Goliath Dwarven Defender (3.5e Optimized Character Build)

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How about a Goliath Dwarven Defender? I can't think of any reason at all NOT to do this. I've played with the idea in several games, and I think I have it pretty well perfected. Let me know what you think!

Makes use of the Stoneborn class feature of the Stoneblessed PrC to meet the racial requirement of Dwarven Defender.


PHB, PHB II, DMG, Races of Stone, Magic Item Compendium, Arms and Equipment Guide, Unearthed Arcana

Game Rule Components[edit]

Spells, Powers, Soulmelds, Stances, etc...[edit]


+5 Heavy Fortification Interlocking Plate Mail, +5 Animated Tower Shield, +5 Sweeping Spiked Chain


Starting Ability Scores (Before Racial Adjustments): (Assumed 32 Point Buy) Stength 16, Dexterity 12, Constitution 16, Intelligence 14, Wisdom 10, Charisma 8 [If your DM allows it, take -2 to Charisma for a total of 6, and increase Wisdom to 12]

Race (Templates): None

Starting Racial Traits: Abilities: +4 Stength, -2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution. Monstrous Humanoid, Powerful Build, Mountain Movement, Acclimated, +2 Sense Motive. All abilities are outlined on page 56 of Races of Stone.

ECL Class/HD/LA Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Feats Class
Fort Ref Will
1st LA 1 (Bought off at 3rd level per Unearthed Arcana) - - - - - - Racial Abilities
2nd Ranger 1 +1 +2 +2 +0 Flaws: Shaky, Murky Eyed
3rd Knight 1 +1 +0 +0 +2
4th Ranger 2 +1 +1 +1 +0
5th Knight 2 +1 +0 +0 +1
6th Ranger 3 +1 +0 +0 +1 Flaws: Shaky, Murky Eyed
7th Stoneblessed 1 (Dwarven) +0 +2 +0 +0
8th Stoneblessed 2 +1 +1 +0 +0
9th Stoneblessed 3 +1 +0 +1 +1
10th Deepwarden 1 +1 +2 +2 +0
11th Deepwarden 2 +1 +1 +1 +0
12th Dwarven Defender 1 +1 +2 +0 +2
13th Dwarven Defender 2 +1 +1 +0 +1
14th Dwarven Defender 3 +1 +0 +1 +0
15th Dwarven Defender 4 +1 +1 +0 +1
16th Dwarven Defender 5 +1 +0 +0 +0
17th Dwarven Defender 6 +1 +1 +1 +1
18th Dwarven Defender 7 +1 +0 +0 +0
19th Dwarven Defender 8 +1 +1 +0 +1
20th Dwarven Defender 9 +1 +0 +1 +0
21st Dwarven Defender 10 +1 +1 +0 +1

Other Components[edit]


Five Words: Constitution Modifier to Armor Class. In addition to the ridiculous AC (should be about 65 by 20th level), you can't die. With a, nearly, full BAB, you can hit most targets, even at higher levels. Additionally, you get to use a large spiked chain, so all the squares within 15 feet of you are difficult terrain for opponents who start in them.

Munchkin-Size Me[edit]

To really cheese it out, in Epic Levels, add three levels of Cave Stalker so you can wield a Large Spiked Chain in ONE HAND, and a Medium SC in your off-hand. Pick up a few levels of Great Rift Defender (the Faerunian take on the Dwarven Defender), and your AC is out of this world.

Side Notes[edit]

You'll definitely want an item to boost saves. With the levels of Ranger and Deepwarden, your Reflex save isn't as awful as it could be, but it's still pretty low compared to your other saves.


Because of the limited mobility, this build really only works in situations where you can plug up a hole and keep your party safe. I've used this guy to soak trap damage when the lousy rogue couldn't find a trap he placed himself. Because of the Diehard feat, you literally CANNOT die before your cleric heals you.

Also, at lower levels, as you're setting up the build, things can get a bit tricky. You have 5 levels of classes that don't work particularly well together until you combine them to Dwarven Defender at 7th.

DM Counters[edit]

Reflex Saves are this build's downfall. Of course, with the ridiculous d12 hit die for most of the build, and the Diehard ability, this tank can pretty much stand up to any punishment you can dish out.


Both Deepwarden and Dwarven defender specifically state that being an actual Dwarf is a prerequisite. You legally can't build this with a Goliath. (Hence the reason for the Stoneblessed Class)

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