Do one thing, and do it well. Really well.
Originally Posted by Sir Svarak Steelskin, the Invincible LawSir Svarak Steelskin, the Invincible Law
And the Prophet stayed with the Justicemaker for a day and a night, and was embraced by Him, and clad in His mantle, and fed with His blood, and taught His words. And the Prophet returned to the heathens below, and taught them the words, and brought them Law.
Spoiler: Build summaryShowTN -> LG Dragonborn Neanderthal Bear Totem Whirling Frenzy Barbarian 1/Knight 5.
Spoiler: Ability ScoresShowBase array:
Spoiler: Build tableShow
Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features 1st Barbarian 1 +1 +2 +0 +0 Intimidate 4, Literacy 2, Ride 4, Survival 2 ToughnessB, Roll With It* Bear Totem (Toughness), Draconic Aspect (Wings), Illiteracy, Whirling Frenzy 1/day 2nd Knight 1 +2 +2 +0 +2 Intimidate 5, Ride 5 - Fighting Challenge +1, Knight's Challenge, Knight's Code 3rd Knight 2 +3 +2 +0 +3 Intimidate 6, Ride 6 Mounted CombatB, Roll With It Shield Block +1 4th Knight 3 +4 +3 +1 +3 Intimidate 7, Ride 7 - Bulwark of Defense 5th Knight 4 +5 +3 +1 +4 Intimidate 8, Ride 8 - Armor Mastery (Medium), Test of Mettle 6th Knight 5 +6/+1 +3 +1 +4 Intimidate 9, Ride 9 Iron WillB, Roll With It Vigilant Defender
*Svarak's original feat is Heroic Destiny, which he replaces with Roll With It after undergoing the Rite of Rebirth.
Svarak's ten epic feats are all Roll With It.
Spoiler: StoryShowFrom where did the Prophet come? The people of the Frozen Lands do not agree on that. Some state he traveled here from a distant realm: others maintain that Bahamut personally created him here.
The truth is that he was once a regular neanderthal reaver, living off hunt and plunder. Perhaps by chance, perhaps by some destiny then fulfilled, Bahamut chose him to bring his religion to the scattered tribes of the Frozen Lands.
With a ritual the Platinum Dragon taught him, Svarak abandoned his old humanoid body for an even more intimidating winged draconic shape, and set out to convert the heathens and teach them Bahamut's ways.
There can be no peace without law.
Such was the first commandment of Bahamut, and so Svarak unified the tribes by besting their chiefs. His legendary endurance and resilience allowed him to win battles simply by outlasting his foes. False idols burned and evil priests fled where he went.
There can be no law without scripture.
Such was the second commandment of Bahamut, and so Svarak found his mind opened to writing: a revolutionary concept that proved to be the key to advancing stagnant neanderthal culture. He shared this invention freely, though not all mastered it.
There can be no scripture without wisdom.
Such was the third commandment of Bahamut, and so Svarak lived according to the principles of honor and fairness. He did not mistreat those he ruled over, refused to ambush his adversaries, and applied the law uniformly.
Follow these commandments, and you shall be invincible.
And Svarak, being a dutiful and obedient follower of Bahamut, was indeed given this promised power. His resilience, already legendary, swelled to incredible levels, and his followers regularly beheld their leader be struck by hundreds of arrows, get blasted by powerful magic, or be torn into by cruel claws without as much as a scratch. Even as the goliath he unified the realm with grew old and died, he remained vigorous, unassailed by time itself.
Svarak, Invincible Law, lived to the age of five-hundred and twenty-six years before dying. During the centuries of his rule, uncountable neanderthal tribes had been unified into a strong empire dedicated to Bahamut, and on the day of his death thousands of loyal followers wept. No king who came after him approached his magnificence and glory, so let it be know.
Bahamut be praised.
Spoiler: Level breakdownsShowLevel 1:
Svarak is a fairly typical barbarian, albeit one with an overabundance of constitution. Enjoy twenty hit points and high damage as you demolish encounter after encounter, while applying Heroic Destiny's bonus to important rolls. Outside of combat, Svarak can contribute with his survival skills and ability to intimidate others.
Somewhere before reaching level 2, Svarak has a change of heart, begins worshipping Bahamut, and undergoes the Rite of Rebirth. His alignment shifts to Lawful Good (Whirling Frenzy, unlike Rage, doesn't care), and he exchanges his mostly useless racial traits for a sweet pair of wings.
Because he no longer qualifies for Heroic Spirit after losing Human Blood (which is a neanderthal racial trait after all), Svarak swaps the feat out for Roll With It, making him even bulkier.
Also, Svarak loses his neanderthal illiteracy! As he already bought off the barbarian illiteracy he can now read and write both common and draconic.
Svarak's first level in Knight is quite featureless. He does, however, gain the ability to challenge foes for a minor boost in damage, which is nice at least.
Free Mounted Combat (I'm not saying you should buy a cool frostfell mount, but you should), another iteration of Roll With It, and the near-useless Shield Block.
Bulwark of Defense, a class feature that single-handedly stops enemy advances, is quite welcome. Nothing else of note though.
Test of Mettle is awesome: it forces foes to attack our heavily armored, damage-resistant self rather than the squishy wizard ten feet over. It can be used four times per day: once per encounter.
Another iteration of Roll With It (DR is starting to add up), Iron Will to patch up our second-weakest save, and Vigilant Defender to stop these pesky rogues from tumbling out of reach. A creature with 18 dexterity and the obligatory 5 ranks of Tumble still only has a 50% chance to get past us without getting hit in the progress.
