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  1. - Top - End - #91
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds



    The Passive Soul
    Passive combat support to boost your party from 1 to 20

    The passive soul focuses on stacking hitpoints, redistributing damage, and healing the desperate. It maximizes action economy by keeping the party up and fighting longer, by making their actions more effective, and by getting the most out of your spells.

    The passive soul gets going straight from level 1 and plays through 20. Spell selection is the most important part of building a sorcerer and the build's spell selections are optimal right from the start. I'll go into excessive detail on which spells make the cut. Other aspects of the character, like background and skills, are largely irrelevant to the build.


    Tactics

    Prior to combat, buff your party. Explain to your DM and your party that this will be a regular thing, and not to skip past it. Don't forget. Every day, and whenever you need to during the day, use Inspiring Leader. As you gain levels, your morning routine may include Extended Mage Armor, Extended Aid, and Extended Death Ward. Eventually you may also prepare a daily Heroes' Feast.

    During combat, the default first turn is spent on Bless. It needs to happen early in a fight for maximum effect. The range is only 30 feet and turn 1 has the best chance of your allies being close to you. Make sure you always Bless yourself for the concentration bonus, especially prior to gaining War Caster. If you move this round, make sure to stay near your future Warding Bond target.

    Turn 2 tends to be a Warding Bond. Have a chat with your default Bond target before the game, explaining what is going to happen and emphasizing the 60' distance limit. The trickiest part is getting close enough to touch the target without putting yourself at risk of melee. Bond is not always required and sometimes it's a really bad idea (if facing AOE damage, swarms or environmental effects that might damage you too). Once Bond is up, your default action on other turns is Blade Ward to reduce incoming damage to yourself from the Bond. If you need instant protection, you can cast both Bond and a Quickened Blade Ward.

    The remainder of your spell list is reactionary in nature. Healing spells, Sanctuary, Absorb Elements, Counterspell, Revivify, Polymorph, etc. For these you have to weigh the situation and your remaining resources. Many are good candidates to Twin.

    Sanctuary has the highest learning curve for effective use. It can really save yourself or an ally if they are focused. If you are casting Sanc on yourself and can Twin it to an ally, do it, even if just to disrupt an enemy turn or two. You'll also have to learn how your DM reacts to Sanc. Do they attack anyway and possibly lose the action? Do they use metagame knowledge for their monsters and move on to another target?


    Level by Level

    + is a gained spell
    - is a discarded spell
    HP and THP are your maximum buffed values at a given level.


    Versatile Human Divine Soul
    16 Charisma, 16 Dexterity, 14 Constitution
    Feat: Inspiring Leader

    1) +Healing Word, +Sanctuary, +Bless (law option)
    HP: 8
    THP: 4
    Cantrips: Take Blade Ward for synergy with Warding Bond. Otherwise, cantrip choice isn't key to the build. Guidance and Frostbite are solid choices.

    Inspiring Leader is a huge buffer at this level for your entire party. Apply it every morning and during every short rest. It might keep instant-death crits from taking a young life.

    Bless comes from the Law option. Bless is such a good spell that we won't ever discard it. It will occupy our concentration slot most of the time.

    With an unarmored AC of 13, Sanctuary is a defensive pick. It's a bonus action to cast. Sanc doesn't take concentration and scales with your save DC. It can be twinned on yourself and someone under fire. Pay attention to the initiative order; you can disrupt many enemy actions with a properly-timed sanc. Or you can just open a fight with fire bolt followed by sanc. You won't need to sanc every fight, depending on enemy types and positioning, but it's an amazing little spell when you do need it. And you won't have to worry about it dropping due to offensive action on your part - you don't take any!

    If you aren't a fan of Sanctuary, the alternative is Mage Armor. That boosts your AC to 16, and you will cast with Extended metamagic every morning. It will save spell slots over Sanctuary use, but a 16AC is only average. That means you need Shield in the build too, which is already tight on spell slots.

    2) +Cure Wounds
    HP: 14
    THP: 5

    Cure Wounds is a stopover until your build comes fully online next level. Between it and Healing Word, for one level you'll have flexibility in action economy and in ranges. Cure is more potent, benefits more from Empowered Healing (if you keep it) which has a close range, and Cure is touch. That all lines up. But sometimes you need to heal at range and 1HP is enough. Other times you need your action or bonus action for something else. Quickening a Cure Wounds would be grossly inefficient. So we'll keep both on the roster, at least until...

    3) -Cure Wounds, +Aid, +Warding Bond
    Metamagic: Twinned, Extended
    HP: 20
    Aid buffer: 5
    THP: 6

    Twin metamagic is key to the build and will be how most of your sorcery points are spent. Extend doubles your Aid and Death Ward to fill an entire adventuring day for a single sorcery point. That matters if your DM tries to say "Aid is 8 hours? Sorry, it's gone now, you cast it this morning but now it's the evening."

    Aid can be used either in combat or before. In combat, it becomes a nice 3-target heal and buff in one, but you need an action to do it. Casting before combat saves you in action economy, but you lose Aid as a 3-target heal. Finally, you could cast Aid after your first combat of the day. That gets you both a healing effect and the buff.

    With an 8 (16 Extended) hour duration and no concentration requirement, Aid should usually be cast at your highest spell level available. Target yourself, the tank and a front-line DPS. Aid adds "real" hit points which can be healed when lost. On top of Inspiring Leader, you're adding a sizable buffer to the party.

    To put these HP totals into perspective, a 3rd-level fighter with 16CON would have 31HP. So do you, fully buffed with Aid and Inspire. But you aren't tanking on the front lines. At least I hope not. What to do with all those HP?

    That's where Warding Bond comes in. One hour duration, no concentration, +1AC and +1 saves to your new best friend. That's your tank, by the way. Oh, and they get resistance to everything, but you take all damage they do take (after their newly-acquired resistance).

    The result is damage smoothed out among the party instead of stacked on a single person. Bless (and soon, War Caster) will boost all of the concentration checks you will be making. Sanctuary will help ensure you only take Bond damage. Empowered Healing, Twinned cures can keep you both up and running. Bond is also why we'll take Absorb Elements, but not Shield. If you take bond damage from a Fireball, you can then Absorb your half of that damage.

    Warding doesn't always have to go on a tank. It's a bit pointless if your tank is a barbarian (they already resist nearly everything). Rogues are another good option. They can evade blasts and Uncanny Dodge to halve incoming damage (taking 1/4 damage after resists), reducing what you take as well. Placing it on a fellow caster could let them decide when to Shield or when to simply take half damage.

    The component for Warding Bond is a set of platinum rings (100gp total). If you want the potential for full party coverage you can give these out ahead of time, one ring per party member, and wear all of the other paired rings yourself.

    Note that the Bond breaks past 60 feet of distance between the pair. Your ally needs to pay attention to that. Also, you can use distance to intentionally break a bond, simply walking away; otherwise it takes a full action to break. You might want to unbond if a friend in a clearly fatal situation (lava, etc) could drag you down too.

    4) +Absorb Elements
    ASI: War Caster
    HP: 26
    Aid buffer: 5
    THP: 7

    War Caster is required to keep concentration spells up while taking Warding Bond damage. We don't want it at level 1, THP are too important at low level, so it has to come at 4. Bless, War Caster and the sorc's Con save proficiency really stack concentration checks in your favor. Each check is at 1d20+1d4(bless)+2(Con bonus)+2(save proficiency), with advantage. That's an average roll of 17 per die before advantage, and that will increase with your Con and proficiency bonus.

    Math time! For a Ward-caused concentration DC to exceed the base value of DC10, the initial incoming damage to your ally would have to exceed 40. That's 20 damage to them, 20 to you. In my experience, such high damage from a single blow primarily comes from things like magic spells and dragon breath. We can mitigate those with Absorb Elements. Besides keeping you alive, it can make a concentration DC more reasonable. A whopping 80 incoming elemental damage could go to your Ward, causing you to take 40, then be halved to 20 for a simple DC10 concentration check.

    5) +Counterspell
    HP: 32
    Aid buffer: 10
    THP: 8
    Spell snapshot: Absorb Elements, Bless, Healing Word, Sanctuary, Aid, Warding Bond, Counterspell

    Remember that generic fighter? Now they have 45 hit points. Buffed with Aid and Inspire, you have 50. If that fighter joins your party, he rockets up to 63. If Warded, he has resist all for 126EHP (that's Effective HP).

    Thus far we've been concentrating on Bless. It's that good. We could Twin haste now, but I would instead keep up with Bless and upcast as necessary to get everyone. Target anyone that just unlocked Extra Attack. It really helps mitigate the hit penalty on GWM or Sharpshooter. Meanwhile, Twin haste is expensive in both spell slots and sorcery points and doesn't really give enough in exchange. Bless also doesn't have the nasty pseudo-stun that happens when Haste expires. You have a fantastic concentration but I still don't like to risk it.

    Instead we'll take Counterspell. It can prevent a huge amount of incoming damage, or even counter a counter to let your metamagic heals get through.

    If you want a comedy option, take Gaseous Form. Sure it's concentration, but you'll be a puff of wind with damage resistance floating next to your Warded buddy, taking half of the half damage they take. You can't do much, but you can still take the Help action. If you need to cast you can drop concentration at a whim.

    6) +Revivify
    Empowered Healing gained
    HP: 38
    Aid buffer: 10
    THP: 9

    In addition to saving your allies, Revivify can help out if a party member gets too murderous and kills someone they shouldn't have, or if rocks fall on a low-HP NPC. That 'oops' will cost 300GP per cast.

    If you have the gold and DM approval, you may want to simply buy a few Revivify scrolls and save this spell slot for something else. Discuss it with your party and they might chip in. Instead, you could take Cure Wounds for use with Empowered Healing, or Mass Healing Word.

    7) +Polymorph
    HP: 44
    Aid buffer: 15
    THP: 10

    Poly is a powerful, Twinnable heal of sorts, to use when things are looking grim. Just remember no one can spellcast in the new form.

    An entire guide could be written on Poly. For you it means a giant pile of free HP for Warding Bond. The only downside is you lose Bless and can't cast further spells, but can still concentrate on the Poly.

    8) +Death Ward
    ASI: +Charisma
    HP: 50
    Aid buffer: 15
    THP: 12

    Another fire-and-forget buff. Think of it as Concentration Insurance. Twin on yourself and a spellcaster buddy. If a sudden burst takes you down it won't be a knockout and you won't lose concentration, saving that spell slot. If you are buffing in the morning and aren't sure when combat may occur, it can be more efficient to cast a pair of Extended Death Wards. That gives you 16 hours (essentially all day) and avoids the risk of an expiring Death Ward that also cost you 4 sorcery points. Extending twice comes out to 2 points and 2 slots, instead of 8 points and 2 slots for twinning twice.

