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  • D&D 5e: Let’s Build A Triton!

    July 19, 2021 10 min read

    Many merfolk exist in Dungeons & Dragons 5e, with the Triton hailing from the Elemental Plane of Water. Tritons devote themselves to hunt various threats in their Plane while also making it their responsibility to defend deep sea portals, undersea caves, and trenches in the Material Plane. Players interested in making a character of an exotic race can make an honorable Triton a part of their party. They can be diplomats, adventurers, or even messengers sent to deliver a dire omen.


    This guide will help characters craft a Triton that suits their playstyle and creative needs. Their exotic nature will leave a lot to the imagination, which can help Players create a memorable and exciting character to play with.

    Basics: The Traits

    As denizens of the Elemental Plane of Water, Tritons have special characteristics that other people on the surface don’t normally share. Moreover, their Amphibious nature immediately allows them to explore more areas in the game compared to others, and their extra spells can further diversify their offerings to the party. Moreover, their unique humanoid appearance can make them a mystery even to people they interact with on the surface, which is something DMs may be able to take advantage of. Here are other characteristics of Tritons:

    • Ability Score Increase: STR + 1, CON + 1, CHA + 1
    • Age: Triton can live for as long as 200 years, reaching maturity at around 15 years old.
    • Size and Speed: Medium (5ft tall, with the same build as humans). 30ft walking speed, 30ft swimming speed.
    • Alignment: As guardians of the seas, Triton lean towards Lawful Good - they appreciate benevolence and order.
    • Racial Features: Triton have these racial features:
      • Amphibious, giving them the ability to breathe water and air.
      • Control Air and Water, enabling the Triton to cast a variety of spells using their CHA as their Spellcasting Ability:
        • At 1st Level, they can cast Fog Cloud.
        • If they reach 3rd Level, they can cast Gust of Wind once every long rest.
        • If they reach 5th Level, they can cast Wall of Water once every long rest.
      • Guardian of the Depths, which gives the Triton Resistance to cold damage and doesn't suffer any of the setbacks within an underwater and deep environment.
      • Languages, of which Triton can write, read, and speak Primordial and Common.

    Triton: The Best Classes To Build

    Due to the Triton’s nature as protectors and guardians of their Elemental Plane, it’s perhaps natural for Tritons on the surface to have some degree of training with them. As such, they may be in professions that specialize in fighting or perhaps even share a degree of spellcasting prowess. Other Tritons that end up on the surface may do so in the search of a new experience, or perhaps even as a part of a calling from a deity or some higher power. Here are some of the more efficient Classes a Triton may be a part of:

