The Dark Knights of Steel miniseries from DC explored what would happen if the most iconic heroes ended up in a medieval fantasy setting. They even created basic stat blocks for DC characters Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman… but it’s not exactly enough to play a Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
Still, it got me thinking about what class DC’s greatest heroes and villains—and those who fall somewhere in between—would play if they gathered around a battle mat to play some D&D. The Justice League is about to roll for initiative!
Note: This post is based on the fifth edition (5e) of Dungeons and Dragons.
The Flash – Monk
Is it possible to live with the Haste spell cast on you all the time? The Flash’s super-speed calls to mind the incredible movement abilities of a Monk, such as Step of the Wind. However, there’s also a whiff of Chronurgy Wizard about the Flash. Ultimately, I had to stick with a Way of the Open Hand Monk, plus the Mobile feat from the Player’s Handbook. That feat increases a player’s speed by 10 feet and negates difficult terrain when you Dash.
Cyborg – Artificer
The current form of the Artificer class first appeared in the Eberron campaign setting, a world of both magic and technology. Artificers lean into the “mad scientist” archetype. With his cybernetic body, Cyborg immediately called to mind the Armorer subclass. That’s the same pick I chose for Iron Man, but the great thing about tabletop RPGs is that no two characters are ever exactly the same. Every player brings their own style to the table.
Shazam – Sorcerer
Shazam is a little bit game-breaking, if I’m honest. To recreate his cannon powers, you’d have to take pretty much every feat in the game and multiclass more than once. In fact, it reminds me a lot of trying to play D&D with a kid who doesn’t understand why he can’t roll a critically overpowered character. I think the best I can do with this one is a Wild Magic Sorcerer, which provides some of the same powers as Shazam while also throwing a monkey wrench into the works with unpredictable surges of magic.
Martian Manhunter – Wizard
The unsung hero of the Justice League, Martian Manhunter’s nobility and wisdom stand out among his many powers. To approximate some of his most signature abilities in a game of D&D, the best choice might be the School of Psionics. Unfortunately, that is part of the Unearthed Arcana, meaning that it isn’t an official subclass. Instead, he’d be a School of Transmutation Wizard with the Telekinetic feat. He’d make use of the 9th level Transmutation spell Shapechage as well as Alter Self as often as possible.
Green Arrow – Ranger
Superheroes who use bows are always easy to imagine in a D&D setting. For Green Arrow, I had to go with the Gloom Stalker Conclave, a truly formidable subclass. Anyone who says that Rangers aren’t a challenging or powerful class clearly hasn’t adventured with a Gloom Stalker. Here’s what Xanathar’s Guide to Everything has to say about them:
Gloom stalkers are at home in the darkest places: deep under the earth, in gloomy alleyways, in primeval forests, and wherever else the light dims. Most folk enter such places with trepidation, but a gloom stalker ventures boldly into the darkness, seeking to ambush threats before they can reach the broader world. Such rangers are often found in the Underdark, but they will go any place where evil lurks in the shadows.
Black Canary – Monk
Although her signature ability is a sonic scream, Black Canary isn’t a Bard. Although I adore the way that she sings in Birds of Prey, when you see her fight, she’s definitely a Monk. Probably Way of the Open Hand. But how to get her sound-based attack? I think that she could take the Magic Initiate feat in order to get access to Thunderwave. That feels about right, although I wish that there was a subclass that better fit this unique character.
Catwoman – Rogue
Luckily for Selina Kyle, there’s a tailor-made class just for her. The Thief path of the Rogue class isn’t just about picking pockets. According to the Player’s Handbook, this subclass is also for those “who prefer to think of themselves as professional treasure seekers, explorers, delvers, and investigators.” She might also grab the Athlete feat, which provides a bonus to Dexterity and boosts climbing and jumping. And just for fun, she could also take the Magic Initiate feat in order to get access to Find Familiar. I’m not saying that Catwoman has to have a cat familiar, but how cute would it be?
