Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition
classes and subclasses

What is this, exactly?

I find that it can be quite difficult to decide what subclass you want to play, given that there are currently 13 official classes and 123 official subclasses in Dungeons & Dragons 5E and they are dispersed through a number of different books and other materials. Clerics, with 18 subclasses, and wizards, with 13 subclasses, top the list with the most choice, while druids, with 7 subclasses, and artificers, with only 4 subclasses, have the fewest options. Bards and rangers have 8 subclasses each, barbarians, paladins, rogues, sorcerers, and warlocks have 9 subclasses each, while fighters and monks each have 10 subclasses. Be warned that five of those subclasses (4 cleric subclasses and 1 sorcerer subclass) are from the Plane Shift materials, are not well known, and are a bit odd and may well not fit with whatever campaign you are playing, but the rest of the subclasses are from the main published books. I have organised them all (I think- let me know if I missed any) here, alphabetically by class. As with my list of races and subraces, instead of listing out all of the stats, I have instead just given a quick rough impression of what each subclass is about. That way, you can scan through them and see which ones interest you and then you can look more in depth into those ones. If I posted the entire description of every subclass, it would take you days to read through them all. This is instead a way to help people get a grip on which subclasses sound fun to them, without making it a process designed to eat your entire weekend. If you are just starting out and want to keep it simple, go here instead, and you can start with the basics from the Player’s Handbook. You can always come back here when you are feeling a little cockier about things.

Which subclass is the best?

The one that sounds fun to play

Yeah, but which one has the best stats for maximal damage?

Dunno, and this page won’t tell you. This page is here to give you a very quick & very incomplete summary of each official Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition subclass available (as well as the subclasses available from the unofficial Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting, given its extreme popularity due to Critical Role, but they are marked as unofficial where they appear), as well as showing where to go to look at the official stats for each subclass if your interest is piqued. Features which the subclasses get at different levels are included here, but without making it clear at which levels each feature is added. This website is purely to give you an idea of what the subclass does and what it’s about so you can then investigate it further if it sounds intriguing to you; go to the official Dungeons and Dragons books for the full lowdown.
But back to the question: In my opinion, min/maxing is overrated. Play what feels fun, and that will maximise your enjoyment. Or if you want to min/max, I recommend that you min/max based on your character’s driving passions. Does your character really want to be a historian that researches a forgotten civilisation? Then max out your history and stonemasonry to help with that, instead of putting extra feats into your fighter build, if that’s what you really want to do. It’s your character and your choice, and your choice should always be to have a good time playing Dungeons and Dragons. If you aren’t having fun then you are doing it wrong somehow. And if you are determined to min/max, then play a bunch of different characters to determine which one is the best. You will enjoy yourself in the process.


The different classes are listed below in alphabetical order with a brief description and a link to that class’s subclasses. There are simply too many subclasses to list them all on one page together. 


Artificers are inventors which use magic in their inventions. They make things like potions, Iron Man suits, metal pets, and scuttling laser guns. They are the newest class, so they do not have many subclasses. Yet.

Click here to visit the artificer subclass page.


Barbarians live for combat, the closer to the front line the better. The key to their success is their anger, which drives them. They go into frenzied rages, where they ignore pain and do extremely high amounts of damage.

Click here to visit the barbarian subclass page.


In Dungeons & Dragons, bards use music and magic to charm their way through the world. While they are able to hold their own in a fight, they rarely want to be in the front lines as others are better suited for that sort of thing. They are superb at helping their companions to be better at what they do. Their songs provide support and buoy up the efforts of others, as well as doing some of the heavy lifting themselves through the spells which they cast in the form of song.

Click here to visit the bard subclass page.


This isn’t your mother’s cleric. In the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, gods and goddesses are real. Which deities are present is up to your dungeon master, but typically there is an entire pantheon of deities. And what are deities without worshippers? Some of those worshippers are professional worshippers, and some of those professional worshippers are clerics, who go out and get things done for their god/goddess. What that means depends upon the particular deity the cleric worships. Whatever the needs of the deity, clerics are well suited for dealing with it. They are decent fighters, as well as having spells granted by their deity each day. While many classes can have some magical healing abilities, clerics are known for their excellent healing abilities. Good parties will usually make sure that their cleric is well protected as a result.

Click here to visit the cleric subclass page.


Little is known about the historical druids, but the druids in D&D are kind of like clerics who worship nature. Their powers come from nature and they can cast spells based on nature, as well as having the ability to change shape into animals. The ability to change shape is the reason most people probably choose the class, to be honest, and it is pretty cool. They have plenty of other clutch features as well however- check out their available subclasses and see.

Click here to visit the druid subclass page.


Many of the classes in Dungeons and Dragons fight, but the fighter class has focused on training to become highly skilled as a fighter. As fighters level up, they get better and better at it and can either specialise as a particular type of fighter (like an archer) or to become really well rounded in all fighting styles. No fancy rages here, but there are other advantages to being a fighter which make up for that.

Click here to visit the fighter subclass page.


Monks in Dungeons & Dragons use the balance of their highly trained minds mixed with their acrobatic skills to fight without high-powered weapons and armor. They move so fast that they are hard to hit and they attack more times than anyone else.

Click here to visit the monk subclass page.


Remember the clerics, when I said there are different types of professional worshippers for deities? Paladins are another flavour of professional worshipper. Paladins in Dungeons and Dragons are more focused on fighting than clerics and are less focused on magic. They originate in mythology with the paladins of the court of Charlemagne, led by Roland. Think about knights in shining armor, going forth to do the will of their deity. 

Click here to visit the paladin subclass page.


Rangers in Dungeons and Dragons are people who roam the wild areas, hunting monsters and baddies in the wilderness. They are expert trackers, move smoothly through the wild areas of the world, can find food for your party in the wilderness, and are specialists in fighting certain types of baddies.

Click here to visit the ranger subclass page.


In Dungeons & Dragons, rogues are a generic term for thieves, assassins, and scoundrels of all sorts. Rogues use stealth, cunning, and sleight of hand to get things done. They are excellent at sneaking around, picking locks, and stabbing people in the back for extreme amounts of damage. They get loads of extra skills and are far better at them than normal people. They are not great at being front-line damage dealers because they’re not built to take large amounts of damage, but are brilliant at sneaking around and striking from an unseen position.

Click here to visit the rogue subclass page.


Sorcerers in Dungeons and Dragons have magic suffusing their bodies naturally, coming from some supernatural source. Just what that source is affects how their magic works. They do not need to study magic to cast spells- it just flows naturally from them. They also are able to shape their spells in different and exciting ways which other magic users can’t manage.

Click here to visit the sorcerer subclass page.


Warlocks in Dungeons and Dragons get their magic as part of a pact with a supernatural entity which grants them their powers. Their patron will want some things in return for their patronage, but their patronage provides powerful benefits in the form of pact boons and eldritch invocations. They only know a handful of spells, but the extra powers which they have make them particularly effective.

Click here to visit the warlock subclass page.


The final class in the Player’s Handbook, wizards in Dungeons and Dragons are the most flexible of the spellcasters. They do not have innate magic, but must instead study to learn their spells. On the other hand, they have the ability to learn massive numbers of spells, unlike the sorcerers and warlocks. When they learn a spell they scribe it into their spellbook, and can then use it in future. Their minds can only hold so many spells at once, but each morning they can change which spells they know for the day. 

Click here to visit the wizard subclass page.