D&D 5e: Triton Race Guide

D&D 5e: Triton Race Guide

Intro

“Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty” – Derek Zoolander (Zoolander, 2001)


A noble race with a history as deep and lasting as the ocean waters themselves. 

Fight with the ferocity of tidal waves! 

Show your enemies why the sea is a cruel mistress!

RECYCLE! For real, folks. We need to clean up our oceans. Come on.

The Triton is, in my experience, a rarely played race. I think this is ridiculous. As you’re going to quickly sea, their racial traits are some of my favorite starting tools. If you’re even considering playing a campaign that involves a lot of water exploration/survival, you’ll absolutely want a Triton. You’d rise fast in the ranks as a Naval officer. Or, go the other route, since every pirate ship should be overjoyed to have a Triton on board. If you’re by the sea, you’re in your element. 

Guide Key

Epic

Good

Meh

Bad

Triton Traits

ASI: +1 to STR, CON, and CHA. No plus two, but THREE ASI’s… This is really hot. From this array, I’ll let you know up top, you’re basically built to play a Paladin. However, you can fit into anything that wants STR (Barbarians, Blood Hunters, Fighters, Paladins), CON (Barbarians, Blood Hunters, and it is a nice little buff for Concentration Casters), and CHA (Bards, Sorcerers, and Warlocks). The sad thing is that since you don’t get any +2 bonuses, you may perform ever so slightly below where you want to be.

–Age: Mature at 15 and live up to about 200 years. 

–Size: Medium, but you tend to be a little shorter than the average human. You’ll probs be standing around 5 feet tall. So taller than most adult dwarves, shorter than most adult humans. 

Speed: Base walking speed, 30 feet. Swim speed, 30 feet. That swim speed is going to eliminate the disadvantage you might otherwise face in underwater melee combat. Amazing.

Amphibious: Newsflash! You breathe air and water!

Control Air and Water: Free Spellcasting! You start with the ability to cast Fog Cloud (Nice). At level 3, you get Gust of Wind (High Utility if used effectively). Level 5, you have Wall of Water (Pretty solid. Can slow down enemies and give you a better chance at survival, cutting down fire damage and giving disadvantage to ranged attacks. Beware cold damage). Based on your CHA (Solid). You can use each of these spells once per long rest. 

Darkvision: Standard 60 feet darkvision. Good. 

Emissary of the Sea: Though they can’t talk to you, you can communicate basic ideas to aquatic creatures. Welcome to the team, Aquaman. Meh, unless you use it a lot and your DM doesn’t just shrug it off.

Guardian of the Depths: Resistance to cold damage. A free racial resistance to a fairly common damage type… gorgeous. This makes you not only extremely viable for sea-based campaigns, but cold weather campaigns as well (i.e. Rime of the Frostmaiden).

–Languages: Common and Primordial. Solid languages. Won’t ever complain with the ability to commune with elementals. 

Triton Subraces

Since they already provide three Ability Score Improvements, the Tritons do not enjoy the glories of having a subrace. The only chance that they have of getting them in the future would be to see Racial Variants like the Dragonborn got in Fizban’s. So, shed a few tears and let the ocean wash them away.

Best Classes and Archetypes for Triton

I’ll save you some time and share with you some of my favorite pairings and break down why I think there are some paths you just shouldn’t go down. At the end of the day, the reasoning comes down to three things:

1) Does the race satisfy the expectations of the class?

2) Does the race synergize with subclass abilities?

3) How easy would it be to get started with this race-class/subclass combo?

You can try to turn D&D 5e into as much of an exact science as you want, but at the end of the day, you need to figure out what works best for your playstyle, your campaign, and your playgroup. Alrighty, here we go!

Artificer

While I totally love these guys (making magical items is epic unto itself), unless your DM lets you swap your CHA or STR boost to INT, you’ll want to play something different.

Alchemist: These guys are fun, but you’ll be playing in suboptimal conditions.

Armorer: Since you’re not bringing INT to the table, the STR and CON you’re benefiting from push you toward the Armorer since you’ll be a bit more sustainable and you don’t have to use INT for the Armorer’s attacks. 

Artillerist: You really need the INT to make their utility and damage options come to life. Skip.

Battle Smith: Your buddies won’t be as strong/survivable as they could be without a higher INT score. Skip along. 

Barbarian

Love barbarians. Love seafaring barbarians. The Triton is a solid fit for this race.

