adepts are practitioners of divine magic, similar to Clerics, but are less formally trained. They typically arise in poorer or frontier areas, and are common among bestial humanoids as their link to their deity. Unlike Clerics, who possess decent physical combat ability, Adepts' physical combat capabilities are poor. OGL stats

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Aristocrat The Aristocrat class reflects those of a wealthy and refined upbringing. While nobles commonly meet the description, rich and educated commoners can as well. Due to their extensive education, good diet, and reasonable medical care, Aristocrats possess a wide variety of skills, are reasonably tough, and possess familiarity with combat and martial weapons. OGL stats

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Commoner Commoners are unskilled average folk and comprise the bulk of the non-player characters of most settings, existing as peasants and laborers. They possess practically no skill at combat and have no special abilities. OGL stats
Expert Experts are skilled common people, such as tradesmen, scholars, and educated merchants. They possess considerable acumen at their areas of expertise, and receive a large amount of skill points to reflect this. While more familiar with combat than Commoners, Experts are only familiar with the simplest of weapons. OGL stats
Warrior Warriors are trained for combat, similar to Fighters. However, they possess more casual training, similar to that given to a town guard or low-ranking army recruit. This is reflected in their lesser rate of hit point growth than fighters and their lack of special abilities. OGL stats

Other sourcebooks[edit]

The following base classes were introduced in other sourcebooks. Unless otherwise specified, all sourcebooks are for 3.5 edition.[2]

