Beware the Reaver | New 5E D&D Fighter Subclass is the Darkest Yet!

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Blood. Pain. Terror. For most these words evoke dread, but for the Reaver they trigger glee, excitement and promise. Some Reavers come to their powers through dark rituals or actions horrific and unspeakable and others are born with an innate connection to primal bloodlust, which fuels their sadism. Here is a homebrew fighter subclass for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons — the Reaver Martial Archetype. If you’re seeing this post for the second time, it’s due to some technical issues we had with the site, but this fighter subclass was just too good to lose.

Reaver 5E D&D fighter subclass

“Pain. Blood. Never death.” This is the creed of the Reaver. Pain is pleasure. Blood is life. Death is a mercy.

Princess Garnet

The concept for the Reaver is inspired by a number of different media. There are monsters known as Reavers in the Firefly universe. Reavers are dragon slayers in the Dragon Age franchise. Even our own history holds tales of brutal raiders called border reavers. The primary inspiration for this 5E D&D subclass stems from my comedic fantasy novel The Mis-Adventurers: An (Almost) Epic Tale. Specifically, from the villainous character of Garnet.
Princess Garnet, of the hill dwarf nation of Stonebluff, has it all — beauty, status and wealth. But those who know her know of her twisted, sadistic side. Though forever cool headed and calm she relishes the pain of her enemies and revels in the misery of any who dare slight her. Many flee her presence simply due to the dripping, honeyed malice lacing her words. She loves when they do that. Indeed, Garnet is the truest of the Reavers, a force to be reckoned with in the throne room and on the battlefield alike.

Reaver

Martial Archetype for 5E D&D Fighters

Reavers carve their way through hordes of enemies at once, terrifying those few foolhardy enough to remain in their path. Blood trails their steps, corpses littered like autumn leaves.

Reavers are the stuff of nightmares, mortal fighters obsessed with violence. Pain means pleasure to them, either inflicting it or experiencing it themselves. Bloodshed empowers them, fueling their vigor.

For Reavers, violence is an end unto itself. Most need no reason to kill except they see the opportunity to do harm and take it. From stoic avarice to gleeful sadism Reavers almost supernaturally sustain themselves on the agony they inflict. As such, few Reavers are good aligned and the majority are outright evil.

Whether through a blood ritual or by virtue of their very nature, Reavers come into their abilities in a myriad of ways. How you came into this archetype is up to you. For inspiration, consult the table below.

d8

I became a reaver when…

1

I drank the blood of a powerful creature I slayed.

2

Someone I love was taken from me and I swore vengeance via blood rite.

3

I killed for my first time…and I liked it.

4

I was tortured for what felt like eternity…until the pain twisted to pleasure.

5

I was possessed by an otherworldly creature that haunts my dreams.

6

I was transformed through magical experimentation by an evil spellcaster.

7

I’ve always been this way. It’s simply who I am: a monster.

8

I came to own a magic weapon that whispered of its abiding hunger…and awakened me to my own.

 

Reaver Features

Fighter

Level

Feature

3rd

Pain and Pleasure

7th

Vicious Terror

10th

Blood Lust

15th

Torment

18th

Savage Brutality

 

Pain and Pleasure

Starting at 3rd level, your infliction of pain on others invigorates you. When you deal damage to a creature with a melee weapon attack, you gain temporary hit points equal to half the damage you dealt (rounded up). These temporary hit points last until the start of your next turn.

If you deal damage to a creature more than once on your turn, you must choose whether to accept a new temporary hit point total from your most recent damage roll or retain the temporary hit points from your previous damage roll. You can make this decision after knowing the results of the damage rolls.

Vicious Terror

At 7th level, when you deal damage to a creature with a melee weapon attack, you deal extra psychic damage equal to your Charisma modifier, as your sheer revelry in your own cruelty disturbs those you attack to their core.

Creatures immune to being frightened are immune to this damage.

Blood Lust

Beginning at 10th level, the amount of temporary hit points you gain from dealing damage equals the amount of damage you dealt in a single hit.

Torment

At 15th level, you gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill, if you don’t already have it, and you add twice your proficiency bonus, instead of any normal proficiency bonus, to Charisma (Intimidation) checks.

Savage Brutality

Beginning at 18th level, when you roll damage for a melee weapon attack and a die shows the lowest possible result, you can treat the die as if you had rolled the maximum instead.

And that’s the Reaver!

What do you think of the Reaver fighter subclass for 5E D&D? Do you have inspiration for your own dark character who chooses this archetype? How would you include this in your own games? We want to hear everything you have to say in the comments!

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Steven Partridge is an aspiring author and experienced tabletop gamer. As a child, he dreamed of growing up to be a dinosaur, but as with many children, his childhood dreams were dashed when the rules of reality set in. However, our valiant Steven never allowed this to sway his ambition. He simply... adjusted it to fit more realistic aspirations. Thus, he blossomed into a full-fledged nerd with a passion for the fantasy genre. When he's not writing or working on videos for his YouTube channel, Steven can be found lap swimming or playing D&D with his friends. He works in the mental health field and enjoys sharing conversations about diversity, especially as it relates to his own place within the Queer community.

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