How Would You Build the Hero With No Destiny?

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, for context I was inspired to think about this after watching an episode of Steven Universe.

Do It For Her

Connie is training to be Steven’s Knight. As the song says, she knows she wasn’t built for fighting, but that doesn’t mean she won’t try. So she is learning to fight.

My basic thought is a non-optimized Swashbuckler Rogue or Battlemaster Fighter.

The Battlemaster is still a bit tougher than I’d want to be for this, but going Dex, light armor, 12 or so Con, and not getting too flashy with the maneuvers, could work.

The Swashbuckler pits their wits, strategy, and luck, against the enemy in place of any special powers or even physical toughness, so it’s a more natural fit that way, but it doesn’t really evolve into a sword fighting expert the way the BM does.

What about the Kensei Monk? Unarmored, has to be careful to survive, relies on speed, strategy, and sword-skill above all else. But, can also eventually run on water.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
The Swashbuckler pits their wits, strategy, and luck, against the enemy
Don't know the lore of what you're talking about, but this option seems the easiest to flavor as someone not destined to be a fighter, but whose wits let them really keep up in a fight, along with luck.

Other options seem too "trained" or "skilled". even something like the Inquisitive seems more like Sherlock "genius" than someone just trying to get by.

The Lucky feat would seem like a necessity for something like this to actually really survive too.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Don't know the lore of what you're talking about, but this option seems the easiest to flavor as someone not destined to be a fighter, but whose wits let them really keep up in a fight, along with luck.

Other options seem too "trained" or "skilled". even something like the Inquisitive seems more like Sherlock "genius" than someone just trying to get by.

The Lucky feat would seem like a necessity for something like this to actually really survive too.
Good point. For the context, imagine a human whose best friend/eventually significant other is half Fey, and is destined to lead a team full of powerful Fey, and will someday be more powerful than any of them. Now watch the video, and you’ll see what I mean.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Great duet!

Hmm. So while not "destined" to fight, it sure seems like she trained up for it in that montage pretty well.

I'd almost be more inclined now to Battlemaster for a build like that. Even Swashbuckler rogue has a few trappings to it that don't really fit that story/lore, unless she happens to also learn thieves' tools sometime?

I'd say Battlemaster, Dex focus. Maneuvers like Evasive Footwork, Lunging Attack, and Tripping Attack seem in line for her and that training.

Make sure you give her the Perform skill so she can sing songs like that too though! ;)

If Connie ever learns any "fey tricks" then I could also see something like Bard (College of Swords) as well to mimic her fighting ability and "fey tricks". Blade Flourishes and Battlemaster Maneuvers are pretty similar in flavors.

But again, I only have a 2-minute window into the lore of the show. ;)
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Great duet!

Hmm. So while not "destined" to fight, it sure seems like she trained up for it in that montage pretty well.

I'd almost be more inclined now to Battlemaster for a build like that. Even Swashbuckler rogue has a few trappings to it that don't really fit that story/lore, unless she happens to also learn thieves' tools sometime?

I'd say Battlemaster, Dex focus. Maneuvers like Evasive Footwork, Lunging Attack, and Tripping Attack seem in line for her and that training.

Make sure you give her the Perform skill so she can sing songs like that too though! ;)

If Connie ever learns any "fey tricks" then I could also see something like Bard (College of Swords) as well to mimic her fighting ability and "fey tricks". Blade Flourishes and Battlemaster Maneuvers are pretty similar in flavors.

But again, I only have a 2-minute window into the lore of the show. ;)
Yeah and she does get tougher. That’s one issue I have with the rogue and fighter classes, is that the Rogue always gets Thief stuff, and the fighter is always gonna be tougher than some concepts need to be.

But the fighter also doesn’t model very well the person who had to train against their normal nature to be a combatant, while the rogue can, IMO, via relying on things like uncanny Dodge, evasion, fancy footwork, etc, to stay alive. The rogue can’t take very many hits, while the fighter can.

But you also make good points.

I really wish dnd had a sage class, tbh. Because Sage/Fighter would do a wonderful job of the specific “I know that I’m only human, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t draw my sword and fight!” version of the hero with no grand destiny.

There is also a version in other media who is able to be the shield in front of their friend, and a cavalier or BM Fighter is perfect for them.

But since I’d want nerd skills on the build, I guess a variant human with Skilled would work.

I think the issue for me is one of expectations for the classes. My image of any fighter is always beefier than my image of any rogue, regardless of stats.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I almost think either class could use a subclass focused on the determine “heart” character who refuses to be deterred or stay down, but isn’t magical or “special” like dnd normally wants to make such characters.

Edit: and who is empowered by bonds with other characters. That would be a key element.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
if I were going to do it, I'd do something like this to start with (standard array)... if you wanted to make her "underpowered" you could swap Dex and Int to get that feel as well.

