D&D 5e: Dwarf Fighter Guide
Dwarves are known for being hardy and hard-headed, and there is perhaps no better example of this than the much-beloved Gimli, son of Glóin, from Lord of the Rings. This may be a stereotype of their people, but it speaks to their nature as hard workers who can endure through great hardship and face difficult situations with a courageous cheer. Perhaps this is what makes dwarves such an appealing race to play as a fighter, or perhaps it’s merely the image of a 3-foot long beard spilling out of the armor of a 4-foot tall warrior charging into battle with an ornate ax, ready to separate some heads from necks.
How to Make a Dwarf Fighter
Strength vs dexterity is one of the oldest debates for a fighter, but let’s be real, if you’re playing a dwarven fighter, it’s not so that you can use finesse based weapons. Prioritize your strength first unless you specifically want to focus on bows or crossbows, in which case focus on dexterity (and forget about strength entirely) and choose the archery fighting style. If you intend to choose Eldritch Knight or Psi Warrior as your martial archetype (subclass) at 3rd level, then intelligence should be your next most important ability (otherwise it’s likely your least). After that I’d recommend constitution as your second priority then dexterity, wisdom, and charisma in that order. Unless you’re playing a Samurai, then consider charisma 3rd.
You may have noticed by this point that much of your stat priority depends on your martial archetype. If you’re starting from 1st level, this is difficult because fighters only get this choice at level 3 and you may have to suffer suboptimal stats for a while, but if you’re starting after that then remember to build your fighter accordingly.
How to Play a Dwarf Fighter
If you chose the path of an archer, then combat is a simple matter of finding the best place from which to outrange your foes and letting them have it, with Arcane Archers getting the benefit of special arrows between short rests.
Melee combatants on the other hand will find themselves making good use of that heavy armor proficiency and natural dwarven constitution bonus. Your action surge will allow you to lay down the pain when it matters, and second wind will keep you standing even when you’re at your wit’s end. Fighters get the most attacks out of all classes, and also the most stat bonuses, so be ready to hit often and to hit hard. Each subclass has a variety of small tools that you’ll generally use to augment this style of fighting, rather than outright replace anything, so keep that in mind and consider which one best suits your preferred toolkit.
How to Roleplay as a Dwarf Fighter
Another thing folks tend to forget about dwarves is that they are one of the longer-lived races, clocking in at a lifespan of over 400 years! This grants them perspective and speaks to their enduring nature, determination, and loyalty. Consider how these characteristics show themselves in your character, and especially consider how they might have shaped your path as a Dwarf.
Fighters typically have some kind of station in society depending on what sort they are, perhaps as a member of a guard, the army, or an order of some sort. Samurai fighters excel in social situations thanks to Elegant Courtier, so consider also what your fighter has been doing in their off-time, how they trained to get where they are, and what goals they might have out on the adventuring road.