Baldur's Gate 3 Fighter Handbook


The Fighter is DnD’s iconic warrior, and they continue to thrive in that role in Baldur’s Gate 3. Heavily customizable and capable of supporting a huge number of builds and play styles, the Fighter is a lot of fun while still being gentle on complexity. While the iconic fighter is a heavily-armored front-line Defender, the class support a hugely diverse set of builds.

Your specific build choices will heavily define how your fighter functions. Two-handed weapons emphasize damage output over durability. Two-weapon fighting emphasizes multiple small attacks, and can move between targets more easily to quickly cut down small foes. Ranged weapons can do a lot of damage at range, but move the Fighter’s high AC and large hit points out of melee, meaning that your party needs another front-line character to fill the role of Defender (which is fine, but needs to be planned for).

Fighters can generally function for extended periods without a rest, provided that they can keep their hit points high. The Fighter’s only features which require rest are Second Wind (easily replaced with potions), Action Surge, and Indomitable. The core of the class continues to function at great length, often making them an excellent choice in parties which like to go long periods between rests. The Battle Master subclass’s Superiority Dice recharge on a Short Rest, making them a better fit alongside other classes dependent on short rests, such as warlocks.

Table of Contents


RPGBOT uses a color coding scheme to rate individual character options.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

RPGBOT is fan content published under Larian’s Fan Content Policy. This is not official content, and RPGBOT has no official relationship with Larian.

Fighter Class Features

Hit Points: d10 is perfect for a front-line melee character.

Saves: Constitution saves are among the most important, and coupled with decent Constitution to pad your hit points, your Constitution saves will be reliable.

Proficiencies: Heavy armor, shields, all weapons.

Second Wind: At low levels this is a great way to heal yourself in a hurry, but as you advance and get more access to healing potions you’ll find that it’s basically just a free healing potion per short rest.

Fighting Style: A big part of your play style, but it can also lock you into using a single subset of weapons, which really hurts when you pick up a shiny new magic weapon that you want to use and it doesn’t fit your Fighting Style.

  • Archery: Attack bonuses improve your damage output multiplicatively, so as you add damage boost from items, etc., this becomes increasingly impactful.
  • Defence: +1 AC is literally always good on any character. Since it doesn’t require specific weapons or tactics, this is a great choice if you want the ability to change weapons.
  • Dueling: With the abundance of magic items available, the damage boost isn’t especially impressive beyond low levels. This is the go-to option for sword-and-board builds, but you may forget that it’s there when measured against other sources of additional damage.
  • Great Weapon Fighting: Mathematically awful. This adds roughly 1 damage to each attack at best.
  • Protection: Helpful for protecting less durable allies, but the positioning requirements present a huge challenge in a game where mobility and positioning are so valuable.
  • Two-Weapon Fighting: Two-weapon fighting in Baldur’s Gate 3 is more impactful than in the tabletop 5e rules if only because you attack with both weapons when you make an opportunity attack. That said, two-weapon fighting still starts to lose impact when you get Extra Attack and when you add things like Potions of Speed and Action Surge, none of which will let you repeat your off-hand attack, so the damage boost from this Fighting Style becomes less impactful as you gain levels. If you plan to use two weapons, consider Defence instead.

Action Surge: Powerful to the point that taking a 2-level dip into Fighter just for Action Surge is among the most popular multiclass options. Note that this extra Action stacks with the extra Actions granted by effects like the Haste spell. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give you an additional Bonus Action so you can’t repeat an off-hand weapon attack.

Extra Attack: Two attacks per action is huge, often doubling your damage output. If you use Action Surge, you can attack four times in a single turn.

Feat: Every class gets feats, but the Fighter gets an extra at level 6.

Indomitable: Once per long rest isn’t especially impactful, and you’ll frequently be prompted to reroll saves which you have almost no chance to pass. Be sure to set this to not trigger automatically (Press K on your keyboard to open the Reactions menu, then check “Ask” to be prompted), and check the DC on the save before you decide to reroll.

Improved Extra Attack: Another huge boost to your damage output.

Fighter Subclasses

Battle Master

The Battle Master’s maneuvers offer a unique tactical option which allows you to control the battlefield, buff your allies, and debuff your enemies in ways that other fighters can’t match. These options can be very powerful, but you’re limited to a small number of maneuvers known and you have a limited resource pool (Superiority Dice) to draw from between rests.

