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There are a lot of builds for SAD (Single Attribute Dependent) characters out there, which can be further helped along with the addition of certain magical items, spells, etc. However, I've yet to see a good SAD build designed around solely Constitution.

One build I had though of would be a 20th-level Ancestral Guardian barbarian Hill Dwarf, with the Dwarven Fortitude, Tough, and Durable feats, with a maxed out Constitution score, going unarmored (still has a shield).

Basically, the goal would be to use your attacks to get your abilities to draw attackers towards you, where you would focus on taking the brunt of the damage, and occasionally using the Dodge action to heal yourself up a bit using your Hit Dice (thanks to Dwarven Fortitude). This is obviously more of a tank/defender build, where your high Constitution is used primarily to make you a wall of hit points, but I was also wondering if there were any builds that were more Offensive than Defensive in nature.

What builds are possible besides the Barbarian build I've listed above?

  • I know that Moon Druid can be a great tank due to their unlimited high-level Wildshapes, but as that build doesn't necessarily benefit from having a high Constitution, I don't think it's quite what I'm looking for.
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closed as primarily opinion-based by Ruse, Miniman, linksassin, enkryptor, mxyzplk Aug 18 at 15:33

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Falconer: You should leave suggested builds as answers, not as comments. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 17 at 23:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is Dwarven Fortitude a requirement for builds or merely your idea? Currently I see this question as fairly opinion based as you don't give any criteria for what makes one build better than another. Some more restrictions or goals would be helpful. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Aug 18 at 7:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ You might benefit more from asking why SAD Constitution builds are difficult/what unique obstacles they face than from asking if you can make one. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Aug 18 at 18:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ What is the goal of this build to determine if something is better than your listed option? Simply asking for a con build doesn't provide a metric. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 18 at 19:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure that as it stands this isn't opinion based without determining what the measuring stick is. If there isn't a way to compare the builds, this is just generating build ideas. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 18 at 22:21
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Since your projected build requires your character to be a Dwarf for certain feats, this means that being a Fire Genasi for an easy attack power isn't possible. However, in "Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron", assuming the contents of this book are allowed at your table, there's a feat available that can grant you access to one sorcerer cantrip that uses your constitution as its spellcasting ability. It also raises your constitution score by 1, which is definitely in the spirit of your build.

Feat: Aberrant Dragonmark (WGtE, p.112)

Prerequisite: No existing dragonmark.

You have manifested an aberrant dragonmark. Determine its appearance and the flaw associated with it. You gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your Constitution score by 1, to a maximum of 20.

  • You learn a cantrip from the sorcerer spell list. In addition, choose a 1st-level spell from the sorcerer spell list. You learn that spell and can cast it at its lowest level. Once you cast it, you must finish a long rest before you can cast it again. Constitution is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

  • You can increase the power of your aberrant spells at the risk of your own vitality. When you cast a spell with your aberrant mark, you can use one of your Hit Dice to increase the spell’s level by 1. Immediately after you cast the spell, roll the Hit Die. You take damage equal to the number rolled.

The major drawback of using this feat as a means of getting CON-based attacks is that it is impossible to cast spells while raging, which this character will definitely do, as you intend it to be a tank for the party.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a great suggestion, but would be even better if you had recommendations for sorcerer spells to pick. Something like produce flame that can be turned on and then lasts, so you can start raging after casting the spell, would be ideal if it exists on that list. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 18 at 12:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kryan as far as I know, there are no cantrips available to sorcerer that would allow this build to attack more than once after raging. Also, since the base class is barbarian, not attacking with strength means that he can't use some of his class features, though that doesn't seem to be too problematic to OP. \$\endgroup\$ – Dungarth Aug 18 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I actually play a Fire Genasi in a game, and I had forgotten that Produce Flame keyed off of Constitution. \$\endgroup\$ – Jay Kay Aug 18 at 21:03
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I would suggest a Fire Genasi, with fire resistance and the Produce Flame cantrip keyed off Constitution. The rest of your barbarian build could work fine with this.

The other Genasi races also get +2 con bonus, but none of them have an attack spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If OP changes the race to fire genasi, they can't take the Dwarven Fortitude feat. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 18 at 6:06
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Boomtar the Boarbarian Beastmaster

Here is an idea for a constitution based PC, 6th level build.

