Are you ready to get really nerdy? There’s nothing we love more at PopTonic than crossing the pop culture streams. Today, we’re exploring what would happen if the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer played Dungeons & Dragons.
Note: This post is based on the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons.
Giles – Bard
Although you might think that Giles would be a wizard—he loves books and practices magic, after all—I think there’s another subclass in 5e that suits him much better. Bards are often associated with music… and we all know that Giles can sing. However, he’d specialize as a College of Lore Bard.
College of Lore Bards have a deep well of knowledge to draw on, and their role in the party is mostly to inspire and support—and sometimes toss a rad spell at the enemy. If a Bard’s Song of Rest sounded like Giles’ cover of “Behind Blue Eyes,” I can understand why their allies would feel better after hearing it.
Dawn – Sorcerer
Yes, I know that Dawn is one of the most disliked characters in the Buffyverse. But she’s a major part of the show in the later seasons, and it felt needlessly cruel to sideline her while the rest of the Scooby Gang gets to play Dungeons & Dragons.
Dawn’s unique origin immediately made me think of a Divine Soul Sorcerer. Her powers, such as they are, come from her existence as a magical key transformed into a girl. If you read the description of the Divine Soul Sorcerer from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, I think you’ll agree that it makes sense:
Perhaps your ancestor was an angel, transformed into a mortal and sent to fight in a god’s name. Or your birth might align with an ancient prophecy, marking you as a servant of the gods or a chosen vessel of divine magic.
Cordelia – Wizard
I’m cheating a little bit with this one. While Cordelia appeared on Buffy, she really doesn’t have any special powers or abilities. However, once she heads over to Angel, she develops the ability to have visions of the future. That’s why I think she’d play as a Divination Wizard.
One of the best features of this subclass is the daily divination roll, which gives the player the ability to “see” the future and replace the roll of a D20 for an enemy or ally. She’ll never be a character who is comfortable wielding a weapon at the front of the battle, but she can be a powerful ally nonetheless. (And yes, she deserved better than her fate on Angel, but that’s a rant for a different article.)
Faith – Rogue
Faith would be a Rogue, obviously. She’s deadly and wears a lot of black leather, which are prerequisites of the class. But what flavor? She doesn’t have the tactics of a Mastermind, nor the panache of a Swashbuckler. While her philosophy of “want, take, have” might make her seem like a Thief, another subclass fit her better in my opinion.
Ultimately, I had to go with the Assassin Rogue subclass. While Faith isn’t the sneakiest person in the world, the double-header of This Year’s Girl and Who Are You? shows that she has some skill in deception and infiltration.
However, I don’t think she took the Actor feat because her Buffy impersonation wasn’t that convincing. Faith seems more like she would take the Tough feat instead. And every time the DM asks her to roll an ability check, she’ll say it’s “five by five.” That’s not an answer!
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Xander – Fighter
Again, I’m cheating just a little bit here. Xander doesn’t really become a more powerful Battle Master Fighter until the comics that followed the canon series, but there were glimmers of his future. When he dresses as an Army Soldier for Halloween in season 2, it lent him some military know-how. He never learns to wield magic like some of the other characters, nor is he especially strong on the battlefield.
So what does Xander do for his friends? He inspires them to fight harder. Later in the comic continuation of the series, he serves as a strategist. While you might feel that the “Yellow Crayon” speech he gives Willow would mark him as a Bard, I don’t think he exhibits any of the characteristic traits of that class. Nope, he’s a fighter—which also happens to be one of the more straightforward classes to play.
Anya – Warlock
It’s canon that Anya got her powers from a pact with a demon. She’d roll a Warlock, and her patron would be The Fiend. That’s a powerful class—and considering some of the things Anya did while she had her powers, it fits. She’d blow out her spell slots early in every fight, though, and then spend the rest of the battle whining about not being able to do anything.
Too harsh? Sorry. I love Anya, but I also have to imagine that teaching her how to play Dungeons & Dragons would be a special brand of torture for everyone.
