How To Build A Champion Fighter Character in DND

With the goal of hitting, and hitting hard, the champion fighter is an excellent choice for someone new to Dungeons & Dragons. Though they do not have a spectacular amount of options, just like any fighter, they are customizable through feats, fighting style, and weapon choice.


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Champions are deadly warriors, and they have the skill and ability to hit where it hurts the most. They are the prototypical fighters and are simple to play, so you do not need to know the intricacies of Dungeons & Dragons and can learn while playing and getting acclimated to the game.


Champion Features Overview

Adventurers get separated from each other by a translucent wall
Split The Party by Zoltan Boros

There isn’t too much that goes into being a champion, and the highlight of this class is the ability to score more critical hits. However, the features for your champion will improve upon that in various ways.

Level

Feature Name

Description

Level 3

Improved Critical

You can now land a critical hit on a 19 roll, on top of the usual 20 roll.

Level 7

Remarkable Athlete

On all Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution checks, you may add half your proficiency bonus to the roll, if you aren’t already proficient.

Level 10

Additional Fighting Style

Grants an extra fighting style for your character.

Level 15

Superior Critical

You can now land a critical hit on an 18 roll, on top of the 19 and 20 rolls.

Level 18

Survivor

You regain hit points equal to five plus your Constitution modifier every round while you are under half your health.

These features combine to make the champion fighter a durable, flexible fighter, as they excel at staying in the fight and turning the tide when the opportunity arises. Still, outside critical hits, the champion fighter is not flashy, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, if you do want something else, choosing the right fighting style can help.

The superior technique fighting style gives you one maneuver from the battle master archetype, such as trip attack or feinting attack, which in turn gives you more mileage with the rest of your abilities.

Trip attack helps you to knock your target prone, hindering their movement, and giving attackers an advantage on attack rolls against the target. Then, feinting attack allows you to trade a bonus action for advantage and more damage, which is likely to translate into more criticals.

Other maneuvers, such as disarming attack or distracting strike, are flavorful options that can add a lot to your champion, but they just don’t inherently synergize with the archetype. However, fighting styles such as great weapon fighting or interception are other good choices that cement your champion’s status as a controlling force in battle.

Best Ability Scores For A Champion

A dwarven warrior defends against an attack with her shield.
Dwarfhold Champion by Miguel Mercado

A champion fighter relies highly on their martial prowess and inflicts the most damage in melee combat. Therefore, you will want a high score in Strength.

You should prioritize physical stats and keep all mental stats low, except for Wisdom. Wisdom saving throws are among the most common in the game, and for you to get incapacitated in any way would be very bad for your party.

Consider a stat distribution similar to the point-buy spread below:

Strength

Dexterity

Constitution

Intelligence

Wisdom

Charisma

15

13

15

8

12

8

Best Species For A Champion

A dwarf with a belt of giant's strength, kicking and destroying a rock.
Belt of Giant Strength by Viko Menezes

As a frontline warrior, any species that bolsters damage or survivability is a good option. When creating a champion fighter, consider the following species options:

Dwarf (Hill)

The hill dwarf, with its +2 bonus to Constitution and +1 additional hit point per level, is very sturdy. If you want to be a tank champion, this is a strong choice.

Dwarf (Mountain)

The mountain dwarf excels at a fighting roll because of its +2 to Constitution and Strength, two key ability scores for the champion fighter.

Githyanki

Misty-step is a fantastic teleporting spell that very few fighters can have. It can get you out of rough situations with extreme ease, so getting it for free is a steal.

Githzerai

Being charmed or frightened is a terrible position for a fighter to be in, but the githzerai have an advantage on saving throws against both. Shield is also a very helpful spell for a fighter to have.

Goliath

The goliaths have a granted proficiency in Athletics, making grappling easier. That, along with Stone’s Endurance (which reduces up to 1d12 damage), combine to make the goliath an excellent and imposing frontline combatant.

Half-Orc

The half-orc may be the best option here, as savage attacks give an extra die of damage on each critical hit. As a champion fighter, you will be getting a lot of opportunities to use this feature.

Human (Variant)

The variant human’s main feature is a free first-level feat. Feats are always powerful and are often much more useful than anything else a species has to offer.

Best Feats For A Champion

An angry warrior cleaving through a shield with an axe.
Indomitable Might by Svetlin Velinov

Your champion is what you make out of it, and as fighters, champions have access to more feats than most classes, something you will want to take advantage of. Though the champion is a simple archetype, there are ways to give yourself more options and versatility.

Still, if you do want a truly simple character, some feats can keep that simplicity while making you all the more powerful.

Great Weapon Master

For when you want big numbers, great weapon master deals an extra ten damage and allows you to make an extra attack upon a critical hit. This comes at the price of -5 to hit, but is certainly worth it. This feat is a common staple of every character who wields such weapons.

Lucky

Lucky is a simple feat, you can reroll three d20s per day at any time, but only before the result of your roll is announced. This is very helpful when it comes to sneaking in another critical hit on one of your attacks. However, lucky is not only for yourself, and you can reroll your party members die, or an enemy attack roll to bail your team out of any unfortunate situation.

Martial Adept

If the thought of combat maneuvers interests you, the martial adept feat gives you two that you can use and a superiority die. This stacks with the superior technique fighting style, if you choose it, which is an excellent choice if you want more versatility and options in battle.

Crusher

Crusher increases your strength, allows you to shove targets with an attack, and gives an advantage on attacks against a creature you critically hit. It turns out to be a pretty good package if you’re using a bludgeoning weapon.

Piercer

Piercer increases your damage potential, as you get a bonus to strength, can reroll damage die, and get extra damage upon a critical hit. It is an excellent feat to increase your damage output with piercing weapons.

Slasher

Slasher sees your strength increase, allows you to minimize the mobility of enemies, and disables them with your critical hits. It is an effective method of controlling your foes.

Best Starting Equipment For A Champion

An adventurer choosing a weapon while a dragon prepares to strike in the background.
Choose Your Weapon by Olivier Bernard

As a fighter, your champion has many options for what sort of weaponry and armor they would like to use.

The first option you have to make when choosing starting equipment is if you would rather chain mail or leather armor and archery equipment. As your champion will often be in the heat of the battle, and without a high Dexterity to make up the armor class, chain mail is a better option.

Then, your champion fighter will be at its best when wielding a great weapon, as the damage and applicable feats are too good to pass up. Therefore, a shield is unnecessary, and you should choose two martial weapons instead.

If your champion has a passable Dexterity, opt for the crossbow over the hand axes, as they are a better option at range, and you do not have to worry about losing them.

Lastly, the explorer’s pack and the dungeoneer’s pack are almost identical. The only slight difference is the dungeoneer’s pack has a small edge while exploring underground and the explorer’s pack while above ground.

Choose between these options based on where you think most of your adventuring time will be spent.

Next: Best Race-Class Combinations In Dungeons & Dragons

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