RPGBOT’s 10 favorite DnD character builds (that aren’t wizards)

This should be a shock to no one: we publish a lot of build guides. We love all of them, but some of our builds do something silly or unique in ways that we really love, and we want to take a few minutes to look back at some of our favorites.

We promise that Tyler won’t cheat and pick a wizard.

Bardadin: The Portable Punching Bag, Bard / Paladin

Random, Rocco, and I all decided to take one of the popular paladin multiclass combos: bardadin, hexadin, and sorcadin. I ended up writing two bardadins, but this was easily my favorite of the two. Building around Armor of Agathys and retaliatory damage, the build makes itself an absolute nuisance in combat, forcing enemies to kill themselves to attack you or leave you to your own devices while you kill them. It’s also a bard, so it’s a great Face.

– Tyler

“I Got a Rock”, Swarmkeeper Ranger

Rocco absolutely surprised me with this one: he combined Druidic Warrior, a single-class ranger, and a sling, and somehow made something both effective and really fun for our Swarmkeeper Ranger example build. Combining the Crusher feat with Gathered Swarm allows you to hit an enemy and move them 20 feet (mostly horizontally), allowing you a lot of battlefield control at no resource cost. Relying on Wisdom also means that some of the Ranger’s interesting but ineffective spells are suddenly really good.

– Tyler

Tam Bush, Bugbear Fighter / Monk / Ranger / Rogue

An absolute mess of multiclassing, Tam Bush was originally Random’s idea, and then became one of the three example builds in our Bugbear-y Me in Damage article after Random, Rocco, and I spent a bunch of time iterating and improving it. Of the three, it’s the only one built for melee. It does enough damage to triple the “Dude Stop” DPR range starting at level 12, and from that point on can solo entire encounters in a single turn unassisted. It’s a monster.

– Tyler

The Launch Pad, Way of the Open Hand Monk

While you might find many people online calling Monks the “worst” class, we firmly believe there is no such thing. It’s definitely one of the hardest to optimize… if you want a traditional goal. If, instead, you’re a content creator who is willing to lean into the fact that not everything is about numbers, you can be Tyler and put out the Way of the Open Hand subclass handbook. Designed to be an impressive battlefield controller by virtue of the almighty power of yeet, this build shines for being something exceptionally fun to play while still having a meaningful presence in any party.

– Random

Totembreaker, Barbarian / Paladin

One of the very first things Karuma ever wrote for the site, this build intentionally throws away one benefit of Rage in a combination that is nearly equal parts Barbarian and Paladin rather than the usual dip we see in multiclassing. The end result is a ludicrously durable melee Striker that uses Reckless Attacks to fish for crits and then throws handfuls of d8s at the DM as punishment for allowing this monstrosity at the table.

– Random

Dioscuri, Echo Knight Fighter / Ancestral Guardian Barbarian

The thing I am most proud of amongst all my creations on the site, yet another melee Defender rounds out my list (I maybe have a type [well, two types, but there’s only so many times I can talk about Divine Soul]). This came about when I was doing research for the Ancestral Guardian handbook and read Echo Knight and realized those things worked way too well together.

I’m actually playing this build right now (though without all the Fate references) because it was the thing I most wanted to run one of after building it. It abuses the fact that you’re really not intended to make melee attacks from 30 feet away to lock down even the toughest foes at a comfortable distance.

– Random

The Hexblade Warlock

You ever wonder why we’re here?

This was the first article on the site not by Tyler. It changed the game for RPGBOT. It led to Random suggesting I write something and see if it fit with what Tyler wants. So yeah, this is why we, the rest of the writing staff, ultimately ended up here instead of Tyler continuing to attempt his one-man show in what little free time a family man has.

Oh, you want to hear about the actual build? A Hexblade Warlock with Elven Accuracy? It tops the Google search rankings month after month (and, like, every D&D Youtuber has their own version of the idea too since this game is ten years old) so it’s fairly reasonable for me to assume you’ve already heard of this idea, but sure: Abuse Super Advantage with a Heavy weapon that qualifies for Great Weapon Master for an arbitrarily large amount of damage. That’s not why it’s my favorite Random article, that’s just what it does in game.

– Rocco

Wrathful Leaps, Path of the Beast Barbarian

We have plenty of grappling builds on the site because grappling is one of the First Order Optimal strategies for melee PCs. But this one jumps into the air, while grappling, allowing you to be Zangief (or Potemkin, or Iron Tager etc.) in D&D 5e. There are a lot of ways to be a wrestleman (I’ve written quite a few myself) but I just really like the way this one adds in the Jumping for fall damage because it’s just very silly. There’s not really much more to it: Tyler usually writes casters and I like grapplers so my favorite Tyler build is a grappler.

– Rocco

Never Safe From Water, the Fathomless Warlock

My personal pick for my own favorite build is very simple: It’s packed full of double entendre. It’s all a bunch of “if you know, you know” dirty jokes. About Tentacles and Protection. However, while the presentation is very silly, it does a great job of being a hybrid supportive damage dealing Warlock.

That’s what I like: being a silly player and laughing about the serious situations my serious character has to deal with while not being in on the joke. 


RPGBOT Self-Insert, Order of Scribes Wizard

Okay fine, I’m cheating and picking a wizard. Wizards have been my favorite class for my entire 20+ year history with the game. They speak to my tastes and my personality on a fundamental level. But Order of Scribes takes that one level further and mechanically incentivizes my compulsive need to collect spells and then gives me the ability to use them to shock and horrify onlookers.

It’s like someone had a direct link to my deepest desires and turned that into a subclass. I responded by taking a magical sci-fi robot and putting them into a fantastic magical land where they get to be a wizard.

– Tyler

Honorable Mention: Light Domain Cleric

Among our earliest example builds, the Light Domain Cleric is simple, yet effective. It doesn’t do anything especially novel, but it’s been a great entry point for a lot of players first finding their legs in character optimization. Combining the ability to cast Fireball with the Cleric’s existing healing and support options is a ton of fun.

I personally know two people who have played clerics based on this build, and I take a lot of pride in the fact that they enjoyed their characters and survived for a very long time. Knowing that folks are getting value from our work gives me warm, fuzzy feelings.

– Tyler

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