    9) +Greater Restoration
    HP: 56
    Aid buffer: 20
    THP: 13
    Spell snapshot: Absorb Elements, Bless, Healing Word, Sanctuary, Aid, Warding Bond, Counterspell, Revivify, Death Ward, Polymorph, Greater Restoration

    GR gets rid of a laundry list of nasty effects. 100 gold is burned each cast.

    Now that you have access to 5th-level spells, there is an optional spell swap available: Revivify for Raise Dead. There are pros and cons for each, and the choice is yours. I prefer to keep Revivify. If you can buy scrolls of either spell, stock up.

    10) +Mass Cure Wounds
    Metamagic: Quickened
    HP: 62
    Aid buffer: 20
    THP: 14

    Quicken metamagic twists the action economy in your favor and adds options for combat tactics. Quicken a spell and disengage with your action. Quicken a spell and also cast Blade Ward to tank bond damage. By now you may have some magic items that work well with Quicken, too.

    Mass Cure Wounds is like spending a 3rd level slot on Cure Wounds, except it hits 6 people. That's not something we could do with Twin Cure Wounds or Healing Word. If your whole party got nuked, this is the solution. At least until we get Mass Heal.

    11) +Heroes' Feast
    HP: 68
    Aid buffer: 20 (5th level slot)
    Feast buffer: 2d10 to party members without Aid
    THP: 15

    Heroes' Feast is broken. Advantage on Wisdom saves and immunity to poison and frighten for the entire party for the entire day. Oh, it also gives 2d10 max HP (which don't stack with Aid). You should still cast an up-leveled Aid on your 3 'important' party members, but Feast HP will help the others out. In exchange it costs 1000gp per cast. Make the party help out with expenses. It's not like they have anything better to spend that gold on, right?

    12) ASI: +Charisma
    HP: 74
    Aid buffer: 20 (5th level slot)
    Feast buffer: 2d10 to party members without Aid
    THP: 17

    13) +Feather Fall
    HP: 80
    Aid buffer: 30 (7th level slot)
    Feast buffer: 2d10 to party members without Aid
    THP: 18

    Generally, at this level I take Feather Fall out of pure paranoia, in anticipation of getting wings. Our 6th-level slot is eternally consumed by Heroes Feast and there's nothing we want to ditch for Feather Fall later on. Just get it now. It's gravity insurance.

    If you think you'll stay airborne with no problem (after all, Otherworldly Wings aren't dispellable and only fade away if you fall unconscious, which also means you can't cast Feather Fall), your options open up a bit. Wall of Stone is an interesting, non-hostile control spell. If Heroes' Feast isn't being cast daily, you could also take Heal.

    14) Otherworldly Wings gained, a flying speed of 30. Hover above the battle like the angel you are.
    HP: 86
    Aid buffer: 30 (7th level slot)
    Feast buffer: 2d10 to party members without Aid
    THP: 19

    15) +Holy Aura
    HP: 92
    Aid buffer: 30 (7th level slot)
    Feast buffer: 2d10 to party members without Aid
    THP: 20

    Advantage on all saves and disadvantage on all incoming attacks for your entire party? Yes, please! Extend this one.

    16) ASI: +2 Con
    HP: 114
    Aid buffer: 30 (7th level slot)
    Feast buffer: 2d10 to party members without Aid
    THP: 21

    17) -Mass Cure Wounds, +Mass Heal, +Wish
    Metamagic: Subtle
    HP: 122
    Aid buffer: 30 (7th level slot)
    Feast buffer: 2d10 to party members without Aid
    THP: 22

    18) Unearthly Recovery gained
    HP: 130
    Aid buffer: 30 (7th level slot)
    Feast buffer: 2d10 to party members without Aid
    THP: 23

    You gain a bonus heal of 70HP at this level, though it's only usable if you drop below 70HP. Not bad, but it can't exactly compete with Mass Heal.

    19) ASI: +2 Con
    HP: 153
    Aid buffer: 30 (7th level slot)
    Feast buffer: 2d10 to party members without Aid
    THP: 24

    20) Sorcerous Restoration gained.
    HP: 161
    Aid buffer: 30 (7th level slot)
    Feast buffer: 2d10 to party members without Aid
    THP: 25

    So what do we have? A typical party of 5 has about 250HP of buffer to lose before the group is even taking real damage. That damage is split more evenly to everyone, and they have great saves and tons of healing at the ready. If you drop them to 0 they get back up at 1, or they turn into giant apes with a ton of fresh HP, or they can't even be attacked thanks to Sanc. I wouldn't want to fight those guys.

    Final spell snapshot: Absorb Elements, Bless, Healing Word, Sanctuary, Aid, Warding Bond, Counterspell, Revivify, Death Ward, Polymorph, Greater Restoration, Heroes Feast, Feather Fall, Holy Aura, Mass Heal, Wish
    Last edited by Ritorix; 2019-10-18 at 12:28 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #92
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Hey Ritorix,

    I'm confused by something. Your Divine Soul Sorcerer build looks good, but it ends with 17 spells known. The sorcerer only gets 15 (plus bless per divine soul). Where's that last spell come from? It looks like it creeps in at 3rd level - am I just missing something?

  3. - Top - End - #93
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky McDibben View Post
    Hey Ritorix,

    I'm confused by something. Your Divine Soul Sorcerer build looks good, but it ends with 17 spells known. The sorcerer only gets 15 (plus bless per divine soul). Where's that last spell come from? It looks like it creeps in at 3rd level - am I just missing something?
    They just creep in there! Whoops - you are right of course, I just went back through my D&D Beyond sheet to see what happened. Looks like I swapped out the level 2 spell to get a pair of spells at level 3, but forgot to port that back into the guide. Edited, thanks.

  4. - Top - End - #94
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Battle Valkyrie Life Cleric
    "You want your healin'?! Go earn it!"

    Build Goals: Make a durable frontline healer that relies on synergies revolving around Warding Bond, Heavy Armor Master, and the Life Cleric's Blessed Healer feature.


    Progression: Life Cleric 17/Sorcerer 3. You'll level as a Life Cleric until level 6, take your 3 levels into Sorcerer, then continue leveling as a Cleric.

    You'll start your race as a Human Variant. This will get us the Heavy Armor Master feature. With this, you'll be able to last on the front lines without needing any assistance from your sissy Ranger.

    Once you've hit level 3, you'll be able to cast Warding Bond, the bread-and-butter of this build. Casting it on an ally who needs it will not only cause them to live longer, but also cause the weapon damage you receive to be reduced by 3. Assuming a standard hit is 10 damage, your friend will take 5 while you take 2. Instead of 100% of the damage going towards a single character, it's now 70% of the damage divided between two.

    After level 6, you'll be able to afford Warding Bond in almost every fight, while also having plenty of options to sustain you and your allies. A single Healing Word on your ally would normally heal about 5 HP to just them, but this combination of features means that the same spell now heals 8 to them and 3 to you. That's 220% effectiveness from a Bonus Action spell, folks. After this, start leveling into Sorcerer.

    Once you've gained your 3 levels of Sorcerer, you want to pick up Distant Spell and Twinned Spell. This allows you to Twin your classic Warding Bond, while also being able to use some high-powered healing effects at range (Revivify, Cure Wounds). Because you can now use Cure Wounds at Range, you can maintain Sanctuary on yourself if enemies happen to be using magical weapons that bypass your Heavy Armor Master.

    As to which Sorcerer subclass to use, that's entirely up to you.
    • Storm Sorcerer will allow you to save your Sorcery Points when casting melee spells like Cure Wounds, as well as having the option to get out of melee when your Warding Bond starts to work against you.
    • Divine Soul does have some assistance with Concentration Saving Throws, if those are more of your thing.
    • With Wild Magic, you would have the capacity to take a hit from your own spells, or save allies if something backfires.
    Last edited by Man_Over_Game; 2019-05-14 at 06:29 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by KOLE View Post
    MOG, design a darn RPG system. Seriously, the amount of ideas Iíve gleaned from your posts has been valuable. Youíre a gem of the community here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Over_Game View Post

    5th Edition Homebrewery

    Prestige Options, changing primary attributes to open a world of new multiclassing.
    Adrenaline Surge, fitting Short Rests into combat to fix bosses/Short Rest Classes.
    Pain, using Exhaustion to make tactical martial combatants.
    Fate Sorcery, lucky winner of the 5e D&D Subclass Contest VII!

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    LudicSavant's Avatar

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    I'll add links to builds other people have posted in the thread in the OP!

    For future reference when posting builds: Please try to make it clear what your ASIs and such are.
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2019-05-14 at 06:31 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Crucius View Post
    This is a blessed resource! Thank you LudicSavant for pouring over all these monsters! Your contributions to the community are plentiful!
    Some of my Stuff:
    Frequency of Resistances in MM, Volo's, MToF | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Unusual Life Cleric Character Concepts

    A Reinvented Pantheon (Made for 3.5, but adaptable):
    Nerull | Wee Jas | Olidammara | Erythnul | Hextor | Corellon Larethian | Lolth | The Deep Ones

  6. - Top - End - #96
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Over_Game View Post
    Battle Valkyrie Life Cleric
    "You want your healin'?! Go earn it!"

    Build Goals: Make a durable frontline healer that relies on synergies revolving around Warding Bond, Heavy Armor Master, and the Life Cleric's Blessed Healer feature.


    Progression: Life Cleric 17/Sorcerer 3. You'll level as a Life Cleric until level 6, take your 3 levels into Sorcerer, then continue leveling as a Cleric.

    You'll start your race as a Human Variant. This will get us the Heavy Armor Master feature. With this, you'll be able to last on the front lines without needing any assistance from your sissy Ranger.

    Once you've hit level 3, you'll be able to cast Warding Bond, the bread-and-butter of this build. Casting it on an ally who needs it will not only cause them to live longer, but also cause the weapon damage you receive to be reduced by 3. Assuming a standard hit is 10 damage, your friend will take 5 while you take 2. Instead of 100% of the damage going towards a single character, it's now 70% of the damage divided between two.

    After level 6, you'll be able to afford Warding Bond in almost every fight, while also having plenty of options to sustain you and your allies. A single Healing Word on your ally would normally heal about 5 HP to just them, but this combination of features means that the same spell now heals 8 to them and 3 to you. That's 220% effectiveness from a Bonus Action spell, folks. After this, start leveling into Sorcerer.