Class Description Source
Archivist Archivists are wielders of divine magic who learn and cast spells through diligent study rather than direct communion with their deity. They study and learn spells with a prayerbook, analogous to a wizard's spellbook, and their magic's strength is based on Intelligence. Archivists also have the Dark Knowledge class feature, which allows them to draw on their knowledge of aberrations, elementals, magical beasts, outsiders or undead with a successful skill check, most Dark Knowledge abilities grant allies an offensive or defensive bonus.[3] Heroes of Horror
Beguiler Beguilers are similar to rogues, but possess a small suite of spells cast spontaneously, like a Sorcerer. Their spells are primarily focused on stealth and the manipulation of others; they also have the Cloaked Casting class feature, which raises the save DC and gives them a bonus on rolls to overcome spell resistance when casting a spell on an unaware target.[4] Player's Handbook II
Binder Binders derive their power by making pacts with "vestiges," souls of legendary beings who have been "evicted" from the universe. Binders then fuse with the vestige, which affects their appearance (and possibly their personality) but grants them powers that can usually be used an unlimited number of times per day. This pact-making is despised by most clerics, because the gods were the ones who exiled most of the vestiges in the first place. Binder is the favored class of karsites, a new race introduced in Tome of Magic. Tome of Magic
Crusader Crusader is a martial adept class, meaning it utilizes the various boosts, counters, strikes, and stances in Tome of Battle. They may learn the Devoted Spirit, Stone Dragon, and White Raven styles; Devoted Spirit is exclusive to Crusaders alone. Crusaders may only use a randomized selection of maneuvers at the start of battle; they gain the rest one round at a time. Tome of Battle
Dragon Shaman Dragon Shamans earn their power by making a pact with a specific breed of dragon. Over time, they slowly begin to grow more like their chosen Totem dragon: they gain a draconic aura, can heal wounds similar to a Paladin's Lay on Hands ability, their skin becomes scales, they gain a dragon's breath, and lastly a dragon's wings. They must remain within one step of their chosen Dragon's alignment. Player's Handbook II
Dragonfire Adept Dragonfire Adepts receive spell-like invocations through some form of draconic tie, such as in-born talent, study, or from a deal with a dragon. This includes the ability to use a variety of elemental breath attacks. Despite not casting magic, their abilities are still hindered by armor. Dragon Magic
Dread Necromancer Dread Necromancers are focused students of undeath, fear-inducing magic, and evil-aligned spells. They cast spells spontaneously like a Sorcerer and do not have the breadth of a specialist wizard necromancer. Dread necromancers are also more combat-oriented than most arcane spellcasters, able to wear light armor without impacting their spells and possessing numerous abilities. Eventually, a Dread Necromancer can become a lich. Heroes of Horror
Duskblade Duskblades combine combat prowess with the ability to cast arcane magic while in light or medium armor. Their spell selection is limited and generally focused on a single target; however, their spells get a bonus against enemies whom they have struck in melee combat. They cast spells spontaneously, like a Sorcerer, but their spells are based on Intelligence, like a Wizard.[5] Player's Handbook II
Factotum Factotums are jacks-of-all-trades and possess a variety of abilities. They can imitate other classes for a short time. Dungeonscape
Favored Soul The favored soul is similar to a cleric, but they may cast divine spells they know spontaneously, similar to a Sorcerer. They also acquire characteristics similar to their patron deity, such as expertise in their deity's favored weapons, and eventually grow wings. Favored Soul is one of the few classes with three good saves. Miniatures Handbook, Complete Divine
Healer Healers are divine spellcasters similar to clerics. Their spells focus on healing and removing conditions such as fatigue, fear, and paralysis. Healers also gain similar supernatural abilities and the services of a celestial companion, usually a unicorn. Like druids, healers are prohibited from wearing metal armor; healers are further prohibited from using shields. Healers must be of good alignment and may not refuse to heal an ally or good-aligned creature. Miniatures Handbook
Hexblade Hexblades are warriors who possess some arcane magic ability, which they may use while wearing armor and cast spontaneously. They may also curse their opponents and, at higher levels, inflict an aura of unluck upon them. Hexblades are only evil or neutral in alignment, never good.[6] Complete Warrior
Incarnate Incarnates are characters that have learned to form soulmelds, magical items made from Incarnum, the material of souls. They gain the ability to shape soulmelds and bind them to different chakras, or body regions. This binding grants them additional abilities based on the soulmeld and chakra combination. Incarnates must be either Lawful Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Neutral Good, or Neutral Evil, and some of their abilities change with alignment. It is the favored class of the Rilkan and Skarn race. Magic of Incarnum
Knight Knights are dedicated melee combatants based around protecting other characters, distracting enemies, and high resilience. Their main ability is the "Knight's Challenge," which can boost the morale of allies, goad strong enemies into fighting him or her, and scare weak enemies. Knights must be of lawful alignment and maintain a specific code of conduct.[7][8] Player's Handbook II
Marshal The marshal is a military commander whose abilities are focused on leading others into battle and inspiring them to victory. They project auras that grant a variety of bonuses to nearby allies based on the marshal's Charisma.[9] Miniatures Handbook
Ninja A 1st edition character class loosely based on the Japanese ninja in the 1985 Oriental Adventures, the Ninja was introduced into 3rd edition in Complete Adventurer. Ninjas are focused on stealth and mobility, and possess a sudden strike special attack on unprepared foes. They also use ki similar to a monk and can turn invisible. Complete Adventurer
