A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Captain America Build

    Captain America
    When Captain America throws his mighty shield, all who choose to oppose his shield must yield.

    The Concept
    Build a character who is able to beat foes senseless with his shield, throw his shield, stand up to every kind of foe, and keeps the party safe from harm.

    Our class of choice is Fighter: Eldritch Knight.

    Spoiler: Build
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    Variant Human Fighter, Point Buy: 16 / 10 / 14 / 16 / 8 / 8

    Level Features & Feats New Spells Spell Slots Strength
    1 Fighting Style: Protection
    Second Wind
    Shield Master
    15
    2 Action Surge 1 15
    3 Eldritch Knight
    Weapon Bond
    Light, Blade Ward
    Shield, Absorb Elements (EE), Protection From Evil and Good
    11 15
    4 Tavern Brawler Thunderwave 111 16
    5 Extra Attack 1 111 16
    6 Heavy Armor Master 111 17
    7 War Magic Shatter 111122 17
    8 Athlete Suggestion 111122 18
    9 Indomitable 1 111122 18
    10 Eldritch Strike Gust of Wind 1111222 18
    11 Extra Attack 2 Earth Tremor 1111222 18
    12 Strength +2 1111222 20
    13 Indomitable 2 Dispel Magic 111122233 20
    14 Intelligence +2 Haste 111122233 20
    15 Arcane Charge 111122233 20
    16 Intelligence +2 Remove Curse 1111222333 20
    17 Action Surge 2
    Indomitable 3
    1111222333 20
    18 Improved War Magic 1111222333 20
    19 Any ASI Fire Shield 11112223334 20
    20 Extra Attack 3 Slow 11112223334 20

    Spoiler: Relevant Rules
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    Under Improvised Weapons in the PHB: An object that bears no resemblance to a weapon deals 1d4 damage (the DM assigns a damage type appropriate to the object). If a character uses a ranged weapon to make a melee attack, or throws a melee weapon that does not have the thrown property, it also deals 1d4 damage. An improvised thrown weapon has a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet.

    Under Weapon Bond for Eldritch Knight: At 3rd level, you learn a ritual that creates a magical bond between yourself and one weapon.

    Spoiler: Relevant Rulings
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    Q: If you attack with a shield—most likely as an improvised weapon—do you keep the +2 bonus to AC?
    A: Attacking with a shield doesn’t deprive you of the bonus to AC.
    S: http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/feat...-november-2015.

    Q: Is an improvised weapon a weapon?
    A: Yes.
    S: It's called an improvised weapon.

    Edit:
    Q: Can I use a shield with a handle, instead of straps, so I don't need to spend an action to don or doff it?
    A: Ask your DM. This is build-crucial.
    S: Your DM.

    Summary
    From Level 4, Captain America can attack with his shield as an improvised weapon and grapple the target with his free hand as a bonus action (Tavern Brawler). He can attack with his shield for at least 1d4 damage depending on the DM. He can shove as a bonus action when he attacks with the shield (Shield Master), and adds his shield's AC bonus when making single-target dexterity saves (if successful, no damage). He can throw the shield and summon it back as a bonus action in the same round, and can't be disarmed of his shield (Weapon Bond). He has a free hand for spell casting and item use, meaning he doesn't need War Magic. He protects his allies from harm with the Protection fighting style and by shoving and grappling foes.

    If he so chooses, Captain America can take a mighty leap and land on a foe's back, attacking and grappling that foe in the same round. Ask your DM if it's possible to use you-know-which optional rules from the DMG.

    Our boy is becomes exceptionally athletic (Athlete) and durable (Heavy Armor Master) as he grows. Eventually, he'll be able to shove targets up to five times in the same round. In other words, you move.

