War Wizard (5e Optimized Character Build)
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I have always loved the idea of a wizard wadding into the thick of battle deflecting blows aside with magic and being nigh near unstoppable. With 5e, I was able to easily do this without bringing multiple feats on armor.
Point buys, get str to 15, Int to 13-15. Your choice. I prefer having lesser stats and being more rounded. The human variant allows a +1 to all stats or the extra feat and they are my choose race for this. I choose the +1 as I got +4 total boosts to atats out of it.
1st level pick cleric and pick a domain that has heavy armor. War is fun, nature gives you a camtrip, etc. Doesn't matter really. You will only take 1 level of cleric.
The rest is pure wizard. Take War Mage for schooling.
Take heavy armor and shield and anything that boosts ac/saves.
For feats, warcasting is a must. Others that are fun are sentinel (plays nicely with warcasting), shield mastery, lucky, resilience, etc.
The more levels you get the stronger and harder it becomes to hit/kill you. Dispelled magic and counter spell are important. You don't have high damage or bursty damage...but what you will have is a slow low burn.
Create bonfire is a great camtrip to have as well as Thunderclap if you will be alone out in the front. If not, firebolt is good.I liked taking mold earth and minor image for RP aspects. I used mold earth to build earthen walls to protect my flank/rear.
My best build was: Plate +3 (adamantium armor is great for critical protection). Shield +3 Staff of power (+2ac and saves) Ring/cloak of protection (+1 ac and saves)
This gives a back ac of 10+11 (armor)+5 (shield) +2 (staff) +1 (ring) +1 (cloak) for 30 ac. This is rough to begin with anyways...but it gets better.
War Mage allows you to use your reaction for +2ac or +4 save. Also, if you are concentrating on a spell, you get a +2ac to ac and saves.
This brings your ac to 32 (remember why I said create bonfire was a great spell!).
If you are concentrating on a spell like shield of faith, you have another +2ac. Or haste (+2ac). Now you are at 34 ac.
When you can cast level 9 wizard spells, you have access to Foresight which gives you advantage on saves and attacks and attackers have disadvantage and you can't be surprised! Great spell.
And as a level 18 wizard, you have a level 1 and level 2 spell that you can cast for free...always ...SHIELD! adds +5ac if needed. Or magic missiles if you want to go with the sentinel build!
With a 30 base ac, +4 to all saves and if you are concentrating on a spell you have +2 more ac, it is easy to slowly kill people. Get next to them and concentrate on create bonfire and if they try and leave, cast magic missile (auto hits and they can't move and take even more damage).
For larger groups, drop ac down a little and use the war mage shielding effect that does 2d10 damage when used. And for those pesky critical hits (that is where lucky comes into play) and adamantium armor.
And for those irritating spells or hits that do manage to get through, just remember that you have a level of cleric and can heal. You have to be one shorted to be killed.
For even more fun, you can take an epic boon to have healing word as a bonus heal each round (acts like a low level regeneration).