Poison Dart Frog (5e Optimized Character Build)
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Darts are lowkey the most powerful weapon in 5e and y'all sleepin' on 'em. Grungs are the greatest playable race in this game and not enough of you are showing them their proper respect. I'm here to address both of these problems.
Race: Grung. Cant have a "poison dart frog" build without the poisonous frog now can we? Main feature we're gonna be focusing on here is the DC 12 Con Save that a creature must make every time we hit them with a dart, (or other piercing weapon), else they take an extra 2d4 damage. We seek to trigger this as much as possible. You also have a climb speed equal to your walking speed, and get free proficiency in Perception, which is nice. Only major downside with Grungs, is that you need to immerse yourself in water for 1 hour a day, else you will suffer a level of exhaustion. This build doesn't do anything to address this, so you are gonna need to rely on your Party or the Environment to provide you these chances.
If you're playing in a game where you can't pick Grung as a playable race, and/or your DM doesn't want to roll 5+ Con saves against your poison every turn of combat, Variant Human or Custom Lineage with the Poisoner feat from TCE are probably the closest replacements, if you have to. I guess. But I'm not happy about it.
Stats (Standard Array) There are actually 2 variations for this build that change your stat spread, feats and equipment. First off, the Str focused Taver Brawler variant, which gives access to plate armor and some decent control options by being able to potentially Grapple AND Shove AND Poison someone on the same turn. The Dex focused Crossbow Expert variant has 1 less AC, but a much better Dex saving throw, better stealth, and the option to mix in other Ranged weapons when the situation calls for it, such as hand crossbows and nets.
STR: 8 OR 15(+2) DEX: 15(+2) OR 10 CON: 13(+1) INT: 10 OR 8 WIS: 14 CHA: 12
(You can shuffle around the soft stats to your preference, this is mine.)
Note for TB variants: if you are not allowed to move your racial stat bonus from Dex into Str, you are gonna end up with 1 less feat by the end.
Background: Up to preference. I would go with Entertainer and play songs on my banjo about how it is hard to be a Green man in Grung society, but Grungs don't actually speak Common by default, so I'll recommend getting a background that also grants you a language. Guild artisan, Hermit, Noble, and Outlander all grant 1 additional language; Sage and Acolyte grant 2 languages.
Equipment: Obviously we are gonna need as many darts as we can get our slimy little mitts on. Since we don't need an open hand to load our weapon, we have a free hand that can hold a Shield. If your primary stat is Dex you will wear Light Armor and carry a Dagger or Rapier for when someone gets into melee range. Also you should try to acquire multiple Hand Crossbows that you can carry preloaded. Str builds will wear Heavy Armor and can carry a War Pick/Rapier/Spear/Javelin as a secondary, depending on preference.
Fighting Style (Thrown Weapon) Second Wind
-Our fighting style is gonna enable our play style. Giving us extra damage, and as many dart draws as we need in a turn. This also adds 2 to our damage rolls with our thrown weapons, so each dart attack is doing at more damage on average than one could do with a Hand Crossbow (d4+2 averages to 4.5, where a d6 averages to 3.5).
-The best class feature in the entire game.
°Martial Archetype: Battle Master
4 Superiority Die (d8) Quick Toss Precision Attack Trip Attack
-Battle Master is the best Martial Archetype for any throwing weapon based build, thanks to the addition of Quick Toss from Tasha's. Quick Toss lets us spend a Superiority Die and our Bonus Action in order to make another ranged attack with our darts. Precision Attack is there for when we get Sharpshooter later on. Trip Attack is for when you want to demolish someone's Achilles tendon, and for TB variants will pair very nicely with their bonus action Grapple.
-You can obviously swap the order of Feats and ASIs to your liking.
-This is the sauce right here. You already know what this does. -5 to an attack roll in exchange for +10 that attack's damage. In addition, we can attack at long range without disadvantage, and ignore 1/2 and 3/4 cover.
-TB Frogs should know that RAW you can still trigger Sharpshooter when making a melee attack with a dart. Sharpshooter works specifically on Attacks with Ranged Weapons, not specifically on Ranged Weapon Attacks, which are not the same thing.
FUN FACT!: Darts are the only Thrown weapon that is able to use the bonus damage from Sharpshooter.
-The first of many to come.
Feat: Resilient (Dex) OR Tavern Brawler
-Resilient pumps up Dex by 1, giving CbEx variants +1 to attack & damage rolls, & AC, & the DC for our maneuvers. We also gain proficiency with Dex saving throws, which will probably save your moist skin from at least 1 fireball.
-TB variants will get their namesake. In addition to +1 Str, you unlock the The Wombo Combo here of Tripping Attack on a punch or melee attack with a dart, and then use your Bonus Action to grapple that target. If you Grapple or touch a creature with your exposed skin, they must pass a DC 12 Con saving throw or become Poisoned for 1 minute, meaning it'll have disadvantage on attack rolls & ability checks. If your foe fails that poison save, they will basically never be able to escape your grapple by conventional means.