    The spells chosen are the variety that we can imagine Captain America doing by sheer willpower.
    • Shield: shields against an attack.
    • Absorb Elements: resists elemental attacks and throws some of them back with his shield.
    • Protection From Evil and Good: can protect himself and allies from supernatural charms and similar.
    • Thunderwave: causes a thunder wave by slamming his shield into the ground.
    • Shatter: can produce noises from his shield which break things and hurt his foes.
    • Suggestion: he's a legend when it comes to talking people out of making bad decisions.
    • Gust of Wind: swings his shield and produces a buffet of wind
    • Earth Tremor: stomps the ground and causes a tremor.
    • Dispel Magic: magic must yield to his mighty shield.
    • Haste: he's exceptionally fast and agile.
    • Remove Curse: even curses must yield to his mighty shield.
    • Fire Shield: his whole body is wreathed in the fires of justice.
    • Slow: a mighty swing of his shield disorients his foe, slowing them to a crawl.

    Variants
    A Paladin may also suit Captain America, as high charisma would make the Paladin more inspiring, and his Vow would make some sense. However, he would be feat-starved unless he rolled very good starting stats, and could not make as many shove attempts with his shield. Most importantly, he'd have to multiclass into Fighter: Eldritch Knight to be able to summon his shield after throwing it. Either that, or ask the DM for a custom spell, feat, or ability.

    Captain America could also start as a gnome for resistance to spells and other small-size shenanigans. This will limit his ability to grapple, though.

    Edit: Some rogue levels are possible to gain expertise. However, you would have to raise your Dexterity to 13, potentially throwing off the build a bit. You'd also delay your progression, and would get nothing from sneak attack. I'd recommend asking for a custom feat or altering Athlete to grant athletics expertise (instead of its other benefits) sooner than I would take rogue levels on this character.
    Last edited by Easy_Lee; 2016-08-01 at 09:17 PM.
    Breaking BM: Revised - an updated look at the beast-mounted halfling ranger based on the Revised Ranger: Beast Conclave.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    The problem is that by RAW it takes an action to doff a shield, so a stickler RAW DM may require you to action surge just to be able to throw the shield in the same turn. I will allow it in my game if you specially made a shield adapted to this kind of fighting style.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    2 questions:

    1) No Rogue dip for Athletics expertise?
    2) Why Eldritch Knight? I'd have thought Battle Master would be more thematic -- Commander's Strike... Trip Attack with a thrown shield... except for the returning shield. Surely that could be arranged with an enchantment on the shield. It's an effect Captain America didn't have until Tony Stark made him a gadget to do it.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Gignere View Post
    The problem is that by RAW it takes an action to doff a shield, so a stickler RAW DM may require you to action surge just to be able to throw the shield in the same turn. I will allow it in my game if you specially made a shield adapted to this kind of fighting style.
    That's a fair point. One would have to work that out with the DM beforehand. Perhaps one would just use a shield with a handle instead of straps. That would be better for striking with, anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by ClintACK View Post
    2 questions:

    1) No Rogue dip for Athletics expertise?
    2) Why Eldritch Knight? I'd have thought Battle Master would be more thematic -- Commander's Strike... Trip Attack with a thrown shield... except for the returning shield. Surely that could be arranged with an enchantment on the shield. It's an effect Captain America didn't have until Tony Stark made him a gadget to do it.
    1. I was trying to do it with one pure class, and I figured extra opportunities to shove were better than expertise,
    2. I chose Eldritch Knight was chosen because of the spell support and ability to return the shield without a special enchantment. In general, I try to avoid builds which require a specific item from the DM. You never know when the DM is going to decide it's okay for you to have that item.
    Breaking BM: Revised - an updated look at the beast-mounted halfling ranger based on the Revised Ranger: Beast Conclave.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    2. I chose Eldritch Knight was chosen because of the spell support and ability to return the shield without a special enchantment. In general, I try to avoid builds which require a specific item from the DM. You never know when the DM is going to decide it's okay for you to have that item.
    Totally true. But all of the EK spellcasting seems... unlike Captain America. *shrug*

    I think I might just go with pre-Tony-Stark's-gadgets Captain America, so no returning shield. Then give him a rogue level for expertise in Athletics (shoving and grappling) and Acrobatics (for diving and rolling to grab the shield he threw after he threw it at someone's feet to trip them).