Multiclass 1 lvl Barbarian, 5 lvl’s Ranger; Beastmaster archetype.

Beasthide Shifter (+1 Dex, +2 Con)

Point Buy: 14,15,14,10,10,8

  • Str 14
  • Dex 16
  • Con 16
  • Int 10
  • Wis 10
  • Cha 08

The shifter race is weretouched, born with a form of lycanthropy rather than afflicted with the condition later in life. This race has a few possible sub-races, but the one best for a constitution build is the beasthide subrace due to the bonus to Con, as well as temporary HP and AC when shifted.

Beasthide Shift: As a bonus action, assume a more bestial appearance. When you shift gain +1 bonus to your AC. Also gain temporary hit points equal to 1d6 + your level + Constitution modifier. Once per short or long rest, lasts 1 minute. (Paraphrased from dndbeyond)

Boomtar by level 6 has 72HP with the Tough feat. And his boar companion named Chromium has 20HP.

The player can absorb a sum of 92 points of damage, with shifting the damage soak increases to 105 (on average).

Compare with a straight Barbarian and the Tough feat, at 6th level the Barbarian would have 77HP total and no companion.

Beast companion hit point maximum equals four times your ranger level. (PHB, p.93) 4x5=20hp

The first level dip into Barbarian is for the 15 (12 +3 Con) starting HP, and the unarmored defence feature.

After that, each level of Ranger provides 9HP, taking the Tough feat at level 5 (Ranger 4th lvl Ability Score Improvement) gives an extra 10HP, then a bonus of 2HP for level 6. (15+9+9+9+9+10+11 = 72HP)

Unarmored Defense: While you are not wearing any armor, your Armor Class equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Constitution modifier. You can use a shield and still gain this benefit. (PHB, p48)

Boomtar carries a shield and has normal AC of 18 (10 +3 Con, +3 Dex, +2 Shield = 18), 19 when shifted.

Why a boar companion? It must be 1/4 challenge rating or lower and the boar meets that criteria. More importantly the boar is great at tanking due to the relentless feat. When reduced to zero hit points it drops to 1 HP instead. This gives your companion a round to escape if combat turns dicey. The boar adds options in combat, it can rush in and knock an enemy prone or draw fire away from other PC’s.

Now aside from incredible hit-points and formidable AC, this build is versatile. Boomtar has a great long range attack (+3 Dex) and martial prowess (+2 melee damage when raging). But also has 4 known spells!

Boomtar Spells:

  • Level 1 (4 slots)
  • Hunters Mark
  • Cure wounds (1d8 hp)
  • Level 2 (2 slots)
  • Spike Growth
  • Lesser Restoration

Example combat encounter: Boomtar’s shirt blasts off his back as a thick coat of spiny hairs sprout from all over his body. Boomtar raises his shield and commands Chromium to charge into the mouth of the cave. A brawny Orc stands guard wearing a necklace made from a dozen elven ears. Chromium hurtles forward and gores the Orc with his tusks, knocking him prone. Three more Orcs scramble up to the cave opening, whipping javelins. The brawny Orc staggers up off the ground and strikes back. Chromium is gushing blood, several sticks now protrude from his body.

Boomtar begins to rage, hucking two hatchets - one cracks the brawny Orcs skull in two, the other flies past and grotesquely slices through a second Orc.

Chromium is relentless, although heavily injured he retreats behind Boomtar to live another day. The final two Orcs dart toward Boomtar and hack away at him with their axes.

Boomtar resists their blows, completely unphased he marks the Orcs as his prey. Swinging his morning star with great force, Boomtar blungeons one more to death.

The remaining Orc disengages and turns to run, pattering away the ground below him begins to twist. The earth sprouts spikes and thorns digging into his flesh, his feet become bloodied, the Orc stops in his tracks. Boomtar pulls a javelin out of Chromiums body and chucks it through the air. The javelin sprouts thorns like the earth that it’s careening toward, the Orc attempts to dodge but is brutally skewered in place. Boomtar tends to Chromiums wounds and they descend further into the cave.

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