Are you about to start playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) for the first time and not sure which class to play? In this blog I am going to give my opinion on which classes are least rule heavy so you can learn the basic D&D mechanics.
Disclaimer: Play what you want! Don’t let my suggestions overrule your interest! These classes have the fewest rules needed to play a character in D&D. If you are not bothered about learning lots of rules, play what you want!
My advice would be to play a melee class, spell casting is a huge part of D&D but involves lots of choices such as which spells you want your character to prepare, know, or otherwise have access to. Plus, you then have to learn the specific rules of all those spells and remember them, as well as know when they will be useful and in what situations. Not to mention spell slots, spell save DC, components of the spell and so on. This can be tricky when you are playing the game for the first time. Melee classes are not necessarily weaker than spell casters but there are a lot less rules involved. There are some classes that have access to both spellcasting and melee, for example the Paladin, which again can be complex to learn when you are first playing the game.
With this in mind, you have the following pure melee options that are available in the Player’s Handbook, of which I believe are the most simple to learn.
They each have various paths to choose from at level 3. I am not going to list them all here, I am instead going to discuss what I think are some of the most simple.Let’s begin…
Barbarians are for those of you out there that are prepared to take a beating but also be able to dish one out, pretty much the opposite of Rogue. Barbarians are mainly focused on their Rage mechanic. When a Barbarian enters a rage at the players choosing, they take less damage and deal more. The catch? The rage will end when the character no longer takes damage or isn’t dealing any. Barbarians are limited in the number of rages that they have so a player has to make tactical choices as to when the right time is to use that Rage ability. The simplest path for Barbarian, in my opinion, is the Path of the Berserker
The Berserker - It gives you more options for your rage and makes your rage more powerful.
Fighters are one of the most generic melee classes that there is and can fit into most character concepts that you can think of. Fighters can pretty much use any weapon and armour that you are in the game, with a few exceptions. This makes it, in my opinion, the most simple class to play with the simplest path being The Champion.
The Champion - This path improves your fighting ability without necessarily adding any rules. It allows you to crit more frequently and as you level up, will increase the array of weapons you are most proficient with.
Monks are very quick martial artists with their biggest defining trait being its Ki energy. A Monk can spend Ki energy (Ki points) to gain some of the maneuverability of the Rogue or gain extra attacks. Monks are extremely good in situations where acrobatics are involved gaining features such as slow fall as they level up. The easiest path to choose for Monk, in my opinion, would be the way of the Open Hand.
The Way of The Open Hand - This path gives you the ability to essentially crowd control allowing you to affect your opponent by either knocking the opponent prone, pushing it back or not allowing it to take reactions .
Rogue is defined by their sneak attack ability which offers a burst of damage with lots of dice to roll, but only in certain circumstances. This is usually when you have advantage on your attack roll, the target is surprised or is being attacked by another ally. Rogues are your classic sneaky, agility based types. There are two paths to take in Rogue that are equally as simply:-
The Assassin - This path will allow you to pop out of stealth and hit massive damage for the first round in combat. You will get an automatic critical hit if the creature is surprised.
The Thief - This path is more versatile and nimble, giving you the ability to climb faster than normal and jump further, but will not end up doing as much damage as the Assassin.
In Conclusion, I think the Champion Fighter is the least rules heavy class therefore making it the easiest to learn, so this is my beginner class of choice! Again, this is only my opinion! Don’t let it sway away from your interests!
But then again… what do we know. We played Paladin and Druid in our first campaign.