Featured art for the D&D 5e Champion Fighter revision is a combination of images by Wizards of the Coast in Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica and Cederic Vandenberghe on Unsplash.
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“The archetypal Champion focuses on the development of raw physical power honed to deadly perfection. Those who model themselves on this archetype combine rigorous training with physical excellence to deal devastating blows.” – D&D 5e Player’s Handbook
Welcome to another of Flutes Loot’s revisions! Today we targeted the Champion Fighter, an archetype known for its remarkable blandness. We want to breathe life into this subclass by reworking its features and inventing new ones when it makes sense. We’ll explain our method before jumping into the revision.
Two Champion Fighter Revisionists
I’m joined by Shard for this revision. We’ve worked together on revisions in the past, and we enjoy flexing our game-design muscles to improve subclasses that need more love.
We combined our collective ideas on how to revise this subclass to make a top-notch Champion. The third revisionist is you, so please leave any thoughts in the comments. You never know when you’ll be the one to blow our minds with your ideas. This isn’t our first revision, so we know we rely on other brains to help tune this revision into something we’re proud of. Thank you for reading and participating in this passion project!
Our Champion Fighter Revision Goals
Our philosophy is to enhance what a subclass already has baked into it. We don’t want to throw everything out and start over. For the Champion Fighter, we locked on to its features’ themes of critical hits, survival, and athleticism. Unfortunately, the RAW 5e Champion touches on each of those themes but fails to deliver a meaningful experience. Let’s fix that!
We want this character to feel like they’re a cut above all other martial characters when it comes to pure mastery of combat. Many of the best characters use magic to augment their abilities, so we want the Champion to hold its own and find its own niche in a game dominated by spellcasters.
How to Read this Champion Fighter Revision Article
Here is a quick explanation for my text formatting so you can quickly discern between my homebrew suggestions, what already existed for the subclass, and my commentary on why I did or did not change something.
- Bolded text is a subclass feature’s text.
- Italicized text indicates my homebrew alterations to Champion Fighter subclass features.
- The entire description of each feature is bold so you can differentiate between the feature and our commentary.
- Our commentary is below each Champion Fighter feature in normal unformatted text.
The Champion Fighter Revised
You can reference the PHB for the original Champion subclass.
Level 3: Improved Critical [Reworked]
Beginning when you choose this archetype at 3rd level, your weapon attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20. After scoring a critical hit against a creature with a weapon attack, your next weapon attack that targets that creature before the end of your next turn gets a +2 bonus to its attack and damage rolls.
When you score a critical hit with a weapon attack, you may activate your Second Wind ability as part of the attack. Doing so allows you to heal yourself as usual with Second Wind, and you may add 1d10 to your weapon attack’s damage (it becomes 2d10 due to the critical hit). If you don’t have Second Wind available, you can instead expend one of your Hit Dice and add it to the weapon attack’s damage.
The deceptive thing about Improved Critical by RAW is that it does very little for a Fighter that isn’t multiclassing. Even then, it’s not great. We wanted to make this feature more worthwhile and interesting.
Adding an effect to buff follow-up attacks after a critical hit is helpful. It can lead to a series of successes with attacks. My favorite part of this change, however, is the incorporation of Second Wind as a crit booster. Champions don’t add extra dice to attacks like Rogues with Sneak Attack or Paladins with Divine Smite. This revision allows Second Wind to heal the character and boost critical damage simultaneously. It makes crits feel more substantial, not merely +5% more frequent. Using Second Wind without requiring a bonus action can be helpful, too; many character builds want to maximize action economy by weaponizing their bonus actions, so we want Second Wind to stay out of the way.
Level 3: Remarkable Athlete [Reworked/Level Changed]
Starting at 3rd level, you can add half your proficiency bonus (round up) to any Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution check you make that doesn’t already use your proficiency bonus.
In addition, when you make a running long jump or high jump, the distance/height you can cover increases by a number of feet equal to your Strength modifier. Finally, you gain an additional use of your Second Wind so it can be used twice per short/long rest instead of once.
As a bonus action, for up to 1 minute you can either increase your movement speed by 10ft, or gain a climbing or swimming speed equal to your walking speed. You regain the use of this ability after a short or long rest.
This feature is incredibly weak by RAW, especially at level seven. Moving it to level three and buffing it makes sense for a subclass defined by being a specimen of athletic prowess.
My revision is focusing on the Second Wind feature that all Fighters possess. Remarkable Athlete feeds into my Second Wind goals with this revision. This additional use of Second Wind will make it a valuable resource as this subclass progresses. This character will have the combat endurance of a triathlon veteran.
