Play Your Next 5E D&D Game as an Indomitable Defender
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted don the heaviest armor they can find for a new Character Build Guide for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. People seem to really love any topic touching on Armor Class for 5E D&D and a whole bunch of comments on an older video discussing AC asked for a bonafide CBG. New character options and changes to some things since the original video came together for the Indomitable Defender combining fighter and wizard for a character with supreme focus on protecting themselves and their allies behind an unstoppable AC. Along with the player guide detailing the journey from character creation to 20th level we create special NPCs and creatures inspired by the character build for Dungeon Masters ready to drop right into your game. So let’s get into it.
Behind the CBG — Indomitable Defender
Our CBGs take the journey into account as much as the destination to present a guide suitable for any level of 5E D&D play whether you’re pursuing an epic campaign from start to finish, starting beyond 1st level or choosing a character for a one shot. Next we take those concepts and develop an NPC or creature version of the character build for DMs to incorporate into their games. All of this gets packaged up and laid out in a PDF you can find over at Dungeon Master’s Guild. We’ve got dozens of pay what you want products at DMG, many of them best sellers so if you want to check those out start with the Indomitable Defender here.
All about the character story
Every CBG starts with an idea for a character with a particular schtick, from the Mind Breaker’s psyche crushing smites to the Indomitable Defenders unstoppable AC. Sometimes puns and pop culture references instigate the creation of a CBG too. Looking at you, Claire Voyant. The discussion turns to what sort of person starts down this path to power, including motivation and also multiclass reasoning because let’s be real — nearly every one of these guides focuses on a multiclass character. As DM’s Guild Brand Manager and longtime Nerdarchy friend Lysa Penrose puts it they’re each like their own unique class for 5E D&D.
The Indomitable Defender was interesting because we took a video we’d already done as a more broad conversation about AC and used it as a springboard for a new warforged character to see how much protection we could really stack up. Warforged changed a bit between Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron and Eberron: Rising from the Last War so there was some question if these beloved creatures still had what it takes and the answer is: Yes! There’s countless ways to approach AC in 5E D&D but at the end of the day a straight up +1 AC bonus can’t be beat.
The biggest question we asked ourselves was, “What causes a person to focus so much on armored protection?” The answer arose through choosing a background. The narrative arc we decided to follow developed after imagining a warforged sage. Through their study and research they learn about the mundane and magical threats of the world and decide to be proactive. They come to understand the danger to themselves and those they care about, applying their skills, knowledge and natural features to becoming an unstoppable shield for themselves and others against the perils of the multiverse.
This warforged Indomitable Defender puts their books and scrolls away to discipline themselves in the ways of battle, learning to utilize their own natural armor to an even greater degree. But the allure of more esoteric means of protection draw them back to academia where they add a few magical tricks to their repertoire. By the time this character reaches 5th level they’ve gained a number of features greatly increasing their own protection and any allies too. When friends are in danger this warforged hero makes themselves an unstoppable force their enemies cannot ignore.
In addition to a wide array of abilities focused on improving their AC and protecting themselves and others this character brings a variety of skills to an adventuring party. The herbalism kit, Investigation skill and Primordial language gained as a warforged speaks to their curiosity about the world and interest in understanding more about how they can help others. We imagine at this early stage of character creation the character is naive about the world and perhaps sees it through rose colored lenses a little bit. This same perspective carries through into their background where they delve into magical and mundane research, gaining more language skills required to read academic manuscripts and the like.
The Indomitable Defender switches things up when the time comes to learn an adventuring style. Applying their smarts to swordplay and physical pursuits they prove an apt learner. Acrobatics and athletics show they’re more than a bookworm with natural armor and they already learn a very important defensive maneuver. At this point the character is a fresh 1st level adventurer with a solid narrative arc to follow.
From there they alternate between improving their physical defenses and supplementing them with magical protections. This characters dedication to protection informs their decision to learn the skills of a Cavalier, a shining example of selflessness on the battlefield drawing enemy attention to themselves. They can take it. They’re a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A knight!
Of course you can play your Indomitable Defender however you want. A scholarly sword and board warrior protecting friends and allies from dark dangers makes a great motivation for personal and group goals. But you could just as easily imagine your warforged character as paranoid about the perils they face and pursuing any means possible to improve their AC.
Indomitable Defender NPC for 5E D&D
Full disclosure — the NPCs and creatures we make in CBGs are some of my favorite bits of 5E D&D content to create. Basically we step back and look at the character guide to find the standout features, the ones that feel like signature abilities. The juice! From there we consider what sort of person or people would possess or gain these abilities and build a stat block around them. More often than not the section of a CBG For Dungeon Masters presents a generic creature, often a member of an organization. Nerdarchist Dave loves including organizations into game material because it’s a great way for players to hook into the world.
An Indomitable Defender makes an awesome bodyguard so the creature version of this CBG is designed to be an exigent presence, unable to be ignored. Whatever creature this warforged marks as a threat to their protected charge will find it nearly impossible to bypass. They’re not terribly hard hitting, especially for a Challenge 12 creature, but their defensive features are many.
High hit points and very high AC might make the Indomitable Defender seem like a boring foe to face but I think in a scenario where they’re meant to protect another creature as a bodyguard makes for an engaging encounter. Their traits and actions increase staying power in some interesting ways beyond chonky stats. Some saving throw tricks, attention holding features and crowd control elements could really create a challenge for a party. If they have a signature feature I’d say it’s Unstoppable Menace.
“Unstoppable Menace. The indomitable defender imposes itself on the battlefield, availing its hulking demeanor to become the most dangerous threat. Creatures within 30 feet who can see the indomitable defender have disadvantage on any attack roll that doesn’t target it. If a creature in range deals damage to any other creature, the indomitable defender can make a special melee attack against it on its next turn as a bonus action with advantage and +3 extra damage.”
If your next 5E D&D game needs a bodyguard — whether you’re the DM or a player — check out the Indomitable Defender CBG here.