Oz – Druid/Bard
Despite his ability to turn into a wolf, Oz is generally a pretty chill dude. His vibe would remind me of a Druid even if he didn’t have the ability to Wild Shape. He’d enjoy getting to play a character who can control their transformation, and the mystical balance of this phenomenal support class might help him find peace in his life outside the game.
Later, he’d be curious about multiclassing into Bard. Like Giles, he’d go for College of Lore. This would give him access to Cutting Words (appropriate for his dry sarcasm) and incorporate his love of music into his character build. He would prefer not to engage in melee combat unless he had no other choice, choosing to buff his friends from the sidelines instead.
Tara – Cleric
I debated about making Tara into a Sorcerer, given her innate magical ability, but ultimately her quiet, nurturing nature nudged me toward Peace Domain Cleric. First introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, Peace Clerics are gentle souls who aid their companions by creating powerful bonds with them.
These clerics’ blessings draw people together and help them shoulder one another’s burdens, and the clerics’ magic aids those who are driven to fight for the way of peace,” the official description reads.
Just because she’s a cleric and something of a pacifist doesn’t mean that she’s weak. They have powerful magic, but they choose to use it to heal and not to harm.
Willow – Wizard
Everybody’s favorite nerdy redhead started the series as a hacker, but Buffy quickly abandoned her computer skills in favor of magic. (Well, as Arthur C. Clarke told us, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”) Given that she learns her spells from books, it seemed clear that Willow would be a Wizard. However, it was harder to pin down the right School of Magic.
When she becomes Dark Willow, she embraces terrible destructive power. There’s really not a school of magic that lets you turn people inside out, but her abilities feel like they’re most in line with the School of Evocation plus the Telekinetic Feat. Later, she might turn her back on Evocation and switch to the more protective School of Abjuration.
Spike – Barbarian
Spike is a tricky character to pin down. On the one side, you’ve got the sensitive, romantic figure of William the Bloody. On the other, you’ve got a violent punk who committed some seriously unspeakable acts. How do you reconcile the two? Make him a Barbarian, of course!
Battlerager Barbarians are some of the fiercest melee combatants in the game. It also seems really appropriate that they wear spiked armor. The Barbarian’s rage reminds me of Spike after the Initiative implants the chip in his head. He finds a way to still “rage” by targeting monsters instead of humans, giving him a more controlled outlet for his bloodlust.
Angel – Rogue/Fighter
Although there are sorta-canon rules for playing as a vampire in 5e, that’s a race and not a class. So what class would Angel play? He’s very good at skulking in the shadows—the dude must be able to cast Pass Without Trace—and in his spinoff series, he becomes an investigator. That leads me to think he’d be an Inquisitive Rogue. However, there’s a little more to Angel than that.
I was torn between giving him a few levels of Warlock with the Undying patron and the class that I eventually chose. Although he doesn’t often dabble in the arcane, Angel is capable of doing magic. There’s also something about him of the classic Knight in Shining Armor, which led me to think he’d play an Eldritch Knight. In Angelus mode, he’d be an Oathbreaker Paladin.
Buffy – Paladin/Monk
While this build wouldn’t really work in D&D, we’re talking about the Chosen One! If she wants to multiclass, then we’ll make it happen. Buffy would start out with three levels of Paladin, giving her goodies like Divine Sense and Divine Smite, and go for the Oath of the Watchers path. However, after that, things get a little wild.
I think that Buffy would multiclass into Monk. Specifically, she’d go for Way of the Kensei, which is a subclass that emphasizes weapons over unarmed combat. Armed with her trusty stake (and sometimes a crossbow), she’d be absolutely deadly on the battlefield. Buffy would also never meet an acrobatics or constitution saving throw she couldn’t pass.
Is it realistic that you’d be able to meet the minimums for strength, dexterity, wisdom, and charisma to multiclass? I mean, you could do it, but it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. I don’t think anyone would actually try this build at a table. But it’s fun to imagine a way to recreate Buffy’s unique combat style on a battle map.