    • Bard: Thanks to the foreign nature of the Triton, having the skills of the Bard would help them elaborate on various tales and adventures of their communities in a way never before heard or seen by outsiders. In a way, Triton Bards can serve as historians or even storytellers, representing Triton communities as diplomat-adventurers or even dignitaries sent to negotiate peace contracts. Or, perhaps, a Triton Bard simply wanted to gather more tales from the surface in order to create more compelling ballads and stories to share back in the Elemental Plane.
      • Thanks to the all-around Bonuses of Triton for STR, CHA, and CON, they can make well-balanced Bards. For instance, their CHA can boost a Bard’s innate abilities, while STR and CON can help Bards be sturdier as a melee fighter in the battlefield. Moreover, these small bonuses leave a lot of room for Players to experiment with builds, especially melee-oriented Bards.
      • Triton Bards would delight in their various skill sets, thanks in part to Jack of All Trades. Moreover, Triton Bards would be able to fully support their comrades on the get go, given they have an ever-evolving spell pool as well as Bardic Inspiration. Song of Rest, Font of Inspiration, and Countercharm also enables them to further diversify their roles as healers in the battlefield and the natural “sweet-talkers” outside of it.
      • Given the nature of the Triton, they may fit Bard Colleges that exemplify their exotic or foreign nature. These include the Colleges of Eloquence and Lore, both of which may help the Triton teach people outside the Elemental Planes more about their culture. Likewise, the Colleges of Spirits and Valor may enable the Triton to carry their own weight in combat without creating any unnecessary strain on their allies.
    • Cleric: A religious Triton would likely hold their faith dear to them, especially when they visit the surface world for the first time. A pious Triton would find refuge in the fact that their deities are always with them, leading them a step closer into becoming Clerics. Likewise, a Triton Cleric may already be an active servant of their deity, choosing to go to the surface for the sake of a mission or a quest on behalf of their god.
      • Despite the lack of WIS bonuses on the get-go, Tritons receive a decent +1 to STR, CHA, and CON on the onset. As such, Tritons can have decent boosts to become a melee Cleric, and all the while leaving room for Players to focus on boosting WIS to enhance the Cleric’s spellcasting potency. In turn, a Triton might make a great mace-wielding Cleric that can bash undead and still offer decent support potential.
      • Triton Clerics add a lot of diversity to the party, even for a role stereotypically attached to healers. On the get-go, Clerics gain Spellcasting and Channel Divinity features that can cement their roles on the battlefield. Moreover, other traits such as Destroy Undead and Divine Intervention can build Clerics perfect for dealing with divine and infernal threats such as the undead, making them an invaluable asset inside and outside combat.
      • Thanks to the relationship of the Triton with their Elemental Plane, it makes sense for their Divine Domains to be more in tune with Tempest, Nature, and Life - all of which enable the Triton to showcase both the fury and the calm of the seas with their various spells.
    • Fighter: A Triton Fighter would choose to take up arms to defend their homeland from the various outsiders, carrying with them unique battle tactics and styles unique to the Triton or even adapted from the surface world. Triton Fighters would specialize in fighting threats underwater or even above ground. Moreover, their chosen Martial Archetype further diversifies the Fighter’s skillset into whatever kind of combat they so choose to master.
      • The STR, CHA, and CON Ability Score Bonuses of Triton make them perfect for a Fighter, considering the individual benefits of these Ability Scores. STR and CON remain essential to make Fighters both tough and hard-hitting, while CHA can give them enough prowess to intimidate foes and charm potential allies. Moreover, despite only +1 in terms of bonuses, these still leave enough room for Players to experiment with other relevant Abilities such as DEX for mobility.
      • A Triton Fighter might look simple at first glance, but their various offerings make them one of the most versatile Class options out there. Fighting Style alone can dictate the Fighter's approach in combat, while their various Archetypes can offer special abilities that further cement their role in battle. Moreover, their freedom to trade Ability Score Increases for Feats will allow Fighters to offer more combat options to the party.
      • Given the foreign nature of the Triton, it may make sense for their Fighters to adopt more exotic and unconventional battle tactics against different foes. As such, more uncommon Fighter Archetypes such as the Psychic Warrior, Psi Knight, or Rune Knight might be to their tastes. Likewise, the Elemental Plane may have more water-themed versions of more common Fighter Archetypes such as the Eldritch Knight, Arcane Archer, and the Monster Hunter.
    • Paladin: A Triton would go to the surface world as an avatar-warrior of a deity from the Elemental Plane, serving as a Paladin on a quest on their behalf. Like the Fighter, a Triton Paladin would specialize in various forms of combat - augmented by the divine gifts their deities have given them. Moreover, a Triton Paladin would serve rightly as a diplomat or a knight-protector of a Triton nobility who might choose to travel to the surface to commune with various aboveground colonies for peace talks.
      • The innate +1 Ability Score Bonuses to STR, CON, and CHA that the Triton possess make them perfect for a melee-oriented Paladin, given that the latter also benefits from these Abilities. A Paladin relies on CHA for much of their traits, while CON makes them tough and hard to kill. Lastly, STR forms the basic stereotype of a melee-oriented Paladin. In turn, Players may have enough room to tinker with these primary Abilities or even extra Abilities such as DEX to make them nimbler.
      • Triton Paladins have a diverse array of features that enable them to have both an efficient combat and support role. For instance, Lay on Hands enables Paladin to perform emergency healing. Meanwhile, Divine Smite and their assortment of smites and combat spells can make them juggernauts in the battlefield. Lastly, Fighting Style also helps cement the Paladin's approach to combat.
      • A Triton Paladin may be attached to deities responsible for the protection of the Elemental Plane of Water, meaning Triton Paladins may most likely be a part of the Oath of the Ancients, Crown, or Devotion - each of which ensuring the Triton has combat abilities that may enable them to heal and protect the party as well as punish those who dare go near them.
    • Sorcerer: Thanks to their exotic nature, not everyone knows how Tritons deal with the arcane in their respective Elemental Planes. As such, it makes sense for a Triton to be born with an unexplainable connection to the arcane, to the point that their aptitude to use magic becomes extremely high as they age. Some Triton Sorcerers may be trained by their communities to serve as counterparts to Wizards of aboveground cities and empires. Likewise, Triton Sorcerers may be shunned by society due to their raw and untapped power, with most of them choosing to be aboveground to learn how to cope and use their new abilities.
      • Thanks to the Triton’s STR, CON, and CHA Ability Score Bonuses, they might make for great melee-oriented Sorcerers. As Players know, Sorcerers rely on CHA for much of their abilities, while CON makes them much tougher to take down. The STR bonus can help Sorcerers be more adept in melee, but Players may opt to focus on other Abilities such as DEX to make them nimbler or even transform the Sorcerer into a ranged physical combatant as well.
      • Like Wizards, Sorcerers also have a massive pool of spells to choose from. However, what makes them special are their Font of Magic and Metamagic, enabling them to augment and alter the nature of their spells to their whims. Thanks to these abilities, Sorcerers can almost instantly change battle strategies depending on the threats the party faces in combat.
      • Given the Triton’s attachment with the seas, it makes sense for their Sorcerous Origins to be connected with water. These include the Storm and the Sea, both of which with features fitting the Triton’s theme. Likewise, Aberrant Mind, Wild Magic, and Giant Soul may give unique flavors to the Triton thanks in part to their unique set of sorcery features.