Ancestral Guardian: Super solid. Fight with the fury of long dead fishy-ancestors. 

Battlerager: Technically dwarf only, but the idea of turning yourself into a harpoon is kind of hilarious.

Beast: I quite like these guys for their options. Super versatile. Since you don’t have a subrace, this can kind of turn into a “build your own” subrace option. 

Berserker: Basic barbarian won’t make you sad. 

Depths: This is really for sea based campaigns, and if you’re a Triton, chances are this is a viable choice. Loves STR, and has some versatile options you can swap through on Long Rests. Plus, you get some magical teleportation options. Give ‘er a go! 

Juggernaut: Break all the things. But don’t break the coral reefs. We need those. Think globally. Think sustainable. 

Storm Herald: Magical elemental shenanigans that work underwater, I will always approve. 

Totem Warrior – Bear: For all of these Totem Warrior options, I wish that when they added the Depths barbarian option, that they added a Totem Warrior – Shark option. Something about that would just feel right for these guys. Fear no attack. BEAR-SHARK! 

Totem Warrior – Eagle: See your enemies fear as you soar overhead.EAGLE-SHARK! 

Totem Warrior – Elk: Leave your enemies grounded. Prone is a weird condition underwater, so this will mostly depend on how your DM interprets the intentions of the mechanics. ELK-SHARK!

Totem Warrior – Tiger: Leap into the fray. TIGER-SHARK! (Hey, this one actually works). 

Totem Warrior – Wolf: Surround your enemies with the pack.WOLF-SHARK! 

Wild Magic: Adding the flavor of the fey-courts to a watery campaign would be a lot of fun. What does the whimsy of the feywild look like underwater? Just saying, basic math adds up to shenanigans. 

Zealot: Love this subclass. Fear no death save.

Bard

The plus one to CHA turns this into a viable option, but it only gets exceptionally good after you boost your CHA again. The only stipulation is that, by law, you have to name your character Ariel. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. 

Creation: If you’re approaching the game creatively, this is an awesome choice. Totally avoid if this is your first time playing, they are insanely complex.

EloquenceAdore. The best bards, hands down. 

Glamour: A flashy Triton fits their lore of being a fairly prideful people, I wish the Glamour kit was more robust though.

Lore: Solid for skill-monkeying. You’d want better CHA, DEX, INT, and WIS though… so this would be tough to build around.

Maestro: Great options. You’ll be able to participate meaningfully in just about every facet of the game. Big fan. 

Swords: You’re bringing a bit more fight to the bard. I enjoy them in play quite a bit and I think they fit well into sea-faring campaigns.

Valor: Skip it. These guys need an overhaul.

Whispers: Imagine the hearing dissonant voices across the waters on a foggy day. Just saying… people are jumping ship.


Blood Hunter

STR and CON are going to make your life a lot easier, but no WIS is great sadness. 

Ghostslayer: Solid for undead campaigns. But you might not be facing a lot of undead underwater. However, if you’re playing a Pirates of the Carribean style campaign, this could be a lot of fun.

Lycan: A were-creature Triton sounds like a lot of fun. This is where I think you could bring in some were-Shark flavor. 

Mutant: You’ll enjoy having extra CON to play around with here. I like the Triton mutant quite a bit.

Profane Soul: The casting of a Warlock with the heart of a Warrior. I dig these guys and the Triton works well enough for them.

Cleric

No WIS almost makes this an un-recommendable combo. However, the STR and CON mean you will hit harder in the melee, so you can still be viable if your starting WIS score is sufficiently high (I’m talking 16+).

Only go this route if you’re comfortable spending your first Ability Score Improvement at level 4 on boosting your WIS.

Arcana: The wizardry options are solid, but you’ll be more of a pure caster. This isn’t where you thrive.

Blood: Chances are you’ll want to be more of a pure caster. Again, this isn’t your zone.

Death: A melee Death cleric is solid. Boost your WIS at the first opportunity.

Forge: A melee Forge cleric is solid. Boost your WIS at the first opportunity.

Grave: A melee Grave cleric is solid. Boost your WIS at the first opportunity.

Knowledge: You’re not really built to skill monkey it. You need better INT and WIS. Pass.

Life: Healing is always welcome. Boost your WIS for optimal healing.

Light: This is more of a caster option. You’ll want a higher WIS to start off. Probably a pass.

Nature: Thematically, it works alright, but I think you’d want stronger casting.

