Based, essentially, on Can a support combat style be effective without magic?, I was thinking on a Dex-based Barbarian (at least for the low levels) using Ancestral Guardian. The fundamental concept is:
- Be a 3rd level Barbarian (the first two levels might be harsh, this is one of my first concerns). Choose Ancestral Guardian.
- Have 16 DEX, 16 CON, stay naked. 16 natural AC (which scales to 20 at +5/+5) isn't bad.
- Have 13 STR, just enough to multi-class into Fighter later on.
- Just stay far away shooting with your Longbow while Raging and triggering Ancestral protectors.
Neither Rage1 or Ancestral Protectors need a melee attack, just an attack. The multiclass into Fighter is to get Archery style - and possibly actually become a Fighter X/Barbarian 3 (Eventually Barbarian 4 for the ASI) in order to increase damage, since many other features from barbarian are Str-based, while Fighter is more open for Dex/Ranged style.
Point is: I'm aware I'm losing the +2 damage from rage, as well as losing some more damage since melee weapons are generally stronger than ranged (2d6 >> 1d10, GWF exists, etc.) but other than the average damage on hit, inability to use Reckless Attack and MAD (since it will need at least a 15/14/13 distribution on stats), is there some other trade-off I'm missing? More generally, can this build be used in an average level of play without being detrimental to the party? As a secondary question, am I missing something that actually makes the build not work at all?
The goal here is obviously to provide, when needed, guaranted resistance against enemy attacks for the whole party but myself, but I'm staying safe far away.
Also, I'm aware that a normal, Str-based, tanky Barbarian can handle the damage pretty well (i.e. I don't need to be far away shooting with a Longbow) and trigger the Protectors as well. I'm interested in this particular concept of dex-barbarian, though.
1 I mean rage doesn't need a melee attack to keep going - it needs a melee attack for the +X damage.