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D&D 5E Advice for a MAD build (Ranger / Artificer / Cleric)

Fraction

Villager
Just looking for some advice for an ongoing character.

Currently playing CoS as a level 4 Monster Slayer Ranger. Essentially being very tropey and going for a Van Helsing-esque build. Current relevant ability scores: Dex 16, Int 14, Wis 16 with obligatory Crossbow Expert.

In thinking about where I go from here I wanted to start creating a vampire-bothering toolkit. Not too fussed about optimisation but want it to be survivable / not a crushing liability for the rest of the party whilst playing into the character's chosen 'profession'.

My thoughts were 2 further Ranger levels to get extra attack and increased mobility (via Tasha's optional rules) followed by 3 in Artificer to get cantrips + infusions (magic crossbow...) + Armorer and 2 in Light Cleric for more cantrips + Flare + Radiant AoE Channel Divinity.

Due to some homebrewing by our DM we should get to level 14-16 by the end so figured Ranger 8 (class feature for saving throws + ASI), Artificer 4 (ASI) and Cleric 2-4 (more spells + ASI) maybe?

Anyone have any thoughts / advice on this? Other than get-your-character-killed-and-roll-a-Gloomstalker...
 

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aco175

Legend
First, @Fraction welcome to the boards. I suck at builds, but many here will give you great advice. Myself, I would skip ranger and just go fighter/artificer. with equal build until 5/5 and then just have fighter go up.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If you are already Level 4 Ranger and are expecting to go to at least Level 6 in it... I don't think you need to worry about any potential Cleric levels at all right now. That is so far down the line that the campaign might easily change around for you where a few extra cantrips and the Flare ability would end up superfluous.

As far as the artificer levels? If the DM is notorious for going light on magic items, then sure... being able to infuse a couple weapons with a +1 across the party would probably help a bit (when facing monsters resistance to non-magical B/P/S weapons if nothing else.) But if that's actually the case... you might want to go into it now so that you and another party member can have magic weapons at your character level 6... as opposed to waiting until character level 8 before you got it (Ranger 6 / Artificer 2). Yes, you are holding off on your second Ranger attack... but if magic weapons are that important to the campaign, then it's a price you might need to make.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I'm glad you're tending to your ASI - that's a place that multiclass characters can inadvertently weaken themselves vs. single class characters. You've got good ability scores already for multiclassing, but will want to get that DEX up. Ranger doesn't have a level 11 power bump as much as other classes, so missing it isn't a bad thing.

I'm not sure that Artificer brings a lot. Repeating Shot or Enhanced Weapon will both turn a normal crossbow to +1 which is useful for overcoming damage resistance, but with Crossbow Expert you already have the other half of Repeating Shot so I'd go for Enhanced Weapon as more versitile, especially if you eventually find a magic crossbow. Armorer Infiltrator brings a bit more speed. If you were picking up spells like Bless (which you'll get through Cleric), Shield I could see it, but with your low INT you're not looking at offensive spells like Thunderwave that armorer gives you. Absorb Elements is nice. Hmm, what about Armorer attracts you? Battlesmith can give you Shield and a meatshield, well, steelshield that can help stop opponents from reaching you and protect your frontliners. Because of your ranger levels you will have an okay number of spell slots - and note that while taking levels of Artificer it specifically says to round up those half levels (sidebar on pg 10) unlike normal half-levels.

Cleric is a potent dip. My default thought would be your DCs won't be high enough by the levels you get it, but since you mentioned you are playing in CoS the fact that it's radiant damage makes up for it. Even on a save that half damage can get converted back to full damage due to vulnerability. I mentioned Bless before - if you have even a single round of preparation before combat starts it's quite the buff to you and two (or more) others in your party. Plus sometimes spending your bonus action to stand someone up before they lose their action is worth missing out on your bonus action attack. As a full caster it's also adding nicely to your spell slots.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I'm not much for builds either, but if you're going to multiclass I'd go straight for Cleric and pass on Artificer. See if you can flavor your Spiritual Weapon as a crossbow (the attack point being where you "set your crosshairs") or hammer & stake or something similar. If there's some specific low-level Arcane or Divine spells you feel the need for I'd do Magic Initiate to pick them up rather than waste 2 or 3 levels on a class.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Just looking for some advice for an ongoing character.

Currently playing CoS as a level 4 Monster Slayer Ranger. Essentially being very tropey and going for a Van Helsing-esque build. Current relevant ability scores: Dex 16, Int 14, Wis 16 with obligatory Crossbow Expert.

In thinking about where I go from here I wanted to start creating a vampire-bothering toolkit. Not too fussed about optimisation but want it to be survivable / not a crushing liability for the rest of the party whilst playing into the character's chosen 'profession'.