Samurai Loosely based on the Japanese samurai, the Samurai in Oriental Adventures are those who learn a particular martial style from their clan. They possess a number of bonus feats, which must be taken from styles favored by their clan. Samurai may also sacrifice and empower their ancestral daisho, turning their family's weapons into magical ones in their hands. Samurai must be of lawful alignment. The class was revisited in Complete Warrior, but in a markedly different style dedicated to two-weapon combat. Oriental Adventures (3rd), Complete Warrior
Scout Scouts are experts at tracking and natural lore, and are similar to a more wilderness-oriented rogue. They possess a skirmish ability that allows them to do extra damage when moving. Complete Adventurer
Shaman Shamans are divine spellcasters who draw their spells from the spirit world. Oriental Adventures (3rd)
Shadowcaster Shadowcasters are spellcasters that draw power from the Plane of Shadow. They learn "mysteries" which start out similar to spells, though over time simpler mysteries become spell-like abilities and can be used more often per day. Eventually shadowcasters become immune to poisons and disease and no longer need to eat, sleep, or breathe. Tome of Magic
Shugenja Shugenja are loosely based on Asian mythology and are mechanically similar to traditional Clerics. Typically members of the noble class, Shugenja are spontaneous casters of magic. Shugenja are attuned to one of the four classical elements in particular; they are barred from learning spells of the opposed element. Through concentration, they can sense any element nearby in a radius that grows with experience. Oriental Adventures (3rd), Complete Divine
Sohei Sohei are militant religious warriors; they usually act in groups and are primarily employed by large temples and monasteries. They can shrug off a certain amount of damage and deflect arrows, and may also enter a "ki frenzy" of focused fury. Soheis must be of lawful alignment. Oriental Adventures (3rd), Dragon #318
Soulborn Soulborns utilize magic items called "soulmelds" to increase their own skills and abilities, though they have a more limited selection than Totemists or Incarnates. Soulmelds are made from Incarnum, the material of which souls consist. Soulborns must be of an "extreme" alignment: one of Lawful Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Evil, or Chaotic Evil. Azurin have Soulborn as a favored class. Magic of Incarnum
Spellthief Spellthieves are a rogue-like class that acquires slightly fewer skills than rogues, but their sneak attack ability can steal spells or magical abilities from others. They also can detect magic and have a small chance of absorbing enemy magic harmlessly. Complete Adventurer
Spirit Shaman Spirit Shamans are similar to druids in that they use the druidic spell list, but they cast spells spontaneously like a Sorcerer. Spirit Shamans have their own spirit guide and possess special abilities that affect spirits (such as incorporeal undead, fey, and elementals). Unlike Sorcerers, Spirit Shamans may change their spell selection whenever they meditate to regain their daily allotment of spells. Complete Divine
Swashbuckler Based on a 2nd edition kit for Fighters and Thieves, Swashbucklers are a combat-oriented class that emphasizes finesse, style, and flair. They are surprisingly tough and have a Fighter's rate of attack bonus advancement, but can only wear light armor. Swashbucklers also gain a fair number of skills. Complete Warrior
Swordsage Swordsage is a martial adept class, meaning it utilizes the various boosts, counters, strikes, and stances in Tome of Battle. They may learn the Desert Wind, Diamond Mind, Setting Sun, Shadow Hand, Stone Dragon and Tiger Claw styles. Swordsages may only use light armor and have a slightly slower attack bonus progression, but are the most versatile of the martial adepts. They must spend a full round to recover one special maneuver. Tome of Battle
Totemist Totemists revere magical beasts, such as worgs and unicorns, whom they see as the most powerful forces of nature. They shape incarnum, the material of souls, to make magical items based around magical beasts, such as Displacer Mantles. Totemist is the favored class of Dusklings. Magic of Incarnum
Truenamer Truenamers are a type of wizard whose magic revolves around a primordial language that describes the universe. As they learn the true name of entities, they become able to affect them by "rewriting the universe." Mechanically, they are similar to sorcerers, except a Truenamer's skills affect the DC of their spell. Tome of Magic
Warblade Warblade is a martial adept class, meaning it utilizes the various boosts, counters, strikes, and stances in Tome of Battle. They may learn the Diamond Mind, Iron Heart, Stone Dragon, Tiger Claw and White Raven styles. The Warblade focuses on melee combat and can utilize light and medium armors and shields. They may acquire fighter-exclusive feats as if they were a fighter two levels lower than their Warblade level and recover maneuvers with a simple attack or by spending a turn. Tome of Battle
Warlock Warlocks are users of spell-like abilities either in-born or granted through a pact with some unearthly being such as a demon or a fey. Since a warlock's invocations are not normal spells, they may be used while wearing light armor and any number of times. Warlocks can later acquire energy resistance, toughened skin, fast healing, and the ability to force magical items to do their bidding. Complete Arcane
Warmage Warmages are battle-oriented mages associated with large army battles who focus on damage-dealing spells. They may cast spells while wearing light (and later, medium) armor. Miniatures Handbook, Complete Arcane
Wu Jen Wu Jen are Eastern-style wizards introduced in both versions of Oriental Adventures. They are similar to normal wizards statistically, but with slightly different spells and some additional meta-magic abilities. Wu Jen is the favored class of the shapeshifting Hengeyokai, also introduced in Oriental Adventures. Oriental Adventures (3rd), Complete Arcane