The bonus action to gain mobility and new climbing speeds make this character a proper triathlon athlete (for a time). In a burst of energy and skill, this Fighter can win American Ninja Warrior several times over before needing a breather.
If you think this feature needs a little more to it, here is another line to add: “Choose Athletics or Acrobatics. From now on, make all checks for your chosen skill with advantage.“
Level 7: Fighting Style Mastery [Reworked/Level Changed]
At 7th level, you can choose a second option from the Fighting Style class feature or you can upgrade a Fighting Style you’ve already chosen, replacing the one you already know with its improved version in the list below. You cannot gain a Fighting Style that you’ve currently upgraded (such as by multiclassing).
Master Archer (upgraded Archery): You gain a +3 bonus to attack rolls and a +2 bonus to damage rolls you make with ranged weapons.
Defense Mastery (upgraded Defense): While you are wearing armor, you gain a +3 bonus to AC.
Master Duelist (upgraded Dueling): When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +3 bonus to damage rolls and a +2 bonus to attack rolls with that weapon.
Great Weapon Annihilator (upgraded Great Weapon Fighting): When you roll 1-3 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands (due to the two-handed or versatile property), you can treat the roll as a 4. You also gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with two-handed or versatile weapons when you wield them with two hands.
Master Protector (upgraded Protection): When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll and give the target of the attack three-fourths cover until the end of the turn. You must be wielding a shield to use this reaction. Additionally, you gain the ability to use a second reaction each round to use Master Protector, but you may only do so a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus. You regain use of this second reaction when you complete a short or long rest.
Two-Weapon Fury (upgraded Two-Weapon Fighting): You can draw or stow two weapons instead of one with your free action. When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can make the two-weapon fighting attack that would normally use your bonus action without using your bonus action. You can make two attacks with two-weapon fighting instead of one if you choose to use your bonus action as normal for two-weapon fighting. You can add your damage modifier to all attacks you make with two-weapon fighting.
Sightless Master (upgraded Blind Fighting): You have blindsight with a range of 15 feet. Within that range, you can effectively see anything that isn’t behind total cover, even if you’re blinded or in darkness. Moreover, you can see an invisible creature within that range, unless the creature successfully hides from you. You can use the Hide action as a bonus action.
Interception Master (upgraded Interception): When a creature you can see hits a target, other than you, within 5 feet of you with an attack, you can use your reaction to reduce the damage the target takes by 2d6 + your proficiency bonus (to a minimum of 0 damage). You must be wielding a shield or a simple or martial weapon to use this reaction. After you resolve this reaction, the creature you defended can immediately use their reaction to move ten feet without provoking opportunity attacks from the creature that attacked them.
Apex Technique (upgraded Superior Technique): You learn two maneuvers of your choice from among those available to the Battle Master archetype. If a maneuver you use requires your target to make a saving throw to resist the maneuver’s effects, the saving throw DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice). You gain two superiority dice, which are d8s (these dice are added to any superiority dice you have from another source). These dice are used to fuel your maneuvers. A superiority die is expended when you use it. You regain your expended superiority dice when you finish a short or long rest.
Thrown Weapon Master (upgraded Thrown Weapon Fighting): You can draw a weapon that has the thrown property as part of the attack you make with the weapon. You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with thrown weapons. In addition, when you hit with a ranged attack using a thrown weapon, you gain a +3 bonus to the damage roll.
Tenacious Fighting (upgraded Unarmed Fighting): Your unarmed strikes can deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier on a hit. If you aren’t wielding any weapons or a shield when you make the attack roll, the d6 becomes a d8. At the start of each of your turns, you can deal 2d4 bludgeoning damage to one creature grappled by you. You gain a +3 bonus to damage rolls you make with unarmed strikes.
This feature was moved from level ten to level seven because it wasn’t very strong. Most characters will specialize in a particular weapon style, so an additional Fighting Style isn’t worth ten levels. However, upgrading Fighting Styles or accessing subclass-exclusive new Fighting Styles is tempting. It’s as simple as that! The Champion should excel in its combat mastery above what other martial classes achieve.
Additional Fighting Styles for Champion Fighters at Level Seven
Here are several options for new Fighting Styles if you want extra options:
Cage Fighter: You gain proficiency with improvised weapons. If you already have this proficiency, you gain +2 to attack rolls with improved weapons instead. Your improvised weapon attacks gain a +2 bonus to damage.
Fine-tuned Finesse: You gain a +2 to attack rolls when using a finesse weapon.
The Light Fantastic: If you hit a creature with a melee attack with a light weapon you are wielding, you can immediately attack the same creature again with the same weapon. You can use this ability once per turn.
