Bulwark, 2nd Variant (5e Class)

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Bulwark[edit]

Need a healer in your party? "No thanks, we've got him!" Oh...maybe next time.
—Joke among Bulwarks

The Bulwark Protectors[edit]

Bulwarks are tough individuals that focus exclusively on shielding others from harm. From the first day they pick up a shield, Bulwarks are all specifically trained in the art of defending allies and surviving almost anything. With their shield they can halt an attack from even the most vicious of creatures. Bulwarks are steadfast when allies are in trouble and unmovable when taking the heaviest of blows.

Creating a Bulwark[edit]

801f58640b865ed4c86a8680b6ba2b5d--character-ideas-character-art.jpg
A Bulwark and his shield.

When creating a bulwark, it is important to consider how your character was able to learn this entirely defensive style of fighting. Who trained you and where? Why were you being trained? Was it your choice to become a Bulwark, or was some third party involved? What are your ambitions for the future? What are your hobbies? Any other skills? Any friends? Enemies? While most bulwarks use their training to guard royalty or high-standing members of society, other lines of work exist for men & women like these strong and tough individuals.

Quick Build

You can make a Bulwark quickly by following these suggestions. First, Constitution should be your highest ability score, followed by Strength. Second, choose the Soldier or Mercenary background. Third, choose Chain Mail, a Longsword, a hand Crossbow and the Explorer's Pack as your starting equipment.

Class Features

As a Bulwark you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d12 per Bulwark level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d12 (or 7) + Constitution modifier per Bulwark level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: All armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, warhammers, morningstars, flails
Tools: Smith's tools
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Choose two from Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Perception, Religion, and Survival

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

Table: The Bulwark

Level Proficiency
Bonus
Features
1st +2 Strain, Bulwark Greatshield, Protective Reflexes
2nd +2 Greatshield Expertise, Survival Tactics
3rd +2 Unparalleled Durability
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement
5th +3 Extra Attack
6th +3 Extra Greatshield Technique
7th +3 Sentinel
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement
9th +4 Swift Recovery
10th +4 Survival Tactics Improvement, Protective Reflexes Improvement
11th +4 Battle-Hardened
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement
13th +5
14th +5 Extra Greatshield Technique
15th +5
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement
17th +6
18th +6
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement
20th +6 Strain Mastery

Strain[edit]

Starting at the 1st Level, you gain a pool of Strain Points representing your endurance in battle. Some Bulwark class features give you Strain Points when you use them, or apply different effects based on the number of Strain Points accumulated. Your Strain Point pool starts at zero and has a maximum threshold equal to your proficiency bonus + your Constitution modifier. If a class feature were to give you a Strain Point while your Strain Point pool is already at its maximum value, you gain one level of exhaustion instead. Your Strain Point Pool is reset when you take a long rest.

Bulwark Greatshield[edit]

Also at 1st Level, you have a shield in your possession called the "Bulwark Greatshield". You also know how to make one yourself using Smith's tools. Doing so requires 50gp worth of materials and 1d6 hours of work. These shields have the Heavy property for anyone but you and grant a +5 AC bonus instead of the usual +2 AC. You also know how to use special techniques with your shield. You can choose one of the following techniques at level 1, then choose another one at Level 6 and Level 14. Using any of the techniques below grants you 1 Strain Point.

Bulwark Greatshield Save DC
8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier
Great Bash

You can use an action to make a melee weapon attack with your shield against a creature. On a hit, you deal 1d8 bludgeoning damage. If the target creature is Large or smaller, it must make a Constitution saving throw against your Greatshield Save DC or be stunned until the end of its next turn. This feature's damage increases by 1d8 when you reach 5th level (2d8), 11th level (3d8), and 17th level (4d8).

Great Push

You can use an action to force a creature within 5 feet of you that is one size greater or smaller than you to make a Strength saving throw against your Greatshield Save DC or take 2d6 bludgeoning damage and be violently pushed back 15 feet. On a successful save, they take half damage and are not pushed back. The damage you deal and the distance you push a creature with this feature increases when you reach 5th level (3d6, 25 feet), 11th Level (4d6, 35 feet), and 17th level (6d6, 45 feet).

