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

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. 🤷‍♂️
agreed on that last part, and yes, Swashbuckler 4 sounds solid actually, and action surge sounds tempting but indomitable... not so much actually
 

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DND_Reborn

Legend
If you do go just BM/Swash route, the ability scores work a bit better since you don't need WIS 13. Using the half-elf still you might want:

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

So, you'd have a great DEX and CHA for +6 initiative, pretty good HP with CON 14, and without Barbarian you don't need a high STR. It gives you the option for 12 for STR or WIS, depending on what you want to focus on.

EDIT: If you want you could also swap CON and WIS. You'd have less HP but better WIS save bonus and WIS skills.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Bladesinger with fighter or rogue is very fun and effective.

Battlesmith/Bladesinger is great if the pet doesn’t bother you.

Obv Hexblade and Hexblade multiclassed.

Blade Bard/Vengeance Dexadin is very fun and good.
 

If you do go just BM/Swash route, the ability scores work a bit better since you don't need WIS 13. Using the half-elf still you might want:

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

So, you'd have a great DEX and CHA for +6 initiative, pretty good HP with CON 14, and without Barbarian you don't need a high STR. It gives you the option for 12 for STR or WIS, depending on what you want to focus on.
Just for the sake of roleplay i'd go with
STR: 8
DEX: 17 (15+2)
CON: 14 (13+1)
INT: 10
WIS: 12
CHA: 15 (14+1)

And then get feats like Elven Accuracy and Actor to raise DEX and CHA, also would get Resilient CON and Tough maybe
 



DND_Reborn

Legend
I really wish rogue was written such that it combined with kensai in a way that let you sneak attack with any weapon.
I flat-out houseruled away the Finesse requirement of Sneak Attack. Not seen any issues caused by that yet.
Yeah, my group has as well. You can sneak attack with any weapon you have proficiency with.

No issues at all. It works perfectly fine, and allow STR-based rogue builds more easily, such as a making a thug with a club.
 

jgsugden

Legend
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. ;)
Also a good option. The monk seems more 'control and finesse' while the barbarian gives us more wild fury as an angle.

The ranger spellcasting can be reskinned pretty easily. Disguise Self, Speak with Animals, Hunter's Mark, Zephyr Strike, Longstrider, Jump, Animal Friendship, Beast Bond, Absorb Elements ... these do not need to feel like spellcasting.
 

I flat-out houseruled away the Finesse requirement of Sneak Attack. Not seen any issues caused by that yet.

Yeah, my group has as well. You can sneak attack with any weapon you have proficiency with.

No issues at all. It works perfectly fine, and allow STR-based rogue builds more easily, such as a making a thug with a club.
Agreed. I can't tell if this requirement was protection against an abusive combination which never materialized, or just reinforcement of iconic character types/appealing to the TSR-era crowd (who were used to the limitations of the Thief class backstab). Regardless, it doesn't seem to be necessary. Taking the effort to MC into a class which grants the (non-longsword) non-SA-able weapons grants you extra damage to your SA... right on par with the opportunity cost of the dip. PAM or other massively-multiple attacks don't overly synergize with SA (other than an extra chance to get at least one hit, making sure you get the SA damage, which rogues already can do with 2wf). Neither does GWM and the -5/+10, as SA wants an assured hit more than it wants even more extra damage.

Perhaps that clause was written before SA was limited to once per turn, and the fear was that you would get the spam-attack builds of 3e (minus that SA didn't work on ~half the monsters in the MM).

Regardless, a fighter-rogue bandit with a club or dirty-fighting sentry with a polearm are wonderful themes that should be allowed, and if that works for the OPs swordsman as well, all the better.
 

Wandering off-topic, but what if the concept of finesse weapons was dispensed with entirely, and instead you could choose Str or Dex with any weapon? What additional tweak would be needed to keep Str builds viable?
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Wandering off-topic, but what if the concept of finesse weapons was dispensed with entirely, and instead you could choose Str or Dex with any weapon? What additional tweak would be needed to keep Str builds viable?
Allow STR or DEX for attack rolls, but keep STR only for damage for melee weapons???
 

Allow STR or DEX for attack rolls, but keep STR only for damage for melee weapons???

Maybe.

The side effect I could see would be that short swords and daggers would never get used, except for those willing to choose flavor over mechanics, and in general I don’t like to force that choice.

I’d love to see some incentive to use smaller, lighter weapons. It could be initiative bonus, except:
1) That is a level of fiddly-ness that doesn’t feel in the spirit of 5e
2) It would lead to casters holding daggers for the initiative bonus, even though they plan to cast a spell

(Speaking of which, I would also like to see a good reason for casters to hold staves.)
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I’d love to see some incentive to use smaller, lighter weapons.
Use critical damage instead of critical hits?

Smaller dice are more likely to explode when you roll maximum on damage. So, this makes daggers and other d4 weapons viable as well as d6 weapons. Larger die weapons are less likely to crit because of the odds of them rolling maximum is lower.

FWIW we've been doing this for a while now (like a year or more maybe???) and we love it and won't go back to critical hits. Critical damage makes more sense IMO and is more fun as well.
 

