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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Feb 2018

    Default Fighter Archetype: The Bulwark

    I decided to try my hand at home-brewing and wanted to create a character that could dual-wield shields, just for the fun of it. So here's The Bulwark. Any help refining it is appreciated.

    The Bulwark

    A Bulwark's purpose in battle is to ensure the enemies never lay a hand on their allies. Bulwarks are especially common among species which tend toward large stature and powerful builds, such as Goliaths and even Orcs. These shield-bearers draw the attention of enemies -- and the most powerful Bulwark Fighters can even negate the effects of enemy abilities.

    Expert Defense
    When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain the following benefits:
    ⦁ You may gain benefit from two shields simultaneously if you choose to dual wield them (but, obviously, cannot wield a weapon while dual wielding shields)
    ⦁ At the start of every turn you take in combat, you gain a number of temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier (maximum of 5). These temporary hit points do not stack.
    ⦁ When you are within melee range of an enemy, you may force them to make a Charisma save with DC equal to 8 + Prof + your Strength modifier. If they fail, they are unable to attack anything other than you this turn.

    [Removed Stone's Will and Unstoppable Force]

    Brazen Display
    At 7th level, you gain proficiency in Intimidation or Performance, if you didn't already have it.

    Overwhelming Presence
    At 10th level, you loom large in your enemies' perceptions. While you are within reach of an enemy's melee attacks, that enemy has disadvantage on attack rolls against targets other than you. Also, allies within 5 feet of you gain three-quarters cover.

    Impassable Shield
    At 15th level, you gain a +4 bonus to AC and saving throws versus hostile spells during the first round of combat.

    Immovable Object
    At 18th level, you gain the ability to shrug off magical effects as easily as physical blows. You gain two charges per long rest: When you fail a saving throw, you may use one of these charges as a reaction to pass the saving throw instead. At 20th level, the number of charges per long rest increases to 3.
    Last edited by Morvram; 2018-03-25 at 02:19 PM. Reason: Suggestions

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Jul 2015
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    Default Re: Fighter Archetype: The Bulwark

    I like the ideas presented, but it's still finicky and not 5e-friendly in many ways. I'll discuss the features one by one. There's also some parts that are needlessly wordy or don't conform to the standard wording, to the point of potentially muddying the intended function. I'll mark those in the quotes.

    Expert Defense
    When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain the following benefits:
    ⦁ You may gain benefit from two shields simultaneously if you choose to dual wield them (but, obviously, cannot wield a weapon while dual wielding shields)
    ⦁ At the start of every turn you take in combat each of your turns, you gain a number of temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier.
    ⦁ When you are within melee range of an enemy, you may force them to make a DC 10 Charisma save. If they fail, they are unable to attack anything other than you this turn.
    However, because of your extreme focus on defensive fighting, you take a -1 penalty to all melee attack rolls and -2 to all ranged attacks rolls that aren't throwing your shield (throwing your shield is still not particularly practical). You also take an additional -2 penalty to all attack rolls, saving throws, and AC if you have not been within melee range of an enemy in the past 2 rounds.
    Save DCs of creature abilities are always 8 + Prof + a stat bonus. I see no reason for this one to be different. The taunt also needs an action cost. As is, you could slow the game down immensely by running around and forcing it on half a dozen people every turn. Also keep in mind that, as written, it does not prevent the target from casting spells with a saving throw on your enemies.

    Get rid of the penalties completely. Not only is it bizarre to become worse at fighting when you level up, but it's also tedious to keep track of. If you want to enforce melee combat, have the THP feature only work when adjacent to an enemy.

    Stone's Will
    Starting at 3rd level, You learn to alter your defensive style during battle, based on enemy actions toward you. Two times per day, when you are struck by an enemy attack or affected by a hostile spell, you may, as a reaction, either activate one of the effects listed below or, if one of those effects is currently in place, switch the effect and refresh the duration, as a reaction. The number of times you may activate Stone's Will per day increases to four times at 10th level, and six times at 16th level.
    Stone's Endurance. For three rounds, every time you are hit by a physical attack, reduce the damage by 1d4.
    Stone's Retribution. For three rounds, every time you are hit by a melee attack, deal 1d4 bludgeoning damage to the attacker.
    Stone's Implacability. For three rounds, while under the effect of a concentration-based hostile spell with a duration, if there is one save per turn to escape the effect, you may make two saves. If there is no save per turn, you may make one save per turn to cancel the effect.
    Stone's Resistance. Until the start of your next turn, every time you are hit by a physical attack (including the attack which triggered Stone's Will), roll a DC 10 Constitution saving throw. If you pass the save, you are resistant to the physical damage from that attack.
    You should avoid counting rounds whenever possible. Combat effects use a duration of one round or one minute almost exclusively. It's more player-friendly that way.

    For Stone's Implacability, I suggest providing advantage instead of double saves, to avoid complication.

    For Stone's Resistance, just make the resistance automatic. It'll only buff the ability a little (your chance of failing a DC 10 Con save is likely to be 20% at level 1) and save you from slowing the table down with lots of rolls.

    Most importantly though, I'm afraid this whole feature is excessive. Expert Defense and Unstoppable Force are already easily a match for the likes of Improved Critical and Combat Superiority. If you want to keep it, you'll have to move it to a later level, and probably remove or reduce some higher-level feature.

