In Dungeons & Dragons, rolling handfuls of damage dice feels like a good way to shine among party members, but know this secret: Other players usually overlook the damage you do. If you really want to shine, find ways to make other characters better. Make them hit on a roll that would have missed. Make them save when they would have burned. Make them happy you brought your paladin.
This post lists 10 ways to build and play characters that will earn the love of your party.
10. Build a cleric and prepare bless and aid
Between short rests and a choice of classes able to heal, D&D groups no longer require a cleric for healing. Clerics now can prepare some spells so useful that no one will gripe about the spell slots you should have hoarded for cures.
Bless lets up to 3 targets add an extra d4 roll to their attack rolls and saving throws. Unlike most 1st-level spells, which pale at higher levels, bless remains strong all the way up to a level-20 showdown with Orcus.
Players have enough trouble remembering their characters own abilities, so they sometimes forget even a buff as useful as bless. When you bless characters, loan their players a super-sparkly d4 to set beside their d20 and act as a reminder of who helped them shine.
Aid increases current and maximum hit points of up to 3 allies for 8 hours. This spell rates as one of the best to cast with a higher-level spell slot. Cast it once on your front line, or twice to give everyone in your party a boost.
Clerics and druids can also help friends with the guidance cantrip, the best utility cantrip in the game.
9. Build a wizard or sorcerer and a prepare haste
Fireball ranks as the 3rd-level spell strong enough to shape D&D’s power curve, but haste boasts nearly as much power. Against smaller groups of foes or spread out targets, haste works better. Just cast haste on the party’s most damaging attacker, typically the sharpshooter or great weapon master. They will relish the extra attack, and thank you every turn.
8. Build a barbarian who follows the Path of the Ancestral Guardian
Some support features work as reactions, making you watch the battle for chances to use the ability. Instead of waiting between turns with no chance to act, you stay involved in the fray. Such abilities bring you deeper in the game while earning the love of your party.
Barbarians who follow the Path of the Ancestral Guardian gain a feature like this. At 6th level Spirit Shield lets you use your reaction to reduce the damage that your allies suffer. Who needs a cleric when no one takes damage?
7. Build a fighter with the Battle Master archetype
Fighters with the Battle Master archetype can learn a couple of maneuvers that help allies.
Distracting strike lets you give an ally advantage on the next attack on a foe. I suggest putting an attention-grabbing marker on the enemy’s figure, so your friends remember to take their advantage.
Rally lets you grant temporary hit points to a friend in need.
6. Build a wizard in the School of Abjuration
At 6th-level, Abjurers gain the Projected Ward feature that lets you use your reaction to prevent damage to your friends. That’s immediate healing, and another ability that keeps you involved outside your turns.
5. Build a bard in the College of Glamour
The Bardic Inspiration feature lets every bard give friends a die that they can add to their choice of one d20 roll during the next 10 minutes. Set real, shiny dice next to the inspired players’ d20s, so they remember the boost—and remember who enables their success.
Bards in the College of Glamour can spend just one use of Bardic Inspiration to help a number of allies up to their Charisma modifier. Everyone inspired gains temporary hit points and can spend a reaction to move their speed without provoking opportunity attacks. In a tight spot, a bonus action plus Bardic Inspiration could make you the party MVP.
4. Build a wizard in the School of Divination
The diviner’s Portent feature rates as underrated. After a long rest, you roll 2 or 3 d20s and record the result. Then, when any creature you see is about to make a d20 roll, you can substitute one of your portent rolls. By tagging a foe with a bad roll, you can guarantee that save-or-die roll just means die. More to the point of this list, you can guarantee that a friend saves, lands their killing blow, or makes that vital check.
3. Build a rogue with the Mastermind archetype
Rogues who choose the Mastermind archetype can use the help action as a bonus action. Plus, they can help allies attack foes up to 30 feet away, adding combat advantage to attacks, both melee and ranged.
2. Build a barbarian following the Path of the Totem Warrior and choose a wolf totem spirit
As a wolf totem spirit warrior, while you’re raging, your friends have advantage on melee attack rolls against any creature within 5 feet of you. Unlike advantage-granting features from the Mastermind and Battle Master, this ability helps all your melee friends rather than just one.
1. Build a paladin
At 6th level, paladins gain an Aura of Protection that extends to every ally within 10 feet. Those allies gain a bonus to saving throws equal to the paladin’s charisma bonus. For most 6th-level paladins, the bonus starts at +4 and will rise to +5—roughly equivalent to advantage on every save.
Too few people play paladins, so when a level-6-or-higher paladin shows up with an aura, everyone gets a shocking reminder of how good paladins are. Adventure author Eric Menge writes, “That aura is the bane of my DM existence in my home game. No one fails saves.” I hear you, brother. Players under the aura shed magical attacks like Superman sheds bullets.
At 7th level, the paladin’s aura gains an extra measure of protection. As a player, I love the Aura of Warding, which grants you and friendly creatures resistance to spell damage. As a dungeon master, I tell everyone not to play boring, dumb paladins.
The paladin’s aura earns enough love to vault the class to the top of this list, but the class also brings enough healing to cure a fallen ally. Plus paladins gain the bless and aid spells listed in item 10.
Also, the Divine Smite ability lets you roll fistfuls of damage dice. I hear that can be fun too.
Or, just make your character mentally unstable. I’ve simulated it by making decisions with magic 8 balls, dice rolls, and coin tosses. People will show up week to week just to see what you’ll do next. Until the entire party gets wiped up because you’ve decided to run up and spank the dragon or bowl with the lich’s phylactery.
I’m partial to divine soul sorcerer. You have access to twinned haste and bless
Welp, I built a Ranger. I guess nobody will love me.
(also, the party’s only d10+ hd character and soul font of divine magic. We have two rogues and a monk plus our casters)
Option 10 only works if your party members are injury-adverse enough for you to spare two healing spells. That’s not always the case…sometimes I don’t know why I bother preparing anything but cure wounds.
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I suddenly feel stupid that in my 35+ D&D career I never thought of using Haste in that manner.
In my defense, didn’t earlier versions of D&D have some sort of aging penalty attached to use of the Haste spell?
What about halflings preventing nat 1s with the feat they can get?
That has to earn some love.
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