Bulwark, Variant (5e Class)

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Bulwark[edit]

Tough individuals trained by the Order of Defenders to shield others from harm.


The Bulwark Protectors[edit]

Trained by the Order of the Defenders, Bulwarks are all specifically trained in the art of defending allies and surviving almost anything.


"Need a healer in your party ?"; "No thanks, we've got him !"; "Oh... maybe next time." Bulwark Joke

Creating a Bulwark[edit]

Who trained you and where ? Why were you being trained ? Sometimes, criminals are taken in by the Order and trained to protect instead of kill. Was it your choice to become a Bulwark, or is some 3rd party involved ? What are your ambitions for the future ? Mercenary work is where one most often finds Bulwarks, but other lines of work exist with men & women like these strong and tough individuals. What are your hobbies ? Any other skills ? Any friends ? Enemies ?

The most important aspect of character when creating an impenetrable Bulwark is most definitely their inner weakness. So what is yours and who knows about it ? Character flaws are going to be quite important to way your character evolves as a person, so take your time to think them through.


Quick Build

You can make a Bulwark quickly by following these suggestions. First, Constitution should be your highest ability score, followed by Strength. Second, choose the Soldier or Mercenary background. Third, choose the Chain Mail, the Longsword, the hand Crossbow and the Explorer's Pack.


Class Features

As a Bulwark you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d12 per Bulwark level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d12 (or 7) + Constitution modifier per Bulwark level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: All armors, shields
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Choose 3 from Athletics, Acrobatics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Religion, Survival

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) Ring Mail or (b) Chain Mail or (c) Splint
  • (a) Longsword or (b) Morningstar or (c) Warhammer
  • (a) A Hand Crossbow or (b) 4 Light Hammers or (c) 4 Handaxes
  • (a) Dungeoneer's Pack or (b) Explorer's Pack
  • If you are using starting wealth, you have 20GP in funds.

Table: The Bulwark

Level Proficiency
Bonus
Features Strain points
1st +2 The Strain of Might, The Bulwark Shield, Tactics of Survival and Sacrifice, Reflexes of Survival and Sacrifice 2+con
2nd +2 Armour Expertise, Reckless Defense 2+con
3rd +2 Bulwark Archetype Feature 2+con
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 2+con
5th +3 Bulwark Archetype Feature 3+con
6th +3 The Bulwark Shield 3+con
7th +3 Extra Attack, Bulwark Archetype Feature 3+con
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 3+con
9th +4 Bulwark Archetype Feature 4+con
10th +4 Skills of Survival and Sacrifice 4+con
11th +4 Bulwark Archetype Feature 4+con
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 4+con
13th +5 Extra Attack 5+con
14th +5 The Bulwark Shield 5+con
15th +5 Bulwark Archetype Feature 5+con
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 5+con
17th +6 Might of Survival and Sacrifice 6+con
18th +6 Survivor's Reward 6+con
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 6+con
20th +6 The Might of Strain 6+con
  • Note to creator: I changed this to match your description of the strain pool below. Also, if you gain 1 strain point max every level, picture this. "A dragon hits you for 100 damage, youre bloodied instantly, down to only half of your hp. You convert 10 of your strain points into healing with the tighten the flesh feature. You heal 10d10+... for example, 5 con mod. 10d10+50. Youre healing a minimum of 50 damage + an average of about 70. You heal 120, which is already more than the damage you took. A dragon that hits you for that much damage is supposed to be able to do that much damage, not have a mortal being practically negate that damage entirely twice.*


The Strain of Might[edit]

Starting level 1, you have a pool of Strain Points equal to your Proficiency modifier, plus your constitution modifier.

The pool is empty and resets to zero after finishing a long or short rest.

Some abilities of the Bulwark give you Strain points when you use them, or depend on the amount of Strain accumulated.

If an ability were to give you Strain while your Strain point pool is already at its maximum, you gain 1 level of exhaustion instead.

The Bulwark Shield[edit]

"After your training as a stoic defender, you were given one of the Greatshields that are the namesake of the Order."

Starting level 1, you have a Shield called the "Bulwark Greatshield" and know how to make one (proficient in smithing and crafting it) and where to get one. These shields have the "Heavy" property for anyone but you, it grants +3AC and can be used a number of unique ways. You can choose one of the following techniques at level 1, then choose another one at levels 6, and 13. The Bulwark shield increases size by 1 category.

No matter how many attacks you can make you may only do one of the following techniques per attack action.

Great Bash

"Swinging that shield around is definitely not as easy as you make it look !"

Using your attack Action, you can make a single melee attack with your shield (1d20+your proficiency+Str Mod) to deal 1d6+Str Mod bludgeoning damage (2d6 at level 7, 3d6 at level 11, 4d6 at level 15) and attempt to apply a special effect to the target creature of one size larger or smaller than you. Target creature must make a Constitution saving throw against a DC of 8+your proficiency modifier+your Strength modifier. On a fail, choose the effect that applies :

-Creature is stunned until the end of its next turn.

