When it comes to bards in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, they tend to get a rap for being the face of the party or the characters trying to get into everyone’s pants, but Charisma isn’t just about Persuasion, Deception and Performance. It’s about Intimidation, too. And Intimidation is all about instilling fear, whether through threats or presence. Lots of things are intimidating. Monsters and horrors are just a couple. Being that it’s the time for Halloween, I really wanted to try something weird, inspired by the All Bard D&D Party Composition: How to Play video from over on the YouTube channel.
Of all the Adventurers League Character Build Guides we’ve done, this one might be my favorite. I should preface by letting you know I think this almost every time. What captures my attention more than anything in these guides are the character backgrounds and narratives we come up with for each one. Whether it’s a pure class 1-20 levels or a mashup of several classes, each choice from race to deciding between ability score improvements or feats and go-to spell loadouts make every character unique. The thing I love about the witch doctor is before Nerdarchists Dave and Ted get around to choosing their first class level, the character already has a rich story, fertile grounds for roleplaying and an impressive set of skills and knowledge.
A character’s ability scores in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons are arguably the most influential part of who they are. Ability scores determine what your character can and cannot do, and to what degree. They determine what roles your character will tend toward and where their weaknesses lie. In D&D 5E, the standard rule set for calculating ability scores is to roll 4d6 and drop the lowest. However, there’s an alternate rule called “Standard Array,” which grants the character scores of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8. These are assigned to the six ability scores. Then, there’s also the point-buy system.
With how important ability scores are in this game, I wondered why there are so many options for calculation. Then, I got to wondering if the way one calculates their ability scores would affect gameplay, outside of mechanics. What am I talking about? Culture.
Today’s video and transcription is all about multiclassing without actually taking levels in another character class. Instead we use feats from 5e D&D to give us that feel of having multiclassing levels.
D&D Feats 5e – Multiclassing without Multiclassing Video
D&D Feats 5e – Multiclassing without Multiclassing Video Transcription
Multiclassing has been a part of D&D 5E since nearly the beginning of the game. For that matter so have power gamers and power gaming. In the earliest days of Dungeons & Dragons, multiclassing was strictly the purview of the demihuman races. Humans could only dual class and the other races had level caps. With third edition Dungeons & Dragons the role of multiclassing greatly changed. In fourth edition D&D the multiclassing rules took a bit of a turn. D&D 5E realigned the rules back to a system like 3.5 D&D. Now let’s discuss multiclassing, power gamers, and D&D 5E.
Nerdarchy recently switched how we do our 5E D&D character builds. Currently we are on a kick of creating Adventurers League legal builds. We are enjoying the limitations and challenges of exploring these builds. One of our latest was a barbarian paladin multiclass build. One of the things I really like about these character builds is crafting the story to go with them. The background behind this specific build was Nerdarchist Ted is joining an upcoming 5E D&D stream. You’ll be able to catch it over on the Mini Terrain Domain Twitch Channel. We do a little retooling of the barbarian character class. They get changed from being primal savage warriors. I would still call them primal, but instead of drawing from nature they pull their power from the history and past of their people.
One of the most recent videos on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel is the Ultimate Spell Duelist 5E D&D character build. From the initial planning discussion all the way through the comments on the video, my imagination was firing on all cylinders. And based on the video comments, a lot of other people were too. Like all the recent 5E D&D character builds, we set out to create a character legal for Adventurers League play. This of course limits our character options, but that makes it a fun extra little challenge, plus it’s really rewarding to consider not just mechanical benefits but roleplaying opportunities for these characters as well. Outside of Adventurers League play is where this character really got our creative juices flowing, from chances for personal character moments and growth to campaign implications. So let’s get into it.
Our Best D&D Races for the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons classes seems to be a pretty popular series on our YouTube channel. This time we will delve into the D&D fighter. The fighter in 5E D&D is so much more interesting over the previous editions of Dungeons and Dragons. Because in 5E D&D a fighter can be built with either Dexterity or Strength as the primary ability score it makes for a lot options. Only the ranger is as flexible. Yes, I know other classes can be built using an alternate ability score but they usually are more interesting than optimized. But in the case of the ranger and fighter they loose any of their optimization.
We came up with 40 official D&D races optimized to play a fighter. That is a lot variety. When you factor in the seven different martial archetype subclasses to choose from you’ve got a lot of combinations.
I know many people have complaints about the 5E D&D ranger, especially the beast master ranger archetype. My complaint is a different one. I’d like there to be an urban terrain to be able to choose it as a favored terrain. I took advantage of this desire when we got a request for us to do a Gloom Stalker ranger/Assassin rogue multiclass D&D character build. You can check out the D&D Beyond character sheet, and if you are interested the pay what you want D&D character build guide is up on the Dungeon Master’s Guild.
Nerdarchy has been doing 5E D&D character builds on YouTube for over four years now for the Nerdarchy and Dungeons & Dragons community. We have made 5e D&D character builds of super heroes, sci-fi heroes, and characters from novels. Sometimes we make optimized builds. Other times we make what we call our unorthodox character builds. Recently we started a new 5E D&D character build series — our Adventurers League Legal series. It started with a request to make a paladin/College of Whispers bard multiclass. We followed that up with our zen archer build. Then we took another request for a Gloom Stalker ranger/Assassin rogue build. The most recent one we created was a warforged druid 5E character build.
Nerdarchy was challenged to make a multi-class 5E D&D character build using a paladin and bard character class. In the video below we discuss making this character as a player option. But I want to talk about using this character build from the other side of the Dungeon Master’s Screen. While with some mental gymnastics our Oath of Conquest paladin/College of Whispers bard multiclass can be a player character legal for Adventurers League. We can even make this character evil with the lawful evil alignment maintaining our Adventurers League legal status.
I’m in the mood to flesh out some characters and I like the idea of using the variant D&D rules for feats to infuse some flavor into a character concept. Let’s jump into it with three more feats in D&D and maybe these traits will spark some inspiration for your D&D character building on existing characters or ones you might be writing for an upcoming campaign.
It may come as a surprise to you, but I’m not a huge fan of feats in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. I think these variant D&D rules work, albeit better with specific D&D character building guidelines, but ultimately I greatly disliked feats in D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder and these aren’t enough of a step up for me to enjoy them. However, in an effort to enjoy every aspect of the game and maybe even give some character inspiration to others, I’m going to go through some of the feats in D&D and develop some characterization around them.
Nerdarchists Dave and Ted are talking about playing a pacifist character in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and if you know me, I’m not one to shut up during a divisive conversation. While they’re tackling the question of how to play a non-damage wizard head on, I’ll be going into why you would, should you and dabble a bit on what I believe can be an engaging way to be a less direct spellcaster. It’s not all fireballs after all.
Another month, another Unearthed Arcana for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and while I’m often “meh” about most of them, I am particularly pumped about the D&D Giant Soul Sorcerer. I’ve never really cared to much about the sorcerer either direction. It’s a fine class, it just doesn’t really interest me. Now my mind is racing with possibilities and I’m ready to get big. I imagine if you’re reading this you’ve already read it so I’ll leave the rules narration to the other guys. Let’s jump right into the juicy character stuff with the D&D giant soul sorcerer!