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I've started playing DnD for the first time two months ago (hey, coronavirus).

My character is a half-orc fighter, currently level 3. His attributes are STR 19, DEX 14, CON 16, INT 9, WISDOM 10, CHA 11. I'd spent a lot of time thinking about him at first, and I had a clear image of him wielding a battleaxe and a warhammer when fighting, and I really liked that. But then, as a noob, I wanted to see what was a "good" fighter build. Unfortunately, most of what I found led me to the same conclusion: Two Weapon Fighting is good for five levels, then gradually gets wrecked in comparison to a Great Weapon Fighter. What's more, as I chose the Battlemaster archetype, some number of my battle maneuvers require a bonus action, which take away my additional attack as a dual wielder. And, unfortunately, last session, I already got to experience the huge difference in damage output between me and my party's Paladin (who's also using the Great Weapon Fighting style).

Since then I've really started to think about what I should be going towards while keeping what I had in mind. So, my question is actually be two:

  • What kind of build and multiclassing should I be aiming for ? (mainly talking about the ASI and feats I should use, dip in Barbarian ?)

or

  • Should I instead ask my DM if I could re-work my character, mainly to select the Great Weapon Fighting style (and make my maneuvers more reliable) ?

Just to be clear, I'm not looking to optimize the hell out of my character. I'd just like to have a bit of insight on the options I have so that I don't "feel left behind" as much as my party levels up. This is my first campaign, my first character, so I'd really, really like to keep playing him without him being a Fighter that doesn't do his job correctly (I'm the only other melee guy in the party).

Thank you for your time.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How are you defining 'good'? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 20 at 20:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ And what type of character so you actually want to play? If pure optimization isn't what you're really after, then what are you trying to achieve? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 20 at 21:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ And my manners are terrible! Welcome to our stack! Please take the tour to learn more about us and you can visit the help center for more information. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 20 at 21:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think about "Good" as something along the lines of "not sub-optimal" and "not counter-productive", choices that go into improving my character by making use of the class and race. And what I'm tring to achieve, well, I just want to make sure I'm not left hanging behind as the party levels up. The Paladin we have is already hitting harder than I do, and the Rogue, Warlock and Cleric have been useful from the start of the campaign (and we're all DnD noobs). \$\endgroup\$ – TheOkaysian May 20 at 21:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ 1) Welcome to rpg stack exchange. 2) Usually you should try to ask a question that is not an opinion. Ask a question that can be definitively answered. Like, which weapon produces more damage for my barbarian build- an axe or a hammer. 3) Also, try to ask only one question per post. It's great to ask lots of questions but each one should be in a new post. \$\endgroup\$ – Adenine2k May 20 at 21:34
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As a Battlemaster, you're more of a tank/controller type than pure damage - and that's probably a great place for you, assuming you have a fairly well-rounded party. The Paladin seems to have consistent damage output covered already, and I'm going to assume you have a Rogue, a Wizard (or maybe a Sorcerer or Warlock), and a Cleric (or Druid) to cover the main four archetypes.

To get one thing out of the way really quickly, Battlemaster only has three maneuvers that use your bonus action - Commander's Strike, Feinting Attack, and Rally. Feinting Attack is particularly good against hard to hit foes - advantage and some bonus damage. Rally saves a friend a few hp. Commander's Strike, however, is probably worth your bonus action every time you use it: either the Paladin gets a free swing with their Great Weapon Mastery, or the Rogue can pull off their sneak attack off-turn. (They're limited to once per turn, not once per their turn, so your Commander's Strike can let them do their ridiculous amount of damage twice as often.)

Your other maneuvers, whichever you select, can do things from reducing damage and allowing counterattacks, to tripping and disarming foes and moving people around the battlefield. It will require more thought and planning than a Great Weapon specialist just wading in and hitting things, but as you reach higher levels, you'll find the ability to control the foes will make you a very valuable ally - and your Paladin will be valued more for their other abilities than hitting a few points harder than you. Don't worry that you're not "doing your job" - keeping the Wizard and Rogue alive and in position do their thing is your thing.

Regarding feats and ability scores: Martial Adept wouldn't be terrible, giving you an extra maneuver per short rest and two more maneuvers known. Dual Wielder is obvious for you, giving you something to do with your bonus action when you're not using it for a maneuver on top of a point of Armor Class. Heavy Armor Master is a great choice.

If you want to focus on your battlefield control, Sentinel is amazing - it's got three effects that all make you a better tank. First, hitting a foe with an opportunity attack stops their movement that turn. Second, enemies can't escape your opportunity attacks by Disengaging. And finally, foes that attack your allies when you're near them also feel the wrath of your opportunity attack. Another controller choice is Mage Slayer - it's more niche than Sentinel, but against spellcasters, you become quite dangerous.

If you're looking for more defense, Resilient (Wisdom or Dexterity) is a pretty good choice, as you're likely to be a prime mind-control target, and caught in the middle of area effect spells often. Offensively, Savage Attacker could increase your damage output consistently without needing to change your build.

An option many melee classes don't consider is Magic Initiate. While you don't have the casting stats for attack/debuff spells, your stats generally don't matter for utility and buffing spells. Although note that many spells require a free hand to cast - but you can always drop a weapon if you need to, or cast buffs before you draw. Just a few sample options:

Druid: Mold Earth (create difficult terrain or low walls to make your squishies harder to squish) and Control Flame (play with light levels to make use of your darkvision or let your allies see further in the dark), Healing Word to save an ally from a distance or Absorb Elements to take half damage from any elemental effect once per day.

Wizard: Booming Blade (uses a normal melee attack, if you hit, the target takes extra damage if they move) and Minor Illusion, Feather Fall, Shield, or Protection from Evil and Good (one ally is immune to mind control from six monster types that have it often, as well as being harder for them to hit).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just realized I didn't actually answer your main question about feats/ASI and multiclassing. Will revisit, but my advice stands as far as you pulling your weight as a Fighter when there's a Great Weapon Paladin in the party. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 May 20 at 21:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Damn, thank you for your answer ! I suppose I really didn't approach it the right way and didn't understand everything concerning the maneuvers. This being said, I would love to have your thoughts on the feats/ASI. Apart from Heavy Armor Master and Dual Wielder, I've having a hard time planning what could be good choices (by good, I mean "Not counter-productive"). \$\endgroup\$ – TheOkaysian May 20 at 21:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's common for a new player to think a Fighter's main job is hitting things until they die, and it's ok to play that way - but past about level 5, which is about where you said you were concerned about falling behind, coincidentally - the Wizard is in their element with spells like fireball and charm monster and the Rogue is doing several d6 with their Sneak Attack. Keeping them alive and doing their thing will not only kill bad guys much faster than getting one more d6+4 hammer swing in, but they'll love you for it, too. (And you can still swing both weapons most turns anyway.) \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 May 20 at 21:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ edited in some feat options for you. Obviously, they're not the end-all-be-all, but just stuff to get you thinking. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 May 20 at 22:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ since you mention Sentinel: about the best combination of feats in 5e is Sentinel + Polearm Master. The latter grants you an opportunity attack when you wield a polearm and someone enters your reach, while Sentinel stops them. Combined with a reach weapon (which most polearms are anyway), this allows you to stop anybody on the stop who gets within 10 feet of you. For most medium and large melee foes, this means they can't do anything for the rest of their turn. Of course, it requires you to hit, and you can only use it on one opponent, but it's still a pretty powerful combination. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster May 25 at 21:19

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