Creating Character – Brox the Dragonborn Javelineer

I enjoy creating characters, perhaps more than I should, for D&D, 5e in particular, but I also like creating characters in pretty much every system known. 3.5/Pathfinder are especially crunchy characters to make, but they tend to lack a lot of the soul of the characters in 5e, I find. I dunno what it is – nothing wrong with a d20 system, but its a very different character creation process. 

Well. Lets go then! Today, my first of – Hopefullly – many Character concepts that I want to play in D&D – Brox, the Dragonborn Javelineer

As I mentioned when I was talking about creating Clovis, I like to take a sensible but a little bit off the beaten path approach. For Clovis, it started in 3.5 when I saw that the assassin prestige class wasn’t specifically limited to rogues and that a trained enough Monk could also join the ranks. I figured what would the most rediculous Monk be, and of course it would be the Gnome Monk, and lo Proto-Clovis was born. 

This Brings us to the creation of Brox, here. I’d gotten a few basic ideas in my head for other classes and races, but I’d realixed I’d never played a Dragonborn, and it would be interesting to try and figure out what type of character I’d play with this specific race. I wanted something that fit the style and character of the race, without going the tried and true. There isn’t anything wrong with the tried and true, I just want to try something a little off the beaten path. 

Dragonborn are large, strong and powerful. They are tapped into the magic of the world in a very primal and powerful way, so I would like to take a stab at something that plays appropriately at one of the two, but not something as straightforward as the Paladin or the Standard Fighter, Dragonblooded sorcerer or mage. Rogue would be cool, but I’ve played a bunch of rogues recently, and a bunch of melee. Maybe I should play a ranged character, I thought to myself. 

I immediately jumped to the Mighty Bows of 3.5, bows that used strength instead of Dexterity for damage. It was an interesting concept, and I started puttering around through the books. I pictured enormous samurai bows, with the length almost touching the ground, so hard to string that only he, the Dragonborn archer could wield it properly. Unfortunately, those weapons don’t exist in 5e. But, Thrown weapons do, and they use their Strenght modifier for the attack and damage. I looked through the thrown weapons list, looking at the hammers, axes, darts and finally the Javelin. Now, my group is pretty lenient on the aesthetics, so at this point, I was still conceiving the character as an archer. Javelins, I could have on my back and use a “bow” to fire them, though it would just be for show. I had my path! 

With the path now chosen, the weapons selected, I now needed a path. Everywhere I looked, though, there was a significant difference paid using keywords like Bow or Arrow or something else that made the simple difference of “using” a bow for looks not as really useful as I wanted it. It was about this time I started thinking that I could just bail on the bow and the character as a javelineer. It uses the characters strengths, strength, to its highest potential, and it also allows me to be well within the rules when it comes to what I want to do and not do. Instead of a struggle to make the character fit, it simply was a character, right off the bat! Now I was cooking. 

With that decision in play, it got down to the final portion of the character, choosing the class and getting going. I poked through a few for a brief time, but the one that quickly got the most play was the Battlemaster class. Most of the Maneuvers in that class will allow me to use either a melee attack or a ranged attack, as they simply state either “attack” or “weapon attack” allowing me to pick up any of them as I level. Sadly, the Sharpshooter feat does not work on Javelins, as they are a melee weapon that is thrown, but that just means that He’ll be constantly moving around to get targets in range for his javelins, though his long-range, if it comes to that, is 120 feet and that is a substantial distance. 

At Fourth Level

While there are a number of places that I could start, I really don’t see many characters being “filled” out until they hit 4th level and get their first feat/Ability Score increase, as well as having their first path likely chosen – unless they are a deep dual class. So, at fourth or higher levels, you can really start to see a character come together.

For the Javelineer, its a simple progression. Battlemaster 20. Nothing super difficult here. As I roll stats, I’m not going to build the stat block from scratch, just give a basic rundown. 

Brox, Javelineer
Highest Stat: Strenght
Second Highest Stat: Constitution
Background: Soldier
Splint Mail is perfect. You should have a high Strenght, Plate is expensive, and you’re going to be buying LOTS of javelins. It’ll do enough. 
Weapons: 20 Javelins. To start. Buy Javelins at every location, because some are bound to break. Discuss with you’re DM how many you can carry, how you intend to resolve breakage, and how you are carrying them. Also, see how strictly your DM is going to hold to the “ready one weapon for free” rule. Throwing 8 Javelins (9 if you decide to go a two weapon path) each round at 20th level isn’t any nastier than a longbow, but You’ll want to discuss how this should be handled no matter. I suggest over the shoulder harnesses.
Skills: Athletics and Perception. You’re a huge Dragonborn, it’ll be nice to be able to flex that strenght every once in a while, and Perception will help with ferreting out those hiding bastards. 
Fighting Style: The natural one to take seems like Archery, but it won’t work because, even though you are using it as a ranged attack, the javelin is a melee weapon. What you’re going to want to take is Dueling, because +2 damage to the weapon you’re wielding – the Javelin, will be nice. You cannot use this with the twin javelin Style. 
3rd Level: Battlemaster Archetype – at this point you’re going to get your four superiority dice, and your three maneuvers. The maneuvers I like most are: 
Pushing Attack – Being able to shove someone back 15′ only to toss the same weapon you just got done sticking in their nugget right at them seems like the perfect style of combat to me, as the obvious answer to the rain of Javelins is to engage him in combat, right? Wrong. 
Goading Attack – Similarly, having an opponent who has disadvantage on all attacks that aren’t targeting you is really handy when you’re farther than its move speed from the target, which can often happen from either pushing them back on the second throw (because you can push with ranged weapons) and then walking or tossing at something in range and then walking away. 
Distracting Strike – Finally, I’d take Distracting Strike. It allows that all important Advantage for a single ally, and doing it at range can be a huge blessing. It also doesn’t allow a save, so it’s nice when damage really needs to be done. 

Honorable Mentions: 

Fourth level doesn’t really have any strong contenders for feat slots, so push up that strength in order to both be better at attacking with those javelins and to make those saves harder. 

I hope you enjoyed this look into how I make a character, and what I do in order to cement the concept. If people like this enough, I’ll likely do another one on my Tiefling Barbarian and/or my Half Orc Warlock. 

Until next time!