Tritons in DnD 5e are regal, blue-skinned people of the deep sea, gaining +1 to Strength, Constitution and Charisma. Historically, this distant race are keepers of the sea—battling krakens and other monsters from the Elemental Plane of Water. Their royal nature makes them a bit arrogant. However, their Atlantean-like civilization brings a sense of honor to the character.
Consider these elements when building a triton character in DnD 5e:
- Triton story backgrounds
- Triton abilities and inherent spells
- Paladin build: Oath of the Ancients
- Warlock build: The Fathomless Patron
- Cleric build: Tempest Domain
- Bard build: College of Valor
If you’d like a premade campaign to play your Triton character, check out my pirate adventure below.
Triton story backgrounds
Hidden undersea kingdoms make for a mysterious character background. The most obvious mythological example I could pull from is Atlantis—not so much Plato’s version, but what the story transformed into. Really, this race is straight-up inspired by Aquaman and his Atlantis. This sets up all kinds of fascinating roles for my inherently royal, sea-based character.
I’ll likely choose to create this character in a sea-based adventure. Whether a high-seas pirate campaign, a water world or an arctic ice excursion, I can utilize my ocean connection to fit the story. Of course, these adventurers can appear in unusual places as well—being outside of their normal habitat anyway. Therefore, don’t feel restrained to the ocean.
Consider a fallen hero, a cleric on a mission, a disgraced king, a royal on the run or an ousted criminal for a complex, interesting background.
|Guide to Building an Island Campaign: DnD 5e||Guide to Building a Warlock Fathomless Patron: DnD 5e|
Triton abilities and inherent spells
Naturally, the Triton people come with inherent water spells and abilities.
Amphibious grants me the ability to breathe underwater. This alone opens undersea adventure options for a game. Fortunately, other classes can gain the ability to breathe underwater as well—be it a spell or magic item. However, I can dive in wherever from the start.
Control Air and Water gives me 3 different spells as I level up.
- Fog cloud (level 1)—create a blinding cloud of fog with 20-foot radius.
- Gust of Wind (level3)—send a powerful gale of wind. Foes must roll Strength check or be pushed 15 feet away.
- Wall of Water (level 5) create a wall up to 30 feet wide, 10 feet tall and 1 foot thick. Ranged attacks that hit the wall are made with disadvantage and fire spell damage is halved. Cold spells that pass through the wall cause that space to freeze. This frozen section has 5 AC and 15 hit points. If the ice section shatters, the water doesn’t refill the space.
Emissary of the Sea gives me the ability to command sea creatures. However, I can’t understand them in return. Like I said, this character can be very Aquaman.
Finally, Guardians of the Depths gives me resistance to cold damage. Plus, I can resist any negative effect of extreme depth. This factor probably doesn’t come up often, but water pressure in the deep sea can be extreme. It’s worth considering.
Paladin build: Oath of the Ancients
A paladin build is probably the most straight-forward class for the tritons. Being a guardian of the sea, this class comes pre-equipped with strong paladin traits. The Strength, Constitution, Charisma combination can be used to optimal effect.
This character would utilize the intense Divine Smite ability, channeling sea magic into my sword for an extra 2d8 radiant damage. Of course, I can crank this damage up with higher spell slots. Alongside my Divine Smite damage, I’ll choose the Dueling Fighting Style for extra +2 damage. I’ll also utilize Lay on Hands for myself and my party, restoring HP equal to my paladin level X 5.
When I reach level 3 and take the Oath of the Ancients, I’ll gain a connection to nature with extra benefits. Normally, this type of build is seen as green or elven, but I think it fits the sea perfectly.
With this class, I’ll gain spells like moonbeam, misty step and speak with animals at early levels. These powerful and useful spells fit my racial background well. Plus, I’ll be able to use Channel Divinity to create spectral vines to hold my foes against a Strength DC. However, I’ll probably change these vines to tentacles or sea anemone in appearance.
Warlock build: The Fathomless Patron
On the other hand, I can turn against my people as a Warlock of the Fathomless Patron. This patron comes directly from the Elemental Plane of Water, the source of monsters the tritons fight against. Perhaps this character is on a positive story arch, or maybe you’re playing a campaign of villains. Either way, the tritons’ natural Charisma affinity and sea connection fit this warlock well.
I’ll choose Pact of the Blade to summon a magic weapon and utilize my high Strength score. Also, I’ll grab basic warlock spells eldritch blast and arms of Hadar that fit my underwater vibe. I can then increase the effectiveness of these spells with Eldritch Invocations. However, the Fathomless patron grants my warlock more tempest-like spells: thunderwave, lightning bolt, sleet storm, summon water elemental.
The major feature of this patron are all the fun magic tentacle effects: Tentacle of the Deeps and its Guardian Coil move. Plus, I’ll gain a bonus Evard’s black tentacles spell. The Tentacle of the Deeps can be used as spectral weapon that is 10 feet long, striking for 1d8 as a bonus action. Plus, this attack reduces my foe’s speed by 10 as the tentacle wraps around them. Guardian Coil uses this magic tentacle to defend myself and allies—granting us 1d8 to roll against the damage.
|Scariest Sea Monsters in World Mythologies||Guide to Building Pirate Characters: DnD 5e|
Cleric build: Tempest Domain
Solid Strength and Constitution scores can benefit a cleric build, especially in the Tempest Domain. Though I won’t lean into my Charisma score like the paladin, this build synergizes with my background and natural abilities well. This character is a classic example of a true triton—a guardian of the sea. However, it taps into the sea’s nature with the sky, combining storm magic with underwater capabilities.
As a cleric, I’ll lean into aiding my allies with healing spells while I smash foes. Plus, any undead I come across can be turned by my Channel Divinity. Eventually, this will transform into Destroy Undead as I level higher. I’ll also be set up as with chainmail, a mace and a shield.
However, the Tempest Domain will grant me proficiency with heavy armor and martial weapons, as well as tempest spells. Once again, spells like fog cloud, call lightning and sleet storm are added to my spell list. Wisdom will be my spellcasting modifier, so I’ll need to build the character with Wisdom in mind.
Combat abilities like Wrath of the Storm and Thunderbolt Strike add heavy storm damage to foes in melee range. Wrath of the Storm deals 2d8 lightning or thunder damage to foes who strike me. I can use this ability an amount of times equal to my Wisdom modifier. Thunderbolt Strike pushes enemies back 10 feet who are hit with lightning damage.
Bard build: College of Valor
A bard College of Valor taps into all 3 of my ability score modifiers, using Charisma for magic alongside melee combat features. A triton version of a bard could manifest sound in interesting ways, something like a whale call or siren song. Also, songs about the sea and its mysteries would be interesting.
Of course, my basic bard abilities grant me Bardic Inspiration Dice equal to my Charisma modifier. These d6 dice can be granted to friends for ability checks, attack rolls and saving throws. Also, I’ll have access to the psychic list of bardic spells, including dissonant whispers, vicious mockery, Tasha’s hideous laughter and charm person.
At level 3, the College of Valor grants me proficiency with shields and medium armor—making this build the tank of bards. I can now use my Bardic Inspiration dice for Combat Inspiration, granting extra 1d6 damage to an ally’s attack. As I level, I’ll gain an Extra Attack and Battle Magic, which gives me a bonus attack after casting a spell.
Don’t forget, bards are talent incarnate, granting a laundry list of bonuses to ability scores. Naturally, I’ll still lean into abilities that fit my ability scores. However, I can literally learn anything and I’m halfway decent at everything—Jack of All Trades, Expertise.