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This adventure I found on DMsGuild seems like it would be fun to play, and it comes with several character options. One in particular, the Survivalist Martial Archetype, seems like something I'd like to play in a different game, as a player. Is this fighter subclass balanced compared to the existing official ones?

Survivalist

Survivalist fighters don't battle the storm. They weather it. Engaging with a survivalist in combat leaves an enemy gasping for breath from attrition after a long and hard-fought battle while the fighter slips away, no worse for wear.

Keep Moving

Starting at 3rd level, you are steady and consistent over long distances and suffer less from the strains of both travel and combat. You ignore any detrimental effects of difficult terrain, you have advantage on Constitution saving throws, and when you take a long rest, you require only half the normal amount of time you would otherwise need.

Padded Armor Master

Starting at 3rd level, when you wear padded armour, your AC is 16 plus your Constitution modifier, you have resistance to cold and fire damage, and padded armour doesn't give you disadvantage on your Dexterity (Stealth) checks.

Let Me Catch My Breath

Starting at 7th level, when you spend hit dice to heal yourself, you regain the maximum amount possible from each die. Additionally, as an action, you can spend two hit dice to immediately gain the effects of a short rest. You do not gain hit points from the hit dice you spend to trigger this feature, but you can immediately spend additional hit dice to heal yourself.

Sure Footing

Starting at 10th level, when you wear padded armour, your AC is 18 plus your Constitution modifier. Additionally, you have advantage on Strength and Dexterity saving throws, plus advantage on saving throws and ability checks to avoid being knocked prone or to avoid or escape from a grapple.

Extra Padding

Starting at 15th level, while you're wearing padded armour, any critical hit against you becomes a normal hit, and you have immunity to cold and fire damage.

Survivor

Starting at 18th level, at the start of each of your turns in combat, you regain hit points equal to 5 + your Constitution modifier (minimum of 1 hit point). You don’t gain this benefit if you have 0 hit points or if you have more than half of your hit points left.

My Musings:

  • The AC seems unusually high for a PC
  • A in-combat short rest seems powerful
  • Survivor is probably balanced, as it is taken directly from the Champion fighter archetype.
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No, this is very strong and unlikely to be balanced.

Going over the abilities:

Keep Moving is probably fine. It's thematic and the most potent ability is the advantage on constitution saves. There's ways to gain advantage on some (or even most) important constitution saves like Dwarven Poison Resistance and Warcaster. Although there's none that grant advantage to all of them, it's probably not overly powerful, especially since you don't cast spells and poison damage makes up a good chunk of what's left; the rest is just environmental damage which is more "thematic" than "useful".

Padded armor master is a problem though. Starting at 3rd level, that gives you an AC quite a bit higher than any other class can reach. 16 is already "Heavy armor" level AC but adding your con modifier (which is either your best or second best stat if you're playing this) is likely to push your AC to 18 or 19 immediately (comparable or better than Plate Armor, which you shouldn't have at this point) and from just this ability it's going to grow to base AC 21 as your con goes up to 20.

Let Me Catch My Breath has two abilities. Getting maximum benefit from spending hit dice is fine. However getting a short rest as an action almost certainly isn't. You're a Fighter, all your abilities refresh with a short rest, including your Action Surge, and this can be done in combat.

Even the Catnap spell (which takes up a 3rd level spell slot) only reduces the time for a short rest to 10 minutes; not even close to something you can do in combat.

Sure Footing just makes the "16 + con mod" AC which is already too high for D&D 5e's scaling system, and just makes it worse. This puts you at a base AC of 23, which is just too high for most monsters to hit when you add in other bonuses (like a shield).

Extra Padding gives flat immunity to 2 pretty common damage types, which also causes all kinds of problems, and it's very rare for anything to give you immunity to damage at all, let alone permanent immunity.

Survivor is probably fine; I think there's other classes with fast healing while you're under half health. Plus, it's a capstone.

But yeah, the AC scaling is out of whack. Completing an entire rest in the middle of combat is not okay. And permament damage immunity to common damage types is also not something players should get. So overall, way too strong.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Survivor (the capstone) is taken from the Champion fighter archetype. \$\endgroup\$
    – User 23415
    Commented May 14 at 15:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another issue I see with Padded armor mastery is what happens if you wear a magic padded armor? Do you gain the benefit of it? As written, I would say no. \$\endgroup\$
    – Negdo
    Commented May 15 at 8:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do I understand correctly, that you are saying that "various classes, races and feats" can give permanent advantage to Con saves, just like this homebrew? Can you name some examples for that? The only thing I could find is the Epic Boon of Perfect Health, which really isn't comparable to a level 3 class feature. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 28 at 11:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TreeSpawned huh... I apparently misremembered all the examples I had. I clearly haven't played recently enough. All of them either grant proficiency or apply only to another ability. I'll reprhase it a bit; still don't think it's overly powerful, but it is apparently quite unique. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented May 28 at 15:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik Did you find abilities that apply to all Saves with an attribute other than Con? E.g. all Str Saves? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 28 at 16:17

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