Core class variants[edit]

These are alternative versions of core base classes.

Class Description Source
Bardic Sage Bard variant focused on knowledge. Unearthed Arcana
Battle Sorcerer Combat oriented sorcerer variant. Unearthed Arcana
Cloistered Cleric Variant cleric focused on knowledge and lore. Unearthed Arcana
Divine Bard Divine spellcaster bard variant. Unearthed Arcana
Domain Wizard Wizard variant with arcane domains. Unearthed Arcana
Druidic Avenger Variant druid focused on combat. Unearthed Arcana
Paladin of Freedom Chaotic good paladin variant. Unearthed Arcana
Paladin of Slaughter Chaotic evil paladin variant. Unearthed Arcana
Paladin of Tyranny Lawful evil paladin variant Unearthed Arcana
Planar Ranger Ranger variant focused on survival on other planes rather than wilderness survival. Unearthed Arcana
Savage Bard Variant bard focused on combat. Unearthed Arcana
Specialist Wizard Variants Wizard variants focused on specific schools of magic. Unearthed Arcana
Thug Urban variant fighter with fewer armor proficiencies and starting feats and more class skills and skill points. Unearthed Arcana
Totem Barbarian A barbarian variant with class features which vary depending on which totem animal is chosen. Unearthed Arcana
Urban Ranger Urban focused ranger variant. Unearthed Arcana
Variant Paladin[10] Variant paladin without spellcasting. Complete Warrior
Variant Ranger[10] Variant ranger without spellcasting. Complete Warrior
Wilderness Rogue Wilderness focused rogue variant. Unearthed Arcana

Campaign-setting specific[edit]

The Dragonlance campaign setting update for 3rd edition includes 2 alternative base classes (Mystics and Nobles), while further sourcebooks developed by Sovereign Press/Margaret Weis Productions ltd. introduce Masters (in War of the Lance), Mariners (in Age of Mortals and Legends of the Twins), and Nighstalkers (in Races of Ansalon):

Class Description
Mariner Mariners are flamboyant sea-going people, a cross between swashbucklers and sea pirates. They are a cross between rogues (for skills and dirty tricks) and fighters (attack bonus) who have developed at skills specific to those on board ships.
Master Masters are Krynn's enhanced version of experts. More talented, with skills unmatched in their chosen fields, masters are on par with other PC classes. They must specialize in a set of broad skills (craft, knowledge, perform or profession). They receive bonus skill-related feats and special talents akin to feats.
Mystic Mystics are capable of casting divine spells without need of being a cleric; they are mechanically similar to a Sorcerer in that they cast spontaneously, but from a fixed spell list chosen from the spell list for clerics. This ability was important when Krynn was isolated from the gods for a time.
Nightstalker Nightstalkers create magical effects, find traps, and see dead people.
Noble Nobles are charismatic manipulators who leverage skills and connections to advance their goals. They are mechanically similar to rogues without the ability to sneak attack, and can call in favors they earn.

Alternative base classes presented in the 3.5 edition Eberron campaign setting include:

Class Description Source
Artificer Artificers are tinkerers and architects skilled at creating and modifying items. They cast "infusions" onto ordinary items and constructs so that they grant a bonus to themselves or their wielders. They also are familiar with security, able to tinker with traps and locks. House Cannith is known for their skill in this class. Eberron Campaign Setting
Magewright Magewrights are crafters of magical items. They are familiar with some magic, especially that which would aid the creation of other items. The Magewright class is intended for non-player characters. Eberron Campaign Setting
Psionic Artificer Psionic variant of the artificer class. Magic of Eberron
Urban Adept Urban variant of the adept NPC class. Sharn: City of Towers

The Al-Qadim setting was not extensively supported in 3rd edition, but issue 315 of Dragon Magazine includes an update to the Sha' ir base class from earlier editions.

The 3rd edition version of Oriental Adventures was set in Rokugan, the setting of Legend of the Five Rings. However, many of the classes in Oriental Adventures were used in other settings as well, and some were reprinted in other books independently. Alternative classes created for that book include the Samurai, Shaman, Shugenja, Sohei, and Wu-Jen; see above.