Use critical damage instead of critical hits?

Smaller dice are more likely to explode when you roll maximum on damage. So, this makes daggers and other d4 weapons viable as well as d6 weapons. Larger die weapons are less likely to crit because of the odds of them rolling maximum is lower.

FWIW we've been doing this for a while now (like a year or more maybe???) and we love it and won't go back to critical hits. Critical damage makes more sense IMO and is more fun as well.

Doesn't really make a difference. Smaller dice yield slightly higher bonus damage, but not nearly enough to compensate. In fact, exploding dice don't even get you to as much average damage as the next size die without exploding dice. E.g., d6 with exploding dice still averages less than d8 without exploding dice.

There's a fun factor, of course.

And I suppose you could have a rule that when using dex with a finesse weapon you get exploding dice. That makes the shortsword almost equal to a longsword, close enough to make it a flavor choice.
 
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DND_Reborn

Legend
Doesn't really make a difference. Smaller dice yield slightly higher bonus damage, but not nearly enough to compensate. In fact, exploding dice don't even get you to as much average damage as the next size die without exploding dice. E.g., d6 with exploding dice still averages less than d8 without exploding dice.
Yes, that is true (I checked it a while ago).

There's a fun factor, of course.
Which is very important.

But, also, we have systems in place for critical damage to make smaller damage weapons so it is even more appealing. Also it makes features which emphasize criticals more impactful. This is from the other thread:

Other features we added are on critical damage, and optional for the attacker to use. They require a save by the target with a DC equal to 8 + your attack modifier:

Dazed (for bludgeoning): WIS save or stunned until start of target's next turn.
Hindered (for slashing): CON save or target has half speed until the end of its next turn.
Skewered (for piercing): DEX save or weapon is stuck in target. On your turn you can automatically deal weapon damage (no attack roll required) unless the target uses its action to remove the weapon.
Wounded (for cleaving): CON save or take unmodified weapon damage at the stat of the target's next turn.

We are still tweaking these a bit, but in general that's the idea.

Overall, even with all that, larger weapons are still more deadly all-in-all, but this does a LOT to narrow the gap. :)
 

ECMO3

Hero
I like the sneak attack rules as is. I don't see a lot of problems with them as is. While I agree there is not synergy between GWM and SA PAM+Sneak attack would be pretty OP IMO even without multiclassing. The big issue is not the butt attack, but the opportunity attack when they enter reach which could be combined with bonus action disengage or hide.

To make this balanced I think you would need to limit SA to weapons you are proficient in (currently there is no proficiency requirement for SA) and then take away some of the Rogue proficiencies (spear and staff specifically). If you did this and did not allow multiclassing or Tasha's racial proficiency swaps, it would be fine I think.

FWIW TSR era Rogues could backstab with clubs and longswords and probably some others I can't remember, but they could nto backstab with missile weapons.

The add dex for attack but not damage sounds a lot like the 3E rules for weapon finesse, which I hated. I would rather just allow dex for all attacks and damage. That would make builds even more lopsided towards dex, but I don't really see a problem with that.
 
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Wandering off-topic, but what if the concept of finesse weapons was dispensed with entirely, and instead you could choose Str or Dex with any weapon? What additional tweak would be needed to keep Str builds viable?
Allowing Str with crossbows and such would remove the dominance of Dex when it comes to Ranged attacks, in the same way that you're removing the dominance of Str with 2-handed melee, so that mostly balances out on the "Damage-dealing" front.

The issue is that Dex is just so much better as an ability score. As a combat stat it also ties in to AC and Initiative - Both very important.
Out of combat it has three skills attached to it and allows non-heavy armour to be used, which can be useful in exploration and social pillars.

In terms of adjustment, I'd suggest making Initiative based on a different stat, and tracking encumbrance.
That will remove one of the combat benefits that Dex has over Str, and make Str more important in the overall game. See how things go with those changes before doing anything more sweeping perhaps.

Oh. And allow half-feats that gave a bonus to Str but not Dex or vice versa to give the bonus to either.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Personally, if I wanted "The Greatest Swordsman in the World" with full-on anime tropes, I'd do Battle Smith/Bladesinger or straight Bladesinger (depending on stats), and reflavor spells as flashy sword tricks.
 

Agametorememberbooks

Explorer
Publisher
I saw one post for a DEX-based vengeance paladin and would like to toss in with that idea.

An elven, rapier-wielding, vengeance paldin with dueling as their marital style and smites can dish some serious hurt. Your DEX bonus is capped in heavier armor, but you still benefit and can add a shield if you really want to be able to tank it up.
 

Elven or half-elven swashbuckler with elven accuracy, booming blade, and a wolf totem barbarian best friend.

Just realized this would also work as an elven kensai with any weapon, since elven accuracy keys off of the ability score used for the attack. Finesse weapon not required.

You could also dip 3 levels of Fighter/Champion. That would give you a 27% chance of a crit any time you have advantage (plus a fighting style). I doubt the math makes it worth it, but fun factor is a consideration, and crits are fun.
 
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