4th Edition Classes, Comprehensive
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ArcaneControllerWizardLong/AreaMid-HighShit (Stat)ShitShit/GreatGoodAs quick to anger as you please, Wizards are adept at locking individual foes down, immolating hordes of enemies, or bringing powerful allies to the field. Specializing in an implement (Staves, Wands, Orbs, Tomes) gives you an extra edge, letting you decide if you want to be a frontliner, damage-dealer, stunmaster, or the like. Wizards have the best utility in the game from level one, granting you a host of minor effects useful for trickery and dungeoneering alike.
DivineControllerInvokerLong/AreaLow-MidShitShitShit/GreatMeh (Special)Similar to a Wizard, an Invoker works directly with divine power---bypassing the gods themselves. They excel at limiting and terrifying their enemies, trapping them within constructs, and laying them low with bolts of pure God-Energy. Can focus on defense, offense, or an approach which trades your health for greater effects on your enemies.Invokers can consult divine energies once per game day, using a divinatory ritual to gain recommendations directly from the DM.
PrimalControllerDruidClose/Long/AreaMid(special)-HighMeh (Special)ShitShit/GreatGoodDruids are capable of shifting between a humanoid and bestial form. Humanoid powers are generally ranged or area, while bestial powers generally target one or more adjacent enemies and have movement-based effects. Versatile class which demands forethought in power selection in order to determine party role.Start with 1 more at-will power than other classes, but are required to have at least 1 beast-form power. Many class powers only usable in/out of beast form.
PrimalControllerSeekerLong/Mid/AreaMidMehMehGood/ShitMehSeekers can wield long-range weapons (bows) or mid-range/melee weapons (thrown hand weapons like axes). The latter variety can be effective (though fragile) melee combatants, while the former specialize in area attacks and movement denial. Special ability allows Seekers to salvage missed attacks as -new- attacks against nearby targets.Focused on weapon attacks, meaning targets AC over other defenses.
PsionicControllerPsionArea/LongMidShitShitShit/GreatGoodPsions gain utility similar to Wizards, as well as a wide suite of single-target and area-control abilities. Focus on Psychic and Force damage means Psions bypass most damage resistances in the game, but can be limited against some undead.Psionics require some explanation at the table; characters only gain at-will attacks which can be improved with a limited resource, and dailies which function as normal.
ArcaneDefenderSwordmageClose/Area/MidMid-HighMeh (Stat)Great (ish)Great/(Special)MehSwordmages wield light or heavy blades and unleash a variety of special elemental attacks. Most of their abilities target non-AC defenses, and Swordmage specs allow them to occupy a variety of secondary roles. Shielding Swordmages serve as quasi-leaders, Assault as quasi-strikers, and Ensnaring as quasi-controllers. Have the best defender toolset for engaging multiple foes or enemies at range.Armor Class is supplemented by a magical field of force; field is stronger when only wielding a 1-handed weapon.

Note that Swordmages don't tend to prioritize Str, which can limit their efficacy when making attacks outside of their turn. A feat to remedy this is available.
DivineDefenderPaladinCloseMidFuck YesFuck YesGreat/MehMehFreed from the dumb-ass alignment restrictions of the past, Paladins are the most heavily armored Defenders in the game. They also enjoy powerful healing abilities (improved with a high Wis) which let them sacrifice their own healing resources to empower others---few classes/powers in the entire game can do this.

Paladin Marks also fire without an attack roll, which is extremely significant against mobile enemies and insubstantial undead (who also take additional damage from the ability in most cases).
Can choose to focus on Str or Cha-based attacks, with the latter generally being elemental damage and slightly less hard-hitting.
MartialDefenderFighterCloseMidGreatGreatGreat/ShitShitThe simplest base Defender to play, Fighters are adept at planting themselves in a melee and locking down foes. Alternatives include two-weapon, grappling, and battlerager characters, which alter the core parameters of the class with greater mobility, area control, and health.
PrimalDefenderWardenClose/AreaMidMeh (Stat)Fuck YesGreat/ShitMehWardens wear weaker armor than any other Defender save the Swordmage. However, they have a variety of powerful alternate forms (packed into Daily powers) and can occupy secondary roles from Leader to area-Controller. Wardens also have access to a ranged at-will attack using melee weapons, which combines with their extremely powerful Defender Mark to make them wide-reaching Defenders.Wardens use their Con score instead of Dex/Int for determining AC; this means they tend to have a ton of health -and- be hard to hit in battle.
PsionicDefenderBattlemindClose/Multi-TargetMidGreatFuck YesGreat/ShitMehBattleminds are adept at selecting their Marked targets. Depending on how they're built, Battleminds can be extremely mobile, swift, or survivable. All Battleminds are further enhanced by the class's using Con for attacks; this means most will have extremely large health pools.