Great Leap

You can use an action to leap 10 feet in any direction to an unoccupied space you can see. Creatures within 5 feet of this unoccupied space must make a Dexterity saving throw against your Greatshield Save DC or take 1d6 bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone. On a successful save, they take half damage and are not knocked prone. The damage you deal and the distance you jump with this feature increases when you reach 5th level (2d6, 15 feet), 11th Level (3d6, 20 feet), and 17th level (4d6, 25 feet).

Great Stance

You can use an action to anchor yourself down into the ground while holding your shield out in front of you, your movement speed drops to 0 while in this stance. You can only stay in this stance for 1 minute. While in this stance you cannot be moved physically or magically in addition you have half cover, any damage you take while in this stance will be halved by 1d8. In higher levels when you use Great stance the damage you take will be halved even more once you reach 5th level (2d8), 11th level (3d8), and 17th level (4d8). Unlike the other Bulwark Greatshield techniques, you gain 2 points of Strain after using Great Stance.

Protective Reflexes[edit]

Also at the 1st Level, your body moves by instinct to protect. You can use a reaction to apply one of these effects:

  • When an allied creature within 5 feet of you is hit with a ranged or melee weapon attack, you can spend Hit Points equal to your level to become the target of that attack instead.
  • When an allied creature within 5 feet of you is subjected to a spell effect that allows them to make a Constitution, Strength, or Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you can use your reaction to have them instead take no damage if they succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if they fail. You take the same amount of damage they take from this effect.
  • You can use your reaction to force a creature within 5 feet of an allied creature you can see to make a Wisdom saving throw with a DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier or become taunted until the end of their turn.

At the 10th Level, the range of your Protective Reflex effects are doubled.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier + half your proficiency bonus rounded down. You regain all expended uses after taking a short or long rest.

Survival Tactics[edit]

At the 2nd Level, you have learned when to make a stand...and when to run. You can use an action to reduce your AC by 2 to gain 10 feet of movement speed for 1 minute. Alternatively, you can use an action to reduce your movement speed by 15 feet to increase your AC by 2 for 1 minute. You can end either of these effects by using a bonus action. These bonuses do not stack. Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.

At the 10th Level, you can use an action to reduce your AC by 4 to gain 20 feet of movement speed for 1 minute. Alternatively, you can use an action to reduce your movement speed by 20 feet to increase your AC by 4 for 1 minute.

Greatshield Expertise[edit]

Also at the 2nd Level, you've learned how to maximize the efficiency of your shield. While you are wielding a Bulwark Greatshield, you gain a +1 bonus to your AC.

Unparalleled Durability[edit]

At 3rd level, you take a reduced amount of damage from melee and ranged weapon attacks equal to the half the number of Strain Points in your Strain Point pool, rounded up.

Ability Score Increase[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack[edit]

Beginning at 5th Level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Sentinel[edit]

At the 7th Level, Whenever you hit a creature with an opportunity attack, its speed drops to 0 for the rest of the turn. This stops any movement they may have been taking. Additionally, creatures within your reach provoke opportunity attacks even if they took the Disengage action. Finally, when a creature within your reach makes an attack against a target other than you (and that target doesn't have this feat), you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against the attacking creature.

Swift Recovery[edit]

At the 9th Level, you can use a bonus action on your turn to regain hit points equal to twice your Strain Point pool maximum. Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.

Battle-Hardened[edit]

At the 11th Level, you have become far tougher than your allies. You gain resistance to non-magical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

Strain Mastery[edit]

At level 20, double your Strain Point pool maximum.

Multiclassing[edit]

Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the Bulwark class, you must meet these prerequisites: Constitution 13, Strength 13

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the Bulwark class, you gain the following proficiencies: Smith's tools, Athletics, and martial weapons.


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