Order: Reasitically, this is decent because what you can do to buff your party members early on. However, you might not feel effective until the late game.

Peace: Game breaking (they just add so many dice to rolls!!!!!), but you’ll want more WIS. 

Tempest: Just because of the flavor of an ocean storm based character, I would recommend a Triton Cleric. Plus, they thrive in melee, so this is perfect for you.

Trickery: You want a +2 to CHA here and better WIS. Suboptimal, but doable. 

Twilight: It’s the same situation as the Order cleric. Loads of party boosts, but you won’t love your mechanical situation for more than a few levels. 

War: Melee cleric. This is a comfortable spot for a Triton cleric. 

Druid

No WIS almost makes this an un-recommendable combo.The STR and CON, on the other hand, mean you will hit harder in the melee, so you can still be viable if your starting WIS score is sufficiently high (I’m talking 16+). HOWEVER, since you’re a druid, you really don’t want to be in the middle of the fight unless you’re a Circle of the Moon druid. So, just keep that all in mind. 

Only go this route if you’re comfortable spending your first Ability Score Improvement at level 4 on boosting your WIS.

Dreams: Solid kit. I like ‘em, but the lack of WIS is going to hurt in the early levels.

Land: Land and Sea. Surf and Turf. Decent kit, but I think their strengths are outshined by the newer Druid subclasses.

Moon: Great subclass for land or sea. You can turn into a Hunter Shark instead of the classic bear and get advantage on almost all of your attacks. Really solid early game Wild Shape.

Shepherd: Summoning a horde of magical squirrels underwater sounds like a whole lot of fun.

Spores: Decent tools. I’m unaware of any underwater fungi, but this has got me curious.

Stars: This is the sweet spot for the modern day Druid. A tool for just about every occasion. Love it.

Wildfire: If you want to play with a fire/water theme, this could be a lot of fun. Why would a Triton have a magical fire companion? You tell me. What does their society think of them? Sounds to me like the start of a fun YA novel.  

Fighter

+1 to STR and CON. Glorious. You want those. +1 to CHA, an excellent tertiary stat to focus on. There are plenty of subclasses that are going to be instant passes, but the Triton works excellently within the framework of the base Fighter class.

Arcane Archer: No DEX. No INT. Pass. 

Battle Master: Exceptionally solid. You’ll be very happy with this choice.

Cavalier: Talk to your DM about riding a shark… 

Champion: It fits the theme of a proud race of warriors. I like this pick.

Echo Knight: Excellent subclass features. Scales well over the run of the game. Good choice.

Eldritch Knight: No INT. Pass.

Gunslinger: No DEX. Pass.

Psi Warrior: No INT. Pass.

Purple Dragon Knight: Buffs party members and can hit reasonably well. Solid pick for a Triton Team Player.

Renegade: No DEX. Pass.

Rune Knight: Sadly, their leveling path is fairly narrow, but their early game is a lot of fun.

Samurai: Everything in your kit supports this archetype. Combat, sustainability, and social interaction. Glorious. Now, just imagine a warband of Triton Samurai slowly walking out of the sea to wage war on a Warlord’s sea-side estate. I’m salivating at the thought of it.

Monk

You realistically want way more DEX and WIS than the Triton offers. It would take a LONG time to make this build come online with Ability Score Improvements at Level 4, 8, and beyond.  

Ascendant Dragon: Never going to work. A dragon Triton is cool in theory, but the mechanics are scuffed.

Astral Self: Gonna need to find another option.

Cobalt Soul: Give Zone of Truth a try. No need to punch the truth out of people.

Drunken Master: You’re going to want to drink through your entire session if you go this route.

Four Elements: Up to you, but I’d pass on this one. Even though the theme works.

Kensei: Never going to feel as smooth as a Paladin.

Long Death: Gonna suffer as much as your enemies do.

Mercy: Let me give you some advice: don’t do this.

Open Hand: You could play a basic monk and this would give you a fast idea why this wasn’t a good choice.

Shadow: Down to the wire, this option could be interesting in deep, dark water. If your DM let’s you swap your CON and CHA for WIS and DEX, this would be my first Monk pick for a Triton.

Sun Soul: Read the first word of each of these entries.

Paladin

Everything. Your ability score improvements are begging you to play these guys. Literally, you can’t go wrong picking any of these subclasses.

Ancients: Serve the waves.

Conquest: Conquer the oceans.

