Best DnD character builds 5e (2023)

There’s a lot at stake when creating DnD character builds. Each must be enjoyable to roleplay, competent in combat, appropriate for the DM’s campaign – and, above all, internally consistent. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by choice during character creation. To save you the hassle of disappointment, we’ve constructed some ready-made DnD builds that can provide the template for your first (or next) 5e character.

There are a huge range of factors you’ll need to consider when fine-tuning your 5e character build. Luckily, we’ve got guides on pretty much all of them – we can help you choose the perfect DnD races, DnD classes, 5e feats, and 5e spells. We can even recommend a DnD character creator that does all the hard work for you.

So, crack out that DnD character sheetsand let’s get building.

The best D&D 5E character builds are:

  • Half-elf Lore Bard
  • Human Polearm Fighter
  • Warforged Cleric
  • Aasimar Redeemer Paladin
  • Half-elf Sorlock

Rather than focusing on specific roleplaying or martial builds, we’ve opted for a more important factor in these builds: fun. They all have a central focus and will ensure your character is consistently effective as they go from DnD level up to level up.You won’t drop off the party radar, or become obsolete.

But we aren’t the tabletop roleplaying police, and there’s no need to stick entirely within our guidelines. Pick a Dungeons and Dragons character build that takes your fancy, and mess around with it, if it pleases you. Keep its central focus in mind, though, and you’ll be rewarded with a character that’s well-adjusted to a party dynamic, and can hold their own throughout a campaign.

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Half-elf Lore Bard

This is a solid build with no surprises. It’s not going to win any awards for creativity, and won’t have you pushing the boundaries of D&D 5e norms. But if you want to play a character that’s equally adept in roleplay and combat, you can’t go far wrong with a classic DnD Half-Elf Bard 5e, trained in the College of Lore.

Half-Elves’ +2 Cha feeds nicely into Bardic spellcasting, and their other two +1 ability score improvements should be spent on Str and Con. Pick a mix of damage-dealing and immobilizing cantrips and spells, such as Vicious Mockery 5e and Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, and throw Detect Magic 5e into your spell list if no one else in the party bothers. At level three, the College of Lore allows you to use Bardic Inspiration on yourself, letting you redo an attack roll, ability check, or damage roll that didn’t go your way – especially useful for this low-AC, low-HP class.

But Bards really excel for their expansive applicability. You’ll gain proficiency in a whopping five DnD skills of your choice at first level, so think hard about your role in the party. Opt for skills such as Acrobatics, Perception, and Insight if you’ll be more actively adventuring; or Persuasion, Intimidation, Deception, and Performance, if the roleplaying side of the character is a better fit. Add to that three more skill proficiencies through the College of Lore, and you’re set up to be a true jack of all trades.

Beyond this, look to increase your Cha, or pick some flavorsome feats, if the campaign is increasingly descending into creative roleplay. Actor, letting you imitate the voice of others, opens up masses of possibilities, while Magic Initiate, granting you two DnD cantrips from another class, is useful for grabbing staple spells. There’s lots on offer here, which provides new players many opportunities for experimentation.

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Human polearm Fighter

For a build that specializes in straightforward, melee damage, get yourself a DnD Human Fighter 5ewith a whole bunch of feats. You’ll be able to crush any enemy you encounter; slapping them about from a distance, and dealing plenty of damage in a single turn.

Heavy DnD weapons will be your best friend, so make sure Str is plenty high, and your Con closely follows (melee fighters have a habit of taking as much damage as they deal, after all). Pick any weapon with Reach to go alongside that, such as a halberd, and get yourself some heavy armor for extra protection.

But it’s your pick of race that makes all the difference. Opt for a Variant DnD Human, and put +1 into Str and Con, while choosing Polearm Master as your free feat. Its 1d4 bludgeoning damage will propel you into the top tier of your party from the outset. Plus, it grants an attack of opportunity whenever a creature enters your extended reach, so you’ll be dishing out hits pretty frequently.

Combine this with the Sentinel feat at level four, which stops all creatures in their tracks when you successfully land an attack of opportunity, and your fighter can simultaneously cleave through enemies and immobilize them. A powerful combo.

As for Fighting Style, choose Great Weapon Fighting if pumping up damage at every opportunity is the call of the day, or opt for Defense if you suspect your DM has some particularly pernicious enemies up their sleeve. Any subclass will pair well with this build, but the best are those that don’t require too much tactical movement, and let you sit comfortably 10 feet away from the enemy and exploit your feats, such as Cavalier or Champion.

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Warforged Cleric

TheCleric 5eclass only fulfills the role of party healer, but also function as fantastic tanks. If you fancy soaking up any stray hit that comes your way, and living to tell the tale, you could do little better than building yourself a literal robot. DnD Warforged are the sentient robotic race of D&D, built for fighting in the dark, pulpy world of Eberron.