•Fighter 7 (Battle Master)
Know your Enemy 5th Superiority Die Maneuvering Attack Parry
-Parry is here in case 19/20 AC is not enough for the situation. Maneuvering Attack is here to support our allies, and because no list of Maneuvers would be complete without Maneuvering Attack, the Maneuvering Maneuver (tm).
ASI: Dex+2 OR Skill Expert (Str Athletics)
-CbEx Frogs have maxed out the super stat. Your AC with studded leather and a shield is 19. That's enough for nearly any situation.
-TB Frogs on the other hand are getting Expertise in Athletics, making them even better at locking down 1 medium target. You'll be able to max out Str at level 12 when you get Heavy Armor Master, (or you could forgo these feats and max it now if you prefer).
-An extra chance to save your moist skin from at least 1 fireball.
•Fighter 10 (Battle Master)
Superiority Die (d10) Menacing Attack Disarming Attack
-Bigger Superiority Die boosts the damage output even farther. Menacing Attack will let you put the fear of God into your foes. Disarming Attack lets you... hold on... I seem to have lost a page of my notes here. I'm very sorry about this... Give me 1 sec- Ah! Here it is. Disarming Attack lets you Attack someone and Disarm them.
Extra Attack 2
-3 attacks for main action, 1 more for bonus action, and 3 more with an action surge. That's 7 attacks, and each hit comes with that DC 12 saving throw attached. It could get a little obnoxious at this stage.
Feat: Crossbow Expert OR Heavy Armor Master
-Finally the Dex variant gets the feat I named it after. TBH you don't need this, but this is the best option for melee range combat. CbEx removes the disadvantage from ranged attacks within 5 ft, and will allow you to draw an already loaded hand crossbow from your belt and fire it. This can help you preserve Superiority Dice without dropping your damage output. Just remember that you need a free hand to reload any weapon with the Ammunition property, including hand crossbows, so you can't do this every turn while you're holding your shield. This also opens up using Nets as an option, so TB Frogs aren't the only thing that has lockdown potential. They're just way better at it.
-Strong Frogs can instead opt for Heavy Armor Master and gain some nice damage reduction while also maxing out Strength finally.
Feat: Fighting Initiate (Archery)
-+2 to your ranged attack rolls, so your Sharpshooter attacks are more likely to hit. Also your non Sharpshooter attacks. Also your Melee attacks with your darts for some reason.
Relentless 6th Superiority Die Tactical Assessment Ambush
-Relentless is really nice since we tend to burn thru Superiority Dice on Quick Tosses. Ngl I used a Dartboard to pick the last two maneuvers. It felt like the only right way to
-If you are still doing the campaign, and your DM isn't exclusively using enemies that are immune to Poison damage, then this is a way to up the poison damage against those that resist it, and force our long suffering DM to roll even more Con saves.
Action Surge 2 Indomitable 3
Superiority Die (d12)
Change your name, go to Hollywood, finally get your big break, make a successful verity show, settle down with the most porkable girl you can find, and put your old life as a bloodthirsty merc behind you. That, or take Tough for a lot more HP. Or Skulker for better stealth. Or Magic initiate (Warlock) for Hex to deal an additional d6 on each hit. Or, a lot of things actually, maybe Actor isn't the most optimal pick here.
Extra Attack 3
-Up to 9 attacks in a turn, (11 with ideal supports, see below), and these attacks are dealing a d4+17 piercing, + 1d12 if you spend a Sup Die + 2d4 if they fail the con save. In the words of the wise philosopher Phillip Swift, "Now THAT'S a lotta damage!"
•A character that can Create Water for you to make sure you never get dried out during a rest. Create/Destroy Water is on the Cleric list. •An Order Domain Cleric will be able to enable you with an additional attack with their Voice of Authority feature. Whenever they cast a leveled spell targeting you, you can use your reaction to make a weapon attack, pushing us up to 10 attacks in a round easily enough. •A returning weapon would help, in that you wouldn't need to keep track of how many darts you have. So an Artificer that can hook you up with that will make inventory management easy. Also adds +1 to Attack and Damage rolls or something but obviously that is not the main concern here. •Of Course, anyone that would cast Haste on you is great for the extra attack and AC. That's on the Artificer list. •A Centaur that would let you mount them would be cool. It would really help cover your low walk speed from being a smol frogo. And would have great synergy with Maneuvering Attack.
So convince your friend to play a Centaur Order Domain Cleric/Artificer and go to town.
I hope you all learned something today about how with Poison, Darts, Frogs, Poison Dart Frogs, and Poisoned Darts thrown by Frogs, everything is not unpossible. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
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