Because resting is so easy in Baldur’s Gate 3, I strong recommend taking a Short Rest after each fight (Long Rest if you must). This allows you to freely spend your Superiority Dice and really enjoy the subclass without worrying about another fight right around the corner. Parties with bards for Song of Rest and with other Short Rest-dependent characters like monks and warlocks will be happy with this arrangement.

The Martial Initiate feat gets you an additional die and two additional maneuvers. This doesn’t feel especially impressive, but it’s a a 25% increase to your number of Superirity Dice and a 50% increase to your number of maneuvers (those percentages get smaller as you level, but it doesn’t change my point).

3: Superiority Dice: Start with 4, up to 5 at level 7. You can get one more from the Martial Initiate feat. These recharge on a Short Rest, so they’re easy to get back, but they do present a resource constraint which can be frustrating.

3: Manoeuvers: The heart of the subclass. You get just 4 manoeuvers known at level 3, but advance to a total of 8 by level 10 plus poentially two more with Martial Initiatie.

Manoeuvers can be used per attack during the Attack action, meaning that once you get Extra Attack you can use two manoeuvers per turn. Unfortunately, you can’t use manoeuvers with the Bonus Action attack for two-weapon fighting.

See below for advice on selecting manoeuvers.

Battle Master Manoeuvers

  • Commander’s Strike: Far too costly.
  • Disarming Attack: Most enemies are weapon-using humanoids, and disarming them then stealing their weapon trivializes many enemies.
  • Distracting Strike: Helpful if your allies can follow this with a single high-damage attack, such as the Rogue’s Sneak Attack or a damaging attack spell like Chromatic Orb which puts all of the damage behind a single attack.
  • Evasive Footwork: Helpful when you’re being swarmed by numerous enemies or when your hit points are running low.
  • Feinting Attack: Beyond low levels you can’t justify the action econom here.
  • Goading Attack: A good way to protect your allies from major enemies, especially if that enemy is repeatedly moving away from you to attack, which is surprisingly common.
  • Manoeuvring Attack: Shove the enemy away.
  • Menacing Attack: Good, but if you’re going to debuff an enemy with a manoeuvre, Trip Attack is better. Menacing Attack’s advantage is that it targets a Wisdom save, which is often low for melee-focused enemies.
  • Precision Attack: With the abundance of options to improve your attack rolls via various buffs and magic items, there’s little reason to spend Superiority Dice on this.
  • Pushing Attack: Just use Shove.
  • Rally: Nice, but the temporary hit points expire after a minute. Beyond low levels, this won’t be impactful unless you’re willing to repeatedly burn resources to use it.
  • Riposte: Potentially a huge boost to your damage output, but it can also eat through your Superiority Dice without you noticing. I recommend setting this to “Ask” in the Reactions menu.
  • Sweeping Attack: Great for clearing groups of weak enemies, but the damage isn’t huge so it’s not worth the cost unless you can hit three enemies.
  • Trip Attack: Standing from Prone consumes a creature’s Action, robbing them of most of their turn. I have repeatedly trivialized boss fights by repeatedly hitting the boss with Trip Attack.


Not very exciting, but very low stress. A great option for players intimidated by managing a full party unassisted.

3: Improved Critical Hit: Very exciting, but mathematically it’s not a huge boost to your damage output. This gives you a 10% chance to crit per attack, or roughly 19% with Advantage.

7: Remarkable Athlete: More jump distance is the most obvious benefit here. Adding half of your Proficiency Bonus to Str/Dex/Con checks includes rolling for initiative and Stealth checks, but generally the effect here is minor.

10: Additional Fighting Style: Nice, but generally a second Fighting Style won’t impact your tactics in an meaningful way. Expect to take Defense.

Eldritch Knight

All the martial power of the Fighter with a splash of wizard spellcasting. Eldritch Knights get access to some great buffs which can make them very effective. They’re also the only version of the Fighter that particularly cares about long rests, so they’re a good fit in parties with full casters like clerics and wizards.

Baldur’s Gate 3 includes numerous items that provide buffs which apply while you’re concentrating on a spell. These items often work well for the Eldritch Knight since they depend heavily on concentration buffs. You also want to look for items which provide Arcane Synergy for a damage boost and Arcane Attunement to boost your spell attacks and save DCs so that they can keep pace with your weapon attacks.

