Human Battery (5e Optimized Character Build)

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Human Battery[edit]

The Concept[edit]

The Human Battery is focused on grappling powerful opponents and then frying them. I've always thought that the Witch Bolt spell was a pretty badass spell, a 1st level spell that does 1d12 per spell slot level per round for 10 rounds, but with some pretty serious weaknesses. The biggest weakness is that it only has a range of 30 feet, and if the target ever moves out of range the spell is over. Hence, grapple 'em, and turn the juice to 11!

Witch Bolt also requires hitting the target. I would present my case to the DM that if the attack happens during a grapple (i.e. when you are already touching them) the hit should either be automatic or have advantage, but that is between you and your DM.

Race and Ability Scores[edit]

The key ability stats are: Strength (just for grappling), Constitution (for survivability), and Wisdom (Cleric). Charisma may be important depending on how the "hitting with Witch Bolt" conversation went with your DM, or if you put extra levels in Sorcerer. Dexterity and Intelligence are complete don't cares.

The fact that there are three to four important stats is a bit of a weakness, so I would consider going with regular Human for the +1's across the board. Variant Human is an option too, and select the Grappler feat for its ability to pin. It also gives advantage to attacks while grappling if, once again, the "hitting with Witch Bolt" conversation didn't go well. Humans also fit in well with the first level being Barbarian. You can play the character as a crazy barbarian shaman that wades in and starts electrocuting people.

Dragonborn could be an interesting option (+2 Strength, + 1 Charisma, lightning breath weapon), and lines up will with the Sorceror Draconic Bloodline.

Hill Dwarf's bonuses (+2 Constitution, +1 Wisdom, +1 HP/level) lines up well with the build, while still being Medium size so you can grapple Large creatures.

Classes[edit]

Level 1: Barbarian We're looking for: 1) Rage for the strength check advantage to help us grapple, 2) proficiency in Athletics, 3) proficiency in medium armor, and 4) initial hit points to improve survivability.

Level 2: Sorcerer (Draconic Bloodline, Blue or Bronze) This is just to get the Witch Bolt spell. If you can convince your DM that leaving Witch Bolt out of the Cleric- Tempest Domain spell list was a travesty (it is lightning damage after all), and that one of the spells should be replaced with Witch Bolt, then feel free to jump straight to cleric.

Levels 3 - 20: Cleric (Tempest Domain) Tempest domain clerics get proficiency in heavy armor, which is important both for the improved AC and getting rid of the poor Dexterity AC penalty, if your Dexterity is low. Also, Wrath of the Storm allows you to hit your grappling target with extra lightning or thunder damage on a reaction if they hit you.

At 4th level (Cleric 2nd level) you can start using Channel Divinity to maximize the lightning damage of Witch Bolt, and Lightning Bolt later when you get it. I presume that Channel Divinity will only maximize Witch Bolt's damage one round, not all 10, but still it's a pretty nice damage amplifier. At the extreme of using a 9th level spell slot on Witch Bolt with Channel Divinity, you can do 108 hit points of damage per round.

At level 19 you'll be able to fly at will! And, you know, have some cleric spells too...

Variants[edit]

I encourage getting the War Caster feat to help resist losing concentration when damaged.

You can can put 3 (Metamagic) to 6 (Charisma bonus to lightning damage) levels in Sorcerer. Obviously, the more levels you put in Sorcerer, the more important Charisma becomes.


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