Bulwark Knight (5e Subclass)

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Bulwark Knight[edit]

Fighter Subclass

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

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.

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.


Starting at the 3rd 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 0, 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 reduced to 0 when you take a long rest. You can reduce your strain in 1 for each hit dice spent during a short rest.

You also know how to use special techniques with your strain. You start knowing the Unparalleled Durability technique, and you can can choose one of the following techniques when you gain this feature. You can choose additional ones at 7th and 15th levels. Using any of the techniques below grants you 1 Strain Point.

Some features require a saving throw, which is calculated as follows:

Strain Save DC: 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier

Unparalleled Durability. When you take damage from melee and ranged weapon attacks, you can use this feature (without needing an action) to reduce the damage by an amount equal to the half the number of Strain Points in your Strain Point pool, rounded up.
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 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.
Survival Tactics. You have learned when to make a stand...and when to run. You can use an Action to gain 10 feet of movement speed for 1 minute. Alternatively, you can use an Action to increase your AC by 1 for 1 minute. In higher levels, when you use Survival Tactics, your speed or defense increases even further when you reach the 5th level (15 feet), 11th level (20 feet and +2 to your AC), and 17th level (30 feet). You can also gain both the AC and the speed benefit by gaining 2 points of Strain.
Bulwark Greatshield

Also at 3rd 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 50 gp worth of materials and 8 hours of work. Any creature other than you donning this shield have their speed reduced to half.

If you haven't moved on this turn, you can use half your movement speed to take cover behind the shield. When you do so, you have half cover against any attacks from creatures in a 15-foot cone in direction chosen by you.

Protective Reflexes

Also at the 7th 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.

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.

Swift Recovery

At the 10th 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.


At the 15th Level, you have become far tougher than your allies. You gain resistance to non-magical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

Strain Mastery

At 18th level, double your strain point pool maximum.

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