    Once you've gained your 3 levels of Sorcerer, you want to pick up Distant Spell and Twinned Spell. This allows you to Twin your classic Warding Bond, while also being able to use some high-powered healing effects at range (Revivify, Cure Wounds). Because you can now use Cure Wounds at Range, you can maintain Sanctuary on yourself if enemies happen to be using magical weapons that bypass your Heavy Armor Master.

    As to which Sorcerer subclass to use, that's entirely up to you.
    • Storm Sorcerer will allow you to save your Sorcery Points when casting melee spells like Cure Wounds, as well as having the option to get out of melee when your Warding Bond starts to work against you.
    • Divine Soul does have some assistance with Concentration Saving Throws, if those are more of your thing.
    • With Wild Magic, you would have the capacity to take a hit from your own spells, or save allies if something backfires.
    I really like the synergy here. I never thought of adding a few sorcerer levels to the life cleric (which Iíve always realized is more than the best healer).

    Iíd like to see some better weapon options if were gonna call her a Valkyrie, but youíre really not gonna be making too many physical attacks anyway.


    BRING BACK ALIGNMENT LANGUAGES!!!

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klorox View Post
    I really like the synergy here. I never thought of adding a few sorcerer levels to the life cleric (which Iíve always realized is more than the best healer).

    Iíd like to see some better weapon options if were gonna call her a Valkyrie, but youíre really not gonna be making too many physical attacks anyway.
    With the SCAG weapon cantrips, you don't really need a big weapon.
    Quote Originally Posted by KOLE View Post
    MOG, design a darn RPG system. Seriously, the amount of ideas Iíve gleaned from your posts has been valuable. Youíre a gem of the community here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Over_Game View Post

    5th Edition Homebrewery

    Prestige Options, changing primary attributes to open a world of new multiclassing.
    Adrenaline Surge, fitting Short Rests into combat to fix bosses/Short Rest Classes.
    Pain, using Exhaustion to make tactical martial combatants.
    Fate Sorcery, lucky winner of the 5e D&D Subclass Contest VII!

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Over_Game View Post
    With the SCAG weapon cantrips, you don't really need a big weapon.
    Youíre undoubtedly correct, Iím basing it on what I think a Valkyrie looks like.


    BRING BACK ALIGNMENT LANGUAGES!!!

  9. - Top - End - #99
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    LudicSavant's Avatar

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    I'm still gonna post the other 4 builds I mentioned, but it's a bit delayed since... I maaaay have written up the guide-length post, only to accidentally click off the reply page. Whoops. But here's another build to tide you over that I think you'll like. Please let me know what you think!

    The Ancestral Nightmare is a flexible tank that, unlike the vast majority of Barbarians, allows you to lock down opponents in both melee and at range. It can grapple multiple opponents at a time while still wielding a sword and shield, or it can circumvent the usual limitations for thrown weapons to harass people with javelins while providing allies with Resistance, Disadvantage to be hit, damage reduction, and damage retributionÖ all at the same time.

    Build 8: The Ancestral Nightmare (Javelin Master / Grappler Tank)


    Simic Hybrid Ancestral Guardian Barbarian 16 / Battle Master 3 / Rogue 1
    Stats (Point Buy): 16 Str / 14 Con / 14 Dex / 13 Wis / 10 Cha / 8 Int
    ASIs: Max Strength, Resilient (+1 Wisdom), Lucky
    Sample Maneuvers: Commanderís Strike, Precision Attack, Tripping Attack
    Expertise: Athletics, one other skill of your choice

    A problem and a solution:
    If you want to use throwing weapons, you can only draw one object a turn without cutting into your action economy, which creates a problem for those with Extra Attack. This usually makes Barbarians sad, because theyíre hungry for ranged options.

    If you want to be a grappler, you canít normally use a shield or a two-handed weapon because you need to keep a hand free to grab your opponent. This too usually makes Barbarians sad, because they want to shove someone, grapple them, and then beat the bejesus out of them, while simultaneously being as efficient as possible in sponging damage.

    Simic Hybrid solves both of these problems by making you into a tentacle monster at level 5.

    While these limbs canít actually throw your javelins, they can hold a bundle of Ďem, which is good enough because switching items between your limbs is a non-action. And they can grapple multiple people at a time while leaving both hands free for sword and board. And not only that, but you get what is essentially Tavern Brawler as a bonus feat, which means we donít have to spend our precious ASIs looking for something to do with our bonus action.

    On top of your extra limbs, Simic Hybrid also gives you Darkvision, ideal stats, and a selection of useful mobility skills (Manta Glide will let you convert falling distance into speed boosts, Climbing speed will help you drag your grappled people up walls and then drop them for damage and prone, swimming willÖ uhÖ be relevant in an aquatic campaign).

    At range: You throw two weapons including your Dueling bonus, and your target is harassed by your ancestors. This means that if they want to target anyone else in your party, they have to deal with Resistance and Disadvantage and damage reduction from Spirit Shield and guaranteed damage from Vengeful Ancestors. Heck, at that point you can just put yourself out of range, since youíre the only one they can attack for full value. Unfortunately, you still don't get your Rage bonus to thrown weapon damage (since a "melee weapon attack using Strength" and an "attack with a melee weapon using Strength" count as something different according to Crawford), but that's Barbarian for ya.

    Once you have your fighter levels, you also have the option of using Commanderís Strike to hand the local Rogue an off-turn Sneak Attack, further boosting your ranged DPR. And of course Action Surge.

    Either way, youíre better off than pretty much every other Barbarian who finds themselves stuck out of melee range for a turn.

    In melee: Youíre a superior grappler, able to grab multiple enemies (with Advantage, and later Expertise), shove Ďem to the ground, and still wail on them while wielding a shield. And your ability to perform at range means that you can do things like nail someone on one side of the map with a javelin (making them the target of your Ancestral Protectors) then lock down a second foe near you.

    The Rogue dip is primarily to pick up Expertise, which will give you some non-combat utility and make your grapple/shove checks basically guaranteed (scaling as high as +17+Advantage).

    The Battle Master levels are becauseÖ well, how do I put this. The Barbarian chassis kinda forgets to scale its damage much in the later levels. And while this buildís main job isnít being a DPR factory, itís nice to be able to unload from time to time. Battle Master will give you a decent burst damage option and some extra tools via maneuvers.

    Your nova damage at tier 4 works out to 86.9 DPR vs AC 19 (4 attacks with Action Surge, Advantage from Reckless Attack, any damaging maneuver if you hit or precision attack if you miss), 100.9 DPR with Vengeful Ancestors (plus 14 DPR of damage reduction to the ally, for a total 114.9 average damage shift in your teamís favor, plus Resistance and Disadvantage of course). You can push this a good deal higher with Commanderís Strike depending on your team composition. Your rage damage without maneuvers or Action Surge is 34.5, or 48.5 with Vengeful Ancestors (plus 14 DPR of damage reduction to the ally, for a total 62.5 average damage shift in your teamís favor).

    For perspective, a tier 4 Bear-barian entering rage and using GWM with Advantage has only 37.7 DPR vs AC 19, or 46.3 at exactly level 20 (from the capstone). And they donít have a shield, do less at range, or while grappling someone, and donít dramatically reduce damage to their allies. See the difference?

    Like all shover/grappler builds, the Ancestral Nightmare synergizes very well with a team that can put down hazards like Spike Growth, Create Bonfire, Wall of Fire, Spirit Guardians, Silence, etc. In fact, you do so even more than usual given your ability to grapple multiple people at a time. Drag Ďem all into the hazards! Get enlarged (via a spellcasting ally or Potion of Growth) to shove/grapple the Huge foes, too!



    Variants/Notes:
    • While the Simic Hybrid is by default a Ravnica race, it fits easily enough into other settings as some variety of mutant or other. For example they make a decent stand-in for the Half-Daelkyr race from previous editions of Eberron.
    • Commanderís Strike is very much party composition dependent. If you donít have someone who would be a prime beneficiary in your party (such as a Rogue that wants an off-turn sneak attack), then switch it out for a different maneuver.
    • You can mix up the order you take the classes to taste; just make sure you donít delay your Extra Attack. An example would be Barb 6 > Rogue 1 > Fighter 3 > Barb 16, especially if rolled stats allowed you to start with 18 or 19 Strength (after racial adjustments).
    • If you have the rolls for it, itís possible to get an exceptional AC as a Barbarian via having 20 Dex and Con.
    • Alert is an alternative to Lucky. With +7 Initiative and Advantage, youíre all but guaranteed to go first. Lucky is a bit more versatile, and you can still negate surprise using Rage / Feral Instinct.
    • Simic Hybrids also make good Zealots. Probably merits a separate build post.
    • If you've got extra space for a feat (such as due to rolling stats, or just looking to change up the build) Mobile is a good choice. The Mobile feat will allow you to Reckless Attack someone then run away, leaving behind only your allies who are even worse targets than you. Mind, you can do this with shoving or maneuvers, too.
    • You can use this with GWM instead of sword and board, too. You'd have to sacrifice an ASI (which means taking it late or delaying maxing your Strength unless you rolled stats) and a shield, but it'll boost your peak nova damage vs AC 19 from 86.9 DPR to 112.3 DPR (plus possibility of Vengeful Ancestors). However note that you're less likely to activate Vengeful Ancestors if you're a better target, it won't help your ranged attacks, and using your natural attack -> grapple combo will cut into your DPR more, and if you've got a Rogue or the like in the party you can just use Commander's Strike instead (which as the Anydice link shows, lets the SnB build match the GWM build's nova).


    Edit: Corrected for a mistake helpfully pointed out by Zene and Zigludo!
    Edit2: Some relevant notes on grappling:

    Spoiler: Some Notes on Grappling
    Show

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant
    Grappling does a great deal more than simply getting a foe to attack you instead of someone else. Here are some of the highlights:

    1) Hazard Combos. AKA "How to make your casters very happy."

    Spoiler
    Show

    Many abilities not only do recurrent damage if an enemy sticks round, but also extra damage if you have control over the enemy's movement, since they do damage when an enemy enters (willfully or not) and at the start or end of their turn. So by dragging people around you can make things like Spirit Guardians hit twice a round, or rack up damage on Spike Growth, or the like.

    Consider for example a Wizard. Usually you would think that they wouldn't deal a whole lot of resourceless damage. However, they could have their familiar pour out a vial of oil on the ground, and they could light it with Create Bonfire, and you can drag the enemy in out of the space (guaranteeing that they take both the "enters" damage on your turn and "ends turn in the area" damage on theirs). And the Wizard is free on future rounds to cast something like, say, Toll the Dead.

