Holy Fighter (5e Optimized Character Build)
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I got this idea after seeing the Dexterity fighter build. This one works kind of the same way, but we start out with a Paladin instead. I always thought the Divine Smite feature was a little to over powered. I mean the spell I usauly compare it to, cure wounds, only heals 1d8 while Divine Smite deals 2d8. But with this build, we are cut off from the Paladin at an early level, so we will never be able to cast it at a higher level spell slot. This build will focus on using divine smite at good times well still maintaining yourself as a Fighter.
Ability Scores: for this build I will be using the standard set of ability scores: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8. Since we start out as a Paladin, you can get Chain Mail armor, giving us an AC of 16, and 18 with a shield.
1. Our race doesn't really matter, but it is important to choose something that reflects how you want your warrior to be. For this build, you can use either Strength or Dexterity as your prime ability score. I choose Drow elf because of +2 Dexterity and +1 Charisma (because we all need our fighters to be charming lol). Since we start out with a Paladin, you need 13 Charisma and Strength to mulit class. 2. This build calls for us to start out with the Paladin class, but will mostly be focusing on the Fighter class after that.
3. Your Background doesn't really matter, but make sure it has skill proficiencies you want. Since we start out as a Paladin, it might be good to choose noble.
4. For starting equipment, choose a Martial melee weapon that is reflective of your Ability Scores. If you want to be a Dexterity Fighter, choose a weapon with the Finesse property. Otherwise, choose something like a battleaxe or great sword, depending on if you want a shield or not.
Level 1: To start out, we are going to be a Paladin that has Ability Scores of Dexterity 17, Constitution 14, Intelligence 10, Charisma 13, Strength 13 and Wisdom 8. As a Paladin, we get two cool features: Divine Sense and Lay on hands. while Divine Sense is pretty neat, I've come to find it's kind of useless. Lay on hands, on the other hand, (see what I did there?) will be able to heal our allies with a pool of 5 (later 10) hit points. In a game where 1 HP still means you can fight, this is pretty nice.
level 2: At level 2, we get to pick our fighting style. since I am using a Rapier, I am going to pick the Dueling style. for spellcasting, I can pick 2 spells. I chose Detect Magic and Protection from good and evil, because these do not rely on my spellcasting ability. finally, we get Divine Smite. Think of your spell slots as more of ammo for your Divine Smites. Congratulations! You can now add an extra 2d8 damage to your hits.
Level 3: Now that we have Divine Smite, we can hop on over to Fighter. This gives us second wind, but also gives us another fighting style. This time I chose defense.
Level 4: we get Action Surge. This can Substitute for a second attack until level 7.
Level 5: at our third level in Fighter, we can choose a Martial Archetype. Choose Battle Master Archetype, and make sure one of the Maneuvers is the Riposte Maneuver.
Level 6: Ability Score improvement. Now my Rapier Attack Bonus is +8. Yay? Feel free to pick a Feat if you'd like.
Level 7: Extra Attack.
You have two spell slots. While having some spells are nice, the real treat is Divine Smite. Your uses of Divine Smite will boost your attack. Unfortunately, you only have two uses of it. But with the cunning and quick actions of the Battle Master and the extra damage of the superiority die, the damage just adds up. For example, the Riposte attack adds a superiority die (d8) to the attack. In total, that's 1d8 (Rapier) + 1d8 (Superiority die) + 2d8 (Divine Strike) + 1d8 (only if it is an Undead or Fiend) + 4 (Dex mod) + 2 (Dueling Bonus). That's 24 damage. And with Action Surge and Extra Attack, that can have potentially 96 damage on average.
Good question. For now, you have 13 levels remaining are yours. You can continue in Fighter, and build your combat prowess. You can move back to a Paladin for more uses of Divine Smite or to get Channel Divinity. You could also choose an entirely new class, maybe become a full spellcaster.