    Just Add Water: Interesting Character Backgrounds

    As protectors of their Elemental Plane, Tritons may end up on the surface for a wide variety of reasons. Thanks to their training and acquaintance with much of the aquatic forms near the lands they reside, Tritons may have met and interacted with various aboveground creatures and may even have created hidden settlements nearby. As such, Triton Backgrounds may range from explorers and adventurers to soldiers or even scholars sent to study the surface world for their royalty that reside deep within the Elemental Planes. Here are some Background choices for Tritons:

    • Cloistered Scholar (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide): A Triton who is also a Cloistered Scholar may have spent years or decades of studying the surface world before even setting foot outside the Elemental Plane. They may have decided on a life of adventure after reading tales of adventurers and the mysterious lands of the surface. Or perhaps their scholarly studies have been set in motion to prepare them for a quest or a journey they were intended to take.
      • Skill Proficiencies: INT (History) and Choose 1 from: INT (Arcana), INT (Nature), INT (Religion)
      • Tools: None
      • Languages: Any two of their choice
    • Far Traveler (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide): The Far Traveler Triton may have come all the way to the surface from deep within the Elemental Plane of Water. This Far Traveler has come to the surface to tell a message, to search for something, or to even accompany something (or someone) to an intended destination in the surface world. If not from the Elemental Plane, a Far Traveler Triton may have come from a distant land in search of adventure, treasure, or even a place of retirement.
      • Skill Proficiencies: WIS (Insight), WIS (Perception)
      • Tools: Choose 1 from: Musical Instrument x1, Gaming Set x1
      • Languages: Any one of their choice
    • Folk Hero (Player’s Handbook): A Folk Hero Triton may have slain a beast threatening their tribe or community or perhaps they have hunted down a creature that had suddenly entered their entrance to the Elemental Plane. Whatever the cause, Tritons of the character’s community wholeheartedly believe in the heroism of the Folk Hero and have sent them on a quest to fulfill a prophecy, to protect the land, or perhaps find a cure for a mysterious illness.
      • Skill Proficiencies: WIS (Survival), WIS (Animal Handling)
      • Tools: Musical Instrument x1, Thieves’ Tools
      • Languages: None
    • Harborfolk (Elemental Evil): Harborfolk Triton may have settled in a patch of land in the distant coast to live a life of peace and solitude while they protect the waters leading to their Elemental Plane. They have relatively peaceful lives, coexisting with nearby towns with trade. A background like this is perfect for the Triton who has a strong sense of home and has come to a life of adventure to seek new ways of better shielding the Elemental Plane of Water from various threats that come from the surface.
      • Skill Proficiencies: STR (Athletics), DEX (Sleight of Hand)
      • Tools: Gaming Set x1, Vehicles (Water)
      • Languages: None
    • Hermit (Player’s Handbook): A Hermit Triton may be a wizened sage or a scholar among their community, tasked to stay with the Triton that ventures into the surface to gather and share their knowledge. Or perhaps, a Hermit Triton may have stayed in the surface world to build a life of their own, away from the responsibilities that fall upon the ordinary Triton. Whatever the reason is for their exile, a Hermit Triton will likely have a lot of knowledge regarding their land.
      • Skill Proficiencies: INT (Religion), WIS (Medicine)
      • Tools: Herbalism kit
      • Languages: Any one language