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5E Trying to build a pole arm fighter

Minsc

Villager
What paths should I take for a pole arm fighter?

I like the tactical options with a reach weapon, although I'll admit to not really knowing them well just yet.
 

epochrpg

Villager
Half Orc + Champion is another great combo, especially with pole arms. You crit more often and do more damage when you crit. Feats also make pole arms amazing. Great weapon master for example whenever you crit or kill, you make an attack on another creature. With a reach weapon that is awesome.
 

Minsc

Villager
Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. Here's my goal list:

Polearm Mastery
Sentinel
Great Weapon Master
Heavy Armor Master

Heavy Armor Master is most useful at low levels, but it has nothing to do with the concept. It puts me in a tough spot: do I take it first and reap the benefits (DR - which won't apply as much at later levels, and boosting my point buy STR to 18), or do I go for the Polearm Mastery first?

I also considered Human for getting the extra feat at first level (completing the "essential feats" at level 8 instead of level 12), but the Half Orc bonuses are worth more than a feat, IMHO. I also like going non-human, I think it's a bit more fun in an RP sense.

I'm pretty sure my character will carry a Halberd and a GreatAxe, before deciding on what feats work better for the build.
 

epochrpg

Villager
I can't see carrying a great axe and a halberd RP wise. For tunnels and other in close fighting, a short sword makes more sense. I don't see someone switching from a halberd to a great axe and back to the halberd in the middle of a battle. I can buy wizards slinging fireballs at dragons, but weapon caddying mid battle between ostensibly similar weapons breaks suspension of disbelief. Would your character know one does a d12 and the other does a d10? Simpler to just carry the halberd if that is your schtick.
 

Minsc

Villager
I can't see carrying a great axe and a halberd RP wise. For tunnels and other in close fighting, a short sword makes more sense. I don't see someone switching from a halberd to a great axe and back to the halberd in the middle of a battle. I can buy wizards slinging fireballs at dragons, but weapon caddying mid battle between ostensibly similar weapons breaks suspension of disbelief. Would your character know one does a d12 and the other does a d10? Simpler to just carry the halberd if that is your schtick.

I just got off of work, but I was thinking the same thing during the day.

I also don't see why I can't use a Halberd at 5' distance. No point in the Greataxe at all IMHO.

I hope this new DM sees things as I do.

I also hope he's flexible with the Halberd. In AD&D 1e and 2e (90% of my D&D experience is in 2e), the Halberd was slashing or piercing, which makes total sense. It's an axe with a spike on top.
 

ForumFerret

Villager
Agreed, there's nothing in the Halberd description or combat rules that precludes using the halberd at 5'.

I question the utility of Heavy Armor Master, though. Feats are a precious resource, and intelligent play of a reach weapon will actually MINIMIZE the utility of HAM (as you'll mostly be out of range of same-size attackers). This would give you the opportunity to slot in a +2 STR or CON between Sentinel and Great Weapon Master.
 

Erechel

Villager
I'll go with human with Heavy Armor Master feat at first level. You have a granted +2 to strenght, and DR is just... awesome. Unless a monster or foe specifically says that his attack is magical, it's asumed to be normal. So against multiple attacks (like that of a monk if he hasn't empowered his strikes with ki) it's a <i>lot</i> less damage. Try a zombie plage against him, and they just won't do damage half the time. You can use the halberd pretty nice, and choose the feat of Polearm master at 4 level, and you have granted at 5th three attacks, four if the creature enter your reach. Goodbye zombies
 

ForumFerret

Villager
it's really of marginal utility, though. It SOUNDS powerful, but you're really only safe from kobolds and other ~ 1d6 damage rolls. Once you're past lvl 2 or 3, you'll very rarely fight things that do under 2d6 or that don't have +3 or +4 str mods. After that, Heavy Armor Master might on average keep you alive for one more hit during a combat. Compare that to stat increases, where +2 str will give you +1 damage on every strike and improve skills. +2 CON would give you +1 hp/lvl up to your current level, and +1 hp every time you level up after that which will eventually equal or surpass the average effective HP increase you get from Heavy Armor Master. Earlier access to Polearm Master will give you a bonus attack each turn, or Sentinel could help you control the battlefield and help keep your allies safer by controlling choke points. Heck, even Observant would be fantastic, making it so you are extremely unlikely to be surprised or ambushed, or miss critical environmental clues and details.

