D&D 5E What would be better build for a Swordsman?

One Piece fan? guilty as charged. for the longest time now i've always loved my characters to be swordsmen and most of them share the same goal in different campaigns: to become the GREATEST swordsman of that world. now, i mostly do this with Swashbuckler rogues since Sneak Attack is an amazing thing to have when you're trying to hit harder... but i want to know what would be a good BUILD for a swordsman, cause i don't want to rely on ONE class only to make this type of character.

And you guys can go wild with the suggestions, it'll be fun to try out new whacky multiclass characters in order to make the LITERAL GREATEST SWORDSMAN that a DnD campaign has ever seen.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


And you guys can go wild with the suggestions, it'll be fun to try out new whacky multiclass characters in order to make the LITERAL GREATEST SWORDSMAN that a DnD campaign has ever seen.
Is the primary goal that they are doing the most damage with a sword, or that they fit an iconic characterization of someone trying to be (/known as) the greatest swordsman?

The former has no one right answer. In particular, it will depend on how many encounters per day they will be called on to showcase this swordman-ness (for example, if they have to do this 12 times a day with no long and few short rests, all of a sudden Champion Fighter starts looking pretty good). Also whether they are supposed to be strictly sword-ing or whether magic (or maybe even side activities like grappling) can be part of the mix. Also Also whether this greatest swordsman-ing is a solo activity or if it is reflected in how well they use swords-fighting to contribute to a group's combat success (shield master, using Sage Advise supported rules interpretation, isn't that useful in 1:1 duels. It is great, however, if your allies can capitalize on you knocking an opponent down).

The later, I'd suggest either a performer background (emphasizing the showman quality), or folk hero/noble background and have them aspire to wowing the populace (perhaps with good social skills if you want them to succeed, a decided lack of them if you want a more Zap Branigan only-thinks-he's-charismatic type).
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I like Kensai monk simply because they can wield a longsword two-handed without armor and not totally suck.
 



jgsugden

Legend
If you want the 'greatest' one handed swordsman, I am picturing someone that does a lot of damage, does amazing things with the sword, and doesn't rely upon magic. They may also do some fun things with their body as they attack with the sword. To me, I also picture them being lightly armored.

Total build would be Battlemaster 11, Monk 1, Gloom Stalker 4, Assassin 5.

Battlemaster allows you to do some tricks with your weapon. Monk would get me the unarmored AC for the fun 'all I need is my sword' feel (as well as a bonus action unarmed attack for a bit more damage). Battlemaster 11 and Gloom Stalker 4 combine to allow you to make 8 attacks on the first round of combat with action surge. Assassin gives you a chance to make all of them crits if you go first, as well as add a bit of sneak attack damage. This is not an OP build, but it can be fun and evocative.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Total build would be Battlemaster 11, Monk 1, Gloom Stalker 4, Assassin 5.
Interesting combination. Ranger also allows you to gain some spell casting, and Hunter's Mark would grant additional damage on a lot of attacks!

I'm not sure if I would include the level of Monk. I would go Barbarian instead for Unarmored Defense that way, and RAGE!!! Even more damage plus resistance to some damage. ;)
 

Interesting combination. Ranger also allows you to gain some spell casting, and Hunter's Mark would grant additional damage on a lot of attacks!

I'm not sure if I would include the level of Monk. I would go Barbarian instead for Unarmored Defense that way, and RAGE!!! Even more damage plus resistance to some damage. ;)
that's a nice idea but then you'd have to drop the rogue too since you need STR based weapons to deal the extra rage damage
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
that's a nice idea but then you'd have to drop the rogue too since you need STR based weapons to deal the extra rage damage
Not true. You need a finesse weapon to make a sneak attack, but you don't need to attack with DEX.

So, you can have a shortsword, for example, which is finesse, but use your STR modifier for attack and damage. :)

I know, because I had a STR-based rogue who did this precise thing.
 

Not true. You need a finesse weapon to make a sneak attack, but you don't need to attack with DEX.

So, you can have a shortsword, for example, which is finesse, but use your STR modifier for attack and damage. :)

I know, because I had a STR-based rogue who did this precise thing.
loving this idea more and more... i'd still change the assassin for a swashbuckler to get more consistent damage each turn
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
loving this idea more and more... i'd still change the assassin for a swashbuckler to get more consistent damage each turn
Swashbuckler is a nice option, you have more chances of getting advantage IIRC, and adding CHA mod to initiative will give you an edge to go first, BUT the big downside is your character becomes more MAD with each class and feature addition:

Fighter (Battle Master): STR or DEX
Rogue: DEX (Swashbuckler CHA)
Barbarian: STR since you'll attack with STR mod and DEX/CON for AC
Ranger: DEX and WIS 13 for multiclassing

At this point, INT is the only score you DON'T need a good score in...