Power choices can customize a Battlemind to be multi-target, debuff, or raw survival-focused.
Psionics require some explanation at the table; characters only gain at-will attacks which can be improved with a limited resource, and dailies which function as normal.
ArcaneLeaderBardClose/Mid/AreaLow-MidGreat (OR Stat)MehGood/MehFuck YesBards are versatile Leaders, capable of mixing ranged implement, ranged weapon, and melee at-will attacks to find whichever position in the party a player wishes. Their healing powers often accompany a repositioning of allies or enhance the party's efficacy throughout combat.

The primary ability of the Bard is Cha, which is used to determine the success of their attacks and heals. Con is favored by more offensively-minded melee Bards, Int by those who rely on ranged spells, and Wis for Bards who prefer to use ranged weapons and anticipate enemy movements. Bards can further focus on Psychic or Sonic damage, or direct their attention to wielding weapons more effectively.
Bards enjoy a number of rituals which enhance their social interaction, and can select feats which allow them to masterfully attempt even untrained skills.
ArcaneLeaderArtificerClose/Mid/AreaMidMehMehMeh/GreatFuck YesArtificers imbue their allies' weapons and armor with arcane power, meaning many of their powers have an immediate effect (the attack the Artificer rolls) and a secondary effect (something which happens on the target player's turn or when the target is first attacked). Artificers can generally target themselves with such powers, which allows them to play more frontline characters than other leaders. Their weapon and implement flexibility also allows Artificers to fight effectively at a variety of ranges, depending on build.

Artificers favor Int for their attacks and other powers, with secondary focus on either Wisdom (for more offensive builds) or Constitution (for healing and defensive builds).

Artificers are also one of the few Leaders who can heal a character who has no healing resources remaining; Artificer "infusions" absorb healing resources from characters in the party during rests, which allows a party to redistribute health to weaker characters during difficult fights.
DivineLeaderClericClose/MidMidGreatMehMeh/MehMehThe quintessential healer, Clerics are also capable of being front or second-rank warriors depending on build. Front-range Clerics focus on weapon use and the Str score, with attacks that leave their enemies off-balance and vulnerable to other members of the party. Second-rank Clerics use ranged energy attacks to debuff their foes and prioritize their Wis score, which generally enhances their healing powers.Clerics have a primary focus on Str or Wis, and a secondary focus on Cha. It is possible (though not recommended) to build a "pacifist" Cleric who has few to NO damaging attacks, but even greater healing ability.
MartialLeaderWarlordClose/(Long)MidGreatMehGreat/ShitMehWarlords are Leaders who use their Charisma and force of will to empower their allies. Generally frontline warriors, Warlords excel at repositioning allies and giving them additional attacks, while still contributing significant damage in combat.

Warlords have a primary focus on Str, and a secondary focus on Int (for Tactical Warlords who enhance their allies' attacks), or Cha (for Warlords focused on their healing).

Most significantly, Warlords grant allies within sight bonuses whenever those allies expend an Action Point. This allows a party with a Warlord to have extremely dramatic, swingy turns where players gain dramatic enhancements to their actions.
Warlords can also be built as ranged-weapon users, who have an even greater focus on party mobility.

Warlords can also be built as "Resourceful," which combines Int and Cha to create a character who is effective even on poor rolls.

Finally, particularly daring Warlords are capable of granting their allies many attack opportunities, with the risk of failure leading to bonus strikes from foes.
PrimalLeaderShamanSpecialMid-HighMehMehMeh/ShitGreatThe Shaman secures the assistance of powerful spirits, including a particular bound entity which serves as a constant companion. This companion is difficult to damage, but serves as the vector for most of the Shaman's attacks. The freedom with which a Shaman can summon and reposition this spirit grants them exceptional control over a battlefield, and the buffs/debuffs the companion carries in turn influence the party's performance throughout an entire fight.