Generic classes[edit]

The 2004 release of Unearthed Arcana for 3.5 edition included 3 "generic" base classes: Warrior, Spellcaster, and Expert (no relation to the DMG's Warrior and Expert). These classes cover three basic archetypes without any frills and are easily modified. However, these classes were not recommended for use with the standard base classes. The Warrior is similar to the Fighter, with hit points and a strong attack but few skills; the Expert has a large variety of skills but middling combat capabilities (similar to a Rogue); and the Spellcaster has little combat capabilities but the ability to cast spells (similar to a Wizard). Many class features from the core base classes, such as Familiar, Sneak Attack and Turn Undead, are available to the three generic base classes as bonus feats.

Psionics-related[edit]

Psionics in 3rd edition were originally detailed in Psionics Handbook. 2nd edition had only one character class, the psionicist; 3rd edition renamed it the psion and introduced various new alternative classes based on psionics usage. Psionics Handbook was later updated for version 3.5 with the Expanded Psionics Handbook, and new material was added in the Complete Psionic book.

Class Description Source
Ardent Ardents derive their powers from a focus on primal truths or concepts ("mantles"); different mantles offer different abilities to an Ardent. They possess a smaller selection of powers than the more versatile Psion, but enjoy greater martial abilities. Complete Psionic
Divine Mind The Divine Mind is a character who chooses to serve a deity using psionic powers; they are thus somewhat similar to Clerics. Like clerics, they may choose mantles a deity represents, similar to domains. They may also exude Attack, Defense, or Perception auras that grant bonuses to nearby allies.[11] Complete Psionic
Erudite Rather than learn powers upon level gain like Psions, Erudites may theoretically use any psionic ability by "copying" another person or a psionically-infused item. In exchange, they may call upon only a limited selection of powers per day. Mechanically, they are thus somewhat similar to unspecialized wizards rather than Psions. Complete Psionic
Lurk Lurks are similar to rogues who call upon psionic powers to aid them. They may perceive the weaknesses of enemies and make sneak attacks, as well as use psionic augments to their abilities. Complete Psionic
Psion Psions are dedicated to the usage of psionic power. Mechanically, they are similar to Sorcerers; however, like Wizards, they can (and in fact must) choose a specialization of their school of psionics. In 3rd edition the various disciplines were each linked to a statistic; for instance, clairsentience is linked to Wisdom and Psions who specialize in it are known as Seers. This was changed in 3.5 so that all disciplines are linked to the Intelligence statistic. Psion is the favoured class of the elan race. Psionics Handbook, Expanded Psionics Handbook
Psychic Rogue Psychic Rogue is a Rogue with psionic abilities. http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20040723
Psychic Warrior Psychic Warriors are a blend between Fighters and Psions. Like fighters, they gain bonus feats, and like psions, they wield psionic powers, though at a slower rate than either specialized class. Their attack bonus and hit point growth is similarly in the middle. Psionics Handbook, Expanded Psionics Handbook
Soulknife Soulknives are warriors who have learned to channel psionic power into "Mindblades", or swords composed of psionic energy. Their broad training allows them to take many occupations and be a "jack of all trades." It is the favoured class of the Xeph race. Soulknives were a prestige class in the original Psionics Handbook, but made into a base class with version 3.5. Expanded Psionics Handbook
Wilder Wilders can use "wild surges", which allow them to augment their psionic powers to a greater extent than normal. Doing so is dangerous and there is a chance every time a wild surge is used that the wilder will suffer from "psychic enervation" causing them to become dazed and lose power points. They are slightly tougher than psions, but gain fewer abilities and slower. Wilder is the favored class of the maenad race. Expanded Psionics Handbook

4th edition[edit]