Despite those items and buffs, the Eldritch Knight does suffer some setbacks compared to the tabletop rules. With a much narrower set of available spells, powerful options like Booming Blade don’t exist.

3: Weapon Bond: Allowing your weapon to return to your hand when thrown is very useful for Strength-based builds because you can throw your +X sword of dude stabbing rather than throwing pots or javelins or whatever else, allowing melee-focused builds to perform effectively even while they’re stuck fighting at range. Throw in Tavern Brawler and you’re going to do really well.

3: Spellcasting: Much slower spellcasting than a full caster like the Wizard or a half-caster like the Paladin. Most of your spells known are restricted to abjuration and evocation spells, further limiting your options. Strongly consider a level of wizard to open up the rest of the Wizard’s spell list via scrolls. Unfortunately, you never get above 2nd-level spell slots due to Baldur’s Gate 3’s level cap, so your options are strictly limited even with the wizard dip.

7: War Magic: The Eldritch Knight’s signature combat tactic. Depending on your choice of weaponry, a cantrip may deal more damage than a weapon attack, and until your hit level 11 you’re only giving up one weapon attack to use this. There are also many magic items which give you Arcane Acuity or Arcane Synergy for alternating between weapon attacks and cantrips, allowing you buff both your weapon damage and your spell attacks/DCs.

10: Eldritch Strike: Since you don’t have a spellcasting DC as high as a wizard, this is a major buff to your spells. Combined with Arcane Acuity you can quickly make your spells difficult to resist, then hit enemies with a low-level save-or-suck spell like Tasha’s Hideous Laughter.

Fighter Ability Scores

Fighters can be built around either Strength or Dexterity. Strength-based builds are almost exclusively built for melee, though throwing weapons can work very well, while Dexterity-based builds can transition smoothly between melee and ranged weapons by using Finesse weapons in melee.

Eldritch Knights need a bit of Intelligence to support their spellcasting. You won’t need as much as a wizard since you’re not as reliant on spells offensively, but you will need to make spell attacks or rely on saving throws once you get War Magic at level 1.

While Baldur’s Gate 3’s list of feats isn’t huge, there are some good feats which also provide a +1 ability score increase. Consider these feats when planning your ability scores.


Str: Attacks and damage.

Dex: Dexterity saves will protect you from area damage effects like Fireball, but you can’t afford to invets heavily.

Con: Hit points an Constitution saves.

Int: Only for Eldritch Knights. 14 is plenty.

Wis: Important for saving throws.

Cha: Dump stat.

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Str: Dump. You won’t use it for anything except Shove and carrying capacity, and you can do fine without either.

Dex: Attacks, AC, Dexterity saves, and initiative.

Con: Hit points an Constitution saves.

Int: Only for Eldritch Knights. 14 is plenty.

Wis: Important for saving throws.

Cha: Dump stat.

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Fighter Races

Additional skills and defenses like damage resistance are great. Innate spellcasting might be helpful, but spells which require spell attacks or saving throws will usually be unusable.


Slow, and both Darkvision and Poison Resilience are replaceable with 2nd-level spells. The weapon proficiencies are redundant for fighters.

  • Gold: Nore hp is nice, but not super impactful. Get someone to cast Aid.
  • Shield: Entirely redundant.
  • Duergar: The innate spellcasting is great, especially for an Eldritch Knight.


Permanent damage resistance is excellent, and the breath weapon offers a decent option for handling crowds of small enemies.


Darkvision can be replaced by a spell, but Fey Ancestry and proficiency in Perception are both good. The innate spellcasting is okay, but not especially helpful for fighters.

Lolth-sworn Drow and Seldarine Drow are mechanically identical, but get access to different dialog choices.


Darkvision can be replaced by a spell, but Fey Ancestry and proficiency in Perception are both good.

  • High Elf: A nice way to get an early taste of Eldritch Knight, but otherwise not fantastic. Blade Ward and Mage Hand are your best choices.
  • Wood Elf: Additional speed and yet another skill proficiency. A great choice on a Dexterity-based build looking to fill in for a rogue.


Gnome Cunning provides some insurance on saves which target your lowest ability scores.