-Creature takes 2d6 additional damage as bludgeoning.

Using this ability gives you 1 point of Strain.


Great Push

"Towing that huge Bulwark shield around all day as part of your training has given you a strong sense of balance as well as Kord-like muscles."

As an Action, you may force target creature, of a size one greater than yours or smaller that you are in melee range of, to make a Strength or Dexterity Saving Throw (your choice) against a DC of 8+your proficiency modifier+your Strength modifier. On a fail, that creature is violently pushed back 10ft (20ft at level 7, 30ft at level 11, 40ft at level 15), if it collides with anything solid enough, it takes the equivalent of distance traveled in fall damage (objects and creatures hit by the creature take half the damage dealt to the target of the push), then if the creature collides with another object 10 feet or more away, it looses half of its movement speed and gains disadvantage on its attacks until the end of its next turn.


Using this ability gives you 1 point of Strain.


Great Leap

"Jumping to the rescue has been pounded into your mind and body, allowing you to cover some distances in very fast long jumps."

Once per Attack Action, you may tighten the muscles in your legs to leap your current movement speed in any direction (have fun with that!). Should you land on a creature, that creature must make a Dexterity saving throw against a DC of 8+your proficiency modifier+your Strength modifier. On a fail, it takes 1d6+Str Mod (2d6 at level 7, 3d6 at level 11, 4d6 at level 15) bludgeoning damage and is knocked prone under you and you do not take any fall damage from landing on it, on a success you lose your footing and fall prone instead and take half the amount of damage you would have taken as fall damage.


Using this ability gives you 1 point of Strain.

Tactics of Survival and Sacrifice[edit]

At level 1, you have learned when to make a stand... and when to run.

Some abilities require "Sacrifice", meaning reducing a certain value by a certain amount. When effects end, so do the penalties.

Only one effect of this list may be active at any time. You can use both a number of times equal to half of your con mod every long rest.

Leg Focus

As an Action, you may Sacrifice up to 3 of your armor class to gain up to 30 feet of extra movement speed for 1 minute. For every 1 armor class sacrificed this way, you gain 10 feet of extra movement speed. The armor class reduction lasts until the effect is canceled with a bonus action or the 1 minute is up. At level 10, the armor class reduction lasts until the end of your next turn instead of the full minute.

Shield Focus

As an Action, you may Sacrifice up to all of your movement speed to gain armor class based on how much movement speed was sacrificed, For every 10 feet of movement speed sacrificed this way, you gain 1 armor class for one minute. The movement speed reduction lasts until the effect is canceled with a bonus action or the 1 minute is up. At level 10. the movement speed reduction lasts until the end of your next turn instead of the full minute. *Note: Using this ability more than once every minute will not grant any extra armor class.* You may end any of these effects before their duration expires as a Bonus Action on your turn.

Reflexes of Survival and Sacrifice[edit]

At level 1, your body moves by instinct to protect.

"This is what you were trained for, believe in it and the rewards will be greater than you can imagine."

Full Sacrifice

As a Reaction, When an ally that is within 5 feet of you is targeted for an attack, you may push that ally backwards, and you get in front of them, taking the full brunt of the attack. The target of the attack becomes you. At level 10 the attack that is being redirected onto you will be made at disadvantage. At level 17 you will take half damage from the redirected attack. This feature may only be used a number of times equal to half your proficiency every short rest.

Partial Sacrifice

As a Reaction, you may give an ally that is being targeted by an attack or AOE spell that you can see within 15 feet of you, 1 armor class. Upon doing so, if the ally takes any damage from the attack, you instead take half of that damage for that ally. This ability may only be used before the attack has been rolled . This feature may only be used a number of times equal to half your proficiency every short rest.

Unpredictable Defense

As a Reaction, You may sacrifice 3AC to grant 3AC to a target ally within 5ft of you. The sacrifice and the buff last until the beginning of your next turn. You may only use this ability on an allies turn, and before the damage roll has been made against the ally. This feature may only be used a number of times equal half to your proficiency every short rest.

  • Note to original Creator: I imposed a soft cap on how many times you can use these features, because if you can use them at any time at all, it becomes a bit stronger than other classes at level 1. You could potentially stop an ally from taking damage all together, or permanently give them 3 armor class. I soft capped these and applied new effects to attempt to balance the capabilities of each of these versus one another

Armor Expertise[edit]

Starting level 2, you've learned to maximize the efficiency of each piece of an armor set.

While wearing medium or heavy armor, you have +1AC.

Reckless Defense[edit]

Starting level 2, You have learned what it takes to force an enemy to target you.

