A wizard who specializes not in lengthy arcane study but the application of magic in warfare. A monk who masks her amazing skill with the stumbling movements of a drunkard. A paladin who seeks to save the evil from themselves, and who would rather take a hit than deal one out. A ranger who specializes in hunting down magical threats to the world. The 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons options continue to grow via Unearthed Arcana, and Meet the Party will continue to build ready-to-play characters for your use and inspiration, as well as the continued playtesting for the game!
What we have this time is actually a party that’s the product of two different releases: Wizard Revised and A Trio of Subclasses. The Wizard Revised included a revisit to the divinely-flavored Theurgy Wizard, although I decided to leave that one alone to address the new War Magic option. Trio had a build each for the Monk, Paladin, and Ranger, all providing something that ‘tastes’ a little familiar. This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve had a drunken master type of monk in D&D, and the Redemption Paladin feels a lot like the Pacifist Cleric build from 4th Edition. The Monster Slayer Ranger is also an adaptation of an earlier UA build for the Fighter. So what exactly do these new options have to offer?
Zasheir Rein, Human– Level 20 War Magic Wizard
HP: 102 AC: 17
Str: 10 Con: 15 Dex: 20 Int: 20 Wis: 12 Cha: 8
Racial/Class/Background Features: Extra Proficiency (Insight), Feat: Lightly Armored (Dexterity), Spellcasting, Arcane Recovery, Arcane Tradition: War Magic, Arcane Deflection, Tactical Wit, Power Surge, Durable Magic, Deflecting Shroud, Spell Mastery, Signature Spell, Background: Soldier, Military Rank
Gear: Dagger, Arcane Focus, Explorer’s Pack, Spellbook, Studded Leather Armor, Insignia of Rank, Trophy from a Fallen Enemy, Deck of Cards, Common Clothes, Belt Pouch with 10 GP
Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Perception, Arcana, History, Athletics, Intimidation
Tool Proficiencies: Cards, Vehicles (Land)
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom
Zasheir Rein is a difficult target to hit for a wizard, and a particular danger to large groups of enemies. Arcane Deflection becomes available at 2nd level, and allows Zashier to protect themself from harm: when hit by an attack they can spend their reaction to gain a +2 to AC against it, or a +4 bonus on a failed Constitution saving throw. Deflecting Shroud at Level 14 turns Arcane Deflection deadly, inflicting force damage on surrounding enemies when Deflection is used. Deflection does come with a cost, as Zasheir can’t use any spells other than cantrips until the end of their next turn. Back at Level 2 Tactical Wit grants Zasheir a bonus to initiative equal to their Intelligence modifier. 6th level’s Power Surge lets Zasheir, once per rest, boost the power of a spell that forces multiple targets to make a saving throw by adding two extra damage dice. Durable Magic, at Level 10, grants Zashier a +2 bonus to AC and all saving throws while they are maintaining Concentration on a spell.
Cora Goodbarrel, Stout Halfling– Level 20 Drunken Master Monk
HP: 143 AC: 20
Str: 8 Con: 14 Dex: 20 Int: 10 Wis: 20 Cha: 13
Racial/Class/Background Features: Lucky, Brave, Halfling Nimbleness, Stout Resilience, Unarmored Defense, Martial Arts, Ki, Unarmored Movement, Monastic Tradition: Drunken Master, Deflect Missiles, Drunken Technique, Slow Fall, Extra Attack, Stunning Strike, Ki-Empowered Strikes, Tipsy Sway, Evasion, Stillness of Mind, Purity of Body, Drunkard’s Luck, Tongue of the Sun and Moon, Diamond Soul, Timeless Body, Intoxicated Frenzy, Empty Body, Perfect Self, Background: Guild Artisan, Guild Business, Extra Language
Gear: Quarterstaff, Explorer’s Pack, Darts x10, Brewer’s Supplies, Letter of Introduction, Traveler’s Clothes, Belt Pouch with 15 GP
Skill Proficiencies: Acrobatics, Athletics, Performance, Insight, Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: Brewer’s Supplies
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Cora Goodbarrel might look like a drunkard, and the Brewer’s Supplies certainly don’t help there, but she’s startlingly difficult to engage and the worst person to face in a tavern brawl by a mile. 3rd Level’s Drunken Technique grants her proficiency with Performance, but also grants her the benefit of the Disengage action whenever she uses her Flurry of Blows, with an additional 10 feet of movement at that. Tipsy Sway kicks in at Level 6, letting Cora spend a reaction to send a melee attack that misses her into a target of her choice within 5 feet. When she gains Drunkard’s Luck at Level 11 Cora can spend 1 ki point, before rolling, to gain advantage on a saving throw. Finally, Intoxicated Frenzy makes mobs fear her at Level 17. When she uses her Flurry of Blows she gains 3 additional attacks (for a total of 5) so long as each Flurry of Blows attack targets a different creature.
