D&D 5e: Warforged Fighter Guide

A warforged samurai fighter sheathing his katana.

D&D 5e: Warforged Fighter Guide

Fighters and Warforged seem like an easy combination, but sometimes the simplest things are best. 

Tough, strong, and effective, Warforged Fighters are a class and race combination that can be built to do almost anything. This short guide touches on what you should know before building your character. 

How to Make a Warforged Fighter

Fighters are mechanically simple classes to build. The single main decision point is which primary combat stat you’re going to max, Strength or Dexterity, and that’s almost entirely decided for you by your choice of weapons and combat style. 

Melee combat characters will probably want to max Strength. Two-handed weapons, polearms, and many one-handed weapons will benefit from this, as well as Athletics checks, a commonly used skill in and out of combat. You’ll also need a minimum amount of Strength to use Heavy Armor like full plate. 

Dexterity is the domain of archery, and also many one-handed weapons like shortswords, daggers, and rapiers. Dexterity also boosts many skills and has a direct impact on your Armor Class. A high Dex character in leathers holding a shield is going to be almost as hard to hit as a character in full plate, as well as a whole lot sneakier. If that’s the way your campaign is leaning, that might be an important consideration.

On the subject of armor, the Warforged brings a massive boost to the build with a passive +1 to AC. On a chassis that’s as naturally tough as a Fighter, that’s a much bigger boost than it sounds and goes a long way toward making a Warforged Fighter incredibly hard to land hits on. 

On top of this, you also gain a host of other defensive buffs, including resistance to poison, plus not needing to eat, sleep, or breathe. 

Finally, Warforged gain a small nod to out-of-combat utility with a bonus proficiency in one skill, one tool, and one language. For a class that’s as skill starved as a Fighter, that’s a deceptively large boost to total proficiencies, as well as a flexible nod towards RP and the social side of the game. 

A male warforged fighter clad in plate armor and wielding a massive mace.

How to Play a Warforged Fighter

The most impressive thing about the Fighter is its consistency. Other classes need spells, skills, or turning into a bear to be effective. But turn after turn, the Fighter just keeps on swinging. Full proficiency in all weapons and armor, a big hit die, and passive boosts to combat effectiveness all lead to a character that does what its name suggests. Fights really really well

The most obvious synergy when building a Fighter Warforged is toughness. You can turn yourself into an absolute tank, stacking multiple AC bonuses (the Warforged racial bonus, Defense Fighting Style, subclass abilities) and walk away with a standard AC of 22, potentially as early as level 1. 

Feat choices for Fighters are similarly simple. Pick something that meshes with your chosen weapon style, and builds on the Fighting Style granted by your class features. For example, a Fighter with the Duelist fighting style and the Crusher feat is a menace, dealing excellent damage while still holding a shield for high AC, and throwing out Advantage to their allies whenever they land a crit. (And Fighters can land a lot of crits.)

You can build on all of this with subclasses. The Eldritch Knight (read our full guide on this subclass here) uses its magic to make itself almost untouchable when it matters and resists much of the damage that does get through. 

The Battle Master is the quintessential Fighter, and should always be considered when coming up with a concept, as it’s simply that good. The core class ability is a flexible set of special attacks, called Combat Maneuvers, that have a massive range of potential uses, and the subclass gets a ton of both uses and options. 

Finally, if you’d like to move more offensively, the Rune Knight can grow in size and throw out powerful debuff effects, as well as gain big bonuses to skill usage. Turning into a battle mech and being helpful in social situations? That sounds like synergy to me.  

How to Roleplay as a Warforged Fighter

The Fighter as a class might seem mundane and vague as a class, but that’s actually a strength when it comes to roleplaying. 

The professional soldier who’s seen too many battles. The gate guard who lost his home town and picked up a sword. The watchman who got caught up in something bigger than themselves. The hunter who stumbled on something old and ancient. All of these and more can be fighters. 

When you combine this with a background which is literally built for war, and you have an easy hook for your RP needs. 

Big questions you might want to ask could include: How does your character feel about fighting? Is it something they enjoy, or a duty they feel like they must fulfil?

What keeps them fighting? Is it all they know? Trying to stop people getting hurt? Seeking personal power and influence?

Also, what does your Fighter do when not fighting. No one can swing a sword every hour of the day, and the little skills and extras on your character sheet are a big insight into how your character lives and what they do in general, day-to-day times. 

Remember that some of the greatest warriors have also been our greatest philosophers. The battlefield brings absolute clarity, after all, so if you really wanna play a warrior-philosopher, get at it!

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