The Shaman also has exceptional utility and healing power. They can confer with ancestral spirits to gain a significant boost on -any- skill roll, and they have one of the few healing features in the game that can restore health to an ally who has no healing resources remaining. The Shaman also defaults to healing up to 2 targets with each power use, giving them greater throughput than most Leaders.
Playing a Shaman requires greater awareness of the battlefield than most characters, since the player is constantly positioning two units on the map.

Depending on build, Shaman can serve as secondary Strikers, Defenders, Controllers, or even grant attacks like a Warlord.
PsionicLeaderArdentCloseMidGreatMehGreat/MehMehThe Ardent is a frontline healing class who specializes in weakening foes. Depending on the "Mantle" an Ardent selects, her heals provide a variety of additional effects (extra movement speed, attack bonuses, and so forth). As an Ardent has powerful empathic abilities, they turn the pain of being reduced to half life ("bloodied") into buffs or debuffs that affect wide areas of the battlefield.

An Ardent's primary ability is Cha, making them excellent party spokespersons. Their secondary focus can be Int or Wis, depending on whether they are more offensively- or healing-oriented.
Psionics require some explanation at the table; characters only gain at-will attacks which can be improved with a limited resource, and dailies which function as normal.
PowersourceRoleClass NameRangeDamageArmorHealthWeapon/Implement OptionsSkillsGeneral DescriptionSpecial Notes
ArcaneStrikerWarlockMid-LongMid (High)Meh (Special)Meh (Special)Meh/GreatGoodUnlike the Wizard, the Warlock's Arcane magic does not come from study. Instead, each Warlock pledges service (and possibly soul) to some more powerful entity, and gain their powers as a result. All Warlocks are mobile characters which generally fight at range. So long as they move a few squares each turn, Warlocks enhance their defense with a mystical shroud. Their most distinctive quality, however, is their Curse; each turn a Warlock may Curse their nearest foe, who remains so for the entire battle. While Cursed, the target takes extra damage from the Warlock's attacks. In addition, when -any- source kills a Cursed target, the Warlock gains some benefit from their demise.

Warlocks favor Cha or Con, with the choice generally determined by their Pact. Each Pact provides the Warlock with an At-Will attack ability, as well as determining their benefit for slain Curse victims. Infernal Warlocks favor Con, gain buffer HP from killing foes, and generally inflict fiery damage from the front ranks. Int-based Fey Warlocks prefer trickery and illusion, teleporting around the map with each slain foe. Star Warlocks serve eldritch horrors beyond the cosmos, and each kill pries their eyes further open to the vicissitudes of the future; these Warlocks split their abilities between Cha and Con.

Dark Warlocks favor Int, combining Poison and Necrotic attacks to weaken and distress their foes. Each slain foe builds a resource that the Dark Warlock can expend when attacked to deal significant damage to the assailant...BEFORE their attack lands.

Vestige Pact Warlocks favor Con, and derive their power from the corpses and shells of deceased gods. Theirs is a modular toolkit, meaning the pact bonus they derive--and the nature of their At-Will attack--both alter based on which Vestige the Warlock is channeling and serving. Vestige Daily powers combine attacks with granting access to a new vestige, with a concomitant alteration to the Warlock's abilities.
The base damage output of the Warlock's At-Will attacks is, in my opinion, too low. As a result, I increase the damage die of Infernal, Fey, Star, and Vestige Pact Warlock At-Wills by 1 step (meaning all but Vestige deal 1d8, and the Vestige deals 1d6).
ArcaneStrikerSorcererLong/AreaHigh (SO high)Shit (Stat/Special)MehMeh/GreatMehWhere a Wizard gains her power from study, and a Warlock from deals, the Sorcerer is born with it. Different Sorcerers trace their lineages to dragons, elementals, the stars, or even the shifting chaos of Limbo itself. Whatever the source, however, all Sorcerers are dangerous, attention-grabbing adventurers.

