Content of the article: "Creating the Quickest* Character"
I woke up this morning remembering a meme I saw about a week ago. The gist of it was that the Gloom Stalker Ranger/Assassin Rogue kills the main creature immediately, and the Paladin doesn't get to do anything. This made me think: how can I create a character with the highest initiative?
As far as it goes, the best I've figured out is 3 Ranger/3 Rogue/4+ Bard. Gloom Stalker and Swashbuckler for Ranger and Rogue (Bard subclass isn't important; I went with Lore for more skills, but Swords, Valor, or maybe even Whispers might be better for this build). These two subclasses let you add your Wisdom and Charisma modifiers to your initiative bonus. Jack of All Trades from Bard 2 lets you add half your proficiency bonus to any skills you aren't proficient with (on D&D Beyond, this includes your initiative modifier, but this may not be how it actually works in the rules). Take the Alert feat at Bard level 4 (or for V. Human feat if you want) for a +5 bonus. Finally, there's also the focus on Dexterity that each of these classes rely on. For sake of example, let's say our character has a Dexterity score of 18 for a +4 bonus to their initiative. We'll also give them a charisma of 16 and a wisdom of 15, for a bonus of +3 and +2, respectively.
At level 17, this character's initiative is equal to 4 (dexterity modifier) + 3 (charisma modifier from Swashbuckler) + 2 (wisdom modifier from Gloom Stalker) + 3 (Jack of All Trades, half of the character's proficiency bonus) + 5 (Alert feat). This adds up to a total of a +17 bonus to initiative rolls. This basically means that you'll pretty much be going first every time combat starts, with some exceptions.
My question is: how viable is this build? Does the need for the 3 decently high ability scores make this a rather poor build for any Standard Array or Point Buy games? Do the classes' abilities contradict each other? If so, is there any way to make this work?
I'll likely never actually play this build for anything besides a level 20 one-shot, but it's still a rather interesting question, in my opinion.
- A Build Proficient with Every Skill by 7th Level
- What is the highest initiative you can have?
- Question about Revised Ranger and Conclaves.
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