Bulwark, 3rd Variant (5e Class)

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Bulwarks are warriors who have trained in the art of defense, hearty individuals that show their aptitude in battle with their superior defensive capabilities.

Life by the Shield[edit]

Filled with various types of individuals, those who love to be the center of a battle, or those just wishing to be as secure as possible, bulwarks are a class of soldiers that have unmatched defense. Armed with a large heavy shield they can take control of the battlefield by supporting their allies with protection or by drawing the attention of foes to them.

Creating a Bulwark[edit]

Most being mercenaries, soldiers, or private bodyguards bulwarks pride themselves on their large presence wherever they are and their ability to take control of a situation. Most of all bulwarks pride themselves on their armor and shield and ability to remain unfazed by enemies, to a bulwark having their shield broken or taken is the greatest dishonor.

Quick Build

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

Class Features

As a Bulwark you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d10 per Bulwark level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + Constitution modifier per Bulwark level after 1st


Armor: All armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, Battleaxe, Longsword, and Warhammer
Tools: Smith's Tools
Saving Throws: Constitution, Strenght
Skills: Choose two from Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Medicine, Perception, and Religion


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

  • (a) Chain Mail or (b) Scale Mail
  • (a) Shield and Martial Weapon(you have proficiency in) or (b) Martial Weapon(you have proficiency in) and Simple Weapon
  • (a) Dungeoneer's pack or (b) Explorer’s Pack
  • (a) Smith's Tools or (b) {{{item4b}}}
  • If you are using starting wealth, you have 5d4*10GP in funds.

Table: The Bulwark

Level Proficiency
1st +2 Bulwarks Shield, Imposing Figure, Shield Bash
2nd +2 Goad
3rd +2 Shield Model Feature
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement
5th +3 Shield Model Feature
6th +3 Unwavering Health
7th +3 Shield Model Feature
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement
9th +4 Heavily Armored
10th +4 Shield Model Feature
11th +4
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement
13th +5 Unmovable
14th +5
15th +5 Shield Model Feature
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement
17th +6
18th +6 Shield Model Feature
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement
20th +6

Bulwark's Shield[edit]

You have a special shield, larger than average which grants you extra protection. The shield’s AC is +3 and you may use it to shove a creature with advantage. Carrying such a large object proves to be a great hindrance to avoiding attacks, you have disadvantage against any Dexterity saving throw or ability check and reduces your movement speed by 5ft. If your shield were to break or be lost you can spend a long rest and 50 gold modifying a new shield as a replacement.

Imposing Figure[edit]

When making an intimidation check, use your strength instead of charisma

Shield Bash[edit]

You’ve trained with your shield long enough to be able to not only use it for defense, but also offense, your shield can now be used as a weapon. You may use your action to make an attack with your shield, dealing 1d8 + Str bludgeoning damage, this increases to 2d8 at lvl 5, 3d8 at lvl 11, and 4d8 at lvl 17.


Starting at 2nd level, as a bonus action you can provoke an enemy you can see within 60ft of you, and they must make a Charisma saving throw. On a failed save they will only focus on you and ignore all other enemies until they land a successful blow. The DC is 8+Charisma modifier+Proficiency. You can you this skill an amount of times equal to your proficiency bonus. You recover all uses of this skill when you finish a short or long rest.

Shield Model[edit]

Starting at 3rd level, you chose a shield model which greatly shapes how you fight and defend, now your shield truly shapes you and likewise you shape your shield. Your choice grants you features at 3rd, 5th, 7th, 10th, 15th, and 18th level.

Ability Score Improvement[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.

Unwavering Health[edit]

Beginning at 6th level each time you level up add 2 additional hit points to your maximum. Whenever you would heal, roll two dice of that type and heal for the higher value of the two.

Heavily Armored[edit]

When you reach 9th level, while wearing heavy armor you gain resistance to bludgeoning damage, and if an effect would force you to move you instead only move half the distance(rounded down). Any effect of an enemy that would knock you prone has disadvantage.


Beginning at 13th level you cannot be moved due to any magical or physical effect, and cannot be knocked prone.

Shield Models[edit]

A Bulwark has many ways of defending themselves or others, the shield model you choose will determine how you approach combat and utilize your defensive abilities.


Bulwarks who prefer to take a more up close and personal approach to battle will cover themselves and their shields with spikes, charging at their enemies with little regard to their own safety, as they fully trust the defensive capability of their protection.

Spiked Shield

Starting at level 3 you equip your shield with sharp spikes, if you shove with your shield as an attack the target takes 1d6+Str damage, or half as much on a successful save. This damage increases to 2d6 at lvl 6, 3d6 at lvl 10, 4d6 at lvl 14, and 5d6 at lvl 18. Additionally, you may choose to equip a second spiked shield rather than another weapon(having a second shield only gives an additional 1 AC). If the creature is more than one size larger than you, the damage still applies; however, the creature cannot be knocked prone or pushed away.

You may use your attack action to make two shoves during combat, or make two attacks if both are done using your shield.


Starting at level 5 your speed increases by 10 feet. If you moved in a straight line for at least 10 feet before shoving a creature with your shield they have disadvantage and you deal an extra 1d6 damage.

Spiked Armor

Starting at level 7 you can now equip yourself with spiked armor. If you successfully grapple a creature they take damage equal to your proficiency bonus+strength modifier, you also deal extra damage to a creature if you make an unarmed strike equal to your proficiency bonus+strength modifier. If a creature tries to grapple or shove you they take damage equal to your proficiency bonus+strength modifier. Due to your imposing armor, you gain proficiency in intimidation as long as you are wearing spiked armor, if you are already proficient in intimidation you may double the bonus.

Reckless Abandon

Starting at level 10 you may take the dash action as a bonus action. Additionally when you goad a creature, they always chose to attack with melee, and will run towards you if not within range.