Although a uniquely versatile race, they pair incredibly well with Clerics for their toughness. Their +2 Con will prepare you for taking the hits, and an optional +1 to Wisdom will pump up Clerical spellcasting. Add to that +1 AC, since you’re made out of magical metal, heavy armor, and a shield, and you’ve already got an unrivaled AC for a level one character.

But we can go higher. PickForge Cleric 5eas your subclass, and you’ll be able to craft magical armor with +1 AC at level one. Combine that with elemental resistances as you level up, and you’ll be one of the toughest bipedal hunks of metal around.

If your campaign is in the Forgotten Realms, Warforged shouldn’t technicallymake an appearance. But this is a tabletop roleplaying game, so we’re sure you can use your imagination to think of some convincing backstory as to why they’re showing up.

Aasimar Redeemer Paladin

ThePaladin 5eclass can hold their own in a fight, but their potential as party support shouldn’t be overlooked. Rather than relying on simple restorative spells or buffs, the Oath of Redemption subclass plays out a little more innovatively, as you avoid fights and heap damage onto yourself to save squishy teammates. It’s an effective choice, especially if a Cleric is already serving as the party’s medic.

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Aside from picking the Redemption subclass at level three, choose Aasimar as your D&D race. Their innate Healing Hands ability lets you restore HP equal to your level (so you can get at least a little restorative ability in). You’ll want heavy DnD armor and a DnD shield for their AC bonuses, and would be smart to take the Tough feat at level four, increasing your maximum HP by twice your current level.

Outside of this, keep pumping Con and AC when you can. The Oath of Redemption revolves around redirecting enemy attacks to yourself, so you’ll need a lot of HP when the blows eventually break through your armor.

But you won’t only be acting as a tank. Oath spells, such as Rebuke the Violent, let you mirror attacks, and Emissary of Peace grants +5 Persuasion, combining well with your already-high Cha to help you talk your way out of the stickiest situations.

Half-elf Sorlock

If you’re keen on DnD multiclassing, but are new to the world of chimeric creations, the Sorlock (i.e. Sorcerer 5e/Warlock 5e) is likely your best bet. Beloved by many, it combines the high damage-dealing of Warlocks, with the innate spellcasting buffs of Sorcerers for immense damage output. Cha’s the spellcasting ability of both classes, so you can leverage their magical abilities simultaneously, and play them against one another for even greater effect.

The basic idea is to combine the Warlock’s Hex spell, which adds 1d6 necrotic damage to a creature when it’s attacked, with their Eldritch Blast 5e cantrip, dealing 1d10 force damage. Alongside that, use the Sorcerer’s Quicken Metamagic ability, letting you cast a spell for one bonus action. Eldritch Blast becomes a rapid fire, incendiary machine gun, as you deal consistently high damage, turn after turn. Even the Barbarian 5ein the party will be jealous.

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Similarly, each class makes up for the other’s deficiencies. Warlocks have very limited spell slots, while Sorcerers have plenty; Sorcerers are usually left wanting after a short rest, but Warlocks recover all spell slots.

When building a Sorlock, your starting class doesn’t matter hugely, but Sorcerer makes the most sense for its proficiency in Constitution saving throws. Cha should be your primary ability score for maximum damage, followed by Con. Choice of subclasses has little effect on the build’s multiclass focus, but Hexblade Warlocks provide much versatility that can be exploited by the Sorcerer’s side of things. As usual, Half-Elf or Tiefling 5e are obvious race options for their natural ability score bonuses.

Looking to get creative in Dungeons and Dragons? Here’s our guide to all things DnD homebrew. We can also keep you up-to-date with the newest DnD books with the DnD 2023 release schedule.

FAQs

Best DnD character builds 5e? ›

Twilight Cleric

Some consider it the single most powerful subclass in all of D&D 5e. The Twilight cleric's Channel Divinity provides every nearby character with many temporary hit points per turn. This negates a DM's ability to inflict significant damage to the party for little cost.

What is the most powerful character build in 5e? ›

Twilight Cleric

Some consider it the single most powerful subclass in all of D&D 5e. The Twilight cleric's Channel Divinity provides every nearby character with many temporary hit points per turn. This negates a DM's ability to inflict significant damage to the party for little cost.

What is the most overpowered D&D builds? ›

2 Barbarian Moon Druid

Out of everything that D&D 5e allows you to do, this is by far the most overpowered build in the entire game. Some Game Masters restrict Wild Shape or flat out ban this multiclass because it is so powerful.