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Your point but stats say a 16 starting STR, but your chart says 15.

    Fun build! I like it!

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    There's a couple of things I don't like about this build;

    1) Charisma. You've got Cap with Cha 8? Really? The leader of the Avengers, the one man that holds that rag-tag bunch of misfits and egos together? That really needs addressing.

    2) Spellcasting. It just...doesn't seem like Cap to be throwing around the likes of Shatter or Thunderwave. I like your descriptions, but it still feels wrong to me. If you kept it to self-buffs and other more subtle effects, maybe.

    3) No Rogue. Cap is superhuman. Expertise in Athletics and Acrobatics would model this quite nicely, allowing him to do all sorts of gymnastics and feats of strength and agility without having to have stellar Ability Scores. Cunning Action and Uncanny Dodge both suit Caps style too.


    Here's my Cap build;

    S.Human
    Str:15+1, Dex:13+1, Con:13+1, Int:9+1, Wis:10+1, Cha:13+1

    Fighter 6 (Battlemaster) - Feats: Shield Master, Tavern Brawler, Fighting Style: Protection, Maneuvers: Commanders Strike, Disarming Attack, Parry.

    Rogue 5 (Thief) - Feat: Resilient (Wis)

    After that, advancing as either Fighter or Rogue should do it. I'd look to end on Fighter 8/Rogue 12 for the ludicrous number of ASI's you'll get (well, ok, seven...but that's still 2 more than most classes get).
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

    Please be aware; when it comes to 5ed D&D, I own Core (1st printing) and SCAG only. All my opinions and rulings are based solely on those, unless otherwise stated. I reserve the right of ignorance of errata or any other source.

  8. - Top - End - #8
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    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Quote Originally Posted by JellyPooga View Post
    There's a couple of things I don't like about this build;

    1) Charisma. You've got Cap with Cha 8? Really? The leader of the Avengers, the one man that holds that rag-tag bunch of misfits and egos together? That really needs addressing.

    2) Spellcasting. It just...doesn't seem like Cap to be throwing around the likes of Shatter or Thunderwave. I like your descriptions, but it still feels wrong to me. If you kept it to self-buffs and other more subtle effects, maybe.

    3) No Rogue. Cap is superhuman. Expertise in Athletics and Acrobatics would model this quite nicely, allowing him to do all sorts of gymnastics and feats of strength and agility without having to have stellar Ability Scores. Cunning Action and Uncanny Dodge both suit Caps style too.
    I very much agree with most of this. You can't have a low-Cha Cap. You just can't. I know Eldritch Knight is necessary for the build, but... no int (above, oh, 12). You need that Cha. I'd go EK 5 for the Extra Attack, but I'd also want at least five levels of Rogue-- you want that Expertise, and I'd go so far as to say that you need that Uncanny Dodge. Either Thief for the acrobatics, Swashbuckler for the mobility and Cha synergy, or-- my favorite-- Mastermind for the Help. After that... you know, probably just more Rogue, as I don't feel great about layering too much magic on him. (Another two levels might not hurt; it would be pretty sweet to cast Blade Ward or True Strike and still whap someone in the face). The Swashbuckler's Panache would be great.

    I also don't like heavy armor. It may be necessary, from a stat perspective, but I'd have trouble buying anything over Medium (chain mail). I certainly don't think I'd rub it in with Heavy Armor Master-- he's agile, not tanky. It also saves you a feat, so all you need is Shield Master, Tavern Brawler, and Inspiring Leader.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2016-08-02 at 07:43 AM.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    A pure class is most useful to the rest of the party, and this build has no wasted levels and comes online as early as 4. I didn't feel like posting a build which included redundant abilities, had rogue sneak attack but wasn't going to use it, and / or relied on the DM for a custom magic item.

    If not for summoning the shield back as a bonus action being an Eldritch Knight only ability, I'd have built cap as a paladin who smites with almost all of his spell slots. In general, I disapprove of multiclass builds which have redundant abilities (extra attack twice), delay progression to crucial abilities (extra attack again), or don't make full use of their abilities (sneak attack).