Class Primary role Secondary role Power source Description Sourcebook Playtest/Preview
Ardent Leader Defender or Striker Psionic Ardents use their psionic power to use emotions to their advantage. They fill their enemies' minds with negative emotions, creating gaps in their defenses. At the same time, ardents fill their allies minds with encouraging thoughts and strengthen their resolve. "Player's Handbook 3"
Artificer[12] Leader None Arcane The artificer acts to contain magic energy within vessels, whether it's animated constructs or infusing magic into his/her allies. Eberron Player's Guide (July 2009)[13] Dragon Magazine #365 (July 2008)
Assassin[14] Striker[15]  ? Shadow[15] Assassins make a deal with Death, displacing part of their soul with a reflection from the afterlife. The deal struck gives them the power to move through shadows and gather power to strike at a creature's weakness. Dragon Magazine #379 (September 2009),[14] Heroes of Shadow (March 2011)[16] None Available
Avenger[17] Striker[18] Controller[18] Divine[18] Avengers act as the avenging agent of their faith, vowing enmity against a particular foe and gaining power from that vow. Player's Handbook 2[19] None Available
Barbarian[20] Striker[20] Defender or Leader Primal[20] Rage is the main weapon in the barbarian's arsenal. By driving themselves into a state of primal chaos, they can crash through a battlefield and deal heavy damage. Player's Handbook 2 (March 2009)[20] Dragon Magazine #368 (October 2008)
Bard[21] Leader Controller Arcane Bards perform music that taps into arcane energies, imbuing allies with power and harming enemies. Player's Handbook 2 (March 2009)[22] Dragon Magazine #369 (November 2008) (Ampersand Preview)
Druid[23][24] Controller[25] Leader or Striker Primal Druids control powerful flora and fauna to attack at long range. They also transform themselves into agents of primal power, such as bears, monkeys, wolves, cheetahs, boars, treants, etc. Player's Handbook 2 (March 2009) Dragon Magazine #370 (December 2008) (Levels 1-3 Preview)
Invoker[17][26] Controller[26] Leader or Striker[26] Divine[26] The Invoker channels the divine magic of their gods directly to castigate their foes and control the battlefield. They wear light to medium armor and can use simple weapons but they usually rely on divine spells to weaken, slow, or otherwise hamper their enemies while aiding their allies. Player's Handbook 2[27] Dragon Magazine #370 (December 2008) (Levels 1-3 Preview)
Monk[28] Striker Controller Psionic Focusing psionic energy, monks act with little armor and usually unarmed. This energy also allows them to move about the field of battle quickly and in unexpected ways. Player's Handbook 3 (TBA)[29] Dragon Magazine #375 (May 2009)
Psion[30] Controller None Psionic Psions are the archetypical channels of psionic energy. They use either telekineses or telepathy to control and befuddle their foes. Player's Handbook 3 (TBA)[30] Dragon Magazine #377 (July 2009)[30]
Runepriest Leader Defender or Controller Divine Runepriests know the divine secrets inscribed in forgotten runes. Like other leaders, they heal and buff their allies. More importantly, they gain secondary effects to all of their powers depending on which rune state they are in. Player's Handbook 3 None Available.
Seeker[31] Controller[31] Defender or Striker Primal[31] Versed in hunting techniques handed down through the generations, seekers combine thrown weapon and bow techniques with primal evocations. The combination allows seekers great range in which to deliver deadly attacks that confound and hamper their enemies. Player's Handbook 3 (TBA)[31] Dragon Magazine #380 (October 2009)[31]
Shaman[32] Leader[32] Defender or Striker[32] Primal[33] Shamans gather spirits to intervene in the material world, healing their allies and disabling their foes. These spirits group under grand marshals like the World Serpent, tied to specific abilities. Player's Handbook 2 (March 2009)[34] Dragon Magazine #372 (February 2009) (Levels 1-3 Preview)
Sorcerer[35][36] Striker[36] Controller[36] Arcane[36] Sorcerers are wielders of raw arcane power. Where a wizard wields magic like a fighter wields a sword, a sorcerer wields magic like a barbarian swinging a greataxe. The magic they use is hardly controlled and may have some chaotic side effects. Player's Handbook 2 (March 2009) Dragon Magazine #371 (January 2009) (Levels 1-3 Preview)
Swordmage Defender[37] None[37] Arcane[37] The sword is used as an arcane focus for the swordmage's abilities, including aegises of shielding, ensaring, and attacking. They ward themselves and enchant their blades to combat any foe. Forgotten Realms Player's Guide (September 2008)[38] RPGA Forgotten Realms Player's Guide preview (July 2008)[39]
Warden[40] Defender Controller or Striker Primal The warden uses the power of the primal spirits to protect their allies. They are defenders of the wilderness and make moving around the battlefield very troublesome for their enemies. Player's Handbook 2[41] Dragon Magazine #371 (January 2009) (Levels 1-3 Preview)

Multiclass-only classes[edit]

These classes are only available through multiclassing. They cannot be chosen as a character's main class.