Furthermore, Svarak can now fly for short distances. This ability is greatly strengthened by his high constitution modifier, allowing for up to half a minute of continuous flight.
Finally, Svarak gains a second attack. This is either a nice source of extra damage, or, if your party has DPR covered, a second trip attempt per turn.
That's right: all epic feats are Roll With It! Combined, they increase Svarak's DR to the incredible height of 26/-, which combined with Test of Mettle may cause many fights to end without any damage taken by the party at all. If Svarak does get hurt, 75 HP should see him through for a while.
Svarak's own offensive abilities are somewhat behind those of a damage-dealer, but by efficiently and safely tanking hits he can keep most of an encounter focused on him while the party picks off their foes one by one.
Spoiler: Some numbersShowSvarak has 75 hit points. A 6th-level barbarian with 16 constitution would have 63, an equally-leveled fighter 56. Meanwhile, something like a rogue with 12 constitution has a mere 30 HP.
Svarak also has DR 26/-. To put this into perspective, I randomly selected a number of CR 8 MM monsters and analyzed their ability to damage Svarak should they be affected by his Test of Mettle.
Spoiler: ExamplesShowAthach: maximum morningstar damage 26 (3d6+8), which is fully nullified. A PA-enhanced attack that rolls well can damage Svarak, but is extremely unlikely to deal more than single-digit damage.
Dark Naga: bite attack insufficient to deal damage or deliver poison. Spells can harm Svarak, but no single spell deals more than half his HP on average, making death unlikely.
Destrachan: claws are incapable of dealing damage, even strongest ability hitting for max damage won't reduce Svarak's HP by more than half.
Dire Tiger: strongest attack deals at most 16 damage, which is easily resisted. Bite attack can still damage on a crit; claws are harmless even then.
Efreeti: 1d6 rider fire damage can damage Svarak, regular attacks are too weak. Scorching Ray and Wall of Fire can deal damage but are no true danger.
Giant Octopus: attacks are powerless even on crits. Improved Grab might be a threat, but is arguably negated as well.
Gray Render: attacks boosted heavily with PA might deal single-digit damage. Otherwise no threat.
Seven-Headed Pyrohydra: bite attacks are powerless, but fire jets can significantly damage or even kill Svarak. However, this monster is notoriously overpowered and in my opinion the fact that this build has a better-than-even chance of survival is admirable enough.
Juvenile Green Dragon: Attacks are incapable of dealing damage. Breath Weapon can harm but not significantly injure Svarak. 1st-level sorcerer spells, if used right, may cause temporary inconvenience or minor harm, although flight and high saving throws render most typical strategies ineffective (including, but not limited to, Fengut, Grease, Wall of Smoke and Blockade).
Ogre Mage: attacks are only dangerous on crits, Cone of Cold (usable 1/day) can deal significant damage but will on average remove about a third of Svarak's health, and is altogether incapable of slaying him outright.
Treant: both Trample and Slam attacks are incapable of harming Svarak unless Power Attack or critical hits boost damage.
Young Adult Red Dragon Skeleton: the tail slap is theoretically capable of dealing a single point of damage. Outside of that, only crits are threatening.
Spoiler: WeaknessesShowEnemies with high Will saves and lots of mobility or ranged attacks are dangerous to Svarak, as they can evade Test of Mettle and attack allies behind him.
Foes with AoE effects can attack Svarak's allies even when under the effect of Test of Mettle. Note that if Svarak has the room to fly into the right position, this advantage of theirs disappears.
Reflex-based save-or-suck spells like Bands of Steel are also problematic, but fortunately rare.
Spoiler: GearShowNo gear is required for this build. However, should your DM let you pick and choose, try to get stuff that increases DR, such as adamantine armor.
If you want to focus on damage, a greatsword is the obvious choice. For more defensive characters I suggest a guisarme: it has both reach (large Defensive Bulwark-area!) and trip capability. Incidentally, this also is a good defense against uberchargers: with a guisarme you can trip them before they get you within their reach and leave them prone and damaged in difficult terrain. On your next turn, 5 ft-step closer and unleash a full attack.
Spoiler: CategoriesShowOriginality: Neanderthal is a very underused race, and I believe Svarak's uber-defensive strategy is quite nonconventional as well. Last of all, this is a barbarian without Spirit Lion Totem.
Power: Decent damage output (two attacks per round, 19 strength, full martial proficiency), a smattering of out-of-combat abilities (intimidate, ride, flight, survival), and insane defensive abilities.
Consider this: Svarak has DR 26/-, +8 Fortitude, +5 Will, and over 70 hit points, as well as the ability to draw in enemy fire and complicate their movement. That's as crazy a defensive powerhouse you can get without templates.
Elegance: Yes, that's a barbarian dip. Sue me. No multiclass penalties, cross-setting material, or illegal feat choices, though: I took special care to make sure my level 1 Roll With It is legal at the time I pick it.
UoSI: 5/6ths of Svarak's levels are in the SI, its special abilities are heavily relied upon, and the overall build is in line with the 'feel' of the class.
Spoiler: SourcesShowAnything not listed is from the PHB.
PHB II: Knight (duh)
Races of Destiny: Heroic Destiny
Races of the Dragon: Dragonborn
Savage Species: Roll With It
Unearthed Arcana: Totem Barbarian, Whirling Frenzy