    If you like a high CHA Captain, it'd probably be easiest to just ask for a CHA EK, as using INT over CHA is mostly fluff.
    Breaking BM: Revised - an updated look at the beast-mounted halfling ranger based on the Revised Ranger: Beast Conclave.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    If I'm honest, as much as in a fantasy setting Cap would probably be a Paladin from a thematic point of view, I'm leery of modelling the Cap we know and love that way. Spells and supenatural abilities like Smite just don't fit the image, at least for me.

    I'm happy to have the returning shield be a magic item; any GM that lets this character in his game would likely be willing to give you a returning shield. Alternatively, you could always ask for a "Ricochet" Maneuver for the Battlemaster that returns the shield to you or hits multiple foes when throwing your shield (although that's straying deep into homebrr territory).

    Mastermind Rogue is a fantastic help to the rest of the party and Wolf Totem Barbarian could also provide much needed assistance right in the thick of things. As for not getting use out of Sneak Attack, there's always the option of packing a Dagger or Darts for when you want to go lethal (which should be infrequently; this is Cap we're talking about), but having said that, the boons of Rogue even without Sneak Attack are definitely worth the investment.

    Monk is also worth consideration; Cap is more than just vaguely competent at unarmed combat. Quite how far into Monk I'd want to go, if at all, is a question to codge on.

    As with any "build X character" exercise, multiclassing to fit the theme is often less effective than building the character to be an optimal member of the team, so it depends on what you're looking to do. For myself, I prefer to be sub-optimal in favour of theme, but that's not for everyone.
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

    Please be aware; when it comes to 5ed D&D, I own Core (1st printing) and SCAG only. All my opinions and rulings are based solely on those, unless otherwise stated. I reserve the right of ignorance of errata or any other source.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Well, if we're talking ideals, cap would probably be a battlemaster fighter with athletics + acrobatics expertise and a returning shield. That's what I would do if a player wanted to play the good old red, white, and blue. The addition of expertise would make up for his limited damage compared with other martials, so this would be balanced.

    But I wanted to make a rules-legal build which was still effective, for the purpose of this thread.
    Last edited by Easy_Lee; 2016-08-02 at 10:29 AM.

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Pretty good. Some other things:

    1) You forgot the 3rd EK cantrip at level 10.
    2) With Eldritch Strike, you can safely leave INT at 14 or 16. 18 is too much.
    3) War Magic will go pretty much to waste without an offensive cantrip. You could use Blade Ward when surrounded by many foes, but a) you won't get hit most of the time anyway, since you're an EK, and b) your damage output would really start falling behind.

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Charisma aside (and really, what we need is good mental stats and a super soldier serum suite of stat items), This is a cool build for the a super shield wielder.

    Mind you, I am now tempted to have a Warlock that fluffs Eldritch Blast as a thrown shield (ricochet for multiple targets!).
    Why yes, Warlock is my solution for everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by obryn View Post
    Active Abilities are great because you - the player - are demonstrating your Dwarvenness or Elfishness. You're not passively a dwarf, you're actively dwarfing your way through obstacles.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee
    Q: Is an improvised weapon a weapon?
    A: Yes.
    S: It's called an improvised weapon.
    Two issues with this ruling:

    1) An object that bears no resemblance to a weapon
    2) Anything and everything that's an object is a weapon by this ruling.

    Consequent to these defects, I'd argue Champion or Battlemaster would be more in line with Cap anyway as he's clearly a Remarkable Athlete and his enhanced mental processing powers and perfect recall make him a master strategist.

    With all that in mind, I'd advise to move Tavern brawler up to level 1 instead of shield master, getting proficiency on the attacks is probably more important. I'd also toss in the Keen Mind feat for verisimilitude.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Vogonjeltz View Post
    Two issues with this ruling:

    1) An object that bears no resemblance to a weapon
    2) Anything and everything that's an object is a weapon by this ruling.
    Wait, what? You don't think an improvised weapon counts as a weapon? What the hell? I haven't seen such convoluted mental acrobatics since the last time I perused Sage advice. Are you a WotC writer or something? Be honest.