Class Role Power source Description Sourcebook Playtest/Preview
Spellscarred[42] None Arcane Those who were touched by the wild Spellplague may have developed a spellscar. The spellscar manifests as wild lines of blue that may ignite when the subject is under the effect of a certain emotion. They can bestow weird magical powers but a small few attempt to master the gifts they bestow. Forgotten Realms Player's Guide (September 2008) None available

5th edition[edit]

References[edit]

The main references for classes are the books in which they are described. Additional web references include:

  1. ^ Howery, David (August 1989). Dragon Magazine 148. 
  2. ^ Wizards.com - Consolidated Lists - Character Class Index
  3. ^ Heroes of Horror excerpt: Archivist
  4. ^ Character class: Beguiler
  5. ^ Williams, Skip (2006). "Character Class: Duskblade -- Master of Sword and Spell". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  6. ^ Hexblades with Class
  7. ^ Player's Handbook II excerpt
  8. ^ Character class: Knight
  9. ^ Miniatures Handbook Excerpt: Marshal
  10. ^ a b Andy Collins, David Noonan, Ed Stark: "Variant: Paladins and Rangers Without Spellcasting", Complete Warrior page 13. Wizards of the Coast, 2003.
  11. ^ Character class: Divine Mind
  12. ^ Keith Baker - Eberron in 4E: What do you want to know?
  13. ^ Bonner, Logan; Mearls, Mike; Noonan, David (July 2008). "Playtest: Artificer" (PDF). Dragon Magazine. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  14. ^ a b http://archive.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/dred/2009july
  15. ^ a b http://www.critical-hits.com/2009/08/14/gencon-4e-preview-the-assassin/
  16. ^ http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Product.aspx?x=dnd/products/dndacc/280880000
  17. ^ a b Andrew J. Finch (2008-11-11). "Re: Unlock the POWER of your character sheet!". Unlock the POWER of your character sheet!. Gleemax forums. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  18. ^ a b c http://www.critical-hits.com/2009/02/08/dungeons-dragons-at-new-york-comic-con-09/ critical-hits.com - Dungeons & Dragons at New York Comic Con ‘09
  19. ^ http://www.amazon.com/dp/0786952903
  20. ^ a b c d Heinsoo, Rob; Mike Mearls, Jesse Decker, Robert J. Schwalb (October 2008). "Playtest: The Barbarian" (PDF). Dragon Magazine. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2013-05-14. 
  21. ^ ENWorld - Morrus' 4th Edition D&D / d20 News and Reviews Site - View Single Post - My thoughts of Roles - from Races and Classes
  22. ^ http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4dnd/20080815
  23. ^ BlogPost
  24. ^ YouTube - GRZ - Mike Mearls at D&D Game Day 08
  25. ^ http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drfe/20081201a
  26. ^ a b c d http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4dnd/20080815
  27. ^ http://www.amazon.com/dp/0786952865
  28. ^ http://www.critical-hits.com/2008/03/08/interview-andy-collins-and-scott-rouse-part-2/
  29. ^ http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4news/20090211 Wizards.com - Digital Insider: Where We Are (02/11/2009)
  30. ^ a b c http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drfe/20090707
  31. ^ a b c d e http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/drfe/20091006
  32. ^ a b c http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drfe/20090202 The Shaman, Levels 1-3
  33. ^ http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drfe/20090202
  34. ^ http://www.amazon.com/dp/0786952881
  35. ^ New Post! Signing, sorcerer, Wildcat - Wizards Community
  36. ^ a b c d The Sorcerer, Levels 1-3
  37. ^ a b c [1]
  38. ^ Forgotten Realms Player's Guide
  39. ^ http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=rpga/news/lfrcharacters
  40. ^ http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x-dnd/drfe/20090105
  41. ^ http://www.amazon.com/dp/078695289X
  42. ^ http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4pr/20080703a