If you're still super interested in Heavy Armor Master, I might sugguest you ask your DM if he will instead allow it to give DR equal to your Proficiency bonus. At least then it'll retain some value/utility as you level up.
 

Pickles JG

Villager
Compare that to stat increases, where +2 str will give you +1 damage on every strike and improve skills.
It's only +1 Str as HAM comes with +1 str, though I agree it is a marginal feat & the one I would drop.

I would be variant human & take Polearm mastery at level 1. This is because the extra attacks it grants are more useful early before you get 2 inherent attacks. At level 4 & 6 I would take a STR bump & either Sentinel if I wanted to be controlly or GW mastery if I want more damage!!! (either order)

At level 8 you have the choice of either a stat bump or the missing feat as the next option comes in 4 levels so it's big gap. I would probably live with an 18 at this point as I find I rarely notice +1, while +2 missing always seems really obvious. The last 3 feats are pretty open - feats or stat (probably con) boost. Resilient would be a good feat - probably WIS.

A none human has to choose to be slightly behind the ability curve or lack either control or massive DPS. But you can see in the dark
 
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krunchyfrogg

Explorer
I thought the Heavy Armor Mastery feat was amazing when I first saw it. Around levels 6 or 7, almost any humanoid enemy was rocking a magical weapon against me though. If I could turn back the clock, and redo my polearm fighter, I wouldn't have chosen that feat.

Here's how I'd build a polearm fighter, if I could do it over again (point buy):

Human Fighter:
STR and CON 16, distribute the other stats how you see fit.

Level 1: Polearm Master, Great Weapon Fighting style
Level 3: Battle Master (Lunging Attack, Sweeping Attack, Trip Attack)
Level 4: Sentinel (Please make sure you step back 5' after this, so the enemies provoke more Opportunity Attacks!)
Level 6: Great Weapon Master

Yeah, you're set by then. :cool:
 

krunchyfrogg

Explorer
Only things to do after this are take some more cool Battle Master Manuevers (Parry is sweet if you have a decent DEX), but I'd suggest boosting that STR to 20 before taking more feats.

You wouldn't be wrong in pushing back the Great Weapon Master feat to bump your STR first.

You also wouldn't be wrong in making this character a Dwarf or Half Orc, but Human definitely shines at 1st level when you have a feat already. Any character with point buy can only get a 17 in a stat maximum, which is the same bonus as a 16, so there's not really a difference in that regard.
 

Minsc

Villager
I thought the Heavy Armor Mastery feat was amazing when I first saw it. Around levels 6 or 7, almost any humanoid enemy was rocking a magical weapon against me though. If I could turn back the clock, and redo my polearm fighter, I wouldn't have chosen that feat.

Here's how I'd build a polearm fighter, if I could do it over again (point buy):

Human Fighter:
STR and CON 16, distribute the other stats how you see fit.

Level 1: Polearm Master, Great Weapon Fighting style
Level 3: Battle Master (Lunging Attack, Sweeping Attack, Trip Attack)
Level 4: Sentinel (Please make sure you step back 5' after this, so the enemies provoke more Opportunity Attacks!)
Level 6: Great Weapon Master

Yeah, you're set by then. :cool:
wow, thank you! exactly what I was looking for!!
 

Trancekat

Villager
How's the DPR on this character? I've been toting with the idea of building the same thing, but with 2 levels of Warlock for hex, Devils Sight.

I've were not doing enough DPR, we may not be able to hold the line.
 

krunchyfrogg

Explorer
Pretty damn good!

I mean, you'd do more damage with a greatsword or greataxe, but not much more.

You need to be using a mat to get the most out of this character. The beauty of this character is the increased range. It allows you to get in front and prevent enemies from reaching your casters. Monsters have a really hard time getting around you!
 

RulesJD

Villager
I thought the Heavy Armor Mastery feat was amazing when I first saw it. Around levels 6 or 7, almost any humanoid enemy was rocking a magical weapon against me though. If I could turn back the clock, and redo my polearm fighter, I wouldn't have chosen that feat.

Here's how I'd build a polearm fighter, if I could do it over again (point buy):

Human Fighter:
STR and CON 16, distribute the other stats how you see fit.