My thoughts were 2 further Ranger levels to get extra attack and increased mobility (via Tasha's optional rules) followed by 3 in Artificer to get cantrips + infusions (magic crossbow...) + Armorer and 2 in Light Cleric for more cantrips + Flare + Radiant AoE Channel Divinity.

Due to some homebrewing by our DM we should get to level 14-16 by the end so figured Ranger 8 (class feature for saving throws + ASI), Artificer 4 (ASI) and Cleric 2-4 (more spells + ASI) maybe?

Anyone have any thoughts / advice on this? Other than get-your-character-killed-and-roll-a-Gloomstalker...

What is your fighting style and do you have a magic weapon?

If you do not have a magic weapon and do not have Druid Warrior with Magic Stone or Shillelagh I would go artificer 2 next, even giving up extra attack. Then go to Ranger 6 after that.

Other than that I think you have a good idea.
 

Fraction

Villager
First, @Fraction welcome to the boards. I suck at builds, but many here will give you great advice. Myself, I would skip ranger and just go fighter/artificer. with equal build until 5/5 and then just have fighter go up.
Thank you - just needed somewhere to spitball outside of the party.

I'll take a look at Fighter/Artificer in the event my character suffers an untimely death at the hands of on of the denizens of Barovia.
 

Fraction

Villager
If you are already Level 4 Ranger and are expecting to go to at least Level 6 in it... I don't think you need to worry about any potential Cleric levels at all right now. That is so far down the line that the campaign might easily change around for you where a few extra cantrips and the Flare ability would end up superfluous.

As far as the artificer levels? If the DM is notorious for going light on magic items, then sure... being able to infuse a couple weapons with a +1 across the party would probably help a bit (when facing monsters resistance to non-magical B/P/S weapons if nothing else.) But if that's actually the case... you might want to go into it now so that you and another party member can have magic weapons at your character level 6... as opposed to waiting until character level 8 before you got it (Ranger 6 / Artificer 2). Yes, you are holding off on your second Ranger attack... but if magic weapons are that important to the campaign, then it's a price you might need to make.
Yep, it's the classic Barovian dearth of magic weapons so far. I think our Fighter will take me up on the offer - far too much resistance to non-magical attacks for our liking.

Cleric is a tricky one since we've found an item that can only be used by good-aligned Clerics and Paladins. I may see if there's wiggle room for another character to fill in that gap though.
 

Fraction

Villager
I'm glad you're tending to your ASI - that's a place that multiclass characters can inadvertently weaken themselves vs. single class characters. You've got good ability scores already for multiclassing, but will want to get that DEX up. Ranger doesn't have a level 11 power bump as much as other classes, so missing it isn't a bad thing.

I'm not sure that Artificer brings a lot. Repeating Shot or Enhanced Weapon will both turn a normal crossbow to +1 which is useful for overcoming damage resistance, but with Crossbow Expert you already have the other half of Repeating Shot so I'd go for Enhanced Weapon as more versitile, especially if you eventually find a magic crossbow. Armorer Infiltrator brings a bit more speed. If you were picking up spells like Bless (which you'll get through Cleric), Shield I could see it, but with your low INT you're not looking at offensive spells like Thunderwave that armorer gives you. Absorb Elements is nice. Hmm, what about Armorer attracts you? Battlesmith can give you Shield and a meatshield, well, steelshield that can help stop opponents from reaching you and protect your frontliners. Because of your ranger levels you will have an okay number of spell slots - and note that while taking levels of Artificer it specifically says to round up those half levels (sidebar on pg 10) unlike normal half-levels.

Cleric is a potent dip. My default thought would be your DCs won't be high enough by the levels you get it, but since you mentioned you are playing in CoS the fact that it's radiant damage makes up for it. Even on a save that half damage can get converted back to full damage due to vulnerability. I mentioned Bless before - if you have even a single round of preparation before combat starts it's quite the buff to you and two (or more) others in your party. Plus sometimes spending your bonus action to stand someone up before they lose their action is worth missing out on your bonus action attack. As a full caster it's also adding nicely to your spell slots.
I'd be less worried about DCs since most of the spells I'll pick will likely be support and out of combat utility focused.

Armorer is a personal preference since I don't like companions / familiars much but have been revisiting Tasha's multiple times and reconsidering. I may end up going Ranger 8 / Cleric 6-8 but will see how it goes.
 

Fraction

Villager
I'm not much for builds either, but if you're going to multiclass I'd go straight for Cleric and pass on Artificer. See if you can flavor your Spiritual Weapon as a crossbow (the attack point being where you "set your crosshairs") or hammer & stake or something similar. If there's some specific low-level Arcane or Divine spells you feel the need for I'd do Magic Initiate to pick them up rather than waste 2 or 3 levels on a class.
Yeah, that's something I'm considering. The idea of interchangeable magic weapons in Barovia is currently very tempting but could get out-leveled too quickly.
 

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