    So this level 1 Wizard is contributing 2d8+10 (19) resourceless damage on round 1, and 2d8+1d12+10 (25.5) resourceless damage on round 2+. What's more is that Create Bonfire is an AoE (yes, 5 foot cubes can hit multiple creatures), and with Grappling Appendages you can grapple multiple people and drag 'em all through. That's about as efficient as Barbarians can get against multiple foes.

    And that's just a cantrip used at tier 1. Wait until the casters start breaking out the real guns.

    In many party compositions this is a lot more value than just getting 1 more attack in. This is especially true since you can do it to multiple people at a time. And when you count that you will often have them prone-locked as well.


    2) Prone-locking. AKA "You can't hit me, everyone can hit you."

    Spoiler
    Show
    An enemy who is shoved+grappled can't stand up unless they blow their entire Action on attempting to break the grapple. Otherwise they're stuck in a prone state, which gives them Disadvantage on their attacks against you (not just all your allies) and gives Advantage to you (without needing to be Reckless) and all of your allies as well (who can all safely stand within 5 feet of the prone target because none of you are good targets).

    This provides a considerable offensive and defensive advantage. A Barbarian that has a shield and Disadvantage to be hit will take considerably less damage than they would otherwise, rage or no rage. This bullet point is even more relevant for an Ancestral Guardian, since the enemy has more reason to attack them instead of allies, so you can take that extra durability right to the bank. And granting ongoing Advantage to all your allies often provides more damage than a Barbarian would do on their own with that one attack and bonus action.

    Against many enemies, this allows you to clear the encounter with almost no resources spent, including hit points.


    3) It can be done without Raging. A Barbarian does not generally have enough rages for a 6-encounter adventuring day, so your non-rage options are important.

    4) Why Grappling?

    5) Target Control: This goes beyond merely a question of whether or not the enemy is attacking the tank, but extends to things like manipulating line of sight (often important with spellcasters), optimal cover and formations (like putting the guy with the breath weapon in a place his cone can't do squat), and so forth.

    6) Ancestral Protectors Only Target One Enemy: Grappling allows you to lock down additional ones.



    The upshot of all of this is that in many situations, grappling can contribute more to a party's performance than, say, a single extra Barbarian attack. And when you're not in those situations, I made sure that the build had other good tools for those very cases. (You've probably noticed by now, I like mah versatility ).
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2019-08-10 at 04:21 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Crucius View Post
    This is a blessed resource! Thank you LudicSavant for pouring over all these monsters! Your contributions to the community are plentiful!
    Some of my Stuff:
    Frequency of Resistances in MM, Volo's, MToF | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Unusual Life Cleric Character Concepts

    A Reinvented Pantheon (Made for 3.5, but adaptable):
    Nerull | Wee Jas | Olidammara | Erythnul | Hextor | Corellon Larethian | Lolth | The Deep Ones

  10. - Top - End - #100
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    I'm still gonna post the other 4 builds I mentioned, but it's a bit delayed since... I maaaay have written up the guide-length post, only to accidentally click off the reply page. Whoops. But here's another build to tide you over that I think you'll like. Please let me know what you think!

    The Ancestral Nightmare is a flexible tank that, unlike the vast majority of Barbarians, allows you to lock down opponents in both melee and at range. It can grapple multiple opponents at a time while still wielding a sword and shield, or it can circumvent the usual limitations for thrown weapons to harass people with javelins while providing allies with Resistance, Disadvantage to be hit, damage reduction, and damage retributionÖ all at the same time.

    Build 8: The Ancestral Nightmare (Javelin Master / Grappler Tank)


    Simic Hybrid Ancestral Guardian Barbarian 16 / Battle Master 3 / Rogue 1
    Stats (Point Buy): 16 Str / 14 Con / 14 Dex / 13 Wis / 10 Cha / 8 Int
    ASIs: Max Strength, Resilient (+1 Wisdom), Lucky
    Sample Maneuvers: Commanderís Strike, Precision Attack, Tripping Attack
    Expertise: Athletics, one other skill of your choice

    A problem and a solution:
    If you want to use throwing weapons, you can only draw one object a turn without cutting into your action economy, which creates a problem for those with Extra Attack. This usually makes Barbarians sad, because theyíre hungry for ranged options.

    If you want to be a grappler, you canít normally use a shield or a two-handed weapon because you need to keep a hand free to grab your opponent. This too usually makes Barbarians sad, because they want to shove someone, grapple then, and then beat the bejesus out of them, while simultaneously being as efficient as possible in sponging damage.

    Simic Hybrid solves both of these problems by making you into a tentacle monster at level 5.

    While these limbs canít actually throw your javelins, they can hold a bundle of Ďem, which is good enough because switching items between your limbs is a non-action. And they can grapple multiple people at a time while leaving both hands free for sword and board. And not only that, but you get what is essentially Tavern Brawler as a bonus feat, which means we donít have to spend our precious ASIs looking for something to do with our bonus action.

    On top of your extra limbs, Simic Hybrid also gives you Darkvision, ideal stats, and a selection of useful mobility skills (Manta Glide will let you convert falling distance into speed boosts, Climbing speed will help you drag your grappled people up walls and then drop them for damage and prone, swimming willÖ uhÖ be relevant in an aquatic campaign).

    At range: You throw two weapons complete with Rage and Dueling bonuses, and your target is harassed by your ancestors. This means that if they want to target anyone else in your party, they have to deal with Resistance and Disadvantage and damage reduction from Spirit Shield and guaranteed damage from Vengeful Ancestors. Heck, at that point you can just put yourself out of range, since youíre the only one they can attack for full value.

    Once you have your fighter levels, you also have the option of using Commanderís Strike to hand the local Rogue an off-turn Sneak Attack, further boosting your ranged DPR. And of course Action Surge.

    Either way, youíre much better off than pretty much every other Barbarian who finds themselves stuck out of melee range for a turn.

    In melee: Youíre a superior grappler, able to grab multiple enemies (with Advantage, and later Expertise), shove Ďem to the ground, and still wail on them while wielding a shield. And your ability to perform at range means that you can do things like nail someone on one side of the map with a javelin (making them the target of your Ancestral Protectors) then lock down a second foe near you.

    The Battle Master levels are becauseÖ well, how do I put this. The Barbarian chassis kinda forgets to scale its damage much in the later levels. And while this buildís main job isnít being a DPR factory, itís nice to be able to unload from time to time. Battle Master will give you a decent burst damage option and some extra tools via maneuvers. Donít forget that thrown javelins count as ďmelee weaponsĒ for Dueling, so you can do your burst from range if you like.

    Your nova damage at tier 4 works out to 86.9 DPR vs AC 19 (4 attacks with Action Surge, Advantage from Reckless Attack, any damaging maneuver if you hit or precision attack if you miss), 100.9 DPR with Vengeful Ancestors (plus 14 DPR of damage reduction to the ally, for a total 114.9 average damage shift in your teamís favor, plus Resistance and Disadvantage of course). You can push this higher with Commanderís Strike depending on your team composition, and also by using your Lucky rerolls (though I generally would save those for saves or the like). Your rage damage without maneuvers or Action Surge is 34.5, or 48.5 with Vengeful Ancestors (plus 14 DPR of damage reduction to the ally, for a total 62.5 average damage shift in your teamís favor).

    For perspective, a tier 4 Bear-barian entering rage and using GWM with Advantage has only 37.7 DPR, or 46.3 at exactly level 20 (from the capstone). And they donít have a shield, and canít do their thing at range, or while grappling someone, and donít dramatically reduce damage to their allies. See the difference?

    Like all shover/grappler builds, the Ancestral Nightmare synergizes very well with a team that can put down hazards like Spike Growth, Create Bonfire, Wall of Fire, Spirit Guardians, Silence, etc. In fact, you do so even more than usual given your ability to grapple multiple people at a time. Drag Ďem all into the hazards! Get enlarged (via a spellcasting ally or Potion of Growth) to shove/grapple the Huge foes, too!



    Variants/Notes:
    • While the Simic Hybrid is by default a Ravnica race, it fits easily enough into other settings as some variety of mutant or other. For example they make a decent stand-in for the Half-Daelkyr race from previous editions of Eberron.
    • Commanderís Strike is very much party composition dependent. If you donít have someone who would be a prime beneficiary in your party (such as a Rogue that wants an off-turn sneak attack), then switch it out for a different maneuver.
    • You can mix up the order you take the classes to taste; just make sure you donít delay your Extra Attack. An example would be Barb 6 > Rogue 1 > Fighter 3 > Barb 16
    • If you have the rolls for it, itís possible to get an exceptional AC as a Barbarian via having 20 Dex and Con.
    • Alert is an alternative to Lucky. With +7 Initiative and Advantage, youíre all but guaranteed to go first. Lucky is a bit more versatile, and you can still negate surprise using Rage / Feral Instinct.
    • Simic Hybrids also make good Zealots. Probably merits a separate build post.
    • You can use this with GWM instead of sword and board, too. You'd have to sacrifice Lucky and a shield, but it'll boost your peak nova damage vs AC 19 from 86.9 DPR to 112.3 DPR (plus possibility of Vengeful Ancestors). However note that you're less likely to activate Vengeful Ancestors if you're a better target, and that this won't help your ranged attacks, and you'll be more vulnerable to saving throws and crits, and using your natural attack -> grapple combo will cut into your DPR more, and if you've got a Rogue or the like in the party you can just use Commander's Strike instead.
    Like this build. Perhaps I should get my hands on a copy of Ravnica and try it out for myself. As someone who likes to play barbarian, I would like to have options to ranged attacks other than "close the range to 5' and hit them.".
    Last edited by Mith; 2019-05-17 at 10:53 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #101
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DruidGirl

    Join Date
    Oct 2016

    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    I'm still gonna post the other 4 builds I mentioned, but it's a bit delayed since... I maaaay have written up the guide-length post, only to accidentally click off the reply page. Whoops. But here's another build to tide you over that I think you'll like. Please let me know what you think!

    The Ancestral Nightmare is a flexible tank that, unlike the vast majority of Barbarians, allows you to lock down opponents in both melee and at range. It can grapple multiple opponents at a time while still wielding a sword and shield, or it can circumvent the usual limitations for thrown weapons to harass people with javelins while providing allies with Resistance, Disadvantage to be hit, damage reduction, and damage retributionÖ all at the same time.

    Build 8: The Ancestral Nightmare (Javelin Master / Grappler Tank)


    Simic Hybrid Ancestral Guardian Barbarian 16 / Battle Master 3 / Rogue 1
    Stats (Point Buy): 16 Str / 14 Con / 14 Dex / 13 Wis / 10 Cha / 8 Int
    ASIs: Max Strength, Resilient (+1 Wisdom), Lucky
    Sample Maneuvers: Commanderís Strike, Precision Attack, Tripping Attack
    Expertise: Athletics, one other skill of your choice

    A problem and a solution:
    If you want to use throwing weapons, you can only draw one object a turn without cutting into your action economy, which creates a problem for those with Extra Attack. This usually makes Barbarians sad, because theyíre hungry for ranged options.