Level 1: Polearm Master, Great Weapon Fighting style
Level 3: Battle Master (Lunging Attack, Sweeping Attack, Trip Attack)
Level 4: Sentinel (Please make sure you step back 5' after this, so the enemies provoke more Opportunity Attacks!)
Level 6: Great Weapon Master

Yeah, you're set by then. :cool:
What he said, but I'll disagree with his BM selection.

Go with Trip, Menacing, and Precision.

1. Trip = When you take your Polearm Mastery op attack (after you get Sent) use a Trip die. If it works, the target is stuck prone until their next turn = advantage on all your attacks.

2. Menacing = Much too good to generate Disadvantage + hit a target 10ft away and they can't move closer to you and your party.

3. Precision = Never miss on a Great Weapon Mastery strike. That alone is worth its weight in gold.
 

Kithas

Villager
So, I have a level 19 Fighter that uses a polearm, basically the build you are looking for, been playing him for a year and he is very good but I have learned a lot over the time with him. I'll try to be concise.
The feats I have; Polearm Master, Healer, Magic initiate, Great weapon Master, Sentinel, Heavy armor master, and defensive duelist.

First off, don't neglect your Con. My biggest regret is that +2 con that is still staring at me, at this point it means that it is very difficult for me to stay in the front lines for long without going down and I need to be very careful where and how I attack, I've even started using a sword and shield when I think the group needs more defense because I just get hit a ton.

Secondly, Sentinel is overrated. I very rarely get to use all or even part of that feat in a fight, when I do it's nice but usually it's a waste.
Great Weapon Master is also very overrated. If the fight is going to be tough you are better off not using the -5+10, and the random bonus action is only a 3 average damage boost. Definitely not worth it.

Battlemaster is definitely the way to go. You have more options of who to hit generally and having great tricks to use with them is incredible. Throwing a d8/10/12 on a crit is also just awesome for your dpr(you decide to maneuver after you roll) I would definitely advocate the feat to give you more dice/maneuvers. Trip, Menacing, Commander's, Pushing, Riposte and Goading are all extremely useful.

For races, I went human but anything can work honestly, Goliath would be my pick if I could re-do, more defense and better offense always helps.

Some things to remember; Unless you prioritize con hard and get Defensive instead of GWF you are not a tank, you cannot take on all the damage, don't act like it. This just isn't a defensive build so bear that in mind. You also need to remember that you don't get an opportunity attack until they get 10' away from you, keep that in mind with your positioning. You don't have very good ranged or aoe abilities. Basically you have very good single-target damage and some combat tricks but you are very limited in your variety. This can be good or bad.

Ways to shore up your weaknesses;
-Multiclassing into Barbarian.
--2 Levels gets you 2 rages, reckless attacks and danger sense. Great value for survivability and offense. I did this and it has definitely payed off.
-Mc'ing into Ranger.
--Horde Breaker, Hunter's mark, Ensnaring Strike, Absorb Elements, all can help you deal with aoe and be more defensive/versatile.
--Downside is you have to worry about wis now.
-Mcing into Warlock
--Hex, the ice armor one, aoe cantrips and eldritch blast. 2 levels basically shore up most of your weaknesses plus if you go demon you get temp hp which is nice.
--Now you need a good cha(you can get inspiring leader if you do)
--This is the best option in my opinion now.

All in all this is a good build but not nearly as busted as it looks on paper.

<.< that wasn't concise at all, I would apologize but I'm never concise so meh.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
I thought the Heavy Armor Mastery feat was amazing when I first saw it. Around levels 6 or 7, almost any humanoid enemy was rocking a magical weapon against me though. If I could turn back the clock, and redo my polearm fighter, I wouldn't have chosen that feat.

Here's how I'd build a polearm fighter, if I could do it over again (point buy):

Human Fighter:
STR and CON 16, distribute the other stats how you see fit.

Level 1: Polearm Master, Great Weapon Fighting style
Level 3: Battle Master (Lunging Attack, Sweeping Attack, Trip Attack)
Level 4: Sentinel (Please make sure you step back 5' after this, so the enemies provoke more Opportunity Attacks!)
Level 6: Great Weapon Master

Yeah, you're set by then. :cool:
It is unlikely that all humanoids are using magic weapons. The feat loses power then. Maybe a reaction by your DM because he was frustrated by your DR.
Still the benefit is good, since you gain +1 strength and save resources with point buy. You also just have to remember, it is just 7 hits at level 10 to make it as good as toughness. And it is more healing friendly.
 

