Fantasy garage: The 5 best cars for a Dungeons & Dragons campaign

You must gather your party before venturing forth!

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
6 min read

Sure, D&D is having a massive resurgence thanks to Critical Role and celebrities like Joe Manganiello, but has anyone ever asked what cars would be best in a campaign?

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Roadshow's staff is a bunch of weirdos, me included. That's why it should come as no surprise to anyone that my second great love -- after motorized transport, of course -- is Dungeons & Dragons. The venerable roleplaying game is having a massive resurgence in popularity thanks to live-play shows and podcasts like Critical Role (that's literally hundreds of hours of entertainment for quarantine, you're welcome).

Now that I'm in week three (I think? time has no meaning) of sheltering in place, it's only natural that my two great interests are starting to mingle, and that has me wondering which cars would work best as player characters in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

A caveat before I get going: As anyone who plays D&D will tell you, the possibility of getting a little too "in the weeds" during character creation is real. So, for the sake of simplicity and whatever shreds of sanity I have left, I'm going to be sticking to what I feel are the five core classes: fighter, rogue, cleric, wizard and bard. 

Sure, there are plenty of useful comparisons to be drawn between the warlock class (which receives power as part of a pact with a powerful and often problematic entity) and, say, the . Or the Challenger Hellcat Redeye and the barbarian class (obvi). Still, I'll save those for another time. Let's get to it.

Fighter: Toyota 4Runner

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Every party needs a fighter -- someone who can rush right into a battle and be expected to hold the enemy at bay while the more fragile characters deal with big damage from a distance. Playing a fighter often means thinking about utility before glory. That's why my party's fighter is none other than the .

Think about it: The 4Runner is relatively ancient, in car terms. It's not especially sophisticated or chic, but it's proven to be a workhorse, and a nigh-on-indestructible workhorse at that. It's useful in basically any situation and will do almost anything you ask it to without much fuss.

My runner-up is the . Like the 4Runner, it's solidly built, capable and welcomes abuse, but it's also a little more image-conscious than the 4Runner. You don't buy a Wrangler without winking at yourself in the mirror in the morning, and you don't drive down the road without being ready for the "Jeep wave." In short, the Wrangler's got just a little too much ego for the job.

Rogue: Hyundai Veloster N

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Having a rogue in the party is not a necessity, but man does it make life a lot easier. The rogue opens up a world of possibilities to the party with its ability to fly under the radar and deal damage that is in direct contrast to its toughness. Rogues aren't good at everything, and they can be a total liability in some cases, but you've got to love them anyway. (The Nissan Rogue has the name recognition, but that's a little too obvious here, plus it's not the right car for the job.)

Those same attributes are why I love the . To most people, it's just a hatchback, and not worthy of further inspection. But with the push of a few buttons and an enthusiastic application of the throttle, the Veloster N is a giant-killer. It makes a boatload of power for its segment and is much more lively in the handling department than many would expect. 

Unfortunately -- here's that liability bit -- the Veloster N's performance potential requires some sacrifice from the driver in terms of comfort and convenience, especially in the cushioning department. I wouldn't want to drive from LA to Seattle in one, for example, unless that trip was for a literal spine replacement.

Still, if you want to sneak up on unsuspecting sports cars and then ruin their day, as any real rogue would, the Veloster N is a hell of a way to do it.

Wizard: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

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The wizard is one of Dungeons & Dragons' most challenging classes to play. Keeping track of all the spells you have access to and the components you need to cast them takes a lot of time and effort. They're high maintenance, and as such, it's not a class for the inexperienced player. 

For those with patience and guts, though, wizards are insanely powerful and can do things that border on game-breaking, but that power comes with great physical fragility. Sure, you can throw a massive fireball at a group of marauding bugbears, but if one gets through and hits you with its club, it's probably time for your party-mates to go headstone shopping.

When trying to figure out what car best represented the wizard class, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio came immediately to mind. It's powerful, exotic and does amazing things. It's a genuinely staggering machine, but it's also... breakable.

The Giulia QF's fragility is well documented. It's high-strung and Italian, and while that is a recipe for driving brilliance, it's also historically a recipe for being in the shop all the time and costing its owners a boatload of greenbacks, and probably a lot of hair as well.

Cleric: Toyota Land Cruiser 

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Clerics are the glue that holds an adventuring party together. They're tough and can take a ton of punishment. They're helpful and utilitarian, always healing party members and improving their abilities through spells such as Guidance and Bless, but they're also super capable in a fight and generally unflappable.

Like the fighter, the cleric isn't the flashiest class. It's not a front-line combatant, and it's not always making a big splash in the middle of a battle. But the cleric is indispensable, and you definitely miss it when it's not around.

I don't know about you, but that sure sounds like the fantasy game equivalent of the to me. It's not flashy, but it's virtually indestructible. It's something that will get you through a tough situation without complaint, and that will do its best to help keep you comfy along the way. 

It's got lots of room for cargo and people, and it's plush on-road and epic off-road despite its size. Sure, it's expensive and kind of ancient, but that just means it's well-built, and all the bugs are ironed out, right?

Bard: Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

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The bard class is unique in that the entire concept is based around being a generalist. The bard is good at everything but great at nothing. It's a class focused on social skills. Bards are fun and likable (usually) but also someone who you'd want to have around in a scrap.

Thinking about what car features that kind of all-around utility that you can use every day but still has the ability to surprise you and put a smile on your face, it's pretty hard to argue against the .

Is the 911 the fastest car on Earth? Nope. Is it the cheapest or most rugged? No and no, but because the 911 chooses to be the best at nothing, it ends up being good at everything. It's comfortable, even on long trips. It's quick and it's fast, and it's practical for a sports car, with room for plenty of cargo, but it's still small and lithe.

The 4S isn't the cheapest 911 you can buy, nor does it have the kind of insane rapidity of the Turbo S . It's not track-focused like a GT3, but it's more exciting and engaging than a base Carrera. It's precisely the kind of car I want to live with every day, and it works its magic while being approachable and friendly and putting a smile on your face. It's a bard.

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First published April 11.