Role Race and Class

On a general level there are four “roles” in 4th Edition D&D. These roles pertain mostly to combat, as most of the rules in D&D are for fighting, and the rest is mostly up to the players and the dungeon master. It is generally advantageous to have at least one of each role, and to try to maintain a somewhat even balance of the roles since that gives the group the most versatility, but it is certainly possible to get by with pretty much any combination of characters.


  • Controller – Controllers deal with large numbers of enemies at the same time. They favor offense over defense, using powers that deal damage to multiple foes at once, as well as subtler powers that weaken, confuse, or delay their foes.
  • Defender – Defenders have the highest defenses in the game and good close-up offense. They are the party’s front-line combatants; wherever they’re standing, that’s where the action is. Defenders have abilities and powers that make it difficult for enemies to move past them or to ignore them in battle.
  • Leader – Leaders inspire, heal, and aid the other characters in an adventuring group. Leaders have good defenses, but their strength lies in powers that protect their companions and target specific foes for the party to concentrate on. Leaders are still able to fight just like any other party member, and just because they fulfill the “leader” role in combat doesn’t mean they’ll be the spokesperson for the group.
  • Striker – Strikers specialize in dealing high amounts of damage to a single target at a time. They have the most concentrated offense of any character in the game. Strikers rely on superior mobility, trickery, or magic to move around tough foes and single out the enemy they want to attack.

There are many races to choose from as you’re making your character. Race will decide your physical characterstics, possibly give you extra powers, and will give you bonuses to some of your ability scores.

Ability Scores

  • Strength (Str) measures your character’s physical power. It’s important for most characters who fight hand-to-hand.
  • Constitution (Con) represents your character’s health, stamina, and vital force. All characters benefit from a high Constitution score.
  • Dexterity (Dex) measures hand-eye coordination, agility, reflexes, and balance.
  • Intelligence (Int) describes how well your character learns and reasons.
  • Wisdom (Wis) measures your common sense, perception, self-discipline, and empathy. You use your Wisdom score to notice details, sense danger, and get a read on other people.
  • Charisma (Cha) measures your force of personality, persuasiveness, and leadership.

Each class will generally have a primary ability score and a couple secondary ability scores. Choosing a race with ability bonuses that are used by the class that you want is definitely helpful, but not at all necessary. I’ll list out the different races and classes you can choose from so you can start formulating ideas on what you want to play.


Your race is the species you choose for your character. You can be anything from a “normal” human to a man-made warforged.

See the List of Races


Just as there are many races to choose from there are a wide variety of classes. Class will likely be a more integral part of your character than your race. Your race will give you some history and culture, but your class is more a testament to who your character is.

See the List of Classes

Role Race and Class

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