In this series, I’m talking character idea’s, some that I came up with ages ago, and some that I’ve found through poking at the D&D 5e books looking for cool combos and abilities, and I lay them out so that, hopefully, someone else can take up the reigns of these characters, because it is highly unlikely that I can play all of them, or even many, before my days expire.
Today, we have Aelowynd, The Sin Hunter, an Elven War Priest/Ranger who hunts those who have wronged her god and her people.
When I started doing this, I decided I wanted to try and get a character of every class built up, so that no matter what I was called upon to play, I would have an idea that I could take out and start playing with gusto. I didn’t want to have a bland or familiar character, I really wanted something that would stick with me and give me that desire to play.
I’d picked more than a few, Including the Bard, The Barbarian, and the Fighter, and had a few I’ve yet to write about, and I started looking at the Cleric class to try and figure out what I wanted to try and think on. The Cleric is a full spellcaster, and they have a bit less varied abilities in their class to make up both for their semi-spontaneous casting ability and their full complement of 9 levels in spells. This became glaringly obvious as I looked over all the domains and nothing really stood out to me. Well, Knowledge stuck out, but I already had a Cleric of Knowledge, Priest of Vecna I had played years and years past. While that character is great, I wanted to see what else there was.
Life is clearly the healing tree, and it’s really good, but it also feels pretty rigid in its desired application. Light is interestingly defensive, but nothing that struck me. Nature originally stuck out as something that would be interesting combined with Green Knight Paladin, Ranger of some sort or Fey Warlock, but I didn’t like any of the abilities or spells that it granted as amazingly synergistic. The ability to have my favorite cantrip, shillelagh, was fairly tempting, and the elemental abilities are interesting. Tempest is cool, but not one that really caught my eye. Trickery really got me going, but he is going to come in later as the flavor to a different character class. From Xanathars, Grave and Forge both looked interesting, but not really what I wanted, especially after I saw the last Domain in the PHB, War.
The War Domain does a couple of really interesting things that made me enjoy concepting a character for it. First, it gets an extra attack (as a bonus action) which is possible with other classes and abilities, including two weapon fighting, and while it is limited, it is also an additional attack as a full caster, which is very interesting. Now, the ability isn’t foolproof, thankfully, and you need to already be making an attack to use the action, but that attack doesn’t have to be melee, it simply needs to be an attack. Very useful here.
Second, their Channel Divinity ability is very potent, and the ability to give yourself +10 to hit first once at 1st level, then twice at 6th because I’m not going to make it to 18, is impressive. Making it after you see the roll so that you don’t waste it is a very important part of that ability. These all summed up pretty well to be a significant battle-caster. Priest spells were notoriously powerful in ages past, so I assume I’m not going to break the game on that level, but it still feels like it has something going for it.
Lastly, its the Divine Strike ability, adding a d8 weapon damage to a single attack, and at 14th level pushing that up to 2d8. Added to a nice two-handed weapon, and it could start dealing a significant amount of damage with the first hit you get each turn.
I’d want to take this class all the way to 15th
Deciding what to pair with this war priest took a little bit more doing, as well. I paged through a few classes before I dropped in on Ranger. While a War-Priest Paladin or Fighter brought a little bit of power to the class, it didn’t really synergize well and wanting to go all the way to 15th to get the 8th level spell slot put a damper on the abilities you could get from many of the straight martial classes. Many of the other full caster classes also didn’t fit the Face-smashing style I’d decided I wanted to go with.
Ranger, though, provided an interesting counterpoint to the class. Ranger gives the Priest abilities that they wouldn’t normally get access to, including tracking, survival, and knowledge of their foes. This, finally, sparked the concept that became Aelowynd.
Additionally, it allows me to only take 14th level of Priest, and still get 9th level slots thanks to how spells slots work for multiclass Characters. A win-win!
The Rangers Favored Enemy is clearly going to be a race or type of monster that is anathema to the religion. It’s easy to see an Elven Sin Hunter picking Drow, or a Dwarf picking giants, and it is up to each character to pick the best one. Here, with Aelowyn, I think I’m going to take Monstrosities. It’s a pretty easy and reasonable one to take for someone who lives among the elves, and getting to choose another at 6th that is related to the adventure that has proceeded is a nice bonus as well.
Natural Explorer is one of the abilities that makes this class go, so having it as early as possible would be a boon, but you don’t need to go out of you’re way before 4th or 5th level. The inability to be lost, foraging for 2x food, and tracking creatures in a meaningful way through the terrain you’re most comfortable with is extremely flavorful for this concept, and adding another terrain type at 6th is great.
The choice of Fighting Style often defines a ranger, but here I don’t think it does. First, the character doesn’t get any use out of three of the four: Archery, Dueling, and Two-Weapon Fighting. Instead, they take
Primeval Awareness is a nice side bonus, and synergies well if you have one of the few types of creatures you can sense as your favored enemy.