Ront, Half-Orc– Level 20 Redemption Paladin
HP: 183 AC: 18
Str: 18 Con: 16 Dex: 14 Int: 8 Wis: 10 Cha: 19
Racial/Class/Background Features: Darkvision, Menacing, Relentless Endurance, Savage Attacks, Divine Sense, Lay on Hands, Fighting Style: Great Weapon Fighting, Spellcasting, Improved Divine Smite, Divine Health, Sacred Oath: Redemption, Armor of Peace, Warrior of Reconciliation, Channel Divinity (Emissary of Peace, Rebuke the Violent), Extra Attack, Aura of Protection, Aura of the Guardian, Aura of Courage, Cleansing Touch, Protective Spirit, Emissary of Redemption, Background: Criminal,
Gear: Quarterstaff, Priest’s Pack, Holy Symbol, Crowbar, Dark Common Clothes with a Hood, Belt Pouch with 15 GP
Skill Proficiencies: Intimidation, Medicine, Persuasion, Deception Stealth
Tool Proficiencies: Cards, Thieves’ Tools
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Ront doesn’t look much like your average paladin, with a quarterstaff and simple clothes instead of a sword and armor, but that certainly doesn’t mean he’s not a powerful adventurer. The oath spells of the Oath of Redemption focus on protecting himself and others through offerings like shield, counterspell, and hold monster. Level 3’s Armor of Peace grants Ront an AC of 16 + his Dexterity modifier so long as he is not wearing armor or a shield. Warrior of Reconciliation lets the paladin charm a creature he reduces to 0 HP with a bludgeoning weapon if he decides to spare its life. His Channel Divinity options allow him to gain a significant bonus to Persuasion checks or to damage an enemy who manages to damage an ally. Aura of the Guardian at Level 7 allows Ront to spend a reaction to eliminate damage dealt to an ally by taking it on himself. 15th Level’s Protective Spirit heals Ront for 1d6 + half level if he’s below half of his total HP. Emissary of Redemption, gained at Level 20, grants two powerful benefits: Ront gains resistance to all damage from other creatures, and deals half of all damage dealt to him back to his attacker. However, Ront loses these benefits until a finished long rest if he attacks, deals damage, or forces a saving throw upon another creature, causing a pretty big playstyle change.
Audhild Strakeln, Hill Dwarf– Level 20 Monster Slayer Ranger
HP: 184 AC: 16
Str: 12 Con: 15 Dex: 20 Int: 10 Wis: 20 Cha: 8
Racial/Class/Background Features: Darkvision, Dwarven Resilience, Dwarven Combat Training, Tool Proficiency (Brewer’s Supplies), Stonecunning, Dwarven Toughness, Favored Enemy: Monstrosities, Natural Explorer, Fighting Style: Archery, Spellcasting, Primeval Awareness, Ranger Conclave: Monster Slayer, Slayer’s Mysticism, Slayer’s Eye, Extra Attack, Greater Favored Enemy: Aberrations, Supernatural Defense, Fleet of Foot, Hide in Plain Sight, Relentless Slayer, Vanish, Slayer’s Counter, Feral Senses, Foe Slayer, Background: Outlander, Outlander, Extra Language
Gear: Leather Armor, Shortswords x2, Explorer’s Pack, Longbow and Quiver with 20 Arrows, Staff, Hunting Trap, Trophy from a Kill, Traveler’s Clothes, Belt Pouch with 10 GP
Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Nature, Perception, Athletics, Survival
Tool Proficiencies: Brewer’s Supplies, Flute
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Audhild Strakeln is a monster’s worst nightmare, uniquely capable of tracking them down and ending them. Slayer’s Mysticism grants her spells that are tailored towards dealing with magical and extraplanar threats like protection from evil and good and banishment. Slayer’s Eye at 3rd level gives Audhild a new bonus action ability: you learn the vulnerabilities, immunities, and resistances of a single chosen target. She also gains an additional 1d6 damage once a turn against that target with a weapon attack. As Audhild was built using the revised ranger rules, she gains an Extra Attack at Level 5. At Level 7 her Supernatural Defense kicks in, letting her add 1d6 to saving throws forced upon her by the target of Slayer’s Eye. Relentless Slayer lets an 11th level and up Audhild spend a reaction to foil the escape attempts of her Slayer’s Eye target. With success on an opposed Wisdom saving throw she can prevent teleportation, shapechanging, and extraplanar travel, wasting whatever action, bonus action, or reaction the target was using. Finally, Level 15’s Slayer’s Counter lets Audhild make a reaction when her Slayer’s Eye target forces a savng throw: she makes one weapon attack, before rolling the saving throw. If she hits the saving throw automatically succeeds, and her reaction attack’s effects play out as normal.