As an Action, You may force all enemies within melee range of you to make a wisdom save with a DC equal to 8+your proficiency modifier+your Constitution modifier. On a fail, they will all be forced to attack you instead on their next turn, if they succeed, nothing happens.. You can use this ability once every short rest.

Bulwark Archetype[edit]

"You now know enough of your deep nature and how you react in a crisis to choose your Path as a Bulwark."

At 3rd level, you choose an archetype feature out of the different Paths of the Bulwark.


Ability Score Increase[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack[edit]

Beginning at 7th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

This number increases to three at 13th level.

Skills of Survival and Sacrifice[edit]

At level 10 these abilities become available. You may use each of these features, except tighten the flesh, as it has its own cooldown, a number of times equal to half of your proficiency level every short rest.

Trick Opening

"Trick... or Treat ? Depends on whether they dare..."

As a Reaction, You may sacrifice 3AC to impose disadvantage on all attacks against you until your next turn.


Tighten the Flesh

"Its just a flesh wound, and my flesh is mostly made of muscles...*hunmg!*... See ? No more blood !"

As a Bonus Action, you may convert a number of Strain Points up to your Constitution modifier (Minimum 1), and gain half that many as d10s plus con mod (For example, say you have a con mod of three and spend 2 points you will heal for 1d10+3. 1d10+con per 2 points of strain converted.). May be used a number of times equal to your Constitution Modifier (Minimum 1) per long rest.

Swift Burst

"You learn to walk into them at first, then you learn to walk over them..."

As a Bonus Action, all enemies within melee range of you must make a dexterity saving throw against a DC of 8+your proficiency modifier+your Constitution modifier. On a fail, they fall prone.

Might of Survival and Sacrifice[edit]

At level 17, these abilities become available.

Ultimate Smite

You Smite an enemy with all your might.

As an Action make a melee attack against a creature within range, this attack is a critical on an 18, 19 or 20.

On a hit, you deal 8d12+(current Strain)bludgeoning damage to target creature. You can use this ability once per long rest.

Using this ability gives you 2 points of Strain.

Ultimate Rescue

You shield an ally from all incoming damage.

As a Reaction, you jump to target creature within 15ft and it becomes immune to the next source of damage or the start of your next turn, whichever happens first. You can use this ability once per long rest

Using this ability gives you 2 points of Strain.

Survivor's Reward[edit]

At level 18, As long as you are wielding the Bulwark Shield, you can choose one type of non-magical damage to become immune to, you become resistant to the rest. You can chose 3 types of magical damage to, you become resistant to those types. If you become the target of a damage type that you are immune to, you reflect the attack back at the attacker. Should you ever not wield The Bulwark Shield you will have Vulnerability to all damage types.

The Might of Strain[edit]

At level 20, double your Strain point pool maximum.

Bulwark Archetypes[edit]

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No matter their race or style, the sight of a Bulwark always inspires might

Path of the Protector[edit]

"The Protector focuses on saving allies from damage and taking hits for them. They sacrifice more but gain more from their sacrifice."

Unbreakable

At level 3 : For every point of Strain accumulated, you reduce all damage dealt to you by 2.

Life Before Death

At level 5 : You can now move up to half of your movement speed to an ally for Full sacrifice instead of the ally needing to be within 5 feet of you. This increases to your full movement speed at level 11.

Increased Focus

At level 7 : Shield Focus now gives one additional AC when used.

Almighty Push

At level 9 : Great Push is upgraded into almighty push. Almighty push increases the push distance of Great push by 5 feet for every point of your strength modifier. Almighty push no longer grants strain points

Big Basher

At level 11 : Great Bash's DC increases by double your strength Modifier (Minimum 1).

Forceful Burst

At level 15 : Swift Burst now deals 4d8 bludgeoning damage to any creature failing the save.

Path of the Survivor[edit]

"The Survivor focuses on just that : surviving by any means, even dishonourable ones when necessary."

Forced March

At level 3 : For every 2 points of Strain accumulated, you gain 5ft of movement.

Long Jump

At level 5 : Partial Sacrifice's radius increases to 30ft.

Faster!!

At level 7 : Leg Focus movement increases by 15 ft.

Effortless Jumps

At level 9 : Great Leap is upgraded to deal more damage based on your weight. Great leap now deals 1d6 for every 40 pounds that your character weighs(Body weight and equipment weight) when they land on a creature.

Toughened Constitution

At level 11 : For every 5ft you move on your turn, You gain that many Temporary Hit Points. These Hit Points only last until the start of your next turn.

Tricky Trick

At level 15 : Trick Opening now requires a -2 AC sacrifice instead of a -3.

Multiclassing[edit]

Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the Bulwark class, you must meet these prerequisites: 14 Strength, 14 Constitution

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the Bulwark class, you gain the following proficiencies: Athletics or Intimidation, heavy armor and martial weapons.



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