Introduction

Want to play a mermaid, but can’t handle the lack of legs? Playing in an underwater campaign, but you still want to be mostly human? Enter the Triton! An amphibious humanoid capable of thriving in a variety of classes and environs. In terms of personality, tritons are duty-driven and noble, but overbearing. Basically, if you took the dogmatic paladin stereotype and made it a fish person, you would end up with a triton.

Mechanically, the original version of the Triton has a lot to offer. Ability increases to three ability scores is rare (only the Half-Elf, the Triton, and the default Human got that until Van Richten’s Guide to Everything gave us the first taste of the new ability score increase mechanics), and it’s a great spread. Darkvision, damage resistance, amphibious, and you can talk to anything that can breath water (one-way only; they don’t get to talk back unless they already could. I don’t know how the spell Water Breathings works with this, but ask your DM.). On top of that, you get some innate spellcasting. The effects are situational so it’s not a major defining trait, but it’s still nice, and the Triton is notably the only race that gets a 3rd-level spell as an innate spell.

The custom origin rules broaden the Triton’s horizons, making them an appealing option for MAD classes like the Druid and the Monk. Gust of Wind is the Triton’s only innate spell that allows a saving throw, and it’s not good enough to justify worrying about it, so if you dump Charisma that’s totally fine. Beyond that, cold resistance and Darkvision are appealing on any character.

The updated version of the Triton changes very little. The new standard for ability score increases allows you to choose +2/+1 or three +1’s, so the Triton’s three increases is less novel, but none of the changes affect the Triton’s class options in any significant way.

Disclaimer

RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

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The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.

RPGBOT is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.

Table of Contents

Triton Versions

The Triton effectively has three versions. The original version of the Triton was published in Volo’s Guide to Monsters.

The introduction of the custom origin rules in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything gave us the second version of the Triton. Allowing players to rearrange their ability score increases broadened their horizons beyond paladins.

Most recently, the Triton was updated and republished in Monsters of the Multiverse. The Triton’s innate spellcasting replaces Wall of Water with Water Walk and now allows you to pick your spellcasting ability and re-cast the spells using spell slots (the new standard), and the Triton now uses the new standard for ability score increases. I don’t think there’s any exciting reason for the change other than that WotC didn’t want to reprint Wall of Water. I think Wall of Water wasn’t a great spell, but it was still generally useful enough as an innate spell, while Water Walk is extremely situational.

Emissary of the Sea was updated to limit the creature type to beast, elementals, and monstrosities. Between the innate spellcasting and the creature type limitation, the changes aren’t huge, but I still consider them a small nerf.

Triton Classes (Customizable Origins and MMoM)

This section assumes that you’re using the option updated versions of the race, including the “Customizing Your Origin” rules presented in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and/or the updated version published in Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse. Because the race changed so little between those two versions, I have decided to combine these two sections. If you’re not using those rules, scroll down to the “Classic Rules” section.

Artificer

Cold resistance, Darkvision, and some innate spellcasting are a good complement to the Artificer’s capabilities. The innate spellcasting isn’t amazing for the Artificer, but it helps.

Barbarian

Barbarians will struggle to make use of the innate spellcasting, but it’s mostly utility options anyway, and Darkvision and cold resistance are still decent.

Bard

Three ability score increases makes it easy to increase Dex/Con/Cha, but if you’re using the updated version of the Triton it’s also great to stick to Con/Cha. The innate spellcasting will complement the Bard’s limited number of spells known, but the spells aren’t ones that most characters will cast multiple times per day.

Cleric

Since clerics generally don’t use weapons and therefore don’t need a high Str/Dex score, the updated version of the Triton has an advantage here. Cold resistance and Darkvision are both great, and the innate spellcasting is passable.

Druid

Cold resistance, Darkvision, and innate spellcasting are all great, but Fog Cloud, Gust of Wind, and Water Walk are all druid spells. Even Emissary of the Sea isn’t especially novel since you can often solve those same problems magically. The Triton adds very little that the Druid can’t already provide.

Fighter

Fog Cloud is exciting if you take Fighting Style (Blind Fighting). It works very similarly to magical darkness, except that devils and warlocks still can’t see through it, placing you at a massive tactical advantage. If you’re using the Monsters of the Multiverse version of the Triton, an eldritch knight can re-cast it using spell slots, allowing you bring this tactic into play repeatedly at low cost. Of course, it only works at very short range and your allies won’t be able to see either, so use with caution.

Other varieties of fighter may struggle to make the Triton’s traits useful beyond cold resistance and Darkvision.

