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13 Awesome Subclasses From Xanathar’s Guide To Everything (D&D Expansion)

Creating characters is one of the biggest and best parts of playing Dungeons and Dragons. When the 5th edition first came out, the Player’s Handbook came with all of the class options as well as a few subclasses to give further definition to your character and their abilities. These subclasses are akin to specializations, and the reason you choose a particular subclass can also play into your character’s backstory as well.

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything provides 32 new options spread out among the 12 classes, as well as few tables to add more minute details that make your character more alive and fleshed out. Here are ten of the more awesome subclasses this book has to offer.

Updated by Kristy Ambrose on February 11th, 2021: Players love character customization. Ask anyone who plays any online RPG game anywhere, and tabletop games have the same features. Supplemental materials like Xanathar’s Guide to Everything make D&D even more appealing by introducing even more options for your character, which is why the subclasses continue to be an important step in character creation. In light of that we’ve added a few more to our list, courtesy of Xanathar.

13 Fighter Archetype: Samurai

Fighters are hailed as one of the most versatile classes in Dungeons & Dragons. Some archetypes are purely martial and rely on physical attacks while others throw magic into the mix. Some are offensive, some are defensive, and others blend the two.

The Samurai Archetype is purely martial and offensive, as well as giving your fighter the personality and flavor of these fabled warriors. You gain the ability to give yourself hit points and strike harder against foes. Or, if you want to focus on attacking more often, you can give up having Advantage on attacks to instead attack twice. Lastly, if you are struck down in battle, your indomitable spirit shoves back death for at least one more turn so you can attempt to take your foe with you.

12 Bard Colleges: College of Glamour

Bards are built around being charismatic, alluring, and having power over their audiences. However, bards who study at the College of Glamour take this to the next level by weaving otherworldly magic into their performances. You can inspire your allies by granting them health and giving them immediate safe movement.

When you perform for an audience for at least 1 minute, you can try to charm the crowd for up to an hour during which they will sing your praises and defend you from hecklers. As you grow, your power will be projected in a majestic aura that will give you the power to command others, make it difficult to attack you, or prevent them from attacking you altogether.

11 Ranger Archetype: Horizon Walker

Rangers are the hunters and stalkers of the D&D world that are almost as versatile as Fighters. In fact, they are a good middle ground between the martial Fighter and the spellcasting Druid. The Horizon Walker Archetype is a more cosmic take on Rangers.

Charged with protecting the avenues between planes, they have the ability to focus on being able to teleport and slip from plane to plane with ease. You’re able to detect portals to other planes within a mile of you and add extra damage to your attacks by harnessing the power of different planes. You gain the power to go to the ethereal plane, to teleport short distances around the battlefield, and even teleport at the moment of attack so the damage is lessened.

10 Warlock Pact: Celestial Patron

One of the best things about Xanathat’rs Guide to Everything is that it flips the script on many classes, allowing you to play as something that would normally be contradicting. Warlocks are often considered to be evil or chaotic with their patrons often being the same. However, with this subclass, your warlock is instead bound to a force of good.

You gain healing spells and can use your own energy to heal your allies, you gain resistance to radiant damage and can boost your own radiant attacks. One of the best features of this subclass kicks in when you are downed in combat. You get half your health back, can jump back to your feet, and explode in a 30-foot radius of radiant damage that blinds those in that radius.

9 Wizard: School of War Magic

A unique arcane tradition that blends evocation with abjuration, in which spells are used for both damage and protection. Their spells are just as deadly but their defenses are strong enough to deflect damage in battle, where they are also mater strategists.

Adherents of the School of War Magic learn to use their spells as shields along with the skill Tactical Wit as early as second level. At level 10, the Wizard learns Durable Magic, giving them a further +2 to their AC. This is an ideal build for the classic battle mage.

8 Sorcerer Origin: Shadow Magic

As mentioned previously, Xanathar’s Guide really shakes up the way we can look at classes that have been pigeon-holed into stereotypes. Yet another way it does that is by adding a touch of necromancy to many of the classes. The Shadow Magic Origin for Sorcerers is one such example.