    If you want to be a grappler, you canít normally use a shield or a two-handed weapon because you need to keep a hand free to grab your opponent. This too usually makes Barbarians sad, because they want to shove someone, grapple then, and then beat the bejesus out of them, while simultaneously being as efficient as possible in sponging damage.

    Simic Hybrid solves both of these problems by making you into a tentacle monster at level 5.

    While these limbs canít actually throw your javelins, they can hold a bundle of Ďem, which is good enough because switching items between your limbs is a non-action. And they can grapple multiple people at a time while leaving both hands free for sword and board. And not only that, but you get what is essentially Tavern Brawler as a bonus feat, which means we donít have to spend our precious ASIs looking for something to do with our bonus action.

    On top of your extra limbs, Simic Hybrid also gives you Darkvision, ideal stats, and a selection of useful mobility skills (Manta Glide will let you convert falling distance into speed boosts, Climbing speed will help you drag your grappled people up walls and then drop them for damage and prone, swimming willÖ uhÖ be relevant in an aquatic campaign).

    At range: You throw two weapons complete with Rage and Dueling bonuses, and your target is harassed by your ancestors. This means that if they want to target anyone else in your party, they have to deal with Resistance and Disadvantage and damage reduction from Spirit Shield and guaranteed damage from Vengeful Ancestors. Heck, at that point you can just put yourself out of range, since youíre the only one they can attack for full value.

    Once you have your fighter levels, you also have the option of using Commanderís Strike to hand the local Rogue an off-turn Sneak Attack, further boosting your ranged DPR. And of course Action Surge.

    Either way, youíre much better off than pretty much every other Barbarian who finds themselves stuck out of melee range for a turn.

    In melee: Youíre a superior grappler, able to grab multiple enemies (with Advantage, and later Expertise), shove Ďem to the ground, and still wail on them while wielding a shield. And your ability to perform at range means that you can do things like nail someone on one side of the map with a javelin (making them the target of your Ancestral Protectors) then lock down a second foe near you.

    The Rogue dip is primarily to pick up Expertise, which will give you some non-combat utility and make your grapple/shove checks basically guaranteed (scaling as high as +17+Advantage).

    The Battle Master levels are becauseÖ well, how do I put this. The Barbarian chassis kinda forgets to scale its damage much in the later levels. And while this buildís main job isnít being a DPR factory, itís nice to be able to unload from time to time. Battle Master will give you a decent burst damage option and some extra tools via maneuvers. Donít forget that thrown javelins count as ďmelee weaponsĒ for Dueling, so you can do your burst from range if you like.

    Your nova damage at tier 4 works out to 86.9 DPR vs AC 19 (4 attacks with Action Surge, Advantage from Reckless Attack, any damaging maneuver if you hit or precision attack if you miss), 100.9 DPR with Vengeful Ancestors (plus 14 DPR of damage reduction to the ally, for a total 114.9 average damage shift in your teamís favor, plus Resistance and Disadvantage of course). You can push this higher with Commanderís Strike depending on your team composition, and also by using your Lucky rerolls (though I generally would save those for saves or the like). Your rage damage without maneuvers or Action Surge is 34.5, or 48.5 with Vengeful Ancestors (plus 14 DPR of damage reduction to the ally, for a total 62.5 average damage shift in your teamís favor).

    For perspective, a tier 4 Bear-barian entering rage and using GWM with Advantage has only 37.7 DPR, or 46.3 at exactly level 20 (from the capstone). And they donít have a shield, and canít do their thing at range, or while grappling someone, and donít dramatically reduce damage to their allies. See the difference?

    Like all shover/grappler builds, the Ancestral Nightmare synergizes very well with a team that can put down hazards like Spike Growth, Create Bonfire, Wall of Fire, Spirit Guardians, Silence, etc. In fact, you do so even more than usual given your ability to grapple multiple people at a time. Drag Ďem all into the hazards! Get enlarged (via a spellcasting ally or Potion of Growth) to shove/grapple the Huge foes, too!



    Variants/Notes:
    • While the Simic Hybrid is by default a Ravnica race, it fits easily enough into other settings as some variety of mutant or other. For example they make a decent stand-in for the Half-Daelkyr race from previous editions of Eberron.
    • Commanderís Strike is very much party composition dependent. If you donít have someone who would be a prime beneficiary in your party (such as a Rogue that wants an off-turn sneak attack), then switch it out for a different maneuver.
    • You can mix up the order you take the classes to taste; just make sure you donít delay your Extra Attack. An example would be Barb 6 > Rogue 1 > Fighter 3 > Barb 16
    • If you have the rolls for it, itís possible to get an exceptional AC as a Barbarian via having 20 Dex and Con.
    • Alert is an alternative to Lucky. With +7 Initiative and Advantage, youíre all but guaranteed to go first. Lucky is a bit more versatile, and you can still negate surprise using Rage / Feral Instinct.
    • Simic Hybrids also make good Zealots. Probably merits a separate build post.
    • You can use this with GWM instead of sword and board, too. You'd have to sacrifice Lucky and a shield, but it'll boost your peak nova damage vs AC 19 from 86.9 DPR to 112.3 DPR (plus possibility of Vengeful Ancestors). However note that you're less likely to activate Vengeful Ancestors if you're a better target, and that this won't help your ranged attacks, and you'll be more vulnerable to saving throws and crits, and using your natural attack -> grapple combo will cut into your DPR more, and if you've got a Rogue or the like in the party you can just use Commander's Strike instead.
    Awesome build. One minor note is that you donít get the rage damage bonus on thrown weapon attacks. But still, a very effective build.

  12. - Top - End - #102
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2019

    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Would you guys mind snipping that massive post out of the quotes in your posts?

    EDIT: On-topic. For the Javelin build.

    You've written: "At range: You throw two weapons complete with Rage and Dueling bonuses, and your target is harassed by your ancestors." Now, this attack definitely applies the bonus from Dueling and from Ancestral Guardians, but I'm not sure it adds Rage damage.

    The rule for Rage says:
    "When you make a melee weapon attack using Strength, you gain a bonus to the damage roll that increases as you gain levels as a barbarian, as shown in the Rage Damage column of the Barbarian table."

    Now, when you throw a javelin, despite the fact that you're using a melee weapon and using strength, I believe you're actually making a ranged weapon attack. Not a melee weapon attack.
    Full disclosure, at my table I allow it (because it just makes sense to me) but I don't think it's RAW.
    Last edited by Zigludo; 2019-05-18 at 01:49 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #103
    Troll in the Playground
     
    LudicSavant's Avatar

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    Jun 2014
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    Los Angeles

    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by Zene View Post
    Awesome build. One minor note is that you donít get the rage damage bonus on thrown weapon attacks. But still, a very effective build.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zigludo View Post
    *Snip*
    Ah. You are of course correct. Javelins are "attacks with a melee weapon" and "melee-weapon attacks" but not "melee weapon attacks" according to the SAC. Mentioning that it gets the Rage bonus is a mistake. I shall fix that immediately. Thanks!

    Edit: Revised the build post accordingly.
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2019-05-18 at 03:10 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Crucius View Post
    This is a blessed resource! Thank you LudicSavant for pouring over all these monsters! Your contributions to the community are plentiful!
    Some of my Stuff:
    Frequency of Resistances in MM, Volo's, MToF | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Unusual Life Cleric Character Concepts

    A Reinvented Pantheon (Made for 3.5, but adaptable):
    Nerull | Wee Jas | Olidammara | Erythnul | Hextor | Corellon Larethian | Lolth | The Deep Ones

  14. - Top - End - #104
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    This is fantastic with wonderful builds. LudicSavant would you possibly do a 1-10 rundown on the Arcana cleric VHuman with point buy? Idealy with spells perlevel and such. Im looking for the whole shebang.

    Also yes I plan on stealing it and using it in my next game!
    Last edited by OzDragon; 2019-05-18 at 04:19 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #105
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2016

    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloodcloud View Post
    I've posted him a few times already, but this souns like a good place to re-post:

    The Eldritch Blast Knight

    VHuman fighter (eldritch Knight) 7 Warlock (Infernal/Tome) 13

    An unconventional gish build. Switch seemlessly from long range to melee range, push your enemies around into hazards or away from your squishies. With quick access to 3rd level slots, you get access to a good range of spells for decent area attacks (fireball) or control (Hunger of hadar) or movement (misty step/fly), even maybe counterspelling depending on your need. Action surge at level 7 gives you some nova potential, and hex with a great concentration check makes for some very decent sustained damage potential. Heavy armor and shield, coupled with thp on kil;s and decent hit dice, means you are not going down easy and can tank with the best of them. Access to all ritual spells and a familiar make you usefull outside of combat, and a high charisma score means you can be a decent party face.

    Stats
    15 Str /10 Dex /14 Con /8 Int / 10 Wis / Cha 16


    Overview:
    Lvl 1: Vhuman Fighter 1 (feat: crossbow expert) (defense fighting style)
    Lvl 2-6: Warlock (Fiend) (Tome) Pick up Eldritch blast with repelling and Agonizing blast, grab Booming blade and Shillelagh cantrip. Grab Warcaster for your ASI.
    Lvl 7-12: Fighter (Eldritch knight). Max Charisma with the ASIs.
    13-15: more warlock.

    At level 5: You are Fighter 1 Warlock 4.
    You are wearing heavy armor and shield with defense style, 21 AC with plate and 40 HP. On a kill you get 7 thp, and bonus action heal for 1d10+1 means you are fairly self sufficient for HP and can take tanking duty.
    You cast Eldritch blast in melee and at range as you want, for a very stable 2d10 +6 damage per turn. The cool feature here is you can use this to push enemies 20 ft away where you want. Being in melee makes controlling the angle of the pushing quite easy, and adds a tactical layer regular fighters don't have.
    You have proficiency in concentration (so +5) and advantage on those check, so you can maintain hex no problem. Next level you get third level slots, so that Hex can last 8 hour.
    You have two 2nd level spell slot which recharge on a short rest.
    For attack of opportunity, Booming blade delivered through you shillelagh is the key (2d8+3 and another 2d8 from the secondary). Pre-cast shillelagh anytime you think a fight might break out in the next minute, as you've got competition for that bonus action with Hex.
    You might also burn a slot on Hellish rebuke if you fancy it.
    Sample spell list: Hex, Hellish rebuke, Armor of aghatys, Misty step
    Cantrips: Eldritch Blast, Booming Blade, Prestidigitation, Minor Illusion, Guidance, Shillelagh.

