One Redditor has recently discovered over 7 trillion possible character combinations in Dungeons & Dragons.
The Player's Handbook in each edition of Dungeons & Dragons offers different race and class combinations that players can use to craft their character. The exact number of possible combinations is vast, especially when you consider the potential changes that a character can make on the journey to level twenty.
A user on Reddit has worked out the possible character variations in the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, which includes everything on the way to level twenty, including multiclass characters.
Reddit user Synergenesis created a post that details their formula for working out every possible character combination using the content from the Player's Handbook. The formula includes every race, subrace, class, archetype, background, and multiclass variant. It turns out that the number is 7,020,285,872,418.
The reason the number is so high is due to the sheer amount of options available to some classes. The fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons has selectable character choices at a point from level one to three, depending on the class, which determines the character's abilities going forward. An example of this would be a cleric choosing their specific domain at level one, which changes what kind of spells and powers they would gain access to for the remainder of their journey to level twenty. There are also classes that don't make their choice until level three, such as the rogue choosing between becoming an arcane trickster, an assassin, or a thief.
The formula above doesn't take into account other factors, such as stats, skills, feats, or starting equipment selections, which would bump the number up by a few more trillions. The formula also doesn't take into account the playable races, classes, and subclasses from the other books, including Xanathar's Guide to Everything.
The fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons offers a lot more options for lower level characters than earlier editions of the game, as the designers realized that most campaigns generally don't reach level twenty. It's for this reason that so many classes receive most of their customizable options at lower levels than they did before, unlike the third or fourth editions, which didn't give you access to prestige classes/paragon paths until later on. It's due to all of these archetype/subclass options that the potential character list is so high, as the current edition of Dungeons & Dragons offers more options for the base classes than ever before.