The party’s been advanced to Level 20 because, well, the Paladin’s Oath of Redemption caps out at that level and if we’re going to be playtesting something we might as well make sure it holds up at the highest levels. I went with the alternative rules for human character creation with Zasheir, as I figured they could use the Lightly Armored Feat to make them more sturdy. I also gave them Studded Leather Armor because that’s the least of what they could have acquired by Level 20; I also ditched most of Ront’s starting Paladin gear, as he would have no use for it once he took his Oath.
The only potential issues I see with any of these builds are a few features that either won’t be universally useful or work at odds with one another. Zasheir and Cora are both going to want to be facing multiple enemies, for instance, otherwise they don’t get to exploit Power Surge or Intoxicated Frenzy to their full potential. Audhild is the opposite, as she wants a single target to aim her Slayer’s Eye for. Groups of enemies will thus be a problem because nearly all of her build features focus on that single target. Finally, Ront will lose the very nice benefits of Emissary of Redemption if he faces an enemy he wants to use Warrior of Reconciliation on. Ront’s player will have to play very smart so that he doesn’t lose those benefits at a key time.
Who They Are
Zasheir Rein was practically born into the military, as both of their parents were career soldiers. While they didn’t quite follow the same path as their parents once their magical capability was discovered they still enlisted, training as a war wizard and even attaining a lofty rank. Unfortunately no simple army, not even one with Zaheir in it, could stand against the monstrous forces that came boiling out of the shadows one day. Zaheir survived, although few others did, and eventually they found themselves in a roadside tavern with a few other lost souls. They didn’t have a plan or any allies when they walked into that tavern, but the three who they walked out with helped provide both.
Cora Goodbarrel was a simple monk by choice, spending her days in quiet meditation and brewing the beer the monastery sold to provide for their needs. Some monks practiced martial arts as a sort of moving meditation, but that was never really for her. But when the monastery was sacked by raiders and monsters and Cora fled into the world she had little choice but to learn, from the few other survivors, how to defend herself. As her fighting skills grew she began to put her own twist on them, while also plying her brewing skills to earn money for herself and the survivors. She wound up working in a certain tavern at a time when refugees and wanderers various were passing through. She didn’t expect to leave with any of them, but she did, and she’s still with them after all this time.
Ront was a cutthroat criminal, plain and simple. He lied, stole, and killed for coin and never really thought much about who he hurt along the way. When the city he was living in/preying upon was overrun he had no reason to expect anyone to help him, but someone did. A paladin of the deity of redemption saved him, with no prompting and no reward other than Ront’s distrust, and took him out of the city with her. After months of traveling that distrust was replaced with respect and a sense of obligation, and Ront joined his savior’s order. Ront eventually was on the road himself, and weary of his travels stopped at a tavern to request a spot in the barn to sleep in. While he found no being there in need of redemption, he did find several in need of help. Ront actually feels like any debt he may have had has long since been paid, but now it’s all about paying it forward.
