The classic D&D party consists of four classes:
- Fighter (front-line combatant & general muscle)
- Cleric (healer, secondary melee combatant, magical utility)
- Rogue (ranged/opportunistic combatant, non-magical scouting and utility)
- Wizard (ranged combatant, magical scouting and utility)
Each of these classes is very broadly defined and can be effective in pretty much any environment or situation
In Combat: Clerics are capable combatants, able to wield many different types of weapons and armor. Traditionalist clerics employ only blunt weapons. Clerics can also offer prayers to their patron (a god, goddess, saint, or philosophical principle) to heal their friends or smite their enemies- they are particularly good at destroying the undead and other other-worldly menaces.
FighterIn Combat: You are a master of all forms of armed and unarmed combat, and adept at employing any conceivable weapon or armor that you might encounter. You can specialize in a type of fighting at which you are particularly adept, and can keep yourself alive despite significant wounds.
Out of Combat: You are well-versed in tactics and strategy- you can spot favorable terrain, defensive choke points, ambush opportunities, etc., by inspecting your surroundings. You know the customs and culture of army encampments and how to make a living as a hired sword. You are good at identifying objects that are both small and valuable.
In Combat: You are skilled with a number of light, easily concealed melee and missile weapons, and you are particularly good at striking from concealment or when an enemy is distracted. You are comfortable in light armor, but find heavier protection too constricting.
Out of Combat: You are a master of stealth and deception, able to sneak past guards, pick locks or pockets, and disable traps and alarms. You are good at recognizing valuable loot. Your criminal background may provide opportunities to find new work or buy and sell rare or illegal goods.
In Combat: Your more powerful spells can kill or incapacitate multiple enemies at a time. Your weaker magic can provide you with a fair chance of defending yourself at a distance. You strive to avoid melee combat at all costs- you are more likely to wear armor backwards than correctly, and likely have only basic skills with a few rather non-threatening weapons. You are prone to dying without prior warning.
Out of Combat: Your spells can pierce the boundaries of time and space in pursuit of knowledge or power. You know a wide array of magical lore that may contain arcane secrets, forgotten history, or forbidden wisdom. You spend most of your spare time studying.
These classes can be thought of as specialized versions of the classic four- they trade a little overall utility for versatility or excellence in a particular area. Barbarians excel at close melee combat, but have a narrow range of tactics available to them compared to fighters. Monks ecel at unarmed combat and can make decent scouts, but lack the selection of weapons, armor, and tactics of the fighter or the focused specialization of the rogue. Rangers provide extra utility in a wilderness situation at the expense of overall combat options. Sorcerers have a narrower range of spells compared to other primary spell casters, but gain some versatility.
Barbarian:In Combat: You are a a fierce but undisciplined opponent, throwing yourself into combat with reckless abandon. You are familiar with most weapons, but prefer to stand toe-to-toe with an opponent while wielding a huge two-handed weapon. You are particularly adept at avoiding damage while wearing little or no armor.
Out of Combat: You have keen senses that make you adept at noticing danger, like traps or an ambush. You are good at shrugging off the effects of poisons and diseases, and difficult to hold o restrain. You likely grew up in the wilderness, and are skilled at surviving both in the wilds and
among the hardened people who live there.
In Combat: You are a master of the martial arts, being as or more effective bare handed at dealing and absorbing damage as most people are cased in steel and armed to the teeth. You are highly proficient with a small selection of deceptively simple melee and thrown weapons. You are adept at performing complex maneuvers (like flips, kicks, etc.) in combat.
Out of Combat: You likely belong to an order of warrior-monks, who you can seek out for assistance, wisdom, or further training. You may also know the philosophy and lore of your order, which may contain secrets about the world. You move quickly and can make an excellent spy or scout.
In Combat: You can wield only a few basic weapons and shun armor in favor of magical attack and defense. You have a narrower selection of spells, but can change them up on the fly (unlike wizards, who must prepare their spells in advance).
Out of Combat: You are charismatic and find it easy to socialize with and manipulate others. You likely know some arcane lore or the history of your patron power.
In Combat: You are familiar with a wide range of weapons, and may specialize in a preferred form of fighting. Almost all rangers maintain some skill with bows of some type.
Out of Combat: You are at home in the wilderness, and are particularly skilled at navigating and foraging in unfamiliar terrain. You can recognize important or edible plants and animals, natural hazards, signs of animal or monster dens, and track a quarry through any imaginable terrain.
The Utility Players
These classes can fill any of a variety of roles, and are common either as '5th party members' or to fill multiple roles in a smaller party. Bards bring a mix of magic, rogue skills, and combat utility and excel in social roles. Druids blend the wilderness expertise of a ranger with the spell casting and combat abilities of a cleric. Paladins combine some of the options of the cleric and the fighter and make excellent defensive fighters.
BardIn Combat: You are a fair fighter with blade or bow, though you are most familiar with lighter, more elegant weapons. You can turn the tide of a battle at critical moments by inspiring your companions with your words or music.
Out of Combat: You excel at getting along with strangers and making new friends- you are also good at tricking or manipulating people. You know some minor magic that can be used to entertain, distract, or deceive. You have an excellent store of old stories, rumors, legends, and dirty jokes that can be used to recall facts about your environment or gain the friendship of primitive idiots.
DruidIn Combat: You are a versatile combatant, skilled with a small selection of traditional weapons. You can cast spells that call on the natural world to aid your allies or harm your enemies in combat, including healing wounds. At higher levels, you can transform into an animal and attack. You shun metal weapons and armor as much as possible.
Out of Combat: You know a great deal about the natural world and its inhabitants, and can survive there easily without any outside support. Your spells allow you to commune with natural spirits, seek portents of the future, heal the sick, etc.
In Combat: You are highly skilled with a wide range of weapons and armor, and are most comfortable fighting as a heavily armed and armored knight. You are skilled at fighting from horseback and battling the undead. You can heal your allies by calling upon your faith.
Out of Combat: You can detect the presence of supernatural evil, and heal your allies with your faith and prayers. You can call on other members of your faith for assistance in worthy tasks. If you are recognized as a member of a particular knightly order, you likely have a good reputation that proceeds you everywhere you go- except in evil lands, where you may be met with hostility or scorn.
In Combat: You iz muthafucking Skelator, yo! Zap things. Then zap them harder.
Out of Combat: I think you ride a bike or something.
Seriously, I've never played a warlock. Don't know anything about them.