Playing with DnD5 Characters – 6th level Eldritch Knight Fighter

The final entry in the series is the Eldritch Knight version of the fighter . . . but this one optimized a bit differently than the others, so was a different build due to the INT requirements for spellcasting.

I went with Mountain Dwarf so that I could drop my second-highest roll into INT, while preserving a reasonable CON. Low stat was CHA this time, and for the fun of it the Background was a Sage/Researcher.

Stats


STR 20 (+5); DEX 13 (+1); CON 16 (+3); INT 16 (+3); WIS 14 (+2); CHA 11 (+1)

Saving throws of note: STR at +8; CON at +6. 

Skills


When all was said and done, Athletics is at +8, which is nice. Arcana, History, and Investigation are at +6, so there’s a nice “searching through dusty tomes” feel to him. Everything else is +0 to +3.

Combat


The focus on the raw stat boosts denied me the opportunity to pick up the Dual Wielder feat, but that’s on the list. This means Battleaxe and Handaxe for attacks, but that bonus action doesn’t get the full boost to hit 1d20+5 instead of +8, and it’s a handaxe rather than battleaxe.

So three attacks, two at 1d20+8 for 1d8+5, but the third is 1d20+5/1d6+5. AC 18 (no shield, no +1 to AC due to Dual Wield feat) with Plate Armor, and the “standard” 58 HP one gets with CON 16 as a fighter.

Spellcasting

I’m very amazed at the spells available at low level for abjuration and evocation. When this guy throws down a spell, it can hit hard. I can know four spells, and have 3 1st level spell slots.

Cantrips

  • Fire Bolt: 2d10 fire damage to 120′ as a ranged spell attack.
  • Poison Spray: 2d12 poison damage, but no damage on a failed DC 16 CON save.

1st Level 

  • Chromatic Orb: 3d8 damage of variable damage type on a ranged spell attack (acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, or thunder). 90′ range, and 1d8 extra damage for higher level slots. The ability of this spell to use variable effect types to match a foe’s weakness is awesome. One spell fits most.
  • Magic Missile: Never misses. 3 darts at 1d4+1 force damage. Low damage attack against someone whose AC you can’t get through, or requires magic to hit and you don’t have it. But would also be a good choice to replace with an abjuration spell of your choice.
  • Witch Bolt: Holy cow. 1d12 if you hit with a ranged spell attack, but if you maintain focus, you automatically do 1d12 per turn until you use your action for something else. This is a very impressive “hit him from behind an obstacle” or “second rank” spell . . . if you can hit.
  • Shield: +5 bonus to AC for one turn as a reaction, and no damage from magic missile. A longer duration would be cool, but good for dropping the success rate of a nasty attack that might hit you.
Parting Shot
I feel like this particular build stresses versatility over pure fighting power, but three attacks per round, all of which can crit, is no small thing. Against AC 15, 70% twice and 55% once is an expected 18 HP per turn on the average any time you like. The spellcasting is gravy against monsters particularly vulnerable against certain damage types in many cases, or not vulnerable to mundane attacks.
So in this case, it feels like one is trading a bit of melee oomph for flexibility. Not a bad thing.

2 thoughts on “Playing with DnD5 Characters – 6th level Eldritch Knight Fighter

  1. Here's an alternate 5th Edition D&D Eldritch Knight build at 6th level. Goes by the alias Batman, due to the bat familiar. This build combines very strong Defense with excellent battlefield control via grappling, while still able to dish out solid melee damage. Be the last one on your team to go down, completely shut down one foe, help your allies, and inflict pretty good melee damage.

    Variant Human Eldritch Knight at 6th level. Combat Style is Duelist, which gives +2 one handed weapon damage. 1st level Feat is Shield Master.

    Stats

    STR 20 (+5); DEX 12 (+1); CON 14 (+2); INT 10 (0); WIS 12 (+1); CHA 11 (0)

    Saving throws of note: STR at +8; CON at +5.

    Skills

    Athletics is at +8, which is great for grappling and shoving prone. Everything else is +0 to +4. Perception, which is the most used skill in the game, is +4.

    Combat

    This guy is very hard to damage and has several main attack routines.

    * Attacks usually open with a Bonus Action Shield Bash to knock prone. The Bat familiar flutters out, blinding and confusing a foe and giving Advantage to the Shield Bash. A shield bash performed with +8 Athletics and Advantage will rarely fail.

    * Instead of the weapon attacks drop the sword and Grapple the prone foe. With your two grapple attempts, each a Contest of Athletics at +8, are very likely to succeed. At this point the foe is usually Prone and Grappled. The foe's options are generally all bad: either attack with disadvantage due to being prone (unlikely to succeed), else try to break the grapple and stand up (uses Action & unlikely to succeed).

    * After attempting to knock the foe prone attack twice with a sword. Numbers on both attacks are +8 to hit (Advantage vs a prone foe) for 1d8+7 damage. Inflicts about 21 HP per round vs. AC15 and usually knocks one foe prone.

    * If you have the chance to beat on a prone & grappled foe then attack with your Shield as an improvised weapon. Only +5 to hit, but with advantage, for only 1d4+7 damage. The benefit here is that the foe remains prone and grappled.

    Also you can drag the prone & grappled foe up to 15' and still use your Bonus Action to knock a different foe prone.

    Defense starts with AC 20 from Plate Armor & Shield, and the "standard" 51 HP one gets with CON 14 as a fighter. Most attacks against you will have Disadvantage, either because you stand within Minor Illusion cover, Protection from Evil/Good is active, or because the foe is prone. Use the Shield spell to stop the rare big-damage attack that would otherwise get through (requires a free hand). Shield Master gives you extra protection versus DEX-based magical attacks, such as Fireball.

  2. Spellcasting

    Spells are strictly for Defense and utility, not for offense. Knows four spells, and has 3 1st level spell slots.

    Cantrips

    Light: You are human and need to be able to see in dark places.

    Minor Illusion: Lots of tricky uses. One option is to provide yourself illusory cover, giving all attacks against you Disadvantage.

    1st level Spells

    Shield: +5 bonus to AC for one turn as a reaction, and no damage from magic missile. Reserve most of your spell slots for this. Warning: requires a free hand, so often won't work. Take War Caster as your 8th level feat to both solve
    this problem and give Advantage on Concentration Checks, since by then you will have some good 2nd level Concentration spells, with Enlarge Person topping the list. Alternately, take War Caster as your 4th level feat and reach 20 STR at 8th level.

    Find Familiar: Knowing this spell lets you replace a dead familiar. Your Bat familiar usually gives you advantage on your Shield Bash attempts, greatly helping you knock foes prone. Note that there is no penalty in 5E for having your familiar die.

    Alarm: Use one unused spell slot to ensure a safe Long rest.

    Protection from Evil and Good: use your concentration to protect someone against aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead. This is your only Concentration spell.

    Parting Shot

    This build stresses Defense and Battlefield Control. Your defenses are very strong, starting with excellent AC, good HP, foes often have disadvantage on attacks and thus rarely score a critical hit, and Shield Master provides extra protection against spells. You can either neutralize & lock down one foe and drag that foe around the battlefield, OR just knock foes prone & inflict melee damage. Against AC 15, 85% twice is an expected 20 HP per turn and foe is usually prone.

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