  • Rock: Adding twice your proficiency to History checks is nice, but it doesn’t come up very often, and most fighters don’t have the Intelligence to make History reliable.
  • Forest: Speak with Animals is amazing in Baldur’s Gate 3, and you only need to cast it once a day anyway, but it’s also available from abundant and inexpensive consumables.
  • Deep: Advantage on Stealth is great if you spend a lot of time sneaking.


Astral Knowledge is proficiency in as many as 5 skills, but since fighters typically dump both Intelligence and Charisma, you’re likely locked into Wisdom. Githyanki Psionics is a great set of innate spells for a martial character. Martial Prodigy is redundant.


Darkvision (which is replaceable with a spell), Fey Ancestry, and a subrace. Civil Militia is redundant. Overall it’s fine, but Elf is outright better because you get a skill instead of Civil Militia.

  • High Half-Elf: A nice way to get an early taste of Eldritch Knight, but otherwise not fantastic. Blade Ward and Mage Hand are your best choices.
  • Wood Half-Elf: Additional speed and yet another skill proficiency. A great choice on a Dexterity-based build looking to fill in for a rogue.
  • Drow Half-Elf: Decent innate spellcasting.


A half-orc champion fighter is a simple, straightforward build. Proficiency in Intimidation gives you a useful option in social situations, though fighters typically dump Charisma so it won’t always work.


Baldur’s Gate 3 makes a natural 1 a critical failure, meaning that you automatically fail whatever attack/check/save. This makes Halfling Luck extremely useful, especialy since fighters make so many attacks and therefore suffer natural 1’s more frequently than other characters. Brave is also nice.

  • Lightfoot: Advantage on Stealth is great on a Dexterity-based build.
  • Strongheart: Poison Resistance is available as a 2nd-level spell which lasts until your next long rest, so getting it from your race is pointless beyond low levels.


Since fighters already get proficiency in all weapons, all armor, and shields, the Fighter’s traits are reduced to a single skill proficiency. You can get that from several other races including elves and githyanki.


Resistance to fire is a great start since Fire damage is common. Unfortunately, only Zariel Tiefling is worthwhile.

  • Asmodeus Tiefling: You’re basically only here for Hellish Rebuke once per day, and that’s just not enough.
  • Mephistopheles Tiefling: Mage Hand is great, but Burning Hands and Flame Blade won’t be effective since they’re Charisma-based.
  • Zariel Tiefling: The smite spells aren’t amazing, but they’ll still be decent damage boosts. Thaumaturgy gets you Advantage on Intimidation checks, which is enough to make Intimidation a decent choice for the Fighter even if your Charisma is poor.

Fighter Skills

  • Acrobatics (Dex): Dexterity-based builds might use this to resist being Shoved, but even then it’s not very impactful.
  • Animal Handling (Wis): Largely replaced by Speak with Animals or an equivalent potion.
  • Athletics (Str): Essential for Strength-based builds. The ability to Shove or even Throw enemies is massively useful.
  • Arcana (Int): Potentially useful on Eldritch Knight, but otherwise avoid it.
  • Deception (Cha): Charisma is a dump stat.
  • History (Int): Potentially useful on Eldritch Knight, but otherwise avoid it.
  • Insight (Wis): Insight checks are rare.
  • Intimidation (Cha):
  • Investigation (Int): Potentially useful on Eldritch Knight, but otherwise avoid it.
  • Nature (Int): Potentially useful on Eldritch Knight, but otherwise avoid it.
  • Perception (Wis): One of the most important skills in the game.
  • Performance (Cha): Borderline useless.
  • Persuasion (Cha):
  • Religion (Int): Potentially useful on Eldritch Knight, but otherwise avoid it.
  • Sleight of Hand (Dex): Excellent on a Dexterity-based build.
  • Stealth (Dex): Excellent on a Dexterity-based build.
  • Survival (Wis): The buried chests are not worth the skill proficiency to find them.

Fighter Backgrounds

Backgrounds provide two skill proficiencies and determine the way that your character earns Inspiration. The game has ample opportunities to earn Inspiration for every background, so choosing a background typically comes down to what skills you want.