Sorcerers who get their magic this way have been touched by the darkness of the Shadowfell and as such take on some of its traits. Darkness is your ally; in dim light or darkness, you can teleport up to 120 feet, or assume a shadowy form yourself to gain resistance to damage. You can summon a hound of ill omen to stalk and attack your foes in addition to being able to briefly resist death.

7 Cleric Divine Domain: Grave Domain

Usually, Clerics are forces of light and life in the world but where there is light, there is darkness. Clerics of the Grave Domain are tied to gods of death rather than life and walk this darker path to ensure that balance is maintained.

Playing this subclass allows you to detect undead, curse your foes so they take more damage from attacks, and protect you and your allies from critical hits. You also gain the ability to make your spells stronger and finally, when a foe dies in your presence, you can take their life force and funnel it into yourself or an ally.

6 Druid: Circle of the Moon

Some DMs consider this build to be overpowered, depending on the module — and that’s because it is. Also known as Moon Druids, this is an excellent choice for players who want to delve into the shapeshifting angle of this class.

At second level, this class gains the ability to take on a Wild Shape. This can be an animal used for combat, or it can serve more benign uses like transportation. This is extended to elemental forms at level ten and virtually any form you please at level 14 using the Alter Self transmutation ability, a spell usually reserved for Wizards and Sorcerers.

5 Paladin Sacred Oath: Oath of Conquest

The Oath of Conquest is a different approach to the usually noble and righteous paladin. Paladins under this oath wish to rule with iron fists and crush all who oppose them, their cause, and their god. Playing under this oath means you exude a presence that frightens your foes and grants you massive bonuses to your attacks.

If someone strikes you, they take damage and eventually, you gain the ability to become an avatar of conquest. In this form, you have resistance to damage, can make more attacks on your turns, and your attacks are more potent. Many of the spells you receive from this Oath are about boosting yourself and asserting your will.

4 The Hexblade

What could be even better than a Warlock as it is? How about one that wields sentient magical weapons? Every Warlock has a divine patron, usually of an evil alignment. But that’s not always the case, as in this circumstance the otherworldly entity manifests as hand-held weapons.

Aside from some impressive spellcasting power, that means this spellcasting class also has some melee skills. You get a Shield spell at first level, and Blur at second level, abilities that would be ideal for any melee fighting class. Useful Feats include Sentinel, which gives you extra attacks, and War caster, which gives you Advantage for Concentration checks.

3 Rogue Archetype: Swashbuckler

Rogues are sneaky, cunning, and dexterous fighters that rely on stealth and martial prowess to fell their foes. The Swashbuckler is all of these things with the added flair of the often romanticized pirate. With all the charm of Captain Jack Sparrow and the deadly swordplay of a master.

Swashbucklers look to gain control of their foes and their battlefield while wielding dual blades. Their swiftness allows them to dart in and out of combat range, attack with brazen confidence, and distract your foes. In addition, you can give yourself a chance to re-do your attack if you miss at first.

2 Barbarian Primal Path: Path of the Zealot

The barbarian class is simple; fly into a rage and kill everything. The Path of the Zealot takes this rage and gives it a religious purpose. Barbarians of this nature are so devoted to their deity, it empowers your attacks to deal extra damage and inspire your allies to fight harder. Your final feat granted by this path grants your rage the ability to keep you fighting, even if you have zero hit points.

You will still have to make saves against death but if you fail these as well, you still will not die! While under this effect you will only die once your rage comes to an end and only if you still have zero hit points.

1 Monk Tradition: Way of the Sun Soul

Monks use Ki points to activate special abilities and the Way of the Sun Soul is no different. You can shoot bolts of radiant damage, channel it into your hands to burn your foes during your attack, or create a sphere with a radius of 20 feet that explodes to do massive amounts of radiant damage. At the peak of your power, you shed a bright light from your body that harms attackers.

NEXT: Dungeons & Dragons: 10 Pointers For Crafting Your Own World And Campaign From Scratch

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