Monk

The custom origin version of the Triton is one of very few races with three +1 increases prior to the publication of the lineages in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft and the updated races in Monsters of the Multiverse, so the Triton has some niche appeal if you want 16 in each of Dex/Con/Wis.

The updated version of the Triton is less novel since everyone can get three +1 increases. With that level playing field, the Triton’s primary distinguishing traits is their innate spellcasting, which isn’t particularly useful for the Monk.

In either case, cold resistance is nice, and Darkvision is excellent if you want to sneak around.

Paladin

With the flexibility offered by the custom origin rules or the updated version of the Triton, they’re no longer pigeon-holed as amphibious paladins. They do still make decent paladins, but there’s no unique or exciting rules interactions here. Cold resistance and Darkvision are always great, Emissary of the Sea offers an additional way to solve problems using your ample social skills, and innate spellcasting offers some additional utility options.

The updated version of the Triton can re-cast their innate spells using spell slots, but the spells aren’t so broadly useful that doing so is not a significant improvement.

Ranger

Cold resistance and Darkvision are always great, Emissary of the Sea offers allows you to nonviolently handle some creatures that might otherwise require spells like Animal Friendship, and innate spellcasting offers some additional utility options.

The updated version of the Triton can re-cast their innate spells using spell slots, but the spells aren’t so broadly useful that doing so is not a significant improvement.

Rogue

Cold resistance and Darkvision are great. The innate spellcasting is only situationally useful, but Fog Cloud does make a great escape mechanism if you’re off scouting and get into trouble.

Sorcerer

The innate spellcasting offers some additional options to complement the Sorcerer’s limited number of spells known, but they’re not broadly useful enough for that to make a huge difference, so you’re mostly riding on cold resistance and Darkvision.

The updated version of the Triton can re-cast their innate spells using spell slots, but the spells aren’t so broadly useful that doing so is not a significant improvement.

Warlock

Cold resistance and Darkvision are still great, but Darkvision won’t let you see through your own Fog Cloud and neither will Devil’s Sight.

The updated version of the Triton can re-cast their innate spells using spell slots, but the spells aren’t so broadly useful that doing so is not a significant improvement.

Wizard

Cold resistance and Darkvision are both nice, but easily replaced with spells once you’re beyond low levels. The innate spellcasting is all spells on the Wizard’s spell list (with the exception of Wall of Water, but that’s no great loss). The Triton doesn’t bring anything to the wizard that you couldn’t already do.

The updated version of the Triton can re-cast their innate spells using spell slots, but the spells aren’t so broadly useful that doing so is not a significant improvement.

Triton Classes (Classic Rules)

This section assumes that you’re not using the option “Customizing Your Origin” rules presented in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything or the updated version of the race published in Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse. If you are using those rules, scroll up to the previous section.

Artificer

No Intelligence increase.

Barbarian

Strength and Constitution are great, but the Barbarian has little use for Charisma and the innate spellcasting can’t be used while you’re raging.

Bard

Strength-based builds are extremely difficult for the Bard, but the Constitution and Charisma increases are great. If you can make it to level 3 College of Valor will get you medium armor, so you can get by on just 14 Dexterity, but you may have better lucky simply ignoring your Strength increase.

Cleric

Bad ability spread.

Druid

Bad ability spread.

Fighter

The Triton makes a fine fighter. Strength and Constitution are great, and the innate spellcasting offer some useful options, but the Paladin is a better fit because it makes better use of the Triton’s ability score increases. The Purple Knight can still make good use of the Charisma increase, of course, but since so few other fighter subclasses get Face skills or Charisma-based abilities it can be very difficult to bring Charisma into play.

Monk

Three ability increases, but none are to Dexterity or Wisdom.

Paladin

The Triton’s ability scores perfectly match what the Paladin needs. if you use the “point buy” method for your ability scores, you could start with 16 in Strength, Constitution, and Charisma. That’s pretty great, but you’ll have 8s everywhere else which hurts.

Ranger

The Triton’s ability scores don’t work great for the Ranger. Strength-based builds are possible, but they’re hard.

Rogue

No Dexterity increase.

Sorcerer

Constitution and Charisma are a great start, and the combination of Amphibious and innate spellcasting will offer you some additional tools without requiring you to learn those spells.

Warlock

Constitution and Charisma are a great start, and for a Hexblade you could build around Strength instead of Dexterity if you’re brave enough to try it in medium armor. Innate spellcasting is always welcome on warlocks due to their limited spell slots.

Wizard

No Intelligence increase.