The Joker – Barbarian
So there’s this thing called a murder hobo… The Joker would totally be the kind of chaotic player who would walk into a tavern and kill the first person he sees. The campaign would never get off the ground because of his unpredictable behavior. The class that best combines chaos with combat is the Wild Magic Barbarian. Honestly, though, you should not invite the Joker to your table. Nothing good will come of it.
Harley Quinn – Barbarian/Bard
Who among us hasn’t dreamed of playing Harley Quinn in a D&D campaign? Chaotic neutral girls have more fun. With maxed-out Dexterity and Charisma scores, she’s a lot of fun at parties. But does that mean she needs to be a Bard? The official ruling from Dark Knights of Steel says yes, but I don’t think that tells the whole story. She’d multiclass as a Bardbarian, making her both a powerful melee combatant with a giant hammer and a fast-talking entertainer who slings Cutting Words at her enemies.
Poison Ivy – Druid
There’s not much challenge in creating a D&D character based on Poison Ivy. While I had the brief thought that she might actually be a Nature Domain Cleric. She’s obviously a Druid, but which flavor? The obvious choice seems to be Circle of the Land. However, Circle of Spores feels like it fits her a little better. Either way, she’s going to be using Thorn Whip and Grasping Vines a lot.
Aquaman – Fighter
First, I’ve got to say that Aquaman would for sure play a water genasi. But what about the class he’d play? I’m leaning toward Eldritch Knight, a subclass of Fighter with a dash of magic. Throw in the Cloak of the Manta Ray, and you start to get something that’s a little akin to Aquaman. While there’s not a fish-specific skill in the game, he could choose to have proficiency in animal handling. Let’s just hope his DM gives him the opportunity to fight underwater.
John Constantine – Wizard
Although he might prefer to call himself a magician, Constantine would play a Wizard. Specifically, I think he’d go for the School of Divination. Although he might have been tempted to roll an Arcane Trickster Rogue, the lure of all those dusty tomes full of occult knowledge would just be too strong to resist. He definitely picked up the Lucky feat as soon as he was able. Constantine’s signature spell would be Crown of Madness, mostly because he thinks it’s funny.
Green Lantern – Warlock
I immediately knew that I wanted Green Lantern to be a Hexblade Warlock. This powerful subclass from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything is able to summon spectral weapons. The patron of the Hexblade is less sinister than some of the other Warlock subclasses, which felt right for this hero. Throw in the Telekinetic feat, and you can manage to get the flavor of your favorite Green Lantern from the comics.
Wonder Woman – Cleric
Wonder Woman’s iconic Lasso of Truth was the starting point for her hypothetical class build. It reminded me of the Cleric’s Zone of Truth spell. Clerics are also a great balance between spellcasting and melee combat, especially the War Domain. Although Diana has a peaceful, nurturing aspect to her character, she’s also a warrior. With her Shield of Faith held aloft, Wonder Woman can charge into the middle of the fray to protect her allies.
Batman – Rogue/Monk
Even though he’s the Dark Knight, I don’t think Batman would play a Fighter. He’d multiclass, first as an Inquisitive Rogue and then as a Way of Shadows Monk. That should give him the flavor of a detective who also excels at hand-to-hand combat. As for all of his bat-tastic gadgets, maybe he’d take the Artificer Initiate feat. However, I think he’d prefer to max out his Int and Dex scores first. He might prioritize the Actor feat anyway to preserve his secret identity.
Superman – Paladin
When you talk about character alignment, Superman is a common example of the Lawful Good alignment. Truth, justice, and the American way—right? The Oath of Devotion Paladin isn’t the most interesting or daring choice, but it’s incredibly powerful. He’d take the Inspiring Leader feat and pick up a few magic items along the way. Specifically, he’d get a pair of Winged Boots for flight and a Wand of Magic Missiles to approximate his heat vision ability. Superman would get really into the role-playing aspect of the game, but he’d also be a rules lawyer.