    At level 11:
    You are Warlock 5 Fighter 6.
    Your Charisma is now maxed.
    Your AC is still at least 21, and you got Shield 3 first level slot per day to raise it to 26 when needed (or to cast Absorb elements). HP is at a respectable 87, with THP on kills of 10. You can heal 1d10 + 6 as a bonus action. You can take tanking duty no problem.

    Eldritch blast is now at 3d10 + 15, which is pretty great at-will damage with a push rider of 10 feet per attack. With Hex, 3d10 + 15 + 3d6. But you also have Action surge and up to 8 hour of Hex with a single cast. So you got a once a short rest nova of 6d10+30+6d6 with 60 feet of potential pushing. That is pretty brutal and useable both in melee and at range.

    Your fifth warlock level came with an extra invocation, so you need to choose: Devil sight opens the Darkness shenanigan, Book of ancient secrets gives you access to nearly all rituals in the game (including a familiar), or at-will silent image or disguise self... you decide, but you've got quite a few choice, depending on your party to open up your usefulness.
    Sample spell list: Hex, Hellish rebuke, Armor of aghatys, Misty step, Fireball, Shield, Absorb element, Magic missile, protection from evil and good.
    Cantrips: Eldritch Blast, Booming Blade, Prestidigitation, Minor Illusion, Guidance, Shillelagh, Mage Hand, Message.

    Level 12 you get two level 2 spell slots and War magic. Why? To use your staff to attack the enemy once more after casting eldritch blast, and trigger Hex one more time! So now, your at-will damage is 3d10+15 +1d8 +5 (with shillelagh active). You do have a bit of competition for bonus action, so it,s not gonna come toghether perfectly all the time.

    At level 18
    You are Warlock 11 Fighter 7.
    On top of all the above, if you now have your fourth blast, so the fighter is jealous he's got less attack than you.

    You have 3 level 5 spell slot that recharge on a short rest, 4 level 1 slot and 2 level 2 slots on long rest, and a 6th level spel with your Mystic arcanum. The ranger, paladin and eldritch knight are super jealous at your spellpower, and your at-will damage (4d10+20 + 1d8+5) is more than a match to theirs, and your short rest nova (8d10+40 + 8d6) is nothing to sneeze at. Hex is now 24 hours long.

    5 invocations gives you some versatility.

    Sample spell list: Hex, Hellish rebuke, Armor of aghatys, Misty step, Fireball, Counterspell, Fly, Shadow of Moil, Firewall, Hold monster, Synaptic Static, Soul cage (Arcanum)
    From Eldritch knight: Shield, Absorb element, Magic missile, Protection from evil and good, Darkness
    Cantrips: Eldritch Blast, Booming Blade, Prestidigitation, Minor Illusion, Guidance, Shillelagh, Mage Hand, Message, Chill touch

    On your next two level, you get a 7th level spell
    I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to post that.

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    Added Ancestral Barb DPR calcs to this post.
    Quote Originally Posted by Crucius View Post
    This is a blessed resource! Thank you LudicSavant for pouring over all these monsters! Your contributions to the community are plentiful!
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    Thank you, Ludic. This post and the thread about Out of Combat abilities for martials are my two favourite in a very long time.

    For my next character(s), I've been theory craft brewing a bit on one of the following off-kilter tanks and would like your take on what you find most playable.
    With prep (ie post Baleful Curse) calculations can be found here:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

    1. The Stab of All Trades
    Character concept is to leverage most of the different Cha-based classes for a character that can do pretty well across the board: skills, tanking and nova. Resources are on purpose spread to be always on, SR and LR.
    Hexblade 5 (AB+Grasp of Hadar/Devil's Sight+Eldritch Smite)
    Vengeance Paladin 6
    (Lore) Bard 6
    DS/Shadow/Dragon Sorc 3 for Quicken+Twin. There might be enough Bonus Actions for this to be redundant in which case more Bard levels or some Barb for the DMG resistance might be super kosher.
    EDIT:
    I tested burst with a Battlemaster. With Action Surge and Baleful Curse down and double smite, you're looking at 205 DPR without advantage and 277 with advantage at level 20 vs AC 19. Probably a bit higher since this is with only Precision Attack and no sup dice for damage.
    Quickened Booming Blade is clearly worse with a DPR of 138 and 204. Hence Battlemaster is clearly better for burst.

    Another variation is to go for:
    Hexblade 5
    Conquest Paladin 7
    Whisper Bard 5
    Battlemaster 3
    You end up with pretty insane nuke (triple smite + Action Surge), good control from all the fear and lockdown that follows a decent amount of skills and spell slots.



    2. The Tank of All Trades
    Hexblade 1
    Arcane Trickster 9
    Whisper/Lore Bard 10
    The idea here was for a tanking rogue (with Armour of Agathys + Uncanny Dodge) that has an extreme amounts of skills and expertise along with good saving throws (Wisdom Prof from Warlock, Res:Con + Evasion get you all major bases covered) plus some crazy control due to AT 9 + Bard spell list. Whisper deals out a bit more punishment whereas Lore further emphasises the skill monkeyness to absurd levels and adds cutting words (combos well with AT9 and is occasionally better for tanking than Uncanny Dodge).
    DPR is less impressive, but you still have good rounds with 110 and 168 (Baleful Curse, Bardic Inspiration, Psychic Blades and Elven Accuracy all included)

    3. The Never-Ending Ward
    Either the neo-classic Hexblade 2/3 (for infinite Mage Armour charges of the Arcane Ward) + Abjurer X

    OR, my variation:

    Svifnerblin Gnome
    Conquest Paladin 3
    Abjuration Wiz X
    The idea here being combining Smites with AoA with the sexiness of being a Wizard and the combined anti-magic might of abjuration wizards and gnomes. Extremely hard to get rid off, extremely hard to ignore. A bit too MAD for my taste, but could be fun.
    14/10/14/16/8/13
    15/10/13/16/8/13
    15/10/14/15/8/13
    as starting stats. Second array for those who'd like Res:Con, 3rd for those who start above level 8.
    You want the Gnome Racial, Warcaster and/or RES:CON and Int. There's other possible cut off points at Conquest 4 and 6... even a case for 7 and 9.

    ... yeah, I know. AoA has stolen my heart. The damage potential of that spell is just crazy if you can mitigate the damage taken by the Temp HP.

    EDIT:
    The build works perfectly fine with Pala 2, Hexblade 1, Abjurer X.

    I'd love to see your take on the Nuclear Wizard and your favourite version of the Iron Scoundrel build.
    Last edited by Skylivedk; 2020-03-24 at 05:48 PM.
    I might attack your points aggressively: nothing personal. If I call out a fallacy in your argumentation, it doesn't mean I think you are arguing in bad faith. I invite you to call out if I somehow fail to live by the Twelve Virtues of Rationality.

    My favourite D&D session had 3 dice rolls. I'm currently curious to any system that has a higher amount of choices in and out of combat than 5e from the beginning of the game; especially for non-spellcasters. Please PM any recommendations.

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    The Iron Wizard build is the best thing I've seen all year. I've been looking for a wizard that's tankier than a barbarian with ritual caster and this seems like it!

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    I'm not really sure why the Ancestral Nightmare should be focused on grapples. Ancestral Guardian already has a pseudo-taunt effect, and the enemy will likely want to be sticking to the Barbarian like glue without any help from the Barbarian.

    That is, grappling only really helps if the enemy doesn't already want to be next to you, and there's nothing that does that already like an Ancestral Guardian. To me, it just seems really redundant. Like adding Ritual Caster to a Wizard.
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    5th Edition Homebrewery

    Prestige Options, changing primary attributes to open a world of new multiclassing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by XmonkTad View Post
    The Iron Wizard build is the best thing I've seen all year. I've been looking for a wizard that's tankier than a barbarian with ritual caster and this seems like it!
    I really love that one too. So much.

    The only issue I see with it is there are so many feats you just really want to take you might neglect pumping INT too long.


    BRING BACK ALIGNMENT LANGUAGES!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Over_Game View Post
    grappling only really helps if the enemy doesn't already want to be next to you
    I couldn't disagree more.

    Grappling does a great deal more than simply getting a foe to attack you instead of someone else. Here are some of the highlights:

    1) Hazard Combos. AKA "How to make your casters very happy."

    Spoiler
    Show

    Many abilities not only do recurrent damage if an enemy sticks round, but also extra damage if you have control over the enemy's movement, since they do damage when an enemy enters (willfully or not) and at the start or end of their turn. So by dragging people around you can make things like Spirit Guardians hit twice a round, or rack up damage on Spike Growth, or the like.

    Consider for example a Wizard. Usually you would think that they wouldn't deal a whole lot of resourceless damage. However, they could have their familiar pour out a vial of oil on the ground, and they could light it with Create Bonfire, and you can drag the enemy in out of the space (guaranteeing that they take both the "enters" damage on your turn and "ends turn in the area" damage on theirs). And the Wizard is free on future rounds to cast something like, say, Toll the Dead.

    So this level 1 Wizard is contributing 2d8+10 (19) resourceless damage on round 1, and 2d8+1d12+10 (25.5) resourceless damage on round 2+. What's more is that Create Bonfire is an AoE (yes, 5 foot cubes can hit multiple creatures), and with Grappling Appendages you can grapple multiple people and drag 'em all through. That's about as efficient as Barbarians can get against multiple foes.

    And that's just a cantrip used at tier 1. Wait until the casters start breaking out the real guns.

    In many party compositions this is a lot more value than just getting 1 more attack in. This is especially true since you can do it to multiple people at a time. And when you count that you will often have them prone-locked as well.


    2) Prone-locking. AKA "You can't hit me, everyone can hit you."

    Spoiler
    Show
    An enemy who is shoved+grappled can't stand up unless they blow their entire Action on attempting to break the grapple. Otherwise they're stuck in a prone state, which gives them Disadvantage on their attacks against you (not just all your allies) and gives Advantage to you (without needing to be Reckless) and all of your allies as well (who can all safely stand within 5 feet of the prone target because none of you are good targets).

    This provides a considerable offensive and defensive advantage. A Barbarian that has a shield and Disadvantage to be hit will take considerably less damage than they would otherwise, rage or no rage. This bullet point is even more relevant for an Ancestral Guardian, since the enemy has more reason to attack them instead of allies, so you can take that extra durability right to the bank. And granting ongoing Advantage to all your allies often provides more damage than a Barbarian would do on their own with that one attack and bonus action.

    Against many enemies, this allows you to clear the encounter with almost no resources spent, including hit points.