    I'll ignore the rest of your post. If you don't think an improvised "weapon" is a "weapon," then I'm really not interested in whatever else you had to say.
    Breaking BM: Revised - an updated look at the beast-mounted halfling ranger based on the Revised Ranger: Beast Conclave.

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    Wait, what? You don't think an improvised weapon counts as a weapon? What the hell? I haven't seen such convoluted mental acrobatics since the last time I perused Sage advice. Are you a WotC writer or something? Be honest.

    I'll ignore the rest of your post. If you don't think an improvised "weapon" is a "weapon," then I'm really not interested in whatever else you had to say.
    His point is that it's kind of silly to rule that an improvised weapon can be used for Weapon Bond, because by that logic you could bond to literally anything you could lift. "This cat? It's totally an improvised weapon, I can throw it at a dude's face!"

    While I would certainly rule in your favor in a home game, I think it's a valid point.
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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    His point is that it's kind of silly to rule that an improvised weapon can be used for Weapon Bond, because by that logic you could bond to literally anything you could lift. "This cat? It's totally an improvised weapon, I can throw it at a dude's face!"

    While I would certainly rule in your favor in a home game, I think it's a valid point.
    Right, I must have forgotten that 5e hates words...
    Breaking BM: Revised - an updated look at the beast-mounted halfling ranger based on the Revised Ranger: Beast Conclave.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    I like the idea, build looks pretty fun and I think it's nice you're trying to build this single classed.

    Personally I would probably do without heavy armor and throw in 3 levels of wolf totem barbarian instead. Rage to represent his superhuman combat focus and endurance, surviving the front line while wearing skin tight 'armor'. This would also help the grappling and shield master shove via advantage instead of rogue expertise, and it has the 'bolster your allies' feel as well. And of course, advantage on DEX saves goes wonderfully with shield master to truly give you that "block everything with my shield" vibe.
    Last edited by Ze_Azrael; 2016-08-03 at 01:54 AM.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    Wait, what? You don't think an improvised weapon counts as a weapon? What the hell? I haven't seen such convoluted mental acrobatics since the last time I perused Sage advice. Are you a WotC writer or something? Be honest.

    I'll ignore the rest of your post. If you don't think an improvised "weapon" is a "weapon," then I'm really not interested in whatever else you had to say.
    Well it's specifically a non weapon used for an attack. That's literally the definition of the term given in the PHB.

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    As an alternative to the dubious Weapon Bond reading, you could potentially use War Magic and Unseen Servant? Chuck your shield, then have your servant carry it back as a bonus action. (or no action, potentially, if your DM will let you issue a standing order)

    Because then you could go Valor Bard instead, which would probably be better for a single class refluffing-spells build. Charisma, Expertise, inspiration, and plenty of subtler enchantment type spells that are easier to make sound mundane.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2016-08-03 at 07:18 AM.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    As an alternative to the dubious Weapon Bond reading, you could potentially use War Magic and Unseen Servant? Chuck your shield, then have your servant carry it back as a bonus action. (or no action, potentially, if your DM will let you issue a standing order)

    Because then you could go Valor Bard instead, which would probably be better for a single class refluffing-spells build. Charisma, Expertise, inspiration, and plenty of subtler enchantment type spells that are easier to make sound mundane.
    Feels like a gimmick, but yeah, that would work. It would also be possible to attach an owl familiar to the shield, if we're really being funny, and just have the little guy fly the thing around.
    Breaking BM: Revised - an updated look at the beast-mounted halfling ranger based on the Revised Ranger: Beast Conclave.

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    No, you need a falcon for the sidekick.
    Why yes, Warlock is my solution for everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by obryn View Post
    Active Abilities are great because you - the player - are demonstrating your Dwarvenness or Elfishness. You're not passively a dwarf, you're actively dwarfing your way through obstacles.

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    Default Re: Captain America Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe the Rat View Post
    No, you need a falcon for the sidekick.
    Well played, sir.
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    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
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    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

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