Variant Human
Str 8 (she's only a kid), Dex 16, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 14
Variant skill: Perform
Variant feat: Lucky

Fighter 1-3 (Battlemaster) with Evasive Footwork, Lunging Strike, Tripping Attack.
Skills: Acrobatics, History
Fighting Style: Protection Or Interception if you us the new UA, or Duelist if you'd rather focus on damage

Background; Cloistered Scholar
Skills: Investigation or Nature, Arcana (as she learns about the fey, or Nature if that is the Int skill for fey in your games)

As you level up, if you don't want to boost stats you can stack on these feats depending on what you want to emphasize or how the character grows: Alert, Athlete, Defensive Duelist, Keen Mind, Martial Adept, Prodigy, Skilled, etc.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
"Destiny" is a very strange word to use for this concept.
Here is a character with no destiny: A Diviner Wizard, who tried to look into their own future, only got a blank response.

Instead, it seems you want to play a commoner. For that, just use a NPC Sidekick stat block.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
determine “heart” character who refuses to be deterred or stay down, but isn’t magical
To me, all of those things can be reflected by the Battlemaster concept with feats. Second Wind = someone who doesn't stay down. Action Surge = someone who is determined but not magical, etc.

Edit: and who is empowered by bonds with other characters
That... depends on what you mean by "empowered". If she gets powers by her bonds, then you need to look at other classes like Bard (Swords) probably and use spells as "empowered". If you just mean she gets her grit because of her emotional bonds... well that is all fluff!
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
This is going to be a challenge because all D&D classes are built for fighting, more or less. Realistically, Connie would be a Commoner who picks up a couple levels of Fighter later on. But, to capture the more general idea of the character who gets involved in a conflict that they’re really not cut out to participate in, but devote themes to anyway out of loyalty to a loved one who is directly impacted by said conflict, honestly I would go for Paladin. Like, Oath of Devotion is pretty thematically on-point for Do It For Him.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
if I were going to do it, I'd do something like this to start with (standard array)... if you wanted to make her "underpowered" you could swap Dex and Int to get that feel as well.

Variant Human
Str 8 (she's only a kid), Dex 16, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 14
Variant skill: Perform
Variant feat: Lucky

Fighter 1-3 (Battlemaster) with Evasive Footwork, Lunging Strike, Tripping Attack.
Skills: Acrobatics, History
Fighting Style: Protection Or Interception if you us the new UA, or Duelist if you'd rather focus on damage

Background; Cloistered Scholar
Skills: Investigation or Nature, Arcana (as she learns about the fey, or Nature if that is the Int skill for fey in your games)

As you level up, if you don't want to boost stats you can stack on these feats depending on what you want to emphasize or how the character grows: Alert, Athlete, Defensive Duelist, Keen Mind, Martial Adept, Prodigy, Skilled, etc.
That’s a solid set of suggestions. I’d probably sneak in a rogue level at level 1, to make the character more about skills than fighting to start out, and possibly take more rogue levels later on. Eventually they’ll be an amazing swordfighter, but they’ll never be able to warp reality and they’ll never (necessarily) be optimized enough to reliably take the spotlight.
To me, all of those things can be reflected by the Battlemaster concept with feats. Second Wind = someone who doesn't stay down. Action Surge = someone who is determined but not magical, etc.



That... depends on what you mean by "empowered". If she gets powers by her bonds, then you need to look at other classes like Bard (Swords) probably and use spells as "empowered". If you just mean she gets her grit because of her emotional bonds... well that is all fluff!
Bard is way too magic, way too “party face”, and way too “look at me”, for the concept, IMO.

Bonds empowering a character can be “all fluff”, but that certainly isn’t required.

I do agree that those early Fighter features can help model that determination. I think a rogue/fighter could do really well for this.
"Destiny" is a very strange word to use for this concept.
Here is a character with no destiny: A Diviner Wizard, who tried to look into their own future, only got a blank response.

Instead, it seems you want to play a commoner. For that, just use a NPC Sidekick stat block.
nope. Just...absolute nope.
This is going to be a challenge because all D&D classes are built for fighting, more or less. Realistically, Connie would be a Commoner who picks up a couple levels of Fighter later on. But, to capture the more general idea of the character who gets involved in a conflict that they’re really not cut out to participate in, but devote themes to anyway out of loyalty to a loved one who is directly impacted by said conflict, honestly I would go for Paladin. Like, Oath of Devotion is pretty thematically on-point for Do It For Him.
I really wish there was a less overtly magical Paladin. The 5e Paladin is just...very spotlight grabbing, very “special”. But I’d also say that the path of the crown actually fits better, as well. Devotion as a word fits better, but the actual oath doesn’t fit as well IMO.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
This is going to be a challenge because all D&D classes are built for fighting, more or less. Realistically, Connie would be a Commoner who picks up a couple levels of Fighter later on. But, to capture the more general idea of the character who gets involved in a conflict that they’re really not cut out to participate in, but devote themes to anyway out of loyalty to a loved one who is directly impacted by said conflict, honestly I would go for Paladin. Like, Oath of Devotion is pretty thematically on-point for Do It For Him.
Realistically, most characters are commoners who take levels of something later on. In dnd we skip to whatever class makes sense once they join the team and start doing things.

Also, it’s not about directly modeling Connie, it’s about playing a similarly themed character.

Barring using the sage or something from Adventures In Middle Earth and then multiclassing PHB Fighter, I think rogue and fighter are the best way to go here.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Well I can’t check out the Noble until I am home at a computer because it’s a zip file and my phone currently has no app for that.

But my ADHD brain has taken me from that to Star Wars Saga Edition, and I think it may be a better game for the idea.
 

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