Whether it’s the Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, or another land entirely, the worlds of dungeons & dragons are dangerous. It seems like no matter where you turn, there are monsters looking to kill you. But what happens when you are unable to be killed? Today’s character concept aims to make the tankiest build possible. So get ready to enter the fray, we’re going to build the undying!
The first thing we always want to look at is race. For this build I settled on the half-orc, solely for its relentless endurance. This ability will allow our character to take a hit that would bring him to 0 hit points and negate it. The race’s ability to turn critical hits into even more devastating blows also plays well into our plan. The longer this character is on his feet, the more attacks we can make and fish for that crit. Now that we have our race, let’s take a look at our options for classes.
The first and most obvious option for tanky class features is the barbarian. Their rage ability gives them resistance to pretty much any physical attacks, effectively doubling your health. At second level you gain the ability to sacrifice your own safety to give yourself advantage on attacks, allowing you to critfish more. Remember that all the defense in the world means nothing if your attackers can just ignore you. If you take the bear totem subclass at level three, your resistance expands to all types of damage except psychic. With that your hp is doubled from your character sheet. The last relevant ability comes with level eleven. This ability works like the half-orc’s racial ability to ignore a death blow. The main difference is that this ability can be repeated, at the cost of higher checks required to do so. But eleven levels take so long to kick in for an ability we already have. But what if I told you there’s a way to get this ability at first level? Let’s take a look at the sorcerer.
Now I know sorcerer isn’t exactly known as the beefiest class, but hear me out. When you choose the shadow sorcery origin, you gain the ability to shake off a deathblow with a save. This means that you can just say no to two blows that would knock you unconscious, and at level one! You also get access to a few spells that boost your combat capabilities, so that’s a nice bonus. The downside is that spellcasting doesn’t play well with the barbarian’s rage. So what’s another tanky class option that does? Let’s look at the paladin.
Our pal the paladin actually has two subclasses that are relevant to us. The first is the oath of ancients paladin. At level seven they gain an aura that grants spell resistance to yourself and allies around you. It’s like the bear totem ability on steroids. Then at level fifteen you get another copy of your half-orc racial ability, this time with no check required. The other good subclass to take is the oath of redemption. At level seven you gain the ability to take the damage for a nearby ally, making a great use of your ability to not be downed. You can be taking hits for allies even if you’re at 1 hp with no worries. At fifteenth level you start to passively heal any time you’re under half your health, which plays perfectly with our build. So let’s review our options and see what we get.
There are a few combinations that we can go with. We can start with sorcerer 1 barbarian 11 . You’d be a bit restricted in your spell choices since you can’t cast while raging, but this build lets you jump into the fray and recklessly attack anything that moves. Even if you get hit, you won’t have to worry about dropping unconscious until you run out of both uses of that ability. Makes for a great berzerker character. The other great option is sorcerer 1, redemption paladin 15. This build lets you tank hits for your allies with no fear, and the clashes mesh well with both spellcasting and stat allocation. If you’re feeling cheeky you can even dip into hexblade warlock and dump all your stats into charisma and constitution. Both builds have their merits, but under general circumstances the latter build will keep you alive through just about anything.
So go forward without fear, the reaper holds no sway over this character! Are there any options that I missed? Any other ways to optimize this build and make it truly immortal? Let me know down below. And as always, keep those dice rolling high!