FiveThirtyEight has a fun little article about the frequency of race/class combos. You can see which are the most popular (human fighters) and which are the least (aasimar ranger). This got me thinking about race/class affinity, so I weighted the data to see which races have the strongest class identity (and, alternatively, what the strongest race/class aversions are).

The results aren't surprising - goliaths are barbarians, tieflings are warlocks - but one fun thing you can pull out is which race/class pairings are mathematical opposites (goliath barbarian and half-elf bard take the cake). This is grounds for odd couple hijinx in of itself, but to take it a step further...

Say two characters have swapped classes. The circumstances for this can be 'Freaky Friday' (maybe leaning towards 'Face/Off' for extra fighting), or drunken bets that 'anything you can do I can do better', or even just bored adventurers looking for a career change. Here are some pairings on the table:

  • Goliath bard, half-elf barbarian
  • Aasimar druid, elf paladin
  • Half-elf barbarian, half-orc sorcerer
  • Gnome barbarian, goliath wizard
  • Halfling paladin, dragonborn rogue

Obviously casting these characters against type negatively impacts their proficiency, and I wonder if I can mitigate that. One thing that jumps to mind is the element of surprise - when charging a gnome, you might not expect it to respond like a barbarian. Are there any other ways these rare-probably-for-reason race/class combos might actually be viable?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking how to optimize an initially "un-optimized" class/race combination, or are you asking for ways that playing against type can pay off? \$\endgroup\$ – MonkeyKB Oct 16 '17 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MonkeyKB Both, actually, but probably more the latter \$\endgroup\$ – ognockocaten Oct 16 '17 at 17:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Voting to close as too broad, this seems like an invitation to discussion rather than trying to solve a specific problem. Now if you asked "How can I optimize a half-orc bard to have X when casting spells" that would be a much better question. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Oct 16 '17 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ ...or are you asking for house rule suggestions? It doesn't look like that's what you want, but if the question is "How do I make these clearly sub-optimal builds not clearly sub-optimal?", it seems like that's what you're going for. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Oct 16 '17 at 17:35

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