Raging Duelist (Dexterity Fighter) (5e Optimized Character Build)
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This build is for a Dexterity based fighter/barbarian that works well at countering their opponents moves. I got this idea after talking to my best friend and he pitched me an idea. I give him a good chunk of the credit along with this build itself.
For this walkthrough I will be using the standard set of stats:
15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8
Building the Character: Race, Class, Background and Equipment
1. For the race I have seen a lot of people choose to take the variant human as the race of choice, due to the extra feat and AS Improvement, but any class with a dexterity increase or constitution increase will work. These will be your main focuses on abilities.
2. For the subrace I would choose to base it off of the Humans (Variant) or the Elves (Drow). For this walkthrough I will pick Drow over Human due to the proficiency with Rapiers.
3. For the classes we will mostly be focusing on the fighter as a whole but will dip into barbarian as our first setup.
4. For the background choose sailor with the pirate variant. I choose this background for an overall flavorful character as well as for the nice feature of "Bad Reputation"" and the skill Proficiency Bonuses.
5. For the equipment you can start off with any equip that you desire but make sure your main melee item is a finesse weapon such as a Rapier and that you are not wearing armor.
Level 1, Establish Dominance: For this build we want to start off with a Barbarian that has a 13 to strength, a 17 to dexterity, a 14 to constitution, 8 to intelligence, 10 to wisdom and a 13 to charisma after we have factored in the racial bonuses from being a Drow. The first level of barbarian will give us not only the Rage ability that we want but will also give us the unarmored defense ability that we will factor in and will increase as our dexterity and constitution get higher. It also gives us a nice 12 + constitution for an extra 2 hit points at level 1. With the above stated, our unarmored defense will be a whopping 15! That is pretty good for a level 1.
Level 2, Establish Presence: Next we begin going with fighter for the rest of the way. Starting off with the fighter we won't get too many of the skill proficiency parts that we would get normally, however, we do get to take a nice little ability known as Second Wind and we get to pick our Fighting Style. For the fighting style we will choose Dueling. Alternatively, you choose to take Great Weapon Fighting or Two Weapon Fighting to give yourself a little more UMPH! for the build.
Level 3, Give Me More: Once we reach level 3 we gain Action Surge to allow us to get another attack, potentially.
Level 4, Prepare for Battle: As we enter level 4 we get to choose our archetype. For the archetype go Battle Master. This will give you access to the maneuver abilities and makes for a very fun countering setting. For the maneuvers I chose Evasive Footwork, Goading Attack, and Maneuvering Attack, but any will do. It all depends on your situations.
Level 5, Increase My Limits: As soon as we hit level 5 we get the ability to go with our ability score improvement. If the DM allows it, go with a feat instead. Choose the Defensive Duelist feat to give yourself the ability to add your proficiency to your AC whenever a creature attacks you. -Alternatively: If you choose to take Variant Human, you can choose this feat as your bonus feat. If that is the case, take either the Mobility Feat or the Alert Feat
Level 6, I Can Swing My Sword: Coming up on level 6 you get an extra attack. What? You thought there was more? That's it...2 attacks! Well? What are you waiting for? Get back out there at kill stuff!
Level 7, I Get More Toys? Oh...Just Abilities: For reaching level 7 we get to take another ability score improvement. As I said, If your DM allows feats, I recommend that you take them. At level 7 we want to take either the Mobility Feat or the Alert Feat. Don't worry we can take the other one later. -Alternatively: You can take the ability score improvement and put them either 2 into dexterity or constitution, or put 1 into each. This will also increase your AC by 2 regardless of where you put them as long as they are solely in dexterity or constitution. -Alternatively: If you chose the Variant Human, you can have the one feat that you do not have from this list if you have followed this guide.
Level 8, The Enemy Of My Enemy Is Probably Still My Enemy: As soon as we hit level 8 we get to go all out with the Know Your Enemy ability. This gives us a good understanding of our enemies so that we can use the correct maneuvers to counter them. This can also add some good flavor to our Dueling Pirate too.
Level 9, The Gift That Keeps On Giving: Once we climb to level 9 we get yet another ability score improvement. For this one however, You can choose to take the ability score improvement or one of the feats that you do not have that have been mentioned in this guide. I would recommend the feat but if you choose the improvement, than put another 2 into dexterity or constitution, or put a 1 into both. This will then raise your AC by 2 for the second time if you chose to do it earlier. -Alternatively: Having taken the Variant Human, if you have taken all the feats up until this point, you can choose to take another feat that is not listed here or choose to take the improvement to your ability score.
Level 10, End Of Conscience: At the final stage of this build we reach level 10. At level 10 we get the ability to use Indomitable which gives us the ability to re-roll our saving throws that we fail. Allowing us to potentially reset ourselves into a better position.
Rest Of The Journey
For the rest of the build you can go into whatever your heart desires but I would stick to fighter as a personal preference. For each ability score improvement you get you can choose to take feats that buff the class or take increases to give yourself that undeniable AC buff.
This build is based solely on speculation and has been tested and used. This is a recommended style fighter but should not be used as the only class. Have fun exploring the rest of the Dungeons and Dragons Universe!