Crown: Honor the Throne of Atlantis.

Devotion: Your best friends are fish.

Glory: Honestly, this is everything a Triton wants to be. The proud race of warriors, fighting for Glory, fighting for their Homeland. Fame, Fortune, and more Fame/Fortune. That’s what awaits the Triton Oath of Glory Paladin. Plus, this subclass has a lot of concentration spells and the bonus to CON will come in handy.

Oathbreaker: You live in the Desert, you monster.

Open Sea: Finally, I feel like this subclass makes sense for a class/race combo. I love it when it can be used effectively.

Redemption: You spend your weekend coaching Oil Barrons about the importance of ecologically minded legal policy. You don’t know if they’ll change, but boy, you care.

Vengeance: Whoever’s plastic bag killed that sea-turtle better hide. You’re coming for them.

Watchers: This is actually also a wildly interesting fit for the Triton. In their lore, it says that they watch portals to the elemental planes, so this actually is a perfect thematic choice. Finally, a good pick.


Ranger

No DEX, no WIS. This is almost a hard pass, but you could make a barely competent melee ranger. Your other class utility (based on WIS) would totally suffer. I wish this was a better fit than it is. If your DM lets you swap your STR, CON, or CHA for a boost to DEX and WIS, that would turn this guy around. Otherwise, you’ll be spending your Ability Score Improvements across too many ability scores.

Beast Master: With suboptimal mechanics already, this is a pass.

Drakewarden: I hope your dragon friend has a swim speed… (they don’t)

Fey Wanderer: I like the idea of a whimsical sea adventure, this could be a fun choice.

Gloom Stalker: This is your best chance of hitting hard in melee.

Horizon Walker: Similar to the Watcher Paladin, the focus on other planes is a good pick for the Triton.

Hunter: Has options that could be useful for melee or ranged. Lean into the melee and you might not feel the mechanical strife of the Triton Ranger.

Monster Slayer: I love the idea of Triton Kraken Wrangler, and the STR comes in handy here, but I don’t love the rest of the Monster Slayer kit.

Swarmkeeper: Magical underwater fleas… kind of terrifying.

Rogue

Though I love a brutish STR based rogue, and you have the CHA to back you up, I really do think you’ll have a better time with the rogue if you had a +2 bonus to either of those stats. The +1s don’t cut it for me.

Arcane Trickster: You really want INT to be in your sweet spot. Probs a pass.

Assassin: Every shark in a 3 mile radius will be there to help clean up the scene of the crime… How nice.

Inquisitive: Your sneak attack and class skills really lean into WIS/INT. It’s gotta be a pass.

Mastermind: Your utility is unrivaled amongst other rogues because of your ability to Help as a bonus action. But, that’s where your usefulness will probably end as a Triton Mastermind Rogue.

Phantom: Doesn’t worry too much about your actual ability scores, so this is actually a viable pick.

Scout: Love their mobility options and they can hit hard. As a STR based Rogue, this can work well. 

Soulknife: Needs high DEX in the late game, but fine for early level campaigns.  

Swashbuckler: Perfect for a sea-faring adventure, however, you really want DEX for these guys. So… skip. It’s so sad that these guys don’t fit.

Thief: Classic rogue. Solid options. Needs DEX though.

Sorcerer

You’ll likely be spending your Ability Score Improvement levels on boosting your CHA further, but the STR, CON, and CHA you do have will give your build much more versatility.

Aberrant Mind: Access to Wizard and Warlock spells is beautiful. Telepathy is beautiful. It’s a lot of fun. 

Clockwork Soul: Bastion of Law is an amazing way to reduce damage and your level 1 reaction to negage advantage or disadvantage is kind of game making/breaking.

Divine Soul: The Cleric sorcerer. Really solid spell options. Healing and damage potential is through the roof. Love these guys.

Draconic Bloodline: Love draconic attacks and getting wings. Having a land, swim, and fly speed is fairly rare.

Rune Child: You’ll be spending your sorcery points like a billionaire on a spending spree, but your effects are a lot of fun.

Shadow Sorcery: Loads of fun. Be an Emo Triton and this is a perfect fit. The Hound of Ill Omen is one of the better utility options in the game to maximize your save-or-suck spells. 

Storm Sorcery: Perfect thematic fit. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of this. Depending on how your DM handles electricity underwater, things could get really interesting.

