the dwarf class in 5e

My guess: D&D Next will reintroduce “dwarf”, “elf” and “halfling” as classes, along with wizard, rogue, fighter, and cleric, so we’ll have the same stable of 7 classes that we had in Basic D&D.

Legends and Lore seems to be where Mearls floats 5e ideas. Check out this passage from the Legends and Lore article Head of the Class:

You could even collapse race down into the core options: The dwarf could be expressed as a core class, a fighter progression that focuses on durability, defense, and expertise with an axe or hammer. The core elf uses the multiclass rules to combine fighter and wizard, and the core halfling uses a preset rogue advancement chart. Choosing race could be part of the advanced rules…

It could be that this was just Mike hypothesizing about the advantages of a “core” and “advanced” section of the rules. However, it could also suggest that, at least at some time in 5e development, the 5e “core” contained class races.

My other rather wild speculation about “core” is that it will be released under an OGL-type license, while the “advanced” rules might not be. This would let third parties make 5e-compatible products while making Wizards IP lawyers happy.

18 Responses to “the dwarf class in 5e”

  1. Jack Colby says:

    I’d be fine with any of the things you mentioned being in the new D&D. I think they are on the right track and know what must be done, but they need to make sure they don’t lose their way by the time the game is finished.

  2. m.s. jackson says:

    I too could like that. A return to a system with the races being the core ‘classes’ and then an advanced system that delves deeper into a wider array of classes.

  3. Jan says:

    No, no and again no. I wouldn’t like this at all and it raises all kinds of stuff and I don’t think that they will go back to that. Being “retro” doesn’t mean repeating things of which I think most players see them as a mistake. Maybe they’ll have a supplement having races as classes, which one can use. But more I wouldn’t expect.

  4. The only problem I see with this is the interaction between the Dwarf basic class and the Dwarf as a race. Things like “Can I make an Elf Dwarf?” would be perhaps too stupid to pose problems, but I really hope it won’t be possible to have ambiguities like those…
    The mechanical solution I see is to have these kind of “very basic classes” called something different. Not classes, but perhaps “complete characters” or something like that. They should be equivalent to characters created by the combination of race, class (and theme?), and as such, it should be specified that they can’t be combined with those traditional elements if not differently specified (for example, if they leave room to feats or their equivalent, the “dwarf package” could be allowed to take dwarf racial feats).

  5. Rory Rory says:

    Monte Cook’s Arcana Evolved handled this pretty well; certain races had 3-5 racial levels they could very similar to multiclassing into another class. So I might take 3 levels of Giant and then 5 levels of fighter.

    4e makes a nod to this with racial paragon paths, where my race can effect a few powers and nice abilities I get.

    In D&D Next, I could see having a dwarf class that only dwarves could take similar to Basic D&D but still allowing races. So you could have a dwarf cleric and a dwarf dwarf but not a human dwarf :).

  6. […] Blog of Holding talks about 5e having a Dwarf Class.  Personally, I don’t see what a dwarf class would add to the game. I like the flexibility, namely, being able to play against type. […]

  7. Curt says:

    If class races were the only way to express race, I would become a whirlwind of nerdly displeasure. However, I’m in favour of racial classes in addition to proper races.

  8. NUNYA says:



  9. This is fine as an option, but race as class is something I’ve always hated about BX D&D. I’d be disappointed if they went in this direction as the ‘core’ of the game.

  10. Michael says:

    I love that pic! It has always been one of my favorites. I always wondered what they were talking about.
    However, I wouldn’t be a fan of ‘races as classes’, but would rather see race locked classes….like a form of fighter/mage multiclass that only elves could take, yet they could still just be a pure fighter or mage if they would rather.

  11. paul paul says:

    I too have wondered what they were talking about. The halfling is clearly bragging about all the orcs his dwarf friend killed, and the dwarf is looking suitably modest. The elf, though, is just spacing out. She is remembering an elf ritual of spring which involves 20 elves dancing in a circle and kissing a poster of Orlando Bloom.

  12. Laura says:

    I might be misunderstanding the proposal, but do you really think we’re going to a system where certain classes are only allowed for certain races, or worse, that a race (e.g. ‘elf’) would BE a class? If so: ugh.

    I don’t have a considered mechanics-based opinion because I don’t care about mechanics, but I do care about flavor, and the idea of ‘elf’ or ‘dwarf’ as a class just feels wrong, like, it’s not a JOB to be a dwarf. I know there’s a level of just-wanting-to-be-upset-about-something that goes along with feeling offended on behalf of a made-up species, but it does feel analogous to only allowing certain jobs to certain minorities. What if one elf wants to be a dentist?

    Giving bonuses which create synergy create a suitable number of player characters who have the race/class combo the game ‘wants’ while leaving the flexibility for people like to me to make non-optimal choices for an unusual character. But personally I’d be in favor of even more flexibility and allowing the race and class choices to be 100% independent of each other.

    I suppose flavor-wise this flexibility depends on the game world and how insular the cultures are, e.g. if only elves have developed the ranger class and they don’t communicate with other races why would a dwarf be able to take it, but that all seems like stuff that could be house-rules. Also, individual characters can have backstory justifications for any crazy thing. Everyone has dead parents and was adopted by another culture anyway.

  13. paul paul says:

    My theory (and it’s only a theory) is that the beginning of the PHB will have some pre-built classes – basically pregen characters – including “dwarf warrior” or something, and the back of the book will have all the options we expect, that allow you to be a multiclass elven ranger/dentist or whatnot.

  14. Brendan says:

    “My other rather wild speculation about “core” is that it will be released under an OGL-type license, while the “advanced” rules might not be. This would let third parties make 5e-compatible products while making Wizards IP lawyers happy.”

    That is brilliant. If they are not already planning to do that, they should. Most modern players will want to play advanced, in the same way that most basic players in the 80s “upgraded” to AD&D.

    Personally, I love race-as-class and think separating race and class was a bad idea. However, it has such a taint of restriction and seems so illogical to many, that they will likely gloss it over. If they go that route, my guess is things like “human warrior” and “elven spellblade” will be the character options in the basic set, and there will be no mention at all of the concepts race and class. (Here’s why I don’t think race-as-class is illogical: it is a way of preserving the flavor of demi-humans and also cutting down on the complexity of character creation.)

  15. Roger says:

    If I am not somehow mistaken, halflings in Basic were fighters not rogues. I came upon that issue this weekend when prepping pre-gens for a con.

  16. […] Geschick, Stärke, Intelligent, Weisheit, Charisma), man wählt eine Rasse und eine Klasse. Im “Blog of Holding” wurde schon über “Rasse als Klasse” spekuliert. Das kann ich mir nicht vorstellen, […]

  17. Seth Stumph says:

    Awesome dude ! great job ! Un Jour

  18. Sean robert meaney says:

    The enlarged noses on the halfling and dwarf would be consistent with them being half-gnomes.

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