  • Acolyte: The skills rely on dump stats for most fighters, but it might be okay for an Eldritch Knight.
  • Charlatan: Urchin is a better fit.
  • Criminal: Urchin is a better fit.
  • Entertainer: Bad skills.
  • Folk hero: Bad skills
  • Guild Artisan: Not a good fit for the Fighter.
  • Haunted One (Dark Urge only): If you’re playing Dark Urge, you’re locked into this. You get Medicine and Intimidation, and neither of those are great for the Fighter.
  • Noble: Not a good fit for the Fighter.
  • Outlander: Technically a good fit, but Survival is borderline useless.
  • Sage: A goood fit for the Eldritch Knight.
  • Soldier: The go-to option for fighters, but Intimidation is largely useless since almost every fighter dumps Charisma.
  • Urchin: Perfect for a Dexterity-based build.

Fighter Feats

This section does not address every feat, as some clearly aren’t relevant to the class. For more general discussion on feats, see our Practical Guide to Feat Selection.

  • Athlete: Being knocked prone eats your entire Action, which is brutal, so mitigating that it great for a front-line character, and the additional jump movement will help get around the battlefield, especially when enemies are above you. A +1 ability score increase makes this easy to fit into your build.
  • Charger: Bad feat.
  • Crossbow Expert: Allows you to build for ranged combat but still stand in melee to be your party’s Defender. A heavy crossbow does nearly as much damage as a greataxe, and BG3 doesn’t care about reloading like the TTRPG does.
  • Defensive Duellist: A decent defensive option, but wait until at least level 5 so that your Proficiency Bonus is large enough that the feat will feel impactful.
  • Dual Wielder: The abundance of magic weapons makes it easy to find weapons that you like, but limiting yourself to light weapons may prove frustrating. That said, two-weapon fighting is typically a worse strategy than sword-and-board.
  • Durable: Buy potions or use camp casting to get a bunch of goodberries.
  • Great Weapon Master: A huge boost to damage output.
  • Heavy Armour Master: In a game where most enemies use weapons and almost all encounters involve multiple foes, reducing weapon damage by a small amount per attack stacks up quickly. The +1 ability score increase makes this an easy choice for Strength-based builds. You can also find other items that will provide additional damage reduction, making your incredible durable. Items which provide the Force Conduit condition are especially useful with this strategy.
  • Lucky: An easy choice if you’re unsure what to take.
  • Mage Slayer: Look for a sussur weapon or cast Silence if you’re worried about enemy spellcasters.
  • Martial Adept: Fantastic for Battle Master fighters, but otherwise avoid it.
  • Polearm Master: Battle Master and Champion fighters have few uses for their Bonus Action, so this can add a lot to your effectiveness. Combine with Sentinel for best results.
  • Savage Attacker: A modest damage boost without any real effort, but remember that most of your damage is going to be flat numerical bonuses rather than a big stack of dice.
  • Sentinel: A great way to get additional attacks outside of your turn and to prevent enemies from getting away from you, especially with a reach weapon (polearms). Works very well with Polearm Master.
  • Sharpshooter: A huge boost to damage output, and using a crossbow gets much more convenient.
  • Shield Master: A nice defensive boost for shield users.
  • Tavern Brawler: Despite not being a monk, Tavern Brawler can make fighting unarmed massively effective for the Fighter. Items which boost unarmed strikes don’t care if you’re actually a monk, and double-dipping on Strength for attack and damage bonuses means that your attacks will hit consistently and deal good damage. This also applies to throwing things, which includes weapons like spears and daggers and such, so if you have a returning weapon this suddenly becomes very powerful.
  • Tough: If you need more hp, have someone cast Aid.
  • War Caster: A great choice for Eldritch Knights, who depend heavily on Concentration buffs.

Fighter Weapons

Because fighters are proficient with all weapons, your choice of weapon largely comes down to how your individual fighter is built and what weapons are available to you.

In the early game, collect weapons of different types. Each weapon type has a special attack which functions once per short rest, and you can switch weapon types (drop your greatsword, grab a maul, etc.) to get a fresh set of special attacks. This offers some excellent options before your exciting class features start to come online.

As you accumulate magic items, remember that some weapons will provide passive benefits or let you cast spells. Even if you’re not using one of your equipped weapons, it can still be very beneficial. I got a lot of use out of a bow that allowed the wielder to cast Hunter’s Mark once per day despite never using the bow once.

