Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted feel the magic and hear the roar, discussing the best class for leonin in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Leonin let loose on the 5E D&D scene by way of Mythic Odysseys of Theros, an exciting addition to the multiverse from the planes of Magic: The Gathering. Leonin are lionlike humanoids and in the lore of M:tG developed a culture strongly valuing honor and religion. The leonin of Theros developed differently in terms of culture, making a conscious effort to separate themselves from other races and largely abandoning deity worship. As the second and most recently catlike humanoid official 5E D&D race option it seems to me people gravitate towards leonin over tabaxi and all viewers of the video left lots of great comments with their own leonin character ideas. I got caught up in the fun too so I thought I’d share some of them here and create a very special leonin NPC you can drop right into your game too. So let’s get into it.
Best 5E D&D class for leonin a colorful choice
First up I pulled my favorite comments from the video. These folks shared their ideas for the sorts of leonin characters they’d like to play in 5E D&D. A lot of folks left comments with tons of fun character ideas so I picked out the ten ideas most appealing to me. We do a lot of character related content so this is not a new arena for us but I got a sense there is an extra level of enthusiasm in many of these. A lionlike humanoid hero is so evocative!
- “Leonin characters should be themed around how you can imagine their mane as a hairstyle first and mechanical considerations a distant second.”
- This is a Hairable Idea 😉
- “A beardomancy leonin would be wild”
- To be fair a Beardomancy anything is a terrific idea
- “I’d play a Leonin that doesn’t like how he looks and trims and dyes his hair to TRY to look like other cats. His goal would be to find a way to shape shift.”
- Another Hairable Idea
- “Thunder, Thunder THUNDERCATS HOOO!!!”
- Slap on a Claw Shield and Sword of Omens and you’re good to go
- “I love the idea of a Conquest Paladin for the Leonin. You can never have too many fear effects.”
- Maybe with a little College of Whispers thrown in for good measure
- “I’m playing a leonin oath of Glory Paladin and basically made him a pro wrestler”
- “A leonin Samurai kind of sounds appealing to me!”
- A leonin samurai with special maneuvers and combat tricks is even more appealing!
- “Very much enjoyed making my Leonin following your “Nightcrawler” build from years ago.”
- Teleport the heck out of your next 5E D&D game
- “Kimarhri the last Ronso???”
- You mean a Path of the Azure barbarian?
- “Lions hate hyenas. I made an Oath of Vengeance Paladin that hates Gnolls.”
- Probably don’t party up with a quintessential gnoll then
Leonin Pride Warrior honors culture and history
Obviously the multiple mentions of beardomancy in the video comments caught my attention. Beardomancy and the follow up Hairable Ideas are some of the most fun products I’ve worked on and of course these are the best ideas! With their thick manes all but begging for some power from the Beard Dimension I was torn between two of the subclasses we’ve created — Shaggy Soul sorcerer and Path of the Barbhairian barbarian.
My personal pet project won out in the end. Originally I intended to put together an NPC to drop right into your game but while working on the stat block I thought it would be even more fun to make a more generic creature. Pride Warriors represent a very special part of leonin culture. In the absence of devout faith in the gods these warriors learn the secrets of beardomancy and draw on energy from the Beard Dimension to empower their luxurious manes of fur.
To create this creature I basically mashed together the leonin racial traits and the Path of the Barbhairian subclass features. While doing research about leonin in general I learned more about the Planeswalker Ajani and how he was born an albino leonin, which fit perfectly with the our beardomantic barbarian’s White Hot Rage feature. These exemplars of leonin culture first learn to emulate Ajani and strip all color from their mane. This purity causes their manes to shine and glow as well as giving them the ability to manipulate the hair like a prehensile appendage. This way they can wield their double-headed axes in honor of Ajani while keeping their claws free to make slashing attacks.
Each day when a Pride Warrior wakes they meditate on the mysteries of the Beard Dimension and channel a vibrant color into their mane, giving them special damage resistance and infusing their attacks with extra energy to simulate the Brutal Balayage feature from the subclass. A Pride Warrior’s powerful understanding of this energy and their training in channeling it into their manes gives them fine control over this thick fur that they can then use to restrain enemies, protect allies and assist with feats of strength.
