The DM. Yes, he goes by many names in the table-top community and she may also have the most feared position at the table. Many a character has died by his hand. Many a player has wept at her feet. “Methinks the DM doth have too much power,” to paraphrase that part in Hamlet. While we may have limited tools to defend ourselves against this tyrant, we have the books, magic, and our intuition.
Well, let your spite take over and use these brutal ways to break 5e (Which is typically really difficult to do which is why there's only 3 ways I could work up.) Please note I am using the optional feat rule and Volo’s Guide to Monsters, as well the optional multi-classing rule for some of these.
1- The Speedster
“Well I’ve got a 50 ft speed,” Said the Barbarian to the party, “I can outrun all of you.” Imagine his surprise when you almost make a sonic boom and move from one side to the battlefield in less than a turn. While this build will require most likely require a merciful DM (ironic considering my rant, I know,) and some pretty solid rolls on loot, it is more than worth it in the long… run (One).
In order to make this scary fast character you’re going to need to take the monk class, the Tabaxi race (Volos guide), the mobile feat, boots of speed, a haste spell and the dash action. When you put all of this together you come to a grand total of 1,120 feet in a turn. Allow me to break down the implications of this. If we look through the PHB they say a turn is roughly 6 seconds. If we do all of our calculations, you make a top speed of 205 KPH (127 MPH). Note: If this monk is made he is most certainly addicted to a very dangerous drug-speed. ( I’m not funny, also, two.)
Maybe you don’t have boots of speed or the haste spell. Maybe you don’t even have the option to use feats. In that case, we still have the Tabaxi’s ability to double their speed for a turn, the dash action, and a max speed (at level 20) of 60 feet. Which means that at our worst we’re working with 240 feet maximum, which works out to 44 KPH (27 MPH). This speed is actually the fastest speed ever recorded by a human in real life, making it a bit better for a more realistic campaign. That really makes me want to BOLT (three) to the character sheets to whip up our fast feline.
2- See all, Know all
If you’re like me and didn’t realize passive perception was a thing for the first while of playing 5e, then you were probably kicking yourself constantly asking your players to roll perception for everything under the sun, or asking to roll for perception constantly. Might as well try to redeem yourself with this build.
(Please note I actually stumbled upon this build and was inspired to write this article through Nerdarchy, find their youtube channel here find their webpage here.)
For this character you’re going to need the Observant feat, multiclassing as a ranger/rogue, putting your expertise (from the rogue class) into perception and investigation, high wisdom and intelligence, the Alert feat, and a robe of eyes. Allow me to show you the full power of this build; As you should know the highest DC in game 30, at level 10 (5 ranger/ 5 rogue) your total passive perception score is 28 (with a 20 WIS). At level 20, (again half and half) your total passive perception would be 32. Capped at 30 obviously. With the robe, you gain an advantage, darkvision (if you don't already have it), the ability to see invisibility (with 30 passive perception you’re pretty much already doing that) and the ability to see into the ethereal plane. Essentially you’re not going to miss much. EYE(four) think this is a pretty impressive build.(P.S. Might as well throw in a ring of x-ray vision because why not?)
Swim speeds sure are handy. They may not be something you utilize constantly, but in a campaign where you’re always on the high seas or consistently around water, it becomes almost a necessity. With Volo’s guide, we received a few new races playing around with the many speeds in D&D. To me the Lizardfolk have a certain charm in comparison to the other three races that offer new speed types and even though the Tabaxi can SCALE(five) things with relative ease, the Lizardfolk have a bonus to AC that has lead me to find a most interesting combination.
To perform this little trick the Lizardfolk race needs to be selected, as well as the barbarian class,a damn good CON and DEX, a ring of protection, a cloak of protection, and might as well grab a shield +3 (Note: During the rest of this article I tried to limit the amount of magical items to two when whipping up a game break, but without the maxed out shield, it couldn’t really be considered “game breaking,” also I assumed the Lizardfolk’s 13 base would apply to the unarmoured defence.)
So, let's go this route; Lets operate under the assumption that you’re a level 20, and that your CON is 24 and your DEX is a respectable 18. At this point I’m really sick of math so I’m just going to blatantly say that your AC would be 31. Which as you know is completely insane. If we go to the absolute extreme with the rest of this and say that you have also read the Manual of Bodily Health and the Manual of Quickness of Action (Put the DEX at a cool 22 max and the CON a mighty 26 max) your total AC would be a grand total of 34. Which puts you in a CLASS(six) of your own, as the Tarrasque(highest AC in 5e) has an AC of 25.
Long story short any game you try to break will break. However that does kind of suck the fun out of it doesn’t it? Although, every now and then everyone wants to sit back and relax in “god mode” for a while. No back BREAKING(a forced seventh) carry weight can stop you, no dirty CON(I’m really hating myself at eight) on a corner can fool you and no blade can SLICE(wait that’s not a pun) your thick skin. When it comes to basic characters, try to optimise, but keep in mind, there is a thing as “too” powerful, especially in games where balance is such a key aspect, and a part of the multiplayer aspect of D&D. If you want something where you’re good at everything and have powers of a god, go play an Elder Scrolls game.
Jarod Lalonde is a young role-player and writer whose passion for both lead him here. He’s often sarcastic and has a +5 to insult. Dungeons and Dragons is his favorite platform. Although he’s not quite sure if it’s Call of Cthulhu whispering to him in the small hours of the night, or just persistent flashbacks to the Far Realm.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.