    3) It can be done without Raging. A Barbarian does not generally have enough rages for a 6-encounter adventuring day, so your non-rage options are important.

    4) Why Grappling?

    5) Target Control: This goes beyond merely a question of whether or not the enemy is attacking the tank, but extends to things like manipulating line of sight (often important with spellcasters), optimal cover and formations (like putting the guy with the breath weapon in a place his cone can't do squat), and so forth.

    6) Ancestral Protectors Only Target One Enemy: Grappling allows you to lock down additional ones.



    The upshot of all of this is that in many situations, grappling can contribute more to a party's performance than, say, a single extra Barbarian attack. And when you're not in those situations, I made sure that the build had other good tools for those very cases. (You've probably noticed by now, I like mah versatility ).
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2019-05-22 at 03:17 AM. Reason: Added bullet point 6
    Quote Originally Posted by Crucius View Post
    This is a blessed resource! Thank you LudicSavant for pouring over all these monsters! Your contributions to the community are plentiful!
    Some of my Stuff:
    Frequency of Resistances in MM, Volo's, MToF | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Unusual Life Cleric Character Concepts

    A Reinvented Pantheon (Made for 3.5, but adaptable):
    Nerull | Wee Jas | Olidammara | Erythnul | Hextor | Corellon Larethian | Lolth | The Deep Ones

  22. - Top - End - #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Spoiler
    Show
    An enemy who is shoved+grappled can't stand up unless they blow their entire Action on attempting to break the grapple. Otherwise they're stuck in a prone state, which gives them Disadvantage on their attacks against you (not just all your allies) and gives Advantage to you (without needing to be Reckless) and all of your all of your allies as well (who can all safely stand within 5 feet of the prone target because none of you are good targets).
    Spoiler: Off topic, grappling discussion
    Show
    I agree that grappling is valuable, but I disagree with this bit here. They don't have to blow their entire action on attempting to break the grapple. An opponent with Extra Attack can instead spend their action on trying to Shove you out of grappling range, at which point the grapple ends, and they can then use their other attacks to do damage.

    In practice I find that at mid-to-high levels the more serious limitation on grapple/prone is the fact that many enemies either cannot be grappled (due to size or no solid form) or else can teleport out of a grapple (sometimes as part of a Multiattack combo or as a legendary/bonus action).


    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    The upshot of all of this is that in many situations, grappling can contribute more to a party's performance than, say, a single extra Barbarian attack. And when you're not in those situations, I made sure that the build had other good tools for those very cases. (You've probably noticed by now, I like mah versatility ).
    I 100% agree with this part though.

    Also I want to note that an Ancestor Barb's Ancestral Protector's feature only affects the first creature you hit with an attack on your turn, while raging, so it's easy to imagine scnenarios where you'd want to grapple/prone one enemy while hitting another, in order to take two different enemies sort of out of the fight. In principle you could even spend your first turn grappling two different enemies*, one with each arm, and then on subsequent turns head-butt a third enemy to activate Ancestral Protector against them.

    * You need someone else to knock them prone, e.g. the druid's conjured animals or a Grease or Sleet Storm spell.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2019-05-21 at 07:16 PM.
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  23. - Top - End - #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Also I want to note that an Ancestor Barb's Ancestral Protector's feature only affects the first creature you hit with an attack on your turn, while raging, so it's easy to imagine scnenarios where you'd want to grapple/prone one enemy while hitting another, in order to take two different enemies sort of out of the fight. In principle you could even spend your first turn grappling two different enemies*, one with each arm, and then on subsequent turns head-butt a third enemy to activate Ancestral Protector against them.

    * You need someone else to knock them prone, e.g. the druid's conjured animals or a Grease or Sleet Storm spell.
    Indeed! It's important to be able to deal with more than one enemy at a time. I already mentioned that they could do this in the original AN post, but I'll add that bullet point to the grappling post.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    They don't have to blow their entire action on attempting to break the grapple. An opponent with Extra Attack can instead spend their action on trying to Shove you out of grappling range, at which point the grapple ends, and they can then use their other attacks to do damage.
    That's true. Certain monsters do not have to use their entire Action to get up.

    Shoving the Ancestral Nightmare is tough though. They scale all the way up to +17+Advantage grappling, and the vast majority of monsters don't have Athletics, so I don't find this to be an issue all that often.
    Quote Originally Posted by Crucius View Post
    This is a blessed resource! Thank you LudicSavant for pouring over all these monsters! Your contributions to the community are plentiful!
    Some of my Stuff:
    Frequency of Resistances in MM, Volo's, MToF | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Unusual Life Cleric Character Concepts

    A Reinvented Pantheon (Made for 3.5, but adaptable):
    Nerull | Wee Jas | Olidammara | Erythnul | Hextor | Corellon Larethian | Lolth | The Deep Ones

  24. - Top - End - #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    That's true. Certain monsters do not have to use their entire Action to get up.

    Shoving the Ancestral Nightmare is tough though. They scale all the way up to +17+Advantage grappling, and the vast majority of monsters don't have Athletics, so I don't find this to be an issue all that often.
    Yeah, as I mentioned, in practice it's teleportation and not Shoving that gives grapplers issues. (Plus monsters who are too big or too insubstantial to be grappled.) Githyanki are so annoying. :-P
    Purple text = personal judgment which I don't expect you necessarily to share. YMMV.

    Everything on the Internet is opinion but purple text is my way of highlighting that I am not interested in persuading you to share mine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skylivedk View Post
    Thank you, Ludic. This post and the thread about Out of Combat abilities for martials are my two favourite in a very long time.

    For my next character(s), I've been theory craft brewing a bit on one of the following off-kilter tanks and would like your take on what you find most playable.

    *snip builds*

    ... yeah, I know. AoA has stolen my heart. The damage potential of that spell is just crazy if you can mitigate the damage taken by the Temp HP.

    I'd love to see your take on the Nuclear Wizard and your favourite version of the Iron Scoundrel build.
    You sir are addicted to Armor of Agathys! It occurs to me that the Ancestral Barbarian posted above actually makes a pretty good teammate to an AoA build, since they grant Resistance and damage reduction to their allies (and unlike a typical AB isn't too uncomfortable backing up and letting someone else rotate in). AoA builds are always looking for resistance and damage reduction.

    Other good allies for an AoA build are Abjurers and Lore Bards. As nice as AoA setups are on their own, it's even better with party synergy

    So lemme take a look at these builds...

    For my next character(s), I've been theory craft brewing a bit on one of the following off-kilter tanks and would like your take on what you find most playable.
    3. The Never-Ending Ward
    Either the neo-classic Hexblade 2/3 (for infinite Mage Armour charges of the Arcane Ward) + Abjurer X

    OR, my variation:

    Svifnerblin Gnome
    Conquest Paladin 3
    Abjuration Wiz X
    The idea here being combining Smites with AoA with the sexiness of being a Wizard and the combined anti-magic might of abjuration wizards and gnomes. Extremely hard to get rid off, extremely hard to ignore. A bit too MAD for my taste, but could be fun.
    14/10/14/16/8/13
    15/10/13/16/8/13
    15/10/14/15/8/13
    as starting stats. Second array for those who'd like Res:Con, 3rd for those who start above level 8.
    You want the Gnome Racial, Warcaster and/or RES:CON and Int. There's other possible cut off points at Conquest 4 and 6... even a case for 7 and 9.
    So for the Pal 3/Abjurer X, you don't actually have enough ASIs for the gnome racial, Warcaster, Res:Con, and Max Int. The build only gets 4 ASIs and the first one is delayed until level 7. I'm also unsure that the smites are worth the delay in casting progression. And as you said the build's quite MAD; besides your Channel Divinity you might struggle to hit with those smites.

    The Hexblade/Abjurer setup seems more promising to my first impression. It might be worthwhile to delay the second level of Hexblade until you get some good Wizard tools under your belt first though. Maybe after Wizard 5.

    2. The Tank of All Trades
    Hexblade 1
    Arcane Trickster 9
    Whisper/Lore Bard 10
    The idea here was for a tanking rogue (with Armour of Agathys + Uncanny Dodge) that has an extreme amounts of skills and expertise along with good saving throws (Wisdom Prof from Warlock, Res:Con + Evasion get you all major bases covered) plus some crazy control due to AT 9 + Bard spell list. Whisper deals out a bit more punishment whereas Lore further emphasises the skill monkeyness to absurd levels and adds cutting words (combos well with AT9 and is occasionally better for tanking than Uncanny Dodge).
    What's the intended combo for Cutting Words + AT 9 (Magical Ambush) here?

    Cutting Words activates "When a creature that you can see within 60 feet of you makes an attack roll, an ability check, or a damage roll" and does not help against saving throws.

    Anyways, seems like it could work out. You max your Charisma by 9 and can pick up War Caster from Variant Human. You then put enemies in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation by standing next to them with AoA; they either attack you and have to go through Medium Armor / Shield / Uncanny Dodge / AoA, or walk away and eat a Booming Blade Sneak Attack. Nobody likes being hit by Booming Blade Sneak Attacks. And at higher levels, you'll be able to combine Magical Ambush with an accelerated spell progression from Bard, though that takes a while to come online.

    Personally I think I'd be more inclined towards the Whispers Bard since it'll help keep your melee attack relevant in this case. Cutting Words is competing with your already solid list of reactions, and you're already picking up a selection of low level spells off non-Bard lists (which is what the level 6 Magical Secrets would be doing for you).

    Edit Some quick Anydice calcs: https://anydice.com/program/15c8e
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2019-05-22 at 05:09 AM. Reason: Added additional thoughts on Build 2
    Quote Originally Posted by Crucius View Post
    This is a blessed resource! Thank you LudicSavant for pouring over all these monsters! Your contributions to the community are plentiful!
    Some of my Stuff:
    Frequency of Resistances in MM, Volo's, MToF | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Unusual Life Cleric Character Concepts

    A Reinvented Pantheon (Made for 3.5, but adaptable):
    Nerull | Wee Jas | Olidammara | Erythnul | Hextor | Corellon Larethian | Lolth | The Deep Ones

  26. - Top - End - #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    You sir are addicted to Armor of Agathys! It occurs to me that the Ancestral Barbarian posted above actually makes a pretty good teammate to an AoA build, since they grant Resistance and damage reduction to their allies (and unlike a typical AB isn't too uncomfortable backing up and letting someone else rotate in). AoA builds are always looking for resistance and damage reduction.
    I know! And depending on your ruling, Redemption Paladins are extremely lovable as well. And anyone with Warding Bond (maybe in the backline stepdancing in a Healing Spirit) is your BFF as well. I tried AoA on my GWM Hexblade and after the first couple of combats having it outdamage any other source of damage... What can I say. It was hard to let go of me trying to optimise it further. Also; I kinda love the non-tank looking tanks. It breaks hard with stereotypes in a pretty cool way, IMO.