What is the most overpowered DnD Class 5e? ›

10 Most Overpowered Subclasses In Dungeons & Dragons Fifth...
  • School Of Divination (Wizard) ...
  • Arcane Trickster (Rogue) ...
  • Horizon Walker (Ranger) ...
  • Oath Of Vengeance (Paladin) ...
  • Twilight Domain (Cleric) ...
  • The Totem Warrior (Barbarian) ...
  • Way of Mercy (Monk) ...
  • Aberrant Mind (Sorcerer)
Mar 5, 2022

Who is the most overpowered level 20 character 5E? ›

Being able to cast any spell for free once per long rest (or otherwise having their wildest wishes granted) makes Wizards undoubtedly the most powerful class in Dungeons & Dragons, especially upon reaching level 20.

Who is the most powerful entity in D&D? ›

Who is the strongest character in dungeons and dragons? Lord AO is considered to be the strongest deity in D&D.

What D&D class does the most damage? ›

A Sorcerer is already near the top of every party list when it comes to damage output. For those looking to specialize in dealing massive amounts of damage of a specific type, Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer might be for you.

What is the most used class in DnD? ›

Fighter. As I mentioned above, the fighter is the most popular DnD class by quite a margin. It is a very straightforward, beginner-friendly class that revolves around doing a bunch of damage. Another aspect to take into account is that fighters get access to a lot of feats.

What is the hardest hitting character in D&D? ›

The paladin is perhaps the most powerful combatant of all of D&D 5e's classes. It combines the best aspects of the fighter and cleric into a single character. Paladins get a fighter's weapons, spellcasting like a cleric, and several unique features. These make paladins terrifying to fight.

What is the tankiest class in D&D? ›

Barbarian is the tankiest, followed by paladin. They can easily keep up with Paladins and Fighters as a primary tank. d10 hit dice, same as the Fighter and Paladin. Access to healing including Healing Spirit.

What is the most powerful D&D multiclass? ›

Dungeons & Dragons: Best Multiclass Combinations
  • 8 Rogue/Fighter.
  • 7 Barbarian/Rogue.
  • 6 Artificer/Barbarian.
  • 5 Cleric/Druid.
  • 4 Rogue/Artificer.
  • 3 Artificer/Wizard.
  • 2 Cleric/Wizard.
  • 1 Paladin/Fighter.
May 6, 2023

What is the smartest class in D&D? ›

What is the smartest class in DND?
  1. Tier 1: Wizard, Warlock, Druid : Abilities almost strictly mental.
  2. Tier 2: Cleric, Paladin, Bard, Ranger, Monk : Abilities require a fair amount of study or intellectual talent.

What is the best subclass in 5e? ›

10 best Dungeons & Dragons 5E subclasses you should play in your next campaign
  • College of Lore (Bard) ...
  • School of Divination (Wizard) ...
  • Eldritch Knight (Fighter) ...
  • Circle of the Moon (Druid) ...
  • The Fiend (Warlock) ...
  • Divine Soul (Sorcerer) ...
  • Oathbreaker (Paladin) ...
  • Forge Domain (Cleric)
Aug 4, 2020

What is the most powerful level 1 character 5e? ›

3 Powerful Level 1 Builds for Dungeons & Dragons 5e
  1. The War Tortle. ...
  2. The Anime Monk. ...
  3. Father/Sister Goodberry.
Nov 11, 2021

What is the best subclass for each class 5e? ›

Dungeons & Dragons: 13 Best Subclasses From 5e Expansions
  • 13 Rogue: Mastermind.
  • 12 Cleric: The Deadly Forge Domain.
  • 11 Ranger: Swarmkeeper.
  • 10 Bard: College of Spirits.
  • 9 Fighter: The Rune Knight.
  • 8 Druid: Circle Of Spores.
  • 7 Sorcerer: Divine Soul.
  • 6 Paladin: The Oathbreaker.
May 26, 2023

What is the most powerful level 1 character 5E? ›

3 Powerful Level 1 Builds for Dungeons & Dragons 5e
  1. The War Tortle. ...
  2. The Anime Monk. ...
  3. Father/Sister Goodberry.
Nov 11, 2021

What is the highest max damage spell in 5E? ›

1 Meteor Swarm

Meteor Swarm is undeniably the most destructive spell in the game. It's a ninth-level evocation spell with a range of one mile that requires each creature within a 40-foot radius of four points you choose to make a Dexterity saving throw.

What is the highest stats in 5E? ›

A score of 18 is the highest that a person usually reaches. Adventurers can have scores as high as 20, and monsters and divine beings can have scores as high as 30. Each ability also has a modifier, derived from the score and ranging from −5 (for an ability score of 1) to +10 (for a score of 30).

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