A Sorcerer favors Cha, with their secondary stat determined by bloodline. The class can be considered a more elegantly designed Warlock, as all of its abilities build into a cohesive whole at the expense of -some- multi-target functionality, more than compensated for by their area attack abilities. Each Sorcerer's secondary statistic feeds into the damage dealt by their abilities--in short, Sorcerers add TWO statistics to their damage rolls, while every other class adds one. All Sorcerers also gain a defensive benefit (decided by bloodline and possibly dicerolls) and the ability to strip away a target's defenses against certain elemental magics while becoming increasingly resistent to the same.

Sorcerers who favor the Wild or Storm bloodlines rely on Dex as their secondary stat, and excel at long-range combat. Wild Sorcerers gain a varied elemental affinity after each rest, making them unpredictable even before accounting for attacks that have different effects if the die fall even or odd. High or low rolls in combat also provide additional benefits, blowing enemies away on the Winds of Chaos or catching allies in the maelstrom. Storm Sorcerers focus on lightning and thunder, excelling at laying a little extra damage on incidental targets as they burn their primary foe to cinders.

Dragon Sorcerers are the simplest route to a focused, player-driven character; the player selects the element which the Sorcerer will penetrate/resist, and can then focus their power selections along the same lines. Dragon Sorcerers also gain defensive benefit from Str instead of Dex or Int, meaning they are generally more capable in melee; when sorely wounded, their heritage manifests in scales and increased defense. Cosmic Sorcerers also favor Str, but their powers are continually shifting in obedience to unknowable celestial mysteries (read: dice rolls).
Sorcerers are capable of using daggers as both implements and weapons, and have access to a feat and several powers which are designed around delivering their powers as melee attacks. This allows a player to turn a Sorcerer into a front-rank skirmisher, allowing them to flank foes and incinerate them with steel-channeled lightning and flame.
DivineStrikerAvengerClose/MidMid-HighShit (Special/Stat)MehGreat/MehMehWhere a Cleric or Paladin girds himself in heavy armor, the Avenger relies on speed and the force of their faith. Well, that and massive, brutal weaponry. The key element of the Avenger is their Oath of Enmity, a blood oath which draws a deity's ire down on a particular target. So long as the Avenger is engaging their target--and not adjacent to other enemies--they roll TWICE for all attacks.

Avengers combine their Wis-based melee attacks and Oath double rolls with one of three primary strategies. Int-focused Avengers gain fervor when extraneous foes engage them; they deal more damage each time a non-Oath target successfully damages them. Dex-based Avengers pursue back-rank or mobile foes, dealing more damage whenever they move on their turn before the attack. Finally, Unity Avengers also favor Int, but gain their damage bonus based on the number of their allies engaging the same enemy.
Despite their light armor, Avengers are surprisingly durable. They gain a bonus to their AC when not wearing armor, and have many powers designed to avoid, absorb, or recover from enemy attacks. Avengers are also capable of serving battlefield control roles, scattering or repositioning enemies to better focus on their targets
MartialStrikerRogueClose/Mid-LongHighMeh (Stat)MehMeh/ShitFuck YesThe classic thief, silent assassin, or smiling legbreaker for the Mob are all examples of the Rogue. Rogues excel in unfair combat, dealing exceptional damage when attacking a distracted enemy, or one who cannot see the Rogue. Though they tend to favor lighter, less-powerful weapons, the Rogue's Sneak Attack makes them one of the highest-damage Strikers in the game.

Rogues can spec into a more charismatic, grifter-esque style of play; a strength-based fighter who favors parries and brutal ripostes; a stealth-heavy archer and backstabber; or a character who eschews blades in favor of shattering the bones of enemies, leaving them quaking in debilitating terror that prevents reprisal.

Rogues also enjoy unparalleled utility, with te highest variety of skills, the most slots to fill with them, and favored access to specialized skills such as Thievery and Disable Device.
MartialStrikerRangerClose/Mid-LongMid-HighMeh (Stat)MehGreat/ShitGreatThe Ranger selects a single target as her quarry, inflicting additional damage on attacks against it until they switch targets or drop their prey. Most Rangers focus somewhat on Dex in order to increase their AC and position in the initiative order. Melee characters also juggle Str, which improves their attacks and damage.

Melee Rangers: Generally wielding a pair of one-handed weapons, these characters enjoy multiple attacks per round; this allows them to quickly clear weaker enemies from the field or stack significant damage on more powerful foes. Melee Rangers can also dabble in throwing or increase their mobility with powers that allow them to quickly charge targets across the battlefield.

