The Fairy race, first printed in the adventure Supplement Wild Beyond the Witchlight, is a flying race that has the following restriction on the use of its flying speed:
Because of your wings, you have a flying speed equal to your walking speed. You can't use this flying speed if you're wearing medium or heavy armor.
This, combined with 5th edition's point buy setup, can make it rather challenging to make a Fairy character that uses Strength as its primary ability score. Since the fairy cannot wear medium or heavy armor and still benefit from flight, it is typically more suited to dexterity-based characters as well as spellcasters.
The Rune Knight Fighter from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything is interesting in many ways; one way is its Giant's Might feature. The two main effects of this are as follows:
If you are smaller than Large, you become Large, along with anything you are wearing. If you lack the room to become Large, your size doesn't change.
You have advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
This does several things for the Rune Knight. Most notably it makes them an exceptional grappler by granting them advantage on the relevant ability check, while also increasing their size to expand the size range of creatures they can grapple. Another minor thing it accomplishes is allowing a Small-sized Rune Knight to use Heavy weapons without disadvantage while the feature is active, and using such weapons is ideal for increasing damage output.
With Rune Knight being inclined towards Strength-based characters and Fairies being inclined towards Dexterity-based characters, how can I combine this race and class while minimizing complications? The options I can think of are as follows:
- Be dexterity-based, use Rapier and Shield, buy at least a 12 strength and take the Skill Expert feat to still be good at grappling
- Multiclass into Barbarian for Unarmored Defense as well as other advantages
- Buy a decent (14) dexterity and take the Defense fighting style
I am looking for options that would be available at the most levels of play possible, especially in tier 1, which makes multiclassing into Barbarian rather impractical, in addition to not yielding a spectacular armor class regardless. My preference for a character like this is to utilize two-handed weapons, but use non-heavy weapons when Giant's Might is not in use. For the most part, my desire to use Strength as the primary ability score mostly stems from the Rune Knight's grappling ability.
For the purposes of character building, I typically consider a 16 armor class to be "Ok", and an 18 armor class to be "Good" when it comes to the lower levels. Below a 16 armor class seems to be more realistic, so at least a 14 or 15 should be acceptable.