With Assassin, CHA isn't needed as well.

Just something to think about.
 

Swashbuckler is a nice option, you have more chances of getting advantage IIRC, and adding CHA mod to initiative will give you an edge to go first, BUT the big downside is your character becomes more MAD with each class and feature addition:

Fighter (Battle Master): STR or DEX
Rogue: DEX (Swashbuckler CHA)
Barbarian: STR since you'll attack with STR mod and DEX/CON for AC
Ranger: DEX and WIS 13 for multiclassing

At this point, INT is the only score you DON'T need a good score in...

With Assassin, CHA isn't needed as well.

Just something to think about.
yup, you'd need crazy stats for this one, or a stroke of luck
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
yup, you'd need crazy stats for this one, or a stroke of luck
I would focus on STR for attacking, DEX and CON for defense, and CHA is last. You also need the WIS 13.

If you had to use the standard array, you might want:

STR 14
DEX 15
CON 12
INT 8
WIS 13
CHA 10

Half-elf (using pre-MotM) would add DEX +1, CON/WIS +1, and CHA +2:

STR 14
DEX 16 (15+1)
CON 12
INT 8
WIS 14 (13+1)
CHA 12 (10+2)

Obviously, if you can roll and get great rolls you'll be better off, but even with standard array/ point-buy you could pull it off.

EDIT: You could swap out STR/DEX if you want. I went with higher DEX so you would be more effective in ranged combat as well. Since you are focused on swords, you'd probably want a better STR (although you'd also have a slightly worse AC...).
 

I would focus on STR for attacking, DEX and CON for defense, and CHA is last. You also need the WIS 13.

If you had to use the standard array, you might want:

STR 14
DEX 15
CON 12
INT 8
WIS 13
CHA 10

Half-elf (using pre-MotM) would add DEX +1, CON/WIS +1, and CHA +2:

STR 14
DEX 16 (15+1)
CON 12
INT 8
WIS 14 (13+1)
CHA 12 (10+2)

Obviously, if you can roll and get great rolls you'll be better off, but even with standard array/ point-buy you could pull it off.
those look like solid stats that could get better and better with half feats and/or ASIs (good thing the main class for this build is a fighter so you'll be getting lots of those)
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
those look like solid stats that could get better and better with half feats and/or ASIs (good thing the main class for this build is a fighter so you'll be getting lots of those)
Just in case you missed my edit:

You could swap out STR/DEX if you want. I went with higher DEX so you would be more effective in ranged combat as well. Since you are focused on swords, you'd probably want a better STR (although you'd also have a slightly worse AC...).

And, of course, you could use the rapier for d8 finesse, obviously.
 

Just in case you missed my edit:

You could swap out STR/DEX if you want. I went with higher DEX so you would be more effective in ranged combat as well. Since you are focused on swords, you'd probably want a better STR (although you'd also have a slightly worse AC...).

And, of course, you could use the rapier for d8 finesse, obviously.
i'll go with DEX cause i think is better to have a higher AC than anything else
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Another thing is the class/level distribution might benefit more if you went Fighter 12 instead of 11, just to get another ASI.

It gets tricky with the Gloom Stalker and Swashbuckler, 5th level in gets you 2nd level ranger spells and 3d6 sneak attacks...

If you do 5th in both, you can only go 10th in Fighter. And you still need 1 level for Barbarian if you go that route...
 

Another thing is the class/level distribution might benefit more if you went Fighter 12 instead of 11, just to get another ASI.

It gets tricky with the Gloom Stalker and Swashbuckler, 5th level in gets you 2nd level ranger spells and 3d6 sneak attacks...

If you do 5th in both, you can only go 10th in Fighter. And you still need 1 level for Barbarian if you go that route...
i think that Battlemaster 17/Swashbuckler 3 would be enough for a consistant damage build since the Gloomstalker is just there to give you one more attack and you could get better options for that (like dual weilding)... or you could do Samurai 17/Zealot 3 if you wanna go for less damage and more advantage on your blows, big damage vs. mad accuracy
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
i think that Battlemaster 17/Swashbuckler 3 would be enough for a consistant damage build since the Gloomstalker is just there to give you one more attack and you could get better options for that (like dual weilding)... or you could do Samurai 17/Zealot 3 if you wanna go for less damage and more advantage on your blows, big damage vs. mad accuracy
Sounds good. I'd just question if you want BM 16 or 17. Is another Action Surge and Indomitable worth the ASI you could get from Swashbuckler 4? It's a toss up, IMO, depending on what you do with the ASI...

Samurai/Zealot could also work, but for me the BM maneuvers are too important to a "master swordsman" build. 🤷‍♂️
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top