Missile Rangers: Usually employing bows, missile Rangers can focus on single targets or lay down wide areas of fire. Many of their powers allow a choice between -both- options, meaning they remain useful in a variety of combat situations.
Rangers can also select the Beast Mastery focus, which allows them to create a supplementary animal companion from a variety of templates. Beast Mastery Rangers split their actions between both characters, which allows them to focus on a single target (gaining flanking and other bonuses) or position themselves in two areas of the battlefield for greater party assistance.
PrimalStrikerBarbarianClose/AreaHighMeh (Special)GreatGreat/ShitGoodWhat is best? Cutting and smashing shit, which conveniently is what Barbarians do. Their defenses are enhanced when wearing sub-par armor, which allows a Barbarian to serve as a beefy melee character. Barbarians care primarily about Str and Con, but can pursue secondary stats like Dex or Cha for more mobile and debuff-oriented characters respectively. Barbarians also trigger special abilities upon killing or bloodying (reducing to 1/2 life) targets.

Barbarians also gain significant damage opportunities when employing a Rage Daily Power, each of which provides supplementary benefits. A raging Barbarian with a two-handed weapon has some of the highest damage in the game.
Barbarians can spec into area-damage attacks or (with two weapons) deal damage to one or more adjacent enemies without attack rolls.
PsionicStrikerMonkClose/AreaHighShit (Stat)ShitMeh(Special)/Fuck YesMehThe monk is a wuxia-inspired class, combining incredible agility with punishing, seemingly impossible attacks. Like the Avenger, the Monk's defenses are actually -enhanced- when not wearing armor. Monks also deal significantly greater damage with their open hands than any other class; an unarmed Monk is roughly equivalent to a Fighter with a longsword.

However, Monk attack abilities do not rely on their weapons for the damage they deal; instead, each attack is an Implement attack that deals its own specific dice range of damage. Some attacks are "melee touch," meaning they can affect any target the character could reach with his extended arm. Other Monk abilities target all foes in proximity, or even dart forth from the standing position to hit a number of enemies.

As Strikers, Monks are capable of dealing extra damage each round. However, Monks are unique in that their ability--Flurry of Blows--need not affect a target of the attack that activates it. Thus a Monk might strike two enemies with an Encounter attack, then inflict additional damage on someone who he hadn't yet hit in the round. Flurry of Blows usually has an additional effect if the enemy it strikes -wasn't- targeted by the initiating attack; these effects ranger from greater damage to movement-impairment to depriving the enemy of attacks on its turn.

Monks are capable of using ANY weapon they wield as an implement; this means that a Monk with a +3 longsword gains +3 to her attack and damage rolls with her attacks, even though they don't deal [W] damage, and deal additional damage on crits/have other effects just like a Fighter with the same weapon.

Every Monk at-will and encounter power listed as "Full Discipline" is actually a pair of powers; the attack, and a "Movement Technique." A player may only use one "Full Discipline" each round (unless they spend an action point), and can only use each element of an encounter power once in a combat. However, At-Will Full Discipline powers can be used as many times as the actions are available. Thus, a character using the at-will Blistering Focus Movement Technique can move up to his speed, dealing Cha+2 Fire damage to any enemy who strikes her during that movement; if the character abstains from using her standard action to attack, she could use it to move her speed again, dealing the damage to attackers as before. A character using the Blistering Focus Attack Technique with her standard action would only be able to move once using the other technique.

Monks all rely on Dexterity for their attack rolls (and subsequently an increase in their defense), but their secondary stat can vary widely. Str-Based Monks deal extra damage with most of their attacks, while Wis-Based characters focus on repositioning their foes. Con-Based Monks (Iron Soul Monks) make greater use of weaponry than other characters, and punish enemies who draw too close. Some Monks are elementally-infused, either relying on Str to draw enemies in, or utilizing their Cha to set their foes afire.
In some ways more so than the other Psionic classes, Monks employ complex mechanics. Most of their attack abilities -also- give you a special movement option, meaning you sometimes choose an attack not for the damage, but for how it lets you position yourself.

Monks are also capable of dealing guaranteed damage each round, even to targets they have NOT targeted with attacks, which can influence the way they approach combat.
Power Sources Explained
Ability Scores and Derived Statistics
Other Stats and Glossary