Fighter's Passion

Starting at level 15 you are always ready for battle, you have +5 to initiative and can participate in combat even if you are surprised.

Endless Fury

Starting at level 18 if you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed, you drop instead to 1 hit point, you gain advantage on all attacks against the target that knocked you down to 0 hit points. You may use this ability a number of times equal to your constitution modifier before finishing a long rest.


Warriors equipt with great weapons, able to masterfully wield them in the close confines of battle making the best use of their long reach and heft.

Polearm Adept

Starting at level 3 you may wield weapons with the two handed property with only one hand, if using a weapon with the versatile property, you may wield it with one hand and still use the damage die as though it were being wielded with two hands.

You gain proficiency with glaives, halberds, and pikes

Swiping Swing

Starting at level 5 as an action you can swing your glaive, halberd, or pike hitting any number of creatures within your range, creatures must succeed an acrobatics or athletics check against a DC of 8+Strength+proficiency, or be knocked prone. Creatures that are a size smaller than you have disadvantage on the check, and creatures larger have advantage. For every creature knocked prone this way the DC is reduced by 1. You can use this skill a number of times equal to your proficiency modifier between rests.


Starting at level 7 if you are attacking an enemy that has been knocked prone you have advantage. Killing an enemy in this fashion forces all creatures of your choice within 30 feet to make a wisdom saving throw. On a failure, they become frightened until their next turn ends.

Marked for Death

Starting at level 10, at the beginning of the initiative roll, you may choose one enemy which becomes your prime target. All attacks you make against this target have advantage for the duration of the initiative period and deal an additional 2d8 damage. However, attacks made against you by any enemy other than your prime target have advantage for as long as your prime target is alive. If you successfully kill your target, you gain a temporary increase to your strength equaling your proficiency modifier.


Starting at level 15, you may use your turn to begin spinning, striking every target within range. All targets must make a Dexterity saving throw and, upon success, take half damage. You deal 6d10 + Strength bludgeoning damage upon impact. While spinning, you cannot use a reaction and move at half speed. You continue to spin for each turn until either you choose to stop or something knocks you prone. Upon finishing spinning, you become disoriented and cannot act for the next round.

Defensive Maneuvers

Starting at level 18, you may use your reaction to raise your shield defensively, increasing your AC by Constitution + Proficiency modifier until your next turn.


Bulwarks who have fully embraced defense and completely covered themselves in as much armor as possible, these soldiers are nigh impossible to take down by normal means.

One with the Shield

Starting at level 3 you’ve modified your shield and armor to become one in the same, you now gain the benefits and detriments of having a bulwark shield without actually having to wield one, you do not get any additional benefits from wielding an additional shield. Working to create this armor requires 8 hours and 50 gold, this can only be done with heavy armor or scale mail, breastplate or half plate.

You gain proficiency with greataxes, greatswords, and mauls

Unbreakable Fortress

Starting at level 5 you gain a +4 instead of +3 AC bonus if your shield and armor have been melded together, however when this is the case, you also suffer a 5 feet movement penalty.

Breaker of Armies

Starting at level 7 you gain advantage when using bludgeoning weapons against enemies with heavy armor or shields. You also deal double damage to structures when using a bludgeoning weapon.

Draw Fire

Starting at level 10 you can use your presence on the battlefield to keep your allies from being fired upon, you can use your bonus action to cause all ranged attacks by enemies that can see you to be aimed at you until your next turn. You must finish a short rest before using this ability again.

Giant on the Battlefield

Starting at level 15 your size grows to large if it was not before, your max for strength and constitution grows to 22, and you gain 2 skill points to distribute how you want between strength and constitution.


Starting at level 18 you gain +5 instead of +4 AC bonus if your shield and armor have been melded together, you no longer suffer any movement penalties, and cannot be slowed except by magical effects.


While still keeping their defenses up, these Bulwarks prefer to take a long range approach to fights, and pick enemies off from a safe distance behind their sheilds.

Stationary Shield

Starting at level 3 your shield becomes a large defensive wall, it cannot be used effectively in combat as it must be worn on your back to be carried, giving you no defensive bonuses, however it can be planted into the ground to provide stationary cover. You can use your bonus action to place down your shield and it acts as half cover. The shield may be picked up and put on your back as an action. When the shield is on the ground you have +5 feet movement speed, and no longer had disadvantage on dexterity saving throws and ability checks. You gain proficiency with heavy crossbows.

Deadly Accuracy

Starting at level 5 you gain a +3 bonus to attack rolls with a heavy crossbow and you can add 50 feet to the range of your weapon.

Quick Reload

Starting at level 7 you can now load your crossbow with great ease, you ignore the loading property of your weapon.

Extended Shield

Starting at level 10 you have further modified your shield to provide greater cover. When placed on the ground it can be extended to give half cover to another creature. You have also grown accustomed to the heft of the shield, and may use your movement to push forwards with your shield at half your speed, rounded down.

Hawk's Eye

Starting at level 15 you are always watching the battlefield, you cannot be surprised, you gain proficiency in perception, if already proficient you double the bonus. Your expertise with the heavy crossbow is so honed that you ignore half cover and treat three quarters cover as half cover, you also deal an extra amount of damage on a hit equal to half your Bulwark level+3.

Piercing Rounds

Starting at level 18 you gain advantage on attacks with the heavy crossbow against enemies with heavy armor or shields. When you hit a target wielding a shield roll a d20, on a 15 or higher the shield is broken, on a 10 or higher you gain advantage the next time you try to pierce their shield.


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

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the Bulwark class, you gain the following proficiencies: Athletics or Intimidation, Heavy Armor, Shields, Smith's Tools, Battleaxes, Longswords, and Warhammers.

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