I'm building the character Abserd, who has 1-level of all classes. He really is a useless character, got kicked out of every guild he ever joined.

There are some specific benefits to starting with specific characters, in HP, Saves, and proficiencies. However, since we are taking levels in all classes, we can just compare what we gain, that we wouldn't gain otherwise. For example, since at least 2 classes give Shield proficiency, it's irrelevant if the starting class does so. Since dipping into Ranger gives you 1 skill anyway, starting with Ranger doesn't give more skill proficiencies than starting into Fighter.

Here's what I cooked up. Abserd, regardless of his starting class, will have proficiency in simple and martial weapons, shields, and light and medium armor. The table below shows benefits specific to starting with each specific class.

\begin{array}{|c|c|c|c|c|c|} \hline & \textbf{HP} & \textbf{Skills} & \textbf{Armor} & \textbf{Tools} & \textbf{Saves} \\ \hline \textbf{Barbarian} & 5 & & \text{} & \text{} & \text{STR/CON} \\ \hline \textbf{Bard} & 3 & & \text{} & \text{1 Musical} & \text{DEX/CHA} \\ \hline \textbf{Cleric} & 3 & & \textbf{All*} & \text{} & \text{WIS/CHA} \\ \hline \textbf{Druid} & 3 & & \text{} & \text{Herb. Kit} & \text{INT/WIS} \\ \hline \textbf{Fighter} & 4 & & \textbf{All} & \text{} & \text{STR/CON} \\ \hline \textbf{Monk} & 3 & & \text{} & \text{1 Artisan's} & \text{STR/DEX} \\ \hline \textbf{Paladin} & 4 & & \textbf{All} & \text{} & \text{WIS/CHA} \\ \hline \textbf{Ranger} & 4 & & \text{} & \text{} & \text{STR/DEX} \\ \hline \textbf{Rogue} & 3 & 1 & \text{} & \text{} & \text{DEX/INT} \\ \hline \textbf{Sorcerer} & 2 & & \text{} & \text{} & \text{CON/CHA} \\ \hline \textbf{Warlock} & 3 & & \text{} & \text{} & \text{WIS/CHA} \\ \hline \textbf{Wizard} & 2 & & \text{} & \text{} & \text{INT/WIS} \\ \hline \end{array}

:* Depends on sub-class

Barbarians have the most HP of all starters, and Rogues have 1 additional skill proficiency. If you want proficiency in Heavy Armor, you need to start with Fighter or Paladin (unless you pick some specific Cleric Domain when you dip cleric). You can also get an additional proficiency with an instrument/tool if you start with Druid/Bard/Monk.

so, TL;DR, aside from these bonuses, and the Saving Throw proficiencies, are there any other benefits to starting with a specific class?

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ What armor this character can wear is severely limited by his 1 level in druid, as from then on he will not wear any made from metal. If we take this into account, there will be no effect of starting with fighter/paladin after becoming a druid. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Oct 2, 2018 at 14:36
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The HP value you list is the 'after first level' value, correct? At first level you get the maximum value. \$\endgroup\$
    – lucasvw
    Oct 2, 2018 at 14:42
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ @lucasvw It's the difference between getting the first level in class X and getting class X and a multi-class dip. For example, if you pick Barbarian at level 1, you get 12HP + CON. Otherwise, you get 7+CON. So, getting it at first level gives you an additional 5HP. \$\endgroup\$
    – BlueMoon93
    Oct 2, 2018 at 14:45
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @Szega for example: "if a druid comes across scale mail of a material other than metal, the druid might wear it" \$\endgroup\$ Oct 2, 2018 at 15:23
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Szega one example for medium armor is the Dragon Scale Mail in the Dungeon Master's Guide. Abserd starting in fighter could use this armor while Abserd starting in a class without med armor prof could not. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 2, 2018 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


Starting Equipment

Which class you begin with may provide better starting equipment for your eventual playstyle.

Bonus Feat

(Credit to Sdjz in comments)

If Abserd is a Variant Human, the feat gained would be limited with certain starting classes. For example, only a class with the Spellcasting or Pact Magic feature at level 1 could take Spell Sniper and a Monk could not take Medium Armor Master. It will be a long time before you have the option to get these feats another way since the earliest you could get an Ability Score Increase is level 15. As such, it could make a difference.

Unarmored Defense

While you don't have to choose either first, Unarmored Defense is mutually exclusive so if you plan on getting Monk and Barbarian levels, you should choose which Unarmored Defense you want. Barbarian uses Constitution and allows a shield while Monk uses Wisdom and does not allow a shield.

If you already have the Unarmored Defense feature, you can't gain it again from another class.

  • 16
    \$\begingroup\$ That "you can't gain it again" is definitely something important that I missed; I had assumed you would "get" both types of Unarmored Defense and just only be able to use one at a time, but that wording makes the order quite important. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 2, 2018 at 14:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Starting equipment is why most of my characters will have at least one level of fighter to start. I like the variety of weapons I can get (crossbow, swords, longbow) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2023 at 0:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .