Homebrew Custom Weapon for a Cavalier
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  1. #1

    Custom Weapon for a Cavalier

    Joining a campaign and playing a warforged cavalier. I am going to sword and board it up and took the dueling fighting style to up damage.

    At lvl 1 each character gets a legacy weapon that will grow as we level and unlock more abilities. They all require attunement. I am trying to determine out of 2 of them which would be best.

    1 gives you a 4th death saving throw before dieing and rolling 1 only counts as a singular failure.

    The other lets you 1/day add 1d8 elemental damage to an attack.

    As a warforged at lvl 1 I have 20 AC with my shield. with no other defensive implements to increase it, I will end up with 24 AC. I am guessing the death save weapon will possibly grow in defensive properties where as the elemental will grow in offensive.

    Would I be better off getting an offensive weapon for more punishment if an ally is attacked? This would also me a blood hunter PC would grab the death save weapon most likely.

  2. #2
    This will depend heavily on how dangerous the campaign is. An extra death save is nice, and coupled with the "1s count as only one failure" thing, you'll be very survivable. This makes the low levels a lot nicer, when literally two bad rolls can leave you Dying (assuming this is 5e, which from the terms you used is likely). However, unless the defensive boons become really substantial, you run the risk of a minimally-useful weapon at high level--you probably won't need major defensive boosts at high level, whereas offensive boosts are always useful at all levels.

    1d8 elemental damage 1/day is...not terrible, but definitely small-time. It's the equivalent of half a free first-level Smite, or a less-versatile Expertise die, once a day. So the offensive power starts off relatively low, and if the weapon never got any better, I'd take the defensive option hands-down and never look back.

    So...you have to ask yourself two questions. One, is the GM going to make these weapons Pretty Dang Good for their niche? And two, do you want to have a stronger weapon initially but (almost certainly) a weaker weapon in the end, or a weaker weapon to begin with but (likely) a stronger weapon at high level?

    If you don't think the campaign will go past level 10, or you are worried that early levels will be majorly lethal, take defensive. If you think the campaign will last a long time, that you'll actually get a good offensive boost at high level, and that the lethality of levels 1 and 2 will be sufficiently easily-managed, take offensive, because it will probably end up stronger. Extra defense on an already well-defended character is all-too-easily wasted. Extra offense is almost never wasted.
    XP Yunru gave XP for this post

  3. #3
    So I expect the campaign to go to lvl 20. I also decided to take the defensive weapon. Curious as to what feats I should look to take.

    I already plan at some point to take Str+2, Con+2, and resilient Wis. It sounds like there maybe spell casters, so would taking Mage Slayer early be worth it? I am also thinking of either Shield Master or Sentinel, Mobile.

    Thoughts are appreciated as to the better feats for a cavalier.

  4. #4
    IMHO both effects are rather weak to base any crunching around them.
    The defensive one only grants you benefits if you campaign is quite deadly and people are expected to get dropped. This for example is rarely of concern in the campaigns I play in for people are generally good with the rules, know what they play and tend to have characters on the upper end of optimization. And even if they drop we pretty much always have a single source of healing available to just pick them up anyway.

    On the other side 1d8 per day... is pretty much nothing on your average damage per round on a full adventuring day.

    Ultimately it all depends on how these weapons grow though I have the experience that most DMs are fairly lenient about granting more powerful defensive benefits than offensive ones for they simply fail to properly compare them.

    Mage Slayer: Only if you expect a caster heavy campaign.
    Shield Master: Its nice, may compete with your Cavalier Bonus action though.
    Sentinel: Nice in some builds, also competes with your Cavalier Reaction though.
    Mobile: Nice if you want to get away - but you don't. Also the movement wont increase the speed of your mount anyway.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by FieserMoep View Post
    Mage Slayer: Only if you expect a caster heavy campaign.
    Shield Master: Its nice, may compete with your Cavalier Bonus action though.
    Sentinel: Nice in some builds, also competes with your Cavalier Reaction though.
    Mobile: Nice if you want to get away - but you don't. Also the movement wont increase the speed of your mount anyway.
    I was thinking Mobile, Shield Master and the lvl 15 Charging class feature would allow me to attempt to prone 2 enemies each round.

    Sentinel has a little synergy in that people would not be able to get away by taking the disengage action. The other effects are similar to other features of the sub-class though.

    Any thoughts on other feats that really shine with Cavalier?

  6. #6
    Well, if that is the combo you want to go for, it would work.
    The question is just: Do you want to heavily invest into that?
    Two prone people are nice for some parties (Generally the more melee builds you have) but those parties rarely need a dedicated "tank" anyway. Keep in mind that prone enemies give your ranged attack roll allies disadvantage. Your own damage would certainly benefit from it.

    The thing is, it seems, you want to go for a super sticky Tank. While the Cavalier ist a somewhat sticky tank, more about engagements and threatening punishment for attack your allies, its not realy a sticky tank for it in the end is still a fighter that wants to deal damage with its core feature - plenty of attacks.

    I mean you can certainly take these feats and they will work as you intend, its just that imho a Conquest Paladin would make the superior sticky tank if that is the goal you want. If you want to play a mounted fighter that happens to tank, you are fine with the feats you take. If you go for a mount, Mounted Combatant is pretty much a must have against anyone that is smart or to save your pouch from having to rebuy mounts all the time.

    ---- If you can adjust some things read this, if not, don't.

    Instead of being sticky by proning I would build on the strength of the Cavalier - and that is Reactions, further more: Opportunity Attacks. Thus sticky by no movement.

    What do we want? A Polearm with Polearm Mastery. Why do we want it? It increases your threat range. Suddenly you cover a 10ft radius instead of a 5ft radius. If you play with a grid, you dont cover just 8 fields around you but 24! You can easily fit your entire party in that area though you should have an Ancients Paladin if you do so against casters.

    Why is this so important? Because we also take the Sentinel Feat. Against another opponent with only 5ft range you can trigger an opportunity attack on him and reduce him to 0 Movement. Now he stands in front of you and cant attack anymore! With this range you can keep allies close (5ft) to trigger a reaction attack or within range (10ft) your unwavering mark attack next round (That one still deals more damage than your base Bonus attack from Polearm Mastery)

    It gets even better with hold the line. Notice how hold the line says "Within your reach". It does not have the regular 5ft limit but it allows you to take advantage with your entire 10ft range. Not only do they get opportunity attack when they leave your range, enter your range but now when they move within your range too!

    With Vigililant Defender this then gets absurd for you get a reaction for every enemy. Ride your steed into the middle of the enemy group (Hopeully you got some buffs on you) and you will lockdown them hard. Not by making them prone but by reducing their movement to 0.

    If you expect to have a mount with the Mounted Combat feat you might take Great Weapon Master to increase your damage into absurd hights.

    With your +2 to strength and +2 Con you already have two ASIs planned. (You get to strength 20 that way, yes?). So take Strength +2 for your 20, then get Polearm Master, then Sentinel, then Mounted (If you want to ride), then GWM. Variant Human would have been nice here but its still possible without given Cavalier is a late bloomer with its lvl 18 ability anyway.

  7. #7
    STR+2 Does get Str to 20. I rolled stats and rolled well. After Racial modifiers they are:

    S: 18
    D: 14
    C: 18
    I: 12
    W: 16
    Ch: 14

    I definitely plan on mounted combatant if it seems doable to consistently fight mounted. If it looks like over 80% of the fights are in areas a horse or other mount would not work then I may for go it.

    You raise a good point about Shield Master/Mobile. Originally I thought the only ranged character was going to be a cleric, but it turns out we also have a ranged fighter in the party as well. We also have 1 player who has yet to choose his class and we may be adding a 7th PC.

    Current Party:
    Fighter (plans on going gunslinger)
    Bloodhunter (Str build)
    Rogue (seemed like he was planning 2 weapon fighting but may go ranged)
    Cleric (Homebrew domain)
    Fighter (me)

    While shield master would be nice for its defensive bonuses, I am unsure how my DM will rule on the knock prone ruling in sage advice.

    I guess the benefits of a Warforged is there already naturally high AC allows them to get away with no shield and go the polearm route.

    I do expect a high amount of spell casters in the campaign which is why I was wondering how useful Mage Slayer is as feat to begin with.

  8. #8
    If you use the Eberron Warforged you get an insane amount of AC naturally anyway, yea. That should be no concern of your.
    If you already stuck with Sword 'n Board, getting it higher won't hurt either though.

    Ultimatly the question is: How much do you want to omptimize this character and how much do you want it to stick to the image you have of him and thus be fun to play for you. As you saw, in terms of optimizing I would have picked an entirely different weapon set yet your plan is still viable, no questions asked - that is the beauty of the system. Ultimately your DM might adjust the difficulty anyway etc. so if you like your Dude to hang around with a Sword and a Shield, do so. With your Strength on 20 you pretty much did everything a Fighter "Needs" anyway, everything else is the icing on the cake. Just don't knock an enemy down if your archer buddy wants to go action surge on him - because he will hate you after that.

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