Ultimate SAD Build (5e Optimized Character Build)

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Cue the start of a new campaign, session 0 comes and it's time to roll stats for your brand new hero. With great anticipation you roll your d6's...

10... 12... 9... 16... 11... 8...

These are terrible rolls! But the DM is firm in his ruling that you must use them. What to do? Enter the SAD Build:

SAD (Single Attribute Dependant) characters are characters that can effectively function with only one good stat, as opposed to MAD (Multiple Attribute Dependant) characters. For this build you can effectively have crap stats in almost all areas but one and still miraculously function close to normal. Many SAD builds exist, but for this one we will use Charisma as our stat of choice, and uses only players handbook and Xanathar's guide, making it ALL legal.

This build assumes you rolled at least one good stat (ideally 16 or higher) but if you didn't it can still work if your second highest stat is at least a 13. Your race of choice for the first scenario is mountain or hill dwarf for reasons discussed later, for the second scenario you will really want something that gives a +2 boost to Charisma, or a +1 if you have an odd score as your highest. Take your first level in paladin.

Paladin gives many goodies, first being heavy armor proficiency. Heavy armor, along with giving some of the highest AC in the game with plate mail, doesn't require dexterity to function. You can have abysmal dexterity and still be well protected. Heavy armor at higher levels needs a strength score of 15 to use without becoming slowed, but as a dwarf you are not slowed by heavy armor, letting you get away with only a 13 in strength, enough to multiclass. If you had a score of 13 hill dwarf gives better benefits such as a boost to health, but a mountain dwarf's strength boost will let you get away with an 11. With the constitution boost and a d10 starting hit die, you are looking beefy enough to survive first level, and proficiency in wisdom saving throws means a lower wisdom score won't be as detrimental.

Next you want to go warlock, with the hexblade patron. This allows you to wield a weapon using your charisma stat, and gives a nice damage boosting he as well. Now you can actually hit things! If instead you want to be a completely spell casting character and want to avoid melee combat like the plague, well, you don't really need the warlock dip at all. The other dip might be more your style.

Third level we will multiclass yet again, this time to sorcerer. The shadow sorcerer comes with the excellent ability to not be knocked out once per day with a charisma save, which you should be pretty good at. So even with a lower constitution, you have a bit more life in you than it would initially seem. Please note that this second dip is more optional, and if you feel your constitution is good enough as is, it isn't strictly needed, but many have lauded the full caster progression of sorcerer when in tandem with either a paladin or warlock (or in this case both), and if you are trying to make the most of a bad situation, the extra benefits of more spell slots is never to be underestimated. A similar effect can be accomplished with the half orc racial feature, and if you are ok with staying at the lower level heavy armor or are confident you can get your strength high enough, it is a viable option, especially as it boosts strength and constitution, similar to mountain dwarf, and the half orc and sorcerer abilities do stack together for extra durability.

With the foundation set, it is a simple matter to decide what you want your character to be as they grow up. The decision is completely your own, but here are some suggested milestones to hit: +Paladin level two, along with giving another character level of spell progression, gives the ability to smite, a valuable damage option, especially when paired with the spell slots gained with warlock and sorcerer +Warlock level three gives pact of the blade, netting better weapons to use with your charisma such as two handed weapons or bows if you take the invocation (which is recommended). +Sorcerer level three gives metamagic options, man of which can be quite powerful in combination with your other skills. Quickened spell and heightened spell in particular are incredibly useful. +If wanting a good amount of casting potential, fifth level sorcerer has some amazing options: fireball, fly, haste, slow, third level is a treasure trove of spell options. +Should you find your stats lacking in the saving throw department, paladin level 6 is here for you. You can now add your charisma modifier to any save you or allies within 10 feet make.

Keep in mind when levelling up that the ultimate goal is of course a 20 in charisma. If trying to decide what class to take a level in, aim for level 4 in a particular class for the ability score improvement. A SAD character is no use if your one stat is sub par.

You may notice intelligence was not accounted for. Intelligence saves are quite rare, and no one really needs intelligence except wizards. If the idea of playing a dumb character doesn't appeal to you, just remember, anything 10 or higher is average or above, and even a 9 is only a little slow on the uptake. If you rolled a 6 though... You have my condolences.

If you think your competence at this point extends only to combat, think again, for charisma based characters have much to offer in social encounters. Between paladin and your background of choice, you have a fair few options of charisma skills to become the party face.

This guide is by no means meant to fix all problems that arise at character creation. Maybe you don't want to be a charisma caster, or think paladin/sorcerer/warlock multiclass is just too much and requires too many story elements to be viable. It's ok, this build is not for everyone. There are even SAD builds you can do for other stats, such as wisdom. That said, enjoy the power of optimization, and laugh in the face of fate! Who needs good rolls? Have fun and Carpe Diem!

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