Blowhard: You gain +2 to damage for all attacks with a blowgun and once per turn you gain an additional bonus to blowgun damage equal to your Constitution modifier.
Two Is Company: Once per turn on your own turn, if you hit a creature with a one-handed weapon attack, you gain advantage on your next attack as long as it’s made with a different one-handed weapon.
Parry More: As a reaction, you can parry an attack directed at you or another creature within 5ft of you. You must be wielding a one-handed weapon that lacks the heavy and special properties to gain this benefit. The AC of the target creature is increased by +3 for that attack.
Lance, a Lot: You gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls and +2 bonus to damage when attacking a creature with a lance, providing that creature is not within 5ft of you.
Verse or Tale: You gain a +1 to AC and a +1 to attack rolls when wielding a versatile weapon in both hands.
Level 10: Unwavering Poise [New]
At 10th level, you master defensive footwork and positioning in battle so foes cannot get the drop on you. You gain proficiency with Dexterity saving throws.
Additionally, an enemy cannot gain advantage to hit you with an attack if you have damaged that enemy with a weapon attack during the previous or current round of combat. You must be wielding a weapon or shield and not be incapacitated to gain this benefit.
It’s normal for Fighters to gain a new saving throw proficiency before level ten, so this feels right. A remarkable athlete like the Champion shouldn’t have a gap in its dexterous defenses.
The second part of this new feature is inspired by the Rogue’s Elusive feature but with more limitations on it. The Champion can put an enemy on their backfoot. Foes struggle to get the better of the Champion in combat. They’re called a champion for a reason.
Level 15: Superior Critical [Reworked]
Starting at 15th level, your weapon attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 18–20. After you score a critical hit against a creature, that creature gains disadvantage on all its attack rolls until the start of your next turn.
Additionally, When you score a critical hit with a weapon attack, you regain one use of Second Wind. You can choose to use the regained use of Second Wind immediately (per your Improved Critical feature) with the critical hit that allowed you to regain Second Wind if you haven’t already used Second Wind as part of that attack. You can regain Second Wind in this way once per attack action.
Like the Improved Critical feature at level three, we couldn’t let the Champion remain so bland. We’re once again leaning into the Second Wind class feature with this subclass to freshen it up. Your critical hits now renew your Second Wind uses so you can continue using them for healing and crit damage.
We limit this renewal to once per action. Crit fishing can get fairly reliable at high levels, allowing heaps of healing if we’re not careful. The first thought was to limit it to once per turn or round. That would make Action Surge feel lame if you already got a crit on the turn, unfortunately. Limiting it to once per action allows Action Surge to potentially land another crit that renews Second Wind!
Forcing disadvantage on an enemy’s attacks after you crit them is thematic. It also is inspired by feats that already exist for this effect.
Level 18: Survivor [Reworked]
At 18th level, you attain the pinnacle of resilience in battle. At the start of each of your turns, you regain hit points equal to 5 + your Constitution modifier if you have no more than half of your hit points left. You don’t gain this benefit if you have 0 hit points.
Additionally, when you use your Indomitable feature to pass a saving throw, you regain one use of Second Wind (assuming you’ve used Second Wind already).
Passive healing is great. The RAW Survivor feature, however, is probably not outpacing damage that the Champion is suffering at high levels. It’s a great feature, and it’s interesting, but it needs more. We hadn’t touched the Indomitable class feature yet with this subclass, so we’re bringing it in fittingly with Survivor. When Indomitable allows you to pass a saving throw you would’ve failed, now you regain a use of Second Wind.
This renews your critical hit damage when you score one, and you can heal yourself even more. This feels like the subclass capstone that cements it as a physical specimen. The incredible endurance and remarkable athleticism persists in battle beyond what others can sustain.
Champion Fighter Revision Summary
Here’s what you get with the new-and-improved Champion Fighter that you wouldn’t get from the PHB version!
- More damage dice for crits with Second Wind.
- Renewable healing options with Second Wind and more uses of it.
- Action economy opened up without always needing bonus actions for Second Wind.
- High jumping (not just long jumping).
- Dexterity saving throw proficiencies.
- Upgraded Fighting Style options.
- Triathlon mode for greater mobility.
- Avoidance of attacks that would have advantage from enemies you’ve engaged.
What do you think of these revisions to the D&D 5e Champion Fighter? Let me know in the comments and in the rating feature below. Is the revision overclocked or under-tuned?How would you suggest we improve it? You can also encourage with positive feedback if you think we nailed it.
We take these revisions very seriously (in a fun way). As we like to flex our amateur game designer muscles and create game options that we ourselves would use. Thanks for reading and participating!
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