Fighter Armor

Unlike the tabletop rules, your choice of armor frequently comes down to “what is the best magic item I have right now?” Access to mundane versions of studded leather armor for Dexterity-based builds and Full Plate for Strength-based builds is annoying limited in the early game, but you’ll frequently find other armors which can match their AC bonus, so it’s no huge loss.

If you’re planning to fight at range, don’t overlook shields. Wearing a shield still boosts your AC and can provide other benefits (spellcasting, stat buffs, etc.) simply by having the shield equipped.

Fighter Multiclassing

  • Barbarian: The Barbarian’s low-level features are excellent, but the limited number of rages may not be worth the cost unless you’re taking frequent long rests.
  • Bard: The Bard’s skills and low-level spellcasting are great if you’re absolutely determined to be your party’s Face.
  • Cleric: An Eldritch Knight might enjoy the spellcasting, but at that point just play a paladin.
  • Druid: No ability overlap, and the Druid’s capabilities don’t contribute well to the Fighter’s martial capabilities.
  • Monk: An unarmed combat build can absolutely work thanks to Tavern Brawler, but it is more complicated at low levels before you have a bunch of magic items which support fighting unarmed and unarmored.
  • Paladin: A lot of redundant features and the Paladin’s noteworthy features are heavily level-dependant.
  • Ranger: Two levels for a fighting style is tempting, but rarely impactful. An Eldritch Knight might enjoy the Ranger’s 1st-level spellcasting, including great options like Ensnaring Strike and Hunter’s Mark.
  • Rogue: One level for Expertise is great if you’re using Athletics frequently. Two levels gets you Cunning Action, which dramatically improves your mobility. Three levels to get the Thief Rogue’s Fast Hands feature gets you a second Bonus Action every turn, which is a huge buff for two-weapon fighting builds. Of course, that means that you never hit level 11 in Fighter, which gets you a third attack during your Action, and that’s going to be more impactful than two-weapon fighting.
  • Sorcerer: Wizard is an easier fit, but low-level subclass features may be worthwhile.
  • Warlock: Two levels for invocations is very tempting. Three levels for Pact of the Blade will let you build around Charisma instead of Strength or Dexterity, but typically Paladin+Warlock is a better fit for a martial warlock multiclass build.
  • Wizard: One level is a huge buff for an eldritch knight, allowing you learn essentially every wizard spell which you have the spell slots to cast. Two levels for some of the subclass features like Sculpt Spells can also be helpful. For other fighters it’s not especially useful, and anything you would want can be done via Camp Casting.

Fighter Example Build – Lae’zel, Githyanki Champion

Baldur's Gate 3 Lae'zel
This official screenshot would be an awesome representation character if that shadow didn’t make it look like she had a beard.

Lae’zel starts the game with half plate armor and a longsword that she’s using two-handed. Within DnD lore, Githyanki aspire to be deemed good enough to wield one of their legendary silver swords, which are greatswords that can several astral chords created by Astral Projection, among other neat tricks. None of that actually applies to Baldur’s Gate 3 because there is no Astral Projection within the game, but the lore is fun and it explains why the people on dragons are using a greatsword instead of something sensible like a spear or a bow.

So we’re going to lean into two-handed weaponry. We’re going for Champion to keep the build simple and approachable, which means that much of the time, Lae’zel works fine essentially on auto-pilot: get her into melee and smash things.

Githyanki tend to learn toward Eldritch Knight. The term “gish”, which desribes a martial spellcaster, is literally a Gith word, and Lae’zel uses it to refer to at least on Githyanki character in the game. We’re ignoring that in favor of the simplicity of the Champion.

[Spoilers]: You can get a decent greatsword in the prologue by killing the devil at the end. Lae’zel will eventually get a pretty amazing greatsword if you follow her sideplot far enough.

Ability Scores

Lae’zel’s ability scores are not optimized, but they do fine until you can get her some better armor than her stating Githyanki Half-plate, which likely won’t be until you find a merchant. Expect to spend level 1 and 2 in half-plate, then once you get heavy armor you can respec and rearrange Lae’zel’s ability scores.

RPGBOT Recommended+2/+1FinalLae’zel’s Defaults


Githyanki. You’ll start at first level with Astral Knowledge, Mage Hand, and eventually we get Enhance Leap and Misty Step. Remember to use Astral Knowledge after each Long Rest. I recommend selecting Wisdom so that you’ll get proficiency in Perception and Survival.