Audhild Strakeln went into the monster hunting business because the pay was good, the action was exciting, and the sights along the road were interesting. She never expected business to be quite so booming, however, and eventually copped to the idea that something was causing so many monsters to appear. While still taking jobs as per usual she also began to hunt information, basing herself out of a tavern far from home so she could cover the most ground. One night the travelers and one of the bartenders began trading stories of the horrors they’d been seeing, and a vital piece of the puzzle fell into Audhild’s lap for the first time in months. She went from person to person and convinced them to join her, for revenge or out of a sense of duty, and the group’s travels began.
How They Interact
Zasheir‘s initial impression of Cora was she was an undisciplined purveyor of intoxicants. The second impression was that the Halfling was a drunken brawler. The third, however, was when they spotted Cora meditating and realized that the monk was just as disciplined as they; she just went about it differently. Ront’s unwillingness to kill in all but the most extreme circumstances or against the truly monstrous doesn’t sit well with Zasheir’s training or instincts, but they respect the paladin’s wishes whenever they can, and the pair have a running cards game tournament of sorts that’s lasted months at this point. Zasheir is eternally grateful to Audhild for having provided them with a renewed sense of purpose, lost as the soldier was when the ranger found them. Her tendency to follow hunches instead of proof do however irk Zasheir from time to time, mostly because she’s often right in the face of all logic.
Cora thought Zasheir was as stern as the abbot for the longest time, and in a way they are. There’s a quiet friendliness in the combat wizard, though. You just need the patience to see it, and as a monk Cora had the patience to spare. Ront’s a good young lad compared to the rest of them, although he has almost as much trouble relaxing as Zash does. Cora understands why, and doesn’t pressure him about it too much. She did convince him to start playing cards again, though. It might be a little stereotypical for the Halfling and the Dwarf to enjoy a good drink, but Cora’s never much cared about that. While Zash and Ront are playing cards Cora hauls Audhild to the bar so that they can try the local brew and mercilessly critique it. They’ve only caused two brawls because of that in all this time (they won both), so maybe Cora’s losing her edge.
Ront respects Zasheir’s discipline, but in the early days of their journeys together often clashed with them over the morality of killing sentient beings. Eventually the pair did come to a sort of agreement, and they’ve become goods friends since, but a part of Ront still shudders when Zasheir has to cut loose. Cora’s a good friend, watching out for the paladin without being pushy about it. Ront would only tolerate his mentor and sponsor being pushy, after all. While Cora hardly needs redeeming, Ront does hope to do something for her by seeing her returned to her simple life in the monastery some day. Audhild’s the one who brought them all together, which Ront is grateful for: it feels good to be not just hunting for redemption but trying to save the world. Progress, rather than paying a debt.
Audhild is always glad for Zasheir’s boundless determination; of all her companions Audhild knows that they would be the last to abandon the quest for any reason. They are a little more structured in their thinking than Audhild herself, but sometimes instinct alone won’t get the job done. Cora doesn’t always seem suited for the monster hunting business, but she’s ten pounds of wisdom in a five pound bag and the heart of their little band to boot. A decent drinking companion as well, although she really shouldn’t have insulted that one bartender. The ale was fine. The ranger is actually a little jealous of Ront, in that his spiritual journey is much more clear than her own. She stumbled into all of this, but he seems to have naturally become a part of the endeavor. The paladin makes a good traveling companion, though, and has saved her life more times than she can count.
Whatever world-ending threat Zashier, Cora, Ront, and Audhild have been facing must surely be on its last legs . . . or is it merely been marshaling its strength to crush the adventurers that have plagued it for so long?
Will the War Magic Wizard, Drunken Master Monk, Redemption Paladin, and Monster Slayer Ranger hold up under the pressure of playtesting? What will need to be changed, weakened, strengthened, replaced, or kept as is? As always, that’s for you (and your dice) to determine!
You can find the survey for the Wizard Revisited in the Trio article linked above, and the survey for the Trio here.
Do you have feedback after using this batch of characters? How about a system you’d like to Meet the Party for? Speak up in the comments or give me a shout on Twitter @HungryHalfling. If you want to support Cannibal Halfling Gaming, please let your friends know about us and/or become a Patron! Next time, by request of a Twitter poll, we’ll be meeting a party from Savage Worlds!