    Other good allies for an AoA build are Abjurers and Lore Bards. As nice as AoA setups are on their own, it's even better with party synergy
    No doubt. It's just not always feasible. Also, you probably want something else in your sleeve once those damn Cold Immune critters come along

    So for the Pal 3/Abjurer X, you don't actually have enough ASIs for the gnome racial, Warcaster, Res:Con, and Max Int. The build only gets 4 ASIs and the first one is delayed until level 7. I'm also unsure that the smites are worth the delay in casting progression. And as you said the build's quite MAD; besides your Channel Divinity you might struggle to hit with those smites.
    I know - I'd probably let go of either Res:Con or maxing Int. Since we're talking about a tank, that max int is perhaps not necessary. Other options, even though they make want to cry a little on the inside of my otherwise hairy manly-man chest, is to go 4 Paladin... but then again; 6 Paladin is right around the corner, and then 7 level Paladin with your amount of spell slots to utterly cripple anyone within 10 feet of you (can't move, can only hit you at disadvantage and if they do hit, eat AoA) is tempting. It's definitely different :D

    The Hexblade/Abjurer setup seems more promising to my first impression. It might be worthwhile to delay the second level of Hexblade until you get some good Wizard tools under your belt first though. Maybe after Wizard 5.
    Yup. AoA is not all that in the beginning either. It picks up once you have some higher spell slots. As far as I can see it's one of the best damaging upcast scales in the game.


    What's the intended combo for Cutting Words + AT 9 (Magical Ambush) here?

    Cutting Words activates "When a creature that you can see within 60 feet of you makes an attack roll, an ability check, or a damage roll" and does not help against saving throws.
    Mostly my idiocy. Forgot it didn't hit saving throws. A more proud person would have said: having both means that no matter the disable (ability check from illusions or saving throw), you've got the tool for the job. But yeah... Idiocy.

    Anyways, seems like it could work out. You max your Charisma by 9 and can pick up War Caster from Variant Human. You then put enemies in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation by standing next to them with AoA; they either attack you and have to go through Medium Armor / Shield / Uncanny Dodge / AoA, or walk away and eat a Booming Blade Sneak Attack. Nobody likes being hit by Booming Blade Sneak Attacks. And at higher levels, you'll be able to combine Magical Ambush with an accelerated spell progression from Bard, though that takes a while to come online.

    Personally I think I'd be more inclined towards the Whispers Bard since it'll help keep your melee attack relevant in this case. Cutting Words is competing with your already solid list of reactions, and you're already picking up a selection of low level spells off non-Bard lists (which is what the level 6 Magical Secrets would be doing for you).

    Edit Some quick Anydice calcs: https://anydice.com/program/15c8e
    Point taken. I've not played Whisper before... And I do love stealing spells with Magical Secrets + more proficiencies. Thank you for the anydice; it seems like pretty reasonable damage from a tank (unless I'm completely off my rocker). Especially considering all the other things you bring to the table.

    Was it on purpose you skipped one of the builds? The quad-build. What I like about all of them is the amount of thinking they take. You have plenty of options every turn for all parts of your action economy. Even your positioning is more key than for most people; your movement can cause damage as you step in and out of threat ranges (step-dancing mooks to their own death is hilarious).
    I might attack your points aggressively: nothing personal. If I call out a fallacy in your argumentation, it doesn't mean I think you are arguing in bad faith. I invite you to call out if I somehow fail to live by the Twelve Virtues of Rationality.

    My favourite D&D session had 3 dice rolls. I'm currently curious to any system that has a higher amount of choices in and out of combat than 5e from the beginning of the game; especially for non-spellcasters. Please PM any recommendations.

  27. - Top - End - #117
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Ok, i've been talking this up in random threads but i think it's a SUPER cool build, so im going to put it in here. The idea is great, it's STRAIGHT Totem Barbarian, so it's simple. You're going to abuse the damage resistance and add a few Feats to become the stickiest, and IMO best, single target tank available.



    KING LEONIDAS BARBARIAN:

    Variant Human, Start 16/14/16/8/10/8
    Feat: Polearm Master

    Level 1:
    Start with a Spear and Shield
    Your AC is 17, you have huge hit die/HP pool, and you get a bonus action attack to abuse RAGE damage.

    Your DPS is strong...way strong (1d6+5 + 1d4+5 each turn), your survivability is great.

    Level 2:
    Reckless Attack and Danger Sense give you solid situational attack buff and great Dex saves.

    Level 3:
    Choose Bear totem. You're now a Bear, you get 1/2 damage to almost everything.

    Level 4:
    ASI - Sentinel
    You now become pretty sticky as a tank, your HP continues to skyrocket. Non-Casters have trouble getting away from you.

    Level 5:
    Extra attack + Fast Movement
    You're faster, so they cant run. Extra attack now means you're hitting them 3 times per turn, plus utilizing a reaction attack (Either from PAM when they come within range of you, or from Sentinel if they try to run).

    Level 6:
    Pick whichever path feature you like that fits your campaign. If the DM pays attention to encumbrance or travel a lot, take Bear or Elk. If its a lot of woods and outdoors, take Eagle. If you want skills, Tiger. Pick whichever.

    Level 7:
    Feral Instinct
    Now you have Adv on initiative...meaning theres a good chance you get to go before the badguys...meaning you are in their face before they can hit your party.

    Level 8:
    ASI: Feat - Mage Slayer
    Now, you have become about as sticky as it gets. If they're a melee or Archer, Sentinel locks them down. If they're a caster, Mage Slayer absolutely destroys their concentration spells and provides you AoO's - AND gives you defense against them casting spells on you! You are a monster single target tank, and once you get in a badguys face...they're going nowhere.
    ================================================== ====

    Feel free, from this point on, to build as you see fit.
    If you get get a +Strength item (Belt of Giant Strength, Gauntlets of Ogre Power) awesome, it means you can pick up Resilient Feat for Wisdom saves. Your remaining ASI's should go to Strength, Resilient - Wisdom, and/or Con depending on what you want to do (Damage vs tank).

    Worth mentioning, when you get to level 14 - take Bear totem. Your already sticky tank becomes unbelievably epicly sticky (Imposes disadvantage when they don't attack you).

    Essentially, you're a shirtless Spear/Shield barrel chested human who cant be taken down and stabs the crap out of everyone.

    YOU'RE KING LEONIDAS

    Love to hear all of your thoughts on this, I love it in theory but havent been in a game thats gotten high enough where im doing this build to use it.

    Edit: You could, Techincally, do this without Spear/Shield and go Halbert or something and pick up GWM later to really do a ton of damage, though you'd sacrifice quite a bit of tanky-survivability
    Last edited by Tallytrev813; 2019-05-22 at 05:28 PM.
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  28. - Top - End - #118
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by Tallytrev813 View Post
    SNIP
    No offense, but it seems neither fun, nor eclectic to me. Not fun, because the build has limited options in and out of combat. Not eclectic, because it's super standard.
    I might attack your points aggressively: nothing personal. If I call out a fallacy in your argumentation, it doesn't mean I think you are arguing in bad faith. I invite you to call out if I somehow fail to live by the Twelve Virtues of Rationality.

    My favourite D&D session had 3 dice rolls. I'm currently curious to any system that has a higher amount of choices in and out of combat than 5e from the beginning of the game; especially for non-spellcasters. Please PM any recommendations.

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Troll in the Playground
     
    LudicSavant's Avatar

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Hey Tallytrev, thanks for posting!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tallytrev813 View Post
    Love to hear all of your thoughts on this, I love it in theory but havent been in a game thats gotten high enough where im doing this build to use it.
    My quick 2cp:
    1) Your damage starts off solid, but does not scale especially well without magic items or buffs.
    Spoiler: Why this is
    Show

    Anydice data posted represents your DPR at all levels, and with a variety of different conditions (rage or not, reckless or not, round 2+ of rage or not since you don't get your bonus action on round 1 of rage) against the average AC of a monster with a CR equal to your level. As you can see you're looking at figures like 17-36 DPR at level 19, plus another ~9 if you get a reaction attack.

    Part of this is just the nature of straight-class SnB Bar-bear-ians (I mentioned something about this in the Ancestral Nightmare post, and how I worked around it in that particular case), another part is your delay in getting Strength boosts (obviously mitigated if you can procure a Giant's Belt), and yet another part is the limited synergy between the Barbarian's kit and Leondidas's feats (for example, you can't bonus action attack on a round you enter rage, and you can't apply Reckless Attack to reaction attacks due to the "on your turn" wording).

    2) The fact that you can't benefit from Reckless Attack on reactions and you're not maxing Strength until level 16 means that you have a fairly high chance of missing with Sentinel and just letting people walk by you.
    Spoiler: Example
    Show

    So for example, at level 11 against an "average CR 11" foe, you can expect 11 (entering rage / nonreckless) to 24 (already raging / reckless) DPR on your turn, and only a 55% chance of landing a Sentinel hit if they decide to walk away from you.

    3) Don't count on being in rage all the time; you don't have enough for a 6-encounter adventuring day until level 17. Not specifically directed at you, but just a note on Barb builds in general.

    4) I would recommend taking Str boosts or Res(Wis) before Mage Slayer. Not only is Mage Slayer situational, but there's enough ways for smart mage players to play around it that it may not be a lot more valuable against them than some more general purpose feats are. YMMV.

    5) If you wanna Shove/Grapple, you have to put your spear away to free up a hand (doffing the shield would take an action). You can at least throw the spear in your hand, then draw another spear.
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2019-05-23 at 10:00 AM.
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    Some of my Stuff:
    Frequency of Resistances in MM, Volo's, MToF | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Unusual Life Cleric Character Concepts

    A Reinvented Pantheon (Made for 3.5, but adaptable):
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  30. - Top - End - #120
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    I suppose the later levels would be less about DPR and more about tanking - since the idea of the build was made to be disruptive in different ways (And sacrifice lots of damage for a shield). I was hoping all the additional attacks would make up for most of the DPR (The reaction attacks and bonus attacks). How much effectiveness would be added by maxing strength early and delaying Mageslayer?

    I had envisioned a character that was Uber tough who utilized most of his offensive effectiveness via imposing the effects of Sentinel and Mageslayer through multiple attacks. Reducing speeds to 0, disrupting concentration, and imposing disadvantage on the enemy for not focusing on the barbarian - which is kind of what the traditional tank does in my experience.
    Last edited by Tallytrev813; 2019-05-23 at 10:13 AM.
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