If you’re not buildin Lae’zel, Half-orc is a great race choice here.


Soldier. This locks us into proficiency in Athletics and Intimidation. You’ll frequently get Inspiration from noteworthy fights, which makes it fairly frequent and low-effort.

Skill Proficiencies

Lae’zel starts the game with Acrobatic, Athletics, Intimidation, Survival. Acrobatics and Survival, so when you respec Lae’zel to fix her ability scores, drop Acrobatics and Survival in favor of almost anything else. Acrobatics will at least help avoid falling damage, so that’s fine, but trade Survival for History.

Since we’re planning to use Astral Knowledge to cover Wisdom-based skills, avoid permanent proficiency in Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Perception, and Survival.


At level 4 we’ll take Great Weapon Mastery.

At level 6 we’ll take Heavy Armour Master. This gets us +1 Strength and also provides some consistently effective reduction to weapon damage which will make Lae’zel much more durable. You might take Athlete instead here if you really like jumping.

At level 8 we’ll Ability Score Increase to raise our Strength to 20. If you’ve found abundant magic items which raise your Strength of if you’re finding that Elixirs of Giant Strength are abundant, take Sentinel here instead and consider Savage Attacker or Tough when you reach level 12.

At level 12 we’ll take Sentinel. This allows us to more effectively protect nearby allies and makes it more likely that we’ll get to make an additional attack outside of our own turn.


LevelFeat(s) and FeaturesNotes and Tactics
1Second Wind
Fighting Style: Great Weapon Fighting
Lae’zel is built with Fighting Style: Great Weapon Fighting at level 1. The math on Great Weapon Fighting is bad, so I recommend changing it to Defense when you respec to fix her ability scores.
2Action SurgeAction Surge is awesome. It won’t feel huge at this level, but when you get Extra Attack at level 5 it’s going to have a huge impact.
3Improved Critical HitA modest boost to damage output at this level, but it feels really good to score a critical hit and see those big red letters pop up.

This stacks with other things which can improve your critical hit range, which usually means items.
4Feat: Great Weapon MasterA massive boost to damage output. The -5 penalty can feel scary, but many enemies in the game have alarmingly poor AC, and it’s not all that hard to get Advantage. The abundance of +X bonuses from weapons can also offset the attack penalty.

The Bonus Action attack triggers when you reduce an enemy to 0 hp or when you score a critical hit. Thanks to Improved Critical Hit, the Champion scores critical hits twice as often as other characters. A 10% chance isn’t huge, of course, but if you have Advantage that jumps to just over 19%, so you’ll score a critical hit roughly once in every five attacks.

To maximize your chances of getting the bonus attack, look for opportunities to have allies leave enemies at low hp, but be mindful of the initiative order. It’s more important to prevent an enemy from getting one last turn than it is to leave them around to trigger the additional attack.

[Spoilers]: I found the Gloves of the Growling Underdog to be an easy source of consistent Advantage. The term “surrounded” is interpreted very generously.
5Extra AttackDouble your damage output. With Advantage, you now have a roughly 34% chance to score a critical hit every turn, so triggering the extra attack from Great Weapon Master should occur frequently between crits and reducing enemies to 0.
6Feat: Heavy Armor MasteryReducing damage from attacks while wearing heavy armor will consistently and reliably improve your durability, easily offsetting the lack of a shield. The +1 increase to Strength gets us up to 18, improving our ability modifier to +4.
7Remarkable AthleteIncreasing your jump distance by 10 feet is a significant improvement to your mobility. Between high Strength, proficiency in Athletics, Remarkable Athlete, and potentially magic items which boost your jump distance, you can jump incredible distances. Just remember that jumping down can still hurt you, so get some scrolls or potions of Feather Fall, or have a party member cast it before you jump into combat.

This also adds a bonus to initiative, which is nice since we have a +0 Dexterity modifier.
8Feat: Ability Score Increase (Str 18 -> 20)Not super exciting, but mathematically very impactful.
9IndomitableHelpful insurance against failed saves, but remember to only use it if you have a decent chance to pass.
10Fighting Style: Great Weapon Fighting or ProtectionWe really don’t need another fighting style, and our options aren’t fantastic.
11Improved Extra Attack3 attacks per action is amazing.
12Feat: SentinelVery late to change our tactics, but still excellent for a front-line Defender.