Lastly, we have the Ranger Archetype. Honestly, I can justify any of them. As you only get the first ability, most of them are fairly small but solid bonuses. personally, I like – if the favored enemy is likely to be large or larger, Giant Killer, allowing excellent synergy with Sentinel. Horde Breaker is great for getting yourself stuck deep in trouble and trying to extricate yourself through the sheer number of attacks you can generate. If you’re going to be in a game where everyone is ganging up, then getting 4 attacks for a few rounds can really even the numbers. Sight unseen, though, I’m either taking Hunter for Colossus Slayer and doing a d8 damage each round after the first, or I am grabbing the Monster Slayer from
The Sin Hunter is a Priest of War, often of war gods, who hunts the transgressors of the Church or people to which they belong. They are skilled in the arts of tracking and survival, relentlessly tracking their quarry over long distances and over varied terrain until when they finally come upon their foe they are ready to engage in battle at a moments notice. They are not interested in subterfuge or stealth, they attack problems head-on, plowing into whatever situation is dictated to fell their enemy, fulfilling the oath they swore to their church days, months or even years earlier when they agreed to the hunt.
As a cleric of war, I like to get the most out of those few bonus attacks, even though Ranger 5 will get me two attacks. I picture them using a massive, yet graceful two-handed sword to leverage those attacks. With 2d6, the weapon deals more consistent damage (7) than those of the d12 variety. Using two weapons would be interesting, but it would have overlapping
I also want to take the heaviest armor I can, just for the concept of an Inquisitor-Templar that I have in my mind. This character will be barreling, not carefully stalking, towards their prey. Upgrading to Plate Mail at the soonest possible moment will make the character not as reliant on dexterity as many others in a similar profession.
Feat wise, I want to get Sentinel, likely at 8th level. With the need for Str and Wis, you’ll likely take the standard ASI at 4th, and then grab the first feat at 8th. I would get 4th priest first, switch over to Ranger, get all the way to 6th there, and proceeded to be a priest for the rest of the game.
So, what I have in my head is a lithe, strong, destruction based character wielding a massive sword, clad in the toughest armor pursuing monsters, transgressors and traitors until they wear down, tire, and are forced into a fight that they cannot win. The Gods are not pleased.
This build takes a bit of work to get to, needing 5th level ranger in addition to being a Cleric of War
Aelowynd, the Sin Hunter
Aelowyn, The Sin Hunter
Race: Wood Elf I like the idea of a fully armored elf crusader, and this fits perfectly for the stats. Its a little off the beaten path, but I can see it working with trying to make them a force that goes and reckons with the outside world.
Highest Stat: Strenght: While you’ll need Wisdom for your spell saves, most of your spells should be of the type that contributes to you smashing others right good.
Second Highest Stat: Wisdom: Getting those extra attacks with War Priest is really useful. Max this out as soon as you can.
Background: Acolyte I really like the idea of this type of character being part of the church, because they are a priest, and it allows the ability to claim refuge among the faithful. Its one of my favorites.
Armor: Plate Mail or Half Plate. This character is going to be up close and personal, taking on the foes of the religion. protect yourself.
Weapons: Greatswod –as earlier, the dice are nicer on this one, and when you toss everything together, the Greatsword (2d6) Divine Strike (2d8) Hunters Mark (d6) Slayers Prey (d6) and Colossus Slayer (d8) you can output some 4d6+3d8 for your first attack. Not bad.
Skills: Perception, Survival, Investigation being able to find your prey is key. Being able to see, track, and understand your prey is fundamental to the build.
Cleric Domain: War:
Ranger Specialization: Monster Hunter
Fourth Level: AGI: With the need for Str and Wis, you’ll likely take the standard ASI at 4th, and then grab the first feat at 8th. I would get 4th priest first, switch over to Ranger, get all the way to 6th there, and proceeded to be a priest for the rest of the game.
Eighth Level: Sentinal; Sentinal absolutely fits the Hunters Prey type of thought, forcing a creature to fight you or suffer dire consequences, including free strikes and speed reduction.
Twelfth Level: War Caster. Here you’ll likely be taking piles of damage from enemy attacks, and having the ability to pass those CON saves pretty readily will be useful.
For Ranger, I would absolutely make sure to get Hunters Mark, Zephyr Strike, and Absorb Elements. Getting Protection from Good and Evil and Zone of Truth are nice, but they are also on the cleric spell list.
For Cleric, you’ll be able to prepare about 19 spells.
At this point, you should be able to build a pretty solid character from here, and you understand where I am going with it. I hope you enjoyed this look into how I made this character, and what I do in order to cement the concept.
Let me know what you think, and if you ever play a character like this, keep me in the loop, I’d love to hear it.
Until next time!