    Unstoppable Force
    Starting at 3rd level, you may Shield Bash with a range of 5 feet (Add your Strength modifier and your Proficiency bonus to a raw melee Attack roll) as an Action on your turn. If you hit, the target takes 1d4+Str bludgeoning damage and must make a Strength save of DC equal to your Strength score, or be knocked prone. Also starting at 5th level, you gain a +2 bonus to all Grappling checks.
    This one is a mess. The DC should be 8 + Prof + Str. The fact that it's an Action, rather than an attack, means it's unaffected by Extra Attack. It's also just another ability adding extra rolls per turn. I don't see why you'd have to tie the damage effect and the prone effect together, given that shield bashing is already established by Shield Master to be equivalent to the Shove action.

    You can bypass the whole need for a special attack by simply stating that you are proficient in the use of a shield as an improvised weapon. (All improvised weapons, unless they resemble a real weapon, are 1d4+Str, with no special properties.)

    Then there's the grappling part. For one, it shouldn't come online at a level that isn't an archetype level. Secondly, flat bonuses are avoided whenever possible. Third, and most importantly: this class has no use for grappling. You don't have a free hand when wielding two shields, and it takes an action to take your shield off (as opposed to an object interaction to sheath your weapon).

    Overwhelming Presence
    At 7th level, you loom large in your foes' perceptions, compelling them to focus their attacks on you as long as they remain close by. Any enemy who is within the reach of your melee attacks (or 5ft if you are not wielding a melee weapon), as long as you are capable of making melee attacks (not incapacitated, paralyzed, stunned, etc.) is unable to attack, or cast spells, on any target other than you (they may also cast self spells). If an enemy moves out of melee range of you without using the Disengage action, they cannot attack or cast hostile spells for the remainder of their turn.
    Starting at 11th level, an enemy who can see you may only attack or cast hostile spells on one of your allies if that ally is closer to the enemy than you are (if you and an ally are both 30 ft from the same enemy, that enemy cannot attack your ally or cast hostile spells upon them).
    The third archetype feature is at 10th level, not 11th, and needs its own header.

    That aside, I really don't like these two. They make doing your job too easy, to the point of draining away the strategic depth. Having to actually use the varied tools at your disposal - positioning, grappling, shoving, roleplaying, and in this case the taunt from Expert Defense - is much more interesting than having enemies be automatically unable to harm anyone but you just from standing next to them.

    The second feature is even worse. As long as your allies are behind you, they are 100% safe. Enemies can still run around you, I guess, but that seems like meta-gaming. Surely, if they are physically unable to attack anyone but you, then they also lack the clarity of mind to go around you. It's just a weird effect that seems far too akin to magical enchantment.

    I suggest you look to the Bear Totem Barbarian's 14th level feature for an example of a solid taunt ability that doesn't degrade the rest of the game. If you still want a feature to protect against ranged attacks, which I assume is the main consideration of the 10th/11th level feature, perhaps consider providing the benefit of cover to allies within 5 feet.

    Lastly, keep in mind that 7th level is usually a ribbon, which is a minor non-combat feature.

    Impassable Shield
    At 15th level, you gain a +4 bonus to AC against enemies who are taking their first turn of the combat. You also gain a +4 bonus to saving throws against the first hostile spell cast against you by a given enemy.
    It's a bit weird that these are different. The first spell cast against you might happen later than the first turn.

    Immovable Object
    At 18th level, you gain the ability to shrug off magical effects as easily as physical blows. You gain two charges per long rest of Legendary Resistance: When you fail a saving throw, you may use one of these charges as a reaction to pass the saving throw instead. At 20th level, the number of times you can use your Legendary Resistance per long rest increases to 3.
    Again, don't make additions to an archetype feature outside of the archetype levels. No class does that. It also doesn't work the same as Legendary Resistance, which does not use a reaction, and thus should better not be referred to as the same thing. Other than that it's fine.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Composer99's Avatar

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    Sep 2013

    Default Re: Fighter Archetype: The Bulwark

    In addition to Lalliman's remarks about the 3rd-level taunt needing to cost something (bonus action on your turn, I imagine), it should probably have the effect, on a failed save, of imposing disadvantage on attack rolls that aren't targeting you.
    ~ Composer99

    D&D 5e Homebrew:
    Character Options: Fighter Remix, Paladin Oaths, Ranger Remix, Sorcerer Remix
    Playing the Game: Using Ability Score Variants
    New Subsystems: Combat Manoeuvre System
    Monsters: Yogg-Saron

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    bc56's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fighter Archetype: The Bulwark

    The free temp.HP should specify whether they stack or not, and what the max value is.

    Agreed, no archetype features out of archetype levels

    Third level gets too many features.
    Awesome avatar (Kothar, paladin of Tlacua) by Linkele!

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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Composer99's Avatar

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    Sep 2013

    Default Re: Fighter Archetype: The Bulwark

    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    The free temp.HP should specify whether they stack or not, and what the max value is.
    Temporary hit points never stack per the PHB.
    ~ Composer99

    D&D 5e Homebrew:
    Character Options: Fighter Remix, Paladin Oaths, Ranger Remix, Sorcerer Remix
    Playing the Game: Using Ability Score Variants
    New Subsystems: Combat Manoeuvre System
    Monsters: Yogg-Saron

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