Trancekat

Villager
So, I have a level 19 Fighter that uses a polearm, basically the build you are looking for, been playing him for a year and he is very good but I have learned a lot over the time with him. I'll try to be concise.
The feats I have; Polearm Master, Healer, Magic initiate, Great weapon Master, Sentinel, Heavy armor master, and defensive duelist.

First off, don't neglect your Con. My biggest regret is that +2 con that is still staring at me, at this point it means that it is very difficult for me to stay in the front lines for long without going down and I need to be very careful where and how I attack, I've even started using a sword and shield when I think the group needs more defense because I just get hit a ton.

Secondly, Sentinel is overrated. I very rarely get to use all or even part of that feat in a fight, when I do it's nice but usually it's a waste.
Great Weapon Master is also very overrated. If the fight is going to be tough you are better off not using the -5+10, and the random bonus action is only a 3 average damage boost. Definitely not worth it.

Battlemaster is definitely the way to go. You have more options of who to hit generally and having great tricks to use with them is incredible. Throwing a d8/10/12 on a crit is also just awesome for your dpr(you decide to maneuver after you roll) I would definitely advocate the feat to give you more dice/maneuvers. Trip, Menacing, Commander's, Pushing, Riposte and Goading are all extremely useful.

For races, I went human but anything can work honestly, Goliath would be my pick if I could re-do, more defense and better offense always helps.

Some things to remember; Unless you prioritize con hard and get Defensive instead of GWF you are not a tank, you cannot take on all the damage, don't act like it. This just isn't a defensive build so bear that in mind. You also need to remember that you don't get an opportunity attack until they get 10' away from you, keep that in mind with your positioning. You don't have very good ranged or aoe abilities. Basically you have very good single-target damage and some combat tricks but you are very limited in your variety. This can be good or bad.

Ways to shore up your weaknesses;
-Multiclassing into Barbarian.
--2 Levels gets you 2 rages, reckless attacks and danger sense. Great value for survivability and offense. I did this and it has definitely payed off.
-Mc'ing into Ranger.
--Horde Breaker, Hunter's mark, Ensnaring Strike, Absorb Elements, all can help you deal with aoe and be more defensive/versatile.
--Downside is you have to worry about wis now.
-Mcing into Warlock
--Hex, the ice armor one, aoe cantrips and eldritch blast. 2 levels basically shore up most of your weaknesses plus if you go demon you get temp hp which is nice.
--Now you need a good cha(you can get inspiring leader if you do)
--This is the best option in my opinion now.

All in all this is a good build but not nearly as busted as it looks on paper.

<.< that wasn't concise at all, I would apologize but I'm never concise so meh.
Thank you very much for sharing this with us. I really appreciate your insight!

My intent is to be an off-tank with good mobility/range to go to where I'm needed most (i.e. in case one of the squishies gets into trouble behind the line).

Based on your feedback, this is what I am considering to be the build to play in Adventurer's League. Open to comments/improvements/opinions from everyone:

LevelHuman2345678910111213141516
ClassPolearm Master














FighterSecond Wind, GWFAction SurgeArchtype: BM (Trip, Precision, Menacing)ASI: StrExtra AttackASI: ConKnow Your Enemy. (Goading, Riposte)ASI: Str

IndomitableSuperiority d10 (Disarming, Distracting)Extra AttackASI: Martial Adept (+1 Superiority Die)IndomitableASI: ??? (Durable? Lucky? Mobile? Com?)
Warlock







Patron, Pact Magic2 Invocations (Devil Sight, Repelling Blast)







































AC17171717181818181818181818181818
HP142434445464748493102112122132142152162
Max Spell















Spells















1--------12222222
2----------------
3----------------
4----------------
5----------------
6----------------
7----------------
8----------------
9----------------

















Str16161618181818202020202020202020
Dex10101010101010101010101010101010
Con16161616161818181818181818181818
Int8888888888888888
Wis10101010101010101010101010101010
Cha131313131313131313131313
13
13
13
13
 
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