Wild Magic: The staple effect of the wild magic surge is one of my absolute favorites, however, I don’t love that it happens extremely rarely. DMs should basically always have you roll for the Wild Magic Surge to make it interesting. Otherwise, this subclass is only really interesting at level 18 which is a hard sell. 

Warlock

Basically, it’s everything I have to say about the Triton-Sorcerer. It’s good, but you’ll always want more CHA! 

Archfey: Misty escape is excellent. Pretty solid choice.

Celestial: Cleric warlockery, loads of fun. Solid utility.

Fathomless: You rooted for Ursula. That’s the kind of person you are.

Fiend: Pretty survivable in the early game. Late game, around level 14, this guy goes a bit crazy with the ability to do 10d10 damage. Yowza wowza. Get a load of this guy.

Genie: Love the options, but you’ll need the highest CHA possible to boost the AC of your Genie’s Vessel. Level 6 fly speed is really solid.

Great Old One: Entropic ward is a great “you activated my trap card” effect. Overall, I like these guys.

Hexblade: An expanded crit range at level 1 against your cursed target is gnarly. Your boosted CON will make surviving in melee combat much easier.

Undying: Kind of insane in campaigns that heavily involve the undead (they’re forced to make a save or pick a different target, potentially wasting the attack if they can’t pick anyone else. Surprisingly tanky.

Wizard

No INT bonus is going to feel pretty bad. The CON bonus will help you sustain your spells a bit better and will hopefully give you a decent boost to your HP from level to level. However, you will absolutely need to spend your Ability Score Improvement levels on boosting your INT or picking feats that boost INT. 

Abjuration: Good defensive spells. Not much more to say than that.

Artificer: Play the artificer, not this. 

Bladesinging: Technically for elves only. Plus, if you wanted to play this, your lack of a decent INT score would make this a really bad choice for you. Your AC and attacks would really suffer.

Chronurgy Wizard: Extremely strong abilities. Needs a higher INT.

Conjuration: I like summoning a lot in D&D 5e, and their summons are amongst the best, but they really only shine in the late game.

Divination: Choosing from pre-rolled options is insane-o in the brain-o. I love these guys.

Enchantment: Strong abilities, but they are built on save-or-suck spells, so low INT will make your spell save DC pretty sad. Be wary and play wisely. Use your strongest spells when you can guarantee advantage on your attacks or disadvantage on enemy saves.

Evocation: Master blaster. Low INT is going to kill your damage output because you might not be hitting as consistently.

Graviturgist: I really like their effects and I think gravity magic is some of the coolest in the game, but you’ll have to pick when to use your effects wisely. You’re all about the set-up!

Illusion: Strong in the hands of a creative thinker. 

Necromancy: Not getting a horde of undead buddies is pretty sad. The best way to make undead friends is the Undying Warlock, you’re one of ‘em!

Order of Scribes: For the spell collectors out there, these guys are a hoot.

Transmutation: These guys can be pretty fun, but with the advent of the full Artificer class, they have lost a lot of their draw.

War Magic: Arcane Deflection is wicked to boost your AC, but having low INT is going to hurt your class abilities later on.

Racial Feats/Best Feats

The Triton has no racial feats, #sad.

When we’re looking at picking feats for the Triton, there aren’t any fundamental weaknesses we are trying to cover up if we’re going for a good melee build. If you’ve picked a caster, you’re probably going to forgo feats to boost your spellcasting modifier. So, these feats have been picked with a melee build in mind.

Great Weapon Master: Depending on your weapon of choice (in this case, heavy weapons), this will likely be your bread and butter. A -5 penalty for a +10 to damage is absolutely bonkers, and goes brilliantly with a Barbarian’s Reckless Attack. Keep your bonus actions open since if you reduce something to 0 hit points, you can get bonus action attack.

Polearm Master: If you’re like me, the ability to maximize your reactions is a key to getting the most out of a game. Picking a weapon with reach and getting an opportunity attack when they come into your attack range is kind of insane. Free attacks on your enemy’s turn is ridiculous.

Sentinel: Paired with either/both of the above feats, you’ll be getting a lot of mileage out of your reactions. Especially with Polearm Master, if you hit someone with an opportunity attack (probably 10 feet from you), you can reduce their speed to zero and get some solid damage off. And if you have Great Weapon Master, since many polearm weapons are heavy, you can also decide to take a -5 on that OA to deal INSANE damage. These three feats together will make you a truly fearsome

Sage Gamers

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