Along with the Path of the Barbhairian you can find Beauty Domain for clerics, Way of the Gorgon for monks, Oath of Vanity for paladins, Weaver for rogues and Shaggy Soul for sorcerers in Hairable Ideas along with beardomancy spells, magic items and creatures. In the original book Beardomancy you’ll find the School of Beardomancy wizard and a whole bunch of beardomancy spells and items both magical and mundane along with a terrifying creature from the darkest snaggles of the Beard Dimension.
Medium humanoid (leonin), any alignment
Armor Class 15
Hit Points 102 (12d8 +48)
Speed 35 ft.
- STR: 18 (+4)
- DEX: 13 (+1)
- CON: 19 (+4)
- INT: 10 (+0)
- WIS: 12 (+1)
- CHA: 8 (-1)
Saving Throws Strength +6, Constitution +6
Skills Intimidation +1
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages Common, Leonin
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)
Daunting Roar (2/Day). As a bonus action, the Pride Warrior can let out an especially menacing roar. Creatures of its choice within 10 feet that can hear it must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened of it until the end of its next turn.
Mane Attraction (1/Day). The Pride Warrior channels vibrant beardomantic energy to create a soft and natural gradation of color in their mane. Roll 1d10 or choose one of the following colors, gaining the following benefits, which last until the following dawn:
Black. Necrotic damage resistance. Melee attacks deal an extra 2d6 necrotic damage.
Blue. Lightning damage resistance. Melee attacks deal an extra 2d6 lightning damage.
Brown. Poison damage resistance. Melee attacks deal an extra 2d6 poison damage.
Green. Acid damage resistance. Melee attacks deal an extra 2d6 acid damage.
Pink. Psychic damage resistance. Melee attacks deal an extra 2d6 psychic damage.
Purple. Force damage resistance. Melee attacks deal an extra 2d6 force damage.
So White You Have To Pronounce the “H”. Radiant damage resistance. Melee attacks deal an extra 2d6 radiant damage.
Red. Fire damage resistance. Melee attacks deal an extra 2d6 fire damage.
Translucent. Cold damage resistance. Melee attacks deal an extra 2d6 cold damage.
Yellow. Thunder damage. resistance Melee attacks deal an extra 2d6 thunder damage.
*The Pride Warrior uses Mane Attraction before combat.
Unarmored Defense. While the Pride Warrior is wearing no armor and wielding no shield, its AC includes its Constitution modifier.
White Hot Rage. The Pride Warrior draws on beardomantic power to weaponize their mane. As a bonus action the Pride Warrior channels beardomantic energy into their mane, which blanches start white and grows voluminous, glowing with an aura that sheds bright light in a 10 foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet. Until the end of the Pride Warrior’s next turn it’s reach with melee weapons is 10 feet greater than normal.
Multiattack. The Pride Warrior makes three attacks, two with its claws and one with its Double-Headed Axe wielded in it’s beardomantically empowered mane.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, one target, reach 5 ft. Hit: 6 (1d4 +4) slashing damage plus 7 (2d6) damage of the type indicated by the Pride Warrior’s Mane Attraction feature.
Double-Headed Axe. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, on target, reach 15 ft. Hit: 11 (2d6 +4) slashing damage plus 7 (2d6) damage of the type indicated by the Pride Warrior’s Mane Attraction feature.
Terrible Tangles (Recharge 6). The Pride Warrior blows out its mane and entangles nearby foes. Each Large or smaller creature within 10 feet must succeed on a DC 14 Strength or Dexterity saving throw (target’s choice) or be restrained until the start of the Pride Warrior’s next turn.
Protector of Pride. When a creature the Pride Warrior can see attacks a target other than the Pride Warrior that is within 10 feet the Pride Warrior can use its reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll.
Sentient Strands. Whenever the Pride Warrior makes a Strength check or saving throw it can use its reaction to roll a 1d4 and add the result to the roll.